Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Canucks wrap-up: on controversy and conserving energy

Updated with a rather inflammatory comment by one Kevin Bieksa in the multimedia department at 5:36 AM: The Detroit Red Wings boarded a very late flight to Calgary where they’ll face a Flames team (9:30 PM EST, FSD/TSN/WXYT) which must have enjoyed watching the Wings expend an enormous amount of energy in pursuit of an unfavorable result. The Wings showed up late for and made too many mistakes during their 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, and along the way, a pair of Wings didn’t exactly enhance their reputations.

This is one of those recaps where I have to posit a disclaimer, in two parts: First and foremost, this game included the kinds of controversial plays which generate disagreement, not consensus, so don’t be surprised if we interpret them differently; and second, I’m a Wings fan, so if you’re from Vancouver, you may not like my interpretation of the game. If you wish to go on your merry way, that’s fine, and if you wish to comment, please direct your statements at me, not your fellow readers.

Right. So let’s ignore the fact that the Wings dropped a 2-0 lead over the course of 21 seconds, then surrendered a 3-1 lead just under two minutes after Todd Bertuzzi scored the Wings’ first goal, that the Wings went 0-for-4 and generated something like 6 shots over 6:49 of PP time, and that the Wings out-shot Vancouver 16-4 in the 3rd period and 40-25 overall but were unable or unwilling to score necessary goals by getting in front of Roberto Luongo’s grill to screen him and tip shots with multiple bodies in front, as the Wings have been doing of late—and let’s ignore the fact that the Wings are now 1-and-1 on their West Coast swing and lost ground in the Western Conference standings as the Canucks leapfrogged them in a game where the Wings, as Mike Babcock might say, didn’t “get started on time.”

Let’s skip to the controversy first, and we’ll dissect the game from there. Depending on your point of view, Niklas Kronwall either “Kronwalled” Ryan Kesler with a clean hit, or he left his feet to attempt to injure Kesler…

Depending on your point of view, Kesler was either inadvertently bumping Henrik Zetterberg here or he was attempting to take out Z’s knee…


And, depending on your point of view, the goal that salted the game away, scored by Alex Edler, was either the result of Jannik Hansen going into Howard via a trip from Zetterberg, and was “incidental contact” which resulted in a completely unacceptable and bizarrely unpenalized reaction from Howard, or Mr. Hansen felt Zetterberg near him, kicked his legs out, and ensured that Edler could jam home a rebound by plowing into Howard, whose reaction was completely justified:


You may interpret these on your own, and you can assume that I may side with my openly biased red-and-white-supporting perspective, but here’s what the players and coaches had to say about the game.

The Canucks suggested to the Vancouver Sun’s Ian MacIntyre that they earned a just result:

“It’s very satisfying,” Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa said. “It’s always satisfying to beat these guys because they’re such a good team. All the credit to Kes for getting up after a hit like that. It was a sneaky hit and when you don’t see it coming, it hurts even more. But he’s a warrior and he got back up.”
“We’re probably not going to get the benefit of the doubt on a whole lot of calls because of our reputation and the team we have,” Bieksa said. “We’ve got to earn it. We didn’t have a power play tonight, did we? I’m sure the referees will probably figure we deserved at least one when they look at the outcome. But like I said, we’re going to have to earn it by sucking it up and not complaining too much and eventually we’ll get those calls.”

In short, despite their competitive parity the last three years, the Red Wings are still the revered Red Wings and the Canucks are still the diving, whining, hated Canucks. Bieksa is right. The Canucks need to accept this reality because only then do they have the best chance at changing their reputation. But it is tough. Just ask Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.

“We keep playing the right way, but we’re being challenged from a different perspective,” Vigneault said of the successive non-calls on Kronwall and Howard and the lone penalty to Kesler. “You have to stay focussed and keep your mind on what’s going on on the ice and keep doing the right things. I thought, for the most part, we did do that. Tonight, for both teams, it was about making the right plays at the right time and getting the timely saves. For 35 minutes, we were real solid 5-on-5 and then the momentum shifted a little bit on some penalties and they took it to us pretty hard in the third. But the goaltender stood his ground like a great goaltender does.”

Luongo finished with 38 saves, 16 of them in the third period and the best of them a glove save on Pavel Datsyuk’s backhand with four minutes remaining. Howard had 21 saves to go with his zero penalties.

“Their goaltender jumped our player and that was fine,” [Canucks coach Alain] Vigneault said incredulously. “That’s allowed.”
When pressed about specific incidents, Vigneault said several times “I’m not going to comment on that,” explaining “it would just get me in trouble.”

MacIntyre happened to also offer this assessment of the game on Twitter:

Found key diff between Nucks and Wings. Wings get no pens. Jimmy Howard free to maul Hansen, worse than Kesler on Kronwall.

Or, as the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap suggested (and Pap offered his take on both plays in his Canucks notebook, too)...

PIVOTAL POINT – With Canucks leading 3-2 early in the third-period and Ryan Kesler in the penalty box – he got roughing after Niklas Kronwall nearly killed him – Alex Edler scored shorthanded 15 seconds into the Detroit power play. Wings netminder Jimmy Howard didn’t like it either as he was taken completely out of the play by Jannik Hansen, who was shoved into him by Henrik Zetterberg.

