The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/17/13 at 05:59 AM ET
The Red Wings-Canucks wrap-up simply took so much bandwidth and blog-width that this overnight report's going to be a little lean, but that's on purpose, and I hope the extra click's worth your time.
The Free Press's Helene St. James' Sunday story about Henrik Zetterberg's transition from one of the Wings' leaders to the team's captain is more than worth your time, and if I could quote all of it, I would, but I'll leave her downright fascinating conversation with Oilers captain and off-season Wing pal Shawn Horcoff to you, and will go with what Zetterberg has to say about learning on the job from soneone who is learning a very different job as Ken Holland's other, other right-hand man:
"I feel comfortable being the captain," Zetterberg said, "but I think I went to a good school -- the Nick Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman and the Kris Draper school. You just try to see what they did, and see how they handled different situations, and then some stuff you take, and some stuff you don't."
Draper, an alternate captain under Yzerman and Lidstrom and one of the most respected players in the room, is the guy Zetterberg has leaned on the most for advice. Yzerman is busy running the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Lidstrom is back in Sweden, enjoying life as a retiree. Zetterberg and Draper often have little chats around Joe Louis Arena, where Draper now works in the front office, or around Birmingham, where they're nearly neighbors. "I know he's always there for me," Zetterberg said.
Zetterberg has spoken up several times already this season, when the Wings have needed it.
"There's been a few games, when we've been playing bad," he said. "I just basically speak from my heart, whatever I think is wrong and what I think we need to do. I don't think you can manufacture that. If you feel you have to say anything, you do. So far, it's been coming naturally."
In many ways, the sequence from Yzerman to Lidstrom to Zetterberg has been so organic; it's just been one great and humble Wing following another.
"Z, he's always been a great team guy, and he's still the same old Z," Howard said. "He's been a leader for us for a long time."
As for his teammate and partner in crime, Pavel Datsyuk, I don't know if he's leaving for Russia after his contract expires in the summer of 2014, but I don't believe that his probable exit at some point has anything to do with a coach and GM conspiring against him, trying to drive him out of town by placing inferior linemates on his wing.
Instead, I believe it has something to do with that "school" word. When Datsyuk enrolled his daughter Elizabeth in primary school in Yekaterinburg, Russia two years ago, I knew that Datsyuk's time in Detroit was borrowed at best.
Whether he's going to leave next summer or five summers after that, just as Nicklas Lidstrom's son Adam heading back to Vasteras because "he had better options to further his hockey career"--than there are in Metro Detroit? With so many elite hockey programs and middling hockey programs and programs for kids left in the cracks that Igor Larionov moved back here from California so that Igor II could play for Detroit Honeybaked? Novi Catholic Central's J.V. team was no backwater, and going back to Vasteras IK's hockey program spoke volumes toward fulfilling Lidstrom's lapsed promise to enroll his kids in a "Swedish school" when his contract was up in 1999...
Sending your kid "back home" suggests that it's where you're eventually going to head yourself, and he will. Someday.
The questions for me are also how attractive Detroit is as a place for Datsyuk to play, and how much money the Wings are willing to give him to give us more of his time, but I don't believe that Justin Abdelkader playing on his wing is some sort of mythical last straw.
In any case, St. James offers a Datsyukian deke of her own in discussing Datsyuk's status as someone on borrowed time--and if you think about it, all of the Wings' players lives are only lent to us for as long as they play for the team, because the alumni's day-to-day lives fade into non-hockey woodwork, and suddenly, we're not hearing about Tomas Holmstrom or Draper every day, how they're feeling, what they're doing, what their plans are, what they think about the team, and we've heard nary a peep from Lidstrom, which seemed to happen all too suddenly, even though we all expected it--without suggesting that Datsyuk's desire to eventually cross the Atlantic for good is disloyal, dishonest or somehow grounds for eviction:
"He's like a kid every single day," Jimmy Howard said. "He likes to play pranks on guys and he's always got a smile on his face, so you know he's having fun."
