Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Maple Leafs live blog: fantastic hockey on tap tonight, tomorrow

No Brendan Smith (suspension), no Pavel Datsyuk (back), no Danny Cleary (???), no Mike Commodore (knee) and a Joe Louis Arena whose crowd consists of die-hard Red Wings fans who are willing to miss a Tigers-Yankees games and a raucous band of Maple Leaf fans who appear like pot fiends during a rock concert, trading soccer chants and sometimes out-cheering the two thirds majority of Wings fans, and a back-to-back slate of games on Fox Sports Detroit (tonight at 7:30 PM) and then Hockey Night in Canada (tomorrow at 7)...

It all adds up to, as far as I’m concerned, anyway, one of the best rivalries in sports, sadly constrained to the pre-season because the NHL split two of the league’s most historic and bitter rivals, perhaps despite another empty promise of a reunion. These may be pre-season games, but the Wings and Leafs wage a war both on the ice and in the stands (expect a drunken brawl or three and arrogance galore from the blue and white-wearing crowd that believes its’ already won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1967) under an international media spotlight and amidst a plain old fantastic atmosphere as both teams pare down their rosters to prepare for the regular season in earnest

Live blog away. I’m still sidelined but hope to be back sooner than later. I miss doing my job, I miss you and I’m grateful for your continued support. I’ve just gotta get my head on crooked again, and watching the Wings battle the team that I despise most of all will hopefully aid in getting back to abnormal.

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Comments

EDJ's avatar

good to hear from you again, George. Feel better.

Posted by EDJ on 09/30/11 at 08:51 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Great to see you, George!

LGRW!!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/30/11 at 09:17 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

all my best , GJM

leafs / wings

cool

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 09:26 PM ET

Avatar

I miss you and TMR, too, George, and I’m keeping you in my prayers.  Be back soon, but not before you’re ready.

Posted by BobTheZee on 09/30/11 at 09:28 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar

Anyone know of a site that is streaming the game?

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 09/30/11 at 09:33 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar

Oh I forgot…Hellloooo George!

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 09/30/11 at 09:34 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

bumstreet looks like he wants to make the team, eh?

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 09:41 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

JIMMAH

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 09:46 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

awesome mask, James.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 09:52 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

FSD?

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 10:00 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

how many *#$%@& times is howard going to let in the same bullshit short side shot before somebody tells him what the hell he’s doing wrong?

Posted by Hootinani on 09/30/11 at 10:00 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar

Even though I have FSD it is blacked out in Nebraska.  Here is the stream I got from WIIM in case anyone needs it.

http://www.veemi.com/watch?v=reimersucks

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 09/30/11 at 10:05 PM ET

Avatar

Jimmy

Your lack of x-ray vision to see through players is a concern. Please try to hang around toxic waste dumps in order to gain this mutation.

Jim bedard

Posted by Moocat on 09/30/11 at 10:08 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings look just a LITTLE bit slow and off tonight. The Leafs are obviously energized and sans Datsyuk, Cleary, Commodore and the forechecking presence of Mursak, the Wings aren’t matching the pace of play the Leafs are bringing to the table in a pseudo-home-while-away game.

It’s detail s*** that’s killing the Wings, too. Their attack isn’t sharp and Stuart nearly backed into Howard on Toronto’s goal.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/30/11 at 10:13 PM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

One of the sloppiest 1st periods I’ve ever seen. Attrocious PP.

Posted by The Hurricane on 09/30/11 at 10:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Also:

1. Jimmy’s back to his Vaughn “iceberg” pads, save his catch glove. He didn’t do so well with the flat-faced Visions.

2. I like the Ferraro-Andersson combination.

3. Somebody please get Ian White a pair of gloves he can use…the one Bauer, one Easton thing is tacky.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/30/11 at 10:16 PM ET

Avatar

So was I alone in seeing Bert get picked off his man on the goal? It was as blatant as interference as you’ll ever see. Zebras in midseason form.

Posted by Moocat on 09/30/11 at 10:17 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

OT

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 11:53 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

ugh

g’nite

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/30/11 at 11:59 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings were dynamic offensively after a slow start, but, as is par for the pre-season (and eerily reminiscent of last season), Howard wasn’t fantastic, the power play was horrific and the Wings stood around too much in the defensive zone, giving up four goals in the process.

And that means that those whiny-baby Ample Fleas fans are coming out of the Joe acting like they won the Stanley Cup—and the Leafs’ media brigade will suggest the same, as will the CBC when it airs tomorrow night’s game.  BLEH.

The Wings need to sharpen their defensive game and get their PP in order.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/01/11 at 12:09 AM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

George - fabulous to see you around.  I can’t wait til you feel well enough to give us some TMI at TMR.  I miss those giant wall-o-text posts, but I am happy enough to wait until you’re all crooked again.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 10/01/11 at 12:11 AM ET

Avatar

yes, that’s what we need, analysis of a guy’s glove choices.

