The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/30/13 at 05:56 AM ET
Updated 2x at 6:44 AM: The Red Wings flew to Ottawa ahead of today's media circus and Sunday's Alfredsson reunion game against the Senators (5:30 PM, FSD Plus/TSN) owners of a 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders, and as more than a few numbers will be bandied about over the next day or three, let's get "ours" out of the way:
After an utterly disastrous 3-week November stretch in which the Wings had lost 7 straight and 8 of 9 games as of last Saturday's 4-2, Pavel Datsyuk-concussing loss to the Ottawa Senators (Datsyuk's still out with concussion-like symptoms), the Red Wings came to life in a big way, defeating Buffalo 3-1, taking the Bruins out by a 6-1 tally on Thanksgiving Eve, and heading into Long Island, where the Wings not only celebrated Jimmy Howard's return to the net by serving up a shutout, but also won thanks to Darren Helm making this amazing play:
So the Wings have won 3 games by a 14-2 margin, thanks to an accumulation of "loser points" and an Eastern Conference that can't hold water against its Western foes, the 13-7-and-7 Wings have 33 points, (who have all of a +3 goals-for-versus-goals-against differential) sit tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd in the East, and are 3 points behind the Eastern Conference and Atlantic-Division leading Bruins.
Yes indeed, the Wings are also 4-for-5 with Gustav Nyquist in the lineup, Darren Helm is on an absolute tear, having registered 7 goals and 2 assists over the course of only 13 games--sitting third in team goal-scoring behind Datsyuk and Zetterberg's 12 and 11 goals, respectively--Johan Franzen's going along at a point-per-game clip, Niklas Kronwall's pair of assists gave him 16 on the season (second only to Zetterberg's 19; Zetterberg has a team-leading 30 points in 27 games) and a total of 19 points in 22 games, and Alfredsson's performances of late give him 6 goals, 13 assists and 19 points over the course of only 21 games played.
Sunday's starter (Jonas Gustavsson) is 6-0-and-1, Nyquist has 5 points in 5 games, Tomas Tatar's added pop to the third line, Brendan Smith had 2 assists on Friday and even Kyle Quincey is down from -13 to -10.
The Wings have won their three straight games without the services of Pavel Datsyuk (concussion), Danny DeKeyser (dislocated shoulder) and Todd Bertuzzi (shoulder?), and they seem poised to snap their 2-game losing streak against Ottawa--while we're going with numbers, it should be noted that the 4-2 and 6-1 losses give the Senators a 10-3 margin of victory over the course of 2 games played at Joe Louis Arena--the Wings appear to be "firing on all cylinders" even though the most important part of their offensive engine, their best offensive defenseman not named Kronwall and their main deterrent to opponent shenanigans are all sidelined.
So, with all of those numbers and stats on the table, let's get this out of the way:
The Wings are waking up at the right time, and while many Wings fans seem to be taking out their Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas lead-up aggravation upon each other, win or lose, leading the league in fan, "I told you so's"...
It's the Red Wings who kept telling us that they were "doing all the right things," and this still-sub-.500-team's captain, alternate captains, coach and their now-underdog starting goalie were the ones insisting that the team was trending in the right direction even when it was dropping 6 of 7 mid-November home games, and the team's biggest mistake-makers and most visible passengers (with perhaps one last-minute-re-signing exception) have come back from either injuries or benchings and have become positive difference-makers, or at least invisible in the most pleasant connotation of the term.
I'll certainly and readily admit that I was plain old wrong about Gustav Nyquist's impact, underestimating the hell out of him. The fact that he's playing at perhaps 80% of his full confidence in his abilities and achieving the results he is achieving is utterly remarkable, but what his skating and give-and-go abilities allow Henrik Zetterberg to accomplish in terms of playing a Datsyukian game without Datsyuk on his line, and in terms of what his skating and give-and-go-abilities allow Johan Franzen to accomplish in terms of playing like a "lurk-in-the-weeds" sniper that is his true "natural" role, all while occasionally hauling his butt to the front of the net like the power forward he is not, is astonishing...
So please send me my crow barbecued. I'm happy to eat it and absolutely delighted to be wrong. I wish that the league's trade and waiver machinations weren't a month behind game play, because we can only wonder what would've happened if the capped-out trade marketplace wasn't so bloody dead (and let's all just put down the pitchforks regarding Man Boob Buyout and that last-second re-signing, at least for a couple of hours).
