The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/06/14 at 04:34 AM ET
We have to start here:
2. The Red Wings did do a helluva job in rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the 3rd period--rallying in all of 5 minutes and 33 seconds--with Pavel Datsyuk scoring his first goal since returning from being "shut down" and starting to gain his "wind" later in the game; Niklas Kronwall's 8th goal and 40th assist tied him with Henrik Zetterberg for the team lead in scoring with 48 points, and Kronwall's en route to a 50-point season;
3. Despite his inability to dent Carey Price, Johan Franzen had 2 assists, 6 shots and a total of 14 shot attempts, Tomas Tatar had 3 shots and 8 attempts, and even David Legwand had 3 shots and 2 attempts;
4. Despite heavy checking, Gustav Nyquist seemed to come alive again in the 3rd, and he had 4 shot attempts and a takeaway;
5. Darren Helm had to play center for the first time when the lines went into the blender at the end of the 2nd period, and he went 6-and-0 on faceoffs;
6. And at least Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff played the least of any Wings players.
7. The Red Wings haven't won 5 games yet--Saturday's loss snapped a 4-game winning streak--but the Wings have only 4 games left in their regular season (Tuesday @ Buffalo, Wednesday @ Pittsburgh, Friday vs. Carolina and on Easter Sunday in St. Louis), and the Wings are more or less going to make the playoffs, so that season will start anew either on Wednesday the 16th or Thursday the 17th.
8. And finally, according to the Ottawa Sun's Chris Stevenson, Pavel Datsyuk's team is trying to make a late-season surge toward a playoff spot for the third time in four years, but the best news of the night is, quite simply, that Datsyuk's getting tired of the rigamarole--which necessitates improving the team as Datsyuk's 3-year contract extension kicks in next year with a whopping $10 million in real-world salary but a $7.5 million cap hit:
“If you ask me if I like it, it’s no. I don’t like this one. But it’s life and we need to go through it,” said Datsyuk, playing his second game back after missing 16 games with a suspected knee injury. “For us the last four games, it’s the second season in a row they’re like playoff games. It’s better for us that the playoffs start early. We’ll be ready when the real playoffs start.”
When asked if knowing the Wings had done the trick last season gave him encouragement this time around, Datsyuk said: “Yeah, but I don’t want it to be our habit.”
Datsyuk played 17:41 Saturday night and scored the Wings’ first goal of the night and his first since Dec. 30. He played 17:45 in his return for the win over the Buffalo Sabres Friday night.
“I feel much better than (Friday), so now I just try to pick up more pace each shift. I feel better,” he said.
Wings coach Mike Babcock was encouraged with what he saw from his star forward.
“I thought Pavel got better in the second half. I didn’t think he was very good early, but I thought he was better in the second half. You know, anytime you bring good players back, as good as they are to have back, it disrupts things, too, your power play and that. I thought our power play got going. Let’s face it. We had the puck a lot and we didn’t find a way to win. That’s all.”
The bad news is that the Red Wings not only now have a 4-point lead on the New Jersey Devils, who defeated Carolina 2-1 on Saturday and have more Regulation-or-OT wins than Detroit (34 to 32), that the Red Wings now essentially have a 1-point lead on the Blue Jackets because Columbus (who hosts the Islanders on Sunday evening) has a game in hand, 2 more wins (39 vs. 37) and two more ROWs (34 vs. 32)...
And that the Red Wings have lost two straight games against the Canadiens, both in controversial fashion.
The Wings rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits only to lose 5-4 to Montreal on March 26th--with Thomas Vanek's game-winning goal being off-sides by a foot--and on Saturday, the Wings rallied from a 3-0 deficit in 5:33 only to possibly have given up the game-winning goal on an off-sides play, depending on what your definition of "possession" of the puck might be, and while the Wings did their best to not lament the laughable refereeing during Saturday's game, Jonas Gustavsson squirmed when he was asked whether Alex Galchenyuk's 5-3 goal involved Galchenyuk going into the crease to impede Gustavsson's ability to stop the puck (never mind that Galchenyuk batted the puck in with his arm in a...spurious...motion).
