The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/23/13 at 05:19 AM ET
If we are to believe Fox Sports Detroit's Mickey Redmond (and there is no reason not to), the Red Wings will play their last game on Joe Louis Arena's current ice surface tonight against the New York Islanders (7:30 PM EST, FSD Plus/MSG Plus/AM 1270).
Between the fact that the Wings' post-Christmas break games will involve two road affairs (on Saturday the 28th in Florida and on Monday the 30th in Nashville), the Winter Classic, and then a 5-game road trip that begins on January 4th and ends on January 16th (with the Wings' first January home game taking place on the 18th against Los Angeles), it makes logical sense to take the ice out to make way for the pre-New Year's and early-year concerts and events taking place at the Joe, including the auto show car reveals and media previews scheduled to be held at the Joe during the 2nd week of January.
Tonight, the Wings will attempt to carve into their crappy 6-9-6 home record while building upon last Thursday's 3-2 OT win over Calgary and Saturday's 11-game-shootout-losing-streak-snapping 4-3 shootout win over the Ample Fleas...I mean Maple Leafs...And as Paul noted on Sunday, the Wings have a pleasant CBA problem on their hands as they may or may not be able to activate Gustav Nyquist because the NHL's holiday roster freeze only allows teams to make roster swaps to accommodate activating players off the LTIR.
The Red Wings' opponent may have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, but the Islanders defeated the Wings 5-4 in a shootout on November 16th and didn't really show up when the Wings defeated the Isles 5-0 on November 29th, so Detroit's efforts against a very unfamiliar opponent have yielded disparate results.
According to NHL.com's game preview, however, the Islanders and Red Wings' records haven't been that different of late--with the Isles going 2-5-and-3 over their last 10 games and the Wings going 3-5-and-2--and the Islanders followed up a huge 5-3 win over the New York Rangers on Friday with a 5-3 loss to the Ducks on Saturday.
Neither team practiced on Sunday, so the "set-up" information I have for you comes from the Islanders-Ducks recaps. The Associated Press's recap tells the game's narrative from the Ducks' perspective...
Riding a long winning streak, the powerful Anaheim Ducks had no fear trailing by two goals heading into the third period against the fragile New York Islanders. Ryan Getzlaf scored three goals and the Ducks rallied for their team-record eighth straight victory, beating the Islanders 5-3 Saturday night.
"We talked after the second of just continuing to play our game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We were very calm about it and knew if we got one quickly, we'd have a great chance."
Down 3-1, the Ducks scored four times in the third period. The Islanders played a spirited first two periods, taking their lead on two goals by Thomas Vanek and another by Frans Nielsen. But Getzlaf scored his second of the game at 1:10 of the final period and Mathieu Perreault tied it at 10:32.
Kyle Palmieri, a native of Montvale, N.J., who scored the overtime winner Friday night against the New Jersey Devils, found himself in front of Evgeni Nabokov with a clear shot at 13:44. The 22-year-old forward, who also scored the winning goal when the Ducks beat the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4, knocked in his sixth goal of the season.
Getzlaf completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal. The Ducks won in their first visit to Long Island since a 3-2 loss on Dec. 16, 2010.
"We didn't move the puck the way we should have in the third period," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "You can't play the way we played in the third period against a big Stanley Cup-caliber team like this. It won't work."
And Newsday's Arthur Staple says that surrendering third-period leads is a familiar story on Long Island (around here, too)...
That makes 10 blown third-period leads in 37 games for the Islanders, including five blown two-goal leads. They are 0-2-3 in those games they led by two, which have been different in the details but consistent in one aspect: This team is not mentally strong late in games.
"Our third periods have been absolutely horrendous," said John Tavares, who was held without a point for the second straight game. "Whether the calls go against you or not, you still have to find a way to get the job done."
The Islanders did not. After Thomas Vanek scored twice -- including a pretty solo rush and big slap shot past Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen late in the second -- and Frans Nielsen scored off the rush, the Isles brought a 3-1 lead into the third period.
