The Malik Report
Red Wings-Islanders wrap-up and overnight report: Wings must strive toward a higher standard of play
by George Malik on 12/24/13 at 02:54 AM ET
I had to take some time away from the computer after watching the Red Wings lose Jonathan Ericsson to some kind of hospitalization-worthy "upper-body" injury and after watching the Red Wings lose an awfully ugly 3-0 decision to the New York Islanders.
I was just too angry and too frustrated to write anything coherent. This game had "bad" telegraphed all over it like Kyle Quincey taking eight seconds to wind up for an inevitably-blocked shot on the power play.
To some extent, you could "feel" this one coming. The Wings were coming off a 3-2 OT win over Calgary and very specifically a thrilling 5-4 shootout win over the Maple Leafs in front of both HBO and Hockey Night in Canada's cameras, the team remains without Zetterberg, Abdelkader, Franzen, Helm, Howard (Weiss, obviously, given that he apparently had significant surgery to repair a "core muscle tear"), and Jonas Gustavsson's groin apparently flared up badly enough that Petr Mrazek had to start against an Islanders team that's about as intimidating as week-old Christmas ham.
A team that's won two of eight games, that has a horrible home record (now 6-10-and-6), that has two veterans really "going" up front in Datsyuk and Alfredsson, and then a bunch of "kids" in Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, Sheahan, etc., and especially a team that went through a lackadaisical half-lit-rink practice in the morning and whose coach more or less continued to sit Jakub Kindl out of stubbornness all added up to trouble in my book.
I figured that the Wings were going to have their hands full and that their worst enemy was going to be themselves. I had no idea how incredibly efficient the Red Wings would be in terms of handing the game to the Islanders on a silver platter, or how incredibly unfazed they would be about yet another trio of Quincey gaffes.
The Wings didn't even show up until the 5-minute mark of the 3rd, they played really well for ten minutes, and when Todd Bertuzzi got an even-up from a pair of refs that let enough hooking, holding, clutching and grabbing go to suggest that they had a feature dancer to watch at Cheetah's in Windsor, we all knew that the game was kaput.
So the Wings headed into the Christmas break--which is 3 days, not 2--possessing a 17-13-and-9 record that's good for third in the Atlantic Division, knowing that they won't have to take to the ice at Joe Louis Arena again until January 18th (the Wings play in Florida on Saturday, in Nashville on Monday and the Winter Classic takes place next Wednesday, January 1st; after that, the team heads out on a six-game Western U.S.-plus-NYC road trip), and hoping like crazy that Ericsson isn't seriously injured...
And they give all of us Red Wings fans more reasons to wonder what the hell's in the water at the Joe that seems to predispose the Wings to suffering so many injuries, they give all of us Red Wings fans reasons to question any and every personnel move (and I'm sorry, but I'm not "blaming" this loss on swapping out Jordin Tootoo for Gustav Nyquist, because Gustav Nyquist is a better hockey player than Jordin Tootoo is), and they give all of us Red Wings fans more and more reasons to not spend our hard-earned money paying those stupid Ticketmaster fees, parking, excessive concessions prices and lovely tiered-game-ticket prices to witness home loss after home loss.
"The kids" were in for a let-down game. The vets, with the exception of Datsyuk, Alfredsson, Kronwall, didn't lift 'em back up, and the guys in the middle, of all of the support guys--the Clearys, Bertuzzis, Eaveses, Millers, Quinceys, etc.--Miller had a monster game in registering 4 of the team's 23 shots and 5 hits, but it was hard to witness his effort materialize into anything because even Miller's shots were single, unobstructed shots whose rebounds weren't pursued.
Instead, the team kept backing off and ceding territory to an Islanders team that would speedily carry the puck the other way, roar in on Mrazek and either shoot or cycle the puck down low and generate pressure, force the Wings into making mistakes or would plain old wear the Wings down via Red Wings-like sustained possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone.
That was the worst part--the Wings got "winged" by a team that is, on paper, anyway, vastly inferior even to an injury-ravaged, under-performing Wings team.
Okay, the second worst part. This, via We All Bleed Red, was the worst part:
Wings coach Mike Babcock--who obviously didn't get his team properly prepared for this game--told the media that Ericsson had been taken to the hospital, and that the Wings would know more today--and here's what Ericsson's teammates told MLive's Ansar Khan:
Ericsson was injured during a collision with Josh Bailey in the first period. He apparently reaggravated the injury after checking Matt Martin early in the second. Ericsson missed 10 games earlier this season (Oct. 21 to Nov. 12) with a left shoulder subluxation.
