The Malik Report
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
If there is any sense of justice in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings will be without their best defenseman for Game 7 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night. And if the Department of Player Safety doesn’t suspend Niklas Kronwall for his hit on Nikita Kucherov in Game 6, it might as well find a nice, warm beach somewhere to spend the rest of the playoffs.
Because if Kronwall does not sit out at least Game 7 of the Lightning-Red Wings series, the NHL will have officially confirmed what much of the first round has already proved, that it has no intention of suspending anyone for anything in this year’s playoffs.
Kronwall is the Scott Stevens of Sweden, easily the most devastating open-ice hitter in the game today. He has developed and patented a unique way of hitting players by lining them up, usually along the boards, then just before the time of contact, turns his back to his opponent and essentially jumps into him back-first. It’s so unique that it has it’s own name. To be hit like that means you’ve been Kronwalled. It’s a hit that straddles the edges of the NHL rulebook and it’s one the league clearly endorses, considering Kronwall has never been suspended. Wome of them will likely also provide some pretty compelling video evidence in that class-action concussion lawsuit the NHL will invariably face someday.
Watch the hit below...
First up is Mike Babcock...
Below is Jon Cooper...
From the NHL:
STARTING TIME SET FOR GAME 7 OF THE TAMPA BAY-DETROIT 2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST ROUND SERIES ON WEDNESDAY
NEW YORK (April 27, 2015) – The National Hockey League today announced that the start time of Game 7 of the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 29, in Tampa Bay.
In the U.S., the game will be televised on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and TVA Sports.
The fourth win is generally the hardest, and when it's, "Win, or lose and golf," you're going to do anything and everything you can possibly get away with (and some things you can't) to stave off elimination. That includes a lawyer being a laywer and that includes blatant attempts to injure (oh wait, that was the other team, not Detroit?).
In any case, Monday's game was going to be a vicious affair, and for Detroit, urgency would not be lacking with a winner-take-all seventh game in Tampa Bay in the offing.
I've been haivng some recurring panic attacks, so I can relate to how both teams felt this evening...
I can't relate to how the Wings reacted, however, to the Lightning's stifling defense and baffling ability to get away with some penalties but not others...It was a devastating 5-2 loss that could have been worse had Petr Mrazek not been as good as he was, and it could get worse if Niklas Kronwall's suspended for the hit the laid upon Nikita Kucherov.
Jon Cooper post-practice today.
George has not been feeling well the last few days but he is fighting through it and will hopefully return for the game tonight.
In the meantime, I am just trying to fill in when I can and the above video basically tells the story for the Bolts.
The Red Wings hope to avoid a Game 7 situation by taking care of business against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; Gord Dwyer and Steve Kozari are scheduled to referee tonight's game).
I've been wondering if this wil go seven games for a while, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's Tweet is...not reassuring in that department:
The #RedWings take a swing at eliminating the Lightning tonight. Detroit is 9-9 all-time in Game 6 on home ice, including 5-4 at The Joe.
MLive's Ansar Khan reported "no changes" this morning:
He was one of the best all-round defensemen in the Original Six era, and Marcel Pronovost was still scouting for the New Jersey Devils:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mrazek has shutouts in two of the past three games and is the main reason the Lightning can't find the net. But the Red Wings are playing much better in front of him than they did the first two games. They're executing in their own zone, spending more time in the offensive zone and playing the Lightning tight in the neutral zone.
"Cutting them off in the neutral zone is big," Detroit forward Drew Miller said. "They're a team that wants to play with speed and a lot of pace, so if you take that away they got to figure out different ways to play. I think getting in on their D was big and making them turn the puck over or take some hits."
The Red Wings also are deeper up front since Game 3 with the return of Justin Abdelkader and the emergence of Riley Sheahan, who's scored two goals in three games and more engaged physically after struggling the first two games.
"We got Abdelkader back, so what did Abby coming back do?" Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It allowed (Henrik Zetterberg) to move into the middle. It allowed Sheahan to be in a better matchup spot. It just gave us overall depth there. The other thing is Riley Sheahan after a tough start is really become Riley again. Suddenly, we've got four centers instead of two centers, it's a big difference.
"For whatever reason, we seem to be more comfortable. We're executing better and playing with more pace and limiting their opportunities more."
Below, watch Craig Custance and Katie Strang of ESPN discuss tonight's game 6...
The Wings did not practice today and Babock informed the media no injuries from last night.
On the Tampa side, this from Bryan Burns of the Lightning website,
Plenty of things that went right for the Lightning in the regular season have suddenly disappeared. The three biggest?
1. REGULAR SEASON SCORING DOESN’T EQUAL PLAYOFF SCORING
The 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning scored more regular-season goals than any other team in franchise history.
The previous record of 246 established in 2005-06 was shattered when the Bolts netted 259 goals this season. Tampa Bay had more goals than any other team in the NHL (Dallas, with 257, was second) and averaged 3.16 per game.
In the playoffs, however, the Lightning attack has been systematically dismantled by a veteran Detroit team that has given the Bolts little room to maneuver on the ice.
The Red Wings were a middle-of-the-road defensive team during the regular season, their 2.57 goals-against average ranking 15th in the league.
Aside from Game 2 when the Lightning put five on the board, which, increasingly, is looking more and more like an anomaly, the Bolts haven’t been able to generate much of anything against Detroit in the postseason though. Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, who split time with Jimmy Howard during the regular season and wasn’t handed the starting job for good until the conclusion of the regular season, has shut out Tampa Bay twice in his postseason debut.
But in reality, Mrazek hasn’t had to work all that hard as the players in front of him have done an outstanding job limiting the Lightning’s chances on goal. And when the Bolts do get something on frame, Mrazek has been steady in cleaning it up.
Plus this from Craig Peterson of the Wings website,
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.