The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/16/13 at 05:08 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings flew to Vancouver to complete their Western Canadian road swing minus Kyle Quincey, who will probably miss some time due to what is likely a bruised or chipped cheekbone, but plus two points thanks to an absolutely fantastic third period and overtime's worth of hockey, allowing the Wings to secure a 3-2 OT victory and all but literally steal 2 points from the Edmonton Oilers.
Tonight, the Wings will face a Vancouver Canucks team (10 PM EDT, FSD Plus/CBC/NHL Network U.S./WXYT AM) whose 13-7-and-6 record is good for all of a one-point lead over the 13-10-and-5 Wings in the Western Conference standings, but they're going to face a Canucks team that's on a very different trajectory of late.
While the Wings have won one of their past four games, the Canucks have won two straight, including a 7-4 win over Nashville on Thursday and a 2-1 shootout win over those dastardly Blue Jackets this past Tuesday, and have secured points in 5 of the 7 games they've played this month (3-2-and-2), rebounding significantly from...The 8-3 trouncing the Wings gave the Canucks on February 24th.
As a way to help celebrate a 100-years of hockey on the continent’s west coast, Canucks’ players will wear full replicas of the uniforms worn by the Vancouver Millionaires a century ago. The special maroon jerseys with the “V” crest and tan pants honors Vancouver’s original hockey club and follows the launch of a commemorative third sweater adorned with a Millionaires “V” on the chest earlier this season.
The Millionaires played 13 seasons in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1911-22. The Millionaires swept a best-of-five interleague series to win the Stanley Cup in 1915 against the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey Association, which later became the NHL.
It’s ironic that the Red Wings are the team that the Canucks chose to break-out the commemorative uniforms for. That’s because the Millionaires’ chief rivals have ties to the Red Wings’ organization.
Back in the day, the PCHA’s Victoria Cougars later sold their roster to an upstart NHL club in Detroit. That was in 1926, and as a tribute to the former west coast franchise, the Detroit team retained Cougars as its nickname. Centers Frank Fredrickson and Frank Foyston, wingers Harold Hart, Harry Meeking, Jack Walker, defenseman Clem Loughlin, and goalie Hap Holmes all arrived from Victoria to help put NHL hockey on the Detroit map.
In its inaugural NHL season, Detroit finished in last place of the American Division with a 12-28-4 record. In four seasons as the Cougars, the Detroit franchise produced a 64-87-25 record with one Stanley Cup playoff appearance. They lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1929 quarterfinals. Two years later, the Detroit club changed its name to the Falcons, before they became the Red Wings in 1932.
On Friday, Roberto Luongo told the Canadian Press's Monte Stewart that he's been tagged to start tonight, and given that he gave up all eight goals against Detroit a little under three weeks ago, Luongo suggested that he's in line for a redemptive performance:
“It’s a good chance for myself and for the team to get back at it and erase what was a pretty painful game,” said Luongo, who will make his third consecutive start.
The Canucks (13-7-6) will wear maroon jerseys with a large “V” and the word Vancouver along with similarly-coloured helmets and socks and greyish pants in celebration of a century of hockey on the West Coast. The uniform is a replica of the one worn by the Vancouver Millionaires, the city’s first professional team, which toiled in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1912 through 1922 (winning the Stanley Cup in 1915). Luongo, his teammates and the coaches wore vintage practice duds Friday, in preparation for the Wings. While trying to honour early 20th century hockey in the city, they will try to make amends for their effort in the recent past.
“It was not a game that was fun to be part of,” Luongo said. “It happens once in a while, unfortunately. The main thing is, you’ve gotta know how to respond – and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Luongo has responded well most of the time – when called upon – since the debacle in Detroit. He backstopped the Canucks to their second consecutive win last Thursday, as they put on a rare offensive display in a 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators.
