The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/24/12 at 05:28 PM ET
Updated 8x with more trade talk at 6:10 PM: The Detroit Red Wings tried to regroup after their 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver on Thursday night via a spirited practice on Friday afternoon, and after they were finished skating, the Wings spoke to MLive’s Ansar Khan about fact that his team looked gassed in its own building....
“Your energy levels go up and down as the year goes and sometimes you get on a real roll energy-wise and sometimes you come off it,’’ Babcock said. “We’ve been able to win some games without maximum energy. That doesn’t mean your guys don’t work. What I’m saying is we don’t seem to have the kind of energy or the emotion in us right now. It’s unfortunate that when I was driving in this morning I saw no gas station where you could go in and there’s a whole bunch of that energy and emotion pumping in the guys. So we need to skate in practice and get ourselves going and get energized and get feeling good about ourselves so we can get back on another roll.’‘
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall said his team’s energy has to be a lot better than it has been on Saturday, when it hosts the young, fast-skating Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).
“Get more involved, everybody out there,’’ Kronwall said. “We want to do something with the puck, hold onto it, make a play. If it’s not there, make the right call. For some reason, we haven’t had the same energy we used to have. That’s something we’re looking to correct tomorrow.’‘
But the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that all was not gloom and doom given the performance of the Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Justin Abdelkader line of late:
“That group, they come in here every day, and they work hard on the ice, and they work hard in the gym, and they’re helping us win hockey games,” coach Mike Babcock said after practice this afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. “You want everyone to contribute. In the end, we want to have four lines here, rolling out the door, where everyone can play in all situations. We think we have the capability to do that.”
Miller, Helm and Abdelkader have been together the past seven games, the result of losing usual right winger Danny Cleary after the Feb. 8 game. That prompted Abdelkader’s addition.
Cleary has been back for two games, but he has moved up to the second line, to amend for the absence of Pavel Datsyuk.
Helm was asked today whether there had been any talk of a line name. He’d heard “HAM” thrown around, but vehemently objects. “I don’t like ham,” he said. “I just don’t like the taste. And it looks like skin. We can do better.”
I like, “Grind Line: the Next Generation,” but Grind Line TNG might not be catchy.
Update #1: Of Wings-related note from RedWingsFeed:
• Here’s a neat tidbit from Fox Sports Detroit:
Last night’s #RedWings telecast had 8.3 rating in metro Detroit (151,450 households), most watched reg. season game on FSD since 2003-04
• The Vancouver Province posted a late-breaking photo gallery from last night’s game;
- I know it is a cliche, but it was a wake up call for the Red Wings. They faced some tough games during their NHL-record 23-game home winning streak, but the Canucks were by far the best team to come to Joe Louis Arena. They not only match the Red Wings skill, but they may surpass it. It should have been a 6- or 7-3 game. The only reason the Red Wings were even in it was because of the Helm-Abdelkader-Miller line (The HAM line) and Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings must tighten up defensively considerably if they are to beat Vancouver in the playoffs.
- Johan Franzen’s inconsistency is maddening. He played poorly Thursday. One shot on goal and minus-3 for the Red Wings’ top goal scorer. Not good.
- The icing call that set up the game-tying goal was weak. There was no actual effort to play the puck. Only the illusion.
- The Sedins went nuts without Pavel Datsyuk around to contain them. Not a coincidence.
- Alex Burrows “snapping the streak” gesture with his stick after scoring the winner in the shootout was incredibly bush.
Paul just sent me this clip of the Canucks celebrating like they won the Cup after the game, too:
• Per the Detroit News took note of FSD’s ratings record...
Thursday night’s Red Wings-Vancouver game earned an 8.3 metro Detroit viewership rating on Fox Sports Detroit. That’s the highest rating for a regular-season Wings game on FSD since April 1, 2004 against St. Louis, which earned an 8.5.
The 8.3 rating is equivalent to 151,450 households. The rating peaked at 13.4 late in the game, which was won by the Canucks, 4-3, in a shootout.
