The Malik Report
Red Wings-Senators wrap-up and overnight report: Red Wings finally earn a W on ‘Alfie closure night’
by George Malik on 12/02/13 at 03:29 AM ET
Updated with Wings post-game interviews at 3:04 AM: The Red Wings flew back to Detroit to get Chris Osgood home in time for the opening practice of what Osgood told Fox Sports Detroit's audience would be the opener of at least two practices in the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown's Kris Draper-run training camp knowing that the current players wouldn't have to join the alumni in skating after a very busy week's worth of wins.
The Wings have won 4 games for the first time this season, taking out Buffalo, Boston, the Islanders, and on Sunday--though it was via a less-than-aesthetically-pleasing effort--Daniel Alfredsson's former employer, snapping a 2-game losing streak against Ottawa and taking the "reunion game" 4-2 thanks to a rare two-goal game from Drew Miller, a 4-for-4 PK and a superb, 30-save performance from Jonas Gustavsson, 2 assists from Niklas Kronwall, another against-the-Sens goal for Johan Franzen, and a salt-the-game-away empty-netter from some guy wearing #11 in red and white.
Detroit now has two days off ahead of a very busy week (the Wings host Philadelphia on Wednesday, head to New Jersey on Friday the 6th and host the Panthers on Saturday the 7th) and an incredibly busy month (the Wings will play 11 more pre-Christmas games over the course of 20 nights).
While we'll have to wait until Tuesday to get a clearer picture as to whether Pavel Datsyuk's ready to return from his concussion (according to Ken Kal, Wednesday's game is Datsyuk bobblehead night), whether Todd Bertuzzi is ready to return from his shoulder issue, or what kind of timeline Danny DeKeyser faces in terms of rehabbing his sprained shoulder...
The now 14-7-and-7 Wings have officially won as many games as they've lost in regulation, OT or shootouts, they sit 3 points behind a team with four more wins (and a game in hand) in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins, and over the past four games, the Wings have shown us that even a team missing three key contributors can pounce upon a hapless foe, beat the snot out of the Beasts of the East, earn their starting goaltender a win over a plucky young team that's had Detroit's number, and on Sunday, persist through the muck, guck and emotional disarmament involved in battling a team that had defeated the Wings 6-1 and 4-2.
Not everything was wonderful: the Wings were out-penalized 4-1, and while I'd suggest that the referees did their jobs as if they had a "feature dancer's" show to watch in Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa, the Wings did take some doofy penalties (cough Brendan Smith cough); the Wings were also out-shot 22-13 over the course of the second and 3rd periods, and if we are to believe the Senators' statisticians, they were out-shot-attempted by a surprising 57-39 margin, which is downright bizarre by Wings standards.
You could very successfully argue that the Wings were sleepy early and mistake-prone in a third period that shouldn't have been as close as it was, and while two plays by Brendan Smith led to goals for, one led directly to a goal against;
Kyle Quincey was at least more sound; Brian Lashoff was very solid, but he seems to be bailing Jakub Kindl out at times--though Kindl's pass to Johan Franzen was spectacular; Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson had their hands full all night long; and yes, I know that Jonas Gustavsson was booting out rebounds like they were going out of style, but save the MacArthur goal, which essentially rolled out from his glove and then slid through him before MacArthur jammed it into an empty net, Gustavsson got the job done.
Up front, I'm not sure what Babcock's going to do when Datsyuk and Bertuzzi get healthy, because it's hard to imagine that he'll want to break up lines 1-3. Franzen scored another goal against Ottawa and had another very strong game overall, giving and going with Gustav Nyquist and getting out of the way as Henrik Zetterberg roared up and down the ice; Darren Helm's speed, Justin Abdelkader's jam and Daniel Alfredsson's shooting and passing have yielded a line that can get 'er done all over the ice, and Helm had another shorthanded breakaway on Sunday; one of Drew Miller's two goals came from Tomas Tatar's speed and playmaking ability, and the other came from Smith, and both players are bolstering Joakim Andersson's confidence; and Stephen Weiss at least looks like he's ready to break out and Mikael Samuelsson has been steady enough, though Daniel Cleary continues to struggle and play the least of any Wings forward.
The Wings only got one power play and weren't very good during it, but they also killed four Ottawa power plays, and they persisted through some particularly nasty Senators play--at times, yet again, playing against the Anaheim Ducks East looked more like rugby on ice than hockey--as well as their own hiccups in terms of energy, effort, intensity, attention to detail and execution.
This one was less than a rose to say the very least, but the Wings rather desperately needed to beat the Senators by any means necessary, and after spending the first period seeming to not know exactly how impolite the Senators' guests were allowed to play, the Wings were out-shot but not out-hustled or out-worked en route to earning a win by any means necessary.
