Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Predators wrap-up: seven losses, eight at home, and the Wings need to have more fun?

The Red Wings have a busy schedule ahead of them today:

The team will reveal the details of their Hockeytown Winter Festival's "Coke Zero Fan Experience"--or at least whatever hasn't been leaked already, and the vast majority of the details are public knowledge--at an 11 AM presser today;

Fox Sports Detroit's Chris Osgood will engage in a Q and A on the Free Press's website at 1 PM;

Several players, the coach and GM will take part in a fundraised for injured CC player Matt Sorisho at Compuware Arena in the evening;

And it is entirely possible that, over the course of the day, we should find out more about Danny DeKeyser's shoulder injury (separated shoulder, out for 1-2 weeks, click on the link for player/coach commentary), as well as Jonathan Ericsson's looming contract extension, during the course of the day.

The Wings' players will also practice at Joe Louis Arena, but they won't be able to offer the kinds of answers the team needs to issue after Tuesday night's 2-0 loss to Nashville--the Wings' seventh straight loss and eighth straight at home--until the Wings host the Hurricanes on Thursday. At this point, talk is pretty bloody cheap, and when your team hasn't won in eighteen days, it's cheaper still.

For the Predators, who beat the Wings and left town for a Thursday night game in Toronto, winning an ugly game that, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa put it, was "like watching paint dry" was nothing less than beautiful.

Perhaps more so for Marek Mazanec, who the Tennessean's Josh Cooper noted posited his first NHL shutout:

“No goals? It was not bad,” the rookie goaltender said with a smile.

No, not bad at all. The 22-year-old from the Czech Republic made 27 stops in leading the Predators to a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The win for the Predators (10-9-2) was their second straight and the first on the road since a Nov. 6 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. It also was the second straight for Mazanec in his fourth straight start. After a rocky beginning, he has found his footing by beating some of the NHL’s top players. Mazanec’s two victories have come against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and perennial power Detroit.

An unheralded sixth-round draft pick in 2012, Mazanec has stifled some of the top players in the NHL, including Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks and Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings.

“You face the best players right away. There’s no getting used to it,” Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. “You’re thrown right into it. You’re thrown into the fire. I remember talking to him after one of the first practices, he said he had to get used to the speed, it was a lot faster, and obviously he has adjusted very well.”

The Predators’ two goals, by Gabriel Bourque and Weber, were all Mazanec needed.

“Everyone is committed to playing the game the right way to win,” coach Barry Trotz said, “and I thought today was a good example.

Cooper reports that the Predators were very happy to see the first goal stand as the gamer...

With 4.8 seconds left in the second period, Weber blasted a slap shot past Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard to give the Predators a 1-0 lead — one they never relinquished. The puck was rolling on Weber and sort of knuckled its way past Howard.

“You talk about not giving up goals in the last minute of the game and periods, to be able to get one and take life out of them and give us some momentum between periods,” Weber said.

Said Predators coach Barry Trotz: “It was a 0-0 game, you’re in Detroit, and they have guys like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg who are so dangerous. They’re such a well-structured team, and they don’t give you a whole lot. That was a real big goal for us, a really big goal.”

And the Stalberg-Samuelsson fight wasn't anything to write home about:

Late in the third period, Stalberg found himself locked up with Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson. The normally docile Stalberg dropped his gloves seemingly to fight Samuelsson, who did not drop his. The two were both given two-minute penalties for holding at the 16:15 mark.

“I got an elbow in my face, and he started shoving a little bit, and I thought he was going to drop them, and I did for the sake of saving myself,” Stalberg said. “There wasn’t much to it.”

Reuters also took note of the Predators' comments...

Mazanec, 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds, made 27 saves in posting his first NHL shutout and leading to a 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

"He's been great. He's not a goalie who moves a lot. He's solid in net. He's big," said Predators winger Viktor Stalberg, who had an assist.

It was Detroit's seventh straight loss and eighth consecutive loss on home ice. The last time the Red Wings went eight games without a win at home was January, 1991. The previous five losses had come in either overtime or a shootout.

"I know they're going through time with the shootout thing, and when you've lost that many in a row, it gets in your head," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said about Detroit. "They haven't really lost that many games."

Defenseman and captain Shea Weber and winger Gabriel Bourque scored for Nashville (10-9-2).

"They didn't have a lot of good opportunities today," Mazanec said. "It was a crazy game. Our defense played great."

It was only Mazanec's fifth NHL game after being recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League on Nov. 12. He was backing up Carter Hutton with Rinne out. Mazanec just got his first career win Saturday in a 7-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

"He's catching up to the level. He's confident after seeing some of the best players in the world," Trotz said. "When you start facing those guys on a regular basis, you're going to feel a little bit more confident if you have success."

NHL.com's recap also took note of the Predators' comments...

"They didn't have a lot of good opportunities," Mazanec said. "Our defense played great."

