Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Penguins wrap-up and overnight report: earned bounces, Viagra and M1 goes bye-bye

The difference between, “Yeah, but…” and, “Yes, because…” The Detroit Red Wings’ 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins involved perhaps the first appearance of road-worthy grit from the Red Wings as well as a few fortunate bounces—in the form of two goalposts hit by Evgeni Malkin, a diving save by Jimmy Howard anda gloved-down keep-in by Pavel Datsyuk which swiftly found its way into the back of the Penguins’ net—which one might argue either allowed the Wings to come away with an incredibly lucky or well-earned win.

Most certainly, one cannot deny that the Penguins were banged-up, missing Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang Richard Park and Zbynek Michalek, but given that the injury bug was the Wings’ steady dance partner for the better part of the last two seasons, and given that Evgeni Malkin (who had nine shots in addition to his goalpost) and Jordan Staal’s game-time decisions involved playing, Wings fans might find themselves absent of sympathy for the Penguins not playing at full strength.

As for the Malkin-Datsyuk battle, Malkin’s dominant individual performance, goal and two goalposts included, was offset by Datsyuk’s beautiful backhand goal, his keep-in which led to Johan Franzen’s goal, statistically speaking, 3 shots, 6 shot attempts, a hit, 2 takeaways and a 12-and-11 mark in the faceoff circle, and, intangibly speaking, the kind of stellar two-way game and work ethic which set the tone for his teammates. The fact that his passing abilities and playmaking sense allow him to “play well with others” earns him the edge in my department, but I’m a Wings fan, so I’m biased.

The Wings’ other seventeen skaters kicked off a hideous stretch of 10(!) of the next 13 games to be played away from Joe Louis Arena with a game whose sandpaper-grittiness, relentlessness, sometimes downright nastiness and playoff-intense, 60-minute effort might very well serve as a blueprint for the grind to come.

There’s no doubt, however, that the game did hinge upon Malkin and Datsyuk’s brilliant plays, some stellar saves by Jimmy Howard and what the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe suggests were merely “bad breaks” that happened to go against the Penguins:

Two Russian superstars put on a show Monday at Consol Energy Center. One received an exceptional break, while the other endured total frustration. Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk scored a goal and made a miraculous setup of another, while Penguins center Evgeni Malkin came tantalizingly close to a big night in Detroit’s 4-1 win.

“Not good luck,” Malkin said.

Not at all. Malkin scored with 4.5 seconds left in the first period to give the Penguins a lead, but he could have had three or four goals against Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. In the second period, Malkin’s shot trickled through Howard and struck the inside of the post. Malkin then lunged toward the net and slapped a shot toward the empty cage, only to see Howard make a dazzling stick save. Later in a contest that saw Malkin register nine shots — the second most he has produced in a game this season — Howard made spectacular saves on a rush down the right wing and on a slap shot taken from the center point. For good measure, Malkin hit the post again in the third period.
...
Datsyuk must be feeling pretty good about himself. The star center played a terrific game, including his goal on a backhand shot that evened the game late in the second period.

“He is amazing to watch,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom play. “Just watch him play away from the play, his puck retrieval. He never stops.”

When Datsyuk wasn’t beating the Penguins with his skill, he was doing so with a touch of luck. The Penguins were killing defenseman Matt Niskanen’s penalty in the third period when left wing Matt Cooke attempted to clear the puck. Datsyuk stopped the puck with the shaft of his stick, even though that wasn’t his intention.

“It was by accident,” Datsyuk said. “I didn’t really do anything.”

Nothing except drop the puck to the blade of his stick and find Johan Franzen open for a hard pass which Franzen corralled and fired high over Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulder, while Fleury just happened to be screened by one Tomas Holmstrom. That goal was the winner, and if you want a “just the facts” recap, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson offers one:

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead with 4.5 seconds left in the first period. Evgeni Malkin raced down the right side on a two-on-one with Chris Kunitz, and Detroit’s Brad Stuart defending. From the right dot, Malkin whipped a low shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard on the far side. Brooks Orpik started the play by blocking a Red Wings shot. James Neal got the puck and sent Malkin on his way.

Malkin had been listed as a game-time decision after missing the morning skate for an undisclosed reason.

The Red Wings tied it, 1-1, at 16:01 of the second period when Pavel Datsyuk rifled a backhand shot from the slot past the right pad of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Johan Franzen’s power-play goal from the left circle gave Detroit a 2-1 lead at 5:15 of the third period. Datsyuk got the puck to Franzen after he intercepted Matt Cooke’s clearing attempt.

Detroit pushed its lead to 3-1 at 15:36 of the third period when Dan Cleary scored off of a centering pass from former Penguin Chris Conner during a three-on-two rush. Cleary added an empty-net goal with 5.9 seconds left in regulation.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari agrees with Yohe’s assessment, suggesting that the Wings, well…

The Red Wings might not be terribly spectacular much of the time, but they are exceptionally efficient and opportunistic. And all of that sound, methodical work is wrapped around an occasional spasm of individual brilliance.

These relatively ordinary Wings did manage to knock the wind out of the Penguins’ sails…

Datsyuk’s goal not only tied the score, but short-circuited the momentum the Penguins had been carrying to that point.

“We felt pretty good about our game until maybe they got their first goal,” Niskanen said.

Despite a dominant performance from Malkin, and let’s just say that Molinari viewed their head-to-head battle as a Maklin > Datsyuk equation:

Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins did not participate in the morning skate—his explanation was that “they just gave me a rest”—and based on the way he performed a few hours later, the coaching staff might want to make a habit of keeping him away from the ice on game days. He played 23 minutes, 27 seconds, scored the Penguins’ only goal, had at least two shots that hit goalposts after eluding Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and accounted for nine of the Penguins’ 26 shots on goal. Malkin was typically awful on faceoffs, losing 16 of 20, but that detracted only slightly from his overall performances.

