The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/11/13 at 08:02 PM ET
As I prepare to enjoy and/or endure my dear friend's wedding, here's a slate of press releases and Red Wings-related notes to fill up a Friday night.
You already know that the Wings demoted Cory Emmerton and Petr Mrazek (with Jonas Gustavsson getting healthy just in time for the Wings' stretch of 5 games in 8 nights), recalled Luke Glendening and significantly shook up their lines in anticipation of tomorrow's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are tangling with the Phoenix Coyotes right now (again, somewhat ironically, Tuesday's now 8 PM-starting home game's opponent, the Blue Jackets, will be "warming up" the Wings' Columbus Day matinee foe in the Boston Bruins tomorrow afternoon).
Tomorrow night is the Red Wings' "Pink the Rink" game, and the community relations department posted a press release regarding activities at a game in which Jimmy Howard's going to don pink gear and a pink mask to help raise awareness for breast cancer research:
FANS ASKED TO WEAR PINK SATURDAY FOR SEVENTH ANNUAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS NIGHT PRESENTED BY TEAM REHAB
… Fans who Wear Pink to Saturday’s Game can Enter to Win 2013-14 Team-Signed Jersey …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings are asking fans to wear pink this Saturday, Oct. 12, when the team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers for the Seventh Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Team Rehab at 7:00 p.m. Any fan who wears pink to the game can enter to win a 2013-14 team-signed Red Wings jersey by picking up a raffle ticket on the concourse behind Section 126.
Fans can also participate in a variety of activities to win prizes while raising funds to help alleviate the costs of breast cancer screening and treatment for uninsured and underinsured women in the Metro Detroit area. When doors open at 5:30 p.m., the Joe Louis Arena concourse will feature a silent auction, mystery puck draw, 50/50 raffle and a special sale of Red Wings fleece blankets, with all proceeds benefiting the Karmanos Cancer Institute (Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills) and St. John Providence Health System (Liggett Breast Center in Grosse Pointe).
BCA Night activities include:
- For $25, fans can purchase from an assortment of 300 hockey pucks signed by members of the 2013-14 team. Each puck has been signed by a player and packaged in a black box to conceal the autograph. One fan will open a box with a puck signed in gold by Jimmy Howard and will meet the Red Wings starting goaltender after the game, while the fan who opens the box with a puck signed in silver by Howard will receive a one-of-a-kind autographed and framed 8” x 10” of the goaltender using a stick with pink hockey tape at the 2011 BCA Night.
- Forty-two unique items will be auctioned off behind Section 126, including the players’ sticks wrapped in pink hockey tape that will be used during the pregame warm-ups, a pair of tickets to the Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1, 2014, and a variety of signed memorabilia.
- Fans can purchase black fleece blankets with a pink and white Winged Wheel logo for $25 (cash and check only) behind Section 112 on the concourse.
- The Red Wings will honor those affected by breast cancer by hosting 40 patients and survivors in two suites who will receive a special gift bag with Red Wings and breast cancer awareness items enclosed.
- Captain Henrik Zetterberg will host breast cancer patients along with their families in the Zetterberg Foundation Suite.
- A portion of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation’s 50/50 raffle will benefit the St. John Hospital’s Liggett Breast Center in Grosse Pointe. Volunteers from the medical center will be on hand to sell raffle tickets to raise money for the cause.
- A video tribute to breast cancer patients and survivors will play during the game.
- Jimmy Howard will wear a pink and white blocker and glove as well as a special helmet designed by mask artist Ray Bishop for Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
DetroitRedWings.com's Christy Hammond noted that the fight against breast cancer--and October is "Hockey Fights Cancer Month," with the Wings-Rangers tilt on the 26th scheduled to be a "purple" game as the Wings and the Van Andel Institute remind us all that every cancer is created equal in terms of the disease's devastating effects on our family, friends, and in some cases, us.
In a cheerier vein, the Wings announced that they're going to partner with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association to hold "Try Hockey for Free" clinics all over the State of Michigan:
DETROIT Red WINGS FOUNDATION & MICHIGAN AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION PARTNER TO HOLD 30 FREE HOCKEY CLINICS
… Free Equipment and Ice Time With Certified Coaches Starting Oct. 13 ...
