Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings at the Worlds: Howard, Abdelkader shine for U.S; on ‘Kronwalling,’ Wings’ gear sale

Updated 7x at 3:56 PM: Valtteri Filppula registered 3 assists for Finland and Pavel Datsyuk had a strong but scoreless game for Russia: Team USA displayed less than dominant form for the vast majority of their 5-3 victory over Belarus, but the Red Wings’ American representatives at the World Championships played very, very well for the U.S.

Like remarkably, awesomely “well,” with Justin Abdelakder and Jimmy Howard starring in a 5-2 win against a Belarussian team which rallied from a 2-0 deficit and absolutely dominated play against the U.S. rope-a-dope in the 1st and 2nd periods, where Howard more or less held the Americans in the game until they finally found their footing in the 3rd.

Justin Abdelkader scored a slick tip-in goal from the mouth of the Belarussian crease to give the Americans a 1-0 lead 1:39 in, and played a spirited, scrappy and strong-skating, confident game, earning time on both the power play and penalty-kill. He was named the game’s best player, finishing with a goal, assist (on the 2-0 goal), 4 shots, a 7-and-7 record in the faceoff circle and 15:52 played on the 3rd line.

Jimmy Howard played remarkably strongly when his defense left him out to dry over the vast majority of the game’s first 45 or so minutes, finishing with 23 saves on 26 shots against. He had no chance to stop any of the goals that he surrendered.as two were tap-ins and the third was screened and tipped.

In Stockholm, as I’m writing this, Pavel Datsyuk and Russia are still playing Denmark, and are up 3-1 after 2 periods. I’m watching the game at the following link—though I must warn you that there’s tons of spyware here, and pop-ups as well (I use ad-blocking and script-blocking add-ons to Firefox): livetv.ru/webplayer2.php?t=letontv&c=denmarkrussiaa&lang=en&eid=116988&lid=56358&ci=84&si=2

Datsyuk hasn’t fared in the scoring as of yet, and he’s still being under-utilized offensively. The Russians are more or less leaning on the Malkin line for scoring and Datsyuk, who’s playing with Nikolai Kulemin and Yevgeny Kuznetsov, is focusing more on his defensive duties with players he hasn’t been able to find much chemistry with.

One more Red Wings player will be in action today: Valtteri Filppula and Finland will tangle with the surprising French at 2:15 PM in Helsinki…

In off-day news for at least one team the Swedes received good news in the personnel department. According to Expressen’s Mattias Ek, alternate captains Henrik Zetterberg, Gabriel Landeskog and captain Daniel Alfredsson spoke to coach Par Marts about bringing Nashville Predators forward Patrick Hornqvist into the fold, and he will join the Swedes for Saturday’s game against Italy...

And Niklas Kronwall spoke to Hockeysverige.se’s Uffe Bodin about the delicate art of attempting to “Kronwall” his opponents on Olympic-sized ice. What follows is a rough translation of their conversation:

“It’s hard to go and hunt out there”
Kronwall’s looking for [better] timing his hits

He’s considered one of the NHL’s best hitters, and he’s even given rise to the term, “Kronwalled.” The World Championships have forced Niklas Kronwall, however, to bind a bit. The reason: the larger ice surface.

“There is more space here, and if it’s someone who goes boom, it’s awfully obvious,” says the Detroit defenseman to hockeysverige.se.

Stockholm: A simple YouTube search of Niklas Kronwall’s name provides enough highlight clips to fill a Sunday afternoon off. The 31-year-old from Jarfalla has made a reputation as one of the NHL’s best checking players—probably the very best in open ice.

It’s gone so far that Detroit’s opposing players have openly stated that they try to be aware when Kronwall’s on the ice so they don’t risk being mangled. He himself shrugs his shoulders when his physical game is mentioned.

“It gets attention if anything, but it doesn’t happen more than maybe three, four or five times a season. People think that it happens every game…I’m afraid they’ll be disappointed,” he says, smiling.

“More difficult to time right

During the World Championship, it wasn’t until yesterday’s fourth game against Germany that Kronwall got in a hit that reminded me of what he used to spoil Detroit Red Wings fans with.