The Red Wings hadn't lost eight in a row in Detroit since Nov. 19, 1986, through Dec. 20, 1986.

Mazanec, 22, was Nashville's sixth-round pick (No. 179) at the 2012 NHL Draft. He made his fifth NHL appearance Tuesday.

"He's catching up to the level," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of his goaltender. "He's confident after seeing some of the best players in the world. When you start facing those guys on a regular basis, you're going to feel a little bit more confident if you have success."

Shea Weber broke a scoreless tie via the power play with 4.8 seconds remaining in the second period. With Red Wings forward Drew Miller in the box for hooking, Weber took a pass from David Legwand and ripped a slap shot from the point past Jimmy Howard to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. It was Weber's sixth goal of the season.

"That was a huge goal," Trotz said. "We're in Detroit and they've got guys like [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg. They're dangerous."

Gabriel Bourque's goal at 7:13 of the third gave Nashville a 2-0 lead. With the teams at even strength, Viktor Stalberg intercepted Niklas Kronwall's clearing attempt at center ice, skated into the Detroit zone and fired a wrister from the slot that went wide and off the end boards. The puck bounced back in front, and Bourque swatted it past Howard for his fifth goal of the season.

And the Associated Press's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Predators and Red Wings' perspectives:

Detroit's home slide reached eight games (0-6-2), the franchise's longest stretch without a win at Joe Louis Arena since Jan. 12-30 1991, according to STATS.

"It's just a frustrating time for us right now," Jimmy Howard said after making 23 saves for the Red Wings. "It just doesn't seem like anything's going our way out there."

Home -- or away. The Red Wings have gone seven games without a win overall (0-5-2) for the first time since the last seven games of the 2001-02 regular season, according to STATS. That team went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

This one, though, appears to have a lot of heavy lifting ahead of it to contend for a championship.

"When you've lost that many in a row, it gets in your head," Trotz said. "They haven't really lost that many games."

In regulation, that's a fact. Detroit entered the game with an Eastern Conference-low five losses in regulation, but has lost all four of its shootouts and seven of eight games decided in overtime.

"There's no excuses -- whatsoever," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Our job is to win games and we haven't been winning. Sure, we've been taking points here and there, but it's about getting two points and we have to get back to that as soon as possible."

Kronwall, as you'll see in the video below, was absolutely seething after the game, which is good given that there were so few flashes of competitive fire from minutes 1 to 60.

Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff that the team's 0-2-and-6 home record and 0-2-and-5 record over the past seven games boils down to one thing:

“I thought we competed but we didn’t generate (offence),” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “In the end you’ve got to generate. You’ve got to spend more time in the offensive zone.”

The Wings believe that the solution to what ails them is to get back to basics in order to dig their way out of their longest drought since another seven-game skid late in the 2001-02 season.

“We’re all trying to do a little too much out there,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “I think at the end of the day, we’ve just got to step back, take a breather and go on out there and do our own jobs. We’re trying to be too much out there. I think that goes for all of us.”

Even I'll readily admit that Howard was way out of position on the second goal, to the point that Ericsson didn't run over his goalie in the slot as much as he fell over a goalie ten feet out of his crease, trying to do his defenseman's job.

Don’t think about it. Just do it. That’s what Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg viewed as the method to climb out of their hole.

“When you get into a slide like this, you shouldn’t think too much,” Zetterberg explained. “You should just go out and play. We’re squeezing our sticks too much. We’re not playing the way we should. We’ve just got to get back to playing the way we should, relax a little bit and enjoy the moment. We’re not enjoying playing out there.”

No, they're not. Zetterberg went a step further while speaking with Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus:

“I think we’re more like robots out there,” Zetterberg said. “We’re not being creative enough when we get our chances, so we’ve just got to get back to playing the way we should. Just relax a little bit and enjoy the moment. I think, now, we’re not enjoying playing out there.”

Kronwall continued seething while speaking with the Macomb Daily's George Pohly...

“Everyone is disappointed,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s about winning games, and we’re not doing that. We have to get better. No excuses. We have to come out and do a better job.”

The Red Wings used to fatten up against Nashville. Detroit was 7-2-1 in its previous 10 games against the Predators, and the Red Wings were 29-7-2-5 all-time at home against Nashville before Legwand and Co. kept Detroit on the skids.

But this season has been uncharacteristic of the Red Wings, whose home-ice slide began with a 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose on Oct. 21.

“It’s tough. There’s no way around it,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said.

Detroit had a pair of six-game winless streaks during the 2011-12 season. The Wings went winless in seven straight games late in the 2001-02 season, which ended with Detroit winning the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings have not gone eight consecutive games without a win since 1990-91.

“We have to find a way to get through this,” Kronwall said. “You pull together as a team.”

And Howard and Kronwall continued while speaking with Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji:

"It's just a frustrating time for us right now," said goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 23 saves. "It just doesn't seem like anything's going our way out there. But you've got to go out there and work for your breaks. I don't think it's lack of trying or lack of effort but I think we just gotta dig in a little bit harder around the net and not squeeze our sticks."

