Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Bruins wrap-up and overnight report: with 4-day break ahead, Wings drop one to learn from

Updated with Wings video at 5:42 AM: The Detroit Red Wings flew home after capturing four of six possible points while playing three games in four nights, defeating Buffalo on Wednesday and Carolina in OT on Friday, but dropping a 4-1 decision to the Boston Bruins in a Saturday night affair that reminded both the Wings and their fans that this team has a signficant amount of work ahead of it before it can go toe-to-toe with the "beasts of the east."

Just as importantly, the Wings now embark upon a slate of four straight days of rest before beginning a stretch of 5 games in 8 nights, anchored by a Columbus Day matinee (1 PM start?) in their second and final trip to Boston a week from Monday.

As such, we should know quite a bit more about the "readiness" of the Wings to tangle with their toughest division rival after the Wings have more practice time and a few more games' worth of Mike Babcock and Tom Renney refining the power play and penalty-killing units (neither of which have been very good), as well as more scoring out of the "bottom six" (ditto) and perhaps more responsible and north-south defensive play from the DeKeyser-Kindl and Quincey-Smith pairings (ditto, to some extent).

That being said, for the second night in a row, the Wings gave up the game's first goal, for the second night in a row, they over-passed the puck in their own zone, failed to clear the puck because of said over-passing, displayed serious difficulties skating through the neutral zone with speed against a trapping team, and aside from Justin Abdelkader, very few Wings were willing to plant their asses in front of Tuuka Rask.

In terms of covering tonight's game, I cannot deny that Boston's disparate coverage and the multitude of newspapers and/or online sources in Massachusetts yields a daunting and complex picture that overwhelms me in terms of trying to get as much pertinent information to you as possible.

I can tell you that the Bruins press corps' thrust involved the team's strong start, as noted by the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy...

The Bruins improved to 2-0 with a solid 4-1 victory over an albeit tired Detroit Red Wings team at the Garden on Saturday.

Detroit was playing it's third game in four nights and were on the second half of a back-to-back but, while that surely played some factor, it couldn't have been the sole reason for the B's convincing victory. After an uneven performance in the season opening win over the Lightning, the B's played much better Saturday night, peppering Jimmy Howard with 37 seconds shots and giving little to the Red Wings offensively.

"I think it was important for (the Wings) to get off to a good start," said coach Claude Julien. "It was their third game in four nights so for teams like that, it’s important to get off to a good start and try to establish a lead. Because if the other team does, then you’re having to push the pace and it’s a little bit tougher for those kind of guys. But we were fortunate enough to open up the game with the first goal, and they tied it up but we just came back and kept plugging away here. Even in the third period where we knew they’d probably try and stretch things out a little bit and get their D’s activated a little bit more, I thought our guys did a good job through the neutral zone and then we pushed the puck the other way."

And the vast majority of the Bruins' scribes talked about the B's 2-for-4 power play performance, keyed by Livonia's Torey Krug, as noted by ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald...

“[Krug]'s a big part of it,” Julien said. “I’ve talked about it before, Zdeno was on the point because we didn’t have a ton of other options but now we do. We’ve added [Dougie] Hamilton to that group and Krug. The mobility has increased back there, so it allows us to move [Krug] into the position he’s better suited for.”

Boston quickly capitalized on its first power play of the night when Krug’s slap shot from just inside the blue line beat Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 9:11 of the first period. Chara was camped out in front and set the screen as Krug’s shot whistled past everyone and beat Howard.

Because Krug has a knack for getting his shot through, Julien wants him to shoot when given the opportunity.

“That’s what we talk about; if you don’t have a play throw it down in front and Z’s going to battle for it,” Krug said. “Having Z and [Milan] Lucic down there, if we miss the net or if we just throw it down there, there’s a good chance we’re getting the puck back. We have a good setup and we’re excited about what we can do this year. We need to continue to work on it because it’s not just going to continue to have success like that.”

Chara added the team’s second power-play goal at 12:17 of the third period to give Boston a 4-1 lead. He beat Howard with a backhander to the top right corner.

The Bruins’ penalty-killing unit is a perfect 7-for-7 in the first two games of the season, but Boston’s PK has always been solid. Now that the power play is working well, the players are pleased with the special teams.

“I love watching the power play, especially when they’re clicking,” said Chris Kelly, won of the Bruins’ penalty killers. “Those were two huge goals for us tonight and it ended up being the difference. They’re moving the puck around well. They’re outworking the penalty killers and that’s a major thing. It’s your best players on the power play and when they go out there and outwork the other team’s penalty kill good things are going to happen.”

And Chara's status as a successful net-front presence yielded equal attention, as noted by NESN's Mike Cole:

The Bruins’ not-so-secret weapon on that PP1 unit, however, has been Zdeno Chara. The captain has taken up residency in front of the opposition net, which is mainly a product of his size. Chara’s 6-foot-9 frame takes up a lot of space, and it makes it very difficult for opposing goalies to see pucks. That was certainly the case on Krug’s goal in the first period on Saturday night.