But he's not alone. He's not been the game-changer. Tomas Tatar's re-energized Joakim Andersson and Drew Miller's line. Justin Abdelkader is slowly but surely rediscovering his ability to put pucks in the net and serve as the "piano-puller" while skating alongside Alfredsson and Helm--and somewhere, Mike Babcock's got to be crossing off those, "Best Third Line Center In The League" quips and replacing them with, "Best Second Line Center." Helm's offensive explosion has been nothing less than delightful.
Since returning from a groin injury, Stephen Weiss looks primed to break out, even while playing alongside Cleary and an at-least-you-don't-see-me-mess-up Samuelsson (MBB).
On defense, Ericsson and Kronwall are doing their thing, but Brendan Smith seems like a different and better player while playing alongside a quieter Quincey, and while Brian Lashoff's playing the fewest minutes of any defenseman, his steady play is affording Jakub Kindl the opportunity to ford the waters of an as-a-full-time-NHL'er sophomore slump.
And then Howard came out and put a week's worth of extra time working with Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard to good use, stopping a surprisingly potent Islanders team cold while standing half-a-foot back from his in-the-slot positioning and holding his glove and blocker higher.
Team-wide, however, the Wings' attention to detail, effort, intensity, focus, energy and will are all being applied more consistently and more efficiently, with a renewed commitment to playing man-on-man defense and blocking shooting and passing lanes very much so more evident, the transition game speedier and less rife with turnovers than it was even with DeKeyser humming along at a point-per-game clip, and the Wings are dominant in the offensive zone, grinding the puck out down low, sustaining possession and control by shooting and forechecking and chasing down pucks to create secondary and tertiary scoring chances, they're planting their asses in front of goalies and they're scoring on the shots they take instead of hitting goalie pads. Add in fine special teams play and you've got a team that is, basically speaking...
Ready for the December that they face. Alfredsson craziness on Sunday, a home game against the Flyers on Wednesday the 4th, back-to-backs in New Jersey and then at home against Florida on the Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th, a trio of games in Florida, in Tampa Bay and at home against Pittsburgh on the second Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the month.
The Penguins game on Saturday the 14th serves as the back-to-back-set-up for a nasty week's worth of Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday games at home against Tampa on Sunday the 15th, at home against Anaheim on Tuesday the 17th, at home against Calgary on Thursday the 19th and in Toronto on Saturday the 21st.
The Christmas and pre-Winter-Classic schedule is "lighter," with a home game against the Isles on the 23rd, a road game in Florida on the 27th and a road game in Nashville on the 30th preceding the January 1st tilt at the Big House, but the Wings play 11 of their 13 December games over the course of the month's first 21 days, essentially playing every other day until just before Christmas, and they'll do so with HBO's cameras at the rinks, in their locker rooms and on the team plane.
It was time to step up and prepare for what would be a season-defining and sometimes brutal November schedule regardless of whether it led up to anything at all on January 1st or involved any sort of extra media spotlight, so the Wings burned this season's margin for serious error in classic Wings style...
And now they're awake and ready to tackle the tasks at hand having shaken off the vast majority of their early-season bugaboos and having finally begun to establish that much-needed post-Lidstrom team identity.
In terms of Friday night's game, the Islanders felt that they're very lucky to have a Saturday tilt against Washington to wash away Friday night's bad memories, but they were extremely dissatisfied with the result of their efforts, as they told NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright...
The Islanders last regulation loss to the Red Wings came on Black Friday 2003, and they had won five straight contests against the Wings prior to Friday. Darren Helm scored two goals, including the eventual winner at 7:09 of the first period, while Daniel Alfredsson had three points (2g/1a) and Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the shutout. With the loss, the Islanders fell to 0-2 on their current four-game home-stand.
“We have to try and find some answers,” John Tavares said. “We are obviously an easy team to play against right now. We can’t wait for things to happen. It’s up to the guys in here.”
The game was within reach for the Islanders, who trailed by one late in the second period. With 3:11 remaining in the middle frame, a costly miscue between Kevin Poulin and Andrew MacDonald put the Islanders in a 2-0 hole. Helm, Poulin and MacDonald were all bearing down on a loose puck at the hash marks, but Helm reached the puck first and chipped it past Poulin as the trio collided for a shorthanded goal.
“I think everyone was very tentative,” Colin McDonald said. “But we have to find a way to come out of this.”
Alfredsson scored twice in the third period to extend the lead; his first came on a breakaway 12 seconds into the final frame. Gustav Nyquist scored six minutes later before Alfredsson potted his second at 16:13.
“We weren’t playing terrible early on,” Matt Martin said. “But we let in one, we let in two and we let in three and then it becomes an uphill battle from there. We have to find a way to stop the bleeding.”