Henrik Zetterberg has played with Datsyuk for a decade, joining the Wings the year after Datsyuk helped them win the 2002 Stanley Cup as a rookie. And still, "it never gets old, watching him," Zetterberg said. "He's got incredible moves."
Moves so slick, Howard said, that "sometimes you feel like he's in a phone booth out there stick-handling, the way he comes out of corners. He just does amazing things."
On Friday night in overtime, he picked up a pass from Johan Franzen, crossed Edmonton's blue line, turned Jeff Petry inside out, and wired a wrist shot past Devan Dubnyk. Datsyuk had gone 11 goalless games before Friday, and he was asked if that unnerves him anymore, the way it might a less experienced scorer.
"Age? You say, age?" Datsyuk said, gleefully staring down the journalist. "We not play great last few games. More pressure on us. I try to not think. I try to play for team. But when someone in media ask me, it remind me."
Datsyuk has scored so many dazzling goals he could put out a compilation DVD. In a masterfully understated assessment, Niklas Kronwall said, "It's very good to see him get the puck." For a team that last summer lost the great Nicklas Lidstrom, Datsyuk's presence is a huge buffer.
"I'm glad we have him," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's a real competitive guy and two-way player. And if you look at the work load we've put Pav and Z under this year, just with the amount of injuries we've had and who they've played with, they've just dug in and played. I think when you're coaching real deep teams, you pick each other up, and guys can go away a few games. We can't win if they go away."
Not unless the team prepares for it, and this team, with its perhaps too-straight-shooting coach and GM, tends to telegraph its moves.
We've got a summer's worth of telegraphing to come at least, including finding out whether Calle Jarnkrok
inks a deal boards a flight for Grand Rapids as soon as Brynas IF goes poof in a couple of days, whether the team chooses to (and probably will) buy out some of its easier-to-buy-out veterans to clear space for the Nyquists, Tatars and Anderssons, and whether it might not sign a free agent forward-to-be two of its own (or a free agent forward, period) to ensure that Nyquist, Tatar and Andersson are full-time Wings...And whether it might trade some of its youngsters to deal with Datsyuk's eventual departure.
All of that has yet to play out, and as much as it sucks donkey balls, we're not going to find out the answers until we find out.
Until then, we've got a wacky bipolar team that was supposed to be a little more veteran than it is super super young by Wings standards, injury-prone as injury-prone can get during this 48-games-in-99-nights demolition derby, and really desperately needs the October, November, December and all of January's worth of time and 82 games to determine its post-Lidstrom identity.
We've got a team that's an awkward, skittish and moody teenager, a moody and inconsistent teenager that's being told it has to grow up by April 27th and make the playoffs for all of those season ticket-holders who've been told that their playoff tickets are going to cost more this spring (surprise!).
That team won't include Kyle Quincey for a little while because Kyle Quincey will probably need surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone. Yes, he can return with a full cage after whatever needs to get fixed gets fixed, but that's at least a week away from whenever he has surgery, and that won't be tomorrow.
That's kind of ironic given that Quincey has become more and more indispensable after beginning the 2013 season looking like someone totally not worth Andrei Vasilevski, the Salavat Yulaev Ufa goalie the Bolts drafted with the draft pick the Wings surrendered for Quincey's services.
While addressing Quincey's status, Babcock made an absolutely eloquent comment to the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa about winning and keeping jobs on this awkward teenager of a team, and it's a comment that Ian White ought to read and memorize:
"You know, it's real simple. I tell this to people all the time: (Tomas) Tatar, for example, came up to play one game and he played in 16 straight — not because I did anything, because he did something. So, it's the same thing for every player: You've got to grab your chunk, and then you do good things and good things will happen for you.
"I hear all the time, `Well, if I play long enough and I play enough I'll get my confidence and play better.' That to me's not the real world, that's a fantasy. The real world is, I'm going to grab my chunk and I'm going to hang on to it and I'm not letting anyone take it from me, because I'm professional, I'm an everydayer, I bring it all the time
"If you're that and you're skilled enough, you play 15 years. If you're not that, you give other people opportunity to have the job."
