Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: Griffins take Game 3, Babcock praises Glendening; are Wings ‘done on d?’

The Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final had some Red Wings-tinged moments, and some of them didn't recall pleasant memories: on the game's first goal, Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who crumpled to the ice in the Griffins' left corner, and play was allowed to continue until Panik scored.

The same Panik also speared Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan when the game was tied 2-2 in the 3rd period, with Panik's from-behind spear going unnoticed or uncalled by the referees that AHL president Dave Andrews bizarrely defended as near-infallible while speaking to both the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer...

But in a series where the officiating's been an NHL-quality sideshow, the Griffins slowly but surely simplified what was initially a "put-on-a-show for the home crowd" game, slowly but surely cut down on the number of turnovers they committed in the neutral zone, and they leaned quite heavily upon Hoggan, Petr Mrazek's 26-save performance and a little bit of, "If you start carrying the play in a tied game, you can kick it wide open" moxie to take a stranglehold on the Calder Cup Final against the hard-hitting and high-octane Crunch.

The AHL's website provides something of a "just the facts" recap...

The Grand Rapids Griffins are one win away from their first Calder Cup title after a 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the American Hockey League's championship series on Wednesday night.

Jan Mursak broke a 2-2 tie with 4:49 left in regulation to help stake the Griffins to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals. Grand Rapids goes for the sweep when it hosts Game 4 on Friday night (7 ET, AHL Live, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPN America).

After dropping the first two games of the series at home, Syracuse struck first in Game 3. Richard Panik gave the Crunch their first lead of the series at 10:21 of the first period, taking a feed from Tyler Johnson, stepping around a Grand Rapids defender and wristing a shot past Petr Mrazek. It was the sixth goal of the playoffs for Panik.

Tomas Tatar evened things up on a wraparound 2:09 into the second period, collecting Nathan Paetsch's point shot behind the net and tucking it behind Cedrick Desjardins to make it 1-1. For Tatar, it was his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason.

Luke Glendening gave Grand Rapids the lead less than three minutes later, collecting a loose puck off a scramble in front and depositing it for his sixth goal of the playoffs at 4:53.

Syracuse made it 2-2 at 9:56 of the second as Dan Sexton's long wrister from the blue line changed direction and knuckled past Mrazek for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Desjardins made a pair of huge saves in the third to preserve the tie. Tomas Jurco had a chance alone in front with 12:45 remaining and Desjardins denied him with a spread-eagle pad save, and Gustav Nyquist was sprung on a breakaway with 9:25 to play only to be turned away by the Crunch netminder.

Grand Rapids finally broke through with 4:49 to go as captain Jeff Hoggan came out from behind the net and sent a shot towards the cage that Mursak deflected past Desjardins for his 10th postseason goal.

The Griffins tacked on an insurance goal with 2:28 to play when Hoggan grabbed the puck off a Crunch turnover, drove to the net and beat Desjardins to make it 4-2.

Mrazek (14-7) made 26 saves for his sixth win in the Griffins' last seven games. Desjardins (11-4) finished with 25 stops.

Attendance at Van Andel Arena was 10,102, the largest crowd in Griffins AHL playoff history.

2013 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E3-Syracuse Crunch vs. W3-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Sat., June 8 – Grand Rapids 3, SYRACUSE 1
Game 2 – Sun., June 9 – Grand Rapids 6, SYRACUSE 4
Game 3 – Wed., June 12 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Syracuse 2
Game 4 – Fri., June 14 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 15 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 18 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 20 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
  *if necessary... All times Eastern

The Crunch's website's recap is a bit more spare...

The Syracuse Crunch drop to 3-0 in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals after dropping Game 3 4-2 tonight at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

Richard Panik gave the Crunch a 1-0 lead just over halfway through the opening frame. Panik recovered the puck after making a hit along the boards and beat a Griffins defender before lifting the puck over Gand Rapids netminder Petr Mrazek.

