The Malik Report
Updated 2x w/ stats and highlights at 3:58 PM: The Detroit Red Wings' 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings was anything but a thing of beauty, at least if you're not a fan of watching Jimmy Howard getting peppered with 47 shots...
But the Red Wings managed to find a way to earn two points while playing their 4th game in 6 "nights," their 3rd game in 4 "nights" and their second game over the course of less than 24 hours because their goalie stood on their head, and, somewhat ironically, the Wings ended up "stealing" a point from the Kings.
In doing so, the Wings displayed the ability to win in three different ways--the team out-ground the Blues to earn a blue-collar win on Thursday, the Wings out-skilled as well as out-willed the Oilers on Saturday, and today, and on Sunday, they rope-a-doped their way through a game in which no one had much energy save the goaltender who got Thursday evening off.
The Detroit Red Wings have something of a goalie glut, so it isn't exactly a stunner to hear that the CBC's Elliotte Friedman reports that the Wings have chosen to attempt to accommodate Joey MacDonald's desire for a trade out of town by waiving him before sending him down to Grand Rapids for a two-week conditioning stint:
The Wings didn't have to waive him to send him down for a conditioning stint...and as his contract is a one-way deal, he's going to count against the Wings' cap figure regardless of whether he plays in the NHL or AHL.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...
From the Red Wings' PR department:
JUSTIN ABDELKADER AND DARREN HELM SET TO APPEAR AT METRO DETROIT MEIJER LOCATIONS THIS SEASON
... Michigan Native Abdelkader to Kick Off Season-Long Promotion Tomorrow in Canton …
Detroit, MI... Detroit Red Wings forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm are set to appear at various Meijer locations throughout the Metro Detroit area during the 2012-13 season, signing autographs and interacting with the fans of Hockeytown at six different Southeast Michigan Meijer locations. Abdelkader, a Muskegon, Mich., native and former Michigan State Spartan, will kick off the season-long campaign this week with back-to-back appearances at two separate supercenters on Monday in Canton (45001 Ford Road) and Tuesday in Allen Park (3565 Fairlane Boulevard). Four additional stops featuring Helm and Abdelkader are scheduled for the months of March and April in Madison Heights, Southfield, Rochester and Warren. The complete season-long schedule can be found below:.
The Detroit Red Wings proved that they can still out-skill as well as out-will teams in their 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, but today's game against Los Angeles (12:30 PM EST, NBC/TSN/97.1 FM, and the Wings are collecting smoke detectors for charity), but the Red Wings know they're in for a challenge and a half as they wrap up a slate of 4 games played over the course of 6 nights and afternoons--and 3 in 4 "days"--against the ornery Kings.
They spoke very bluntly about the team's status as one whose forward momentum and identity-building progression are provisional upon today's outcome while speaking to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
"It feels like we’re a work in progress and we gotta continue to get better,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose squad last followed up a win over the Blues with a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “I thought we played a good game last game, came back and followed it up. Now we gotta follow it up tomorrow against a heavy team. It’s going to be a test.”
The Wings turn right around and host the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday afternoon.
“I just think if we remain competitive and we keep getting better, we have a chance to be a good hockey club,” Babcock said. “I think our back end’s rounding into shape here so we’re getting better.”
The Detroit Red Wings' 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers consisted of a hard-working performance belonging to one of those few NHL games that you can call a "thing of beauty," a game in which the Red Wings and Oilers went toe-to-toe instead of check-to-check and played honest, hard-fought and generally clean hockey while roaring up and down the ice in the kind of game you don't see very often in the muck-and-grind-and-trap-fests that seem to plague the NHL.
For the Red Wings, coming off a hard-fought game against the Blues, and facing a standard of officiating that was way, way tighter than it was in St. Louis, being able to both prove that it could adapt to a completely different and more Wings-like style of "turn and burn" hockey and bring their special teams out of the gutter was nothing less than monumental...
But the Wings also know that whether they can be deemed to have truly established a new identity or remain a team that takes two steps forward and an inconsistent step back will be determined by how they perform against the Los Angeles Kings today (12:30 PM EST, NBC/TSN/97.1 FM, and today the Wings are collecting smoke detectors for charity).