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) are partnering for the fourth year to host 30 ‘Try Hockey for Free’ clinics. In an effort to grow the sport of hockey, kids (aged 6-12) are invited to try the sport for the first time at a number of southeastern Michigan rinks. Free equipment will be provided and instruction will be given by certified USA Hockey coaches.
“MAHA has been an outstanding partner alongside the Foundation’s efforts to grow hockey across the state of Michigan,” said Lynsie DeLoss Estes, Detroit Red Wings Foundation Director. “This program provides many young kids the chance to try the sport for free and to receive a high level of instruction in the process. We’re proud to be able to offer this opportunity at so many locations across the state.”
Upcoming Try Hockey for Free Clinics:
- Sunday, 10/13 Noon – 1 p.m. Arctic Coliseum Chelsea, MI
- Sunday, 10/20 Noon – 1 p.m. The Kaliseum Ice Skating Rink Kalkaska, MI
- Sunday, 10/27 3 – 4 p.m. Civic Arena St. Clair Shores, MI
- Saturday, 11/2 10 – 11 a.m. Pat O’Donnell Arena Ironwood, MI
- Saturday, 11/2 3 – 4 p.m. Dee Stadium Houghton, MI
- Saturday, 11/2 4 – 5 p.m. Cultural Center Plymouth, MI
- Sunday, 11/3 8 – 9 a.m. Mountain View Ice Arena Dickinson, MI
- Sunday, 11/3 Noon – 1 p.m. Wells Sports Complex Escanaba, MI
- Sunday, 11/10 Noon – 1 p.m. I.C.E. Arena Mt. Pleasant, MI
- Saturday, 11/16 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. Civic Arena Midland, MI
“MAHA is pleased to have the support of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation,” said George Atkinson, the President of MAHA. “With the Foundation’s support we are able to introduce more than 1,000 new kids to the game of hockey each year.”
To learn more information and see the full list of clinic locations and dates, please visit http://www.DetroitRedWings.com/Foundation.
About the Detroit Red Wings Foundation:
The Detroit Red Wings Foundation is an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation invests in the future of our community by providing funds and resources to worthy causes that contribute to the growth of the sport of hockey. Ilitch Charities is a non-profit organization that invests in our community’s future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs in the areas of community development, human services, education and recreation through contributions from the Ilitch companies, their colleagues and the generosity of others. For more information, please visit DetroitRedWings.com/Foundation.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) is a sanctioned affiliate of USA Hockey which supervises the activities of over 2,500 amateur hockey teams, and 50,000 players and coaches using a volunteer workforce of elected and appointed officials. MAHA administers amateur hockey in Michigan through seven established districts. Each District is responsible for the local teams and Associations in their area. More information on the organization can be obtained by visiting http://www.maha.org
Shifting back to "gloomy," and adding a side of "arrogant," Paul noted that the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere spoke with a New Jersey Devils GM who happily patted himself on the back for an out-of-context signing:
It is far too early to judge the signing of Swiss winger Damien Brunner, who somehow slipped through the grasp of so many other NHL teams.
But as the Devils struggle through a difficult road trip in western Canada, Brunner has been one of the bright spots. Entering tonight’s meeting with the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, Brunner leads the Devils with three goals and is tied with Marek Zidlicky as the club’s scoring leader.
So why did the Detroit Red Wings not re-sign him and why did Brunner go all summer without a contract before the Devils invited him to training camp on a tryout?
“I have no idea. We’ve really added scoring to our team,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said with a look of satisfaction.
“We liked him in Detroit. We talked to him right at free agency. When he didn’t sign, we asked him to come to camp. We told him if he came to camp and made the team we would treat him the right way. He came and earned everything.”
The Wings didn't sign him for 2 years at $2.5 million per season because the Wings offered Brunner that EXACT contract prior to the start of unrestricted free agency, and if we are to believe Ken Holland, who is honest to a literal fault, the Wings were told by Neil Sheehy that he and his client were going in "another direction," and that there would be no more negotiations.
