Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Flames wrap-up: ‘disturbing’ is the right word to describe this loss

The Detroit Red Wings flew to Edmonton after their 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, and after a third-period brain fart of epic proportions, and given that the Wings have gotten all of 1 point out of three games against the worst of the West in Columbus and Calgary, there was no reason to stick around.

The Wings will be out of the playoff pack in terms of the standings by the time they face Edmonton on Friday, and possibly Vancouver on Saturday, though I don't need to tell you that the team's remaining Western Canadian trip games are now must-win situations.

I thought that the Wings played awful hockey from their goaltender on out, with their defensemen consistently out of position and bunching up to one side of the ice, their top forwards looking downright scared and all-too-predictably rushed, and there was no puck support or positional support by any of the Wings' players in all three zones, but the third period's combination of turnovers, blown coverage and blown goals (the Sporting News's Sean Gentile posted a compilation of Jonas Gustavsson's after-goal faces) was bad enough.

The fact that the Wings out-shot Calgary 38 to 22 and had a total of 73 shot attempts (to 38 by Calgary, which is too high by Wings standards) but could only dent Mikka Kiprusoff twice, on top of all their mental mistakes...That's downright gross.

Normally I start recaps by offering the other side's take on the game, but Wings coach Mike Babcock finally dropped his "kinder and gentler" message in lieu of calling his team out, and the Calgary Herald's Kristen Odland captured some properly-aimed criticism directed at the horses who aren't getting the job done:

“Well, it’s amazing to me how you can play so well, look so organized, and look so talented. It’s almost like you get playing so good that you get loose,” the Red Wings head coach seethed afterwards. “It’s crazy. We just gave it to them. It had nothing to do with them. Those are self-inflicted wounds on us. Crazy mistakes for no reason whatsoever. To me, that was a disturbing loss because all we had to do was continue to do things right and you win the game.”

When Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, or Valtteri Filppula weren’t shooting the puck at will, Pavel Datsyuk was being his usual dominant self. For one stretch in the second period, it was like they were playing a game of keep-away. In the end, they out-shot Calgary 38-22 but the second and first periods was where they really took it to them. But frequent turnovers and giveaways (11) eventually cost the Wings. After, Babcock both questioned a) the maturity of his group and b) the ability to stick with their game plan.

“There’s no sense in what happened here (Wednesday),” he said. “We had the puck. They couldn’t get the puck. When you go through their goals, we just gave it to them. To me, that’s a tough one to swallow. Big time. We have to have a look at ourselves as a group. The message has to get very clear that if you can’t look after the puck, there’s no sense playing. That right there was ridiculous.”

One reporter quietly suggested the collapse was a matter of being impatient when the score was tied 2-2 heading into the final frame. Or trying to force things?

“Why would you force anything?” Babcock snapped back. “We had the puck the entire time. Why would you force anything? Just take what was given and play the game. But I’m with ya, why would you force anything? Why would you turn over the puck continually? You should ask them.”

A defensive breakdown cost them Calgary’s first goal 5:55 into the first period by Alex Tanguay, who took advantage of the time and space and made a nice play on Jonas Gustavsson. (“Something we’d talked about before,” Babcock noted.) But other than that, he said, clean giveaways.

“You can’t play defensively when you give it to them in the slot,” Babcock continued. “Anything else?”

At that exact moment, a poor reporter joined the scrum late: “Um, coach, you mentioned giveaways …Just ridiculous,” he interrupted. “We killed ourselves tonight . . . you look like you’ve got some skill back in your lineup, you’re starting to move the puck, you’re starting to play . . . just play the game. See you guys.”

For the Flames, as the Calgary Herald's George Johnson bombastically noted, Mikka Kiprusoff's performance merited gushy praise...

“He’s been on the of the best goalies in the world for the last 10 years,” said defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. “The best goalies have a different attitude. It’s a tough position, you make a mistake, it’s in the net. We’re never surprised what Kipper does. Ever. No one doubts him for a second. You don’t even think about it.”

Until the Flames began making mincemeat of the leaky Jonas Gustavsson — No. 1 man Jimmy Howard was down with flu, and not even on the bench — in the third period, it was all Kiprusoff.

There were more white jerseys packed around the Calgary crease than Catholic disciples flooding into St. Peter’s Square after the white smoke went up in Rome earlier in the day. Or seemed to be, anyway. The Mule, Johan Franzen, providing a screen capable of blocking out the sun. Pavel Datsyuk diving in and out of the shadows, looking for a pocket to pick. Captain Henrik Zetterberg using that justly famous 20-mule-team strength, holding off defencemen to hold tight to the puck and make a play towards the net. Valtteri Filppula lurking, forever lurking, for a juicy leftover to present itself.

Datsyuk, in particular, was full of lethal mischief. Every time he touched the puck, the mesmerized Flames were holding onto the seat of their britches in abject terror.

“It wasn’t our best first period,” adjudged Kiprusoff graciously. “But sometimes it’s like that . . . that you’re able to come with a lead after that was nice. After that we played better and a pretty smart third.”

Niklas Kronwall wired a shot for Detroit’s first goal, at 3:20 of the opening period, and the second came via Filppula after a surge of Red Wing power play pressure — Filppula having just made a post sing and Zetterberg sizzling a shot off Kiprusoff’s left shoulder. Other than that, despite long stretches of territorial dominance and plenty of shots, they were held gallantly at bay.

Franzen and Zetterberg, victimized six times. Apiece. Filppula, Justin Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist each turned back three times. Every Detroit player except Dan Cleary and centre Joakim Andersson — goaltenders notwithstanding — had at least one crack.

...

“If everyone is leaving the Scotiabank Saddledome with a smile, it’s because of Kipper,” lauded [coach Bob] Hartley. “In the first period, our legs were still on the plane from our California trip, but in the second we got more life and more jump. We were hoping for a quick start. I don’t know if it’s a fact or an excuse, but after those long trips it’s tough to get going at home. In the first period, it was only the Wings. I don’t think we needed two Zambonis to clean the ice. Just one end would’ve been plenty. But, hey, we still had a 2-1 lead. And it was all about Kipper. Obviously when your goalie gives you saves like this it keeps you in the game, it gives you confidence.”

And then God-damned Curtis Glencross came into the equation, despite playing with a sore wrist, as the Calgary Herald's Scott Cruickshank noted (Glencross was equally deadly against the Wings when he played for Edmonton):

Glencross, with the score deadlocked, wheeled through the slot and passed back against the grain to a wide-open Lee Stempniak, who deposited the go-ahead goal into a mostly vacated net at 9:12.

“They were puck-watching,” Glencross said of the Wings, “and I saw Stemper out of the corner of my eye. It had to go through a few bodies and sticks to get through to him, but luckily enough it got through to him.

Glencross added a goal four minutes later. Up-ice aggression ultimately did in the Wings — again, apparently.

