The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/05/12 at 08:16 AM ET
I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the Red Wings reassigned Chris Conner to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday evening, and they didn’t call anyone up after losing Jakub Kindl (“upper-body”) early in the 1st period and Jimmy Howard (“lower-body,” probably his groin) after the 1st period ended to what were probably precautionary measures during the course of the Red Wings’ hard-fought but sloppy 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, and on top of that, Pavel Datsyuk skated on his own for the first time since undergoing knee surgery two weeks ago today before Sunday’s game.
In the grasping at straws department, Brendan Smith did just fine while engaging in a fight with a much feistier Andrew Shaw, too:
which gave the playoff-desperate Hawks two much-needed points, and, worse for Red wings fans, a 7-0-and-1 record at Joe Louis Arena over their past 8 visits.
Worse, Kindl and Howard received the old, “They’ll be reevaluated on Monday” line, Datsyuk isn’t slated to return until sometime during the Wings’ West Coast swing next week, and aside from being very kind and signing autographs for fans on his way down to the Wings’ locker room, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers captured a lovely picture of Nicklas Lidstrom watching the game from the press box. He’ll be reevaluated on Monday as well, and my best guess is that given that he has a bone bruise in his “ankle” (just like we don’t know what wrist Jonathan Ericsson broke or which knee Pavel Datsyuk had surgery on, though the AP believes it was his right knee, the press is no longer reporting which side of the body players have injured if there are redundant “lefts” and “rights” to obscure the picture), he won’t be back until the weekend, so…
The Wings are incredibly lucky that, between Tuesday’s Mark Howe #2 retirement/game against the Philadelphia Flyers and next week’s three-game road trip, which begins on Tuesday, March 13th, the Wings have games on Friday at home against Los Angeles and Saturday against Nashville, in Nashville. In other words, it is highly likely that, should the Wings sustain no further injuries (knock on wood), they will be returning to full or nearly full strength after playing only 3 games over the next 8 days.
If the Wings—who would have to call up Jordan Pearce or Thomas McCollum (because Ty Conklin would have to be subjected to re-entry waivers) and burn through the 2nd of 4 post-trade deadline call-ups for non-emergency reasons if Howard can’t go on Tuesday, and Doug Janik if Kindl is anything more than “sore”—can simply not fall too far back of the Canucks or Blues, a near-full-strength team will be ready to roll through the second half of March and a schedule that is, after the road trip, particularly friendly in terms of both opponents and lots of home games.
In terms of the Wings’ injuries, you can scroll down to watch/listen to Howard’s playful exchange with the media, but here’s what he said about his “lower-body injury,” via the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan (and MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Howard will have an MRI today just to be sure he didn’t tear anything)...
“Through the period, it was getting tighter and tighter and they decided to take me out,” Howard said. “I’ll have some tests (today), they’ll take a look at it, and hopefully it’s not too serious.”
If Howard can’t play Tuesday in Philadelphia, Joey MacDonald would start.
“Maybe right now (it looks doubtful in Philadelphia) but hopefully I can bounce back quick,” Howard said.
And here’s NHL.com’s Brian Hedger’s report:
Howard told reporters after the game that he was “day-to-day” with an undisclosed injury that “stiffened up” as the first period went along, while there was no timetable or specific injury given regarding Kindl.
“[Kindl], obviously we didn’t make a very good decision, between us I don’t know if we pressured him or what it was ... we knew he was a bit sore [before the game],” [Wings coach Mike] Babcock said. “We should have called someone up, I guess, in hindsight. Hindsight’s great. It doesn’t do you much good. Then Howie’s got a lower-body injury and left the game and he’ll be evaluated and we’ll go from there.”
Joey MacDonald replaced Howard to start the second period on Sunday and played well despite allowing the game-winning goal late in the second period, when beaten by a pretty move to the backhand by Chicago’s Patrick Kane. It was MacDonald’s first loss in his past eight appearances, so if Howard is out for any length of time he’ll likely become Detroit’s starter going forward, with veteran Ty Conklin likely getting called up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to back him up.
Again, that’s a no-no due to re-entry waivers.
“It’s the nature of the game; sometimes it happens,” Howard said of the injury woes. “You never want it to, but injuries do happen over a long season. Just going to have to remain positive and get back as quickly as possible. Joey’s a class act. He’s a great backup. He’s a great partner for me to have. He just goes out there and plays.”
And Lidstrom? Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji delivers the reason I believe he’ll be out for another week with that bone bruise:
Lidstrom, who made an odd sight sitting in the press box during the game, said he tried his skate on again in the dressing room Sunday but his ankle was still pretty sore. Kindl’s status is unknown and Todd Bertuzzi played despite a sore groin.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that the Blackhawks, who now sit a little more solidly in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, had no sympathy for the Wings as the Hawks played without the services of Jonathan Toews, Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarsson (concussions), and given that the Hawks shut down 4 Detroit power plays while scoring 1 goal on 3 PP chances, a team which won its third straight road game felt absolutely delighted about walking into Detroit and waltzing out with two points, as Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns:
‘We felt we had to play another perfect road game,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We had a lot of good things. I thought it was comparable to the way we played Friday [a 2-1 victory against the Senators] with the details, the purpose, being positionally aware.’’
