The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/21/13 at 09:18 PM ET
My apologies for the lateness of this one: I was feeling under the weather today.
Anyway, the Red Wings flew from Detroit to Anaheim on Thursday afternoon, and instead of resting their legs, they practiced ahead of an incredibly challenging pair of games against the Ducks on Friday (10 PMEDT, FSD Plus/NHL Network U.S.) and Sunday (8 PM EDT, FSD):
After the Wings skated, Babcock spoke to MLive's Ansar Khan about the Wings' injury issues...
“We thought he would be back against Minny (Wednesday). Obviously, things haven't gone good,'' coach Mike Babcock said. "I see Bert there riding the bike, so that's a positive thing for us and a positive thing for Bert.''
Todd Bertuzzi made his first road trip since Feb. 7, when he injured his back in St. Louis. He doesn't know when he can start practicing, however, let alone return to the lineup.
Asked if Patrick Eaves (sprained temporomandibular joints in his jaw) would be available Friday, Babcock said, “I asked him if he was going and he said he's asking the trainer, so that didn't sound like, 'Yeah, I'm going.' ''
After practicing with a guard attached to his helmet, Eaves said he's not sure if he's playing Friday.
“We'll see how tomorrow is. Just took the puck in the chin and it's pretty sore still,'' Eaves said. “Obviously, I didn't want to get wired again, that shortly after getting unwired (he broke his jaw on Nov. 26, 2011). I think I dodged a big bullet by not breaking anything. It's still pretty sore.''
Babcock indicated he'll likely use the same lineup that played in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Wild.
“Doesn't sound like I have any options, so we'll see,'' he said. "I might move some guys around. We'll get that figured here.''
He said of defenseman Kyle Quincey, who's out four-to-six weeks with a fractured cheek bone and not on the trip: "He's waiting for the swelling (to go down), so he can really get looked at (to determine if surgery is needed). I don't imagine Quincey's going to be around anytime soon.''
And he continued while speaking to the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Sunshine and seventies aside, the Wings got into Long Beach airport late, making for an even later afternoon practice at Honda Center. The Wings play the Ducks Friday and Sunday, a rare two-stop that may be one of the few upsides to the lockout shortened 48-game season.
Todd Bertuzzi is on the trip -- he said he needed to get on the road again with his teammates "before I pull out all my beautiful hair over this," meaning the back pain that's sidelined him since Feb. 7. He isn't on the horizon to play just yet - but then neither is Darren Helm, who didn't even make the trip after suffering a setback just as he'd made real progress with his back injury. He's played one game, on Jan. 25.
Defenseman Kyle Quincey isn't on the trip either; he's still waiting for the swelling to go down enough to be re-examined. He was hit by a puck last Friday at Edmonton, suffering a fractured cheekbone. Forward Patrick Eaves is nursing a sprained jaw joint.
All in all, Mike Babcock said he doesn't anticipate making any lineup changes for Friday's game. The Wings are looking to rebound after losing, 4-2, Wednesday to Minnesota. The Ducks meanwhile, are 22-3-4 overall and haven't lost at home in two months.
"They must be due," Babcock said. "The bottom line is, any time someone is having a streak, you'd like to be the team that stops the streak. They beat us 5-2 in our building, I think they got an empty-netter, but it was 2-2 going into the third and they were better than us. So we have to respond here tomorrow."
Babcock also spoke to St. James about Damien Brunner's scoring struggles of late:
Mike Babcock is banking on Damien Brunner to find some inspiration in Teemu Selanne. The Detroit Red Wings will play the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and Sunday, facing, among others, fabulous 42-year-old Teemu Selanne.
"He's pretty special," Babcock said Thursday as the Wings prepared to practice at Honda Center. "I just saw he scored his 107th game winner. That's not bad. I actually gave the article to Brunner, because he just hasn't scored in 10 games. It just goes to show you, that you do score again if you just keep doing good things.Teemu is a great personality. He's a good man, he's a good in the community. He's positive every day. He likes hockey. He's remaining youthful and he can still skate and he can still flat-out score."
Brunner has gone cold the past 11 games, after scoring 10 times his first 19 games.
Back here in Metro Detroit, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa confirmed that Niklas Kronwall won't be suspended for hitting Wild forward Charlie Coyle...
Niklas Kronwall's open ice check on Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild at the beginning of the second period Wednesday was determined to be clean, the NHL said Thursday.
"Player safety reviews every play every night," said Gary Meagher, vice-president of media relations for the NHL. "(The) Kronwall hit was full body hit."
And that is the way body-checking is supposed to be done in the NHL.
Some broadcasters and others in the traditional media, as well as those commenting on blogs and in tweets, asserted Kronwall targeted Coyle's head during one of his patented "Kronwalled" moves along the sideboards. But replays confirm a clean play, with Kronwall hitting Coyle hard on the upper chest and barely contacting the head.