...

“It’s not easy when there’s someone that’s 6-foot-9 standing in front of you,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard admitted after the game. “It’s something that you’ve got to figure out, and find a way to try and find the puck. But it’s extremely difficult with him in front.”

Chara’s power-play prowess isn’t exclusive to just being “the really, really big guy who stands in front of the net and tries to screen the goalie." The big blue liner is also remarkably good with his stick. He has an incredibly long reach, which allows him to get to loose pucks especially against a shorthanded team. Not only does Chara use his size and reach to his strength, he’s also got a remarkable ability to control the puck and do what he wants with it.

“I think I talked to [Krejci] about it,” Krug said. “He was like, ‘What should I do with the puck?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know, just give it to [Chara], throw it in the corner for him.’ You know he’s going to win the battle nine out of 10 times so it’s nice to have him on our side.”

WEEI's Scott McLaughlin noted that Chara's standing in front of opposing goalies because the Bruins have more depth on the blueline...

[Because] Claude Julien now has Krug at his disposal, he decided to try something different with Chara. Instead of trying to take advantage of Chara’s shot, Julien moved Chara down low hoping to take advantage of his size. Chara has played down low in select situations before — think Patrice Bergeron‘s tying goal in Game 7 against Toronto — but never on a regular basis.

“Zdeno was on the point because we felt we didn’t have a ton of other options,” Julien said. “Now we do. We’ve added a [Dougie] Hamilton to our group. We’ve added a Krug. The mobility has increased back there. That allows us to move [Chara] into a position where we felt he’d be better-suited for us.”

So far it’s worked. Chara set a perfect screen on Krug’s goal Saturday night. But as Julien was quick to point out after the game, Chara does more than just stand in front of the goalie and take up space.

The Bruins captain has worked at retrieving pucks in the corners and behind the net, and Julien said he has seen a lot of improvement in that area. Put Milan Lucic out there, too, and it makes it extremely difficult for any penalty kill to out-muscle the Bruins’ top power-play unit down low.

Chara shrugged off the praise while speaking with the Boston Herald's Stephen Harris...

“It doesn’t mean because you have a man-advantage that everything is just going to work for you,” Chara said. “You have to work really hard and try to win those battles and races for the puck. Detroit is one of the best teams in the league. We knew it would be a big challenge. They have a good team, a good system and very dangerous guys. So yeah, we wanted to have a strong game, and for the most part we did. I’m just trying to work hard — get into those battles and try to win them.”

Is he having fun playing up front on the power play?

“It’s always been the basis of my game to just work hard,” he said. “While you’re doing it, you might as well enjoy it. Whatever I’m designated to be, I’m just trying to do my job.”

Though Chris Kelly's full quip to the Boston Bruins website's Caryn Switaj may have summarized the Bruins' feelings about Saturday's win...

"I love watching the power play," smiled Chris Kelly, one of the Bruins' top penalty killers that has helped keep that aspect of special teams so dominant.

"Especially when they’re clicking. That was two huge goals for us tonight, and it ended up being the difference. They’re moving the puck around well and they’re all working the penalty kill," he added, knowing the experience of the other side.

"And that’s a major thing when you’ve got a power play that goes out there, and out-works the other team’s penalty kill."

And you could say the same for what Jimmy Howard had to say prior to addressing Chara's dominant play:

"They won in every statistic tonight, every battle," Howard said, before giving his thoughts on trying to see around the Bruins' captain.

"It’s not easy when there’s someone that’s 6-foot-9 standing in front of you. It’s something that you’ve got to figure out, and find a way to try and find the puck. But it’s extremely difficult with him in front."

ESPN Boston's McDonald noted that the Bruins received what the Wings have not from the Bertuzzi-Andersson-Cleary line in a clutch offensive performance from their third line of Jordan Caron, Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith:

Caron and Smith combined on a nifty goal at 7:58 of the second period to give Boston a 3-1 lead. Smith collected the puck in slot, showed great poise before passing the puck to Caron, who beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

“It was a great pass,” Caron said. “He really took his time there. He could have shot it himself and he made a really smart play to slide it back door and it was a great pass.”

Caron has played well the first two games of the season. It’s evident he’s playing with confidence. He’s going to the net more and creating quality scoring chances. During Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the season opener, Caron should have been awarded a goal but it was declined when the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead.

McDonald also noted a colllision which required a middle-of-the-night-Twitter ruling from Brendan Shanahan to resolve:

After scoring his first goal of the season 36 seconds into the second period, Marchand was injured on the next shift when the Red Wings' Justin Abdelkader caught him with a blindside hit away from the puck in front of the Bruins' net. Marchand remained almost motionless on the ice and was tended to by team trainer Don DelNegro. Fortunately, Marchand skated off the ice on his own and went directly to the locker room. He returned to the bench a few minutes later and was back on the ice and finished the game.