Although the Wings came into Tuesday in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, the goal differential was minus-6, now minus-8 (54 goals for, 62 against).

...

Neither team seemed inclined to score most of the game, but the Predators managed to get their first goal on the power play as Shea Weber's shot from the point got past Howard.

"Obviously that’s something we’re not used to but that’s no excuse," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We have to be better, it’s just the bottom line, play with more emotion and just get the job done out there."

Kronwall thought the Wings needed more emotion, but Howard didn't think that was the problem.

"It's frustrating. There's no way around it, it really is," Howard said. "We're all competitors in here. When things aren't going your way, you try to take on a little bit too much individually and we can't allow that to happen.  We're all great hockey players in here and there's a reason why we play in the NHL so we gotta get back to that positive mind frame of why we're here and just how hard we worked to get here."

That's very good advice given that continuing to play this way--and continuing to not put in the effort necessary to win games--things are going to get harder in a hurry, especially with Danny DeKeyser out for a "little bit,"as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James:

DeKeyser left two shifts into Tuesday's 2-0 loss at Joe Louis Arena to the Nashville Predators, leaving the Detroit Red Wings without one of their top three defensemen. DeKeyser suffered an injury to his left shoulder.

"He's out for a bit," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's definitely not playing this week."

General manager Ken Holland said DeKeyser will see a doctor Wednesday: "Tonight we think 1-2 weeks, but we'll know more tomorrow."

DeKeyser was hit into the glass by Predators forward Patric Hornqvist, immediately skating off in pain. The Wings still had six defensemen playing, as they'd dressed seven to compensate for only having 11 forwards.

"It's tough," Henrik Zetterberg said. "Danny is a good defenseman, has been playing well for us. Seeing him go down - I don't know how bad it is or how long he's going to be gone, but obviously it's a piece of time that we're not going to have him."

There are now two entries regarding DeKeyser's injury, but if you didn't see the hit, Patric Hornqvist got under DeKeyser as he attempted to play the puck, yielding body weight shifting into DeKeyser's ribs...And that tipped DeKeyser over to the point that his left shoulder made hard contact with the glass. This video's an updated one and it shows a replay of the hit:

For whatever reason, MLive chose to delay Ansar Khan's recap until later this morning (i.e. 6 or 7 AM), so MLive's Brendan Savage offers "highlights" and "lowlights" instead...

RED WINGS' HIGHLIGHTS

• Darren Helm threw a big hit on Mike Fisher in the first period. That was another good sign in his attempt to return to 100 percent after missing all but one game last season as well as the start of this season with back and groin injuries.

• The Red Wings blocked seven shots in the second period.

RED WINGS' LOWLIGHTS

• Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser left the game at 3:41 of the first period with an injury to his left shoulder after being hit by Nashville's Patric Hornqvist. DeKeyser did not return and there was no word on how long he'll be sidelined. Fortunately for the Red Wings, coach Mike Babcock dressed seven defenseman.

• The Red Wings were shut out for the second time this season. San Jose beat them 1-0 in a shootout Oct. 25 at Joe Louis Arena.

• The Red Wings had 10 giveaways in the first 40 minutes.

• The Red Wings' last home victory was 2-1 over Columbus on Oct. 15. Since then, their record is 4-4-7.

And the second and third periods' worth of the Free Press's Helene St. James' "Why the Wings Lost" capsule recap offer all the game narrative you really need to know:

The Wings went on a fourth PK at 19:00, with Drew Miller called for hooking. Andersson rimmed the puck behind the net and up the side, where Shea Weber turned the puck into a power-play goal with 4.8 seconds to go. Shots were 17-16 in favor of Nashville.

IN THE THIRD PERIOD: Gabriel Bourque scored at 7:13, after the puck bounced out front off the back boards. Howard just missed kicking the puck away with his left leg. The Wings went on another penalty kill at 10:42, when Daniel Cleary went off for four minutes. The Wings ended up with 27 shots to 25 by the Predators.

Babcock readily admitted that the game was unpleasant-to-watch at best while speaking with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

“It was a muddy track out there, neither team generated much offense,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Our penalty kill was good, I didn’t like our power play as much. We didn’t generate enough offense, yet in saying that, they didn’t generate offense either (25 shots). From a fan’s point of view it was probably an ugly game.”

...

The Red Wings saw a pair of disturbing streaks extended. They haven’t won at home in eight games (0-2-6) beginning Oct.21 when they lost to San Jose in a shootout. The Red Wings haven’t had such a long streak since January 1991.

They haven’t won overall in in seven games (0-2-5), which hasn’t occurred since April 2002.

“I’m concerned all the time,” Babcock said. “Anytime you haven’t won as long as we haven’t won, obviously it’s concerning. But to me it’s all about getting better each and every day. We’ll come back here tomorrow and get the ship righted.”