“I’m not sure what the story is,” Niklas Kronwall, Ericsson’s defense partner, said. “Knock on wood, hopefully it’s not too bad. He’s a big part of this team.”
The Red Wings expect to get back forwards Henrik Zetterberg (back), Darren Helm (shoulder), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Justin Abdelkader (concussion) Saturday in Florida or shortly after. Goaltender Jimmy Howard (knee) is hoping to return Dec. 30 at Nashville. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson was scheduled to start Monday but came up with a sore groin. He is listed as day-to-day.
“It’s tough when you’re losing guys,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “But I’ve said this before: We want to get dialed up for the last few games before the playoffs. I think if we can have all our players healthy by then, that’s great. We’re fighting adversity right now and we’re obviously not doing the best job of that because we’re not coming up with wins. We’re coming out flat like we did tonight. But as long as we can keep playing and try to steal points, once everybody is healthy, I think it’s going to help us out.”
Uh, no, Brendan, it's not great. Over the course of an 82-game season, the teams that make the longest playoff runs have at least some period of time during January, February or March--not April--where enough of their key contributors are healthy that both the players, coaches and management get to see what a full roster is capable of, and getting on a run for a couple of healthy weeks tends to lay a foundation for a long spring.
Why? A full roster that gets on arun learns exactly what Iit can do and exactly what it can't do, and it learns how to compensate for its deficiencies (and its management tends to address those deficiencies).
You can't just keep stealing points and hope for yet another late-season, playoff-spot-earning run. During a 48-game season, you can get away with it. Over the course of an 82-game season, and especially an 82-game season that includes Olympic participation for almost a half of your team's roster, the teams that don't earn playoff spots until the final days of the season tend to enter the playoffs exhausted. Or at least the Red Wings' teams who've had to scratch and claw for playoff spots do.
Smith avoided a potentially serious injury with 4:17 remaining in the third period when he was hit in the face with a skate.
“I actually took the heel of his skate in my face,” Smith said. “I was lucky I didn’t get cut. Maybe that was my Christmas present. It was actually really scary. It caught me right in the mouth.”
The Islanders, on the other hand, didn't just sneak under the Red Wings' radar. The Islanders were accompanied by their own team's media, the MSG Plus crew and Newsday's Mark Hermann, so they essentially rebounded from a 5-3 loss to the Ducks sans any eyes viewing them save the opposition's.
Newsday's Hermann posited a recap noting that the Islanders were delighted to have "stolen points" from the Wings after having surrendered 4 third-period goals en route to Saturday's loss to Anaheim...
"It doesn't matter who you are, it creeps in. When you lose a couple of heartbreaks, it automatically creeps in. But you have to break those habits," Evgeni Nabokov said after recording 23 saves to preserve a 3-0 victory that made the Islanders proud that they didn't worry that the roof was going to fall in again.
After Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Casey Cizikas scored in the first 16:55, the Islanders played solidly. They played with the kind of resolve they often showed last season, when they not only finished games well but finished the schedule with a rush that got them into the playoffs. If they are to make a run again this season, they will have to master the art of going forward rather than just trying to hang on.
"We just have to be confident in our abilities," said Matt Martin, whose pass from behind the goal line set up Cizikas in front on the night coach Jack Capuano reunited last season's successful fourth line by putting Colin McDonald back in the lineup. "We've struggled in closing out games and I do think a lot of that is because we sat back and almost hit the panic button a little bit instead of playing the way that's been successful."
The Islanders were successful by moving the puck with poise, resolve and urgency, by skating through the neutral zone efficiently and with a minimum amount of turnovers, by capitalizing on the opponent's mistakes and by attacking the net directly instead of choosing to pass the puck and pass the puck again and again in order to attempt to score picture-perfect goals.
The Islanders played like the Red Wings did, but they don't have a little artiste running around in their basement demanding that every goal they score be pretty enough to put in a picture frame, so they scored some gritty, "dirty" ones, and the put the game away early:
"We've proven before we can close out games," Tavares said. "Why can't we just keep playing the way we're playing and have no panic even when things go wrong?"
