The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/06/11 at 01:45 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner spoke to Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom about the near-ridiculous level of scrutiny #96 has faced in front of opposing teams’ creases this season, suggesting that he can only try to adjust to the inconsistency with which referees have essentially applied the old “crease rule"whenever Holmstrom tries to legally screen an opposing team’s goaltender:
“You never really know what they’re going to call,” Holmstrom said. “You watch some games, and they’ll call this and that. I don’t think they know themselves.”
“You’re battling around the crease, you get knocked down, you’re getting up,” Holmstrom said, “and the thing is, you get pushed and cross-checked into the crease, and you’re battling to get out, but they don’t see that. They (opposing players) do it on purpose. It’s—I don’t know—stuff happens so fast out there. I’m sure that you miss some stuff. Maybe they should review it. Why not?”
Holmstrom plans on butting out from now on, both figuratively and literally speaking…
“The heel of my skate has to be six inches from the crease,” Holmstrom said. “That means that my butt is outside too—my six-inch butt. I think I’m a marked man, a dinosaur (laughs). I don’t try and think too much about it. You go through spurts where the calls go against you more often than others. Come playoff time, I need to be more aware of the crease.”
And while Wings coach Mike Babcock’s essentially called “uncle” regarding having to re-train his players to stay out of the crease, both Holmstrom’s regular carpool partner and his general manager suggest that Holmstrom remains the best player in the league at screening goaltenders:
“He knows his job,” Wings captain Nick Lidstrom said. “He knows where to be. He’s one tough SOB, I can tell you that. It takes a lot of guts to get knocked down and get sticks between your legs and get right back up. Homer earns his goals when he’s in front.”
“Obviously, he plays right on the edge, and there’s no doubt that he’s the best in the league at being in front of the net,” Holland said. “What I love about him is, he continues to go back there. He knows he’s right on the edge. There are lots of times that we score a goal that he doesn’t even get an assist, but I know that if he’s not on the ice, we’re not scoring.”
“For me, the amazing thing about Tomas Holmstrom is that he can be in front of the net, he can be aware of where the goalie is, he can be taking cross-checks from a defender, he can be jostling around, and all of a sudden at the last second a puck that’s coming 90 miles per hour, two feet in the air, he can tip and change direction of the puck. It’s incredible how he can multitask.”
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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.