“We watched some video of Columbus playing them,” explained Glencross. “(The Blue Jackets) had three goals when they pressured hard on the forecheck and caused turnovers. Pucks went in the net off those turnovers. That was our game plan. That’s what we wanted to do — cause turnovers. When you have them turnovers — too many turnovers at your blue line or even at their blue line — it’s tends to be back in your net. We’ve been talking, ‘If you don’t have a play at the blue line, make the safe play. Get it behind their D and work the cycle.’ That’s what our goal was.”

I knew it...The Blue Jackets did indeed provide the rest of the league a Wings-defeating blueprint! angryangryangryangryangry

Alex Tanguay, Jay Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau also beat Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (who was subbing in for sick first-stringer Jimmy Howard — he stayed at the team hotel all day, then remained in the locker-room during the contest).

Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula replied for the Wings, who outshot the locals 38-22 — which says a lot about the bounce-back effort of Miikka Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff — yanked on Saturday, snubbed on Monday — turned in a wonderful performance. On a night when Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk. Johan Franzen were feeling it — totalling 13 shots — the goalie repelled nearly everything.

...

Rebounding, of course, had not been limited to the netminder. The Flames, licking their wounds after a three-game pasting through California, tasted success.

“It’s a big win for us,” said Glencross, whose team improves to 10-11-4. “It’s nice to come home and win after a disappointing road trip. It was a good bounce-back game for us. We just need to do the same thing next game (Friday against the visiting Nashville Predators).”

The Calgary Herald's Kristen Odland's "Game Story" states the obvious:

WHY THE FLAMES WON: They managed to take advantage of a shaky goalie. Even Detroit’s slick puck movers Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk didn’t have an answer for that.

...

THE BIG SAVE: Miikka Kiprusoff, making a few good ones on the night, manages to get a shoulder on a deadly Henrik Zetterberg snapshot late in the second while Jiri Hudler was in the penalty box. Detroit’s Jonas Gustavsson also deserves an honourable mention for sticking a pad out to deny Mikael Backlund after he tried to pull a move during a penalty shot late in the third.

THE BIG PLAY: Fresh off a two-game absence to nurse a wrist injury, Glencross managed to fool the Red Wings by taking the puck wide into the corner. While Jonas Gustavsson was anticipating the shot, Glencross quickly passed to Lee Stempniak who tapped it into an open net.

CalgaryFlames.com's Aaron Vickers kind-of-sort-of pulls double duty for NHL.com and the Flames, and he offers an "Inside the Game" take on whenthe tide turned Calgary's way...

Goal of the game: Sprung in alone by Cammalleri, Tanguay’s patented deke and shelf job 5:55 into the game – just 2:35 after the Red Wings opened the scoring – completely suckered Gustavsson for Calgary’s first goal of the game.

Save of the game: With the game tied 1-1 and Damien Brunner on the doorstep looking for the lead, Kiprusoff sprawled out to poke-check Detroit’s leading goal-scorer to keep the team’s knotted.

Hit of the game: Though whistled for boarding on the play, Glencross crushed Brendan Smith into the end boards with seven minutes remaining in the first period.

Turning point: Glencross’ unassisted goal of a Detroit turnover just less than four minutes after setting up Stempniak to give the Calgary the lead buried any hopes of a Red Wings comeback midway through the final frame.

While Torie Peterson tosses off some stats of note...

3:57: Time between the Flames goals in the first period. Alex Tanguay got his team on the board with a beauty on the power play and then Jay Bouwmeester found the back of the net.

13: Blocked shots for the Flames through 40:00. The Red Wings had 3 in that span.

And Vickers' recap for NHL.com begins our pivoting from the Flames' to Red Wings' perspectives...

Tied 2-2 heading into the third period thanks to Kiprusoff's heroics, Glencross – playing his first game after missing a pair with an upper-body injury – set up Lee Stempniak to put Calgary in the driver's seat. Cutting through the slot with the puck, Glencross drew traffic before feeding a pass back to Stempniak, who put the puck into a virtually empty net for his seventh of the season at 5:37.

"That was a great play," Stempniak said. "I think as a line we've been doing a better job just developing a little bit of chemistry and get some chances and he made a great play. For me personally, just try to go to the net and have my stick on the ice and it was right there."

Glencross then added his ninth of the campaign to make it 4-2 just three minutes later. The recipient of a turnover in the Detroit zone, he buried the puck past Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, a surprise starter after Jimmy Howard fell ill earlier in the day.

"Detroit's a team where you go into the third period with them like that, what they're skating for is an opportunity, a turnover and we're fortunate enough to get them our way," Glencross said.

Blake Comeau capped the scoring spree by ripping a shot over Gustavsson's glove at the 10-minute mark to make it 5-2.

"We hurt ourselves there in the third and give them credit, they capitalized on our mistakes," defenseman Kyle Quincey said.

...

"Coming in, we knew it was a big game for us," Quincey said. "We get that big goal at the end of the second and we feel good coming into the third and you make a few mistakes and they capitalize and after that it's hard to get them back.

With the Canadian Press's recap completing the swap:

Stempniak broke a 2-2 tie at 5:37 of the third period Wednesday on a beautiful setup from Glencross, who wheeled deep into the Detroit zone and zipped a pass to an uncovered Stempniak in the slot.

...

Blake Comeau followed with another Calgary goal just 48 seconds later to make it 5-2.

"We can't just keep giving the puck away, it doesn't work like that. We're not getting anywhere," said Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall. "If we want to get into the playoffs, we have to start fixing this right now and it's up to all of us in here. We all have to better and we know it. It's about time we fixed that."

Alex Tanguay and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for Calgary (10-11-4), which won its fifth in a row at home. Kronwall and Filppula replied for Detroit (12-10-5), which remains seventh in the Western Conference.

"To me, that was a disturbing loss, because all we had to do was continue to do things right, and you win the game," said Wings coach Mike Babcock. "Whether we don't have the maturity as a group, or the stick-to-it-ness, there is no sense in what happened here."

The Wings were plain old pissed off and plain old disgusted with their effort, and that's a good thing.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose accentuated the positive, noting that the Wings' power play is no longer 0-for-the-road, in no small part thanks to Valtteri Filppula's return...

“The power play is one thing that hasn’t been working well, and it was nice to get a goal, but it didn’t really have an effect on the score today,” said Filppula, who returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a sprained left shoulder. “Hopefully our power play starts to play better and we can take that advantage to the next game.”

The Wings’ power play had gone more than 11 straight road games without registering a single goal. The powerless road stretch is the longest in the league to start a season since 1989-90, which is one more game than the first-year Minnesota Wild went without a road power-play goal to begin the 2000-01 campaign.

Unfortunately for the Wings, the Flames got three third-period goals by Lee Stempniak, Curtis Glencross and Blake Comeau to help hand the Red Wings a 5-2 loss at Scotiabank Saddledome.

...

“He skated well, made some nice plays,” Zetterberg said. “It was nice to see him get that first power-play goal on the road. It didn’t look like he missed a beat.”

