The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/06/12 at 09:45 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings head into what is, by Michigan standards, an “early” road game against Phoenix tonight (8 PM EST, NBC Sports/TSN2/WXYT) with something of a self-manufactured goaltending controversy and a particularly lackluster defensive performance in a 5-4 shootout loss against Edmonton to recover from…
And the Wings will attempt to right their ship and go 4-for-5 on a road trip which technically started before the All-Star break against a team which is wrapping up a six-game home stand in exactly the same place they were when the Red Wings took Phoenix out via a 3-2 shootout decision to kick off said home stand: the Coyotes sit in 12th place but only 4 points out of the 8th place, having gone 2-2-and-1 over the past five games. They’ve traded wins and losses throughout the streak, but defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Saturday, and it’s there that we start thanks to an astute observation made by the AP’s recap of said game:
This was a game the Phoenix Coyotes needed to win. In 12th place in the Western Conference and struggling for a playoff spot, the Coyotes got two goals from Lauri Korpikoski and beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Saturday night.
With one of the worst home records in the league, Phoenix picked up only its 11th win at home this season—good for 26 points. Only Montreal and Columbus have fewer points at home. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for San Jose, while the Coyotes won for the second time in their last six games.
“San Jose is one of the top teams in the conference, and this is a quality win,” said Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle. “We harped for three days in practice of being a better and more consistent team and (against San Jose), we did a great job of execution.”
Down by two goals late, the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau scored with 32 seconds left, but the Coyotes’ Radim Vrbata scored at 19:59 to restore the two-goal edge. In the middle period, the Coyotes picked up three goals on six shots to take a one-goal lead into the final session.
Late in the second period, Martin Hanzal scored the winner. Taking a pass from Ray Whitney in the left circle, Hanzal drove the puck into the upper left corner of the net for his sixth of the season with 46 seconds left in the second, and that put Phoenix ahead for good. The goal was Hanzal’s first in nearly two months. During the stretch, he missed 12 games due to upper-body injury.
“I saw the goalie coming toward me, so I shot for the far side,” Hanzal said. “It’s a great feeling to score after missing so many games.”
Hanzal made his return from his “upper-body” injury with a strong game against Detroit a little over two weeks ago, and he and the Coyotes were already talking about tonight’s game while discussing their win with the Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio on Saturday evening...
The Coyotes scored three times in the second period, getting a 3-2 lead when the puck caromed off the stick of Sharks defenseman Brent Burns. Korpikoski’s second goal, at 8:03 of the third, marked the sixth two-goal game of his career. Shane Doan and Boyd Gordon assisted on both of Korpikoski’s scores, and Whitney also had two assists.
“I think we played a petty solid game,” Korpikoski said. “Even though we got scored on first, and we usually haven’t won a lot of games when we got scored on (first) ,and it was a big boost for us to get the late goal in the one period to get the lead and hang on to it.”
The win was big on a couple of fronts. The Coyotes bounced back from a frustrating defeat and did it against one of the league’s top teams. The task gets no easier Monday when they host the Detroit Red Wings, who lead the Western Conference.
“We’ve got to find ways to win every game and get points in every game,” Doan said. “Going forward, it’s a matter of us being in or out of it. This was a big win. We can’t worry about what’s happened before, and we’ve just to focus on the next one.”
And they continued on said tack while speaking to Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan:
“If I have to be the one conveying [urgency] to them, they don’t understand,” Tippett said. “Our guys have talked about where we are and the situation moving forward—where we have to be. With the leadership we have in that room, that urgency should be there already.”
It’d better be. The Coyotes have 31 games left to play and trailed Minnesota by five points for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff race entering Friday’s games. As previously noted, the top six teams in the West have opened a sizable gap on the rest of the pack, and No. 7 Los Angeles appears to be finding its groove. That could leave five or six teams vying for one spot—a lone chicken bone that will go to the hungriest dog.
“We’re probably going to need 42, 43 or 44 (more) points. We know the math,” defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. “When you look at the past years, we bounced from second (place) or third to 12th within a matter of games, but now a lot of those teams are battling for one or two spots, so it makes it more demanding. The good news is we play a lot of Western Conference games, so it’s not up to other teams losing. We have to help ourselves.”
