The Malik Report
Updated 3x at 1:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will play a second consecutive "home game on the road" when they face the Arizona Coyotes this evening (8 PM on FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM), and while Phoenix is just taking to the ice for the morning skate, the Coyotes' website posted a clip of Keith Yandle, Andrew Campbell and Shane Doan discussing their desire to maximize their opportunity to earn bragging rights against the Wings.
When Shane Doan says that, "Obviously, we played them a few times in the playoffs, we played them four times in the playoffs, you've got a healthy dislike for the group, the team and, the group and the organization, you respect them for everything they've kind of done in the past, so yeah, there's a certain amount of you enjoying playing against them," you know it's gonna be a physical, intense affair to say the very least.
ArizonaCoyotes.com's Dave Vest posited a game preview from the Coyotes' perspective...
Sometimes a single Tweet is more than worth its own blog entry, and in this case, this one's most certainly worth it:
Pavel Datsyuk passed Sergei Fedorov for 5th in Red Wings assists on Thursday, registering his 555th helper, and as you might imagine, Datsyuk marked the milestone with "thank you's":
Pavel Datsyuk: классный dude.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Right from the start, an admission: Words cannot do this justice. There is absolutely no way this blog can adequately capture what was seen Friday night in downtown Saskatoon.
They honoured Gordie Howe here, in the province that will not debate who is the greatest hockey player ever. In Saskatchewan, it is their Favourite Son, Mr. Howe, and everyone else is so far behind they might as well be competing for third.
Hours before the formal dinner, at a media conference, Wayne Gretzky emotionally wiped at his eyes as Mark Howe described how poorly his father was doing less than three months ago.
“He basically had kind of shut down. His will to live had waned considerably, along with that went his personality. Along with that went an awful lot of things…When I got down there, just before Thanksgiving, the nursing people down there, they basically had him pretty much in a medically induced coma.”
“And they said, ‘It is just time to let him pass.’”
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The stories. There were so many stories about Gordie Howe before and duringthe Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner on Friday night. Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Hull spoke of Howe as their idol and competitor. Mark and Marty Howe spoke of him as their father and teammate. Everyone spoke of his skill, toughness, kindness and humor.
added 2:45pm, Video of Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN talking with Mark Howe after the event is below.
Also, here is the story from LeBrun.
The "Fathers' Trip" portion of what's actually a 3-game road trip for the Wings, interspersed by a quick jaunt home before heading to Pittsburgh for a "Rivalry Night" game next Wednesday, could help the Wings earn a solid margin for error when the games come a little faster and more intensely after Valentine's Day...
But tonight's game against the Arizona Coyotes (8 PM EST on FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM) is another game where the Wings could really screw themselves over by underestimating their opponent--or expecting that feeding off a second consecutive "home crowd" can serve as a substitute for effort, attention to detail, intensity or focus.
Prospect news: Griffins defeat Amerks in OT as Athanasiou returns; Walleye lose; more catch-up stuff
The Grand Rapids Griffins and their contingent of Red Wings prospects are very, very familiar with both the Rochester Americans and the prospects representing the Buffalo Sabres on the Amerks' roster--as are the Wings and Sabres' scouts, if we are to believe what we read--so it's very appropriate that the Griffins are hosting the Amerks for a back-to-back slate of games leading up to Saturday's Great Skate.
On Friday, the Griffins rallied from a 2-1 deficit but surrendered a game-tying goal with 1:58 in regulation, and Grand Rapids required overtime to defeat Rochester 5-4. The Griffins' website posited a recap of the up-and-down affair:
If Red Army's theatrical release isn't enough for your Miracle on Ice-remembering needs, Newsday's Neil Best, in an article re-published by the Detroit News, reports that Slava Fetisov will also weigh in on the Miracle on Ice in a made-for-ESPN movie chronicling the event called Of Ice and Men.
The film premiers on Sunday, and Best says that the Jonathan Hock-directed film also features Slava Fetisov as its protagonist:
Both also feature the irresistible Fetisov as a central figure, both pay tribute to the father of Soviet hockey, Anatoli Tarasov, and both find a villain in Tikhonov. But the ESPN film does a more thorough job of chronicling the time up to and including the 1980 game, while "Red Army" focuses more on the rest of the '80s and into the post-Soviet era.
The eye-opener for those of us raised on American Cold War propaganda is how relatable the old Russians are.
"Our main goal as filmmakers was to put a human face on the Soviet team," Hock said after a screening. "We were taught they were robots and machines and had no feelings and were just these automatons — that all they did was play hockey and they were the bad guys. But the way they played, it didn't make sense. They played the game so beautifully and with such creativity that they had to love it."
The Wings flew out of Denver last night and arrived in the Glendale area around 3am ET this morning (via George and his flight tracker).
They hit the ice for their practice at 4:30pm ET in Glendale.
Only news out of practice so far is Helene St. James tweeting...
Casual Friday practice for #RedWings at Gila River Arena.
If any news comes out of practice, I will update this post.
added 5:01pm, Ansar Khan tweets the forwards and defense remain the same as last night.
added 5:42pm, Babcock tells the media no changes to the lineup for Saturday, Mrazek starts.
Amongst a significant number of "tidbit"-category stories:
1. The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding their annual Great Skate to benefit the Griffins' Youth Foundation after tomorrorw night's game against Rochester, with the players skating with fans for a full day, and Griffins announcer/community relations manager Bob Kaser spoke with WOOD News 8 about the event:
2. If you happen to be in Chicago tomorrow, Dylan Larkin and the University of Michigan Wolverines are also playing in an outdoor game, taking on Michigan State University as part of Chicago's "Hockey City Classic" at 8 PM EST. The game will air on the Big Ten Network (and the Red Wings are already posting articles pointing out that the Big 10 Championship will be held at the Joe this year, with U of M [Larkin], Michigan State and the University of Minnesota [Ben Marshall] among its participants);
Khan: Red Wings’ Kris Draper hopes to round up teammates for Wings-Avs alumni tilt at Stadium Series
According to MLive's Ansar Khan, the Red Wings hope to ensure that there's an alumni game prior to next year's Stadium Series game against Colorado, and an interesting protagonist is spearheading the organization's efforts to round up a solid Wings alumni team [edit: And if you're interested, Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave took a "trip down memory lane" regarding the Wings-Avs rivalry]:
Kris Draper (Red Wings special assistant to the GM) is anxious to contact his former teammates to see if they'll participate," [Ken] Holland said.
The rivalry was ignited when Claude Lemieux checked Draper from behind into the dasherboards during Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference finals. That led to the wild brawl between the teams on March 26, 1997.
Holland said he doesn't know how an alumni game would become official. As the home team, that's likely Colorado's call. But Avalanche coach and former goaltender Patrick Roy, a key figure in the rivalry, sounded stoked about the possibility of going down memory lane, saying it would be fun.
"I think it would be interesting if they do one," Roy told Colorado media before Thursday's game. "If they do one obviously I'm a bit excited about it. I look forward to it."
The Sasksatoon press is kind of going ape about Gordie Howe's appearance at the Kinsmen Club's dinner tonight, and as Paul noted, Sportsnet and NHL.com posted several videos from a presser the Howe family held today, including the following clips in which Marty and Mark discuss their dad's condition and battle with dementia...
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.