The Malik Report
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Right from the start, an admission: Words cannot do this justice. There is absolutely no way this blog can adequately capture what was seen Friday night in downtown Saskatoon.
They honoured Gordie Howe here, in the province that will not debate who is the greatest hockey player ever. In Saskatchewan, it is their Favourite Son, Mr. Howe, and everyone else is so far behind they might as well be competing for third.
Hours before the formal dinner, at a media conference, Wayne Gretzky emotionally wiped at his eyes as Mark Howe described how poorly his father was doing less than three months ago.
“He basically had kind of shut down. His will to live had waned considerably, along with that went his personality. Along with that went an awful lot of things…When I got down there, just before Thanksgiving, the nursing people down there, they basically had him pretty much in a medically induced coma.”
“And they said, ‘It is just time to let him pass.’”
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The stories. There were so many stories about Gordie Howe before and duringthe Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner on Friday night. Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Hull spoke of Howe as their idol and competitor. Mark and Marty Howe spoke of him as their father and teammate. Everyone spoke of his skill, toughness, kindness and humor.
added 2:45pm, Video of Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN talking with Mark Howe after the event is below.
Also, here is the story from LeBrun.
The "Fathers' Trip" portion of what's actually a 3-game road trip for the Wings, interspersed by a quick jaunt home before heading to Pittsburgh for a "Rivalry Night" game next Wednesday, could help the Wings earn a solid margin for error when the games come a little faster and more intensely after Valentine's Day...
But tonight's game against the Arizona Coyotes (8 PM EST on FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM) is another game where the Wings could really screw themselves over by underestimating their opponent--or expecting that feeding off a second consecutive "home crowd" can serve as a substitute for effort, attention to detail, intensity or focus.
Prospect news: Griffins defeat Amerks in OT as Athanasiou returns; Walleye lose; more catch-up stuff
The Grand Rapids Griffins and their contingent of Red Wings prospects are very, very familiar with both the Rochester Americans and the prospects representing the Buffalo Sabres on the Amerks' roster--as are the Wings and Sabres' scouts, if we are to believe what we read--so it's very appropriate that the Griffins are hosting the Amerks for a back-to-back slate of games leading up to Saturday's Great Skate.
On Friday, the Griffins rallied from a 2-1 deficit but surrendered a game-tying goal with 1:58 in regulation, and Grand Rapids required overtime to defeat Rochester 5-4. The Griffins' website posited a recap of the up-and-down affair:
If Red Army's theatrical release isn't enough for your Miracle on Ice-remembering needs, Newsday's Neil Best, in an article re-published by the Detroit News, reports that Slava Fetisov will also weigh in on the Miracle on Ice in a made-for-ESPN movie chronicling the event called Of Ice and Men.
The film premiers on Sunday, and Best says that the Jonathan Hock-directed film also features Slava Fetisov as its protagonist:
Both also feature the irresistible Fetisov as a central figure, both pay tribute to the father of Soviet hockey, Anatoli Tarasov, and both find a villain in Tikhonov. But the ESPN film does a more thorough job of chronicling the time up to and including the 1980 game, while "Red Army" focuses more on the rest of the '80s and into the post-Soviet era.
The eye-opener for those of us raised on American Cold War propaganda is how relatable the old Russians are.
"Our main goal as filmmakers was to put a human face on the Soviet team," Hock said after a screening. "We were taught they were robots and machines and had no feelings and were just these automatons — that all they did was play hockey and they were the bad guys. But the way they played, it didn't make sense. They played the game so beautifully and with such creativity that they had to love it."
The Wings flew out of Denver last night and arrived in the Glendale area around 3am ET this morning (via George and his flight tracker).
They hit the ice for their practice at 4:30pm ET in Glendale.
Only news out of practice so far is Helene St. James tweeting...
Casual Friday practice for #RedWings at Gila River Arena.