Help came first in the form of substantial practice time this week. After a grueling road schedule that made rest more important than practice—and an All-Star break during which there was no practice time at all—the Coyotes had three straight days to work out the kinks before they host Pacific Division leader San Jose on Saturday.
“We touched a lot of areas of our game,” Tippett said. “There’s some structural stuff, some special-teams stuff. Coming out of the break, I think it was very good for our team. Now we have to turn that into results in the game.”
Tippett highlighted three things the Coyotes need down the stretch to secure a playoff bid: better special teams play (particularly the power play), good goaltending from Mike Smith and consistency in the competitive areas of the game (things like finishing checks and blocking shots). The Coyotes have done the latter well at times, not so well at other times.
“After the All-Star break is when everyone ramps it up,” [goaltender Mike] Smith said. “We’re still in the thick of things, but saying that, we can’t afford to give away points. We have to compete hard every night. We have to play every game like it’s a playoff game. It’s going to be a tough road, but I think we have the guys in here who can do it.”
Tippett told the Arizona Republic’s Gintonio that he’s working very hard to squeeze the best performances out of his players that he possibly can…
Besides the obvious long-range goals, the Coyotes also are focusing on little things that can go a long way as they continue to fight for a playoff berth.
“There’s certain things as we’ve gone along here we’ve tweaked, and there’s different sides of that,” coach Dave Tippett said. “You try to tweak players, get players to play better, and if you can find anything within the structure of your game that you can tweak it to make it better, you do that. It’s a never-ending battle for a coach right there. We have some players that I think can give us more, and some are players we wouldn’t ask for more if we didn’t know that there was more there. I’ve talked to a couple players this week that it’s not something that we wouldn’t ask for if they hadn’t done it in the past. There’s more to their game than they’re showing us right now.”
And the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan noted that the Coyotes have received balanced scoring during their playoff push, just as the Wings have from the Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Danny Cleary line of late (and it’d be nice to see the Wings’ top two lines step up a little more consistently):
The top tier of contributors has delivered as expected. Forwards Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan are all on pace to eclipse the 20-goal mark, giving the Coyotes three 20-goal scorers for the first time in four years. But what’s more encouraging is the emergence of the supporting cast, which had an influential part in Saturday’s 5-3 win against the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena.
“When you see that happen with our team, we usually have a good chance of winning,” coach Dave Tippett said.
Winger Lauri Korpikoski was the star of the night, turning in a two-goal effort, while center Martin Hanzal registered his first after a nine-game drought and winger Raffi Torres notched his eighth of the season.
None of these players are on pace to match or exceed their career highs, but outbursts like the one they all had on Saturday is what the Coyotes need. Offensive explosions have been few and far between this season, but timely scoring is the ticket to sealing a playoff berth.
“The difference is gonna be the third and fourth lines every now and then getting on the score sheet,” Korpikoski said.
The Arizona Republic’s Gintonio focused a little more narrowly upon tonight’s game by talking with goaltender Mike Smith about tonight’s match-up…
“We can’t worry about the Sharks now,” Smith said. “We’ve got Detroit coming up now, and we’ve got another battle ahead of us, so it’s going to be important just to take one game at a time and not look too far ahead and just compete like we did (Saturday).”
Smith likely will surpass his career total in games played (42) this week, and he enters Monday’s game with 19 wins, a .920 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.50.
“He’s been so good for us,” said Shane Doan, who along with Boyd Gordon and Ray Whitney had two assists against the Sharks. “He was huge for us, and we’re excited about him getting the win.”
Defenseman Keith Yandle hopes the effort from the Sharks game has a carryover effect for the stretch drive.
“It was a good game all-around for us,” he said. “We did a good job of getting a lead and fighting back from when we had to tie it up, and then we had to fight to get a lead and keep fighting. We did a good job of holding them off at the end, and it was a good win. It feels good.”