The second-period power play looked like a clinic as Zetterberg and Kyle Quincey had chances before Filppula scored. But Kiprusoff came up big on stopping Zetterberg, Filppula hit the left post and Quincey got a shot through from the right point that was smothered by the Flames’ veteran netminder with 22-seconds left in the man-advantage.

It was after the face-off win that Quincey got the puck back at the point, glided backwards toward the middle of the ice and send a blast that Kiprusoff kicked out with his left leg. But the puck went right to Filppula, who quickly flipped the puck over the goalie. It was Filppula's first power-play goal in more than a year.

“We had some good chances there, and obviously that gives you a little bit of momentum as well,” Filppula said. “It was good to get a goal, and if we can take something from this game, maybe we can keep improving our power play.”

Otherwise, the players displayed their disgust and dismay at their effort to MLive's Ansar Khan (who also penned a quote-less recap)..

“Awful,'' defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We just stopped playing and we kept turning the puck over and over. It didn't feel like they beat us, it felt like we beat ourselves. We just kept giving them more and more opportunities. The last period was embarrassing.''

Kronwall said they started making “hope plays that weren't there'' and added that they hung goaltender Jonas Gustavsson out to dry.

Gustavsson was pressed into service because Jimmy Howard had the flu. He slammed his stick coming off ice.

“I felt confident going out in the third period that we had a chance to win and then things don't go your way and you get frustrated,'' Gustavsson said. “They got some chances and they scored on them. You want to be able to help the team when (the opposition) get those chances. I guess it wasn't good enough today.''

The Red Wings are winless in three (0-2-1). It was the start of a three-game Western Canada trip and a crucial stretch in which they play seven of eight on the road.

“If we want to get into the playoffs, we have to start fixing this right now,'' Kronwall said. “It's up to all of us in here. We all have to be better.''

And Gustavsson continued while speaking to the Free Press's Helene St. James...

"It was 2-2 after two, and we had a good chance to get a good win on the road," Gustavsson said. "They get some good chances, and they score on them. For myself, you want to be able to help the team, but I guess it wasn't good enough. I felt confident going out in the third period that we'd have a chance to win it, and then, things don't go your way, and you get frustrated over that."

Those goals spelled the end of any comeback hope for the Wings, who'd been stymied numerous times by Miikka Kiprusoff. A few more saves out of Gustavsson, and few less turnovers, and things might have been different.

"All the way up to that," captain Henrik Zetterberg said, "I think we played a good game. We had some bad turnovers that really cost us a few goals, and it's tough to do that in this league. We didn't play good enough to win, that's the final thought. Even in the third, we did a lot of good things, but the bad things really cost us."

But Babcock stole the show and then some:

"It's amazing to me how you can play so well," Mike Babcock said, "and look so organized and look so talented, and then it's almost like you get playing good, that you get loose. I mean, it's crazy. We just gave it to them. It had nothing to do with them. Those are self-inflicted wounds on us. Crazy mistakes for no reason whatsoever.To me, that was a disturbing loss, because all we had to do was continue to do things right, and you win the game. Whether we don't have the maturity as a group, or the stick-to-it-ness -- there's no sense in what happened here."

The maturity factor definitely plays into the equation, and while the Wings have tried and tried to shove a youth movement down their own throats sans Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson and now Ian White as well as Carlo Colaiacovo, it's come back to bite them in the butt too many times:

The Wings have just one point their last three games, squeezing that out of a weekend home-and-home series with Columbus. What frustrated players and Babcock Wednesday was that the Wings started so well only to completely fall apart.

"We have to have a look at ourselves as a group," Babcock said. "The message has to get very clear that if you can't look after the puck, there's no sense playing. That right there was ridiculous. Why would you force anything? We had the puck all the time. Just take what's given and play the game. It makes no sense."

The coaching staff has done its best--perhaps power play excluded--to accommodate the massive, massive personnel losses, roster turnover, and to address their own mistakes, but Babcock both laid the law down to his own team and seemed to suggest that a personnel-tweaking of the veteran-adding variety is in order.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa will take us out with his chronicle of Babcock's rant:

"I don't know this can happen to you after you play so well and look so organized and look so talented," Babcock said. "It's almost like you get playing so good that you get loose, and I mean it's crazy. We just gave it to them. That's got nothing to do with them. Those are self-inflicted wounds on us and crazy mistakes for just no reason whatsoever."

The coach, Kronwall and other players made it clear afterwards that the Red Wings have reached an existential moment for their playoff hopes. They must rally, and soon, after a catastrophic loss in their first game on a three-game swing through western Canada that continues in Edmonton Friday and Vancouver Saturday.

Yeppers. If ever there was an, "It's a sink or swim season, and this is the team's sink or swim moment," it's this one.

"To me, that was a disturbing loss because all we had to do was continue to do things right and you win the game, and whether we don't have the maturity as a group or the stick-to-it-iveness, there's no sense in what happened here tonight," Babcock said. "Because we had the puck, they couldn't get the puck, and when you go through their goals, we just gave it to them."

At one point, Babcock was so upset he simply told the media, "Ask them!" when questioned about how so many mistakes could occur.

With "them" being his players.

"We have to have a look at ourselves as a group, and the message has to get very clear that if you don't look after the puck, there's no use in playing — and that right there is ridiculous," Babcock said. "Why would you force anything? We had the puck all the time. Just take what's given to you."...

...

"There's no recovery for giving the puck away," Babcock said. "They're just clean giveaways. You can't play defense if you give it to them in the slot."

...

"We didn't take the speed through the middle, which was a simple play," Babcock said. "We had talked about it before."

The Wings have been talking about their plans for 27 games now, and if the players aren't delivering, then it's time to bring in some reinforcements that aren't coming up from Grand Rapids...

And in the interim, the Wings' marquee names have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, because this time around, it's the support players who've been over-taxed.

This team may have set impossibly high standards for itself in what clearly is an honest-to-goodness "rebuilding year," but the Red Wings' management doesn't believe in taking the Big Red Machine apart for the sake of truly "tanking to rebuild" because one may never be able to put that machine back together...

So it's up to the players now to answer their coach's challenge and make sure that the playoff deposits I'm sure the Wings' ticket department's asking its season ticket-holders to make and the hopes of the average Wings fans of this team simply playing past April 27th are not in vain.

It's the Detroit Red Wings' collective job and its individual players and coaches' jobs to prove that this team is more than "mediocre at best," and that has to start on Friday and continue throughout the rest of the Wings' road-heavy schedule.

That, and it's time for the Wings' front office to start earning their money. Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, Mark Howe, Kirk Maltby and the pro scouts need to decide how they're going to go about helping this team steady itself, and they must be aggressive but not desperate.

Everyone's riding a knife's edge here, but that's just the way it's gonna be this season, and the Wings have to deal with it.