Kesler had this to say to the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma:

“That’s obviously his go-to move,” said Kesler. “My only problem with the hit is he doesn’t stand up for himself after and he has zero career fights. When you hit guys like that, you’re going to have to drop the gloves. I didn’t see him coming and that shorthanded goal was a good way to stick it to them. We’re not a team that’s going to get pushed around and I think you saw that in the third period.”

Kronwall thought that Kesler had the puck and had control, although the replay would beg to differ and showed the defenceman leaving his feet.

“If that’s the case, that’s not the way we want our game and I’ll get a call from Shanny [league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan]. “To me, it was a clean hit. You get hit and you take it. It’s part of the game.”

The Canucks got their revenge in the best possible way after Hansen stripped Zetterberg of the puck on the power play and nearly scored a shorthanded goal before Edler did. Hansen was left to wonder what got to Howard in going after the Dane.

“I didn’t know what was going on there — he was upset,” shrugged Hansen. “I was definitely in his space but not by me doing it. I got a good push [from Zetterberg] coming across and I don’t believe it was my fault. The Kes call went the wrong way and it was nice to stick it back in their face.”

“I thought their player pushed ours in the net and their goaltender jumped our player and that was fine — that’s allowed,” [Vigneault] said.

Regarding Hansen’s push on Howard, Roberto Luongo offered an unsympathetic answer to Reuters’ Jamal Corner:

“It’s always upsetting when you feel you were interfered with,” Luongo said. “What goes around comes around.”

Howard saw things a little differently, as he told the Globe and Mail’s David Ebner:

Howard was angry that Hansen’s push to score, unfairly shoved the goaltender back into the net, freeing Edler to crack the key goal. The goal stood, quick and decisive retribution for a roughing call on Ryan Kesler that was provoked by some thuggery from Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall. The Kronwall-Kesler confrontation itself nearly became a full-on fight, before the refs snuffed it and put Kesler in the box.

Vigneault thought Detroit pushed Hansen into Howard. Howard, who is feeling generally aggrieved of late, insisted it was at least half-purposeful by Hansen, who he said “steamrolled me.”

“Them’s the breaks,” Howard said, sitting in the Wings dressing room, surrounded by reporters, wearing a Wings toque, his very-soft voice a dissonance to his angered tone, a lingering upset after he nearly dropped the gloves for fisticuffs. “I’m just sick and tired of being run over. It’s every single game. You know, some times you can’t help it, your D battles in front, things do happen, but I’m getting sick of it.”

To some extent, dueling banjos played in opposite dressing rooms, as noted by NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley:

“It was nice to stick it back in their face,” said Hansen, adding he got “just a little push in the back (from Henrik Zetterberg) and it’s hard to keep your balance when you are cutting across. We really wanted to get it done. We felt it shouldn’t have played out the way it did and wanted to get it for Kes.”

Howard, who had to be pulled off Hansen, didn’t see it the same way.

“I was interfered with,” said Howard, who finished with 21 saves, many of them spectacular, to keep Detroit in a game they twice trailed by two. “Z never pushed him, I watched the replay. Hansen leans into him, loses his footing and steams me, but [those are] the breaks.”
“To me, it’s no foul on them at all but it’s no goal,” Babcock said. “The goalie’s got to be allowed to play. That’s what the rules are, that’s what they stipulate. But that’s life. Anytime you dig yourself a hole, like we did against a good team, you’re going to have a hard time coming back.”

Luongo, who sealed the win with spectacular saves off Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk with four minutes left, didn’t have much sympathy—not after Bertuzzi nudged Salo on top of him and he wasn’t able to recover before the big Detroit forward scored.

“What goes around comes around,” said Luongo, who was at his best while his team was being outshot 16-4 in the third period. “It’s always upsetting when you feel you were interfered with. I was pissed off after the first goal, and in a way it was kind of karma that we got one later in the third.”
“That was a good way to stick it to them,” said Kesler, saying he “had no idea” what a reporter was talking about when asked about retaliatory knee on Zetterberg later in the third period. “We’re not a team that’s going to get pushed around and I think you saw that in the third period.”

Ah yes, the Kronwall hit. The Free Press’s Helene St. James chronicled the exchange between the two players, via the press:

“I saw that he’s backing up, put my head down for a second, he hits me,” Kesler said. “That’s obviously his go-to move. My only problem with the hit is that he doesn’t stand up for himself afterwards. I think if you’re going to hit guys like that, you’re going to have to drop the gloves.”
“It felt like he was curling up along the boards, the puck was right there, and I just tried to put a clean check in,” Kronwall said. “The way I looked at it, he had the puck and he had it under control.”

Kronwall said he “didn’t feel it that way,” that he left his feet, but conceded, “that’s nothing we want in our game.” As for answering any bells, Kronwall—whose off-ice personality is the antithesis of his on-ice hits—pretty much shrugged. “To me, it felt like a clean hit. It’s a game of you get hit, and you take hits. I just think that’s part of the game.”

Kronwall has never been suspended, and doesn’t deserve to hear from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan in this case, either, said Wings coach Mike Babcock.