Before previewing tonight’s game by noting that the Coyotes and Wings have played incredibly tight games this year:
Red Wings update: Detroit leads the Western Conference with 72 points. The Red Wings, who won two of three previous meetings in shootouts, can sweep the four-game season series with a win.
The Coyotes talked about “sending a message” via a rarely nationally-televised game with Coyotes.com’s Bob Heethuis…
And the AP’s game preview offers a few more statistical tidbits to the mix…
The Red Wings, 9-1-1 in their last 11, will try to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time since Dec. 21-22 by adding to their recent dominance of the Coyotes (23-21-8). Detroit has won seven in a row over Phoenix, beginning with a sweep in last year’s Western Conference quarterfinals. The Red Wings have prevailed in shootouts during the past two games against Phoenix, including a 3-2 win Jan. 19 that was also opened a season-high six-game homestand for the Coyotes.
After dropping the first two contests, they’ve prevailed in two of the last three, with Lauri Korpikoski’s two-goal effort paving the way for a 5-3 win over Pacific Division-leading San Jose on Saturday.
The victory helped Phoenix improve on its lackluster 11-10-4 home record, but the Coyotes might have some trouble in their attempt to win back-to-back games at Jobing.com Arena for the third time this season.
Including the past two postseason matchups, Phoenix is 5-17-6 over its last 28 home games against Detroit. The Coyotes, though, haven’t made it easy over the last three regular-season meetings - pushing each beyond regulation. The Red Wings have a little more experience with that lately, having played past 60 minutes in seven of their last 11.
Detroit might look to journeyman goaltender Joey MacDonald to help win the next contest. MacDonald, called up from AHL Grand Rapids on Friday to replace injured All-Star Jimmy Howard (broken finger), stopped 22 of 23 shots after Ty Conklin was pulled Saturday. MacDonald has never faced the Coyotes, while Conklin is 1-3-0 with a 3.27 goals-against average in four lifetime matchups. Phoenix starter Mike Smith has a 3.30 GAA in the three matchups against Detroit this season, while backup Jason LaBarbera is 1-3-2 with a 3.73 GAA in eight all-time meetings.
Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk had a team-best six points during last year’s playoff sweep and has totaled five assists in the three games this season. His 54 career points versus the Coyotes are his most against a non-Central Division opponent, and he’s helped the Red Wings win 18 of the past 23 regular-season matchups.
And we’ll allow NHL.com’s David Kalan provide a more balanced preview to shift our perspectives from those of the Coyotes’ players to those of the Wings’ locker room:
Red Wings [team scope]: Jimmy Howard’s 32 wins are the most in the NHL, his 2.03 goals-against average is sixth in the League and his five shutouts are the third most of any goaltender this season. Few have been better than Howard in 2011-12, and that means the Red Wings could be in for a big test after Howard broke a finger during Thursday’s 4-3 shootout win in Vancouver. While initial speculation says he could be out for two weeks or more, Detroit has only said he would miss two games before being re-evaluated Tuesday.
To this point, Joey MacDonald tried to fill the role in the first game Howard missed Saturday in Edmonton, but gave up a game-tying score with 39 seconds left before ultimately losing in a shootout 5-4. That loss, of course, isn’t the end of the world for Detroit, which has 72 points and currently leads both the competitive Central Division and the entire Western Conference. Still, Howard’s injury will loom large, as the Wings try to hold off Vancouver at the top of the West and its divisional rivals.
Coyotes [team scope]: Phoenix has made a habit in recent seasons of making surprising runs at a postseason berth, but the magic could be running out. The Coyotes are 12th in the West, which only puts them four points behind eighth-place Minnesota, but climbing into that eighth spot would also require hopping over Calgary, Colorado and a Dallas team that has a game in hand on the ‘Yotes.
For any reason as to why those hopes might be sliding away look no further than the last two months of the schedule in which Phoenix has struggled tremendously. The Coyotes have won just 5 of their last 18 games, delivering a huge blow to their playoff hopes. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Phoenix will face Dallas and Calgary later this week in what are shaping up to be enormous games, and a victory over the conference-leading Wings Monday night would be a nice way to start turning the tide around.
