The Malik Report
I wrote this as a response to an article Paul posted, but I feel so passionatly pissed off about the issue that I’m gonna use my soapbox to say what I feel about the ridiculous levels of obstruction and otherwise uncalled infractions that the NHL has clearly told its referees to ignore in advance of a set of GM’s meetings on Monday and Tuesday where the gentlemen in charge of the game want to reintroduce the red line to supposedly reintroduce creativity, back the trap up twenty feet and prevent concussions:
It seems rather obvious to me that the NHL’s already tossed out a mandate to, “Slow down the game to make it safer” via allowing everything but horizontal stick fouls and the, “If he falls, it’s a call” penalties, but the refs are letting far more than the grabs, gropes, wrestling, football tackling and the kinds of moving and stationary picks that literally prevent players from getting to the puck or separate puck carriers from scoring chances by any means—we’re seeing just as much, if not more players lining their opponents up for vicious collisions via you-stop-him-I’ll-rail-him plays (see: Mike Green) and some absolutely ridiculous hacks and whacks to hands, wrists and ankles, dangerous trips, slew-foots, kneeing, butt-ending, boarding, etc., all of that crap is being let go to “protect” the players.
Updated 2 with a conversation with Ken Holland from the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness at 3 PM: Excellent Red Wings news from the Free Press’s Helene St. James: the Wings will at least have Jimmy Howard back between the pipes on Tuesday:
Wings send Nyquist and Pearce back to Grand Rapids, good indication Howard and Bertuzzi will return Tuesday at LA
Holland tells Free Press: Howard is ready to go Tuesday at LA, Nyquist will play tonight for GR, rejoin Wings Monday in LA in case needed.
No practice today for #RedWings. Lidstrom and Datsyuk still expected back during California trip
MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms, but reports that Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom’s respective statuses remain somewhat uncertain:
The Detroit Red Wings flew back to Detroit on Saturday night for an abbreviated night of sleep in their own beds before embarking upon their last West Coast swing of the season starting Sunday night, and the Wings did so losing more than two hours in the exchange (due to heading back to the Eastern Time Zone and then losing another hour due to Daylight Savings Time): the Wings limped out of Nashville only four instead of eight points ahead of the Predators, and now trail the Blues by 4 points in the Central Division standings, thanks to a 3-2 loss to Nashville which represented a failed attempt to “lurk in the weeds,” as the Wings did in their comeback victory against the Kings on Friday night, against a far superior opponent.
So the Wings will head into Los Angeles for a rematch with said Kings on Tuesday, tangle with the spoiler-happy Ducks on Wednesday and then face what they can only hope is a potential first-round opponent in the San Jose Sharks next Saturday, because if the Red Wings don’t stop losing (Detroit’s lost 3 of its past 4 games), they’ll end up playing against the Predators in April, and may very well have to start the series in Nashville at this rate.
The Detroit Red Wings seemed to be far too content to try to use the same lurking-in-the-weeds game plan against the Nashville Predators which they successfully employed against the Kings on Friday, and in a four-point game against a team far superior to the floundering Kings, the Wings made a huge tactical error, and thanks to some terrible special teams play on Detroit’s part—giving up 2 power play goals against and going 0-for-4 on their own power play—Detroit dropped a 3-2 decision to a Predators team that is only 4 instead of a potential 8 points behind Detroit in the Central Division standings—and the Wings’ loss means that the Blues are now 4 points ahead of Detroit, too (Update: scary thought—if the Wings don’t re-take the division lead, they’re all but guaranteed to play the Predators in the 1st round!).
Two days after the eighth anniversary of the “Bertuzzzi-Moore” incident, Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi spoke to Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson in a sit-down interview, mostly talking about his renaissance and “reinvention” as a defensively-responsible forward with the team he hopes to win a Stanley Cup with in the Detroit Red Wings:
Wings coach Mike Babcock adds some intriguing comments to the mix in the 5:22 interview.
Updated 4x with game chatter and stats at 7:10 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to build upon their 4-3 win against Los Angeles when they face off against the Nashville Predators tonight (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM/yes, we “spring forward” tonight), it’s pretty easy to become apoplectic trying to follow the Red Wings’ injuries, and this quip from MLive’s Ansar Khan’s Twitter account has me hoping that the newly re-christened Red Bird III will take the Red Wings will take the team back to Detroit for one more night in the players’ own beds before they head out West, or at least that the team’s booked some first-class tickets to Los Angeles for Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub Kindl:
@KristiLeigh73 Howard might have, to face shots, but Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Bert, Kindl did not go to Nash. None of injured players back tonight
There is some good news: Red Wings’ Twitter account reports that Joakim Andersson’s been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, which, as MLive’s Brendan Savage points out, means that Justin Abdelkader’s healthy enough to give ‘er a go after battling the flu over the past few days.