• The Wings ’ website has already posted a preemptive game preview for Saturday’s tilt versus Colorado, and Ken Kal had a long chat with Kyle Quincey about playing against his former teammates, as well as Nicklas Lidstrom about Quincey’s evolution:
I read Kyle Quincey’s comments in Detroit and watched his debut with the Red Wings last night. I know Avalanche fans are anxious to see responses from Avalanche players about Q’s comments and his performance last night. Adrian Dater is en route to Columbus and will collect what you want tonight.
I knew Quincey well, and he WAS a very respected and popular player in the Avs’ dressing room — with the elder, like-minded statesmen, at least — and he WAS frustrated in Colorado this season for two reasons. He was outspoken. Appreciated by most of his teammates. Not by some, and certainly not by management.
First, he originally didn’t like playing “behind” Jan Hejda and Erik Johnson, but from a management perspective, the Avs’ brass gave Hejda a big contract and have invested a ton on Johnson, who obviously has great potential. The club wants Hejda and Johnson to be a key pairing, and even though they struggled big-time early, and you can’t blame the club for giving them opportunity. Ryan O’Byrne, who could care less about offense, logged a ton of minutes “covering” for Hejda and Johnson as well. Second, the Avs gave Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie every chance to succeed at the big club, but by doing so, other veterans such as Quincey and one of his best friends, Ryan Wilson, were getting kicked off the power play, playing less or being a healthy scratch — while Johnson and Hejda were deemed untouchable while healthy. I think that irritated Quincey.
Listen, Quincey is a “top-four” defenseman and he knows it; he’s played that role last night in Detroit, logging some 22 minutes, including overtime. But because of Hejda, Johnson, Elliott and a little Barrie, plus the stellar play of O’Byrne and the toughness Shane O’Brien brings to the lineup, he wasn’t treated as a “top-four” in Colorado as much as he wanted. I like the trade because Q is happy about it, Wilson will get more opportunity at both ends of the ice, and Elliott, Barrie and Johnson and Hejda won’t continue to hear rumblings. Fact is, there was a logjam back there. Now it is easier to deal with and the Avs have a gritty forward in return.
But certainly, I talked to O’Brien and Wilson the other day (in this blog) and they are happy for Quincey and like the Steve Downie addition. Was Quincey angry in Colorado? At times, yes. Are there more players like him on the Colorado roster, as he suggests? Some, but not many, and you have that on pretty much every team. Do I agree with Q about the players’ insecurity when not extending them during the final year of their contract (Duchene and O’Reilly especially)? Absolutely. O’Reilly, for one, should have a big, fat long-term contract already in place. Nobody can argue with that.
Good luck to Q. He’s in a better place. And so are the Avs.
And Quincey blinked first by speaking to MLive’s Ansar Khan...
“That was taken out of context and I didn’t mean any of that. And the stuff that I said about guys having their bags packed was bad … but it wasn’t all in Colorado, it was the whole league,’’ Quincey said. “Everyone until Monday at 3 (p.m.) is pretty anxious, not just in Colorado.
“I don’t want to put any of my former teammates in hot soup. I regret saying the stuff that I did, but it wasn’t towards them. Colorado is an unbelievable place to play, I had a great time there, I love it there, I bought a house there, and that’s my home now, so the last thing I want to do is get them upset with me.’‘
Quincey said he hadn’t yet heard from any of his former teammates about his remarks. Colorado is playing at Columbus tonight.
“They know me and they know that I’m not a negative person at all, so they know that I didn’t mean that at all,’’ Quincey said. “And obviously being there for three years and how much I liked that organization and what they did for me I have nothing but positive things to say and those things came out wrong.”
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
“I said they had their bags packed, but it wasn’t just Colorado, it was the whole league. Everyone, until Monday at 3, is pretty anxious. That goes for everybody, not just Colorado. I regret saying the stuff I did, but it wasn’t towards them. Colorado is an unbelievable place to play. I had a great time there. I bought a house there. That’s my home now. The last thing I want to do is get them upset at me. The comments were kind of out of context, and it wasn’t toward them.”
This is the second time Quincey has gone to the old “taken out of context” defense. He got a lot of notoriety after publicly complaining he didn’t get a Stanley Cup ring after the Wings’ championship in 2008, even though he wasn’t eligible under NHL rules because he didn’t play enough games. Quincey later said those comments were taken out of context.
