Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Blackhawks wrap-up—a point lost/gained, and lessons learned

Depending on your perspective, the Red Wings either coughed up a desperately-needed point to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, or they managed to rally from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to earn a hard-earned point in a 4-3 OT loss to Chicago.

I believe that there's truth in both narratives: from the perspective of a team that opened the second half of its season in a desperate dash toward a playoff push, leaving a point on the table due to a penalty to Justin Abdelkader that was either careless, par for the course on a night when Chicago got 7 power plays and Detroit got 9 seconds of power play time, or perhaps a little bit of both...

That stings, and that stings a lot.

If you're looking at the game from the perspective of a fan who simply wants the team to learn as much as it possibly can from a season that is probably not going to end in a playoff push, perhaps you might feel a little more charitable toward the Red Wings managing to scrap a point out of a game in which self-inflicted wounds and some admitted carelessness on a night when the officiating was bad all over could have added up to a lop-sided Wings loss against an elite opponent.

As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, there is still an active rivalry with the Red Wings, as they told Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis...

The Red Wings own a 336-269-14-84 record all-time in the regular season against Chicago, but it's the Blackhawks that have had their way with their arch rival in recent years.

With Tuesday's 4-3 overtime win, the Blackhawks improved to 12-1-4 in their last 17 meetings against Detroit. The final meeting of the season will be March 10 at the Joe Louis Arena.

"We were asked today, is there still a rivalry between Detroit and us?" Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I think you could sense it right off the bat, in the building, and the fans, and the chants, and the enthusiasm. ... It was fun playing against these guys. I think the players look forward to it because it’s always a good game and playing the right way against them is something we talk about a lot, that you have to do.

"But I still think there’s still some history there that it’s fun playing these guys. There’s a lot of mutual respect."

But the Blackhawks also puffed out their chests in a manner that the Red Wings cannot...

The Blackhawks' success in tight games continued with Tuesday's overtime win, improving to 17-6-5 in one-goal games this season. What gives?

Keith: "We've played a lot of tight games, and I think that's a good thing. We're finding ways to win some of them. I think we know that there's still room for improvement if we want to be a team that goes all the way. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We know there's still half a season here, but we've done good things. We're trying to get better."

Quenneville: "We had a lot of close games. Every game, you look around the league, they’re close games. I think the number of overtime games is a little higher than we’ve seen in the past. Everybody plays comparable. All the teams are pretty even. You look at the standings, you see just about every team .500 or above. I think 28 of the 30 are almost in that same neighborhood. I think teams know how to play to keep themselves in games. And then the score dictates a lot of the way the game is being played. Seems like there’s so much balance in the league, the parity’s as good as it’s ever been, or close as it’s ever been."

In more ways than one, as Roumeliotis noted in his main recap:

The Blackhawks knew they had to steer the ship in the right direction entering this four-game homestand after going 1-4-1 in their previous six games.

And they did just that, collecting eight out of a possible eight points before hitting the road for three of their next four games.

"It was good," Quenneville said of the homestand. "We wanted to take advantage of our home schedule here, getting back on track. I thought we had a good December, slowed down right around Christmas coming out of it. But we've been playing better. I thought tonight was a real solid game. A little slow in the second, but I thought we did some good things across the board. Obviously a great play on the winner there in overtime. Big win for us."

The Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus penned a game narrative in his recap...

The Hawks-Red Wings rivalry, if you can even call it that anymore, hasn’t meant so much since Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season. And with the Red Wings well out of the playoff picture (they entered Tuesday’s game at the United Center in 15th place in the 16-team Eastern Conference), some of the juice was missing from this meeting early on.

But it didn’t take long for the fire to rekindle, as what looked like a laugher turned into a tense and taut game between the two Original Six teams. The Wings rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to send the game to overtime, where Keith’s blast from the blue line ended things.

The Hawks were all over the Red Wings in the first period, pouring on shots on goal and taking a 2-0 lead midway through the first period as Brian Campbell and Richard Panik scored 26 seconds apart. First, Campbell scored on a blast from the point on a power play. Then Panik followed up a Hartman breakaway attempt for his 10th goal of the season.

