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The Malik Report

Red Wings in the power rankings, first week of March, and other Wings/Griffins tidbits

On an afternoon that’s a little too quiet from this waiting-for-an-off-day-report blogger’s perspective: A few Wings tidbits of note have popped up on the radar screen, but as they’re of the scattershot variety, the best way to tie them together into a coherent entry involves discussing my least favorite subject.  Power rankings, the much-discussed and hand-wringing-inducing slates of low-hanging fruit that cause more trouble then they’re worth, in my humble opinion.

In any case, we’ll start with TSN’s Scott Cullen, who pushed the Wings up to first place in this week’s rankings:

 

This Week 1 Last Week1 Detroit Red Wings [record] 39-18-6

The resurrecton of RW Jiri Hudler, who scored a point-per-game in February, along with improved play from G Jimmy Howard helps the Wings hold on to top spot.

Key Injuries: D Brian Rafalski (back).

The Wings earned middling rankings, by Wings standards, anyway, in the slates of rankings which hit the wires today, including those of Versus’ Brian Metzer...

4. Detroit Red Wings ([last week] 3): Wings look human during two-loss week.

Of note: Dan Cleary notches 3 points (2G-1A) in last three games.

Fox Sports’ Robert Picarello...

3. Red Wings [last week: 3] [highest/lowest]: 1/7 [winning percentage]{ (.661)-- Week 20 was not a good one for the Red Wings. The team dropped two of three games, including a home-ice loss to the Sharks that ended a five-game winning streak.

The rankings of Sportsline's Wes GoldsteIn...

5 Red Wings [last week] 3: Getting healthier and more from Jiri Hudler these days. After a very disappointing start, Hudler has 10 points in his last eight games.

Or those of ESPN’s Scott Burnside:

3 ([last week] 3) Red Wings [record] 38-18-6: The Red Wings are the only team in the Western Conference with an outside chance of reeling Vancouver in for the top seed. Arrested mini two-game losing streak with shootout win in Buffalo on Saturday.

The Wings did receive a slight boost in the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau’s list, however:

3. Detroit Red Wings [last week] 4 [record] 39-18-6 [last ten] 7-3-0 : Contract extension for Jimmy Howard was Wings’ only roster new

Also of Red Wings and Griffins-related note:

• The Griffins get top billing here as their players are pumping gas for charity On Wednesday:

They usually spend their evenings filling the net and pumping their fists in celebration. But on Wednesday, March 2, Grand Rapids Griffins players will fill tanks and pump fuel as part of the team’s second annual Pumping Gas fundraiser at three local Marathon / J & H Family Stores locations.

The event, a benefit for Kids’ Food Basket, will feature more than a dozen Griffins players and mascots volunteering their time to pump gas for customer donations from 5-8 p.m. at three Marathon stations (all players and times subject to change):

Cottonwood Express – 8407 Cottonwood Dr., Jenison

  * 5-6:30 p.m. – Travis Ehrhardt, Jordan Pearce, Griff
  * 6:30-8 p.m. – Adam Keefe, Brent Raedeke

Plainfield Marathon – 2171 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids

  * 5-6:30 p.m. – Ilari Filppula, Francis Pare, Finn
  * 6:30-8 p.m. – Sergei Kolosov, Brian Lashoff

Remembrance Marathon – 3434 Remembrance Rd. NW, Grand Rapids

  * 5-6:30 p.m. – Greg Amadio, Jordan Owens
  * 6:30-8 p.m. – Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith, Griff

Each store will conduct a raffle for one Griffins team-autographed stick, four tickets to a Griffins game, and a $50 gas card.

Kids’ Food Basket is a force for attacking childhood hunger in greater Grand Rapids. Having begun over eight years ago by serving 125 kids each school day through their sack supper program, they now serve over 3,700 kids each day. Sack suppers are evening meals that provide 1,000 calories and five food groups – nutrition that’s critical to the development of kids’ brains and bodies. For more information, visit kidsfoodbasket.org.

• Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Greg Amadio recently donated a significant chunk of hair to “Locks of Love,” too;

• The Red Wings haven’t made the totals of the charitable funds raised for local hockey programs during the “Degree Top Protection Shootout” at Clark Park available yet, but the Wings’ website did post a video of Howard taking part in the charitable vent at Clark Park Recreation Center in Detroit:

• One more promotional plug before returning to your regularly scheduled programming: the Wings are holding a “viewing party” for the Wings-Sharks game on Thursday at the Hamlin Pub in Clarkston, MI;

• For parallelism’s sake, the Griffins have a difficult set of decisions to make as they must submit a 22-man “Clear Day” roster to the AHL, designating the players who are eligible to take part in a possible playoff run, on March 7th, as noted by the Griffins’ Half Eagle, Half Lion, All Griffin blog. Given that Joey MacDonald will probably return to Grand Rapids, I’m guessing that the Griffins will leave current ECHL’ers Thomas McCollum, Willie Coetzee and Sebastien Piche off their roster;

• Shifting focus back to the big club, “The LAist’s Jimmy Bramlett posted a late-breaking recap of the Red Wings’ messy 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, with defenseman Jack Johnson stating the obvious:

“They kicked our ass,” defenseman Jack Johnson said after the game.