Highlights: If you must watch highlights, watch the Wings website's version:

Sportsnet, the CBC and TSN posted highlight clips, with TSN's clip including Babcock insisting that the team defeated itself via self-inflicted wounds;

Post-game: The Flames' website posted Bob Hartley's post-game presser, comments from Miikka Kiprusoff, Blake Comeau, Jay Bouwmeester, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak and a "sights and sounds" clip as well;

TSN posted a 1:53 clip of the Flames talking about Kiprusoff and Babcock growling, as well as a 1-on-1 interview with Glencross;

And Fox Sports Detroit posted clips from an extremely pissed off Henrik Zetterberg, an extremely disappointed Jonas Gustavsson and a plain old mad Mike Babcock:

Dear Gord, is the Wings' belated "Game-Day Preview" ironic viewing now...

Yowzers!  In the middle of the night, the Wings' YouTube channel posted post-game comments from Niklas Kronwall...

Henrik Zetterberg's pissed-off and exasperated remarks...

And Babcock's post-game growl:

Photos: The Detroit News posted a 12-image gallery;

The Detroit Free Press posted an 18-image gallery;

MLive posted a 10-image gallery;

The Calgary Herald posted an 11-image gallery;

The Windsor Star posted 5 images from the game;

ESPN posted a 46-image gallery;

Yahoo Sports posted about a dozen images from the game in its Wings gallery;

And NHL.com, the Flames' website and the Wings' website posted 26-image galleries.

Statistics:

Shots
38-22 Detroit overall. Detroit outshot Calgary 15-6 in the 1st and 12-5 in the 2nd, and the teams were tied in shots in the 3rd, 11-11.

The Wings went 1-for-2 in 3:45 of PP time; the Flames went 1-fo-2 in 2:39.

Jonas Gustavsson stopped 17 of 22 shots; Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 36 of 38.

The 3 stars, per The Fan 960, were Curtis Glencross, Jay Bouwmeester and Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Wings' goals: Kronwall (4) from Datsyuk (18);

Filppula (5) from Quincey (1) and Nyquist (1), PPG.

Faceoffs 25-24 Detroit (Detroit won 51%);

Blocked shots 18-6 Calgary;

Missed shots 17-10 Detroit (total attempts 73-38 Detroit);

Hits 18-13 Calgary;

Giveaways 11-10 Detroit;

Takeaways 9-8 Calgary.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 9-and-9 (50%); Zetterberg went 3-and-7 (30%); Emmerton went 6-and-2 (75%); Andersson went 3-and-4 (43%); Cleary went 1-and-2 (33%); Filppula went 3-and-0 (100%);

Shots: Zetterberg and Franzen led the team with 6 shots; Filppula had 4; Abdelkader and Nyquist had 3; Miller, Brunner, Emmerton and Quincey had 2; Kindl, Datsyuk, Eaves, Lashoff and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Brunner hit Flames players 4 times; Kindl had 3 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Emmerton and Zetterberg had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Datsyuk, Eaves, Quincey and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Franzen missed the net 3 times; Abdelkader, Emmerton and Zetterberg missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Cleary, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Brunner, Quincey, Filppula, Ericsson and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Ericsson led the team with 3 hits; Abdelkader, Eaves and Franzen had 2; Kindl, Cleary, Miller and Andersson had 1.

Giveaways: Smith had 4 giveaways; Kindl, Datsyuk, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Filppula, Andersson and Nyquist had 1.

Takeaways: Filppula and Franzen had 2 takeaways; Cleary, Datsyuk, Nyquist and Ericsson had 1.

Blocked shots: Datsyuk and Lashoff blocked 2 Flames shots; Quincey and Ericsson blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Smith and Abdelkader took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -15. Kindl, Lashoff, Brunner and Quincey finished at -2; Smith, Datsyuk, Eaves, Miller, Emmerton, Zetterberg, Filppula and Franzen finished at -1; Kronwall finished at +1.

Points: Filppula and Kronwall scored goals; Datsyuk, Nyquist and Quincey had assists.

Ice time: Ericsson led the team with 23:06 played; Kronwall played 21:49; Quincey played 20:31;

Datsyuk played 20:06; Franzen played 19:23; Smith played 18:15;

Kindl played 17:15; Zetterberg played 17;10; Abdelkader played 16:45;

Lashoff played 16:40; Brunner played 16:12; Filppula played 15:51;

Miller played 14:01; Emmerton played 12:38; Cleary played 12:28;

Nyquist played 12:12; Andersson played 11:46; Eaves played 10:40.

Red Wings notebooks and stuff: MLive's Ansar Khan spoke to Jordin Tootoo about being scratched, and noted Ian White's absence:

Tootoo took part in the pregame skate, but Patrick Eaves is taking his place on the line with Cory Emmerton and Drew Miller. Tootoo had played in all 26 games.

“When things aren't going the right way or the way they're supposed to be, sometimes change is good,'' Tootoo said after the morning skate.

Tootoo indicated he needs to be more physical.

“My game, my foundation, is being physical out there,'' Tootoo said. “Maybe the last couple of games for some reason I haven't been up to par, but for me mentally it's taking it one day at a time and making sure I'm giving myself every opportunity to be in the lineup.''

White expected to practice Thursday: Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he expects defenseman Ian White to return to practice Thursday in Edmonton. The team said White did not play Wednesday – or show up at the arena – due to unspecified personal reasons.

The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke to Tootoo, too...

"We have a lot of guys coming back from injury, and I think when things aren't going the right way, or the way they're supposed to, sometimes change is good," he said. "I think sometimes change is good to fire a team up."

Tootoo stayed on the ice an hour after the 30-minute morning skate ended, even though the decision wasn't official until pregame warm-ups.

"For me," he said, "it's coming to the rink every day and preparing like I'm going to be in the lineup. Obviously, my foundation is being physical out there. Personally, maybe the last couple of games, for some reason I haven't been up to par. But for me mentally, it's taking it one day at a time and making sure I'm giving myself every opportunity to be in the lineup."

The Wings signed Tootoo last summer, seeing him as a solid combination of grit and offensive upside. Tootoo, however, has not produced quite as expected, with two goals and two assists in 26 games.

And she offers good news in a story about Darren Helm:

General manager Ken Holland said Wednesday before a 5-2 loss to the Flames at the Saddledome that barring any setbacks, Darren Helm could return as early next Wednesday, when the Wings host the Minnesota Wild.

Helm has played only one game this season, sidelined by a muscle tear suffered while doing squats a few days before training camp began. His one game was against Minnesota on Jan. 25.

The Wings sorely miss Helm, who is key to getting the bottom-six forwards slotted to everyone's best talents. He's also a crucial part of the penalty kill, with his ability to use his speed to generate breakaways and eat up an opponent's man-advantage time.

The Wings will be careful with Helm, of course, but he was on the ice for a good 90 minutes Wednesday morning, and has joined practices after spending his first few days back on the ice skating by himself.

The news on Todd Bertuzzi, meanwhile, remains status quo, as he continues to deal with back pain by getting treatment back in Detroit. He last played Feb. 7 at St. Louis.

Let's all be shocked that Joey MacDonald came to Calgary with high praise from Jiri Hudler, as noted by DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

“I brought Jiri Hudler in my office and asked him about Joey,” [Flames coach Bob] Hartley said. “And Jiri, right away, said that he was a great guy. No hesitation. He’s a hard worker and he’s been just as Jiri told me.”