"Booooo" was the prevailing word at the end of each period, and after each time the Red Wings added to the margin. Before forwards Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson each left the ice celebrating two goals and goalie Jimmy Howard skated off with congratulations for a 29-save shutout, some fans were chanting, "Fire Cappy!"
Coach Jack Capuano bore the brunt of frustration from 14,826.
"Listen, I'm 47 years old. I've been in this business a long time: Players win 'em, coaches lose 'em," he said. As for the chants, he added, "I'm not going to respond to that. What am I going to do? At the end of the day, we're working hard as a staff to prepare our team to win a hockey game."
That's an elegant statement, frankly, and it's true for every coach. I wonder if Babcock has it framed somewhere.
For their part, in a somber locker room, the players took the blame -- for this game and for being in last place.
"We're an easy team to play against right now," John Tavares said. "We had breakdowns, especially in our own end. We're having a tough time coming out of our own end. We're just not moving our feet and engaging. That's physically -- on the forecheck, winning battles on the walls in our own end, making plays in the neutral zone. We can't give them time and space like we did tonight."
The third period was all Detroit's, with two goals by Alfredsson and one by Gustav Nyquist.
"It just seems to be what's happening a lot lately. When we let in one, we let in two, we let in three and it's an uphill battle from there," Matt Martin said. "We've been down this road before, it's like quicksand. Things aren't going right, it gets harder and harder to win. We've got to find a way to dig out of it."
And the New York Post's Dan Martin:
“You saw our execution and we made some decisions tonight with the puck that were not very good,” Capuano said. “You can’t do that against that team … or any team, for that matter.”
Josh Bailey, who has four goals this season, but none since Oct. 25, was a healthy scratch and Capuano opted against playing the recently recalled Calvin de Haan, since he hasn’t spent much time with the team.
The coach also said he likely would turn to Anders Nilsson in net soon after starting Poulin nine consecutive games. That could come as soon as Saturday, when the Islanders host Washington.
As for his own job security, Capuano insisted he’s not spending much time thinking about it.
“Listen, I’m 47 years old,” Capuano said. “I’ve been in this business a long time. Players win them, coaches lose them. You’ve got to have belief in the players that you coach and I think our coaching staff does. … At the end of the day, the players play the game, but I understand as coach, you’re responsible. We try to prepare them and tonight, for me, it was about the execution and for whatever reason it wasn’t very good. We have to get better in that area.”
Equally elegant and eloquent. It's about execution, and the Wings' november was shitty in terms of execution until last Thursday's win over Carolina.
I would like to voice one note of protest, and it's regarding this stat noted by NewYorkIslanders.com's Eric Hornick:
The Isles out-hit Detroit 34-12. Matt Martin led the Isles with seven hits, extending his NHL-leading total to 130.
There were no fights in the game, leaving the season total at eight: Martin (3), Boulton (3), and Carkner (2).
I'm not buying the hitting mark at all. The rest, I don't mind, but 7 hits for Martin, 5 for Clutterbuck, 4 for Brock Nelson and at least 2 for TEN of the Islanders' 18 skaters? Come on now.
As for "the rest"...
Darren Helm tied a career high with two goals; Helm also was +4….Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals and added an assist in his 1200th NHL game; he is the 98th player (and third Swede) to reach that mark. Alfredsson’s first goal was the earliest against the Isles in any period this season.
Helm’s shorthanded goal was the first against the Isles since Pascal Dupuis scored for Pittsburgh on March 29, 2012; it’s the first time in at least 25 years that the Isles have gone more than fifty games without allowing a shorthanded goal.
The Islanders won 26 of 58 draws. No Islander center won more than they lost; the Isles won 14 of 23 in the first period but only 12 of 35 in the final two periods. Stephen Weiss won 7 of 10 for Detroit.
Weiss has been excellent in limited ice time of late. He's just not scoring. Could be the linemates, could be the having played 17 games before missing the rest of the 2013 season with a wrist injury and having missed a handful of games with groin injuries while playing for the first team not named the Florida Panthers that he's played for since he was 19.
Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for his 18th career shutout and 2nd this season. It’s Howard’s first win ever against the Isles (1-2-1); he now has a win against every opponent except Toronto.
The AP's recap offers a perfect quote to serve as our pivot point between the Islanders and Red Wings' respective perspectives:
"It's great to see guys scoring goals and gaining confidence," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "And our goaltender had a dominant performance."
The shutout was the second this season for Howard and the 18th of his career. The 29-year-old goaltender entered with a 0-3-4 record in his past seven starts, allowing at least three goals five times during the streak.
"We were getting chances and burying them," Howard said. "I give all the credit to the team in front of me. We played a very strong game in our zone."
"This was a huge win for us," said Alfredsson, who was playing his 1,200th career game and will return to Ottawa on Sunday for the first time.