The Hawks’ success on the penalty kill exemplified the commitment. They killed all four of the Red Wings’ power plays, including a crucial one that carried over to start the third period. The Red Wings were able to set up their power play, but the Hawks’ forwards were aggressive and able to discourage some shots. The Red Wings got five shots on Emery, while the Hawks mustered three short-handed attempts.
‘‘We’re not going to win every night, but you can control the way you work and things you do out there as a unit,’’ Sharp said.
‘‘It was really similar to the Ottawa game, where we shut them down in the third [with] that little extra effort that it takes to hold on to a lead against a good team,’’ Emery said.
As ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Roger noted, Patrick Sharp played his usual role against Detroit—registering a goal and an assist while continuing to play as a “Wing-killer”...
Sharp had a goal and an assist in the Hawks’ 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, which was preceded by two helpers in a 2-1 win over Ottawa on Friday. That’s four goals in two games, and Sharp was a part of them all.
“He had eyes in the back of his head or he said his prayers and put it to the slot,” Kane joked of Sharp’s assist on the game-winning goal Sunday. “It was a great play all-around and a huge goal at the end of a period.”
Kane crashed the net where Sharp put a no-look pass on Kane’s stick from behind the Wings goal. It came with just 1:19 left in the second period and was the game’s final tally.
“I heard him calling for it so I just threw it to the slot and he made a great move,” Sharp said.
Sharp had seven of the Hawks’ 18 shots on net. It was just a few games ago that Sharp was playing in the slot with the Hawks on the man-advantage. That’s not where he belongs. His goal from the point was his 25th while his assist was his 30th. Not bad for a player who missed nine games with a broken left wrist.
Sharp took a big hit from Niklas Kronwall late in the second period, which Bickell retaliated on, getting a boarding penalty. Sharp was all right, recalling Kronwall had warned him before the hit. The Hawks killed off the penalty to start the third period. Since their 0-for-39 power-play slump, the Hawks are 3-for-10 with the extra man over the last four games.
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers may have done the best job of summarizing the Hawks’ “storylines” succinctly:
Patrick Sharp scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks have won three in a row and remain in sixth place in the West, four points behind idle fifth-place Nashville.
In another game where the Blackhawks needed a complete team game, they got it. Emery was solid once again, and the penalty kill and team defense was strong against a Red Wings team that’s always dangerous.
“It’s kind of what we’re looking for coming off the Ottawa game. We had to play another perfect road game and we did a lot of good things tonight,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We (were good with) details, we had purpose and we were positionally aware. Everybody’s contributing and we stuck together.”
It was typical Blackhawks-Wings hockey on Sunday: close, combative and entertaining. And the Blackhawks power play, which had been so anemic for so long, came through early for them when Sharp scored for an early 1-0 lead.
“It’s a big difference when the power play can get one like that,” said Sharp, whose shot got through a Jamal Mayers screen up front. “Our penalty kill was solid all night long. That’s the way things are going to be down the stretch: tight, and goals are going to be hard to come by. We’ll take it.”
“It’s important we’re still winning games,” Emery said. “We’re not scoring big numbers but we’re getting it done. Come playoff time, those are the kind of wins you have to have.”
Cue the, “Let’s carry the momentum forward” angle, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc:
“The last eight or 10 games we’ve been playing really well as a team,” said Patrick Sharp, who put the Hawks ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal in the first period. “You’re not going to win every night but you can control the way you work and the things you can do as a unit. That was a great game (Sunday) and we can carry some momentum into St. Louis (on Tuesday night).”
The Wings were without leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) to start the game and lost starting goalie Jimmy Howard after one period with a lower-body injury. Those absences were mostly offset by the Hawks playing without captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, both sidelined with suspected concussions.
“We know that’s a real tough team in this building,” said Emery, who made 23 saves to hand Detroit just its fourth loss in regulation at home this season. “It’s great that we got out to a lead because we know when they get out to a lead it’s tough to come back against them. It was really similar to the Ottawa game when we shut them down in the third really well and got that little extra effort that it takes to hold onto a lead against a good team.”
“That’s the way we need to play,” Duncan Keith said. “It’s a huge win. We were blocking shots, having good gaps and the forwards were back-checking hard. And, our goaltender was playing great — a lot of big saves.”
Part of playing great involved sending traffic in front of both Wings goalies...
Patrick Sharp gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first period when he scored from the point with [Jamal] Mayers screening goalie Jimmy Howard. Sharp’s shot
deflected off defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was battling with Mayers.
‘‘That’s the type of goal we have to score,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘You don’t want to look for pretty plays. Let’s get pucks and traffic and get a nice bounce here or there.’’
‘‘If I can go in there, get in front of the net, create some havoc, score some goals and win the games, that’s what I want to do,’’ Mayers said.