But they gave one back, quickly, on Ryan Getzlaf's second of the night off a slow-moving scramble 1:10 into the third. And after a badly missed call -- Josh Bailey got knocked down by Francois Beauchemin outside the Ducks' blue line, resulting in no penalty and an unjust icing -- Mathieu Perreault beat Nielsen on the draw, then outworked Nielsen to bury a rebound with 9:28 to go to tie it.
After another questionable icing -- and a missed high-stick on Kyle Okposo -- Getzlaf beat Nielsen on a draw and Smithtown-born Kyle Palmieri muscled past Andrew MacDonald, tapped the puck through Brian Strait's legs and backhanded the winner by Evgeni Nabokov with 6:16 remaining.
Getzlaf scored into an empty net to complete his hat trick and seal the Ducks' victory.
"I think we focus on the wrong things, icings that weren't icings, and we lose our focus," Vanek said. "We take our frustrations out [on the officials] and we turn around and get more penalties. We just need to shut up and play."
The Islanders and the Red Wings certainly don't have the same personnel, but the comments Vanek and Islanders coach Jack Capuano made to the New York Daily News's Stephen Lorenzo sound all too familiar:
Thomas Vanek summed up the third-period effort perfectly: “Tonight you saw again why we are exactly where we are in the standings.”
At least two of the Ducks goals were helped by questionable calls, but instead of fighting through tough calls, the Islanders (10-20-7) let them go to their heads, something Vanek said has been a trend.
The Wings possess a 17-12-and-9 record, so if you're the type of person who counts shootout and OT losses as losses, that's 10-and-27 for the Isles and 17-and-21 for the Wings.
“I think right now we’re not closing games and it’s costing us points and at the same time I think we focus sometimes on the wrong things,” Vanek said. “I think two of the goals came off faceoffs that were both icing calls, which I don’t think were icings, but we tend to focus on the bad stuff instead of regrouping and getting the puck out.”
Vanek put the Islanders on the board with a rebound goal at 11:27 of the first period and then scored again at 17:55 of the second with a blazing slap shot from the right faceoff circle on a breakaway. Frans Nielsen followed with another goal at 18:52 for a 3-1 lead after two, but sadly, no lead is safe at the Coliseum.
“This game here I think is a little bit different, honestly, than the past games, but it still comes down to battle level,” Capuano said. “It’s not structural, it’s about the will to compete every single shift and have that desperation in a game. We did it for 40 minutes, but to me… it was the fact that we didn’t move the puck the way that we should have.”
Newsday's Arthur Staple summarized the Islanders' situation as follows...
The Islanders had 45 games left after Saturday night's game with the Ducks, and they could have been seven points out of the playoffs -- not a good position at all, but not horrible given how poorly the Islanders have played.
Still, history shows seven points is no lucky number when it comes to deficits on Dec. 22. Over the last seven seasons on this date (discounting last season, when there was no hockey being played), 18 teams have been seven or more points out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Only two have recovered to earn playoff berths: The 2009-10 Flyers, who were seven points out, and the 2007-08 Capitals, who were also seven back.
And NewYorkIslanders.com's Eric Hornick posited a slate of stats which help frame tonight's match-up:
As Seen on MSG+: The Isles have now lost third period leads 10 times this season, including nine times at home. They are 2-3-5 in those ten games (meaning that they have earned only 9 of a possible 20 points in those games).
Home and Road: The Islanders are 10-20-7 overall, 5-7-7 at home and 5-13-0 on the road. The Isles are 2-2-2 in their last six games. The Isles are winless in their last seven Coliseum games (0-3-4), matching their longest home winless streak since late in the 1998-99 season; the Isles also went 7 straight games without a home win in January/February 2008.
In the Nets: Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves but falls to 6-6-5 on the season and 26-19-3 in his career against the Ducks.
Power Plays: The Islanders were 0-1 while the Ducks were 0-2.
The Isles are 6-5-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 4-15-3 when they do not. The Isles are 4-14-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 6-6-4 when they do not.