The recent strong showing, which included a shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, came after he watched five of six games as Cory Schneider’s backup following the one-sided loss to the Red Wings. Consequently, head coach Alain Vigneault has kept the coin that he sometimes flips to determine his starting goaltender, has not been seen or mentioned lately.
“I just believe, right now, it’s the right call to do,” Vigneault said of starting Luongo.
The Vancouver bench boss said the club is looking for a strong bounce-back against the Wings, noting they still possess considerable talent despite being in the unusual position of having to battle for a Western Conference playoff spot. Luongo’s teammates are also looking for a better effort from themselves against a team that could be tired after playing in Edmonton on Friday.
“We have something to prove after what happened in Detroit last time,” winger Jannik Hansen said. “So it should make for a good game.”
As the Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer notes, Luongo's played very, very well of late, though his goals-against average hasn't been fantastic...
Luongo has won his last two starts, a 2-1 shootout win in Columbus on Tuesday night and a 7-4 decision over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at Rogers Arena. It's really all about wins and losses now. Luongo's record (7-2-3) is better than Schneider's (6-5-3) and his goals-against-average is nearly half a goal better: 2.23 vs. 2.63.
"He has been good," Vigneault said of Luongo. "It was a great goaltending performance by both goaltenders in Columbus. He gave us the extra point in the shootout by being better than the other goaltender. (Thursday) night was a funny game. You have two elite goaltenders battling one another and there are some nights when the puck just won't go in and there are some other nights where everything you throw at the net finds a way to go in."
Vigneault suggested Luongo was the victim of a couple of bad bounces Thursday night. His decision to go with Luongo is a tad surprising, given that Luongo was in goal when the Red Wings defeated the Canucks 8-3 at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 24.
Luongo is highly motivated to beat the Red Wings on Saturday night, when the Canucks will be wearing their vintage Vancouver Millionaires jerseys.
"It's a good chance for myself and the team to get back at it and erase what was a pretty painful game," Luongo said. "It doesn't really matter that it's Detroit. At the end of the day you want to play well and you want to win. But at the same time it's a game that is fresh in our memory and it might give us some extra jump."
And Friday's discussion amongst the Canucks' players mostly focused upon wearing full uniforms' worth of gear they're not accustomed to donning, as well as this little parody of the supposedly unhappy relationship between Luongo and Corey Schneider (via Puck Daddy, and you can watch Alain Vigneault's off-day presser and quips and quotes from Schneider, Luongo, Alexandre Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Henrik Sedin from the Canucks' website if you wish)...
The Canucks are serious as can be in terms of turning a power play that's downright Red Wings-on-the-road bad, as the Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer points out...
The Canucks enter Saturday night’s game having failed to score on their last 27 power-play opportunities. The players know that has to change.
“A lot of times for us it’s one shot and the puck is down the ice,” captain Henrik Sedin said Friday. “I think it’s not the execution or passing and shooting, it’s more retrieving pucks and getting pucks back. When you see at us at our best it’s when we spend 35, 40, 45 seconds in their end and that hasn’t happened.”
Daniel Sedin is generally the trigger-man on the power play, but he’s only scored two of his eight goals on the power play this season.
“On power plays you need a five-man unit and usually I am the one taking the shots and I need to be better in that department,” he said. “But I think our problem right now is retrieving the puck after that first shot. We’re at our best when we get that first shot and get the puck back and then things open up. We haven’t been doing that 100 per cent so far.”
“Our power play sometimes is like how we play,” [coach Vigneault] said. “We play real well but we don’t get the results we expect. Our power play has done some real good things, we’re working on different aspects of it to make it better. Sometimes it takes a bit of time. But it has got some good looks. You can say all the things (like) we are only getting one or two power plays a game ... but at the end of the day we have to get it done. I believe we have the personnel to get it done. They are just going to have to go out and prove me right.”
Given how badly their special teams have struggled this season — Vancouver’s penalty-kill is ranked 14th — the Canucks are perhaps fortunate to be where they are in the standings.