If you want to read more about Ray Emery taking control of the Hawks’ crease from Kuc or Jahns or a bit about Johnny Oduya’s strong 25-minute performance from Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Jeremy Lynn, or want to take on the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s extensive conversation with Joel Quenneville (and kinda/sorta notebook), rock on with your bad selves, but in terms of analysis-only stuff, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden offers some notes of note…
The Hawks were also getting annihilated in the faceoff circle through two periods: 10 wins, 24 losses. But in the 3rd they won 13 of 19, and had enough puck possession where they didn’t have to completely play a soft zone.
While Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist, some unsung heroes include: Brent Seabrook with four hits and three blocked shots in 28 minutes of ice time. Bryan Bickell had four more hits, giving him nine in these two games. Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya also got in front of three Wings shots. And oh yeah, Ray Emery. Just six of the last 132 shots he’s faced have gotten past him.
And ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers offers both succinct summaries of the game and its implications…
Season series: The Hawks and Wings have played five one-goal games, with the Hawks coming out on top in three of them, but Chicago has a point in all five. Two have gone to overtime and none have combined for more than five goals in any single game. It’s been a great season series with the regular-season finale still to come.
As well as some quips from Sharp the Wing-killer:
“They are fun games to play in,” Patrick Sharp said. “Little bit of everything out there. I’m sure we’ll see them again down the road.”
That little bit of everything included a power-play goal by Sharp, followed by his game-winning set up of a Patrick Kane score late in the second period. Make no mistake, special teams play has been the difference in the last two games. The Hawks have two power-play goals and a score on a delayed penalty, plus they’ve given up nothing when down a man. That’s a winning playoff formula.
“It makes a big difference when our power play can get one, especially early on,” Sharp said. “I thought our penalty kill was solid all [game] long. That’s the way things are going to be down the stretch.”
“Lots of pushing after the whistles,” Sharp said. “Not a whole lot of talking out there. Some bad blood that’s for sure. Good divisional game.”
The Associated Press’s recap offers a cringe-worthy Sharp stat...
Sharp has 15 goals and 30 points in 40 career games against Detroit.
And a brief assessment of the game (as well as a note that it was Datsyuk’s right knee that got scoped, shh):
“I think that’s something we have to fight our way through,” Kronwall said. “Injuries come throughout the year.”
Kane scored with 1:19 left in the second period. Sharp set up Kane with a blind back pass after stripping the puck from Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart behind the net.
Kane made a move and backhanded a shot past MacDonald from the front of the net.
“We had it behind the net, got stripped and then its out in front,” MacDonald said.
Sharp opened the scoring 3:47 into the game on a power play. His slap shot from the left point deflected in off Kronwall’s skate. It was Sharp’s 25th goal. Kronwall tied it at 6:03 of the first with his 14th goal. He beat Emery with a one-timed slap shot from the left point.
And NHL.com’s Brian Hedger will dish the final comments from the Hawks as we attempt to transition to the Wings’ takes on the game:
“It was definitely one of those games where you kind of feel it out to begin with and then as the game goes on it gets a little bit more intense,” said Kane, whose goal with 1:19 left in the second period stood up as the eventual game-winner. “It’s a great rivalry. Both teams were missing big players from their lineup and it’s good to see other players step up [for us].”
The Blackhawks (36-24-7) were also missing defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body)and Steve Montador (upper body), while the Red Wings (43-20-3) played without star defenseman and captain Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), star center Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist fracture). Detroit also lost defenseman Jakub Kindl (upper body) early in the first and starting goalie Jimmy Howard (lower body) after the opening period to really stress their remaining active lineup—especially the five defensemen who were left.
“It’s a little hard and sometimes it can be a little frustrating because you don’t know who you’re going to go out with next shift,” said Wings rookie defenseman Brendan Smith, who logged 17:50 and got in a fight in just his sixth game of the season and NHL career. “It’s tough on everybody once you drop to five [defensemen]. I just think you have to play the situation. We’re all good hockey players here and I’m glad they had a lot of faith in me in a lot of different situations.”
Smith even played 2:10 on Detroit’s power play, which went 0-for-4 overall and missed on all five shots generated with the man-advantage. Chicago’s Ray Emery started in goal and made 23 saves to pick up his third straight victory for the Hawks, who improved to 3-0-2 against Detroit this season with just one more game left to play – again in the Motor City – on the last day of the regular season. Each of the five games played thus far has been decided by one goal, with the first three finishing 3-2 and the last two—both won by Chicago—finishing with 2-1 final scores.
“Every time we play them it’s a tough game,” said Hawks forward Patrick Sharp, who scored the game’s first goal just 3:17 into the first and then set up Kane’s marker with a blind backhand pass to the slot from behind the net. “It was a fun game to be a part of. There was lots of pushing after the whistles ... not a whole lot of talking out there, but there’s some bad blood, that’s for sure. It’s a good divisional game.”
Is Red Wings coach Mike Babcock concerned about all the guys in the training room getting work done on their bodies right now?
