The Malik Report
The Red Wings flew back to Detroit on Thursday night having accomplished none of their goals—in staying healthy, sharpening their special teams and continuing to round into playoff form—thanks to a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in which the Wings lost the services of Henrik Zetterberg (ankle) for the rest of the regular season, traded one-and-done chances with the Canes and both tried to get “too cute” on a 4-minute power play and gave up a goal as soon as Drayson Bowman finished serving his double minor for bloodying Danny Cleary’s nose.
Zetterberg (who’s suffered his second significant ankle injury thanks to nemesis Bryan Allen) and the Wings limped out of the rink only a point behind the 2nd-place San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference standings because the Sharks, who have a game in hand on Detroit, lost to Anaheim, and the Wings offered the all-too-familiar, “We played well, but they were more desperate” line to the press. It’s starting to sound more than a little hollow, while the Hurricanes, who are still two points behind the 8th-place Rangers in the East, were delighted with their effort.
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, who stopped 42 shots, spoke to the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander about his performance and the Canes’ mindset going forward, while duly noting that the Canes’ ability to both kill off the Wings’ 4-minute power play and extend their lead shortly thereafter essentially determined the game’s result:
I just hope it’s not a high ankle sprain: Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg left Wednesday night’s game between the Wings and Hurricanes after appearing to twist his ankle as his left leg collapsed underneath him when cross-checked by Bryan Allen, and after the game, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the Wings don’t plan on taking any chances with Zetterberg:
Coach Mike Babcock said he doesn’t know the extent of the injury but assumes Zetterberg will sit out the final two games of the season against Chicago.
“He got his leg tangled up with someone out there. We’ll have our own people check him out when we get back tomorrow,’’ Babcock said. “He probably won’t play through the weekend. We’ll see after that.’‘
Updated: This is very rare, but NHL.com posted a video of Zetterberg suffering his injury:
Update Wings coach Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson that he has, “No idea about Z, it looks like he got his leg tangled up, he’ll get looked at by the Wings’ team doctor and they’ll go from there.”: Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg twisted his left ankle in a collision with a player who once broke his leg in Hurricanes defenseman Bryan Allen during the first period of Wednesday night’s game, with Zetterberg’s left leg and ankle getting caught underneath him and Allen stood him up at the Canes’ blueline, and after trying to continue playing in pain, he left the ice with a noticeable limp and trainer Piet Van Zant. MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings don’t plan on taking any chances with Zetterberg’s health going forward:
Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg left Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first period with an apparent lower-body injury and won’t return, the club said.
Zetterberg was shaken up on a hit by Bryan Allen in the neutral zone with 8:14 left in the first period. He limped to the bench, where he was attended to by trainer Piet Van Zant. Following a TV timeout, Zetterberg took another shift. Then he headed to the dressing room.
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms:
Despite the fact that more than a few journalists have decided that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom is no longer the Norris Trophy’s flavor of the month favorite, ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun suggest that logic and Lidstrom should prevail in a blog entry which reveals B&L’s individual NHL award favorites:
Burnside: An incredibly close race with Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky leading all blueliners in points, Shea Weber having a tremendous second half in Nashville and Zdeno Chara and Keith Yandle making a case in Boston and Phoenix. But for us, Nicklas Lidstrom’s continued blue-chip level of play for a Detroit Red Wings team that once again has had to battle significant injuries gives Lidstrom the edge. As one NHL GM pointed out to us this week, the fact that he isn’t playing as much with Brian Rafalski has put more pressure on Lidstrom and he still does it all at the highest level. As for those who point to Lidstrom’s plus/minus (he is minus-1 through 79 games), never mind. The stat means next to nothing.
LeBrun: For a while, it appeared Lidstrom was going to run away with his seventh Norris Trophy in a cake walk, but hard-charging Visnovsky of the Ducks has made it quite a race with his league-leading 66 points among defensemen. We also point to his plus-15 rating. And that’s where Lidstrom’s detractors are pointing to, the Wings captain’s minus-1 rating as of Wednesday morning. But I attribute that more to the team’s defensive struggles this season and not the legend’s own play. Chara also deserves strong consideration, while Kris Letang, Yandle and Weber also have merit. In the end, I find myself vacillating between Lidstrom and Visnovsky. In the end, even at age 40, “The Perfect Human” still rocks.
If any story has ever illustrated the fact that the medical community’s understanding of concussions remains imprecise at best, it’s this bit of news from TSN’s Darren Dreger, in the latest installment of the “Dreger Report”:
Neurotopia…have you heard of it? It’s an American-based training program that is focused on strengthening athletes mentally - by measuring and registering brain activity comparitively when an athlete is most alert as opposed to relaxed. Additional tests within the program reportedly allow Neurotopia to determine the location of brain injuries following specific traumas, which is very appealing to at least one prominent NHL player agent.
CAA Sports - the agency that represents several NHL stars including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane sees tremendous potential in this technology and may introduce their stable of stars to it in the offseason. Pat Brisson says he has had several meetings with Neurotopia and will be meeting with them again this week with the goal of introducing the program to his clients at his camp this summer.
