The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 5:52 with video and stuff: After today’s crop of practice updates popped up, Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji’s posted a mid-afternoon column which includes a Chris Osgood update (coach Mike Babcock says he’s too rusty to back up Jimmy Howard) and a dissection/analysis of the Wings’ possible goaltending opponents, but as the Wings have both a 10 AM practice on Wednesday and may end up having to hustle home to pack up for a cross-continental trip…
Wakiji’s main focus involves the fact that most of the Wings’ players don’t plan on watching tonight’s Canucks-Hawks game, which will determine whether the Wings end up playing the Sharks (if the Canucks win) or Predators (if the Canucks lose). The Wings ended up sounding like they were ten years old, with the exception of coach Babcock:
“I stayed up late and watched the games (Monday) night,” Babcock said. “The one thing about it, like I said (Monday) is after you watch them, you can’t sleep anyways.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to,” Niklas Kronwall said. “It’ll be tough not to, I think. It’s a big game, especially with the comeback that Chicago’s had so far. It’ll be definitely interesting.”
“We’ll see if I can stay up,” [Nicklas] Lidstrom said. “I’ll start watching it anyways. I’m afraid they (his four sons) will, even though they have school tomorrow. They might sneak up and watch it.”
Updated 4x at 3:10 PM with more video and pictures: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen’s ankle sprain is apparently a little more severe than the Wings had hoped, but MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Franzen did skate again today…But it’s entirely possible that, should the Wings’ second-round series start on Thursday, Franzen will be touch-and-go:
“He’ll play if he’s ready and if he’s not ready he won’t play. It’s just that simple,’’ [Wings coach Mike] Babcock said. “But it’s my anticipation that he’ll be ready. Now, I’ve been wrong before, but the Mule’s going to play.’‘
Franzen, who hurt the ankle in Game 2 vs. Phoenix, when he sustained facial injuries on the hit by Shane Doan, said he’s feeling “better and better.’‘
“It’s not hurting, that’s for sure,’’ Franzen said. “Skated a little bit yesterday, a little today. Hopefully go a little harder tomorrow.’‘
The Detroit Red Wings now have two possibilities in terms of playoff opponents, and the possibilities probably have the team double-booking hotels in San Jose while making arrangements to help Nashville come to town on Thursday or Friday (it’s a toss-up at this point), depending on who wins tonight’s Canucks-Blackhawks tilt. If the Canucks win, the Wings will play San Jose, and if they lose, the Wings will play Nashville, and while it’s as much a matter of picking one’s poison as anything else at this point, RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau took a look at the Wings’ opponents in terms of both strengths and weaknesses which the Wings may exploit on her Left Wing Lock blog:
Thanks to the San Jose Sharks’ win over Los Angeles on Monday, the Detroit Red Wings will find out their playoff opponent at the conclusion of the Canucks-Blackhawks game on Tuesday night, with the Wings either traveling to San Jose to face the Sharks (if Vancouver wins) or hosting the Predators (if the Blackhawks advance), with an even chance of Game 1 starting on Thursday or Friday.
Which team would you prefer the Wings facing off against?
As the practice update and Nicklas Lidstrom as Norris Trophy Finalist posts fell off the front page, here’s a new post combining the two topics, with the main focuses involving Lidstrom and the fact that the Wings are both enjoying their rest and feel quite happy watching potential playoff opponents wear each other down.
Regarding Lidstrom’s Norris candidacy, the Red Wings’ captain told the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell that he’s proud of his eleventh nomination and attempt to win his seventh Norris Trophy, just as he’s pleased to be nominated for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly forward, but his goal for this season didn’t involve earning individual awards via a 62-point performance:
“I never set out the goal of being nominated or trying to win the Norris,” Lidstrom said. “I’ve always looked at it as being a bonus. Last season, I could’ve played better and could’ve contributed more offensively.”
The only thing Lidstrom was unhappy about was finishing as a minus player (minus-two) for the first time in his career.
“It’s something I wasn’t very happy about,” Lidstrom said.