Like Brian Lashoff.
As for Holland himself, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen captured the video of his second intermission interview with Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond, and as it's so late that the Wings have landed at Metro Airport while I'm writing this, 3-hour-and-41-minute flight from Vancouver completed, here's my shorthand take on it, via Twitter and my Twitlonger account:
Ken Holland and Mickey Redmond, summarized:
Re: game: Howard's been a real good story, penalty shot, PK, the Wings knew they'd have to have power play goals to win, got one in EDM, got one that's hopefully big after 2 tonight.
Re: GM and injuries: Depth in team is great, [you can see that] Andersson [was playing] out late against Sedins in 2nd, Tatar scored goals, Lashoff on D, 7 rookies this year, depth showing, allowing 'em to stay in race.
Re: Mrazek: real high on him, played in AHL ASG, tough as rookie, one of best in OHL, goalie of WJC, real poised, real good prospect.
Re: goalie gear, old Holland pic: 5'8" goalies play stand-up and they'll be back to 7-8 goals a game. It's changed and he's 5'8," guys are 6'3-6'5."
Trade deadline acquisitions to be made? First off Wings must get into position to think trades can help by winning games, 3rd to 14th is 6 point gap, not many sellers, hopefully they can win, Sammy and Helm are trade acquisitions to some extent but if they win they'll explore.
Does team have to get bigger going East? Boston is standard in East, when healthy, Sammy, Bert in lineup, Abby, Helm playing big, they're OK, but it's a theme in the NHL and will explore at trade deadline and in summer.
I've heard this repeatedly from Holland and Draper when he spoke to The Fan 590 a month ago. There's a sense that the Wings do plan on adding a big forward, or were at least seriously considering it until Andersson proved that he was NHL-ready. They'll consider it some more depending on who hits the market via unrestricted free agency or compliance buy-outs this summer.
Realignment? It's spectacular for fans and team, division w/ Original Six rivalries, all road games in Eastern Time Zones, home and away against all West teams, CHI, VAN, playoffs w/in division, league hit it right on, great for league, team, Wings fans.
GM's meetings: He hasn't seen agenda but one of things he talked about going back 2 yrs ago was longer OT, 8 to 10 min go 4 on 4 to 3 on 3, not on agenda, will put on agenda for summer if not talked about this week, great game and standings are tight.
I posted this in the recap, but it's worth repeating: Daniel Cleary gave a 9-minute interview to the CBC's After Hours crew before he skidaddled to join the Wings on the long flight home to Detroit, and he tells the tale of his try-out with the Wings turning into full-time employment and a Stanley Cup in an interview that shows a side of Cleary he doesn't offer to the press too often--a humble one.
It's hard for some folks to remember that, way back in 2005, Cleary was battling it out with Blake Sloan and Rem Murray for the 13th forward's spot in the Wings' lineup, and as Cleary suggests, Ken Holland kind of had to nudge Mike Babcock to play the smaller Cleary (who Babcock had cut from the Canadian World Junior Championship team during his draft year, 1997) ahead of Michigan State alum Murray, who Babcock favored because of his size.
Enjoy the 9:54 interview:
Also in the multimedia department, via RedWingsFeed, this popped up on Twitter during the game:
And I quote his website:
Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story
The good folk at Hallmark have just released the promotional trailer for Michael's soon-to-be-released biopic, Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story.
To view the trailer, head on over to the Hallmark website.
Additionally, a number of still photos from the movie have been released. Check them out on the 'Photo' page on the Hallmark website, or you can find them in the Films & Tele-Movies section of the Galleries, or simply skip to the New Pics page.
Don't forget! The movie premieres in the U.S. on The Hallmark Channel on Saturday, 4 May at 9:00pm ET / 8:00pm Central.
For those in Canada, the film premieres a week early on 28 April. (Date/channel to be confirmed!)
