The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/24/13 at 04:38 AM ET
I don't know how this is going to come out, but the fact that the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's recap...
“After the first 10 minutes, when we didn’t play very well, I thought the guys really picked it up,” said Lehner. “We have to be a little bit more disciplined. We had a few too many penalties, some of them were soft. It’s tough on the (officials). I don't think it's their fault. It’s like there was water out there with how much they were diving. I think we’ve just got to take the positives and go to the next game.”
And Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika's Tweet...
And this video...
Stand in opposition to this from Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner, who reports that the Red Wings essentially left their most precious cargo behind:
Detroit Red Wings superstart center Pavel Datsyuk didn't make the trip to Buffalo for Sunday's game against the Sabres.
Datsyuk was elbowed in the face by Ottawa's Jared Cowen with 7 minutes, 48 seconds to play in a 4-2 Red Wings loss Saturday night. There was no penalty called on the play. Datsyuk played three more shifts, but his last was just 12 seconds long and he didn’t play in the final 1:51 of the game.
Datsyuk scored on the power play to make it 2-2 in the second period.
“We left him behind," Red Wings GM Ken Holland. "After the game he felt, I don’t know the word, wasn’t quite right. We’re going through the protocol, see how he feels in the next day or two.
“We’ll wait until tomorrow or the next day to see how he feels. He felt fuzzy, not normal. We’ve all seen these blows to the head. You don’t know.’’
“Obviously, the combined eight eyes out there didn’t see it,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “And 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 laid on the ice after he was struck before a stoppage in play.
Datsyuk played just three more shifts after the elbow, the last of which lasted just 12 seconds. He left the ice with 1:51 left in the game.
The play will most likely be reviewed by the league with Cowen, who was sent off for hooking in the second period, facing possible disciplinary action.
“I’ve seen the video and he got an elbow to the head,” Holland said. “I have no other comment.”
And this video found by Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski, at 2 in the morning:
There is no doubt in my mind that the Red Wings are just being extraordinarily cautious because the Wings would be playing 2 games in 22 hours...And there is no doubt in my mind that the Red Wings are perhaps the most cautious medical staff around...
And there is no doubt in my mind that Todd Bertuzzi's absence was one of the main reasons that Chris Neil and his ilk ran rampshod over a Red Wings team that rightly chose to go with Gustav Nyquist over Jordin Tootoo, lumps it may take and doofy scrap engaged in by the Wings' leader in shots for the night with 6 included:
Yes, the Senators won because the Red Wings had no Bertuzzi, no Tootoo (hey, it's one or the other, folks), no Eaves (ditto), a Daniel Cleary that looks like a shell of himself, Darren Helm still trying to find his form, a Justin Abdelkader struggling to determine his role away from the RadarPartners and a Niklas Kronwall who can't play nastily physical hockey and have enough energy left over to lead the Wings with 26:11 played, with 4 shots, 6 total shot attempts, a hit and a takeaway as the Wings were down to 3 or 4 defensemen after Jakub Kindl and his "hip" disappeared from the bench.
But the nerve of the shit-eating-grin-wearing Senators to run up and down the ice, hack and whack like it's a *#$%@& lumber yard, to slash as many backs of legs, backs of knees, backs, go out of their way to hit to hurt and otherwise play hockey so disgustingly riddled with vicious intent to injure when it's not even remotely required and a plain old complete and total absence of self-control that Bobby Ryan must feel like he's still sitting on the bench sucking on pacifiers with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim...
I'm going to delete a particularly vulgar comment and replace it with this, because it's a simpler comment:
This chicken-shit stuff just isn't necessary. It's not necessary against the Detroit Red Wings, it's not necessary in the NHL and it's not necessary in hockey. You don't blatantly go out to hurt people repeatedly unless there's something wrong with your players, something wrong with your coach and something wrong with your GM and your ownership, and the Senators are one of those teams that go out there and blatantly "target" their opponents, simply because they can.
Paul MacLean let his players' character shine through on Saturday, and the lightbulb was broken, so the Senators' players waved the shards of that 5-watt Easy Bake Oven lightbulb around.
So, under the not-so-watchful eyes of Brian Pochmara and Jean Hebert and linesmen Greg Devorski and Brian Pancich, the Senators played a game straight out of 1997, or at least 2004, and the Wings bit on the, "Let's forget how to play the puck and try to either avoid being hunted down or go hunting for ourselves" bait...
And while Jimmy Howard was the one who swapped out this year's Spirit of Detroit mask for last year's model hoping to shake some bad luck, it's how the gray mater protected by a Reebok helmet will react to and recover from the elbow of an 6'5," 228-pound meathead over the next 48-to-72-hours that may very well determine the course of the Red Wings' 2013-2014 season.
At 10-7-and-7, something's got to give in a hurry, one way or another.
If the Wings' over-cautious medical staff has ever frustrated me, it's in reading this from MLive's Ansar Khan:
Holland said Daniel Alfredsson will take Datsyuk’s place in the lineup. Alfredsson has missed five games with a pulled groin.