The Griffins evened the score 2:09 into the middle frame with a wraparound goal from Tomas Tatar and took a 2-1 lead with 15:07 to play in the second. The Griffins go-ahead goal came after Crunch netminder Cedrick Desjardins made an initial save on a Danny Dekeyser shot and the Crunch were unable to clear the rebound before Luke Glendening found the back of the net.

Dan Sexton scored his fifth playoff goal to level the score at 2-2 halfway through the middle frame. Sexton's wrist shot from the right point floated past Mrazek and was assisted by JP Cote.

Jan Mursak scored, what would hold up as the game-winning goal, at the 15:11 mark of the third period. Mursak spun around and fired the shot from a sharp angle, the puck found its way through traffic in the crease and into the back of Desjardins' net.

The Griffins secured their 3-0 series lead with a goal from Jeff Hoggan at the 17:32 mark of the final frame. Game 4 is scheduled for Friday, June 14 at the Van Andel Arena.

Crunchables: Radko Gudas missed his third consecutive game with an injury…With Richard Panik's first period goal the Crunch took their first lead of the series…The Crunch are 7-1 this postseason when scoring first…Tonight's game was the first game this post-season the Crunch gave up a lead.

And, as usual, the Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a solid narrative recap:

Jeff Hoggan set up the game-winning goal with 4:49 remaining and scored an insurance tally with 2:28 left to put the Grand Rapids Griffins within one win of a Calder Cup championship.

Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch – the Griffins’ fourth straight and sixth in their last seven games – set up a potential title-clinching contest on Friday, when Grand Rapids will host Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals at 7 p.m. The game is already sold out.

The Crunch scored first in controversial fashion 10:21 into the contest. With Adam Almquist crumpled and motionless in the right corner after taking a hard hit from Richard Panik, the referees allowed play to continue in the Griffins’ end for 11 seconds before Panik himself cashed in on Syracuse’s numbers advantage by roofing a shot from the bottom of the right circle. The crowd of 10,102 lustily voiced its displeasure while Almquist was attended to, and the defenseman ultimately skated off the ice and headed to the locker room on his own power. He did not return.

Grand Rapids built a 2-1 lead by scoring twice in the first five minutes of the second period. Tomas Tatar extended his franchise playoff record for goals by scoring his 13th on a wraparound at 2:09, before Luke Glendening potted a rebound from the slot at 4:53.

Syracuse tied matters at the 9:56 mark of the second when a floating shot from Dan Sexton from the right point seemed to catch Petr Mrazek by surprise, sailing over his right shoulder.

Two Griffins had great initial chances to put their team back on top in the third period, but Cedrick Desjardins robbed Tomas Jurco with a right pad save seven minutes in and stopped a partial breakaway by Gustav Nyquist with 9:25 remaining. But with 4:49 left, Hoggan circled out from behind the net and muscled his way to the bottom of the left circle before turning and whipping a shot on net that Jan Mursak tipped into the far corner, lifting the roof off Van Andel Arena in celebration.

Not finished for the night, Hoggan put the victory away when he swooped around a defender down the right side and drove hard to the net before popping the puck past Desjardins. The netminder tried to unleash his frustration by pounding Hoggan, but the Griffins’ captain quickly escaped the scrum to celebrate with his teammates.

Mrazek earned his 14th win of the postseason with 26 saves, while Desjardins finished with 25 stops. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play.

Notes: The crowd of 10,102 was the largest in the Griffins’ AHL playoff history, crushing the previous mark of 5,529 set on April 18, 2003 for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. It was also the fifth-largest playoff crowd in franchise history, including the team’s first five seasons (1996-2001) as members of the IHL…Friday’s Game 4 is already a sellout. It will be the second crowd of 10,834 to attend a Griffins playoff game and the first since the franchise’s second postseason game ever, an IHL Turner Cup Playoff contest on April 26, 1997…The Crunch began this postseason 11-1 before losing three straight to the Griffins, and their core group of 10 players who won the 2012 Calder Cup as members of the Admirals were on a 21-1 playoff streak prior to the Calder Cup Finals…In its history, Grand Rapids won both previous best-of-seven series in which it held a 3-0 lead.