“I think it shows five-on-five we’re close to where we want to be,” Henrik said. “So that’s a good sign. But we have to get it (the power play) going.”
And regardles of a possible personnel tweak or two, as noted by the Vancouver Province's Steve Ewen...
Could Keith Ballard get another try in the Vancouver Canucks’ lineup Saturday versus the Detroit Red Wings? Canucks coach Alain Vigneault admitted after practice that going to a slicker, quicker defence against the skilled Red Wings was “something we’re going to talk about.” If it comes to fruition, it would undoubtedly mean that puck-mover Ballard would go back into the lineup, in place of the more physical Andrew Alberts.
Ballard, 30, was one of Vancouver’s key acquisitions prior to the 2010-11 season, coming over from the Florida Panthers in a multi-player deal that sent Vancouver’s 2010 first-round draft pick the other way. He’s been in and out of the doghouse since getting here, though, and this latest stint has seen him be a healthy scratch for four of the past seven games.
The wild card in all of this is the health of Chris Tanev. He didn’t practise with the team on Friday. Vigneault initially called it a “maintenance day,” but when asked whether the Shea Weber shot Tanev took off his knee in Thursday’s 7-4 win was involved, Vigneault said, “that may have something to do with the maintenance.”
The Canucks have one goal tonight, and it involves exacting revenge upon the Wings:
“We were totally embarrassed,” Vigneault said of his club’s effort that evening. “It wasn’t the game we can play against that team. We know they’re a real good team. Their skill level, their defence to offence. You look at some of their personnel and you’re definitely talking about some of the elite players in the NHL. We’re definitely looking to have a bounce-back game.”
Absent any real Red Wings perspectives, NHL.com's John Kreiser provides a balanced preview...
Season series: It's the second of three meetings; the Red Wings will be back at Rogers Arena on April 20. Expect the Canucks to be looking for some revenge for the 8-3 licking they took in Detroit on Feb. 24.
Big story: The Red Wings might not have needed a plane to fly to Vancouver after rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to win 3-2 in overtime at Edmonton on Friday. The Canucks are coming off a wild 7-4 home win against Nashville on Thursday that kept them on top of the Northeast Division.
Red Wings [team scope]: The Wings arrived in Edmonton with just three wins in 12 road games -- and through 40 minutes, it looked like that number wasn't going to change. But Valtteri Filppula got them on the board early in the third period, Niklas Kronwall got credit for the tying goal when Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry accidentally shot the puck in his own net and Pavel Datsyuk won it with a spectacular goal at 3:39 of OT, undressing Petry before firing home a wrist shot for his first goal in 11 games.
Canucks [team scope]: Roberto Luongo will be in goal for the third straight game when the Canucks take the ice on Saturday, and he's sure to want to atone for his performance in the previous meeting with Detroit -- Luongo surrendered all eight goals in Detroit's runaway victory.
Who's hot: Filppula has scored in back-to-back games since returning from an injury that kept him out for seven games. … Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin, usually a passer instead of a shooter, scored on a penalty shot against Nashville and has goals in four of the Canucks' past five games.
Injury report: The Red Wings left defenseman Kyle Quincey behind in Calgary after he took a puck in the cheek on Friday. They are still without Mikael Samuelsson (hand), Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm (back) and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder). … The Canucks are still without second-line center Ryan Kesler (broken right foot).
And the AP's game preview offers some stats of note:
Vancouver (13-7-6) has won two straight after a 0-2-2 stretch and set a season best for goals scored in a 7-4 win over Nashville on Thursday. It had scored eight non-shootout goals over its previous five games combined.
Andrew Ebbett and Jannik Hansen each had a goal and two assists while linemate Mason Raymond added a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who got 29 saves from Luongo. Henrik Sedin also scored on a penalty shot, giving him seven goals in his last 13 games after going scoreless in his first 13.
Hansen registered his first career three-point game and has four goals and five assists over his last seven.