Savage also reports good news regarding Jimmy Howard:
The Detroit Red Wings’ gritty 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings allowed the Wings to take a midnight flight to Nashville to battle the Predators this evening (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM/Don’t forget we “spring forward” this weekend) at least having kept pace with the Blues (2 points ahead of Detroit) and Canucks (1 point ahead) in the Western Conference standings, and ensuring that, should the depleted Wings fall this evening, Nashville can only creep to within 4 points of Detroit in the Central Division race, not 2…
But in terms of preparing to go into tonight’s game and perhaps one or both of the Wings’ games in Los Angeles and Anaheim next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, minus the vast majority of Justin Abdelkader (flu), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist), Jimmy Howard (groin), Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in his ankle) and Jakub Kindl (“upper-body”), this Red Wings team whose roster includes seven actually-playing skaters/goalie and eight total warm bodies who didn’t start the season in Detroit, and six who started the year in Grand Rapids…
Friday night’s win was as crucial to the team “learning how to win as it is currently constructed” it was to breaking a two-game losing streak, if not more as the team slowly skates toward the playoffs now knowing that the Smiths, Janiks, Nyquists, Anderssons, Conners and MacDonalds of the world can get the job done—even if only in a fashion that is as aesthetically pleasing as nose hair until the Wings manage to, muck, grind, out-hustle, out-work and out-lurk-in-the-weeds their opponents to a positive result.
The Detroit Red Wings’ long list of sidelined players—Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom—got a player longer in the form of the flu-addled Justin Abdelkader on Friday night, meaning that, if you count back-up Jordan Pearce, the traded-for Kyle Quincey and the then-injured Jakub Kindl, Detroit faced off against Los Angeles with eight players, or a third of their roster and 40% of their players, who hadn’t started the season in Detroit.
That list includes six call-ups from the Grand Rapids Griffins, and it’s entirely probable that each and every one of Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Doug Janik, Joakim Andersson and the interim starter and now full-time back-up in Joey MacDonald will continue with the team to Nashville for tomorrow night’s game against the Predators (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM).
As such, the Detroit Red Wings’ depleted lineup displayed all the confidence you’d expect from a team that seemed to play the first period as if it was issuing a collective, on-ice statement lamenting, “We’ve gotta play through another injury? Are you f***ing kidding me?”
Well the Red Wings registered all of 15 shots on goal, surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads, and yet they won thanks to—of all things—a goal by Darren Helm with 1:13 left in the 3rrd and some fantastic saves by a goalie who gave up some squeakers in Joey MacDonald.
4-3 Detroit. Are you f***ing kidding me?
Between you and me, this breaks a superstition that I should not post anything after Bill fires off the live blog, and as Paul already mentioned this, I would usually take to TMR’s Facebook page or Twitter to let you know that the game-day update post includes a significant addition as of 6:18 PM (and it does, including the Wings website’s game-day preview and another Ken Holland radio interview)...
But this is too cool to stuff in the game-day post. Red Wings forward Jan Mursak and Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar both hail from the hockey hotbed of Slovenia, a very small Eastern European/Balkan country which can boast 2.05 million residents and a land area just a wee bit smaller than Israel (i.e. it’s the 153rd-biggest country in the world, which is pretty damn small). The fact that Mursak and Kopitar are playing against each other for the first time has the country atwitter, as Mursak told MLive’s Ansar Khan...
According to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner, the injury-plagued Red Wings’ management staff did in fact kick every tire leading up to the trade deadline, and while Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin and the rest of the front office attempted to bolster a team which currently boasts five players who started the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins going into tonight’s game against Los Angeles, the Wings did their best to to add more to their lineup:
According to a source close to the team, this is how it played out for the Wings on deadline day 2012. There were two primary targets for the Red Wings on Feb. 27: Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad, now with Nashville; and Columbus’ Sami Pahlsson, now with Vancouver.
The entire league was aware that the Wings wanted to add a gritty, big-bodied forward who was an above-average face-off man. Gaustad fit that description, but the day before the deadline, the Sabres informed the Wings that they had already been offered a first-round draft pick for Gaustad. Detroit had traded their first-round pick a week earlier to the Lightning for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Wings asked the Sabres to contact them if things changed but knew the call would never come—Gaustad was gone.
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.