The Flames claimed MacDonald off of waivers on Feb. 11. And since then, the 33-year-old from Nova Scotia has produced a 3-4-1 record with a 2.85 goals-against average. He isn’t scheduled to start tonight when his new team hosts his old team. But that’s OK for MacDonald, who has one career start against Detroit, a shutout victory for the New York Islanders.

“It’s always great when you’ve played in an organization for eight or nine years that you get an opportunity to play against them,” MacDonald said. “I played against them that one time with the Islanders, but we played the other night in L.A., and it was a tough game that we lost 3-1. I thought my game was where it has to be when you don’t play for 3-4 games, but that’s the backup’s role. You have to be ready to come in and give the team a chance to win every night.”

MLive's Ansar Khan...

“Mac is the ultimate team guy,'' Hartley said. “I had Johan Hedberg in Atlanta and (MacDonald) reminds me a lot of the [Johan] Moose [Hedberg] . He gets in the net like a half-hour before practice and the Zamboni kicks him out at the end of practice.''

MacDonald, scheduled to back-up Mikka Kiprusoff Wednesday against the Red Wings at the Saddledome, is 3-4-1, with a 2.85 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

...

“I have no fear in putting Joey MacDonald in,'' Hartley said. “I feel that Joey MacDonald can win a game for you, and there aren’t too many teams that openly can admit this about their backup. … We put him in on the road, at home, he’s not rattled.''

MacDonald appreciates the confidence Hartley has shown in him.

“The best thing for me was just to get thrown in there and begin playing,'' MacDonald said. “I wasn’t thinking about my back. I played three games in four nights, and back-to-back games. Sometimes when you have an injury like that you don’t play and then you sit around and kind of get worse.''

And the Free Press's Helene St. James:

"It's disappointing leaving a team you spent so much time with," MacDonald said, "and they're a great bunch of guys and everything. It would have been nice to stay there, but sometimes getting an opportunity somewhere else and a fresh start is what you need. I think getting a chance here, it's a chance to expose me and to play some games. If I didn't get claimed, I'd probably be still down in Grand Rapids. Whenever you're playing in the NHL, you're getting seen, you're getting exposed, and that's what you've got to do. It's a contract year, so I'm just trying to play hard and hopefully, everything will work out here."

MacDonald said he still keeps in close touch with Howard and Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard. "They're always going to be good friends," he said. "When I've been playing, Howie and Jimmy B have been texting me after games. We're always going to stay pretty tight."

Paul posted a clip of TSN's Darren Dreger speaking to the NHL Network, and I have no comment on Dreger's suggestions at the 6-minute mark that the Wings are "consistently looking for a defenseman to try to help Niklas Kronwall," suggesting that the Wings are looking to a veteran and may move Filppula or a prospect to snag Jay Bouwmeester:

You may read the Calgary Herald's Scott Cruickshank's story about the Flames dealing with trade rumors on your own, and the same is true of the Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson's article on the same story, but this part of his notebook's worth mentioning (and Randy Sportak penned what is a quote-less recap as of 4:35 AM):

Finally some good news for Flames fans. LW Curtis Glencross was back in the Flames’ lineup after missing one game with a wrist injury and made his presence known in the first period by drilling Wings D Brendan Smith. Glencross was whistled for boarding on what seemed like a clean hit.

Red Wings RW Damien Brunner is still waiting for an opportunity to face off against Sven Baertschi on NHL ice. When the Flames were in Detroit five weeks ago, Baertschi was injured. Brunner is now the only Swiss forward on a big-league roster after Baertschi was assigned to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat on the weekend. “I hope it’s going to work out for him, and he gets his chance soon again up here,” Brunner said. “He’s going to get (his confidence) back now in the American Hockey League, and then when he gets up and gets his chance to play big minutes — top six — I’m pretty sure he’s going to succeed, and the fans are going to love him.” … By the way, Baertschi was held off the scoresheet Wednesday’s 4-3 road loss suffered by the Heat at the hands of the Texas Stars.

Ahem, from the Detroit News:

A little past the halfway point of this lockout-shortened season, the Red Wings are a 35-to-1 shot to win the Stanley Cup, according to an online bookmaker.

Bovada.com lists the Chicago Blackhawks as the favorite, at 9-to-2 odds, to take home Lord Stanley, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins (6 to 1) and the Boston Bruins (8 to 1). The team with the worst odds? The Florida Panthers, at 250 to 1.

 

In the prospect department, in Sweden, Mattias Backman played 19:25 in Lincopings HC's playoff-opening 6-0 loss to HV71;

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in overtime thanks to two Landon Ferraro goals. The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a recap (as well as a Flickr photo gallery)...

A five-game winning streak, a perfect 6-0 record against their closest rival in the standings, and a nine-point lead atop the Midwest Division were the spoils of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ dramatic 3-2 overtime victory against the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

Landon Ferraro scored the fastest overtime goal in franchise history just 18 seconds into the extra session, tipping Brett Skinner’s cannon from the right point past Matt Climie to ignite the robust weeknight crowd of 8,018.

Ferraro’s two goals and Petr Mrazek’s tremendous 30-save performance were the keys as the Griffins (36-19-2-2) overcame a determined Chicago squad that enjoyed the advantage in play for much of the night. As a result, Grand Rapids improved to 8-1 in its last nine home games, its best run at Van Andel Arena since posting a 9-1 mark to start the 2009-10 campaign.

The Wolves (29-19-5-4) forced the action in the early going but were thwarted numerous times by Mrazek before breaking through on their ninth shot 11:24 into the opening period. Jordan Schroeder, reassigned to Chicago on Monday after spending more than two months with the Vancouver Canucks, set up in front of the Grand Rapids net and put the heel of his stick on Derek Joslin’s blast from the left point, redirecting the puck inside the left post.

Consecutive Chicago penalties late in the period resulted in the Griffins starting the second with 1:28 of a 5-on-3 power play and fresh ice, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Once back at even strength, the Wolves resumed their control of the contest and nearly increased their lead at the 13-minute mark, when Brad Hunt drove hard to the net and the puck bounced over the line. But Hunt was whistled off for goaltender interference, negating the goal.

The Griffins finally got on the scoreboard in a crazy final minute of the frame, scoring on consecutive shots 18 seconds apart to take a stunning 2-1 lead to the locker room. Tomas Tatar, who missed the Griffins’ last 14 games while in Detroit, finished a give-and-go with Francis Pare by popping a backhand past Matt Climie from the doorstep at the 19:31 mark. Then, during Grand Rapids’ subsequent rush up ice, Tomas Jurco sent a feed across the top of the crease that deflected off Ferraro’s left skate and into the cage with 11 seconds remaining. A subsequent video review by referee Terry Koharski determined that there was no kicking motion, validating Ferraro’s tally and the Griffins’ one-goal lead.

