The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 1 PM: Well, Red Wings prospect Petr Mrazek was able to learn from Czech pros and NHL’ers, hang out with his buddy Jakub Stepanek (who is dating Mrazek’s sister), and earn a Bronze medal, anyway.
The Czech Republic defeated Finland 3-2 today to capture Bronze at the World Championship, in no small part due to the goaltending of Stepanek and a superb Czech defense, but the Finns didn’t “get started on time” once again, goalie Petri Vehanen got caught swimming two too many times, and while the play of the line of Wings forward Valtteri Filppula, Mikko Koivu and Jussi Jokinen was nothing less than admirable, the Finns didn’t really show any backbone until they were down 3-1 going into the 3rd period, and they finally engaged the Czechs, physically and otherwise.
Today represents the last day of competition at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and from a Red Wings fan’s perspective, three of the Wings’ four remaining participants in Russia’s Pavel Datsyuk, Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar, Finland’s Valtteri Filppula and/or non-playing prospect Petr Mrazek will come home with medals, though only one might come home satisfied with his team’s performance. Here’s how today’s games shake out:
Sunday, May 20th:
• 9 AM EDT: Bronze Medal Game: Finland (Filppula) vs. Czech Republic Mrazek)
• 1:30 PM EDT: Gold Medal Game: Russia (Datsyuk) vs. Slovakia (Tatar)
NBC Sports will televise the Gold Medal game on tape delay, at 9 PM EDT
File this one under, “Things that don’t quite make sense to me”: It’s entirely possible, if not probable, that the Wings will send the better part of their 12 World Championship representatives to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics, but the groupings for the teams which will be involved were, strangely, determined today when the IIHF released its 2012 world hockey rankings.
These rankings are mostly based upon teams’ performances at the last Olympic games and this year’s World Championships, where Russia and Slovakia will tangle for Gold tomorrow at 1:30 PM EDT, and the host Finns and the Czech Republic will battle for Bronze at 9 AM EDT. Per the IIHF, here’s how the groupings for Sochi, assuming that NHL players participate in the event, will shake down (with 2012 rankings in parentheses):
Book the times, folks: Team Slovakia defeated the Czech Republic on three goals from Miroslav Satan’s line, including 2 from Satan himself, and Jan Laco played fantastic in the Slovaks’ crease, out-dueling Jakub Kovar by a wide margin, and after the Czechs lost Martin Erat to a shoulder or head injury, they lost their focus and started making mistakes which the Slovaks pounced upon easily—especially when David Krejci and former Wings draft pick Miroslav Blatak were on the ice…
And as such, Wings prospect Tomas Tatar (who was limited to a near-goal that trickled through relief goalie Jakub Stepanek’s legs and went wide, mostly playing a checking role, finishing at -1 in 15:21 of ice time and taking 1 shot on the 3rd line) and Slovakia defeated the Czechs 3-1, and will face Pavel Datsyuk’s Russians (who seem unstoppable after smoking Finland 6-2) for the World Championship title tomorrow at 1:30 PM EDT.
The Czechs will play Valtteri Filppula’s Finns for Bronze at 9 AM, and while the Gold medal game will be aired by NBC Sports at 9 PM EDT, it’s semi-legal streams for those of you who want to watch the games live.
Update: Here’s a slate of highlights from the NHL Network:
Updated 2x: “Don’t too close, it’s not ice cream”—Datsyuk on microphone proximity to his face in IIHF.com’s post-game video: It wasn’t even a contest. While Pavel Datsyuk (clicky for a rough translation of a remarkable little conversation he had with Championat’s Maria Rogovskaya) was held off the scoresheet, a mistake-prone Finnish defense and a very, very leaky Petri Vehanen could not hold off the Russian Machine, and with only the line of Valtteri Filppula, Mikko Koivu and Jussi Jokinen providing offense, the Finns couldn’t out-score their mistakes.
As such, Russia handed Finland a 6-2 defeat, cruising all the way thanks to a hat trick by Evgeni Malkin. Datsyuk played 17:03 and went 7-and-6 in the faceoff circle, took a shot and finished even, and Filppula took a shot, won a faceoff and managed to stay even in 18:00 of ice time.
Team Russia will face off against the winner of today’s Czech Republic-Slovakia (Tomas Tatar) game (on at 11:30 AM EDT) in tomorrow’s Gold medal game at 1:30 PM EDT, while Finland will play for Bronze at 9 AM EDT.