If any news comes out of practice, I will update this post.
added 5:01pm, Ansar Khan tweets the forwards and defense remain the same as last night.
added 5:42pm, Babcock tells the media no changes to the lineup for Saturday, Mrazek starts.
Amongst a significant number of "tidbit"-category stories:
1. The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding their annual Great Skate to benefit the Griffins' Youth Foundation after tomorrorw night's game against Rochester, with the players skating with fans for a full day, and Griffins announcer/community relations manager Bob Kaser spoke with WOOD News 8 about the event:
2. If you happen to be in Chicago tomorrow, Dylan Larkin and the University of Michigan Wolverines are also playing in an outdoor game, taking on Michigan State University as part of Chicago's "Hockey City Classic" at 8 PM EST. The game will air on the Big Ten Network (and the Red Wings are already posting articles pointing out that the Big 10 Championship will be held at the Joe this year, with U of M [Larkin], Michigan State and the University of Minnesota [Ben Marshall] among its participants);
Khan: Red Wings’ Kris Draper hopes to round up teammates for Wings-Avs alumni tilt at Stadium Series
According to MLive's Ansar Khan, the Red Wings hope to ensure that there's an alumni game prior to next year's Stadium Series game against Colorado, and an interesting protagonist is spearheading the organization's efforts to round up a solid Wings alumni team [edit: And if you're interested, Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave took a "trip down memory lane" regarding the Wings-Avs rivalry]:
Kris Draper (Red Wings special assistant to the GM) is anxious to contact his former teammates to see if they'll participate," [Ken] Holland said.
The rivalry was ignited when Claude Lemieux checked Draper from behind into the dasherboards during Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference finals. That led to the wild brawl between the teams on March 26, 1997.
Holland said he doesn't know how an alumni game would become official. As the home team, that's likely Colorado's call. But Avalanche coach and former goaltender Patrick Roy, a key figure in the rivalry, sounded stoked about the possibility of going down memory lane, saying it would be fun.
"I think it would be interesting if they do one," Roy told Colorado media before Thursday's game. "If they do one obviously I'm a bit excited about it. I look forward to it."
The Sasksatoon press is kind of going ape about Gordie Howe's appearance at the Kinsmen Club's dinner tonight, and as Paul noted, Sportsnet and NHL.com posted several videos from a presser the Howe family held today, including the following clips in which Marty and Mark discuss their dad's condition and battle with dementia...
Not surprisingly, the no-goal call that changed the pace of the Wings' 3-0 win over Colorado drew the ire of some fans, so TSN's Kerry Fraser explained the rationale behind the, "The hand pass hit Kyle Quincey's ankle but that doesn't count as a change in possession and control" decision:
It is a common misnomer that a simple "touch" of the puck by the non-offending team nullifies a potential hand pass or high-stick of the puck. In reality, possession and control of the puck must be obtained by the non-offending team before the referee can wave off the violation. A deflection is not considered possession and control.
Rule 79.1 states that a player shall be permitted to stop or "bat" a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the on-ice officials, he had directed the puck to teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, and subsequently possession and control of the puck is obtained by the offending team, either directly or deflected off any player or official.
Nick Holden played an airborne puck with his hand. The puck then hit the ice and "deflected" off the skate of Red Wings defenceman Kyle Quincey before landing onto the stick of Gabriel Landeskog. Since Quincey did not gain possession and control of the puck, the whistle should have blown for the hand pass violation committed by the Avalanche. The hand pass violation went undetected by the referee in the end zone.
Once Landeskog put the puck in the net, the other officials rushed to the referee on the goal line that had signaled a "good goal". As a result of a conference between the officials, it was determined that Holden had committed a hand pass and the potential goal scored by Landeskog was correctly disallowed and the face-off was taken in the neutral zone.
Here's a replay of the call from Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien:
It was past Gordie and Murray Howe’s bed time when they arrived in Saskatoon. But even at that late of an hour, Gordie Howe still demonstrated his sense of humour.
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.