The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/17/13 at 12:55 PM ET
Updated 12x at 4:21 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to tangle with the unbeaten (6-and-0) Colorado Avalanche tonight (9 PM, FSD/Altitude/1270 AM), it looks like it's going to be one of those hype-filled days...
Dater's referring to his story about the Avalanche's hopes of setting a team record while Roy takes what Dater describes as his "first swing" at Detroit while coaching the Avs, and the Denver Post suggested that the city's pro sports teams are without real rivals, necessitating a little old-rivalry-drumming-up for the sake of stirring the hornet's nest.
PREVIEW of the Avalanche's game tonight vs. the Red Wings: http://t.co/kyTNuJDiZz— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 17, 2013
USA Today's Mike Brehm's predicting that the Avalanche will set their team record this evening...
For 18 years, the names Patrick Roy and Mario Tremblay have been tied together because of the above incident in which Roy demanded a trade after the Montreal Canadiens coach left him in too long during a blowout loss.
Now, they are tied together by early coaching success.
Tremblay won his first six games in 1995-96 (with Roy in net) as an early-season coaching replacement and Roy has won his first six this season as a rookie coach for the Colorado Avalanche. That’s an NHL record for best career start by a coach.
And Roy can break that record tonight with a home win against the Detroit Red Wings. A 7-0 mark would also tie the franchise record for best start to a season.
Throw away his opening-night glass rattling and Roy has been composed and has a young team playing over its head.
That night in December 1995 was good for Roy. He won two more Stanley Cups with the Avalanche and had a ready home waiting for him when he was looking to get back to the NHL as a coach.
We say Roy will be a record-setting coach after tonight.
Our prediction: The Avalanche win 3-1.
Cue the Wings-Avs brawl clip!
NHL.com's John Kreiser's "Daily Primer" focused on tonight's matchup as well:
Patrick Roy was a record-setter during a playing career that earned him a berth in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He'll try to add another record to his resume Wednesday, this time as a coach.
Roy has led the Colorado Avalanche to victory in each of his first six games as coach, matching the mark for consecutive wins at the start of a coaching career set by former teammate Mario Tremblay with the 1995-96 Montreal Canadiens. Ironically, Roy was in goal for all six of those games.
To break the mark he shares with his old teammate, Roy's current team will have to beat an old nemesis -- the Detroit Red Wings, who had one of the NHL's fiercest rivalries with the Avalanche from 1995 through 2003. The Red Wings come to Pepsi Center with a three-game winning streak of their own.
Detroit Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche -- In the absence of injured starter Jimmy Howard (bruised left hand), Jonas Gustavsson stepped up and stopped 64 of 67 shots in back-to-back victories against Boston and Columbus. Howard is questionable, but the Red Wings have to feel a lot better after Gustavsson's performance against the Bruins and Blue Jackets. Colorado allowed 41 shots in back-to-back games but won both of them thanks to Roy-esque goaltending by Semyon Varlamov, who has allowed six goals while winning all five of his starts. Still, the Avalanche are allowing an average of 35.3 shots and being outshot by five per game; like Toronto, that's not a formula for season-long success.
The Red Wings' Game Day Blog also posited something of a game set-up...
A decade ago, a 'Red Wings vs. Avalanche' matchup was a date fans would circle on their calendars from Day 1.
Since then, the two teams have taken very paths; the Wings maintained their status quo, reaching the playoffs every year and winning another Stanley Cup. The Avs, on the other hand, experienced a roller-coaster ride that eventually took them from contenders to cellar dwellers, including a last-place finish in 2013. But after a complete overhaul upstairs, behind the bench, and on the ice, the undefeated Avalanche have re-set the bar in Denver a mile high. Welcome back, old friends.
While many are wondering whether Colorado's early rise back to relevance is real or just smoke and mirrors, tonight will be a real test for them when a hot Detroit team comes to town riding a three-game winning streak. Led by Patrick Roy, this time as head coach, the Avalanche battling the Wings will be must-see TV once again.
Welcome to the Detroit Red Wings Game Day Blog, where you can get behind-the-scenes information, thoughts from players and staff, and up-to-date news on anything and everything Red Wings on game day.
You can tune in to tonight's 9:00 PM ET game on Fox Sports Detroit or listen in on AM 1270.
And this historical note makes me a little verklempt:
On This Day in Red Wings' History...On October 17, 1991
Defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov records his first NHL point in the Wings’ 6-3 win over St. Louis.
I can't remember whether this was the game that Konstantinov got tossed from for flipping off the crowd with his glove on, but I know that the Wings just lit up Blues back-up Vincent Riendeau before trading for him.
8 [Red Wings Last week 8]: Eastern Conference life is suiting the Wings just fine, as they’ve reeled off three consecutive wins despite goaltender Jimmy Howard’s injured hand.
As did Fox Sports' Eric Stephens:
5 Red Wings [record] 5-2 -0 [up] 1 [highest/lowest] 5/6
GOOD NEWS: Newcomers Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson have settled into the team’s offensive flow.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Jimmy Howard suffered an early hand injury.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite that minor setback, these guys are having lots of fun after moving to the Eastern Conference.
I can only roll my eyes at Grantland's Sean McIndoe's suggestion that the Western Conference is better than the Eastern Conference...
If you're interested, the Toledo Blade posted a Walleye season preview section ahead of the team's season opener on Saturday (in Fort Wayne), and Mark Monroe duly notes that the Walleye's roster includes Wings prospects Trevor Parkes and Max Nicastro, as well as goaltender Jared Coreau.