“It’s hard to go and hunt out there, because it’s easy to put others in trouble. It can easily become a 2on-1 or 3-on-1 against us, and that’s something we avoid,” he explains, and points out that the larger ice in Europe makes it a little more complicated.

“It makes it a little more difficult to time properly, it’s often a bit further out [to the side] than they have over there. But positioning during games is something I need to improve across the board here.”

Has the big ice thus inhibited his physical game?

“Inhibited and suppressed…We play a little differently now as well, so it doesn’t happen as often. On the other hand, it’s a little easier to pop up into position to try and get in the way.”

“But there’s more space here, and if somebody goes boom, it’s very obvious here. Over there, maybe you can repair the damage easier given that there’s less ice to cover. I hope to be careful, but it will probably take a while before I feel comfortable with the ‘gap control’ that we talk about a lot in the neutral zone and their zone,” says Niklas Kronwall.

In the NHL, you register a lot of hits per season, and play physically all over the ice. Does it [take its toll on] your body?

“Well, if you do it right you usually don’t feel it, or get hurt, anyway. But as it’s obvious that hits generally take their toll on your body, but I work out all summer every year to prepare myself.”

“Part of Hockey”

In North America, it’s very common for opponents to start fights to get even when you’ve checked one of their players. What do you think about that mentality?

“There’s nothing you can do about it. Personally I think, though, that it’s a part of hockey, if you make a good hit. Whether it’s something ugly, I definitely think that there should be someone who comes and says that it’s not okay.”

Do you think that your hits are clean?

“Yes, in general, I think so. Maybe a few years ago I left the ice off my skates when I made hits, but it’s something I’ve tried to adjust.”

Do you have a hit that you’re particularly proud of?

“I thought that the one on Dany Heatley (against the San Jose Sharks) in the playoffs last season was a great hit, it was well-executed.”

Bodin included the following video in his article:

And for those of you who are equipment junikes like me, take note: the Red Wings posted the following press release regarding their equipment sale, which will take place on Saturday:

RED WINGS TO HOLD EQUIPMENT AND MEMORABILIA SALE IN TROY ON SATURDAY

… Game-Worn Jerseys From the 2011-12 Season, Used and Unused Gear Available for Purchase; Equipment Manager Paul Boyer to Make Special Appearance …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will be holding an equipment and memorabilia sale at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (1845 E. Big Beaver Rd.) this coming Saturday, May 12 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Fans will be able to obtain a piece of Red Wings history, as game-worn jerseys from the team’s record-setting 2011-12 campaign will be available for purchase. This past season’s jerseys were unique in that they featured a special patch honoring the memory of Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei and Stefan Liv – former Red Wings family members who lost their lives in September’s Yaroslavl Lokomotiv plane crash tragedy in western Russia .

Various game-worn jerseys from previous seasons, used and unused equipment (sticks, skates, etc.), limited-edition autographed memorabilia items and select Detroit Tigers paraphernalia will also be available for purchase on Saturday. Red Wings Season Ticket Holders will have exclusive access to this special sale between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The general public will then be able to take advantage of the incredible items up for sale from 11:30 a.m. until the store closes at 7:00 p.m. Longtime Red Wings Equipment Manager Paul Boyer will be on hand to answer any and all queries from the Hockeytown faithful between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

DATSYUK BATTLING FOR COVER OF EA SPORTS’ NHL 13

All-Star Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is currently in the running to have his likeness adorn the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 13 – the most popular hockey video game on the planet. The last time a Red Wing made an appearance on the cover of the long-running franchise was in 1996 when Steve Yzerman earned the distinction.

An online vote is currently being held at http://covervote.nhl.com to determine which NHLer will grace EA Sports’ next game cover. Datsyuk is currently going head-to-head with St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie, with the winner set to advance along the championship bracket into the quarterfinals. Voting in this round ends today at 11:59 p.m., with the next round set to commence on May 18. The final champion will be determined during the week of May 29-June 4 when the two remaining candidates go head-to-head.

Fans who register online can vote as often as they like, with their first ten ballots cast on any given day earning an entry in the Cover Vote Sweepstakes for a chance to win a VIP trip to the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas . Twitter users are invited to use the hash tag #NHL13Cover when championing their favorite players’ candidacy throughout the duration of this campaign.

I’ll add more to the mix and recaps/quotes when they’re available.