I certainly called Saturday's 5-3 loss a "hose job," and I still feel that way, though I can't deny that the Red Wings' players and coach (I'm certain that Claude Julien would've had a fit had any of the calls that went against Detroit gone against his team) made sound points toward the folly of dropping 3-0 deficits and surrendering 5 goals in any way, shape or form as an acceptable way to lose a game, controversy or no controversy.
Oh, and Brian Lashoff and/or Jakub Kindl's defensive mistakes led to three of the Canadiens' 5 goals, including the 4-3 and 5-3 markers, and they've been directly or indirectly involved in the vast majority of the goals against the Wings of late, so they played the least of any of the Wings' defensemen for a reason: their coach is more and more reluctantly allowing either player to hop over the boards.
With no Jonathan Ericsson on the horizon for a couple of weeks as Ken Holland told the media that Ericsson had to stop working out lest his surgically-repaired finger get infected, and despite Kindl's 2 assists on Friday and all the progress Lashoff's made toward becoming a reliable defensive defenseman...
As bad as the team played at times, man, I hope that there's an Almquist, Ouellet or Sproul call-up in the near future, because the Wings are currently a team that only ices 4 NHL-caliber defensemen, and they certainly took a midnight flight back to Detroit for a day off--preceding a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights and 4 in 6 nights--with 4 NHL-caliber defensemen on the plane. Including Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith.
Anyway, the Canadiens didn't give a rat's butt as to whether there was any controversy involved in their win. They like this guy, and this guy defines the term "chicken-shit defenseman" (you may remember Alexei Emelin from such hits as the 2012 World Championships, when he, Dmitri Kalinin and Johan Franzen got into a shoving match, and Emelin and Kalinin preceded to spear Franzen and then break and rearrange Franzen's nose, with Emelin doing the dirty work):
For what it's worth, Le Journal de Montreal's Jean-Francois Dumont spoke with Jurco, and while this is dreadfully Google-translated French, Jurco said that Emelin dove, as he is wont to do:
I didn't spear Emelin," said Jurco immediately afterwards. "I was frustrated late in the game and Emelin knocked me with a good bodycheck. When you get hit, you're upset. There was some scuffling, but it's not a big deal. I put my hockey stick between his legs and lifted a little, but it wasn't too strong," he continued. "I think he exaggerated by dropping to the ice as if I'd done it really strongly. That's why I was so angry."
Whether you're reading in English or French, the Canadiens, who themselves rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Ottawa 7-4 on Friday, felt that they didn't exactly play fantastic hockey, as the Montreal Gazette's Brenda Branswell noted...
“We certainly lost some momentum…let them get back into the game, but we showed a lot of poise sticking with it and not getting rattled by it,” said Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who scored twice–his 16 and 17th goals of the season–including the game winner.
Canadiens’ coach Michel Therrien called a timeout after the back-to-back goals by Detroit.
“He just said calm down and get back to what’s working,” said Gionta who was playing in his 300th game as a Hab.
“We weren’t pressuring the puck. We were second on the puck, took a couple of penalties for that reason and they got some momentum from it.”
The Red Wings outshot the Canadiens 37-26.
“We have to play much tighter hockey if we want to have long-term success,” Therrien said.
Canadiens.com's Jack Han penned something of a narrative recap (and this reads like it was translated from French):
“We started the game really well,” offered Montreal head coach Michel Therrien. “The big worry was how we would respond playing in our building after being on the road for such a long time, but the guys came out and played really well in the first.”
Indeed, despite being on the road for the past ten days and playing last night in Ottawa, the Habs were able to take the early initiative against the Wings. Michael Bournival scored the lone goal of the first period after Ryan White made a courageous drive toward Jonas Gustavsson’s net, out-muscling two defenders and leaving his linemate with a simple tap-in to get his seventh marker of the season.
I'm not sure I'd call it "courageous"...
“He made all the effort by driving to the net. Credit to him for breaking into the zone and making the play happen,” acknowledged the rookie Bournival, who scored his first goal since November on the play.
In the second, the Habs continued to widen the gap with goals from Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta. In all alone on a breakaway, Pacioretty froze Gustavsson with a shoulder drop, then deposited the puck low far-side for his team-leading 39th goal of the season. Minutes later, captain Gionta, making his 300th regular-season appearance for the Canadiens, tapped home a nifty Lars Eller feed to give his team a comfortable 3-0 lead. Over the years, Gionta has transitioned from big-time scorer to dependable two-way workhorse. Counted on by his coach to play big minutes on the penalty kill and against the other teams’ best, the American has quietly notched 17 goals in his 2013-14 campaign, the second-highest total among his team’s right-wingers.