''It just happens to be going in the right direction right now,'' Hansen said. ''For some reason, we found a way to score a couple more than we normally do.''
The Canucks hope their power-play unit can add a goal or two as well. They've gone 0 for 24 over the last 10 games with the man advantage, and Vigneault said they'll need to improve that aspect of their game moving forward.
[Luongo will] face a Red Wings team that ended a three-game losing streak with Friday's 3-2 overtime win at Edmonton, where Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall scored in regulation before Pavel Datsyuk's OT goal. It marked Datsyuk's first goal since Feb. 19 for Detroit, which is just 4-6-2 on the road.
"We're having a tough time on the road," Datsyuk told the team's official website. "But now I hope we're unstoppable like a red machine."
Jimmy Howard made 30 saves Friday, meaning backup Jonas Gustavsson could get the start versus the Canucks in the second of a back-to-back set. Gustavsson has lost each of his two career starts versus Vancouver while posting a 4.06 GAA.
Red Wings notebooks: I didn't include the Wings notebooks in the Wings-Oilers wrap-up because I would have been out of material otherwise. The Free Press's Helene St. James notes that Damien Brunner fired two shots off against Edmonton and helped screen Devan Dubnyk during the play leading up to Valtteri Filppula's goal, but Brunner's gone nine games without a goal, and that's new territory for him:
"Brunner got her in and Zetterberg and Brunns were on the forecheck," Mike Babcock said. "Fil walked off the wall and Brunns was at the net."
It's hardly unexpected Brunner would have a dry spell since he's adjusting to a 48-games-in-99-days pace, far more hectic than what he's been used to in his native Switzerland, where he played until this season.
Babcock had addressed the issue of mental toughness with Brunner; as Babcock put it, it's tough to suddenly be an "every day-er, to keep your confidence, to do it right all the time." Babcock also noted Brunner had three assists over his previous five games, and "for some guys, that's a home run, so let's be careful here."
If anything, Babcock wants Brunner to concentrate on being more careful with the puck after some costly turnovers over the past week.
For his part, Brunner admitted before the game that "it's tough with the travel and stuff, but that's a a mental thing you have to work through. Get mentally prepared every game and get the best out of you. For me, it's new situation. I think last four years, I never had eight-game streak without a goal, but that's something, just, get the good memories back in your head, and start scoring again. I had it in the past, when I was young, and there's always a way out. There's no reason to get nervous."
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke to both Babcock and Brunner's teammate with EV Zug during the lockout, one Henrik Zetterberg, about his scoring slump...
“He has cooled off,'' coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s like anything, the season this year with 48 games in (99) days is a grind, and if you’re coming from Switzerland it’s probably really a grind.The mental toughness to be an every-day (player), to keep your confidence, to do it right all of the time is a challenge. Him and I have spoke about that.''
Brunner already has played 60 games, including 33 for EV Zug in the Swiss-A league. After a strong start with the Red Wings (10 goals and 16 points in 19 games), Brunner has gone eight games without a goal (five assists during that time) heading into Friday's contest in Edmonton. Ordinarily, Babcock might have sat out Brunner for a game. But, his 10 goals still leads a team that is offensively challenged.
“When you go through our group, and you’re saying, ‘OK, I’m going to take someone out,’ he’s got 10 goals – and three assists in his last five games,'' Babcock said. “To some guys, that’s a home run. So let’s be careful.”
“He hasn't been here for a full season yet and been a part of that grind. This grind is even more,'' Zetterberg said. “It could be a little bit of that, but at the same time it's not just him that's been in a slump; I've been in a slump, too, so you can't just say that he's doing a bad job.''
Zetterberg has just one goal (along with 14 assists) in his past 20 games. Johan Franzen (two goals) is the only player on that line who's scored in the past eight games.
“I think last game (5-2 loss at Calgary Wednesday) we had a good game, we created a lot of chances,'' Zetterberg said. “But, before that, we've been struggling a little bit, haven't really got into the grind, haven't spent as much time in the offensive end that we would like.''