Asked about his propensity for having to explain comments, Quincey laughed. He hasn’t heard any flack from any Avs players on the “bags packed” comments and doesn’t expect to. “They know me, they know I’m not a negative person at all. They know I didn’t mean that at all.”
And even the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater reports that Quincey apologized to the team:
Kyle Quincey-Gate entered a new and probable final phase today, when the former Avs defenseman called team officials and some players to apologize for comments he made yesterday to Yahoo! sports’ Nick Cotsonika, a hockey writer based in Detroit.
I have not talked to Quincey myself, but received word that he indeed apologized for the comments. Hey, we all say dumb things now and then – lord knows I have. So, I believe the apology was accepted and an atmosphere of “let’s move on” is now in place.
Update #2.5: Well-put, from Nichola J. Cotsonika:
I understand if Kyle Quincey regrets what he said. Still, I did not take a word of his out of context. I took pains to keep them in context.
Update #3: more Quincey from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
“I regret saying the stuff I said,” Quincey said. “Colorado is an incredible place to play. I had a great time there, I love it there, I bought a house there and that’s my home now. That’s the last thing I’d want — for them to get upset at me. Those comments were taken out of context.”
In comments to Yahoo, Quincey said Avalanche players have been uneasy with the trade deadline approaching Monday, with many players involved in trade rumors.
“Everyone is ready to get shipped out any day,” Quincey told Yahoo. “There’s a lot of guys, their bags are packed beside the door, and they wouldn’t be unhappy to go — trust me. I know I had a big smile on my face (after being traded to the Wings), and all the guys were jealous. I think there’s a bunch of guys that were (disappointed) they weren’t in a package deal.”
Quincey continued: “With guys getting talked about all the time, your mindset kind of changes. … When you get talked about every day, it kind of wears on you. You start thinking, ‘Where am I going?’”
Quincey said Friday he intended to say that most NHL players — not just those with Colorado — are thinking about a possible trade this time of year and how it could impact them. The NHL trade deadline is Monday.
The Avalanche have 64 points, 11th in the Western Conference and two points out of eighth place. The top eight teams make the playoffs. The Avalanche visit the Wings on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
• More Quincey, part 2, from Dater:
*Update: I just got off the phone with Quincey, and this was his quote to everyone:
“The last thing I wanted to do was throw Colorado under the bus, an organization that was great to me, and I loved Colorado. I shouldn’t have said what I said and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. It wasn’t meant to be ‘Colorado-specific.’ I was talking about the trade deadline in general and it came out wrong. I don’t want any of the teammates I went to war with in Colorado to think I don’t think and wish anything but for the best for them.”
Quincey said his quotes weren’t actually to Cotsonika just himself, but part of a conference call with other reporters too, and that for much of the call he spoke highly of the Avalanche.
Quincey said he phoned Avs GM Greg Sherman and left a message of apology, and to the Lacroix family.
• Per the Wings’ Facebook page:
KEEPING WITH SUPERSTITION: During the streak, Cory Emmerton was a popular guy around the dressing room. He was the guy stuck with the lunch bill following the team’s morning skate for 21 of those 23 wins. (The other two games took place during the day)
Now that the streak is over, another teammate will have to pick up the tab.
Also from the FB page….
Want to win a suite for you and 19 of your closest friends?
It’s the grand prize in our Red Wings experience, presented by Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero. This traveling road show features interactive games, opportunities to win tickets, merchandise, autographs and more.
More details, including locations, dates and times are here: clicky
• Shifting gears, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness...
With the success of the Wings’ third line it brings up memories of the Grind Line, which begs to question when will the line of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller get a nickname of their own.
“I haven’t heard anything going around,” Helm said. “I’m not a nickname guy. You have to ask Bert or Cleary, they’re usually pretty quick to come up with something.”
There has been a suggestion of the HAM line floated around, taking a letter from each of their last names.
“Yeah, I heard that, too, actually,” Helm said. “It works. Not the best one, we could have a couple of callers come up with something better than that.”