Update #0.5: Also: If you missed Ken Holland’s discussion of the team’s free agency plans with the Free Press’s Helene St. James or Nicklas Lidstrom’s future with Pierre LeBrun, give ‘em a gander;

• In terms of the “Suter Watch,” the Nashville Examiner’s Jim Diamond and the Nashville City Paper’s David Boclair offer more quotes, and the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle states the obvious:

He may only be 27 years old, but there’s the potential for one of those huge homerun contracts here, depending on how fierce the bidding is. The Detroit Red Wings are believed to be the front-runners (especially if Nick Lidstrom retires) while the Minnesota Wild are close to his hometown of Madison, Wis.

If he wants to, he can hold out for an Ilya Kovalchuk type deal (in terms of length and structure, not cap hit) that will take him until the end of his career.

Just look at the absurd 10-year, $40-million contract Christian Ehrhoff signed with the Buffalo Sabres last summer as a starting point and Duncan Keith’s 13-year, $72-million one as a potential comparable.

With only one summer left under this collective bargaining agreement, Suter’s deal may be the last of these type of deals, as the league wants to place a cap on contracts at five or six years.

• And the National Post’s Kate Wilkinson filed this little ditty about an event held in Toronto last night:

Hoping to get a glimpse of some hockey heroes, hundreds of guests pack the Evergreen Brick Works’ Holcim Gallery for the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s draft night.

The premise is simple — if your team raises $25,000 for Alzheimer’s research, you get a spot in the pro-am hockey tournament and a chance to draft an NHL alumnus to your team for the weekend, as well as a meet-and-greet right after the draft.
While there are 50 alumni present, tracking one down proves to be a feat as the
former NHLers mingled with the crowd of 900, catching up with old friends and obliging fans with autographs.

Mike Krushelnyski — an alumnus of five NHL teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers — and former Boston Bruin Kraig Nienhuis signs a program for a fan’s son.

“The draft, as you see, is a circus here,” Krushelnyski says. “Just trying to walk through and get from one end to the other is an event in itself.”

Now in its seventh year, the Scotiabank Pro-Am, in conjunction with The Gordie & Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s, has raised millions of dollars to support degenerative brain disease research. Colleen Howe passed away in 2009 after her battle with Pick’s Disease, a form of dementia. (This year’s tournament raised $2.3-million for research.)

Krushelnyski has been with the tournament since its beginnings, and counts Gordie Howe among his family friends.

“Whenever I needed something, I’d pop over to Gordie’s,” he says. “We’d sit down at the table and have coffee, and then he’d take the boys downstairs for half an hour and open up the home museum. … He was that great with the kids, just a super guy.”


Update #1: On Team USA’s win, from USA Today’s Kevin Allen...

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nate Thompson scored with 1:39 left in the second period to break a 2-2 tie and spark USA to a 5-3 win against Belarus that strengthens the Americans’ hopes of making the quarterfinals at the World Championships.

Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny and the Anaheim Ducks’ Bobby Ryan scored in the third period as the Americans raised their record to 3-1 in the tournament.

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty picked up two assists, giving him a tournament-leading seven points.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was in the USA’s net and made 23 saves for the win.

The Americans play Kazakhstan Friday (9:15 a.m, ET, NBC Sports Network). Dallas Stars goalie Richard Bachman is expected to play for the Americans in that game.

The Associated Press...

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nate Thompson broke the tie at the end of the second period to help the US team beat Belarus 5-3 at the ice hockey world championships in Helsinki on Thursday.

Detroit Red Wings’ forward Justin Abdelkader opened the scoring at 1:39, followed five minutes later by Cam Atkinson of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexei Ugarov tied it for Belarus early in the second period after Alexei Kalyuzhny made it 2-1 at 16:15.

The Americans dominated the third period, with goals by Bobby Ryan at 52:10 and Paul Stastny at 55:34 giving the US a 5-2 lead. Yevgeni Kovyrshin scored from a power play with 10 seconds left.

IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks...

The Americans got off to just the start they needed to diminish the Belarusian spirit. Abdelkader scored just 1:39 into the game from in close, and then five minutes later Cam Atkinson scored on a wrist shot in the slot while being covered by two defencemen.