Did the trainers choose to keep Alfredsson out because they were worried that he'd overdo it against his former employer and re-tweak something, were they trying to take pressure off of him, or did they just not know that Todd Bertuzzi was going to tweak his back? The Wings sure could've used Alfredsson's offense if he was able to go.
Holland said defenseman Jakub Kindl is on the trip and expected to play Sunday. He played only one shift in the third period due to a hip issue.
Forward Todd Bertuzzi did not make the trip and remains out. He missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury, believed to be his back.
The Wings missed Bertuzzi far, far more than they missed Alfredsson, because Bertuzzi really is a "nuclear deterrent." The Red Wings can get along just fine against the John Scotts of the world if Gustav Nyquist is helping the team score on the power play and if Todd Bertuzzi's out there putting the fear of God into people simply because he's Todd Bertuzzi.
When Bert's out, and when Cleary's not ornery and Ericsson's just getting back from a shoulder injury, you get a Smith fight and you get -14 out of -14 (and counting), you get Jared Cowen throwing an elbow into Pavel Datsyuk's jaw with the Senators leading 3-2 and 7:50 left in the 3rd period.
If there is any comfort in this--and it is admittedly me grasping for straws--you can hear Datsyuk in the background of Henrik Zetterberg's comments to the Wings' website, you can hear an unmistakable Russian voice talking like the world hasn't ended.
I dunno, I'm angry, I'm very angry, and despite having gone off to do other things to occupy myself (see: working on the rest of this write-up) to separate myself from the game narrative, I'm just incredibly upset about how incredibly unnecessary the Senators' shenanigans were.
And how easily remedied they would've been had the Wings scored another goal, or had any of the officials decided to stop playing from the, "Call it situationally, based upon the score and time of game, taking into account the need for 'even-ups!'" rulebook and according to straight rules instead.
It's dumb, dumb hockey. Dangerously dumb.
But the Wings are 1-for-10 at home over their last 10 home games because they let the Senators distract this in-progress team from its blueprint and because they continue to put pucks in their own net all too regularly.
The Senators snapped a 4-game losing streak on Saturday, so they were pleased as punch with their efforts, as they told the Ottawa Sun's ever-charming Garrioch...
“After the first 10 minutes, when we didn’t play very well, I thought the guys really picked it up,” said Lehner. “We have to be a little bit more disciplined. We had a few too many penalties, some of them were soft. It’s tough on the (officials). I don't think it's their fault. It’s like there was water out there with how much they were diving. I think we’ve just got to take the positives and go to the next game.”
The sad part of Lehner's assessment is that it's backed up by a) 34 saves and b) the truth regarding the game--after the first ten minutes, which produced the vast majority of the Wings' 17 first-period shots, the Senators did take the initiative, and the Wings got lost.
Pavel Datsyuk (who scored on a 5-on-3) and Darren Helm scored for Detroit, but the key was Ottawa’s ability to kill off 2 of 3 two-man advantages. The last came for the Senators midway through the third with the Wings pressing to tie it up.
“We had a tough start again but it was better,” said MacArthur. “We stuck with it. It was a great job by Lehner, especially with that many 5-on-3s. I’ve never seen that many 5-on-3s in a game. That’s a positive for us.”
The Senators and Detroit traded two-man advantages as well early in the third. Ryan restored the lead for Ottawa at 3:51 by one-timing a pass by Howard on the stick side.
The Wings tied it 2-2 on their second 5-on-3 to start the period. With Jason Spezza and Mark Borowiecki in the box, Datsyuk tied it up at 1:08 with a shot that deflected off Jared Cowen and by a helpless Lehner. The Senators did an outstanding job killing the first 5-on-3 for a span of 1:33 in the second. With Chris Phillips and Cowen both off, they didn’t allow the Wings to penetrate the zone and the club registered only one shot during the stretch.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve gotten two wins here. It’s been good for us. That’s an emotional win for us. Big job by Robin and definitely a much-needed two points,” said captain Jason Spezza. “They took it us in the first period, the second we took it to them and the third was a lot of special teams.”
Quoth the gap-toothed moron who everybody would want on their team, who scored off of a kick save gone wrong from the player he'd eventually fight:
“It was kind of like Plinko where it was bouncing all over the place. That was my favourite game growing up,” said Neil.
The Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan penned both a quote-free recap and a post-game notebook which suggests that the Senators' aspersions cast in the Wings' direction were taken very seriously (and yes, Scanlan added a note about Datsyuk's condition):
Ottawa players made jokes about it. Have the mighty Red Wings become a team of divers? Several times in this penalty-filled game, a game that didn’t need to be so whistle-happy, the Wings went down if they were grazed by a Senators stick or a check. Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk all went down seeking a call.
On those occasions none was forthcoming, but there were enough other calls to register FOUR 5-on-3 situations, three of them in Detroit’s favour, and one to Ottawa.
Fortunately, the Senators buried their two man advantage, the game-winner from Bobby Ryan. Clarke MacArthur, who scored twice for Ottawa in the 4-2 win, joked that maybe the Wings skate sharpener was broken. And thus, they couldn’t stand up.
