The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/17/13 at 11:55 PM ET
Thanks to an unnecessary and reckless hit, the Detroit Red Wings played without a concussed-but-okay Niklas Kronwall for the vast majority of what I certainly hope was a team-defining 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The game had all the hallmarks of a Wings-Avs game: a fight, a stupid, stupid, stupid hit by Cody McLeod yielding a bizarre, "Okay, yeah, he hit the dude and is gonna get the gate, but let's give the Wings a penalty" set of rulings from an incredibly inconsistent set of officials, a Red Wings second-period collapse--and whlie I know that many of you will get down on Jonas Gustavsson, he's faced a ton of rubber, folks, and he's owed some "run support" given how badly the Wings have been out-shot of late--and of course fantastic performances from a "veteran" in Johan Franzen, a leader in Pavel Datsyuk and a "new kid" in Daniel Alfredsson...
As a fan, this win feels damn good, especially knowing that the Wings have denied Patrick Roy's Avs a franchise record-setting 7-and-0 record...But as a fan, it also doesn't feel right knowing that Kronwall may be out for some time.
The Red Wings did indeed score their first goal on an eventual power play thanks to Cody McLeod's game misconduct, with Johan Franzen giving-going-and-taking in front of the net with Henrik Zetterberg before depositing his first goal of the year behind Varlamov at 6:08 of the 1st...
And ten minutes later, after the Wings killed the first of four penalties, Pavel Datsyuk elegantly and elouqently slid this Alfredsson pass into the net with 5 minutes left in the 1st...
The Wings seemed to los their focus coming into the 2nd, and as part of an effort in which the team was out-shot THIRTEEN TO FIVE, Erik Johnson had the red sea part for him on a power play, 2:36 in, and chipped the puck over Gustavsson...
The Wings just kept on watching the Avs skate up the ice with speed and plow pucks into Gustavsson, and when Drew Miller got suckered into both fighting Cory Sarich and cross-checking him, per Hockeyfights...
The Avs capitalized on the power play as "Gusto" (hey, we have a "Gus," can't we call "Monster" something else?) gave up a squeaker to Gabriel Landeskog after Landeskog beat EVERYBODY to the puck, roaring in and firing with 5:18 left in the 2nd.
The Wings got a power play late, but essentially "killed the period" and licked their wounds.
When they came out for the 3rd, the Wings looked like themselves again.
They pulled another classic Wings play--they slowed down the game, corralling the puck and pausing behind the net before working breakouts that would occasionally re-set to back off the Avs, and when they started to ramp things up, the Avs ended up taking a very painful penalty, with Alex Tanguay going for holding.
Tanguay, one of the principals in the 02 playoff series, found himself watching Alfredsson plow the puck up ice to Justin Abdelkader on the left wing, and Abdelkader work it side-to-side to Franzen, who buried a one-timer past Varlamov 7:10 into the 3rd...
And after a few more Gustavsson saves, with 6:25 left in the 3rd, Daniel Alfredsson doggedly chased his own giveaway, got the puck back, and shoveled it to Datsyuk, who scored his second of the night--giving Alfredsson 3 assists and the Wings all the margin of victory that they would need.
The new Alfredsson-Datsyuk-Zetterberg line has been nicknamed the "Eurotrain" by Ken Daniels and Chris Osgood...
But the Wings wouldn't have hung on without Gustavsson. He faced 13 shots in the 2nd and 17 in the 3rd for a total of 40 shots to 28 Wings shots, and when Danny DeKeyser received a late even-up with all of 21 seconds left, Gusto continued pumping pucks into the corner, looking athletic, almost like--as Osgood said--an 80's goalie, acrobatic and barely controled, and as Pavel Datsyuk suggested after the game, Gustavsson looked like he was having a ton of fun out there.
Now the Wings will hope that Kronwall, who's the cornerstone of their defense, will recover soon, and while Jimmy Howard will relieve Gustavsson when the team hopes to assuage an embarrassing home loss when it battles the Coyotes on Saturday, everybody in the locker room owes Jonas Gustavsson a ton of thanks and a ton of credit for delivering 3 straight wins in which the Wings were out-shot and out-chanced but not out-goaltended.
As Babcock said, it's up to Shanny to decide what the hit on Kronwall will yield, but it's sure as *#$%@& not up to the Avs' announcers, who thought that it was awesome.
If you missed it...We All Bleed Red posted a video with Avs commentary...
And NHL.com posted the Wings broadcasters' take:
Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's report:
The Red Wings said Kronwall has a conussion and cuts to his right ear, but is otherwise OK. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher following the hit at 2:13 of the first period. He was down on the ice and motionless for a few minutes but did move his arms and legs while being attended to by medical personnel.
Kronwall was not taken to the hospital. He was alert and responsive in the dressing room.
"He's in the building and was talking to the doctor when I left (the dressing room),'' general manager Ken Holland said.
Holland said Kronwall will not return to the game but he will accompany the team to Phoenix after the game.