Gustav Nyquist scored his fourth of the season at 6:12 of the third, finishing a two-on-one break with Johan Franzen by sending another high shot past Poulin.
Alfredsson completed the scoring, knocking a loose puck past Poulin for his sixth of the season and the 432nd goal of his career at 16:13 of the third.
"When you score goals and get great goaltending, you feel better and better as a team," Alfredsson added. "Our hard work going forward will be the key for us."
Anyway, the three beat writers traveling with the team offered three slightly different takes as to why the Wings prevailed, but all three found a Wings team preaching a single set of points of emphasis.
The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Wings and found that the team believes it has indeed been building the foundation for its present-day success over the course of a troubled November (and St. James also penned a quote-free capsule recap)...
“We’ve been doing a lot of good things of late in our own zone,” Niklas Kronwall said. “That’s where it starts. That leads to good offense.”
The Wings, at one point mired in a seven-game winless streak in November, exited the month having outscored opponents, 14-2, the last three games.
“It comes when we play good defense,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Then we can make plays and play some good offense. But we have a good mix in our group, we’ve got four lines that can play both ways.”
Coach Mike Babcock said, “To me it’s just like life. If you stick with the process and you stick together and keep working, things work out for you.”
It worked out for Howard, who backed up the last two games during what Babcock called “a little breather,” after a string of average performances. Howard made 29 saves to pick up his second shutout of the season.
“To be honest, I didn’t really change much in my game,” Howard said. “I just fine-tuned a couple little things.”
Babcock said he plans to go back-and-forth between Howard and Jonas Gustavsson for the next stretch.
“Helm’s speed tonight was the difference,’’ linemate Daniel Alfredsson said. “With his speed he’s allowing himself to generate scoring chances but also getting back (on defense). He brings a lot to the table. I’m so happy for him, after hearing what he went through the last few years and being able to stay healthy.’’
Helm has seven goals in 13 games, after appearing in just one game over the previous 19 months, due to a variety of injuries, most recently his back and groin. Only Pavel Datsyuk (12) and Henrik Zetterberg (11) have scored more for this team.
“I feel like I’m holding onto the puck a little bit better, a little more poised than I’ve been in the past,’’ Helm said. “That’s just with confidence. It does play a part when you see the puck go in; you can make some plays. Right now it’s happening for me. I don’t know if I’m playing a whole lot different than I’m used to, but pucks are finding their way in the net and I just got to keep doing what I’m doing.’’
“It’s very impressive, being out that long and coming back and playing the way he is,’’ Kronwall said. “He’s really taking advantage of playing in the two spot behind Hank. He’s been flying, and not just skating, he’s making plays and he’s solid in our own zone and creating things offensively. Right now he’s all over the ice.’’
What about that goal?
“(Daniel) Cleary made sure the puck got out; I just saw an opportunity to race down the puck,’’ Helm said. “I didn’t really think the goalie was going to come out. Had it for a second, off my stick, off my leg, did a couple summersaults there and got my head up just in time to see the puck go in the net.’’
“Just having fun out there right now, playing with some good players, working hard,’’ Helm said. “(Alfredsson) is a great player, a great playmaker. Abby can make plays; he’s working hard, doing all the right things. I think the three of us complement each other well.’’
And what does Helm's "biggest fan" think?
“When we lost him in the Nashville series (in 2012, with severed tendons in his forearm in Game 1) and then we didn’t win that series everyone didn’t think our team was very good,’’ Babcock said. “Well, that’s not the case. That’s just how big a part he was of our team. Helmer’s never been a big scorer, he’s always been a dominant player for us. We’ll take both. Confidence grows as you play in the league and you trust yourself and understand what you can do more.’’
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa offered a fine summation of the Wings' efforts from the Wings themselves...
“I think we are giving ourselves a chance,” Alfredsson said, summing it up. “We are scoring goals. At the same time, we are playing well defensively.”
Alfredsson’s first goal came on a long, thread-the-needle pass from Brendan Smith, who had two assists along with 20:56 of ice time, second among Red Wings defensemen. Gustav Nyquist scored the Wings’ fourth goal, his third in five games since he was called up from Grand Rapids. But Helm provided the big spark.
“I think when a player like Pav is not playing, you really have to chip in,” Zetterberg said. “When you have the chances, you’ve got to bear down. And I think that’s what we’re doing now. Obviously, Helm — Helm’s been unbelievable since he came back. And the first goal today, a great move, and the second one is typical Helm goal: He skates by all their guys, and he puts it in behind the goalie.”