Prior to the game, the Senators posted quite the tribute to Alfredsson, who drove to the rink with former teammate and good friend Erik Karlsson...
Highlights: NHL Network game = even the Red Wings website's highlight clip is narrated by TSN's announcers:
Post-game: As previously noted, TSN posted the Melnyk interview, a clip of the Alfredsson tribute, TSN's Brent Wallace's post-game interview with Alfredsson and a "first impressions" feature from way back when;
Sportsnet posted a 33-second clip of Alfredsson's post-game scrum;
The Senators' website posted clips of Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips, Robin Lehner and coach Paul MacLean's post-game comments, and the Senators posted an "all access" interview with Erik Karlsson that's almost six minutes long;
The Ottawa Citizen's James Gordon posted a 9-minute clip of post-game comments from Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Senators coach Paul MacLean, and for simplicity's sake I uploaded it to SoundCloud.
NHL Network game = if you really want to watch the NHL Tonight's analysis of the game on your own, but they posted what would otherwise be an un-embeddable video of Daniel Alfredsson's post-game interview with TSN's Brent Wallace...
And the NHL Network spoke with Brendan Smith on the "Arena Cam" as well:
Fox Sports Detroit posted Drew Miller's post-game interview with Trevor Thompson:
Photos: The Ottawa Citizen posted a 24-image gallery;
The Ottawa Sun embedded a 20-image gallery in Bruce Garrioch's recap;
The Detroit Free Press posted a 23-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 13-image gallery;
The Windsor Star posted 8 big images from the game;
ESPN posted a 46-image gallery;
Shots 32-23 Ottawa overall. Detroit and Ottawa were tied 10-10 in shots in the 1st, were out-shot 14-10 in the 2nd and out-shot 8-3 in the 3rd. WOW.
Special teams: The Wings went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time and killed 4 penalties and 8 minutes of Senators PP time.
Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 of 32 shots; Robin Lehner stopped 19 of 22 and the empty net gave up a goal on the only shot it faced.
Three stars: TSN 1200 picked the 3 stars, and they picked Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson and Drew Miller.
The Wings' goals: Franzen (7) from Kindl (9) and Alfredsson (14);
Miller (3) from Tatar (6) and Kronwall (17);
Miller (4) from Smith (4) and Helm (3);
Alfredsson (7) from Abdelkader (8) and Kronwall (18), empty-net goal.
Faceoffs 33-29 Detroit (Detroit won 53%);
Blocked shots 21-12 Detroit;
Missed shots 14-4 Ottawa (total attempts 57-39 Ottawa);
Giveaways 10-7 Detroit;
Takeaways 8-6 Detroit.
Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 11-and-9 (55%); Andersson went 11-and-7 (61%); Helm went 6-and-10 (38%); Weiss went 4-and-2 (67%); Franzen went 1-and-1 (50%).
Shots: Franzen led the Wings with 4; Nyquist, Miller and Zetterberg had 3; Alfredsson, Quincey and Helm had 2; Abdelkader, Tatar, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked attempts: Tatar and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Miller, Lashoff, Zetterberg, Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Smith, Abdelkader, Lashoff and Cleary missed the net.
Hits: Ericsson led the Wings with 4 hits; Alfredsson and Franzen had 2; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Andersson, Tatar, Quincey, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Cleary had 1.
Giveaways: Ericsson had 3 giveaways; Smith, Kindl and Gustavsson had 2; Andersson had 1.
Takeaways: Helm had 2 takeaways; Smith, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Andersson, Zetterberg and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 6 Senators shots; Abdelkader blocked 4; Lashoff and Franzen blocked 2; Smith, Kindl, Alfredsson, Nyquist, Andersson, Samuelsson and Zetterberg blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Smith took 2 minors; Samuelsson took a minor; the Wings took a "bench minor" for too many men on the ice.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +10. Nyquist, Zetterberg and Weiss finished at -1; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Andersson, Miller, Lashoff and Kronwall finished at +1; Alfredsson, Tatar and Helm finished at +2.
Points: Miller had 2 goals; Kronwall had 2 assists; Alfredsson had a goal and an assist; Franzen had a goal; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Tatar and Helm had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 24:01 played; Ericsson played 22:52; Quincey played 20:03;
Abdelkader played 19:54; Zetterberg played 19:34; Helm played 18:21;
Franzen played 18:20; Smith played 18:03; Lashoff played 17:15;
Alfredsson played 16:3; Kindl played 16:08; Nyquist played 15:27;
Miller played 15:28; Andersson played 14:08; Tatar played 10:17;
Samuelsson played 9:05; Weiss played 9:01; Cleary played 7:10.
