The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/03/12 at 08:55 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings didn’t exactly dazzle and missed several opportunities to take definitive control of their perhaps karmically correct 4-3 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks, going 0-for-4 on the power play and only denting the twine behind Roberto Luongo twice over a 40-minute period of time in which they out-shot their opponents 30-11…
But a win is always welcome for the Wings, especially when it comes away from Joe Louis Arena, so the Wings flew to Edmonton to enjoy a well-deserved day off before taking on the red-hot Oilers (did I say that right?) with a slightly more commanding lead over each and every one of their Central Division and Western Conference rivals, the Canucks included, and that’s what really matters.
Let’s just get the controversial part of this game out of the way first: the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre posted a Twitter update stating that Henrik Sedin may have chewed out the referees given that the Canucks received 1 power play to the Wings’ 4, and he made sure to mention this fact in his in an article proclaiming that the Canucks, who rallied from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 deficits despite being badly out-shot and out-chanced, displayed a disturbing level of timidity in a game that they were “lucky” to get a point out of:
Even the mimes in the crowd were in red. There were no Green Men at Rogers Arena but there were a couple of guys in red spandex. And we don’t mean the referees, although they could have worn red, too.
At least the Canucks got a power play this time. One. The Red Wings had four. Last time the teams met in Vancouver, power plays were 4-0 for the Wings. But that’s what reputation – good and bad – does for you sometimes. When Pavel Datsyuk dives, it’s a trip. When Kesler dives, it’s a dive.
Still, the officiating reflected the play as much as it reflected the players. It was remarkable that the Canucks were still tied 1-1 until Jiri Hudler ripped a shot past Luongo at 13:53 of the second period. And it was even more surprising and impressive that Vancouver, having given away a go-ahead goal as quickly as they’d earned a tying one, came back again to make it 3-3 at 15:36 of the third period when Raymond’s shot caromed in off Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart.
The shootout was no contest. But, really, most of the game was no contest.
“You’re going to go through peaks and valleys,” [Roberto] Luongo said of a long season. “I think that’s normal, but you don’t want this to go on forever. We know we’re a much better team than that.”
(Does Pavel Datsyuk dive?)
In any case, the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap filed a quick set of quips from Canucks coach Alain Vigneault right after the game…
The Canucks were so thoroughly outplayed through 40 minutes by the Red Wings that even coach Alain Vigneault could not find a single positive. At that point, the score was just 2-1 for the Wings but the shots were 30-11 and the shots-directed-at-the-net were a ridiculous 53-18. “We got taken to school,” said Coach Vee, which did not stand for victory after the 4-3 shootout loss. “I mean, it was obvious to everybody here watching at the game, or at home watching the game. They were playing the right way and we weren’t and that’s why they totally dominated us.”
More from AV — On shaking up his lines in the third period: “You gotta try something, I mean, I had to try something.” On only one power play opportunity after getting none the previous game: “Refereeing had nothing to do with the way we played the first two periods.” But there were some overall positives, right? “We got great goaltending and found a way by not playing a very good game to get a point.” Practice on Friday could be interesting…
And when the Vancouver Sun’s Brad Ziemer took over for the main recap, he reiterated Vigneault’s point of emphasis:
“We got taken to school,” Vigneault said. “I mean, it was obvious to everybody here watching the game or at home watching the game. They were playing the right way and we weren’t and that’s why they totally dominated us. Tonight the best team on the ice was obviously by far Detroit.”
Drew Miller put the Wings up 3-2 at 12:05 of the third period when he capitalized on some shoddy defensive work by the Canucks—there was lots of that going on—and slapped a loose puck past Luongo. But Raymond forced OT at 15:36 of the third when his weak wrist shot bounced off Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart and past Howard.
Alex Burrows had tied the game 2-2 at 10:10 of the third. Maxim Lapierre stripped the puck off Miller in the Detroit zone and fed a pass to Burrows, who put a slap shot from the right circle past Howard.
We have seen the Canucks struggle in the second period of games for much of the season. Their second period Thursday night might have been one of their worst periods of the season. They were fortunate it only cost them one goal. Hudler gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead at 13:51 of the second when he converted a Valtteri Filppula pass off the rush and beat Luongo short side.
“We had a good talk after 40 and played much better in the third,” Burrows said.
That the Canucks did, out-shooting the Wings 13-8 and essentially forcing the Wings to play a 5-on-5 penalty-kill, but the Canucks’ resiliency didn’t prevent the Nucks’ press corps from pressing the panic button after Vancouver closed out its six-game home stand with a 3-2 OT win over Chicago and Thursday’s shootout loss:
With the Feb. 27 trade deadline fast approaching, you have to wonder what general manager Mike Gillis was thinking as he watched the game. Can he take this team into the playoffs as is?
Canuck captain Henrik Sedin acknowledged the team is struggling. And it’s not just one or two players.
“There’s times during the season when you are not going to have everyone at 100 per cent,” Henrik said. “And I think right now we are in a stretch where we’re not executing. That’s fine when you have one or two guys (struggling) but when it’s a lot of guys who are not playing up to their standards, that’s when you see games like this. But we have a good group in here and we are going to be in a lot of games, we are going to battle back in a lot of games. But this is not the way we want to get our points.”