Over the last 27 games, the Isles power play is 9-86 (10.4%) while the penalty kill is 29-88 (67.0%). During the last 15 games, the power play is 5-45 (11.1%) (and has allowed three shorthanded goals) while the penalty kill is 14-52 (73.1%).
Three is a Magic Number: The Isles are 10-4-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 0-16-5 when they do not.
Helps to Score First: The Isles are 7-5-5 when they score first and are 3-15-2 when they allow the opening goal.
NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright posited a Wings-Islanders game preview which includes the following...
• Tiebreaker: The Islanders and Red Wings split their previous two games. The Isles need a regulation win to take the season series.
•Motor City Magic: The Islanders have won three straight in the Motor City and haven’t lost in Detroit since Nov. 28, 2003. The Islanders head to Detroit for the first time since a 4-3 OT win on Dec. 31, 2010.
•Second Line: Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner each have three points (2g,1a) in their last three games. Josh Bailey has two assists in his last two games.
•Vanek: Thomas Vanek has three goals in his last two games.
•Injured Wings: Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard are all on the IR.
Quote of the Day: Head Coach Jack Capuano on Saturday's 5-3 loss. "We have to learn to play a North-South game, not an East-West game. Tonight was a prime example of what you do when you don't move the puck and you play in your own end."
New York Islanders previous game lines
26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 36 Eric Boulton
47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey
44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
7 Matt Carkner – 37 Brian Strait
20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin
NHL.com posted a balanced game preview...
Season series: It's the third and final game this season between the New York Islanders and Red Wings, who split a pair at Nassau Coliseum in November.
Islanders [team scope]: New York flew to Detroit on Sunday after a 5-3 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks the night before – another game in which the Islanders led a two-goal lead get away. They led 3-1 after two periods but were overwhelmed by Anaheim in the third. The Islanders have lost 10 games in which they've led in the third period and six (all at home) in which they've led by two goals. Two of the six have come in the past three games.
Red Wings [team scope]: The specter of an 11-game winless streak in shootouts was hanging over the Red Wings like Marley's ghost until Saturday night. After failing to hold an early 3-1 lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, the Red Wings got the extra point when Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the tiebreaker.
Who's hot: Islanders forward Thomas Vanek has three goals in his past two games. … Datsyuk had a goal on Saturday after a three-assist game against the Flames, The shootout goal was his first in six tries this season. Alfredsson has two goals and four points in the past two games.
Injury report: Two Islanders defensemen, Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Radek Martinek (back) are on injured reserve. … Detroit is missing starting goaltender Jimmy Howard (knee) as well as forwards Henrik Zetterberg (back), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia). Two other injured forwards, Darren Helm (shoulder) and Justin Abdelkader (head) hope to play against the Islanders.
The AP/Stats LLC's game preview adds a few more stats to the mix:
Detroit seeks a third straight victory by sending the visiting Islanders to a 15th defeat in 17 games Monday night.
The Red Wings (17-12-9) went 0-4-2 - including losing the first five after Pavel Datsyuk returned from a concussion that sidelined him for seven games - before beating Calgary 3-2 in overtime Thursday and Toronto 5-4 in a shootout Saturday.
They played without six players against the Maple Leafs, including captain Henrik Zetterberg and No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard. Zetterberg has missed the last 10 games with a herniated disc, while Howard has been out the past six with a sprained left MCL.
Daniel Alfredsson has picked up the slack, finishing with two goals - the last in overtime - and an assist against the Flames before adding an assist and the shootout winner Saturday.
Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves Saturday. He's 1-1-2 with a 2.44 goals-against average since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for 11 games.
Nabokov suffered that injury when he allowed a goal to Helm 4:12 into the first period of a 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit on Nov. 16. He went 6-1-0 with a 2.76 GAA in his previous seven starts against the Red Wings, including postseason.
Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves for Detroit in the first meeting, and he could be back in net for this one. He's 2-2-1 with a 3.12 GAA in five starts since Howard's injury.
I'm not so sure about that--Gustavsson's looked like Jimmy Howard over the past couple of games--giving up an extra goal here and there due to mental and physical fatigue--but we'll find out at the morning skate.
