Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Predators game 1 quick take: Ain’t that a punch to the head

The Detroit Red Wings never lost their nerve in a game whose officiating matched the penalty quota Chaiman Mao’s attendance required, but they certainly were out-lucked and perhaps out-worked in trenches in front of both goaltenders, and as such, Detroit lost Darren Helm to what is probably some sort of season-ending wrist injury (thanks to a skate cut by Alex Radulov) and lost road-ice advantage, if you will, in a 3-1 loss to Nashville.

At the end of the game, sure, Shea Weber reacted to a cross-check to the back by Henrik Zetterberg by punching Z in the back of the head, but that his penalty was the last of 17 called—10 to Nashville and 7 to Detroit, which scored 2 PPGs and killed 10:19 of Nashville PP time, but lost—after the fact is no surprise, and the bottom line during a wild and woolly game is simple:

The Wings couldn’t or wouldn’t go to the front of the net to obstruct Pekka Rinne’s field of view, steal rebounds or plain old run him over to back the big goalie into his crease, even if a penalty was to be taken in the process, and the Predators earned some bizarre luck in front of Detroit’s crease, negating a sterling performance by Jimmy Howard…In no small part due to the mistakes made by a player who seems to have his brain as well as his skates out of the door in Brad Stuart.

So Shea Butter and the media-darling Predators, whose exploits and surefire statuses as the Stanley Cup champs-to-be seemed to make the media panels on the CBC and CNBC require wardrobe changes after each intermission, managed to take out the player who was definitely the catalyst for the Wings’ moribund 3rd and 4th lines—at least until Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary tried to take the team on their backs—and may have gotten away with their robbery had the last play of the game not incensed what might have been an already ornery giant that didn’t seem to quite have tipped the playoff switch all the way to “on.”

Otherwise, I don’t know what to think of the game. As Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond are suggesting while I write this up, the Wings didn’t play poorly by any sense of the imagination, nor were Rinne and the Predators world-beaters, despite the usual 35-save performance by Rinne and the Predators’ hard-charging style. This one was weird as weird can be, and if there is to be a decisive advantage pushed in this series, it will be determined by what happens in Game 2.

The Predators may have a significant advantage in the race to 4 wins, but…I mean, the Wings fired 32 frickin’ shots on Rinne in the 2nd and 3rd periods, a team that went 7-and-15 in the faceoff dot in the 1st period ended up winning the faceoff battle 32-30 (despite Gaustad’s big wins at the end), the hits were listed as 18-18 in Nashville for a reason, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen seemed to stir to life in the 3rd period, and the Wings are too veteran to be fazed, and the Preds are too predictable (sorry, turtle neck Trotzie) to not be exploited should the Wings finally choose to predate upon a team they played far too tentatively against far too regularly.

Regarding the game’s narrative:

The Wings came out tentatively, and Stuart made a terrible mistake early on. Just under seven minutes in, Paul Gaustad stole the puck from Brad Stuart behind the net, skated back toward the goal line, and as he cleared the goal line, he fired the puck back at the net. Stuart had retreated toward the top of Howard’s crease, and he ended up tipping Gaustad’s shot between Howard’s legs. No chance for Howard, 1-0 Nashville and a catfish on the ice with 13:01 left in the 1st.

The Wings then proceeded to kill off three of their four first-period penalties (four of the six called on them all night long), including 1:14 of a 5 on 3, and Howard was very strong otherwise, stopping 12 of 13 first-period shots. That’s better than the 11 of 13 he stopped over the game’s final 40 minutes, and he was pretty damn good then, too.

The Wings embarked upon their third power play of the game 1:10 into the 2nd period, and despite endless over-passing, when Henrik Zetterberg went to the net, he made his shot count. Off a strong faceoff win, Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall gave and went, Kronwall fired the puck on the net, and as Jiri Hudler played Tomas Holmstrom’s role, the rebound bounced to Zetterberg, who roofed the puck over Rinne’s glove. 17:49 left in the 2nd, Detroit’s tied 1-1.

With the Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler line leading the way, Tomas Holmstrom being used increasingly regularly in spot duty and Justin Abdelkader and the hobbled Danny Cleary pouncing upon their promotions, the Wings killed two more penalties off over the course of the 2nd period, but yet again, the Predators struck on a fluky but earned play. With a little under 12-and-a-half minutes left in the 2nd, Matt Halischuk skated over the Wings’ blueline and just fired a puck toward the net, and as the puck met Brad Stuart and Gabriel Bourque, it clanked off the shaft of Bourque’s stick and knuckleballed over Howard’s shoulder before gently falling behind him into the net. 7:31 left in the 2nd, it’s 2-1.

