The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/23/14 at 03:40 AM ET
What follows is a bleary-eyed blogger's assortment of "stuff that didn't make the recap" (I worked really *#$%@& hard on that recap...at least give it a glance...) and prospect news.
The latter before the former: None of the Wings' prospects who took part in playoff hockey had good Tuesdays.
In the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha had a hat trick, but his Val-d'Or Foreurs dropped a 6-5 OT decision to the Halifax Mooseheads, who trail the Q's conference final 2 games to 1.
Mantha has 14 goals, 7 assists and 21 points in 13 playoff games played;
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi was held off the scoresheet as his Guelph Storm dropped a 5-2 decision to the Erie Otters, who now trail the OHL's Western Conference Final 3 games to 1.
Bertuzzi's registered 8 goals and 6 assists for 14 points in 12 playoff games played;
And in the WHL, Mitchell Wheaton had an assist and Marek Tvrdon was held off the scoresheet as the Kelowna Rockets dropped a 4-3 OT decision to the Portland Winterhawks, who've tied the WHL's Western Conference Final at 2 games apiece.
The Grand Rapids Griffins are about to head to British Columbia to battle the AHL's Abbotsford Heat, and before they left town, they spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about attempting to regroup after a dissapointing finish to their regular season:
The Griffins, who led the AHL’s Midwest Division since Nov. 3, fell to second place behind Chicago with two losses to Lake Erie to close the season. That meant no division title, a fourth seed in the conference and a long trip to Abbotsford to start their defense of the Calder Cup Trophy beginning Friday.
“It means no banner hanging (for the division title) for the start of next season,” said captain Jeff Hoggan. “But there are other banners we’re after.”
The Griffins (46-23-2-5, 99 points), the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, will play the first two games of a best-of-five series against No. 5 Abbotsford, (43-25-5-3, 94 points), at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They leave Grand Rapids Wednesday.
The Griffins closed the regular season 5-4-0-1 in their final 10 games, while Chicago went 6-2-0-2 to take the division title away.
Griffins coach Jeff Blashill still feels like the team is prepared for a playoff run.
“Through the course of the season, you’re going to have weekends that don’t go your way,” he said. “The way we looked at it, and the way we set the tone for the team, is we had 99 points for the season, which is more than last year (when they won the division). We feel our rankings … all are extremely high so we feel like we’re going into the playoffs as one of the better teams. Now, that doesn’t make it easier.”
The Griffins play in Abbotsford on Friday and Saturday, and they'll return to Grand Rapids for 3 games starting on April 30th as the series is 2-and-3--as in a best of 5.
In Detroit, one of the Griffins' graduates received an odd compliment from his coach, as ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald noted...
After Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening completed his collegiate career at the University of Michigan, he signed with the Providence Bruins and played three games on an amateur tryout in 2012.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “Obviously, coming from college I didn’t really know what to expect of the pro game. I probably would say it wasn’t the best move on my part. I probably wasn’t ready. I probably needed a summer off before, just to prepare for what was coming. But it was a neat experience. I learned a lot. I guess it all worked out in the end.”
Glendening eventually signed with the Red Wings' organization and spent the majority of last season with its AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins, and was a member of their Calder Cup championship team.
The 24-year-old forward made his NHL debut with the Red Wings this season, and coach Mike Babcock has been impressed with the rookie.
“Luke’s ultra-competitive, a skater, heavy and used to be a football player, so loves the contact and loves being a grease ball. He plays hard, draws other guys into the battle and has a great hockey sense. Very competitive,” Babcock said.
Detroit has scored two goals the first three games, falling behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
The Bruins outshot the Red Wings, 34-23, killed all three Red Wings power plays, and continued to keep players such as Johan Franzen, Gustav Nyquist, Pavel Datsyuk (Datsyuk has one of the two goals in the series) off the scoresheet.
“Pavel, we all know, he’s doing what he can,” said coach Mike Babcock, noting Datsyuk’s inflamed knee which kept him out for most of the second half of the season. “We need more from everybody.”
The Bruins are doing an outstanding job of keeping the Red Wings to the outside and not getting close to Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
“We didn’t generate enough on the inside,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We have to get more pucks at the net. We have to make sure the puck gets in there.”
Two things regarding the Joe and the follow-on rink:
1. MLive's David Mueller reports that the Cass Corridor's residents will in fact have an advisory committee, whose members will be elected today. They'll play a part in the construction of the rink and what the Wings do with that $200 million on proposed non-rink development in the area:
Residents in and around the footprint of a $650 million Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district development are to vote Wednesday on representation for a 16-member citizens’ advisory council.
When Detroit City Council agreed earlier this year to transfer 39 parcels of city land for $1 for the new arena and district by Olympia Development, it did so with the stipulation that a citizens’ advisory group be formed to shape the direction of the project alongside developers.
The advisory group will have 16 members, four of whom have been chosen by city council. The remaining 12 will be chosen by the community at Wednesday’s meeting, which is taking place at 6 p.m. at the Block at Cass Park, 2727 Second Ave.
To be on the advisory council, also being called the Neighborhood Advisory Council, or NAC, members must be living or operating a business within a quarter-mile radius of the development. They have to prove they are a resident by presenting a utility bill, lease or rental agreement and ID, or a business owner, by producing a tax bill and business license.
2. The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reports that there is no definite plan as to what will become the former home of Joe Louis Arena:
Now that the Joe Louis Arena is destined for the wrecking ball, the city of Detroit faces the tough task of finding deep-pocket investors to develop what real estate analysts and urban planners say is a problematic riverfront property. The city needs to find a new use for the riverfront land, or Detroit taxpayers will get stuck with an estimated $6 million bill for demolition of The Joe.