But the rout wasn’t on. Detroit turned the tables in the second period and controlled play. Andreas Athanasiou’s snipe from the left circle beat Corey Crawford to cut the lead to 2-1 just 1:37 into the period. Tomas Tatar scored from a similar spot at 9:09 to tie it.

Tanner Kero scored his first goal of the season (and second of his career) at 18:18, capping another strong shift from the red-hot third line with Hartman and Panik. But Detroit again responded, as Luke Glendening popped the puck past Crawford after a series of close-range attempts by Drew Miller.

The Hawks finished with 43 shots on goal, tying their season high. And it was their 17th one-goal victory, most in the league (among 28 such games, also most in the league).

“A win’s a win,” Campbell said. “We kind of let up in the second there, so that was kind of disappointing. But we got it done.”

Hawks letting up = Detroit out-shot Chicago 20-11 in the 2nd period, scoring 3 times in the process.

The Hawks prevailed thanks to that late penalty on Justin Abdelkader, as the Chicago Daily Herald's John Dietz noted:

Of course, with this team nothing comes easy, and the Red Wings stormed back with 3 goals in the second period, forcing Toews and Co. into yet another nailbiter. The Hawks, playing 4-on-3 thanks to a Justin Abdelkader penalty late in the third period, prevailed when a Duncan Keith blast sailed over Peter Mrazek's right shoulder 38 seconds into overtime.

It was just Keith's second goal all season.

"I felt like I've been shooting the puck better the last three weeks or so," he said. "Eventually they'll come."

So the Hawks managed to take two points by capitalizing on the Wings' mistakes and mis-steps, as the Chicago Tribune's Chris Hine noted...

Keith helped secure the second point Tuesday when he scored the winning goal on a shot from the point 38 seconds into overtime. Keith's goal, his second of the season, came during a 4-on-3 power play in the extra session, one of two goals the Hawks scored on seven Red Wings penalties. The Hawks improved their record at home to 17-4-4 and 17-6-5 in one-goal games overall.

"At least we're in every game, I guess," said defenseman Brian Campbell, who scored the other power-play goal. "We're there and competing every night. We're not taking nights off. I also think a lot of teams gear up to play against us. Everybody wants to come in here and play well.

The Hawks appeared poised to run away with Tuesday's victory after jumping out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Campbell and Richard Panik just 26 seconds apart. But the Red Wings tied the score 2-2 in the second period on goals from Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou. Tanner Kero's first goal of the season gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead late in the second before the Red Wings tied it again with 19 seconds remaining on a goal from Luke Glendening.

But the Hawks held it together in the third and got it to overtime for Keith to win it.

"We have played a lot of tight games," Keith said. "There's still room for improvement if we want to be a team that goes all the way."

Or did they? The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc shared quotes from both teams in his recap (only in Chicago: two beat writers to cover hockey):

“I thought in the second we were excellent. I thought we did a great job skating and winning battles, even late there in the second when we fought our way back. So that was a positive, but we’ve got to be better … We got it to the point and we shot the puck. Shooting creates chaos, something we have talked lots about, and I thought we did a good job at it tonight for the most part, especially in the second.” -- Wings coach Jeff Blashill

“I thought we did a lot of good things. Now we just need to do it again. That is the situation we are in right now, we have to continue to get points. We played okay today, we have to play the same way in Dallas and hopefully get home with two points.” -- Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg

Reuters' recap will serve as our pivot point between the Blackhawks and Red Wings' perspectives:

"We've been finding ways to win, it seems," Keith said. "We did a lot of good things, but I think we still have times where we know we still could've been better in periods and in lapses of the game and whatnot. We did what we had to there, as a team, and they came back and scored every time we got the lead, it seemed. Give (Detroit) credit, but we've been able to find ways to win, and that's a big thing, too."

The Blackhawks took advantage of having the extra man and won despite finishing 2-for-6 on the power play. Crawford helped preserve the tie with several key saves in the final period, including one after he turned the puck over before he slid back into the crease to knock down a Frans Nielsen shot.

The tide turned, though, on the call against Abdelkader, who said he wasn't certain he did anything to merit a penalty.

"I just really tried to rub him out there," Abdelkader said. "I wasn't trying to put him into the fourth row or anything."

