The Malik Report
Red Wings afternoon news: Mrazek, Jarnkrok likely to crack Worlds rosters; a Byng ding and more Mule
by George Malik on 04/29/12 at 06:18 PM ET
Updated w/ “No Wings Swedes playing in Gavle, Sweden on Tuesday” news at 8:06 PM: Make it a dozen Red Wings taking part in the World Championships? The teams participating in the World Championships haven’t quite pared down their rosters to 25 players, but in addition to Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden), Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Justin Abdelkader and Jimmy Howard (USA) and probably Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), the Czech news agency CTK is reporting that Wings prospect Petr Mrazek will play for the Czechs after back-up goalie Tomas Popperle struggled during the Czechs’ World Championship warm-up games (according iDnes.cz)...
And while the Swedes have yet to release their presumptive roster (teams have to whittle them down from 26 or 27 players to 25 before May 2nd), Hockeysverige.se’s Uffe Bodin believes that Calle Jarnkrok has played far too well alongside Gabriel Landeskog (and either Jakob Silfverberg or Johan Larsson) to be left off the team.
So it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that 12 Wings will take part in the World Championships, which is either very good news from developmental hockey and, “They can gain confidence and take steps forward for next season” standpoints, or is very bad, depending on your point of view.
Also of red Wings-related note this afternoon: TSN’s Dave Hodge, speaking during “The Reporters,” finds it baffling that Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom didn’t make the finalists’ cut last week, and hasn’t won the award given to the league’s most gentlemanly…forward…ever:
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the near-certainty that Nicklas Lidstrom will never see his name on the Lady Byng trophy. It’s an award that is apparently reserved for forwards with low penalty totals, never mind that Lidstrom’s time spent in the penalty box is always remarkably low for those who play defence, and hardly high by any standards. Florida defenceman Brian Campbell is a Byng finalist this season - he’d be a worthy winner, but how ironic if a defenceman other than Nick Lidstrom beat the Byng curse against blueliners. Maybe one day it’ll be called the Nick Lidstrom trophy - one way, the only way, apparently, to put his name on it.
• I know that many of you want to stick a carrot on his nose and accuse him of turning you into newts, but, via RedWingsFeed, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirms that presumptive back-up goaltender Joey MacDonald is indeed feeling much better after battling a bulging/slightly herniated disc in his back down the stretch, and Mr. Burn the Witch (possibly one of the Queens of the Stone Age’s best songs) himself, one Johan Franzen, still has the support of the Wings’ management despite struggling with inconsistency during the regular season and plain old flopping in the playoffs (while the Mule/Horse’s Ass repeats similar comments he made to MLive’s Ansar Khan):
“Two years ago we played 12 playoff games and he had one point in every game,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s was one of the guys we look to score. (Nashville) did a real good job on him.”
“I don’t think you want to point at the Mule,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t think we scored even strength at all. I think you want to point at all of us.”
Franzen is your classic streaky goal scorer and is often criticized because of that. After a five-goal outburst in Ottawa two years ago, Franzen went 14 straight games without a goal and finished and had just two goals over his final 27 games.
“You always get that criticism when you lose,” Franzen said. “There are always haters when you lose. You know you’re going to have to listen to that, but you can’t pay too much attention to that. The year I scored 13 (in the playoffs), I had one goal in the first four or five games,” Franzen added. “You never know when you’re going to get going. It is what it is.”
Energy and enthusiasm? The Wings didn’t have it in the playoffs, nor down the stretch (7-11-and-4? Really, Chuck—can I call you Chuck instead of Mr. Pleiness? Holy moly, that’s an awful record from February 21st on…Seven and fifteen!):
“We need to have more fun out there, get some confidence back,” Franzen said. “We looked like a drained team kind of in most of the games. Get some joy back, believing in ourselves, knowing that we’re a good team and play for each other.”
“We didn’t have a good ending to the season, including playoffs,” Franzen said. “You’ve got to come into playoffs with confidence.”
Again, Franzen’s $3.95 million cap hit ain’t terrible, but the fact that he earns $5.25 million in real-world dollars this upcoming season and $5 million for the three subsequent seasons (and then $3 million for two years,$2 million for one year and $1 million for the final two years of his deal) makes him more or less untradeable, and for the Wings, too important to lose as he has tended to lead the team in goals scored during the regular season and playoffs.
Again, Franzen believes that the Wings can rebound next season, and that doing so involves trusting themselves and each other—although he wants to see the Wings improve their fortunes via off-season spending, too:
“We’ve got a super team in here,” Franzen said. “We’ve just got to realize that and find a way, because it’s so hard to score on some teams. We’ve got good players,” Franzen continued. “If we need to find more pieces, I don’t know, but the focus is on getting the pieces that we have going again and tell ourselves that we are a good team and we can do this.”
• And finally, via the Hockey Writers’ Jon Waldman, the massive Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo will be taking place near Lester B. Pearson airport in Toronto on May 4th, 5th and 6th—it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest hockey card-centric trade show in the world—and Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay and former Wings goalie Dominik Hasek will be signing autographs there on Saturday, May 5th (as will my goalie idol, Kirk McLean, on Sunday the 6th).
Update: If you find yourself in Gavle, Sweden on Tuesday, you might be disappointed to hear that, according to Aftonbladet’s Mats Wennerholm, none of the Red Wings’ Swedes will play in the team’s exhibition game against the U.S.
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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.