The Malik Report
Grantland offers something of a strange self-critiquing beast of hoping to establish a higher standard of sports journalism, and today, they’re offering a 21-year-old article by Johnette Howard regarding the “Making of a Goon” named Joey Kocur. It’s a good read, and perhaps these days, it’s an even better read knowing that Kocur ended up winning a Cup with the Rangers in 94, came out of retirement to win 2 more Cups with the Red Wings, worked for the Wings’ coaching staff for a while, and is now both a successful businessman and the president of the Red Wings’ Alumni Association. We need a story about a “goon” with a happy ending right now:
In the beginning, it wasn’t Kocur’s idea to fistfight his way to the NHL. His first fight? He was just fourteen, playing in his first exhibition game with a new team, and an older kid cornered him and dared him to go. He says he was just fifteen when his coach was Gerry James, a sort of Bo Jackson of Canada, who had dual careers with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. James pulled Kocur aside and told him that if he wanted to make hockey a paying career, he had better start fighting with his fists.
“So I did,” Kocur recalls. “I had about ten penalty minutes in the first twenty games. In the last forty games, I had two hundred fifty.”
But Kocur’s start — his real start — came at age seventeen, the night he knocked out a kid named Bruce Holloway in a Western League game in Kamloops, British Columbia. Not every man can recognize a peek at his destiny when he gets it, and even then, not everyone accepts it. But there was no question in young Joe Kocur’s mind that he had done both after he saw Holloway collapse with a suddenness that was astounding.
Continued, and the article’s worth your time.
Red Wings off-day news: Fake Henrik Zetterberg’s hard at work; Joey ‘Mac’ and more Wings-Blues stuff
Updated 4x at 5:15 PM with angry Blues: The Red Wings received their first “off day” in a little over a week today, but the gents behind Fake Henrik Zetterberg, Jacob Hawkins and Greg DeLisio, kept Henrik Zetterberg busy by asking his doppelganger—and his nemesis—to endure a little automotive trouble:
You can follow Jacob, Greg and Fake Henrik on Facebook and Twitter, and their characterization of a hockey-gear-wearing office worker who’s just trying to find his niche in the big city left a smile on my face. I don’t know how they got “earnestly Swedish” down, but they’ve done it.
Updated at 7:28 AM with some CBA stuff: The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday evening merits a two-word description: earned result.
The Red Wings find themselves eye-to-eye with the Blues in the Western Conference standings and limped home (the Wings will at least enjoy their first practice-or-game-free day in ten on Wednesday) the owners of yet another multiple-game losing streak because the Avalanche did a fine job of encouraging a Wings team in still clearly struck in transition to indulge in some particularly bad habits, and the Blues did it better, lulling the Wings into something of a daze before out-hitting, out-working, out-trapping (this is a Ken Hitchcock-coached team we’re talking about) and out-hustling a team that didn’t regain its senses until it mounted a furious and futile comeback.
Given that he’s a teaching coach, just like Mike Babcock, Hitchcock told Fox Sports Midwest’s absolutely delighted that his not-so-new team’s now heeding his lessons:
Updated 2x with videos of Stuart’s save and the Elliott and Howard collisions at 11:46 PM: The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 3-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night because the Wings chose not to learn lessons from their 4-2 loss to Colorado on Sunday, at least until it was too late for anything other than a a final flourish: for the second game in a row, the Wings were out-worked, out-hustled and ground down by a team that paid just a little more attention to detail, worked just a little more efficiently and effectively as a team and, plainly speaking, quite happily indulged the remnants of the Wings’ inner diva long enough to keep its inner grinder indulgently taking a catnap.
As Paul ever-so-kindly noted while I was out, Valtteri Filppula will miss tonight’s game between the Red Wings and St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM, FSD/WXYT in Michigan, Versus/TSN2 elsewhere), but this isn’t exactly a surprise given the severity of the cut he suffered to the front of his left leg on Sunday. Filppula told MLive’s Ansar Khan that he needs a day or two for lingering soreness to subside...
It was sore. I wouldn’t really skate,’’ Filppula said. “The skate (adjustment) was as good as it can be, but I really couldn’t really push it. It was pretty painful. I could cruise around a little bit but when I had to skate a little fast I couldn’t really do it.’‘
He is day-to-day, hoping to play Thursday at home against Phoenix. Danny Cleary will replace Filppula on the line with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler. Cory Emmerton will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past four games.
Coach Mike Babcock said he wasn’t sure how he was going to adjust his third and fourth lines. He might put Emmerton on the wing or have him center the fourth line and put Justin Abdelkader back on the wing on Darren Helm’s line.
