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The Malik Report

Don’t be that jerk fan

This story is making the rounds, and I don't want to report it but I'm going to...But I'm going to phrase this simply: "Red Wings nation" is a big family, and we are generally an incredibly inclusive group, despite our cliques. Generally speaking, if you love the Wings, you're welcome here.

If you're an asshat like this lady, however, as reported by the Tampa Tribune, you're not welcome in our family:

A Detroit Red Wings fan set fire to a huge Tampa Bay Lightning flag as it was passed over the sold-out crowd at Wednesday night’s decisive NHL playoff game at Amalie Arena.

Lena Sinishtaj, 35, off Sterling Heights, Michigan, was booked on a charge of first-degree arson of an occupied structure. She was being held without bond.

About 200 people in Section 130 were under the 20-by-30-foot flag during a pregame show when Sinishtaj held a lit lighter to it, authorities said. The fire caused a small burn to the flag, authorities said.

Tampa police were notified by arena security and arrested Sinishtaj at 7:45 p.m., just after the game began.

No injuries were reported.

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A dissenting opinion: Maybe the Wings’ best avenues for improvement involve the I-96 shuttle

I generally try to not discuss the Red Wings players' futures until after locker room clean-out day, and given that Bob McKenzie's article seems to indicate that Babcock will resolve questions about his future tomorrow, it appears that we'll know whether the coach returns sooner than later...

But as I look at the decisions the Wings have to make regarding restricted free agents-to-be Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Jurco and Landon Ferraro, I look at the all-but-certain-to-be-gone unrestricteds in Daniel Cleary, Marek Zidlicky, Erik Cole and Jonas Gustavsson, and I recall that the Wings will probably be working with a "flat cap"...

To me, the best answers to the Wings' "questions" go like this:

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Kerry Fraser suggests that Kyle Quincey was committing interference on Bolts’ 1-0 goal

Kerry Fraser's drawn the ire of many Wings fans for his breakdowns of Red Wings-related plays of late, and those of you who believe that Alex Killorn interfered with Kyle Quincey en route to the Lightning's 1-0 goal last night aren't going to be thrilled with Fraser's take on that play, in his latest "C'Mon Ref" column:

As the two players came to the the end boards, Quincey lost the battle for the puck and Killorn found his stick pinned in front of Quincey's body against the end boards. Killorn pulled back on Quincey with his right hand, more in an effort to create puck separation and to extract his stick than to haul the Red Wings player down as you suggested, Jason.

The next part of the play is key, in my mind, to eliminate the potential question of interference by Killorn. Having lost the battle for the puck, Quincey 'chicken-Winged' Killorn's stick with a right-arm clamp and proceeded to roll to the ice, either through a loss of balance or quite possibly to contain or eliminate the Tampa player hoping that support would soon arrive. Killorn's body position and visual focus remained on the puck but fell on top of Quincey as a result of the Detroit defenceman's stick-lock and body contact the Tampa player received on his back from Luke Glendening.

Killorn got up to one knee in an effort to rejoin the play but decided to keep his head down behind the net as he saw a shot from Braydon Coburn was imminent. Quincey, on the other hand, demonstrated no urgency or effort to remain on his feet and rejoin the play. Even after the puck entered the net, Killorn can be seen yanking hard to extract his stick from the body and grasp of Quincey.

I think that Fraser likes taunting Wings fans, but that's just my theory...

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It doesn’t look like many Red Wings will attend the World Championships

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose posited this last night...

Wings general manager Ken Holland said that Marchenko is the only player who will return to Grand Rapids to play with the Griffins in the American Hockey League playoffs. The Griffins trail the Toronto Marlies 2-1 in their best-of-five first-round series. Game 4 is Saturday at Van Andel Arena. Mrazek and Tomas Jurco are eligible to go down, however, Mrazek will shut it down for the summer while Jurco is likely head to the World Championships in the Czech Republic. … Ferraro will not return to GR. He would have to clear waivers and the Red Wings are not willing to expose him.

And today:

1. Hockeysverige's Mans Karlsson reports that Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall won't play for Sweden at the Worlds in Prague, and Jonathan Ericsson won't play because he's injured. There's no news about Gustav Nyquist yet, and Expressen is reporting that everybody of consequence but Nyquist is dealing with some sort of injury;

2. Sovsport's Dmitry Ponomarenko reports that Pavel Datsyuk's got sore ribs, and will decide whether to play for Russia on Friday;

3. Hockejportal's reporting that Tomas Tatar wants to play for Slovakia if he's cleared medically, and Jurco is indeed planning on joining the Slovaks' cause;

4. I can't find any news about Jakub Kindl joining the Czechs, but he's not coach Vladimir Ruzicka's favorite player, and Marek Zidlicky's obviously concussed;

5. We'll find out about Danny DeKeyser and Jimmy Howard's statuses tomorrow, but Justin Abdelkader has a broken hand, so he's not going to be playing for Team USA.

Update: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

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McKenzie on Babcock

Well I don't know what to make of this, because I assumed that Mike Babcock and the Wings were already going to talk to Ken Holland on Friday as part of the team's locker room clean-out day...Anyway, from TSN:

According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is expected to meet with general manager Ken Holland on Friday.