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke to Filppula about Brunner's contributions on Friday...
While Friday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Oilers at Rexall Place represented his ninth straight scoreless game, Brunner did quietly contribute to Valtteri Filppula’s third-period goal. As Filppula skated into the mid-slot off the half wall, Brunner gave Ray Whitney enough of a nudge that knocked the Oilers’ defenseman off balance and prevented him from making a play on Filppula, who scored on a back-hander at 4:27.
“I was able to get the puck, just trying to create enough room so I could get a shot off and Brunner did a good job in front,” Filppula said. “I don't think the goalie saw the puck.''
Coach Mike Babcock likes to measure a play by what he’s done in the previous five games. If a player has three or more points, Babcock calls him a “significant player” for his team. Brunner entered Friday’s game as such a player, with three assists in the last five contests.
“It’s like anything, the season this year with 48 games in 96 or 100 days, or whatever, is a grind, and if you’re coming from Switzerland it’s probably really a grind,” Babcock said. “The mental toughness to be an every-dayer, to keep your confidence, to do it right all of the time is a challenge. Him and I have spoke about that for sure. In saying that, when you go through our group, and you’re saying ‘OK, I’m going to take someone out,’ he’s got 10 goals, and three assists in his last five games. To some guys that’s a home run, three assists in his last five games.”
And the Edmonton Sun's Derek Van Diest penned a column discussing Brunner's difficulties with...Brunner himself:
“I had expectations coming here, but at the end of the day, you don’t know what it’s going to be like until you play the first game,” said Brunner, prior to going up against the Edmonton Oilers Friday night. “I was really excited to come over here and play in the NHL with the smaller ice. It’s been fun.”
Brunner, 27, signed as a free agent this summer, having finished a top of the Swiss national league in scoring last season. The Zurich product was once again on top this year during the lockout, having netted 25 goals and 57 points in 33 games for EV Zug. Brunner went to Detroit following the lockout and got off to a strong start with the Red Wings, scoring 10 goals and adding six assists in his first 19 games.
“I had a good first half of the year in Switzerland, and when I came over here, I had a lot of confidence,” he said. “I just tried not to put too much pressure on myself and work hard, and it worked out for me.”
“That’s the tough part with the travel and stuff, but that’s something you have to work through,” he said. “It’s about experience and it’s a challenge that you have to accept. You try to get mentally prepared every game and try and do your best.”
“It’s been lot of fun so far,” Brunner said. “Sometimes it’s tough, we’ve played a lot of games. I had a good start, but it’s been a rough last few games, but I think it won’t be long to get back on track. For me, it’s a situation where in the last four years, I’ve never gone eight games without a goal. But it’s about trying to get the good memories in your head and start scoring again. There’s always a way out. I knew going into the season there were going to be some harder times, but I think there isn’t a reason to get nervous. I just have to stay positive and it’ll come back.”
Brunner’s success has coincided with the Wings play this year. The team had been cruising until recently, having dropped their last three games coming into Edmonton.
“We’ve been disappointed in some of the games we’ve had, we have to do better, we have to take care of the puck better,” Brunner said. “But it hasn’t all been bad things that have happened in our last few games. We just have to try and erase the bad.”
Van Diest also took note of what Babcock had to say about the addition of former Oilers coach Tom Renney as the Wings' new associate (not assistant) coach...
“The No. 1 thing is that he’s a great, great person and has tons of experience,” said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. “He’s been excellent for us, we have a lot of fun. Most people might think that we’re spending a lot of time crying, but we’re not, we’re spending a lot of time laughing and trying to get better each and every day. I think he’s been a real positive.”
The Red Wings went into Friday’s game on a three-game losing skid and in ninth spot in the Western Conference standings.
“The best thing that he brings, and (new assistant) Bill Peters is no different, is that they’re quality, quality people,” said Babcock.
