The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/23/13 at 03:23 PM ET
Update: We should find out which team will end up signing Danny DeKeyser very soon!
It's 12-something PM on the West Coast and after 3 in Metro Detroit, and while Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau stated that his team would practice the day after their 5-1 loss to Detroit last night (their Twitter account posted a picture of the team practicing as I was writing this), I don't recall Red Wings coach Mike Babcock stating definitively whether the team would practice or just accompany Jakub Kindl to Disneyland given that Babcock's told the Wings press that the team's staying at the resort(!).
In theory, Babcock and the Wings were supposed to be practicing on a very limited basis with a probable playoff run a little over a month away, but the, "Rest is a weapon" theory hasn't prevailed, perhaps due in no small part to the Wings' incredibly inconsistent play.
Anyway, with round 1 of the back-to-back slate against Anaheim having concluded, I'm going to pose a question:
After last night's game, Bruce Boudreau told Fox Sports West that he felt Ryan Getzlaf was trying to "show leadership" by fighting Jonathan Ericsson, that Matt Beleskey was stepping in to "protect Teemu" (Selanne) by fighting Brian Lashoff after Selanne did a fine job of instigating a fight of his own (the pair of fights left Detroit with 4 defensemen heading into the 3rd period), and he termed Bobby Ryan's bout with Brendan Smith a product of "frustration."
Babcock had no problems with the fights, as he told the Free Press's Helene St. James...
"I didn't mind the scrums," Babcock said. "We're a way different team than we used to be. We're way harder on the back. Smitty, I kept telling him he wasn't allowed to fight, but obviously he'd had enough finally with Ryan. It's not like Smitty can't fight real well, it's just I didn't want him to fight."
But if you watch the fights, and Hockeyfights.com provides us with the bouts, at least this Red Wings fan tends to think that there's a fine line between "leadership" and just being assholes for the sake of being assholes:
I started following the Wings toward the tail end of the "Bruise Brothers" era, but since that period of time--and even during Darren McCarty's tenures with the team--the Wings haven't been "that kind of team" for a long, long, time. Sure, Aaron Downey and now Jordin Tootoo have occasionally taken matters into their own hands, but the only times that Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg have chosen to scrap, they've either been severely roughed up and/or they've played against the Ducks.
Do you think that a star player instigating a fight (and no one was called for instigating: Ryan got a cross-checking penalty, but that was it) shows "leadership" and attempts to "try to spark" a team, or is this kind of stuff just selfish and stupid in today's game?
In other news, and as we await the Wings' "noon" practice...
The Chief has encouraged us to sign a petition demanding that Fox Sports Detroit re-hire Larry Murphy, and he's recommending that fans in Wings Anaheim (and Detroit) chant "Bring Back Murphy" on Sunday and beyond, all after MLive's Ansar Khan revealed that FSD GM Greg Hammaren unceremoniously fired Murphy last week.
Murphy may be a hot-dog-abusing and slightly stiff fellow, but Wings fans loved to pick on him for being too earnest and for being too genuinely vanilla for his own good, not because his analysis was somehow not up to snuff. Murph never pulled punches, nor did he spare players or coaches from criticism, but his steady, assertive and remarkably insightful demeanor matched his playing style--not flashy, but granite-solid, reliable and sometimes remarkably creative.
I get the feeling that Murphy wasn't fired over "ratings," but was instead fired to send a message to FSD's on and off-air talent that the new general manager isn't afraid to shake things up, and that kind of message strikes me as completely unnecessary.
Let's hope that if FSD doesn't "Bring Back Murph," that he lands on his feet. Via RedWingsFeed:
If you missed it, Halfiax Mooseheads winger and signed Wings prospect Martin Frk registered 5 goals and 3 assists during the Halifax Mooseheads' 11-1 series-opening win against the Saint John Sea Dogs last night:
As MLive's Brendan Savage noted, Frk's achievement left him in "shock and awe"...
"I don't even know what to say," Frk said in a MetroNews.ca story. "This is crazy for me, it has never happened to me before. I have to thank the boys... they did everything for me.
Frk's line combined for 18 points. That included six by Jonathan Drouin, who finished second in the QMJHL scoring race with 105 points. Nathan MacKinnon, the third member of the line, had two goals and two assists
"We really took it to them tonight," said MacKinnon. "Great night for Marty. When he's hot he just stays hot.
"The boys played really hard. We didn't play our best game the last time we played Saint John. We deserved the win."
And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose took note of Frk's achievements, too:
“I don’t even know what to say,” Frk told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. “This is crazy for me. It never happened to me before so I am happy. I have to say thank you to the boys. They passed to me a lot and they did everything for me. It was a great game for us and more important is we won.”
Frk’s eight-point performance shattered Alex Tanguay's 15-year-old franchise record of six points in a playoff game. Frk also set a new Mooseheads’ mark for goals in playoff game.
Frk’s line, which includes top 2013 NHL draft prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, amassed 18 points. MacKinnon, No. 2 on the NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, finished with two goals and two assists. Drouin, the No. 3-ranked prospect on Central Scouting's midterm list, added six assists.
“It’s amazing,” Frk said. “We played (well) all game and we picked up a lot of points. It was just a perfect game for us. I think this will stay in my mind for a very long time.”
Last July, the Red Wings signed Frk to a three-year entry level contract. The native of Bochav, Czech Republic, is in his final season of junior eligibility. It is expected that he will join the Red Wings’ organization next season, where he will likely be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.
Frk had an outstanding season in Halifax, posting career-highs for goals (35), assists (49), points (84), and plus/minus (+31) in 56 games.
Otherwise, ESPN's Sarah Goldstein offered a few more stats from last night's Wings game...