Babcock was matter-of-fact in his appraisal of the club, which has won three in a row and four of five after a dreary stretch of mostly losses in overtime.
“To me, it’s just like life,” he said. “When things go bad, if you stick with the process and you stick together and keep working, things work out for you. When we were losing in the overtime and the shootout, we didn’t think we were playing that bad. We just thought if we stick together and we keep doing good things, good things will happen. And that’s what’s happened.
“You can’t give them confidence,” Babcock said. “You’ve got to earn confidence in life, and the guys did good things.”
And Krupa's notebook posits Howard's comments regarding his November hiccups...
“I’ve got to give a lot of props to Gus,” Howard said of his stablemate, Jonas Gustavsson, who is undefeated in the backup role and will get the start Sunday in Ottawa. “You know, he’s been playing so extremely well it allowed me to work a couple days with (goalie coach) Jim Bedard and straighten things out. I just fine-tuned a couple of things.”
Babcock said that, as is the case with many slumping NHL players, confidence can ebb.
“The hardest part about this game is: When things don’t go well for you, be strong enough mentally to be confident,” he said before the game, about Howard. “And confidence in our league is fleeting. You never have to question Howie’s leadership, Howie’s work ethic, his commitment to being a pro.”
And Krupa duly noted that the Wings are making due without Datysuk because their secondary scorers are getting the job done:
[W]ith some progress beginning to show on the undercard, Datysuk took an elbow to the head from the Sabres’ Jared Cowen, and what Babcock says is his new third line — Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar and Drew Miller — accounted for five points in the 6-1 blowout of the Bruins Wednesday.
On Friday, the second line of Darren Helm, Daniel Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader accounted for four goals and six points in the 5-0 beatdown of the Islanders.
“To me that line with Helm and Abby skating, and then Alfie making the plays, is a real good line for us,” Babcock said.
Now they have to go forward against an incredibly motivated opponent in an incredibly emotional game for one of their players, and they have to deliver a win for the first time in three tries, all while opening a month in which the spotlight is literally and figuratively upon a team that's still technically a game below .500 at 13-7-and-7.
Highlights: The Red Wings website's highlight clips are narrated by Ken Daniels and Chris Osgood:
Post-game: MSG's Islanders highlight clip is mostly post-game analysis anyway, and they posted Islander coach Jack Capuano's post-game presser and they posted a clip of Cal Clutterbuck, John Tavares, Colin MacDonald and Matt Martin speaking with the media;
Fox Sports Detroit posted a clip of Jimmy Howard's post-game interview with Trevor Thompson:
And the Red Wings' website posted clips of Daniel Alfredsson...
And coach Babcock speaking with the media:
Photos: Newsday posted a Flash slideshow;
The Detroit Free Press posted an 18-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 16-image gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 3 big (and click-to-embiggen-style) photos from the game;
ESPN posted a 52-image gallery;
Shots 30-29 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 12-9 in the 1st, out-shot the Islanders 9-7 in the 2nd and out-shot the Islanders 12-10 in the 3rd.
Special teams: The Wings went 0-for-2 in 3:57 of PP time; the Islanders went 0-for-1 in 1:57 of PP time and also gave up a short-handed goal against.
Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 29 of 29 shots; Kevin Poulin stopped 25 of 30 shots.
The 3 stars were picked by the "Islanders Media," and they picked Jimmy Howard, Daniel Alfredsson and Darren Helm.
The Wings' goals: Helm (6) from Alfredsson (13) and Smith (2);
Helm (7) from Cleary (3) and Ericsson (6), shorthanded;
Alfredsson (5) from Smith (3);
Nyquist (4) from Franzen (11) and Kronwall (15);
Alfredsson (6) from Abdelkader (7) and Kronwall (16).
Faceoffs 32-26 Detroit (Detroit won 55%);
Blocked shots 17-10 Detroit;
Missed shots 13-10 Islanders (total attempts 59-50 Islanders, with the Wings firing 30 shots on Poulin and another 20 wide/blocked);
Hits 34-12 Islanders (I do not believe this stat: Matt Martin did not have 7 hits, Cal Clutterbuck may have had 5 and Brock Nelson did not have 4);
Giveaways 11-10 Islanders;
Takeaways 11-3 Islanders.
Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 9-and-10 (47%); Helm went 9-and-7 (56%); Andersson went 5-and-5 (50%); Weiss went 7-and-3 (70%); Franzen went 2-and-0 (100%); Abdelkader went 0-and-1 (0%).
Shots: Nyquist, Zetterberg and Franzen co-led the team with 4 shots apiece; Alfredsson and Tatar had 3; Smith, Kindl, Quincey and Helm had 2; Andersson, Miller, Kronwall and Weiss had 1.