The Wings then had some wonderful chances to tie things up but admittedly blew ‘em—especially when Patric Hornqvist took a high-sticking penalty with 6 seconds left in the 2nd period, giving the Wings about 1:55 and change worth of relatively fresh sand and gravel…I mean “seasonal” Nashville ice to set up upon after their 16-shot 2nd period, and the wings did little with it, and the same can be said of bookend penalties on Roman Josi. As such, Bertuzzi and Franzen started to roll, but instead…

11:35 into the 3rd period, Brad Stuart was pressured by Nick Spaling in the right corner, and instead of eating the puck to scrum things up, he quickly back-passed it to Henrik Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg was quickly overpowered by Spaling and Patric Hornqvist, who flittered a pass out from behind the net to an untaken Gabriel Bourque. Bourque roared in from the point to the slot sans Niklas Kronwall covering him, and he roofed the puck over Howard, who, again, had no chance. With 8:25 left in the 3rd, the Wings were down 3-1.

The Wings were then unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 thanks to back-to-back penalties to Jack Hillen and Ryan Suter with about five and four minutes left in the 3rd period, respectively, but that 2nd penalty did bite Nashville eventually. As the Wings regrouped after their power play expired, Ian White carried the puck up for Jiri Hudler, both players were blocked at the Nashville line, and as White regrouped, he gave the puck to Kyle Quincey, Quincey roared up and in, gave the puck to Valtteri Filppula, got it back and fired a shot that Rinne stopped but was unable to corral. As such, the puck bounced toward the crease, and Tomas Holmstrom jammed the puck in. Detroit was down 3-2 with 2:07 left.

 

Detroit couldn’t close the gap as they pulled Howard (we’ll conveniently ignore whether Howard negated a late icing call) and had a late power play, and that was that.

If the Wings had been more decisive around the net, they would have made more of their 32 2nd and 3rd period shots on Rinne, but…They didn’t, and as such, they can’t really do much more than know that they were not ran into the end boards, they were not really out-worked, out-hustled, out-skilled, out-gritted or out-detailed, but they were out-lucked on an earned basis and they were, in the end, defeated by a plucky team and superb goaltender who must be brimming with confidence after essentially doing what Weber did to Zetterberg in the game’s waning seconds…

 

And getting away with it.

Via Paul, here’s the CBC’s slate of highlights (North America only):

 

And here are NHL.com’s highlights:

 

Statistics:

Shots 37-26 Detroit. The Wings were out-shot 13-5 in the 1st but out-shot Nashville 16-6 in the 2nd and 16-7 in the 3rd.

The Predators went 0-for-6 in 10:19 of PP time, including 1:14 of 5 on 3 time; the Wings went 2-for-8 in 12:14 of PP time, including 44 seconds of 5 on 3 time.

Pekka Rinne stopped 35 of 37; Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of 26.

The Nashville Media’s 3 stars were Paul Gaustad, Pekka Rinne and Gabriel Bourque.

The Wings’ goals: Zetterberg (1), unassisted, PPG;

Holmstrom (1) from Quincey (1) and Filppula (1), PPG.

Faceoffs 32-30 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);

Blocked shots 16-10 Nashville;

Missed shots 9-8 Nashville (total attempts 61-45 Detroit);

Hits 18-18;

Giveaways 15-8 Nashville;

Takeaways an ugly 13-5 Nashville.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

GM, was the weber play at the end suspension-worthy to you?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/12/12 at 01:45 AM ET

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I’ve seen this same game for basically 3 consecutive playoff seasons. Too little too late…but a very “winnable” game for the Wings. Except that they generally don’t win those games. Nothing’s changed. Whatever excuses you can come up with don’t matter. In the end Detroit didn’t win the game.

Franzen and Hudler blow.

Posted by godblender on 04/12/12 at 01:47 AM ET

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...and Gaustad wins another important face off.  I’m going have nightmares about that. 

Pronger got one game for decapitating holmstrom a few years ago; Weber deserves a couple for attempted murder of Z.

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 04/12/12 at 01:47 AM ET

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Except that they generally don’t win those games anymore.