“Every single time he touched the puck, it seemed like something was happening,” Howard said. “He’s a great player. There’s no way around it. He makes things happen when he’s out there.”

The teams’ respective coaches saw the game thusly (see: the Wings’ terrible road power play went 1-for-2 in all of 2:16 of power play time, and the Penguins were held off the board over the course of 4 power plays and 7:52 of PP time):

“They get [that Datsyuk] goal to draw even,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “The story line after that is they get a power-play goal and we do not.”

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said his penalty-killers “did a good job in the faceoff circle and shooting lanes, and standing at their blue line and getting pucks out.”

Bylsma continued while speaking to PittsburghPenguins.com’s Sam Kasan, who embedded what we’ll call “interestingly narrated” highlights from Root Sports Root Sports in his “Endgame”...

“We talk about that amongst our team all year long, it’s always going to come down to one play,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “It’s always going to be one play, and how we execute and how we play. The details are extremely important to being able to play in that context. The next play, the wall play, getting the detail in our game is important. It essentially comes down to one or two details one way. When you have two good teams in a hockey game it’s going to be that tight. Every detail and every play’s important.”

As Kasan wisely suggests, the game played out like something you’d see in April, an incredibly tightly-contested tilt in which attention to detail, plenty of hard hits and grit from both sides and those game-changing “bounces”...

“Both teams tonight I think didn’t make many mistakes,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “The game was pretty sound. Position-wise, both teams took care of the puck.”

“I thought a lot of what we saw was good hockey on both sides,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “There wasn’t a lot out there for chances to score goals.”

And for Malkin, perhaps some unlucky shots that squeaked by Jimmy Howard but didn’t hit the back of the net:

It’s nothing new for the goal post to steal a goal from a player. But Malkin was robbed not once, but twice by the red-colored metal.

“I had (nine) shots and a couple posts, but I tried,” Malkin said. “It’s bad luck. Two posts is very bad luck.”

One the first instance, Malkin ripped a shot from the far circle that squeezed through Howard and trickled through the crease and off the post. Malkin dove and swatted at the rebound, but Howard reached back with his goal stick to make the save. On the second instance, Malkin came streaking down the near side and whipped a shot low and blocker side (same shot as his goal). The puck once again eluded Howard, but this time it twanged off the post.

“I thought ‘Geno’ had a couple chances to score and give us a lead and put us back into the hockey game,” forward Steve Sullivan said. “That’ the way it is. Sometimes you get bounces, sometimes you don’t.

Howard didn’t deny the part luck played in his 25-save performance, as noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Seth Rorabaugh (who offers a pretty darn good game blog on Empty Netters) via Twitter

“I think I was fortunate tonight.” - Howard on Malkin hitting the post twice.
...
“Every single time he touched the puck, it seemed like something was happening. ” - Jimmy Howard on Evgeni Malkin

The Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari’s post-game bottom lines conclude our survey of the Pittsburgh press…

In a nutshell: The game was well-played by both teams, but there was a lot more technical efficiency than passion by all concerned. Evgeni Malkin gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead by scoring with 4.5 seconds left in the opening period, but a Pavel Datsyuk backhander at 16:01 of the second tied the game and seemed to shift the momentum to Detroit, which got third-period scores from Johan Franzen and Daniel Cleary (two).

Turning point: The Penguins had the game under control – as under control as a one-goal game against an elite opponent can be, anyway – until Datsyuk capped a sequence that began when teammate Todd Bertuzzi knocked Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen off the puck behind the Penguins’ goal line and sent it out to Datsyuk.

Under the radar: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin wasn’t selected as one of the game’s three stars, which was fairly remarkable considering that he not only recorded his team’s only goal, but hit two posts and finished with nine shots on goal, three more than anyone else on either team. He also chipped in a couple of hits and blocked a shot.

The brightest star:  Datsyuk was typically brilliant, proving yet again that he’s a big-time talent who can be a difference-maker anytime he goes over the boards. He scored one goal, set up another, had a couple of takeaways and went 12-11 on faceoffs.

NHL.com’s Alan Robinson offers takes on the game from both the Wings and Penguins, but Robinson also proffers a particular narrative which the average Wings fan may or may not agree with:

The Pittsburgh Penguins were missing some valuable star power; the Detroit Red Wings had theirs intact. In a game that seemed suited more for May than December for most of 60 minutes, that made all the difference during the decisive third period.
...
“They’re a good team even without Sid, they’re very deep and well-coached and they’re fun to play against, and tonight was a good one for our team,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after his team’s third consecutive victory. “I thought he (Datsyuk) was dominant down the stretch, and that’s what he tends to do in the bigger moments.”

That’s what stars do. Evgeni Malkin, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner when the Penguins outlasted the Red Wings in a seven-game Stanley Cup Final in 2009, gave Pittsburgh the initial lead with only five seconds remaining in the first period. But after Malkin came within an inch or two of making it 2-0 early in the second period, the Penguins couldn’t get to Howard again as the Red Wings goalie improved to an NHL-best 18-6-1. Howard allowed two goals or fewer for the ninth time in 11 games, a stretch in which he is 10-1-0. That’s what stars do.

“We talk about that amongst our team all year long—it’s always going to come down to one or two plays,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who often sees Crosby make such plays when he is healthy. “How we execute and the details are important, and it came down to one or two details the other way.”
...
Malkin nearly got another early in the second period, but his wrist shot from the right circle banked off Howard and struck the right post—but, ever so close to crossing the goal line, refused to go in. Malkin also hit a post early in the third.

“That changes the game a little bit, the complexion,” Bylsma said. “We had a few we didn’t capitalize on.”
...
“They were very patient and both teams didn’t make many mistakes,” Niskanen said. “We just couldn’t get a dirty goal to go in.”