Robin Lehner, the hero in goal while stopping 34 of 36 shots, said it was “like water out there (a swimming pool), that’s how much they were diving.”
Spezza said he hadn’t seen so many two-man advantages since the tight calls following the 2004-05 lockout, “when they called you every time you put your stick up on a guy.”
Head coach Paul MacLean was very impressed with Lehner.
“Robin has responded to challenges we have given him in the past,” MacLean said. “We put him in the net in Boston, we put him in the net in Toronto. Now we put him in the net in Joe Louis Arena. Those are stepping stones for him in his career. As far as becoming a No. 1 type goaltender.”
“It was an emotional game for us,” Spezza said, “and a great job by Robin.”
Oh, but prior to Scanlan's note about Datsyuk? He offered this:
WHY THEY WON: The Senators executed their lone 5-on-3 power play to perfection, setting up a classic one-timer by Ryan for the GWG.
Not complaining about that one. You can say what you will about Howard--and I'm sure that you will--but goals 1, 2 and 3 weren't stoppable by Howard or Lehner.
CHEERS: To the calm presence of Robin Lehner.
JEERS: To the diving, trying to secure a penalty. Johan Franzen went down as if shot, off a mild slash from Zack Smith. Datsyuk tanked a brush by Cowen. MacArthur also sold a trip well to draw a penalty.
NHL.com's website's recap added some video transcription to the mix...
"Obviously a huge win for our group," Senators coach Paul MacLean told the team website. "The penalty-killing units got a lot of work, the power-play units got a lot of work. ... It was like two or three different games. I think both teams gave the referees an awful lot of work to do, but at the end of the day, we came out with a win."
The Senators broke a 2-2 tie when, on their 5-on-3, Erik Karlsson had the puck between the circles and slid a pass to Bobby Ryan low to his left. Ryan fired into an open side at 3:51. Clarke MacArthur added some insurance when he scored another power-play goal with 4:02 remaining.
The teams combined to take 16 minor penalties and one double minor, with each totaling 23 penalty minutes and going 2-for-8 on the power play.
"When your special teams can win you hockey games, it's a good sign," Senators captain Jason Spezza said. "It shows that we were organized and focused, and those are all things that are good."
Detroit nearly had another 5-on-3 goal and a 3-3 tie with 8:46 left in the third period, but it was correctly ruled on the ice and confirmed by video that Johan Franzen batted the puck into the net with his hand.
"We had an extended 5-on-3 in the third with a chance and we didn't score," Detroit coach Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit. "The other thing is, you can't kill penalties all night long. ... You deserve what you get, you've got to look out for your stick and you can't be in the box all night, no one gets any rhythm like that."
The Senators, who snapped a three-game losing streak, also won 6-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 23. Ottawa visits the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
"It's still a tough building to play in, but we've had good success here now with winning two in a notoriously really hard building to come into," Spezza said. "So hopefully that gives us some confidence."
Reuters' recap focused on the Senators' comments...
It was the Senators' second win in two games in Detroit this season. The Senators beat the Red Wings 6-1 on Oct. 23.
"To come in here and win is a testament to our leadership and our preparation," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said.
Right winger Chris Neil also scored for Ottawa (9-10-4), which broke a three-game losing streak. Defenseman Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch each had two assists and goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 34 shots for Ottawa.
"Coming here is never easy. You've lost three in a row and you come in here and get a win," MacArthur said.
MacArthur was suspicious about some of the penalties called on his team.
"I don't know if their (Red Wings) skates were sharpened, but they went down really easy a couple of times," he said with a smirk.
And the AP's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Senators and Red Wings' perspectives:
Neil and Detroit's Brendan Smith fought in the second period, and the third period was full of skirmishes and penalties. There were nine minor penalties called in the third, in addition to Quincey's double minor. Detroit's Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist and Howard were all called for penalties in the final 5:51, limiting any chance of a comeback.
"I didn't like the Kronwall penalty. I thought it was an awful call, but other than that, you deserve what you get," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You can't be in the box all night. No one gets into rhythm like that."
The Senators led 2-1 after the first period despite being outshot 17-7. Detroit controlled the early stages and had the game's first eight shots. The Red Wings finally took the lead on a power-play goal by Helm.
Ottawa answered with two goals in 2:21. MacArthur was able to lift the puck into the net after a scramble in front of Howard, and the Senators took the lead on Neil's goal.
"We're a desperate team right now. We need every win and to get on a roll," Lehner said. "A lot of things went right after the first 10 minutes. It was a really good game."
Oh, AP, your game is like Jeremy Roenick's Twitter game...
Cowen appeared to catch Datsyuk in the head with his left arm in the third period, but the Detroit star was able to keep playing.
Again, the Wings are 10-7-and-7, and they've won 3 out of their 11 November games, including 1 of 7 at Joe Louis Arena this month.
Neither the Wings' captain nor the team's coach were delicate in describing the team's loss to the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
"I think the first two goals for them were two gifts," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.
