The Malik Report
I can only describe the Red Wings' play over the past two games as..."Something completely different" from what the Wings have delivered their fans for the vast majority of the 2013-2014 season.
The Wings have won their last two games by a combined score of 11-1, defeating Boston 6-1 on Wednesday and roaring into Long Island and taking their first game in...Ten years? Yep, ten years, defeating the Islanders 5-0, thanks to a pair of goals from Daniel Alfredsson, a pair of goals from Darren Helm, and yes, a 29-save shutout from Jimmy Howard, who kept the Wings in it when they were dramatically out-shot early in the 1st period.
So the Wings will descend into the media maelstrom in Ottawa tomorrow, hoping to avenge 6-1 and 4-2 losses against the Sens, and they will do so having played DRAMATICALLY different hockey over the past week than they've displayed over, well, really since the middle of October.
Red Wings forward Darren Helm scored a SPECTACULAR shorthanded goal against the New York Islanders, avoiding an Andrew MacDonald check and then firing the puck--and his stick--toward the net before goaltender Kevin Poulin, who was attempting to make a poke check, ended up kneeing the dekeing and dangling Helm.
Stick and puck score, Helm goes flying, Isles go flying, Wings up 2-0.
And here's his first goal:
I didn't think that the NHL would post it, but RedWingsFeed Tweeted a strange situation in which a player was given significant leeway in terms of "defending himself."
New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck did a fine job of turning Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall's attempt to send Clutterbuck into next week into little more than a missed check, but then Clutterbuck got a gratuitous cross-check in for good measure. Whether it was due to Kronwall's reputation or otherwise, Clutterbuck got quite the free shot in:
I have no problem with a player getting his stick up in an attempt to defend hismelf. I have a problem with him doing it twice.
The NHL "officially" posted a slightly Leafy HBO 24/7 commercial today...
NBCSN posted its first Winter Classic promo, which leaked this morning...
The Triple Deke over at Winging it in Motown penned an absolutely fantastic tribute to The Chief this morning, and the only reason I haven't addressed is is, to be honest...I don't know how to address the magintude of Bill's decision to hang 'em up. I'm still in shock, and I know that the boss and I kind of feel like we've been hit by a two-mile-long Stress Train. We're still stunned.
As Tyler TTD noted, many of us wouldn't be part of a Red Wings community without the Chief having essentially pioneered "what it means" to be a Red Wings blogger and what it means to be a Red Wings fan in the world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook, without the Chief, Herm to Hockeytown 3's imminent December pledge drive might not exist at all, never mind exist in its third iteratation.
There may not be a more influential Wings blogger in interweb history, and as Tyler suggests, the most remarkable part about all of the Chief's bluster, instigating and occasional BS was that absolutely none of it was an act:
Updated 5x at 12:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full when they battle the New York Islanders this afternoon (4 PM EST, FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM; don't expect a "morning skate" for either team), but today's game definitely feels like something of an appetizer for Saturday's media maelstrom in Ottawa and Sunday's Alfredsson Returns to Ottawa affair (5 PM EST, FSD/TSN, and there's some sort of Alfredsson video tribute in the works, too).
After trying to scoff down a Thanksgiving dinner, the team boarded Red Bird III for a 7 PM flight to Long Island. The Wings will battle the Islanders tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM (on FSD and MSG Plus; the Islanders lost 3-2 to Winnipeg on Wednesday, and they've dropped 4 straight games since defeating the Wings 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday the 16th), and then they'll descend upon a media maelstrom ahead of Sunday afternoon's Daniel Alfredsson reunion and/or Wings' attempt to defeat the Ottawa Senators for the first time in 3 meetings (after being spanked 6-1 on October 23rd and 4-2 last Saturday, with both games taking place at the Joe).
The Utica Observer-Dispatch's Don Laible penned a superb review of Mark Howe's memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, and co-author Neil Greenberg told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat's Mike Mastovich that Howe was nearly as blunt as Darren McCarty was was with Kevin Allen in providing honest and forthright recollections about his life's major, minor and sometimes embarrassing milestones--at length...
But this evening, the Utica Observer-Dispatch's Laible offers an insight into a part of Howe's life that he discusses more infrequently than any other aspect thereof in his day job as the Wings' director of pro scouting:
Today, Howe lives out of a suitcase mostly, on the road evaluating prospects and veterans, on a constant search to strengthen the Detroit Red Wings organization. As their director of pro scouting, life is good for Howe.
"I've been doing it (scouting) for 19 years, since I retired," says Howe as he was en route from Hartford,Connecticut to New York's Long Island for a Wings-Islanders matchup. In scouting, a different team, in a different city on a daily basis are the requirements of the position. On this particular visit on the Island, Howe was to meet with Detroit's general manager post-game. The caveat to evaluating the players for the Saturday afternoon NHL game, the previous night Howe, the former Olympian, took in the AHL Hartford Wolfpack home game. Mark was able to stay at his brother Marty Howe's home and skip the usual hotel atmosphere.
Beware, Red Wings fans: an auto-play clip lurks within this entry!
Ahead of tomorrow and Saturday's pair of home tilts in which the Grand Rapids Griffins will host the Texas Stars, Hockey's Future's Tony Androckitis' notes about the Griffins' scoring leaders are worth repeating...
The defending 2013 Calder Cup champions are off and running in 2013-14 and wasted no time showing that last year wasn’t a fluke. The Grand Rapids Griffins opened the season with an 8-1 win over Rochester and lead the Midwest Division by six points with a record of 13-4-1-1.
Leading the way for the Griffins has been second-year forward Tomas Jurco. The Detroit Red Wings’ second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft is fifth in the AHL in scoring with 22 points (10G-12A) in 19 games played and is already approaching his offensive production from his 74-game rookie season where he tallied 28 points (14G-14A). Jurco is not enduring “the sophomore slump” and started the season on a four-game points streak. He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down just yet ,either, recording points in five of his last seven games (5G-3A), including his first professional career hat trick in a 5-3 win over Rockford on November 15th.
On the backend, rookie defenseman Ryan Sproul leads the Griffins offensive attack with five goals and eight assists on the season after coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons as a defender for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. His five goals leads all rookie defensemen while his 13 points have him third in the AHL among rookie defenders. The 2012-13 CHL Defenseman of the Year hasn’t appeared in his first NHL game just yet, but it’s only a matter of time for the offensive defenseman to be given an NHL look.
Grand Rapids' Fox 17 duly noted that Jurco's leading the way for GR:
Various luminaries and political types from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the State of Michigan, City of Detroit, the State and U.S. legislature, the province of Ontario and City of Toronto will be making their presence known at the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but I can only shake my head at this report from the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington, who reports that the worst mayor since Kwame Kilpatrick is sure to do his best to steal the spotlight:
There are 107,000 hockey fans expected at the New Year’s Day outdoor NHL Winter Classic in Michigan and Mayor Rob Ford says he plans to be one of them.
“Definitely,” the mayor said of the much anticipated Jan. 1 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. “I don’t have the plans worked out yet but I want to go.”
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.