After back-to-back Detroit goals in the second period tied the game, Tanner Kero gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead with his first goal of the season with just under two minutes to play in the period. The Red Wings responded with 19 seconds remaining in the middle period when Luke Glendening poked in a backhanded rebound following a flurry of chances around the Chicago net.

The Red Wings bounced back after they struggled early to stay out of the penalty box. Chicago took advantage.

"The two ways you probably lose momentum is getting scored on and having to kill penalties," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "That was a hard way to start the first. I think it had lots to do with the lack of jump."

The Red Wings definitely didn't "get started on time," but they managed to battle through it, as the AP's recap noted..

Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar and Luke Glendening had Detroit's goals. Mrazek had 39 saves as the Red Wings fell to 2-2-2 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

Penalties hurt the Red Wings. Chicago was 2 for 6 with the advantage and got added momentum from the chances. Detroit failed on its lone power play.

Abdelkader, who returned after missing 16 games with a knee injury, said he and his team were happy with the point, even if the late penalty against him allowed Chicago to get two.

"It's never a good feeling, but that's how it goes," Abdelkader said. "We took too many penalties tonight. but we found a way to battle back."

Panik's goal was his 10th, making him the sixth Chicago player to reach double digits. Both Panik and Campbell ended eight-game droughts. Kero's goal was his first in nine games since his recall from Rockford of the AHL.

Athanasiou, benched at Anaheim on Jan. 4, has responded with three goals and six points in his last three games.

Buoyed by three power plays, the Blackhawks dominated the first period and led 2-0 after 20 minutes on goals 26 seconds apart by Campbell and Panik.

"I thought (penalties) hurt us in the first period," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "We took a penalty right away and now you're on your heels a little bit."

But the Red Wings weren't satisfied by their level of play against the star-studded Blackhawks by any means, as NHL.com's Brian Hedger noted:

"We played OK," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I thought we did a lot of good things. Now we've just got to do it again. I think that's the situation we are in right now. We have to continue to get points."

Keith's goal followed a boarding minor called on Justin Abdelkader at 19:44 of the third period. It was the Blackhawks' second power-play goal of the game; they were 2-for-6.

Abdelkader, who returned from a knee injury that kept him out 16 games, boarded Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"I didn't see the replay, but I was just trying to rub him out there," Abdelkader said. "It wasn't like I was trying to put him into the fourth row or anything. He went down, obviously. The ref maybe thought he was hurt and called a penalty. It's unfortunate. It never feels good to lose like that with a power play at the end."

Then there was the disparity in penalties, as noted by the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...

The Red Wings complained about a lack of power play opportunities, with the Blackhawks called for only two penalties and the Red Wings seven.

Because some of the penalties were coincidental minors, the Wings had a grand total of nine seconds of power play time in the game, against the third-worst penalty killing team in the league and the second-worst at home. The Blackhawks had 8 minutes 56 seconds with a man advantage.

Asked if he was slashed as he cut to the net – his stick, clear evidence, lay broken behind the net for long moments as the play continued – Zetterberg seemed bemused.

“Yeah, in front of the net,” he said, wryly. “The stick broke, so it was either the wind or slashed.”

The trend of only Red Wings penalties and Blackhawks power plays ultimately made the difference in the game. It proved crucial in overtime, when Keith scored on a shot from the blue line on the power play with Justin Abdelkader in the box for boarding.

Abdelkader, who returned to the lineup after 16 game and tied for the team leads with four shots and four hits, said he believed he had basically brushed off the Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the corner, deep in the offensive zone, at 19:44 of the third period. But the referees did not see it that way.

“I didn’t see the replay, but I just really tried to rub him out, there,” Abdelkader said, describing a more glancing blow than what the referees perceived. “I didn’t try to put him in the fourth row, or anything. He went down, obviously. The ref maybe thought he was hurt or something and called a penalty. I don’t know. It’s frustrating, you know? But, hey, we’re not reffing the game. We don’t make the calls. It’s unfortunate. It never feels good to lose like that with the power pay at the end.”

For the Wings, for better or worse, theirs was an incomplete game, as Jeff Blashill told the Free Press's Helene St. James...