“I’m not because there’s nothing I can do about being concerned,” he said. “It’s just one of those things. You get injured every year and you gotta fight through them and other guys gotta pick up their game to help you win. That’s all you do.”
Babcock didn’t deviate from that message—injuries suck, but s*** happens—while speaking to the Free Press’s George Sipple...
“We played our (defensemen) too many minutes, but still,” Babcock said. “We had every opportunity to win the game tonight. We had lots of opportunities around their net.”
Patrick Sharp gave the Blackhawks the lead 3:17 into the game on a power-play goal that went in off the stick of Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall tied the game at 6:03 of the first for his 14th goal of the season and his seventh point in three games. After a giveaway behind Detroit’s net, Sharp assisted on Patrick Kane’s 16th goal of the season, and that proved to be the difference.
“They made a good play,” MacDonald said. “We had it behind the net, and I think it got stripped. Pass out front and, hey, one of the best players in the league. He made a good move. As a goalie, you just have to push out and try to be big. It was a good move.”
The Wings failed to capitalize on a power play a few minutes later, after Duncan Keith was whistled for roughing. The Wings finished 0-for-4 on the power play for the game.
“I thought our power play, in particular in the second period, had real good opportunities and good looks,” Babcock said. “At one point we had about five shots in about 40 seconds and didn’t score. I thought we did lots of good things but not enough to generate enough offense.”
And Niklas Kronwall reiterated his coach’s message to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
We’ve been fortunate otherwise this season with injuries,” said Niklas Kronwall, who scored the lone Wings goal. “Injuries are going to happen and we have to fight through it. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Whatever guys have to do to get ready they have to do and we have to look forward to the next game.”
While Henrik Zetterberg insisted that the Wings didn’t do enough to rally from their 1-0 and 2-1 deficits:
“We didn’t create enough quality chances, and the chances we had, they had a stick in between,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “They blocked a lot of shots. … They were doing a good job of being in the lanes. It just wasn’t quite there.”
Or, as Kronwall told Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:
“Obviously, we didn’t score, so it wasn’t good enough,” said Niklas Kronwall, who had the Wings’ only goal. “I think we did some good things, but we have to find a way to get the puck into the net. We had some opportunities, we had some power plays, we just couldn’t get the job done.”
MacDonald also shrugged off having to step in after the first period…
“As a backup goalie, you gotta be prepared all the time,” said MacDonald, who had 12 saves in the loss. “I thought we did a pretty good job defensively to limit their chances and they got a good team over there. They’ve got a lot of talent and when they get their chances, they’re going to create. On the other hand, I thought we did a great job defensively, not giving them a lot.”
The Wings managed to hold the Blackhawks to 18 shots, well below their 31.6 average. But the Blackhawks did the same to the Wings, keeping them to 24 shots, below their 32.6 average. The Blackhawks were also without their captain, Jonathan Toews, who has an “upper-body injury” but the Wings were far more depleted.
“We weren’t complaining,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Although the Vancouver Canucks have taken over first place in the Western Conference with 90 points, one ahead of the Wings, the Wings aren’t worried—yet.
“We’ve still got a lot of hockey left,” MacDonald said. “You can get a close glance at it (standings) and don’t worry about things. I know we’ve got some injuries here but you know what? Better to get those injuries now and go on.”
“We got to just keep going out there and battling for points every single night,” Howard said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re up against. We have to find a way to generate a little more and get two points.”
Kronwall wasn’t exactly delighted with his performance despite scoring a goal and, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose noted, escaping the injury bug himself…
Kronwall was fortunate that he wasn’t injury twice during one penalty-kill shift in the first period. First, the Wings’ defenseman took a bouncing puck in the chin off of a Patrick Kane shot and then in the left foot that was redirected past Howard on Patrick Sharp’s goal. But Kronwall redeemed himself when he scored the team’s lone goal on his next shift. Taking a perfect pass from Darren Helm, Kronwall fired a one-timer that beat Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery.
“When the puck goes off of you like the first one,” Kronwall said, “it was obviously nice to get that one back fairly soon right after.”
Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse for the Wings, they were forced to play five-minutes with only four defenseman when Smith engaged with fellow rookie Andrew Shaw for his first NHL fight.
“I didn’t want to go because we only had five D and I didn’t want to put the guys down,” Smith said. “He dropped the gloves, so I had no other option or no other chance to get away from it other than turtle ... and I don’t do that.”
“He did a real good job and you like to see kids play real hard,” Babcock said. “When we had five D already, we didn’t really need to go to four but when we have six he can do whatever he wants.”
Kronwall refused to bite on any excuse for his team’s performance…
“Injuries come to every team through the course of the year, and now it’s bit us a little bit, but at the same time nobody is really thinking too much about it,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We can’t lay down and feel sorry for ourselves. Whoever is out there, they need to make sure that he does whatever is required of him and we’ll go from there.”