For a day, Capuano got a reprieve from having to explain what went horribly wrong. "You guys talk about it all the time, about our third periods and the leads we've blown," he told reporters. "There's a certain way we play. We just have to stay focused and play that way."
Sometimes it helps to have a little motivation from heartbreak, too. As Cizikas said: "We came out with the mind- set, 'We're not going to give this one away. We're going to do whatever it takes to get the two points.' "
So everything turned out right in the end, for once, for the Islanders, as NewYorkIslanders.com's Cory Wright noted...
“We competed hard and the way we wanted to,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We got some timely goals, nice goals. We played pretty hard against a pretty good team.”
Okposo kicked off the scoring blitz, finishing a two-on-one rush with John Tavares at 10:57 of the first period. The early goal held up as the game-winner, Okposo’s first of the season, and extended his four-game point streak (2g/2a).
Just over four minutes later Grabner put the Isles up by two, corralling a deflected pass and snapping it top corner on Peter Mrazek. The Austrian sniper is finding his form, netting his third goal in as many games. Casey Cizikas then capped off the Islanders breakout at 16:55, burying a goalline feed from Windsor, Ont., native Matt Martin.
“There’s no better feeling than winning in front of your family and friends,” Martin said. “We played a pretty complete game. There were surges back and forth, but we stuck to it, worked hard and found a way to win.”
The Red Wings responded in the second period, outshooting the Islanders 11-2 in the middle frame (23-19 overall). Pavel Datsyuk had the Wings best attempt of the period, ripping a shot from the slot, but Nabokov came far out of his crease and said nyet to his countryman.
Aside from two posts in the third period, the Isles kept the Wings chances to a minimum, earning their fourth straight victory at Joe Louis arena.
“For us, a win against this type of team is huge,” Nabokov said. “That’s part of experience. You have to figure out how to win. Hopefully we did that today.”
And NewYorkIslanders.com's Eric Hornick tossed off a significant slate of stats in a "Skinny" take on the game:
Isles 3, Detroit 0: The Islanders exploded for three goals in a 5:58 span in the first period and Evgeni Nabokov recorded his 56th career shutout as the Islanders blanked the Red Wings 3-0 before a sellout crowd of 20,066 at Joe Louis Arena. It’s the Isles’ fourth straight win at The Joe, where they have not lost since 2003.
What a First Period! The Isles got goals from three different lines in the first period. It was the first time all season that the Isles had scored three goals in the first period and the first time since October 13, 2011 (vs. Tampa) that the Isles held a 3-goal lead after 20 minutes. The Isles had not held a 3-goal lead in any game since leading Nashville 3-0 on November 12th.
Four Dozen: The Isles now have four players who have scored at least 12 goals this season. John Tavares has 13 goals, as does Thomas Vanek (9 in an Islander jersey). Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo each have 12. The Islanders reach the break as the only team in the Eastern Conference with four players with at least 12 goals.
Home and Road: The Islanders are 11-20-7 overall, 5-7-7 at home and 3-13-0 on the road. The Isles are 3-2-2 in their last seven games and are 3-1-0 in their last four on the road.
The Red Wings are 17-13-9 overall; they are 6-10-6 at home and 11-3-3 on the road. Detroit is 2-5-2 in their last nine games and their 16 losses/loser points at home lead the NHL. The Wings have sold out 124 consecutive games.
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to doubt the whole, "Every game is sold out! Fo' realz!" line given all the empty seats in the lower bowl every damn game.
The Associated Press's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Islanders and Red Wings' perspectives, and let's all be shocked to find that the Islanders readily admitted that they jumped on the Wings:
"We just wanted to stick with it and keep playing and not think about the things that could happen," said captain John Tavares, who had an assist.
Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Casey Cizikas scored for New York. The Islanders have only won three of their past 17 (3-10-4) and it was Nabokov's first shutout of the season.
"I thought we had an extra gear tonight. They might have come out flat, but we did a good job to get on `em," Okposo said.
"I thought our intensity in the first period wasn't good enough. They scored on their shots and I don't think we did much. They didn't do much either, but they scored," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "The bottom line is we played catch-up all night long. I thought we made it easy on their team. We never got in on their D, we weren't physical like we have been, or heavy in the offensive zone."
Okposo opened the scoring with 9:03 left in the first when he put a cross-crease pass into the empty-side of the net off the rush for his 12th goal.