• Shifting gears, part 2, from Pleiness again:
If I’m (first in the West) I put a ton on it, if I’m not, then I put nothing on it,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The bottom line is you are where you are and you’ve got to get in and get going. We perceive ourselves as having a chance. You only get so many in life. You want to make good on the ones you get.”
The Wings were one point up on Vancouver heading into play Friday. The Canucks, who have played one less game than Detroit, play Columbus tonight.
• Interesting stuff from Twitter, via Ansar Khan:
Four points separates six teams, from 8th through 13th place in the West. Reduces number of sellers at trade deadline.
Out of 30 NHL teams, really only EDM and CBJ completely out of playoff races. But MTL, CAR, NYI, BUF and TB have work cut out for them.
Datsyuk not on ice for Wings.
Wings skating with same lines: 93-40-44; 26-51-11; 20-43-8; 96-48-39; 5-18; 55-23; 27-52; 4-22; 35-31
Babcock on Abdelkader: “I think he plays better when he’s not the 4th-line center, but we need him to be the 4th-line center (eventually).’‘
• Interesting stuff from Twitter, per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:
#ducks Selanne writes on his MTV3 blog that he won’t be asking for a trade to a contender. Has no desire to leave Anaheim.
#sharks, #flames, #canucks and #wild (in OT) only visiting teams to win at JLA this season.
#wild, who play at #redwings March 2, only visiting #NHL Western Conference team with chance to go unbeaten at JLA this season.
Is this the new Finnish training program that’s led to such a strong season from #redwings Filppula? clicky
The Vancouver Canucks want every hockey fan to know something. They don’t care if you doubt them. They don’t care if you underestimate them. They just don’t care.
One win away from capturing the Stanley Cup last spring, Vancouver doesn’t seem to be able to get much respect from anyone around the league, even though they are battling with the Detroit Red Wings for top spot in the NHL’s Western Conference.
“I don’t think it really matters to us,” Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo said. “We know what we have in the locker room. We know what it takes. We were right there last year, one win away, so we don’t really care what’s going on in the outside world, if you know what I mean. It’s just about us, and making sure we apply ourselves every night.”
Canucks forward Daniel Sedin is of the opinion that the lessons gleaned from prior heartbreaks have only served to fortify Vancouver’s resolve. “That’s one thing we’ve learned throughout the years, and in the playoffs, you’ve got to stay calm and play your game,” Sedin said. “You can’t be too up, or too down. Keep playing and good things can happen.”
Slow to break from the gate this season, Vancouver seems to be hitting top gear as the playoffs approach. “As a team and as an individual, we didn’t have a great first month of the year, but we’ve just started picking it up from there,” Luongo said. “We’ve always been a second half team and the last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing really well and finding ways to get wins and get points. We’ve been doing really good lately.”
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is of the belief that getting some consistent playing time with Grand Rapids of the AHL could prove to be the best medicine for what’s ailed goaltender Ty Conklin this season. “I think he’s going to play a lot of the games,” Holland said. “We want him to play a lot. They’re also in a struggle to make the playoffs. They’ve got to push here for the next 6-8-10 games ,or their season’s going to go by the wayside. It’s a good chance for him to get some playing time, and hopefully give them a boost.
“We’re hoping he can find his game. When you get in the playoffs, you carry three goaltenders. At some point in time, Ty will be back. Hopefully, he can help them play their way into the playoffs, and Ty can find his game.”
As Duff notes, the Griffins made a personnel move that probably means that Tom McCollum got dinged up…
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday signed goaltender Dustin Carlson to a professional tryout.
A native of Forest Lake, Minn., Carlson has a 2-6-1 record, a 3.66 goals against average and a 0.880 save percentage in 10 contests with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye this season. He’s also appeared in four games for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, sporting a 2-1 record with a 2.37 GAA and a 0.915 save percentage.
Carlson, 25, is in his first professional season after playing four years with Ohio State University. As a member of the Buckeyes, the 6-2, 190-pound netminder compiled a 29-30-7 record, a 2.71 GAA, a 0.913 save percentage and five shutouts in 71 games played.
