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The Malik Report

Red Wings pre-morning-skate mash-up

Updated at 12:21 PM with anti-Kronwall talk from Vancouver: The Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks won’t hit the ice for their morning skates ahead of tonight’s match-up (10 PM EST, FSD/Sportsnet Pacific/WXYT) until 2 PM EST and 1 PM EST, respectively, but several stories popped up which are worth mentioning here and now:

• First, the CBC’s Gord Stellick has this to say about the treatment Pavel Datsyuk received from his fellow players during the All-Star festivities:

It was a great acknowledgment and a sign of respect for Zdeno Chara to forgo team captain alliances and bias for the first-overall pick and use it to select Pavel Datysuk. It showed to the world the seal of approval from his NHL peers how much Datsyuk is respected by his fellow NHL players. A great informal honour.

• After ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Craig Custance indirectly addressed tonight’s game, and TSN’s Dave Hodge stirred the trade deadline pot by noting that Ken Holland has a pretty good record in terms of adding reinforcements to his roster, MLive’s Ansar Khan discussed tonight’s game plan in terms of Canucks coach Alain Vigneault’s desire to witness his players crashing, erm, I mean “generating traffic” in front of Jimmy Howard while “matching” the Wings’ physical play all over the rest of the ice surface:

“I’d like to take sort of a page out of Detroit’s book,’’ Vigneault said Wednesday. “I feel they’re the best team in the league as far as net presence, always having somebody there, somebody square to the puck, making life real hard on the other team’s goaltender. We need to screen the goalie more than look to tipping pucks. Letting the goalie see the shots, most of time it’s a pretty easy save for the goaltender. Detroit is so good at that. They got so many big bodies that like to do that and go in that tough area.’‘

Vigneault also said the Red Wings are more physical than they’re given credit for.

“I think they’re one of the most physical teams in the league, whether you call physical taking the man when the opportunity is there or protecting the puck,’’ Vigneault said. “The size of some of those forwards when they have the puck down low or you’re battling along the wall or in a confined area, to get the puck away is a real challenge. And to protect it if they’re on you is a big challenge.’‘

Again, in plain English, the Canucks plan on crashing, bumping, snowing and otherwise attempting to bait Howard into biting on retaliatory penalties, and the Canucks plan on bringing a St. Louis Blues-level of nastiness and chippiness to tonight’s game;

• In trade-related news, MYNHLTradeRumors.com‘s Mark Easson very kindly allowed me to pen an article assessing the Wings’ realistic deadline wants, needs and possible targets;

• In CBA-related news, the New York Times’ Paul Caponigri reexamined/ the realignment issue;

• In AHL-related news, the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner took note of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ home stand to come….

The Grand Rapids Griffins come off of the all-star break enjoying the comforts of home. They open a five-game homestand starting 7 p.m. Friday at Van Andel Arena against Hamilton.

February plays out nicely for the team with eight of 10 games at home. Friday is the popular Dollar Beer, Dollar Dog night, and Saturday is Niklas Kronwall bobblehead giveaway.

• The Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James duly noted that today is Todd Bertuzzi’s 37th birthday...

37th birthday today? What 37th birthday? “You know I don’t count them any more. I’m still 27.” - Todd Bertuzzi #RedWings
The Tao of Todd: “Winning conquers everything. The more you win the happier you are and the better your group is.” #Bertuzzi #birthday

• And as I attempt to crawl back into bed and get a fourth hour of sleep before the game-day festivities start, Michigan Hockey’s Michael Caples (via RedWingsFeed) noted that (and then retracted his quip about) Winging it in Motown’s RedWingFaninNC had a terrible, terrible experience with Shop.nhl.com as his Mrs. bought him an authentic Wings jersey, but when NHL.com replaced the defective model, they did so with a slightly cheaper but still $250 version that’s made in Indonesia instead of Canada and is, quite bluntly, shoddy by comparison to the pro jersey which he should have received to replace his original one.

Put a little too bluntly?

