The Malik Report
Updated 9x at 3:40 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face an uphill battle as they attempt to break Chicago's 2-game winning streak and purported momentum heading into Game 7 tonight (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, post-game on FSD). The Wings headed to the United Center around 10:30 AM EDT, but didn't skate until after the Blackhawks took to the ice, and the Hawks held a "light" morning skate:
In an ESPN Insider-only blog entry, Craig Custance suggests that the goaltender who wins Game 7 between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks tonight--Corey Crawford is Canadian, and Jimmy Howard's from upstate New York--will receive a significant boost to their portfolio in terms of attempting to earn a spot on their respective countries' 2014 Olympic teams. As Custance notes, it's all but certain that Wings coach Mike Babcock will reprise his role as Team Canada's coach, so he's seeing Crawford at his best...
Crawford was outstanding in Chicago's first-round series against the Wild, stopping 132 of 139 shots from Minnesota, good for a .950 save percentage. He has been solid against Detroit, registering a .924 save percentage in the conference semifinals.
Crawford's season nearly ended on an ugly note when Joakim Andersson's knuckler somehow got past him in Game 6, but he shook off the goal and kept the Blackhawks in the game the rest of the way.
With so many names in the mix for Canada, Crawford has an opportunity right now to show he can thrive in a pressure-filled Game 7 and keep the Blackhawks' season alive. If he can lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup this spring, it will be a huge statement that he can handle the pressure of huge expectations -- like Chicago has right now, and like Canada will have in 2014.
And Team USA executive Jim Johansson tells Custance that Howard's stock is on the rise:
The Detroit Red Wings will play for "all the marbles" in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, with a post-game show airing on Fox Sports Detroit), and as many of you have told me, those of you without anxiety disorders are actually looking forward to this game.
Amongst this morning's pre-morning-skate news, with an emphasis on the morning skate being somewhat imminent...
‘Red Wings Experience’ to serve as part of Downtown Hoedown, Detroit Grand Prix events/entertainment
From the Red Wings PR department:
DETROIT RED WINGS EXPERIENCE PRESENTED BY COKE ZERO TO PARTICIPATE AT DOWNTOWN HOEDOWN AND GRAND PRIX
… Wings Alumni McCarty and Redmond to Sign Autographs This Weekend …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings Experience presented by Coke Zero will appear at both the 2013 WYCD Downtown Hoedown outside of Comerica Park as well as the 2013 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix this weekend.
The DRW Experience mobile entertainment complex will be set up at the Downtown Hoedown on the corner of Elizabeth and Witherell near the Woodward Main Entrance on Friday, May 31, from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and then 2:00 – 10:00 p.m. on both Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, of this popular country music festival.
Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 7 set-up: players will thoroughly enjoy tonight’s game. Fans? Not so much.
The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the teams' second-round series tonight (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, with a post-game show on Fox Sports Detroit), and as I'm writing this, a slate of moderate-to-severe thunderstorms are lighting up the night and drenching Metro Detroit with rain.
They're rolling over Southeastern Michigan having originated in Chicago, and if we are to believe the betting odds, the experts and those who've deemed Michal Frolik's "historical" penalty shot call to be a brave and ballsy one, the mighty Blackhawks have regained their 2010 Stanley Cup Championship form, and on ice torn up by Tuesday's Rolling Stones and subject to an 83-to-85-degree day's worth of sticky, rainy weather outside the Madhouse on Madison, the Blackhawks will beat the odds and roll over the Wings like the storms are socking Southeastern Michigan, with the White Sox and Cubs in attendance, no less.
Hell, the Hawks' press had some giggles with Rolling Stones-themed questions and a hearty chuckle about the fact that the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News went with the same headline after Game 6--"Uh oh!"
USA Today's Kevin Allen, Sam Amick and Erik Brady gave the Red Wings a huge compliment by suggesting that their sustination of a superb level of play has a parallel in that of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, and while I'm not a basketball person, the compliment is quite sincere (and reminiscent of the Wings-New England Patriots comparison):
The Detroit Red Wings and the San Antonio Spurs play different sports in different leagues on different surfaces in different states, but make no mistake: They're the same team.
Or, more to the point, they're the same organization — gold standards of their respective leagues for a generation. The Red Wings are in the playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season, the Spurs for a 16th. Each has won four league championships over that span. And each is in contention for a fifth this postseason.
From the NHL (and pardon me for saying this, but the Red Wings blogger is posting this in his *#$%@& Red Wings blog):
2013 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE SCENARIOS
NEW YORK (May 28, 2013) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule scenarios, including the dates, starting times and broadcast information, for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals.
The 2013 Eastern Conference Final schedule is set. The series begins on Sat., June 1, in Pittsburgh when the Penguins host the Boston Bruins at 8 p.m. ET.
The Western Conference Final will match the Los Angeles Kings against the winner of the Western Conference Semifinal between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, which is tied 3-3. Game 7 in that series is Wednesday night in Chicago at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network, CBC and RDS.
From the NHL's PR department:
BLACKHAWKS, RED WINGS MEET IN GAME 7 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1965
NEW YORK (May 28, 2013) -- For the first time in nearly half a century and just the third time in their 87-year rivalry, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will contest a Game 7 when the clubsdecide their Western Conference Semifinal Wednesday night in Chicago (8 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
The clubs last met in a Game 7 on April 15, 1965, when the Blackhawks posted a 4-2 win at Olympia Stadium in Detroit to capture their semifinal series. The Red Wings had eliminated the Blackhawks in Game 7 of the semifinals the previous year in Chicago, also by a 4-2 score.
The rosters for these two games featured a dozen future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame -- seven for Detroit (Alex Delvecchio, Bill Gadsby, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Marcel Pronovost, Terry Sawchuk and Norm Ullman) and five for Chicago (Phil Esposito, Glenn Hall, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote).
Stats? You want stats? You've got 'em:
At this point, it appears that neither the Red Wings nor the Blackhawks will practice today--the Wings and Hawks will be playing their third game over the course of five nights on Wednesday evening (8 PM EDT; NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, post-game on Fox Sports Detroit, and between the fact that there ain't much more that coaches can pound into their players' brains, there's simply not much point in practicing--and the Wings are planning on flying out to Chicago at 3 PM.
Moreover, at this point, we're probably not going to hear anything from either team that wasn't uttered to the press after last night's game, so there's a "casual Tuesday" feel to today's news cycle, though I'm sure that Game 7 hype will build this evening and will roar to life with afterburners lit on Wednesday.
And, for the record, the Hawks couldn't practice today if they'd wanted to do so:
Yesterday, Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers was fined for tossing pucks at Jimmy Howard and several Red Wings players during warm-ups prior to Game 5. Today, TSN's Darren Dreger reports that the team was fined as well:
I understand the Mayers fine--in addition to being a serious-ass breach of ettiquette, players and goalies can get knocked over if they're hit in the backs of their skates or shins, which is just plain dangerous--but the team fine seems just gratuitous at this point.
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.