“If they’re taking that out of hockey,” he said, “then we don’t have hockey any more. I mean, one guy had the puck, he’s coming up the wall, the other guy is going after him. Good hit.”
“I think he has zero career fights in his career,” Kesler said. “If you’re going to continue to hit like that, I think you’ve got to answer the bell.”

Kesler, who is from Livonia and spends his summers in Michigan, challenged Kronwall, but officials kept them separated. Kesler ended up with a roughing call, much to his dismay. “No comment,” he said. “I don’t want to get fined.”

Again, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan found, Kronwall was willing to take responsibility for leaving his feet—and I should note that Kronwall gave the same comments, including taking full responsibility for his actions, to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman and Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom...

“Everything goes so fast out there,” Kronwall said. “That’s pretty much my first hit I’ve had all year. Legal or not, I’m sure Shanny will decide and we’ll go from there. Anytime something like that happens out there, it gets emotional out there and he (Kesler) didn’t like it.”

Kronwall admitted if he did leave his feet, “That’s obviously something we don’t want in the game.”

As for Kesler’s potential retaliatory knee on Zetterberg, St. James says that Zetterberg was limping a bit but said he’d be fine, and Kulfan caught their exchange:

Still smarting from Kronwall’s hit, Kesler had a knee-on-thigh hit on Henrik Zetterberg in the third period Zetterberg didn’t appreciate.

“It’s easy to get that way (frustrated) when you get drilled like that (by Kronwall),” Zetterberg said. “When you get hit like that you start doing stupid stuff, and that’s what he did.”

Said Kesler of the collision with Zetterberg: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

As for the rest of the game, the Canucks obviously felt they had karma and Roberto Luongo on their side, as Canucks.com’s Derek Jory suggested…

The emotional battle was eventually won by the Canucks, who extended their season-high home winning streak to four games and have gone four straight meetings with the Red Wings without a regulation loss (2-0-2) in Vancouver. Going into the night 14 of the past 20 games between these Western Conference foes had been decided by a single goal and Roberto Luongo was the main reason the Canucks held on to a two-goal cushion.

Luongo’s play in the third period was nothing short of breathtaking. Saves on Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm were vintage Luongo and he was rewarded with a showering of
LUUs from the sell-out crowd. Luongo finished with 38 saves, including 16 in a frantic third period.

“That was expected, they’ve got a lot of skill and they’ve been there before,” said Luongo of the late Detroit push. “They were throwing everything at the net and guys were
doing a good job tying up sticks and making sure they didn’t have too many whacks at it.”

Over his last eight games Luongo is 7-0-1, and in his past three against Detroit, he’s given up just four goals.

“It was a great game, they always make for some exciting games against these guys and they’re fun to play in and they shoot a lot, so that’s the way I like it.”

The Vancouver Province’s Tony Gallagher, who wishes that the Wings would visit more often (the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan hopes the Wings visit in April), offered this take on the game…

Vancouver got goals from three lines and showed that when they attack they are equal or better than any other team in the league. When they back up and try to play to hold a lead, it’s a fire drill and Wednesday night they needed remarkable goaltending from Roberto Luongo, particularly in the third period when Detroit threw everything at the Vancouver goal after a series of powerplay opportunities reversed the momentum of the game. Were Luongo ever to produce games somewhere near this level in the playoffs, it’s easy to see this team having have a great deal of success, but that has been an elusive level for him over the past four years in the postseason.

“That’s a real tough game for a goaltender to be part of and our guy did an amazing job,” said Vigneault making specific reference to Detroit being one of the best teams in the league at getting traffic in front most of the night.

“When he’s playing like that he gives us a chance to win every night,” said Jannik Hansen, who was involved in the most telling play of the night when he trucked the puck to the Detroit net while killing a penalty, only to be nudged by Henrik Zetterberg as he approached at which point he wiped out Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. Defenceman Alex Edler, who later left the game with back spasms, was there to knock in the rebound to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead 3:30 into the final period.

“One of their guys bumped me as I was cutting to the net and it was really incidental contact,” said Hansen. “Luckily Eddie was there to put it in. I didn’t know what was going on after that (when Howard got up and went after him and somehow escaped a penalty). But as I said there guy bumped me as I went to the net and I thought it was a good goal.”

“It was a pretty fun game to play in,” said Chris Higgins, the man who opened the scoring on a Mason Raymond rebound. “I don’t know if the body would hold up for 82 of them but they are fun to play in. It’s a couple of the best teams in the league and I thought we did a pretty good job getting the lead and after that Bobby (Luongo) made the saves for us to win it.”

The Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap offered some damning statistics...

BY THE NUMBERS – The Wings trailed after the first period for only the seventh time, and after second period for only the ninth time, in 33 games… Canucks improved to a perfect 16-0-0 when leading after 2… Detroit fell to 1-9-0 when trailing after two… The Canucks scored on their fifth, sixth and eighth shots of the first period…The Wings had 16 second-period shots, down from the 24 they fired at Cory Schneider when the Canucks were in Detroit on Oct. 13.

And a wise observation…

DID YOU NOTICE? The Red Wings were overloading one side of the ice on their forecheck and the Canucks exploited that on their first two goals as both Mason Raymond, whose rebound was buried by Chris Higgins, and Cody Hodgson had all kinds of room to ramble.

