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The Malik Report

Nobody hates the Red Wings? Really?

I would prefer to not overload regular KK readers with, “All Red Wings, All the Time” coverage, but this particular article is a little too good to bury in the sea of Red Wings-Canucks practice day updates. The Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre believes that, and I quote, the Red Wings are, “The Dynasty That No One Hates,” and have “Earned the Love” of legions (cue cries of protest from Blackhawks, Blues, Predators, Sharks, Ducks, etc. fans, as well as those who are not appreciative of Tomas Holmstrom’s art of goaltender imitation). Thankfully, Wings coach Mike Babcock doesn’t believe MacIntyre for a second:

“Does it do me any good to have a theory after you just made that nice statement?” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday when asked about the double-standard and why no one hates the Wings. “Just write it like that. Perfect. I think we’re a good team and I like to think we play the game well. We’re a team that plays between the whistles and that’s just the way our personnel is built. We’d play different if our personnel was different. You coach what you have and play with what you’ve got.”

See, even the coach throws the general manager under the bus. Reprehensible.

“I played against Detroit more than I played for them, and the good way to put it is you have respect for them,” defenceman Mike Commodore said. “A lot of guys end up staying here for a long time. Other guys come in here and maybe their career is at a standstill or they’re on the backside of their career, and they’re able to come here and get rejuvenated. Players respect that, too. The way things are done in Detroit has garnered respect. It’s a pretty clean hockey team. We play hard, but nobody in here is running around getting in people’s ears. We play a clean, straightforward, puck-possession kind of hockey.”

 

Yeah, but just try explaining away all the winning. In 6 1/2 seasons since the lockout, the Red Wings are 338-142-63 — 196 games over .500. Including his two pre-lockout seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, Babcock’s career coaching record is 407-204-96. Of the 26 other guys with 400 NHL wins, only Scotty Bowman has a better winning percentage than Babcock. The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and came within Game 7 of retaining the trophy the next season. After two years that qualified in Detroit as disappointing — fewer than 50 wins and second-round playoff exits — the Red Wings are back on top of the NHL at 34-16-1.

“It’s not just winning a Cup,” Babcock said of the challenge. “It’s after you’ve won Cups; how many can you win and how long can you keep it going? We live scared (of failure) every year. We’re scared to death the first 20 games, and then we’re scared not to make the playoffs and then we’re scared once we get in the playoffs. We’ve been scared since before I got there and I know I’m scared for them now. I think if you take your dog-and-pony show somewhere else (as a coach), it’s probably easier for the first year. You see all these coaches who come in and their team is good for one year, and the next year you guys are all talking about them. So to me, (one year) is not the measure. The measure is year after year after year. That’s what our organization is pride of, that’s what I’m proud of. You’ve got to do it every year.”

Said Zetterberg: “If we don’t win the Cup, it’s not a good season. That’s the standard we’ve had ever since I’ve been here and I think the young players that come in feel the same way.”

But why does no one hate the Wings?

“I don’t think that’s true,” he said. “I think there are teams that hate us.”

MacIntyre concludes by noting that when the Sharks, who Zetterberg cites as a heated rival, met the Canucks in a game where Joe Thornton jabbed Henrik Sedin in the face with his stick, assuming that this never happens to Red Wings players…

But I’m not sure if MacIntyre takes offense when a goaltender gets purposely and repeatedly “snowed” and occasionally comes up swinging, or whether he gets the concept that the Wings might have a team persona that’s as Vanilla Bean-flavored as Nicklas Lidstrom, but winning does indeed breed contempt, even if you’re not nearly as mouthy as the Canucks, Hawks or Bruins.

That being said, I can’t speak as an expert on the subject, because I’m a Red Wings fan, and I’d like to believe that we are anything but “spoiled” watching a team that wins as often as it does. Detroit’s more casual sports fans may not appreciate what the Wings do on an every-night basis, but man, when you watch a team that’s got Pavel Datsyuk doing magic tricks, Nicklas Lidstrom being Nicklas Lidstrom and players like Holmstrom working their butts off…It’s hard to not be incredibly grateful for every minute of hockey you’re privileged to witness as the Wings continue a 20-year stretch of dominant hockey into the second decade of the 21st century, nor is it anything less than incredibly gratifying to know that yes, my Wings are hated, and hated by many, many other teams’ fans because they win so very regularly.

And because of Homer, too, but again, I think he’s nothing less than a master of a dirty, nasty profession.

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Comments

Avatar

Uh the Wings are definitely hated, I believe Mr. Redmond once said a season or two ago the rest of the NHL would take great delight in the Red Wings’ struggles simply because, as you say George, we “win so very regularly.”

Posted by TheBen on 02/02/12 at 12:13 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

You are right George. Homer is the poster boy for all of Detroit. He is the pedestrian,lunchbox totin,blue collar work ethic that emulates a prototype Detroiter that we all admire and worship. If we had clones of him in Washington DC,this country would be as prosperous as the 1950’s.

I am still on the fence with hockey sticks too George. I have Warrior and Easton sticks and both have good and bad points. I like a 4 lie stick and Warrior is the only company that makes them. I just got a Easton with a Zetterburg curve that I am still figuring out and is a 5 lie.

Thanx for all your hard work George and hops you got your batteries recharge during the ASG.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 02/02/12 at 12:15 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m willing to wear down the heels of my Eastons with Lidstrom patterns and 5.5 lies because I just can’t use used to a stick that doesn’t have Kevlar in it.

My first stick when I graduated from street hockey Mylecs and an Easton Aluminum (very stiff!) was a Louisville TPS Kevlar stick made by Fontaine, and it was half Kevlar and half graphite. Easton’s sticks have a similar feel, but sans Kevlar, everything else feels too plastic-y to me, whereas Eastons feel more like a ceramic material.

