The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/26/11 at 12:39 AM ET
Updated with a WDFN interview with Chris Chelios: Given the lovely weather Detroit and Upstate New York have experienced over the past few days, both the Red Wings and their press corps practiced, kibbitzed and hauled tail to Buffalo to take in today’s Sabres-Sens tilt and prepare for Saturday night’s game against Buffalo (7 PM EST, FSD/MSG Buffalo/WXYT, and what a novel concept, the Wings being the rested team on the second half of back to backs!), but several members of the media who had to stay home to shovel more snow this weekend provided a pair of updates worth a separate entry.
WXYZ’s Tom Leyden spoke to the Wings about both their crappy home record of late and the imminent returns of Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula (both will hopefully skate for the Wings on Saturday), and Leyden thankfully lets us boo birds know that the Wings are as ticked off about their crappy home record of late as the rest of us are:
“It’s like a broken record right now,” said Bertuzzi. “Guys aren’t obviously thrilled about it. No one’s pleased when they lose. Some nights it doesn’t go well but at the same time, we’ve got a lot more to give and a lot better play to do and we just have to refocus it for these road games.”
“I thought we played real good for five games, we were in a lull before that and we look like we’re right where we were,” said head coach Mike Babcock. “Ideally, this will be short. Thank God we’re going on the road and we don’t have to come back to the Joe so we can maybe help ourselves out and get ourselves a win.”
Dan Cleary went so far as to suggest that the paying public understandably deserves a little time away from the same old, same old, too:
“I don’t know what the deal is with us at home this season, especially since December,” said Cleary. “Maybe it’s a good time to go on the road. Give the fans a bit of a break from the lackluster efforts here at home.”
The Wings hope that Modano, Filppula and the rotating cast of Brian Rafalski (who will miss Saturday’s game as a preventative measure, resting back spasms before the Wings play four games, in four cities, over the course of six nights next week), Johan Franzen (who will probably miss Monday’s game to attend the birth of his first child) and Ruslan Salei (Mrs. Salei’s due any day now) will shake up a lineup that’s suddenly become stale. Babcock’s hoping that Filppula and Modano in particular get the team back on track:
“We’d like to get them, we need some energy, it’s apparent in the last two nights we haven’t had the kind of energy we want,” said Babcock. “Those guys are good hockey players and I’ve said it all along - it’ll be nice to get everyone on deck and get playing the way we’re capable of playing and do it for a period of time that you’re comfortable that you can and will do it.”
Leyden also offers what is perhaps Mike Modano’s best and most revealing remark about his return—why he’s doing it in the first place:
“You know, it’s just our life and our routine,” said Modano. “When you’re away from it for so long you certainly miss it. You look forward to the days when you get back in that day-to-day routine with everybody else, traveling. This is what we love doing, so when it’s taken away from you, you work hard and do what you can to get it back.”
You can read the rest of Leyden’s report and/or watch it in the following clip:
The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to Modano about his conditioning and enthusiasm for playing as #90 hopes to serve as the Wings’ de-facto trade deadline addition—and there’s nothing wrong with adding a veteran 3rd-line center who can play a superb two-way game and substitute as a defenseman on the power play:
“It’s going to be difficult, I’m sure,” Modano said. “It’s going to be a bit of a grind. I can’t get too discouraged and too frustrated too fast. You just have to keep pushing, keep working through it, get up and running, get your game legs under you. Get up to speed and tempo with everybody else who’s been playing for a long time. That’ll take a little time.”
Motivation during rehab wasn’t an issue. Modano knows the Wings are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. It’s what attracted the Livonia, Michigan, native to sign with his hometown team.
“I’m just trying to do anything possible to get in the best shape, to get prepared and get ready mentally and physically and see if I can make a big push here and be an impact that they were hoping for me to be,” he said.
Modano made quit the quip when, according to Duff, someone asked the 40-year-old when they could expect to see the “old” Mike Modano again:
“Depends on what you mean by old,” said Modano, 40, who thinks he’s got enough capability back in his wrist that he can be a difference-maker for the Wings, the reason why he decided to join them as a free agent last summer for his 21st NHL campaign. “It feels fine in terms of what I need to do and what I try to accomplish on the ice,” Modano said. “There’s still some nerve issue there, still some sensation that isn’t back, and that’s going to be long time (before it’s 100 per cent). But the strength is there, it feels good shooting. As far as getting involved in traffic and guys pushing on it, it feels good.”
Modano also readily admits that he and his general manager are open to the concept Modano returning for the 2011-2012 season, but both understand that this his future’s in his hands, no pun intended this time:
“Probably very much so,” Modano admitted. “It will really determine how I feel coming back, how the team plays, and how we perform in the playoffs. For me personally, I think that all has a big decision on my wanting to come back and Kenny’s (Detroit GM Ken Holland) decision to have me back.”
Also: Red Wings de-facto developmental coach Chris Chelios spoke to WDFN’s Sean Baligian this afternoon, and you can listen to the “Chelios Report” here:
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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.