Three Stars: 1. GR Hoggan (goal, assist); 2. GR Mursak (game-winning goal, assist); 3. Tatar (goal)

Crunch coach Rob Zettler told the Syracuse Post-Standard's Kramer that his team still played well--and they did...

"I thought we were doing a lot of the things we asked them to do,'' Crunch coach Rob Zettler said of his team. "They (Grand Rapids) were very opportunistic tonight. I just thought they took advantage of some of our mistakes and they ended up in the back of our net. I give them credit. That's a good team.''

The Crunch came out with the zip to try to match the Griffins, putting together a strong first period and grabbing its first lead of the series. But Grand Rapids refused to let the Crunch pull away, and even when Syracuse knotted the game in the second the Griffins still looked the team with more steam.

"No excuses. We have to look inside ourselves,'' said Syracuse forward J.T. Wyman. "They are a very sound hockey club. They do a lot of great things. I'm not going to sit here and pump their tires, but they've done a great job.''


"I'm sure they are playing with a lot of confidence,'' Sexton said. "When they shoot the puck, they expect to score. We don't have that killer instinct. I think it's partially they are playing well. And when we need to play we don't quite make it all the way.''


"We got the lead and we're like, let's go,'' Sexton said. "We had a couple of tough shifts to start the second, and we're down 2-1. We really need to do a better job when we get a one-goal led to make it two.''

Panik potted the only goal of the first. He caused a turnover by crushing Griffins' defenseman Adam Almquist behind the board. The puck then circled around the Grand Rapids zone to Panik on the right. Panik walked past Grand Rapids forward Triston Grant and shoveled a hard flip past Mrazek.

"We had the gameplan. We wanted to go out and get the lead,'' Zettler said. "We got out to the lead. We just couldn't finish it.''

Hit from behind. The Griffins provided no update on Almquist's status; instead, they talked about Jan Mursak's game-winner while speaking with the New Holland Sentinel's Lee Lamberts...

Jan Mursak usually excites Grand Rapids Griffins’ fans with his speed. Wednesday night it was Mursak’s strength that netted him the deciding goal in the Griffins’ 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the American Hockey League Calder Cup finals.

Mursak was planted in front of Syracuse goalie Cedrick Desjardins when Jeff Hoggan whirled and fired the puck at the front of the net. The puck caromed off Mursak’s skate and with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining, the 10,102 fans who packed VanAndel Arena could sense victory. The Griffins lead the series 3-0 and could win the first Calder Cup in team history on Friday at home.

“I’m not the strongest guy out there, I’m not even the biggest guy out there (5-11, 190), but I got a really good position on the defenseman and the puck hit my skate and went in,” Mursak said. “Hoggan made a really, really good play. It was a lucky goal, but I’ll take it.”

Hoggan, who added an insurance goal 41 seconds later when he beat Desjardins, said Mursak’s goal played out the way it was supposed to.

“Our line has been working hard in the corners and you try to get the puck to the net and ‘Murs’ was there fighting for it,” Hoggan said. “It hit his skate and it went in.That’s where he’s supposed to be. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a big goal.”

And the Griffins insisted to the Grand Rapids Press's Wallner that they've got a ways to go and have enthusiasm and excitement to keep in check knowing that they'll be playing in front of a sold-out Van Andel Arena crowd on Friday night, with the Calder Cup in the house, but that things can turn around in a hurry if they plan on avoiding another 12-plus-hour bus ride to Syracuse to play Games 6 and 7:

“Part of human nature is being able to control your emotions,” [Griffins coach Jeff Blashill] said of getting too enthusiastic. “That’s a huge part of being a real good athlete, and to be a real good athlete you have to control your emotions, whether it is in a game or in a series.”

But Tomas Tatar, who tied the game in the second period with his all-time Griffins playoff record 13th goal, allowed that Grand Rapids is in a much better position than Syracuse.