In terms of Howard and his pals on the IR and LTIR, that's where things get complicated for the Wings. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's "Look Ahead in Hockeytown" offers superb previews of both tonight's game and Saturay's tilt against Florida, but it's his discussion of the Wings injured players' statuses that he offers the most insight into the weeks (plural) ahead:
It’s expected that forward Justin Abdelkader (concussion) is well enough to play against the New York Islanders in Monday’s final game before the league’s three-day Christmas break. It’s also possible that center Darren Helm (shoulder) and forward Gustav Nyquist (groin) could play Monday, but if they don’t they definitely should be set for the Wings’ two-game road trip following the break, beginning Saturday at Florida
Detroit general manager Ken Holland believes captain Henrik Zetterberg (lower back), forward Johan Franzen (concussion) and goalie Jimmy Howard (MCL) will be back as soon as Saturday.
“Even if Howie is ready to go he’s not playing the 28th,” Holland said. “The question is, is he well enough to be a backup on the 28th? If he’s ready to back up then we start thinking about putting him in the net on the 30th or the 1st.”
The Wings learned Saturday that center Stephen Weiss decided to have surgery to fix a sports hernia that will keep him out until after the Winter Olympic break. Weiss received a second opinion from Philadelphia physician, Dr. William C. Meyers, who recommended surgery.
“If he has surgery now, the good news is there’s a 2 ½ week Olympic break and he probably would be ready to go after the Olympic break,” Holland said. “But doctors also said we can go conservative, wait 2-3 weeks and then he can skate and we’ll try to get him through. … Ultimately the final decision has to come down to Stephen because he knows how he feels.”
Holland, Wings coach Mike Babcock and the Wings' regular roster players have all been pleasantly surprised by the poise displayed by Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening, who are all probably better served playing as the Grand Rapids Griffins' non-veteran-player leaders than they would be by playing fourth-line minutes in Detroit...
And it's regrettably likely that both Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves are headed back to Grand Rapids when the Wings are fully healthy up front as Daniel Cleary's still got some cachet as a veteran leader and Mikael Samuelsson is, for the moment, an immovable object.
But there's no doubt that the Wings have suddenly found themselves swimming in at-or-near-NHL-ready depth up front thanks to the performances of Jurco, Sheahan and Glendening...
“They playing really good game right now. They’re feeling really good about themselves,” Wings forward Tomas Tatar said. “They have lots of confidence. You can really see it on their sticks. I think everybody from Grand Rapids really playing well. We were struggling before so this is really helpful. We’re battling lots of injuries; those guys have lots of energy, they’re just flying out there.
“I feel like they came really confident. Coach (Jeff) Blashill did a really good job with those guys. They play same system what we have here. They come up here ready to play. They’re in good spots, they’re playing well, they’re playing simple hockey, they’re real heavy on the puck. It’s good stuff.”
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of both the coach's takes on said trio of forwards and the comments made by the forwards themselves...
Recent call-ups Tomas Jurco (one goal, one assist), Riley Sheahan (two assists) and Luke Glendening (four hits in 17 minutes 30 seconds) were among the Red Wings best players in an important divisional game.
“Each minute you play here you learn something and have more confidence,” Jurco said. “We all need some experience but I’m pretty happy with how quick we kind of got the systems and (are) playing good.”
The confidence the Griffins earned winning the Calder Cup last season, Sheahan said, has gone a long way in the development of players like himself.
“For sure our whole trip last year to the Calder Cup definitely helped,” Sheahan said. “When you come in and you’re part of a winning team, and learn from the coaching staff and learn how to win, it definitely helps. Obviously we have a great system down there and coming off the (playoff) win last year , guys are constantly developing and we have a lot of talent down there that can provide Detroit with some support. It’s huge when you come into an organization, you know the system, and you’re playing with some unbelievable players. That helps.”
A significant portion of the credit goes to Blashill, who served one season as an assistant under Babcock before taking over as head coach in Grand Rapids last season. The Red Wings and Griffins essentially play identical styles, so if a player is called up to the NHL he’s walking into a familiar environment.