MacDonald reiterated that line to MLive’s Brendan Savage while delving into a little hockey philosophy…
“As a backup goalie, you have to be prepared all the time,” MacDonald said. “I didn’t know anything was happening until I was told. It’s tough coming into a game like that but you have to be ready at all times. Four or five minutes into intermission I was told. It’s just one of those things You can’t not be ready. You get thrown into action whenever, first period or second period, you have to be ready. I don’t think (Howard’s injury is) too serious. Day to day. It’s another opportunity for me to keep going.”
Chicago snapped the 1-1 tie with 1:19 left in the second period, when Blackhawks star Patrick Kane scored his 16th goal of the season and third in four games.
“He’s one of the best players in the league and he made a good move,” MacDonald said. “I thought we battled pretty hard and we didn’t have a whole lot of second chances. Their ‘D’ did a great job of letting (goalie Ray Emery) see our shots.
“When you don’t have Nick (Lidstrom) or (Pavel Datsyuk), two guys like that in the lineup, it always hurts. But you know what? It’s time for guys to step up and guys are stepping up. Young guys are getting an opportunity to play more than usual and they’re doing a pretty good job. We still have a lot of hockey yet. You can’t be watching (standings). You glance at it and don’t worry about it. We have some injuries here but it’s better to get those injuries over now. We’ve got 17, 18 (games) left. Go from there.”
And to hammer home the Wings’ viewpoint on their loss via a little double-reiteration, here’s what the Wings had to say to MLive’s Ansar Khan (who also penned a mostly quote-less quick take of his own):
“We played our (defense) way too many minutes, but still, we had every opportunity to win the game,’’ Babcock said. “We had lots of opportunities around their net and didn’t execute. I thought our power play in particular in the second period had real good opportunities and real good looks and at one point we had five shots in 40 seconds and didn’t score. You got to give them credit, they battled hard. I thought we did lots of good things, but not enough to generate offense.”
“We didn’t create enough quality chances,’’ Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg said. “The chances we had, they had a stick in between and they blocked a lot of shots. … We tried to get pucks on net, but they were good being in lanes. Those chances we got to the net, he made saves.’‘
Highlights: ESPN posted a 36-second highlight clip;
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted a
2:05 highlight clip;
And the Wings’ website’s highlight clip is at least narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond.
Post-game: ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers posted a 1:40 clip of comments from Patrick Sharp;
The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc posted a video of Sharp’s comments;
And the Red Wings’ website posted clips of Wings coach Mike Babcock’s post-game comments…
As well as Jimmy Howard’s exchange with the media…
And an exchange with Kyle Quincey.
Photos: The Detroit News’s David Guralnick posted a 27-image gallery which includes a few pictures from the Wings’ “puck draw” and one of Pavel Datsyuk skating on his own;
The Detroit Free Press posted a 29-image gallery;
Fox Sports Detroit posted a 7-image gallery;
CBS Detroit posted a wallpaper-sized image of Brad Stuart skating away from Andrew Brunette;
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted a 9-image gallery;
The Chicago Tribune posted 16 images from the game in its, “Blackhawks in Action” gallery;
Yahoo Sports posted a 29-image gallery;
NHL.com posted a 39-image gallery;
And the Red Wings’ website posted a 38-image gallery.
Shots 24-18 Detroit. The Wings out-shot Chicago 9-5 in the 1st period, were even with the Hawks via 8 shots apiece in the 2nd, and the Wings out-shot Chicago 7-5 in the 3rd.
Telling Stat: Detroit went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time; Chicago went 1 for 3 in 5:09 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard stopped 4 of 5 shots; Joey MacDonald stopped 12 of 13; Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24.
The 3 stars, per Detroit Hockey Weekly’s Paul Harris, were Brendan Smith, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
The Wings’ goal: Kronwall (14) from Helm (16) and Stuart (11).
Faceoffs 30-23 Detroit (Detroit won 57%);
Blocked shots 13-5 Chicago;
Missed shots 16-11 Detroit (total attempts 53-34 Detroit);
Hits 24-16 Detroit;
Giveaways 8-6 Detroit;
Takeaways 8-7 Detroit.
Faceoffs: Helm went 12-and-4 (75%); Zetterberg went 8-and-6 (57%); Abdelkader went 5-and-7 (42%); Emmerton went 2-and-2 (50%); Filppula went 2-and-1 (67%); Cleary went 0-and-2; Hudler went 1-and-1.
Shots: Miller, Stuart, Quincey, Filppula and Kronwall had 3 shots; Cleary, Zetterberg and Franzen had 2; Helm, Bertuzzi and Holmstrom had 1.
Blocked attempts: White, Stuart and Quincey fired 2 attempts into Hawks players; Smith, Abdelkader, Hudler, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Abdelkader and Franzen missed the net 3 times apiece; Filppula missed the net 2 times; White, Stuart, Hudler, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi, Emmerton and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Kronwall led the team with 4 hits; Abdelkader and Quincey had 3; Smith, Cleary, Stuart and Holmstrom had 2; Kindl, Miller, Mursak, Zetterberg, Helm and Franzen had 1.
Giveaways: Stuart had 3 giveaways; White, Quincey, Helm, Filppula and MacDonald had 1.