Belarus coach Kari Heikkila changed goalies soon after, removing Andrei Mezin and inserting backup Vitali Koval, who played the rest of the game. The Belarussians got back into the game late in the period when Alexei Kalyuzhny made a great deflection halfway down the shaft of his stick off a Dmitri Korobov point shot to beat Jimmy Howard in goal.

The Americans ran into a bit of penalty trouble, starting with a minor and misconduct to defenceman Jack Johnson at the end of the first for checking to the head and neck area. Early in the second Kyle Palmieri took an unnecessary goalie interference penalty, and Belarus capitalized. Mikhail Grabovski passed the puck down low to Yevgeni Kovyrshin, and his shot was stopped by Howard. Alexei Ugarov got the rebound and swiped it in to tie the game, 2-2.

Teams had plenty of scoring chances the rest of the period,  notably Kalyuzhny who stripped Cam Fowler of the puck at the U.S. blue line and went in alone short-handed. Howard made a fine save.

At the other end, Koval made a nice save on an in-close chance from J.T. Brown. The only other goal of the period came late, on a lucky play. Nate Thompson came around the Belarus net and fired the puck in front. It went off the skate of Kovyrshin and past a surprised Koval to give the U.S. a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

And USA Hockey’s website promises that they’ll have an updated recap soon. Their photo gallery has a picture of Abdelkader accepting his player of the game award (a Swiss watch).

Pavel Datsyuk did not fare in the scoring in Russia’s 3-1 win over Denmark, but he’s playing excellently—he’s just not getting scoring results. He finished the game with 18:18 in ice time, playing alongside Nikolai Kulemin and Yevgeny Kuznetsov, and he had 2 shots, went 8-and-6 in the faceoff circle and finished at +1.

Shifting gears, if it matters, Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski’s weighed in on the Suter sweepstakes, and Pro Hockey Talk’s Jason Brough took note of what Zach Parise’s agent had to say to ESPN’s Craig Custance in his insider blog, which is a subscription-only affair:

[W]what about Parise? Is it that simple? His team has advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the Devils have proved they have as good a chance as anybody of playing for a Stanley Cup. Had they lost in the first round, most of us would have penciled Parise in for a guaranteed trip to free agency. Does this playoff success change things? I posed that question to his agent, Newport’s Wade Arnott, and even he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Does the fact that they’re showing well and taking a longer run and becoming more competitive, is it the right fit? I don’t know the answer to that.”

But it’s got to help the cause, right?

“It probably bodes decently for the Devils,” Arnott said.

But there are other issues. Sometimes it’s not as easy as wins and losses. In Nashville, the Predators have done a good job of erasing all the other concerns from the equation. It’s a great place to play hockey with a passionate, growing fan base. There’s now stability with an ownership that has been very public in its willingness to spend and backed it up by giving a huge contract Pekka Rinne. Despite the shortcomings this spring, GM David Poile and coach Barry Trotz remain one of the most respected duos in the game. If Poile retires any time soon, the Predators would have arguably the best assistant GM in the game in Paul Fenton ready to take over. For Suter, it could be as simple as deciding whether that combination of factors is enough to equal a consistent chance at a Stanley Cup for the next decade.

Things aren’t quite as clear in New Jersey.

Cue the ownership problems and questions as to whether the franchise is losing money and/or being supported by the NHL, and lather, rinse and repeat.

In Swedish, Henrik Zetterberg spoke to the Swedish news agency TT’s Goran Sundberg about his scrap with Evgeni Malkin in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals and tangling with Russia tomorrow:

“That was in the heat of the moment and it was very emotional, and I don’t know if either of us realized what happened until afterwards. There are no hard feelings at all, we’ve met many times and spent time other side as well,” said “Zata” who hasn’t been involved in any fights before or since.

He’s full of admiration for Malkin.

“He may have been the single best player in the NHL this season. He has it all—size, skating, strength and great hands,” says Zetterberg.

But most of all he praised his teammate from Detroit, star two-way center Pavel Datsyuk.

“There is probably no one who can do the stuff he does. We who see him every day know that he’s very unique. He’s a complete player, and he’s not only focused on offense, but also defense,” says Zetterberg, and continues: “There will be a hell of a challenge [for us] to beat both of them, but great fun. It’s fun to play in these games.”

