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Red Wings-Hurricanes quick take: too little, too late, and too cute

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: Yup.

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.

Individual stats:

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...

Niklas Kronwall...

And coach Mike Babcock:

Fox Sports Detroit also posted a different set of comments from Nyquist:

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bigfrog's avatar

A stinker for sure, but not sure if playing Pittsburgh is the better option for the Red Wings. Pittsburgh always seems to get the calls in close games when they play the Red Wings.

Posted by bigfrog on 04/11/14 at 09:23 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Damn BJ’s should have won tonite and tomorrow and then the pens would have had to play the flyers in the 1st round. Just sayin

Posted by cigar_nurse from On The mend for next season Greenville Pylons on 04/11/14 at 10:00 PM ET

perfection's avatar

not sure if playing Pittsburgh is the better option for the Red Wings. Pittsburgh always seems to get the calls in close games when they play the Red Wings.

really, you seriously think the potential for questionable officiating based on a conspiracy theory that the NHL instructs the officials to give PItt an edge actually offsets not only how much better Boston is than Pitt and not only how much more physical Boston is than Pitt and not only how much better their goaltending is than Pitts, but also the incredibly more kind second round matchup? I hate to say it, but if we do somehow knock out the Bruins, we are going to be beat up and potentially playing a Montreal team that we look like garbage against. There is just no question if you had the choice the 7th seed is vastly preferable

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/11/14 at 10:20 PM ET


Just a conditioning game for Pavel, nothing to see here folks.

Howard was poor on both goals

That should appease a few critics around here.  For about a minute.

Posted by maltby18 on 04/11/14 at 10:38 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Remember that the playoff officiating is weird—it resets to “call everything!” for the first two games—so it’s not going to be easy for anyone.

I describe this as the Wings choosing whether to be bitten to death by a rattlesnake (Boston) or a cobra (Pittsburgh). Neither are pleasant options.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/11/14 at 10:39 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Franzen said it looked like a post-making the playoffs hangover.

I don’t know how he could possibly know that. He slept through the entire game.

No one on this team gives as little effort as Franzen. It’s not even close. There’s a reason he only has one goal in the last 14 games. He just stands around watching things happen. Guys like Tatar make things happen (although this was clearly not one of his better games).

And Howard. What more can be said about this guy? He’s so far out of the “elite” category of goalies that I’d much rather see either Gustavsson or Mrazek in net than the $5.3M man. The thought of him being the Wings goalie for five more years literally turns my stomach.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 04/11/14 at 10:54 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I don’t know George… I just disagree with you about Boston and Pitt being on equal ground. I guess it’s a case of “pick your poison” as both will be favored over us, but it’s more like Pitt is a scorpion and Boston is agent orange. Neither are pleasant… but one is quite obviously better than the other. 

And while perhaps the refs will “call everything” between the whistles (ie. chincy hooks, holds, and interference), it’s the punches to the heads after the whistle that will go uncalled and a team like Boston will simply hurt us more. Even most of their stars - Lucic, Chara, Iginla, etc. are pretty scary physically. I mean, I think we can beat them, but the odds of us losing soldiers along the way are much much higher than against Pitt.

and even if I give you that Pitt and Boston are somehow equally potent unpleasantries, that doesn’t change the fact that NY/PHI are better second round matchups than Montreal/TB.

You know, if Columbus catches Phi though, which is maybe not likely after their loss tonight, I would actually rather play Tampa at least (prob still not Montreal). We’ve mostly looked like garbage against Columbus this year too… in games that really mattered no less. They and Montreal both play styles that we just don’t seem to matchup well against. Montreal is the one team that has made us look slow and Columbus is the one team that makes us look boring. Both Boston and Pitt actually seem like better matchups in a weird way. And Tampa scares me a whole lot less if Bishop isn’t 100%

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/11/14 at 11:00 PM ET


Jimmy let in one more goal than his opponent…as has happened frequently this season. Defensive coverage was weak on both goals they scored but Jimmy should have been able to stop both. That he did not is my biggest concern…..because a goalie performance like that will take us right out of the first round. Pulling Jimmy will not be an option until it is too late……. so my fervent wish is that Jimmy will discover a magic shield by next week.