Takeaways: Cleary and Helm had 2 takeaways; Miller, Quincey, Zetterberg and Franzen had 1.
Blocked shots: Quincey blocked 2 Blackhawk shots; Stuart, Emmerton and Kronwall blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Smith took a major penalty for fighting; Cleary and Quincey took minor penalties; Bertuzzi served a bench minor assessed to the Wings for too many men on the ice.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective 0. Stuart and Zetterberg were -1; Helm and White were +1.
Points: Kronwall scored a goal; Stuart and Helm registered assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:48 played; White played 27:40; Quincey played 23:41;
Zetterberg played 21:50; Stuart played 21:28; Filppula played 20:51;
Hudler played 20:10; Franzen played 19:38; Smith played 17:50;
Helm played 15:46; Abdelkader played 14:02; Cleary played 13:50;
Miller played 13:46; Bertuzzi played 13:15; Holmstrom played 10:23;
Emmerton played 6:23; Mursak played 6:02; Kindl played 1:35.
Part II: Red Wings notebooks: If you want to engage in the, “EVERYBODY PANIC!” aspect of the Wings’ injuries, the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo will happily indulge your desires;
I agree with Mike Babcock regarding Brendan Smith’s decision to doff gloves with Andrew Shaw—it might not have been the best time to do so given that the Wings were tied and trying to nurse themselves toward the second intermission—but Smith played superbly for the second game in a row, and MLive’s Brendan Savage spoke to Smith about dealing with what was more or less being placed into the defenseman’s version of a pairing blender, as well as the reason he chose to…or more like had to…fight…
“It’s a little hard,” said Smith, who turned 23 last month. “Sometimes it can be a little frustrating. You don’t know who you’re going to go out with next shift. It’s tough on everybody when you drop to five ‘D.’ You just have to play the situation. We’re all good hockey players here. I’m glad they had faith in me and played me in a lot of different situations. It’s tough but this is where I want to be. I have to play the way I did and even better. Hopefully, next game if something like this happens, I can play even better.”
“I thought Smitty did a good job of standing up for himself and as for the team, I think we sparked from that,” said veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who scored Detroit’s lone goal.
The fight occurred after Shaw took offense to Smith’s hit on Chicago star Patrick Kane. Although Smith didn’t want to fight because the Red Wings were already short-handed on the back end, he wasn’t about to back down either.
“He asked me to go a few times,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to because we only had five ‘D.’ I didn’t want to put the guys down but there was a scrum in front of the net and he dropped the gloves. I didn’t have an opportunity to get away other than to turtle and I don’t do that. I apologized to the guys. You have to get ready to answer the bell and that’s what happened. I’m not ever looking to fight. It’s more of a protection thing so I don’t get hurt. It’s not worth it to fight, especially in that case when you only have five ‘D.’ But sometimes you have to protect yourself and that’s what I was trying to do.”
“He’s been doing a great job,” MacDonald said. “He’s been patient with the puck. He’s learning how to be better in the defensive zone. I played with him the last couple of years and he was really anxious at first. He’s settling down now. He’s an NHL player. Everybody knows it. He’s fitting in well now. It’s good for him to get as much ice time and carry the load like he did tonight.”
“He did a real good job,” Babcock said. “You like to see kids play real hard. When we had five ‘D’ already, we didn’t need to go to four. When we have six, he can do whatever he wants.”
• You can scroll back up for the fight, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness (the Southgate News-Herald’s Fred Costell penned the Macomb Daily’s recap, but it’s more or less got the same quips and quotes we’ve gone over already) offered a “tale of the tape,” and noted what the aftermath involved:
When Smith got into a fight in the second period, Detroit temporarily had four healthy defensemen available. Quincey credited the Blackhawks with employing a tiring forecheck.
“They did a good job of putting pucks behind us and wearing us down,” Quincey said. “Once a guy goes down, you go into survival mode. But, we’re all comfortable playing with each other, so it’s not that big of a deal.”
That being said, via NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:
Zetterberg on Smith: “He’s real physical. He had the big hit on Kane in the second period. He really knows what he’s doing out there.’‘
• Niklas Kronwall has picked up both his offensive pace and his leadership, on the ice and in front of the cameras and sound recorders, in a big way since Lidstrom went down, but he told the Detroit Free Press’s George Sipple that points matter much less than wins:
“It’s always good when you can have more guys involved in the offense, no doubt,” Kronwall said. “But it cannot come on behalf of the defense. You have to have that mix of when you can go and join the rush and when you can’t. That’s something I’m still learning.”
Kronwall scored his 14th goal of the season Sunday at 6:03 of the first period, after Patrick Sharp opened the scoring at 3:17 for the Blackhawks.
“Obviously, it was nice to get the goal right back after their first goal went off my stick,” Kronwall said. “Doesn’t really matter. We came up short. Right now, we just have to refocus and regroup and look forward to the game on Tuesday.”
The Wings visit the Flyers at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Kronwall finished with a team-high four hits and led all Detroit skaters with 27:48 of ice time in a 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. Kronwall has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last three games.
