The Malik Report
from Justin Bourne of The Score,
One of hockey’s best coaches is Detroit’s Mike Babcock, who was an early adopter when it came to getting his wingers involved on D. Here’s how he described his philosophy on wingers to me earlier this season.
I want them involved. When you think about it, when I played the neutral zone used to be bigger, and the end zones were smaller so you could just stand next to your guy. Today what you gotta do is find your D-man and cut off the top. And from a low sagged position, otherwise there’s too much room. So they made it way harder, wingers used to be able to sleep, they could pick up their guy coming out of the offensive zone and take the guy back, they didn’t have to do anything. Now, you gotta compress the zone, you gotta make it smaller, you gotta give the offense no time and yet, you gotta find a way to cut off the top, and if you don’t, you gotta find a way to get in the shooting lane, so the job of the winger is way harder than it was.
Media reports from practice are both Pavel Datsyuk and Stephen Weiss are on the ice today.
The Wings will have an off day tomorrow then get back at it on Wednesday for the game on Friday against the Blackhawks at the Joe.
So line combos, defensive pairings may change as we get closer to the Friday game.
I will update this post if anything noteworthy pops up while the Wings are on the ice.
added 12:36pm, via Khan tweets,
Wings working on shootouts in practice. They're 5-12 in shootouts since start of 2013-14 season.
Tony Granato running practice today because Mike Babcock taking personal day.
added 1:22pm, updates after practice...
added 1:35pm, Datsyuk talks about returning...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings have a four-day break before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks Friday, their longest stretch without a game until the All-Star break (Jan. 21-26).
They'll use the time to re-charge. They'll also get in some high-intensity practices.
"We're going to concentrate on getting fresh, for sure," coach Mike Babcock said. "We'll spend a lot of time working on the contact part of the game. When you play every second day you don't get to do as much box-outs and D-zone coverage and the physical part of the game. We'll do that on Monday and Wednesday."
The Red Wings have won just once in their past five games (1-1-3), but they've been in every game this season until the final minute. Almost half of their games have been decided after regulation, not a good thing for a team that is 2-2 in overtime and 0-3 in shootouts.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Datsyuk. Weiss hopeful for weekend return
Pavel Datsyuk and Stephen Weiss, both out with groin injuries, are expected to return this weekend, either Friday or Sunday.
Amongst a few Red Wings-related tailings pertaining to Detroit's 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay and...Some other stuff...
Between you and me, I have recurring dreams about being back in college, suddenly having hair on the top of my head again, and in all honesty, the Red Wings losing shootouts. Between that Lake St. Clair-sized hole over a backing-in Jimmy Howard's blocker, Tomas Tatar's ten-dekes-into-the-goalie attempts and the shooters firing shots wide, wide and also wide, last year's litany of ineptitude and this year's 0-and-3 star have me downright twitchy.
As MLive's Brendan Savage noted, the Wings aren't too worried (yet?) about the fact that their bad shootout habits have returned:
The Red Wings wrapped up a set of 5 games in 8 nights and 7 in 12 with a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, and going into a 4-day break...I didn't think I'd be so pissed off with or upset by a Wings team going 3-1-and-3 over the past seven games, nor with the Wings' 7-3-and-5 record after 15 games played.
I am indeed pissed off with and upset by the team's record, however. I knew that the Wings were going to have some hiccups (as we've seen on line changes and the power play) due to Mike Babcock breaking in three new assistant coaches, video coordinator included; I knew that the Wings' defacto sophomore players (DeKeyser, Smith, Sheahan, Jurco, Tatar, Glendening, Andersson and Nyquist) were going to struggle to find consistent form, and especially that Pavel Datsyuk's shoulder injury for the vast majority of training camp was probably going to beget a groin issue, I understood that "shooting for .500" was probably all I could hope for.
The Grand Rapids Griffins rather mysteriously reassigned Jared Coreau to the Toledo Walleye on Sunday, but they apparently did so for a very good reason. The Wings' ECHL affiliate was playing in the second half of a back-to-back set against the Evansville IceMen, and Coreau didn't play for Grand Rapids in Friday or Saturday's games--and given that the Griffins don't play again until Wednesday--he was more than ready to give Jeff Lerg some relief.
Coreau stopped 24 of 27 regulation-and-OT shots and 10 of 13 shootout shooters as the Walleye defeated Evansville 4-3. Marek Tvrdon also registered an assist and 3 shots (as well as a -1).
The Walleye's website posted a recap...
The Wings wrapped up a set of 5 games in 8 nights and 7 in 12 by rallying from a 3-1 deficit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, only to drop a 4-3 shootout decision, and...While it was swell and all that the Wings rallied, and while going 3-1-and-3 over the course of 7 games isn't terrible...
It feels like the Wings have once again forgotten how to play a north-south game, and bringing a wonky-ankled and wonky-brained Kyle Quincey back into the lineup didn't help a team that really didn't get sustained offense from anyone but the Franzen-Zetterberg-Nyquist line and didn't recieve strong defensive play from anyone not named Kronwall, Ericsson or DeKeyser. Jimmy Howard was tested far too regularly because the Wings stood around and watched (or piled off the bench on a bad line change to watch) the Tampa Bay Lightning deke, dangle, SHOOT THE PUCK and PURSUE REBOUNDS on a SCREENED goaltender, all while the Wings were far too happy to be one-and-done or none-and-done in the offensive zone.
As such, even scoring 2 power play goals and stopping 4 of 5 doofy penalties against didn't really yield anything more than what felt very much like a loser point.
I don't like posting in-game articles, but this news from the Free Press's George Sipple is both noteworth and less than surprising. Sipple reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland is considering Tomas Jurco down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins for confidence's sake (and the fact that the Griffins are winless in six plays into the equation, too):
Neither the Red Wings nor the Lightning skated ahead of today's early-evening match-up (6 PM EST on FSD/Sun/97.1 FM); the Lightning won their 5th straight game via a 7-4 win against Columbus on Saturday, and Wings head into their 5th game played over the last 8 nights tonight.
As I wrote, I was waiting waiting for pre-game comments from Lightning coach Jon Cooper and Wings coach Mike Babcock, and they popped up around 4 PM:
You might also want to know that Brad Meier and Mike Leggo are refereeing tonight's game, with Scott Driscoll and Greg Devorski working the lines.
In article form:
from Paul Harris at NHL.com,
The Detroit Red Wings want to continue to take advantage of tired teams.
Detroit plays the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena after Tampa Bay defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 in Columbus on Saturday.
It will be the Red Wings' sixth game against teams who have played the previous day. Detroit is 4-0-1 in those games.
"We've all been there ourselves; it's always tough to get the legs going in the beginning and we need to get better starts than we've had," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told MLive.com after practice Saturday. "If we can take care of that we'll be just fine."
Neither team skated Sunday morning. Detroit coach Mike Babcock and Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper are scheduled to meet with the media before the game.
Below, Ken Kal with a video preview of the game...
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.