Overloading and cheating toward offense, which helped Alexandre Burrows score a tip-in goal with no Wing within ten feet of him, as he told the Canadian Press...

Burrows scored the winning goal in the first period of the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-2 victory Wednesday night when he went to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard’s crease for an artful back-to-the-net tip-in.

“I’m trying to get a piece of it and try to surprise the goalie a bit,” Burrows said of his deflection of a hard pass from Daniel Sedin. They’re one of the best teams at going to the net and we like to take pages out of their book and tonight it worked out in our favor.”

The score gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead and Burrows, who got his fourth goal in four games, didn’t think it would stand up as the game-winner.

“It’s too early,” said Burrows who tied Sedin for the team lead with his 13th goal of the season. “When you give them room, they’re going to make some plays. We sat back too much in the third and they kept coming in waves and (goalie) Roberto (Luongo) made some big saves.”

The Red Wings, on the other hand, felt that on Kesler’s penalty and their other power play opportunities, they exhibited poor timing and a lack of urgency…

“You have to take care of your power play, you have to have at least one (man-advantage goal) to win games,” [Zetterberg] said. “It’s so tight 5-on-5.”

And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan agreed:

instead of the Wings capitalizing on Kesler’s penalty Edler’s shorthanded goal turned the tide, and infuriated Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen lost his footing on a drive to the net and slid into Howard, who was unable to gather himself. Edler slid the puck into an open corner.

“I was interfered with,” Howard said. “(Henrik) Zetterberg never pushed him (Hansen). I watched the replay. Hansen leans into him, loses his footing and steamrolls me. I’m getting sick and tired of getting run over every single game.”

Todd Bertuzzi and Drew Miller had the Wings’ goals. Chris Higgins, Cody Hodgson and Alex Burrows rounded out the scoring for Vancouver. Higgins and Hodgson scored 21 seconds apart midway through the first period to put the Wings in a hole.

“We had a good push, we had over 30 shots in the last two periods (40 for the game), but in saying that, you have to start on time,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We made too many mistakes through the neutral zone.”

That was the Wings’ real focus after the game, because, controversy included, the worst part of the game for the Wings was how they earned their result, as they told the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

The loss dropped the Wings back below .500 on the road as they finish up this trip tonight at Calgary. Wednesday’s loss was defined by mistakes, especially in the first period.

“I really thought on all three goals, big, big mistakes,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re behind 3-1, and I thought we crawled our way back in the game and had a good push. I didn’t like the short-handed goal.”
Zetterberg said he was surprised [Edler]s goal counted. “I thought for sure if you see the stuff that has been called this year, and stuff that happens to goaltenders—I was a little surprised there was no call.”

Babcock didn’t blame the Canucks, but rather the officials. “To me,” he said, “it’s no goal. The goalie’s got to be allowed to play. I think that’s what the rules are, I think that’s what they stipulate. But that’s life. Any time you dig yourself a hole like we did against a good team, you’re going to have a hard time coming back. That was evident tonight. I’m a big believer that if you start on time, you do things right right from the get-go, you win more often than not. To me, we made too many mistakes through the neutral zone.”

Both teams talked up one another in anticipation, but it was the Canucks who followed up first when the game began. Chris Higgins snapped Mason Raymond’s rebound at 9:36 and 21 seconds later, Cody Hodgson fired a slap shot Howard saw coming. Bertuzzi came through with a huge goal to stem the tide, wheeling out from behind the net and finding Ian White’s shot in the low slot while Luongo contended with teammate Sami Salo. The Canucks’ first line burned the Wings before the period was over, with Daniel Sedin circling around Detroit’s defenders and sending the puck deep for Alexandre Burrows.

Kronwall put things pretty simply while speaking to MLive’s Ansar Khan:

“It was obviously defensive breakdowns; we can’t just give them odd-man rushes like that,’’ Kronwall said. “They’re a great team and they transition so well. They had two guys coming a lot of times and we have to be way more aware of that and play a little smarter.’‘

Chris Higgins scored at 9:36, firing in the rebound after Howard stopped Raymond on a breakaway. The Canucks struck again 21 seconds later, when Cody Hodgson blasted in a shot from the slot.

“Two mistakes, we were just sleeping on both those plays and it ends up in our net,’’ Detroit defenseman Ian White said.

After Bertuzzi banged in a rebound at 13:46, Alexandre Burrows skated in front of the net and redirected a shot by Daniel Sedin past Howard to make it 3-1 at 15:40.

“We made some huge mistakes, on all three goals, big, big mistakes,’’ Babcock said. “Behind 3-1, I thought we crawled our way back in the game and had good push.’‘

That’st he bottom line. The Wings have a game in Calgary tonight that they essentially have to win to keep pace with their Western Conference rivals, and they ended up expending huge amounts of energy to try and salvage a game that was more or less over after Edler’s goal, mostly because they didn’t capitalize on three third-period power plays and didn’t go to the front of the opposing team’s net with any of the speed, urgency or reckless abandon that Canucks did. As such, it doesn’t really matter who the hockey gods favored in terms of karmic retribution, because the Wings “cheated” early, may have been cheated on the Hansen goal and just dug too big a hole in between.