In terms of the Red Wings' actual players, if you need to get up to speed, here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness on the Wings' significant line changes, which now look something like this up front:
(Tatar and Samuelsson will not play on Saturday, and keep in mind that Jordin Tootoo has to prove that he can play before the Wings can trade him to alleviate their cap crunch, assuming that's the plan)
"That’s the thing about our business; if you don’t do good things you have to change things and that’s the bottom line,’’ Babcock said. “The disturbing things for me (Thursday) was the faceoff circle (they lost 46-of-70 draws), the amount of times we dove in; we felt we gave up 21 scoring chances in the game and in a normal game for us it’s between eight and 12. We were poor in D-zone. Don’t get me wrong, we had a ton of chances ourselves, an absolute ton. The power play got a chance in the third period, we couldn’t get it in their zone. The penalty kill, we got a chance, we had the puck gave it to them and they shot it in the back of our net. Not good enough.’’
“All I know is I can’t keep going the way we’re going because it isn’t working,’’ Babcock said. “I’ve got one line playing, 13-40-8 (that would be Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader); 8’s playing really well and skating good so I’m going to penalize 13 and 40, take him away and put (Abdelkader) somewhere else. He’s got to help somebody else.’’
Alfredsson, who has one assist and a minus-3 rating in four games, understands a change was needed.
“I think our line hasn’t clicked as we would have liked, needed to change something,’’ Alfredsson said. “Hopefully this can stabilize and spread out the scoring and get everybody going.’’
Said Abdelkader: “Hopefully we can get playing here, get everyone going. Sometimes it’s good to change things up.’’
The Red Wings recalled Luke Glendening from the Grand Rapids Griffins, sending down Cory Emmerton. Glendening with center the fourth line with Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo, who will make his season debut after recovering from a bruised shoulder.
“I want him to be Toots,’’ Babcock said. “I want him to be solid on the puck and make good plays on the wall and get it out and I want him to be all over their D.’’
And we come to Pleiness because he adds new material to the mix:
The Wings lost 46-of-70 faceoffs in Thursday’s loss to Phoenix, which is cause for concern.
“I’ve been here a long time, but if you can dig up a game when we’ve been that bad at home,” Babcock said. “I understand sometimes in the first period you get fed your lunch and you respond, but it was like that all night long.”
Detroit lost the first seven draws in its own zone.
“You could just tell the focus wasn’t there from the start, especially in the first,” Jimmy Howard said. “You look at the faceoffs in the first period alone and that pretty much tells the whole story of the night and how it went. From the drop of the puck to the final buzzer they were the better team and they won.”
Babcock also said by his calculations they gave up 21 scoring chances.
“In a normal game for us it’s between eight and 12,” Babcock said.
The Wings have also allowed 37 and 38 shots on goal respectively over the last two games.
“When we play our best hockey we keep that third guy high, which allows our defense to stand up and allows our forwards to get some back pressure and we really shrink the ice for opposing teams,” said Jimmy Howard, who is expected to start his fifth straight game despite missing some of practice after taking a shot high Friday. “Right now it seems like teams are getting a lot more odd-man rushes and they’re coming at us in waves a lot more.”
Yes, and the Wings are coming in one-and-done-and-defend-multiple-chances-against waves. Which is to say not at all.
In terms of "assessments," Fox Sports' Eric Stephens posited his first set of power rankings...
6. Red Wings GOOD NEWS : Destined Hall of Famer Henrik Zetterberg is flying. He put 18 shots on goal in his first three games.
BAD NEWS Defensemen Kyle Quincey (minus-3) and Brendan Smith (minus-2) need to pick it up.
BOTTOM LINE Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson are still finding their way, but they make this team even more dangerous.
And I'm a bit of an old fogey when it comes to "advanced statistics," but I find it somewhat amusing that MC79Hockey's Tyler Dellow explained what a "Corsi" is on Sportsnet, and as it turns out, it's an averaging of one of my favorite stats--shot attempts:
Scoring is a product of two things: the rate at which shots are taken and the rate at which they actually go in. People with an interest in hockey stats tend to measure this by looking at shot-attempts for (goals, shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) divided by total shot attempts.
This produces the oft-mocked but little understood Corsi% stat.
What these people have found is that the rates at which teams take shots or allow shots tend to sort themselves out pretty quickly—a team that takes 55 per cent of the five-on-five shot attempts over, say, 10 games, is probably really good at out-shooting the opposition. Last year, only New Jersey (25), Los Angeles (23), Chicago (18), Boston (11 times), Ottawa (11), Detroit (7), Montreal (7), Carolina (3), Dallas (3) Phoenix (2), Vancouver (2) and St. Louis (1) accomplished the feat.