Red Wings 5, Ducks 1
* Justin Abdelkader (DET): first career hat trick
* Red Wings: 3rd straight win road (were 1-4-1 in previous 6 road games)
* Ducks: loss snaps 13-game home win streak (had not loss since 1st game of the season 1/25)
* Ducks: 1st regulation loss since 2/25 (were 9-0-3 in previous 12 games)
The AP has posted a stat-filled Sunday game preview...
The Ducks (22-4-4), meanwhile, are hoping they can bounce back right away after suffering their first home loss since Jan. 25 against Vancouver, and their first regulation defeat since Feb. 25 in Los Angeles.
The Ducks, three points behind Chicago, have dropped back-to-back games just once this season, 5-4 shootout losses at Phoenix on March 2 and 4.
It's uncertain if rookie Viktor Fasth will be back in net after getting chased in the second period on Friday when Abdelkader's second goal put Detroit up 3-1. Fasth, who stopped 26 shots in a 5-2 road win over Detroit on Feb. 15, came into the game with a 6-0-0 home record.
Jonas Hiller, who turned aside 10 of 12 shots on Friday, could get his first start against the Red Wings (15-11-5) since making 23 saves in a 4-0 home win last March 14. Hiller had lost his previous five starts in this series.
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is now 3-0-1 with a 1.24 goals-against average in his last four starts in Anaheim after Friday's 33-save effort. At 7-2-2 with a 1.61 GAA in his last 11 starts, Howard should be in net again as Detroit goes for its fourth win in five games following a three-game skid.
The Red Wings are also trying to extend their road winning streak to four before finishing their trip against Phoenix and San Jose. Detroit last won four in a row away from home from Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2011.
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne has scored in back-to-back contests following a nine-game drought, but Anaheim would like to see Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf fare better against the Red Wings. Perry has scored one goal in his last 10 games versus Detroit while Getzlaf has gone 13 games in this series without finding the back of the net.
In the FYI department, the Wings are still accepting entries for their "Ultimate Wingman/Wingwoman" contest...
Int the prospect department, Teemu Pulkkinen registered an assist in Jokerit Helsinki's 4-3 OT loss to Lukko on Saturday, leaving Jokerit down in its second round series 2 games to 1...
As Paul noted, Ken Holland's not the only GM who wants to "wait and see" what his team does over the next week before deciding whether he's going to make any trades. The Vancouver Province's Ed Willes spoke to a quintet of GM's about making trades, and they all agreed that this compressed season and parity-laden standings, combined with a salary cap that's going down this summer and some "cautionary trade tales" penned by last year's Nashville Predators team, have conspired to make this year a very trade-unfriendly one:
“It’s harder to find that fit,” said Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings. “So many teams are near the cap so you have to trade similar money for similar money. Then you’re talking about length of contract. Then you’re talking about fitting their need to my need. There are a lot of moving parts.”
“There are different barriers now that probably weren’t there before,” said Dave Nonis of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “You look at the cap coming down next year (from a pro-rated $70 million this season to $64 million) and not a lot of teams want to add salary.”
[M]aking a trade these days is like negotiating an international trade agreement. As Detroit’s Holland suggests, there has to be a harmonic convergence of supply, demand, money, term, need and placement in the standings before a deal is considered and that’s sucked the life out of the market
“It’s very hard because of the competitive balance,” said Holland. “I think back to 15 years ago there were probably three, four teams in each conference who really thought they could win it. It was like an arms war. Now, if you make the playoffs, you can win the Stanley Cup.”
“Prior to ‘05 free agency was 31 so you’d sign a player to a three or four-year deal,” says Holland. “Well, free agency now can be at 27 so your three- or four-year deal is now a six- or seven-year deal. And if a player is going good you’re not trading him. If he isn’t, he’s hard to trade.”
“Who are you trading partners going to be?” says Poile. “Logically, it’s not going to be within your conference. For us, that means the East and I don’t see a lot of teams selling. There are teams that want to get into the playoffs. They’re going to be buying. It’s difficult.”
The result of all this is NHL teams are beginning to resemble NFL teams where the big deals are made in and around the draft. Organizations then assemble their roster in training camp and that, more or less, is their team for the season.
“Ultimately drafting and developing is more important than ever,” said Holland “Those decisions we make in the summertime, it’s almost like you’re getting married. We all want to find a way to be in the top eight. Because of that no one wants to make a deal that might weaken your team in the short run.”
That's why I don't expect the Wings to make a move, and while I'll be disappointed if Detroit doesn't add anybody, after four years' worth of watching Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, the rest of the coaching and scouting staffs and sometimes even the coaches spend half of the team'summer prospect camps and a pair of prospect tournaments and training camps with their smartphones pressed to their ear or typing away text messages, I can tell you that any lack of movement won't be for a lack of trying.
Holland's developed a reputation as a GM who kicks every tire and inquires about every player available, including those that the Wings aren't interested in, and I'm sure that the pro and amateur scouts (Mark Howe and Kirk Maltby among them) will have a powwow before the trade deadline.
Speaking of which, this just popped up on Twitter, from the San Jose Mercury News's David Pollak:
This just popped up on Twitter, too:
Datsyuk registered goal #250 and assists #500 and 501 last night.
And finally, I'd like to thank SI's Allan Muir and the Chief for complementing my efforts of late. I'm just trying to share my passion for the Wings with like-minded and unlike-minded folks, and as long as you know that I care about the Wings and that you know I give my best efforts whenever I write, that's all that matters to me.
Update: According to Detroit Sports Nation's Jeff Deacon, the Danny DeKeyser sweepstakes officially begins tomorrow as Notre Dame's 3-1 win over Ohio State University at the CCHA semifials means the following:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.