The Malik Report
Updated 5x at 3:37 PM: I'm going to start off this mid-day post with Tweets instead of articles:
So we're talking about Mike Babcock's contract this morning, and it's the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa doing the talking, suggesting that Babcock headed the Toronto media off at the pass last Thursday, by basically laying out the terms of continuing his employment in Detroit:
After saying he and Holland agreed "not to do this" during the season, he did it — he discussed his contract. But the very next thing he said was, "Our team's going good. Our team's playing good. I like the way they're playing. ...
"I'm happy here. I like the general manager. They treat me good. I don't know what else I can tell you."
Those were his words. His intention? To make clear that if the team keeps playing well and if they can get a couple of other key pieces while guys like Tomas Jurco and Anthony Mantha mature, why would he go anywhere?
He is satisfied and enjoying the gig, he said. The implication, heavy in the air, is that when he is not, he might be gone. Then he explained succinctly what satisfies him.
After Christmas, the Wings' prospects will be very busy at the World Junior Championships, at NCAA post-Christmas tournaments and the like, but the SHL's already begun its Christmas break, most NCAA Division I teams have finally let their hockey players go home for the semester break, and...Okay, in post-Soviet KHL, team has no break, even for Russian Christmas.
But Tuesday was quite slow, so this is a spare entry, minus an edit, anyway:
If there is any good news regarding the Red Wings' 1-0 shootout loss to Columbus, it is this:
The Wings' 1 point earned allows them to remain 1 point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic (with Toronto having won its 7th straight, a 6-2 win over Anaheim) and remain tied with Montreal (lost 4-1 to Carolina) and stay only a point behind Tampa Bay (beat Philly 4-1), even though the Wings' win-loss-and-ROW-record is comparatively shitty.
The Wings have lost 4 straight games, going 0-1-and-3 of late, but the team's treading water, even if it's slowly being dragged away from shore by the tide.
The Wings are also 1-and-6 in shootouts, Ken Daniels said that Henrik Zetterberg's gone 20 games without a goal, and he's not the only Wings player trying to pass the puck into the opposition net, but Niklas Kronwall had 5 shots, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm had 4 shots, and...
The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 1-0 shootout decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but if ever there was a game that I'd describe as "not the goalie's fault--when a goalie surrendered 2 shootout goals on 3 shots against--it's tonight.
The Red Wings did their damnedest to make a difficult game even harder while fighting an inabilty to score at any period of time, and on a night when Sergei Bobrovsky was superb, the Blue Jackets were their trappy best and the refereeing was dreadful in terms of the amount of hooking, holding, clutching, grabbing, mashing and smashing on any and all sides of the puck, the WIngs tried to out-pass, out-drop-pass, out-deke-at-the-line and out-outside-shot a Blue Jackets team that did its best to defend a Howard who was marginally better-protected than the under-siege Petr Mrazek who faced 40 shots on Saturday.
This was an ugly game from a team that's on a four-game winless streak (0-1-and-3), and while the shootout was the bugaboo that decided the game's result, the effort from minutes 1-65 is what doomed the Wings to their fate.
Of late-afternoon Red Wings-related note ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and pursuant to the morning skate news cycle:
Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day preview, which features Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson, as well as a certain Mike Babcock's take on tonight's opponent:
The Red Wings will welcome Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser back into their lineup this evening, and Tomas Tatar's going to play after battling some sort of illness this past weekend, Johan Franzen's out with a non-mump illness.
Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner noted the state of the latter players, as well as the fact that Xavier Ouellet's playing ahead of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff...
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
“Abby is a different threat,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “He can be a strong guy, power forward, hit and get pucks and get them to Pavel. That’s what you’ve seen in the past. He’s actually meshed with the top scorers like Pavel and Z very well because of his role. You need guys to complement each other. Look at video games, who complements each other, you need to have a power forward with a goal-scorer, a playmaker with a goal-scorer. That’s what Abby does with those goes.”
Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice, DeKeyser’s smooth passing touch gives Detroit a seamless transition on break outs of their own zone.
“DK moves the puck very well on the back end,” Smith said. “Coach talks about that seven-second rule, where you want to get out of your own end in seven seconds. If you don’t you end up playing the shift in your end. He’s very good. That’s maybe his best aspect. His first pass is one of the best. For him to do that, it’s good to have him back."
more on the Wings and Blue Jackets...
Updated 5x at 1:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a stiff task in ending their 0-1-and-2 streak against a Columbus Blue Jackets team that's a) won 6 straight games and b) has a 7-2-and-1 record against Detroit of late when the teams tangle this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and the Wings' morning skate brought news from the beat writers that:
1. Xavier Ouellet would remain in the Wings' lineup at Jakub Kindl's expense;
2. Stephen Weiss would be placed on short-term IR (until Saturday) to make room for Ouellet;
3. Daniel Cleary would draw back into the lineup to replace Johan Franzen, who is ill;
4. Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser would return from their respective injuries.
In article form: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a 6 AM-posted article in which the Wings discussed playing the Blue Jackets...
Updated 5x at 11:21 AM: via Ansar Khan tweet,
Tatar skating today. Franzen is not skating. Weiss was on the ice earlier but left as practice started.
More from the morning skate as it becomes available.
So the Detroit Red Wings face the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM) hoping to snap a 3-game winless streak (0-1-and-2) against a team that's not only won 6 straight games, but is also 7-2-and-1 over its last ten games against the Wings.
Khan's Tweets continued...
The Red Wings practiced minus a pair of players who are hopefully "just sick" in Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar on Monday, and are hoping to welcome Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader (shoulder) back into the lineup when the Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM)...
But a look at the Eastern Conference standings, never mind the record of the Wings' four pre-Christmas, home-ice opponents, will offer you little comfort if you believe that playing Columbus, the Islanders (on Friday), Avs (on Sunday) and Sabres (next Tuesday) = easy pickings for a Wings team with an 0-1-and-2 record of late (Saturday's 4-1 loss to Toronto included).
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.