The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/25/13 at 09:02 PM ET
Updated 7x at 10:56 PM: The Red Wings' 5-1 loss to the Pittsbugh Penguins was, to some extent, a case of personnel--the Penguins iced an NHL roster and the Wings were playing minus Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Ericsson, Alfredsson, Kindl, Howard, etc.--and, to some extent, a case of a very green lineup proving what Johan Franzen told Ken Daniels, Mickey Redmond and Chris Osgood during the second intermission: when you don't touch the puck, you're not going to play very well.
The Wings have played in 3 home exhibition games in front of half-full crowds, on average, and they've played decidedly below-average in front of people paying regular-season prices to watch three very poor efforts against Boston, Chicago and now Pittsburgh.
Don't get me wrong, the Wings' youngsters, like Xavier Ouellet, Adam Almquist, and Petr Mrazek, who had an "off night," are "learning," and the veterans--and especially newcomers like Stephen Weiss are acclimating to very unfamiliar surroundings (he's going to have a rough first 10 games)--but losing sucks regardless of whether your "C Team" is playing the opponent's "A Team," and the Wings' performance was poor on individual as well as team-wide bases.
The Red Wings have a pair of games against Toronto on Friday and Saturday, and perhaps knowing that the big boys would play and that HBO's cameras and the Toronto Media Mob are coming to town, the Wings mentally checked out before the game...
But it's still disappointing and still frustrating to see the youngsters play so indecisively, to see Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar, Brian Lashoff et. al. remind us that they are still rookies (in the literal and figurative senses), and to see Johan Franzen, Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, Kyle Quincey and even Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Petr Mrazek look just as unfamiliar with the "way the Red Wings play" as the "youfs" were.
The Wings didn't wilt under pressure as mcuch as they committed unforced errors--from the goaltender on out--and while I'm no coach, I sure as hell would'a simply told the Wings' players to take Thursday off, enjoy the warm weather and golf, flush this game out...And to show up on Friday and to prepare for the final pair of games as if they actually count, because the pair of dress rehearsals really do matter.
Thus far, the Wings haven't shown their paying fans a thing, and that's just unsettling, more because of the lack of intensity, attention to detail, focus, "compete level" and overall effort than the results.
I'll post goals in a minit and some stats, but sometimes the "feel" of the game matters more than the game's narrative.
Goals and stuff: Jussi Jokinen blew in on a breakaway with 4:56 left in the 1st, scoring a PPG thanks to Brian Lashoff and Danny DeKeyser rotating to the left and Stephen Weiss not sorting out coverage with Lashoff...
This was just poor. DeKeyser got accidentally kicked by Crosby, Weiss didn't do a good job of covering the lane and Brendan Smith was in la-la land when Crosby sent the pass to Chris Kunitz with 2:25 left in the 1st...
3:14 into the 2nd period, Craig Adams did tip a shot from Malkin at the blueline, but the Wings both let the passing lanes go and Mrazek was coming off his goal line--and was off his angle--as Adams tipped Malkin's shot in:
Drew Miller proved that Marc-Andre Fleury is no Dominik Hasek by salvaging some pride with 7:11 left in the 2nd...
But this goal by Kunitz, scored with 2:34 left, and resulting from a bad tip by Ouellet to nobody--because whoever was supposed to be on the ice decided that the puck being in the neutral zone = time to change! yielded a breakaway, and Mrazke should have had this one...
And for better or worse, the Penguins kept putting Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz et. al. over the boards in the 3rd, and Kuntiz scored this goal with 10:32 left in the game:
Aside from Mikael Samuelsson trying to jab at Malkin at the end of the game, and Justin Abdelkader getting into a wrestling match with gloves off against Robert Bortuzzo, the Wings didn't show much "fight."
Update #2: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a quick recap...
Johan Franzen summed it up during a second-period interview on Fox Sports Detroit by saying, “It kind of looks like boys against men out there.''
Detroit's top line featured Stephen Weiss centering Franzen and Justin Abdelkader, as Daniel Alfredsson continues to be idled by a sore groin.