"I think tomorrow we've got to see how he feels,'' Holland said. "He talked to the doctor. He's alert. Let's get to tomorrow morning, let's see how he's doing.''
Holland stopped short of calling it a concussion, even though that's what the team said it is.
"He obviously hit his head,'' Holland said. "he was being evaluated. He was going through the sequence of events.''
I hope that he's going to be okay--Trevor Thompson reported that Kronwall simply felt that he'd put himself in a bad position...
And I hope that the Wings manage to walk out of the building flipping off the Avs and their fans for their classlessness.
Stupid is as stupid does, and in The Hypoxia High City, Atrick's Avs are now a high-octane bunch of cheap-shot artists and punks.
*#$%@& 'em and *#$%@& their record. Homey don't play that shit. Detroit don't play that shit.
I know that's not professional to say, but I am a fan in the end, and I am saying a hundredth of what I WANT to put out on the public record because I'm trying to be as professional as this biased Wings fan can be when "his" team's defenseman gets smoked from behind for no good reason.
Update: Two more things:
1. Babcock said that, "It's up to Shanny" to determine what the hit on Kronwall was when speaking with Trevor Thompson;
2. And the Wings clearly need to convince Johan Franzen that they're always playing the Avs, every night.
FYI 2: Here's the NHL Tonight's analysis of the game...
And here's Bob McKenzie on the hit:
Update #2: Statistics:
Shots 40-28 Colorado overall. Detroit out-shot Colorado 12-10 in the 1st but was out-shot 13-5 in the 2nd and 17-11 in the 3rd.
Detroit went 2-for-3 in 4:10 of 5 on 4 PP time and went 0-for-2 in 2:00 of 5 on 4 and 5 on 3 time, or 2-for-5 in 6:10 overall. The Avs went 2-for-5 in 6:55 of PP time.
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 38 of 40 shots; Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 of 28.
The 3 stars were picked by Altitude's Mike Hayes, and he picked Gabriel Landeskog, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.
The Wings' goals: Franzen (1) from Zetterberg (5) and Kindl (2), PPG;
Datsyuk (3) from DeKeyser (1) and Alfredsson (6);
Franzen (2) from Abdelkader (2) and Alfredsson (7), PPG;
Datsyuk (4) from Alfredsson (8).
Faceoffs 29-25 Colorado (Detroit won 46%);
Blocked shots 18-16 Detroit;
Missed shots 10-8 Colorado (total attempts 68-52 Colorado, with the Wings firing 28 shots on Varlamov and 24 wide or blocked);
Hits 24-13 Colorado;
Takeaways 10-7 Detroit.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-12 (48%); Weiss went 5-and-8 (38%); Glendening went 5-and-5 (50%); Andersson went 4-and-3 (57%); Zetterberg lost his only faceoff.
Shots: Datsyuk led the Wings with 8 shots; Alfredsson, Andersson and Franzen had 3; Kindl and Abdelkader had 2; Miller, Lashoff, Zetterberg, Glendening, Ericsson, Cleary and Weiss had 1.
Blocked attempts: Kindl and Franzen hit Avalanche players 3 times; Alfredsson, Datsyuk and Cleary had 2 attempts blocked; Lashoff, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Kindl missed the net 3 times; Alfredsson missed the net 2 times; Tootoo, DeKeyser and Weiss missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Ericsson led the Wings with 4 hits; DeKeyser had 2; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Miller, Tootoo, Quincey, Glendening and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Quincey and DeKeyser had 2 giveaways; Zetterberg and Ericsson had 1.
Takeaways: Abdelkader and Datsyuk had 2 takeaways; Kindl, Alfredsson, Quincey, Ericsson, Cleary and Franzen had 1 takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 5 shots; Alfredsson blocked 3; Quincey, Ericsson and Weiss blocked 2; Kindl, Miller, Lashoff and Franzen blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Miller took a manor and a minor penalty; Bertuzzi took 2 minors; Ericsson, DeKeyser and Weiss took 1 penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +10. Alfredsson, Datsyuk and Zetterberg finished at +2; Kindl, Quincey, Ericsson and DeKeyser finished at +1.
Points: Alfredsson had 3 assists; both Datsyuk and Franzen had 2 goals; Kindl, Abdelkader, Zetterberg and DeKeyser had assists.
Ice time: DeKeyser led the team with 25:54 played; Ericsson played 24:48; Quincey played 24:39;
Kindl played 22:56; Datsyuk played 21:31; Zetterberg played 20:22;
Alfredsson played 16:15; Cleary played 15:58; Lashoff played 15:58;
Andersson played 15:51; Franzen played 15:08; Bertuzzi played 14:11;
Weiss layed 13:43; Abdelkader played 13:35; Miller played 11:25;
Glendening played 9:38; Tootoo played 7:21; Kronwall played 1:08.
Update: Here's a full slate of highlights from NHL.com:
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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.