The Patriot-Ledger's Mike Loftus noted that the Bruins took issue with the Wings' game-tying goal, too:

The Wings matched Krug’s goal at 16:49 of the first period, on a play that should have been blown dead when the puck hit a Detroit player’s glove resting on the top of the boards. The B’s answered in the first minute of the second period, when Brad Marchand made it 2-1 by picking the far side on Howard from the right circle.

The Bruins' press offers a significant amount of "thoughts," "takeaways" and asundry observations, including the following from Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Danny Picard...

BLACK EYE: Patrice Bergeron had zero shots and lost 11-of-19 face-offs in a showdown with fellow perennial Selke Trophy candidate Pavel Datsyuk, and didn’t have one of his better nights. It’s still early in the season and Datsyuk is one of the NHL’s best, so it sets up for a nice divisional showdown between these two throughout the season. Really, there were no black eyes for the B’s in such a solid victory against an excellent Red Wings team they caught playing their third game in four nights.

But my unwillingness to spend $4 a week to subscribe to the Boston Globe means that Amalie Benjamin's recap with quotes will go unread, at least by my eyes, and instead, Bruins Daily's Tim Rosenthal's "takeaways" merit mentioning...

With the Red Wings playing their third game in four nights, the pickings were there for the taking. And the Bruins did just that.

From the get go, the Black and Gold were stronger and faster. They won several battles for loose pucks and outmuscled the Wings in the corner, making Jimmy Howard’s night frustrating.

“We were aware of that,” Patrice Bergeron said about the Red Wings’ opening week schedule, “but we knew they’re a good team no matter what. We needed to bring our best and I thought we did that overall for the whole game and we found a way. They’re a great team, but we played solid defense and that translated into some of those scoring chances for us.”

The only blemish for the Black and Gold came at the face off dot, where, surprisingly, they won just 25 of 57 draws to the Red Wings. Other than that, the B’s outshot the Wings by a 37-26 margin and had a 23-16 advantage in hits. This proves that numbers never lie.

Numbers lie all the time, but what do I know, I've got an English degree...

For the last few years, the power play has been the source of much ridicule in The Hub of Hockey. Whether it came from sports radio or social media, the jokes about the man advantage seemed endless.

But things slowly changed on the power play when Torey Krug came in during last year’s playoffs. After his strong showing, especially with the man advantage, some pundits suggested that the Bruins power play would improve for the 2013-14 season. On Saturday night, the B’s proved their pundits right going 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

“The coaching staff did a good job of preparing us for what they were bringing and they guys executed and we did a good job tonight,” said Krug, who faced his hometown team for the first time in his career.

The Boston Herald's Conroy offered superb interplay between Wings and Bruins comments...

“They controlled the whole game, from the drop of the puck to the end of the game,” said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who saw 37 shots and refused to give fatigue as an excuse. “They pretty much dominated in every aspect.”

The Bruins didn’t allow the Red Wings to play their vaunted puck-possession game, which can look like a game of keep-away when it’s going well. Tuukka Rask faced 26 shots, allowing just one Henrik Zetterberg strike in the first period that tied the game briefly, but the B’s goalie didn’t see a lot of testers.

“We played such a good game as a team that I didn’t have to do a lot,” Rask said. “No back-door plays or anything like that, no odd-man rushing or anything, just one shot and trying to take care of that rebound; our guys took care of it. So that’s why it was a really, really good game for the second game of the season.”

Chara played a big role on both power-play goals. Krug scored his first NHL regular-season goal with the 6-foot-9 Chara screening Howard from his new net-front position for a 1-0 lead in the first. Chara then took a feed from Krug and beat Howard on a nifty backhand shot that made it 4-1 and salted the game away in the third.

After an uneven performance in limited opportunities in the season opener, the power-play units were able to gain better zone entries and win the important puck battles.

“If we can score four goals a game, that’d be great,” Rask said. “Our power play looked really good. Guys were moving the puck and creating shots. And when they have those opportunities, they’re taking the shots, which has not always been the case.”

As did SouthCoast Today's Mick Colageo...

“Detroit is one of the best teams in the league and I knew it would be a challenge,” said Zdeno Chara. “They always give you a challenge, they’ve always had a good team, good system, and they’re very dangerous guys. So yeah, we wanted to have a strong game and for the most part I thought we did.”

...

“I thought we played a great game right from the start,” said Tuukka Rask (25 saves). “We realized the fact that was their third game in four nights and we wanted to put the pressure on their D and keep the puck in their end, and I think we managed to do that the full 60 minutes.”

...

One of the things Red Wings coach Mike Babcock credited the Bruins with regarding their special-teams dominance tonight was Boston’s compete level. Now maybe it wasn’t as high as Damon Amendolara’s, but it got Babcock’s attention.

“(The Bruins) were better on the penalty kill (2-for-2) and the powerplay (the Bruins went 2-for-4), said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “They were harder on it. They were more efficient. They won way more battles than we did.”