Darren Helm opened the scoring for the Wings on the power play, doing his best Tomas Holmstrom imitation by tipping a sharp wrist shot from Tomas Tatar by Senators goalie Robin Lehner at 13:23 of the first period. At that point the ice was tilted against Ottawa. The Red Wings had outshot them 7-0.
"In the first period we played well, came out and had a good start, created a lot of chances," Zetterberg said. "You know, we scored one. Unfortunately, they scored two."
As is often the case this season, the Wings got messy in their own zone and a couple of bad goals resulted, even though they continued to outshoot the Senators and keep most of the play in their offensive zone.
Clarke MacArthur scored for Ottawa at 14:33. Chris Neal scored 1:11 later, and despite all the hard work, the Wings were behind.
Krupa noted that Babcock pinned the loss on the Wings' inability to convert on their power plays...
"I still thought we could get another power-play goal," Babcock said. "We had that extended 5 on 3 in the third, and we couldn't score. The other thing is, you can't kill penalties all night long. You deserve what you get. You've got to look after your stick. You can't be in the box all night long. No one gets any rhythm like that."
While shrugging off Smith's fight:
"I thought Smitty is a big, tough kid and, obviously, there's no reason for him to fight Neil, unless he wants to," Babcock said.
As Babcock told Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, it was the Wings who were something of a mess in terms of their "bench management," if you will...
“I’m concerned always if you don’t win,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we started real good tonight. I thought we had lots of good things done. In the end, we didn’t find a way to win the game.”
A combined total of 46 penalty minutes between Ottawa and Detroit allowed for eight power plays aside, not only providing numerous quality scoring chances, but also completely removing any rhythm from the game. With so much time in the game spent on special teams, a lot of players are forced to sit on the bench and watch, with full lines unable to take regular shifts together.
“No one gets to play, that’s the bottom line,” Babcock said. “You can’t kill penalties all the time and just go to the power play. There’s no rhythm off your bench. You end up gassing lots of people.”
“We had two power-play goals, they had two power-play goals, but I still thought we could’ve gotten another power-play goal on that 5-on-3, that extended 5-on-3 in the third,” Babcock said. “We had a chance, but didn’t score. I thought that was part of it. The other thing is you can’t be killing penalties all night long.”
With just under five minutes to play and with the man advantage, MacArthur popped home his second of the game on the rebound for Ottawa to extend the Sens’ lead to 4-2 final.
“A lot of penalties, a lot of special teams,” Zetterberg said. “But we couldn’t really get more pucks behind them. I think we were close to 40 shots again tonight. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win. Obviously, point-wise, we’re not happy at all. If you look at those [past home] games, the way we played, we want to score more goals, but we did a lot of good things in them. We’re right there, we’ve just got to keep playing, keep getting better, getting some bodies back here and win some more games.”
And I have to admit that I'm surprised to read what Helm and Franzen told the Free Press's Helene St. James (who also penned a capsule recap):
"It was ugly out there," Johan Franzen said. "Lots of slashing."
Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk scored on power plays. The Wings had three 5-on-3 power plays that all started out topping a minute, but only converted on one of them. They racked up eight penalties themselves.
"We could have gotten another power play goal," coach Mike Babcock said. "The other thing is, you can't kill penalties all night long."
It was a dragged-out, dirty game as the Senators slashed Wings in the back of the knees, and tough guy Chris Neil finally found someone to fight in Brendan Smith after taking shots at Henrik Zetterberg and others through the first period and a half.
"They definitely got pretty emotional these games, when there's lots of penalties, hacking and whacking" Helm said. "But you've got to find a way to put that aside and play hard hockey."
I'm not sure whether the Wings did that, and as such...
The loss left the Wings 4-5-6 at home, and possibly cost them one of their defenseman as Jakub Kindl left with a "something with his hip," Babcock said. Babcock didn't know Kindl's status for Sunday's game at Buffalo.
Babcock told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that he had one beef but only one beef given that both power play units kept deferring to Niklas Kronwall to the point that the Wings of today look like the Wings of old--"Only Nicklas Lidstrom can shoot the puck on the net!"--and, as Mickey Redmond, Ken Daniels and I'm sure Ken Kal and Paul Woods noted, there were no butts in front of Robin Lehner's face:
“We had a 5-on-3 with chances to score and we didn’t,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had two power play goals, they had two power play goals, but I still thought we could have got another power play goal on that 5-on-3. We had an extended 5-on-3 in the third with a chance to score and we didn’t score. I thought that was part of it.”
Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit and Jimmy Howard, who’s now 0-3-4 in his last seven starts, stopped 25 shots.
Clarke MacArthur scored a pair of goals for Ottawa, which snapped a three-game losing streak, while Chris Neil and Bobby Ryan each added a goal. Lehner made 34 saves.
The teams combined had nearly 25 minutes of power play time.
“No one gets to play,” said Babcock, who team had just snapped a season-long seven-game winless streak. “You can’t kill penalties all the time and just go to the power play. There is no rhythm off you bench and you end up gassing lots of people.
“The other thing you can’t kill penalties all night long,” Babcock continued. “I didn’t like the (Niklas) Kronwall penalty 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.”
That penalty yielded MacArthur's 4-2 goal, and salted the game away.