“I bet they do,” he said when asked if he sensed frustration from the Crunch. “They are not used to this. They were 11-1 and last year they were just rolling all year, and this is just something kind of new for them.But we are playing good. I think we deserve all three wins, and there’s no lucky wins for us so far. I think they just got to be better to beat us or scheme something better. But so far, all the


Hoggan, the 35-year-old veteran captain who has had a marvelous postseason, delivered a backhand pass that was tipped in by Mursak for the go-ahead goal with 4:49 remaining, and Hoggan capped it as he intercepted a pass by the Crunch blueline and scored the insurance goal with 2:28 remaining. From there, it was left for the crowd of 10,102 to stand and cheer for the final minute.

“It was just electric,” Hoggan said of the closing moments. “It was awesome. It was a shared passion that’s started to spread.”


The downside came in the first period when defenseman Adam Almquist was injured after a hit along the boards by Richard Panik, who continued to skate in on the play for the opening goal of game. Almquist did not return, leaving the Griffins with five defensemen the rest of the game.

“I thought we reacted very well to it,” said defensive partner Nathan Paetsch. “Obviously we had extra shifts and that’s going to happen. We lost a great player and one of the top D-men, but I thought the guys reacted really, really well.”

Almquist's status for Game 4 was unknown.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke to the Wings' prospects about their experiences during the team's playoff run...

“It’s a lot of fun, and what an unbelievable atmosphere,” said forward Gustav Nyquist, who was sent back to Grand Rapids after the Red Wings were eliminated by Chicago. “This was a strong team effort tonight and we got the win in the end.”

“For sure, this is a big thing for us young guys and the veterans on this team, too. Chances like this don’t come around often you have to understand that and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Tomas Tatar and Luke Glendening (Michigan) also scored for Grand Rapids. Goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 26 shots.

“These games have been all the same, high level, and it’s been good hockey,” said Mrazek, who impressed during a brief stay with the Red Wings this season.

Tatar scored his 13th goal of the playoffs on a wraparound at 2:09 of the second period, tying the game 1-1.

“We want to finish it as early as possible,” Tatar said. “But we know it won’t be easy. It’ll be a battle like all these three games have been.”

Glendening put the Griffins ahead 2-1 with his sixth goal at 4:53, batting in a rebound of Danny DeKeyser’s shot.

“I’m just happy to be on this team and hoping to get a chance to win a championship,” said DeKeyser, who returned to game action in this series after breaking his thumb in the Red Wings’ first-round series against Anaheim. “Winning a championship would be awesome and hopefully we can get that one more win.”

And this would usually be pushed down the way to the "Wings/Griffins notebook" department, but a certain Red Wings coach was also in attendance for Game 3, and he made a surprising comment about the currently AHL-contract-only-signed Luke Glendening while relating his observations regarding both the Griffins' prospects and veterans to the Grand Rapids Press's Steve Kaminski:

“Oh, he will play at the next level, for sure,” Babcock said. “He just knows how to play. He does things right, and he is an everydayer. When you are a coach in the NHL, that is what you are looking for. Glendening jumps right at me for sure. He does everything right, he competes real hard and he will challenge for a job in the National Hockey League in not too long.”

Babcock, along with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, made the trip to Grand Rapids for Game 3 and saw the Griffins defeat the Syracuse Crunch 4-2 before 10,102 fans. Grand Rapids, which is up 3-0 in the series, can lock up its first American Hockey League championship with a victory in Game 4 Friday at 7 p.m.

Glendening wasn’t the only Grand Rapids player who impressed Babcock, either.

“Obviously, (Gustav) Nyquist and (Tomas) Tatar are NHL ready,” Babcock said. “Riley Sheahan is impressive. (Tomas) Jurco may be the most improved player on the team. (Danny) DeKeyser is playing in this game, and he isn’t like he was before he was injured with a broken thumb, but he is skating better tonight.”