The Vancouver Province’s Jim Jamieson at least gave the Canucks credit for playing fantastically well after Vigneault juggled his lineup (and it’s worth noting that Chris Higgins came down with a flu bug right before the game, forcing the Canucks to play Dale Weise at the last minute) in the third, separating the Sedin twins…
The Canucks – whether from the radical change in chemistry or shock treatment from the coach – came out like a new team in the third. Alex Burrows, playing on an interesting unit that didn’t include his usual linemates the Sedins but did include fourth line centre Max Lapierre and third line winger Jannik Hansen. Detroit’s Drew Miller put the Wings ahead again, but Raymond – now playing with the unlikely combo of Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson – answered that to eventually send it to OT. How much of a turnaround? The Wings didn’t get a shot in the third until there was 8:53 left.
Daniel Sedin was with another newly minted trio that included regular second liners Ryan Kesler and David Booth.
“You’ve got to try something,” shrugged Vigneault when asked about the radical changes, particularly separating the Sedins. “I was at that point.”
Daniel said he wasn’t surprised the coach shook things up.
“When you’ve got 12 shots (11 actually) after the first two periods it just isn’t good enough,” he said. “They had a game plan in place but we couldn’t seem to get the puck deep and get our forecheck going. We changed in the third and we started getting foot races and we took over.”
As for splitting up he and Henrik: “I don’t care. We came back in this game, that’s all that matters. It’s happened before, it’s no big deal for us. Whatever he wants to do.”
Daniel makes a good point: the Red Wings out-skated the Canucks for the vast majority of the game, and even though Valtteri Filppula and the Miller-Helm-Cleary led in that regard, I’d argue that Todd “I’m 37! I’m not old!” Bertuzzi’s decision to drop gloves when Dan Hamhuis tried to low-bridge him, just a few minutes before Burrows scored, didn’t help the Wings’ cause, and while none of the Wings’ usual suspects named anything other than Todd Bertuzzi really went to the net and screened Roberto Luongo, Johan Franzen did skate miles during the game, and he was really engaged in terms of attention to detail, helping the Wings clear the puck out of their zone, get it through the neutral zone and fire it deep and/or keep it inside the Canucks’ zone, displaying the kind of three-zone play you want to see the Mule give his team when he’s not scoring.
All of that being said, we’re still talking about the Canucks and their media’s perspectives on this game, and the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma was at least pressing the “concern” button (I need one of those) in his recap:
The point gained didn’t overshadow the real point of the matter of how badly the Canucks were outplayed until Mason Raymond’s goal with less than five minutes remaining in regulation time that bounced off defenceman Brad Stuart provided some unlikely drama. The real drama may unfold later this month at the trade deadline because there are too many gaps in consistency on too many nights.
“We got taken to school,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “It was obvious to anybody they were playing the right way and we weren’t and that’s why they totally dominated us. We can play a lot better. Tonight the best team on the ice was Detroit. The positive is we got great goaltending and found a way to get a point.”
If the Canucks made any kind of statement it was one of resilience or maybe just pure desperation. They were badly outplayed in being outshot 30-11 through two periods and 43-25 overall and were forced to juggle their lines with the ineffective Henrik and Daniel Sedin being split up.
“That’s totally understandable,” the Canucks captain said of being aligned with Mason Raymond and Cody Hodgson in the third period while Daniel skated with Ryan Kesler and David Booth. “We haven’t produced the way we wanted to. It’s happened before and I’m sure it’s going to happen again. That’s fine. We’re happy with the point. We’re a team that is going to stick around, but we were maybe fortunate today. We’re in a stretch where we’re not executing and that’s fine if you have only one or two guys.”
Yeah, but clean sightlines included, Luongo was pretty damn good, as Kuzma pointed out, and Luongo had few qualms about his team’s performance…
“You’re going to go through peaks and valleys — but you don’t want this to go on forever obviously,” said Luongo. “We know we’re a much better team than that and good teams find ways to perform, especially in big games. Even though we didn’t have our best game we found away to get a point.”
And Ryan Kesler, who…How do I put this politely? Um…Rode a fine line between playing effectively and running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to run anyone and everyone (and taking a dumb slashing penalty when his stick broke hacking Niklas Kronwall near the end of the first period), agreed with his goaltender:
We didn’t execute and when you don’t you don’t generate,” said Kesler who had four shots. “You’ve got to take the positives out of it. We fought through a lot. Down three times and battled back. I don’t think we’re far off. What’s missing? You can be negative but the way we’re playing, we still got three of four points against probably the top two teams points wise in our conference.”
Canucks.com’s Derek Jory attempted to accentuate the positive in his “Goods”...
Obviously those first two periods aren’t the way we want to play, but I thought we battled back hard in the third and it was a lot of character by us, we didn’t let anything affect us and we kept battling and we got a point out of it,” said Kesler, who is up to 15 goals this season, but was unable to offer any thoughts on his team’s poor start. “No, no thoughts at all. It was just one of those things where we really couldn’t generate much.”
