The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Dallas Stars tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD Plus, Fox Sports Southwest Plus, AM 1270) hoping to rebound from a disappointing loss against Chicago while playing a team in somewhat similar circumstances.
The Stars have also undergone some roster revisions (see: Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy), they've welcomed Jamie Benn back into the lineup after re-signing him, but one of their new additions is on the IR (Roy) and their back-up goalie's banged-up as well.
Both teams are works in progress, and while the Wings' larger contingent of injured players (see: Darren Helm, out till the weekend with a bad back, Ian White, out for at least another week with a lacerated quadriceps, Carlo Colaiacovo, out for two more weeks with an injured shoulder, Jonas Gustavsson, who may return from his groin injury in time for the Wings' back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, Mikael Samuelsson and Jan Mursak, who did not practice as they are nursing groin and shoulder injuries, respectively, and Valtteri Filppula, who's not practicing to save wear and tear on a still-healing MCL sprain) and incredibly crappy power play (2 for 26 thus far) separate them from the in-progress Stars...
The in-progress Red Wings are also receiving excellent goaltending from their starter in Jimmy Howard, just as the Stars defeated the Wings 2-1 a week ago thanks to a 39-save performance from Kari Lehtonen, and there's one more important difference between the two teams: the Stars are 2-3-and-1 after having dropped a 2-1 decision to Columbus on Monday night, and the 2-2-and-1 Wings don't want to find themselves sporting a 2-3-and-1 after tonight's game.
As noted by MLive's Brendan Savage, earlier this evening, WDIV reported that a young man passed away after the Wings' game against Minnesota after a fall from some height in the Joe Louis Arena parking garage. His death was accidental.
I saw the report (which is embedded in the story) on the evening news, and don't know what to say other than to suggest that you read the story if you wish. Pretty awful stuff.
Lost admist the cavalcade of injury updates during and immediately after the Red Wings' practice on Monday (see: Darren Helm (back) needs rest and may return next Tuesday, Jonas Gustavsson (groin) practiced and may play in one of the Wings' back-to-back games this weekend, Mikael Samuelsson (groin) did not skate, Ian White (thigh laceration) is probably a week out, Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) is probably two weeks away, and while Valtteri Filppula (sprained MCL) skipped practice he'll probably play tomorrow) were the Red Wings' ponderings regarding their attempts to improve their hideous power play.
In terms of the Wings' attempts to dig their 2-for-26 power play out of the gutter, the line goes something like this exchange from Slap Shot:
Fan: "You guys gotta stop losin'. Get the power play together."
Reg Dunlop: "Yeah, we're working on it."
In the Red Wings' case, that involves making some surprising personnel tweaks--including promoting Jakub Kindl to the second power play unit--and something of a difference of opinion between Johan Franzen and Wings coach Mike Babcock.
As noted yesterday evening, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea has revealed that Ilitch Holdings and Olympia Entertainment have at least proposed that the Wings' parent company could end up leasing Joe Louis Arena's follow-on rink from the State of Michigan's "Michigan Strategic Fund," which would limit the taxes owed to the City of Detroit, Wayne County and the State of Michigan by the organization.
It must be noted that Comerica Park and Ford Field have similar arrangements--and it's worth noting that the Ilitches have always leased Joe Louis Arena from the City of Detroit.
This afternoon, Shea follows up his article with a Q and A that helps explain the reasons that the Ilitches made the proposal while the follow-on rink remains an exploratory and theoretical entity as opposed to a specific structure that's going to be built at parcel X, paid for by fund Y and built starting in year Z:
Updated 6x at 4:24 PM with news about Ian White's healing quadriceps injury:
The Detroit Red Wings somewhat appropriately flew back to treacherous, icy weather in Southeastern Michigan on Sunday night, hoping to avoid accidents on the road after lapses in confidence, execution and self-confidence played large parts in the team's slip-and-slide 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago--minus an MRI-bound Darren Helm (back)--hoping to tweak the team's woeful power play (it went 0-for-6 in 11:17 of PP time) and avoid injuries during Monday's practice before wrapping up a slate of three games in five nights against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
The Wings now possess a 2-2-and-1 record, with only one of their wins coming in regulation time, and their 2-for-26 power play, inability to score goals in the first period and their understandable but still inexcusable lack of confidence as the team attempts to forge a post-Nicklas Lidstrom identity--though it should be noted that the power play stank on ice for the final two seasons of Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom's tensures with the team--all add up to a team that's going to be under a considerable amount of pressure to right itself and start winning with its present personnel, injuries or no injuries, by playing the kind of determined, speedy and even gritty kind of Red Wings puck possession hockey that the team displayed during long stretches of its win against Minnesota last Friday.
If the present contingent of Red Wings players doesn't steady themselves by the time Jiri Hudler and the Calgary Flames have left town next Tuesday, then we're talking about a team that's played nine games (over a sixth of a 48-game season), and even given Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo's absences from the blueline, the front office must seriously consider adding some NHL-savvy fresh blood to the personnel equation.