“Coach Blashill has done a great job of instilling confidence and teaching the right way to play,” Glendening said. “When we come here we know how to play and Coach Babcock has been awesome in putting us in situations to succeed and giving us every opportunity.”
As did MLive's Ansar Khan...
“Our kids were really good today,” Babcock said after the game. “They’re obviously going to be real good players. They’re big and fast and know how to play. We’re fortunate to have a farm team with a bunch of kids that are getting ready to (reach the NHL).”
“Through all those injuries we’ve created depth in the organization, which is critical and gives you confidence to use them,” Babcock said. “I didn’t know you could play Riley Sheahan against anybody, and now I do.”
Babcock said Sheahan played “heavy” for linemates Jurco and Tatar.
“He made good plays, looked after them, and those guys played hard,” Babcock said.
“Each minute you play here, you learn something and have more confidence,” Jurco said. “I’m happy with how quick we got all the systems so we play pretty good. Before I came here I was a little afraid of that, how I’m going to adjust, because preseason games I was thinking too much of that and I didn’t play my game. So I told myself I’ll just play. It seems to be working like that.”
Compared to Jurco and Sheahan, Glendening is an NHL veteran. He’s appeared in 14 games with the Red Wings, shuttling back and forth from Grand Rapids several times.
Said Babcock: “Glendening plays hard. His matchup all night long was with (Phil) Kessel and those guys (Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk) and he was fine in that situation.”
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness took note of the comments made about the trio by a pair of senior Swedes:
“They bring a lot of energy, they know how to play the game,” said Jonas Gustavsson, who’s filling in for starter Jimmy Howard. “They don’t make too many mistakes, even though they’re young. They’ve been really good for us and we really need them to (be good) because of all the injuries. It’s really good for our group to know we have a lot of guys who can step up when we have injuries.”
“Their job is not to worry about our losing streak, their job is to bring us energy and enthusiasm and they’ve done that, no question,” Alfredsson said. “They’ve been great that way.”
The Griffins won the Calder Cup last season in the American Hockey League.
“Guys are constantly developing, so we got a lot of talent down there that can provide Detroit some support,” Sheahan said. “They’ve all proven they can play here.
“The biggest thing is playing with confidence,” Sheahan continued. “When you can come into an organization and feel confident that you know the system and you’re playing with some unbelievable players, it helps. It’s such a good atmosphere here in the locker room, there’s tons of help. I don’t want to say it’s easy to get comfortable but there’s lots of support.”
Pleiness also noted Nyquist's status as of Sunday night...
Wings general manager Ken Holland says that he expects Gustav Nyquist to return from a groin injury Monday at home against the New York Islanders.
Nyquist last played on Dec. 15 against Tampa Bay.
The status of Justin Abdelkader (concussion) and Darren Helm (shoulder) for the game will be decided on Monday morning.
And the Free Press's Helene St. James discussed the repercussions thereof:
The Wings will wait until Monday to decide who will be sent to Grand Rapids, but the youngsters that were up from Grand Rapids will head back having made favorable impressions. Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan both had two-point nights in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout victory at Toronto. Called up over the past 10 days, Jurco has three points after four games, while Sheahan has two points in four games. Luke Glendening, in his second stint in Detroit this season, has been a help, as has goalie Petr Mrazek.
“Their job is to come up and bring energy and enthusiasm, and they’ve done that, no question,” Daniel Alfredsson said. “And then getting some offense, the last games, helps. We’ve just got to keep going here, one more game before Christmas, and then hopefully we’ll get some bodies back.”
That includes Henrik Zetterberg, who looks ready to play next Saturday.
As the next generation trickles back to the minors, the Griffins know they’ll be better prepared for the next time they appear in Detroit. Take Jurco: He used what he learned during exhibition season to be a better player this past week, knowing himself capable of adjusting from the Griffins’ system to Detroit’s.
Coach Mike Babcock said, “our kids were really good. They’re obviously going to be really good players. They’re big and they’re fast and they know how to play. We’re fortunate to have a farm with a bunch of kids that are ready to come.”