Grand Rapids maintained its advantage until just 3:56 remained in regulation. With Chicago on a power play, Nicklas Jensen fanned on his initial attempt from the slot before quickly getting off a shot that sailed into the top of the net, forcing the eventual overtime.

Five of the Griffins’ six wins against the Wolves have come by a single goal, including an incredible three overtime wins and one shootout victory. Strangely enough, Chicago extended its own point streak against Grand Rapids to three games (0-0-2-1) tonight.

And the Grand Rapids Press provides both a photo gallery and Peter J. Wallner's discussion with Tomas Tatar, who scored a goal after being demoted by the Wings:

“It was a little different game for me because I didn’t play as much in Detroit, and when I got the ice time tonight I feel a little more tired,” Tatar said. “But I like my ice time here and I like to play more and it was fun.”

...

Tatar, who missed 14 games in Grand Rapids while in Detroit since Feb. 3, scored late in the second period, followed 18 seconds later Landon Ferraro’s first goal to put the Griffins ahead 2-1. He is the Griffins’ current leading scorer with 40 points (20-20-40).

With former Griffins linemates Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson in Detroit, Tatar returned and paired on the top line with Frances Pare and Riley Sheahan and the top power play line. Tatar had four goals and three assists in 18 games in Detroit.

“Obviously there is a little disappointment but this is how it is,” Tatar said. “I expected to be sent down when guys get back no matter how good I would do. I knew this would happen because guys who come back with one-way contracts, that’s the NHL. It’s a business, too. They don’t want to pay guy just to send them here … I think I showed I could play up there, too. So I’m just going to wait for something to happen, or just wait for something to happen for next season.”

Coach Jeff Blashill spoke with Tatar before the game.

“Obviously, every player want to play in the National Hockey League, but he had a commitment level to come down here and play great,” Blashill said. “He told me that right away … and you saw from his game, he came down and played outstanding.”

In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye are in a dogfight to make the playoff cut, but they did themselves no favors in dropping a 4-1 decision to the Greenville Road Warriors. Willie Coetzee registered an assist and Jordan Pearce stopped 24 of 27 shots in the loss, and the Walleye's website and the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe provide recaps (the Blade also posted a photo gallery);

In the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon fought in the Victoriaville Tigres' 4-2 loss to Drummondville;

Martin Frk registered 2 assists in the Halifax Mooseheads' 6-2 win over Cape Breton;

In the OHL, Alan Quine had a goal, an assist and finished at +3 in the Belleville Bulls' 5-2 win over Oshawa;

And Ryan Sproul finished at a -3 in the Soo Greyhounds' ugly 8-0 loss to Plymouth.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Hippy Dave's avatar

Jonas Gustavsson - The Cookie Monster.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 03/14/13 at 06:09 AM ET

Avatar

Re: a blueprint to beat the Wings.
Stand around and watch them shoot the puck wide of the net and wait for turnovers with the defensemen either changing or too deep in the offensive zone to catch up. Couple those with a goalie who can’t stop a whole lot = win.
If the opposing team plays with any energy or speed, the Wings lose. Or at least when the Wings feel like doing a Chinese fire drill on ice.

Posted by teldar on 03/14/13 at 07:38 AM ET

Sneetch's avatar

So the Wings can’t even beat two of the worst teams in the league. They don’t even deserve to sniff the playoffs. Found it hilarious how Brunner was demoted to the 4th line while Abby racks up the minutes on the 2nd. Sorry to those still wearing the rose colored glasses, but Babs is just not cutting it. Neither is KH….neither is most of this team. Major retooling needed which means it won’t happen. Wings front office loyal to a fault. And the Monster? Ugh.

Posted by Sneetch on 03/14/13 at 07:58 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

“Why would you force anything?” Babcock snapped back. “We had the puck the entire time. Why would you force anything? Just take what was given and play the game. But I’m with ya, why would you force anything? Why would you turn over the puck continually? You should ask them.”

Way to take responsibility.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/14/13 at 08:14 AM ET

Chet's avatar

he’s def. at fault for giving abduhkader these top 6 mins. always the chance they were hoping to pad his stats for a trade, but how’s that looking now?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/14/13 at 08:31 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Babcock thinks Abdelkader getting chances = winning. He’s getting the puck on his stick in prime locations, but he can’t close. Coffee is for closers.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/14/13 at 08:47 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I’ve seen enough. Even a great run down the stretch to get in the playoffs does not end in a Cup. There are way too many ifs to make that all happen—Smith has to reach the level he projects to be at in two years tomorrow, Howard has to have a vintage Patrick Roy stretch and playoff run of dominance, Filppula has to play significantly better, White has to be reliable 5-on-5 and very good on the PP… just isn’t all going to happen.

So, I’m ready to part ways with some players that I’ve loved as Wings, and will miss. But it is time.

Filppula—I’d like to re-sign the Filppula from last year, but not the one from this year. Even last year’s version, I wouldn’t want to pay $4+ million. No, nobody will pay much for a rental of Filppula, but anything is better than nothing. With the logjam of Tatar/Nyquist/Pulkkinen/Jurco/Shehan, top six forward slots have to be opened anyways. I’d love Flip as a third line center making $2.5+ million, playing 15 minutes per night and contributing in any situation. But that’s not gonna happen.

Cleary—pretty much see above, except add that he’s older and had some tough injuries grind his effectiveness down the last few seasons. His willingness to get to the net and dig in the corners will be missed. His hard work and ability to slot in on any line from #1 to #4 will be missed. But again, with the logjam of forward prospects that need top six (or at worst, top nine) slots to reach their potential, we have to make space. Of course he’s worth even less than Flip on the market, but Cleary is the type of player Cup contenders will pay for because of his experience, diverse skill set, and team-oriented attitude. Oh, and his expiring contract that costs a pittance to pay out the rest of this season.

Eaves and Miller—not sure either is worth much on the market, and they aren’t really holding up the logjam of forward prospects. But I’d at least shop ‘em quietly and just see if there are any nibbles because, let’s be realistic, these are the types of players the Wings have had no problem picking off the scrap heap and turning into effective players for a long time now. For all the foibles of this season, I don’t see that changing. So if you can get a 4th rounder for one of ‘em, do you do it? Seems unlikely you’d get that, but might as well find out.

White—well, the Wings have done a heck of a job tarnishing his value, but the bottom line is that he’s still a veteran D that can play pretty effectively in all situations. This is the type of guy ever contender wants to add… right-hander on the point on the PP, can easily play 20 minutes, and if you’re a good team (which you are if you’re a contender), you can easily put him in your #4/#5 slot and give him match-ups where he’s in favorable situations. The only thing here is, the Wings biggest problem is a lack of D. But it’s not a lack of Ian Whites, it is a lack of a #1 guy that can eat 25+ minutes per night (or at least a young guy with a top prospect pedigree that projects to be a star #1 D in the mid-term). There are a lot of players hitting UFA this offseason that fit the Ian White mold, so even if you need to fill this hole, take your chances… the team isn’t going to be a Cup contender next year either, barring a UFA miracle, or unlikely trade scenario.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/14/13 at 09:14 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

“You should ask them.”