After receiving nothing less than a smorgasbord of World Championship coverage from the NBC Sports Network on Thursday, whoever’s in charge of scheduling events decided that one cannot piggyback TSN’s coverage when there are perfectly good reruns of fishing shows which must take precedence over hockey, so hockey die-hards like myself have set their alarms and are preparing to access semi-legal, grainy online streams to watch the last two days of the Worlds, starting with today’s Semifinals:
• 7:30 AM EDT: Russia (Pavel Datsyuk) vs. Finland (Valtteri Filppula)
• 11:30 AM EDT: Slovakia (Tomas Tatar) vs. Czech Republic (Petr Mrazek, not playing for the Czechs)
NBC Sports will televise one of the above-mentioned games at, according to their schedule, 9 PM EDT.
And tomorrow’s Medal round shakes down as follows:
The Detroit Red Wings are doing their best to promote Pavel Datsyuk’s candidacy for EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote as he tangles with John Tavares in the semifinals of said vote, and in addition to campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and their official website, red Wings TV’s Will Posthumus asked Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson to weigh in on Datsyuk’s candidacy while “Megatron” was attending tonight’s Tigers game:
You can download a copy of that cover via the Wings’ Facebook page, and if you haven’t seen it already, here’s Joey MacDonald endorsing the candidacy of the Red Wings’ real-life video game character:
Updated at 10:55 PM: For the record, Fabian Brunnstrom tells Helsingborgs Dagblad that he’ll re-sign with Detroit: Now that the NBC Sports Network has had its fill of the World Championships—if you want to watch Tomas Tatar’s Slovaks take on the Czechs tomorrow at 7:30 AM EDT, or Pavel Datsyuk’s Russians take on Valtteri Filppula’s Finns at 11:30 AM, you’ll have to do so online, and the same is true for the Gold and Bronze medal games at 9 AM and 1:30 PM EDT, respectively, on Sunday (though NBC Sports will broadcast the Gold game on a delayed basis Sunday night)...
For Red Wings fans, that means a chance to glimpse the last moments of top prospect Tomas Jurco’s career as his Saint John Sea Dogs—the tournament’s prohibitive favorites—attempt to defend last year’s Memorial Cup win, starting on Saturday night.
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s currently signing autographs at Warrior Hockey’s corporate headquarters, and the Detroit News dispatched Ted Kulfan to the scene to find out whether Lidstrom’s made any progress toward deciding whether to return for at least one more year. The 42-year-old’s answer is consistent with his usual, “I’ll figure it out by the NHL Awards” timeline:
“I’ve been taking my time and I haven’t really gotten to that process yet,” said Lidstrom, looking tanned and relaxed after having just returned from a brief Florida vacation with his wife. “I haven’t really gotten any closer to a decision.”
Lidstrom talked with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland during exit interviews and said they planned on touching base when Holland returns from the World Championships. Holland has indicated he’d like a decision around mid-June, before the draft and the start of free agency.
“I’ll have something (in terms of a decision by that time),” said Lidstrom, who played in 70 games and scored 34 points (11 goals) last season. “I know they want to know and I want to be fair to the Wings, too.”
Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris Trophy (best defenseman) winner, has been working out regularly, but don’t take that a sign he’s leaning toward returning.
“I would be doing that anyway,” said Lidstrom, 42. “Look at Cheli (Chris Chelios), he’s still working out. Maybe he wants to come back.”
If it makes you feel any better, the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau believes that Lidstrom will return…And that reminds me, Tomas Holmstrom spoke to Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom after just returning from a vacation in Florida…
Belarus is, to put things delicately, a strange country, a small former Soviet republic which has become a relatively successful country, albeit under a def-acto and heavy-handed dictator in “president” Aleksandr Lukashenko, and Belarus’s record on pesky issues like free elections, freedom of speech freedom of the press, human rights, women’s rights and fair trials has yielded significant protest to the IIHF’s decision to hold the 2014 World Championships in Minsk.
While IIHF president Rene Fasel told the IIHF Annual Congress in Helsinki that his organization’s moneymaking bread and butter event’s status as pocketing cash from an old-school totalitarian state isn’t a particularly big deal as the Worlds are apparently apolitical (yeah, right), but Ilta Sanomat’s Lotta Lybeck and Helsingin Sanomat’s Survi Turtainen (and one of Belarus’s few non-state-run media outlets, Charter 97) report that a Finnish-based organization, “No to Minsk 2014,” handed the IIHF a petition to move the Worlds somewhere else which happened to include 30,000 signatures, and as part of their campaign, a slate of Finnish celebrities who happen to be women just happened to take part in a strange YouTube commercial that is very much so Not Safe for Work:
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.