“Still think that I have some work to do in our defensive zone, a lot of things that can get better,” Kronwall said when asked about his recent offensive explosion after practice Saturday.
Kronwall has scored a career-high 14 goals this season to go with 17 assists.
“As far as (scoring) goals, I’ve just been lucky guys have been in front of the net and I’ve been able to squeeze them by them,” Kronwall said. “A lot of times it is because the forward is doing a great job screening the goaltender.”
• Kronwall reiterated his comments to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, but it’s the balance of Kulfan’s notebook which might interest you a bit more than another version of Kronwall’s conversation with the press:
There was a question heading into the game whether Todd Bertuzzi (groin) would be available. But he wound up playing 13:15 with one shot on net. For insurance, the Wings called up forward Chris Conner (Livonia), who will travel to Philadelphia.
… Brad Stuart ‘s assist on Kronwall’s goal was his 300th career NHL point.
… Defenseman Brendan Smith made an impact with two hits and one spirited fight against Chicago’s Andrew Shaw , while playing just under 18 minutes.
“He played really physical when needed to and stepped up for himself and the team,” Kronwall said. “Smitty has been great. He’s using his legs, his speed, to his advantage.”
• My paternal grandfather was a tool-and-die maker for Ford, and between my maternal grandfather, most of my six uncles and a few of my cousins on my mom’s side, I’d suggest that we’ve got over 100 years of combined service to the Chrysler corporation, so I took due note of the fact that some of you got itchy when I got itchy about Nicklas Lidstrom starring in a commercial advertising an American-assembled Honda with an equally strange bedfellow in Corey Perry.
So I’m going to simply suggest that those of you who wish to drive a Dodge Ram one day take a gander at the Detroit Free Press’s Brent Snavely about the Red Wings edition of the Dodge Ram truck (I’d love to drive one, but I’m a pickup truck kind of guy) and the Ram brand’s reemergence as a stand-alone entity on your own;
• And Kris King, who’s part of the NHL’s Hockey Operations department, spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Zack Crawford about his status as a “dual citizen” because he’s an alumnus of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, and you can read that on your own, too.
Part III: In the AHL and ECHL: No organization affiliated with the Wings won on Sunday. Ty Conklin stopped 33 of 34 shots against but received no support as the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped their first game of the weekend while playing their third in three nights, losing 1-0 to the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Griffins’ website, the Bulldogs’ website (you can watch their highlight clip—which is bloody loud—if you wish) and the Hamilton Spectator’s Jeff Green provide recaps…
And Green points out that today is the day that AHL teams must submit something called a “Clear Day” roster to the AHL today at 3 PM. This breaks down as follows, per the AHL’s website’s release from last year:
Each Clear Day roster consists of a maximum of 22 players. According to AHL by-laws, only those players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the 20[11-12] AHL regular season and in the  Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension.
Teams may also add signed draft choices and players signed to amateur tryout contracts, provided that their respective Junior seasons are complete.
• In the ECHL, Thomas McCollum stopped 28 of 31 shots, and his Toledo Walleye rallied from a 3-0 deficit, but the Walleye dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Cincinnati Cyclones on Sunday. No Wings prospect registered a point and McCollum was beaten by each and every one of the 3 shootout shooters he faced. The Walleye’s website (including a YouTube highlight clip) and the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe provide recaps of the Walleye’s first shootout loss in 3 days—they won their previous shootouts on Friday and Saturday.
Part IV: Also of Red Wings-related note: The Wings’ opponent on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers, defeated the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Sunday, but they also lost Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros to, “Lower-body injuries.”
• As a reminder, the Red Wings are asking rec hockey teams to send in YouTube videos explaining why they should play against the Red Wings’ Alumni team, and the deadline for submitting videos is worth an extraordinarily long hyperlink—it’s March 9th;
• And we might not be so relieved to hear this, per the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson, the Bolts are scouting Danny Dekeyser, too.
Part V: Player assessments: Okay, let’s give this a second go. Per reader demand, I’m going to offer some assessments of the Wings’ players based on my observations during the game. The grades are simple—outstanding, satisfactory, or needs improvement—and these are merely an average Wings fan’s subjective observations, and nothing more.
#2 Brendan Smith: Outstanding. Smith played 17:50, had 2 hits and was, other than his fight, relatively quiet statistically speaking, but he also continued to cement his status as NHL-ready and then some. Jim Nill and Ken Holland’s suggestions that Smith’s combination of offensive panache and physicality resemble a bit bigger Niklas Kronwall are spot-on, but the thing that impresses me most about Smith is that, like Nicklas Lidstrom, his feet don’t stop meeting.
J.J. mentioned on Saturday that Smith rarely, if ever, gets caught flat-footed, but there’s more to it than that: Smith is more than big enough and more than strong enough of a skater to not have to do much more than glide most of the time, but instead, he’s actively moving his feet and actively trying to position himself either between the puck and the goal, between an opposing forward and the goal or somewhere that he can provide an “out” for a teammate.