• And here’s one more practice update, from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, mostly regarding the “Ham” line:
“That group comes in every day and works hard in practice and in the weight room,” coach Mike Babcock said.
Abdelkader replaced Danny Cleary beginning Feb. 10 when Cleary needed to have his knee drained, and with or without Cleary, this unit has thrived. Abdelkader (6-1, 219) provides some more size than Cleary (6-0, 208), but other than that, the formula is the same.
“There’s not a lot of fanciness going on, not a lot of toe-dragging, just grinding and hard work,” said Abdelkader, who had a goal against the Canucks.
Helm had a goal and assist against Vancouver and has two goals and two assists in his last five games.
“All three of us work pretty hard and we’re finding some chemistry between the three of us,” Helm said. “Between the three of us we have some speed and some skill, and we’ve been playing in their (other team’s) zone a lot.”
Miller has already set career highs in goals (12) and points (22).
“The puck is going in for us right now and that’s good for the team because we need that secondary scoring,” Miller said. “We just try to be hard on the other team’s defense, and we’re just taking it to the next level.”
“Your energy levels go up and down as the year goes and sometimes you get on a real roll energy-wise and sometimes you come off it,” Babcock said. “We’ve won some games without maximum energy. That doesn’t mean your guys aren’t working. What I’m saying is we just don’t seem to have the kind of energy or emotion in us right now. When I was driving in this morning I saw no gas station where you could go in and (purchase) a bunch of that energy and emotion and pump into these guys. So we just need to skate in practice and get ourselves going.”
Update #4: the Free Press’s Helene St. James embedded videos of Darren Helm…
And Mike Babcock in her off-day report:
These videos will NOT work if you have Firefox and are using any one of the many script-blockers you should be using.
• From the Wings’ Twitter feed:
Players are trickling onto the ice for Friday’s practice at JLA. clicky
If you are within walking distance of the Joe and you smell BBQ, Al Sobotka has fired up the grill. #shouldbeafantasticlunch
Thanks to superstition, Cory Emmerton had to buy lunch for a few teammates throughout the streak. The bill rotates after a loss.
Emmerton did not have to buy for all games. Just the night games following the morning skate.
Babcock: We’ve got a big game tomorrow and we’ve got to respond.
Babcock was asked about the importance he puts upon finishing atop the West. ‘If I’m there, I put a ton on it, if we aren’t, I don’t.’
Abdelkader: We’ve just got to come out, skate better and play a lot better than we did last night.
And NHL.com’s Brian Hedger remains in Detroit, which is good for us:
#Blackhawks and #Redwings both have 3 back-to-backs left, with Chicago’s next starting Saturday in L.A.
Al’s got the barbeque fired up here at the Joe and it looks like all #Redwings are accounted for at practice, who are supposed to be.
Datsyuk is not on the ice. Will have to check and see if he maybe skated on his own this a.m.
#Redwings practicing same way they lined up vs. #Canucks. Same fwd lines and D-pairings. Kindl and Commodore, healthy scratches, paired.
@TCLRedWings [Datsyuk] did. Minor surgery. Not out of the question. Even with major knee surgery the doc wants you rehabbing almost immediately.
• And, from Puck the Media’s Steve Lepore:
NBC Sports’ regional coverage during Sunday’s Hockey Day in America — highlighted by the Detroit Red Wings NHL-record 23rd home win in a row, a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks — tied for the best NHL regular-season rating in eight years, excluding Winter Classics, and was the most-watched coverage for a non-Winter Classic in six years.
The regional coverage (12:30-3:14 p.m. ET) — consisting of San Jose at Detroit, Pittsburgh at Buffalo, and St. Louis at Chicago — generated a 1.3 rating/3 share, up 30 percent compared to last year’s regional coverage (1.0/3), and tied with Jan. 14, 2006 (three-game regional on NBC) as the best rating for NHL regular-season game coverage in eight years, excluding Winter Classics (Jan. 10, 2004; 1.4 rating; three-game regional on ABC).
The regional coverage averaged 1.94 million viewers, the most since 1.96 million for regional coverage on NBC on Jan. 14, 2006. It was also up 26 percent compared to last year’s Hockey Day regional coverage (1.54 million).