“I thought that hurt us in the first period,” Blashill said. “Right away, we took a penalty and now you are on your heels a little bit. The two ways that you probably lose momentum is getting scored on and having to kill penalties, so that was a hard way to start the first. I think it had lots to do with the lack of jump in the first – I didn’t think we skated well enough. In the second, we were excellent.”

The Blackhawks used their second power play to make it 1-0 on a Brian Campbell slap shot, and stoked that energy with a second goal 26 seconds later, from Richard Panik. The Blackhawks had a 12-6 edge in shots when the Wings took another penalty, at 14:14 of the first period.

And the Wings' players needed no prompting to explain that they took too many penalties:

“The first period wasn’t how we want to play,” Mrazek said. “They had three or four power plays so they play well. But in second period, we came back, had lots of chances. We showed in the second period that we can play good hockey. One point is better than nothing, but you want to win.”

The Wings stormed out to start the second period. Vanek got the puck along the wall and sent the puck out to Athanasiou, who halved the deficit.

“It's always nice after going down 2-0 getting one on the board,” Athanasiou said. “It was a great pass by Vanner and good forecheck by Niels. We knew we had to come out hard and we did.”

Tatar amended for taking two penalties by scoring at 9:09, making it 2-2 midway through the second period.

“We came back strong,” Tatar said. “We didn’t get any chance to play power play, and they played I don’t know how many. We paid a price for that.”

Blashill told St. James that he was happiest about the way the Wings responded in the 2nd period--and responded to the adversity they created for themselves:

Blashill pointed to better skating and puck battling as the difference in the second period, saying, “the one thing we did good in the second was we got it to the point and we shot the puck. Shooting creates chaos.”

Tanner Kero scored after winning a puck battle just outside Detroit’s crease at 18:18, but the Wings replied with 19 seconds left, when Glendening finished the hard work put in by Drew Miller at Chicago’s crease, firing the puck home from just a few feet to the right.

“It was a huge goal,” Blashill said. “We had dug ourselves from a 2-0 deficit and then you give one up late there, 3-2, it can be a tough thing,” Blashill said. “So for him to come back and score right away was huge.”

Ultimately, however, the Red Wings lost the game, and that yielded an honest take from the captain, as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted:

“We played OK,” was Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg’s assessment. “I thought we did a lot of good things. Now we’ve just got to do it again. I think that’s the situation we are in right now. We have to continue to get points.”

In a scenario where they must make up ground, deep down, the Red Wings recognize that playing OK isn’t really OK.

“We’re getting down to crunch time, we all know that” Zetterberg said. “We know how many games we have left, we know how many points are left to play with. We pretty much know how many we’ve got to win.

“I don’t think we have to look at the standings. We know where we are, we know what we have to do. The standings for one day, it moves just a little bit, you know you have to put a run together for weeks and games. If you’re not doing that, you’re not going to move. Even if we’re doing that and other teams are doing that, it’s the same thing. It’s hard to be behind and we’re behind now.”

So Tuesday's game was a learning experience for the Red Wings' young players, but it's a learning experience the Wings can't afford to repeat.

That means playing better from the start, playing more disciplined hockey, and showing the kind of killer instinct that Chicago displayed as the Wings attempt to "get on a streak" over their final 41 games.

That's...that's going to be difficult.

Multimedia:

Highlights: NHL.com posted a 4:39 highlight clip...

And a 6:58 "condensed game":

CSN Chicago also posted a 1:14 highlight clip;

Post-game: CSN Chicago posted a 2:19 clip of Joel Quenneville's post-game presser and clips of comments from Corey Craford, Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith;

The Blackhawks posted clips of comments from Ryan Hartman, Campbell and Tanner Kero's remarks, as well as coach Quenneville's 5:20 presser;

MLive's Ansar Khan posted clips of Henrik Zetterberg...

Justin Abdelkader...

Andreas Athanasiou...

And Petr Mrazek's post-game comments:

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Abdelkader, Zetterberg, Mrazek and Jeff Blashill's post-game remarks:

Photos: The Free Press posted an 11-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 17-image gallery;

MLive posted a 15-image gallery;

The Chicago Tribune posted a 14-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 39-image gallery;

And NHL.com and the Red Wings' website posted 83-image galleries.

