The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues wasn’t exactly perfect given that the Wings relied very heavily on Jimmy Howard’s 31-save performance, but just as Justin Abdelkader shook off a shoulder to the chin and returned to score the Wings’ second goal, his teammates shook off a slightly shaky first period and rebounded nicely from Friday night’s loss to Chicago by managing their levels of mental and physical energy like the seasoned pros they are, withstanding the Blues’ physical push before pouncing on a more mentally and physically tired team that was playing the same second half of back-to-back games, delivering the denizens of the so-called Hockeytown a fine New Year’s Eve present.
Massive run-on sentence being said, the Wings really did play smarter and more efficient hockey than their opponent while at least displaying an understanding that the Blues were going to try to knock Detroit onto its heels and indecisive play in the same way that the Blackhawks did on Friday, and this time around, the Wings wouldn’t be “had.” As a bonus, Johan Franzen finally emerged from his mid-December slumber, so something to be said about appreciating learning on the fly and heading into an incredibly busy January schedule accentuating positives.
The Detroit Red Wings copyrighted “Hockeytown, USA” as a marketing slogan prior to the 1995-96 season, and over the past 17 years, the sustained development of and growth in Metro Detroit and Michigan’s youth hockey programs, scholastic and national team programs, major junior hockey leagues, etc. back up the title as a statewide moniker for a state which always identifies itself by association with the city that holds its heart; Minnesota is no doubt the, “State of Hockey,” and New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and more than a few other states both in the Midwest, Northeast and even the Sunbelt could and maybe should market themselves via similar slogans.
As we all know, however, the “Hockeytown” nickname has spawned its share of detractors, and in a very strange twist, the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy reports that another NHL owner says that Mike Ilitch ought to hand over the term to its…well, rightful owner. Here’s what Flyers owner Ed Snider had to say about the term to the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein:
“I’m very proud of the Flyers and what we’ve accomplished,” Snider said. “They call Detroit Hockeytown U.S.A., and I don’t want to take anything away from it, but I think Philadelphia is Hockeytown U.S.A.”
Cue Wings public address announcer Buldd Lynch, via Lacy:
A little under 24 hours after dropping a distressing 3-2 decision to Chicago, the Detroit Red Wings displayed something which the St. Louis Blues seemed to have exhausted their reserves of on Saturday night: restraint.
As a result, the Red Wings rode a sterling shutout performance from Jimmy Howard and the proper exertion of pressure upon one’s opponent at the proper time—in the form of three second-period goals when the Blues started to tire thanks to 85-plus minutes of hard-charging, balls-to-the-wall physical hockey—and the Wings simply, elegantly and efficiently continued to steamroll the Blues, defeating their Central Division opponents by a 3-0 tally.
Somehow, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader managed to pass his baseline tests in the “quiet room” and return, and scored a goal no less, after taking a shoulder directly to the head from St. Louis Blues defenseman Ian Cole. Cole received 2 minutes for an illegal check to the head. [edit: at 11:14 PM: Here’s a better video]:
Here’s hoping that Fox Sports Detroit posts Mickey Redmond’s discussion of player safety as it applies to shoulder and elbow pads, too, as he did a better job of explaining what’s what in terms of protection being used as a weapon than Don Cherry’s done over the past ten years (aside from hitting Ron MacLean in the head, which never hurts).
And yes, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that the hit was doubtlessly suspension-worthy.
Update: This isn’t great, either, but here’s the hit in slow motion. Slow motion can be a dangerous thing as it allows us to assume that the hitter meant even more sinister intent than he already planned in the half second before the hit:
The Red Wings have talked a bit about the potential of hosting a Winter Classic in terms of logistics during today’s pre-game festivities, and NHL chief operating officer John Collins told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein and Yahoo Sports Nicholas J. Cotsonika (via his Twitter account) that the NHL’s initial leanings for the 2013 Winter Classic involve either bringing the event to New York or Detroit—with a strange caveat that what the Wings want to do depends on how their plans to build a new rink will unfold (which is odd given that the city is going bankrupt and Wayne County is under federal investigation for rampant corruption).
This evening, ESPN’s Scott Burnside took Collins’ comments as springboard for a long article suggesting that, and I quote, “Detroit is a No-Brainer” in terms of being the Winter Classic’s next host:
Detroit makes sense on any number of fronts. They have been a visitor in a Winter Classic game, having played against Chicago at Wrigley Field in 2009, and the NHL has established a pattern where teams play the role of visitors before hosting the event themselves.