Grabner got his fifth goal, with 4:53 remaining in the opening period, when his shot from the left circle deflected off the stick of Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith. Cizikas made it 3-0, with 3:05 left in the first period, when he put in a one-time shot from in front of the net. It was Cizikas' fourth goal.
"I thought our guys started on time. We got the three goals, but we did some good things out there," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We battled ... In the end, it's the will to compete and I thought we did."
Will, determination, competition level, that was what was missing from the Wings' game all night long.
Babcock seemed to know it, as he told DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
“We’ve had a hard time getting traction,” Babcock said. “We had a number of injuries, but began to battle our way back to get some traction and I thought our intensity in the first period wasn’t good enough. They scored on their shots and I don’t think we did much. They didn’t do much either, but they scored.”
The Islanders scored three goals on their first seven shots of the game. It was all the scoring the Isles needed in defeating the Red Wings, 3-0, at Joe Louis Arena.
“The bottom line is we played catch-up all night long,” Babcock continued. “I thought we made it easy on their team. We never got in on their D, we weren’t physical like we have been, or heavy in the offensive zone. We had a push in the third period when we hit a couple of posts, but reality is, catch-up hockey is losing hockey, we say that all the time. You have to start on time, do things well. You have to be here the same amount of time to do it right as to do it like we did so you have to be disappointed in yourself for sure. As a coach, who’s supposed to be involved in the preparation process, we dropped the ball and so did the players. This wasn’t a good enough effort. When you’re getting booed off the ice after the first period, in your own building, the last day before Christmas, to me that’s a sad state of affairs.
Yes, it was a sad state of affairs, but the crowd was also fair given the value the Wings presented for their fans' bucks.
“We’ll have three days to think about it obviously. Merry Christmas to everyone. Enjoy your families. We’ll get better at it and we’re going to be better than this because this wasn’t good enough.”
Besides the loss, which gives the Red Wings an unacceptable 6-10-6 record on home ice, they might have lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson for the second time this season with what appeared to be an injury to his left shoulder, which he originally separated in Phoenix on Oct. 19. He missed 10 games with the injury.
“Ericsson has been taken to the hospital with an upper-body injury,” Babcock said in his opening post-game remarks to the media. “We’ll have more detail tomorrow or the next day.”
Even Brendan Smith told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that his team wasn't tuned in...
“I don’t think we had the intensity, pretty simple,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “We just didn’t come out and play hard. It’s effort. I don’t think we had the effort out there.”
The pairing of Smith (minus-2) and Kyle Quincey (minus-3) struggled, but they had plenty of help in a period with costly breakdowns.
“It was horrendous at times,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Playing like this at home, especially in that first period, it was unacceptable. It’s disappointing. We know we’re better than this.”
All this, of course, meant another loss at Joe Louis Arena, an incredible trend from these Red Wings this season.
Thursday’s victory over Calgary ended a five-game losing streak at home for the Red Wings. But they might have started another one Monday, and are now a horrid 6-10-6 at Joe Louis Arena this season.
“That’s something we have to correct it quickly,” Smith said.
Kronwall was a bit baffled by the results--to some extent--as he told MLive's Ansar Khan...
"I don't know what happened (in the first period)," Kronwall said. "We were a step behind, I thought, the whole game. Sure, we had some good shifts down in their zone eventually, but first period when you dig yourself a hole like that, it's tough to come back."
It was a particularly bad period for the defense pairing of Kyle Quincey (minus-3) and Brendan Smith (minus-2).
Kyle Okposo opened the scoring at 10:57, converting a two-on-one with John Tavares. Smith was caught up ice.
Michael Grabner scored at 15:07 on a shot from the slot. The puck deflected off of Smith’s stick, right to Grabner.
“Second (goal) went off my stick, just a bad bounce and then I actually I poked it and when he shot it I think it ramped up my stick and that’s when it kind of threw off Mrazek," Smith said. “The first one, we had a centerman above theirs and we’re supposed to pinch there and I did and we ended up getting beat on a two-on-one."
Casey Cizikas made it 3-0 at 16:55, converting a pass from Matt Martin after the Islanders won a race for the puck to negate an icing call.
And Petr Mrazek of all people gave credit where it was due while speaking with Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus:
“We tried in the second period to come back, we had a couple chances. Nabokov played great. We couldn’t get anything in.”