And Howard admitted that the Wings have something of a mental block in place when they play at the Joe now:

“It’s in our heads,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “It’s mentally screwing with our game out there. It’s just a frustrating time for us right now. It just doesn’t seem like anything’s going our way out there. But you’ve got to go out there and work for your breaks. And tonight ... I don’t think it’s lack of trying or lack of effort. We’ve just got to dig in a little bit harder around the net and not squeeze our sticks.”

The Wings must've certainly felt like they were on the road at times given both the two-thirds-filled rink and the amount of boos that rained down upon them--deserved boos at that--and Babcock told the Free Press's St. James that the lack of scoring and one other detail led to the Wings' defeat

“We can’t take the penalties,” Babcock said. “It kills you. It’s too much We can’t take slashes and hooks and stuff like that. We’ve got to be more disciplined.”

The Wings were out-penalized 6 to 2, and they spent a full 10:18 shorthanded, which is a third of the damn game.

Joakim Andersson was trying to rim the puck out of Detroit’s zone, but when the puck rolled up there was no teammate to help out. David Legwand got to the puck first and found Weber for a 1-0 lead with five seconds to go .

“We got the puck, we reverse-rimmed it instead of just guaranteeing it out,” Babcock said. “We didn’t generate enough offense, and yet they didn’t generate much offense.”

Mazanec didn’t have to make more than a handful of good saves. He turned away Todd Bertuzzi off a nice set-up by Pavel Datsyuk, and denied Datsyuk with a left-shoulder save. Tomas Tatar had a couple of good chances.

“We knew it was going to be close, not a lot of chances, tight defense,” Zetterberg said. “In the first, we played OK, we had some good chances. In the second, their goal was tough. In the third, we just tried to create as many chances as we could, but I don’t think we did enough. We’re not doing enough right things.”

I'm pretty exhausted and I've exhausted my "rally the troops" messages, so I'll let the Detroit News's ever-thoughtful Gregg Krupa take us out instead:

Panic? Nah. Move away from their develop-from-within strategy? That would be most unfortunate.

Play better? Oh, you betcha!

They did not generate enough second chances on their power play Tuesday. But that had been turning, recently. They turned over the puck a bit too much, again. But they had begun to take care of their problems with possession, in recent games.

If, in the coming days, you hear a lot of assertions from Babcock and the leadership quartet of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard that they just need to keep on keeping on, and that eventually things will turn, it is not because the record is broken on the turntable. Beyond the likelihood that it is true, it is all a lagging hockey team can do.

The fans booed Tuesday. It is their prerogative. Besides, in Detroit, they are hockey fans among the most knowledgeable. And, right now, the Red Wings are struggling.

After the morning skate Tuesday, Babcock said, “We got points in nine out of 10 games. That’s the way I look at it. Let’s make sure we get points, tonight.”

They failed, Tuesday. But do not think that will keep their coach from saying about the same thing, today.

Multimedia:

Highlights: The Red Wings' website posted a highlight clip narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:

Post-game: Fox Sports Detroit posted a clip of Jimmy Howard's post-game comments...

The Wings' website (whose audio is really wonky tonight, so don't fear that your computer's blowing up--you're hearing blips and beeps and interference on the following videos' soundtracks) posted clips of Niklas Kronwall...

Henrik Zetterberg...

And coach Babcock's post-game comments:

The Free Press's Helene St. James' video of Zetterberg and Babcock's comments offers better audio:

The Windsor Star posted a YouTube clip of Zetterberg's comments, and MLive's Ansar Khan posted the DeKeyser-pertinent part of Babcock's presser.

Photos: The Detroit News's David Guralnick posted a 19-image gallery;

The Detroit Free Press posted a 20-image gallery;

The Windsor Star posted 6 big images from the game;

Michigan Hockey posted a HTML5 slideshow of images from the game;

ESPN posted a 30-image gallery;

And NHL.com, the Predators' website and the Red Wings' website posted 36-image galleries.

Statistics:

Shots: the Red Wings actually out-shot Nashville 27-25. Detroit was out-shot 10-7 in the 1st but out-shot Nashville 9-7 in the 2nd and 11-8 in the 3rd.

Special teams: The Wings went 0-for-2 in 3:18 of PP time; the Predators went 1-for-6 in 10:13 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of 25; Marek Mazanec stopped 27 of 27.

The 3 stars were picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, and he picked David Legwand, Marek Mazanec and David Legwand

Faceoffs 34-32 Nashville (Detroit won 48%);

Blocked shots 15-5 Nashville;

Missed shots 11-7 Nashville (total attempts 49-46 Detroit, with the Wings firing 27 shots on Mazanec and 22 wide/blocked);

Hits 21-16 Detroit;

Giveaways 14-7 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-5 Nashville.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 13-and-9 (59%); Helm went 9-and-9 (50%); Andersson went 6-and-9 (40%); Abdelkader went 1-and-6 (14%); Zetterberg went 2-and-0 (100%); Miller won his only faceoff; Franzen lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Datsyuk led the Wings with 4 hits; Samuelsson and Zetterberg had 3; Andersson, Tatar, Helm, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Franzen had 2; Kindl, Abdelkader, Miller, Quincey and Cleary had 1.