Even the Associated Press’s recap, which is generally supposed to be objective, suggests that Datsyuk’s game-tying goal kicked off a chain of events which allowed the Wings to withstand the Penguins’ fury as opposed to outplay a depleted Pittsburgh team:

“It was a great momentum boost for us,” Howard said of Datsyuk’s ninth goal of the season. “They were sort of carrying the play there in the second period and it’s just a great shot by Pavel.”

One that gave the Red Wings the boost they needed to win in Pittsburgh for the first time in three seasons.

“Detroit is a good team, they played quick,” Malkin said. “We had a couple of mistakes. In the last 10 minutes, we played bad and we didn’t have a chance to win.”

Crosby missed his third straight game and 23rd overall with concussion-like symptoms. Pittsburgh defensemen Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek and Robert Bortuzzo are also out while dealing with similar issues. The Red Wings publicly lamented the chance to play Pittsburgh at full strength in the renewal of a heated rivalry that saw the teams split a pair of thrilling Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009. They weren’t complaining, however, after spending much of the night trying to keep Malkin in check. He gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with a breathless end-to-end rush to just before the end of the first period and nearly made it 2-0 early in the second when his shot clanged off the post and momentarily stopped on the goal line before being swept out of danger.

The Red Wings took advantage of the reprieve, with Datsyuk evening the game at 1 in the second period before Detroit poured it on the third, scoring three times in the game’s final 15 minutes. Johan Franzen scored his team-leading 14th goal to give Detroit the lead before Danny Cleary added a pair of late insurance scores as the Red Wings handed the Penguins their first regulation loss to a Western Conference team this season.

“It was a good road game for us,” Cleary said. “I thought we played OK in the first, not great in the second, good in the third.”

Cleary told the Free Press’s Helene St. James that the Wings did nothing less than shrug off Malkin’s goal as a bump in the road…

Cleary, on Malkin’s last-minute goal in the first: “The timing of the goal doesn’t really affect us in here that much. We just want to make sure we get the next one.”

Then Datsyuk and the Wings got back to work in the 2nd period, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan suggests:

“Good players find a way to get going, their pride is on the line and they’re competitive,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “(Datsyuk) is a workaholic. I’m not concerned about him. He was dominant down the stretch tonight. He really turned his game up and that’s what he tends to do in the bigger moments.”

After a ragged start, Datsyuk has found his scoring ways — he has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) his last 13 games. What’s been the difference?

“Not one thing, it’s been a lot of things,” Datsyuk said. “I want to be better every day. Little details. I’m shooting more, and forwards are going after rebounds and it creates space for me.”

Danny Cleary scored two goals in the third period, including an empty netter, to close out the Red Wings scoring. The Red Wings (19-9-1, 39 points) have won three consecutive games. The Penguins (17-10-4, 38 points) have lost three of four with injuries mounting, including one to star center Sidney Crosby (concussion).

“We dug in and played well for the last 30 minutes,” Babcock said. “They have a real good team, even without Sid. They’re real deep and well coached and it’s fun playing against them.”

The Wings absolutely raved about Datsyuk’s performance, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes:

Datsyuk and Malkin, both Russian, battled all night, for, as Datsyuk said: “No friends on the ice.”

Malkin was the first to find the back of the net with 4.5 seconds left in the first period. Datsyuk replied with 4 minutes to go in the second period. Todd Bertuzzi rattled Matt Niskanen along the end boards to free the puck, and Datsyuk spun a backhand behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Thanks to Bert, he gave me good pass, and lots of chance to think about what I do,” Datsyuk said.

It was a shot few goalies could have saved.

“Pavel is just so good,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “The way he rolls his wrists over, you can never tell. That’s one thing that’s so hard about the backhand for a goalie, because the forward can disguise the shot.”
...
“He’s one of the best in the world,” Howard said. “He does everything so well, whether it’s playing defensively, trying to be a shut-down guy. And then he also generates offense for us.”

But the Wings also grudgingly admitted that their penalty-killing unit finally got its act together…

“We came up with some big kills when we needed to,” Cleary said.

And perhaps the best sign the Wings received over the course of Tuesday’s win, road blueprint aside, involved Cleary finally shaking off the offensive doldrums. He scored an insurance goal on a 2-on-1 break with Chris Conner and added an empty-netter on a night where he led the Wings’ players with six shots, much to the delight of both his coach and his teammates, as St. James notes:

“I thought Clears was outstanding,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Six shots on goal tonight, two goals. Just did all things right.”
...
The Wings have counted on Cleary for points the past few seasons, but he had such a sluggish start this season that he lost his top-six forward spot and landed on the third line. He has found good chemistry with Darren Helm at center and either Chris Conner or Justin Abdelkader on the opposite wing, though, and has scored four goals in the past eight games.

“It’s not good to see—it’s awesome,” Pavel Datsyuk said. “I love it. If lots of lines score, it helps us. Danny score two, it’s awesome. Now, it’s a fun locker room.” (Datsyuk was asked next about the team’s defensive play, but he wasn’t done talking about Cleary, saying, “Sorry, I am little bit thinking about Danny Cleary still. Can you repeat question?”)
...
“I’m playing a lot of penalty kill, not playing on the power play, so for our line, it’s important to be good five-on-five, give energy, be good defensively,” Cleary said. “You can see as Conner’s gotten more comfortable in the lineup, he seems to be making more plays. He’s a talented little player, tenacious on the puck. He made a nice play there.”

Cleary also had a few things to say which the Wings’ staffers snagged via their Twitter account:

Cleary: It was a tight game. They don’t give up a lot. They play well defensively. We got the first goal to tie it and Pav made a great play
...
Cleary: I put a lot of pride in being a guy that can be counted on. It wasn’t a good start, but I feel like I’m getting better every game.

And Jimmy Howard added about a buck’s worth of two cents:

Howard: Team has been playing well in front of me. I don’t have to worry much about rebounds because the guys have been clearing them out.
...
Howard: We’re playing well. We’re keeping it simple and we’re in the right spots out there.
...
Howard: There’s so much talent in our dressing room, it was only a matter of time before the pucks started going in for our guys.