Corrected.

Posted by godblender on 04/12/12 at 01:48 AM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Looks like 2 games to me. but i’m a homer so who knows….Very winnable game. They finished, we couldn’t. Simple as that. Game 2, Let’s Roll.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 04/12/12 at 01:49 AM ET

Juice in LA's avatar

I agree with your analysis George. At several points in this game I actually felt like the Wings played tentatively - as if they were feeling the Preds out- the way all teams used to have to do with us.

I think if Z is ok and Pavel can get some room, and like you said Cleary, Bertuzzi and Nic Lids can find a scoring spark we have a chance But it cannot be all Zetterberg all the time. Anymore.

And for faulkssake we need to give jimmy howard some damn help. Sure Ericsson isn’t such a mess anymore

Not even heart can win a series this year.

Come on DO it for NIC, Boys!!!!.

Posted by Juice in LA from Los Angeles by way of Detroit on 04/12/12 at 01:56 AM ET

Chet's avatar

I’ve seen this same game for basically 3 consecutive playoff seasons. Too little too late…but a very “winnable” game for the Wings. Except that they generally don’t win those games. Nothing’s changed. Whatever excuses you can come up with don’t matter. In the end Detroit didn’t win the game.

this. and why do they insist on spotting other teams a lead all. the. fuching. time?!?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/12/12 at 01:56 AM ET

DocF's avatar

If my mind isn’t as rotten as the officiating, Weber is a multiple repeat offender and should get more than 2-3 for that “play”.  That kind of play is pure goat excrement.

Troops, this was as good as the officiating is going to be.  Compared to most NHL officials, these two are good.

Now as to Helm’s injury.  If he did not have major damage, he could be back with a brace on his wrist in a game or two.  Most likely, he is done for the year.  Worst case is so much damage that his career is over.  That is a scary injury.

The more I watch the Red Wings this year, the more I blame the coaching staff.  The team looks stale.  Their power play is exactly the same and usually too static.  Their breakout plays have been used since Babcock took over. 

I am about to the point where I would welcome a very bad series and an early departure by Mr. Babcock and his lackeys.  This team needs a fresh approach and a fresh voice.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 04/12/12 at 01:59 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Aside from being crazy enough to think that Weber won’t be suspended because he was boarded prior to the play, and may receive some, “It’s at the end of the game, and boys will be boys” benefit of the doubt from a “department of player safety” that has to set its standards for suspensions much, much higher because it’s the playoffs…

It’s not Babcock’s fault. I’m sticking by the line I was using a few weeks ago, with some modification—in addition to the fact that breaking in two assistant coaches with no NHL experience is incredibly difficult, and in addition to the fact that the Red Wings chose, come hell or high water, to not replace Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Brian Rafalski’s statuses as both de-facto on-ice and in-the-room coaches and clutch veteran performers, and to almost force the Wings’ “younger” players and early 30-somethings to pick up where Draper, Osgood and Rafalski left off, on and off the ice…

When you are unable to replace a veteran back-up, a remarkable faceoff man and defensive forward and especially an elite puck-moving defenseman, by both free agency and, thanks to Stuart’s apparent status as having both skates out the door, the trade deadline…

Most importantly, even with Ian White playing superbly for most of the season and Niklas Kronwall stepping it up, you’re going to miss a chunk of offense and a chunk of easy clears, outlet passes and the kind of time and space through the neutral zone that allow you to play more hockey away from your side of center ice that a Rafalski, even hobbled, affords you.

When you add no Draper mucking faceoffs and kicking pucks out of trouble along the boards like a professional soccer player and no veteran back-up to spell Howard to the mix, you might be in for a rebuilding year, and especially if you run into the kinds of injuries that the Wings did, you’re gonna look like a team that needs both a scorer and an elite puck-mover in the offseason because your levels of execution and, well, swagger, are decidedly diminished.

This was going to be a year of growing pains, and with CBA uncertainty at hand and Lidstrom’s future in flux, the Wings could only do so much to adjust, so Ken Holland and Babcock and the rest of the management team decided they were gonna see what the kids could do and then readjust as their performances or the lack thereof warranted.