Blocked attempts: Tatar and Ericsson had 2 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Nyquist, Lashoff, Quincey and Weiss had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Miller missed the net 3 times; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey, Helm and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5; Lashoff had 2; Smith, Miller,, Ericsson, Kronwall and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Smith had 3 giveaways; Alfredsson, Andersson, Lashoff, Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Weiss and Howard had 1.
Takeaways: Andersson, Weiss and Franzen had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Smith blocked 4 shots; Kindl, Lashoff, Quincey and Franzen blocked 2 shots; Alfredsson, Miller, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Abdelkader took a minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +24. Helm finished at +4; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +3; Smith and Quincey finished at +2; Nyquist, Zetterberg, Cleary and Franzen finished at +1.
Points: Helm had 2 goals and an assist for 3 points; Alfredsson had 2 goals and an assist for 3 points; both Smith and Kronwall had 2 assists; Nyquist had a goal; Ericsson, Cleary and Franzen had 1 assist.
Ice time: Quincey led the Wings with 21:06 played; Smith played 20:56; Kindl played 20:19;
Zetterberg played 19:58; Kronwall played 19:45; Franzen played 18:28;
Helm played 17:34; Nyquist played 17:31; Ericsson played 17:04;
Abdelkader played 17:00; Lashoff played 16:52; Alfredsson played 15:37;
Miller played 14:08; Tatar played 13:46; Andersson played 12:56;
Samuelsson played 12:38; Cleary played 11:27; Weiss played 10:55.
Also of Red Wings-related note: The Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan re-posted Mike Babcock's speech from McGill University's fall convocation, and it's worth revisiting:
In his speech to the McGill students, Babcock said: “As an education student at McGill I learned early you stand up to be seen, you speak out to be heard and you keep it short to be appreciated, so you can all relax.”
His speech lasted just under seven minutes, but was very powerful and motivational.
The three main subjects of his speech were the foundation that McGill is, maximizing your potential and choosing your attitude.
Cowan also spoke with Babcock last Monday, and he posted his interview this morning--and I'll leave out the P.K. Subban-related parts of it:
Babcock, who has three children with his wife, Maureen, was in Montreal this week to accept an honorary doctorate of law at McGill University’s fall convocation ceremonies. Babcock attended McGill from 1983-87, was captain of the Redmen hockey team and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education before doing some postgraduate work in sports psychology.
When Babcock arrived at McGill at age 20, he had no idea what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
“To be honest with you, I had no plan at that point,” he said. “It was just day to day playing hockey. But once I got to McGill, everything changed just because of the standard of the institution, the standard of the student and the expectation of those students that you were surrounded with. Next thing you know, I was a student myself. I think that’s just all part of the culture.”
After he graduated, Babcock thought he would end up being a university professor, not a hockey coach. But he says the lessons he learned at McGill apply to any kind of work.
“As an education student at McGill, I learned early you stand up to be seen, you speak out to be heard and you keep it short to be appreciated,” Babcock said during his address to McGill students on Monday. “So you can all relax.”
His speech lasted just under seven minutes — but it was powerful. Babcock focused on three subjects: the foundation McGill built for him, maximizing potential and choosing your attitude.
Babcock talked about the impact professor John Chomay had on him, calling him a “great man” and adding: “he had time for me ... he cared about me.” Babcock recalled Chomay, who died at age 79 in 2008, giving him his final grade — the highest mark the professor had ever assigned — and telling him he had “potential.”
“I can hear him till this day in my mind,” Babcock said in his speech. “‘Mike, potential is like a dirty word unless you do something with it.’ Life to me is about squeezing every ounce out of yourself, out of your potential,” Babcock added. “It’s a journey, it takes time, but that’s where the fun is … maximize it. Your potential is a moving target.”
In the book corner, part 1: The Windsor Star is giving away copies of Darren McCarty's memoir, My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star ahead of his book tour:
You can win a free copy of Darren McCarty’s new autobiography My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star.
Just email your name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be eligible to win the book.
The former Detroit Red Wings forward will be appearing at various locations in the Detroit area to sign copies in Allen Park, Ann Arbor, Roseville, Shelby Township and Troy.
McCarty, who played with the Wings from 1993-94 to 2003-04 and again from 2007-08 to 2008-09, winning four Stanley Cups and scoring Detroit’s Stanley Cup-winning goal against Philadelphia in 1997, will be at the Barnes & Noble, 3120 Fairlane Drive in Allen Park Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. He’s slated to be at the Barnes & Noble, 3235 Washtenaw Ave. in Ann Arbor Wednesday from 7-9 p.m.