Blocked attempts: Datsyuk, Miller and Kronwall had 3 attempts blocked; Ericsson had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Kindl, Lashoff and Bertuzzi had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Samuelsson, Helm, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net 1.

Hits: Ericsson led the Wings with 4 hits; MIller had 3; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader and Cleary had 2; Andersson, Quincey, Samuelsson, Helm, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Zetterberg and Franzen had 3 giveaways; Kronwall had 2; Smith, Kindl, Andersson, Quincey, Helm and Cleary had 1.

Takeaways: Datsyuk, Tatar, Samuelsson, Helm and Franzen had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: Kindl and Kronwall blocked 3 shots; Ericsson blocked 2; Tatar and Lashoff blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Miller, Tatar, Samuelsson, Ericsson and Kronwall took minor penalties; Cleary took a double minor.

Plus-minus: The Wings were -5. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Kronwall were -1.

Points: No one scored.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:21 played; Ericsson played 23:35; Zetterberg played 21:35;

Datsyuk played 21:33; Quincey played 19:17; Smith played 19:08;

Helm played 18:10; Kindl played 17:37; Franzen played 17:18;

Bertuzzi played 15:23; Cleary played 14:29; Tatar played 13:59;

Lashoff played 12:44; Miller played 12:32; Samuelsson played 12:32;

Abdelkader played 11:49; DeKeyser played 1:21; there was no 18th skater.

 

 

 

 

Red Wngs notebooks: The Red Wings paid tribute to Chris Chelios's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame with a video...

And then he dropped the puck prior to Tuesday's game:

DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson took note of Chelios's presence:

The night recognized Chelios for his recent induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, an honor that was considered an obvious decision after the defenseman earned three Stanley Cups, three Norris Trophies and an Olympic silver medal in his decorated 26-year career. The celebration at Joe Louis included a pre-game replay of Chelios’ induction speech, a poster giveaway, a concourse display of the defenseman’s relevant trophies and Chelios’ participation in the ceremonial puck drop with his family.

He wouldn’t have it any other way. As much as Chelios was honored by his induction, he was even more excited to have his family enjoy and take part in the Hall of Fame weekend, becoming the first inductee to welcome his family on stage.

“The tradition in basketball was that they had mentors or coaches on stage,” Chelios said, “so I couldn’t think of anybody better to have up there than my family.”

The defenseman made sure his guests enjoyed the entire weekend, including a Sunday night induction party in Toronto.

“It was amazing. Wayne Gretzky actually said he wasn’t going to make it, but he walked in 45 minutes later and surprised me,” Chelios said. “My friends and family had the time of their life and the whole idea was to give them a night they’d never forget and a weekend they’d never forget.”

It was a weekend they aren’t likely to forget anytime soon, just as Chelios and his legacy will never be forgotten. After giving Detroit eight strong years and bringing home two Stanley Cups, the standing ovation as Chelios lifted his right hand in the air spoke for itself: the defenseman will have his place in NHL history and the hearts of Hockeytown forever.

Oddly enough, Chelios's "Five Minute Major" segment on Fox Sports One, in which he discussed his Hall of Fame Induction and potential overtime changes, comes from...Fox Sports Tennessee? Well, okay:

In the more dedicated sense of the "notebook" term, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan asked Henrik Zetterberg if he'd prefer to see the NHL do away with the shootout, and Zetterberg, like Chelios before him, said that he wasn't a fan of "no result," even though the Wings are winless in 4 shootouts thus far:

“We don’t score, it’s pretty simple,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “In a shootout you score or don’t score. We haven’t been scoring.”

Zetterberg understands fans enjoy the shootout, and doesn’t necessarily want to see it go away. But the idea of extending overtime to gives teams’ a better chance to decide the outcome within the game, rather than a skills competition, is appealing.

“It’s great for the fans, they love it,” said Zetterberg of the shootout. “It’s fun when you win and not so fun when you lose. I don’t mind a different option, go with overtime a little longer. That would be exciting, too.”

Zetterberg said players still enjoy the aspect of going 1-on-1 against the goalie in a shootout - something not possible very often - but the proposed wrinkle for overtime is also exciting.

“You don’t play 3-on-3 often, either,” Zetterberg said.

Kulfan also spoke with Niklas Kronwall about Chelios:

“He really was a freak of nature,” Kronwall said. “The thing is, he lived and breathed hockey every day. To be able to stay at that level for so long, obviously there aren’t many guys who can do that.”

So what does Kronwall remember most about Chelios?

“His passion for the game,” Kronwall said. “Just how much he truly loved hockey.”