Detroit’s No. 1 defenseman, Niklas Kronwall, on the Bruins: “Well Boston is one of the most structured teams in the East I’m sure, and they played really solid tonight all over the ice and we didn’t play very good at all,” he said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance and it’d be a true test if we really showed something out there tonight, but we didn’t and that’s why we lost.”

And with that, I'll use a rare Reuters recap to shift our focus from the comments made by the Bruins' players and coach to those made by the frustrated Red Wings team (and coach):

Henrik Zetterberg scored Detroit's only goal and Jimmy Howard had a busy night for the Red Wings, stopping 33 of the 37 shots he faced.

"They won in every statistic tonight," Howard said. "Every battle. I'm not going to make that excuse that we were tired or anything like that because I kind of think it's pathetic. We need a better effort out of all of us."

Detroit was outshot 14-5 in the first period and lost for the first time this season. The Red Wings failed to score on two power plays, making them 0-for-5 in their first three games of the season.

"I think in the other two games we at least created a lot of chances but the puck hasn't gone in. Today wasn't good," said Zetterberg, who put in a rebound to tie it at 1 with 3:11 left in the first period. "We had a lot of turnovers and giveaways today. They're fast in their transition. When you play a good team like this you've got to have good structure yourself and we didn't have that."

NHL.com's Matt Kalman's recap is Bruins-centric, so I'm just going to note that the following made an official NHL recap...

Detroit capitalized on some tough play in the neutral zone and a fortuitous oversight by the officials to pull even at 1-1 before the period ended. During a Bruins rush prior to the tying goal, the puck appeared (and replays proved) to leave the playing surface and hit a player on the Detroit bench. The whistle didn't blow and with 3:11 remaining before the first intermission, Zetterberg's shot from the left faceoff dot tied the game. Zetterberg got the puck off a long rebound off an Abdelkader shot.

And the AP's recap only offers Red Wings-related liner notes:

Howard entered 3-0 with a 1.62 goals against in his career versus Boston. ... The Bruins and Red Wings meet in TD Garden again on Columbus Day. ... The Red Wings had killed off their first seven short-handed situations before Krug's goal. ... Boston F Lucic is two goals shy of 100 for his career. ... David Ortiz's second homer of the Red Sox-Rays ALDS game was shown on the Jumbotron late in the second period, drawing a huge roar from the TD Garden crowd. The final out was also shown, with a louder response. ... Boston's Smith played against his brother -- Red Wings D Brendan Smith.

What did the Red Wings have to say to their own press corps?

They were blunt, as the Free Press's Helene St. James noted:

“We didn’t play, at all,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “They did a good job, and we didn’t. We weren’t even there. It felt like we were a step behind the whole game. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

Jimmy Howard was the only reason the Wings could maintain hopes of a rally until late in the third period, turning away 33 shots. The Bruins, he said, “controlled the whole game, from the drop of the puck to the end of the game; they pretty much dominated in every aspect.”

...

The Wings finished with 26 shots, 15 of them stemming from the second period. They had two shots for much of the third period.

“We never got on the inside,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We were on the outside too much. I didn’t think we were good tonight. Making an assessment after a game you didn’t play very well is probably not a healthy thing to do.”

...

The Bruins pressured on power plays, collapsed around Rask on penalty kills and used their depth to force the Wings back into their zone time and again.

“We played slow,” Daniel Cleary said. “It didn’t look like us.”

St. James' notes and quotes from the game include the following:

Jimmy Howard on having Chara in front of the crease: “It’s not easy when there’s someone that’s 6-foot-9 standing in front of you. It’s something that you’ve got to figure out. It’s extremely difficult with him in front.” ... Tuukka Rask on how the Bruins played: “I thought we played a great game right from the start. We played such a good game as a team that I didn’t have to do a lot of back-door plays, no odd-man rushing. They have a lot of skill, so you just have to be on your toes all the time.”

The Wings continued while speaking with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

"They won in every statistic tonight, every battle," goalie Jimmy Howard said. "I'm not going to to make that excuse that we're tired or anything like that. But we need a better effort out of all of us."

The Red Wings ended 2-1 in a season-opening three-games-in-four-nights stretch. This was expected to easily be the most difficult opponent and it was. The Bruins didn’t let the Red Wings venture close to goalie Tuukka Rask, using their size and physicality, and outworking the Red Wings.

"We weren't very good," coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't play hard enough, trust each other enough, or do what we're supposed to do. They were better than us."
...

Zetterberg fired the puck past Rask at 16:49, tying the game 1-1. It was Zetterberg's 265th career goal, passing Nicklas Lidstrom (264) and tying John Ogrodnick for eighth place on the Red Wings' all-time list.

"They play a good structure and we had a lot of turnovers," Zetterberg said. "You play a good team like that you have to have structure and we didn't. Playing a back-to-back you have to keep it simple and stick to your game plan and we didn't do that."