I would never buy a replica, semi-pro or pro jersey from NHL.com, especially if someone wanted to customize it for me, because they tend to pull that kind of s*** due to their awful customer service, and moreover, they only heat-seal their customized names and numbers, which are actually not up to snuff in terms of replicating the official “name bar” look (the arch isn’t replicated properly and the names are too small in terms of font size)—it’s more like a similarly cheap rip-off in terms of appearance.

I also wouldn’t buy a customized jersey from Hockeytown Authentics or the Joe because they place 10-point-font numbers on the backs of jerseys designed for 12-point-font numbers which are supposed to be too big for human beings’ backs so that they register on TV, leaving the numbers on the backs of HTA/JLA-customized jerseys looking two sizes too small.

Places like IceJerseys.com, RiverCitySports.com and especially local companies like Fanatic U, Detroit Athletic and Sportshaven actually promise you that they’re going to stitch computer-die-cut letters and numbers which accurately replicate the fonts, sizes and shapes of the stuff the Wings’ players actually wear, the local shops actually stitch the heat-sealed numbers onto the jerseys instead of just heat-sealing ‘em and charging you $80-90 for something that took 2 minutes to half-ass.

If you’re buying a jersey online, be very, very careful to ensure that if you’re buying something that claims to be authentic, that it’s Canadian-made and is made of the same materials as pro jerseys as opposed to stuff that’s “similar to” the real thing, and if you’re going to spend another $60-100 to get your $300 authentic jersey or $150-200 replica customized, go with businesses who take great pains to ensure that you’re getting the kind of attention to detail and accurately-sized and arched names and properly-sized and stitched-on numbers you should be paying for.

I’m not plugging local sports shops because I’m trying to pump the tires of local businesses—I’m talking about them because they simply do a better job than most of the big chains, and their customer service is generally vastly superior to that you’ll receive at NHL.com (though I’m sure that if you ask HTA or the Joe to accurately replicate the bigger numbers on the backs of jerseys instead of making them more faithful to the size of the average person’s back, they’d do it for you). I’ve bought jerseys from Fanatic U, and had one customized from the non-local IceJerseys.com and I’m very, very happy with the quality and authenticity of the work I paid for.

Update: Here’s the Vancouver Province’s Gordon MacIntyre’s game-day set-up:


1 Niklas Kronwall put a lot of thought into his answer before talking about his controversial hit on Ryan Kesler the last time these teams met, a 4-2 Canucks win at Rogers Arena on Dec. 21. “To me, I don’t feel I left my feet and I thought the puck was right there. But I’m sure there are people who see it the other way around.” Yes, Nik, they’re called people who watch YouTube - both your feet left the ice.

2 And maybe Todd Bertuzzi doesn’t know about YouTube. In his third season with Kronwall as a teammate, Bert had this to say about Kronwall’s patented move - where the Swede starts to back up at the blueline, then reverses and charges into the puck-carrier: “I’ve never seen him hitting dirty.”

3 Detroit’s two best players, Pavel Datsyuk and workhorse goalie Jimmy Howard, were given the day off Wednesday. “We told Pav and Howie they weren’t allowed to be at the rink,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I told them to go to Granville Island or something, check out the sights.”


9: Detroit has the fewest fighting majors in the NHL. The Canucks, who like to say they’re modelled after the Wings, have 29, the sixth most. The club with the most fights? No surprise, it’s Boston, with 42.

[sarcasm] Gee, I bet the Canucks’ players aren’t holding the same grudge their press corps is, don’t you think? [/sarcasm]

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Ducksworth's avatar

Would be nice if Bert knocked in a goal tonight on his birthday against his former team

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 02/02/12 at 03:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Honestly, all this focus on exacting revenge on Kronwall for a hit that Kesler admitted he saw was coming is distracting.  Sick of the press making much ado about nothing.  It’s not you, George.  Not at all.  If this game were in Detroit, the local press wouldn’t make it such a big friggin’ deal out of it.  It’s a new day, a new game; no sense in dwelling on the past when there’s points to be had.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 02/02/12 at 03:36 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

A few comments after spending the morning catching up on George’s numerous and voluminous reports:

First of all, say what you will about Canuck fans, riots and whatever else, the game-day atmosphere here in Vancouver is pretty awesome.  People here know there’s a huge game tonight and it feels like it.  There’s a buzz around town.  I’ve been to enough other NHL cities where you would have no clue that a game was happening that night or, worse yet, that the town even has a hockey team.  So I have to say this is actually kind of refreshing.

