The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/15/13 at 02:31 AM ET
The Red Wings hope to build upon their 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins in a Columbus Day matinee when they face an opponent that nearly doomed last spring's playoff appearance in the surprisingly plucky Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (8 PM EDT--note the late start to accommodate the Tigers-Red Sox game--FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM).
The Blue Jackets come into town having played two fewer games than the Wings (having gone 2-and-2 versus the Wings' 4-and-2 record), and they somewhat ironically dropped a 3-1 loss to Boston on Saturday--during a matinee game.
The Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline penned a recap of that game, reporting that the Bruins checked and trapped their way to a predictably Bostonian win...
The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal with 1:08 remaining in the first period. James Wisniewski wired a pass along the blue line, and Johnson one-timed it inside the near post before goaltender Rask could cover.
The Bruins pulled even at 16:18 of the second, when [Chris] Kelly — just freed from the penalty box — scored on a shot from the blue line that got under Bobrovsky’s glove.
Only 49 seconds into the third, [Loui] Eriksson came into the zone with speed, took a nifty pass from Patrice Bergeron in the right circle and beat Bobrovsky with a high flipper off his backhand.
“That’s a good team,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. “They’ve been good for a while. They’re confident. They’re a tough team to score on, and we found that out.”
The Bruins tied it late in the second period, scored early in the third to take the lead for good and capped it with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
“I thought in the second period, even though we had a 1-0 lead, they started taking over the game,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “They stuck with their game, how they play, the things they do well. And we started to get away from that in the second. They kept pucks alive better than we did in their offensive zone. Their defensemen did a better job getting pucks through to the net than ours did.”
And the AP's recap tells the rest of Saturday's story, noting that Milan Lucic scored an empty-netter to salt the game away:
Jack Johnson scored on a first-period power play for the Blue Jackets, who won their last two on the road but are now 0-2 at home.
Bobrovsky, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, stopped 33 shots.
Boston almost tied it 1-1 when Daniel Paille took a chip pass and was all alone for a short-handed breakaway in the second period, but his shot was wide of the net.
An instant after that penalty was killed, the Bruins got even. Iginla dropped a pass to Kelly for a hard slap shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Bobrovsky low on the glove side with 3:42 remaining in the second for his second goal of the season.
In the first, with a man advantage, the Blue Jackets' James Wisniewski faked a shot from the left point and then slid a pass to Johnson at the top of the right circle. Johnson's one-timer beat Rask to the glove side with 1:08 remaining in the period.
Columbus coach Todd Richards said he saw signs that the Bruins were asserting themselves midway through the game.
"In the second period, even though we had a 1-0 lead, they started to take over the game a little bit," he said. "They stuck with their game and how they play and with the things they do well. We got away from (our game). We played hard, but there were some areas that they were better than us."
The Columbus Dispatch's Shawn Mitchell reported that Bobrovsky felt his goaltending wasn't quite up to par...
Chris Kelly put a slap shot from just inside the blue line under Bobrovsky’s glove to tie the score at 1 in the second period. Loui Eriksson put the Bruins ahead in the first minute of the third with a backhanded knuckler from a tight angle that slipped between glove and post.
Kelly scored shortly after exiting the penalty box following a hooking minor. The goal was a stunner but wasn’t a deflating moment for the Jackets, left wing Nick Foligno said.
“It was still tied 1-1, and we’re in our barn and we knew what we were capable of,” Foligno said. “We knew we hadn’t played our best hockey, and it was really about us getting back to our game.”
Bobrovsky at his best likely would have prevented both goals.
“It happens,” said Bobrovsky, who made 33 saves and has a .926 save percentage through four games. “Sometimes mistakes happen. I don’t want to think about that. Just move forward and get ready for Tuesday (at Detroit).”
Bobrovsky tipped his cap to the Bruins, who fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Stanley Cup finals in June.
“It’s really interesting to play them,” Bobrovsky said. “They are the conference champions, and you can see why by the way they play. It’s the consistency. They play always really good, always the right way.”
The Columbus penalty kill stayed perfect, going 4-4 on the day and defenseman Jack Johnson scored his second power play goal of the season.
The top line of Marian Gaborik, Cam Atkinson and Brandon Dubinsky had another solid game, especially with their forecheck versus the visiting Bruins. They found out just how hard it is to score against a perennial playoff team.