“Brian is our captain and our leader. He played great in a huge game for us,” praised coach Therrien, who slotted Gionta alongside Eller and a resurgent Rene Bourque.
After Gionta’s goal, however, the Habs’ fortune seemed to hit the skids. The Montrealers stopped challenging the Wing’s defense corps and were handily out-shot 15-4 in the second period. Detroit continued the onslaught early in the third and goaded the Habs into penalty trouble. Pavel Dastyuk got the Wings on the board with a powerplay goal at 5:11, Luke Glendening scored his first career NHL goal 36 seconds later, and Niklas Kronwall’s powerplay point shot went post-and-in at 10:44 of the final frame, leaving the hometown faithful stunned and confused.
To the Canadiens’ credit, the team worked through its issues with no panicking. Therrien called for a timeout to allow his team some time to refocus. After the short interlude, the team soon began to once again move up on the scoreboard.
“We certainly lost some momentum towards the end of the second and early in the third. We let them get back in the game, but we showed a lot of poise sticking with it and not getting rattled with it,” said Gionta, who corralled a long Lars Eller feed, streaked into the Detroit zone and saw his hard centring pass for Bourque bounce into the goal off a defender. The goal would hold up and helped the veteran earn first-star honors in his milestone game. “It’s always fun to have games like these. I’m proud to be a member of this organization it’s been a great run. I’m very fortunate to have played here and be a part of the history.”
Yes, streaked into the Detroit zone like Brett Hull used to during his days with the Red Wings. Oftentimes Hull--like Todd Bertuzzi after him--wouldn't even have his stick on the puck as he stickhandled to himself or slid a pass to himself, and some of the time, the referees would deem that Hull was not only in possession of the puck sans actually touching it, but that he was controling it. Other times (with Wings fans' luck, when a goal resulted after Hull backed in), the refs would deem Hull to be off-sides.
Before Twitter, message boards would erupt with controversy as fans debated whether Hull had control of the puck, and having witnessed what Hull did successfully so very regularly, that's why I'm suspicious as to whether Gionta had control of the puck that was probably ON his stick blade.
The Ottawa Sun's Chris Stevenson picks up the narrative from Gionta's comments onward...
Both Canadiens goals to deliver the win came off the rush and were the product of the Canadiens going hard to the net, something their smaller size in past years hadn’t been possible on a regular basis.
On Gionta’s goal, Rene Bourque went hard to the blue paint, drawing the attention of Wings defenceman Brian Lashoff and Gionta’s shot went off the pad of Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson and off Lashoff’s skate.
Galchenyuk was credited with the fifth goal when he was standing in the blue paint behind Gustavsson and had a shot by Tomas Plekanec bounce in off his chest, a goal that survived video review.
And he duly noted that the Canadiens managed to score all 5 goals at even strength:
"Our emphasis was to get better there (5-on-5),” said Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who scored two even-strength goals Saturday night. “There’s parts of the game that kind of go up and down whether it’s power play or killing penalties, but 5-on-5 has got to be consistent and we’re trying to get back on track here towards the end of the season.”
Are the Habs doing anything different?
“We want to pressure the puck, but it’s nothing different than we’ve been trying to do all year,” said Gionta.
The Canadiens raved about their own "character" as they took a timeout to regroup after Kronwall tied the game, per the Canadian Press (the Canadiens are like the Blackhawks--they think they're fantastic, and, regrettably, they back their words up regularly enough to continue talking shit):
"That's proof that there's a lot of character on this team," Montreal forward [Michael] Bournival said. "We've done this a few times this year. Even if we concede three straight goals, we're able to bounce back. We knew the Red Wings never give up. They had us on our heels to start the third, but we got back on our feet."
Pavel Datsyuk scored his 16th of the year at 5:11 of the third on the power play, and Luke Glendening reduced the deficit again at 5:47 on a soft backhand shot that Price got a piece of but couldn't keep out.
Niklas Kronwall tied it up for Detroit midway through the period, beating Price with a slap shot from the point, through traffic, on the man advantage.