I think that next year’s team will be better than this one in terms of their playoff chances, and I’m not writing this one’s team by any stretch of the imagination after one game.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/12 at 02:46 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

Admittedly, I only saw parts of the second and the end of the game, but from what I saw, and what my coworkers told me, Nashville is the most beatable “unbeatable” team ever, and Rinne is the most beatable “unbeatable” goaltender ever. What I saw tonight was a goaltender who struggled to corral shots and was kicking out juicy rebounds all over the place. Both Wings goals were off big fat rebounds by Rinne.

Even with the loss, I have absolutely no “doom and gloom” mood at all. The Wings quite frankly are the better team from what I saw, they just need some more puck luck, and to get more bodies to the front of the net. This Predators team can be beaten. Losing God is a blow for sure though. I really don’t know who I’d go with as his replacement though. I think Conner is the best fit, but he’s not a natural centre I believe? Maybe Babcock should just have Datsyuk or Zetterberg take the draws for that line, then have them switch off with Conner once play is underway.

LGRW

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 04/12/12 at 03:21 AM ET

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If Shanahammer is consistant, it won’t matter that Weber was boarded (sort of) prior… Duncan Keith was cheapshotted by the sister (before he got payback) and he STILL got 5.  But in the playoffs?  Weber gets 1 and is back for game 3.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 04/12/12 at 04:16 AM ET

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Given my inability to watch the first 37 minutes (and seeing highlights to try to fill this in), I agree with George, that this year is “let’s see what the farmhands and new assistants can do.” I don’t want the Wings to exit so soon, but at least now they have a better idea of what they can rely on for next season (e.g., Nyquist, Smith, etc.) and can watch how their “debatables” show up in the playoffs (i.e., Hudler and if his offense doesn’t get overshadowed by the rest of his game). This team at its best can still beat any team in a 7 gamer (as long as their heads aren’t being used to break the boards—I think Weber will get a fine but no suspension, for what it’s worth, even though I think he deserves a game), but the focus again (like most sports) is the middle of the playing surface: the front of the net (defense and offense).

I still think the Wings can/should/hopefully go a few rounds, and I’m also still hoping for Rinne to replace Stewart, and to get Parise (a guy can dream, right?).  By the way, a belated “Welcome back, George.”

Posted by Bugsy on 04/12/12 at 04:22 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I should have hyperlinked the damn Weber post to the recap from the get-go.

The experts don’t think he’ll be suspended, and Barry Trotz is insisting that Todd Bertuzzi was in fact hacking Paul Gaustad (who may or may not have been trying to break Pavel Datsyuk’s wrist), and that as Zetterberg boarded Weber first, well…Boys will be boys.

As for myself, I’m going to be slow on the uptake—no long recap for me tonight—and I’m just gonna try to get back into the swing of things and get up to speed over the next two days. I am very grateful for all your kind words…and very sorry for the inconveniences I’ve caused.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/12 at 04:37 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Every talking head on OLN (even Milbury) expressing digust about Weber’s antics.  No real debate.  Unanimous agreement that this was (and should be) a totally suspendable offense.  Talking heads on NHL Network?  Barely even mentioned it and when they did?  They tried to pass it off as a minor incident that “looked worse than it was”

Adjust your tin foil hats gang.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/12/12 at 04:46 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

That’s okay…The CBC’s gents believed that Babcock should be fined for his admission to Brian Engblom that the referees might be trying to ensure that they advance up the playoff ranks.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/12 at 04:57 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

It’s good to have you back, George, I wish you good health.

I’ll just say this - Weber grabbed a mans head, after the punch, and drove it into the glass.  Drove a guy’s head into the glass.  Clear as day.  All season I haven’t seen something so worthy of a suspension.

Regardless of either team’s play.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 04/12/12 at 05:13 AM ET

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I believe it was the 3rd period of game 3 against Philly. A penalty had just been called and Eric Lindros and a few teammates had gathered around the ref for an explaination. Whatever the ref said, Lindros didn’t like it and he stomped his skate into the ice like a whiney spoiled brat.  Frustration tolerance level surpassed and the Red Wings went on to win the cup the very next game.

Turn the clock forward 14 years and Weber faceplants Z at the end of game one.  Could that be an indication that Detroit actually out-played Nashville and if it weren’t for a couple of lucky bounces, all we’d be worried about is Helmers wrist ?