Babcock poured some very cold water on the theory that Jan Mursak is anywhere close to ready during his post-game presser (you can listen to it below in the multimedia section), and the Wings won’t have Patrick Eaves back for at least another six to eight weeks. For that matter, the team’s planning on allowing Fabian Brunnstrom at least a few weeks to find some confidence via regular playing time with the Griffins, but between Conner’s play, the fact that Cory Emmerton’s acquitted himself well, and given that Tomas Holmstrom might be a better grinder than three players who are slowly regaining their playoff form in Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm, well…

The Wings suddenly look pretty damn deep up front, and with Jakub Kindl all but forcing the Wings to sit the steady Mike Commodore and keep Brendan Smith in Grand Rapids, the Wings’ blueline looks very solid, too.

That being said, given the Wings’ schedule over the next two months—they more or less play every other night until the All-Star break—most of the above-mentioned players will get a chance to impress at some point, and I don’t think we have to worry about a goaltending controversy as Ty Conklin will receive ample opportunities to prove himself over the next two months.

Overall, the Wings played very, very well, and Datsyuk was at his post-game best in deferring credit, as MLive’s Ansar Khan notes...

“I wish I shoot it like forehand, but it’s a situation where I’m in the middle of ice, I want to use (backhand),” Datsyuk said. “Bert gave me good pass, give me a good chance. I had lots of time to think about what to do.”

Datsyuk then showed his tremendous hand-eye coordination by batting down Matt Cooke’s clearing attempt and setting up Franzen, who fired a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury on the power play at 5:15 of the third period, snapping the 1-1 tie.

“To get the first one was key, and Pav made a great play on the second one, Mule with the great shot,” Danny Cleary said. “It was a good road game for us.”

Cleary wrapped it up with a couple of goals after the Red Wings killed a pair of penalties on Jiri Hudler in the third. Cleary scored at 15:36, capping a three-on-two rush by driving the middle and converting a pass from former Penguin Chris Conner. Cleary also scored into an empty net with six seconds remaining.

“For first 10 minutes of the second period, I felt they competed harder than we did, won more battles, were taking the game a little bit,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We really dug in at that point and played well for the last 30 minutes. They got a really good team, even without Sid (Crosby, out with concussion-like symptoms) and a few of their guys (defensemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek also were out). They’re very deep and well-coached. It’s fun to play against them, and tonight was a good win for our team.”

The last word actually goes to an out-of-towner for once in Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien, because he summarizes why the Wings seem to remain under the radar despite rebounding from their six-game losing streak in fantastic fashion:

Those Detroit Red Wings aren’t very sympathetic are they? Instead of taking it easy on the injury-ravaged Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit dismissed them 4-1 after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

The Penguins lost two of three games in the latest Crosby-less run, but to be fair to Pittsburgh, those defeats came against two of the hottest teams in the NHL in Detroit and the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s one thing to tread water against weak and average teams, but let’s face it: the Red Wings had an excellent chance of beating Pittsburgh even if Crosby was in the lineup.

Detroit have outscored their opponents 16-4 in their current three-game winning streak and triumphed in nine of their last 12 games. So yeah, they remain ridiculously good.

Under normal circumstances, the lack of attention for such a run would lead me to say that people are “sleeping” on Detroit. Instead, I think it’s just a collective shoulder shrug from the hockey world. The Red Wings have been so dominant for so long that it’s only really remarkable when they aren’t pulverizing people.

When it comes to the Wings, predictable and boring is beautiful.

Multimedia:

Highlights: In the “individual highlight” category, Jimmy Howard’s seeing-eye glove save on Evgeni Malkin and slide-across save against Jordan Staal got lost in the shuffle of this particular save on Evgeni Malkin, which the Penguins’ announcers described with an, “It stayed out!”

And the Wings’ announcers saw things a little bit differently;

Danny Cleary’s conversion of a 2-on-1 pass, Pavel Datsyuk’s backhand goal and his stick shaft keep-in were pretty darn cool as well, but as NHL.com’s code eats up bandwidth and prevents me from being my wordy self, I’ll suggest that you take a gander at Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond narrating a four-and-a-half minute highlight clip instead:

 

Post-game: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ website posted interviews with Evgeni Malkin, Matt Niskanen and Steve Sullivan, as well as coach Dan Bylsma’s post-game presser;

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review posted a 2:53 post-game montage;

 

Something tells me that you’ll be more interested in the fact that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari shared the audio of Wings coach Mike Babcock’s thoughts about the game:

 

Download file

Fox Sports Detroit posted clips of Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond’s takes on the game…

 

<a href='http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/pages/video?UUID=1bf85f38-b49a-4fde-baf8-38f233d552a7&amp;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Recap: Wings beat Penguins 4-1'>Video: Recap: Wings beat Penguins 4-1</a>

Post-game comments from Danny Cleary, Jimmy Howard and Mike Babcock…

 

<a href='http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/pages/video?UUID=5ca69f7f-7e59-49fd-ae0c-95caf9464c35&amp;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Wings soar over Penguins 4-1'>Video: Wings soar over Penguins 4-1</a>

And as a bonus, here’s the interview in which Darren Helm talked about Herm:

 

<a href='http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/pages/video?UUID=336f201f-912b-4385-99fb-72673902042f&amp;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='1-on-1 with Helm'>Video: 1-on-1 with Helm</a>

Photos: The Detroit Free Press posted a 15-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted an 18-image gallery;

Fox Sports Detroit posted a 6-image gallery;

For the moment, anyway, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s photos are limited to a pair in their quote-less and quote-inclusive recaps;

Yahoo Sports posted a 24-image gallery, but the dozen Reuters images from the game are available via Daylife.com’s Wings gallery instead;

NHL.com posted a 39-image gallery and chose to use Evgeni Malkin’s goal on Jimmy Howard as their Frozen Moment of the

The Penguins’ website posted a 25-image gallery and embedded an image in its website’s recap;

The Red Wings’ website posted a 30-image gallery and embedded an image in its website’s recap.