Posted by jkm2011 on 10/01/11 at 01:55 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

yes, that’s what we need, analysis of a guy’s glove choices.

Posted by jkm2011 on 09/30/11 at 11:55 PM ET

Everybody hates you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/01/11 at 02:09 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Obviously wink Easton decked him out with new mitts tonight. Can’t go against the Leafs and have all those pictures taken of you with one Bauer glove and one Easton glove if you’re an Easton contract guy, because Bauer seems to be snapping up EVERYbody.

I’m sorry. This was the “break the seal” post, so it’s not exactly art. :/

Helm’s only rolled along at 80%—it’s as if he’s holding back for the regular season—and every time Emmerton really starts to impress, Chris Conner reminds us that he’s going to push real hard for a call-up. I haven’t seen much in the way of impressiveness from Ryan Johnson, which really surprised me, and even with the top four defensemen in the lineup, the Wings were missing pop on the third pair without Ericsson and Kindl (and Commodore, who’s been pretty darn good).

I think that at this point, it’s pretty obvious that Brunnstrom and Emmerton will make the team on an as-earned basis, Bertuzzi’s gonna be rejuvenated by playing with Abby and Helm and the Kronwall-Stuart reunion will help cut down on Stuart’s occasional attempts to play outside his skill set, but to me, the team’s success still depends on whether Bert can grind it out physically, whether Filppula and Franzen can reestablish themselves (I love Filppula on the wing—when he’s playing center, he’s too focused on his defensive responsibilities) as scorers, the obvious, “Can Ericsson, Kindl and Commodore pull up the slack, or will the Wings’ puck-moving defense suffer from Rafalski’s departure to the point that the Wings go after one more top-three guy at the trade deadline?” question and…

How the fourth line shakes out. I’m very intrigued by the competition between Miller, Eaves, Emmerton and Brunnstrom for three spots in the lineup, and if Eaves and Brunnstrom can add some offensive pop while forechecking hard, Cleary and Homer can stay healthy as a result and maybe Jiri Hudler can salvage some sort of semblance of his game out of the Detroit River (and Howard can continue to work on his rebound control—Conklin’s been great as usual—as his teammates play better defensively and get that PP going under Peters and Blashill)...

Then all we’re worrying about is health, the classic question as to whether the Wings need one more big body on the wing come playoff time and again, whether Ericsson shedding his error-prone ways and Kindl and Commodore steadying things can help fill Rafalski’s void by committee. I really think that at the trade deadline, especially if we see Smith (who’s clearly not ready for prime time positionally speaking), Janik or Exelby on a regular basis, the Wings may have to import a top-four defenseman, and whether they need that one big winger is ultimately going to be determined by whether Mursak can come back and play like the Eaves-Helm hybrid he’s become.

Is that more bang for your buck? wink

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/01/11 at 02:12 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Also: Yes, Gustav Nyquist is that good, and again, I really loved the Ferraro-Andersson combination. When Andersson comes back to help out the defense, I’ll occasionally cramp up and wonder when Ericsson finally straightened himself out, and Ferraro’s obviously both fast and feisty.

In a couple of years when Nyquist has filled out, I’m picturing #14 and Tatar going to town down low, scoring back-door goals left and right off turnovers and hard-charging forechecking plays. The Wings aren’t going to be able to replace Homer’s ability to go to the front of the net and stay there unless they really do take a Callahan or Aubry aside and tell them to emulate Holmstrom’s every move, but in terms of spit and vinegar and fearlessness in the face of ornery defensemen while going to the net and hacking and whacking at rebounds, Nyquist and Tatar will at least help fill the void.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/01/11 at 02:29 AM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

George is BACK. In a few short posts you have entirely encapsulated ALL of the energy and strategem in Uncle Mike’s mind. You have pieced together EVERY fragmented thought that has run through my mind since the beginning of training camp.

Thank you….THANK you….THANK YOU.

And I had no clue about the gloves/pads until you pointed that out….even after seeing them live. A simple gem missed by some, but curious to all.
It matters to me, and your observations make a HUGE difference in my enjoyment of this sport….for that you continue to have my respect and gratitude.

LGRW!

Posted by The Hurricane on 10/01/11 at 04:21 AM ET

Sal's avatar

Looking like the problems that plagued the boys last year remain for this.  Putting pucks in the opponents net doesn’t seem to be a problem.  Keeping them out of their own, however, will be their downfall if they don’t get the defense sorted.  Somewhat better goaltending wouldn’t hurt either, Jimmy.  He has not impressed this pre-season at all.  When is that baby due?  Late October?  Maybe he’ll get his head straight after the kid is born.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 10/01/11 at 10:18 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Good morning, George!  I agree with “The Hurricane” - what a great summary of the State of the Wings. 

Yes, Jimmah needs to get it together - soon.  Geez, I watched 42 year old Roloson get a shut out against the Habs the other night…

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 10/01/11 at 10:48 AM ET

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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.