Kesler didn’t have any “thoughts” about the Kronwall hit until Thursday morning, either (if you believe him), so take that for what you will.
This was the second consecutive outing in which the Canucks were outplayed; yet they managed to swipe three of a possible four points from the Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings even without a full 60-minute effort. That effort will return sooner rather than later, according to Luongo.
“You’re going to go through peaks and valleys throughout the season, I think that’s normal, but you don’t want this to go on forever,” said Luongo. “Obviously we know that
we’re a much better team than that and good teams find ways to perform, especially in big games like that and even though we didn’t have our best game tonight, we found a
way to get a point.”
The Canucks seem to have gotten the point as they head to Colorado to play the Avalanche in a matinee Saturday.
The Globe and Mail’s David Ebner, however, felt that the Canucks’ performance spoke for itself…
“Not good,” was the conclusion of Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin after the second period when asked about the team’s work.
The score would have been much more lopsided if it was not for the good work of Luongo. The goaltender is the main reason the Canucks were 7-2-2 in January despite the team’s erratic play and on Tuesday night Luongo kept his team in the game from the start. Four minutes in, former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi nearly scored himself a birthday goal – he turned 37 on Thursday – as he undressed Mason Raymond in the Canucks end to storm in alone on Luongo. The goaltender delivered a big glove save.
It was only in the third when Vancouver came alive. And, strangely, like the Canucks in the first and second, Detroit couldn’t get a shot on Luongo until more than half the third had passed.
Whoever the Canucks face in the playoffs, it will be a challenge, said defenceman Dan Hamhuis (who was outclassed by Detroit’s Dan Cleary in the first when Cleary scored the night’s opener).
“When look how tight the standings are, the top eight are going to be really good, whoever you’re matched up against,” said Hamhuis. “Any round of the playoffs, it’s going to be a really difficult series. Trying to get home-ice advantage would be huge.”
I’m just going to nod along as the Vancouver Province’s Jim Jaimeson doles out “nightly awards”...
BEST PREDICTABLE PENALTY: At 19:19 of the first period, Canucks’ Ryan Kesler breaks his stick over Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall and gets a cross-checking minor. Attempted payback? Kronwall’s body check on Kesler the last time these teams played, in December, resulted in Kesler attempting to fight the Red Wings D-man (to no avail).
BEST STANDING ‘O’: Hockey legend Gordie Howe was recognized during a stoppage in play during the second period and the crowd at Rogers Arena responded with a well-deserved standing ovation for the former Red Wings icon. Howe, a co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, is in town for a special night in his honour on Friday at the Giants home game against Kamloops. The WHL club will unveil a special Gordie Howe Mr. Hockey jersey.
BEST SHOT DISCREPANCY: With 9:12 left in the first period, the Red Wings had 11 shots on goal and the Canucks had one. Ouch.
And the Vancouver Sun’s Jim Jamieson‘s “Game Within a Game” names predictably sound performers while listing a “pivotal point” that made this Wings fan cringe:
1. Dan Cleary, Red Wings. One goal, one assist, six shots on goal.
2. Brad Stuart, Red Wings. Two assists, three shots, seven hits.
3. Roberto Luongo, Canucks. Made 40 saves in regulation and OT to earn team a point. Too bad about the shootout, though.
PIVOTAL POINT – With the Canucks appearing headed for a regulation loss, Mason Raymond flung a shot at Jimmy Howard and it pinballed off Brad Stuart for the game tying goal at 15:36 of the third period.
BY THE NUMBERS – The Red Wings directed an awesome 78 shots at Roberto Luongo through 65 minutes – 43 reaching him, 16 missing and 16 were blocked. The Canucks directed 44 at Jimmy Howard… Ex-Canuck and current Wing winger Todd Bertuzzi celebrated his 37th birthday Tuesday. He entered the game needing one goal for 300 in his career and left it still needing one goal… The Canucks finished their six-game homestand at 3-1-2 with four of the games going to either overtime or a shootout.
Thanks to the Canucks’ very thorough press corps, NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley’s recap won’t just serve as our pivot point—it’ll serve as our gateway to the Wings’ locker room, where Detroit’s players were more than willing to give Roberto Luongo credit for backstopping his team to a point…
“We definitely outplayed them, had the more quality chances, but Roberto played very well and gave them a chance to hang in there,” Cleary said. “It was a big game for us against a top team on the road.”
As were Luongo’s teammates…
“Lou had a great 40 minutes to give us a point and a give us a chance to stay in the game,” said Alexandre Burrows, who tied it midway through a third period that started with identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin split up. “We had a good talk after 40 and played much better in the third.”
But as Woodley noted, the Wings’ mastery of the shootout—they’re 6-and-0 this season…
“When you won a few in a shootout you are a confident bunch,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “Howie has been really good and guys have been confident coming in on those shootouts, so it’s been going really good.”
Allowed the Wings to earn two points which will come in very handy down the line:
[E]xtra points are important—and they’re one reason the Red Wings, who quickly re-established the early domination with a 5-1 shot edge in overtime, lead the entire NHL with 70, five up on Nashville in the tough Central Division.