Even though we lost, we did plenty of damage. Nashville will self destruct. They may win 1 more.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 04/12/12 at 07:48 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

It’s not Babcock’s fault. I’m sticking by the line I was using a few weeks ago, with some modification—in addition to the fact that breaking in two assistant coaches with no NHL experience is incredibly difficult, and in addition to the fact that the Red Wings chose, come hell or high water, to not replace Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Brian Rafalski’s statuses as both de-facto on-ice and in-the-room coaches and clutch veteran performers, and to almost force the Wings’ “younger” players and early 30-somethings to pick up where Draper, Osgood and Rafalski left off, on and off the ice…
You make it sound like this is the only season the Wings had big problems. What about 2010 and 2011?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/12/12 at 09:30 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

i already miss the regular season

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/12/12 at 09:53 AM ET

lilja4ever's avatar

Great recap on what went down: http://watch.tsn.ca/#clip656585

“It’s a hockey play.” Really?  Great, let’s wait until someone ends up in a coma, since it clearly isn’t about intent to injure.

Unleash Bertuzzi.  Let’s run these effing douche bags.  If this isn’t suspension worthy, give the league something to think about.

Posted by lilja4ever on 04/12/12 at 10:04 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Good to have ya back, George.
The Wings owned this game but they got two lucky arse goals. That’s gonna happen so it doesn’t bother me. The Wings are the better team and I think they’ll take this thing. I’m more worried about these douche-nozzles taking liberties with our star players, hence the need for at least one tough player to “keep the flies off”. Babcock has wanted that for a long time but Holland (who I think is a great GM) doesn’t seem to deem it necessary. Pisses me off.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/12/12 at 10:15 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

it has been embarrassing the last few years when no one will stand up and retaliate. just a shame

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/12/12 at 10:33 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

“It’s a hockey play.” Really?  Great, let’s wait until someone ends up in a coma, since it clearly isn’t about intent to injure.

That’s the most blatant attempt to injure an opponent since Bertuzzi’s incident (and i’d say it’s even worst, ‘cause it’s pretty obvious Bertuzzi didn’t want to end someone’s career).

Results shouldn’t matter, victims and their bodies behave differently (can you imagine Havlat being hit like Holmstrom?)

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/12/12 at 10:37 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Well don’t you guys think this was the best game they’ve played in a month? I see it a lot simpler than you do George… the Preds got a couple bounces, the Wings didn’t get any. (Forget the penalties—both teams were called for softies and both teams got away with some actual deserved stuff.) It’s playoff hockey, you have to roll with those bounces and keep playing hard. The good news is the Wings actually appeared to be playing hard for the final 40 minutes (instead of just the final 10). If they keep doing that into game two, they’ll get their share of lucky bounces as well. And the bottom line is, if they still lose, Nashville is just better, and they deserve a whole lot of respect for that.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/12/12 at 11:04 AM ET

Incognetis's avatar

Nathan, I’m with you.  If that knuckler doesn’t go in off Halischuk’s shot then we’re talking about a completely different game.  Everything that could have gone Nashville’s way last night did.  Presumably over a seven game series that cannot continue.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Am I the only one who thinks the shots on Rinne need to be low?  Anything catchable with the glove hand is not coming back out, but low shots off the pads could make for some juicy rebounds.  I knwo it’s easier said than done because Nashville is a very good shot-blocking team, but the kind of shots that Quincey put on on net that resulted in the 2nd goal are the kinds that could lead to more mucky goals.  Low and across the face of the net.

Also, regardless of whether or not a Shanaban comes down, the NHL is SUPER SERIAL about head injuries.

Posted by Incognetis from Delaware... Hi... I'm in... Delaware on 04/12/12 at 11:17 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Alzy from Innisfail, Alberta, Canada on 04/12/12 at 01:21 AM ET

I really agree with your take on it Alzy.  If the Preds continue to play like they did last night, its very realistic for Detroit to win this series in five.  Nashville just didn’t look that good, and with the exception of the latter half of the first and the few minutes after Bourque’s second goal, Nashville didn’t have very many periods of long, sustained momentum.

Stuart (I guess) could have been smarter on that first goal, but I really don’t see how how that blind luck goal was his fault.  The bottom line is, I saw a game in which Detroit scored two earned goals to Nashville’s one.  There isn’t much you can do about two lazy lobs at the net going in.  Detroit was the better team last night, and feel they can beat Nashville tomorrow night.  I feel 100% better about the team this morning than I did 24 hours ago.