Isn’t that exactly what Torts said when he threw his top lines under the Bus the other night in the loss to Buffalo?

Originality and Accountability missing, Coach!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/14/13 at 09:15 AM ET

Avatar

Eaves and Miller

They’d be stupid to trade Eaves.

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 09:22 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Babcock’s “anger” at the team is patently ridiculous.  He’s in charge.  It’s on him.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/14/13 at 09:33 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

“Why would you force anything?” Babcock snapped back. “We had the puck the entire time. Why would you force anything? Just take what was given and play the game. But I’m with ya, why would you force anything? Why would you turn over the puck continually? You should ask them.”

Way to take responsibility.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/14/13 at 08:14 AM ET

Not to get too predictably doom and gloom after a loss like this (I will anyway), but at this point I think you really have to start seriously questioning the leadership of this team, from both a player and coaching standpoint.

The people in leadership roles either 1) aren’t leading effectively, 2) have been tuned out, or 3) weren’t leaders to begin with.

My biggest concern is that it’s #3. That after 20-some years of having the best on-ice leadership in the NHL in Yzerman and Lidstrom, were seeing an enormous leadership vacuum that’s sucking the wind out of this team. And I don’t know how you fix that other than bringing in new blood.

I don’t know. That’s probably a little overly negative. Whatever it is, there is something fundamentally wrong with this team that goes beyond just giveaways in the neutral zone.

The injury excuse works when they’re playing teams like Chicago and St. Louis. When they’re losing, consistently, to the worst teams in the league, something stinks in the locker room.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/14/13 at 09:37 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Dare I say everyone and I mean EVERYONE is available at this point? I’m gonna punch myself immediately after typing this but think what we could get for Pasha?

Ouch!

We all knew this time would come eventually but the sickening thing is the future looks only medium. Sure, we’ve got some (more) little talented European forwards coming up but….

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/14/13 at 09:49 AM ET

Sneetch's avatar

There are a few that are untouchable on this team - Dats, Z, Brunner, Howard and Smith (at least untouchable until he plays a full season). The rest of the team could be shopped around.

They have to build around something and I think those 5 guys I mentioned are a good start. Talking about trading Dats or Z is just insanity.

Posted by Sneetch on 03/14/13 at 10:23 AM ET

Avatar

My biggest concern is that it’s #3. That after 20-some years of having the best on-ice leadership in the NHL in Yzerman and Lidstrom, were seeing an enormous leadership vacuum that’s sucking the wind out of this team. And I don’t know how you fix that other than bringing in new blood.

I don’t know. That’s probably a little overly negative. Whatever it is, there is something fundamentally wrong with this team that goes beyond just giveaways in the neutral zone.

This trend of significant defensive lapses and a general lack of compete and discipline that Detroit is on really started to manifest itself about 3-4 years ago…while Lidstrom was still on board…which has me thinking that it isn’t so much about the players themselves as it is management, specifically Holland and Babcock. The Babcock rhetoric after every brutal loss about how the team played well and did “lots of good things” is troublesome. If the players are mostly responsible for the results on the ice, then after such a long stretch of lack luster performance why doesn’t the coach either mix things up in terms of lines, defensive pairings and special team units, or start naming names for god’s sake? And if it’s really more about poor coaching (and he knows it) then take the heat every once in a while instead of sugar coating bullsh*t performances for his team.

As for Holland, his stagnant and if-it-aint-broke-don’t-fix-it approach for the past several off seasons is concerning as well…especially considering that “it” started to break a while ago. With the league now well adapter to the cap-era NHL perhaps Holland is showing that he lacks the creativity and guts to effectively construct and manage a team capable of at least competing with the league’s elite. Remember that right after the previous lockout Detroit was still well stocked with personnel left over from the pre-cap era. And while Holland has made a few nice moves since that time, mostly he’s stood by while almost everyone around him has been proactive in working out ways to improve their teams under the structure of this new NHL. We’re seeing the results of that in recent seasons where teams like Nashville, St.Louis, LA and even Columbus are no longer push overs and in fact pose a very real threat to Detroit’s literal standing in the league.

Whatever the problem is it would be nice as a fan to have seen at least some semblance of effort to correct the woes of recent years, but instead are subjected to repeated inconsistency and complacency.

Posted by godblender on 03/14/13 at 10:33 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by godblender on 03/14/13 at 10:33 AM ET

I agree. I used to be a fan of Holland and Babcock but I think they’ve both gotten stale. Too comfortable maybe. Time for a change. I definitely think it’s time for some player changes as well. Not enough fire, which has been evident since ‘09, and seeing as we’re heading East next yr lets maybe get some size and toughness.


Shake these futhermuckers up, Mr. I

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/14/13 at 10:38 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

15 years of low draft choices has caught up to this team.
The cupboard is bare.

You can fire the management & coaches, you can trade players;
but if you do, you are making a mistake. 
Most of the players you want to trade would not bring even equal talent in return.

All the Wings can do is draft well and try to find good players in free agency.
Then coach them up as best they can.

It will take years for the Wings to be contenders again.

As fans, we can either root for them to do the best they can, (like for a high school or college team), or go watch the Pistons.

Personally, I will take the small satisfactions in seeing individuals play well, win or lose.

cool smirk

Posted by w2j2 on 03/14/13 at 11:03 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

15 years of poor drafts + scouting that isn’t what it used to be + a hard salary cap + the perfect human emphasizing the HUMAN part by getting old and retiring.

Doom and gloom time.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/14/13 at 11:29 AM ET

Avatar

I didn’t see the game so I don’t know the situations but why was Howard brought in even if he was sick? The wings shouldn’t lose to the flames, at least like that.

Posted by howeandhowe on 03/14/13 at 11:30 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Abandon ship. Holland overboard, Babs walks the plank, Datsuyk traded, Flippula shot in the head. if they lose 2 more games - shoot the lot of the bastards and bring the Griffin’s in to replace ‘em

Posted by joedaiceman on 03/14/13 at 11:31 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

They didn’t bring Howard in probably because he has the flu and shouldn’t have even dressed for the game. Barring a disaster, the monster was going to be left on the ice for sixty.

@joe - I think they have already begun to bring all the griffins up (Lashoff, Andersson, Tatar, Nyquist, Emmerton, Smith, McCollum, Mrazek… Has Jurco gotten his callup yet?).

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/14/13 at 11:42 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Z looks mentallly and physically exhausted out there. Even Pavs with a couple of minutes to go in the game just gave up on a puck in the attacking zone looking like “why am I busting my tail out here with no support?
I don’t believe Pavs will be traded because it is not the “Detroit” way. Management is allways loyal to a fault and never ever trades older players even if they hold any kind of value on the market and instead allowes tham to retire without any recompensation. Red Wings or Tigers Think about it.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 03/14/13 at 12:19 PM ET

TKShreve's avatar

Jurco’s not ready.