“Every point matters, especially later in the season and in the second half every point matters now,” Lidstrom said. “It’s so tight in the standings.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock was more impressed with the start than worried about the finish.
“On the road we’ve dug ourselves a bunch of holes,” Babcock said, listing off four multiple-goal deficits from earlier this season. “You can’t play like that, so good start in a good building with a real good team to play against.”
Lidstrom reiterated his shootout point (Pavel Datsyuk found Roberto Luongo’s blocker side after Jimmy Howard stayed with Alex Edler, and after Mason Raymond let the puck slither off his stick blade, Jiri Hudler won the shootout with a low snap shot to that same blocker side which caught Luongo still standing up) to the Canadian Press...
“When you’ve won a few in a shootout you’re a confident bunch,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom, adding that confidence starts with Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and spreads to the shooters. [Jimmy] Howard’s been playing real great for us and guys have been confident coming in on our shootouts. We’ve been switching it up a little bit, having different guys go but guys have been very confident going in there.”
And Danny Cleary agreed with his captain:
“That’s six critical points when you look at it,” Cleary said of Detroit’s dominance in the tiebreaker. “Shootouts are important, not something we take for fun. If you look at it at the end of the season, those are important points - win or lose.”
While Hudler scored his fourth goal in three games and the decisive goal in the shootout, Miller counted after a giveaway allowed Burrows to give the Canucks a 2-2 tie midway through the third period.
“I just told myself I’ve got to get out there and make a difference,” said Miller who broke a 17-game goalless drought Tuesday in a victory in Calgary. “I guess scoring a goal is the best way to do that. You want to get that goal back for your team.”
Both Cleary and Lidstrom expect the Wings to keep improving on the road.
“The thing I like is we’ve got a good goaltender and great balance in lines, we’ve got a good game plan and we’re a disciplined team,” Cleary said.
“We’re a very solid group,” Lidstrom said. We’re not a faster team that scores nice goals all the time. We can grind it out and stay with teams and get wins that way too.”
The Wings’ speed and skating forced the Canucks to tone down their physicality, and again, the Wings have no qualms with shootout wins for the moment—though the “regulation or overtime win” statistic trumps total wins in terms of points-tied tiebreakers come the end of the season—,as they told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“Obviously your goalie is a huge part of that and gives you confidence,” said coach Mike Babcock of the shootout success. “We were the opposite last season and we couldn’t win them.”
Said Danny Cleary, who had a goal and an assist: “Those are six critical points anyway you look at them. Shootouts are important, not for fun. If you look at the end of the season, those are important points, win or lose.”
The Red Wings dominated play most of the evening, but had to overcome a third-period Vancouver rally and some incredible goaltending from Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo. The Wings felt they ultimately deserved the extra point.
“We outplayed them, had more quality (scoring) chances, but Roberto played real well and gave them a chance to hang in there,” Cleary said. “But Howie (Howard) just has so much confidence in the shootout.”
It was the ninth win in 10 games for the Wings, and ended the Canucks’ three-game winning streak.
“They fought back once we got the lead, they worked their way back, but it was great to see us come away with a win and play another solid road game,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
And while the Free Press’s Helene St. James focused on Jiri Hudler’s shootout winner as a punctuation mark upon a superbly resurgent season in her sidebar story…
Hudler’s goal in the shootout at Rogers Arena iced a 4-3 victory for the Red Wings over the Canucks. Hudler converted one round after Pavel Datsyuk beat Luongo with a forehand. Neither Alexander Edler nor Mason Raymond got anything by Jimmy Howard.
“I was going to fake it,” Hudler said of his shootout move. “But he wasn’t going to bite on it. It’s not my shot, low blocker, but I tried it. He’s a great goalie. It’s tough to beat him. I try to take it as quick as possible.”
Hudler’s scoring instincts paid off in regulation too, as he finished a pass from Valtteri Filppula while fellow linemate Henrik Zetterberg decoyed a couple of defenders to the net.
“It was turnover by them,” Hudler said. “Me and Z were in the middle and we look at each other right before blue line. I was going to go, but Z drove the middle and took two guys with him and Fil made a great pass.”
“He blocked shots tonight, he was real good in his own zone, he was good along the wall,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Those are the things that give Huds more ice time, because you’re not scared of him and you’re not getting him off the ice, you’re just letting him play. So good for him.”
The Wings also received a bit of self-redemption from Drew Miller, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose noted…
Drew Miller ended a personal 17-game scoreless streak earlier this week in Calgary, and Thursday, less than two-minutes after his turnover led to the Canucks tying the score, the Red Wings’ veteran forward didn’t let his misfortune get him – or the team – down.
“You make mistakes out there and you go back to the bench and regroup,” Miller said. “Not to be too mad at myself, but things happen, and I told myself that, ‘You gotta go out there and try to make a difference.’ ”
The Wings retook the lead, 3-2, when Miller scored late in the third period.
“I guess scoring a goal is the best way to (redeem yourself) and get that goal back for the team,” he said.
Before Roose shifted focus to the Wings’ superb start…
“I thought we got on top of their D when we could to put pressure on them, and when we had the puck we spent more time in their zone, hanging onto it,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “I thought we played better in our own zone, too. They didn’t pin us down that much, especially in the first two periods. I thought we were able to stop the cycle and go on offense right away.”