Statistics:

Here's the Game Summary...

And the Event Summary

 

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: From DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji's notes...

There's a reason that Frans Nielsen has been considered one of the most underrated players in the league. But he hasn't escaped notice entirely and on Tuesday Nielsen was named to his first All-Star Game.

"It's going to be fun," Nielsen told reporters in Chicago. "For sure, it's something I'm very proud of, I'm really excited to be a part, so it's an honor."

Nielsen is currently third on the team in scoring with 22 points.

...

Thomas Vanek, who has been on Nielsen's line for a while and also played with him with the New York Islanders, said the honor is well-deserved.

"I think he'll represent the Red Wings in a good way and I'm real happy for him," Vanek said to reporters in Chicago. "First of all, he's a great guy off the ice, so it's easy to like him, but on the ice it's the way he thinks the game. He thinks at a high level and again I think the success has shown here."

Nielsen said he's not worried about getting some rest.

"For sure, I think everyone is feeling it right now, and the schedule's been tough, but especially being my first one, it's something I'm really excited about," Nielsen said. "It was, for sure, more entertaining watching it last year than other years. It seems like guys were competing a little bit more, so I'm sure it's going to be hard playing 20 minutes of 3-on-3. But it's going to be fun."

And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa's notes:

“Big congrats to him,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s been a real good signing for us and a real good player for us.”

Blashill said the all-star break is more important for mental recovery than physical, and that Nielsen’s fluid skating style should help him in the three-on-three play that now highlights the all-star weekend.

“He’s such a driven person,” Blashill said. “So I don’t worry about him mentally. I think he’ll be absolutely fine. And, it’s in L.A., so that’ll be a nice get away, too.”

Nielsen laughed when asked about the three-on-three, which some veterans regard warily as part of their all-star experience.

“It was, for sure, more entertaining watching it last year than in other years,” Nielsen said. “It seemed like guys were competing a little bit more.”

He said he enjoys the three-on-three overtime initiated in the NHL last season.

“But it’s going to be hard playing 20 minutes of three-on-three,” he said. “But it’s going to be fun.”

FYI from my "other boss":

Quoting Elliotte Friedman:

19. Apparently, there are six current NHLers on the top 100 list, to be fully revealed at All-Star Weekend. Five seem obvious: Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews. So, who’s your sixth? Evgeni Malkin? Carey Price? Duncan Keith? (I do know one voter who picked him.) Jagr doesn’t have to play in the game, so I wondered if maybe it was Joe Thornton, given the same consideration because he’s 37. We’ll find out in a little over two weeks.

20. More rumours out of Russia: that Pavel Datsyuk will be in attendance.

So Datsyuk will likely be named as one of the top NHL'ers of all time, and he'll be flying from St. Petersburg to Los Angeles to take in the announcement in person.

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Comments

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I’m confused, is chemistry developed between players or positions.Are we insinuating that just because a player isproducing.on one line means he’ll produce and fit in the same on another.

Posted by stateofmifan on 01/11/17 at 04:24 PM ET

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And the excuse wheel comes full circle

Not sure what this means even. Larkin will play better with better linemates. His stats will be better, his defensive game will be better and he will start enjoying the game of hockey again. AA, Larkin and Mantha have to play with talented teammates in order to succeed. You start there and then you add defensive layer to their game. You do not start with killing their offense and overall desire to play a game of hockey.

Right just like the great Scotty Bowman used to do with his team. 

Those constant references to Bowman are absolutely out of place here imo. Bowman was coaching our team when he can put Fedorov on a 4th line or on defense and still have 6 hall of famers in top 6. Yzerman was asked to be defensively responsible, but still played with very talented linemates. 2016-17 team is the least talented team we’ve had in 20 years and it should not be coached like the teams Bowman was coaching.

everyone starts out at the Executive Level, because well, how else would I succeed?

another totally out of place reference. There is absolutely no way I would agree that young talented players first have to be put on a grinding line and asked to be the second coming of Glendening before they are “allowed” to play in top 6. Mantha is a good example of that. Thank god he was immediately given top 6 role because if he was grinding on a 4th line to start his NHL career, we would probably never even find out that he could be a dominant scorer.