Zetterberg took it easy on Thursday, watching the practice, playing some soccer and wrote autographs for Tre Kronor fans at the open practice at Hovet.

He tells me he really appreciates playing on Par Marts’ national team, where offense and energy are the watchwords.

“I think it’s great fun and enjoy it here so it’s easier to play. It’s different from what I’m accustomed to. Both I and “Frasse” (linemate Johan Franzen) have great fun here,’ and it’s probably one of the things we looked forward to [the most] when we said yes—to come here and play fun offensive hockey.”

And this is just kinda dumb: Expressen’s Tomas Pettersson took offense at Jimmy Howard’s playful jabs at his Swedish teammates:

Cocky greeting to Detroit’s Swedes

Helsinki: Here’s a cocky greeting from across the Baltic Sea to the Tre Kronor and Detroit’s Swedes.

“They won’t even score on me, I know them all, inside and out,” says U.S. goalie Jimmy Howard.

The U.S. won a dutiful victory over Belarus, 5-3, on Thursday afternoon. Two Detroit players took leading roles:

• Justin Abdelkader, 25, was named the game’s best player after scoring a goal and an assist.

• Jimmy Howard, 28, a goalkeeper had to fight through an unexpectedly tight game between the posts against a lively Belarus team.

Dreams of the Tre Kronor

The victory was absolutely essential for the United States if they’re going to battle for a spot in the Quarterfinals. But Jimmy Howard hopes to go much further than that.

“My dream end of the World Championship would be if I shut the door against Sweden in the final. Then I would have something to hold over Swedes for the entire next season,” said Howard to Sport-Expressen.

In particular, he aimed his comments at the quartet of Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson on the Tre Kronor. These are usually his teammate on the Detroit Red Wings.

“It would be great to play against Sweden in the semifinals or finals, but we have a long way to go,” says Howard.

“It’s inside out

What do you think about Sweden’s team?

“It’s great. If you look at the lineup, it’s hard to say anything other than that they’re favorites for gold.”

If Sweden meets the USA, Howard sincerely hopes to be allowed to play. Not at least because of Zetterberg and Franzen.

“I practice with them every day, so I know how they shoot.”

So you could shut them out?

“Absolutely. They won’t even score on me, I know them inside out,” says Howard.

Scoring forward Justin Abdelkader says he would also love to meet his friends on the Tre Kronor.

“Really, I’ve got some good tricks to stop Zetterberg out on the ice.”

Do you? What then?

“I’ll keep them to myself.”

Update #3: The Free Press posted a USA-BEL recap;
 
• Via RedWingsFeed, the Globe and Mail’s ultimate playoff beard fan vote has Scott Hartnell and Henrik Zetterberg facing off today;

• And Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford weighs in on the Lidstrom decision as it will affect the Wings’ free agency plans:

It’s believed that Holland will meet with Lidstrom over the next few weeks to decide the 42-year-old’s future. It’s imperative a decision is reached prior to the start of free agency (Jul. 1), so the GM can figure out:

– How much of his cap room (currently at $20 million) will be allotted to Lidstrom, who made $6.2 million on each of his last two deals.

– What to do with UFAs Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom and Brad Stuart.

– What to do with RFAs Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey.

– How much he and head coach Mike Babcock are willing to rely on former 1st/2nd round picks making entry-level money (Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyqvist, Landon Ferraro, Tomas Tatar).

– If 2010 first-round pick Riley Sheahan is ready to make the NHL after a one-game trial in April.

So yeah, plenty of issues facing Holland. Not that he thinks they’ll be too difficult to overcome.

“You wake up every day, and you’re nervous. It’s such a fine, fine line between finishing fifth and finishing ninth,” he explained. “[But] certainly with a tweak here or there, a couple of good things happen to us this summer, we make a couple of moves, there is no reason we can’t contend in the West.”

The big move, though, is getting Lidstrom back.


Update #3: USA Hockey’s recap is available now:

Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State University) scored his first goal of the tournament off a sharp-angle deflection at 1:39 of the first period to give the U.S. an early lead. Cam Atkinson (Riverside, Conn./Columbus Blue Jackets/Boston College) followed suit with a snap shot from the high slot at 6:31 to double Team USA’s advantage. Belarus got on the board at 16:15 and Team USA carried a 2-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Belarus tallied a power-play goal at 2:50 of the second period to even the game at 2-2. Nate Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Tampa Bay Lightning) lit the lamp with a sharp angle shot with 1:39 remaining in the second period to give the U.S. a 3-2 edge at the end of 40 minutes.