Saying there is no timeline on his future, Babcock will talk with his family today but understands the amount of attention surrounding his current contract status.

Should the Red Wings' AHL affiliate extend their playoff series with the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, he plans on attending Game 5 on Sunday in Grand Rapids.

Babcock's contract expires on June 30 at which point he could sign with any NHL team.

I'm not going to post all the redundant Babcock crap out there--to use his term--but this is worth posting because it's the only time I've seen someone speak to Babcock and get a response in a loooong time.

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Thumbs Down To Mike Babcock

from Dave Hodge of TSN,

Thumbs down to Mike Babcock for his "Detroit wasn't good enough and isn't getting any younger" comments that followed the Red Wings' elimination at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Quite simply, they were out of place, and could easily be called self-serving.

Was it Babcock's way of explaining his imminent departure from Detroit? It's hard to imagine any other reason he would pass judgment on the Wings' future immediately after a tough loss. Never mind that he analyzed the situation correctly, it is for others to do that, just as Babcock preferred while the matter of his own future lingered all season. Indeed, he will leave the Detroit assessment to the media if he goes elsewhere, because he'll be too busy explaining how excited he is to join his new team. If he winds up signing another contract to coach the Red Wings, won't he have to disown the pessimism that he served up for Detroit fans and players last night? Or was it all a big smokescreen?

Maybe he intended that I and everyone else who is trying to guess what he might do would jump to the conclusion that he won't be back in Detroit. I'm all for a coach giving more than a pat on the back to his team and congratulations to the winning team after a season-ending defeat, but that's what was called for last night and I'm not sure why Babcock chose to do otherwise the way he did.

continue for the best performers of the first round...

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Babcock questions Wings’ future in end-of-series comments

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that he'd discuss "all that crap" regarding his future on Friday (presumably; the Wings won't even get back into Metro Detroit until 2 AM), when the Wings hold their exit team meeting and conduct locker room clean-out day, but he did address parts of his team's future after the game, and as ESPN's Katie Strang noted, Babcock raised some questions about the Wings' future:

He compared the Wings with the Lightning to hammer home his point: “We are what we are. They have a young team that, they were bad here for long enough that they were able to rebuild and get good young players, and young players at key positions. Three of our best players are 34 [Niklas Kronwall], 35 [Henrik Zetterberg] and 37 [Pavel Datsyuk]. So any way you look at it, we’re a team that’s changed a ton of players, we’re a team that’s added a lot of youth to our lineup, and right now on the outside they don’t pick us as a Stanley Cup contender.”

And Babcock seems at least somewhat concerned about the composition of the team down the road.

“We have lots of good, young players, no question about it. And we’ve got some good ones coming. But who’s going to replace [Datsyuk]?” he asked. “I don’t think [Datsyuk] is going anywhere right away, but that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to have big time players up the middle and on the back to be successful. So those are questions that our organization works towards, we’ve been drafting good, we’ve been developing good, but we’ve been winning too much. That’s the facts.”

Strang continues, and as soon as the Wings post the clip of Babcock's remarks, I'll post them so that you can draw your own conclusions. I think that the coach has some legitimate questions, but he could have also been duly noting that Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser remained not quite ready to lead the team for the second playoff run in a row...

And as you and I both know, Babcock tends to be sending his messages to his GM as opposed to the media when he makes these kinds of comments.

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An apology and some discussion of ‘changes coming’

Some of us are better at playing through injuries than others. I work for the Nicklas Lidstrom of injury-play-through-age but have been dealing with some recurring panic attacks and sinus crap on top of it, so I'm sorry that my coverage of the Wings-Bolts series dropped off so significantly from Games 3-7.

Hockey is going to continue and TMR's news cycle is going to continue. It sounds like the Wings will have their locker room clean-out day on Friday, and after that, a good chunk of the Wings are going to go to the World Championships (joining Team USA's Dylan Larkin) and/or will head to Grand Rapids after the Griffins defeated the Toronto Marlies this evening:

The Wings will make some big changes during the offseason--that always happens--and of ESPN's Craig Custance's Insider-only entry describing 3 off-season keys for the Wings (he believes that the Wings should bring back Mike Babcock, which you may or may not agree with, and he believes that the Wings should probably keep Jimmy Howard around, which I believe will happen, for at least another year), I certainly believe that #2 is the biggest key:

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Regarding Mike Babcock’s potential ‘free agency’

I don't believe that Babcock's leaving, but I'm a lone voice here. He's a good man and a good coach.

So is Jeff Blashill, and losing one, never mind both, would be devastating.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 7 quick take: not quite enough

There are no platitudes, no couching of the game in any sort of manner that sounds sincere. Game 7. Win or go home. No Kronwall, no Zidlicky (never an excuse, but an explanation if things go poorly). Odds look long. Fans feel nauseous. That's how it goes.

The Red Wings did their damnedest to take it to Tampa Bay, but they were unable to overcome the Lightning, who defeated a depleted-by-injury-and-depleted-by-suspension Wings team 2-0.

It may not feel right or fair, but Detroit's not going to play hockey again until early September. The Wings will disperse to the World Championships and the four winds.

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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.



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