"They've got a good team," said Dubinsky. "They make it hard on you offensively, as far as how much time and space you have. They really clog things up and block a lot of shots. "We (top line) didn't come through with a goal, and that could have been the difference. Both teams were pretty patient. Obviously, they are things that we need to work on and get better at, such as our defensive zone coverage and our puck decisions. But, I'll say it again, that's a good team and they will get their chances. I thought we played physical throughout the 60 (minutes) and we made it hard on them. It was just a game of patience. They were able to get that second one (goal) and we weren't."
This loss was not a setback for the club. It was more of a learning curve, showing facets of their game that still need improvement. Forward Nick Foligno, like every other player in the room, doesn't like losing, but he was honest with his assessment of what kind of test this game was and the lessons that they learned from it.
"I think it was a measuring stick, so to speak," Foligno said. "Obviously they're the conference champions for a reason. They are a consistent team and stick to their game plan. They capitalize when you let your foot off the gas a little bit. It's a tough one because I felt that we did a lot of real good things. We went toe-to-toe with them, but couldn't find that equalizer.
"We're a tenacious team both ways on the forecheck and tracking back (defensively). It says a lot about the guys in here, understanding the type of team that we are. We're a team that's on our way to becoming a good team, then a great team. We have to make sure that we're consistently doing those (good) things. That's 'Blue Jackets hockey,' when you're hard and tenacious on pucks. (Losing) is unfortunate because we had a few chances that we weren't able to bury. I thought, for the most part, we played a pretty good game."
And Monday's practice brought injury news from the Columbus Dispatch's Portzline, who reports that Foligno is "questionable" with a wife-had-baby-on-Sunday issue:
Right wing Marian Gaborik, the Blue Jackets' leading scorer, was absent from practice with the flu and did not travel with the club this afternoon to Detroit.
The plan, as of this morning, was for Gaborik (if he's feeling better) and [Nick] Foligno to fly to Detroit on Tuesday morning. The Blue Jackets play the Red Wings in Joe Louis Arena at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
"We wanted (Gaborik) to get as much time by himself as possible," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "We'll see where he's at in the morning."
Two other absences: left wings Matt Calvert (groin) and Blake Comeau (leg laceration).
Calvert has been dogged by this groin / lower abdominal problem since early in training camp. He visited a specialist today to get to the bottom of the issue, and there's a good chance he'll miss more than just a game. He did not travel with the club.
"We don't know the extent of his injury," Richards said.
Comeau, who was cut along the side of his ankle during Saturday's 3-1 loss to Boston, skated on his own in the morning and traveled with the club yesterday. He's questionable for Tuesday's game.
He noted that the Blue Jackets are aware of their recent record against the Wings...
The Jackets were 4-0-1 against the Red Wings last season. No, really. Columbus earned nine of a possible 10 points against the Wings. Bobrovsky had a .944 save percentage in four starts (3-0-1). "Detroit is Detroit, especially in their building," Richards said. "They've obviously added (Daniel) Alfredsson and (Stephen) Weiss, and those guys are two pretty good players. Plus, they still have two of the best up front with (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk. Our guys have a little bit of confidence playing against them. But it’s not easy to play in their building. They test you, in a lot of different ways."
And as the Dispatch doesn't post its articles for the day until 5 AM, that's going to be it for their mentions from me, at least until the morning skate.
ColumbusBlueJackets.com's Rob Mixer set up tonight's game with lineup notes...
The Blue Jackets had four regular forwards missing from their Monday practice at Nationwide Arena, but it doesn't look as if they will be shorthanded tonight in Detroit.
Matt Calvert, Nick Foligno, Marian Gaborik and Blake Comeau were absent but all but Calvert are expected to play against the Red Wings, according to coach Todd Richards. Calvert, still bothered by a nagging lower-body injury, is not going to travel with the Blue Jackets on their three-game trip and will be re-evaluated by team doctors at some point this week.
Gaborik (flu) and Foligno (birth of his daughter) are slated to arrive in Detroit prior to the team's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena, while Comeau made the trip with the club.
