The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/05/13 at 10:12 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings knew that they'd be facing a fired-up Flames team that had lost a 3-2 shootout decision after surrendering the game-tying goal in the final seconds thereof on Saturday, and knew that they'd have to push much harder and play much better than they did in the team's awful 4-2 loss to Columbus...
And instead, the Wings kinda rolled over and died, but not before madly flapping and flailing their arms like a person trying to swim against the current after falling into the Detroit River outside the Joe--and that current is way, way, way too fast to combat by doing anything other than going with the flow.
I don't really know what to say to summarize this, because I'm gonna put in a 17-hour day on my birthday to cover a game in which the Wings expended a ridiculous amount of effort to turn pucks over, to pass up opportunities to shoot, to pass pucks into Flames sticks, to have passes and shots picked off, and to continue to lave Jimmy Howard and he-plays-half-the-game-Kronwall without much or any support, all going into a Thursday night game against a St. Louis Blues team that's having its ass handed to it.
The Wings' 4-1 loss to Calgary was summarized by what the team did in the third period, after Miikka Kiprusoff left the game due to a "lower-body injury," and Leland Irving took over: the Wings absolutely worked their asses off to put 6 shots on Iriving as the Flames played Bob Hartley's Colorado Avalanche trap, circa 2001--and the Flames put 5 much higher-quality shots and a goal past Jimmy Howard-and even Damien Brunner looked like a player with no confidence on a night where Johan Franzen may have been the Wings' only consistent player from start to finish (he scored the team's only goal, too).
Tomas Tatar did little, first on the second line and then the third. Ian White looked gassed. Jimmy Howard and Niklas Kronwall didn't get any help on defense, and even Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Filppula were furiously turning over the puck in the offensive zone.
In theory, this is a game representing growing pains, a step back for a team still searching for its stride and identity. In practice, I'm sure that there will be figurative broken ankles galore as fans continue to dive off the bandwagon and the media insists that the Wings are deader than a doornail...
And mostly, people like me, who decided to put in a 17-hour day to skip his birthday because he genuinely cares about the team he cares for, and has watched the Red Wings team that is now 4-4-and-1 drop a loss to the NHL's worst team in such a manner that the NHL's worst team looked incredibly confident, and put things away after the Wings pissed a power play into nothing late in the second period and then gave up a goal to Dennis Wideman...
Well, people like me are *#$%@& pissed off, because it doesn't matter who wears those red and white jerseys. The standard remains high, the bar remains playoff-spot set and this team seems to be intent on finding as many ways to defeat itself as possible right now, which is silly given the home-heavy schedule, the middling level of opponents not named St. Louis and the fact that people work hard and pay money to watch this team play hockey.
It doesn't matter who's hurt and who's healthy. The Red Wings' puck possession system has allowed worse teams than this (though not much worse) to succeed and thrive, even when playing as the "Wiffins." For some reason, this team can't or won't embrace the kind of work ethic, attention to detail and Babcock-described "ultracompetitiveness" necessary to out-battle their opponents in efficient and lethal manners.
Not good enough, not acceptable. Period.
Shots 26-23 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Calgary 10-9 in the 1st and 2nd periods, and out-shot Calgary 6-5 in the 3rd.
The Flames went 2-for-5 in 6:24 of PP time, including 1-for-1 in 19 seconds of 5 on 3 time; the Wings went 1-for-4 in 6:31 of PP time. And the standard of officiating varied widely from shift to shift.
Jimmy Howard deserved a better fate but stopped 19 of 23 shots; Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 19 of 20; Leland Iriving stopped 6 of 6.
The 3 stars, per Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples, were Mike Cammalleri, Johan Franzen and Jarome Iginla.
The Wings' goal: Franzen (3) from Zetterberg (8) and Kronwall (8), PPG.
Faceoffs 37-33 Detroit (Wings won 53%);
Blocked shots 20-14 Calgary;
Missed shots 15-7 Detroit (total attempts 61-44 Detroit);
Hits 22-19 Calgary;
Giveaways 10-9 Calgary;
Takeaways 4-3 Calgary.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 13-and-10 (57%); Zetterberg went 8-and-11 (42%); Abdelkader went 9-and-5 (64%); Emmerton went 4-and-4 (50%); Filppula went 3-and-2 (60%); Cleary lost his only faceoff.
Shots: Kronwall and Abdelkader co-led the team with 4 shots apiece; Tatar, Brunner and Zetterberg had 3; Cleary, Lashoff and Quincey had 2; Tootoo, Emmerton and Franzen had 1.
Blocked attempts: Quincey and Zetterberg had 3 shot attempts blocked by Flames players; Cleary, White, Brunner and Filppula had 2 attempts blocked; Tatar, Tootoo, Lashoff, Emmerton, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Kronwall missed the net 4 times; Datsyuk and White missed the net 2 times; Huskins, Tootoo, Lashoff, Brunner, Quincey, Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Miller, Ericsson and Franzen co-led the team with 3 hits apiece; Abdelkader and Bertuzzi had 2 hits; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Tatar, Tootoo and Lashoff had 1.
Giveaways: Zetterberg had 3 giveaways; Bertuzzi had 2; Huskins, White, Miller and Tootoo had 1.
Takeaways: Datsyuk, Tatar and Filppula had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Cleary, Miller, Tatar, Quincey and Ericsson blocked 2 Flames shots apiece; Huskins, Lashoff, Filppula and Ericsson blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Tootoo took a major penalty for fighting; Cleary took 2 minors; Tatar, Quincey and Ericsson took 1 minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -10. Datsyuk and Kronwall finished at -2; Cleary, Tatar, Lashoff, Bertuzzi, Filppula and Ericsson finished at -1.
Points: Franzen had a goal; Zetterberg and Kronwall had an assist.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:40 played; Zetterberg played 20:55;
Quincey played 20:22; Ericsson played 20:18; Franzen played 18:58;
Datsyuk played 18:50; White played 18:49; Filppula played 18:29;
Brunner played 17:39; Lashoff played 17:38; Bertuzzi played 15:46;
Cleary played 15:39; Huskins played 14:48; Tatar played 12:42;
Abdelkader played 12:19; Miller played 10:11; Tootoo played 6:51.
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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.