“I saw them play nine games at the start of the year, and they got off to a tough start,” Babcock said. “But they have really impressive veterans, and not just as players, but as people. The veteran leadership down here has been fantastic. I look at (Jeff) Hoggan and (Brennan) Evans and (Nathan) Paetsch, and they have been great. That great leadership has allowed our young guys to settle in because of the great support around them. We have some prospects for the future, which is absolutely critical in today’s NHL.”

Babock guided the Red Wings to the Western Conference Finals this spring, where Detroit lost to Chicago 4 games to 3. He said he will not be back for Friday’s game.

“I’m going home,” Babcock said. “But we do have a large group that will be following them the rest of the way.”

"Home" means Saskatchewan, of course, and that also indicates that the Wings' pre-draft, pre-free-agency scouting powwow at the Joe is ending today.


In the multimedia department, both the Grand Rapids Press and the Griffins posted photo galleries from the game...

WOOD TV8 posted a non-auto-play highlight clip...

And I will let you watch Fox 17's highlight clip as the Griffins posted a highlight clip which shows both the hit that left Almquist injured and post-game comments from coach Blashill, Hoggan and Tatar:


Also of Griffins-related note: To avoid auto-play videos, I'll just provide links to Fox 17's profile of Griffins equipment manager Brad "Dogg" Thompson and the Griffins' longest-tenured season-ticket holders...

And it should be noted that, as WOOD TV8's Heather Walker notes, the Griffins and Grand Rapids are raking in a ton of money for what will be at least two Calder Cup Championship-hosting games:

The nearly sold-out Game 3 of the Calder Cup playoff series, along with other playoff games, are allowing the Grand Rapids Griffins to make money this season rather than simply break even -- which is the norm.

People poured into Van Andel Arena Wednesday, spending money on tickets and concessions. They were thrilled when Grand Rapids beat the Syracuse Crunch 4-2 for a 3-0 lead in the series.

"We came to a game last week and it wasn't like this. It was dead last week," fan Jay Anderson said.

Vice President of Business Operations Tim Gortesema said attendance for the fist couple of playoff rounds was OK: Between 3,000 and 4,000 people attended each game. That was less than the average regular-season game, which sees about 8,000 people. But Wednesday night, there were about 10,000 people in the stands at Van Andel Arena.

"Demand has been through the roof," Gortesema said.

And 24 Hour News 8 was told Friday's Game 4, during which the Griffins could clinch the Cup, was already sold out Wednesday.

Making to the playoffs has added 13 home games to the regular 38-game season -- a third more. Gortesema says that equals $1 million more in gross revenue in tickets alone. Concessions are expected to bring in an extra $340,000.

The Griffins will only get to keep about 25% of that, but it's still more money for Grand Rapids hockey.



In directly Red Wings-related news, the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests that the Philadelphia Flyers' acquisition of Mark Streit's rights from the Islanders, combined with the Stars' trading-for-and-then-signing-of Sergei Gonchar, may completely change teams' free agency plans, including those of the Wings:

Unlike last summer, when Ryan Suter headlined a considerable stable of unrestricted free-agent defensemen, this year’s crop was highlighted by Streit and Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar is gone, too; the Stars acquired his rights, then signed him to an eyebrow-raising two-year deal worth $10 million.

That leaves options like Ryan Whitney, 30, who last toiled for the Oilers. He’s a sizable 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, and has had some productive seasons. He’s coming off a six-year, $24-million contract and, like everyone else, will be seeking a raise. Other defensemen headed toward UFA status include Marek Zidlicky, Joe Corvo, Andrew Ference and Ron Hainsey.

Signing a player on the market has the benefit of costing only money, not something in return. The Wings have an excess of forwards, but in order to trade for a high-end guy — like Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, for example — it’s going to cost talented young players or blue-chip prospects or a mix of both.

There is a third way to get some help this summer — maybe. Later this month, after the Stanley Cup finals, teams will be able to trim their rosters via compliance buyouts, allowed this year and next to deal with a dwindling salary cap. Of course, no team is going to buy out its top defensemen, so whoever will be available will be someone else’s discard.