On defense, Richards alluded to another change coming on Tuesday. He said he's looking to get Nikita Nikitin back in the mix against Detroit, which means another defenseman is likely to be a healthy scratch. We won't know exactly who sits until after the morning skate.
As you'd expect, Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal.
And a dedicated game preview in his game-day entry:
Another stern test is on tap for the Blue Jackets, who play their fourth of six straight games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Coming off a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, the Blue Jackets weren't displeased with their effort and execution (save for a couple of mistakes) but want to create more offense moving forward. They didn't generate a ton of quality chances in the first 20-plus minutes against Boston, but that improved as the game progressed.
The Red Wings have been playing well and have won four of their first six games, including back-to-back wins against Philadelphia and Boston in their last two outings. Detroit overhwelmed the Flyers at times and their top six has been causing all sorts of trouble for opponents, with Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss teaming up to form a formidable second unit behind Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
Opposing teams have a lot more to worry about now and the Detroit power play has been potent, as well, forcing teams to play a near-perfect game against them to have a chance.
Despite their success against the Red Wings last season, the Blue Jackets know that things have changed and they're facing a different team this time around. Brandon Dubinsky spoke Monday about the keys to success against Detroit: playing their top players hard, keeping the puck in front of you, and making the Red Wings skate the length of the ice to create offense.
So far this season, the Blue Jackets have had the puck a lot and have fared relatively well in the face-off circle, but as mentioned above, one thing they're targeting is creating more legitimate scoring chances. They want to get to the front of the net more and create more traffic, spend more time in the "greasy areas" as Dubinsky called them, and chip in a few dirty goals to get things going.
NHL.com's Brian Compton's game preview will serve as our pivot point between the Blue Jackets and Red Wings' perspectives...
Season series: First of three meetings this season between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings. They won’t face each other again until March 11 at Nationwide Arena. Columbus went 4-0-1 against Detroit last season.
Big story: Columbus gets right back on the road to begin a three-game road trip at Joe Louis Arena. The Blue Jackets played back-to-back games on the road before returning home for one game against Boston on Saturday, but now they won’t skate on home ice again until next Sunday. Detroit will play its second game in as many days after winning in Boston on Monday afternoon.
Blue Jackets [team scope]: Columbus will be looking to bounce back after suffering a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday at Nationwide Arena. Jack Johnson opened the scoring with a power-play goal late in the first period, but the Bruins got a goal from Chris Kelly late in the second and Loui Eriksson early in the third before Milan Lucic put the game away with an empty-net goal.
"For the most part I thought we played a pretty good game," Columbus center Derek MacKenzie said. "We could have been a little better as far as our reaction to that lucky first goal. I don't think anyone expected to shut out Boston so whether it was a good goal or bad goal we should have assume they were going to score somewhere along the line. Once that happened we kind of let off the gas a little bit and allowed them back into the game. Most of us would have predicted a 2-1 game one way or another. It was a 10-minute lapse for us that was enough for them to get the win."
Red Wings [team scope]: Detroit is seeking its third straight victory after earning a 3-2 win against the Bruins at TD Garden. Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary all scored for Detroit and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 28 of 30 shots in his first start of the season to help the Red Wings secure their fourth win of 2013-14.
Who's hot: Blue Jackets wing Marian Gaborik has six points (two goals, four assists) in four games. … In six games, Zetterberg has five goals, two assists and a plus-4 rating. Pavel Datsyuk has two goals and four assists, Daniel Alfredsson has five assists and Niklas Kronwall has a goal and four assists.
And the AP's preview adds stats to the mix:
Detroit (4-2-0) won its second straight behind goals from Dan Cleary, Stephen Weiss and Henrik Zetterberg, who has scored in four of the last five and has a team-best five goals.
Zetterberg didn't score in five meetings with Columbus last season as the clubs battled as Central Division rivals in the Western Conference before both moved to the East prior to this season.
The Blue Jackets won the final four after an opening-night shootout defeat, with Sergei Bobrovsky going 3-0-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average in four starts against Detroit on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy.
Bobrovsky is 2-2-0 with a 2.22 GAA in four starts this season and made 33 saves in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Boston, but he allowed two goals that could be considered soft.
Columbus (2-2-0) is beginning a stretch of three road games in six nights - it also faces Montreal and Washington - but it has won both of its contests away from home.