Instead of keeling over, however, the Canadiens answered Kronwall's game-tying goal with renewed energy.
"At that point, you just reset, and go back to what made you successful in the first half of the game," Gionta said. "You have to make sure you don't lose that momentum. It's much easier at home, when you have the crowd. You build some momentum off of them. You make a good play, and things start to snowball the right way again."
Regrettably, a significant part of the players' post-game comments (as you'll see in the videos below) weren't picked up in English, so while I'm flummoxed by French (I took German in high school and college and as you know, I have a tolerable command of translated Swedish and Russian), I have to give 'er a go in trying to make sense of le Journal de Montreal's Jonathan Bernier's recap to fill in the blanks:
There was a time when Michel Therien's team would've panicked and collapsed as a result of the 3-goal outburst by the Red Wings.
Yesterday, everyone stayed calm. The Canadiens coach called a timeout after the visitors' third goal. It was a move that probably weighed heavily in terms of the result.
"Michel told us to stay calm and to go back to what allows us to be successfu," said Brian Gionta. "At that time, we were always second to the puck, which forced us to take some punishment, and gave them momentum as a result."
For his part, Therrien called the timeout before further goals resulted.
"I knew the Red Wings, who are doing well these days, represented a challenge. I was worried because I thought that after ten days on the road, it wasn't going to be easy. But we imposed our own pace on the game, played with Candien drive. Then we fell on our heels, and showed determination and aggression."
Finally, the Canadiens seemed animated by the killer instinct that they've so sorely missed in the past. In a tight race for home-ice advantage, that can't be overlooked.
"The worst thing to do (after the Wings' rally) would be to feel sorry for ourselves. During the last seven minutes, we put the pedal to the floor and finished our work," [Carey Price] said.
La Presse's Richard Labbe, RDS's Francois Gagnon and le Journal de Montreal's Bernier (in notebook form) also penned French-language articles, the Montreal Gazette's Mike Boone wrote an English-language "Spirit of the Thing," the Canadiens penned a "Numbers Game" that includes nothing relevant to Wings fans, and this is the only part of the Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey's recap that's interesting...
Coming back: The Red Wings, who are clinging to one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, used the power play to get back into the game. Pavel Datsyuk cut the Montreal lead to 3-1 when he scored a power-play goal at 5:11. Luke Glendening brought the Red Wings closer when he scored 36 seconds later. Niklas Kronwall pulled Detroit even at 3-3 when he scored on a power play at 10:44. He scored on a shot from the blue line through traffic. The Red Wings’ power play went 2-for-5 against the third-best penalty-killing unit in the NHL. The Canadiens were 0-for-2 on the power play.
NHL.com's Apron Basu will transition us from the Canadiens' perspectives to those of the Red Wings, who weren't biting on any opportunities to cry foul:
"We have to be better than we were tonight," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I think we've been on a good run here where we played hard. I didn't think there was a problem with our energy or our commitment to working hard tonight. You said details, and we didn't execute well enough with the puck tonight. Sometimes they flipped it out, got it and shot it in our net."
Detroit's loss coupled with the New Jersey Devils' 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes means there are two teams sitting outside of an Eastern Conference playoff spot within four points of the Red Wings, who hold the Eastern Conference's top wild-card spot. The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Winnipeg Jets, leaving them four points behind Detroit as well.
Last season, the Red Wings won their final four regular-season games to earn their 22nd straight trip to the postseason before upsetting the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. With four games left this season, Detroit shouldn't need to run the table, but a 23rd straight playoff spot still isn't guaranteed.
"If you ask me if I like it, it's no. I don't like this one," said Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who scored his first goal since Dec. 30 in his second game back from a knee injury. "But it's life, and we need to go through it. For us the last four games, it's the second season in a row they're like playoff games. It's better for us that the playoffs start early. We'll be ready when the real playoffs start."
Datsyuk's knee injury has bothered him since Jan. 1, when he and the Red Wings lost the 2014 Bridgeston NHL Winter Classic 3-2 in a shootout to the Maple Leafs. He missed the next 14 games, then played the final two games prior to the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where he captained Russia. Datsyuk played the first two games back from the Olympics before missing the next 16.
With captain Henrik Zetterberg still out with a back injury, Babcock was pleased with the progress he saw in Datsyuk's game.