Who’s Hot: Ray Whitney isn’t looking anything close to his age lately. The 39-year-old has two goals and four assists in his last four games. ... Danny Cleary has a goal and four assists in the last four games for Detroit.
Injury Report: The Coyotes have lost defenseman David Schlemko for the season with foot surgery, but are otherwise healthy. Aside from Howard’s sizeable absence, the Wings are healthy with the exception of Patrick Eaves, who has been on IR following jaw surgery since late November.
Stat Pack: Howard’s injury does spell trouble, but if there is any good news for the Wings as they look to stay afloat in his absence, it’s that 10 of their next 12 games after Monday’s visit to the Valley will be at Joe Louis Arena, a building Detroit has gone a remarkable 20-2-1 in this season.
It’s actually 18 out of their last 28 at home for the Wings, so tonight’s game really does represent “hump day” to some extent.
Regarding the Jimmy Howard-sized hole in the Red Wings’ crease, I happen to believe that Ty Conklin was somewhat callously thrown under Red Bird II by Wings coach Mike Babcock after Saturday’s game, but I think that Babcock’s comments were particularly carefully-worded and incredibly precisely-calculated, too. Babcock’s public praise for his goaltenders is always fleeting unless they’re producing wins on a Howard-consistent basis (something tells me that he’s not quite as hard on his goaltenders, nor as unfamiliar with the intricacies of the position or its players’ psychologies as he lets on), but the business of evaluating one’s goaltending ahead of the trade deadline on the 27th is a cutthroat business, and we all know the bottom line:
With Howard out for at least a few more days (he will be reevaluated in Detroit on Tuesday, and as soon as he can tolerate the pain of gripping a stick and dealing with the impacts/vibrations of shots hitting his stick, he’ll be back, but pain tolerance is a funny thing) and probably somewhere closer to at least the end of the week, the Wings need to know whether the inconsistent but solid Conklin can do the job when his workload includes more regular playing time, and if he can’t do the job, the team will turn to Joey MacDonald before Ken Holland even dares to think of adding a goaltender at the trade deadline given the silly asking prices.
As Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggested, while the standings might be particularly tight this year, yielding fewer buyers and sellers until closer to the 27th, teams are usually willing to make moves by now, and it’s being widely reported, by very reputable sources, that this year’s must-have acquisition in Carolina Hurricanes winger Tuomo Ruutu (a big top-six forward) includes a 1st-round draft pick and probably a top prospect or roster player, which is downright insane, so I’m guessing that the asking prices for any goaltender who’s not similar to Conklin in terms of his credentials and performance is particularly high.
Given that the Wings would prefer to shore up size, strength and nastiness up front and/or on defense, having to divert their attention and assets to goaltending changes their allocation of assets drastically, and as such, Babcock told the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James that anyone can win the back-up’s spot over the next week or so—and the Wings play every other day between now and Valentine’s Day, get a two-day break, and then play every other day from the 17th till the 25th, so there are 10 games between now and the trade deadline for this situation to sort itself out:
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “Someone’s got to win games. We’ve got to win games.”
The Wings could pursue the Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov—they signed him last year at this time only to lose him on entry waivers—but the price could be off-putting, given that it’s a seller’s market.
The Wings left Edmonton with a point after a 5-4 shoot-out loss, earned on the strength of two goals from Todd Bertuzzi and one each from Drew Miller and Valtteri Filppula. What could have been had MacDonald started is debatable; what did happen was two goals allowed in the first 6 minutes and one in the last second of the first period. Conklin was pulled after allowing the three goals on nine shots in 20 minutes.
“I didn’t think we were bad to start the game—just, what do you do?” Babcock said. “When it goes in your net it takes energy out of you, and you’ve got to crank your way back. It took us a while to get it back.”
Assessing Conklin’s performance, Babcock was blunt: “It wasn’t good enough. It’s an opportunity for him, and you want him to grab it. We need him to get confidence for himself and then for the guys. It wasn’t the way we wanted it to go. Tough break for him.”
