The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/31/12 at 12:08 AM ET
My favorite TV show of all time, the Liam Lynch sock puppet spectacular that was Sifl n Olly, had a fake infomercial skit, and the tagline for Precious Roy’s cheap product of the night was, “Well, you know the problems I’ve had with X” by Sifl, answered with, “Yeah, you’ve got some serious-ass X problems!” from Olly.
The Detroit Red Wings ended a lost month’s worth of baffling March losses by allowing the Nashville Predators to walk into Joe Louis Arena and emerge with a 4-1 victory and “home-ice advantage”
in the Central Division for a simple reason:
The Predators, who can pull 3 points ahead of Detroit if they defeat the Blackhawks tomorrow (and Chicago can catch Detroit if they win tomorrow, too), managed to get traffic to the front of the Wings’ net and score “easy,” somewhat unearned goals on Jimmy Howard because the Wings’ otherwise sterling netminder could not see the pucks he was facing until it was too late, Radulov’s 3-0 goal included.
At the other end of the ice, Team Identity Crisis fired oodles of single, unobstructed shots and generally un-retrieved pucks upon a goaltender who almost always stops the first shot if he can see it, and stops many that he can’t if you don’t get traffic in front of him for tipped or screened opportunities and/or secondary and tertiary scoring opportunities from retrieved pucks that catch a big but deep-crease-positioned goalie moving side to side and exposing gaping holes in that 6’5” frame (see Jiri Hudler’s 3-1 goal).
The Wings have a tendency to make good goalies look great and great goalies look like legends, and if there is a mythology surrounding Pekka Rinne, the Wings seem to be well on their way to making Rinne into a rich man’s Dwayne Roloson.
Maybe the Wings are just in a transition year, maybe they were just so shaken up by their injuries and the snowball effect of losing in March, maybe they were unprepared to match their competitors’ desire to beat their archrival, or maybe the Wings just didn’t have the opportunity to be built to beat one team, and can’t match the work ethic, effort, intensity or determination of a team that believes it will only have “arrived” if it tears the poster boy right off the wall.
In any case, the Red Wings didn’t even engage the Predators until the last minute of the 1st period, they were “too cute” and skated too wide and too seldomly in on Rinne with any of the speed or snarl necessary to gain the swagger high ground that Detroit has failed to reach and then flailed like a paper tiger when scored against on an incredibly consistent basis since the last week of February.
Where do the Wings go from here, aside from rooting for the Predators’ opposition?
And after a performance like this, what are the Wings’ chances of salvaging a playoff run as opposed to a “transition year” in April?
I don’t know. All I know is that despite superb coaching, wonderful leadership and all the personnel necessary to get the job done, this team has some serious-ass problems, and they need to get fixed in a hurry.
It’s more than time for Mike Babcock and Nicklas Lidstrom to tell the players to look themselves in the face and decide if they have the desire necessary to salvage their regular season…
Or whether they possess the intensity, attention to detail, effort, determination, work ethic and plain old pride inside themselves to go anywhere other than the golf course (and the managerial tweaking board) after a one-and-done playoff season.
Somebody, call Precious Roy and get the Predator cripplers…Place an order under the name, “One pissed-off Nicklas Lidstrom.”
FTR: Not quite ready to return from my depression issues, but I figured that on a night like this, an expert in the field should weigh in. As an existentialist, I’m also really tired of the Wings wondering about their identity and the nature of their existence on the ice, too—they need to shut the f*** up and play like themselves again. There’s a time to shut up and back up one’s words with actions, or to just act, period, and the Wings haven’t been willing or able to do so since February 19th.
Shots 32-27 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 9-7 in the 1st, out-shot Nashville 17-8 in the 2nd and were out-shot 10-8 in the 3rd.
Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced; Pekka Rinne stopped 31 of 32.
The 3 stars, per Michigan Talk Radio’s Rich Kincaide, were Zetterberg, Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne.
The Wings’ goal: Hudler (24) from Zetterberg (46) and Ericsson (10).
Faceoffs 36-27 Detroit (57% won by Detroit);
Blocked shots 14-9 Nashville;
Missed shots 15-11 Detroit—total attempts 61-47 Detroit, with Detroit firing 29 shots wide or into Predators players (and 32 on Rinne);
Hits 16-14 Nashville;
Takeaways 7-6 Nashville.
The Wings finished at a collective -16, with Lidstrom and Holmstrom of all people finishing at -3 and Nyquist, White, Stuart and Emmerton finishing at -2…And every wing but Holmstrom had at least 1 shot.
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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.