The Canucks’ compliments for the Wings ended when the puck was dropped, and they showed their fangs from minutes one to sixty. The Wings didn’t seem to feel anything other than flattered until they were down 2-0 and 3-1, and their wild stabs at evening the score simply pissed the Canucks off enough that Vancouver made this one hurt while putting the game out of reach. While the Canucks may feel that the Wings insulted them and attempted to injure them, they played better and they earned the two points, so they can be as upset and as predictably talkative as they want to be, because they beat the Wings at their own game.


Highlights: TSN posted a 2:16 highlight clip;

TSN’s Canucks post-game reaction includes comments from coach Alain Vigneault, Roberto Luongo and Cody Hodgson, and they of course posted Niklas Kronwall’s take on his hit;

Good luck to you if you’re not in Canada and hope that the highlight clip Sportsnet embedded in its recap will work;

Post-game: Ryan Kesler gave a 1-on-1 interview to TSN’s Farhan Lalji after the game;

If you wish to watch the NHL Network’s analysis of the game, you may do so;

The Canucks’ website posted clips of Alain Vigneault’s post-game presser, which includes some mysteriously bleeped audio, and comments from Roberto Luongo, Chris Higgins and Daniel Sedin, but something tells me you might be more interested in those of Ryan Kesler…

And Jannik Hansen:


Fox Sports Detroit posted Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy’s takes on the game…


<a href='http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/pages/video?videoid=1eeb7682-2ca5-471f-bc55-1bbc27207ef4&amp;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Recap: Red Wings fall to Canucks'>Video: Recap: Red Wings fall to Canucks</a>

As well as comments from Jimmy Howard, coach Mike Babcock and Niklas Kronwall:


<a href='http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/pages/video?videoid=3cb5c150-81e8-406f-8811-cea9afa64bfc&amp;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Wings reflect on loss'>Video: Wings reflect on loss</a>

And you can take a gander at the Wings’ favorit Christmas movies, too, but I’ve got to save some space for text and other videos. Sorry!

Biggy Update: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa had something very rude to say to the Score after the game:


Photos: The Vancouver Province posted a 15-image gallery;

The Vancouver Sun posted a 29-image gallery;

The Detroit Free Press posted a 16-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 15-image gallery;

Fox Sports Detroit posted a 6-image gallery;

Yahoo Sports posted a 33-image gallery, and there are 12 more Reuters images in Daylife’s Wings gallery;

NHL.com posted a 46-image gallery;

The Canucks’ website posted a 46-image gallery;

And the Red Wings’ website posted a 28-image gallery and embedded an image in its website’s recap.


Shots 40-25 Detroit. The Wings were out-shot 9-8 in the 1st period, out-shot Vancouver 16-12 in the 2nd period and out-shot Vancouver 16-4 in the 3rd period.

The Wings went 0-for-4 in 6:49 of PP time. The Canucks scored a short-handed goal but had no power plays.

Jimmy Howard stopped 21 of 25; Roberto Luongo stopped 38 of 40.

The 3 stars, per TSN, were Janik Hansen, Roberto Luongo and Alex Edler.

The Wings’ goals: Bertuzzi (4) from White (12) and Datsyuk (24);

Miller (7) from Helm (8) and Cleary (9).

Faceoffs 32-27 Vancouver (Detroit won 46%);

Blocked shots 18-10 Vancouver;

Missed shots 10-5 Detroit (total attempts 68-40 Detroit);

Hits 33-19 Vancouver;

Giveaways 6-5 Detroit;

Takeaways 6-5 Vancouver.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 15-and-11 (58%); Zetterberg went 6-and-6 (46%); Helm went 2-and-8 (20%); Abdelkader went 1-and-5 (17%); Filppula went 2-and-0 (100%); Franzen went 1-and-1 (50%).

Shots: White led the team with 8 shots; Miller and Helm had 5; Bertuzzi had 4; Cleary and Zetterberg had 3; Lidstrom, Hudler, Kronwall and Holmstrom had 2; Kindl, Datsyuk, Stuart and Emmerton had 1.

Blocked attempts: Cleary hit Canucks players 4 times, as did Filppula; Datsyuk and Zetterberg had 2 shot attempts blocked; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, White, Hudler, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: White, Hudler and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Cleary, Stuart, Zetterberg and Kronwall missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Miller led the team with 4 hits; Cleary and Datsyuk had 3; Helm and Holmstrom had 2; Kindl,Helm, Emmerton, Filppula and Kronwall had 1.

Giveaways: Stuart and Zetterberg had 2 giveaways; Datsyuk and Franzen had 1.

Takeaways: Cleary, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Franzen had 1 takeaway.

Blocked shots: Lidstrom and Ericsson blocked 2 shots; Datsyuk, White, Stuart, Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom of all people blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: The Wings weren’t assessed a penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -10: Hudler, Zetterberg and Filppula finished at -2; Lidstrom, Cleary, White, Miller, Helm and Kronwall finished at -1; Datsyuk and Franzen finished at +1.

Points: Miller and Bertuzzi scored goals; Cleary, Datsyuk, White and Helm had assists.

Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 23:56 played; White played 23:29; Kronwall played 22:17;

Zetterberg played 21:55; Stuart played 21:46; Filppula played 19:47;

Franzen played 18:33; Datsyuk played 18:06; Bertuzzi played 17:36;

Hudler played 17:27; Holmstrom played 15:08; Cleary played 14:16;

Ericsson played 13:46; Helm played 12:39; Kindl played 12:16;

Miller played 11:56; Abdelkader played 8:32; Emmerton played 8:28.

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Michiru Kaioh's avatar

I absolutely cannot stand this Canucks team…I hate their thuggery, whining, diving…ugh. Kesler’s intent to injure Zetterberg is total garbage. He ought to be suspended for that kind of thing.

I admit, when it comes to my hockey I can become borderline insane. And I can’t deny bias either. But this kind of anger and hatred, I haven’t felt anything like this in the regular season since the old Colorado rivalry in the late 90’s…

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/22/11 at 09:12 AM ET

Chet's avatar

this is why people hate the canucks. hansen’s flop is disgraceful. this is the same team i LOVED watching lose to boston last spring for these same type of plays. these guys have about as much character as harold and kumar 3.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/22/11 at 09:20 AM ET

Chet's avatar

and by the way, video doesn’t lie. that move by kesler is just garbage.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/22/11 at 09:22 AM ET


Sorry, what’s sneaky about Kronwall’s hit?

Posted by Garth on 12/22/11 at 10:31 AM ET


I wonder if Kesler or Bieksa think this hit is dirty?


Posted by Seaner on 12/22/11 at 10:32 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

So Bieksa and the Canucks are obviously is on the watch list for Shanny and his team after comments like that. If anyone from the Canucks ever jumps Kronwall, those comments are pretty much equal to premeditation.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/22/11 at 11:28 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Bieska’s a meathead.

Good thing the league is no longer sensitive about Canucks players talking about guys needing to get jumped though.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/22/11 at 11:35 AM ET


Hey, 90 per cent of the NHL players are going to love Kronner’s hit on Kesler. Couldn’t happen to a nicer a-hole. Actually, 90 per cent of Canada will love it. The Nucks are such a classless bunch.

Posted by manitobaredwingfan on 12/22/11 at 11:49 AM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

That was definitely a run at Howard.  Z was close but didn’t get enough of Hansen to take him down like that.  Kronwall did appear to leave his feet.  And Kessler’s hit on Z’s knee was total BS.  It wasn’t that hard of a hit so little chance to hurt him, but still cheap.  Sounds like the Wings weren’t as hungry.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 12/22/11 at 12:18 PM ET


Wow, I can’t believe that they are getting worked up over a goalie defending himself after a clear run. I think Jimmy has earned the right to stick up for himself, and is showing that every goalie should start sticking up for themselves, especially after watching that incident that involved Ryan Miller earlier this year.

Posted by Jasper on 12/22/11 at 12:25 PM ET


Kesler said it was a good hit. What more do you need? All he said is that Kronwall should answer the bell. Which he should. And which he didn’t.

Posted by Mike from Toronto on 12/22/11 at 12:25 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

“That’s obviously his go-to move,” said Kesler. “My only problem with the hit is he doesn’t stand up for himself after and he has zero career fights.”

That’s right, Kesler.  Kronwall is not a goon.  And you are. 

Babcock: “I’m a big believer that if you start on time, you do things right right from the get-go, you win more often than not. To me, we made too many mistakes through the neutral zone.”

That’s the real story of this game.  The first period.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 12/22/11 at 12:26 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

P.S.  The next time we play the Nuckleheads, I don’t want to hear any comments from the Wings about how skilled they are and how much “fun” it’s going to be to play them.  They are dirty, whiny, flopping scumbags.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 12/22/11 at 12:28 PM ET


MSREDWINGER: Well said!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Nathalie from MTL on 12/22/11 at 01:42 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Kesler said it was a good hit. What more do you need? All he said is that Kronwall should answer the bell. Which he should. And which he didn’t.

Posted by Mike from Toronto on 12/22/11 at 09:25 AM ET

Why does one have to stand up for a good hit? Kesler admitted he saw him coming then put his head down. The ‘Onus’ is now on Ryan Kesler for putting himself in a vulnerable position then acting like a used tampon afterwards.

Yes, the ‘Nucks lulled the Wings to sleep with praise, and nicely done. The Wings got what they deserved. That said; I’ve never heard so much bitching after a solid win. *#$%@& the Nucks.

And since that first word will be censored, it rhymed with Nuck.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/22/11 at 01:54 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

As far as Kronwall’s hit, I’d like to see him stay on his skates every time and use his hips or arse as the principle point of contact the way Stuart does.  I think his hits are clean according to the rule book, but I’ll admit that they’re borderline.  I also think Kesler is totally justified in calling Kronwall out for not fighting.

As far as Howard goes, if the Canucks feel that they didn’t get justice from the referee, I would just point out that they were lucky that goal didn’t get waived and that they didn’t get called for interference themselves.  Sometimes you get non-calls as well Mr. Vigneault.

I can’t comment on the Kesler on Z business because I didn’t catch it last night and the video won’t load.