It looks like it's gonna be a Hallmark Channel movie, which isn't necessarily a good thing.
Because I'm a blogger and they're columnists, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch mentioned the Wings twice in his weekly trade rumor column...
All eyes will be on Calgary RW Jarome Iginla with speculation building he's going to be dealt. The asking price set by Flames GM Jay Feaster will likely be: A No. 1 pick, a prospect and a roster player. "You're not getting the same Jarome Iginla. He's still a good player, I just don't know that they're going to hit the home run they expect to hit," said a league executive. "That being said somebody will overpay." The Penguins, Predators, Sharks, Red Wings and Bruins will make a pitch for Iginla. Word is Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby wouldn't mind if Iginla was on his wing .
The Anaheim Ducks will listen to offers for RW Corey Perry, but don't expect him to move unless someone gives GM Bob Murray an offer he can't refuse. The chances of Perry re-signing with the Ducks are slim, but the club will challenge for a Stanley Cup. If Perry moves, the strong belief is he's coming East. The Wings will make a pitch along with the Habs, Leafs, Senators, Rangers and Flyers. Perry will want a deal similar to the eight-year, $66-million contract that C Ryan Getzlaf signed in Anaheim.
And I disagree with the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons on this one, but I'm a Wings fan:
NHL teams I find almost unwatchable: Florida, Buffalo, St. Louis, Calgary, Minnesota, San Jose, Phoenix, for the first time in years Vancouver, and Detroit (except when Pavel Datsyuk is on the ice). And that’s giving the benefit of the doubt to Nashville and the Rangers. That’s a whole lot of dull teams.
After beating the Milwaukee Admirals by identical 5-1 scores on March 1 and 3, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell to their division rivals 3-1 on Saturday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, ending their five-game winning streak.
After the Griffins (36-20-2-2) tied the game at one early in the second period, the Admirals scored two unanswered goals, putting an end to Grand Rapids’ AHL-best winning streak.
The Admirals (30-24-3-3) jumped on the scoreboard first when Mark Van Guilder’s backhander bounced past Petr Mrazek at 15:01 of the opening period. Taylor Beck’s shot deflected off a Griffins defenseman and Van Guilder cleaned up the rebound, as his shot found the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season.
Andrej Nestrasil tied the game at one for the Griffins at 1:59 of the second period. The Prague, Czech Republic, native scooped up the puck off a faceoff and rung a shot off of the right goal post to score the tying goal.
Juuso Puustinen restored Milwaukee’s lead midway through the second period. The right wing banked his shot off of the right goal post past Mrazek to convert on the Admirals’ second power play of the game. The goal at 10:19 was Puustinen’s 11th of the season.
Milwaukee took a two-goal lead at 14:22 of the second period. Max Nicastro and Triston Grant collided inside their own line going after the puck, and Josh Shalla scooped it up and took it the length of the ice for a breakaway goal. The goal was Shalla’s first in a Milwaukee uniform.
The Griffins pulled Mrazek with one minute left in the contest but were unable to score with a one-man advantage. Mrazek stopped 29 of 32 shots while Magnus Hellberg earned the victory behind 22 saves.
The Griffins will stay on the road for their next contest, playing at Carver Arena tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. EDT against the Peoria Rivermen.
As well as a photo gallery and a slate of highlights...
