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Red Wings-Avalanche pre-game storylines: a complimentary Roy is a dangerous Roy

Updated 3x at 8:36 PM: Amongst the stories immediately ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche (9 PM EDT, FSD/Altitude/1270 AM)...

The Red Wings' website posted its game-day preview, in which Ken Kal speaks with Danny DeKeyser, Luke Glendening (and Fox Sports Detroit's Mary Brady assured all of us that FoxSportsDetroit.com will post Chris Osgood's interview with Patrick Roy online):

In the Twitter department...

I don't know about you, but I have issues with Vimeo-embedded videos, and as such...

Via Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Haford and RedWingsFeed, Rick Sadowski posted his game-day entry a little late...

The Colorado Avalanche can tie a franchise record for consecutive wins to begin a season (seven) with a victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at Pepsi Center. The Quebec Nordiques began the 1985-86 season with a 7-0-0 record. But Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Thursday morning he wants his players to remain "humble" and to focus more on what they need to do against the Red Wings rather than be concerned about the record.

"I'm saying to the players every day, let's stay humble," he said. "We want them to be humble, we want them to take it one day at a time. When we met Ray Bourque in Boston (last week before the Avalanche's 2-0 win against the Bruins), Ray said, why not us? Those have been the words we've been using, why not another win tonight? We certainly want to focus on things we control, and what we control is how we're going to prepare ourselves tonight."

The once-fierce rivalry between the teams has disappeared over time with player changes and the fact the Avalanche have fallen from their elite status of the mid-1990s and early 2000s while the Red Wings have remained strong.

"I see excitement in the media, but for us we don't look at ourselves in their position right now," Roy said. "We've missed the playoffs four of the past five years. We have to regain that, the respect of other teams. We're a long way before we're getting to where the Red Wings are. It's amazing what they've been doing over the years. They've been there every year."


Roy said the personal record isn't that important to him, but Avalanche players would like nothing better than to help him pass Tremblay.

"It'd be great," center Matt Duchene said. "He'd have that record over Mario Tremblay, which is pretty funny, very ironic. It'd be great to get it done for him. For ourselves too. It'd be great to go to 7-0."

The Denver Post's Adrian Dater posited his prospective Avs lineup, as well as a lineup note of his own:

Same lineup as has been the case lately:


Scratches: Barrie, Holden, Cliche.

Jimmy Howard can’t go for the Wings in net because of his hand injury, so backup Jonas Gustavsson will get the call.

Terry Frei will have your coverage of the game tonight, as I have a 3:30 a.m. wakeup call for a multi-step journey to Buffalo.

And now I have to be honest about this: there is nothing that scares me more than Patrick Roy being calm, cool and complimentary toward the Winged Wheel, because he was never more of an *#$%@& on the ice than he was during games he preceded with praise for the Red Wings and their players.

He was downright gushy about the Wings at the morning skate, as you may have noticed during the game-day entry, and while I can only nod and agree with MLive's Brendan Savage's suggestion that the Wings-Avs rivalry has faded, I can't help but get the feeling that Roy will want to inject some hotheaded stupidity back into it...

And man alive, was he paving the road to underestimating one's opponent while speaking with MLive's Ansar Khan...

“In my junior (coaching) years I was looking at what Babcock has been doing; he’s one of the best coaches in our business,’’ Roy said. “(Blues coach Ken) Hitchcock is the same thing. A guy like (former Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens coach) Jacques Demers was a great motivator for our team. Pat Burns had a great read of the game. Burnsie was tough with us but at the same time I thought he was fair, which is something I’m trying to use with our players. Even in Denver, (Marc) Crawford and (Bob) Hartley were great coaches.’’

Roy, the Hall of Fame goaltender many Red Wings fans grew to hate over the years because of his tenacity and perceived arrogance, was humble and particularly effusive in his praise for the Red Wings before the game.

“We don’t look at ourselves in their position right now,’’ Roy said. “We’ve missed the playoffs in four of the last five years. We have to regain that respect from other teams. We’re a long way before we get to where the Red Wings are. It’s amazing what they’ve done over the years. They’ve been there every year. I think (general manager Ken) Holland did a really good job, Babcock is a great coach, they have a great coaching staff. We certainly can look up at them to help ourselves have a great future.’’

The future could be now for this talented, young Colorado club, which is off to a 6-0-0 start.