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson played only two minutes in the second period before leaving with an upper-body injury. Babcock said after the game he was taken to a hospital and more information would be available in the next couple of days.
“Knock on wood, hopefully he’s not too bad,” Kronwall said. “He’s a big part of this team.”
In the third frame, forward Riley Sheahan pulled off a great toe-drag move to get past one defender, dished the puck across on a backhand pass to Gustav Nyquist, whose shot rang off the post on the short side. Patrick Eaves also hit the post on a slap shot earlier in the period, but Nyquist’s opportunity was Detroit’s best overall chance of the period and likely of the entire game.
“We had a push in that third period where we hit a couple posts, but in reality, catch-up hockey is losing hockey; we say it all the time,” Babcock said. “You’ve got to start on time and do things well.”
Mostly, Kronwall all but growled at the media because he was pissed off at himself and his teammates, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted...
"It was horrendous,” Niklas Kronwall said of the Wings’ first period. “I don’t know what happened there. We were a step behind, I thought, the whole game.”
Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey and Daniel Cleary finished a combined minus-7.
“We’re not blaming anybody in here, it’s all of us,” Kronwall said. “It’s not one guy doing something wrong, it’s all of us. We didn’t get the job done. Finally it felt like we knew how to play this game. Tonight, for some reason, we just weren’t there. Our fans deserve a hell of a lot more than this, for ourselves, too.”
But Luke Glendening knew that the Wings played a shitty game, too:
“It was definitely frustrating when you have a bad first period,” Luke Glendening said. “We didn’t have any enthusiasm. We were pretty flat and it showed on the ice when we went down 3-0 and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole.”
The Islanders are now 7-1-1 in their last nine against the Wings, who shut out New York in their last meeting 5-0 on Nov. 29.
“We just weren’t prepared to play,” Glendening said. “We came out flat and not enthusiastically and that’s what happens. If you don’t come out ready to go you can go down quickly. We had two big wins under our belts coming in. It’s a frustrating one to lose, especially right before the three-day break. So hopefully we’ll come back rejuvenated and ready to go.”
The bottom lines come from Kronwall and Smith(?), via Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji--who duly noted that the Wings' place in the standings is precarious...
"We didn't get the job done," Kronwall said. "First period, that's just not good enough. We were just a step behind the whole period, really. We're so much better than that. For our fans, they deserve a hell of a lot better than that."
Unfortunately, the home fans haven't had much to cheer about as the Wings have managed just a 6-10-6 record at home.
It's mystifying when you consider they're 11-3-3 on the road.
"It’s weird for sure because normally this a tough building for people to steal points," defenseman Brendan Smith said. "It’s kind of opposite where we’re playing really well on the road and not playing well at home. It’s something we have to correct quickly because it’ll hurt us in the standings for sure."
It already has. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who like the Wings have been beset by injuries, have managed to earn 55 points in their 39 games. The Wings have 43 in the same number of games.The Wings currently are fifth in the Eastern Conference but the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators, who are ninth, 10th and 11th, are only five or six points back.
When you lose an opportunity to win at home against a lesser team, those are the ones you regret the most when you get closer to playoff time.
Asked about the disappointing first-period effort, Wings coach Mike Babcock said: “Well, I think that’s a real good word, ‘disappointing.’ ”
Babcock said the intensity wasn’t good enough in the first 20 minutes.
“They scored on their shots,” Babcock said. “And I didn’t think we did much. They didn’t do much either, but they scored.”
“As a coach who is supposed to be involved in the preparation process, obviously dropped the ball and so did the players,” Babcock said. “You’re getting booed off the ice in the first period in your own building in the last game before Christmas. To me, that’s a sad state of affairs. We’ll have three days to think about it obviously. Merry Christmas to everyone. Enjoy your families and we’ll be back at her and we’re going to be better than this because this isn’t good enough.”
The Red Wings' performance to this point hasn't been good enough by any stretch of the imagination, whether at home or on the road, and they have to be better regardless of who's injured and who's playing. It's supposed to be about upholding the standard of excellence required of anyone and everyone who dons the winged wheel on their chest, and the numbers on the back have failed all too regularly in their endeavors.