Which resulted in Alain Vigneault’s line-shuffling…
“If you’re their coach and they’ve got eight shots, or whatever, through two periods, you’re doing something, that’s what he does, that’s what he gets paid to do,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a real good coach and he’s trying to get his guys going, and I thought he got his guys going.”
And a win which had Lidstrom speaking more confidently than any Wing has in a long time about the team’s poise on the road:
“This is what we wanted to do on this trip. After the break, we wanted to come out with a good start again and especially on the road, these two games have shown that too, that we can play solidly on the road. I don’t know if we’ve gotten over the hump on the road, the points are still going to be hard to get here in the second half of the season. We know it’s going to be important, but I think we proved to ourselves that we can play that kind of hockey, that kind of grinding style on the road and we don’t have to open ourselves up defensively. We can bear down and play solid D and still get away with a win.”
Babcock agreed while speaking to the Free Press’s Helene St. James, who noted that the Wings’ trainers sent Danny Cleary to the hospital when the Baker’s cyst behind his knee burst because they were worried that he might have had a blood clot.
Cleary played pretty damn well for someone who told the press that he could skate just fine, but wasn’t doing so well in the walking department. Anyway…
“We spent a lot of time in their zone,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Luongo had to be good to keep them in the game. We did tons of good things. All three of the goals were goals you don’t want to give up, but I thought we did a lot of good things, skated well, competed hard.”
Todd Bertuzzi and Keith Ballard exchanged a few punches in the third period, as the Canucks pressed hard to undo two unimpressive first periods. They succeeded in drawing even at 10:10 when Alexandre Burrows capitalized on a mistake down low, but Drew Miller restored Detroit’s advantage when he angled Cleary’s pass in at 12:05. Getting on the scoreboard again was a relief for the line after being on for Burrows’ goal.
“You make mistakes out there,” Miller said. “I just told myself to go back out there and try to make a difference, and scoring a goal is the best way to do that. You want to get that goal back for the team. Cleary’s been playing well, and he’s a big part of our line. It was good to see nothing too bad was wrong with his leg and he was able to play.”
Miller will have to make do without his line-mate at some point. Cleary said he “has to do something” about his ailing knee, as it causes him pain when he walks. The process of draining the fluid and getting a cortisone shot takes about a week, Cleary estimated. wasn’t able to see a doctor in time to get it done over the All-Star break, and instead of improving during the days off, Cleary said, “it got worse. It didn’t.”
He considered getting it done Monday, but didn’t want to miss this trip. A goal and an assist against a rival like Vancouver eased the pain.
“We definitely outplayed them,” he said. “It was a good team game, for sure.”
The Wings reiterated their points of emphasis to MLive’s Ansar Khan...
“We started very well, had a lot of energy, a lot of opportunities, a lot of shots, good first and second periods,’’ Cleary said. “They outplayed us in the third, but we had a good game.’‘
The Red Wings outshot Vancouver 43-25 and improved to 15-14-0 on the road. They will try to sweep a three-game swing through Western Canada Saturday in Edmonton, before wrapping up the road trip Monday in Phoenix.
“I thought we played good,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We skated their (defense) well, spent a lot of time in their zone. (Goalie Roberto) Luongo had to be good to keep them in the game. I didn’t think we were as good in the third, but when you look at the game we did tons of good things, skated well and competed hard.’‘
“We definitely outplayed them, had the more quality chances,’’ Cleary said. “Roberto played very well for them and gave them a chance to hang in there.’‘’
And as for the guy who the Vancouver Province’s Wyatt Arndt suggests is more scary little alien than elf?
Hudler has four goals in his past three games and 17 for the season, that’s just two behind team leader Johan Franzen.
I’d prefer to let you read Arndt’s take on the game and its inclusion of the infamous Hudler bath picture and close this puppy out at 5:33 AM, with about an hour or so to go on my night, with some bonus Swedish as Nicklas Lidstrom spoke to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman after the game:
“Yeah, I think we played really great, and owned much of the game,” says Nicklas Lidstrom. “After the second intermission some of their lines got more pressure on us in the third period, and they played well, too, but it seems just that we finally got the win.”
And again, regarding the team’s road record?
-“Yeah, we were a little so-so in that case during the first half of the season, but now things are starting to sort themselves out. During the last two games, we’ve been mostly playing better defensively, and maybe we realize that we can’t attack all the time. I think it feels promising,” says captain Lidstrom.