Statistics:

Shots 26-25 Pittsburgh. The Wings out-shot the Penguins 8-6 in the 1st period, but were out-shot 12-5 in the 2nd period; they out-shot Pittsburgh 12-8 in the 3rd.

The Wings went 1 for 2 in 2:16 of PP time; the Penguins went 0 for 4 in 7:52 of PP time.

Howard stopped 24 of 25 shots; Fleury stopped 21 of 24 and the Wings scored into an empty net.

The 3 stars, per the Pens’ media corps, were Danny Cleary, Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk.

Not exactly fair given how great Maklin was (pardon the complement, sorry).

The Wings’ goals: Datsyuk (9) from Bertuzzi (8);

Franzen (14) from Datsyuk (21), power play;

Cleary (6) from Conner (2) and Helm (4);

Cleary (7) from Zetterberg (14) and Kronwall (7), empty net.

Faceoffs 27-25 Detroit (52% won by Detroit);

Blocked shots 20-12 Detroit;

Missed shots 12-11 Pittsburgh (total shot attempts 58-48 Pittsburgh);

Hits 20-19 Pittsburgh;

Giveaways 6-2 Pittsburgh;

Takeaways 7-1 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 12-and-11 (52%); Zetterberg went 8-and-5 (62%); Helm went 4-and-5 (44%); Miller won 2 faceoffs; Filppula went 1-and-1; Abdelkader lost both the faceoffs he took; Franzen lost the only faceoff he took.

Shots: Cleary led the Wings with 6 shots; Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Franzen had 3; Bertuzzi, Filppula and Holmstrom had 2; White, Miller, Zetterberg and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Kronwall fired 2 pucks into Penguins players; Kindl, Cleary, White, Miller, Filppula and Ericsson fired single shots into Penguins players.

Missed shots: White missed the net 3 times; Lidstrom and Datsyuk missed the net 2 times; Miller, Hudler, Conner and Filppula missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Franzen had 3 hits; Abdelkader, Stuart, Conner and Kronwall had 2; Cleary, Datsyuk, Miller, Hudler, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Filppula and Ericsson had 1.

Giveaways: White and Holmstrom had giveaways.

Takeaways: Both Datsyuk and Miller had 2 takeaways; Stuart, Conner and Bertuzzi had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: White and Kronwall blocked 4 Penguins shots; Lidstrom, Stuart and Ericsson blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Zetterberg, Conner, Helm, Bertuzzi and Franzen blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Hudler took 2 minor penalties; Lidstrom and Franzen took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: Cleary and Datsyuk finished at +2; Kindl, Stuart, Conner, Helm, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Kronwall finished at +1; Hudler and Filppula finished at -1; everybody else was even.

Points: Cleary scored 2 goals; Datsyuk scored a goal and added an assist; Franzen scored a goal; Zetterberg, Conner, Helm, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had assists.

Ice time: Lidstrom led the team with 23:56 played; White played 23:46; Stuart played 22:41;

Kronwall played 20:57; Zetterberg played 18:41; Filppula played 17:11;

Datsyuk played 16:59; Cleary played 16:33; Ericsson played 15:49;

Franzen played 15:19; Hudler played 14:56; Helm played 14:32;

Conner played 13:17; Bertuzzi played 13:12; Kindl played 12:26;

Miller played 11:05; Holmstrom played 10:35; Abdelkader played 10:05.


Part II: Red Wings notebooks: For the record, the Wings flew back to Detroit and will practice at the Joe before heading to Nashville on Wednesday night. They’ll return home after their game against Nashville, and as I’m guessing that they’re going to fly out West on Sunday, they seem to be trying to maximize their “home time” around the holidyas.

• Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson, you may or may not take offense at the fact that Chris Conner left the Penguins to join the Red Wings as he’s from Westland, MI…

Speedy winger Chris Conner had his best season in 2010-11 with the Penguins. He had seven goals, 16 points in 60 games, by far the most he has played in the NHL. Returning after his contract expired in July didn’t work out, but Conner found probably the next-best thing—this native of Livonia, Mich., near Detroit signed with the Red Wings.

“Growing up, I was definitely a Red Wings fan,” he said. “I used to go to games there once or twice a year with my dad. I was excited to have the opportunity to sign with them. They’re a great organization. I’m really happy with the situation I’m in right now.”

And Mike Babcock weighed in on the fact that the Penguins were banged-up as banged-up can be:

The Penguins had nine—Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek, Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo, Ben Lovejoy, Richard Park, Brian Strait and Jordan Staal. And that didn’t include center Evgeni Malkin, who missed the morning skate, although he and Staal were in the lineup. And it didn’t address Jason Williams, who was recalled Tuesday from the American Hockey League. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn’t taking any delight in what might have been tilted scales.

“I’d like Sid to be playing, Malkin, Staal—all the best players. Letang,” he said. “Those are really high-end players. [Marc-Andre] Fleury in net. They’ve got a real good team here. But what they’ve done, too, in my opinion, is [general manager] Ray Shero [has] done a good job. He adds more.”

Babcock said the Penguins acquisition of James Neal and Matt Niskanen in February is a prime example. “If you keep adding to your team, you have a chance to stay on top,” he said.

Which, Babcock figures, puts a team ahead of the pack.

“The way it works is, if you take your turn, you win the Stanley Cup every 30 years. Most of us are too greedy for that,” said Babcock, who led Detroit past the Penguins for the 2008 Stanley Cup before the tables were turned the following year.

• On the other side of the equation, Jason Williams spoke to the Detroit News’s Ted Kuflan about playing against the Big Red Machine:

“(The Red Wings) find players who play a certain way and plug into their system,” said Williams, who didn’t have a shot on net in 10 minutes 46 seconds in the Red Wings 4-1 road victory over the Penguins.