Bobby Ryan (Cherry Hill, N.J./Anaheim Ducks) tipped in a blast from the point at 12:10 of the third period to stake the U.S. to a 4-2 advantage and just over two minutes later, Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver) charged into the offensive zone and made a slick move before tucking the puck through the legs of Belarus netminder Vitali Koval at 15:34. Belarus rounded out the scoring with 10 seconds remaining in regulation while holding a 6-on-3 advantage thanks to two U.S. penalties and an extra attacker.

The U.S. Men’s National Team resumes Group H play on Friday (May 11) against Kazakhstan. Faceoff is 4:15 p.m. local time (9:15 a.m. EDT). The game will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network and scoring updates will be available on Twitter. Use the hashtag #2012MWC to join the conversation surrounding the tournament.
...
Justin Abdelkader, who had a goal and an assist, was named Team USA’s Player of the Game

And…sigh…via SI’s Darren Eliot:

[T]he Predators dispatched the Detroit Red Wings—the franchise standard they’ve measured themselves against since Music City became Hockey Tonk in 1998—in workmanlike fashion. They knew Detroit’s tendencies better than the Red Wings themselves did. The Preds were bigger, stronger and more diligent in every facet of the game.

Faced with some internal strife and up against focused, determined—there’s that theme again—foes, though, neither the Flyers nor the Preds had the wherewithal to conjure up the emotion necessary against the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes respectively. That’s not surprising, given the mental capital they expended in their first round successes.

Update #3.5: Chris Osgood and Dan Clouiter received nominations as two of Sportsnet’s Patrick Hoffman’s top eight “playoff goats” in NHL history, with Osgood earning that status for his gaffe against the Sharks in 1994 and Cloutier for the Lidstrom goal in 2002.

Update #4: MLive’s Brendan Savage posted a Wings at the Worlds update…

• Via RedWingsFeed, Michael Caples of Michigan Hockey Now posted highlights from the Belarus-U.S. game…

• And Valtteri Filppula has two assists and Finland is leading France 5-2 after 2 periods of play.

Update #5: USA Today’s Kevin Allen snagged some quotes from Abdelkader...

After claiming a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game on goals by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader and Columbus’ Cam Atkinson, the Americans allowed Belarus to tie the game 2-2.

“Hopefully, we will learn from that,” Abdelkader said, via a cell phone from Helsinki. “We can’t sit back. We just have to be smart when we have the lead … it was good to see us come out in the third period and play the way we did.”

And coach Scott Gordon, speaking about Howard’s play:

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 23 saves in the game, including a breakaway stop when the Americans were on a power play with the game tied 2-2.

“That was a critical point in the game,” Gordon said. “It was a huge save. It could have been the turning point in the game.”

“I liked the way the second period ended, and it carried over to the third period,” Gordon added. “Other than on the power plays, we didn’t give up a whole lot of the third period.”

Update #6: It’s been a good day for every Wings player taking part in the Worlds. Valtteri Filppula registered three assists, went 1-and-1 in the faceoff circle, took 3 shots and finished at +2 in 14:16 of ice time in Finland’s 7-1 win over France.

Update #7: Soo Today reports that Wings prospect Ryan Sproul was named to the OHL’s Third All-Star team;

• DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose updated his Wings at the Worlds stats tracker;

• And, via RedWingsFeed, here’s Alex Delvecchio speaking to Red Wings TV about his memories of the Wings’ battles against Montreal and Toronto:

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Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

“I think it’s great fun and enjoy it here so it’s easier to play. It’s different from what I’m accustomed to. Both I and “Frasse” (linemate Johan Franzen) have great fun here,’ and it’s probably one of the things we looked forward to [the most] when we said yes—to come here and play fun offensive hockey.

interesting statement.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/10/12 at 03:29 PM ET

Avatar

“There’s nothing you can do about it. Personally I think, though, that it’s a part of hockey, if you make a good hit. Whether it’s something ugly, I definitely think that there should be someone who comes and says that it’s not okay.”

