The Malik Report
It’s not often that a news story from the
Houghton Mining Gazette tells the story of someone who you and I don’t know played a huge role in Red Wings team history, but here’s just that from the Mining Gazette’s Stephen Anderson:
Gordie Howe’s illustrious professional hockey career spanned five decades, but if it wasn’t for Baraga native Carl Mattson, Howe’s career may have lasted just five years. Howe fractured his skull during the 1950 playoffs, and Mattson, the Detroit Red Wings head trainer was the first one on the ice to attend to Howe, playing an influential role in treating Howe’s life-threatening injury, which required emergency surgery.
That’s one of many stories of the unheralded Mattson, who will be posthumously inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame today. He passed away in 1985, and he’ll be one of 11 people inducted during the 41st annual induction banquet at Danforth Place in Escanaba.
“The era in which Carl worked saw very little in the way of staffing compared to today’s NHL, thus increasing both the number of ways Carl affected the team’s performance and their importance,” read a letter from current Red Wings general manager Ken Holland addressed to Ron Tervonen, who wrote the nomination letter for Mattson.
Continue reading, because while the story of a man who passed away in 1985 being honored in 2012 isn’t an everyday occurrence, it’s still worth your time.
Updated 2x with in-retrospect quotes from Pleiness at 6:17 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s Red Wings stories:
• Jakub Kindl may have been bumped from the Czech World Championship team, but as several Czech readers noted on Twitter, the Czech Ice Hockey Association’s website suggests that Kindl was the one who chose to decline the team’s invitation to play in the World Championships, forcing the Czechs to replace him with 20-year-old Jakub Krejcik (while the team waits and hopes for higher-profile defensemen like Marek Zidlicky, Pavel Kubina, Andrej Meszaros, Michal Rozsival, Roman Josi or Roman Hamrlik to be eliminated from the second round of the NHL playoffs; something fishy’s going on, but my grasp of translated Czech isn’t nearly nuanced enough to figure out what’s up);
The gents over at Winging it in Motown reported fantastic news from Josh Howard, the person behind “Operation Eaves,” today: Patrick Eaves has received and had framed the portrait of him which Josh made from well-wishes for #17 as he recovers from a concussion, and Eaves sent his well-wishers a thank-you today:
“I want to thank everyone who sent a get well card or left a message on this website with such encouraging comments. I appreciate everyone keeping me in your thoughts during this tough year for me. Between the cool poster and all the kind words, I was blown away by the best fans in hockey. The cards and comments brought up my spirits and I just want to thank all of you for your support. I look forward to coming back next season.”
Red Wings overnight report: Kindl cut from Czechs’ Worlds team; Mrazek, Franzen gab about tournament
Updated 3x with more English and Swedish at 8:37 AM: The Czech national team’s program is a very, very…Political animal, with players who’ve gained the good graces of the team’s coaches and management currying favor in terms of “earning” spots on World Junior Championship, World Championship and even Olympic rosters, so it is with consternation but not surprise that I report a bizarre scenario to you this morning:
While the Czechs announced that Wings prospect Petr Mrazek would join their roster on Sunday evening, today, the Czech news agency CTK reports that Czech coach Alois Hadamczik and GM Slavomir Lener (who famously suggested that North American junior hockey leagues had all but destroyed the Czechs’ developmental hockey program at the 2010 World Hockey Summit) have chosen to drop Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl from the team, replacing him with Slavia Prague defenseman and 20-year-old Jakub Krejcik.
Red Wings afternoon news: Mrazek, Jarnkrok likely to crack Worlds rosters; a Byng ding and more Mule
Updated w/ “No Wings Swedes playing in Gavle, Sweden on Tuesday” news at 8:06 PM: Make it a dozen Red Wings taking part in the World Championships? The teams participating in the World Championships haven’t quite pared down their rosters to 25 players, but in addition to Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden), Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Justin Abdelkader and Jimmy Howard (USA) and probably Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), the Czech news agency CTK is reporting that Wings prospect Petr Mrazek will play for the Czechs after back-up goalie Tomas Popperle struggled during the Czechs’ World Championship warm-up games (according iDnes.cz)...
Updated with some Team USA chatter, in English, at 8 AM: He won’t be playing for Sweden when the Swedes face off against Team USA on Tuesday, at least according to Aftonbladet’s Mats Wennerholm, but before embarking on a transatlantic flight with Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg gave the equivalent of a sit-down interview to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman. What follows is a “quick and dirty” translation of the interview:
Every once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with starting a blog entry with a context-setting story, but this one ain’t pretty:
On March 3rd, 2000, I woke up in the recovery room at the University of Michigan medical center, having just undergone what was supposed to be a relatively routine septoplasty to repair what I’ll politely describe as “internal Patrick Roy nose.” The only problem was that in addition to feeling like someone had drilled into my sinuses, cheeks and forehead with a Roto-Rooter (which is essentially what happened), I noticed that it was much later in the day than it was supposed to be.
Updated with prospect news at 1:04 PM: Yesterday, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan offered an update regarding Joey MacDonald’s recovery from a slightly herniated disc in his back, and today, MLive’s Ansar Khan also spoke to MacDonald—who will probably back up Jimmy Howard next season—about the state of an injury which more or less forced the Wings to bring Ty Conklin up and, to some extent, overplay Howard down the stretch:
“I had two injections (of cortisone) already, can see a big improvement,’’ MacDonald said. “I can do another (injection) in 10 days. It’s going in the right direction. I’m working out, doing stuff I wasn’t allowed to do for three weeks.’‘
MacDonald, who had back surgery in 2006, is hoping to put on his equipment and get on the ice in the next week or so to test his back.
“I still believe if we would have continued on I would have been skating probably within the next week or two (but not playing),’’ MacDonald said. “I’m going to stick around here for another 3-4 weeks. Before I leave [for Nova Scotia] I want to be 100 percent, ready to rock.’‘
As Khan notes, unlike Conklin, MacDonald thrived while substituting for an injured Howard and February, and played well overall despite an inconsistent workload:
The Red Wings face something of a crossroads in terms of their goaltending prospects this summer. The Wings appear to be willing to put their faith in Jimmy Howard and, most likely, Joey MacDonald, whose $550,000 cap hit (per Capgeek.com) and ability to thrive on a limited workload essentially won him the back-up’s position. MacDonald told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan that his back is improving on Friday, and while the unrestricted free agent marketplace in terms of back-up goaltending might be the only “deep pool” the Wings could draw from this summer, we all know how willing the Marty Turcos and Ray Emerys of the world were to join the Wings and know they were only going to play 20-30 games behind an established Jimmy Howard last summer.
Going forward, despite pundits’ suggestions to the contrary, the Wings’ brass believes that Jimmy Howard can deliver 35-plus regular season wins and dominant play in the playoffs, but Howard’s would-be future back-ups and potential successors haven’t exactly dazzled in terms of promise(or depth), with perhaps one exception. That player’s season ended on Friday night, though it wasn’t for a lack of trying on his part.
Updated with Joey MacDonald injury news at 4:53 PM: Despite our comments to the contrary regarding one Johan Franzen’s comments about the wheels falling off the Big Red Machine, I thought that Franzen’s suggestion that the Wings struggled down the stretch in no small part due to, as he told MLive’s Ansar Khan, a lack of self-confidence and plain old forgetting how to enjoy themselves—to the point that the Wings’ swagger and ability to somewhat loosely and confidently bounce back from adversity, especially without the “morale officers” that were Kris Draper and Chris Osgood in the mix, yielded late-season stumbles and perhaps a snowballing effect which yielded the return of the Detroit’s early-regular season paper-thin level of self confidence.
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.