The Blue Jackets dropped 27 of their first 34 trips to Detroit before winning both meetings at Joe Louis Arena last season. They won't have winger Matt Calvert for this contest, though, after he was placed on injured reserve Monday due to a lower-body injury suffered Thursday at Buffalo.
Columbus leading scorer Marian Gaborik has five goals and seven assists in 13 career games at Detroit.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's Monday-penned "Week Ahead in Hockeytown" also sets up the game very well:
TUESDAY – vs. COLUMBUS (2-2-0): The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs on the final game of the regular season last April, however, they pulled off a rare feat by posting a 4-0-1 record against the Red Wings. For the first time since joining the league in 2000, the Jackets are not in the same division as Detroit, though both remain conference foes as both teams moved to the East with the league’s realignment. … The Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson is lucky to be in the lineup instead of a hospital bed following a cheap shot to the head by Buffalo Patrick Kaleta, who has an in-person meeting this week with the league’s department of player safety in New York City. … Fedor Tyutin's next goal will tie him with former Red Wing Vladimir Konstantinov for ninth place in NHL history among Russian-born defensemen (47). … The Blue Jackets are 28-0-0 when leading after two periods since Jan. 9, 2012. … Columbus has been assessed seven minor penalties, this fewest in the NHL this season. The Red Wings had seven minor penalties in their season-opening win over Buffalo.
PLAYER TO WATCH: A rejuvenated Marian Gaborik has produced six points in four games already for the Blue Jackets. A three-time 40-goal scorer, he seems primed to have a terrific season, but that’s only if the veteran forward stays healthy. In the final season of a five-year contract that has paid him $7.5 million per season, Gaborik has said he’s willing to negotiate with the Jackets during the season.
The Red Wings are playing their 4th game over the course of 6 nights and their 3rd in 4 nights tonight, and Jimmy Howard told MLive's Ansar Khan that his swollen hand yielded a last-minute change to Jonas Gustavsson before Monday's game began:
It was determined in the pregame warmup that Jimmy Howard couldn’t play due to the bruised left (catching) hand he sustained during the second period of Saturday’s 5-2 win over Philadelphia. Howard said it is doubtful he will play Tuesday at home against Columbus.
“Tried to get through it (warmups) and just not happening,’’ Howard said. “I took three shots in the area where I got injured and it was extremely painful, so decided to rest it and get the swelling out of the area. It’s probably just day-to-day. The Monster did great. He really played a great game for us. He deserves a lot of credit.’’
Said Babcock: “He practiced (Sunday) and was all right but he’s got some blood in the hand and they’re trying to keep (the swelling) down, but maybe it’s swollen too much now, so I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We’ll monitor the situation and decide who goes tomorrow.’’
The Wings were very happy with Gustavsson's 28-save performance against the Bruins, as the Free Press's Helene St. James noted, but they might need him to pull off some staying-healthy heroics given that the Wings play in Denver on Thursday, in
“Howie goes down in warm-ups, and Gus comes in and plays huge for us,” Henrik Zetterberg said.
Gustavsson played in only seven games last season. He was hurt early, and then had so much trouble stopping the puck coach Mike Babcock didn’t trust Gustavsson after March. This season began ignominiously enough with another pulled groin — but Gustavsson was activated off injured reserve late last week.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good in the practices, so I felt comfortable getting into this game,” he said. “When you get a few shots on you, you feel like you get into the game, and then you just go from there.”
The only Bruins to score were Loui Eriksson, on an early redirect, and Milan Lucic with 1:20 left as Boston pressed hard for overtime.
The performance pleased Babcock.
“Got to give Gus a ton of credit,” he said. “He didn’t know he was playing. Howie’s hand, he couldn’t go. In the end, it was a real good start for us and for Gus, because he gets confidence, and we need to get 20 to 20-plus games out of him.”
As both the Wings and their press corps dealt with travel and a heavy workload, much of their "notebook" articles involved the Wings' statements made after Detroit's 3-2 win over Boston, with St. James noting the Wings' comments regarding hanging on during a 1:51 of 5-on-3 penalty-killing in the 3rd and the late Boston push after Milan Lucic made it 3-2...
Zetterberg, on the 5-on-3 kill: “You just have to be in lanes, take away the easy plays and make them make a really nice play if they’re going to score. When the puck went through, Gus was there, made the save.”