"I thought Pavel got better in the second half [of the game]," he said. "I didn't think he was very good early, but I thought he was better in the second half."
Babcock continued while speaking with the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...
"Anytime you give up three and come back with three in the third, you've got to find a way to win," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Obviously, the puck went in our net way too often. You can't give up five on the road and expect to win."
Who did take note of the controversy surrounding the Habs' goals:
On the fourth, as the Montreal forward Brian Gionta entered the zone, before he eventually scored, he skated in backwards over the blue line. By rule, the play is onside only if the player is in full control of the puck.
To the naked eye, the vigorous onside signal from the linesman appeared questionable. Replays showed Gionta was in less than full control.
Then, on the fifth goal, Alex Galchenyuk skated directly into the crease, stood next to the Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson and bumped him slightly. That all happened just before Tomas Plekanec fired a shot that deflected off Galchenyuk's arm, and in.
Gustavsson did bite when talking about Galchenyuk's positioning:
"He (Galchenyuk) was just standing next to me, pretty much, there, on the goal line," he said, after the game. "I feel like there's no way, for me. I can't even move. Sometimes they don't have to push you or bump you. If he is standing there, a guy who ways over 200 pounds, and it hits him… I don't know. If that's a goal, then there's a lot of goals that's not going to be called off, I think."
The Wings simply felt that they were what they were too many times--ridiculously flat-footed defensively against the Canadiens' speedy transition game...
"I thought we had the puck lots. I thought we had it rolling around in their zone lots," Babcock said. "They'd flip it out and come down in the zone and score. Lots of good shifts ended in goals against. We didn't give up tons of shots, but we gave up too many opportunities."
But Niklas Kronwall kept a stiff upper lip...
"Sometimes you've got the breaks with you, sometimes it goes against you," Niklas Kronwall said. "Tonight, we got impatient there at the end for whatever reason. They got a lucky break on the fourth one and then we gave up some odd-man rushes. I don't think we gave up. We give it all we can. We said before the third started, 'Just stay patient, try to get the first one and we'll be fine.' We stuck with it, came back 3-3 and then unfortunately we gave it away."
As did Gustavsson:
"You're never happy when you lose a game," Gustavsson said. "We went out there and tried to get two points. The way I see it, we played a pretty good game."
Krupa penned a seperate article about Luke Glendening's contract extension and first goal, and as the Detroit Free Press's Sean Farrell's recap is currently blank as of the time I'm writing this (his capsule recap has text at least), I'm going to use the game-related parts of Krupa's Glendening spotlight:
The puck from his first goal?
"Someone has it," Glendening said, as he looked around the dressing room aware of the mischief that sometimes targets a rookie scoring his first NHL goal, before his mates present him with the souvenir. "I haven't seen it yet. But someone has it."
Regarding his contract...
"In the last week, we played Boston and he played 18 minutes against (Patrice) Bergeron," general manager Ken Holland said. "We played Pittsburgh. Mike Babcock had him matched up against Sidney Crosby."
"And, part of that was, obviously, there's been no Datsyuk, there's been no Zetterberg," Holland allowed. "But certainly he's earned enough confidence of the coaching staff that when we've had injuries, he's had a big role and big responsibilities."
"Glennie's earned himself a contract, and now he's set up to be a Red Wing," Babcock said. "You know, he's just got to keep earning his opportunities. He's been excellent for us. We didn't expect him to be on the team at the start of the year. Like a lot of guys, he's been given the opportunities that they wouldn't normally have. But now what they've done is they've come here and they've won jobs, and I assume they plan on keeping them."
As for his goal?
"Obviously, it was exciting at the time," Glendening said. "It was in the middle of a comeback there. You know, the excitement quickly faded. We needed those two points and it's frustrating to lose a game like that."
Krupa also allowed Glendening to issue something of a warning, and after a crappy ending to a should'a could'a game (one of many this season), we may as well end here:
Other guys were Griffins, now they are Red Wings. And it may be a struggle now for anyone to displace them.
"We were all given the chance to play and be in some big spots," Glendening said. "And I'm sure you'll be reading about other guys' contracts soon."
Highlights: The Red Wings' website posted a highlight clip actually narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:
Sportsnet posted a 1:42 highlight clip;
And the CBC's highlight clip is...Geoblocked?