Highlights: Sportsnet posted a 2:50 highlight clip;
TSN posted a 2:30 highlight clip which includes a short quip from Daniel Sedin and a bit from Ryan Kesler;
Here are highlights from the Red Wings’ website, narrated by Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy:
And if you just want to watch the shootout, here it is:
Post-game: Sportsnet posted John Shorthouse and John Garrett’s post-game analysis;
TSN posted a 3:37 clip of comments form Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo, and TSN’s That’s Hockey 2 Night’s Steve Kouleas and Jamie McLennan talked about the Wings’ Miller-Helm-Cleary line;
TSN also posted a 40-second clip of Marty Howe talking about his father’s mental decline;
Fox Sports Detroit posted Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy’s takes on the game…
As well as post-game comments from Jiri Hudler, Drew Miller and coach Mike Babcock:
Photos: The Vancouver Sun posted a 26-image gallery;
The Vancouver Province posted a 10-image gallery;
Fox Sports Detroit posted an 11-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 19-image gallery;
The Detroit Free Press posted a 24-image gallery;
Yahoo Sports posted a 40-image gallery;
Daylife.com’s Wings gallery includes 15 Reuters images from the game;
NHL.com posted a 48-image gallery;
The Canucks’ website posted a 48-image gallery;
And the Red Wings’ website posted a 48-image gallery.
Shots 43-25 Detroit overall. The Wings out-shot Vancouver 15-8 in the 1st period and 15-3 in the 2nd period, but were out-shot 13-8 in the 3rd period. The Wings out-shot Vancouver 5-1 in OT.
Wings went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time; Nucks went 0-for-1 in 2:00 of PP time.
Jimmy Howard continued to prove that he can do the job of being a Red Wings goaltender by stopping almost no and then tons of rubber, stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced; Roberto Luongo had gotten into a rhythm, so he may have had an easier time stopping 40 of 43 shots.
The 3 stars, per Sportsnet Pacific, were Roberto Luongo, David Booth and Danny Cleary.
The Wings’ goals: Cleary (11) from Helm (11);
Hudler (17) from Filppula (26) and Stuart (6);
Miller (9) from Cleary (14) and Stuart (7).
Faceoffs 28-27 Detroit;
Blocked shots 16-10 Vancouver;
Missed shots 16-9 Detroit (total attempts 75-44 Detroit);
Hits 24-21 Vancouver;
Giveaways 9-7 Detroit;
Takeaways 10-8 Vancouver.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-8 (58%); Zetterberg went 8-and-10 (44%); Helm went 5-and-5 (50%); Abdelkader went 1-and-2 (33%); Filppula went 2-and-0 (100%); Hudler and Emmerton lost their only faceoffs; Cleary won his only faceoff.
Shots: Cleary led the Wings with 6 shots; White and Franzen had 4 shots; Kindl, Datsyuk, Stuart, Zetterberg, Filppula and Kronwall had 3 shots; Miller, Hudler and Emmerton had 2 shots; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Helm, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: The Canucks blocked 3 Lidstrom attempts; Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Miller, Hudler, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: White missed the net 4 times; Zetterberg and Franzen missed the net 3 times; Stuart missed the net 2 times; Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Filppula and Holmstrom missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Stuart had 7 hits; Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Hudler and Holmstrom had 2; Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Emmerton and Ericsson had 1 hit.
Giveaways: White and Zetterberg had 2 giveaways; Stuart, Helm, Bertuzzi, Franzen and Howard had 1.
Takeaways: Zetterberg and Filppula had 2 takeaways; Cleary, Datsyuk, Helm and Holmstrom had 1.
Blocked shots: Kronwall blocked 2 Canucks shots; Lidstrom, Cleary, White, Miller, Stuart, Hudler, Helm and Franzen blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Bertuzzi and Abdelkader took fighting majors; Zetterberg took a minor penalty.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at an even 0 as a team. Datsyuk, Sutart, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Franzen were -1; White, Hudler, Zetterberg, Filppula and Ericsson were +1; everybody else was even.
Points: Cleary had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Stuart had 2 assists; Miller and Hudler had goals; Helm and Filppula had assists.
Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 26:17 played, and Niklas Kronwall played 26:17 as well; White played 25:57;
Zetterberg played 23:50; Stuart played 23:44; Datsyuk played 23:21;
Filppula played 22:05; Franzen played 21:48; Hudler played 19:00;
Cleary played 16:33; Bertuzzi played 14:59; Ericsson played 14:12;
Miller played 12:20; Helm played 12:14; Holmstrom played 11:08;
Kindl played 11:06; Abdelkader played 8:09; Emmerton played 5:16.
Part II: About Gordie Howe: The news that Mr. Hockey has a “mild cognitive impairment” like anyone of advancing age as opposed to dementia is fantastic news, and after he attended Thursday’s Wings-Canucks game, he’ll be at a Vancouver Giants game tonight as he’s a minority owner in the team. The Giants are a near-dynasty in terms of their winning machine status in the WHL—and they posted a Twitter picture of Wings prospect Marek Tvrdon with Howe
Wings’ Twitter account), and they’re going to take very good care of Howe on Friday.
Here’s what Marty and Giants owner Ron Toigo had to say to the Vancouver Province’s Steve Ewen on Thursday…
“He definitely has a loss of words, and he has his good days and his bad days,” said Marty Howe, 57. “We just stopped the interviews to make it easier on him. He gets very nervous about doing anything on TV. It used to be a piece of cake for him, but rather than put him through that at his age and give it more pressure than it needs, we wanted to cut it out. We wanted one less problem. Gordie is doing fine. He does 55-60 appearances a year still, with the travel and everything that goes on. He’s probably healthier than I am on a treadmill. His pulse never gets over 60. The man’s a horse still. It’s just as far as doing things like this [media scrum], it’s hard on him now and he’d rather not do it, so we don’t have to do it.”