I find it odd that Kronwall believes it’s normal to have to fight after running someone yet hides between the referee’s legs in terror whenever this happens.

Posted by larry from pitt on 05/10/12 at 03:38 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings got away from that kind of play when injuries struck in 2010, and they’ve never really regained their puck possession dominance to the extent they had implemented it previously. Babs has to minimize defensive mistakes, but a return to a more Wings-like up-tempo style would help—and be aided significantly by adding a goal-scorer and puck-moving defenseman to the mix.

The team needs to have “more fun” in more ways than one.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/12 at 03:39 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

—and be aided significantly by adding a goal-scorer and puck-moving defenseman to the mix.

And grit and desire and tenacity and heart and size….. shall I continue?
Okay, I’ll be serious now. They need those things, George, now more than ever but they also need what I just typed as well. If all they add is a sniper and a Suter we will be out in the first or second round again. IMHO

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/12 at 04:11 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Well regardless of what we want the Wings to do, it is highly likely that Holland will add a scoring forward, top-pair defenseman, and possibly a fourth-line grinder and back-up goalie, and he’ll have faith otherwise that his coaching staff core players and youngsters will get their shit together and rebound without necessitating a rebuild.

That’s how it’s gonna go down, for better or worse, and I understand that you and I both have our doubts, but I do not feel fatalistic or incredibly pessimistic about the Wings’ chances of returning to form while only making a few “tweaks.”

I mean this as politely as possible, but sometimes it feels like we’re talking about the Detroit Lions prior to last season as opposed to a team that’s made the playoffs for 21 years and has made the second, third our fourth rounds in three of the past four seasons, with the players, coach and GM all stating that not meeting its required goal of at least making the Western Conference Finals requiring “aggressive” moves to ensure that the team meets both their and our expectations.

I’m good with that.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/12 at 04:37 PM ET

rrasco's avatar

Oh, I long for the day I can update this site…

http://kronwalled.net

Posted by rrasco from TEXAS on 05/10/12 at 04:50 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

3 years of early round exits in the playoffs for one of the greatest franchises in sports history.  Sorry if the bar is set high but I don’t feel out of line for not wanting to spend my money watching mediocrity.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/10/12 at 05:42 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/12 at 02:37 PM ET

One day I’m optimistic Holland’s gonna make some serious power moves and the next I’m pesimistic. The waiting is killing me! Hahaha…...

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/12 at 05:47 PM ET

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“I don’t feel out of line for not wanting to spend my money watching mediocrity. “

LMAO !!!  Don’t move to Toronto.

Sounds like a comment made by someone that didn’t live through the “Dead Things” era before Yzerman was drafted etc.

Before last years draft and free agency period, the word was the 2011-12 season would be a “transitional” season. That in my mind translated into something not great but also not crappy ... and thats what we got. They got into the playoffs but didn’t win the cup.

The team is going through a transitional period but they make the playoffs anyways ??  Holy crap !!  Fans in Montreal and Toronto reading this stuff have to be laughing and crying at the same time.

We all knew there were holes to be filled going into last years free agency, and it was stated on more than one occasion that there weren’t good enough players available at the right price to invest in long term ... and we all know Kenny Holland makes his decisions based on what a player can do for the team tomorrow as well as today.  We knew the 11-12 season wasn’t going to be pretty, so for all that are disappointed and insist on flinging insults and empty threats at Holland please remember ... you were warned way ahead of time.

This years crop of free agents looks a little better than last years, but the expiring CBA could throw a proverbial monkey wrench into the whole deal. Depending on where negotiations are come July 1 and, depending on where the Evil Troll sets the salary cap, and yes it also depends on the future of Lidstrom Holmstrom and Stuart, this could be a huge summer or it could be a devastating summer.

The Red Wings in 2012-13 will either be an amazing team or they will totally suck ... no middle ground.  If its that obvious to us, imagine how Kenny Holland feels right about now.

We need to mellow out, sit back and watch what happens, and know that the best team management in the league will do the right thing.

If I had time I’d also voice my opinion on what I think playing in the World Championship means to players but that would take too long.  I have computers to fix so I have to end my comment here.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/10/12 at 06:42 PM ET

gowings's avatar

“Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/10/12 at 04:42 PM ET”

You make a good point…but still would like to read your opinion on the World Championships. I admit, I have a pretty immature opinion about it. If you can’t make an effort on the Wings, then too bad, you should not be allowed to go…That goes to both Z and especially Franzen (oh wait…I can give you a few more names..)