Update #5: Stuff my search engine monkeys found, in in no particular order:
• WDIV’s Rob Parker actually gave the Wings praise for their home-ice winning streak (while lamenting the ad state of hockey, blah blah blah);
• NESN is asking fans to weigh in as to what NHL city is the “worst” for teams to visit;
• From our friends in Vancouver, Pass it to Bulis’s Harrison Mooney weighs in on the Canucks’ win, the Legin of Blog’s J. Bowman offers “quotes I wish were real” from the post-game scrums, and the White Towel’s Jonathan MacDonald loved the way the Canucks rubbed the Wings’ faces in their streak-ending loss via over-the-top celebrations;
• Adrian Dater answered some mailbag questions over on Sports Illustrated, and insisted that the Red Wings will do their best to sign Zach Parise if he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and the Detroit Free Press’s James Jahnke’s roundup of trade rumors of Wings-related note bring some eyebrow-raisers to the table…
Via the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff...
Two F I’m hearing most often linked to #redwings in trade talk are #panthers Mikael Samuelsson and #Canadiens Travis Moen.
And some assorted Toronto Sun trade rumors from three days ago:
When Ottawa Senators commentator Denis Potvin suggested Detroit director of pro scouting Mark Howe and Florida Panthers scout Peter Mahovlich were in attendance for Monday’s Sens-Islanders game to eye Isles hulking 6-foot-4, 253-pound defenceman Milan Jurcina, Howe and Mahovlich broke into wry grins while refusing to verbally acknowledge Povin’s suggestion.
Potvin later was informed that Isles defenceman Mark Eaton has asked for a trade and likely is in play too.
Not any more!
• And finally, for the moment, anyway, the Red Wings note that the team donated the stick and puck with which Brad Stuart scored his team’s game-winning goal when Detroit beat Dallas to set the NHL’s new home-ice winning record.
Update #6: More stuff I found via my search engine monkeys:
• Per the Midland Daily News:
The Great Lakes Loons have announced their 2012 promotional schedule, highlighting the team’s fifth anniversary celebration with tributes to former Loons’ players and historic moments from the Loons’ first five seasons.
On June 12, the Loons will give away Clayton Kershaw figurines. The figurines feature the 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner in a Loons’ white home uniform.
Also, the Red Wings Legends Series will feature appearances by four-time Stanley Cup winner Kris Draper on Aug. 22, Red Wings’ play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels on June 13, and Hall of Fame center Marcel Dionne on July 11. Meanwhile, Bobblehead giveaways will feature former Red Wings and hockey Hall of Famers Dino Ciccarelli (May 23), Mark Howe (July 25) and Alex Delvecchio (Aug. 15).
• Interesting: the Halifax Chronicle-Herald’s Willy Palov took a gander at ten QMJHL graduates who took the “long route” to the NHL:
10. Joey MacDonald, G, Detroit Red Wings: Back in 1997, the Mooseheads released the Pictou native at mid-season because they felt he wasn’t good enough to be a No. 1 goalie at the junior level. He was eventually passed over by the rest of the teams in the Q and later caught on as a free agent with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He recently won six games in a row for the Detroit Red Wings, one of four NHL teams he has played for.
• Crappy news from overseas, per Expressen: Dick Axelsson has had a very, very, very rough season playing for Modo Ornskoldsvik as he’s battled injuries, inconsistency and off-ice troubles in the form of social media foibles, and now Axelsson’s closing out the Eliteserien’s regular season with a “lower-body injury”;
• Not from the monkeys: Here’s what Kyle Quincey had to say about facing his former teammates and his Red Wings debut while speaking to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Kyle Quincey remembers the first time he played against a former team, the Detroit Red Wings. Saturday night he’ll face another one when the Colorado Avalanche visit Joe Louis Arena.
“I remember the first time I came back here I was squeezing the stick pretty hard,” Quincey said. “I think the biggest challenge is going to be going back to Pepsi Center, but I’m looking forward to it. Last night was a very frustrating way to end that game and I’m just looking forward to getting a win as a Red Wing. It’s just very exciting, it’s a very exciting time right now and just looking forward to tomorrow.”