Weiss, on the last minute: “We were able to weather the storm, which was huge.”
Zdeno Chara, on his Bruins: “It wasn’t our best, but I thought it was a pretty decent game. We created a lot of chances, and we had good looks in the offensive zone.”
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan delicately navigating through the fact that the Bruins played clips of the Red Sox comeback over the Tigers in an attempt to rally their team...
The Red Wings didn’t like the way they played in Boston earlier this season, a 4-1 loss. To come back Monday, a little over a week after the defeat, and play well and win was satisfying.
“We were pretty glad to come back so soon,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It wasn’t very good when we came in here last time into this building.
“We had more energy and played a much better overall game (Monday), more structure, and we forechecked pretty good.”
The late heroics a night earlier at Fenway Park — the Red Sox rallied past the Tigers for a 6-5 victory — played in the back of the minds of the Red Wings players when the Bruins enjoyed a two-man advantage trailing by two late in the third period. Highlights of David Ortiz’s tying grand slam on the video screen got the TD Garden crowd roaring.
“I knew what the roar was for but I didn’t want to look at that,” Red Wings forward Stephen Weisssaid. “They’ve got a lot of pride over there and they’re not going to quit. Anytime you have a five-on-three you expect a score. And to have one for (nearly) two minutes and then kill it off is one heck of a job by not only our penalty killers but Monster (Gustavsson) in net.”
And pointing out that Babcock was less than impressed by the 5-to-zip penalty disparity:
Mike Babcockwas a little confused by the fact the Red Wings didn’t have any power plays and the Bruins had five. The Red Wings were whistled for six penalties, the Bruins one.
“We don’t think we are going to be penalized more than the Bruins, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Babcock said. “I might have to frame (the scoresheet) because no one will believe that it actually happened.”
The Bruins' penalty was an offsetting minor yielding a 4-on-4.
It's also worth noting that the Bruins held a wide advantage in terms of total shot attempts, as pointed out by the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy...
The B’s fired 30 shots on the net guarded by Jonas Gustavsson, but they wound up for a lot more than that. The Wings blocked 22 shots and the B’s simply missed the net 17 more times.
“Yeah, it is (frustrating),” said defenseman Torey Krug, who took eight shots, only two of which hit the net. “They did a really good job of coming out (and) taking away the shooting lanes. At the same time, we’ve got to be better. Personally, I’ve got to be better doing that.”
And the Boston Herald's Stephen Harris found that Lucic was more than willing to give the Wings credit for their efforts(!):
“They’re well coached,” he said. “They’ve been an elite team since 1995. They’re hard to play against on both sides of the pucks. We saw that (yesterday). They were blocking a lot of shots. Gustavsson was square to a lot of shots and he was doing real well getting post to post. That’s proably the best game I’ve seen him play. You’ve got to give them credit for playing a full team game.”
Four or five times the Bruins produced flurries of pressure around Gustavsson’s crease. Pucks were there for the asking. But the B’s couldn’t put them in, taking 17 shots that missed the net.
“We had our chances (with) those rebounds and scrambles,” Lucic said. “They blocked a lot of pucks. That’s what stopped us from making it 3-2 earlier.”
Lucic continued while speaking to the Worchester Telegram's Bud Barth...
"We were creating chances, we were moving the puck, but the finish just wasn't there," Lucic said after the Bruins outshot the Wings, 30-27. "Right now, if you look at the last three ganes, (not) bearing down is probably the biggest thing when we get our opportunities. But other than that, I thought we played hard. I mean, you look at the first two periods, we only gave up three scoring chances, and they scored (on all of them). That's how good a team they are."
And this note from Barth's...well, notebook...won't surprise you:
Shawn Thornton, playing in his 500th NHL game, went into the game tied for the league lead with three fighting majors. The only games where he hasn't dropped the gloves are the two against the Red Wings, who have no designated tough guy.
The Windsor Star also posted a very late-breaking photo gallery, and the NHL Network posted its interview with Danny DeKeyser late as well:
There is one Red WIngs notebook of the classic variety this morning, and it comes from...Boston? The Providence Journal's Mark Divver took note of the fact that Luke Glendening was nearly Bruins property:
Longtime Michigan assistant coach Billy Powers discovered Luke Glendening — who played his second game for the Red Wings on Monday — while on a trip to Connecticut several years ago to watch Wolverine recruits Mac Bennett and Derek DeBlois of Narragansett play for the Hotchkiss School.