Overall, it was more of the same, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted...
“I thought they had three chances in the first period and two of them went in,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The one bounced off our foot. The other team is going to get some chances, that’s just the way it is. We just have to find a way to execute and not break down. When you look at the first period, they didn’t touch the puck and they were up 2-1 coming out. Bottom line is we have to mentally tough to win games and we didn’t find a way tonight.”
And Stephen Weiss's return to the lineup showed promise--but not all that much given that the Wings leaned on Datsyuk and Zetterberg and whoever the hell they could throw over the boards with them, with that third component usually being Franzen or Abdelkader--as he found himself rushed back a little early thanks to Todd Bertuzzi's back issue:
“I think I got the text at about 4:15 (p.m.) on the way to the rink,” Weiss said of his return. “So I found out then. I knew it was a possibility this morning, but found out about that time.”
Daniel Alfredsson and Weiss have both been sidelined with groin injuries, and told team trainers Friday they were ready to return. Weiss missed Detroit’s previous six games. The center recorded two goals and eight assists in 17 games this season, notching only one point in his past 11 contests.
Weiss skated as a right wing on the starting line with Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Cleary against Ottawa, logging 11:18 of ice time and recording one shot and one takeaway.
“I was OK,” Weiss said of his first period performance. “Makes it easier when you are playing with Pavel, for sure. He takes care of both ends of the ice, but felt OK. Just the matter of getting back into the hockey game.”
So Pleiness's "Quote of the Day" stings (and I've seen worse)...
Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur, who scored two goals in the Senators’ 4-2 win over Detroit, on the number of 5-on-3 man advantages the Wings had Saturday night.
“Obviously, we don’t want to give up three or four 5-on-3s,” MacArthur said. “I don’t know if their (Wings) skates were sharpened but they went down really easy a couple of times.”
As does this from MLive's Ansar Khan's quote-less recap:
The Red Wings (10-7-7) are 1-3-5 in their past nine games overall and 1-3-6 in their past 10 at JLA. The Senators snapped a three-game losing streak with their second win in as many games in Detroit this season (they won 6-1 at the Joe on Oct. 23).
Senators backup goalie Robin Lehner, starting in place of Craig Anderson, made 34 saves. Jimmy Howard, who faced 29 shots, fell to 0-3-4 in his past seven starts. He hasn’t won since Nov. 1 in Calgary.
I hope Howard has Ray Bishop working on a new mask, because the old one didn't change his luck.
If you want to read Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom speak with Erik Karlsson about "Bobby" (Ryan) and "Robin" (Lehner) and the creepy fact that the Wings lost 6-1 to Ottawa on October 23rd and 4-2 to Ottawa on November 23rd, read his Swedish via Google translate. I'm not putting any work into it this morning.
At least the Red Wings website's
Post-game: Clarke MacArthur, Robin Lehner, Jason Spezza and Paul MacLean shared audio comments with the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan;
The CBC posted a quick profile of Darren Helm:
If you care to watch the CBC's Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman talk about the Winter Classic to come, enjoy...
And the Red Wings' website posted clips of Henrik Zetterberg, who addresses the elbow...
And Babcock's post-game presser:
Fox Sports Detroit posted part of Babcock's presser, and St. James posted a combined clip of comments from Zetterberg, Babcock and Darren Helm:
Photos: The Detroit News posted a 31-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 21-image gallery;
The Ottawa Sun embedded a 10-image gallery in Bruce Garrioch's recap;
ESPN posted a 46-image gallery;
Shots 36-29 Detroit. Detroit out-shot Ottawa 17-7 in the 1st, were out-shot 11-6 in the 2nd and out-shot Ottawa 13-11 in the 3rd.
Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-6 in 11:01 of PP time, including 1-for-3 in 3:45 of 5 on 3 time; Ottawa went 1-for-8 in 13:30 of PP time, including 1-for-1 in 1:15 of 5 on 3 time.
Goaltending: Robin Lehner stopped 34 of 36 shots; Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 29.
The 3 stars were picked by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, and he picked Bobby Ryan, Robin Lehner and Clarke MacArthur.
The Wings' goals: Helm (4) from Tatar (4) and Kindl (8), PPG;
Datsyuk (12) from Kronwall (12) and Zetterberg (17).
Faceoffs 42-40 Ottawa (Detroit won 49%);
Blocked shots 10-9 Ottawa;
Missed shots 13-10 Detroit (total attempts 59-48 Detroit, with Detroit firing 36 on Lehner and 23 wide/blocked);
Hits 27-15 Ottawa;
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 14-and-15 (48%); Helm went 9-and-12 (43%); Andersson went 10-and-9 (53%); Zetterberg went 7-and-4 (64%); Samuelsson lost his only faceoff.
Shots: Smith led the Wings in shots with 6; Zetterberg and Kronwall had 4; Abdelkader and Franzen had 3; Datsyuk, Nyquist, Miller and Quincey had 3; Andersson, Tatar, Samuelsson, Helm, Ericsson and Weiss had 1.
