The Malik Report
File this puppy under things I didn’t think I’d say in the middle of the night on February 3rd, 2011: Lost amidst the news regarding Jimmy Howard’s broken index fingertip, the Red Wings’ first outdoor practice in Metro Detroit, their off-day trade talk, broomball tournament and discussion of Detroit’s 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks…
Nobody mentioned that the Wings’ tilt against the Edmonton Oilers tonight (10 PM EST, FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./WXYT) might be the most difficult game against the most challenging opponent the Red Wings will face on their four-game road trip.
Technically speaking, most broomball leagues employ straw “sweep” brooms, the kinds of balls used to torment elementary schoolers during “dodgeball games in the gym and tennis shoes with duct tape on the bottom, thus resulting in a game which, according to some of the people I knew who played in broomball leagues at the University of Michigan, was best played drunk, but DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose reports that the Red Wings’ players played with a professional level of broomball equipment while eschewing their hockey sticks to break up some February monotony in Edmonton on Friday, and whenever one gives Pavel Datsyuk proper equipment, he plays like Pavel Datsyuk:
The Wings used a day off in the middle of their four-game road trip, spending a fun afternoon playing broomball on an outdoor rink at the Strathcona Athletic Park, about 25-minutes south of Edmonton. Played on a regulation ice hockey rink, players hit a ball – a little smaller than a soccer ball – around the ice with a stick called a “broom,” with wooden shaft and a rubber-molded triangular head similar in shape to that of a regular household broom. Player usually wear special rubberized shoes for traction, but Wings’ players and coaches used regular athletic shoes, which made for a few comedic moments as guys slipped their way through the games.
But not [Pavel] Datsyuk, who flawlessly crisscrossed the ice surface, often in a sprint while helping Team Emmerton claim the tourney championship.
Updated 3x with trade talk, Howard and broomball updates, Oilers stuff and Gordie talk at 8:44 PM: Collective Red Wings fan/team/blogosphere freakout regarding Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard’s broken right index fingertip,/a> excluded, the Wings actually had a relatively quiet day following their 4-3 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the team played broomball instead of practicing, which is incredibly appropriate given the way pucks went in the net during Edmonton’s 8-5 victory over Chicago:
In addition to Howard, forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary officiated the tournament. Coach Mike Babcock originally had planned an outdoor practice, but decided a non-hockey event would be even better. He likes doing these sorts of things to break up the monotony of the regular season; last year, for example, the Wings tried curling while here. In a reversal of roles, the broom ball teams were captained by youngsters Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak and Jakub Kindl. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was the first overall pick, while Nicklas Lidstrom went where he historically has gone. “I fit my profile,” he said. “Third-rounder.”
“It’s nice to break it up,” Lidstrom said. “Babs has been looking at doing something differently, especially with playing every other night. It’ll be fun to see what it’s all about.”
St. James posted a few more tidbits from the event Via Twitter:
WINGS TO CELEBRATE HOCKEY WEEKEND ACROSS AMERICA WITH HISTORIC OUTDOOR PRACTICE
… Tim Hortons and Kroger Sponsor Red Wings Skate at Downtown Detroit ’s Clark Park; 24 Hours of Hockey Action Planned for Joe Louis Arena …
Detroit, MI… As part of Hockey Weekend Across America and their ongoing Hockeytown Thanks initiative, the Detroit Red Wings will be presenting a variety of hockey events throughout the duration of Saturday, February 18. Teams and players from all ages and skill levels will be participating in this unique daylong endeavor, which will be highlighted by an outdoor practice at downtown Detroit ’s Clark Park featuring the entirety of the Red Wings roster.
The Red Wings outdoor practice at Detroit ’s Clark Park (between Vernor & I-75) will have special observation areas installed specifically for fans to catch all of the action beginning at noon (gates open at 11:00 a.m.). The first 2,000 citizens of Hockeytown to arrive on location will be able to watch the Red Wings skate for approximately one hour as they prepare for a Sunday home game versus San Jose . Fans wishing to attend the Red Wings’ historic outdoor practice on the 18th will be required to make one of three charitable donations upon entering the facility:
There’s kind-of-sort-of good news regarding the broken finger which will keep Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard out of the Wings’ next two games: According to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, Howard suffered a broken fingertip on his right index finger ([edit/update: Roose says it’s a clean break, too,] and not a broken pinky), which is something goalies can usually play through…
The Red Wings have learned that they will be without their All-Star goaltender for the remaining two games of their road trip after Jimmy Howard suffered a broken index finger on his right hand in Thursday’s 4-3 shoot-out win at Vancouver.The injury occurred early in the third period when Howard made a blocker save on a close-range shot along the ice by Canucks center Max Lapierre. Howard skated to the Wings’ bench during the next stoppage where he was examined by Piet VanZant, the team’s athletic therapist, who taped up the finger.
