The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/26/13 at 01:43 PM ET
Updated 6x with lots of video at 3:45 PM: Red Bird III is scheduled to take off at 3:12 PM today to ferry the Red Wings to Chicago, where they'll meet the Blackhawks on Sunday evening (7 PM on FSD and AM 1270). The Wings will have a wee bit of an advantage in terms of rest as the Blackhawks are playing in Columbus tonight, but the Hawks are also 4-and-0 going into their Saturday night tilt.
Thus far, it appears that little news is good news at Joe Louis Arena:
Update: Via RedWingsFeed, this is good news regarding one Jonathan Ericsson:
Another Avalanche player worth watching is defenseman Shane O'Brien, who was a healthy scratch for their opening three games of the season.
O'Brien, re-signed to a three-year, $6-million contract last summer, doesn't appear out of shape, nor has he said or done anything which would explain his banishment to the press box.
With several NHL teams (Ottawa Senators, LA Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings) reportedly seeking experienced blueliners, O'Brien could become a trade target.
The 29-year-old, 6'3," 230-lb O'Brien is fiercely physical and fights regularly, but he's a penalty minute machine, and the Sports Forecaster describes him as follows:
ASSETS: Is an impressive physical specimen who uses his size effectively. Can intimidate the opposition, fight on occasion and generally play an in-your-face style of defense. On occasion, he likes to jump up into the play.
FLAWS: Struggles against quick forwards as a general rule. Will at times take bad penalties that place his team in trouble. Doesn't have a ton of offensive ability and will get caught out of position due to his wandering ways.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Veteran physical defenseman.
The Wings need a puck-rushing veteran defenseman who can skate well and pass and shoot extremely well, not a more physical version of Kyle Quincey.
Update #3: Here's Ansar Khan's practice report:
Coach Mike Babcock said he believes defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hip, shoulder) will be able to play Sunday in Chicago (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit), but he won't know for sure until just before game time. He has missed the past three games.
“A little bit better, no setback yet, so that's good,'' Ericsson said. "We'll see tomorrow.''
Forward Valtteri Filppula (knee) didn't skate and center Darren Helm (back) left practice midway through, but Babcock said both are fine and will play Sunday.
“I said get off the ice (to Helm),'' Babcock said. "Anybody's who's got a bump, we didn't even take them out today and we're not going to the rink tomorrow morning (for a gameday skate) on purpose. We're going to do a lot more of that. We just have to, with the schedule the way it is.''
Wow, that's rare as rare can be.
Here are the lines they skated with:
Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Damien Brunner
Patrick Eaves (for Filppula)-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Daniel Cleary-Darren Helm-Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller-Cory Emmerton-Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall-Brian Lashoff
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Kent Huskins-Jakub Kindl
Jimmy Howard (starting)
Forward Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin) did not skate and will not travel to Chicago.
Kent "Laser Beam" Huskins...
Lots of talk about the new standards of rule enforcement that the refs are calling, and in the case of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock?
Babcock: "I'm gonna make some shit up today!"
Media: "That's our favorite"
He then discusses the Wings' match-up against Chicago, the Wings' evolutionary improvements and the team's overall play--with Babcock stating that the team was "below average" against both St. Louis and Minnesota:
“I just think the standard each and every night is the standard and you got to respect what’s being called and keep your stick on the puck and not on hands,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They made it very clear to us, they sent us video of how the game was going to be called, when you put your stick on another guy’s hand you’re going to the box.”
In Friday night’s 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, the Wings were shorthanded eight times.
“I don’t even know what’s allowed and what’s not,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “I’m just keeping my stick to myself and try not to touch anyone else’s glove because I know I’ll end up in the penalty box pretty quick. It’s whatever, you adapt to it and figure it out. You do a lot of sitting around if you’re not a special team’s guy.”
Against the Wild Detroit was penalized for hooking and interference infractions three times each, tripping and holding one time each.
“We tried to follow the new rules,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “If you look at our last game and (Friday), it’s tough to know if you touched a glove and get two minutes and sometimes you don’t. It’s tough playing all your career one way and all the sudden you can’t touch the other player’s glove or you get two minutes.”
The Wings’ penalty kill has improved since allowing four power play goals in the season opener with the St. Louis Blues, killing off seven of Minnesota’s chances Friday. The only goal allowed came in the final seconds of a 5-on-3.
“A few times (Friday) night we stopped moving our feet and we had to take a holding call,” Kyle Quincey said. “I was telling Kronner I can remember growing up and they teach you to get on the hands so they can’t make plays and now it’s the furthest thing from what you want to do. The biggest thing, when you’re going stick on puck, a lot of times they’re stepping on your stick and it’s a tripping penalty now,” Quincey continued. “You’ve got to be very very careful what you do and it’s almost like they want to get 5-6-7 power plays a game, so they’re looking for stuff. Hopefully it dies down in the next couple of weeks, but for now we got to be very careful.”
And I can't quote all of Pleiness's article, but Babcock offered this take on the team's identity given that it's missing Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo and Mikael Samuelsson's offensive abilities:
“We’d like to be better,” Babcock said. “The bottom line is the type of team we have, we’re going to see a lot of games where it’s going to be a grind-fest. That’s just the reality of the situation. So embrace what you’ve got and be the best that you’re capable of, and that’s what we’re trying to do."
Update #6: One more thing. I don't know why Fox Sports Detroit isn't uploading Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond's post-game recap, or why it's taking them forever to post their post-game interviews--last night's included Todd Bertuzzi and Mike Babcock--but it seems like all the regional Fox networks are having the same, "We will upload videos...Sometime...before the next game..." issues.
So here's Bertuzzi and Babcock, much delayed:
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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.