I don’t know if the Wings will keep him up here next season, but given his performances in some limited showings, I’m a big Smith critic because I knew what an *#$%@& he was when he was younger, but he’s come such a long way on and off the ice, and has so much more upper-body and lower-body strength in terms of one-on-one battles, that I’m finding it hard to believe that the Wings will be able to send him down.
#4 Jakub Kindl: Satisfactory. He played 1:35, had a hit, didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and got hurt. It happens, but during his short time playing, he looked good.
#8 Justin Abdelkader: Satisfactory. Abdelkader didn’t offer the same offensive punch that he did on Friday while playing between Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary, but he played 14:02, went 5-and-7 in the faceoff circle, had 3 hits, 4 shot attempts and he didn’t shy away from contact as usual.
#11 Danny Cleary: Needs improvement. I only say this because Cleary, who played 13:50, had 2 shots, 2 hits and 2 takeaways, hasn’t been much of a scoring threat of late, and while he ground down his opponents and was superb defensively, he also blended into the background.
#18 Ian White: Outstanding. White played the second-most minutes on the team skating for 27 minutes and 40 seconds, and he took 3 shot attempts and had a giveaway, but he also looked like someone whose supreme mobility, ability to block shots and passing lanes and more or less use his skating to make up for any partners’ mistakes, regardless of who he’s playing with, while more or less offering a stealthy ability to consistently allow his opponents to underestimate his abilities—he’s like the stealth bomber of the Red Wings’ blueline—and I get the feeling that he’s going to have more to give come playoff time.
#20 Drew Miller: Satisfactory. Miller registered 3 shots, a hit and a takeaway and was willing to go to the net when many of his teammates weren’t on Sunday. He’s gritty as hell, solid as a slab of steel and defensively sound as a tuning fork.
#23 Brad Stuart: Needs improvement. Stuart registered 3 shots, took 3 more attempts, had 2 hits, blocked a shot and registered an assist in 21:28 of ice time, but he did more than give the puck away on the game-winning goal—he gave the puck away 3 times on the scoresheet and probably more than that on his own. Stuart is going through a bit of a rough patch right now, and when he does, his penchant for not bearing down on clearing attempts or attempting to toss the puck away to anyone, regardless of what uniform they’re wearing, these weaknesses stand out like a badly-picked song on his locker room playlist. He worked his butt off, but he was far too mistake-prone for my liking.
#26 Jiri Hudler: Satisfactory. Hudler was pretty quiet, registering 2 shot attempts and going 1-and-1 in the faceoff circle while playing a remarkable-for-him 20:10 of ice time, but he did go to the net relatively regularly, he darted in and out of traffic as necessary and he helped the Wings retain the puck in deep and cycle it on an afternoon where the cycle game was out of sync.
#27 Kyle Quincey: Satisfactory, finally, satisfactory. Yes, Quincey played 23:41, had 3 shots, 5 shot attempts, 3 hits, a giveaway, a takeaway and 2 blocked shots, but what Quincey really did was not run around anymore and finally look like he was adjusting to playing the Red Wings’ system again, all while skating bowlegged and sticking his ass out to bump guys trying to skate by him.
#39 Jan Mursak: Satifactory. Mursak only played 6:02, but I think that he and Emmerton did their best to make things happen when they played, skating speedily through center ice and trying their best to grind the puck in deep when they did get the call to jump over the boards.
#40 Henrik Zetterberg: Satisfactory. Zetterberg led the forwards with 21:50 played, he had 2 shots, 4 shot attempts, a hit, a takeaway and went 8-and-6 in the faceoff circle. He finished at a -1 in no small part because he missed his check as a center and allowed Patrick Kane to sneak away from him on the game-winning goal, but Zetterberg also continues to play assertive and aggressive hockey while helming the Wings’ best all-round line. He’s leading by example and he’s playing great.
#43 Darren Helm: Outstanding. Helm was by far the Wings’ best forward in terms of his offensive prowess and defensive panache, playing 15:46 but registering 1 shot, 2 more shot attempts, a hit, 2 takeaways and going an amazing 12-and-4 in the faceoff circle. Mostly, he skated so many miles and skated so hard that Al Sobokta probably had problems scraping out the ruts from Helm’s rushes up the gut with Hawks players leaning on him or plain old grabbing him to try to slow him down, and while he still can’t finish worth s***, he and Johan Franzen of all people are starting to generate some serious-ass chemistry. I’m impressed as can be with Helm’s jam and his willingness to step up and try to play like a top-six forward or a top-line center when he’s still learning his way up the ladder.
#44 Todd Bertuzzi: Satisfactory. For a big guy whose groin was tender, Bert played 13:15, had a shot, a giveaway, 2 more shot attempts and plain old played like someone who wasn’t hurting one bit. He wasn’t particularly assertive in the offensive zone, but he also made what are now classic Bertuzzi 2.0 defensive plays in the neutral zone and the defensive zone, and it’s still somewhat startling to watch Todd Bertuzzi of all people help steady the ship when the Wings ar
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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.