A half-dozen analysts of Detroit commercial real estate say the site has significant drawbacks, even though it sits amid a rebounding downtown and riverfront area. That’s because the corner lot, which holds the 140,000-square-foot arena, is hemmed in by a parking ramp, an expressway and a loading dock area of Cobo Center.
“It’s isolated and walled off, which speaks to a lot of Detroit,” said Frederick Liesveld, regional managing director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, an international commercial real estate research and consulting firm.
“It is surrounded by a lot of big cement, gray things and, then, across the street is the riverfront,” said A.J. Weiner, executive vice president of the Detroit office of JLL, Jones Lang LaSalle, an international commercial real estate research and consulting firm. “That makes it a tough sell.”
“It’s a tough footprint, because it’s actually a pretty small area and if you would want to build something, you have to go vertical, and you would probably want improved infrastructure,” said John Mogk, a Wayne State University law professor who keeps tabs on downtown development issues. “It will have to be a very major investment.”
In the multimedia department, Fox Sports Detroit's Chris Osgood spoke with the CBC's Rob Pizzo and PJ Stock prior to Tuesday's game...
"Rope of Silicon's" Brad Brevet reports that Slava Fetisov's the central figure of a new documentary about the Soviet Red Army hockey team--so the Red Wings will be featured very prominently in the film:
Red Army (directed by Gabe Polsky) will play the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (full lineup here) and the first trailer is online and it looks excellent. The footage of Don Cherry and Ronald Reagan alone make me want to see it.
Here's the official synopsis:
Following the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, Red Army tells the story of the nation's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its captain Slava Fetisov. Whether he was pitted against enemies in the political arena or on the ice, Fetisov's story provides a rare glimpse behind the Iron Curtain of the 1970s and '80s by mirroring the social and political forces at work in the world around him. While helping pave the way for his nation to cross over into the next century, this one man demonstrated how sports could not only be an avenue for creative expression in a world determined to suppress it, but also be something so inextricably intertwined with a nation's cultural and political identity.
Fetisov would eventually play for the New Jersey Devils and won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the '97 and '98 Detroit Red Wings. After winning in '97 he took the Cup home to Moscow, which was the first time it had ever appeared in Russia.
(Again, Sergei Fedorov was at the Joe during Game 2. He spends his off-seasons in Metro Detroit, and has since his time with the Wings)
And finally, it's 4:39 AM as I'm typing this. I have to get up at 8:30 to take the mom to an appointment an hour away, and I won't be back till noon. I haven't slept since prior to the game...So I really don't know what will happen in terms of today's coverage. Paul will cover the as-it-breaks stuff, but I may have to lay low today simply so that my sinus infection doesn't flare up again (I am still quite boogery, now aren't you glad I shared that with you?).
Goodnight and good morning.
Update: Oh fine, sure, the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa, file a column that posts at 4:30 in the damn morning....
Rask has been a difference-making goalie. Only two pucks have slipped past Rask in three games: a Pavel Datsyuk snapper through a screen, and a shot off Luke Glendening’s stick and left leg. Rask has turned every other puck into a harmless object. He made his best stop on Justin Abdelkader in the third period by tracking the forward and lunging with his glove to keep the puck out of the net.
But Rask’s help has been spectacular. When they’re rolling defensively, the Bruins don’t sit back. They attack.
“Our defensive system is pretty good if we play to it,” Hamilton said. “We allow the outside shots and no really good scoring chances. I think it helps when our forwards are skating and back pressuring and things like that. I think when the forwards are skating offensively, getting on their D, and making them make mistakes, too, that’s how we get our success in this series.”
They pursue pucks on the walls. They brick up the slot to protect the house. Forwards backcheck aggressively to help out their defensemen. It is a five-man system that emphasizes multiple layers of protection in all areas of the defensive zone. This approach has turned dangerous players such as Gustav Nyquist, Johan Franzen, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco into ghosts. The Wings don’t get any clean looks at the net. When they do, they’re all from the perimeter.
“They tracked hard and pushed us to the outside,” Babcock said. “We had better entries on the power play. They looked like opportunities. But they were all from the outside on the power play.”
The edges of the rink are not places the Wings want to explore. They prefer to get inside in the dirty areas to make their offensive noise. The Bruins aren’t letting them get there. They’re setting themselves up for a second-round showdown against Montreal.
Update #2: One more from NHL.com's Dan Rosen:
All the energy created by the revved-up, octopus-tossing crowd was gone. The fans booed the Red Wings off the ice after the first period.
"I didn't think we necessarily gave ourselves a fair chance," Kronwall said.
Hamilton scored at 9:00 with a sneaky snap shot into the top right corner after a 150-foot solo rush up the ice. It came on the power play after the Red Wings were guilty of having too many men on the ice 80 seconds earlier.
Caron scored on a rebound after the Red Wings gave the puck away and compounded the issue by making an ill-timed line change.
"It's tough going into a 2-0 hole in the first like that," Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "We put ourselves in a bad position. They make it hard to score goals, and we know that. We put ourselves in a really tough position in the first period."
That's what irks coach Mike Babcock the most. He could barely recognize his team in the first period. He wasn't even sure where to put the blame either.
"I don't think there is ever anything wrong with losing when you maximize your group and did everything you can," Babcock said. "That's why [Detroit's performance] is disappointing for me. We've been a way better team than that. That's unacceptable, and that's not taking anything away from the Bruins."
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.