Posted by DocF on 04/11/12 at 11:59 PM ET

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/12 at 12:46 AM ET

George, I give very broad acceptance to your point about this being a “rebuild year” insofar as we have them here in Detroit.  But there comes a point where I have to agree with Doc.  This team has a stale and uninspired vibe to it most nights.  More importantly, the team’s bad habits on the powerplay, zone entries, and overall unwillingness to muck it up around the net seem endemic.  It seem like the coaching staff has seemed content all season long to let these guys sink into their bad habits.  This malaise has made the special teams pretty telegraphic, and its up to the coach to keep the Wings tactics fresh.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/12/12 at 11:32 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/12/12 at 09:04 AM ET

Precisely my feelings sir.

Am I the only one who thinks the shots on Rinne need to be low?  Anything catchable with the glove hand is not coming back out, but low shots off the pads could make for some juicy rebounds.  I knwo it’s easier said than done because Nashville is a very good shot-blocking team, but the kind of shots that Quincey put on on net that resulted in the 2nd goal are the kinds that could lead to more mucky goals.  Low and across the face of the net.

Posted by Incognetis from Delaware… Hi… I’m in… Delaware on 04/12/12 at 09:17 AM ET

The Wing’s pass first mentality drives me crazy in this respect.  My mind goes back to that 2 on 1 Zetterberg had going with Datsyuk last night.  Z opted not to shoot, had his passing lane to Pav taken away, and he ended up dropping back to the point.  My point to Zetterberg is this:  Shoot for Rinne’s leg pads on the right side (Z’s right that is).  That way you give yourself a chance to create a rebound for Pav.  The worst thing that can come from that play is Rinne directs the puck into the corner.  No biggie. 

And I don’t think I have to say much about the trouble this passing to the point habit has been causing.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/12/12 at 11:40 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

And I don’t think I have to say much about the trouble this passing to the point habit has been causing.

That has been Detroit’s modus operandi and it drives me CRAZY!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/12/12 at 12:00 PM ET

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The one stat I’d be curious about if is the number of shots overall by the team and by the stars this year vs. previous years (and preferably from where, like they do in basketball). Passing, when combined with enough shots and enough griniding, is the Wings’ strength. I don’t want to stop with the passing, I just want more shots on net, more people in front of the net, on defense and offense. It’s not like I didn’t see Abdelkader, Datsyuk, etc., drive to the net, but it seemed like they could have done a bit more.

I’m not going to panic, but when they win, it’s calm and professionalism. When they lose, it’s lack of passion (although I want another grinder too). The results dictate the interpretation (like the 23 game home winning streak and poor finish/playoff), so if they don’t win much, I’m assuming they’ll let someone like Hudler go and get more skilled muckers to replace/add to a retiring Holstrom, and given Detroit’s MO for the last 2 decades, they HAVE to be skilled. I think it’s more of a short-term talent problem than Babcock, but as the adage goes, a coach gets hired in order to be fired. We’ll see. Aim for the stars with the salary cap flexibility this summer.

Oh, and if it wasn’t obvious why keep hoping the Wings to aim for Suter in free agency vs. Weber, last night was exhibit A. That was just stupid.  Aggressive is one thing, but that was just inexcusable.

Do whatever you’re capable of George, that’s all.

Posted by Bugsy on 04/12/12 at 12:56 PM ET

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I don’t know what game you were watching, but the PP looked pretty good last night. They went 2-8 and besides maybe 1 or 2 of the powerplays they were moving the puck around, getting Nashville to move. When there is that many powerplays in a game not all of em are going to be sucsessful. If you’da told me the Wings scored 2 pp goals before the game I would tell you they won.
This game came down to 2 lucky bounces and Rinne. You could argue they had more then 2 lucky bounces because of the breaks Nashville had around Rinne. Lidstrom breaks a stick at the end of the game on a drive. The only thing they’re missing, and I think we all agree, is that Joey Kocur, Drake, Mccarty type player. This series is far from over.

Posted by T on 04/12/12 at 01:23 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

This game came down to 2 lucky bounces

The vast majority of the game was spent in the Detroit end, and that means that this is gonna happen.  Those “lucky” goals are what Nashville does.  I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss them.  If the whole series is spent grinding in the Detroit zone, then Nashville is gonna lucky bounce their way right through this thing.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 04/12/12 at 02:12 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

The vast majority of the game was spent in the Detroit end

Ummmm…. what game did you watch?

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/12/12 at 03:29 PM 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.