The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/11/14 at 09:16 PM ET
I shouldn't be upset about this one. The Red Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in a "game that didn't matter," in no small part because the Tampa Bay Lightning did Detroit a favor in taking out Columbus (who wraps up its season tomorrow in Miami)...
But I am upset about this one. On "Fan Appreciation Night," the Wings came out flatter than a month-old bottle of Vernors with no bottle cap, both the Wings' defense (cue the inevitable Kyle Quincey and Brian Lashoff staring at Elias Lindholm as he scores a softy on Howard for the 1-0 goal and the Wings getting burned and then some on a line change on the 2nd goal), the goaltending (Howard was poor on both goals) and the forwards were all awful in the first period...
And while the Wings rallied in the 3rd period, and they generated scoring chance after scoring chance in the 2nd and 3rd, the extra passes, extra dekes, peel-offs to the side boards, drop passes to the blueline and wide shots, shots into Cam Ward (who was good but made to look otherworldly by the Wings' players) and stupid-ass too-many men penalties (one early, one late) yielded a 2-1 loss...
And now the Wings need the Blue Jackets to lose to Florida and they need to win against a Blues team that has "something to play for" on Sunday.
Some "Fan Appreciation Night" from the Wings. I don't think they've played a really good game since prior to their tilts with Buffalo sandwiching the farce in Montreal, I didn't like their showing in Pittsburgh, either.
I will grant you that the let-down, especially as the team was playing 3 games in 4 nights and have now played 5 games in 8 nights, was predictable. The mental and physical fatigue combined with the, "Yay, we're in!" aspect of Wednesday's shootout loss made the Canes' first win since 1989 utterly predictable.
That being said, it's still not excusable, and it was incredibly frustrating to witness from home. I can't imagine how frustrating it would've been to pay money to watch.
The coach of the year's horses didn't want to deliver, and no amount of line-juggling, save reuniting Riley and the Slovaks, seemed to matter: the boys were going to "fancy" themselves out of this one, one way or another, and between the poor defense (though Kindl seems to understand that his job is on the line, and he's raising his game as a result), the poor goaltending and the cutesy shit up front couldn't be overcome.
Hampus Lindholm's goal was a case of a smart play made by a player who was completely left alone on the power play, all of 8:15 into the 1st, and he made Brian Lashoff, Kyle Quincey and Jimmy Howard pay for their lack of attention-paying...
Ten minutes later, Jiri Tlusty scored a goal that Howard should've had, though Brendan Smith's dim attempts to play defense as the team poured over the boards didn't help, giving the Wings a 2-0 deficit to dig out of with 1:36 left in the 1st...
And while the Riley Shehaan was smart enough to keep whacking when he jammed a puck past Ward 3:43 into the 3rd, on the power play...
From Helm to Datsyuk to Tatar to Franzen (who's gone cold but has been superb defensively) to Nyquist to Kronwall, the Wings kept on making that extra move, that extra pass, that half-second pause or taking ahalf-foot-wide shot, and while these kinds of plays were welcome (Kindl saving a goal against)...
Babcock would say that playing catch-up hockey is losing hockey, and on consecutive evenings, that axiom held true.
This play by Helm, via RedWingsFeed, summarized the Wings' evening:
Deke, dangle, low shot into the goalie's blocker.
I don't mean to split hairs, but I think that the Wings' sloppiness and lackadaisical play over the past four games is at least a little worrisome, if not "human," and it still sucks to lose no matter whether there's something on the line or there's nothing to lose, per se.
Update #2: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a clip of Pavel Datsyuk speaking with the media:
Shots: 29-19 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Carolina 11-8 in the 1st period, 9-7 in the 2nd period and 9-4 in the 3rd period.
Special teams: Carolina went 1-for-2 in 2:41 of PP time; Detroit went 1-for-2 in 2:45 of PP time.
Goaltending: Cam Ward stopped 28 of 29 for Carolina; Jimmy Howard stopped 17 of 19 for Detroit.
The 3 stars were picked by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, and he picked Riley Sheahan, Jiri Tlusty and Cam Ward.
The Red Wings' goal: Sheahan (8) from Jurco (7) and Tatar (19).
Faceoffs 27-23 Carolina (Detroit won 46%);
Blocked shots 8-8;
Missed shots 9-5 Detroit (attempts 46-32 Detroit; Detroit had 29 shots on the net and another 17 wide/blocked);
Hits 25-17 Carolina;
Giveaways 8-3 Detroit;
Takeaways 4-1 Detroit.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 7-and-7 (50%); Helm went 5-and-7 (42%); Glendening went 2-and-7 (22%); Sheahan went 5-and-4 (56%); Legwand went 4-and-2 (67%).
Shots: Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Sheahan and Franzen had 3 shots; Abdelkader, Legwand, Miller and Jurco had 2 shots; Smith, Kindl, Tatar, Helm, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Datsyuk, Tatar and Kronwall fired 2 attempts into Hurricanes players; Kindl and Sheahan had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Nyquist missed the net 3 times; Franzen missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Abdelkader, Lashoff and Glendening missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Glendening led the Wings with 4 hits; Datsyuk, Miller, Tatar and Helm had 2 hits; Kindl, Sheahan, Legwand, Kronwall and Franzen had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Howard had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Nyquist, Jurco, Lashoff, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Kindl, Abdelkader, Sheahan and Miller had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 Canes shots; Quincey and Glendening blocked 2 shots; DeKeyser blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Quincey took a minor penalty; the "bench" took 2 too-many men minors.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -5. Smith, Abdelkader, Glendening, Kronwall and Franzen were -1.
Points: Sheahan had a goal; Tatar and Jurco had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:32 played; Quincey played 21:36; Smith played 19:43;
DeKeyser played 19:23; Datsyuk played 19:06; Franzen played 18:02;
Kindl played 17:27; Nyquist played 16:53; Tatar played 16:23;
Sheahan played 15:24; Glendening played 15:20; Miller played 14:53;
Lashoff played 14:37; Abdelkader played 14:35; Helm played 13:23;
Legwand played 12:34; Jurco played 12:18; Alfredsson played 11:28.
Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings have already posted a highlight clip...
And comments from Gustav Nyquist...
And coach Mike Babcock:
Fox Sports Detroit also posted a different set of comments from Nyquist:
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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.