The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings kicked off a set of 13 games played over the course of 24 November and December nights--played every other day or greater between November 14th and December 7th--against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. Despite a 4-day break, the Red Wings arguably played a game on Friday that should serve as a blueprint for Sunday's game against Montreal, the Wings' three-game road trip through Columbus (on Tuesday), Winnipeg (on Thursday) and Toronto (a week from today; after Friday's game, the Wings recalled Petr Mrazek and sent Tom McCollum to Grand Rapids to start Saturday's game), as well as the rest of the whole damn season.
Detroit was fleet-footed, aggressive as hell through the neutral zone to the point of being downright predatory, offensively explosive, defensively sound and physically and mentally engaged from minutes 1 to 60 of the Wings' 4-1 victory over Chicago, earning their first home win in three years against the Blackhawks while displaying the kind of elite puck-moving, layered backchecking, speedy transition, strong forechecking and relentless offense that the Wings used to employ when Nicklas Lidstrom was the team's quarterback.
Anthony Mantha made his Grand Rapids Griffins debut on Friday, registering a shot, a -1 (as he was on the ice for a shorthanded goal against), a penalty and a stern clank off the goalpost in his first professional game, but he wasn't "the story."
Instead, Mantha's' teammates rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, with Mitch Callahan scoring the game-tying goal with 1:14 left and Teemu Pulkkinen's "holy slapper" delivering a 3-2 overtime win over the Texas Stars--the team that eliminated the Griffins from the Calder Cup playoffs last spring--with all of 0.8 seconds left in the AHL's 7-minute OT, earning Grand Rapids its second home win of the season.
After the game, the Wings swapped out Tom McCollum, who will start Saturday's Griffins game, for Petr Mrazek, who will back up Jimmy Howard on Sunday and head on the Wings' 3-game road swing with the NHL team.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' website posted a game recap:
I'm not sure you could call the Red Wings' 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks a frame-worthy effort, but it was pretty damn close, and it was even closer to, "Put it on a nail and hang it on the wall" quaity because this was the Wings' first regulation win at home against Chicago since 2009. Chicago was 9-0-and-3 against Detroit over the past 12, with (as I recall) only 2 losses in that time.
Chicago was coming into the game having last played on Tuesday, and the Wings hadn't played since Sunday's shootout loss to Tampa Bay, but it was the Wings who came out skating like Chicago usually does--capitalizing on turnovers and roaring up the ice the other way, finding both paths to shoot on the net and to snag rebounds to generate secondary and tertiary scoring chances via sustained possession and control of the puck. The Wings came at the Hawks in waves early, and we're not used to seeing Detroit do that.
As did Blake Price:
Updated 16x at 3:10 PM: The Detroit Red Wings begin a stretch of 13 games played over the course of 24 nights (from today until December 7th) when they host the Chicago Blackhawks this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/CSN Chicago/97.1 FM), and the Blackhawks' 9-0-and-3 record against the Wings of late is cause for concern--as is Corey Crawford's 12-2-and-3 career record against Detroit (we might want to pray for overtime, fellow Wings fans), and, perhaps more pertinently, "as is" the rust the 7-3-and-5 Wings might display after not having played since Sunday's shootout loss to Tampa Bay.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness offered good news from the Wings' morning skate...
All the Wings players are on the ice for their morning skate prior to tonight's game against Chicago.
We'll see how lines are skated, but most likely Datsyuk will be back in along with Jurco.
All signs point to Pavel Datsyuk returning to the lineup. He's skating on a line with Jurco and Abdelkader. Helm with Tatar and Sheahan.
As did MLive's Ansar Khan...
I'm going to attempt a very brief catch-up post as more than a few stories popped up between the start of my mini vacation on Monday and my eventual return on Thursday:
The Red Wings begin a stretch in which they'll be playing on an every-other-night (or more) basis from tonight until December 7th (playing 13 times in 24 nights) when they host the 9-6-and-1 Chicago Blackhawks this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/CSN Chicago/97.1 FM; Chris Chelios will be signing copies of his memoir, Made in America, on the concourse; the Wings host Montreal on Sunday and then head out on a 3-game road trip to Columbus, Winnipeg and Toronto).
The Hawks last played in a 3-2 shootout win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday, so the 7-3-and-5 Wings don't hold too much of a "rest advantage" over the Hawks despite not having played since Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the same Lightning, and the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc reported that Corey Crawford is on quite a roll (and his 12-2-and-3 record against the Wings is scary)...
Prospect news: Nastasiuk, Bertuzzi can’t crack Russians at Super Series; on Hicketts & Griffins news
Some of this is new and some of this is "old prospect news," but I hope it's still pertinent.
First and foremost, the Subway Super Series has surprised the hell out of most everybody because the Russian Hockey Federation usually sends a middling squad of players to the WHL-OHL-and-QMJHL series, but this time around, they've dominated.
Wings prospect Joe Hicketts had very good outings in the WHL portion of the series, registering an assist in the WHL's 3-2 loss to Russia on Monday and scoring a goal in Russia's 3-2 win on Tuesday--and Hicketts levied a hard hit that sent Maxim Mamin off on a stretcher...
But as the series shifted to the OHL and Peterborough, Ontario, Thursday, Zach Nastasiuk (who will also play in Monday's game in Kingston) didn't register a point in Russia's 4-0 win, and Tyler Bertuzzi chose to showcase his talents in a single game by taking a roughing penalty that led to Russia's 4-0 goal and getting 2-and-10 for running Igor Shestyorkin late in the game.
The Peterborough Exmainer's Mike Davies reports that the Russians simply put up a wall...
Edit: wrong blog, story still awful.
This is just terrible news, from the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:
Bryan Murray is facing the toughest fight of his life. And he’s determined to battle this one head-on. Speaking for the first time publicly in a glimpse at his cancer treatment with TSN’s Michael Farber, the Senators GM confirmed in a segment that aired on Thursday night that he is battling Stage 4 colon cancer.
Murray also has spots on his lung and liver. The doctors are hopeful the treatments will lengthen his life.
“There is no cure for me at this point,” Murray said in the powerful five-minute story that aired on TSN5’s pre-game show before the Senators-Oilers match last night. “The word is we’ll keep doing chemo and, hopefully, reduce the tumours and the effect and I’ll get some time out of that.”
Accompanied by Farber, a former Sports Illustrated columnist and a cancer survivor himself, to one of his regular chemotherapy treatments at The Ottawa Hospital, Murray opened up about his disease.
“It’s a battle. There’s no question,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of emotion involved in it. There’s a lot of down days. You try not to have too many. There are a lot of good days and you try to have more of them.”
added, watch the TSN video below too...
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.