Williams used Darren Helm as an example of the Red Wings’ successful approach.

“He comes in, he’s a good energy guy, good penalty killer and fast, and he reminds you of Kris Draper,” Williams said. “He’s good on faceoffs, and physical. They seem to find a way of finding players who can fit into their system well. They’re just not after a top draft pick. They’re after someone who has good character and a guy who has won a championship or two in the junior level, or somewhere, and they just (seem) to find their type of players.”

As for his career path, Williams was just hoping this promotion was one that would keep him in the NHL.

“It’s good to be back (in the NHL),” said Williams, who was expected to contend for a spot out of camp, but a groin injury forced him to miss the exhibition season. “I couldn’t get into any games and it didn’t give me any chance to show my stuff. But I tried to keep a positive attitude and work hard.”

As the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma weighed in on the Wings as well...

“Detroit Red Wings, I love to talk about them,” he said. Being from Grand Haven, it’s a lifelong habit, plus he used to play for Babcock in Anaheim. “We watch the Red Wings a lot,” Bylsma said, “whether it’s because I grew up in Michigan and being a Red Wings fan, or because they’re an elite team and a better team. I try to learn something from everybody, and I learned a lot from Mike Babcock as a coach, and am still watching their team, and still watching what they do to see if there’s not something there.”

• I’m posting this for the record, but not quoting it: for some reason, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook argues that Marc-Andre Fleury was less than fantastic against the Wings, and is struggling big time. I happen to disagree (gack);

• And I’m not tossing in Bonus Swedish today because, to put it bluntly, Johan Franzen really didn’t add much to the Wings-Pens conversation while speaking to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman.

Part III: Also of Red Wings-related note: In the prospect department, RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest discusses gangly defenseman Ryan Sproul’s progress with the Soo Greyhounds (yes, they play in the Canadian Sault, but they spell it “Soo” on their jerseys. Phonetics and all) in his latest prospect report:

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Ryan Sproul as an offensive defenseman, but it’s his defensive play that’s been most notable so far this season. The 18-year-old has turned his plus-minus upside-down, going from one of the worst on the Sault Ste-Marie Greyhounds at minus-15 last season to a team-leading plus-18.

That’s notable because the Greyounds are a sub-.500 club with just two other players better than plus-5.

“I think I’ve made a huge improvement defensively,” Sproul told the Sault Star this week. “I was a minus-15 a year ago and defense is one of the things I’ve wanted to turn around.”

Sproul’s offense hasn’t suffered much. He already has eight goals — a pace for 16, two more than last season — and 16 assists for 24 points in 33 games. That’s tops among all blueliners on his team and fifth in the OHL.

If Sproul continues to strengthen his defensive game, the Red Wings might have gotten a gem in the second round, 55th overall, of the 2011 draft. The six-foot-three 176-pounder is known for his booming shot and ability to run a power play. He also has good vision and moves the puck well, so there’s no shortage of upside.

Red Wings director of amateur scouting said at the draft “the sky’s the limit, once he fills out,” while Greyhounds general manager Kyle Dubas told the Sault Star this week Sproul’s play has been outstanding, yet he still has “so much more room to grow.”

As Wuest notes, it’s also pretty cool to note that Louis-Marc Aubry, who’s still growing into his 6’4” (probably 6’5”) frame, has started to find the back of the net;

The Wings chose to have Aubry and Trevor Parkes turn pro this season because the management group that purchased the QMJHL’s Montreal Junior and moved them to the Montreal suburb Blainville-Boisbriand and renamed them the Armada chose to “go young” in a big way. Aubry and Parkes were likely to be traded from what was once a QMJHL powerhouse to teams whose situations might have been less beneficial to their growth, so the Wings figured that it was best to have the overagers turn pro with the Griffins and Walleye.

We don’t hear much about the QMJHL because, well, I don’t know too many Wings bloggers who speak fluent French, but CTV Montreal’s Andre Corbeil reports that the Armada and captain/Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet have come a long way over a short period of time:

After a difficult start to the season, the hard work of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada seems to be paying off as they begin to string some wins together. As one of the younger teams in the QMJHL, the Armada is quickly learning what it takes to win at this level.

“We are young, but the guys are working hard everyday. The guys are improving and I feel like they respect the system that we have in place. When the players work and respect the system, they have a good chance to win. That’s what’s going on right now and we’re proud of their effort,” said Armada’s head coach J.F. Houle.

Armada captain Xavier Ouellet said their hard work is showing on the ice.

“We’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the year. The last two or three weeks of practice were really hard, really intense, and the team worked hard on it and it shows in games,” said Ouellet.

It shows in the standings, too. The Armada has won three in a row and five of their last six games to lead a very tight west division.

• Changing gears in a big way, the Montreal Gazette’s Red Fisher paid tribute to a wearer of 70’s-era shoulder pads in Chris Chelios, recounting his days with the Canadiens and his lasting legacy as a viciously competitive player (he also suggests that Chelios mouthed off too much, but you can read that part of the article on your own):

Chelios played hard every night. It’s why he was devastated when, after six seasons with the Canadiens and only one year after he won his first Norris Trophy, he was sent to Chicago for Denis Savard. To this day, he doesn’t understand the reason for it.

The Canadiens have had a small group of elite defencemen over the years led by Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe. And you can be sure Chelios will join them in the Hockey Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2013. If you don’t think so, answer this: How many other defencemen do you know who played 1,651 games in 26 seasons, scored 948 points, won three Stanley Cups, three Norris Trophies, made four Olympic appearances for the United States, won a gold medal with Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and a national championship in 1983 with the University of Wisconsin?

Robinson once described him this way: “He’s simply a junkyard dog who makes millions. He’ll do whatever it takes to defend his end of the ice. He’ll break your ankle with a slash or put his stick right through you if he has to.”