“We’re working well as a unit of five, we’re tracking really well, we’re back-checking really well,’’ Roy said. “I’m looking at the top teams, Detroit is a good example, their players are back-checking really hard, they’re playing hard. It helps the defensemen to hold the blue line.’’

He stresses the same things Babcock has since he arrived in Detroit in 2005-06. Roy said he has met Babcock only once, at the 2012 entry draft in Pittsburgh.

“We talked about power play breakout,’’ Roy said. “The Red Wings break out really well on their power play, they’re hard to predict what they’re going to do. I like their structure, they have great structure defensively. Sometimes you look at teams and you think their key is their offense, but it’s also how well you play in your own zone. Because if you play well in your own zone you’re going to get the puck faster, you’re going to go on offense, you’re not going to spend so much time in your own end, and obviously puck management. Detroit tries to create a lot of space for the one who has the puck. It’s tough to defend. They protect the puck well.’’

The Free Press's Helene St. James...

Roy knocked out Chris Osgood during a morning interview, figuratively speaking. Now an analyst for FSD, Osgood did a one-on-one with Roy. It was the first time the two had talked since they famously fought on April 1, 1998, a year after Roy had fought Mike Vernon during the epic March 26, 1997 bench-clearing brawl at Joe Louis Arena.

“I asked him who was tougher, Vernie or I,” Osgood said, “and he really didn’t answer other than that Vernie cut him, so I think he’s going with Vernie. I wasn’t about to question him, because he’s still pretty big.

“He’s a very, very smart man. It was great talking to him. He exudes confidence and winning. His team has taken on his personality.”

Roy was just as entertaining during his morning presser, a chunk of which he spent complimenting the Wings for having made the playoffs 22 straight seasons: “We certainly can look up to them to help ourselves to have a great future for our team.”

He also revisited the old days, smiling as he reviewed especially the 1995-96 season, where the Wings figured so heavily. He was in net for nine of the 11 goals they scored in Montreal on Dec. 2, 1995, which prompted Roy to demand a trade. Five months later, Roy led the Avs past the Wings in the Western Conference final and onto a Stanley Cup.

“It was a great battle at the time with the Red Wings,” Roy said. “You look at every year, when we were playing each other, the team that was winning had a good chance at the Stanley Cup. I think in the period of that eight years, the Red Wings won three times and we did two times. That’s not bad for two teams winning five Stanley Cups in the period of eight years.”

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

“It was a great battle at the time with the Red Wings,” said Roy, now a rookie head coach of the Avalanche. “Every year when we were playing each other, the team winning (the series) had a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

“In an eight-year span, the Red Wings won three times and the Avalanche two times. Not bad for two teams to win five (Stanley Cups) in a period of time. It’s easy to develop a rivalry in a situation like that.”

Defeating the Red Wings in the 1996 conference finals, after arriving in Colorado in a trade from Montreal, was Roy’s favorite memory of the era. Ironically, it was the Red Wings who helped Roy get traded with a lopsided victory in Montreal that forced a trade.

“It was good to play them in the playoffs,” Roy said. “I’m not saying I was looking for revenge, but at the same time, it was an opportunity to show I was capable of helping a team. Everyone in Montreal thought my best years were behind me. It was important to make a statement in those playoffs.”

Roy taped a pregame interview with Chris Osgood, one of his former adversaries, for Fox Sports Detroit. It was the first time the two had met and talked off the ice.

“I was very impressed,” said Osgood, who regards Roy as the best goaltender ever. “He’s a very smart guy. He had an interesting perspective on the Detroit-Colorado rivalry. He has a lot of passion for hockey and he genuinely cares about the young guys.”

You can watch Roy speak with the media for 9 minutes if you wish to do so...

And if you read the game-day post, you know that there are no changes to the Wings' lineup this evening. Gustavsson starts--Khan, St. James and Kulfan all reported that Jimmy Howard will "go" on Saturday...

The plan right now is for Jimmy Howard (bruised left hand) to play Saturday in Phoenix, after getting a couple more practice days.

“That’s what the game plan is,” said Howard, who who’ll back up Gustavsson tonight. “After not taking any shots for a couple of days, we thought it would be smarter, and as well as Gus been playing, to get a couple of work days.”

Howard took part in the morning skate Thursday with no issues.

“Everyting went well,” Howard said “I was catching pucks fine. I got hit there and it didn’t do anything, it’s a good good thing. I just caught it in a funny spot in the palm (the original injury). After the game it wasn’t bad, but the next day in practice I got hit in the same exact spot and that’s when the hand begn to swell.”

