Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

‘Rivalry night?’

The Red Wings' coach speaks the truth regarding tonight's "Rivalry Night" game between the Wings and Blackhawks (on NBCSN and TSN2 at 8 PM EST), as noted by 97.1 the Ticket's Ashley Dunkak:

The Red Wings, who have been battered with injuries, are 21-18-10 with 52 points in the standings. The Blackhawks are 32-8-11 with 75 points.

“I don’t think we’re holding up our end of the bargain,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Rivalry is when two teams really get after one another. I thought we did last year in the playoffs. We haven’t been a good enough team this year to consider this a rivalry-type game, and yet the past is what the past is. We’ve had a good run with them.

“We used to be where they are,” Babcock reflected, “and now they’re where we were.”

Instead, as both Jimmy Howard and Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji after Tuesday's practice, the Wings are looking up at their immediate rivals--the other teams battling for a "wild card" spot in the Eastern Conference standings:

Howard and the rest of the Wings are well aware that they are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

"It's a constant reminder every single day, you see it right in front of your face," Howard said. "Even though all this is happening and we keep getting hit with injury after injury we got to find a way as a group to go out there and find a way to get points."

The Wings keep a large board with the standings on it in the dressing room.

"There's no one in here that has their head in the sand not knowing what's going on, in particular, me," Babcock said. "We know what's going on. What are we going to do about that? That board to me didn't help us getting better here today. Going out and talking and having a good meeting and getting prepared for (Wednesday) is what matters. To me, we have to get the group in here playing the best that we possibly can and we have to scratch out some wins. Simple."

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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.