It doesn’t sound like they’ll be cutting down the public appearances anytime soon, either.
“He’d probably be dead now if he couldn’t do these type of things,” said Marty Howe. “He loves to be out in the public. He loves getting out and meeting and talking to the people, and people love him so much because they can tell he’s genuine about what he’s doing.”
Toigo met Howe years ago though a mutual friend, and they’ve remained close. Marty said that the Howes will say at Toigo’s mom’s house on trips here and “we get to raid the kitchen and use the laundry machine…it’s way better than a hotel.” A Howe contingent also comes up in the summer to go fishing with a Toigo crew. Toigo said that he believes Howe has put some weight back on and is enjoying himself now that he’s gone from living by himself to splitting time between the residences of Marty, who lives in Hartford, Conn., and son Murray, who lives in Sylvania, Ohio.
“He has medical issues,” said Toigo. “But hopefully it stays mild.”
There were reports Thursday that Howe had begun to feel the effects of dementia, the disease that killed Colleen. Marty said that was “blown way out of proportion.”
“It made my life a living hell today,” said Marty Howe “Just to try to clear it up, he’s going to be with us a long time and he’s still going to be able to function. He has some memory loss and he definitely has a loss of words. Most of it comes at night or when he’s tired. I’ve been getting sympathy notes and all kind of remedy things all day long from people who think he’s going to die tomorrow. He’s not. Not that it couldn’t happen in a car accident or something…but Gordie’s doing fine.”
Howe denied it was dementia his father was suffering from, although he admitted “it may turn into it.”
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s take, which notes that Howe probably came by his slightly degenerative conditions both naturally and due to the fact that he had brain surgery over sixty years ago:
Doctors also told the Howe family that Gordie may have had a mini-stroke when he was the primary care-giver for his wife, Colleen, during the years leading up to her 2009 death caused by Pick’s disease, a rare form of dementia marked by changes in mood, behavior and personality, followed by memory loss similar to that experienced in Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s a lot of pressure on the body and he wanted to try to do what he could do by himself,” Marty said. “We had to talk him into getting some help. During that time he had a couple of episodes where he had loss of memory. The doctors, and us, all feel it was probably from a mini-stroke.”
The Howes believe that Gordie’s condition is currently mild, though they have not sought a medical diagnosis of exactly what kind he may have. Undoubtedly, players of Howe’s era suffered concussions, but concussions weren’t tracked by the NHL back then, so it’s difficult to say exactly how many he may have had during his 28-season career. However, Howe did suffer significant head trauma from a serious injury that occurred in Game 1 of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup semifinals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1950.
In that game, played at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, Howe went crashing head-first into the boards while trying to check the Maple Leafs’ Teeder Kennedy. Howe remained on the ice in a pool of blood before he was carted off on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital. Doctors later drilled a three-inch hole in his skull to relieve pressure that had built on his brain.
While the long-term effects of that concussion, or any subsequent ones that the Hall of Famer may have had aren’t known, brain injuries have been very much in the news lately, however, the Howes are hesitant to link Gordie’s condition to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease found in autopsies of some people, especially former athletes, who have had multiple head trauma.
“It all adds up. Earlier in his career, when he had his head injury, anybody who had a three-quarter (inch) hole drilled in their head is going to have some affects at some time,” Marty said. “He’s done well all these years. It’s been a slow process in the memory loss but most older people are running into that.”
“He has no plans to slow down,” said Murray Howe, a radiologist. “We keep on asking him if he wants to cut back, and he says, ‘No, I’m enjoying this.’ ”
“Anybody who has a three-quarter-inch hole drilled in their head is going to have some effects sometime after that,” Marty said. “I’m sure and the doctors are sure that has a lot to do with what’s going on with him now.”
Murray Howe said: “Both as his son and as a physician, I wouldn’t call it dementia. It’s a very focal, very modest decline — no more than anyone else who’s 84.”
Gordie did not hide from the news media on Thursday in Vancouver. He shook hands, offered pleasantries and even played a game of hide-and-seek with the Stanley Cup ring that a photographer was trying to shoot. The ring on his left hand represents the Red Wings’ 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955 championships.
“He enjoys every minute, even when he’s tired,” Marty said. “We just try to get him to bed early and get him up and be ready the next morning.”
Assistant general manager Jim Nill said forward Patrick Eaves, out since Nov. 26 after breaking his jaw, is suffering from concussion-like symptoms and remains out indefinitely.
MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a middle-of-the-night report about Eaves’ condition, too:
Patrick Eaves’ fractured jaw has healed, but the Detroit Red Wings fear he might have a concussion, so they have no idea when he can resume skating. Eaves has been out since getting hit in the ear by a shot from Nashville’s Roman Josi on Nov. 26. He had surgery two days later and was expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. But he has already been out 10 weeks.
“I don’t think he’s doing great,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “Right now there’s no timetable (for his return). I’m not optimistic anytime soon.’‘
Eaves has not been cleared to work-out off-ice, Holland said.