I will allow you to ponder MLive's Brendan Savage's, "What grade would you give the Wings?" on your own, though his food for thought is sound...

The Red Wings are tied for fourth place in the East, three points behind Tampa Bay, two back of Boston and one behind Pittsburgh. (Let's not get into tiebreakers, OK? They're for the end of the season, not November.)

The Red Wings also lead the NHL with seven overtime/shootout losses. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Think about it for a minute before you answer – on one hand, the Red Wings aren't losing in regulation and are giving themselves a chance to win in OT. Then again, they're not winning regularly in regulation and aren't doing it in OT or a shootout either.

With a 6-3-1 road record, they lead the Eastern Conference with 13 points away from home.

And what about the players individually?

Who has played well as the Red Wings reach the quarter pole and who needs to pick up their game as the Red Wings head toward the New Year and the second half of the campaign?

Let's not forget the coaching staff or front office, either, since everybody likes to give their opinion on the lineup or roster.

With all that to digest, what are your thoughts on the Red Wings as they pass the quarter mark?

And I'm going to disagree with the Free Press's Helene St. James--and the coach--here. In all honesty, if I were able to bring Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss back, I wouldn't sit Mikael Samuelsson or Daniel Cleary. The first players I'd rotate out of the lineup, in order, would be Joakim Andersson, who I feel is dealing with a serious case of a sophomore slump's worth of a crisis of confidence, and then I'd sit Justin Abdelkader, who I feel hasn't proved that he can generate much offense away from Henrik Zetterberg.

Babcock insisted to St. James that Abdelkader has been separated from the Eurotwins/and/or/Radar Partners because the Wings' third line needs a lift:

"We've been able to put Abby somewhere else to help some other people," Babcock said. "Abby skates real well, is physical, he brings it every single day. He helps the line he plays with. Now we've got him playing center. When guys get hurt, you do what you've got to do."

Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson are both sidelined by groin injuries. Weiss could be back within days; when he does return, Babcock said he'd put Abdelkader "with Weisser and he can help Weisser get up and down the ice. Abby skates good and he works hard. So I like him lots of places."

Abdelkader had two goals and four assists after 21 games. He'd been quiet offensively his previous six games, mirroring many of his teammates. More important for Abdelkader is how he plays in his own end.

"You always want to have more points but at the same time I think I'm doing a lot of good things out there," he said. "I just have to make sure I take pucks to the net, be in front of the net. I can do a better job skating up and down with the puck. Just try to play heavy on the puck, strong on the puck, and be all around good player."

Tuesday was a chance for Abdelkader, 26, to audition for Predators general manager David Poile, who wears the same hat for Team USA headed into the 2014 Olympics. Abdelkader was one of three Wings invited to Olympic orientation camp last summer. Abdelkader's current role isn't as eye-catching as his first month, but it's not like Poile doesn't know what Abdelkader is, and what he is not. He is a physical forward who can play with anyone. He isn't a star scorer.

"I think they're going to look at your overall track record and what you've done," Abdelkader said. "Obviously it's important to play good the first 3-4 months, but I do think they'll look at what you've done overall."

Speaking of the Olympics, USA Today's Kevin Allen believes that Jimmy Howard should still be in Team USA's 2014 Olympic goaltending mix...

Our U.S. goalie ranking: 1. Quick. 2. Miller. 3. Howard. 4. Bishop. 5. Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils). 6. Anderson. 7. Tim Thomas (Florida Panthers).

And in another kind of ranking--my least favorite kind--SI's Allan Muir issued the following summation of the state of the Red Wings via a slate of power rankings:

19 Detroit Red Wings Last Week: 16 Maybe down the line the Wings will appreciate the points they've pulled out of five consecutive shootout/OT losses, but right now all they can see is a stretch that was painted black by their inability to grab that second point. And if that streak's not bad enough, they play their next three at the Joe, where they've lost seven straight. (Last week: 0-0-3)

Two more at the Joe. And eight at home.

In bracketology of the participatory kind, via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press is asking readers to weigh in as to what consttutes Michigan's "Best Sports Song," and their picks include:

1. "Gordie Howe Is the Greatest of Them All";

2. "I Wanna Drive the Zamboni";

3. "I Want Stanley":

4. "Karen Newman's National Anthem";

5. "Red Wings, My Red Wings";

6. And Stompin' Tom Connors' "The Hockey Song.

I'm guessing that "Hail to the Victors" and "Bless You, Boys" will vie for the title, but that's just me.

