The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/04/12 at 02:20 PM ET
Updated 4x at 2:04 PM: Recaps are coming in slowly as the first day of the World Championships remains an in-progress event (Finland faces Belarus at 1:15 PM EDT and Sweden faces Norway at 2:15 PM EDT), but in addition to expanding upon Jimmy Howard’s 21-save performance against France in the Americans’ Worlds opener, TSN reports that Tomas Tatar scored a goal in 14:56 of ice time as the Slovaks fell to Canada by a 3-1 tally.
The Slovaks tied the game early in the second period off a giveaway by 18-year-old defenceman Ryan Murray. His stretch pass was picked off at the Slovak blue line by Juraj Mikus, who carried the puck down the left side into the corner. Mikus found Tatar at the faceoff dot and his quick shot beat Cam Ward between the pads.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James and NHL.com took note of the Americans’ win as well, Team USA’s website posted a recap and photo gallery from the game, and Howard spoke to IIHF.com’s Risto Pakarinen...
“It’s important not to take anybody lightly. When it gets to this level, everyone’s pretty close,” said Team USA goaltender Jimmy Howard.
The US had a game plan, and they stuck to it. Today, the streak is five games long. But it was France who took drew first blood when Yohann Auvitu and team captain Laurent Meunier opened up the U.S. defence, before Meunier dropped the puck back to Nicolas Besch who beat Jimmy Howard with a wrist shot from the slot at 12:17.
“It was a little bit of nerves out there. It’s been a little while since I played for Team USA, so I was a little bit nervous in the first and second but I felt a lot better in the third,” Howard said.
And RIA Novosti posted this English-langage article about Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin’s collective impact upon Team Russia, which doesn’t begin play until tomorrow…
NHL stars Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin have strengthened the Russian team significantly since joining up with the world championship squad, Valery Belov, a senior coach with the team, told RIA Novosti on Friday. Datsyuk and Malkin arrived in Sweden on Tuesday with their teams out of the NHL playoffs.
Tournament rules allow players to be added during the three-week event, which could foresee more NHL players like Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov eventually taking part.
“We can build two strong lines around them,” Belov said. “Even though they’re real stars, they’ve fitted into the group absolutely fine as if they’d been here right from the start of training. Evgeni and Pavel are very communicative and should strengthen the team not only in the game, but also raise the team spirit and rally the team. The guys should feel confident working with them.”
Complacency could become an issue for the lesser-known KHL players lining up alongside NHL greats, Belov suggested.
“If everyone thinks that just Malkin and Datsyuk will solve everything, then it’s going to be tricky.”
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings’ website posted a 19-second PSA promoting the anti-bullying initiative “Defeat the Label”:
• Sigh. Speaking of bullies, you can guess who penned this paragraph about Datsyuk in an article discussing ethnic stereotypes against various NHL’ers from places not named Canada…
You know, no one would ever call Pavel Datsyuk a “lazy Russian” even though he finished the Wings’ one-and-done playoff appearance, despite putting up just one goal and two assists in five games, none of them particularly important in the end. And why? Because his game has a terribly North American flavor. He plays with extreme defensive responsibility and a dazzling skillset. And therefore, even though he wasn’t even born on this continent, he’s a good guy, and all the mean stuff everyone says about Russians doesn’t apply to him.
• In more positive Datsyuk news, don’t forget that you can vote for him to defeat T.J. Oshie and advance to the semifinals of EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote until May 10th;
• The Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner took note of the various members of the Grand Rapids Griffins alums taking part in the Worlds;
• In the Red Wings alumni department, per PR Web:
Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation and Kohl’s invite the community to celebrate Safety Day, 2-5 PM, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at the new Kohl’s store in Livonia, featuring Kris Draper, former Red Wings player and special assistant to the general manager, free bike helmets, children’s activities, music, snacks and local public safety officials.
Kohl’s will also present a $553,964 check to Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation to support the Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program (KIPP) at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
“We are grateful for the continued support of Kohl’s and the Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program,” said Cameron Hosner, president and executive director for Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. “Kohl’s is a valuable asset to our region, and their commitment to safety is essential to keeping children of all ages protected and injury free.”
Kohl’s leadership will present the donation at 3:45 PM to Hosner and Herman B. Gray, M.D., president of DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Meanwhile, the community is invited to free bike helmets and fittings, activities, music and snacks. Draper will sign the first 75 helmets given to children 14 years and under, at Kohl’s Safety Day. The event is sponsored by Garden Fresh Salsa, Domino’s Pizza Livonia, 96.3 WDVD, Perry’s Tents and Events, and Joe Cornell Entertainment.
—RW Jiri Hudler scored his team’s only two goals in the past two games. They might have been his final two games with the team. Hudler is an unrestricted free agent and might command more than the Wings are willing to give. He had a big bounce-back season with 25 goals, but he lacks size and grit and might be deemed expendable.