And Brunner offered a significant compliment to the Oilers' current head coach:
Damien Brunner never had an opportunity to play for Ralph Krueger on the Swiss national team, but is well aware what the Oilers head coach meant to the country.
“He stopped coaching Switzerland before I joined the national team,” said the Red Wings rookie. “But he came in as national team coach and had great success. Switzerland made the semifinal (World Championships) for the first time in years with him. He did a lot of great things for Swiss hockey. A lot of players had a chance to grow under him. After he came we never went down to the B group again and we played in a lot of quarterfinals. I think Switzerland is really happy with what he did for us.”
In a slightly different vein, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa is concerned about the Red Wings' need to adjust to a different style of play when they move to "Division C" in an Eastern-based conference next year, but the Wings believe that they'll adapt just fine:
Babcock, understandably, simply is not there yet. He is a little busy just now, trying to preserve the Red Wings 21-year streak of playoff appearances.
"I think it's great," he said, as he prepared to play the Oilers tonight. "It's good for our team in the fact that the travel — it's not the travel, it's the time changes that kill you. It's good for our fans. But, you know, I can't even list them — I know I'm supposed to know everybody in each division. But I'm excited about who we get to play. And as a coach, I've never coached in the east, so I'm going to have to learn the whole thing. But I'm really excited about the opportunity, too."
Asked specifically for his evaluation of the theory that the Eastern Conference is bigger and tougher, Babcock's unwillingness to provide an assessment only underlines just how hazy a proposition that is, let alone whether it is important.
"That's what I'm saying to you is I haven't done enough work on the east to know that. By the time we get around to it, don't worry, I'll have that covered."
For goaltenders, shooting tendencies of players now rarely seen, who will be seen regularly, is a concern. But Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard shrugged his shoulders and said it also is fairly easily remedied, and probably not a big deal.
"There's so much video nowadays," Howard said. "You know, every single team has their own video coach, it won't take very long for us to learn everyone's tendencies."
In prospect news of the individual variety: Red Wings prospect Ryan Sproul received significant praise from the Ontario Hockey League's Western Conference's coaches, who doled out awards in their annual "Coaches' Poll":
The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of the Western Conference Coaches Poll for the 2012-13 OHL regular season. The OHL Coaches Poll provides member club coaches with the opportunity to recognize the top three players in 20 different skill categories within their own conference.
Ryan Sproul of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds led the way with representation in four different categories including first place honours with the Hardest Shot for the second straight season, and Best Offensive Defenceman after finishing second in Western Conference voting last season. The Detroit Red Wings prospect also finished second in the Best Skater category, and finished tied for second in the Best Shot category for the second straight season.
Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson was also deemed the OHL's Western Conference's 3rd-best stickhandling goalie and second-best shootout goalie.
The Sault Star's Peter Ruicci reports that Sproul received more awards at the Soo Greyhounds' team awards banquet on Friday, but Sproul pointed out that his biggest concern involves making a significant dent in the OHL's post-season, which begins next week:
“It was pretty tough not making the playoffs my first two years in the league,” said the 20-year-old defenceman, who was named the club's best rearguard for the second consecutive season. “It's an honour to be part of such a great organization and to be recognized individually, but it's finally nice to have a chance to compete for a championship.”
The six-foot-four, 205-pound Mississauga, Ont., native also shared the team's humanitarian award with [Brandon] Alderson.
Sproul, who leads all OHL defencemen with 65 points, on 20 goals and 45 assists in just 49 games this season, is signed with the Detroit Red Wings, after being chosen in Round 2 of the 2011 draft.
“We really want to achieve something as a team this season,” Sproul said.
In terms of prospects and playoff play to come: In the ECHL, both Gleason Fournier and Trevor Parkes scored goals and Willie Coetzee registered an assist as the Toledo Walleye defeated the Wheeling Nailers 5-3. The Walleye's website provides a game recap, and the Walleye sit in 8th place in the ECHL's 14-team Eastern Conference.