Asked on FSD about the adjustment it will take playing with Weiss, Franzen said, “I don't know yet. We haven't had the puck yet this game, so we'll see.''
The Red Wings are 2-4 in the preseason, 0-3 at home. The Penguins, who got a pair of goals from Chris Kunitz, finished the preseason at 3-2-1.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wanted to see what some of young players can do as the exhibition schedule is winding down (they finish with a home-and-home set against Toronto Friday at the Joe and Saturday at the Air Canada Centre). He couldn't have been too impressed.
Goaltender Petr Mrazek allowed five goals on 37 shots. He didn't look sharp on a couple of the goals, but he also didn't have much help from his teammates. Mrazek will start the season as Detroit's backup due to Jonas Gustavsson's groin injury.
As did the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
When you looked at the two rosters there was a chance of this being a mismatch and it’s exactly what it turned out to be. Using basically their opening night roster the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday defeated the Red Wings 5-1.
Battling injuries, with two more exhibition games to go this weekend, and using some players destined for Grand Rapids, the Red Wings were outshot 36-17 and fell to 2-4-0 for the exhibition season.
Drew Miller scored the lone Red Wings’ goal. Petr Mrazek stopped 34 shots.
Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) scored twice (one a power play), and Jussi Jokinen (power play), Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams added goals for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had two assists, whle goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves.
The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, all of whom will play Friday when the Red Wings host Toronto.
And the AP's recap is...Brief.
Chris Kunitz had two goals and an assist to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 on Wednesday night in an exhibition game.
Jussi Jokinen, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams also scored for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves.
Drew Miller scored for Detroit, and Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots.
Jokinen and Dupuis scored in the final 5 minutes of the first to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Adams made it 3-0 3:14 into the second period. Miller scored with 7:11 left in the middle period.
Kunitz's first goal came with 2:35 remaining in the second and he added a power-play goal 9:28 into the third.
Update #3: Oh, *#$%@&:
He pushed Bortuzzo and got jumped.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Weiss went 10-and-8 (56%); Andersson went 10-and-4 (71%); Sheahan went 5-and-5 (50%); Emmerton went 1-and-7 (13%); Abdelkader went 0-and-2.
Shots: Bertuzzi and Samuelsson had 3 shots; Abdelkader had 2; Smith, Nyquist, Andersson, Miller, Quincey, Ouellet, Cleary, Weiss and Franzen had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Nyquist, Sheahan, Miller, Quincey, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi and Cleary had shot attempts blocked.
Missed shots: Nyquist missed the net 2 times; Quincey, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi and Weiss missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Abdelkader had 4 hits; Miller had 3; Andersson had 2; Smith, Sheahan, Tatar, Lashoff, Emmerton, Quincey, Samuelsson, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Cleary had 2 giveaways; Smith, Abdelkader, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, Franzen and Mrazek had 1.
Takeaways: Andersson had 2 takeaways; Smith, Ouellet, DeKeyser, Cleary and Weiss had 1.
Blocked shots: Smith blocked 3 shots; Abdelkader, Andersson, Lashoff, Emmerton and Quincey blocked 1 shot.
Penalty minutes: Abdelkader took a major penalty; Andersson, Miller, Quincey and Almquist took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -10. Abdelkader, Ouellet, DeKeyser, Weiss and Franzen finished at -2; Sheahan, Andersson and Bertuzzi finished at -1; Miller, Emmerton and Samuelsson finished at +1.
Points: Miller scored a goal and Samuelsson registered an assist.
Ice time: Smith led the team with 24:47 played; Quincey played 23:08; DeKeyser played 20:49;
Lashoff played 17:43; Cleary played 17:25; Franzen played 16:45;
Weiss played 16:40; Ouellet played 16:22; Emmerton played 15:47;
Nyquist played 15:19; Tatar played 14:47; Abdelkader played 14:46;
Samuelsson played 13:59; Almquist played 13:47; Andersson played 13:34;
Miller played 12:50; Bertuzzi played 12:20; Sheahan played 12:08.
Update #5: Angry Babs?
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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.