Blocked attempts: Tatar had 3 attempts blocked by Senators players; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Helm had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Zetterberg missed the net 4 times; Smith and Kronwall fired 2 shots wide; Kindl, Abdelkader, Nyquist, Lashoff and Quincey fired 1 shot wide.
Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Quincey and Franzen had 2; Kindl, Datsyuk, Miller, Lashoff, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.
Giveaways: Ericsson had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Tatar, Cleary and Franzen had 1.
Takeaways: Nyquist, Miller, Lashoff, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Weiss had takeaways.
Blocked opponent shots: Miller and Quincey blocked 2 Senators shots; Smith, Datsyuk, Andersson, Lashoff and Helm blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Smith took a major for fighting; Quincey took a double minor; Nyquist, Tatar, Helm, Ericsson, Kronwall, Cleary and Howard took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -10. Quincey finished at -2; Smith, ,Abdelkader, Nyquist, Tatar, Zetterberg, Helm, Ericsson and Franzen finished at -1.
Points: Helm and Datsyuk scored goals; Kindl, Tatar, Zetterberg and Kronwall had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 26:11 played; Ericsson played 20:57; Zetterberg played 19:34;
Datsyuk played 19:18; Quincey played 18:28; Franzen played 17:49;
Nyquist played 16:25; Smith played 16:21; Helm played 14:59;
Miller played 14:21; Andersson played 14:13; Lashoff played 14:12;
Kindl played 13:28; Abdelkader played 13:09; Cleary played 11:27;
Weiss played 11:18; Tatar played 11:17; Samuelsson played 9:18.
Red Wings-Sabres set-up: In theory, the Wings should be able to pounce all over the Sabres, but this has been a character-building November, and nobody likes character-building.
The Buffalo Sabres are debuting their "third jerseys" against the Wings today, and they're hoping to snap a 3-game losing streak against the Wings this afternoon (5 PM puck drop on FSD and MSG Sabres), having last played in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday the 21st.
The Sabres recalled defenseman Alexander Sulzer from the Rochester Amerks and placed Cody McCormick on the IR. With the Buffalo News's Bucky Gleason lamenting the rebuilding status of the city's sports teams, the Buffalo News's John Vogl attempted to explain why the Sabres recalled a solid roster player "caught up in the youth movement"...
Sulzer is up from Rochester and will play Sunday when the Sabres host Detroit. The 29-year-old had two goals and seven points in 10 games for the Amerks. He got the call Friday night after coach Ted Nolan and President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine attended the Amerks' 3-2 loss to Utica.
"One of the reasons we went down was we wanted to see him play," Nolan said today after practice in Bud Bakewell Arena at Riverside Park. "He’s a veteran guy. Like I’ve said, we’ve got a lot of young talent here, and we’ve got to make sure they mature at the right pace. This guy’s a veteran guy that’s been around for a while, and he could have some stability back there for us.
"That’s what we’re looking for. We’re running around in our defensive zone too much. We just need guys to stay back. We’ve got one of the better goaltenders in the world, so we just have to make sure we protect back there and get the puck up to our forwards."
Vogl continued in his notebook...
Sulzer practiced alongside Christian Ehrhoff. The other pairs were Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers, Brayden McNabb and Mark Pysyk, and Jamie McBain and Mike Weber.
“I’m just excited to be back and get the chance again, just trying to play my game and prove that the decision early in the year was wrong to send me down,” Sulzer said. “It’s a complete new start. Like he’s mentioned many times, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody deserves that. Things didn’t really work the way they were before, so they’re just trying to look at their options and evaluate after that. I really appreciate the chance.”
And Vogl's game-day article discusses the Sabres' dearth of scoring punch:
Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford, expected to make up two-thirds of Buffalo’s top line this afternoon against Detroit, have goose eggs in the goal column lately. Moulson is stuck in a 10-game drought. Stafford has gone seven games without a goal and has just one in the past 18. That’s obviously trouble for a team languishing at the bottom of the NHL.
“We’ve got to bear down, myself especially,” Moulson said Saturday. “It seems like we’re getting those in-tight shots, and you’ve got to find a way to score in this league. Myself, I think I’ve had some good looks over the last couple games and haven’t been able to put it in. I’ve got to keep working to get those chances. Good chances don’t come easy in the NHL.”
In Buffalo, goals don’t come easily. The Sabres are averaging just 1.67 goals per game to rank 30th in the 30-team league. Carolina is 29th at 1.91. No one else is under two.
“My simple philosophy in life is if it ain’t working, we’re not working hard enough,” coach Ted Nolan said in Bud Bakewell Arena at Riverside Park. “We’ve just got to get back and do things that maybe we don’t want to do sometimes. That’s go up the wall, dump it in and go get it. Sometimes we want to carry it in and make a nice play, but that’s not going to be here in this type of day and age.”
Stafford and Moulson have the size to play a dump-and-chase style. They are expected to be reunited with center Cody Hodgson after one game apart. The trio has no goals on its last 48 shots.
Hodgson seems to know what to do to succeed against the Wings, however...