They're not going to keep playing ahead of at least the Clearys on the roster, but the Red Wings' status as a salary-capped-out team amidst a league full of teams that are either nuzzling the payroll ceiling or are "budgeted out" thanks to this year's artificially low cap has slowly but surely become less and less of an impetus for the team's coach and GM to become comfortable with the concept of sitting Mikael Samuelsson and his $3 million salary because the Jurcos, Sheahans and Glendenings of the world bring more to the table.
In hockey, it seems that the, "Who's ready to play versus who's already signed and standing in the way" equation takes three or four months to play itself out managerially (see also: the lack of a "trade market," and in the Wings' case, the fact that the Griffins have run into the AHL's "five 'veteran pro' players can play per night" limit with Jeff Hoggan, Nathan Paetsch, Triston Grant, Brennan Evans and Cory Emmerton), so I don't anticipate Jurco, Sheahan or Glendening causing Cleary to sit or the Wings to jettison a veteran forward this season, there's no doubt that more than a few of the Wings' senior players have much less job security going forward than they did two weeks ago.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: MLive is soliciting reader questions for an "Ask Ansar" (Khan) column...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James apparently celebrates Festivus, because she asked the Wings to air their grievances:
Darren Helm is a possibility to return tonight when the Wings host the New York Islanders in what is their last game before the Christmas break. Dec. 23 also happens to be Festivus — the holiday “for the rest of us” immortalized in a 1997 episode of the TV show Seinfeld. Celebration highlights include the Feats of Strength — Kyle Quincey has Brendan Smith in mind for the traditional wrestling match — and the Airing of Grievances, when a person gets to tell everyone else what a disappointment they’ve been throughout the year.
Helm has been out with a shoulder injury since Dec. 4, during which time he accrued quite an extended number of grievances: Against Smith, Quincey, Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Drew Miller, Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Tatar. Several of Helm’s grievances center on an online game which he refused to name, but it involves players exchanging troops. Yes, troops.
Here’s Helm’s vent: “First, Smitty and Q, for coming over to my house and drubbing me at pool every time. Hank, always kicking me off the table when I want a massage. Gus, for never donating any troops to me in the game we play. I’m not happy about that one. Millsie, for always slashing me in the back of the legs and shooting at me in practice. Alfie, always stickhandling around me in practice and not letting me have the puck. Tats for not paying his rent on time.”
You can most certainly continue reading her article, but she also posted a video of Helm, Brendan Smith, Jimmy Howard and Kyle Quincey's comments...
And Helm and St. James got into a tiff:
Hey, she's better than 24/7 by miles.
Speaking of which--and again, of course there are no quasi-legal YouTube uploads of Episode 2 anywhere--Wings coach Mike Babcock received an understandable amount of grief from the media for kicking cameras out of the room after the first period of the Wings' 5-1 loss to Anaheim.
The Tampa Bay Times' Tom Jones was shocked to find out that Babcock rather forcefully tossed the cameras from the room..
During an intermission of a loss to the Ducks, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock kicked the HBO crew, which is supposed to have total access, out of the locker room.
"Get out of here!" Babcock barked as he stormed toward the camera. "That's why I shut the room! Get the (expletive) out of here!"
This is the first time I can remember a coach kicking the HBO crew out of a locker room in any of the 24/7 or Hard Knocks shows. Even John Tortorella never did that.
The Winter Classic is a money-maker for the league and the Red Wings. Part of the deal to getting to play in the game is giving HBO total access. Babcock and the Wings should be fined for kicking the HBO crew out of the room.
CBS Sports' Brian Stubits duly noted that the throwing-outs--plural--were mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada prior to Saturday night's Wings-Leafs game:
It was a rare restrictive moment for the show that is all about inside access and kind of defeats the purpose of the show to reveal what's really going on inside the team. Just don't look for any punishment to come either team's ways as Elliotte Friedman explained on CBC on Saturday night.