Boston is a more physical and tougher opponent but I do expect the Pens to get the benefit of any bad calls and we will be the losers on those calls…if history is any indication. We are seeing it now and will see it again.

Posted by NewfieWing on 04/11/14 at 11:40 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

Aside from wanting to get to #7 and playing Pit (who have not played very well down the stretch, and Fleury is notoriously shaky [lately] in the playoffs), it would put us in the Metro division, where, should we get past round 1, we’d play the winner of what will be a brutal NYR/Flyers matchup. Add Hank Z coming back around then, and we’d have a good shot at a run to the Conf Final. If we play Boston and should we somehow get thru, we’d be beat up and headed for Montreal or TB.

Either way, it’ll be a great learning experience for our youngsters, and may convince KH that we need to sign some D-men not named Quincey…

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 04/11/14 at 11:47 PM ET

awould's avatar

They made the playoffs. For the bazillionth time in a row. After the season they’ve had, the rest is gravy.

Go Wings!

Posted by awould on 04/11/14 at 11:50 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

They made the playoffs. For the bazillionth time in a row. After the season they’ve had, the rest is gravy.

I agree and disagree. I wrote them off when Z went down for the reg season, and then Pav was going to be out for a while. But the kids stepped up SO big time, and we somehow cobbled enough points together to make it. But this organ-i-zation has never got far being
complaisant (sp?), so we should demand further excellence.

If we get swept in the first round, but put up a fight, I’ll be okay with that.  If we play like we’re just happy to be there against a bruising, legit Cup contender, we’re going to get killed. That I can’t accept.

Babs will keep the team focused, and the kids will be STOKED, so the Bruins (or Pens, but I’m betting on Boston) better be ready!

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 04/12/14 at 12:08 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

As I told Herm, I’m quite serious about the rattlesnake vs. cobra comparison.

The rattlesnakes are the bruins, big, mean, can knock you off your feet, but if you move slowly and persistently enough, a vibration-triggered predator will sometimes let you right on by, and the Wings have very persistently chosen to not engage the Bruins at their game this past season.

Cobras are hyper-aggressive and incredibly dangerous, but from their long fangs to thin little bodies, they can be quite fragile and exploited for their reliance on quick-strike tactics. The Penguins remain something of a top-heavy team, and when the Wings’ depth out-grinds Pittsburgh, they can be beaten.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/14 at 12:15 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

really, you seriously think the potential for questionable officiating based on a conspiracy theory that the NHL instructs the officials to give PItt an edge…——perfection from LaLaLand

Some unsolicited advice… don’t ask folks if they believe this or any of the other idiotic Wings-related conspiracy theories… just assume that they are only kidding. ssume they know better but they think this is funny.

It always makes me sad when someone admits to believing this lunacy… it’s like finding out your goofy uncle thinks Obama is a fifth columnist.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 04/12/14 at 01:33 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The one I do believe in is the lingering “Holmstrom reputation penalty.” I fully believe that the refs still think that the Wings interfere with goalies and that we’ve seen goals waved off as a result. But I don’t have a high opinion of the ever-shifting standard of officiating to begin with.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/14 at 01:49 AM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

Bring’em on!!!  we are the snake slayers !!!
Lets Go Red Wings !!!

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 04/12/14 at 02:39 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I ain’t ever scared. And players like Tatar, Nyquist, and Datsyuk didn’t make it to where they are by being afraid of BIG men. Bring on the B’s and lets watch them run around ans take dumb penalties.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 04/12/14 at 07:55 AM ET


Mmmm, Vernor’s…

Posted by Moose Moss on 04/12/14 at 12:09 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

I thought that the difference in this game was Cam Ward.
He played a GREAT game.

Posted by w2j2 on 04/12/14 at 02:48 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.


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