The Red Wings, who flew in for the 5 p.m. start following Saturday night’s home game against Ottawa, haven’t been as dominant with the puck this year. Detroit averaged nearly five more shots per game than its opponents over the previous five seasons, but it had just a 0.2 edge per game heading into Saturday.
“More possession time will allow us to play in their end instead of defending,” Hodgson said. “We’ve got work to do obviously, but we’re getting there.”
And if there is good news roster-wise for the Wings, it's this from Buffalo Hockey Beat's Bill Hoppe:
Meanwhile, John Scott practiced as a defenseman much of today, meaning the tough guy’s likely out for Sunday’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. Brian Flynn, a regular winger, centered the fourth line today.
On the back end, Hoppe reports that the Sabres are trying to reignite Tyler Myers' once Calder Trophy-winning game:
For years – whether it was trying to duplicate his dynamic 2009-10 Calder Trophy season or living up to his seven-year, $38.5 million contract – Myers “was putting a tremendous amount of pressure” on himself, he said. His mistakes consumed him.
“I was worried about outside pressure,” he said. “I was worried about all the things I shouldn’t have been worried about. Anytime I made a mistake I just let it pile on me and pile on me. It ended up really hurting me. I thought I started to turn it around toward the end of last year.”
Myers began working with Barbara Meyer, a sports psychologist, during the offseason, something he said has made “a huge difference.”
“It’s been a process, for sure,” said Myers, who has two goals, six points and a minus-10 rating in 24 games. “It’s not like that has been happening overnight here.”
Meyer has worked with Myers to help him “react to things when they happen” and change his mindset.
“I think the biggest help has been when something bad happens, when a mistake is made, when you have a rough one, don’t worry about it,” Myers said. “There’s 82 games.”
When he doesn't force things, Myers is still a remarkable defenseman. I hope he doesn't get everthing sorted out in one game.
In the multimedia department, the Sabres posted a 90-second clip which distills interviews with Mark Pysyk, Drew Stafford, Alexander Sulzer, Tyler Myers and coach Ted Nolan into something more digestible, and the Sabres website's Chris Ryndak had Buffalo dressing the following lines on Saturday:
26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
72 Luke Adam – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth
Power Play 1
Moulson – Hodgson – Ennis
Myers – Ehrhoff
Power Play 2
Stafford – Ott – Leino
Pysyk – McNabb
NHL.com's Brian Compton sets up this afternoon/early evening's game as follows...
Big story: Detroit travels to Buffalo after going 1-2-0 on a three-game homestand, including a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. The Red Wings, who are 10-1-1 in their past 12 games against the Sabres, have one win in their past nine games (1-3-5) and have fallen to fifth place in the Atlantic Division. The Sabres are beginning a three-game homestand. They are 1-3-0 under interim coach Ted Nolan.
Red Wings [team scope]: Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk erased a 2-1 deficit via the power play 1:08 into the third period, but Bobby Ryan scored less than three minutes later and Clarke MacArthur added an insurance goal with 4:02 remaining to hand the Red Wings another loss on home ice. Detroit is 1-2-6 at Joe Louis Arena since Oct. 15. Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start Sunday.
"It never feels good when you lose, especially at home," center Darren Helm told Fox Sports Detroit. "We've got a big game tomorrow that we have to have a big effort for."
Sabres [team scope]: Buffalo will be looking to end a three-game losing streak. The Sabres' woes continued with a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center, a game that saw the Sabres commit eight penalties and give the Flyers a pair of 5-on-3 situations.
Who's hot: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has six assists in span. … Sabres center Tyler Ennis has two goals and two assists in the past five games.
Injury report: Datsyuk did not make the trip after taking an elbow to the head Saturday. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Mlive.com that Datsyuk was kept home due to a possible concussion. Detroit defenseman Jakub Kindl (hip) played one shift in the third period Saturday and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock did not provide an update after the game. Right wing Daniel Alfredsson (groin) has missed five straight games but is expected to play against the Sabres. Right wing Todd Bertuzzi (upper body) did not play Saturday. Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (separated left shoulder) is out 3-6 weeks and is on the long-term injured reserve list. … Sabres forward Cody McCormick (upper body) did not practice Saturday and is expected to miss at least one week.
And the AP/STATS LLC's preview offers the following stats:
Backup Jonas Gustavsson will start against the Sabres. He's 1-3-2 in seven career games against Buffalo, including six starts.
Despite the poor nine-game stretch, the Red Wings are still 16 points ahead of the Sabres (5-18-1), thanks to a strong start to the season. Detroit opened with a 2-1 home win against the Sabres to improve to 10-1-1 against them since Feb. 13, 2003.
The Red Wings are also 5-1-0 at Buffalo since Dec. 10, 2003.
The Sabres have lost three in a row and have six points in the last three weeks. They've scored only twice in two games after Thursday's 4-1 loss at Philadelphia.
The loss dropped them to 1-3-0 under interim coach Ted Nolan.
Also of Red Wings-related note: Daniel Alfredsson addressed his absence on his bobblehead night in a conversation with the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan...
"You want to play every game, there’s no question,” Alfredsson said, after a long skating session in the morning. “Obviously, playing Ottawa, and what happened last game, you want to get that one back.”
