The Malik Report
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:
This one somehow slid through the radar screen, but if you’ve got lunch free today, Michigan Hockey Now’s Stefan Kubus (via RedWingsFeed) reports that Warrior Hockey endorsees Danny Cleary, Shawn Horcoff and one Nicklas Lidstrom will make an appearance and sign autographs at Warrior Hockey’s “tent sale” at their corporate headquarters in Warren, MI today at noon.
As the Red Wings’ organization engages fans via Twitter, Facebook, a special wallpaper on the team’s official website and via plain old word of mouth (I’m sure the press release is to come), here’s the dealy-o, fellow Wings fans:
Pavel Datsyuk faces off against John Tavares in the semifinals of EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote from today until Wednesday, May 23rd, and while we may not have lolcats on our side, what we do have is the one NHL player who works his butt off in practice and the weight room to seemingly effortlessly create the kinds of plays that you only see in video games, and Datsyuk does so on a nightly basis. Datsyuk is a video game character come to life:
Updated 3x at 12:02 PM: The vast majority of the Detroit Red Wings’ participants at the World Championships—including Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen (Expressen, Aftonbladet and Marie Hallman report that he plain old came down with a fever), Jimmy Howard, Calle Jarnkrok, Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey Henrik Zetterberg—were eliminated on Thursday, and were eliminated for a simple reason:
Single-game elimination is a cruel business, so much so that I would very well trade some of the beautifully free-wheeling play I’ve watched at the World Championships for some of the trap-happy hockey displayed in the NHL playoffs, and, well…At the World Championships on Thursday…because bad starts, shaky goaltending, lapses in concentration and plain old puck luck are the reasons why the Semifinals and Medal Round shake out as follows:
I’m writing this from my phone because it’s a stunning result: despite dropping a 3-1 deficit and losing Johan Franzen to an unspecified injury (update: Marie Hallman reports that Franzen became very ill) Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson rallied Sweden to a 3-3 tie against the Czech Republic…But poor decision-making and shaky goaltending from Victor Fasth yielded a 4-3 loss for Franzen, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Called Jarnkrok and Sweden.
The Czechs advance to face Slovakia in the Semifinals on Saturday, while the star-studded Swedes will face cries of, “Fiaskot!” and questions about what could have been.
Update from phone: Here’s IIHF.com’s recap.
Team USA stopped playing and started trapping halfway through the third period of a game they led 2-1 over Finland, and despite nothing less than valiant goaltending from one Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, the Americans were lulled into trying to beat the Finnish trap by trying to replicate it, and were defeated by it.
With the Finnish first line of Valtteri Filppula, Mikko Koivu and Jussi Jokinen literally playing every other shift, Koivu tied the game with 6:58 left on a slick Filppula on the right side of the net-behind-the-net to Jokinen to-the-slot for an unmolested (and trust me, the Russian refs let a lot of grabs, gropes, cross-checks and prostate exams go in this one) skate tap-in that Howard had no chance on, and with eight seconds left in regulation, a bizarre carom off the end boards yielded Petri Kontiola finding, again, a wide open Jesse Joensuu in the slot, again, with Howard having as much of a chance to stop the shot as he did so many of those Nashville goals in the first round.
As such, Finland won 3-2 and will tangle with the Russians on Saturday.
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.