The Malik Report
The NHL sent out its national TV schedules--and as a result, the dates of every first-round playoff series--at 1:55 AM. Here's the Wings-Bolts series sked:
Date TIME (ET) #2 Tampa Bay vs. #3 Detroit Networks
Thursday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Thursday, April 23 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
Among the Red Wings prospects taking part in playoff action:
In Russia's KHL, the Alexander Kadeikin-less SKA St. Petersburg continue to surprise, and on Saturday, SKA defeated the Ak Bars Kazan 4-2 in the first game of the Gargarin Cup Final;
In the SHL, the "Finalen" starts today, when Axel Holmstrom and Skelleftea AIK battle the Vaxjo Lakers;
And back over on this side of the pond, in the WHL, Joe Hicketts registered 2 assists but his Victoria Royals lost a 4-3 OT decision to Mitchell Wheaton's Kelowna Rockets. Wheaton was held off the scoresheet but Kelowna's taken a 2-0 lead in the teams' second-round series;
While Dominic Turgeon finished at -2, but his Portland Winterhawks won a 4-3 double overtime decision over Everett to tie their second-round series at 1 game apiece.
In regular season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins withstood some hard hits and defeated the San Antonio Rampage 2-1 in OT, splitting their road series in Texas. The Griffins' website posited a recap...
The Red Wings will be opening their 2015 playoff run against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday (Sportsnet was first out of the chute with a series preview), hoping to break the hex of Ben Bishop and take out Yzerman's Bolts to make a greater-than-the-first-round dent in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Saturday night, the Wings flew home to rest and recuperate before beginning their preparations for the Lightning in earnest, and in a way, they left behind the kind of chatter that Wings fans hope to never hear.
Fox Sports Carolinas' Lauren Brownlow spoke with Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters--after all, the Wings defeated Carolina 2-0 to close out the regular season on Saturday night--about the "almosts" of at least ending the 2014-15 season against "playoff teams":
Peters' team closed the season competing against some of the league's upper-echelon teams, and they were part of some high-caliber games. It was almost like the playoffs -- except, not quite.
"That was the fun thing for me coming down the stretch playing these good teams...That's as close as some of these guys have gotten (to the playoffs). There's another level. It goes up again. So it's unfortunate that some guys haven't witnessed that and experienced it and lived it and until you do, you don't know," Peters said.
Hello Florida, we're here to crush your playoff hopes.
Win and you go into the playoffs feeling good about yourself. Win--or at least get a point--and you avoid the Rangers. At least get a point and you don't have to say that the Ottawa Senators' late-season run eclipsed you.
There were more than enough reasons for the Red Wings to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, even though they were resting Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and essentially trying to send a message to Brendan Smith (regardless of whether he received it).
Message received to the youngsters who were given exactly one game to strut their stuff. Landon Ferraro had a fantastic game in scoring his first NHL marker among a strong effort, the Wings' "kids" did their best to iron out the ugly parts of what was quite honestly a mucky-grindy-gucky game, and Petr Mrazek was nothing less than spectacular in pitching a 35-save shutout to backstop Detroit to a 2-0 win over the Canes.
Updated at 4:38 PM: The Red Wings face the Carolina Hurricanes this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Carolinas/City TV/97.1 FM) with Petr Mrazek in the net and Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith "resting."
Regarding the former point, Wings coach Mike Babcock explained his rationale to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
“When you’re a big time goalie you don’t talk about bounce back games, the bad goals, you talk about how many saves the guy makes,” Babcock said. “It’s all part of the business. It’s a hard position, you have to have the mental toughness to keep playing and believing in yourself. You have to find your game and keep the dips short. We all go through cycles but you have to keep them (dips) short as you can.”
Not getting the start surprised Howard.
“Obviously you want to play every game, but it’s his decision,” Howard said. “It was a good day of work (in practice), work with (goaltending coach) Jimmy (Bedard) and it’s all that matters.”
Howard found out about Babcock’s decision to start Mrazek Friday evening.
“A little bit,” said Howard, when asked whether he was surprised. “But like I said, it’s his decision.”
And the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Updated 3x at 12:10 PM: No Kronwall, Smith, Datsyuk or Zetterberg tonight; Mrazek starts: The Detroit Red Wings face the Carolina Hurricanes this evening with "something to play for" in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Carolinas/City TV/97.1 FM), but the Free Press's Helene St. James reported that the Wings would probably substitute a now-healthy Tomas Jurco for Pavel Datsyuk, and somebody is going to sit so that Alexey Marchenko can get a game in this evening, so the Wings won't be icing a full lineup tonight.
The Hurricanes preceded the Wings onto the ice at PNC Arena, and the News & Observer's Chip Alexander reported the starting netminder's status...
Ward in north crease, should start Canes' finale against Wings.
While CarolinaHurricanes.com's Michael Smith posted the Canes' lines:
#Canes forward lines:
E. Staal-J. Staal-Semin
Same defensive pairs for the #Canes, too.
Jordan extra, Riss skating
As the morning skate continues, here's what the Wings' beat writers had to say yesterday and this morning, on a source-by-source basis:
Two Red Wings prospects took part in playoff action on Friday, and two of the Wings' developmental affiliates played games on Friday night, so:
In playoff action, in the WHL, Mitchell Wheaton had an assist as the Kelowna Rockets kept Victoria's Joe Hicketts off the scoresheet and Kelowna defeated Victoria 5-0 in the first game of the teams' second-round series;
And Dominic Turgeon scored a goal but his Portland Winterhawks lost 5-3 to the Everett Silvertips in the first game of those teams' second-round series.
In regular-season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins opened their road series in San Antonio with a 2-0 loss. The Grand Rapids Griffins' website posted a recap and a Flickr photo gallery...
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled defenseman Alexey Marchenko from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Marchenko, 23, has split his second season in North America between the Red Wings and Griffins, skating in 12 NHL games for Detroit and 51 AHL games for Grand Rapids. During his time with the Red Wings, he has logged two points (1-1-2), including his first NHL goal on Feb. 28 at Nashville, while averaging 14:55 of ice time. The Moscow, Russia, native has also topped his AHL point totals from his first season in Grand Rapids in 2013-14, registering 20 points (3-17-20) and tying for third on the team and 10th in the league with a plus-22 rating. In 100 AHL games over the past two seasons, Marchenko has picked up 38 points (6-32-38), a plus-33 rating and 40 penalty minutes.
from Jordan Heath-Rawlings of Sportsnet,
On April 1, 1990, the NHL’s regular season ended without the Detroit Red Wings having qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It hasn’t done that again since.
For a little context, the last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs...
...67,678 fans watched the Ultimate Warrior beat Hulk Hogan to win the World Championship belt in WrestleMania VI, held at Toronto's SkyDome.
...Ken Griffey Jr. was about to start his second season in the major leagues. Sandy Alomar Jr. was about to begin his AL-rookie-of-the-year campaign. They retired five and eight years ago, respectively.
...Jack Nicklaus appeared on the PGA's Senior Tour for the very first time. And he won the tournament.
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.