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, where Darren Helm, Gustav Nyquist and Cory Emmerton will be in attendance when the team raises its Calder Cup banner on Friday vs. Milwaukee...
The Griffins just issued a press release regarding the highlights of their...concessions stand offerings.
Hockey fans are known to sacrifice their headwear for a hat trick. But will they sacrifice their stomachs for one?
SAVOR, the concessionaire of Van Andel Arena, is rolling out a smorgasbord of new food and beverage offerings this season for fans of the 2013 Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
Chief among these delicacies is the Hat Trick, a three-pronged gastronomic test. Priced at $20, it features three jumbo hot dogs with toppings, a three-patty burger, and fries. Individuals who complete the Hat Trick challenge in 20 minutes or less will receive a t-shirt and the satisfaction of having consumed an unthinkable number of calories to fuel them as they cheer on the Griffins.
The Hat Trick will be available during all non-Friday games. Orders can be placed at Guest Services behind section 104 and picked up at stand 2 behind section 110.
For fans whose thirst trumps their appetite, SAVOR is proud to introduce both a series of three championship souvenir soda cups and a new selection of Michigan craft beers.
Each of the three large collectible cups will be released at different times during the 2013-14 season. Priced at $5.25, these top-shelf dishwasher-safe cups feature scenes from the Griffins’ on-ice celebration following their historic victory in Syracuse.
And in the "For Further Reading" department...
So I'll quote PHPA.com's Evan MacDonald:
With the start of the 2013-14 season, David McIntyre finds himself playing with a new organization, something that comes with the territory of being a professional hockey player. “So many things come with changing teams: relocating to a new house, learning new systems, meeting new people and making new friends. I was nervous, but when I arrived in Grand Rapids I was amazed at how many people were so welcoming and easy to make friends with.”
Last season, the 26-year old played for the Minnesota Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, where he notched 15 goals and 18 assists while registering a +19. During the off-season though, the Aeros relocated to Iowa.
“Moving from city to city is unfortunately what a lot of players deal with on a yearly basis so I guess most of us are used to not knowing where we will be playing from year to year.”
When asked about his time with Houston, knowing that the team would be relocating at season’s end, McIntyre only had good things to say. “Leaving was bittersweet; the fans were unbelievable making it hard to leave because of how supportive they are. We also had a nice arena, and there is a lot to do in Texas. It really is unfortunate there isn’t hockey there anymore.”
While McIntyre enjoyed his two years in Houston, the Pefferlaw, Ontario native knows it is time to look forward. “Being in Grand Rapids is a breath of fresh air especially knowing that my family can come see me whenever they want. Pretty much everyone on this Grand Rapids team was part of the Calder Cup Championship team from last year, while I am the guy who was beat out by them in the first round. We all had to watch the highlights, and the ceremonies. It is cool and great to see it, but I never got to be apart of that last year and I want to do everything I can to help the team win the Cup again this year.”
I will let you read Sean Leahy's note about Staffan Kronwall's poor attempt to imitate his brother's checking on your own as the Avs' morning skate is underway...
This quip from Dater should come as no surprise:
Scouts from the following NHL teams will be at the Avs-Wings game tonight...
Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, two scouts from the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens. Montreal has been to many Avs games so far.
Hey, at least ESPN's Scott Burnside's picking the Wings!
Adem (Freeport) Who will be the team to beat SJ and COL to hand them their first loss?
Scott Burnside: Adem; I'm going to go for the daily double; I say Detroit does it to both clubs starting tonight with the Avs. Who knows, maybe a little Chris Osgood/Patrick Roy dust-up at the pre-game meal as Osgood doing some analysis for the Wings.
I believe that Osgood stated that he'd be filling in for Mickey Redmond both tonight and on Saturday.
In terms of player personnel news, neither the Avs nor the Wings practiced on Wednesday, so I was waiting for personnel news before opening the entry, though this took me over an hour to put together. This is enough to click "open":
Update #2.6: Per the Avalanche's website's game notes, Tim Peel and Graham Skilliter will referee tonight's game, with Bryan Pancich and Thor Nelson working the lines.
Update #3: Oh joy, more power rankings, courtesy of the Hockey News's Rory Boylen:
9. Detroit: Jimmy Howard keeps flying under the radar despite his steady play. Though five games he’s 3-2-0 with a .922 save percentage, which may be low compared to other totals this early in the season, but it’s a sustainable number he’s posted for three of the past four seasons.
Update #4: Oh joy, redux:
AUDIO: Avs-Red Wings Morning Podcast. We hear from Nate Guenin, John Mitchell, Gabe Landeskog and Coach Patrick Roy.
No changes? No changes.
The Detroit News is confirming that Gustavsson starts:
Jonas Gustavsson will start his third consecutive game in goal for the Red Wings when they play the Avalanche tonight in Denver.
Gustavsson, 28, backstopped the Wings in victories over the Bruins, 3-2, Saturday and the Blue Jackets, 2-1, Tuesday. Regular starting goaltender Jimmy Howard missed those games due to a sore left (catching) hand.
Last season, Gustavsson started four games and appeared in seven overall while missing 14 due to injuries. He finished 1-0 with a 2.92 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage.
The former Maple Leaf sports a 1.50 GAA and a .955 save percentage this season.
Howard will be on the bench for the game against the Colorado, which started the season 6-0.
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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.