Speaking of which George, whenever you or Paul embed a video from that site it takes ten minutes at least for it to play if it does at all.  I wonder, am I the only person who has that issue?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 02:06 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Every player on that Vancouver team makes me want to vomit. They complain about everything even when they win. Their post season meltdown can’t come fast enough.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 12/22/11 at 02:09 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I think [Kronwall’s] hits are clean according to the rule book, but I’ll admit that they’re borderline.

Just wanted to clarify.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 02:11 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Crying is what the Canucks do best.  They have been real good at that for years.

Hansen ran the goalie, pure and simple.  He was out of control at the blue line, let alone the crease.  He should have been nailed by that gutless pair of referees for goalie interference and the goal disallowed.

Howard can stop these clowns from running him.  When he sees a victim out of control like Hansen was, he should plant a skate firmly.  Brace the blade of his stick against the skate.  Aim the knob of his stick at the runner’s solar plexus.  This gives the guy a choice of backing off or getting seriously hurt.  This was done fairly often in the olden days before masks and helmets. 

Also, Hansen should have been ganged by every Red Wing on the ice.  He should not have been allowed to get up.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/22/11 at 03:09 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

...I also think Kesler is totally justified in calling Kronwall out for not fighting.

Posted by bezukov from Celebrating 20 yrs of Hockeytown being > St Louis on 12/22/11 at 11:06 AM ET

I could not disagree more.  Kronwall made his statement with the hit.  Kesler’s little ego was bruised, so he wanted to pummel Kronwall to make himself feel more like a man.  This is the kind of juvenile, brutish BS that I would like to see gone from the NHL.  (College and international hockey do fine without it.)

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 12/22/11 at 03:13 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by MsRedWinger from somewhere in the Cosmic Dust on 12/22/11 at 12:13 PM ET

I would just say that you should put the skate on the other foot (see what I did there?).  If one of our guys got Kronwalled last night, and the person who threw the hit wouldn’t answer the bell, I know I’d be calling him a pussy today.  I think Kronwall should back his hits up with punches when he is challenged, (at the very least I’d feel better about his borderline hits).  After all, this is a gentlemen’s game right, (sort of like dueling)?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 03:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“That’s obviously his go-to move,” said Kesler. “My only problem with the hit is he doesn’t stand up for himself after and he has zero career fights. When you hit guys like that, you’re going to have to drop the gloves. I didn’t see him coming and that shorthanded goal was a good way to stick it to them. We’re not a team that’s going to get pushed around and I think you saw that in the third period.”

They teach you that at Ohio State, Kesler?

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/22/11 at 03:40 PM ET


All you have to say is “yes, Kronwall leapt into the air.  He has made a career out of a specific type of illegal hit.”  Crediblity of the 19 = 0.  I’ll admit Hansen ran your goalie….AFTER Kronwall (oh I mean good ‘ol Kronner) went WWF.  Of course Howard has the right to throw a few punches.  And the refs have an obligation to call it.  Kesler got 2 for a hell of a lot less roughing.  I wouldn’t complain if the goal got called back, or if Kesler got a suspension for kneeing.  But the fact that you can’t admit that that was charging, and that everyone has seen it 100 times, is laughable.  Kesler said it was clean BEFORE he saw the replay.  Not fighting after a clean hit is one thing, but after a charge…..you see him slinking back behind the linesman.  You guys are pathetic.  You call the Canucks whiny….and yet EVERY SINGLE post-game dissection is nothing but how innocent you are.  JOKE.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 04:07 PM ET


I think kronwall needs counseled about charging. Saying it’s Borderline is borderline. I’m not sure its not a charge.
That goal should have been waived off and a penalty for charging should have been called. I’ve seen some his on goalies where a teammate pushed an opponent into the goalie, but that was a pure charging tackle. The idea Z caused that is laughable.
Kesler should be suspended for kneeing.

Posted by teldar on 12/22/11 at 04:27 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 01:07 PM ET

Lay off the ex-lax dude.

I wouldn’t complain if the goal got called back, or if Kesler got a suspension for kneeing. 

Thats very easy to say from where you’re standing.  If roles were reversed, I’d be thankful the goal didn’t get waived and that Kesler didn’t get penalized for the knee to knee hit. 

The way I see it, you guys got away with goalie interference, Howard got away with roughing.  Kronwall got away with a legal/illegal hit (I’m not getting into that quibble), so did Kesler.  By my math you guys came out on top.  So relax, and remember to breathe deeply.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 04:35 PM ET


Kesler got 2 for a hell of a lot less roughing.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 01:07 PM ET

I’ll give you that one.  It wasnt so much the roughing that led to Kessler getting the two minutes, as the fact that the refs had to stop play because he running around all over the ice trying to find anyone who would fight him.  So, he probably should have gotten a misconduct instead.

stop complaining.  he didnt get hurt, and admitted it was a clean hit after the game,  And, the refs gave the Canucks a goal that should have been waived off 15 seconds later.  Hard to feel sorry for Kessler and Canucks fans after this one.

Posted by jwad on 12/22/11 at 04:43 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Hard to feel sorry for Kessler and Canucks fans after this one.