And finally, you'll be reading a "different voice" today. I'm utterly exhausted after having "played through" a virus for the past two weeks, and I'm going to take at least part of the day off today. I feel burnt out and like I'm about to fall over, and when that happens and it remains a consistent state over time, it's time to take a little break.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

yes, the preds are a *#$%@& boring, awful, brutal team to watch, but the wings used to be good enough to pick them apart and maybe scrap once or twice if the mood was right. a win was automatic at home.

instead? they got worked. 2-0 to this team is an embarrassment. sammy got so angry that he hugged a guy with his gloves on, the season was defined by most fans’ thoughts of WHAT IS HE DOING AND WHY IS HE ON THIS TEAM, and the beat went on. that was a guy playing for a paycheck, not a team, not the fans, not the city. *#$%@& sammuelsson after that disgusting display.

i believe babcock and holland are among the finest managers/coaches in the NHL, which means the planet. that they have made these roster mistakes and cannot get this team going—coupled with certain rumors i’ve been hearing—means that for the first time in a long time, the coaching and management of the red wings CANNOT BE SAFE.

the glaring, awful, clearly-idiotic-at-this-point roster mistakes are on holland. the fact that this team is underperforming like this—and believe me, while the league has caught up to them, they are underperforming—is on babcock. pathetic.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 06:07 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

IMHO the wings” performance is related to all the “other stuff” on the schedule this year.  There is the outdoor game and all that hoopla around January 1, but more important are all the plans for leaving with their national teams to the Olympics in Russia. 
In addition, every opposition Canadian player is playing his best in front of Babcock and Holland.
I suspect that the NHL and the Stanley cup are at the bottom of the players’ individual “to do” lists.

OTOH, every NHL team is facing the same issues…..

Posted by w2j2 on 11/20/13 at 06:11 AM ET

Chet's avatar

btw, isn’t it clear? management isn’t interested in winning the stanley cup. they’re interested in limping into the playoffs as yet another patsy to the eventual winners, just to keep the streak alive and save their jobs. last year’s run (which, btw, was to game 7 of the second round) was an aberration and still pretty irrelevant.

sick of these guys. sick of mistakes and malaise. a shakeup, if not during the season after, may be due.

(lest anyone forget, btw—i believe in most of these players and i do think they’ll right the ship, even if that means another 7-8 seed. i’d love to see a deep run and a cup, but…who’s kidding who? who thinks that’s possible, much less likely right now?)

mike ilitch believed in winning the stanley cup. i get that the cap system makes it a different game, but that just means that if you can’t spend on your roster, you spend on coaching and management. do we have the best coaching and management in the NHL right now? try to argue we do.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 06:13 AM ET

Chet's avatar

w2j2, most NHL’ers are still driven by income, contracts, and winning the Cup. the wings are a pretty international team so maybe they’re somewhat distracted, but who’s that on?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 06:15 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i hate the olympic excuse. the best guys on most teams are supposedly “distracted” by the olympics, but they don’t play like this group. these guys are a *#$%@& embarrassment at this point.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 06:16 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

I am pretty disappointed with DeKeyser’s injury.  That was a boneheaded mistake.

Like Mickey Redmond said, he has to be aware that Hornquist is going to hit him.  As a pro, he must protect himself above all.  So he had to either back off and let Hornquist hit the glass, or turn around and get his stick up.  To continue to play the puck was suicide.

Posted by w2j2 on 11/20/13 at 06:21 AM ET

Chet's avatar

blah blan, mick’s commentary during the game doesn’t change anything about the bigger picture. i’d also argue that those types of hits happen many times per game in the NHL each night and DK’s injury was more bad luck. the idea that you should stick our your arms to “absorb” that type of hit a foot or two from the boards in today’s NHL is goddamn nonsense.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 06:23 AM ET

Avatar

Detroit’s just lost right now.  Every night the other teams top 6 is better.  Every night the other teams blueline is better.  Every night the other teams goalie is better.

Every night, and it shouldn’t be.  Yeah, in a hard capped league lots of games are scheduling losses and rosters devolve towards the mean, but Detroit’s got better talent than what they’ve done lately.

It seems like the Wings haven’t gotten adjusted to the new reality, so when they run into these lulls it seems like it impacts them more than it does most other teams who’ve lived the life of mediocrity for much longer.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/20/13 at 06:42 AM ET

Chet's avatar

no disagreement that wings fans maybe do react more strongly to bad swings like this, but at what point does it set in that this team hasn’t been in the final four since 2009 and looks, in no way, like they’ll be back anytime soon? i know we’re a spoiled fan base, but we were spoiled by the results as well as the idea that this front office gets a coach and a team that gets it done.

i hate to say it, but it’s starting to look like that ideal is past its best-after date.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 07:01 AM ET

Chet's avatar

also GM: agree maybe anderssen needs a breather. how can it hurt?

then again by the end of last season he WAS finding chemistry with two speedy, skilled euro linemates. we got 71 and 37 on this team. where’re those other guys and why?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/20/13 at 07:41 AM ET

Avatar

Kronwall, as you’ll see in the video below, was absolutely seething after the game

I don’t think Kronwall was “seething.” I saw that word twice to describe his comments and I saw more of the same “we have to be better” shit. I thought for once I would actually see someone on the verge of flipping out. THAT would have been more comforting to me. Instead, it seemed like the same crap they have been saying after every loss. What an over-sell on the “seething” description.

