The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/11/12 at 01:55 PM ET
Updated 3x at 3:31 PM: Finland imploded!: As mentioned earlier this morning, the Red Wings’ participants at the World Championships are participating in a very busy day of games in Helsinki and Stockholm. Two games remain on that schedule, with Valtteri Filppula and Finland tangling with Kyle Quincey and Canada at 1:15 PM, and Pavel Datsyuk’s Russians playing in a huge game against Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Calle Jarnkrok (and Jonathan Ericsson, who won’t play but hasn’t been ruled out of the tournament) an hour later…
1:15 p.m. – Finland vs. Canada; [2:15 PM] – Russia vs. Sweden
And in the game that’s already in the books, Justin Abdelkader registered an assist and played a strong, hard-skating and sometimes vicious game, hacking, whacking and goalie-crashing his way to a promotion from the checking line to a more scoring-oriented trio of Abdelkader, Kyle Okposo and Craig Smith, but the Jimmy Howard-less Americans—Howard sat out this one as he’d played on Thursday—had a rough game against Kazakhstan, rope-a-doping their way to a 3-2 overtime win.
The OT win gives the Americans 2 points for the OT win instead of 3 for a regulation one, which will hurt them in the standings, where the Americans—as of the time I’m writing this—sit in 3rd place in the Helsinki Group with 8 points, two behind Canada and four behind Finland (and the top four finishers make the quarterfinals), with 5 games played as opposed to 4 for both Canada and Finland.
The Slovaks are only 2 points behind the U.S., and will play against Belarus on Saturday; the Americans’ next game is against the home Finns on Sunday, and Howard will be in the net for that one.
Abdelkader finished even—he was on the ice for and assisted on J.T. Brown’s goal by taking a check to make a play but pushing the puck forward at the U.S. blueline, but was also on the ice for a PK goal against and the Kazakhs’ 2-2 goal (Abdelkader won a faceoff in the offensive zone, but the Kazakhs mucked it up ice and Talgat Zhailauov put a puck off the post and behind Richard Bachman to tie the game with only 4:06 remaining)—and he went 6-and-6 in the faceoff circle, had 3 shots and played 17:42, starting the game between J.T. Brown and Cam Atkinson, but playing the 3rd with Kyle Okposo and Craig Smith, and earning OT time and a nasty shoving match with Kazakh goalie Vitaly Kolesnik while flanking Okoposo during the 4-on-4 extra session.
Here’s IIHF.com’s Risto Pakarinen’s description of the goal Abdelkader assisted on:
Just when Scott Gordon started to look a little troubled behind the American bench, J.T. Brown chased down a puck that Justin Abdelkader had chipped out of the zone, drove to the net and fired an excellent wrist shot that beat Kolesnik high on his glove side, at 16:35 into the second period.
I will post updates regarding the Finland-Canada and Russia-Sweden games here and on Twitter, but after the games end, I’m still running on little sleep and have a grocery shopping run to make, so I’ll probably take a nap till 8, provide some rudimentary updates till 9, go shopping, come back, finish up the overnight report with a full wrap-up and then…On Saturday, I will be out of the office for the following games as I’m attending my pal’s graduation at U of D, and it’s regrettably an all-day affair:
May 12: 5:15 a.m. – Slovakia vs. Belarus; 1:15 PM Canada vs. Kazakhstan : 2:15 p.m. – Italy vs. Sweden
And here’s Sunday’s slate:
May 13: 9:15 a.m. – USA vs. Finland [on the NBC Sports Network]; 10:15 AM– Russia vs. Czech Republic; 1:15 p.m. – Switzerland vs. Slovakia
Also of Red Wings-related note this morning/afternoon: If you missed it, Pavel Datsyuk made the top 8 of EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote, and he’ll face off against John Tavares at http://covervote.nhl.com between May 18 and 23;
• In the “events” department, the Red Wings want to remind us that Vladimir Konstantinov’s art is on display in Royal Oak, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
For the second time in six months, Vladimir Konstantinov’s artwork will be on display at the Gallery U Boutique on West 4th Street in downtown Royal Oak.
The “Rite of Spring” is a collaborative exhibit between the former Red Wings’ defenseman and the gallery’s artists that will debut on May 10. The show is from 7-9 p.m. EDT.
• And the Red Wings’ equipment sale will take place at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy tomorrow, Saturday May 12th, from 11:30 AM till 7 PM;
• As you and I are particularly interested in the future of Nashville Predators defenseman and unrestricted free agent-to-be Ryan Suter, here’s another expert’s take on Suter’s future in mailbag form, per TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Hey Dregs, love the mailbag!