And I don't usually give MLive's Ansar Khan's quote-less recaps much bandwidth, but these stats bear mentioning:

Henrik Zetterberg scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, who are 2-1-0 despite scoring only six goals in three games, below their average of 2.54 last season.

The Bruins (2-0-0) were quick on transition and opportunistic. They converted on two-of-four power plays and outshot the Red Wings 37-26.

The Red Wings had won four in a row against the Bruins, whose last win in this series came on Nov. 29, 2008 (4-1 at Boston). The teams hadn’t met since Nov. 25, 2011 (Red Wings won 3-2 in a shootout at Boston).

This is another Original Six rivalry rekindled with realignment. It figures to be a good one. The teams meet again in Boston on Oct. 14. They’ll meet twice in Detroit, Nov. 27 and April 2.

This seriously bears mentioning, too, from Khan's with-quotes recap:

It was the Red Wings’ first loss after two wins, and even though it’s early in the season, they didn’t simply brush it aside. Players were genuinely upset about their effort and execution. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall said their collective brain “wasn’t really working,’’ causing them to be a step behind the whole night.

“We didn’t play at all,’’ Kronwall said. “We weren’t even there. Felt like we were a step behind the whole game. Give them credit, they’re a good team, they played well tonight but we didn’t give ourselves a chance.’’

The captain agreed...

“If you’re going to win against a team like Boston you got to have good special teams,’’ Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “They kept us outside, we couldn’t find a way to get in for rebounds and second chances.’’

Zetterberg's goal at 16:49 of the first tied it at 1-1. The Red Wings played the night before in Carolina, winning 3-2 in overtime, while the Bruins were off. But players never use that as an excuse.

“We played slow. We didn’t play fast, we didn’t have our legs,’’ forward Daniel Cleary said. “They’re a good team. We just didn’t play well tonight. We’re a way better team than that.’’

And Babcock was in full growl:

“I just thought they had way more energy than we did,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t execute good enough.’’

Babcock called three of the Bruins’ goals gifts.

“I’m not trying to take away from their effort,’’ Babcock said. “I thought they were better than us from the start to the end. Was that because we didn’t have enough energy, stick-to- itiveness or what? But we didn’t play hard enough, trust each other enough or do what we’re supposed to do.’’

The Wings have a week and two games to figure out what they're supposed to do against teams like Boston--because, after they play the plucky Coyotes and the Flyers, they head into Boston on Monday the 12th, host another terror team in the Wing-beating Blue Jackets on the 13th, and the Wings will head out West for a quick trip to Colorado and Phoenix before hosting the Sharks, Senators and Rangers during October's final full week.

The schedule ahead gets harder and harder, and this four-day break won't come again until January 5th. The Wings need to rest up, practice well and get ready for the long slough.

Multimedia:

Highlights: The NHL Network covering the game = highlights narrated by the Bruins' broadcasters, even on the Wings' website:

TSN, Sportsnet and ESPN also posted highlight clips.

Post-game: NESN posted a clip of Chris Kelly speaking with the media, and you may find this to be more interesting:

The Bruins' website posted a "Bruins Beat" post-game program which discussed the Bruins' power play performance;

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a bit of Mike Babcock's post-game presser, too:

 

 

Photos: The Detroit Free Press postsed a 28-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted an 8-image gallery;

The Boston Herald posted a 10-image gallery;

Inside Hockey posted a 25-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 23-image gallery;

And the Red Wings' website, the Bruins' website and NHL.com posted 25-image galleries taken from the same pool of images.

Statistics:

Shots 37-26 Boston overall. Detroit was out-shot 14-5 in the 1st, out-shot Boston 15-13 in the 2nd and were out-shot 10-6 in the 3rd.

The Wings went 0-for-2 in 4:00 of PP time; The Bruins went 2-for-4 in 6:03 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 37 shots; Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of 26.

The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 FM, and they picked Jordan Caron, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

Faceoffs 32-25 Detroit (Detroit won 56%);

Blocked shots 11-9 Boston;

Missed shots 13-8 Boston (total shot attempts 59-45 Boston, with Detroit firing 26 shots on Rask and 27 wide or blocked);

Hits 23-16 Boston;

Giveaways 12-9 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-6 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Weiss went 8-and-9 (47%); Datsyuk went 10-and-6 (63%); Andersson went 9-and-7 (56%); Emmerton went 5-and-2 (71%); Tatar lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 4 shots; Kindl had 3; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Miller, Emmerton Kronwall and Franzen had 1.