Filppula told DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose that he has no desire to spend an extended period of time out of the lineup…
George asked me to update with any news on Flippula while he was out for a few hours…
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula won’t play in tonight’s game at St. Louis (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net Detroit) due to the deep cut he sustained on his lower right shin Sunday in Colorado.
Filppula skated today at Scottrade Center, but didn’t feel comfortable.
“It was sore. I wouldn’t really skate,’’ Filppula said. “The skate (adjustment) was as good as it can be, but I really couldn’t really push it.
As we await news on Valtteri Filppula’s status for tonight’s Red Wings-Blues game (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Versus/TSN2/WXYT), we’ll start our survey of Red Wings-related news on an important charitable note, via the Wings’ Twitter account and Wings community relations manager Christy Hammond, several high-profile members of the Red Wings’ team and management are going to take part in an annual event which will raise funds for one of Metro Detroit’s most active charities this Friday:
The Detroit Red Wings will compete for bragging rights this Friday, December 9, to see which duo can raise the most money for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, as the four teams bell ring between 4-6 p.m. at different Metro Detroit retail locations.
Head coach Mike Babcock will join Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland, who is serving as Honorary Chairman of the 2011 Red Kettle Campaign for the sixth straight year, outside Hiller’s Market in downtown Northville. Six players will pair up at three area stores: the Kroger in Plymouth (Drew Miller & TBD Player), Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (Justin Abdelkader & Darren Helm) and the Kroger in Birmingham (Cory Emmerton & Jakub Kindl).
When the captain of the ship logged off last night (sorry for the non search engine-optimized first paragraphs, by the way), I said something about the realignment issue—DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose says that we can assume that the Red Wings will play in the “Central Conference” next season—that I’d like to proffer amidst the cornucopia of responses (and yes, we’ve got a Red Wings-Blues set-up to get to: the teams play tonight at 7:30 PM EST, and Versus and TSN2 will carry the game in addition to FSD and WXYT):
We’re gonna have to wait to see how this plays out over the course of a season or three before we can truly assess its pluses and minuses. At first blush, and from a totally subjective Wings fan’s perspective, this looks like a “big win” for Detroit as it means less travel, Original Six match-ups at the Joe every year and more road games in the Central Time Zone instead of Mountain and Pacific, but we don’t even know how the NHLPA will approve it, or quite frankly, whether fans will dig so many inter-“conference” playoff rounds (for the next five or ten years, the Wings have exactly six possible playoff opponents in the first and second rounds), the fact that teams which might have more points than those in other “conferences” won’t make the playoff cut, whether we Wings fans are going to miss those rivalries with the Sharks, Ducks and Avs when we’re reduced to home-and-homes with those teams down the line, or whether, over time, the format may seem as drearily divisional as the “eight games against your own division” schedule that came out of the lockout. We don’t know if we’re going to have a 2012-2013 season, either, or where Phoenix will play during that presumptive season, though that’s a story for later today.
Updated at 11:56 PM with Wings brass reaction: You know how I grumbled about the whole, “Nothing’s going to change with regards to realignment” thing on Sunday. Yeah, time for crow. According to half a billion sources—and, most importantly, Gary Bettman and the NHL—the NHL’s Board of Governors have indeed approved radical realignment for the 2012-2013 season (assuming we have one), with the Red Wings joining an eight-team “conference” alongside the Jets, Blackhawks, Blues, Blue Jackets, Predators, Stars and Wild.
That means tons and tons of games against those seven teams, battling against those seven teams for four playoff spots as the West will consist of the larger eight-team conferences, and intra-divisional playoffs and then re-seeding of the “conference” champions for the Semifinals and Finals.
Thoughts? It immediately strikes me that every road game the Wings will play against a team other than Columbus will be in the Central time zone, and that while there’s nothing wrong with a home-and-home series against every other team in the league—especially the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Canadiens and Bruins—I’m gonna miss those four-game sloughs against the Ducks and Sharks, as well as two games in Phoenix where the rink is red instead of “brick.” That and I’m gonna have to get my hate on for the Jets, which won’t be easy…But I’m blathering here. I want to know what you think.
Update: By my math, for the Red Wings, this will mean 44 games against the other “conferences’” teams and 36 against one’s “conference” opponents, breaking down as 5 games against 6 of your intra-conference opponents and 6 games against 1. Then it’s two rounds of playoff against “conference” foes.
Update: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
Biggy update: The bus is going on tour!
With less than a month left in the NHL’s All-Star fan balloting, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who was left off the ballot, is way down near the bottom of the “leader board,” but that hasn’t stopped WRIF 101.1 FM’s Meltdown from teaming up with the Wings to engineer a last-minute surge of fan support:
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, via a Q and A session with fans, suggests that Jimmy Howard has indeed arrived in the discussion of the league’s best goaltenders…
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.