Eight of those teams made the playoffs. So, if a team was good at outshooting the opposition over a 10-game span, we had a pretty good idea that it would be good in general over the course of a full season.
Fifty-five percent is a pretty phenomenal Corsi%. Hockey is a flow game—the puck goes up the ice and down the ice. Only two teams managed a full-season Corsi% of 55 percent or better last year—New Jersey and L.A.
At this point in the season, it’s simply too early to draw any type of conclusions beyond observing what has happened; at best, you’re looking for things that would be unusual for a good team or a bad team to do.
One of the great things about Corsi% is that it acquires meaning quickly, in that it’s unusual for a great team to struggle over a relatively small number of games or vice versa. Early in the season therefore, it’s the number to watch — because it tells us more than a team’s record, which is heavily tied to save percentage and shooting percentage and thus takes more time to sort out.
Five of last year’s top-10 Corsi% teams (Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, LA and Boston) are ahead of the pack again this season after the first week or so of play. Vancouver and San Jose, also in the top-10, were just outside of it last season, so it’s not too surprising to see them amongst the NHL’s elite early on.
I don't average the 5-on-5 or power play shot attempts, but I've always believed that the Wings need to take 50+ shot attempts and to put at least half of those shot attempts on the net to succeed, and when they're really rolling, Detroit takes 35 to 40 shots and attempts over 70 shots.
In promotional news at the minor-league level, the Toledo Walleye don't hold their home opener until October 26th as the ECHL plays a 73-game season, but the Toledo Free Press's Sarah Ottney penned an article about the team's opening-night festivities...
Every year the Walleye Opening Night celebration gets bigger and better, said Michael Keedy, manager of special events for the Toledo Walleye.
“It’s been fun to watch the progression,” Keedy said. “It’s been fun to see how it’s become one of the biggest Downtown parties of the year and we’re going to keep going down that path.”
The first home Walleye game of the season is Oct. 26. FinFest, the annual pregame party, is set for 4:30 p.m. at The Aquarium at the Huntington Center.
“We’ve done FinFest before every Opening Night and it’s gotten better and better,” Keedy said. “It’s just a big party. The Aquarium has garage doors, which will be open so it will be indoors and outdoors.”
FinFest will feature live music from The Bradberries, drink specials, face painting, glitter tattoo artists, a photobooth and giveaways. Head coach Nick Vitucci will speak to fans to welcome the new season.
The game starts at 7:15 p.m. and Keedy said fans will want to be in their seats early. The first 4,000 fans will get blue or gold glow wands.
“We did this last year, too. We shut off all the lights when we announce the team and it’s a great effect [with the wands],” Keedy said. “We’ll also have a special pyro display with flames shooting up near the Spike tunnel when players are announced and, with the glow wands, it’s going to be a really, really cool atmosphere.”
After the game, 5,000 magnet schedules will be handed out. There will also be a party with the players in the club-level lounge open to anyone with a game ticket.
And the ECHL's website posted a profile of Walleye coach Nick Vitucci, who will be coaching Max Nicastro and Trevor Parkes on opening night, and will likely see more than a few Wings prospects over the course of the ECHL season:
Nick Vitucci returns for his fifth season as head coach of the Toledo Walleye. Vitucci has been involved with the ECHL as a player and coach since the league began in 1988-89. He was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008 and his five ECHL championships are the most in league history.
He coached the Toledo Storm from 2004-07 before the team took a voluntary suspension while the Lucas County Arena was being constructed. Vitucci is 273-231-49 in the regular season and led Toledo to the Kelly Cup Playoffs three years in a row from 2004-07, the first time the team had reached the postseason three straight seasons since 1997-99. He was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2004-05 after Toledo finished 41-26-5. Toledo finished first in the North Division with a 46-21-5 record in 2005-06 and advanced to the conference finals in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. He initially took over the team as interim head coach on Jan. 26, 2004 and the team was 14-27-8 in the final 49 regular season games.