In the trade the Avalanche made an upgrade at forward in acquiring Steve Downie from the Lightning. Colorado is still very much in the playoff race, sitting in 11th before playing Columbus Friday, just two points out of eighth.
“They’re in a dogfight and they’re not out of it at all,” Quincey said. “There are so many teams in that race, but they are in it for sure and they’ve been in it for about two months now. I’ve been playing playoff hockey for two months now, so it’s been fun.”
In Quincy’s first game back in a Wings’ jersey he made his presence felt in Thursday’s shootout loss to Vancouver, playing in every situation possible. He logged 21:32of ice time, scored a goal and was whistled for two minor penalties.
“The second period with the two penalties, I’d like to have those back,” Quincey said. “They were weak penalties, not very good penalties by myself and I wanted to get that back, and scoring that goal was just an unbelievable feeling. I was hoping that it was going to be the game-winner.”
Update #7: Even more Quincey from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
“[The Avs] know me and they know that I’m not a negative person at all,” he said. They know that I didn’t mean that at all, and obviously being there for three years and how much I liked that organization and what they did for me I have nothing but positive things to say and those things came out wrong.”
Partnered on the Avs blue line with Erik Johnson, Quincey was Colorado’s top-producing defenseman with five goals and 18 assists in 54 games. Now Quincey must face his former Colorado teammates who come to Detroit for a Saturday night game, just four days after the three-team deal that had the 6-foot-2 defenseman bound for Hockeytown via Tampa Bay.
“It’s going to be weird. I remember the first time I came back here I was squeezing the stick pretty hard,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to getting a win as a Red Wing. I’m just very exciting, it’s a very exciting time right now and just looking forward to tomorrow.”
And Quincey knows that the Avs, who are fighting for a playoff berth, will presence a special blend of problems for the Wings.
“They are very fast and very young and when they get going, you know, it’s fun watching them. We just have to play our game and keep them in their zone, just the same as every other team, just wear them down in their own zone. But once they get going they can be offensively explosive and they have two great goaltenders there and a very good D and good young skilled forwards, so they are dangerous if you let them. But if we play our game we should be OK.”
Heading into their game at Columbus Friday night, the Avs are two-points removed from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“They’re in a dogfight and they’re not out of it at all,” Quincey said. “There are so many teams in that race, but they are in it for sure, and they’ve been in it for about two months now. Like I said, I’ve been playing playoff hockey for two months now, so it’s been fun.”
• A little belatedly, Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon weighs in Pavel Datsyuk’s status as the nicest player in the NHL. the list was just posted on SI.com, and Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Patrick Eaves also make the cut;
• If the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek was to make up traded, he’d suggest that the Red wings would have Samuel Pahlsson in their lineup by Monday:
So this week, we’ll venture that if Columbus is really going to divest themselves of any and all available assets, let’s place Sami Pahlsson with the Detroit Red Wings (because they could use a defensive centre; because Mike Babcock used to coach him in Anaheim; and because he is a useful, skilled, former Stanley Cup champion who is only 34, and not done yet).
• Sportsnet also looks at 12 potential rentals who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents…
Ales Hemsky: Hemsky wants a new, long-term contract, but Edmonton Oilers management is hesitant, otherwise the deal would be done already. They’ve got a wealth of young talent that they need to re-sign down the road—Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and possibly Sam Gagner—and there might not be room under the salary cap for Hemsky. He’s not a physical presence and doesn’t have much playoff experience, but Hemsky’s playmaking ability and puck movement is first rate. He would be a good fit in Detroit, Los Angeles or Boston.
Not when the Wings would have to give up significant assets for a layer who’s not worth $5 million per season for 4-5 years…
Paul Gaustad: He’s the type of player that is built for a long playoff run. The Buffalo Sabres forward is an ideal third-line player who is skilled enough offensively to contribute on the score sheet, and gritty enough in his own zone to not be a defensive liability. Gaustad would fit well in Philadelphia, San Jose or with the NY Rangers.
