The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/01/14 at 11:43 PM ET
I'm not going to pretend that I've followed Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm with incredible thoroughness over the past season, but his Guelph Storm are battling for the Ontario Hockey League championship against the North Bay Battalion--a team captained by Barclay Goodrow, who turned down an AHL deal from the Wings in order to strike it richer with the San Jose Sharks...
And Bertuzzi didn't fare in the scoring, but his Storm rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits to take a 3-2 OT win over Goodrow's Battalion on Thursday, taking a 1-games-to-none lead in the chase for the Robertson Cup. The OHL's website posted a highlight clip from the game, and Buzzing the Net's Neate Sager posited a recap:
A short overtime need not lead to a short series. Jason Dickinson snapped in the game-winner in the first minute of overtime for the Guelph Storm, preempting any chance the North Bay Battalion had to continue outplaying and outshooting the favourites like it had over the second and third periods.
Dickinson's decider salvaged a night where the sluggish Storm failed to record a shot on goal for the first 10 minutes of the third period. Zack Mitchell scored through a screen with 7:37 left in the third and first star Justin Nichols came up with an acrobatic toe save on a subsequent power play to get the Storm into the sudden-victory session.Now the question is whether North Bay was denied its best chance to steal one on the road after failing to finish off Guelph.
"I don't know if we played the way we want to approach this series, but I think that we realized there's a good team on the other side of the ice," Nichols, who made 32 saves, told Rogers Television. "We're going to learn from this game and hopefully improve."Storm coach Scott Walker was much more direct about his dissatisfaction.
"They're a quality team," he told a post-game press conference. "Our first period was fine. We weren't even close after that."
I made a goof regarding the QMJHL championship's start date: Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs will open their QMJHL championship series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar tonight, Friday May 2nd, with Games 1 and 2 taking place in Baie-Comeau tonight and Saturday.
The Canadian Press posted a series preview:
It's said that defence wins championships, so it's unlikely that Baie-Comeau Drakkar coach Eric Veilleux is going to change much going into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.
The Drakkar has the league's best defence and will be up against the team with the best attack in the playoffs so far — the Val d'Or Foreurs. The best-of-seven series opens Friday night in Baie-Comeau.
"There's nothing to change," Veilleux said Thursday. "Each team has its identity. Surely they're going to stick to theirs and we'll stick to ours. We're in the final for a reason, so we'll keep going in the same direction."
The Drakkar identity is about tight, defensive hockey. It has allowed goaltender Philippe Cadorette to lead the playoffs with a 1.72 goals-against average, to go with a .929 save percentage Baie-Comeau has conceded only 26 goals in 15 post-season games, while the Foreurs have allowed 47 in 17 contests.
But Val d'Or has been red-hot on attack, scoring 71 goals compared to 49 for Baie-Comeau.
Anthony Mantha leads the Foreurs with 18 goals. Coach Mario Durocher's team has five of the top 10 QMJHL playoff scorers, while Baie-Comeau's top scorer, Charles Hudon, is 12th with eight goals and seven assists.
The Foreurs' production has come despite Durocher urging his team before the playoffs to tighten up their defensive play.
"Our defencemen have been contributing on offence, and we have forwards with a lot of speed and skill," said Durocher. "All our lines have taken turns contributing in the playoffs."
In the AHL, Fox 17's Steve Amorose spoke with the Grand Rapids Griffins regarding their hopes to rebound from Wednesday's 2-1 OT loss to Abbotsford and eliminate the Heat from the first round of the playoffs on Friday night.
This is an auto-play clip, so you'll have to press pause and press pause again after watching it, or it will cycle to the next clip:
If you've got the time, you can also listen to Riley Sheahan more or less shoot the you-know-what with WBBL's Bob Simonson and Griffins announcer Bob Kaser for almost 40 minutes, as they did during the "Huge Show" on Thursday. This is actually very good if you can deal with the chit-chat aspect thereof:
And he's not a prospect any more, but Tomas Tatar issued the following Tweet on Thursday...
Tatar will play for Slovakia at the World Championships, but he, Sheahan and Tomas Jurco all have "stolen jobs" in Detroit. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of Tatar's progression over the past season:
All Tomas Tatar needed was a chance. And once he got that chance, in late October, he never sat back down. The Red Wings forward went from being a healthy scratch at the start of the season to an important piece of the team’s future.
“I was hoping at some point it was going to turn,” Tatar said of being a healthy scratch in eight of the first nine games. “I knew that as young guy, you just have to wait and hopefully when I got in, I wasn’t going to get out.”
And that’s what happened. On a team that was searching for offense, Tatar was one of the go-to scorers, finishing with 39 points (19 goals) and a plus-12 rating in 73 games. And just like that, the youth movement — Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Danny DeKeyser, among others — is a vital part of the Red Wings future.
“We had a chance to see some of the younger guys do really well,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said, and “without the guys, we couldn’t have made it to the playoffs.”
“This year went by real fast and things were changing,” Tatar said. “When I look back at the season, it was a great experience for me and I was real happy I was part of this team,” Tatar said.
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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.