The Malik Report
From about mid-February onward, and even if the Red Wings don’t win another playoff game this spring, I have and will continue to maintain the opinion that the Wings’ conscious decision to not replace the leadership of Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Brian Rafalski on the ice, bench and in the locker room, the turnover that is breaking in two assistant coaches at the NHL level, the team’s inability to find a puck-mover of Rafalski’s caliber and the coach and management’s decision to sink or swim with what are “youngsters” by Wings standards in players like Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Cory Emmerton, Jonathan Ericsson Niklas Kronwall, Ian White and Jimmy Howard instead yielded and will probably result in what we’d deem a “rebuilding” year—or perhaps a “reloading” one by Wings standards—and I think the growing pains and likely off-season roster-bolstering via free agency (barring any decisions by Nicklas Lidstrom to do other things than continue to play hockey) were probably all accounted for prior to the commencement of the 2011-2012 regular season.
The Wings’ lack of swagger and media-inflated status as underdogs extraordinaire against the Nashville Predators have many pundits insisting that the window of opportunity has closed on Detroit once and for good in a league where one supposedly cannot win without superstars in their early 20’s on the roster, and the Fan 590’s Greg Brady offers a lengthy suggestion that the wings are too old and that their prospect cupboard is too bare for them to continue to succeed in the post-season:
Updated 4x with good news about Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg at 12:06 PM: Via MLive’s Ansar Khan, this quip from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos should come as no surprise to those who witnessed Darren Helm suffering a serious injury to his forearm on a skate cut from Alex Radulov:
#SNPlayoffs news. #toughloss #Redwings Helm playoff run is over. Its believed tendon damage that required surgery went well.
Awful news for the Wings, and it should be noted somewhere that Helm wears gloves with very long cuffs—size 14 gloves which end up with 15-inch protection—so it’s hard to blame the player for not taking adequate precautions to protect his wrists.
Update: the Red Wings are confirming:
HELM UPDATE: Darren had successful surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his right forearm. He is out for the remainder of the playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings never lost their nerve in a game whose officiating matched the penalty quota Chaiman Mao’s attendance required, but they certainly were out-lucked and perhaps out-worked in trenches in front of both goaltenders, and as such, Detroit lost Darren Helm to what is probably some sort of season-ending wrist injury (thanks to a skate cut by Alex Radulov) and lost road-ice advantage, if you will, in a 3-1 loss to Nashville.
At the end of the game, sure, Shea Weber reacted to a cross-check to the back by Henrik Zetterberg by punching Z in the back of the head, but that his penalty was the last of 17 called—10 to Nashville and 7 to Detroit, which scored 2 PPGs and killed 10:19 of Nashville PP time, but lost—after the fact is no surprise, and the bottom line during a wild and woolly game is simple:
Update: MLive’s Brendan Savage confirms that Helm has had surgery: Per NHL.com’s stream of coach Mike Babcock’s presser, Red Wings forward Darren Helm had surgery on his left forearm—for what, Babcock wouldn’t say, though it’s not hard to imagine that it involved cut tendons—after he suffered a skate cut from Alex Radulov in the 1st period of Detroit’s 3-2 loss to Nashville. He’s definitely out for the series…
Paul here and note, video can be viewed by North America IPs only…
Kukla for Malik.
via Helene St. James tweet,
GM Ken Holland tells Detroit Free Press “I think Helm is going to play tonight”
added 12:39pm, via Ted Kulfan tweet,
Helm doing rushes with miller and cleary
added 1:00pm, via Detroit Red Wings tweet,
Helm says that he plans to take warmups and that he’ll take it from there.
PK for GM.
from David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper,
The game-breakers ought to be obvious.
The Western Conference quarterfinal series between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings, which begins Wednesday (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena, SportSouth), will be a showcase for plenty of top-end talent.
Suter. Weber. Radulov. Rinne. Datsyuk. Zetterberg. Lidstrom. Bertuzzi.
There’s a good chance, though, that the game-changers are not among that group.
“Really, to have any success in any round you need to have your best players be the best players and you need everyone else to step up,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “Last year our best players were our best players and the other guys stepped up — role players stepped up.
For some reason the writer decided to include Bertuzzi instead of Franzen but let’s move past that and decide which of the secondary players need to step up for the Wings in this series.
I think a very nice surprise would be a couple of goals from Miller. It seems if he pops one in, he gets on a roll and a few more follow. Of course, a healthy Helm would be helpful too.
Paul for George.
The biggest news to come out of today’s practice is this…
via Ted Kulfan tweet,
Helm says he is more optimistic for game one
via Helene St. James tweet,
Helm says “slight possibility for Game 1” more likely game 2
Somewhere in there has to be a middle spot. Does Helm play tomorrow?
added 1:36pm, via Chuck Pleiness tweet,
Helm says he is closer than he was yesterday to returning. Has not ruled out game 1
added 1:46pm, via Detroit Red Wings tweet,
Babcock on Helm: ‘All he has to do is tell me he’s playing and he’ll be in there.’
added 2:34pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Paul for George…
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
When the Red Wings open their series against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, they face one of the game’s biggest goaltenders—Rinne is 6-feet-5. What’s a moderately size team to do?
“He really big, and he really kind of tall when he is in net, and he kind of really fast, too,” Pavel Datsyuk said. “What we need to do is shoot and go for rebound. Puck is so small. You have chance to put something between something.”...
“He’s a good athlete, that’s for sure,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s never really beaten until the puck is in the net. There’s no really easy goals against him. But it’s the old cliche you always talk about in the playoffs—get bodies in front and get second chances. That’s how you score in the playoffs. That’s the only thing I got for you.”
Coach Mike Babcock reiterated numerous times Monday that the Wings need their forwards to play inside in this series, because floating around on the perimeter isn’t going to dent Rinne.
George improving but Paul still here…
Babcock says Helm looks good, Helm says not there yet…
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Everyone, right down to Darren Helm, was on the ice. Helm wore a grey “no touching” jersey, because he’s only just begun his comeback from a sprained MCL. But—but, but, but—he probably won’t be in grey for much longer. He didn’t take part in drills until the end, but he looked fast and nimble, and at least his coach thinks maybe Helm can be back for Game 1.
“Sure looked like he was ready to me,” Babcock said.
In fairness, Babcock tends to think players are ready if they’re upright. Helm sounded more cautious about Game 1 and more confident about being available for Friday’s Game 2.
“It’s still bugging me a little bit, the quickness, taking quick strides,” he said. “I didn’t really push it too hard, physically. No battle drills. So don’t really know where it’s at, there. But it definitely felt a lot better than the first day I skated.”
added 2:38pm, Watch Mike Babcock below as he meets the media post-practice…
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.