The problem is it wasn’t an isolated event. Conklin is 3-5 after 11 games, with a 3.40 goals-against average and .878 save percentage. He has had three good showings: Oct. 8 at Colorado, when he delivered a shutout; Jan. 8 at Chicago, when he stopped 29 of 31 shots through overtime; and Jan. 17 at Dallas. He has been hampered by some lackluster performances by the team’s skaters—there wasn’t much effort early on in front of him Dec. 22 at Calgary, even less Jan. 10 at the Islanders—but overall he hasn’t instilled much confidence.
MacDonald, who missed significant time with a concussion earlier this year while playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the opportunity is his to seize, probably starting tonight, and he told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the goaltender whose contract shifts from a two-way NHL/AHL deal to an NHL-only contract next season understands that there’s no time like the present to finally establish himself as a full-time NHL’er and find a home he can move his family to (his wife and kids stayed in Nova Scotia this season):
“It is a good opportunity, looking forward to it all year, that’s why I signed here, to be on this team,” MacDonald said. “I didn’t sign to play in Grand Rapids, but in the meantime things are going pretty good down there, getting to play a lot and getting the game back where it should be.”
MacDonald, who turns 32 on Tuesday, is 11-11-3, with a 2.63 goals-against average and .913 save percentage, this season for the Griffins. He went 5-5-3, with a 2.58 GAA and .917 save percentage for the Red Wings last season, filling in for the injured Chris Osgood.
“Whenever you get an opportunity to play, especially on this team, you got to take advantage of it, whenever it is, (early) in the season or near the end of the year,” MacDonald said. “You want to give the team a chance to win every night.”
That is what he did Saturday, stopping 22-of-23 shots in two periods plus overtime, in relief of Conklin, who allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period. But Babcock said after the game he hadn’t decided who would start Monday in Phoenix, when the team wraps up a four-game trip.
“I’m not concerned about (MacDonald) at all, I’m not concerned about Conks either,” Babcock said. “We’ll get it worked out.”
That’s the plan, and Conklin knows it, too, as he told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“I felt good; I didn’t perform obviously,” Conklin said. “Certainly it’s disappointing. I wanted to play well. You always want to play well and I didn’t.”
Who noted that the Wings wouldn’t have to have tapped overtime or shootouts to gain road wins over the past month-and-change if their power play hadn’t all but disappeared:
Despite possessing some of the most skilled offensive players in the league, the Wings are an astonishing 1-for-41 over their last 15 road games, including an 0-for-4 performance against the Oilers (which included a two-minute 5-on-3).
“It was bad,” said Babcock of Saturday’s power play. “It was slow, methodical, not dangerous. Not smooth. We have to fix it.”
Valterri Filppula scored the last Wings power-play goal on the road, Jan. 8 in Chicago.
“Collectively we have to do more (on the power play),” said Todd Bertuzzi , who scored two third-period goals during a Wings rally, and scored in the shootout. (It has to be) simpler, or more movement, or something, but those are opportunities we can’t waste.”
MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a report on the Wings’ power play issues as well, but MLive post-dated it until later this morning, and as I stirred myself from sleep at 4 AM to write this set-up, I’ll suggest that you might want to thank RedWingsFeed for the heads-up and access Khan’s column via this link—whenever it eventually hits the web (probably sometime after 8 AM EST), but the Free Press’ Helene St. James took note of the Wings’ special teams issues in terms of both the power play and penalty-killing units...
The Wings had a two-minute two-man advantage Saturday and didn’t even threaten. Babcock called the power play “slow, not dangerous, not smooth.” Bertuzzi said, “We’ve all collectively got to do more. ... Those are opportunities you can’t waste.” And Lidstrom said, “We’re not playing as well as we have to, with the guys we have on it.”
This has been a season-long lament, pitching to a wail over the past 22 games as the Wings have gone 6-for-65. Meanwhile, the penalty kill has allowed goals in 13 straight games.
“Our power play, for the skill level we have on the team, isn’t good enough,” Babcock said. “We’ve got to do a better job, bear down. Same with penalty kill.”