Red Wings notebooks: The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa took note of the Wings' significant offensive contributions from their defensemen of late, with Kronwall leading the way:
Kronwall’s offense has been elevated for a few seasons, and the thought is that when the younger defensemen begin to provide it more consistently, the Wings become a much quicker, more successful team.
More than the developing defensemen’s defense, the offensive thrust that traditionally drives the Wings’ vaunted transition game is what has been missing since Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement.
“Yeah, I think there’s some confidence growing there,” said Kronwall, who now has 18 assists and 21 points for the season.
He is on pace for a 60-point season.
“There was a period there when we really didn’t play well,” he said. “It’s starting to get better and better, I think, the transition game. A few times today, we caught them where the puck goes from the D and up to the forwards in a hurry. That’s what we’d like to do even more. I thought Smitty had a real good game, making a lot of good plays and jumping into the rush. You know, he ended up with one assist, and I thought he could have two or three. He was all over the ice.”
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also set up this week's games via his weekly, "Look Ahead in Hockeytown," and he discusses Henrik Zetterberg's superb start ...
Zetterberg leads the Red Wings with 30 points in 27 games, which ranks second to his fast start in 2007-08 when he amassed 37 points in 27 games.
“It always makes it easier when you help the team in scoring,” Zetterberg said. “I think last year after the lockout I had a pretty good start, too. Definitely enjoy that more than those starts I had a couple years ago.”
And Zetterberg notes that the Wings are rolling along as a team:
“Everyone’s getting more and more confidence,” Zetterberg said. “The stretch we had there where we played OK but we somehow only got one point each game. It is tough for your confidence but last couple games here a lot of guys have been making the right decision. That’s what we want to keep doing. Play well in our structure but in the same way when we have a chance be creative.”
Roose also previews this week's trio of games.
Also of Red Wings-related note: Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press has posted a pair of excerpts from Darren McCarty's memoir, My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star, and McCarty appeared on WDIV's Sports Final Edition on Sunday night.
WDIV posted the interview...
And they listed the dates of his "book tour."
Tonight, Peter Karmanos, Ron Mason and Doug Weight will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame at the MotorCity Casino, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan conducted an interview with Karmanos:
The Compuware hockey program basically stemmed, Karmanos said, from one conversation with a hockey parent. The parent waved his hand at a group of players on the ice and said those players would never have an opportunity to play in the NHL, at best maybe getting a partial college hockey scholarship somewhere.
“I had an opposite opinion,” Karmanos said, also noting those players on the ice included Pat LaFontaine, Kevin and Derian Hatcher, and Al Iafrate, all local players who reached the NHL.
Karmanos wanted to put together a hockey program that would be able to travel to Canada and throughout the United States and compete against the best, exposing local players to the hockey world outside of Michigan.
“I had been watching hockey my entire life and the players were a tad better than that (limited to college hockey),” Karmanos said. “I thought I had a responsibility to put together a program that allowed those kids to go into different areas in Canada (and compete). It’s real important that people who have the opportunity to help develop the sport try to give kids the ability to show off their talents. I was born and raised in Detroit, so it was especially rewarding to do that in the Detroit area.”
I can't really say that the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby's article about the HBO 24/7 cameras "descending" upon the 14-10-and-3 Maple Leafs is particularly revelatory, but he does note that the NHL's Christmas roster freeze will go into effect on December 19th;
And finally, Pavel Datsyuk spoke with Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov, and he revealed that:
1. His collaboration with the Russian cell phone company Megafon will help his hockey school, which will now be combined with Ilya Bryzgalov's goalie camp;
2. He's reading four books right now;
3. He says he'd like to have lunch with Jesus and Sigmund Freud;
4. He prefers to read "real" books, though he does read some on his iPad. And he doesn't play games on his iPad--he watches movies and keeps up on Russian current events;
5. And he's asked if he'd accept carrying the Russian flag into the Sochi Olympics, and he says that's something that has to be earned--and that Russia has many other accomplished Olympic athletes.
The Wings won't practice today, so I'm going to take it slow. It's been an incredibly long week and weekend.
Update: VERY late, the Wings posted post-game comments from Daniel Alfredsson...
And coach Mike Babcock:
Update #2: Was sagt der silberer Fuchs?
Update: Techncially speaking, Alfredsson told the Swedish news agency TT that he laughed when the camera panned to his wife because they cheered her more than they cheered him; and Jonas Gustavsson said he's trying not to think too much about his impressive play. He was interviewed by TT because he's both a potential Olympic back-up and because he's also an alum of Alfredsson's Swedish alma mater, the Frolunda Indians.
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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.