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Glendening ended up attending Michigan as a recruited walk-on. Known for his character, he was the Wolverines’ captain as a senior, as he had been at Hotchkiss.
After his college career ended, he played three games for the Providence Bruins on a tryout contract at the end of the 2011-12 season, then signed with Detroit that summer.
Last season, he played for the Calder Cup champ Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate.
“He’s what I would call a ‘coach-player,’ not a ‘scout-player.’ No scout would ever draft him because he doesn’t look that part. But you can trust him to get stuff done,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said on Saturday, before Glendening’s debut against [Philadelphia].
Michigan made out pretty well, too, with the two Rhode Island kids. Bennett is Michigan’s captain this season and DeBlois is an alternate captain.
Glendening hasn't been jaw-droppingly fantastic, but he's provided an upgrade from Cory Emmerton in terms of his speed and forechecking abilities.
In the prospect department, it's 3 AM and I'm still on an overnight report after spending three hours on a recap, so I'm going to defer my prospect-catch-up post until later today.
Two Wings prospects did play on Monday: Jake Paterson stopped 32 of 33 shots over 65 minutes and 3 of 4 shootout shooters as the Saginaw Spirit defeated the Oshawa Generals 2-1;
And Marc McNulty had a rough night in the Prince George Cougars' 3-0 loss to Victoria, going -2.
As you already know by now, the Red Wings signed Anthony Mantha to a 3-year entry-level contract. He was named the QMJHL's First Star of the week after registering 5 goals and 5 assists over 2 weekend games, and he's posted 28 points over the course of 9 games for the Val-d'Or Foreurs thus far.
I've received several questions about Mantha's eligiblity, and the rules are simple here: until he's 20 (and he's 18), he can either play for the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL level or his Major Junior rights-holder, barring that team's playoff elimination and regular season having concluded.
So he can only play for the Griffins or Walleye if the Foreurs have been eliminated from playoff contention, and have wrapped up their regular season. That wouldn't happen until April.
I can also say that while the QMJHL is definitely a high-scoring league, his production is still extraordinary.
I also need to note that Jared Coreau was assigned to the Toledo Walleye on Sunday. Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum are now the Griffins' goalies.
Also of Red Wings-related note: Oh boy, power rankings!
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun penned his list prior to the conclusion of the Wings-Bruins game..
11. Detroit [record] 3-2-0 [dropping] 2 Last Week: 9 Wings fans of a certain vintage no doubt have Thursday's game at Colorado circled on their calendars, given the man who's now standing behind the bench for the Avs. I predict there won't be a brawl, however.
I've seen Roy fight and I've seen the YouTube clips of Babcock, and I've seen Babcock play "ultra-competitive" hockey in the alumni tilt. Babcock would beat the snot out of Roy.
A "written early" tag also applies to CBS Sports' Brian Stubits' rankings...
12 [Red Wings] [down 4]: The Wings have won three of five, which in the East is great news, but lost by a combined 8-3 to the two teams with winning records they have faced.
10-5 now, and 1-and-2.
11 Detroit Red Wings 4-2-0 [down] 5 [highest/lowest] 6/11 Red Wings shake up lines after two consecutive losses and get team, newcomer Daniel Alfredsson going.
And in terms of player rankings, Niklas Kronwall was ranked as the 4th-best defenseman.
In power rankings of a different kind, SI's Allan Muir lists Jimmy Howard as the third-best potential Team USA goaltending candidate:
3. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: He looked great in a tough win over the Flyers, keeping the Wings in the game early when Philly was pressing, and late when they were clinging to a one-goal lead. That’s Howard at his best. (Last week: 3)
In the Twitter department...Don't forget that the Grand Rapids Griffins will be raising their Calder Cup banner when they host the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday the 18th...
QMJHL's First Star of the Week, partying hard:
I'm wonked and it's my first day back after a two-day break (one for Mark's wedding, which went swimmingly, and one to recover), and I'm beat. I'll see you around the time of the morning skate.
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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.