The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/12 at 12:31 PM ET
Updated 7x at 4:04 PM: Two of the Red Wings’ three Sunday-playing participants in the World Championships faced off this morning, and the result was…Less than scintillating. Valtteri Filppula and Finland defeated Tomas Tatar’s Slovaks 1-0, with the Finns executing their trapping style to perfection while nursing the hell out of Janne Pesonen’s goal scored all of 7:32 into the 1st period.
Tatar skated hard, hit everything in sight and elegantly deked and dangled when the puck was on his stick, he went scoreless and finished at a -1 with one shot in 12:24 of ice time; Filppula skated strongly as well, but looked a little lost on the big ice at times, finishing with no shots in 18:08 of ice time.
Pavel Datsyuk’s Russians are playing as I type this, but there’s no reason to sit on the score: Datsyuk scored the game’s first goal, and Russia currently leads Norway 3-2 late in the second period as of 11:34 AM EDT. I, of course, have no idea where you could possibly watch the game...
Edit/update: Russia defeated Norway 4-2. Datsyuk’s goal was his only marker.
Update #2: Datsyuk played 15:09 and had 3 shots, but went 6-and-8 in the faceoff circle, and as I suggested on Twitter in a chat with Winging it in Motown, Datsyuk doesn’t look like himself…He’s having a hard time skating in full flight and his stick strength is lacking. I would guess that he’s playing through a knee that’s still giving him trouble, maybe a groin injury and possibly a flare-up of his wrist issues. He’s doing his best, but he’s at about 70% right now—with the fact that he’s playing with two youngsters in Sergei Shirokov and Yevgeny Kuznetsov not helping his cause.
Here’s Lukas Aykroyd’s recap and description of Datsyuk’s goal:
Datsyuk got things started for Russia at 1:21 of the second period with the man advantage. His wrister from the left faceoff circle beat Volden high to the blocker side, and caromed out off the back bar so quickly that video review was required to confirm the goal.
And there was good news, to some extent, out of Sweden’s Sunday practice: the Swedish press was worried that Henrik Zetterberg was hurt as he didn’t make an appearance, but SVT.se’s Marie Lehmann reported that Zetterberg simply took the day off.
Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros also reports that Jonathan Ericsson’s condition is now being called a “sore hip,” and he’s iffy for Monday’s game against Demark.
Update #3: Here’s what Henrik Zetterberg had to say about his condition while speaking to Expressen’s Mattias Ek:
Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg decided to not work out at Hovet Arena in Stockholm with the rest of the Tre Kronor players before their game against Denmark.
“I wasn’t on the ice. We decided to take a rehab day. There’s nothing serious going on,” says Zetterberg.
“I haven’t played for two weeks, and then there were two games in two days. I began to feel that there were some small things.”
What are they?
“It’s one of those things I’ve learned over the years, that you need to learn to know your body. When you start to hear alarm bells, then perhaps you should take a day off and start preparing for tomorrow instead.”
You haven’t received a hard hit/injury?
“No, there should be no danger [if I play the game] tomorrow.”
Detroit teammate and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was the other Tre Kronor player who wasn’t on the ice.
He played just one period against Norway, during the team’s premiere, and hasn’t been on the ice since. Ericsson received a cross-check and suffered bleeding from his buttock muscle.
He received treatment for a few days and has also done water aerobics and tried to jog.
“I was going to try to get on the ice at the morning skate and see how it feels. If it feels good the idea was that I could play. But it’s hard to say, I haven’t been on the ice after what happened,” said Jonathan Ericsson to HockeyExpressen.se.
Update #4: Datsyuk leads off IIHF.com’s video interviews from the Russia-Norway game:
And via me, the PostMedia News reports that Kyle Quincey will constitute more than a insurance policy for Canada:
Detroit Red Wings defenceman Kyle Quincey will be in the lineup for Team Canada when it plays France on Monday at the IIHF men’s world championship after Marc-Edouard Vlasic was lost for the rest of the tournament to lower-body injury.
Quincey, of Kitchener, Ont., will sub in for San Jose Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is out for the remainder of the tournament with a knee injury suffered in Canada’s 5-4 overtime loss Saturday to the United States in Helsinki, Finland.
It will be Quincey’s official debut in international play. He dressed for two exhibition games ahead of the 2005 IIHF world junior championship.
Vlasic is the second Canadian defenceman to bow out of the tournament due to injury. Montreal Canadiens blue-liner P.K. Subban was hurt in a pre-tournament game against Switzerland.
The loss to the U.S. dropped Canada’s record in pool play to 1-0-1, following the Canadians’ tournament-opening 3-2 win over Slovakia.
France, meanwhile, is 1-1 after falling 7-2 to the U.S. to open the tournament before beating Kazakhstan 6-3 on Sunday.
And Datsyuk spoke to both Sportbox.ru’s Denis Gusev...
Question: Why did the referees look at the video replay when you scored a legal goal?
Datsyuk: “It went off the back bar. Well, it all worked out.”
Question: Were you surprised that Kuznetsova registered the first assist, even though he’s generally played on the perimeter?
Datsyuk: “I didn’t even noticed that he wasn’t up, surprisingly.”
Question: Did you spend more energy in this game than the first?
Datsyuk: “Both games were difficult, and at the same level. The Norwegians are especially tuned into our game, and gave us a good skate. We won, and won well.”
And Sport-Express‘s Andrei Kuznetsov:
Question: You scored the game’s first goal…
Datsyuk: “We won, and that’s the main thing. Who scored, it’s forgettable, it doesn’t matter.”
Question: And the referees reviewed your goal. Although it was clearly in.
Datsyuk: “I don’t know, maybe they thought I’d hit the crossbar? Well, that all ended well.”
Question: With the Norwegians, is it easier to play them than the Latvians?
Datsyuk: “It was a difficult game. Moreover, we played two games in two days, and we played a great opponent that was tuned into us. A good ride. It’s remarkable that we won.”
In terms of Finland’s squeaker vs. Slovakia, Filppula told MTV3.fi’s Antti Ramanen—and this is incredibly roughly translated—that he’s not happy with his game thus far…
“It was very different [playing Slovakia] in that they very often had four men standing and waiting at their blueline. I need to skate a little bit more as I come though [the neutral zone]. Today we tried to pass through it and some of the passes weren’t accurate. Eventually I’m gradually getting used to this model, and hopefully I can play better,” said Filppula after the victory against Slovakia.
The same could be said for the Finnish Lions’ power play. Against Belarus and Slovakia it’s had 21 minutes of PP time without success.
“Maybe we should get more shots and second chances. We’re trying in vain to skate up into the middle of the ice and shoot it on goal. Our line should get more shots,” Filppula said.
Update #7: The Red Wings now have a World Championships player stat tracker from Bill Roose.
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