Updated at 10:56 PM with stats and highlights: The Detroit Red Wings are most certainly a team in search of an identity that they have yet to find. The Wings looked downright scared throughout the first and second periods of their 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks--giving the Hawks a 6-and-0 start--but the Wings played with so much guts, gusto and grit in the third period, tying the game and sending it to OT thanks to some spectacular puck possession (the Wings ended up looking like they could indeed keep up with the Hawks, just as they skated circles around the Wild once they played the system they've been taught to play, regardless of the personnel they have) and wonderful goaltending from Jimmy Howard...
But in OT, and perhaps in no small part due to the fact that the Wings appeared afraid to shoot on a power play that went 0-for-6 in a remarkable 11:17 of PP time, a team that out-hit, out-shot and eventually out-worked and out-competed the Blackhawks ended up losing because Justin Abdelkader chugged off the ice after Henrik Zetterberg won a faceoff in his own zone, as Zetterberg chugged up ice, the Blackhawks went the other way, Viktor Stalberg drew both Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson to the left side of the ice in the Wings' end (why Babcock chose to take Lashoff off the Kronwall pairing late in the game is beyond me), and Damien Brunner, who'd gotten onto the ice late, ended up kinda sorta intercepting Stalberg's pass to pinching defenseman Nick Leddy...By tipping it past Jimmy Howard.
The Wings may have deserved much better, but they also seemed to earn their unfortunate break in this instance.
I'll add some stats and highlights in a bit, but I want to know what you think about this one. I'm pissed off given that the Wings' identity quest was marred by a terrible power play and a sense of indecisiveness that has cost the Wings too many points already.
Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea promised a blockbuster on Sunday evening, and he's delivered. According to Shea, Ilitch Holdings and Olympia Entertainment, who do not own but instead lease Joe Louis Arena from the City of Detroit, are proposing that that their follow-on rink be owned by and leased from the State of Michigan:
The Ilitch family, which owns the Detroit Red Wings, has privately floated the idea that the state of Michigan own a new downtown hockey arena proposed for the National Hockey League franchise.
The suggestion to possibly use the Michigan Strategic Fund as the venue's owner was discussed in a November meeting between state economic development executives and representatives of the Ilitch family, according to copies of emails obtained from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. by Crain's through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Details of that meeting have not been disclosed, but a source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Crain's that the Ilitch organization was suggesting state ownership as part of the preliminary brainstorming for the new venue.
The fund, which can sell low-interest bonds for projects, is an autonomous board within the quasi-public MEDC and was created in 1984 to promote economic development. The fund owns the Cadillac Place office building in Detroit's New Center area and the Michigan House of Representatives Building (Anderson Office Building) in downtown Lansing, the MEDC said.
This is just an idea at present, but why would the Ilitches propose leasing their stadium in a similar manner to their leasing of Comerica Park from the Downtown Development Authority? Shea goes into that subject at significant length, but the bottom line involves taxes and liability (and those of you who are familiar with the Ilitches' way of doing business know that the bigger business empire consists of hundreds of Limited Liability Companies):
Updated 4x at 6:29 PM with Khan reporting that Helm will have an MRI on Monday, per Ken Holland: Urgh. I was wondering why I was tossing and turning during my pre-game nap, but ahead of tonight's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks (7 PM ET, FSD/CSN Chicago/WXYT AM), RedWingsFeed provides us with bad news from Fox Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson...
And MLive's Ansar Khan is confirming...
Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm had a setback with his back injury and will not play tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Helm returned to the lineup in Friday's 5-3 win over Minnesota. He left midway through Saturday's practice. The team has just ruled him out for tonight. No word on how long he will be out.
While offering lineup notes via Twitter:
Updated 2x with likely lineups at 1:47 PM: In theory, anyway, the Detroit Red Wings' uphill battle against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (7 PM EST, FSD/CSN Chicago, AM 1270) was supposed to yield very little in terms of game-day news as NHL.com's Brian Hedger reported that neither team would hold a morning skate (the Blackhawks will be playing their sixth game in nine nights this evening, and the Wings aren't far behind as they'll be playing their second game in three nights and their fifth game in nine nights), but I rolled over this morning, checked RedWingsFeed's Twitter page on my phone, and could only shake my head at the following Tweet from Ken Kal:
Hockey players are hockey players, and while this late-riser's idea of a pleasant way to wake up for a hockey game does not involve 20 minutes of strapping and taping on one's hockey gear, skating for 20 minutes, spending 10 more minutes peeling off one's hockey gear, and then riding a bike for 30 minutes, the Red Wings' players seem to be pre-programmed to do just that, even if they've been told that they can sleep in. As such, the Red Wings' Twitter feed offers some pertinent game-day information...
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.