So Blash is using him at that position, as the 3rd line center for the betterment of his own career and team, long term?

I do not agree that the way Larkin is used now is for the betterment of his career., but even if that’s the case, why even criticize him now. It’s only natural he will struggle in this role. When you play him with Z and Mantha for 30 games and struggles in all aspects of the game, I will be the first to join the criticism. It’s the same thing as blaming Glendening for not being effective in a top 6 role.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 04:50 PM ET

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Pavel Datsyuk made Abby a 20 goal scorer.

1. We don’t have Datsyuk or that type of player anymore and 2. There are just not enough spots on a line with Z and Mantha to make EVERYONE reach their potential. This is probably why, along with a crap shooting percentage, Nyquist can’t score.

At some point, you have to be the guy who can create offense. Flip had his best year with Datsyuk, but otherwise couldn’t center his own line. So bye.

With that said, of course he can’t expect production with Glenny, Miller and Ott. But he hasn’t normally made things happen with anyone else, either. Now, chicken or egg, is it this team’s awful performance or something to do with Larkin? Both? Neither?

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/11/17 at 05:22 PM ET

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i don’t think playing with Tats and Abby is a recipe for disaster. Those two are vétérans who can play a solid 3rd liner and chip in a goal or two occasionnaly. Larkin fits in there

.We are not tallking 4th line grinders like Ott, Glenn and Miller…

Larkin needs to step up and produce as the 3rd line center until he has prove that he can climb the chart ladder.

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/11/17 at 05:26 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 03:50 PM ET

Oh I see. Dylan can’t play games with Hank and Mantha so he’s sad.  Playing at the NHL level for his hometown team for millions of dollars with guys he’s friends with outside of the rink, and forcing him to play the position he’s played most of his life is just terrible.  How can anyone consider that that enjoyable, there’s no way I would want to do that either.

Do you honestly believe any of that post?

Maybe because it’s the millennial era, I guess you feel that a culture of coddling and handouts will develop our kids more than ice time which is earned, trust which is earned, and having expectations of nightly effort. I use Scotty as a reference because he’s the best, and the best wouldn’t do any of what you’re talking about.  We will agree to disagree on that I guess. 

That aside, can you please tell me how many games Larkin spent on the 4th line as a “grinder” How about a game count for Mantha? Tatar? And Nyquist while busy counting, since this is the way we always do it, or maybe someone is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g a bit?

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/17 at 05:35 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 01/11/17 at 04:35 PM ET

[Loud clapping] While I am not going to make this “about a millennial” thing - because almost every older generation said the same thing about a younger generation (remember when Babby Boomers used to bag on GenX). I do agree with you that people climb the ladder and earn their keep. Right now, Larkin is not earning it against presumably lesser competition (top six Larkin against bottom six opponents).

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/11/17 at 05:44 PM ET

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Do you honestly believe any of that post?

Yes, I do not believe a player has to be taught some kind of a lesson before allowing him to play where he will actually succeed. Especially a player who has been working hard every game, the only player you can potentially call the future of the franchise. And exciting to watch although I know you do not care about that unless the guy is grinding, grinding, grinding.

Dylan can’t play games with Hank and Mantha so he’s sad

Another sarcasm which is irrelevant to the discussion. Larkin is not succeeding as a third line center playing with Sheahan, Glendening, etc. Things are not going his way. He is pressing, making mistakes, getting frustrated. Help him get out of it instead of apunishing a 20 year old even more. And yes, playing with Sheahan and Glendening is a punishment for an offensively gifted players. OK, yesterday he was with out of shape Abby and Tatar who is having a terrible season really. So, now he has to carry those two. Is he responsible for 2 lazy Tatar penalties also?

many games Larkin spent on the 4th line as a “grinder”

I do not think I ever said those exact words, that was about AA. But Larkin playing grinding role on a line with Sheahan and Glendening or Glen and Miller (you can call it a third line if you want) is not something that Larkin is needed to grow as a player imo.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 05:46 PM ET

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i don’t think playing with Tats and Abby is a recipe for disaster

It’s been only 1 game with those 2 and Abby is out of shape and played only 8 minutes yesterday and Tatar has not been good this season. But yes, those linemates in a vacuum is better than Shehan and Glendening.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 05:47 PM ET

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I do agree with you that people climb the ladder and earn their keep.