Travis Moen: Moen isn’t built for scoring; he’s built for forechecking. A Stanley Cup champion with the Anaheim Ducks, Moen has already garnered a lot of interest from around the league. He is a proven playoff performer and will be a coveted rental player on Deadline Day. He would be a good fit in Detroit, Toronto or Philadelphia.
Samuel Pahlsson: The Columbus Blue Jackets are falling apart, and while most of the team’s trade talk surrounds Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, this gritty Swedish centre could gain equal attention around the league. He is a Stanley Cup champ, a defensive stalwart, and a veteran presence who is ideal for a team preparing to go deep into the playoffs. Pahlsson would be a good fit in Detroit, New Jersey or St. Louis.
• And ESPN’s Craig Custance gave an intriguing answer to a mailbag question on his Insider blog earlier today:
With the Detroit Red Wings trading for Kyle Quincey, what is in store for Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl? Before Smith was suspended in the preseason for his illegal hit, writers thought he would see his time split between the Wings and the AHL. The acquisition of Quincey makes it appear that he will have to wait even longer to be an everyday Wing. Your thoughts on the defensemen overstock?—Matthew Peterson, Midland, Mich.
Hey Matthew—I think the Quincey addition will end up having a long-term impact on Kindl more than it will Smith. When I spoke to Ken Holland about Smith before the trade, he said the plan was to get Smith a few games in the NHL before the end of the season. I’m not sure if that has changed, but when Holland chatted with a few of us reporters on Thursday, he said that Smith will be on the team next season.
It is safe to assume that one of either Brad Stuart or Nicklas Lidstrom won’t be back next season. My money is on Stuart leaving via free agency. But the Red Wings are gearing up for a long playoff run, and it’s a necessity to have depth on defense to pull it off, with at least one injury all but a certainty over the course of a grueling postseason.
Update #8: This is a late one, per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger: More about the Miller-Helm-Abdelkader and/or Cleary line:
“We’ve kind of been counted on the past few years to create the energy and be hard on the other team’s [defense] and I think we’ve just taken that to the next level,” said Miller, a Michigan State alum who’s scored a career-high 12 goals and assisted on Abdelkader’s goal on Thursday that almost won it in regulation. “I think we’re finding that chemistry to play a little more offensively and the puck’s going in for us right now, so it’s good for the team. You need that secondary scoring. Last night was a big one for our line.”
Truth be told, it wasn’t the first time their line contributed big this season—especially during the impressive streak at home. The Wings’ third line scored in 13 of the 23 straight home wins for a total of 16 goals in that span—and if you were to inspect the streak closely, you’d find their fingerprints all over it. They scored key goals, stifled opposing offenses and simply mucked it up in the corners to win their share of important puck battles.
“[We] bring a lot of different elements to the table,” said Abdelkader, who’s been using his 6-foot-1, 219-pound frame to become a guy who isn’t much fun to play against. “Speed is definitely important and [so is] going north-south, playing good on the forecheck and on the cycle. I think D-men know when the puck goes into the corner that we’re coming ... and we finish checks.”
It’s all part of that “grind” mentality, which is predicated on hard work and not much else.
“That’s what we want to be known as, more like a lunch-pail type line ... blue-collar, hard work,” said Abdelkader, who until the past couple of seasons was more famous around Michigan for his dramatic game-winning goal with time running out to win the 2007 NCAA National Championship for Michigan State. “There’s probably not going to be a lot of fanciness going on, toe-dragging, all that stuff. It’s just grind and hard work.”
“I think we take a lot of pride in working and skating and playing a lot in their zone and grinding,” said Helm, whose speed can be overpowering and just plain hellish to defend. “We just want to work hard as a line. I don’t think the three of us believe that we’re top-end skilled guys, so we just work really hard and get opportunities and produce. That’s one thing that we pride ourselves on, is working hard.”
“That group works hard every day in practice, they work hard in the gym, they’re helping us win games,” Babcock said. “That’s what a team is all about. You want everyone to contribute. In the end, we want to be four lines rolling out the door, where everyone can play in all situations. We think we have the capability of doing that. Depth helps you win at the end and [we’ve] just got to keep building this group.”
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