The reference was to the Senators 6-1 victory over Alfredsson and the Red Wings on Oct. 23.
“I can’t remember if I’ve even had a groin before,” Alfredsson said. “It was tight from a workout and then a pre-game skate last Friday, I felt a little sensation. It didn’t feel too good.”
Alfredsson was replaced in the starting lineup by Gustav Nyquist, who scored twice in Thursday’s victory over Carolina in his first game of the season. This was Alfredsson’s second bobblehead night, having had one years ago with the Senators. The evidence lingers.
“I know the ones we have at home, all the heads are off,” Alfredsson said. “So they’ve got to be old.”
And he looked forward to potential game 1,200 or 1,201--looks like it'll be 1,201 as he's playing today and not returning Wednesday, as previously planned--a Sunday from today while speaking with the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:
[W]orry not Senators fans, the former Ottawa captain told reporters he'll be in attendance and back on the ice in time for next Sunday's return visit to the Canadian Tire Centre for the first time since he signed with the Wings in the summer.
Alfredsson, 41, won't be alone, either. Wife Bibi along with the couple's four children will make the trek to Ottawa to be part of what should be a special night. A group of Ottawa fans were chanting 'Alfie, Alfie, Alfie' at 11:11 of each period at The Joe.
"It's been on my mind," said Alfredsson after he was the last player off the ice Saturday. "It's only a week away."
Troubled by a groin injury, Alfredsson, who had back issues in camp, wanted to play against Ottawa but he's been told to take it easy by the team's medical staff. Instead, he'll return Wednesday "for sure" against the Boston Bruins. If Alfredsson does return Wednesday, then next Sunday in Ottawa will be No. 1200 of his brilliant career.
"I was targeting (Saturday) but I agreed you've got to be smart," said Alfredsson, who missed his fifth game with the injury. "I'm feeling pretty good. I don't even know if I've had a groin (injury) before. You want to play every game. Obviously, playing Ottawa and with what happened the last time (in a 6-1 loss on Oct. 23rd) you want to get that one back."
In another sort of "injury" department, the Free Press's Helene St. James discussed Daniel Cleary's offensive struggles (his get-up-and-go seemed to get up and go to Philadelphia and never return)...
Cleary, 34, has three points after 23 games, as dry a stretch he has gone through since joining the Wings in 2005. His one goal came six weeks ago.
“It’s not enough,” coach Mike Babcock said. “The bottom line though, is confidence is a tough thing in the league. We’re hoping ideally that playing him with Pav might help him. Pav is a pretty good player. We need Pav to be going big-time for us to have success, and helping him is probably more important in someways that helping Cleary, but that’s our thought process right now.”
Stephen Weiss ended up as the line’s other winger after Todd Bertuzzi was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury. He’s day-to-day.
Cleary’s slump stands out especially in light of how he came to remain in Detroit. He rejected two- and three-year offers in June, went unsigned as training camp neared, then had a verbal agreement on three-year, $8.25 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers on the eve of camp. Cleary didn’t want to leave the Wings, though, so he made a last-ditch pitch to Babcock and general manager Ken Holland, resulting in a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.
One of the consequences of that event was the Wings having so many forwards, Gustav Nyquist was sent to the minors to relieve the log jam. Nyquist was called up Thursday, and immediately showed he belonged by scoring twice.
As did the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa, in his ever-thoughtful manner:
He sounds a bit desperate when he is asked how he can remedy a completely underwhelming start of the season — an offensive drought that, he acknowledged, is unlike anything he has experienced.
“Oh God, you’ve got to be good defensively,” he said. “You’ve got to do the little things and we’ve always believed that you’re game will come out of it doing that.”
As to whether his confidence is high or low, Cleary said, “It’s in the middle.” And he repeated the answer, perhaps to assure himself it was so.
“You know, you’ve got to be positive and you’ve got to stay confident,” he said. “That’s the only way to get through it.”
Babcock said he spoke with both Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi Saturday morning before the game with the Senators. Both were slated to play with Datsyuk, but Bertuzzi was a late scratch. Babcock said he does not talk to his struggling veterans every day.
“You can’t meet with them every day,” he said. “You can talk to them about their kids every day. You can see them at the coffee pot. You can’t talk to them about hockey every day. They’d quit hockey.”
Before the game, Cleary, a consumate “character player,” talked about his circumstances.
“I think it comes with the territory,” he said of both the disappointment and the pressure to produce. To be a professional, I think you have to be mentally strong. You have to do every other aspect of your game well. Then, that (offensive) side will happen, and that’s what I’ve always believed in. And, as a team, we believe in that as well.”
And as I don't have a bang to go out with, nor a whimper, I'll simply suggest that the fact that the Free Press's "Best Sports Song in Michigan" bracket is down to The Final Countdown, Go Get 'Um Tigers, the UDM Fight Song, the MSU Drumline, Gridiron Heroes, Karen Newman's Star-Spangled Banner, the MSU Fight Song and Another One Bites the Dust proves that they're letting people stuff the ballot.
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