What Larkin ever did not to earn to play top 6 minutes and being successful player for our team? He’s been our best player last season, remember? So this season he is put in a position where he is not succeeding and we blame him and not the coach for not maximizing his talent?
You have to learn how to grind like Glendening before you will ever be allowed to play on a normal line? I just do not agree with this logic.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 05:51 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Larkin is not succeeding as a third line center playing with Sheahan, Glendening, etc. Things are not going his way. He is pressing, making mistakes, getting frustrated. Help him get out of it instead of apunishing a 20 year old even more.
Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 04:46 PM ET

First you do realize that those two are his buddies on the team right?

Secondly, when I think Sheehan and Glenny, I don’t think of guys who are elite passers, make highlight dekes, or snipe pucks in the net (neither does Nyquist lately), however, like the coach, I see two guys who play above par defense, are physical on the boards, stall pucks vs. turning them over, get the puck out of the zone when they are supposed to, and win puck battles.

So offensively I would agree with you, but myself and others are not bagging on his offensive production or stats, its his lack of battle hustle and puck management, even careless at times, defensively of late that I’m seeing out of the kid. And playing with those two, who theoretically cover him defensively, that shouldn’t be the case. Again I’m not faulting him, saying he’s playing bad, etc. just that theirs a bar for 71, with his talent and speed, that bar is higher than others, and he’s not hitting his bar. I’m not advocating benching him tomorrow, but as we get healthy and have multiple choices, a reminder might help.

Lastly, only 6 players get top two lines, 2 centers. Hank and Neilson are better centers. Mantha and Vanek are more productive. I’m fine pushing Nyquist out of the top 6, but think Tatar belongs back on that line. Not to mention, our 3rd line would be Nyquist Sheehan Tatar a line you complained about for a year straight. If Larkin takes AA’s spot, you’d complain about AA not being top 6. Less spots than opportunities to complain.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/17 at 06:08 PM ET

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Not to mention, our 3rd line would be Nyquist Sheehan Tatar a line you complained about for a year straight

You always remember my posts, I appreciate that. And your last post did not have any condescending sarcastic remarks, just an opinion, that’s great. Yes, Sheahan/Tatar/Nyquist was a disaster, but at this point Larkin is my higher priority to make sure he does not become next Jurco on this team. So, my top 6 is definitely Z/Mantha/Larkin and Vanek/AA/Nielsen. To accomplish that if the third line is 14/15/21, so be it. All 3 are a disaster, maybe together they will be better. Or I will just bench Nyquist or Tatar (I was going to suggest it after his 2 lazy penalties, but then he scored). Bottom 2 lines could also be Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco and Abby-Glen-Nyquist (again Nyquist is not my priority now to get going, Larkin is). But I also am willing to give 5 games to Larkin-Tatar-Abby line, that should be better than Larkin-Glen-Sheahan.
Bottom line we all agree that Larkin is not playing to his potential. We differ in how we want to approach it.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 06:43 PM ET

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Actually Mantha has taken Larkin’s spot on the Z line and performing exceptionally just like Larkin was. Now, how is it that Nyquist and a lot of times Sheahan have earned the right to play on all the power plays, especially since they’re not scoring and neither is our power play. As an former employer,(service not product) I used my employees in capacities that did the job the best and then the quickest. Best because it’s not cost effective to do it again. Players in their best capacities so team has the best chance to win.

Posted by stateofmifan on 01/11/17 at 07:10 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

You always remember my posts,

Posted by VPalmer on 01/11/17 at 05:43 PM ET

Easy one cause you said it sometimes 2-3x a day, so much so, that it would’ve been more efficient to add it to your signature.

Posted by VPalmer from hating the 14/15/21 line combination on x/xx/xx at x:xxPM ET

 

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/12/17 at 10:00 AM ET

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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.

 

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