The Malik Report
Thanks to the NHL’s desire for afternoon matinee playoff match-ups, the Detroit Red wings will hope to build upon their sloppy but tenacious 3-2 victory over Nashville on Thursday at a bizarre time—the game starts at 12 PM EDT (NBC—WDIV’s pre-game begins at 11:30 AM EDT/CBC/97.1 FM) and in less-than-ideal circumstances in terms of today’s ice surface, because Al Sobotka and the Wings’ crew will have had somewhere between eight and ten hours to prepare Joe Louis Arena’s ice for an 80-degree day and thunderstorms thanks to a Nickelback concert on Saturday night.
To some extent, the pressure really is on Detroit’s shoulders to hold its “home-ice” advantage after rallying from a 1-0 series deficit, and it’s going to take more than the huge dehumidifiers that the Wings park outside the Joe come April to ensure that the Wings don’t keep playing from behind in the race to four wins. There’s no doubt that the Wings were out-shot, out-chanced and have some work to do in terms of currying favor with what I think both teams can agree has been incredibly inconsistent refereeing (please don’t ask me to try and be objective about the Wings’ 6-to-2 penalty deficit in Game 2 while I’m wearing playoff tinfoil)...
Updated 4x at 4:23 PM: After the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 victory on Friday night, the Wings returned to Detroit, but will have to cross their fingers that Al Sobotka can work some miracles on Joe Louis Arena’s ice as Nickelback will be occupying the Joe, and tomorrow the forecast calls for nearly 80-degree temperatures and thunderstorms, yielding a less than “sunny” outlook for the Joe’s almost always excellent ice surface—though I have little doubt in Sobotka’s ability to far surpass the soup the Wings were playing on in Nashville—as the Wings and Predators renew acquaintances via a bizarre noon start (WDIV will begin their pre-game show at 11:30 AM tomorrow).
With the Joe unavailable, the Red Wings practiced at City Sports Arena, and the Predators remained in Nashville, with the Wings’ and Predators’ beat writers and the national press corps spending this morning and early afternoon skipping practice to fly to Detroit (amidst some “heavy weather” dotting their flight paths) and set up shop in the Motor City for the next four days.
So the off-day news is coming in at a snail’s pace, and we’ll start with the Twitter quips from the Tennessean’s John Glennon, who reports the following from Music City:
As it turns out, regardless of one is a hockey player or a hockey blogger, playing at less than 100% of one’s capabilities…I don’t usually use this word, but it sucks, frankly. So in lieu of a recap, here’s what I can give ya: a sampling of Red Wings-related stuff subsequent to the Wings’ 3-2 victory over the Predators and Todd Bertuzzi’s dust-up with Shea Weber:
Right at the beginning of the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, Todd Bertuzzi informed Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber that he would be engaging in some fisticuffs as the result of his “Webering” of Henrik Zetterberg’s head during the teams’ previous meeting, and Bertuzzi and Weber engaged in what was a clean tilt…
And while most of the Wings’ players who were seen on Fox Sports Detroit’s post-game suggested that the event was spontaneous, Wings coach Mike Babcock, who usually lauds Weber’s play during the regular season, rather forcefully told Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating that he would have accepted nothing less from Bertuzzi or his teammates. During his post-game presser, Babcock went a little further, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes:
One of the more savvy commenters suggested that the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 loss to Nashville on Wednesday was, in fact, perhaps the best game the Wings had played since the middle of March, and tonight…
I’m honestly confused here. The Red Wings were porous as all hell get out defensively, they were out-penalized—legitimately so in most cases—7-3 and had to kill off 6 Predators power plays [edit: did I mention that the Wings’ PK has been perfect thus far? No?], they were out-shot 10-5 in the 2nd period, 11-4 in the 3rd period and 26-17 overall, and they all but earned “gimme” assists on the Predators’ goals, but Detroit somehow emerged with a 3-2 victory and head home knowing that even playing relatively poor defensive hockey can be successful when they are in fact opportunistic offensively and get the kind of goaltending that Jimmy Howard can provide.