I watched the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast of the Wings' win over Edmonton, and unlike Hockey Night in Canada, they don't have a "GM Cam," so I missed out on this little gem in which Red Wings GM Ken Holland finds that he can't quite control...The TV at the Joe for Oilers GM Steve Tambellini:
Updated 3x with highlights and post-game clips at 6:01 PM: Jimmy Howard will start tomorrow, per Mike Babcock on 97.1 FM: Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, the Detroit Red Wings played a wonderfully, wonderfully entertaining game against an Edmonton Oilers team that nearly squeaked one out thanks to Nikolai Khabibulin's masterful performance, narrowly out-performed and out-played by the savvy, veteran Pavel Datsyuks, I mean Red Wings, who earned a 2-1 win in gutsy, glorious fashion.
But the Red Wings got the first goal, a fantatsic lateral-lateral-lateral play to Pavel Datsyuk, who ripped a hard shot past Khabibulin thanks to a great legal pick by Johan Franzen, the Wings survived Justin Schultz's late 2nd period PPG via a slap shot through a couple of Oilers and Wings that Jimmy Howard never saw, and in the third period of a penalty-filled game (so much for consistent refereeing), Franzen played into the equation again as Zetterberg, Super Datsyuk (Datsyuk narrowly out-performed Khabibulin) and Brunner got the puck back to Niklas Kronwall and he ripped a high, hard shot through Khabibulin with Johan Franzen in front.
The Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers face off today (2 PM EST, FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) as the Wings wrap up a slate of four games played over the course of six nights...and days...With a pair of matinee games.
There obviously won't be any morning skates today or tomorrow (when the Wings play the LA Kings at 12:30 PM EST, on NBC, TSN and 97.1 FM), so today's game-day updates are more "factoids" than hard news...
Though Oilers broadcaster Rob Staufer brings us the first of a couple of Oilers lineup updates, with Oilers coach Ralph Krueger's decision as to whether he's going to start Nikolai Khabibulin or Devan Dubnyk opposite Jimmy Howard likely to be revealed sometime before the game...
The question I've heard the most regarding Red Wings forward and 26-year-old phenom "Damien Brunner" is, "How did the Red Wings find this guy?" The answer isn't simple, but the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa sat down with Brunner to find out how he slipped through so very many cracks before spurning the Minnesota Wild, playing one more season in Switzerland and then agreeing to join the Wings after Mike Babcock and Ken Holland sold him on the team during last spring's World Championships.
The blunt answer is that, quite frankly, he wasn't always a star in the making, and as he told Krupa, he struggled so very much with the Kloten Flyers some five years ago that he was traded--and trades are as likely to occur in European hockey as Mickey Redmond is likely to fall in love with a composite hockey stick:
"In my second year and the beginning of the third year at [Kloten], the coach didn't see me on his roster or in an offensive role," said Brunner, who is tied for the Red Wings team lead with five goals and is second in shots with 34, as the team toils in a transitional year. "He thought I am not making any progress and I probably wasn't going to be good enough to play in that league. They sent me down to the B league for three games, and after that, I was traded."
Then, with the considerable help of a former Red Wings player, whose brief stint in Detroit is likely to be overshadowed by coaching Brunner for five years, his career took off. Brunner has arrived in the NHL and, quickly, established he belongs.
What remains to be determined is his ultimate contribution to the team the Red Wings are about to become, and whether he will be a star. The Red Wings may have landed yet another in a series of startling scouting finds.
But Brunner might not have become part of the answer in Detroit without the trade to Zug in the Swiss league, and its coach, Doug Shedden.
I highly suggest that you continue reading Krupa's story...
The Detroit Red Wings will play their third and fourth games over the course of five and then six nights starting today with a maintee game against the Edmonton Oilers (2:00 PM EST, FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) today and an even earlier tilt against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday (12:30 PM EST NBC/TSN/97.1 FM and the Wings are holding smoke detector collections both today and tomorrow).
As we learned on Friday, the Red Wings will attempt to build upon Thursday's convincing win over the Blues this weekend--before playing St. Louis for the third and final time this month next Wednesday (also an NBC game)--minus the services of one Todd Bertuzzi, whose back is acting up, possibly with Joakim Andersson in the lineup, and with Jimmy Howard definitely starting Saturday and "Petr Griffin" possibly starting on Sunday.
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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.