Photos: The Free Press posted a 21-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
The Montreal Gazette posted a 9-image gallery;
La Presse embedded an 8-image gallery in its website's recap;
The Journal de Montreal embedded a 23-image gallery in its website's recap;
ESPN posted a 32-image gallery;
Shots 37-26 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 13-10 in the 1st period but out-shot Montreal 15-4 in the 2nd and 12-9 in the 3rd.
Special teams: Detroit went 2-for-5 in 7:58 of PP time; Montreal went 0-for-3 in 6:00.
Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 21 of 26 shots for Detroit; Carey Price stopped 34 of 37 for Montreal.
RDS picked the 3 stars, and they picked Niklas Kronwall, Carey Price and Brian Gionta.
The Red Wings' goals: Datsyuk (16) from Kronwall (40) and Franzen (23), PPG:
Glendening (1) from Abdelkader (18) and Miller (7);
Kronwall (8) from Franzen (24) and Nyquist (19), PPG.
Faceoffs 30-26 Detroit (Detroit won 54%);
Blocked shots 18-12 Montreal;
Missed shots 12-5 Detroit (attempts 67-42 Detroit; Detroit had 37 shots on Price and 30 attempts wide/blocked);
Hits 19-13 Montreal;
Giveaways 9-3 Montreal;
Takeaways 9-7 Montreal.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 10-and-10 (50%); Glendening went 6-and-6 (50%); Legwand went 4-and-4 (50%); Helm went 6-and-0 (100%); Sheahan went 1-and-4 (20%); Franzen went 1-and-1 (50%); Tatar went 1-and-1 (50%); Abdelkader won his only faceoff.
Shots: Kronwall led the Wings with 7 shots; Franzen had 6; Smith, Legwand and Tatar had 3; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Sheahan, Helm and DeKeyser had 2; Kindl, Quincey and Glendening had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Franzen had 4 more attempts blocked; Smith, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Legwand and Tatar had 2 attempts blocked; Nyquist, Miller, Jurco and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Alfredsson and Tatar missed the net 3 times; Franzen missed the net 2 times; Nyquist, Sheahan, Kronwall and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Miller and Kronwall had 2 hits; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Tatar, Jurco, Quincey, Glendening and Helm had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Kronwall had 2 giveaways; Legwand had 1.
Takeaways: Smith, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Tatar, Quincey and Kronwall had 1 takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Miller blocked 3 shots; Lashoff and Glendening blocked 2 shots; Smith, Kindl, Jurco, Quincey and Helm blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Smith, Kindl, Jurco and Glendening took minor penalties.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:44 played; DeKeyser played 24;24; Quincey played 21:34;
Franzen played 19:32; Nyquist played 19:20; Datsyuk played 17:41;
Smith played 17:29; Helm played 15:16; Alfredsson played 15:11;
Legwand played 14:53; Jurco played 14:29; Sheahan played 14:13;
Miller played 13:21; Tatar played 13:15; Glendening played 13:06;
Abdelkader played 12:31; Kindl played 12:04; Lashoff played 11:39.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: From MLive's Brendan Savage's quote-free recap:
• The Red Wings couldn't take advantage of a two-man advantage for 32 seconds early in the second period after Rene Bourque went off for slashing Riley Sheahan and Tomas Plekanec tripped Johan Franzen. Sheahan had to leave the ice to have his hand looked at but he was OK.
• The loss meant Mike Babcock, coaching his 700th game with Detroit, remained tied with Jack Adams for the most victories by a coach in Red Wings history (413).
In the prospect department, extended family version: As the Chicago Tribune's Paul LaTour notes, Jake Chelios has signed a deal with the AHL's Chicao Wolves, the St. Louis Blues' AHL affiliate. He was playing with the ECHL's Toledo Walleye alongside his brother Dean after completing his senior season at Michigan State University;
Chelios may not see action with the Wolves, but if he does he will become part of the organization's first father-son combo to suit up. Chelios indicated his promotion may only last for this weekend, but he's ready to make the most of the opportunity.
"They have confidence in me, that’s why they brought me up here," said Chelios, a 23-year-old who lists Bloomfield Hills, Mich., as his hometown. "It’s just kinda get a taste of the AHL for that next step. Just like when I joined the (ECHL) a couple weeks ago, they just said go out there and play your game and just get a feel for what it’s like."
