The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock hopes his newest additions, forward Erik Cole and defenseman Marek Zidlicky, don't get the wrong idea about their new team after their first game Wednesday.
The Red Wings were sluggish, not completely unexpected coming off six consecutive road games. They didn't skate well, they struggled in their own zone and were turnover-prone.
"I thought we looked like we'd been on a long road trip and got back and were wearing snowshoes," Babcock said....
"I hope they don't think we play like this, because we don't," Babcock said. "I've never seen anything quite like it. You almost expect it, but you're hoping you'll get through it and you're going to play better.
"We'll play way better as the week goes on now once we get skating again tomorrow. Those guys I think are confident pros. I think Cole can really help (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Justin) Abdelkader once they've played together and get to know each other and get a feel for one other and get some rhythm."
If one were to base their expectations of the New York Rangers' post-game comments upon what the Rangers' players and coach very visibly stated to the referees, the Wings' players and Pierre McGuire during NBCSN's broadcast of the Red Wings' 2-1 OT win over New York, you'd expect the Rangers to issue a lengthy list of complaints regarding the penalties that were called against them, the penalties they felt should have been called upon the Red Wings, and especially the sequence which led to the game-winning goal.
The Rangers were incredibly upset when Justin Abdelkader's 1-0 goal counted, even though it was ruled legal by the NHL's situation room, because the Rangers believed that Abdelkader kicked it in
Only one Red Wings developmental affiliate and/or set of prospects played on Wednesday, and they played more than well enough to provide highlights for everyone. The Grand Rapids Griffins won their 9th straight game, defeating the Oklahoma City Barons 7-1, and Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen scored a hat trick in the process, regaining the AHL's scoring and points leads despite having played in 5-10 fewer games than any of his competitors in the scoring race.
The Griffins' website posited a recap of the game...
The Detroit Red Wings played an incredibly predictable game for their "1st Game Back From a West Coast Trip," sloppily stumbling, fumbling and flailing their way toward a 2-1 OT win over the New York Rangers.
It was ugly, it was certainly a case of the Wings playing almost injuriously-to-self self-defeating hockey, and the Wings required both Jimmy Howard's spectacular 39-save performance and da whole lot of patience in dealing with a Rangers team, coach and NBCSN broadcast team that protested for calls so vehemently and against goals so vehemently that it was worse than reading my Twitter feed when the Wings get a goal called off (ha)...
But sometimes you win sloppy games by leaning all over your own damn goalie and scoring the gamer in OT when the other team's captain trips over his own goalie and comes up angry because there was nobody to blame but himself for Marek Zidlicky's game-winner.
And especially given how the Rangers scored with feet in Jonas Gustavsson's crease and Jonas Gustavsson's left arm out of its shoulder socket the last time these teams met in OT, it felt damn good to see the Rangers were the ones going away angry.
Slava Fetisov will appear on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart tonight at 11 PM EST on Comedy Central, and Fetisov, who serves as the protagonist of the Gabe Polsky documentary Red Army, appeared on the NHL Live for a full 20 minutes, discussing the film and being himself as Steve Mears and EJ Hradek tried to interview him:
It's a little early for a "mad dash," but here are a few more stories regarding the Red Wings and their match-up with the Rangers this evening (8 PM EST ON NBCSN/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM; don't forget that Slava Fetisov will appear on The Daily Show at 11 PM, too) that didn't make the morning skate or game day entries.
First and foremost, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa confirms that Henrik Zetterberg passed his baseline neurological test and will play tonight:
Henrik Zetterberg, who appeared in 57 of the Red Wings' 61 games before Jamie Benn of the Stars punched him twice in the head on Feb. will return to the lineup Wednesday night against the Rangers.
Zetterberg had been out with concussion-like symptoms.
In the sixth season of a 12-year contract, Zetterberg, 34, is two points behind the team leader, Pavel Datsyuk, in points with 49 (15 goals, 34 assists).
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on WBBL's Huge Show with Bill Simonson on Wednesday afternoon, and Holland discussed the Wings' trade deadline acquisitions and much, much more over the course of a 20-minute interview:
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Erik Cole expects a few anxious moments before he makes his Red Wings debut tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
“For sure. Absolutely,” said Cole when asked if he’ll be nervous before puck drop. “It’s an exciting moment for me to play for this organization. It’s just a great opportunity.”
One of the newest members of the team, Cole is familiar with joining a new team for the stretch run to the regular season. The 36-year-old Cole was part of two deadline deals since 2008-09 – first from Edmonton back to Carolina – the team that originally drafted him in 1998 – and to Dallas from Montreal.
“You know a bit more about what to expect, so that helps for sure,” Cole said. “Just being an older player and being comfortable with my surroundings, wherever that may be, you find your way and deal with it as it comes. When you get to the rink, lots of times that’s the easy part.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We are three-quarters of the way through the season and beginning to get a pretty good grasp on who should take home the hardware. Now, I still reserve the right to change my mind come early April once the regular season is over, but at this very point, here's how I see the award leaders. Agree or disagree?
Candidates: Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators; Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens; Jack Capuano, New York Islanders; Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues; Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers; Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning; Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings; Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals; Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets; Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames
The skinny: Laviolette has to be the favorite given where expectations were for the Preds in September. You could lump Capuano and Maurice in that group, too. It's funny how Therrien never gets any love for this award, even though he continues to do a great job and his Canadiens are in first place. Hartley deserves so much credit for taking a team many people thought would be in the Tank Derby this season and instead continuing to fight a playoff spot. The Giordano injury will likely do him in, but three-quarters of the way into the season, tip your cap to Hartley. But my pick? And I know he likely won't even be nominated, but I'm going with Babcock. Some people wondered in September whether the Wings might finally miss the playoffs this season. They looked at a blue-line corps that didn't impress anyone. They looked at a number of young players who lacked experience. But they forgot to look at the best coach in the NHL.
read on for LeBrun's other hardware 'winners' at the 3/4 mark of the NHL season...
Also, rember voting is for regular season only, playoff results are not considered.
Big update: Good news!
Updated 7x at 1:50 PM: The Red Wings tangle with the New York Rangers in a "Rivalry Night" game this evening (8 pm EST on NBCSN/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM;
the Wings are collecting school supplies for charity tonight [Edit: on FRIDAY /end edit]), and the Wings' morning skate revealed that Henrik Zetterberg will probably play, assuming that he clears his baseline neurological test this afternoon.
The Bergen Record's Andrew Gross reported that the Rangers won't be holding a morning skate, so 1 of only 4 games on the NHL schedule this evening got the NBCSN game preview treatment, a "pick" from CBS Sports' Chris Peters, and after the morning skate, an "Over the Boards" conversation between NHL.com's Dan Rosen and Wings coach Mike Babcock regarding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky's additions:
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.