The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/24/13 at 01:10 PM ET
Update: No surprise here:
Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk did not accompany his teammates to Buffalo for today's game against the Sabres (5 PM EST, FSD/MSG Buffalo/1270 AM) because Datsyuk was hit in the jaw by Senators defensman Jared Cowen with about 7:50 left in the 3rd period of the Wings' 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday evening (and again, thanks to Puck Daddy for the video)...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James both reports that the NHL's reviewing the hit....
And she adds a lineup note...
As well as mid-morning confirmation of GM Ken Holland's comments regarding the Wings' judicious use of precautionary measures to preserve the most important brain in the Wings' locker room:
"He was not feeling right," Holland said. "We're going through concussion protocol. We'll see how it goes, see how he feels on Tuesday. This isn't a black-and-white injury."
The Wings play at Buffalo Sunday afternoon. Daniel Alfredsson is ready to play after being sidelined by a groin injury.
Todd Bertuzzi is out with an undisclosed upper-body injury, but it is not his back.
Datsyuk wasn't feeling well after taking an elbow to the head by Ottawa's Jared Cowen late in the third period. No penalty was called on the play. Captain Henrik Zetterberg drily noted afterwards how "the combined eight eyes out there didn't see it," referring to the two referees and two linesmen that make up an officiating crew.
"If you don't see it, you can't call it. He just had the puck, kind of strange no one saw a star player like that."
Datsyuk continued to play, but sat out the final two minutes of the two-goal game.
Datsyuk will be reevaluated daily. If it turns out he is concussed, protocol requires players be symptom free for seven days before returning to play.
Datsyuk posited a fan-comforting Tweet, but he did so while kind-of-sort-of failing his English as a Second Language versus iPhone Spellchecker Test:
I hope he's back in the lineup soon, too, but one could argue that Datsyuk's split an infinitive in two, and that's not necessarily a good sign.
If I may be blunt, I don't expect Cowen to be fined, much less suspended, because Datsyuk "cuts against the grain" at the last second in a Datsyukian deke, attempting to reverse his direction in very near the exact moment that Cowen sticks his elbow out. I happen to believe that Cowen commits what's at least a fine-worthy infraction in deliberately placing his elbow out in an attempt to catch Datsyuk's face, but I think he's going to get away with this one because he and the Senators' coach/management will be able to argue that Datsyuk essentially "skated into the elbow."
Is that a stupid defense? Yup, but the Senators play in Carolina at 5 PM--their late-afternoon matinee is the only game opposite the Wings-Sabres "Turdburger Jersey-Unveiling" affair--and between the lack of time with which to conduct a proper review (these things usually take a day or two for the NHL to process and allowShanahan to be lobbied by teams, their GM's, owners and opposite the player-employing factions, the NHLPA) and the Datsyukian shoulder-juke, I can't see the league suspending Cowen.
Otherwise, this quip from USA Today's Kevin Allen is all we've got in terms of "morning skate" news as the Bufflao News's Mike Harrington simply confirmed the Wings' lineup issues (Datsyuk out, Alfredsson in) over the course of his "morning skate" entry in the Buffalo News's Sabres Edge blog:
With Gustav Nyquist now needing to clear waivers to be sent to the minors, the Red Wings have a significant challenge managing their salary cap.
They have no maneuvering room, unless someone goes on the long-term injured list.
The Red Wings could end up playing with five defensemen if there is an injury. Jakub Kindl left Saturday’s game, but Mlive.com is reporting that he is expected to play today.
(expect Jonas Gustavsson to start opposite Ryan Miller today, and the Sabres' prospective lineup for today's game can be found here)
The Wings can apply for another cap-exempt "roster emergency" of the Luke Glendening-style recall variety if they can't dress 18 skaters, but something tells me that the NHL won't let the Wings go to that well very often.
That, and Allen completely ignores the precipitous decline of the Russian developmental hockey system at the grass-roots and amateur levels in overestimating the KHL's influence on the drastically-diminished presence of Russian hockey players in the NHL. Aside from diamonds-in-the-rough like Datsyuk, if you are not the son of a wealthy parent (see: Alex Ovechkin's mom, an Olympic athlete) or find yourself in the right circumstances (see: Evgeni Malkin growing up under Metallurg Magnitogorsk's powerful developmental umbrella), the less-than-wealthy can't benefit from the kind of Soviet-style sports schooling and physical education programs that were dying while Datsyuk bounced from team to team and to Vladimir Krikunov's Dynamo-Energiya in the late 90's.
Here's hoping that he being is back soon.
Update: For what it's worth, MLive's Ansar Khan's with-quotes recap of Saturday's loss didn't post until 8 AM (the timestamp says 6:09 but I was up then)...
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, whose club lost 4-2 at Joe Louis Arena, stopped short of calling it “chippy.’’
“It was Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada, everyone was excited,’’ Zetterberg said. “Last game (vs. Ottawa) we know the result (6-1 for the Senators on Oct. 23); we wanted to come out and play better. So there was a lot of emotion. It was a fun game to play.’’
The Red Wings had three five-on-three power plays, totaling 3:45, but managed only three shots and one goal – by Datsyuk at 1:08 of the third, which tied it 2-2. But penalties to Darren Helm and Kyle Quincey 39 seconds apart set up the Senators for the deciding goal. Clarke MacArthur scored his second goal of the game, on the power play, with 4:02 remaining for insurance.
The Red Wings took six penalties in the third period. Each club went 2-for-8 on the power play for the game
“You can’t kill penalties all night long,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I didn’t like the (Niklas) Kronwall penalty (roughing at 14:09 of the third); I thought it was an awful call, but other than that you deserve what you get. You have to look after your stick or you’re going to be in the box all night and no one gets any rhythm like that.’’
Said Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson: “They got the game where they wanted to, more physical, and after the whistles as well. They got away with some of the calls and we got frustrated and took penalties.”
“I thought they had three chances in the first period and two of them went in,’’ Babcock said. “The other team is going to get some chances. We just have to find a way to execute and not break down. Bottom line is we have to be mentally tough to win games and we didn’t find a way tonight.’’
And MLive's Brendan Savage's game-day article sheds more light on the Sabres...3rd jersey.
Update #2: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog offers a game-day set-up...
Wings Look to Get Back on Track in Buffalo
Detroit travels to Buffalo after completing a three-game homestand, and their opponent may be one who can help them get back to their winning ways. The Red Wings are 10-1-1 in their past 12 games against the Sabres, including a 2-1 win earlier this season. "We've got a big game (tonight)," said Darren Helm, "that we have to have a big effort for."
A historical note...
On This Day in Red Wings' History...On November 24
1926: Detroit Cougars (before being re-named the Red Wings) recorded their first win in franchise history, 1-0, over the Black Hawks at Chicago. Frank Frederickson scored the game-winner, while Hap Holmes recorded the first shutout of his rookie season.
2006: Detroit's Chris Chelios became the all-time leader in games played by a U.S.- born player, when he appeared in the 1,496th game of his NHL career, a 3-2 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues. He broke the record held by Phil Housley.
And Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:
RAM Keys to the Game with Ken Kal
Stay Out of the Penalty Box - Too many penalties last night. Be disciplined against Buffalo because playing on the PK all night is draining.
Get Off to a Good Start - Short turnaround for the Red Wings, playing a late afternoon game after a rolling into Buffalo around 1:30 AM. They've got to fight off the fatigue. Take it to the Sabres early.
Win Faceoffs - Winning faceoffs allows the team to control and possess the puck. It's a precursor to dictate the play and the tempo.
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