“It’s got nothing to do with the jaw; he got hit in the head and he just doesn’t feel right,’’ Holland said. “Possibly, he could have a concussion. We just told him there’s no need to come to the rink until you feel good.’‘
Eaves has stopped by Joe Louis Arena at least a couple of times to see his teammates. Drew Miller, one of his close friends on the team, said he saw Eaves riding the stationary bike briefly to see how it felt.
“From what I gathered, it’s moving in a positive direction, so that was good to see him around the rink a little bit,’’ Miller said. “I don’t know any time frame and I don’t think he really had one.’‘
That explains his “complications.” Fox Sports Detroit’s Ken Daniels reported prior to the Calgary game that Eaves is coming to the rink to see his teammates, but it sounds like he’s not working out at all, and that means that even if his concussion symptoms were to go away immediately—and it’s not surprising that, given the blow he took in late November, his brain got jiggled severely—he wouldn’t be back until March. I think we’re talking about someone who might return for the playoffs, if that.
• Shifting gears but sticking with the, “Oh crap!” medical issue topic, MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to Danny Cleary about the burst Baker’s cyst which sent him to the hospital on Wednesday…
“I’m going to have to do something about it. I got to get it drained,’’ Cleary said following his team’s 4-3 shootout win in Vancouver Thursday. “I got to get it done during the season.’‘
“I wanted to get it done Monday, but you don’t just put a needle in it and drain it,’’ Cleary said. “It’s pretty detailed and we’re going to put a cortisone shot in. If we would have done that (Monday) I’d have missed the road trip, and I didn’t want to miss that length of time. When I get back home (Tuesday), I’ll see. I can’t go the rest of the year like this.’‘
The Wings won’t stop playing on an every-other-day basis until Valentine’s Day, and after the Stars game they get all of a two-day break before playing on another every-other-night basis from February 17-25, and as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted, Cleary played very well on Thursday, registering a goal and an assist:
“It was a big game for us against a top team on the road,” said Cleary, who played 16 minutes, 33 seconds. “A good team game for sure.”
And how’s the leg, Danny?
“It’s a little sore, it got sore as the game went on, but to be honest with you it’s easier skating than walking,” said Cleary, who added playfully to the reporters around him, “but it’s OK, thanks for asking.”
But coach Mike Babcock had this to say about #11:
“When he’s playing he’s fine; it’s when he’s walking he’s not as good,” Babcock said. “He’s playing hard.”
Shifting gears but sticking with Kulfan, Jimmy Howard stated that he’s anything but tired after having played in 44 games…
“I feel good, to be honest with you,” said Howard, who added he thrives on the heavy workloads. “Mike (Babcock) does a real good job with giving us days off, and he realizes when it might be a good time to pull back the reins a little bit rather than being out there (on the ice) again. We get a good amount of days off and that’s a good reason we feel good right now.”
But I’m only going to raise a Hudlerian eyebrow regarding this quip from Ryan Kesler, who talked to Kulfan about enjoying playing against Detroit:
“I still get a charge out of it,” Kesler said. “It’s always fun playing them because we kind of play the same way (puck possession).”
• Heading back to St. James, she took note of Bertuzzi’s 37th birthday (he’s 37, he’s not old)...
Bertuzzi turned 37 Thursday, not that he recognized that: “You know I don’t count them any more. I’m still 27.” He celebrated the event appropriately enough with a victory against the Canucks, the team with which he made his name. Bertuzzi fought in the third period and overall helped keep Ryan Kesler’s line in check, showing a defensive side he lacked when he played here a decade ago.
Back then, he was the NHL’s premier power forward, a guy with soft hands and a strong stride who one season had 46 goals and 93 points. At 37, Bertuzzi is playing a different role next to Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen on Detroit’s first line.
“It’s gone really well or the past two months,” Bertuzzi said. “I think the important thing is, even if we don’t score in a game, as long as we’re efficient with the puck and not making mistakes, I think that’s key. Because our line is playing against a pretty top line, and if we can keep them stalled - that’s what the job entails. Sometimes it’s not going to be fun and exciting, but it comes with playing in that spot.”
Bertuzzi took 10 goals and 25 points into the Canucks game. In addition to making a difference on the ice, he’s worked off the ice to bolster the confidence of 24-year-old Darren Helm, encouraging his younger teammate to explore his offensive game.
“It’s great when you get that type of feedback who’s been such a good player in this league for many years,” Helm said. “He had a couple of years where he was one of the best players in the league, and he’s still got tons of talent. Whenever you get that type of feedback, when you get to talk to a guy who sees the game differently than I do, it’s nice. I try to use his old wisdom as much as I can.”
Ah yes, the age thing. “He gets grumpy when things aren’t going well,” Helm said, smiling. Or maybe it’s just to fit in on his line?
“He’s grumpy, kind of like me,” Franzen said. “We play off it - who can be the grumpiest. We laugh about that. He usually wins.”
This might surprise you, but it doesn’t surprise me: given that Bertuzzi’s willing to crash, bang and play a big-bodied style on the ice, work hard and mentor younger players off the ice and command a very reasonable salary, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings plan on asking Bertuzzi to r
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