Gustavsson was excited to get another chance to play.

“As a goalie you want to play,” Gustavsson said. “This is another great game against a team (Colorado is 6-0-0) that’s been being playing well.”

If you want to read KUSA 9's take on Roy bringing the "Why Not Us?" mentality to Colorado, you may most certainly do so, and this tidbit about the Saginaw Spirit's career fair from the Saginaw News's Cory Butzin ought to raise your eyebrows:

The Great Lakes Bay Region has a storied history of successful athletes on the playing field. Shane Stout and the Saginaw Spirit are trying to extend that success to the front office.

The second annual Saginaw Spirit Sports and Entertainment Career Fair comes to The Dow Event Center from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Blueline Club with teams such as the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and others attending to find candidates for openings in their organizations.

“What we want to really achieve is to help students or anybody looking to break into the sports industry,” said Stout, Saginaw Spirit director of group sales. “It’s hard to break into the sports industry.

"The Detroit Pistons have five full-time job openings, and they’re coming here to look for talent. The Detroit Red Wings, they’re looking to the Great Lakes Bay Region for talent to bring to Detroit.”

Update: The Griffins tossed out a promotional advisory:



Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 vs. Charlotte Checkers

Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena (doors open at 6 p.m.).

$2 Beers and $2 Hot Dogs: Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and $2 domestic drafts from 6 - 8 p.m., while supplies last.

Free Ride Friday on the Rapid: Ride the Rapid to and from any Friday game and enjoy complimentary fare by showing your ticket to the game. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps.

H&R Block College Night: College students can show their ID to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden's.  

Get in the D-ZONE: Every Friday night is a Griffins D-ZONE night. Avoid the concession lines and get your $2 beers and $2 hot dogs served to you in your seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit http://griffinshockey.com/dzone to get your tickets today.

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 vs. Charlotte Checkers

Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena (doors open at 6 p.m.).

Amway Winning Wednesdays: Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Fans can also enjoy a buy-one, get-one-free deal on a 16 oz. Pepsi all night long at any concession stand that sells fountain drinks.

Library Nights: For every Sunday and Wednesday game, fans can present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the night of the game or at The Zone anytime during the store’s regular business hours to save $7 off the price of a Lower Level Faceoff ticket (regularly $18 in advance and $20 day of game). Limit four tickets per card per person, subject to availability.


Update #2: In the player Twitter department...

I feel no shame in the fact that my Chrysler Pacifica was built in Windsor as I grew up spending my wekends eating at the Harvey's Hamburgers across the street from the plant on Tecumseh Avenue, but my next car is going to be literally made in Detroit, and it's going to be the Dodge version of Martin Frk's new vehicle:

Attaboy, Frky.

Update #3: The Avs website's Rob Knabenbauer penned a game-day entry, too:

"We're trying to stay perfect here," center Matt Duchene said. "Last game, we didn't play our best so we need to have a little bit of a bounce-back game tonight."

Dallas outshot Colorado 41-26 in the contest and 35-16 in the final two periods. The Stars had good scoring chances throughout the game and ended up firing 68 total shots (including shots that missed or were blocked) compared to the Avalanche's 44, but Varlamov and his defense in front of him helped bail out the Avs and allowed them to squeak out the win.

"We feel last game we didn't play as well as we would like but still found a way to win," forward Alex Tanguay said. "We like to win. It's been fun so far, but we have a long way to go and a lot of work to put in. Certainly, we'll have to have our work boots tonight."

The evening's opponent will be a good measuring stick for the young Avs as they take on their old rival in the Detroit Red Wings, a club that has made the playoffs the past 22 seasons.

Despite the rivalry not being what it used to, both teams have plenty to play for. The Red Wings will be looking for their sixth win and fourth in a row. The Avalanche will be looking to fix the errors from Tuesday night and help get Patrick Roy sole possession of the NHL record for consecutive wins by a head coach to begin a career (he is currently tied with Mario Tremblay's 6-0 start in 1995-96).

Roy said he wants his team's focus to not be on going 7-0 but on their preparation for the Red Wings.

"We certainly want to focus on things that we can control, and what we can control is how we prepare ourselves tonight," Roy said. "How we are going to be focused. What kind of work habits are we going to have tonight on the ice? How we are going to forecheck them. How we are going to backcheck. These are the details that I would rather see our team thinking about than looking at the big picture (the result of the game)."

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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.