The bottom line: Defensemen are a premium in the NHL, much more so than forwards.

The Wings are far from the only team seeking help. And if the prices turn out to be too steep, there’s this ray of hope: Danny DeKeyser. He’s got top-four written all over him. Top pair Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson are signed. Restricted free agents Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl will be. There’s also Kyle Quincey, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brian Lashoff.

That’s pretty much the group the Wings had this past season, and they still advanced to the second round of the playoffs.


Otherwise, I can only tell you that NHL.com's Adam Kimelman's discussion of draft stategy with one Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill is a strange read...

And the Utica (New York) Observer-Dispatch's Don Laible penned a bit of a backgrounder regarding former Red Wings team physician John Finley's book about his tenure with the team, a novel called Hockeytown Doc:

Although Dr. Finley, originally from Central New York, never skated a game for the Red Wings, his 47 years as the team's physician makes him a multi-time, unanimous MVP.  Hockeytown Doc ( Triumph Books http://www.triumphbooks.com ) takes you on a wonderful journey of  life in the NHL 's medical room from 1957 until 2003.  From the glory days of the 1950's  with famed Wings Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, and Sid Abel, then with the organization's rebirth of winning Stanley Cups with superstars as Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Sergei Fedorov. Dr. Finley fixed them into game shape when their bodies said otherwise.

During the 1970 season, as he was walking to get his car outside the Olympia Stadium after the conclusion of a Detroit home game , perhaps it being a cold winter's night  saved Dr. Finley's life.  Chapter 14 - 'He Shoots, He Misses ' is five pages of  heart-pounding telling of an ordeal no one should experieince, and usually don't survive.  Dr. Finley, after performing a few laceration repairs to players ,  was approached by two men in the parking lot, one with a handgun.  The Wings physcian , in attempt to be robbed, was shot.  The bullet went through his coat and brand new suit, but missed his body. 

"I don't know why I didn't keep the coat ", Dr. Finley, originally from Syracuse, tells.  "  My wife had given it away because of a tear inside the lining.  I didn't cooperate with them probably because the Wings beat Chicago that night for the first time in three years, my juices  were still up from the big win ".

During Dr. Finley's decades of service with the Wings, as team physician he and his wife Genevieve, from Liverpool,NY would sit behind the team's bench.  Even in retirement, the Finleys today can be seen at Wings games, and stop in the club's alumni rooom prior to the drop of the puck; ' a little place' to stop in for a glass of  beer and have something to eat.  " I still get to the games early.  I spent time with Grodie Howe a couple weeks ago ", says Dr. Finley.  In reading HockeyTown Doc you will learn of  the birth of  a long and close friendship between the Howes and Finleys that will leave you envious . 

Murray Howe, Gordie's son who is a practicing radiologist in Todeo, Ohio is a favorite of  Dr. Finley.  Although Dr. Finley lives in the Detroit area and Dr. Howe doesn't, the two have discussed athletes who have been in need of medical care.  281 pages of  hockey history is offered by a man who provided his importance to the Red Wings organization through decades of administering quality health care to to players of all salary levels.  You want to know more than a thing or two about Red Wing owners Mike and Marian Ilitch, and how they rose up the financial ladder to position themselves to purchase the club?  Dr. Finley gives a great insight from when they opened their first pizza shop. 

" Mike ( Ilitch ) is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder's category.  He's a blue-collar guy from a blue collar city ", Dr. Finley declares during our telephone conversation. 

The evolution of  hockey equipment, from skates to sticks, player partnerships such as was between Wings Marty Pavelich and Ted Lindsay are brought to life by Dr. Finley for all to appreciate.  Coaching great Jack Adams  is another legend of  the ice who is personally profiled by Dr. Finley in Hockeytown Doc.  You may think that you know former Wings Captain Steve Yzerman, the player.  But not until you begin reading from page 177 will you learn of  Stevie Y's incomparable pain tolerance.

I think we already know that story.


Update: I have to send you to Reddit Hockey with a disclaimer--it's Reddit--but there's an interesting "statistical analysis of hockey" paper there...