In Russia, Alexei Marchenko has most likely played in his final game for CSKA Moscow. CSKA lost a 2-0 decision to Dynamo Moscow, and was eliminated from the KHL's second round in 5 games, and Marchenko wasn't even dressed for the game. The Wings want to sign him this spring and bring him over to Grand Rapids next season.
In Sweden, Mattias Backman scored a goal and registered an assist in Linkopings HC's 6-1 win over HV71, squaring the teams' first round series at one game apiece.
The OHL's website reports that Jake Paterson's Saginaw Spirit will face the London Knights in the first round of the playoffs, that Sproul's Greyhounds will either play Plymouth or Owen Sound, and in the East, Alan Quine's Belleville Bulls and Andreas Athanasiou's Barrie Colts have clinched the 1st and 2nd spots, respectively.
On Friday, Paterson sat out the Spirit's 7-1 win over
Athanasiou registered an assist in the Colts' 5-3 loss to Brampton;
And Quine didn't register a point in the Bulls' 3-0 win over Mississauga.
In the QMJHL, all of the Red Wings' Q-playing prospects have made the playoff cut.
Martin Frk was held off the scoresheet in the Halifax Mooseheads' 3-1 win over Saint John;
Xavier Ouellet didn't register a point in the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's 3-1 win over Val-d'Or;
And Phillipe Hudon scored the game's first goal in the Victoriaville Tigres' 4-3 shootout loss to Baie-Comeau;
In the WHL, Richard Nedomlel's Swift Current Broncos will play in the playoffs, and he scored a goal in the Broncos' 3-2 shootout win over Regina;
In the BCHL, James De Haas scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal as the Penticton Vees defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-2 in the first game of the teams' playoff series;
In the USHL, whose regular season stretches into April, Mike McKee sat out the Lincoln Stars' 6-4 win over Waterloo as he was suspended for boarding;
And at the WCHA playoff tournament, Ben Marshall scored the game's first goal and his University of Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated Bemidji State 2-1 in overtime;
And Nick Jensen didn't register a point, but his Saint Cloud State University Huskies defeated Alaska-Anchorage 6-1.
Both teams will reprise their match-ups on Saturday.
From DRW Prospects on Twitter:
Also of Red Wings-related note: According to the CBC, Pavel Datsyuk's 32 shootout goals are the most scored by any shootout shooter, and Datsyuk's the second-most effective shootout shooter, converting 46.2% of the time;
For what it's worth, SI's Sarah Kwak thinks that the Wings will "fade" down the stretch;
And given that the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek thinks that the Wings will make a pitch for Corey Perry...
[Y]ou can’t rule out Detroit either, a team that bid for Suter last summer and came up short. The Red Wings have money to spend and Perry would give them the same qualities that Brendan Shanahan did for years – size, nastiness and scoring off the wing. Detroit needs an infusion of talent everywhere, but a natural goal scorer would really help. Their 1-2 punch at centre, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, remain two of the elite players in the game, but Datsyuk has zero goals in his past 11 games, and Zetterberg one in the past 20. This past week, there was speculation that Datsyuk might return to Russia following the 2013-14 season when his contract expires. Datsyuk is 35, one year younger than Iginla, and also has a July birthday. By the summer of 2014, he will be 37 and if he wants to play a year or two in the Kontinental Hockey League at the end of his career, that might be the time to start.
You may take this quip from Duhatschek's "Around the Rinks" column for what you will:
“With parity, you’d like to see playing hockey is ultimately going to decide who makes and who misses the playoffs – and the shootout isn’t going to decide it.”~Ken Holland
The Detroit Red Wings’ general manager believes that any game tied after five minutes of four-on-four overtime should be followed by five minutes of three-on-three overtime to see if a decision can be reached. The matter is expected to be on the agenda for GMs when they meet in Toronto the week after next.
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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.