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye defeated the Wheeling Nailers 3-1, with both Trevor Parkes and Willie Coetzee registering one-goal, one-assist performances. The Walleye's website and the Toledo Blade (with a photo gallery) provide recaps;
In Europe, Calle Jarnkrok and Brynas IF face a serious uphill battle after dropping a 4-1 decision to Skelleftea AIK. Jarnkrok played 21:04 but didn't register a point;
In the WCHA, Ben Marshall scored the game-winning goal as the Univeristy of Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated Bemidji State 4-3 to advance to the WCHA's "Final Five" next weekend, and Nick Jensen's Saint Cloud State Huskies advanced as well. Jensen didn't register a point in his team's 5-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage;
In the BCHL, James De Haas didn't register a point in the Penticton Vees' 4-2 win over Salmon Arm in the second game of the team's first-round playoff series, which Penticton leads 2-0;
In regular season play, in the USHL, Mike McKee sat out another game due to a suspension as his Lincoln Stars defeated Green Bay 6-2;
In the QMJHL, I don't have the playoff pairings yet, but Phillipe Hudon's Victoriaville Tigres have made the cut despite Hudon going scoreless in the Tigres' 5-0 loss to Chicoutimi on Saturday;
Ditto for Xavier Ouellet's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, though the captain sat out his team's 4-1 loss to Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday;
In the WHL, Richard Nedomlel registered an assist in the Swift Current Broncos' 6-2 win over Regina, and the Broncos will make the playoffs, too;
Playoff pairings are all but set in the OHL, and that's where we'll end this prospect round-up.
Alan Quine sat out the Belleville Bulls' 5-2 win over Sudbury, and Belleville will play Mississauga, Erie or Kingston, depending on what happens on the final day of the season;
Ryan Sproul registered an assist in the Soo Greyhounds' 6-2 win over Kitchener, and the Soo will play Owen Sound, starting on Thursday;
Jake Paterson stopped 30 of 33 shots in the Saginaw Spirit's 3-2 OT loss to London, and Saginaw will play London in the first round of the playoffs, starting on Friday;
And Andreas Athanasiou scored the game-winning goal in the Barrie Colts' 3-2 win over Niagara. Barrie will play Mississauga, Erie or Kingston (just like Belleville), depending on what happens on the final day of the season.
Also of Red Wings-related note: The Wings couldn't snag Lake Superior State University captain Kellan Lain because the 23-year-old is pro-ready and found a spot with the Vancouver Canucks, but the team did bring him to their summer prospect camp last summer, and he looked...Big and solid, but out of place in a skill-based camp.
The Vancouver Province's Jason Botchford took note of both Lain's signing by Vancouver and their desire to snag another NCAA prospect the Wings would love to have:
When it comes to the Canucks, Kellan Lain has two things going for him. He has size. He’s a centre. And the Canucks need both. It helps explain why the Canucks have been coveting Lain, 23, for two seasons, even though he scored just 21 goals in the 108 games he played for Lake Superior State. But the Canucks aren’t selling Lain as the next Joe Nieuwendyk.
“We see him as a bottom end centre, more like Paul Gaustad or maybe a David Steckel type player. That kind of guy,” Vancouver assistant GM Laurence Gilman said. “He can be a shutdown centre. “He’s a 6-foot-6, 220-pound centre with decent puck skills who plays with edge and is a very good skater. Those type of players don’t just grow on trees. We were very fortunate to get him, he was highly sought after."
There were four teams in on Lain before he made the decision to sign with the Canucks as a college free agent. You can be sure the Canucks current lack of depth at centre, and the fact they have no one like him in the organization were the main reasons he chose the Canucks.
Lain will first come to Vancouver and get his tour of Rogers Arena. Maybe take a spell in the mind room, too. He’ll be with the Canucks early in the week for his indoctrination and then report to Chicago after the Canucks-Blues game on Tuesday. It’s expected he’ll be in the Wolves lineup quickly.
Lain isn’t the only college free agent the Canucks are chasing. They are in on Western Michigan defenceman Dan DeKeyser, who most think is going to either Tampa or Detroit.
Stevie Y's in the same division as our Wings next year, fellow fans. Do the gloves come off if he snags yet another player the Wings had their eye on, especially given that he went out and pulled Matt Carle out from under the Wings' Plan B clutches?
We'll have to wait and see what happens. The Wings can and probably will offer DeKeyser the same opportunity to get a rookie-max contract and a Damien Brunner-like look on the top defensive pair with Niklas Kronwall, but he's probably got a better chance of sticking with Tampa or the other 20-some teams that want to sign him.
I hate waiting and seeing. I really do.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
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.