Highlights: NHL.com's highlight clip is at least narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:
Post-game: MSG posted a 5:04 clip of Butch Goring and Howie Rose discussing the game, a 3:06 clip of Evgeni Nabokov, John Tavares and Matt Martin discussing their team's win and a 1:58 clip of Islanders coach Jack Capuano's post-game remarks;
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a 1:33 interview with Martin, who's from Windsor;
Fox Sports Detroit posted a 53-second clip of a very angry Niklas Kronwall speaking with the media (the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness captured some of his comments, too)...
And the Red Wings' website posted the rest of Kronwall's comments...
Some post-game quips from Petr Mrazek...
And coach Mike Babcock's post-game presser:
The Detroit News posted a 28-image gallery;
Newsday posted a Flash gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 3 big images from the game;
ESPN posted a 25-image gallery;
Shots 23-19 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 7-6 in the 1st, the Wings out-shot the Islanders 11-2 in the 2nd, and Detroit was out-shot 10-6 in the 3rd.
Special teams: Both teams went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time.
Goaltending: Petr Mrazek stopped 16 of 19 shots for Detroit; Evgeni Nabokov stopped 23 of 23 shots for the Islanders.
The 3 stars were picked by Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, and he picked Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and Evgeni Nabokov.
The Red Wings' goals: The Wings were shut out.
Faceoffs 26-20 Detroit (Detroit won 57%);
Blocked shots 11-9 Islanders;
Missed shots 13-5 Detroit (total attempts 47-33 Detroit, with the Wings firing 23 shots ON net and another 24 wide/blocked);
Hits 30-18 Detroit;
Giveaways 7-3 Islanders;
Takeaways 7-6 Detroit.
Faceoffs: Andersson went 10-and-6 (63%); Datsyuk went 9-and-6 (60%); Sheahan went 5-and-6 (45%); Glendening went 2-and-2 (50%).
Shots: Miller led the team with 4 shots; Datsyuk and Tatar had 3; Alfredsson, Nyquist, Lashoff and Quincey had 2; Eaves, Andersson, Jurco, Glendening and Cleary had 1.
Blocked attempts: Eaves and DeKeyser had 2 attempts blocked by Islanders players; Smith, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Andersson, Lashoff, Quincey and Glendening had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Andersson, Jurco and Bertuzzi missed the net 2 times; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Sheahan, Eaves, Quincey, DeKeyser and Cleary missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Miller led the team with 5 hits; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Eaves and Bertuzzi had 3; Sheahan, Tatar, Ericsson and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Quincey, Glendening, Kronwall and Cleary had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Andersson, Ericsson and Kronwall had giveaways.
Takeaways: Quincey supposedly had 3 takeaways; Smith, Tatar, Jurco and Kronwall had 1 takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Smith and Sheahan blocked 2 shots; Datsyuk, Andersson, Quincey, Ericsson and Kronwall blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Bertuzzi took a minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The team finished at -15. Quincey was -3; Smith and Cleary were -2; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Sheahan, Eaves, Lashoff, Jurco, Glendening and Bertuzzi finished at -1.
Points: No one scored.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 25:44 played; Quincey played 25:41; Datsyuk played 21:10;
DeKeyser played 19:29; Lashoff played 19:17; Smith played 18:45;
Bertuzzi played 18:10; Jurco played 17:28; Tatar played 17:08;
Alfredsson played 16:55; Sheahan played 14:35; Nyquist played 14:30;
Miller played 12:45; Glendening played 11:54; Cleary played 11:24;
Andersson played 13:00; Eaves played 10:41; Ericsson played 9:24.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: Mickey Redmond had been chatting this up for a while on Detroit Sports 105.1, and the Red Wings' Alumni Association have confirmed that they will be releasing 100 signed litographs representing 26 players and 4 executives who are taking part in the Alumni Showdown.
All proceeds will go to the Red Wings Alumni Association's charitable arm, so they're not profiting off of the lithograph.
The players are:
Top row: Mark Howe, Chris Chelios, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom, Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Ted Lindsay, Brendan Shanahan and Dino Ciccarelli.
Middle row: Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur (i.e. the Grind Line) and then Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov (the Russian 5).
Bottom row: Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Brian Rafalski, Mickey Redmond, Larry Murphy, Doug Brown and Mike Vernon.
Executives: Mike Ilitch, Jimmy Devellano, Scotty Bowman and Ken Holland.
And yes, according to Redmond, Konstantinov will indeed be signing his name on each and every poster.