—LW Johan Franzen has a history of stepping up in the playoffs—his 33 postseason goals since 2008 ranked second in the NHL. But he was a no-show this spring, picking up just one point, a lucky goal when the puck bounced off his leg. It followed an inconsistent regular season, in which he didn’t skate hard for periods of time.
—D Kyle Quincey committed a costly turnover that led to Alexander Radulov goal that opened the scoring. Quincey was inconsistent during the regular season and, like many of his teammates, did not step up in the playoffs. But the restricted free agent will be re-signed, since the team spent a first-round draft pick to acquire him on Feb. 21.
• And my search engine monkeys (no astronauts among them) found a video from Jokerit Helsinki’s website which you’ll totally enjoy if you can understand what Valtteri Filppula says when he speaks Finnish:
Update: Very briefly: Henrik Zetterberg posed for a photo shoot with Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg, and he spoke to Expressen’s Henrik Sjoberg and Adam Eriksson while doing so, stating that he’s enjoying spending time with his friends and family instead of staying at a hotel, but that he also expects to go into a “bubble” during the World Championships, which he has “a good feeling” about, and he’s looking forward to playing against Pavel Datsyuk and the Russians.
You’re not going to get much out of it, but here’s the video which accompanies the story:
Zetterberg also joked about transitioning back to 200’x100’ ice while speaking to Aftonbladet’s Emil Karlsson, suggesting that one requires a map and compass to simply find their water bottles.
Update #2: USA Today’s Kevin Allen posited a USA-France recap;
• And the Hockey News mentioned two Wings goals in their All-time playoff overtime goals list:
5. Steve Yzerman, Detroit/St. Louis, 1996: Arguably the greatest goal Yzerman ever scored started when St. Louis’ Wayne Gretzky couldn’t handle the puck at the Detroit blueline and Yzerman grabbed it and raced into the Blues end, firing a perfect shot over the right shoulder of Blues goalie Jon Casey in the second overtime of Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
4. Igor Larionov, Detroit/Carolina, 2002: When Larionov picked up the puck inside the Hurricanes’ blueline in the third overtime of Game 3 of Detroit’s Stanley Cup final series against Carolina, he could have passed to teammate Mathieu Dandeneault, who was closer to Canes goalie Arturs Irbe on a 2-on-1. Instead, he deked past a Carolina defenseman and scored one of the prettiest backhand goals you’ll ever see to give the Red Wings a 2-1 series lead.
Update #3: Things you learn: the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, Original Sixer Jerry Toppazzini helped coach a certain Red Wings goalie coach to a Memorial Cup with the Sudbury Wolves:
The Wolves haven’t won the Memorial Cup since 1932, but no team has ever come closer to ending the drought than that one. Led by future NHLers Randy Carlyle, Ron Duguay, Mike Foligno, Dave Hunter, Rod Schutt and Hector Marini, the Wolves made it to the Ontario Major Junior League final before losing to the Hamilton Fincups. The fact the Fincups tore the Wolves apart on the strength of Dale McCourt, who grew up in nearby Falconbridge, then went on to win the Memorial Cup was pretty much unbearable for my 13-year-old psyche.
But that Sudbury team was a marvel to watch, losing only 11 games that season with Toppazzini being named coach of the year.
“We were so young and so dumb and so green that we didn’t realize what a great coach we had,” said Jim Bedard, who played goal for the Wolves that season and now is the goaltending coach for the Detroit Red Wings. “I don’t ever remember seeing him play, but the way he coached, you could tell he probably didn’t lose too many battles for loose pucks. We didn’t know how lucky we were to have a guy like that preparing us. I do remember, though, that when we lost the final against Hamilton, we felt like we had let him down. He never let us down.”
Update #4: In foreign-language news: Here’s a photo gallery from Slovakia’s game against Canada from Hokej.sk;
• Pavel Datsyuk played down suggestions that he’ll head to the KHL—which he said he’d only do if there’s a lockout—and said that he’s fully healthy while speaking to Sportbox.ru’s Denis Gusev, and Datsyuk told Gazeta.ru that the Russians will take Latvia seriously despite the fact that he can’t remember playing a game against them;
• According to HockeySverige.se’s Jens Wickholm, Valtteri Filppula told the Swedish-language Finnish newspaper Hudvudsbladet (I can’t find the article myself) that he’s excited about playing in the Worlds after a strong NHL season, and that he hopes that the Finns enjoy playing at home in front of their fans;
• And I’m headed out the door, so I can only mention these: Henrik Zetterberg told Dagens Nyheter’s Jonas Arnesen that the Swedes will play “more aggressively” this time around, and Niklas Kronwall told Marie Hallman that the Swedes will be businesslike and take their jobs very seriously, playing against Norway included, as they approach the Worlds knowing that it’s a big honor to play for Sweden.
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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.