Blocked attempts: Datsyuk and Ericsson had 2 attempts blocked by Bruins players; Kindl, Alfredsson, Andersson, Quincey, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Cleary had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Smith missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Emmerton, Quincey, Bertuzzi, Cleary and Weiss missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 3 hits; Tatar and Bertuzzi had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Ericsson Kronwall, DeKeyser Cleary and Franzen had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Smith, Alfredsson and Weiss had 2 giveaways; Datsyuk, Andersson, Quincey, Ericsson, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk had 4 takeaways; Andersson, Emmerton and Weiss had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 Bruins shots; Kindl Datsyuk, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Cleary and Weiss blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Bertuzzi, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Franzen took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -5. Kindl, Alfredsson Andersson, Quincey and Bertuzzi finished at -1.

Points: Zetterberg scored a goal; Abdelkader and Datsyuk had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 21:08 played; Ericsson played 20:34; Quincey played 20:33;

Datsyuk played 20:09; Kindl played 19:33; Zetterberg played 19:05;

Alfredsson played 18:45; Smith played 18:43; DeKeyser played 16:45;

Franzen played 16:42; Andersson played 15:13; Weiss played 15:00;

Cleary played 14:46; Bertuzzi played 14:04; Abdelkader played 13:37;

Miller played 10:13; Emmerton played 9:59; Tatar played 9:08.

 

 

Red Wings notebooks: I'm not going to get all gushy over the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's profile of Torey Krug. Instead, I'll note his Wings-related comments...

Forward Tomas Tatar made his regular-season debut Saturday, playing 9 minutes, 8 seconds on 16 shifts in the loss to the Bruins. With Tatar in the lineup, Mikael Samuelsson was a healthy scratch.

“I’ve been waiting for a chance. Coach said to be ready,” said Tatar, who scored four goals in 18 games with the Red Wings last season and then starred during Grand Rapids’ run to the Calder Cup championship.

Coach Mike Babcock has always liked Tatar’s instincts offensively and his willingness to go into tough areas.

“He likes the puck, and he’s not scared of it, he goes gets it,” Babcock said. “He can score from in tight. He’s a kid going in the right direction and he brings enthusiasm. Obviously he has to do it every game in the NHL.”

And oy, vey, has the power play been bad...

The Red Wings are 0-for-8 on the power play this season through three games.

“It wasn’t good tonight,” said Babcock of the power play. “They were better on the penalty kill and the power play than us. They were harder on it. They were more efficient. They won way more battles than we did. It looked like their energy level was high and it looked like ours wasn’t.”

Thus, practice is necessary.

The Free Press's Helene St. James also penned an article about Tatar, who didn't impress on Saturday...

His offensive skill is why he got into the lineup Saturday at TD Garden, as the Wings sought to show more toughness in the offensive zone against one of the best teams in the NHL. Tatar didn’t play badly through 10 minutes, he even had a little breakaway though he pulled up short, but the Wings suffered their first loss of the season after falling, 4-1.

“Normally I don’t change a winning lineup,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I just was looking for more, and I didn't get it.”

But has impressed his teammates in a big way:

“He’s one of those guys that the puck follows him around,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s not afraid to make plays, either.”

Daniel Cleary described Tatar as “a puck hound.”

Tatar delivered seven points in 18 games with Detroit last season, before being sent to the minors. He was named AHL playoff MVP after helping the Griffins to the Calder Cup last spring with 21 points in 24 games.

"Going to the Calder Cup final and winning the thing and being the leading scorer, is a real positive for him in his career,” Babcock said. “Now, obviously, now he's got to do it every day in the National Hockey League.”

That's Tatar's theory, too:

“There’s going to be lots of games this season,” Tatar said. “It’s 82 games. There’s going to be lots of changes to the lineup. Just, be patient and I’m sure the chances are coming.”

Tatar wasn't very good on Saturday, but even Joakim Andersson looked ordinary. The "bottom six" have to take pressure off the Datsyuk-Zetterberg combo and the Weissfredsson line, big time, and the "kids" on defense, Jakub Kindl included, need to take two steps forward after having taken three back between Friday and Saturday.

But it's early yet...

This note from the MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen's interesting, as he snagged quotes from Claude Julien and Patrice Bergeron about #37's similarities to Pavel Datsyuk...

“Two great two-way players,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You saw Datsyuk in action here the one night when we didn’t have Patrice in the lineup, and you could see the type of damage that he could do. There’s no doubt that he’s an elite player, but we’re fortunate to have Patrice, who we feel is an elite player as well.”

With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference and facing the Bruins four times in the Atlantic Division, it’s good times for fans of old-time hockey (more like Ron Francis than Eddie Shore).

“Obviously he’s a very smart player and tough to play against,” Bergeron said of Datsyuk. “I think it’s going to be a good challenge to play Detroit and a good challenge to play him and his line.”

And he also noted that Brendan and Reilly Smith resumed hostilities sans parents in tow:

Parents Lester and Diedre Smith won’t be in attendance Saturday, but are planning to come for the Columbus Day rematch at the Garden.

The other Smith brother is also a pro athlete. Rory Smith plays for the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.

All three brothers actually played lacrosse and hockey as kids — hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer. It’s possible Reilly might have ended up a lax player too.