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Bugsy's avatar

The spearing reminded me of the Lidstrom “take a hit to the testicle for the team” scenario.

The Wings don’t do much complaining on the whole compared to other teams, it seems, for injuries, ref calls, etc. Just keep playing and grinding. The strong silent types in relative terms: Yzerman, Lidstrom, Zetterberg. Hard work, self-control, clean play.

I don’t get to watch much like years ago, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say the Griffins are doing the same thing from what little I have been able to see, hear, read. Keep playing, keep grinding, realize you’ll take some abuse/injuries, the calls may not go your way, but you still have to find a way to win the game—self-control and discipline to fight through, don’t complain. I don’t know if anyone was expecting a sweep, but I’m not arguing at all. These playoffs (Detroit’s and GR’s) can only bode well I think in developing the future Wings mentally, particularly for next year’s playoffs. You can’t buy mental toughness, which it looks like the Griffins are continuing to develop/have.

Posted by Bugsy on 06/13/13 at 07:08 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

All I’m hoping for now is 1 good free agent, and if that means they have to settle on defense for now, and wait for the trade deadline, while getting a good power forward, so be it. I’m starting to have less hope in a buyout player fitting the Wings, but we’ll see. I’d rather have them push the # of player signings to that 10??% threshold and sort it out by the end of training camp.

Posted by Bugsy on 06/13/13 at 07:14 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I don’t get to watch much like years ago, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say the Griffins are doing the same thing from what little I have been able to see, hear, read. Keep playing, keep grinding, realize you’ll take some abuse/injuries, the calls may not go your way, but you still have to find a way to win the game—self-control and discipline to fight through, don’t complain.
Posted by Bugsy on 06/13/13 at 07:08 AM ET

Me and a buddy were just talking about that last night. The Griffins are definitely “Red Wings Lite”, if you will. They’re never pissin and moaning to the refs and none of that after the whistle tough guy bullcrap that the Crunch constantly pull. Classy team, they are.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/13/13 at 07:51 AM ET

Lucce's avatar

Blashill sounds alot like Babcock.

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 06/13/13 at 08:17 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The one thing I notice about the Griffins is that they go to the net much more consistently then the Wings do, and it pays off for them.  Maybe we need Blashill back up with the big club next season, bending Babs’ ear a bit.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 06/13/13 at 08:21 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

I’m glad to hear that the wings might be done in the defenseman dept.  Honestly, we have the parts.  The kids just need some more seasoning.  Between Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Kindl, Cola, Smitty, Q, and Lashoff, I think the Wings need to look at their bigget defensive liability: inability to score goals and maintain offensive pressure.  This team needs forwards who can score, not a top four defenseman.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/13/13 at 08:27 AM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Given how much chemistry the Nyquist- Andersson - Tatar line seems to have, and the fact that Tatar can’t be sent down without clearing waivers, I would have to imagine that this will give the Wings a little more comfort if they decide that they have to walk away from Brunner this summer.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/13/13 at 09:45 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

The one thing I notice about the Griffins is that they go to the net much more consistently then the Wings do, and it pays off for them.  Maybe we need Blashill back up with the big club next season, bending Babs’ ear a bit.
Posted by Hootinani on 06/13/13 at 08:21 AM ET

I’d say that’s on the players and not the coach. The Griffins may not have bigger forwards but they’re not a sceered to get their nose dirty.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/13/13 at 09:54 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The one thing I notice about the Griffins is that they go to the net much more consistently then the Wings do, and it pays off for them.  Maybe we need Blashill back up with the big club next season, bending Babs’ ear a bit.

Posted by Hootinani on 06/13/13 at 08:21 AM E

I think you have to go to the net more at that level.  There are more rebounds from the goalies, and the screens are just more-effective.  Bump down another level still to the ECHL and the scoring tends to come more from mistakes, odd-man rushes, and turnovers than crashing the net, but you still see it a lot.

Posted by Primis on 06/13/13 at 10:16 AM ET

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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.