His next appearance is at the Costco, 27118 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville on Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. McCarty then goes to the Barnes & Noble, 14165 Hall Road in Shelby Township on Dec. 8 from 1-3 p.m. His final appearance is at the Barnes & Noble, 396 John R. Road in Troy on Dec. 14 from 1-3 p.m.
In the book, which he co-authored with USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen, the 2013 Lester Patrick Trophy recipient, McCarty recounts his time as one of the most visible and beloved members of the Red Wings, as well as his personal struggles with addiction, finances, and women, and his daily battles to overcome his demons.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff also spoke with McCarty about his memoir:
McCarty, who worked with USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen on the book, relocated to Clearwater, Fla., where his third wife Sheryl works as a nurse, and set out to put his memoirs down on paper, drawing inspiration after reading the book penned by his former Detroit teammate, Windsor’s Bob Probert.
“I think the real impetus was after reading Probie’s book,” McCarty said. “After him passing away (in 2010), that really was a big influence, the way that he was able to tell his story. “I’ve always learned from Bob, good, bad or indifferent. I’ve sort of followed in his footsteps along the way. The point in my life that I’m at, I wanted to sit down and tell my story.”
Those who are of the belief that they have the inside dope on many of McCarty’s misadventures will find out that they are sadly misinformed, he insists.
“The perception of what happened with the bankruptcy and rehabs and the divorce and money and gambling and everything, I’ve gone through so much, people have an idea, people think they know,” McCarty said. “They hear so much, I just wanted to get the truth out there and that’s what this book is, pretty much my truth. Yeah, some parts were difficult to talk about, but I had to make it honest and true. That’s what Probie did. I didn’t beat around the bush.”
In the book corner, part 2: The Windsor Star's Duff spoke with 97.1 FM the Ticket's Jeff Riger recently, discussing his latest book, Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings. Duff will be at Cheli's Chili on Sunday to autograph copies of his book and weigh in on the Wings-Sens game:
Windsor Star sports columnist Bob Duff was interviewed during the second intermission of the Detroit Red Wings’ 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders Friday afternoon.
Duff was on 97.1 FM to talk about the launch of his new photo book Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings.
The book contains hundreds of previously unseen photographs taken from the archives of the now-defunct Detroit Times newspaper covering the era of the six-team NHL from 1942-67.
Published by Windsor’s Biblioasis literary press, the book features portraits and action shots of the team’s most legendary players of that era including Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel, Red Kelly and Terry Sawchuk, as well as many other players who were part of the team’s history during what many consider to be the greatest era of the franchise.
Duff will be at Cheli’s Chili Bar, 47 East Adams Street in Detroit Sunday at 3:30 p.m. for a pre-game talk and book signing followed by NHL action on the big screen TVs as the Wings tackle the Senators in Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson’s first appearance in Canada’s capital since leaving the team to sign as a free agent with Detroit.
Duff will also be making further book-signing appearances in Windsor and Detroit over the next couple of weeks.
He will be at the Costco in Windsor at 4411 Walker Rd. on Dec. 6 from 5-7 p.m. On Dec. 10, the official launch of the book in Windsor will take place at the Walkerville Tavern, 1850 Wyandotte St. East, from 7-10 p.m. Duff will make further Detroit-area appearances on Dec. 12 from 2-6 p.m. at the Detroit Metro Airport and on Dec. 14 from 1-3 p.m. at the Novi Public Library, 42555 West Ten Mile Rd.
My dad would be 67 if he was still around, and he delivered the Detroit Times as a kid.
In the book corner, part 3: Jay Greenberg co-wrote Red Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe's memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life Lived in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, and the Utica Observer-Dispatch's Don Laible spoke with Greenberg, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame himself earlier this month, about the book:
"It ( entering the Hall of Fame ) feels great," Greenberg said during our telephone conversation from his Southern New Jersey home. "It is a lifetime achievment award. I had a wonderful two days in Toronto."
Have you ever wondered what it is like to write a book about a famous athlete ? Less than one month ago Howe's book was released. Greenberg's schedule over the past year was aggressive. " I had 90 perecent of the book done in three months ( late November 2012 - February 28,2013 )", says Greenberg. After reviewing the first two chapters, Howe agreed to have his story told, at the time of the January 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic hosted by the Flyers. The best day for Greenberg on working on Mark's book was the day Gordie Howe came over to his house. " That was fun. How many people can say that they have had Gordie Howe in their home,"Greenberg said.