With the Predators out, do you think there’s any chance that they will keep both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber and how will they address the offence if these two are signed? Would they be able to keep soon-to-be free agents like Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn or make a play for someone else on July 1?
Darren Dreger; Dennis, many questions surround the Nashville Predators and a handful of players - most notably, Ryan Suter. I maintain that Suter, like most pending unrestricted free agents, has earned the right to explore the market on July 1. He can expect legitimate and significant interest from most, if not all NHL teams and will then have to weigh the options presented by contending teams against the harsh emotional reality of leaving Nashville. This won’t be an easy decision as Suter intends on playing the remainder of his career with the team he signs with in July. Shea Weber’s future in Nashville is obviously connected to Suter in many ways. It’s possible to keep both star defencemen, but the financial strain in doing so, depending on the restrictions outlined in a new CBA could make it challenging to make upgrades up front. If Suter leaves, this frees up money/cap space, but from a competitive standpoint it weakens the Preds which will also impact Weber’s thinking. As for Radulov, Kostitsyn and the corps of forwards, each will be reviewed and David Poile, Paul Fenton and Nashville’s management will methodically map out a plan. Poile does nothing without ample consideration. He’s far too savvy and experienced to make rushed decisions on trades or signings or the re-signing of underachieving players. That said, if there are trades or free agents Poile believes will add fire power or depth to his lineup, he will act as we’ve seen him do a number of times over the years.
• In the, “Hey, I didn’t know that!” category, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Seth Rorabaugh...
Happy 51st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Joe McDonnell. A free-agent signing midway through the 1984-85 season, McDonnell spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 1984-85, he appeared in 40 games and recorded 11 points. The following season, he only appeared in three games and failed to record a point. In the 1987 offseason, he was released. He is currently the director of amateur scouting for the Red Wings.
• And finally, I am in desperate need of a volunteer translator as I’m having a beast of a time trying to translate Sport-Express’s Andrei Kuznetsov’s conversation with Henrik Zetterberg. For now, you can read the Google translation thereof here.
Update #1: IIHF.com’s Risto Pakarinen’s recap now includes quotes, though none from Abdelkader, and the same is true for USA Hockey’s recap, which includes a photo gallery, and the same is true for USA Today’s Kevin Allen’s recap.
Also: Beware the spyware, but here’s a link (add the http://) to Finland-Canada; www8.livetv.ru/webplayer2.php?t=letontv&c=fgnfg2vfdfdfnh&lang=en&eid=116993&lid=55431&ci=84&si=2
Finland leads Canada 2-0 halfway through the 1st as I write this, and Filppula was on the ice and going to the net while Mikko Koivu scored the 2-0 PPG;
• NHL.com’s Tal Pinchevsky reports that while Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith is rooting for the Kings for now, he’s really a Wings fan:
For the Michigan-born Smith, a lifelong infatuation with the Wings reached a new level in 1997, when he found himself in the locker room at Joe Louis Arena as the Red Wings celebrated their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. At the game to promote a charity hockey event, Smith gained access to the team’s locker room, where he was quickly recognized. Moments later, he was drinking from the Stanley Cup.
“All the photographers were thinking, ‘He’s not a player,’ so they didn’t take any pictures. I was yelling, ‘Please, please take a picture.’ This one guy took a picture and he said, ‘Give me your information and I’ll get you the picture.’ I never heard from him,” Smith said. “Three years go by and I’m playing in a charity game in Boston and he was the ref. He came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I have a picture of you drinking from the Cup.’ I grabbed him and yelled, ‘Give me your information right now!’ Finally, he sent the picture. It’s now at home prominently displayed.”
A Los Angeles resident for decades, Smith has adopted the Kings as another NHL favorite. For the drummer, who occasionally attends Kings games when the band isn’t touring, their current run to the Western Conference Finals has been exciting. And the longtime goaltender has been especially impressed by the play of Jonathan Quick.
“I’m a fan of Quick. He’s played great all year,” Smith said. “I’m a goalie fan, and he’s an American guy, too.”
Smith’s hockey fandom even came in handy when it was time for the band to hire a new guitar player. When guitarist Josh Klinghoffer turned out to be a Red Wings fan, the Chili Peppers’ search was over.
“When he grew up, Sergei Fedorov was his favorite player. So we have a bond,” Smith said. “I said, ‘You can be in the band. You’re cool.’”
He appeared on NHL Live wearing a Red Wings jersey:
• Former Wing and Saint John Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant made an appearance on the Fan 590 as well, speaking to Nick Kypreos, Darren Millard and Doug MacLean, talking about his QMJHL champion team, which happens to include Wings prospect Tomas Jurco:
Making a play for Stuart, who might even take a “hometown discount,” makes sense for the Sharks. The 32-year-old is a solid top-four defenseman, something that is in short supply this year in terms of free agents. Among Sharks defensemen, Dan Boyle will be 36 by the start of next season, and Douglas Murray doesn’t look like he can keep up with the pace of today’s game anymore, at least in a top-four role. Jason Demers still hasn’t proven he can be an every day player in the league, either.