Howard finished the game and didn’t allow a goal in the shoot-out, stopping the Canucks’ Alex Edler and Mason Raymond to earn his league-leading 32nd win of the season. Howard is also third among league starters with a 2.03 goals-against average, and second with five shutouts.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan is confirming the team’s recall of Joey MacDonald, which will tax the Grand Rapids Griffins as they’re playing 3 games in 3 nights this weekend, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James spoke to Howard about his injury (and St. James posted a picture of Howard’s finger taped up as well)...
Via DetroitHockey.net’s Clark Rasmussen and RedWingsFeed, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard did speak to Piet Van Zant after his blocker hand took a ding from a collision with a Canucks player during last night’s win,
but I’m not sure whether this Twitter post from Aaron Ward is accurate
[edit/update: I obviously owe Aaron Ward an apology here as he was on this first and was spot-on]:
Report out of Detroit that Joey McDonald has been called up.Jimmy Howard sustained a hand injury in the win over Vancouver last night. #TSN
We’ll find out whether this is true over the next hour or two. Here’s hoping that if this is true, it’s nothing more than a broken fingernail.
Update: Oh boy, per TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Word is Jimmy Howard has a broken pinkie, should be out about 2 weeks or so…
Update #2: Make that oh sh**, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Following up @aaronward_nhl and news on Jimmy Howard injury. It’s suspected Howard suffered a broken finger. #TSN
Update #3: Make that two games, per the Red Wings:
The Detroit Red Wings didn’t exactly dazzle and missed several opportunities to take definitive control of their perhaps karmically correct 4-3 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks, going 0-for-4 on the power play and only denting the twine behind Roberto Luongo twice over a 40-minute period of time in which they out-shot their opponents 30-11…
But a win is always welcome for the Wings, especially when it comes away from Joe Louis Arena, so the Wings flew to Edmonton to enjoy a well-deserved day off before taking on the red-hot Oilers (did I say that right?) with a slightly more commanding lead over each and every one of their Central Division and Western Conference rivals, the Canucks included, and that’s what really matters.
Am I allowed to swear on this blog? Because I sure feel like doing so right now…
I’m penning a Red Wings-Canucks overnight report in the middle of the night, trying to balance this, that and the other thing on the head of a pin, but as I scrolled through the Wings’ notebooks, RedWingsFeed on Twitter, a.k.a. Mike Serven, and I had the same thought as the Free Press’s Helene St. James mentioned that a player the Wings really hope will return down the stretch is having “complications” of a highly concerning variety as he attempts to recover from a broken jaw suffered a little over two months ago:
Assistant general manager Jim Nill said forward Patrick Eaves, out since Nov. 26 after breaking his jaw, is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and remains out indefinitely.
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a middle-of-the-night report about Eaves’ condition, too:
Maybe the Vancouver Canucks’ fans can at least argue that they got some karmic retribution despite dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
The Wings out-shot the Canucks by an insane margin through the first two periods (30-11) and out-shot Vancouver 43-25 overall, but the Wings went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time and surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads to a Canucks team that certainly felt that its one power play should have a zero next to it.
It’s not that the Wings were dirty—the Canucks and Wings played a game that was equal parts high-flying offense, grit and grime in a generally clean manner (perhaps the low-bridge attempt by Keith Ballard which drew Todd Bertuzzi’s ire excluded from a Wings fan’s standpoint), but even I can’t deny that the Wings got away with a few hacks, whacks and high sticks that should have resulted in penalties.
As we await the puck drop between the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks tonight at 10, a pair of stories which I don’t want to get lost in the game-day update thread or the Howe follow-up popped up, and while some of us (me, anyway) don’t like having stories fall into our lap right before game time as we’re usually already into our routines and/or eating dinner before a late night game like this one, the Vancouver Province’s Ed Willes and the Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole posted a pair of columns which cannot be ignored or postponed to the “overnight report.”
Willes addresses the 37th anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi’s birth as a segue into an article discussing the Red Wings as a team that has, and I quote, “Been old for almost as long as they’ve been great.” The Red Wings have little worries about this year’s team being past its expiration date, as Ken Holland told Wiles:
“We like an old team,” shrugged GM Ken Holland.
Apparently so. This season, in the minds of more than a few observers, was supposed to be the year when the Wings succumbed to the ravages of time and started looking and playing like their age. Let’s just say that presumption has proven erroneous. Playing with virtually the same core group that has averaged 111 points a season since the lockout, the Methuselas of Motown are as good as they’ve ever been and remain one of the model NHL franchises. Nick Lidstrom turns 43 in a couple of months. Tomas Holmstrom just turned 39. The exquisite centre duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are 33 and 32 respectively. And the Wings just keep rolling.
“Winning is fun,” said Babcock. “When you lose every night, the season is 164 games long and when you win, it’s 41 games long. That’s a big part of it. But we’re no different than anybody else. You’re scared every day. How long can you keep it going?”
But yes, the Wings are indeed worried about the future…
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.