The story is told that when Chelios was traded to Detroit, winger Darren McCarty strolled over to the rack in the team’s dressing room and grabbed some of his new teammate’s sticks.

“First time I’ve ever been this close to one of these without it being broken over my head,” McCarty said

• Chelios also gave an interview to WGN Chicago prior to his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, but it’s very Hawks-centric;

• My mom says I’m not allowed to comment on Sam Fels’ take on Blackhawks fans forgiving Chelios for leaving the Hawks. Mom doesn’t want me to get myself into trouble;

• I’m not sure if Chelios is as passionate about NHLPA issues as he once was given his status as part of the Wings’ management team, but ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tossed off an intriguing tidbit about Donald Fehr’s league-wide tour:

Player’s union boss Donald Fehr was in town this week to brief a group of agents about the upcoming labor negotiations. The collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league expires after this season and Fehr was stressing player involvement.


Part IV: In which I either make a decent point or at least give you laughs and fodder for boner jokes: Rather conveniently coinciding with an article from the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts which discusses the NHL and NHLPA’s attempts to improve the design of shoulder and elbow pads to reduce their use as offensive weapons, the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa offers the following take on what the NHL must do to eliminate its concussion problem without eliminating fighting:

It should do what some long ago urged: Reduce the size and inflexibility of shoulder and elbow pads.

Anyone observing the utter speed of NHL hockey — and in person, not on television where the movement of the camera discounts velocity — understands the players never were intended to be linebackers. Hockey is not football. Players should not be equipped as if it were.

Remember [NHL disciplinarian Brendan] Shanahan’s old shoulder pads? He preserved them from his days in junior hockey. They were like the smaller, softer padding hockey players wore when body checks were less dangerous, and more frequently from the hip. Bring them back. Mandate it.

And the players were long ago big enough. The NHL should, at long last, adopt substance abuse rules that exceed the current testing during exhibitions and regular-season games to expose players to detection 365 days per year. The tests used are for every performance-enhancing substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency except one: human growth hormone. HGH should be tested for beginning this offseason.

The players, their families, coaches and friends, also bear new responsibilities. Players must respect each other, and that respect — as corny as it sounds — must be abiding. The inculcation of that discipline must begin, not on the first day of camp, but when sons and daughters are playing mini-mites and mites.

I would imagine that players are told to avoid HGH, if they’re not refused it out of hand, because taking that s*** can mess one up just as badly as steroids, but the drug I’m curious about—and you have to promise you won’t laugh—is Viagra.

Okay, laugh now and get it out of your system. Beavis says, “Heh heh, heh heh. Booooiiinng!”

Seriously, it was at least rumored that Viagra was the most widely-prescribed medication that athletes were taking at the 2008 Olympics because it squeezes under the WADA protocols banning cold medications with pseudoephedrine (and yes, back in the early 90’s, a few players admitted to popping ten Sudafeds before games, not quite aware that they were more or less taking amphetamines) and obviously encourages better uptake of oxygen and relieves respiration issues to some extent (which was important given Beijing’s pollution, but also proved particularly handy for athletes who want to breathe more efficiently in, say, a sprint). It was originally intended to be used to help treat pulmonary hypertension and it’s used to combat altitude sickness (to the point that many of Mount Everest’s most recent summiters, both male and female, owe a big assist to Viagra), and I’d imagine that even given how serious trainers are about keeping their players clean—and from John Wharton to Piet Van Zant, the last fifteen years’ worth of Red Wings players have been told to bring in everything they plan on taking as a nutritional supplement or vitamin to have it tested for performance-enhancing substances—Viagra’s one of the most useful ways to get an extra breathing boost.

 

Part V: This may or may not have anything to do with the eventual location of the Red Wings’ follow-on rink: Ilitch Holdings, Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske, Peter Karmanos and a host of Michigan business movers and shakers were backing a light rail line down the spine of Woodward Avenue in Detroit, and the M1 Rail plan was going to initially stretch from somewhere south of Campus Martius to the New Center area, and, theoretically, stop just north of I-75, where it’s widely believed that the Wings want to build their new rink (there’s a big stretch of land southeast of Masonic Temple that’s all but vacant as opposed to the many buildings which would need to be razed behind the Fox Theatre should the Ilitches plan to build a rink there). The plan had advanced to the point that Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, had promised major federal dollars to the project to match the private backers’ contributions.

This

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

Wow…  Someone needs to show Helm’s interview to Herm!

That was awesome.. Hahahha
Specially how how didnt want to say his “nickname”

Posted by Zqto from Brazil on 12/14/11 at 09:23 AM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Helm is God.  That is all.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 12/14/11 at 10:08 AM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Oh, and Good Morning, George!  Thanks for the awesome (as always) post!

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 12/14/11 at 10:09 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

No doubt it is easier to play any team minus Crosby, or someone of that talent. But after essentially missing an entire season, with another “indefinite” sit down having just started up, at what point do we consider the Penguins the team they are WITHOUT Crosby, and end the narrative of, “Well, they were without #87?”

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the Pens have been banged up all through the lineup the last couple weeks, and certainly whether Wings fans like to admit it or not, the league needs Crosby healthy. But at some point, the Pens management included, if Crosby isn’t back and a proper fixture in the lineup, everyone will need to change the story from, “The Pens are without Crosby” to “The Pens are Malkin/Staal/Neal.”

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/14/11 at 10:56 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/14/11 at 08:56 AM ET

Case in point, the Bruins with Marc Savard.

Not saying Savard is at all at Crosby’s talent level, but he was a legit first line center for that team, and they finally made the moves to roll the dice and use their cap space on more talent because they still had a good team otherwise, and couldn’t wait around forever. At what point do the Pens have to do the same? That team is very very good and very strong without Crosby… at some point, if he’s still not healthy, his cap number would be more than enough to go get one or two players to push that team over the top.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/14/11 at 10:58 AM ET

drimo's avatar

Wow, George, that was an interesting little piece about Viagra.  Learn something new every day, I guess!