A top four of Boyle, Stuart, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic would be a strong group, especially if Burns becomes the defenseman the Sharks expect him to be after a first season of adjustment here. It also allows Justin Braun to continue his development on a third pair.
Furthermore, Stuart led the Red Wings in time-on-ice shorthanded per game this season (3:10), and would immediately upgrade San Jose’s horrid penalty kill. The Red Wings finished 18th in the NHL at 81.8 percent, nearly five percentage points higher than San Jose’s 29th-ranked unit (76.9 percent).
Stuart spent the first five-plus seasons of his career with the Sharks, after he was drafted third overall by the club in the 1998 draft. He was traded to Boston as part of the deal for Joe Thornton.
Stuart won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008 after he was sent there from Los Angeles in exchange for a pair of draft picks at the trade deadline. Detroit signed him to a four-year, $15 million deal after that season. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to expect the same kind of contract this offseason.
Suter has not indicated if he would like to return to Nashville. On the open market, Suter could command a frenzy for teams looking to add an elite defenseman entering his prime. Suter, 27, ranked third in ice time last season in the NHL and set a career-high with 46 points. He was a plus-15.
Poile said he talked with Suter on Wednesday morning and came away feeling that Suter believed Nashville could be a solid option for him next season and beyond.
“Based on (Wednesday), I really feel he wants to play in Nashville,” Poile said. “I know he really loves the city, I know his wife is happy here, I know it fits his personality, I have a good feeling.”
Poile said he expects to have an answer from Suter by early June. Suter is expected to command upward of $7 million per season in his next contract.
“It’s going to be a difficult contractual situation,” Poile said. “There’s nothing we have done or that’s happened that would make Ryan Suter less happy with his situation in Nashville.”
Whenever Suter enters the conversation, Weber’s name tends to follow.
“They’re separate but they’re tied in,” Poile said. “Whatever conversations I have in general with Ryan, I’m going to have with Shea. They are the key building blocks of our team.”
• And Paul also offers us yet another reminder, from the Globe and Mail‘s David Shoalts, that David Poile may not have the money to sigh Suter, just as the Devils may not be able to afford to re-sign Zach Parise:
The second team on the radar for GMs looking to exploit the cash-strapped is the Nashville Predators. Ryan Suter, 27, is headed for unrestricted free agency and the Predators surprise upset at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes leaves them in a state of uncertainty. GM David Poile also needs to deal with his other star defenceman, Shea Weber, and there may not be enough money for both.
Suter is taking a couple of weeks to let the emotion of the playoff loss recede before talking seriously with Poile about his future. But in a brief appearance with the media Suter did not sound like someone who put down roots in Nashville.
“Wherever I sign I want to be there for the rest of my career, and that affects my family, my wife, my kid, if we have more kids,” he said. “Everything plays into it.”
With the Detroit Red Wings expected to be an aggressive bidder if they lose both Nicklas Lidstrom (to retirement) and Brad Stuart (to free agency), it is not going to be a fun summer for Poile, either.
• Via RWF, can we see Steve Yzerman’s double overtime goal against the Blues in 1996 once again?
You’d better believe it:
Update #3: Despite a strong effort from Valtteri Filppula, Finland imploded, surrendering a 3-1 lead and losing 5-3 to Canada at home in Helsinki.
Filppula finished at -2 with 2 shots, a faceoff win and 20:09 played, and he was excellent from what I saw of the first and second period on Mikko Koivu’s wing;
Kyle Quincey went scoreless and took a penalty in 12:13 of ice time, playing alongside Blue Jackets defenseman Kris Russell.
Update #3.5: Yeah, this is bad, per IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks:
The Finns came out firing on all cylinders and took advantage of some lack of discipline from Canada. They got the only two goals of the opening period to take control.
On the first, Kyle Quincey gave the puck up just outside the Canadian blue line and Niko Kapanen wheeled into the offensive end. He got a pass to Antti Pihlström who whipped a backhand with his back to the Canadian goal that fooled Ward at 5:53.
Then, Canada took two quick penalties by Quincey and Dion Phaneuf. Finland didn’t score on the five-on-three (for 18 seconds) but it did get one before Phaneuf’s two minutes were up. Duncan Keith saved a goal by clearing the puck off the goal line as it was rolling in, but he fired it right onto the stick of captain Mikko Koivu, who fired it right back – and in.
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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.