The Malik Report
When I was sick as sick could be, early, often and repeatedly on Friday, I cannot deny that there was more than one period of time that I thought, "If the Red Wings lose on Saturday, then I'll really feel like I got kicked in the gut." And that was saying something given what my gut was doing to me.
But the Detroit managed to make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season thanks to an incredibly determined effort by the Wings' best players during a week in which the team needed to win 4 of 4 games--and did just that, defeating Dallas 3-0 to punctuate a fantastic final week of the regular season and set up a first-round match-up with the Anaheim Ducks.
After an incredibly frustrating, disappointing and innervating season for Wings fans, their team is just starting to find itself and its identity, and on Saturday night, from the moment Henrik Zetterberg put the puck off Brenden Dillon's skate and past Richard Bachman, there was very little doubt that the Wings would be playoff bound.
I'll write a quick take in a little bit, but after a nail-biting season and a nail-bed-biting last week, the Red Wings--perhaps despite themselves--earned what Ken Daniels duly noted was the team's first 4-game winning streak of the season, defeating the Dallas Stars 3-0 and setting themselves up for their 22nd consecutive playoff run.
The Wings will now fly home for the evening, pack up on Sunday and head to Anaheim to play the Ducks. The Free Press's Helene St. James reported something I've heard, and something that FSD's Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond reported:
(and yes, that would probably mean that Game 3 would be an incredibly stupid NBC matinee)
Updated 2x with a "no comment" from Ken Holland to the Free Press's Helene St. James at 11:25 PM: We knew that Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill would leave the organization to become another team's general manager eventually, and TSN's Darren Dreger reports that Nill will leave Detroit this spring to become the Dallas Stars' GM:
Ridiculous timing by Dreger. Ridiculous.
Update: ESPN is confirming:
At the end of the interview, Babcock brought up a very good point, stating in a normal season the Wings play some games in the East which allows them to "freshen" up a bit.
But as we know there was no time to freshen up with all the games against the West which brought about some brutal travel.
I haven't heard from Georg today, so I am going to assume he is still dealing with food poisoning.
I will post any major news from the morning skate if need be, but let's hope there isn't anything major to report.
In the meantime, what are you doing to kill time until 7:00pm ET tonight?
Any superstitions you will bring out of the closet tonight or do you feel very confident the Wings will get at least one point, thereby making the playoffs for the 22nd straight season?
So far we know Richard Backman will be the starting goalie for Dallas and Nashville will have Chris Mason in goal tonight when they play in Columbus.
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
It’s one of the most impressive streaks in recent NHL history: The Detroit Red Wings have gone to the playoffs in 21 straight seasons. In the 30-team era, it’s a huge (some would even say impossible) feat that speaks to the consistency of one of the league’s model franchises.
But heading into the season’s final weekend, that streak is in jeopardy. After Thursday night’s action, the Red Wings are still fighting for one of the final spots in the West.
As we try to wrap our heads around the prospect of witnessing our first NHL playoffs without the Detroit since 1990, let’s take a look back through all 21 seasons of the streak. Here are five playoff moments that Red Wings fans will remember forever, and five more that they’d probably rather forget.
In a paid subscription article, Craig Custance of ESPN had this to say about Valtteri Filppula.
Regardless of the frustrations he causes Red Wings fans at times, if Filppula goes to the open market, he'll get paid. No doubt about it. There aren't many centers hitting the market, and even fewer in his age range (29). Keep in mind that he's represented by the same agency (Acme World Sports) that got Ville Leino a six-year, $27 million contract from the Sabres in free agency.
This certainly hasn't been a contract year for Filppula, but he's just one year removed from a 23-goal, 66-point season. Considering the lackluster free-agent class, the Red Wings' cap room and even the possibility of Datsyuk leaving down the road, I think Ken Holland finds a way to get this deal done. He has to.
Agree or disagree?
Paul here for George, who believes he has a case of food poisining.
Josh Cooper of The Tennessean talked with the Predators after the game last night.
Does Weber ever get rid of his game-face?
FYI: The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Thursday night, so the Detroit Red Wings (23-16-and-8, 54 points, 21 regulation-or-OT wins) will have to at least earn one point in Saturday's road game against the Stars--because Columbus (23-17-and-7, 53 points, 18 ROWs) can max out at 55 points if they defeat Nashville at home.
In such a situation, Columbus would have 24 wins and a maximum of 19 regulation-or-OT wins, but even with an OT or shootout loss in Dallas, the Wings would have 21 ROWs, so they'd win the tiebreaker.
The Blue Jackets asked the Stars for a favor...
The Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators began with the team frustrating the hell out of its mostly-full rink's worth of playoff-ready fans at Joe Louis Arena and ended properly, with a standing ovation in the home finale...
And somewhere in between, despite the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets could force the Wings to beat Dallas outright to earn a playoff spot, the Wings slowly but surely found their form, found themselves and just absolutely dismantled the Nashville Predators.
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.