You know what I wanted? “Sorry, the team is not meeting with the media tonight.” And then I wanted to find out that reason for that, amongst other things, was that Howard or someone trashed the locker room and they didn’t want the media to see it.

Isn’t it time for a rise? Zetterberg’s comments about the team being “robots” are telling - that’s what this team preaches and has always been. Lidstrom was always so even tempered. Watch the video of Babcock after Game 1 of the Blackhawks series last year. That’s the message that’s preached. It’s a roller coaster so you can’t ever get too high or too low.

I think that’s a great message. Probably a good message to send to a team with a lot of young guys. But this is the reverse side of that method: you get guys who are conditioned to just keep rolling and never get too upset. They are teaching these guys to repress their emotions. So what suffers is the urgency, anger and emotion. Hence, you get robots without feelings.

Look again at that Kronwall video. That’s “seething?” I guess maybe I should temper my opinion of seething for the expectations of a team full of robots. I guess if I am expecting robotic monotone from Kronwall, which I probably should be, then maybe that little video angles slightly toward some kind of anger. But judging against other humans and what I would describe as seething emotion, that Kronwall video hardly displays anger to any extent.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/20/13 at 08:59 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

And is if on cue, Babs post-game presser is full of “we did some things right”; “PP wasn’t good, PK was”; “neither team looked that good”; “their goalie made two more key stops than our goalie”

What a bunch of incoherent babble.

Yes, the Preds played a blah game…because that’s what they do!

It’s all they can do! It’s your job as coach to beat a team like that. It was no mystery going into last night that the Preds try to drag the game down to a level that borders on painful to watch, much less participate in, because it’s the only way they have a chance to win. So, what was your game plan to overcome that, Babs?

I agree with an earlier comment that Babcock is one of the best coaches in the NHL; but he isn’t one of the best coaches for the Red Wings now…how is that not obvious to even his most ardent supporters??

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/20/13 at 09:27 AM ET

DocF's avatar

I guess the players need to play themselves out of this blue funk.  I can state with some degree of confidence that this will happen eventually.  I feel this will happen because the team is talented enough to be playing at such a low level. 

The guy who has been playing the most below his ability, in my opinion is Kronwall.  He has been very average so far.  The guy who has looked overall better than I expected is Bertuzzi.

Everyone else falls somewhere in between.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 11/20/13 at 10:58 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

The guy who has been playing the most below his ability, in my opinion is Kronwall.  He has been very average so far.  The guy who has looked overall better than I expected is Bertuzzi.

Everyone else falls somewhere in between.

Agreed.

So, what we need is for the players to play above Kronwall’s game and try to emulate Bert’s game.

I guess stranger things have happened. I can’t think of one that rivals that, but I guess some have.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/20/13 at 12:08 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

You know what I wanted? “Sorry, the team is not meeting with the media tonight.” And then I wanted to find out that reason for that, amongst other things, was that Howard or someone trashed the locker room and they didn’t want the media to see it.

I don’t know where you get the idea that grown men should behave like immature brats.  Trashing the locker room or screaming and shouting in it, what does it help? Does it change anything on the ice? You really think guys like Pavel, Alfredsson, Bertuzzi and others who are 35+ take anyone serious who’s having a choleric breakdown? I highly doubt it.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 11/20/13 at 12:18 PM ET

Avatar

Joe, sometimes it’s good to flip out like that. Especially if it’s the goalie. It’s a message. I don’t think that destroying things when you get mad is the answer to make something better, generally speaking. I do think that sometimes there is a bold message that can be sent.

I always thought this year when Verlander was throwing gems and getting no runs. Once, twice, three times, a fourth time out of five games…a message like that can serve some good, potentially.

I am just tired of watching these guys give the Rod Marinelli broken record responses. The same tone of voice, the same statements, same everything. Have you ever seen the Clash’s London Calling album cover? It is considered one of the greatest musical photos of all time. The photo is of the bass player smashing his guitar on the stage and the backstory is that the bass player was very frustrated in that moment. The moral of the story: that image, that action sent a big message. The same rehashed words after every loss aren’t firing anyone up.

All I was saying is that it is time for this frustration to boil over into a blow up. I also said in my post that I personally would have had more comfort in knowing that there is some extreme anger and frustration in that locker room and that it has reached critical mass.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/20/13 at 12:35 PM ET

Avatar

About my Verlander comment, I lost my train of thought. The idea was that it would have been well-suited if he had flipped out after the third or fourth game he pitched well and got a loss because they didn’t score. In that situation, the message coming from their star (and sort of analogous to Jimmy Howard) would be a potentially positive message.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/20/13 at 12:37 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/20/13 at 12:35 PM ET

I understand that being emotional and transforming the “turn the frustration to something productive” - part, but I highly doubt that’s how the Wings roll… at least not while they sit 7th in their conference with 5 points ahead of # 9.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 11/20/13 at 12:49 PM 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.