In a very different vein: the Hamilton Spectator's Steve Milton penned an article about Daniel Cleary's "sacrifice" in turning down significant money from the Philadelphia Flyers to remain with the Red Wings, and you may take Milton and Cleary's comments for what you will:
He had more or less agreed to a three-year, $8.5-million deal with Philadelphia, and the Flyers had already listed him on their training camp roster when he suddenly emerged with a one-year, $1.75-million deal from the Wings in mid-September.
"We battled all summer trying to get something done, waited patiently," Cleary told The Spectator over the weekend. "Weren't able to make any moves to get it done, because of cap issues."
The Wings originally offered Cleary a three-year deal last spring, but it involved a pay cut and he decided to test free agency. Meanwhile, the Wings pressed their noses to the salary cap by signing free agents Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.
And the Flyers had their own cap issues, so announced that Cleary would join the team on a professional tryout offer until they could clear the money. The end result is that Cleary, who turned 35 a week before Christmas, will be a free agent again at the end of the year. And, when the lacerated Red Wings finally get healthy, they will have way too many forwards.
"We'll see what happens now," Cleary says.
It has not been an ideal first half for the energetic right winger, as he's scored only three times and went all of November without a goal. Mike Babcock put him with different centres trying to light the offensive fire, and one night even made him a healthy scratch. But Cleary has played well this month, contributing his usual truckload of sandpaper, speed and effective checking. He can also score — he was the Wings' second-leading scorer last post-season — but that's not his raison d'être in the NHL, although it was in junior hockey.
He brings character and an X factor that are suited to a team that, while weakened by recent retirements, knows how to maximize them.
"It's taxing on the body," he says of his style. "But I've been able to hold up so far and that's encouraging."
If you wish to read the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's profile of Islanders forward Matt Martin, who says he grew up as a Colorado Avalanche fan, you may do so on your own;
Newsday's Mark Hermann offered this quip from Daniel Alfredsson in his notebook:
A power outage at Joe Louis Arena Monday morning darkened corridors and left an end of the rink in shadows as the Red Wings practiced. "I liked it," said Daniel Alfredsson, the 41-year-old forward. "We only skated half the ice. It was perfect."
And if you missed the Wings' pre-Ericsson-injury injury statuses, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness will fill you in:
Wings general manager Ken Holland said that Stephen Weiss’ sport hernia surgery went well in Philadelphia.
“The doctors are calling it a core muscle injury,” Holland said. “I guess he had a fairly significant tear, but surgery went well. We had other players in the past here have that same surgery. (Kris) Draper had it and (Tomas) Holmstrom. They seemed to always come back in good shape.
“We’re not going to race him back for a game or two before the Olympic break,” Holland added.
The team decided to give Justin Abdelkader (concussion) a few more days of rest before his return to the lineup, which will take place Saturday at Florida. Johan Franzen (concussion) skated a bit on his own the past two days.
“It appears to me he’d be questionable for Saturday,” Holland said of Franzen’s status. “Just based on he needs two or three practices and to feel good after.
Jimmy Howard (knee) is still on track to possibly backing up Gustavsson on Dec. 28 and could get back between the pipes on Dec. 30. Henrik Zetterberg (back) appears on track to return Saturday, but a final decision on that will come Friday.
There is no further update on when Darren Helm (shoulder) will return.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan offers more player comments in a 6 AM-posted article:
“I heard about (fans booing), because Coach came in and talked about it,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “It’s something where we’ve got to start playing better at home, because we can’t let that happen.”
Said defenseman Niklas Kronwall: “For our fans, they deserve a hell of a lot better than that.”
The Red Wings had defensive breakdowns, but they were more upset about their poor effort and lack of competitiveness.
“We were just a step behind the whole period,” Kronwall said. “We didn’t take care of the puck. It starts with us D-men, going back for the puck, we didn’t execute enough and here they come again.”
It was a particularly rough game for the Kyle Quincey-Smith pairing, who combined for a minus-5 rating.
“We’re not blaming anybody in here,” Kronwall said. “It’s not one guy doing something wrong, it’s all of us. We didn't get the job done. First period, that's just not good enough. We’re so much better than that.”
Smith said his team lacked intensity and didn’t play hard. Why? Nobody could explain.
“Right off the bat we didn’t get out of our end,” Smith said. “Right off the bat (the momentum) was all theirs.”
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