Kronwall's feet are on the ground as he hits Coyle. As the impact occurs, Kronwall's feet rise. He swings a bit like a pendulum, with his momentum carrying his lower body behind Coyle.
The replays also show while Kronwall carried his stick high during the check, it appeared not to contact Coyle, although the referees called Kronwall for high-sticking and assessed four minutes because Coyle bled. That referee's decision is not subject to review by the NHL.
What caused Coyle to bleed? Good question. Perhaps the impact of the hit caused him to bite his lower lip, on which a member of the training staff for the Wild was seen working, after Coyle skated to the bench.
The play is likely to be debated for a while, especially given Kronwall's reputation, and the fact that he has never fought in the NHL.
Kronwall offered the following take on his hit to MLive's Ansar Khan:
“I haven't seen enough replays,'' Kronwall said. “I feel like I didn't hit him clean (meaning solidly), I just missed him, I think. Whether it was an elbow or not, I don't know if my stick got him, but that's what the penalty was.''
As for Bertuzzi...
He had what he called his first “real'' session on the stationary bike before his teammates hit the practice ice Thursday at the Honda Center. For now, that's all the big forward with back issues can do. But, he called it a “huge step.''
After receiving his fourth and final pain-killing injection recently, he hopes to try skating before the end of the trip.
“If anything, it'll probably be toward the end, so I got to make sure my leg gets bigger and stronger so I can afford to go out there and actually stride,'' Bertuzzi said. “Not just go out for a five-minute twirl just for the sake of it.''
This is the first time Bertuzzi has traveled with the team since Feb. 7 in St. Louis, when he hurt his back.
“It's not a lot of fun when you're away from the guys for over a month,'' Bertuzzi said. “It'll be better when I'm at that point where I'm ready to come back. I know I can help this team. I'm just hoping I get that chance. As long as I keep getting better and stronger every day and see improvement, then I'll start taking different steps. If you rush, you (set) yourself back and you're back another two weeks, and I can't afford to do that right now.''
As Paul noted, TSN's Kerry Fraser weighed in on Jordin Tootoo's waved-off goal:
This potential goal was just one inch away from being placed under video review once Referee Dave Jackson deemed that the puck was struck with a high stick by Red Wing forward Drew Miller. Given the perspective that Jackson had on this play I can absolutely understand how he felt the puck was struck by the stick of Miller when in fact it was Dany Heatley's 'swinging glove' that made contact with the puck and caused it to travel toward the open corner of the Minnesota goal.
The 'gloved puck' was about to enter the net by virtue of its own momentum when Jordin Tootoo contacted the puck on the goal line and pushed it into the net with his stick. Since Tootoo touched the puck prior to it crossing the goal line, Referee Jackson deemed that a high stick pass violation had resulted and play would be stopped immediately, thereby nullifying the goal. An Officials decision made on a puck that has been passed to a teammate with a high stick cannot be placed under video review.
If on the other hand, had the puck crossed the goal line prior to being touched by Tootoo, video review could have been utilized to confirm or overturn Referee Jackson's initial call on the ice to disallow the goal. The Referee would have still waved the goal off thinking that Miller had put the puck directly into the net with a high stick but video review would overturn that decision with the knowledge that Miller did not make contact with the puck.
Since the Referee deemed an illegal pass had taken place as opposed to a puck batted directly into the net with a high stick, there was not an option for him to signal a goal. (Or err on the side of calling it a good goal on the ice and then having video review take over as you suggested Mark.)
The standard operating procedure is that the Referee on the goal line MUST make a decision on the play when the puck enters the net as demonstrated with a clear signal. He must either point to the net to signal a goal or utilize an emphatic wave off as Referee Jackson did on this play. The reason for this is in cases where video review can be utilized but returns an inconclusive verdict the Referee's decision on the ice will stand - right or wrong!
Jordin Tootoo and the Detroit Red Wings were just an inch away from having the proper decision rendered by video review to allow Tootoo's centering pass from the corner to stand as an unassisted goal.
On Wednesday night, the Red Wings had a goal denied because referee Dave Jackson ruled the puck was batted out of the air by Drew Miller, whose stick made contact with the puck above the height of his shoulders. It landed in the crease where teammate Jordin Tootoo tapped it in, but Jackson blew the play dead because he viewed Miller's contact with the puck as constituting an illegal pass. However, the replay showed the puck was not touched by Miller but rather hit off the glove of Minnesota's Dany Heatley, which would have made it a good goal, since Miller did not touch it.
Under current rules, however, that is not a reviewable play. Only if Miller's contact had immediately resulted in the puck going in the goal would the play have been eligible for review, and anything more than that is left to the judgment of on-ice officials. Those who want to institute a coach's challenge would say that is the perfect illustration why.
Update: Lovely (the last one):
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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.