“Absolutely it could have happened,” he said. “I think it was my Grade 11 year, I was going to play lacrosse and I played hockey instead. So it kind of just figured itself out and I went to Miami University from there.”

This story from the Detroit Free Press's Joe Rexrode is plain old inspiring--seriously:

Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall saw Anthony Ianni speak on autism and bullying at a golf outing last year, and Kronwall now provides tickets to a different family living with autism for each Wings home game.

Lions receiver Nate Burleson also got involved with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, Ianni’s employer, after hearing him speak. Validations of Ianni’s work come from a variety of sources, including four middle school girls with autism in Portland, Ore., who shared their challenges with him after a recent speech there.

“This is worth every second of it and it comes with great reward,” said Ianni, a former Michigan State basketball player who has worked with the Southfield-based AAoM since shortly after his graduation in 2012. “I just love doing what I do every day, spreading a message of hope and inspiration to people who need it.”

It’s a personal message — Ianni, the son of MSU deputy athletic director Greg Ianni, was diagnosed with autism as a young child and his parents were told at the time that he’d likely never graduate from high school. He is now a college graduate, a newlywed and an inspirational speaker embarking on an ambitious project.

On Oct. 17, he’ll start what he calls the “Relentless Tour,” an anti-bullying campaign in which he’ll visit 659 middle schools in 180 days.

“It’s never been done in the history of the state; it’s never been done in the history of the country,” Ianni said. “And the thing about bullying is, it involves everybody.”

 

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note: We'll have to take this for what it's worth. Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom suggests that Henrik Zetterberg is a shoo-in as Team Sweden's captain at the 2014 Olympic games:

"Zata" already certain to be Olympic captain

Los Angeles. Tre Kronor coach Par Marts has 63 players vying for just over 20 Olympic spots for the tournament in Sochi in February.

Who will be their captain is already determined.

It will be Detroit star Henrik Zetterberg.

"Hm. I have no comment on that, but you tend to be right when you speculate," says Zata.

Thanks for that.

And it's not a very educated guess to think that Marts wants Zata as the linchpin on the Olympic team.

I see no problem with the fact that team management has already spoken to Zetterberg, who, for just over a year, has been wearing the C on his jersey for the big club the Detroit Red Wings, where he attended "leadership school" with two legends in Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Zata's been through to and won the Stanley Cup in 2008, an Olympic gold medal in 2006 and the World Championship in 2006.

He was named best player in the playoffs in 2008 and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy when Detroit became champion.

There's nothing wrong with his merits.

Not his personality, either.

Zata is a natural leader both on and off the ice. Open, social and a good representative.

When Sweden took home the long-awaited Olympic gold in Turn in 2006, it was Mats Sundin who was the team captain. Four years later, Lidstrom took the honor.

Now it's Zetterberg's turn.

Who will be his assistant captains, then?

My guess is Vancouver's long-time captain, Henrik Sedin, and Detroit teammate Niklas Kronwall, who will be the alternates on the Olympic team.

The situation in Detroit is going to be interesting after the New Year as the countdown to the Olympics will be on. Expect wrangling between Zata and radar partner Pavel Datsyuk who will be one of Russia's key players at the home-ice Olympics.

"Absolutely," confirms Henrik, and then he shares an interesting point of view: "Then it'll be interesting to see how much or how little we Swedes on the team get to play in the last 4 games before the Olympic break. Our coach, Mke Babcock, is supposed to coach Team Canada in Sochi."

The Red Wings' prospects feature prominently in Hockey's Future's AHL Western Conference Preview:

Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)

Last Season: 42-26-4-4 (92 points, 1st place in the Midwest Division)

The defending champs didn’t bring in many big names to their roster for 2013-14, but have a solid crop of rookies coming in at the AHL level with the core of the team that won the Calder Cup last season also returning, including goaltender Petr Mrazek and forward Tomas Jurco, both entering their second season of professional hockey.

Up front, the Griffins have a trio of incoming rookie forwards looking to come in and compete in Marek Tvrdon, Teemu Pulkkinen and Martin Frk. Of the three, Pulkkinen appeared in the 2012-13 Calder Cup Playoffs with the Griffins and looks to adjust to the pro game in North America after playing with Jokerit.

On defense Ryan Sproul, the 2012-13 CHL Defenseman of the Year, will make the leap into the AHL full-time this year after putting up numbers in three seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Griffins will also see another high-end prospect turn pro in Xavier Ouellet, a solid two-way defender who played for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL.

I think that it's a little long-winded--and when I think that something is long-winded, it's gotta be blabby--but I'd encourage you to read SI's Michael Farber's story about the reductions in goaltending equipment and the fact that the NHL's general managers are kind of nuts..