Updated 3x at 2:43 PM with Lidstrom’s teammates talking about the captain’s prowess: As Paul already posted, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom was nominated for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman, but the probability of Lidstrom capturing his seventh Norris is about 50-50 at this point, and it may come down to adding up second and third-place votes instead of winning on first-place votes outright. An informal survey of the professional hockey writers’ association over the past few weeks seems to indicate that over half of the voters will go with the other finalists, Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber, and the other third to 40% are going with Lidstrom.
ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun have given Lidstrom a now-rare double endorsement...
Updated 5x at 2:35 PM: Franzen did skate, just not with the team: Per the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James, the Red Wings returned to practice this morning at Joe Louis Arena, but they did so without Johan Franzen:
Some familiar sights this morning at Joe Louis Arena: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom back skating together, and a grill fired up for one of Al Sobotka’s barbecues. The Wings went back to work today after taking two days off, the reward for having swept their series against Phoenix. The only guy not on the ice is Johan Franzen, who has been dealing with a sore ankle since midway through the Coyotes series (he played Game 3, missed Game 4).
Zetterberg missed all of the first round because of a sprained left knee, but he’s looked good in practice. He was back with Datsyuk and Holmstrom today, reuniting one of the Wings’ most successful lines.
Red Wings overnight report: Who where and when, the anti-Krupa and Filppula’s job-saving performance
The pertinent questions for the Detroit Red Wings regarding their next playoff series involve three “W’s”: who, where, and when. The last point is most easily clarified with a probable answer of “Wednesday or Thursday,” because several first-round series will end on Tuesday, and it would seem to make the most sense to set the Wings up for a Saturday afternoon game on NBC, thus yielding a Thursday start. The “who” and “where” remain unanswered, however, save the Kings or Canucks, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan:
The earliest Detroit will learn its opponent is late Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning, technically) following Game 7 of the Chicago-Vancouver series. The Blackhawks have won three consecutive games and are trying to become only the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 0-3. San Jose has a 3-2 series lead on Los Angeles and will try to close out the Kings Monday night in Game 6 at the Staples Center. If there’s a Game 7, it will be Wednesday in San Jose.
Here are the possibilities:
As I watch the playoffs for the fourth day sans any Red Wings participation, I find myself strangely proud of the fact that I can’t separate my Wings bias from anything less than subjective playoff viewing. I had wondered, given the fact that the Wings would have at least a week off, whether an admittedly subjective Wings fan would start watching games like a journalist, hoping for a “good story” to prevail or being vindicated by watching the team I pick win the game by the score I predict.
It turns out that I can’t and won’t do that for a millisecond. I’m no journalist: I’m a Wings fan, first foremost and most importantly. Aside from hoping that teams I dislike more than others to be vanquished in the East, thanks to the fact that I keep grudges for a long time, there isn’t a team in the West that I’m rooting for. Instead, I’m cheering for the puck, and time: I want Johan Franzen’s ankle, Henrik Zetterberg’s knee and whatever other injuries the Wings haven’t disclosed to earn as much time as humanly possible to return to manageable levels, and I want whatever prospective opponents the Wings may have in the second round or down the as-earned basis line to get as physically and mentally tired as possible.
You may or may not buy into the concept that the way a player tapes his or her stick reveals secrets about that player’s personality, but the tendencies and care with which players and goaltenders alike prepare their sticks for action is nothing less than remarkable at the amateur as well as pro and NHL levels.
You might not wonder why I like to tape my player and goal sticks’ blades with big “X” shapes or be interested in finding out what complications having double-jointed thumbs make in my equipment-picking decisions, but the Free Press’s Jo-Ann Barnas managed to lift the veil from atop the Red Wings’ stick rack, and to the gear-oriented, anyway, what she reveals about the Wings players’ stick-taping habits and use of stick and shin guard tape in general is nothing less than fascinating:
“If you look down our stick rack, it really is artwork,” said Paul Boyer, the Red Wings’ longtime equipment manager. “Some guys, they throw the tape on and go and play. Other guys, it takes them a good amount of time and effort to make a stick. The stick is an extension of their hands, and it has to feel good when they’re holding it.”
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.