Posted by jwad on 12/22/11 at 01:43 PM ET

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 04:46 PM ET


What, I have to rant calmly?  It’s the internet.  I’m not complaining.  I’m calling you guys out for defending Kronwall….I’m just shocked that there’s any debate.  After reading one of the other threads, I see that a lot of you aren’t defending him.
I’ll agree with jwad….it all came out even enough.  Had they just gone and called that ridiculous goon shxt by Kronwall, the game wouldn’t have gotten nearly so dirty.  But compared to a lot of games, it was no big deal.  I’ve read a lot of bitter whining this morning by Wings fans, so I’ll assume you’re also gonna reprimand them and tell them to take a deep breath.  Half of the posts on this site are Wings fans whining about calls….

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 04:52 PM ET


I wouldnt say it came out even…

And i would be ok with Kronwall getting a minor for charging on that hit.  But i dont think its a “goon shot” or in anyway justifies the attempted retaliation by Kessler and the rest of the canucks who spent a good part of the remainder of the game trying to run people.

I definitely do not think that hit should be suspendable though.  I dont think the only consideration to the charging rule is weather the players skates leave the ice.  I read it more to be about violently launching yourself into another player, or trying to smash them through the boards or the net.  Kronwall did come off his feet, but he was clearly trying to avoid making any contact with his shoulders or elbows.  The hit was violent cause it was two players at high speed, not cause he launched himself into Kessler.

Posted by jwad on 12/22/11 at 05:01 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 01:52 PM ET

I’m not trying to give offense tuxedo, so take what I am saying here slowly if you will:

1.) This is a Wing’s fan blog, not saying you aren’t invited, but don’t act shocked when you find fans here who aren’t happy about losing.

2.) I’m only telling to you to chill because your thoughts would be more coherent if you did, and it would be easier for myself and others to have a real discussion with you about the game.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/22/11 at 05:03 PM ET


The provision against jumping is no small part of the charging rule.  It allows someone to multiply their force massively.  If you watch junior you see how little guys can destroy people by leaping.  It means there is no check on your momentum and you basically land on the guy.  It is reckless.  I agree that it is only borderline suspendable, but my beef is that the refs don’t seem to have a book on Kronwall.  We’ve all seen this so many times that you really would think they’d be on top of it.  Vancouver’s reaction may have been disproportionate, but after sucking up a bunch of non-calls and getting the only one on that play?  Yeah, it pissed them off.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 05:07 PM ET


All right.  Fair comment.  I’ll try to slow it down and turn the spite-knob down.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 12/22/11 at 05:09 PM ET

blammo's avatar

Great post George and your sense of civility is like a breath of fresh air.

Love the rivalry, hope we get a rematch in the spring.

Posted by blammo from Vancouver, BC on 12/22/11 at 05:37 PM ET


1) The debate will last forever as to the cleanliness of Kronwall’s hit on Kesler. From a neutral standpoint (i.e. the NHL Rule Book), Kronner left his feet, which is illegal. That being the case, there should have been a penalty.

2) Virtually everytime there is a massive hit nowadays, clean or dirty, there is some sort of roughing/drop the gloves retaliation from a) the player who is hit, or b) someone on his team. I do agree with Kesler that if you are going to be throwing BIG hits like that, you should (in some situations, this one included) stand up for yourself. A lot of fights start for a lot less..

3) The Hansen crash/Edler goal is almost guaranteed to be a bi-product of the lack of call on Kronwall and roughing penalty to Kesler. That being said, the fact Jimmy Howard didn’t get a penalty can only be justified by the same logic. That or the somewhat smaller push by Bert on Salo that lead to Bertuzzi’s goal on Lu. Kerry Fraser has said before that ref’s do try to even out the game when there have been missed calls or very light calls made.

4) I highly, HIGHLY doubt the knee-on-thigh incident would have happened had proper by-the-book officiating been employed during that entire scenario. I don’t approve of it at all (as a Vancouver fan), but again its a result of pissing off an intense hockey player. Remember: both Kesler and Datsyuk are both former Selke winners, however they approach the game from a vastly different stand point. Kesler plays a gritty north-american game, and he’s not the first north american player to be knocked around and then seemingly go looking for trouble - nor will he be the last.

5) Probably the biggest problem in analyzing this from a Detroit or Vancouver perspective is the grandiose different style of game these two teams play. Yes, they both are skilled puck moving teams, great on special teams, and have some wicked Swedish players. However, put the Sedins, Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg aside, and you have one team (Detroit) that doesn’t necessarily play a gritty hard-nosed game, as seen by the VERY low number of penalty minutes and fighting majors assesed to them. Vancouver on the other hand, while having skilled players throughout the lineup, has made a very clear point in recent years to not be afraid to get physical, play hard in the dirty areas and win tough puck battles by playing the body. In turn, they are penalized to a greater extent; they also have (I can’t remember exactly) about 20 or so more major penalties this season than Detroit.

6) I would have LOVED to see this game if it was Boston playing, not Vancouver, and have the same sequence of events happen with say, Lucic being hit, and not Kesler, and then seeing how fans, refs, and the entire hockey community would react to it. I believe “reputation” - justified or not - plays far to large a role in post-game analysis and in-game justification.

7) See you in the playoffs

Posted by Liam from Vancouver on 12/23/11 at 03:10 AM ET

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