As for just how long it offiically took to complete writing the book, Greenberg is unable to pin down an exact time. The read-backs, going over proofs, Greenberg remembers just being busy. At first working on the book, as Greenberg describes, on a part-time basis, once the go-ahead was given and a deadline to be met, the hall of fame writer went 'like hell' to put it all together. " Mark is an open person. I never had a sense that anything was off limits," Greenberg explains. "Even Mark's divorce. I told him we had to deal with it, but not at length."
As for Greenberg's favorite chapter in the book, there's no sharing his opinion. As informed by Howe, the trick he played on then Philadelphia teammate Greg Smith, remains a favorite of Greenberg's and others ( me included ). A newcomer to the Flyers, Smith was informed by Howe that when going over the Walt Whitman Bridge, spanning from Philadelphia to Gloucester City, New Jersey, he wouldn't have to pay tolls. Mark informed Smith that all he had to do is enlighten the attendants that he played for the Flyers, and it would be free-of charge to cross the bridge. Needless to say, Smith fell for the heartfelt advice from his veteran teammate.
You have your television sportscasts and tak radio call-in programs delivering all sports, all the time. To me, writers are a breed unto their own; a very special profession that allows you to revisit an event's happenings as many times as it takes to make an accurate mental picture. Jay Greenberg tells marvelous stories and the pictures are always crystal. Stay busy, Jay.
And finally, I'd prefer to allow you to read The Production Line's Michael Petrella's waiver assessment of the Wings' roster on your own to make your own judgments, but his list of the Wings prospects who'd have to clear waivers to head to the Grand Rapids Griffins next season is shockingly long:
As Petrella suggests, there are four likely graduates:
Mitch Callahan – he’s certainly making this decision interesting. He’s also a RFA and you can bet your ass he’s at the very least earned himself a new contract. He’s playing very, very well in Grand Rapids and seems like he knows this is his last shot with the Wings. He has never gotten a regular season call-up, so it’s hard to know what he’d bring to the NHL, but if I had the freedom to do so, I’d give him a ring the next time injuries pile up to see if he has something worth keeping around the big leagues.
Landon Ferraro – Another RFA, he’s as good as re-signed. Given where he was drafted (32nd overall… practically a first rounder… and by the Red Wings, no less), there’s absolutely no chance in hell he makes it through waivers. Like Callahan, it’d be wise to see him in NHL action before just-about-guaranteeing him a roster spot next season because of his waiver situation.
Riley Sheahan – Like Ferraro, he’s pretty much guaranteed a spot on the opening night roster. The difference, of course, is that he has played a handful of NHL games in the past. The Wings won’t be short on centers to start the season. And it does NOT include Luke Glendening.
Adam Almquist – The top defensive call-up this season has to make the Red Wings next season or he absolutely will be lost via waivers. That certainly complicates the Kyle Quincey situation, or — alternatively — any addition they hope to make to the blueline via free agency.
Barring a blockbuster trade for a top-four defenseman and barring all of Daniel Alfredsson, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary hanging 'em up, things get complicated numbers-wise for the Wings--again--and as Petrella suggests, these gentlemen may be next year's roster reinforcements, especially if the cap only goes back up to around $70 million.
We may in fact be in the middle of a three-year "rebuilding-on-the-fly" process.
Update: According to Yvanhoe on HFBoards, Ian White has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss league. http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?p=75209599.
Geneve-Servette plays in the French-speaking portion of Switzerland, so their press release is in French and states that White will wear #7.
Update #2: The Free Press's Helene St. James' notebook didn't hit till 6 AM. I am up, of course, so here's her article about Darren Helm's production:
Teammates gave Darren Helm a special nickname a few years back, dubbing him “Danger,” because his land speed sometimes defies belief. That was on display Friday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum, where Helm proved there is no rule you have to be grounded to score. He delivered two goals in the 5-0 victory by the Detroit Red Wings, the second coming as he spun through the air.
“We know he’s fast,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “It’s fun to see him skate like that. It was a little scary moment when he collided with the goalie, but it was nice to see that no one got hurt.”
Helm chased a puck batted loose by Daniel Cleary, beating Andrew MacDonald just as Kevin Poulin came out of his net to challenge. Helm went flying.
“I saw the puck jump out,” Helm said. “I saw an opportunity, raced down the puck. I had it for a second, off my stick, off my leg, did a couple somersaults. I got my head up just to see the puck going in the net. It was pretty nice to see that go in.”
Helm scored his first of the game when he picked up a pass from Daniel Alfredsson; he zipped to the net and went forehand-to-backhand for a goal at 7:09.
“With his speed, he’s allowing himself to generate scoring chances,” Alfredsson said. “But also, he plays penalty killing as well. He brings a lot to the table and I’m so happy for him after hearing what he went through the last couple years.”
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