The Malik Report
In the wake of the Red Wings’ 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and 5-4 loss to tomorrow’s opponent, the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-less Oilers, a pair of pundits are weighing in as to what the Red Wings might want to do given Jimmy Howard’s status as on the shelf until he can handle the pain of taking shots while playing with a broken index finger grasping his goal stick.
The Detroit Red Wings chose to remain in Phoenix after dropping a 3-1 loss to a potential playoff opponent, sitting a little less pretty in the Western Conference standings (three points ahead of the Canucks and four ahead ofthe Nashville Predators), and at least by judging from the comments made in the quick take and Mark Spector’s Nicklas Lidstrom story, we’re going to get a little philosophical prior to jumping into the Coyotes and Wings’ press’s takes on the game, so that means a necessary jump cut for the uninterested to opt out of:
The Detroit Red Wings tend to suffer a few injuries during February and subsequently go into an early-month slump (usually at the same time that the Nashville Predators, who the Wings play on Friday, make their customary division title push), but man, in their -3-1 loss to Phoenix…
Did the Wings’ special teams ever stink, and did the Wings ever engage in a game where trying too hard to protect your goaltender in fact makes the game tremendously harder on your defense and goalie than it should be, giving Phoenix a much-needed win as they push for a playoff berth and try to send a message to a potential playoff opponent.
Given all the confusion regarding the state of Gordie Howe’s cognitive capacities over the past few weeks, the Red Wings legend’s son, Marty, spoke to The Fan 590’s Bob McCown and John Shannon regarding his father’s issues in terms of short-term memory loss and plain old effects of aging and playing professional sports in the days of, “You’re feeling foggy? Get back out there!”
Give the interview a listen. It’s worth hearing simply because Marty, Murray and Mark have taken care of their father and dealt with his slightly diminished cognitive capacities under an incredibly bright and sometimes harsh media spotlight with the same kind of quiet dignity that their father displayed while taking care of Colleen…And raising his sons and daughter Cathy, too:
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector penned an intriguing column regarding the Red Wings’ future as Nicklas Lidstrom approaches the end of his career, talking about the team’s desire to remain elite even when Lidstrom eventually hangs ‘em up with Wings GM Ken Holland:
“I’m big on defencemen, and I think Nick has been the best at his position,” begins general manager Ken Holland. “We’ve had the most valuable player, in my opinion, in the last two decades,”
Under Holland, the best GM in the business, the Red Wings can survive anything. He’ll likely lose legendary low-post artist Tomas Holmstrom to retirement this summer, and power forward Todd Bertuzzi doesn’t have many years left. But Holland will have over $17 million in expiring contracts after this season, to go along with the $5 million in cap space he currently has.
“We’ve got some kids coming …” Holland said. “We’re like everyone else. You’ve got to find players through the draft, or find veterans (as free agents). I’m big on the Original 6. Hopefully the history and the tradition of the Detroit Red Wings is kind of intriguing to some players down the road. Like it was to Dominik Hasek, like it was with Marian Hossa. That can turn the wheel for you.”
Updated 9x at 7;24 PM: Stuart’s out: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (8 PM EST, NBC Sports/TSN2/WXYT), MLive’s Ansar Khan reports via his Twitter account that gentleman who earned a start between the pipes will indeed tend the net for the Wings, and the Wings might have a problem on defense:
Brad Stuart only player not skating for wings at morning skate in phoenix. update shortly
Here are lines for wings at skate: 93-13-44, 51-40-26, 20-43-11, 48-8-96 (39): 5-18, 55-52, 4-22; 29-31
Ken Holland said Brad Stuart has flu but is probable for tonight.
Danny Cleary left Wings skate early. Been bothered by fluid in knee lately. will update shortly
Babcock said [MacDonald] starting and [Cleary] will play. its his 800th game
The Free Preess’s Helene St. James confirms...
The Detroit Red Wings head into what is, by Michigan standards, an “early” road game against Phoenix tonight (8 PM EST, NBC Sports/TSN2/WXYT) with something of a self-manufactured goaltending controversy and a particularly lackluster defensive performance in a 5-4 shootout loss against Edmonton to recover from…
And the Wings will attempt to right their ship and go 4-for-5 on a road trip which technically started before the All-Star break against a team which is wrapping up a six-game home stand in exactly the same place they were when the Red Wings took Phoenix out via a 3-2 shootout decision to kick off said home stand: the Coyotes sit in 12th place but only 4 points out of the 8th place, having gone 2-2-and-1 over the past five games. They’ve traded wins and losses throughout the streak, but defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Saturday, and it’s there that we start thanks to an astute observation made by the AP’s recap of said game:
Updated at 9:05 PM: The Detroit Red Wings didn’t receive lights-out goaltending from either Ty Conklin or Joey MacDonald at key points during their 5-4 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday evening, but the team in front of him was as porous as activated carbon, standing around and allowing Oilers players to get sticks on loose pucks unobstructed on all four goals—and Sam Ganger’s tip-in goal was the only one where you couldn’t throw a blanket over the number of Wings players crowding their own goaltender.
Hiven Wings coach Mike Babcock’s comments about Conklin, who gave up 3 goals on 9 first-period shots against, it sounds like Joey MacDonald will start when the Wings face the Coyotes on Monday Night’s nationally-televised affair, and after Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner and MLive’s Brendan Savage pressed the “concern” button pretty hard last night and this morning, respectively, FSD’s Darren Eliot (via RedWingsFeed) offers his two cents on the, “Do the Wings need to replace Ty Conklin if he continues to struggle?” discussion on Michigan Hockey‘s website:
Updated 2x at 12:18 PM: The Detroit Red Wings spent Sunday morning flying to Phoenix probably feeling like Ales Hemsky did after he was very cleanly Kronwalled (and even the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples says the hit was clean)—probably a little dazed and confused as to how they’d managed to rally from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to take a 4-3 lead on the Edmonton Oilers…
And yet a three-goal third period wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s defensive miscues or its continued inability to score on the power play (the Wings went 0 for 4 and blew a full two-minute 5 on 3), and in their eighth shootout game, the Wings’ shooters got as cute as they did during the first 40 minutes of play, and as such, they dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the plucky Oilers.
For Edmonton, which has won four of its past five games, witnessing Sam Ganger keep the good times rolling by registering 3 points in his follow-up to his 8-point game against Chicago and managing to rally from their own mistakes was more than enough reason to celebrate, as Gagner himself told the Edmonton Journal’s Joanne Ireland:
Updated with highlights, fights, etc.: The Detroit Red Wings’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers was a tale of would’ve’s, should’ve’s and could’ve’s.
What would have happened if the Red Wings hadn’t given up a 2-goal lead? What should have happened had the Wings not allowed the Oilers to take a 3-1 lead on a goal scored with under a second left in the 1st period? What could have happened had the Red Wings scored on their four power plays—including 2 full minutes of 5-on-3 time which involved passing, passing and trying to cutesy a back-door goal into nowhere?
What would have happened had the Red Wings not rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the third, only to surrender a second last-minute goal in the 3rd, and then fell flat as played as flaccidly as they did during the first and the first half of the second periods?
And why did the Wings try to tempt the shootout gods for the sixth time in their last eleven games?
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.