“It’s brain therapy,” explains Brisson. “But, this technology may also be used as a base-line test for ultimate performance in the future.”
Brisson says Crosby, who has been sidelined with a concussion since early January, has the information and is looking into the program and its potential longterm benefits.
Continued with discussion about Raffi Torres and the Turco bet.
Updated 4x prior to the game at 6:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a Carolina Hurricanes team whose playoff hopes essentially hinge upon winning tonight’s game (7 PM EDT, FSD+/FS Carolinas/WXYT) and getting a little help in the standings, as NHL.com’s Dan Rosen points out...
DETROIT (46-23-10, 102 points) at CAROLINA (38-30-11, 87 points)
Where they stand: Detroit is third in the West; Carolina is ninth in the East
What’s at stake: This game means everything to Carolina, and it would behoove the Hurricanes to win in either regulation or overtime. The Hurricanes are four points behind the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference race but they have a game in hand and just one fewer non-shootout win. If the ‘Canes can beat the Red Wings in regulation or overtime, they would pull even in non-shootout wins and within two points of the idle Rangers for the final playoff spot. The Sabres are watching closely because they will clinch a playoff berth if the Hurricanes lose in any fashion.
Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner spoke to Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom about the near-ridiculous level of scrutiny #96 has faced in front of opposing teams’ creases this season, suggesting that he can only try to adjust to the inconsistency with which referees have essentially applied the old “crease rule"whenever Holmstrom tries to legally screen an opposing team’s goaltender:
“You never really know what they’re going to call,” Holmstrom said. “You watch some games, and they’ll call this and that. I don’t think they know themselves.”
“You’re battling around the crease, you get knocked down, you’re getting up,” Holmstrom said, “and the thing is, you get pushed and cross-checked into the crease, and you’re battling to get out, but they don’t see that. They (opposing players) do it on purpose. It’s—I don’t know—stuff happens so fast out there. I’m sure that you miss some stuff. Maybe they should review it. Why not?”
Holmstrom plans on butting out from now on, both figuratively and literally speaking…
Per PR Newswire and the NHLPA:
With the postseason beginning next week, many NHL players are set to support a great cause by growing out their playoff beards - and they want hockey fans to join them. The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) have joined together to launch the NHLPA Beard-a-thon, an exciting charitable initiative that will help the Foundation in purchasing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for local hockey arenas and communities across Canada.
Scott Hartnell, NHL veteran and well-known beard grower, will serve as the “Chairman of the Beard” for the NHLPA Beard-a-thon in its inaugural campaign.
“I am very honoured to serve as ‘Chairman of the Beard’ for the NHLPA Beard-a-thon,” said Scott Hartnell, whose mother survived a stroke in 2001. “This is a foundation that is near and dear to my heart and I hope other Canadians support it in a major way. I can’t wait to grow the best beard and raise money to put more AEDs in local Canadian hockey arenas and communities.”
Hockey fans everywhere can log-on to www.beardathon.ca or www.nhlpa.com for more information on the NHLPA Beard-a-thon. On the website they will be able to support the cause in three different ways: growing their own beard as they seek donations from friends and family; pledging a friend, family member or anyone else who is growing a beard; or, by making a pledge to their favourite beard-growing NHL player participating in the playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings can all but extinguish the playoff hopes of the 9th-place Carolina Hurricanes (who are four points behind the New York Rangers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference) if Detroit prevails in tonight’s game (7 PM EDT [not 7:30], FSD+/FS Carolinas/WXYT), and the same is almost certainly true for the Wings if the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit’s back-to-back opponent on Friday and Sunday, lose in St. Louis tonight.
The Red Wings, who remain without Niklas Kronwall (“upper body”) and Chris Osgood (probably not playoff ready), stated repeatedly on Monday that, as their pro scouts continue to crisscross the continent, the players and coach Mike Babcock remain focused on only playing the best that they possibly can with three unofficial “dress rehearsals” remaining.
The Red Wings didn’t receive good news on the injury front during today’s practice as both Niklas Kronwall (“upper body”) and Chris Osgood (sports hernia surgery) remain sidelined, but the Wings have received an in-house reinforcement thanks to the performance of Justin Abdelkader, whose two-goal game against the Nashville Predators punctuated his emergence as a player who can do more than just drive the opposition to distraction, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke suggests:
The Muskegon, Mich., native is in his first full NHL regular-season, playing in 71 games, where he’s been a physical impact player, leading the team with 179 hits. He has seven goals with a 11 assists and has a plus-13 rating.
“I’ve just got more games under my belt, more experience, more comfortable, more confident,” Abdelkader said. “I just feel like I belong now, compared to previous years.”
Abdelkader’s battled inconsistent play at times, and has spent time in the press box as a healthy scratch as a result, but he suggests that his resurgent play and “can’t-sit-him” status in Mike Babcock’s eyes have something to do with listening to his elders:
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.