The Malik Report
Paul for George who will return later tonight…
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Roman Josi thought he had time, thought he could protect the puck, thought there was nothing to worry about. But just as he was preparing to make an outlet pass from behind his net, the best thief in the NHL stole the puck, stepped out front and beat an unsuspecting Pekka Rinne.
“I knew he was coming,” Josi, the Nashville Predators defenceman, said after a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarter-finals on Sunday, “but it happened so fast. He just lifted my skate and was gone.”
If he had wanted to, Pavel Datsyuk probably could have taken the rookie’s watch as well. That is how skillful the Detroit Red Wings forward has become at stealing pucks. He has averaged 106 takeaways a season over the last six years, leading the league three times.
Updated 4x at 6:41 PM: The story regarding Todd Bertuzzi possibly telling the Nashville Predators to get their own damn ping pong table was mostly debunked this morning via Twitter, so the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James tried to get to the bottom of the story:
“I came out of our room, saw some of their guys wanting to play on our Ping Pong tables and told security,” Bertuzzi told the Free Press. “I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t move the table myself.”
Rumors that Bertuzzi had personally packed up the table and wheeled it away swirled around the morning skates today. The Wings host the Predators at 7:30 (NBCSN, FSD) in Game 4 looking to even the first-round series. No one among the Wings had heard of Ping Pong Gate, but greeted it with delight.
“You know he’s a terrible Ping Pong player,” Danny Cleary said with a grin. “At least he can do something with it. But it’s good. He’s our sheriff around here.”
Updated 10x with…music news…at 6:54 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators will face off tonight for an all-important Game 4 (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/CNBC/CBC/97.1 FM), MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings’ players received a little break in terms of managing their energy levels, despite the fact that ESPN’s Criag Custance reports that ping-pong gate was in fact an exaggeration(!), and that the Wings’ security crew were the people who shooed Predators players away from Detroit’s ping pong table—at Todd Bertuzzi’s insistence—(oh well, it’s the “spirit of the thing” that matters, despite the Wings’ playoff blog’s assertion that the story was…embellished [FTR, I don’t believe them]):
Wings have optional morning skate today. About a dozen players on the ice.
RedWings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime reports that the Wings’ coach is more concerned about his players taking care of business when the puck drops tonight instead of trying to hammer points home by beating wwhat are now dead horses:
Babcock starts his presser by saying ... “This is the third time (I’ve spoken to the press) since last game.” Let’s play hockey!
Updated 2x at 2:45 PM: Forget the Shanahan stuff…Here’s what Henrik Zetterberg had to say to the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff about the non-suspension on Shea Weber:
Not known for his outspoken comments, in his own quiet way, Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg called out NHL disciplinarian and former teammate Brendan Shanahan for the rash of on-ice incidents that have so far plagued the Stanley Cup playoffs. Zetterberg felt that had Shanahan thrown the book at Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber for slamming Zetterberg’s head into the glass during Game 1 of the series between the two teams, then perhaps the ensuing mayhem in other series might never have happened.
“It could be true,” Zetterberg said. “I think the league had a pretty good opportunity in Game 1 to set the bar, and I guess they did. There’s been a few incidents after that.”
Update #2: WXYZ’s Brad Galli caught Zetterberg’s comments on video, too:
As the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators prepare to face off tonight in Game 4 (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/CBC/CNBC/97.1 FM), which may very well determine whether the purported seven-game slugfest between Detroit and Nashville will in fact go the distance, or will, instead, be a short and disappointing series for Red Wings fans…
Aside from some potential line changes and maybe adding Hal Gill “lower-body injury” to the mix, the Predators rather obviously don’t plan on changing much of anything in terms of their game plan, including Barry Trotz continuing to issue complains to the referees and media about those dastardly Red Wings supposedly interfering with dear Pekka Rinne with the same determination the Predators displayed while laying siege upon Detroit’s ping pong territory.
Given the blather and silliness of last week’s #Webering craze, well…This is plain old weird, but the Production Line’s Michael Petrella took note of an exchange Todd Bertuzzi (ironically enough) had with the Nashville Predators’ players after Tuesday’s practice, as confirmed by MLive’s Ansar Khan and the NHL Network’s Dave Strader:
From Red Wings TV producer @Will_Posthumus:Today, Predators players were using the ping pong tables in the hallway outside of the locker rooms. Todd Bertuzzi saw this and then… — Will Posthumus (@Will_Posthumus) April 17, 2012
…told them if they wanted to play they needed their own table, then folded up the table, and rolled it into the Wings locker room. #boom — Will Posthumus (@Will_Posthumus) April 17, 2012
Updated, of course, at 10:51 PM: Paul might wonder if I’m trying to take out a monopoly on the front page given today’s Red Wings-related activity, given the Shanban post, the Black Aces press release, the epic practice post (I actually put about eight hours of work into that one), news about the Red Wings’ uptick in revenues, the pre-game playoff festivities post, Brad Stuart’s take on the lack of respect between players and our first “Everybody panic about Nicklas Lidstrom!” story of the spring….
So one tends to tread carefully in the evening, especially given that what rolls in during the evening hours is either a) redundant, b) will likely find use in the game set-up thread or c) both. That being said, I can’t in good conscience allow these stories to “sit” until morning, so, in bullet point form, you should know that…
Updated w/ quotes at 8:31 PM: The Associated Press’s Larry Lage has filed the preliminary version of a story about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom that will be bolstered with quotes from the 41-year-old about, well, the inevitable given the possibility that the Wings will play their last game of the season at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday if they can’t rally from their 2-1 series deficit:
Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom insists he hasn’t thought about whether this is his last season.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner jokes he’s gotten good at waiting until after each season is over to make a decision.
A week away from his 42nd birthday, Lidstrom looks as if he could keep playing for years if he chose to continue his stellar career.
More to come on this one via an update in a few hours, and it should be interesting to read what Lidstrom has to say.
Update: As it turns out, most of the comments come from Lidstrom’s teammates, as well as his opponents:
Updated with a self-assessment from Stuart regarding his play: The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell spoke to several members of the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings about the levels of “cheap shots” and downright disrespectful play witnessed during the playoffs thus far, and Wings defenseman Brad Stuart not only called out Brendan Shanahan and the NHL’s department of player safety for their inconsistencies…
“I did read a comment right from Shanahan that mentioned discipline in the playoffs might be different than it was during the regular season because playoff games are more important to guys,” Stuart said. “They might take a one-game suspension in the playoffs that might be worth three or four during the regular season, which kind of sends mixed signals. If you can go after a superstar and get one game for it, knock him out for three or four games, whose got the advantage there? It does send a mixed message.”
Stuart said the only way the league is going to get a handle on this problem is by consistent enforcement.
“As players, I think consistency is something that would be more effective,” Stuart said.
But Stuart also told Waddell that players don’t like the fact that, as is predictable in these instances, the non-hockey media’s focusing on the rock-em-sock-em aspects of the game…
My practice post continues to be updated on an as-needed basis, but as it’s fallen off the front page, and this shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle, the Red Wings’ website posted a very cool video of their playoff game “opening ceremonies”:
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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.