Posted by TKShreve from East Uptown on 03/14/13 at 12:41 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Remember that right after the previous lockout Detroit was still well stocked with personnel left over from the pre-cap era. And while Holland has made a few nice moves since that time,

The last trade Holland made, impact trade to make us better, not cover your ass, was Stuart.  5 months later Scotty Bowman joined his son in Chicago.  Leo pointed this out this weekend.  Coincidently, largely with a group Bowman helped Holland shape, they made the finals AGAIN Bowman’s first year in Chicago.  Since then it’s been all Chicago.  Even after they won the cup in ‘10.  “They’ll have to blow up their team, that’s how you win it now.  Only get one shot.  You’re mortgaging the future..” blah blah.  Somehow Chicago has survived, losing Ladd, Buff, Kopecky.. these are guys that are top 6 guys or top pair D-men.  Yet Chicago didn’t lose a game until almost halfway through the 13 season, 2 years after their cup run.  By KH’s theory, Chicago shouldn’t be competing anymore.  or MAYBE Bowman’s genius understands how they’re trying to play and makes sure to get players who will mesh into the group, a skill Hollands been given credit for but is starting to look like he never had.

But, I like our team.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 12:58 PM ET

Avatar

Somehow Chicago has survived, losing Ladd, Buff, Kopecky.. these are guys that are top 6 guys or top pair D-men.

Sorry, Kopecky’s not a top six guy.

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 01:14 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 01:14 PM ET

Although why I dwelled on that, I don’t know, because you hit the nail on the head with the rest of it.

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 01:21 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

He was played ona line with hossa in Chicago and was picked up to play with Fleishmann and, oh, that’s right, Verteeg, another of those top 6 pieces they had to mortgage to win the cup.

Yeah, I honestly believe that’s where the pivot point was

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 01:32 PM ET

alukacs's avatar

Also, let us not forget the suckagefest that Chicago was and all the talent they were able to pick up through the draft. It’s easy to complain that teams are catching up, but realistically, they should be… that is the cap and draft combined.

Posted by alukacs on 03/14/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Just to throw some different logs on the fire since we are moving East…

What if we don’t change the team that much?  Maybe it’s me, but watching East games I view them as: play is more open, there is more space in the middle of the O-zone, there is more space down the wings in the Neutral Zone, as opposed to the West where there is a giant body in the way of every puck carrier and no room for anybody.

Why should we change our team to fight the Western teams when we only have to muck through them for another couple of months?

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/14/13 at 01:47 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by alukacs on 03/14/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Look at Edmonton.  You can’t say all you have to do is suck and get some slam dunk draft picks.  There are none.  They have to have the right dynamic and circumstances.  Chicago had the right leadership and culture and dynamics to, once Scotty came on board, bet a legitimate threat year after year, regardless of winning of the cup and parting ways with h alf their team.  We get 1st round exits and give raises.

They’ve plugged EMERY into goal and made him a stud.  Let Tukka Rask lite Anti Niemi go.  They aren’t afraid to move the right pieces and keep the right pieces but at least they went for the right pieces.  VS. Edmonton who like Chicago has endured years of suckage with no real turn-around or light at the end of the tunnel.

So I’m not buying the no top draft pick argument.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 04:24 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

So I’m not buying the no top draft pick argument.
Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 04:24 PM ET

Sorry you’re having trouble buying the facts. High draft picks are no guarantee, but in a cap league it is impossible to win without them. A team still needs to have a great front office from scouts to the GM to capitalize on the good draft picks. Chicago would not have made the conference finals in 09 and won the cup in 10 without the seasons of suckage that generated top draft picks AND a great front office to use the picks wisely. Here are Chicago’s first round picks leading up to their return to relevance:

2003 #14 Seabrooke
2004 #3 Cam Barker
2005 #7 Jack Skille (not exactly a stud, but still in league w/ FLA)
2006 #3 Toews
2007 #1 Kane

Without those draft picks, Chicago doesn’t win the Cup.

Here are Detroit’s first round picks over the same period:

2003 #27 traded pick to LA
2004 #29 traded pick to WAS (selected Mike Green)
2005 #19 Jakub Kindl
2006 #29 traded pick to PHX
2007 #27 Brendan Smith

Of course Detroit’s picks sucked. Those draft years were bookended by two Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. But now the picks in those draft years are in their prime, and guess what? Detroit lacks the talent to be competitive. Not a surprise when your average draft position is 26th and you trade away over half of your first rounders to boot.

We are beyond plugging a hole or two through Free Agency. Because of the cap, KH can’t spend freely to entice FA’s to come to Detroit. For whatever reason (Uncle Mike?), even when offered a lot of money (Parise and Suter), FA’s don’t want to come to Detroit anymore.

Now is the time to pay the piper for those years of success and lay a foundation for a return to greatness.  Embrace the suckage. Relish every wasted two points. The lower we finish in the standings, the better chances we have of a bright future.

Will two to three years of suckage guarantee another Cup? Of course not, but it will at least give us a chance. One thing is for sure, barely making the playoffs and drafting well out of the top ten will guarantee that we never get another Cup.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/14/13 at 05:30 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 12:58 PM ET

I had similar thoughts about Bowman leaving and how much influence he had, particularly with “Holland’s decisions.”  Definitely an interesting theory.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/14/13 at 05:34 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Again CDP, I don’t think you have to tank to have a shot at the cup.

Edmonton, Calgary, Columbus, Minn, Florida, Toronto, Boston

You can cherry pick stats for anything.  I just don’t buy that you have to get a top 5 to get a player that makes you competitive.

LA doesn’t win the cup without Richards and Carter.  Doughty was probably the least significant piece to their playoff puzzle.  Brown and Quick were unreal.  Either could’ve been drafted by Detroit.  Pointing out how inconsistent it is to get an impact player.

You look at what you have.  We have some GREAT prospects.  I don’t care where they were drafted.  Smith has been said to be the best of the great D to come out of Wisconsin as far as upside.  Nyquist a two time Hobey Baker finalist.  Mrazek, holy shit.  Ferraro is even getting his shit together.  Shit, lets look at Helm.  Impact player, integral for our cup run, 3rd, 4th rounder?  Whatever he was, he was NOT a top 5.  But an impact player.

You need to look at what you have on the team, have an idea of what you want your team to do and give yourself the best chance to win.  Glossing over players because they don’t fit the salary structure isn’t giving yourself the best chance to win.  Signing discount players and waiver pickups with NO other major signings (aside from Brunner which is a nice gamble that paid out, thank’s Roest) as we lose “generational players” isn’t giving yourself the best chance to win.

Carter or Richards would look pretty good in Columbus.  Tatar was an untouchable prospect last year, this year can’t crack 8 mins ESIT or a chance in the top 6.  But we couldn’t touch him for a trade last year.

I just don’t get it.  Draft picks wont matter because by the time they’re “ripe” they’ll be 30 and we’ll have sucked for however long that trying to avoid it was pointless

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 07:33 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Sorry would look good in Detroit* ugh*

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 07:35 PM ET

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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.