• Two head scratchers via out-of-towners: first, the Orange County Register’s Curtis Zupke, via a photo gallery suggests that Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall ranks as the Anaheim Ducks’ biggest “enemy” ever:

1. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit. The Red Wings defenseman has a well-worn controversial reputation with Ducks fans because of his liberal use of elbows and shoulders. In an Oct.23 game he caught Teemu Selanne with an elbow to the head that prompted Selanne to say afterward, “That guy is dangerous out there. One of these days somebody’s going to get him, for sure. I know that. It’s just a matter of time when.”

Ooo, scary.

• And from the Vancouver Province, which seems to mention how the Canucks are supposedly better than the Red Wings in every other article these days, we get the wackiest comment of the day, per Jason Botchford, who compares former Duck and Canadien Maxim Lapierre’s acquisition to the following:

Several Canucks said they like what Lapierre promises to bring — a mix of penalty killing, speed, faceoff success, trash talking and general antagonizing. He’s not dissimilar to the type of player featured on many Stanley Cup winning teams, including Matt Cooke in Pittsburgh, Darren McCarty in Detroit, and Claude Lemieux.

He’s more like Cooke or Lemieux than McCarty because he’s plain old dangerous. Lapierre doesn’t let up when hitting players and he doesn’t discriminate in terms of going after opponents who are in vulnerable positions. He’s a “shift disturber” in the most unpleasant sense of the term;

• And we’ll conclude this little ditty with two sets of commentaries, with the first coming from WXYT’s Pat Caputo, regarding the Wings’ signing of Jimmy Howard to a 2-year, $4.5 million contract extension:

Three reasons signing Jimmy Howard to a contract extension, essentially making him their goalie of the future, was a wise move by the Red Wings:

1. Howard won 37 games for an injury-depleted team in 2009-10 as a rookie, keeping the Red Wings’ playoff streak alive, and has 31 victories already this season.

2. Howard proven he can overcome adversity by bouncing back from bad games or after allowing soft goals within games.

3. At $2.25 million per year, his salary fits perfectly during the NHL’s salary cap era.

• WXYZ’s Don Shane also offers a take as to why the Red Wings have struggled at Joe Louis Arena of late:

Their road record is now 22 wins, 8 losses and 2 ties, which is terrific. Their home record is 17 wins, 10 losses and 4 ties. Head coach Mike Babcock and the players are all a little baffled because in past years playing at the Joe has always been a big advantage.

This season it hasn’t been and we’ve heard a number of explanations from the players and the coach as to why they struggle at home. The one that makes the most sense to me is they keep it simple on the road. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Do your job and be responsible and your talent, which is almost always better than the other guys, will win out.

Obviously you feel more comfortable playing at the Joe. You’ve slept in your own bed, spent time with your wife and kids and know all the little things about your home ice that give you an advantage.

Other than a few boo birds showing up in the past week or two you’ve got fans who adore you and in past seasons made the Joe a loud, crazy, and tough place to win. It all adds up to an advantage to the Wings, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

Trust me, the players want Joe Louis to be an intimidating place. The Wings need to turn that aspect of the season around and I suspect they will because they have a lot of pride and all the losing at home really bothers them.

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Comments

SYF's avatar

1. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit. The Red Wings defenseman has a well-worn controversial reputation with Ducks fans because of his liberal use of elbows and shoulders. In an Oct.23 game he caught Teemu Selanne with an elbow to the head that prompted Selanne to say afterward, “That guy is dangerous out there. One of these days somebody’s going to get him, for sure. I know that. It’s just a matter of time when.”

Glass houses and shit, ya know, Teemu???

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 03/01/11 at 08:56 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Meh, I guess we are fortunate ole Teemu did not damage the TPH’s elbow with a skull that thick.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the prospect shuffle.... on 03/01/11 at 09:15 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Given that Joey MacDonald will probably return to Grand Rapids, I’m guessing that the Griffins will leave current ECHL’ers Thomas McCollum, Willie Coetzee and Sebastien Piche off their roster;

Walleye are 3 points out of a playoff spot right now, last in their division, and have lost 3 in a row.  I’m sure they’d be thrilled if none of their guys made the Griffs’ Clear Day roster.  They need em’.  I don’t see them falling to last in the conference though at least, with Trenton being so terrible (who knew?!  Devils’ farm teams being terrible?!).

Of those 3, I’d say Piche is the one the ‘eye can least afford to lose.

Posted by Primis on 03/02/11 at 12:37 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.