The fact that Todd Bertuzzi gave a crowd which ended the game booing Henrik Zetterberg something to chew on in terms of clean retribution by doing this to Shea Weber didn’t hurt:
Update: Let’s all be surprised that even TSN’s Kerry Fraser now thinks that the NHL should establish a new “Weber rule,” if you will, to ensure that players aren’t allowed to “Weber” other players’ heads into the glass…
This is why I hate leaving the house (s’okay, the de-facto therapist and I talked about hockey) on game days: between a nondescript morning skate and the afternoon, playoff hockey always finds a way to surprise you with unusual developments.
Before I update the game-day post, I thought I ought to let you know that Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski and MLive’s Josh Slaghter want us to know that Predators fans have been inspired by the Detroit News’s David Guralnick’s photo of Andrei Kostitsyn playfully mocking Shea Weber’s decision to break Henrik Zetterberg’s helmet in an attempt to break his face, and they are now “#Webering” themselves all over Twitter.
Updated 3x at 5:55 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators prepare to face off tonight (7:30 PM EDT start, FSD/FS Tennessee/CNBC/CBC/97.1 FM), NHL.com’s John Manasso reports that the Predators may or may not dress Hal Gill yet again…
Hal Gill out for Game 2, will travel to Detroit for Games 3 and 4. Says he’s getting closer. #Preds
Trotz will not confirm Hillen back in lineup for Gill. Will dress 7 D again for warmups. #preds
MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Gustav Nyquist’s addition to the lineup as support in Darren Helm’s absence is the only change the Wings are making…
As the Detroit Red Wings attempt to rebound from Wednesday’s loss to Nashville in Game 2 against the Predators tonight (7:30 PM EDT—take note that it’s not an 8:30 start, folks—FSD/FS Tennessee/CBC/CNBC/97.1 FM), we can make two easy assumptions:
Despite the NHL media, Wings’ press corps, the Chief’s, Don Cherry’s, Steve Rosenbloom’s and Jeremy Roenick’s (and my own) takes on the Shea Weber fine-but-not-suspension, Weber found himself more irritated by having to repeatedly dodge directly addressing the $2,500 dent in his wallet than anything else, so if the question is, “Message sent?” the answer is, “Who the hell knows, probably not”...
This one should be filed in the, “No fooling” department, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
You can add Jim Nill to the long list of names the Montreal Canadiens are compiling in their GM search.
A source told ESPN.com that the Habs contacted the Detroit Red Wings regarding Nill, their well-respected assistant GM. In the past, the Wings have always said “No” to any team calling about him. Given Detroit’s history of not allowing teams to speak with Nill, I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I’m fairly confident he’s staying in Detroit.
Update: The Fourth Period is playing devil’s advocate about this, but let’s be honest: Nill’s paid like a GM and has many of a GM’s responsibilities while riding shotgun with Holland in Detroit, running the draft and helming the Grand Rapids Griffins’ personnel decisions, he’s settled in the area, the Wings have that non-compete clause, and quite frankly, he isn’t Francophone. I don’t see the Canadiens nabbing anyone who doesn’t have a command of French after the Cunneyworth fallout.
Updated with Roenick reaction at 11:55 PM: I am admittedly not up to full speed (sorry) and not swimming in commentary for the Wings’ and out-of-town press like 55 feet of Lake Superior water after jumping in off the end of a 2,700-foot-long pier (which is actually a nice feeling, and I miss it), so I can’t claim to have my pulse on the hockey world’s reaction to what I will suggest is a surprising $2,500 fine to Shea Weber for introducing Henrik Zetterberg’s face to the end boards at the end of last night’s 3-2 loss (and if you missed it, Paul Gaustad’s slashing match with Pavel Datsyuk, which resulted in Todd Bertuzzi delivering what Barry Trotz described as a “haymaker,” was just as vicious)...
But I feel that it’s necessary to provide something of a counterpoint to the Chief while sticking my still-re-acclimating and not insubstantially-sized nose into the discussion:
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.