Posted by gowings from MTL on 05/10/12 at 07:21 PM ET

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You make a good point…but still would like to read your opinion on the World Championships. I admit, I have a pretty immature opinion about it. If you can’t make an effort on the Wings, then too bad, you should not be allowed to go…That goes to both Z and especially Franzen (oh wait…I can give you a few more names..)

Posted by gowings from MTL on 05/10/12 at 05:21 PM ET

I think a little bit is getting lost in translation, but you have to remember that this is a short tournament where scoring is premium. You usually don’t win by playing a pure lockdown game and goal differential matters.

The Swedes knew going in that they were going to be allowed to be more free wheeling and I think they are all excited to be playing at home.

Everyone forgets that Babcock before the Wings was a grind it out, block shots, defense first coach. Kenny told him that wasn’t going to work here and to adjust and he did, but he’s fallen back a bit due to the holes in the lineup. I think the boys haven’t enjoyed the adjustment a ton.

Posted by Moocat on 05/10/12 at 09:29 PM ET

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ok .. 1 computer fixed & delivered, 2 to go, but first a brain break ... so lets vent about the World Championship.

First, we have to remember that the ice surface is 15 feet wider, so that gives Z and Franzen an opportunity to go places they can’t in the NHL and make higher risk passes that would get intercepted in the NHL.  It also forces Kronwall to play a more conservative style and do less “Kronwalling”.

Second, some players, for one reason or another, may never make the Olympic roster, so for them this is their Olympics. I too would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to represent my country wherever and whenever possible.

Third, players like Abdelkader are given the opportunity to play a different role than they play on their NHL team.  Abby is actually seeing power play time like he did in college. This may open up Babcock’s eyes to new options come October.

Fourth, and possibly most important, this tournament is giving Calle Jarnkrok a chance to play with Z ans Mule NOW as opposed to 3 or 4 years down the line after he’s done his stint in Grand Rapids.  He’s getting the chance to visually absorb their skills and techniques while they are at their peak instead of just talking about things they used to do when they were younger.

Fifth (and finally) it gives all of the GM’s and scouts a chance to find a new ‘diamond in the rough’. Somewhere out there is an unsigned grinder that would fit in perfectly with someones system. What better place is there to find that ?

Comparing the Worlds to the NHL is like comparing Apples to Oranges.  Different size ice leads to a different style game no matter how many new rules Bettman pulls out of his ass.  Players comments can’t be misconstrued as NHL slams because its not the same game.  A players scoring performance can’t be compared either because there is more room to do different things.

What you CAN take away from this tournament is a players attitude towards the game, his preparation, and the effort he puts out from shift to shift.  If he gives you 100% every shift and makes an impact every time he steps out on the ice, ods are he’ll do the same in the NHL.  Its up to the player to figure out how to make room for himself on the smaller ice surface.

The only negative about the tournament is if a player gets injured and he won’t be able to participate when the bell rings in October.  Yeah there is insurance to cover salary costs etc., but that doesn’t fill the hole created by not having that player available to his NHL team.

In my mind, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Any International tournament should be enthusiastically supported, and we should relish the opportunity to see a more offencive oriented game.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/10/12 at 10:19 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I’m only 30 so yes, Wax, yo’ure right wink

Anyway you slice it, Franzen had no motivation in the NHL playoffs, now he’s showing motivation.

Even Z mentioned that playing there isn’t like what he’s accustomed to, he actually enjoys playing hockey over there.

Those are issues to me.  Sure, it can always be worse.  Sure, in the grand scheme of things, hockey doesn’t REALLY matter.  But in the context of a paying fan, I expect EFFORT every night, even if it doesn’t lead to RESULTS.  my beef is with the EFFORT.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/11/12 at 12:46 AM ET

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yanno ... Franzen plays 18+ minutes every game and yet he’s able to make himself completely invisible for about half of those games. you don’t call that effort ?

baaaahahahaha

i think someone slipped him some old sergei fedorov video tapes.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/11/12 at 06:35 AM ET

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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.