The batteries were recharged until the Wings got to Vancouver and I spent the last 8 hours working on off-day posts raspberry Thank goodness the Wings only visit Vancouver twice a year, because their press corps is INSANELY thorough.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/02/12 at 12:20 AM ET

Avatar

Not really sure where this guy is pulling this ish from.

I like a 4 lie stick and Warrior is the only company that makes them.

Personal preference obviously, but how the hell do you stick-handle with that? I went from a 6-lie to a 5.5 and the puck falls off the heel all the time for me. A 4-lie would make me feel like Corey Perry on the break-away challenge with the knee hockey stick.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 02/02/12 at 12:52 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

I still use wood sticks.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 02/02/12 at 01:30 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I bet you still listen to Def Leppard too CiHH

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/02/12 at 03:14 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Here’s what I’ve got to say about sticks:

Just as it took a long, long time for companies to adopt the “Easton standard” when it came to measuring stick flexes, we’re still in a world where you can theoretically buy a stick that has a lie of anywhere between 4 and 9 for a player and 9 and 14 for a goaltender…

But while Warrior does indeed make sticks whose blades lie at such a low angle of incidence to their blades that you might need to play skating on your knees to hold the stick upright, and Sher-Wood makes sticks with blades so close to at a right angle that even Mickey Redmond couldn’t use a 3-foot-long model holding the stick directly between his legs like a golf putter…

Most companies tend to blend their lies. A Warrior stick with a 4 lie might be a 5 for Easton, with Warrior’s 5 corresponding to Easton’s 5.5 and Easton’s 6 corresponding to the inordinate amount of Bauer or Reebok sticks with lies listed at 7.

It really depends on the blade pattern and its profile as you hold it in your hand, because I’m so prone to wearing down the heels of blades that I’m sure I could inflict the same wear on Cigar Nurse’s Warrior that I could on one of Niklas Kronwall’s pro stock sticks. So many blade patterns have rocker bottoms that it’s really hard to determine where exactly the “lie” lies, and I do think that Easton and Warrior do the best job of trying to be honest about that measurement.

It’s pretty similar with goal sticks, too, which makes things very complicated. There’s a reason that if you go to a real brick-and-mortar hockey equipment store, they’ll tell you to bring the stick you already like using to the store to find a suitable replacement that might very well be listed at a different flex, lie and type of curve than the stick you use.

All I know is that I’m very lucky that I like what’s known as the Lidstrom curve for player sticks and a Hasek heel curve for goalie sticks, because no matter what brand I’m looking at, I can ask someone for the closest equivalent and try it out to see if things match up.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/02/12 at 03:30 AM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

guh, i live in San Francisco. In “Shark Territory”, as they call it. I can confirm that they definitely hate us.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 02/02/12 at 05:30 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t know if MacIntyre’s ever been to a Wings game in Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim, Phoenix, St. Louis, or Denver, or Nashville…or even Columbus. Hate is anything but too strong a word.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/02/12 at 05:45 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I haven’t gotten warm fuzzies wearing Red Wings gear in Pittsburgh or Chicago.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/02/12 at 11:06 AM ET

Avatar

Did u guys watch the All Star Game? I hate watching NBC try and act like they know what hockey is all about. All they boosted about was the fact that all the eastern conference teams had all the best players.

Lundqvist is the best goalie in the league. He has been a phenominal goalie during his career, but they gave no love to Howard at all. The goalie with the most wins and a great save percent and GAA. Also, not one of them have Pavel in the top 5 picks. Malkin is awesome, but Pavel is the best in the world. Pavel doesn’t get the numbers because he is more of a team player, also he plays defense better than most star players as well.

Anytime I watch the Wings on NBC, the announcers never give them any love. The Boston game for example. I believe that Detroit should be in the eastern conference because of the time zone thing, but just because the eastern teams have faced mediocre teams for Lord Stanley, NBC thinks that the east is the best.
Non is better than Detroit, we have all 4 lines that contribute.

Posted by Tom from Southwest Michigan from Benton Harbor, MI on 02/02/12 at 01:15 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Olzcyk should never be allowed to call a wings game.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/02/12 at 01:30 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Hmm, I guess they are ignoring Colorado in that article.  Wearing Wings stuff around here always makes for interesting comments.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 02/02/12 at 01:46 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I have a pal in Denver who’s originally from Detroit and is a passionate, passionate Wings fan. He’s a gentle soul who likes doing things like making stained glass art and photographing flowers and insects close-up, so he’s literally someone who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he’s also 6’4” and is built like Paul Bunyan or Todd Bertuzzi (frickin’ huge).

When he goes to Avs games, fans still chat, “Red Wings suck, you suck,” and things like, “Faggot!”

So he just gets up out of his seat, stretches his 6’4” frame and says, “Why yes, I’m a Wings fan, and I’m a faggot, too. Do you have a problem with that?” and those Avs fans shut the hell up.

I admire the hell out of that man.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/02/12 at 02:09 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I don’t get any of the nastiness you guys receive when you’re wearing the Wings sweater.  I mostly get the thumbs up and winks.  Nothing virulent.  I did get one retiree and his wife pass by me and said, “I’m sorry for your team.”  I said, “Don’t be.  I got four Cups:  two in my ears and two in my eyes.”  I’ve seen that guy and his wife several times after that and they don’t say anything to me anymore.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 02/02/12 at 02:49 PM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

Is he calling Douche Canoe a ‘no one?’ i whole heartedly agree…

Posted by The Hurricane on 02/02/12 at 03:30 PM ET

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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.