Posted by drimo from Cincinnati, OH on 12/14/11 at 11:02 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Meh, not going to engage in injury excuses nor unlucky bounces.  Wings put the puck in the net more than the Pens, they win the game.

Question:  Is “Z” nursing any injuries?  He wasn’t his usual beast self last night…..

Good ballgame boys, see ya in June (hopefully)....

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 12/14/11 at 11:10 AM ET

Avatar

Question:  Is “Z” nursing any injuries?  He wasn’t his usual beast self last night…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 12/14/11 at 09:10 AM ET

He hasn’t been the same since he got married.

I blame it all on that vile creature.

Posted by Red Winger from Work on 12/14/11 at 11:17 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Helm is god.

And no one in the media ever, that I can recall, said things like, “Well, the Wings were without Franzen (or Datsyuk, or Rafalski, or Stuart, or Cleary)” - or whoever else happened to be injured at any given time the last two seasons.  Too bad the NHL worked so hard to make Crosby their poster child.  Time for them to get over it.  I wouldn’t wish a concussion on anyone, but Crosby is not the center of the hockey universe right now.  And I wouldn’t blame his very talented team mates for resenting the fact that they are rarely acknowledged as they should be.

Thanks for all the great stuff, George!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/14/11 at 11:44 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by MsRedWinger from somewhere in the Cosmic Dust on 12/14/11 at 09:44 AM ET

Because in those games both teams were missing significant pieces.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/14/11 at 12:00 PM ET

awould's avatar

I love how Staal just stops skating on Cleary’s goal. He let Cleary by him and then just glided behind him while Cleary got into perfect position.

Posted by awould on 12/14/11 at 12:28 PM ET

Tony's avatar

I love how Staal just stops skating on Cleary’s goal. He let Cleary by him and then just glided behind him while Cleary got into perfect position.

Posted by awould on 12/14/11 at 10:28 AM ET

Well, I do have to defend Staal a bit on that one.  He was a game-time decision to even play in the game because of a lower body injury.  He missed the previous game because of it.  Seeing how he couldn’t defend Cleary was definitely not Staal-like….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 12/14/11 at 12:34 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

The Nightmare on Helm St.

I love that they have “main disturbers” haha…

That Helm interview was the highlight of the article, especially once he stopped giving hockey cliches and got comfortable

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/14/11 at 12:47 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Thanks for the post game highlights and comments from the Mick and Ken George.  I also had to suffer through the Pens’s feed.They are the worst closely followed by the Sharks and Ducks announcers.

Ms Red Winger + 19 for your 0944 comments.

Good road win showing all the patience and fortitude needed to be sucessful. Especially with the officiating. Only thing missing last night was a 5 on 3. Not shedding a tear that this is the only game against the Pen(is) this year.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 12/14/11 at 12:51 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

My nomination for photo of the month.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 12/14/11 at 01:02 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

Especially the guys face with the hoody with the “C”

Posted by Rdwings28 on 12/14/11 at 01:03 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

Hey Herm, show us your Helm bobblehead

Posted by Rdwings28 on 12/14/11 at 01:22 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

My nomination for photo of the month.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 12/14/11 at 11:02 AM ET

Oh that’s great!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/14/11 at 02:41 PM ET

Avatar

He was a game-time decision to even play in the game because of a lower body injury.

Not sure how that’s defending him.  Seems more like you’re excusing a player giving up on a play.

If he’s not healthy enough to compete on the ice then he shouldn’t have dressed.

Posted by Garth on 12/14/11 at 02:44 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

“My nomination for photo of the month”

How do you say “What now, bitches?” in Russian?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 12/14/11 at 02:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Marc-Andre Fleury and the rest of the Penguins bench are all likely as relieved as possible that Staal stopped skating at the blue line after building up so much speed.

If Staal takes two more strides, he can pull even with Cleary as he receives the pass. His only option there is to tie up shoulder-to-shoulder with a man as the two barrel in on the net at full-speed.

Two more pumps of the legs and not only is Marc-Andre Fleury is a dead man and Staal is likely looking at a suspension for using Cleary as the murder weapon.

The footwork by Cleary is excellent here though. He puts his body in such a position that the only way Staal can prevent him from receiving the pass and getting it on net is to either trip him or interfere with him in such a way that he does to his own goalie what Kronwall has done to Howard two games in a row.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/14/11 at 02:58 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

How do you say “What now, bitches?” in Russian?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE on 12/14/11 at 12:55 PM ET

I believe it is pronounced “Datsyuk.”

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/14/11 at 03:02 PM ET

Avatar

Damn, is this beautiful

Posted by Red Winger from Work on 12/14/11 at 03:14 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Heh.  The Pens players and head coach were much, much more appreciative and respectful than their fans and media.

Fans say, “Well, we had half our lineup full of AHL’ers.”

Players and coaches say, “No excuses.  We have to find ways to win.”

As cliche as it sounds, really, it comes down to the players executing despite the loss in their personnel.  Wings suffered a shitload of injuries the last two seasons and not one of them used injuries as an excuse for losing a game.  Guys step up for the injured.

Man up and play hockey.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 12/14/11 at 03:34 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

BEST INTERVIEW EVER

Seriously, how can you not love a guy like Him? It seemed impossible, but he’s higher than ever in my books.

Thanks, FSD and Detroit Red Wings, and thank you very much, Helm!

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 12/14/11 at 03:36 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

If the Pens have a lot of injuries, does this mean that their team is too old? That’s what they say when the wings are beat up.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/14/11 at 03:38 PM ET

SYF's avatar

If the Pens have a lot of injuries, does this mean that their team is too old? That’s what they say when the wings are beat up.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/14/11 at 01:38 PM ET

I love it.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 12/14/11 at 03:43 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

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.