On a related note, this notion that nobody hates the Red Wings is pure bullshit.  In fact, the irony of it, to me at least, is that the underlying sentiment andmotivation behind was clearly that the dude hates the Red Wings.  If you think the Wings aren’t hated, just go to a Red Wing game at just about any NHL venue outside of Detroit and then get back to me on that.  They do hate us.  Oh yes they do!

I’d also like to follow up on something Paul posted eariler regrding Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.  The legend is bigger than stats or on ice accomplishments.  I can’t remember anyone else as revered by Detroit fans as Gordie.  We’ll be at the WHL game tomorrow night where Mr. Hockey will be honored.  Aside from a chance to see the Wings play, a big reason for our trip up here this time is the chance for my son and I to stand together to give Gordie an ovation at a hockey rink.  I can still recall the first Red Wing games I ever watched (which were in the very final years of Howe’s years in Detroit) and how my dad would tell me to keep an eye on #9.  Even at that stage of his career, there was still that signature combination of elegance and strength to the man’s game that left a lasting impression.  He was a threat every time he came over the boards.  My kid only knows what he’s heard and what I’ve told him about the man and his legacy.  For me though tomorrow night will be my small way of saying thank you

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 02/02/12 at 05:10 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Honestly, all this focus on exacting revenge on Kronwall for a hit that Kesler admitted he saw was coming is distracting.

Hear hear!!  Canadian hockey writers, of all people, getting their panties in a knot over a player whose signature is clean, hard, open-ice body checks??  Give me a break.  What happened to all your Don Cherry-worshipping values?  Guy hits hard and does it within the rules.  Show some honor, stop your whining and respect the game. 

Oh wait.  What’s that you say?  Kronwall’s a Swede?  Never mind.  I take it all back. Your Don Cherry worship is still very much intact.

I guess all I’m saying is that if Kronner was a western Canadian farm boy the media up here would be falling all over themselves as to how he’s a credit to the “way the game was meant to be played” and probably fellating him even as we speak.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 02/02/12 at 05:20 PM ET

Cwix's avatar

Since 1998, I’ve bought all of my jerseys from Allen Park’s SportsK (http://www.sportsk.com). I’ve always been pleased with them and their merchandise.

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Roanoke, VA on 02/02/12 at 06:19 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Whoa.  Easy West.  Kronwall leaves his feet for his patented hit.  It’s a fact.  Are my panties knotted up though?  No way, it’s hockey.  There’s dirty hits.  Yeah the media sucks.  Yeah Cherry’s a knob.  But honestly, saying he doesn’t leave his feet is the least credible statement that you could make about his play.  He’s a pretty clean player otherwise though.
Thanks for complimenting the atmosphere in any case.  Yeah some d-bags from the suburbs trashed downtown, but consider this: in Van we decided to host a street party for 200,000 people, with gigantic screens all over, at a pretty hefty cost.  Pretty cool city right?  Down in old Beantown though, they instituted an early curfew and made liquor unobtainable.  They also asked people not to wear Canucks stuff.  They know what kind of animals they have on their hands.  Yeah, way rather live there.  They know how to have a nice quiet time.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/02/12 at 06:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Since 1998, I’ve bought all of my jerseys from Allen Park’s SportsK (http://www.sportsk.com). I’ve always been pleased with them and their merchandise.

Posted by Cwix from Roanoke, VA on 02/02/12 at 03:19 PM ET

Bookmarked.  Even though I would rather fly to Detroit and get a Hockeytown Authentics Lids/Dangles/Zata/Abber replica sweater, that link, Cwix, is just about perfect.


Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 02/02/12 at 07:00 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

SportsK in Allen Park.  +19

I have a number of Wings jerseys of varying quality.  These guys are top notch.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 02/02/12 at 09:05 PM 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.