The Malik Report
Yesterday afternoon, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery that he's not planning on leaving the Detroit Red Wings, and this morning, he reiterated his points of emphasis to one of the biggest, "Babcock's going to leave Detroit" theorists in the Fan 590's Greg Brady (and co-host Andrew Walker)--though it takes the coach and hosts until the 5:15 mark of the 8-minute interview to get to the heart of his message:
Don't expect this to stop the Babs-is-going-to-scoot rumor mill, but Babcock remains "on message," and it's interesting to hear Babcock state that he's heading to the QMJHL to watch Anthony Mantha play in the Q final after this weekend's Griffins games.
Edit/update: Kirk Maltby also spoke with WJR's Paul W. Smith on Wednesday, discussing the Wings' playoff ouster in a 6-minute interview:
Thursday's biggest Red Wings story involved the coach dismissing media speculation that he's leaving after next season--which was more or less tossed aside as "PC talk" by those who believe that what Mike Babcock suggests about grass not being greener elsewhere is just a little gunk in the rumor mill's greasy wheels--more locker room clean-out-day talk and prospect news.
This morning's Wings reflections run the gamut of the "sympathy meter," and we'll start our survey with the Free Press's Helene St. James' conversation with one Todd Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi, like Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and Cory Emmerton, lost his job to the Wings' "kids," but Bertuzzi wants to continue playing, and Bertuzzi's words to St. James reflect those of a player whose tenure with the Wings was one of professionalism and surprising mentorship to the "kids" that will leave him looking for employment elsewhere:
I'm not going to pretend that I've followed Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm with incredible thoroughness over the past season, but his Guelph Storm are battling for the Ontario Hockey League championship against the North Bay Battalion--a team captained by Barclay Goodrow, who turned down an AHL deal from the Wings in order to strike it richer with the San Jose Sharks...
And Bertuzzi didn't fare in the scoring, but his Storm rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits to take a 3-2 OT win over Goodrow's Battalion on Thursday, taking a 1-games-to-none lead in the chase for the Robertson Cup. The OHL's website posted a highlight clip from the game, and Buzzing the Net's Neate Sager posited a recap:
This is...different...The NHL apparently had several players wearing microphones during the Red Wings-Bruins series, and they've posted an after-the-fact six-minute clip recounting the series' main events from player perspectives, Zdeno Chara's taunting of Brendan Smith included:
It's painful to watch the Wings' individual mistakes lead to so many goals against. Players just standing around, watching the opposing team score...again and again and again.
Today, the Red Wings' coach dismissed speculation that he's intrigued by doing anything else other than restoring the Winged Wheel's luster, we found out that the Red Wings have no desire to let Jeff Blashill walk, either, and as TMR readers continue to weigh in on the Wings' locker room clean-out-day comments and the subsequent day's worth of stories...
Michigan Hockey points our focus westward. The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 2-1 decision to the Abbotsford Heat last night, so the fine performance of the Griffins' "new top line" went for naught (FYI: Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs open their QMJHL championship series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar this evening, and Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm open their OHL championship series against the North Bay Battalion tonight).
It took a while, but the Griffins posted a highlight clip and set of post-game interviews...
TSN.ca's NHL Play of the Year showdown continues today with two great acts of deception.
The 14th match-up of the Round of 32 sees the Sedin twins team-up to take on Detroit Red Wings winger Tomas Tatar.
Streaking over the blue line, Tatar feels a pair of Dallas defenders closing in on him. As Brenden Dillon moves in for the big hit, Tatar hesitates and the Stars d-man catches teammate Cameron Gaunce square on, sending both players flying.
Tatar resumes his drive and finishes with a nifty backhand shovel that goes off Kari Lehtonen and in.
Here's Tatar's goal...
Updated 2x with annotations at 3:17 PM: Mike Babcock joined Matt Dery of Detroit Sports 105.1 and touched on numerous topics such as his contract, team needs, Anthony Mantha and Petr Mrazek.
Gregg Krupa tweeted while the interview was going on so check his recent timeline and/or listen to the interview below...
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
... if a team wants to avoid the usual re-treads, there could be another Jon Cooper or Dallas Eakins in the minors looking for his golden ticket to the NHL.
Jeff Blashill is not a name that most people might be familiar with. But that is starting to change. The 40-year-old, who won the Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, was recently named coach of the year after finishing in the top-3 in wins with a depleted roster that lost Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and several others top players to the Detroit Red Wings.
“Personally, I think he needs another year or two to get more of a base of experience,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told The Hockey News earlier this month. “But I think he’s an NHL coach in the making, there’s no doubt about that.”
With one more year remaining on his contract — Detroit’s Mike Babcock is also in his final year — Holland has said that he has no intention of allowing teams to talk to Blashill. Which is a smart thing, because his phone would be ringing off the hook by now.
The Grand Rapids Griffins weren't able to sweep the Abbotsford Heat last night, but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Wednesday marked the debut of a new tline consisting of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Mitchell Callahan--and the trio played like three players battling for NHL employment should play:
The trio accounted for 10 of the Griffins’ 35 shots.
Coach Jeff Blashill was pleased with the quick transition of Sheahan and Jurco.
“I thought both of them played really well,” he said. “I thought they stopped on the puck, played hard, created chances. The puck went in on the power play and I thought a couple of other times it was just one side or the other (when it didn’t).”
With 2:33 left in the first period, all three were on the power play when Sheahan corralled the puck in traffic in front of the net and quckly flipped a pass to Jurco on the right side. He snapped a quick shot past goalie Joni Ortio.
Wallner continues, and Tomas Jurco sounds a little happier about being "stuck" in Grand Rapids than he did when he spoke with the Slovak media (Jurco would've preferred to be allowed to play in the World Championships):
While Red Wings fans have been chatting up the team's potential onl and off-ice changes, as Paul noted, something of a bizarre situation's unfolding in Downtown Detroit. Somebody or some bodies apparently decided to decapitate a pair of Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" bobbleheads.
Per the Detroit News's Tony Briscoe:
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.