"One thing I can tell you is that on Tuesday night, and I don't think they even realized that each other did it. Detroit was at home against Anaheim, didn't play well; Toronto was at home against Florida, didn't play well. Both teams told 24/7 during intermission 'you cannot come in.' I believe that's the first time that happened."
[Ron MacLean:] "Does the league say you gotta?"
"Both teams said 'not right now' and as far as I understand there were no repercussions."
It's completely understandable why the coaches would be fuming, especially Babcock. The Wings were mired in a losing slump and were down 4-1 after one period to the Ducks. The desire to have a moment without the cameras is understandable.
At the same time, it's also a shame and isn't how an all-access show is supposed to work. The biggest appeal above anything else of the show is seeing the organizations in their truest sense, something people don't get to see unless you're on the team or staff. The anger is is raw, real and compelling.
Earlier this week, 24/7 Senior Producer Dave Harmon spoke with us at CBSSports.com and explained that access has never been an issue. The interview took place prior to Tuesday's game action.
"Not an issue at all," Harmon said of any restriction issues. "The NHL has been great. The teams, whether we're talking about the Penguins and Capitals, or the Rangers and Flyers and now the Maple Leafs and Red Wings, all of them have let us shoot whatever we want."
And I'll just point you to Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski's recounting of episode 2 because my sarcasm meter broke while reading it.
In the "short strokes" department:
- The Windsor Star sure seems hell-bent on reminding everyone that Windsor's a city equally-divided between Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans. Today's Winter Classic-related-oh-yeah-half-of-us-are-Leaf-fans-for-sure article involves Chris Thompson discussing memorabilia and merchandise sales;
- In the book corner, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff interviewed Randi Druzin, the author of Between the Pipes: A Revealing Look at Hockey's Legendary Goalies;
- You will not be shocked to find out that both Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill and San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan readily admitted to the Dallas News's Mike Heika that they've incorporated a little bit of Detroit-style puck possession into their respective teams' games;
- And you will not be shocked to read the following reaction to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's confirmation of the Wings' general interest in Vancouver's Alex Edler from The Fourth Period:
Though the Sun claims Edler isn't likely to be moved, a league source told TFP the Canucks would be willing to pull the trigger on a trade if the right package were to be presented -- upon which they would approach Edler about the opportunity.
In the prospect department, I've got bad "results" news and good "personnel" news.
The Czechs won the latest round of the Euro Hockey Tour in the Channel One Cup--which was held in Sochi, not Moscow (sorry)--and Sweden lost 4-2 to Finland on Sunday, with Mattias Janmark registering no points in the effort or Sweden's other two games (a 3-1 loss to Russia and a 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic). Janmark did get through this tournament without suffering any injuries, which is good given that he nearly had his knee blown out by Finland's Leo Komarov during November's Karjala Cup;
Canada also lost 3-0 to Sweden in a World Junior Championship warm-up game, but Jake Paterson's 31-save performance earned praise from Team Canada coach Brent Sutter, as noted by TSN's Mark Masters...
"He played great," said Sutter. "He played outstanding. From the first shot that was taken on him, he was really, really solid for us. He kept it close for us, especially in the first period, but we never responded in the way we wanted to and you have to score goals to win games. We just never generated enough offensively. He gave us chance and I thought he played extremely well."
For the record, however, Yahoo Sports' Ondrey Osadchenko says that the Russian WJC team believes that goaltender Andrei Vasilevski will star in the tournament, and Vasilevski's the player the Tampa Bay Lightning picked with the first-rounder the Wings surrendered to reacquire Kyle Quincey.
Again, I will note that I have a friend who is attempting to sell Winter Classic tickets (Michigan Stadium section 12, row 86, seats 15 & 16) as well as tickets to the GLI on Friday, December 27th (Comerica section 147, row S, seats 5 &6), and he just wants to break even at $364 in face value for the package. If you are interested, please email me at georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com...
And finally, more than anything, I hope you have a safe holiday season and that you can at least survive your relatives and family members if you're not a "Christmas Person." I know this time of year is not easy for most everyone and I hope that you have a peaceful and minimally stressful time over the next couple of days.
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.