With Jake in Chicago, and his brother, Dean, still playing in Toledo, the question had to be asked if the Chelios crew was planning to match the Howe family by having their hall-of-fame father play in a game with them. The Howes, Gordie, Marty and Mark, played together in the mid-1970s with the Houston Aeros in the WHA.
Jake just laughed at the idea, though did acknowledge one thing about his father, the Detroit Red Wings advisor to hockey operations who works closely with prospects playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
"I’m sure he still could (play), but I don’t know …" Jake said with chuckle.
The OHL also conducted its draft on Saturday, and the Saginaw Spirit picked the son of a familiar face:
12th Round (230th overall) - Igor Larionov Jr. - Forward - Detroit Honeybaked
GP- 3 G-0 A-0 PTS-0 PIM-0
In the, "At least that's one vote!" department, from the New York Post's Larry Brooks:
Craig Berube has done a fine job behind the Flyers’ bench since replacing Peter Laviolette, no doubt about that, but it is a two-man-race for the Adams as Coach of the Year between the Red Wings’ Mike Babcock and the Avalanche’s Patrick Roy.
In the "Player to be named later" department, from the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons:
One year after publishing Bobby Orr’s huge selling biography, Penguin is doing a Gordie Howe book. No writer has been named for the project.
And finally, I'm gonna butcher this, but le Journal de Montreal's Jean-Francois Chaumont spoke with a certain Ken Holland about Gustav Nyquist prior to Saturday night's game, and here's what was said--give or take English-to-French and then French-to-English translation:
In an interview with the Journal de Montreal before the game, Holland made several points regarding Nyquist. Someone doesn't emerge out of left field. In 122 games in the AHL, the Swede registered 122 points.
"First, I'd say that with the many injuries in Detroit, he finally got a spot on a scoring line," said the GM of the Red Wings. "Second, he has more experience, he's won a Calder Cup and he became one of the top scorers in the AHL."
"Third, he realized that he needed to shoot more shots on goal. Nyquist had a very European mentality. He always preferred to pass, he was too generous to his teammates. Now he's scoring more goals, and he wants to take more shots. And that's perfect."
The Wings have long known that they had a a talented forward, but it took him several seasons to find a spot.
Babcock didn't hesitate in explaining his early-season demotion to the AHL.
"It's called money," he said. "Early in the season, it was impossible for us to keep him Detroit because of the salary cap. We had the option to return him to the American League."
Holland also noted an important formality.
"He had to play two more games in the NHL before passing through waivers. So it was possible for us to send him to Grand Rapids without having to waive him. It was a logical decision. We didn't want to keep him in Detroit to play on a defensive line. We decided to be patient."
Good call, even if it drove Red Wings fans--myself included--nuts.
Update: MLive's Brendan Savage filed a recap that discusses both the controversial goals...
"It doesn't really matter what I think," Kronwall said when asked if the goals should have been waved off. "Sometimes you've got the breaks with you, sometimes it goes against you. Tonight, we got impatient there at the end for whatever reason. They got a lucky break on the fourth one and then we gave up some odd-man rushes."
And the Wings' now-customary late-season attempt to earn a playoff spot:
According to Kronwall, the Red Wings can draw off last season's hot finish as they attempt to make the playoffs for a 23rd straight season and extend the longest active postseason streak in the NHL.
"I think so, just the experience of going through it," Kronwall said after Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. "Our younger guys are one year older, they've already been through it. They know more of what to expect. Just go out and find a way to get the job done. It's all about getting two points every night."
"First of all, we have a really good leadership," said goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who made 32 saves. "Now Hank's out but we have some other guys who have been around for a long time and they know what to do in those kinds of situations. And the young guys play fearless. They're excited and they give the rest of us a lot of energy. I feel that lately we've been playing good, too. We've been getting a lot of points. We just have to bounce back and keep this going."
Quoth the coach:
"I don't even remember last season," Babcock said. "We've got a new group this year. I'm not a big believer in carryover from year to year. You forge your own way each and every year. We got to be better than we were tonight. We want to get on a good run here where we play hard. I don't think there was a problem with our energy or our commitment to working hard tonight. We didn't execute well enough with the puck. We flipped it out a couple times, they got it and shot it in our net."
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