And she duly noted that while Todd Bertuzzi has played nothing less than spectacularly while dealing with the kinds of “nicks” we tend to forget the vast majority of NHL’ers play through. He scored his 300th and 301st goals on Saturday, and he’s a big reason why the Wings have gone 6-and-1 in shootouts—as well as a “big reason” why the Wings feel a little less worried about both Johan Franzen’s streaky scoring (Franzen may have been the Wings’ best forward not named Filppula or Helm in terms of skating on Saturday, and he’s doing a lovely job in terms of coming back defensively to help clear pucks, ensuring that the Wings don’t commit turnovers through center ice or as they gain the offensive blueline by dumping and chasing while necessary, and he’s dazzled while cycling down low with Bertuzzi, Datsyuk and, on Saturday, Zetterberg, but he’s simply not shooting the puck right now) or the team’s lack of size up front, period, going toward said that aforementioned trade deadline:
“He’s big and strong and he can skate,” coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s what I like about Bert.”
Bertuzzi scored on a rebound from the front of the net early in the third period to pull the Wings within a goal. He gave them a lead when he passed the puck through Andy Sutton’s legs and fired top shelf.
“He’s going to the hard areas,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “He’s going to the net. He’s going to there to get those goals.”
Bertuzzi got a bit of a charley horse in Thursday’s game, and playing on the road 21 of 31 games since the start of December takes a toll on a big man’s back. Following Saturday’s game—the Wings took Sunday off—Bertuzzi said he felt good but also that he couldn’t wait to get home.
“It’s been a long month and a half,” he said. “Travel is taking its wear and tear.”
For the Wings as a team, too, so they need to wrap up their road trip and a very road-heavy schedule against a team that’s going to want to let the Wings know that any Wings-Coyotes, Round 3 playoff series will be a handful, and will want to “send a message” regarding their playoff viability to an international audience tonight.
As the NHL only engages in three games tonight, their media website has posted tonight’s referee’s assignments early: Greg Kimmerly and Kevin Pollock will referee tonight’s game, and Mark Shewchyk and Tony Sericolo will work the lines.
Part II: Also of Red Wings-related note: The Wings didn’t practice on Sunday and I integrated the notebooks into the game preview, so here’s a sampling of the rest of what’s out there:
• The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples reassessed Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Ales Hemsky on a frame-by-frame basis and deemed it as clean as the Oilers did on Sunday, and, via RedWingsFeed again, NHL Archive on YouTube posted four minutes’ worth of alternate-angle views of the hit, but as I said in the Kronwall hit thread, no amount of video will change fans’ subjective points of view regarding a controversial player’s conduct.
That’s not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just the way I’ve learned to perceive the heated comments regarding the kinds of hits that Kronwall and anybody else who’s got a reputation deliver. After doing this for six years, you have to pick your spots, no pun intended, when you’re doing this for 14 or more hours a day, and this isn’t a battle that anybody will win.
• On the trade front, USA Today’s Kevin Allen offered his take on the situations facing the Wings’ most likely trading partners in Eastern Conference teams, and the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts confirmed the ugly asking price for Tuomo Ruutu:
Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu would fill the Wild’s need for a top-six forward. He’s also a close friend of Wild captain Mikko Koivu. But Canes GM Jim Rutherford’s asking price includes a first-round draft pick so it’s unlikely.
• And I can’t think if a better way to end this somewhat brief overnight report than by adding this lovely tidbit from the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis:
Yet another touching story from last week’s Saddledome salute to Brad McCrimmon. Lanny McDonald gets emotional talking about how Brad’s 14-year-old son, Liam, wore a watch that night with Brad’s name inscribed on it from the 1979 Memorial Cup. The watch hadn’t been seen for a few decades, as it had been stolen from the family home. The watch was only recently sent back to Brad’s father, Byron, with a note from a lady who says her son had been given the watch years ago and was now dead from a car accident. After seeing Brad had died in the Russian plane crash, she felt the family should have it back. Byron gave it to Liam at Christmas, and he wears it proudly — as he should.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.