The 42-year-old played for Toledo from 1993-95 and helped the team win the ECHL championship in 1994. He holds the ECHL career goaltender records for games (479), minutes (27,291), wins (265), 20-win seasons (7) and consecutive 30-win seasons (2) while he is tied for the career lead in 30-win seasons (2) and consecutive 20-win seasons (4). Named to the ECHL 15th Anniversary Team in 2003, Vitucci holds the ECHL postseason goaltender records for games (80), minutes (4,841) and wins (43) while ranking third among all players in games (80). He was named First-Team All-ECHL in 1991-92 and 1997-98 and was named Goaltender of the Year in 1997-98. He was named Most Valuable Player in both the 1989 and the 1996 Riley Cup Playoffs.
- The Hockey News's Adam Proteau was asked why teams wear white jerseys on the road, and why that won't change (you've got to lug those jerseys all the way across the country). I'd like to suggest that the NHL's 1991-92 season offered a fine model in having teams wear their white jerseys at home for the first half of the season, and the colorful jerseys at home for the second half of the season, and I'd love to see the NHL adopt that practice again;
- This quip from CJME 960's Bryn Levy made me smile:
He won't be able to make the party because he has another Stanley Cup to chase, but NHL head coach Mike Babcock is among many wishing a local high school a happy birthday.
Babcock graduated from Holy Cross High School in 1981.
He said it was a place where "people expected you to do things right" that helped shape his career.
Even at 50, Babcock could still rattle off the names of teachers and guidance counsellors who made an impression. He said he gained a lot not just from his time in the classroom, but also in school sports and clubs.
He said he even took his daughter for a tour of his old stomping grounds a few years ago.
"It was kind of cool. We stood on the wall that used to have a rug on it there at the cafeteria and looked at it. I'd been honoured by being on the wall of honour, I showed my daughter that," he said.
Babcock went on from his days at Holy Cross to become the only coach ever to win a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Hockey Championship.
- Very intriguingly, Too Many Men on the Site's Katrina Capelli spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins scrapper Triston Grant about the purpose of the hockey fight and its relevance in today's game...
As a player who has been in numerous fights, what would you say is the purpose of fighting in hockey?
It keeps guys honest on the ice. There are definitely a lot more dangerous plays in hockey other than fighting, like hits to the head with the shoulder, hits from behind, or vicious stick infractions. Stuff like that is always going to be in the game but having fighting in the game keeps it limited. It’s always been a part of the game and when you know that there are consequences, that you might have to fight, if your actions step out of line it’s always in the back of your mind. That’s where the honesty comes in. It’s part of the culture of the sport.
If fighting was taken out of hockey, how would that change the game?
There would probably be a lot more injuries. There are still people getting hurt from fights but the ratio of fights to injuries is pretty low compared to people getting knee on knee actions or, like I said before, concussions from high hits. I just think there would be a lot less respect for each other if they took fighting out of the game.
So, like you said, there are a lot of other plays that cause injuries in hockey, why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than the other things you’ve mentioned?
I don’t know. Maybe because it is this barbaric kind of action. When you think of it, when two guys kind of square off it’s as fair game as it could get really. I think it’s different when someone kind of jumps someone’s back from behind and starts punching them that’s not really fair game. But when you have two willing warriors ready to face each other square off and sort things out, I don’t think there’s a lot of things wrong with that. It’s as clean as you could really get. It is a bare knuckle fight, you may break a hand, break your nose or lose a couple teeth but it’s a lot cleaner than a blind sided hit from behind or a high stick to the face or something like that, that’s way more dangerous than fighting 101.
And finally, this may be my last entry until sometime on Sunday. I am heading to the East Side to bunk in the same room as the groom to not have to get up as early tomorrow, and Mark's wedding begins with a brunch at 11 and will continue with photo shoots until 4, the wedding itself at 4, the reception at 6, and as I am a groomsman, I'll be staying at the event until the "party bus" takes the wedding party back to their cars...And given that it's a Chaldean Catholic wedding, I don't think I'll be back home till 3 or 4 in the morning as this is all taking place an hour away from South Lyon.
Long story long, Paul and Monica will be handling duties tomorrow, I will completely miss the Flyers game, and I am probably going to be laying very low on Sunday. I do not know whether I will try to post a quick take or anything else of that nature. Right now I just want to get through the wedding and see how I feel when Sunday comes. I hope you're OK with me putting a dear friend before hockey.
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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.