At their meetings in Boston during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, general managers stressed to players' association representatives that the size of goalie pads had to be reduced immediately. "They said we would be ruining the game if we didn't get this done," says Mathieu Schneider, the NHLPA's special assistant to the executive director. Many of Schneider's constituents agreed, although without the pearl-clutching melodrama of the GM's. The NHLPA posted two polls on its internal website in June, one for skaters and another for goalies. The question: Should goalie equipment be shrunk? The skaters were in favor. And to Schneider's surprise, so were a "sizable minority" of goalies. "I thought it would be only two or three guys," Schneider says. "It wasn't that." Voilà! The 45% solution followed soon after, leaving manufacturers scrambling and some goalies grumpy. (Phoenix's Mike Smith on the change: "Horrible.")

There have been other nips and tucks in the league's 2013-14 face-lift to help boost scoring. The NHL has reduced the depth of the goal from 44 to 40 inches, which will give nifty forwards such as Crosby and Chicago's Patrick Kane more room to maneuver when they set up in Wayne Gretzky's old office. The league also trimmed the goal frame, which includes the side skirting, from 96 to 88 inches, which should allow lanky players such as the Kings' Anze Kopitar a better angle for wraparounds and open passing lanes to forwards who have stationed themselves in prime scoring positions. The stretch pass never did touch off a scoring explosion, but maybe hockey will prove to be a game of inches.

"If we can only get another goal and a half..." says one senior league official. Teams produced an average of 5.31 goals per game in 2013, the fewest since '03-04. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of .31 of a goal per game, you were not watching the Panthers last season.

And it turns out that Brendan Shanahan's got the problem down pat:

"During the [2004-05] lockout they brought some of us [players] to a GM's meeting," says Hall of Fame winger Brendan Shanahan, now the NHL's senior VP of player safety. "GM's were talking about creating more two-on-ones, outnumbered rushes, more open spaces. Then [Hall of Fame defenseman] Scott Niedermayer said that with all the video and coaching, you can't teach us a smarter way of playing hockey and not expect us to do it. He said, 'You're not going to make players at this level stupid.' That's always stayed with me."

Finally, I'll leave you with this from the Free Press's Steve Schrader, because we tend to forget that, prior to the free agent "wooing" period, the beat writers told us that the Red Wings' primary target would be the bought-out Vincent Lecavalier:

Steve Schrader: What to watch this week

Wings vs. Flyers

Saturday

Hey, the Red Wings host an Original 12 matchup against another team they haven’t played much recently: the Philadelphia Flyers. Remember them from the ’97 finals? Their new faces include center Vincent Lecavalier, signed by the Flyers after Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning bought out his contract. 7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit.

I will do my best to watch and offer a brief recap of Thursday's Wings-Yotes game, but I'll be watching the Wings-Flyers game on Sunday as my friend Mark's wedding is on this upcoming Saturday.

 

 

Update: I don't know why the Wings post these in the middle of the night, but they do. Here are Jimmy Howard's post-game comments...

Here's Henrik Zetterberg...

 

And here's coach Mike Babcock:

 

The Boston Globe posted a game photo gallery at 5:45, too.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Primis's avatar

Last night’s game was a good reminder to everyone that last year’s playoffs was just a thing that happened.  ANA never really posed any threat in the first series, and CHI played very dumb hockey for much of their series and DET got some good breaks.

I really don’t think DET is good enough overall.  The defense is just *so* bad.  Until or unless that’s addressed, DET is probably just a 4-8 seed team that gets bounced early and nothing more.

I personally am tired of waiting for Quincey, Kindl, and Smith to get it together.  That’s half your f***ing def. corps.

Posted by Primis on 10/06/13 at 10:38 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I would be hesitant to judge any team by their third game in four nights.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/06/13 at 11:11 AM ET

PDXWing's avatar

@Primis - I was frustrated by last night’s effort, too. But, let’s try and keep some perspective. Smith is essentially a rookie - he hasn’t played a full season yet, even including playoff performances last year. Kindl is coming out of his first year as a regular player. Quincey - well, Quincey is slotted too high right now. I said in another thread that we are short one top 4 dman that would help all of the others “slot” better. For instance, if we had landed Edler we could pair him with DDK and let Q and Smith battle for the third pairing slot with Kindl (or swap Kindl and DDK in that formation). I don’t think the answer can come within the organization this season, though the d corps will be a strength next year and beyond when Almquist, Sproul, and Ouelette start working their way into the lineup.

Posted by PDXWing on 10/06/13 at 01:37 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I think we need to stop trying to put parsley on the sh*t sandwich that is our blueline.

Posted by Primis on 10/06/13 at 03:53 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I felt pretty similarly after the game, Primis. It ain’t easy to be patient when we’ve seen this team play so very well and when we’ve seen how quickly it can go from, “A game from the Conference Finals!” to, “A game from missing the playoffs!”

I’m sticking with, “It’s early, and right now, it looks like we’ve got more than enough reason to be optimistic…and more than enough reason to still worry that the blueline isn’t gonna hold up over the course of an 82-game season.”

We’ll have to wait and see, which sucks.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/06/13 at 10:18 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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.