That was the case with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, while Washington, the visitors in last year’s rain-drenched Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, has been assured of hosting an outdoor game in the near future.
Detroit is one of the NHL’s storied franchises and a massive draw across North America, which would ensure the event would continue to generate big television ratings.
A Winter Classic held there—either at Comerica Park, where Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s Detroit Tigers play, or the University of Michigan’s Michigan Stadium, known colloquially as The Big House—would also be a boon to an area whose economy has been hit hard by the recent economic downturn.
And welcome to the NHL, where, via Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski, even Nicklas Lidstrom, captain of the Detroit Red Wings, has to hawk Hondas…With Corey Perry.
The commercial’s actually cute, but as someone whose family has over a hundred combined years of service to Chrysler, including an uncle who got beaten up by the Purple Gang when they were union-busting in the 30’s…well…I guess it is what it is.
Updated 8x with Winter Classic stuff and Mrazek talk (the Czechs lost 4-0 to Finland on Saturday; Mrazek stopped 24 shots and Teemu Pulkkinen had a goal and an assist for Finland) at 6:18 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT) and attempt to rebound from their 3-2 loss to Chicago on Friday night, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings will go with what works most of the time, their starting goaltender included:
Babcock said no lineup changes for wings tonight vs. st. louis.
NHL.com’s “At the Rink” blog (and I think this is NHL.com’s Brian Hedger’s article) provides a more in-depth preview as both the Wings’ and Blues’ media corps are in transit, and it’s not easy to get a late-night flight out of Chicago or Nashville as one might think on New Year’s Eve Eve:
Okay, so the Red Wings-Blackhawks wrap-up and the ensuing notebooks and more gabba about Petr Mrazek and Teemu Pulkkinen’s performances at the World Junior Championships gave the blog software indigestion. So here’s a separate entry regarding the Red Wings’ game against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT) and all that follows:
I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news isn’t good—the Wings won’t face Alexander Steen because he’s got a concussion. The bad news isn’t good, either: while the Blues didn’t hold a grudge regarding Johan Franzen bumping Kris Russell (who’s out with a “hip pointer”), they’re going to have both T.J. Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka and Jamie Langenbrunner in the lineup tonight (they did not play during the Wings’ 3-2 victory on Tuesday) per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.
The Blues felt slighted by luck in their 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville on Friday, as noted by the Associated Press’s recap:
The Blues got a goal from T.J. Oshie. Halak stopped 33 shots.
“It’s frustrating for the whole team, especially for someone like me who takes pride in scoring shootouts,” said Oshie, as the Blues have not won a shootout since March 7, 2011. “To see the effort that Jaro put forth for us tonight and to not get him that extra point ... it’s unacceptable I think.”
The Detroit Red Wings flew back to Detroit for their traditional New Year’s Eve tilt, this time against the St. Louis Blues (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT) lamenting a lost opportunity to gain ground on both Friday night’s opponent and Saturday’s foe, dropping what Wings fans seem to believe is a downright disturbing 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wings are now five points (instead of one, had they won) behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division standings, and because the St. Louis Blues lost 2-1 to Nashville via a shootout decision, the Wings are tied with (instead of two points ahead of) the Blues, more or less necessitating a win tonight to keep pace with both teams.
For Red Wings fans, watching Marian Hossa score the game-winner while Johan Franzen continues to slowly regain his form after a five-game hibernation just added insult to the injury that was witnessing the Wings take five penalties to the Hawks’ one, Jimmy Howard experiencing a very “off” night in whiffing on all of the Hawks’ goals, including Jonathan Toews’ penalty shot/make-up call against Nicklas Lidstrom, and especially watching the Wings squander two one-goal leads via scatterbrained play, but the worst part was…Well, how do I put this?
The Detroit Red Wings fell into bad habits and found themselves paying for earned breaks on Friday, dropping a 3-2 decision to Chicago…And the Wings’ lack of discipline came to bite ‘em in the ass, repeatedly, but the Wings didn’t seem to be willing or able to learn from their mistakes, nor curry favor with the referees.
Don’t get me wrong—the Wings were terribly, terribly inefficient, choosing to chase the puck and chase a Hawks team out puck-possessing the masters of the craft instead of answering the Hawks’ play with more of the same. But after Nicklas Lidstrom hooked Marian Hossa on a breakaway and got away with it, the officiating crew seemed intent upon repaying their kindness, and the Wings were quite happy to indulge them. Lidstrom was then called for a penalty shot infraction against (on which Howard whiffed, big time, on Jonathan Toews’ shot) and then a 2-minute penalty on Toews…
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.