The Malik Report
The Toronto Maple Leafs got the last laugh on the Detroit Red Wings, taking a shootout decision on Wednesday and a 4-1 win on Saturday, placing the Leafs on a strong trajectory.
They've won 4 straight and are now only 4 points behind the Wings, while Detroit is now 0-1-and-2 since their 4-game winning streak...But it's hard to suggest that the Leafs had much opposition not named Petr Mrazek, Xavier Ouellet or Darren Helm while winning the "season series" on what was an ugly, ugly, ugly night for an impotent Detroit team.
This is quite literally "yesterday's news," but Ron MacLean said something on The Fan 590 regarding one Mike Babcock that made me laugh out loud, and Sportsnet's Evan Pealsee happened to catch this Wings-Leafs home-and-home series' worth of Bob McCownItis:
Mike Babcock’s future remains a hot topic and Ron MacLean thinks the Red Wings head coach is keeping a close eye on a rival club.
“I think he’s probably watching Toronto as carefully as anything,” MacLean told Brady & Walker Friday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “Not his own team, but Toronto, to decide if he wants to come here.”
That's swell and all, but this?
Not only has the 51-year-old won a Stanley Cup, a pair of Olympic gold medals, an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, and a World Junior Championship, but he’s missed the playoffs only once in his 11 seasons behind an NHL bench, with his Red Wings sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference so far this season.
“He’s been spoiled with Lidstrom, and Datsyuk, and Zetterberg. (But) I remember when they acquired Rafalski and he knew they’d win a cup.” MacLean said. “He really knows players.
“I think you could look at Babcock watching Kessel and Phaneuf, the two lynchpins of the Toronto team (to see if there’s something he can win with here).”
*snerk* Yeah, Kessel and Phaneuf, just like Datsyuk and Zetterberg...
Pealsee continues, and you can listen to the interview below plus Ken Kal's preview of the game is there too.
Red Wings-Maple Leafs game-day post: Bernier starts, Leafs dislike Wings, Weiss has ‘AC joint’ issue
Updated 6x at 2:27 PM: Both the Red Wings and Maple Leafs took part in "optional" morning skates ahead of tonight's game (7 PM EST on FSD/the NHL Network U.S. with the usual Center Ice/GameCenter Live blackout/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The Wings hope to rebound from both Wendesday's shootout loss to Toronto and Friday's shootout loss to Florida, thus the optional skate for Detroit; the Maple Leafs host the Wings tonight and the Los Angeles Kings at 5 PM EST tomorrow, thus the optional skate for them.
The biggest news of the Leafs' skate involved the following from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
Jonathan Bernier looks to be the #leafs starter tonight vs. Detroit.
Randy Carlyle being his grumpy self, per the Toronto Sun's Ian Shantz...
Randy Carlyle feeling feisty this morning. Asked if he's looked at game tape, responds sarcastically, "nope, we do nothing."
Shortest Carlyle presser ever. Few questions greeted with few answers. Amen.
Just Wings' scratched and wounded on ice this morning. And Mike Babcock won't be available to respond to THAT question until 4:45 p.m.
HAHAHAH no he wont...
On the Wings' side of things, Jonas Gustavsson made an appearance alongside Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Danny DeKeyser, Brian Lashoff, Justin Abdelkader and Jakub Kindl...
Updated 4x at 12:03 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to rebound from a pair of shootout losses, including Friday's 3-2 loss to Florida, when they battle the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM on FSD/the NHL Network U.S. with the usual Center Ice/GCL blackout/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The Wings of course dropped a 2-1 decision to Toronto on Wednesday, and whoever wins today's game will win the 5-game season series (yep, this is the last of the 5 regular season games between the team this season...regular season...)
As I wait for the Leafs to take the ice at the Air Canada Centre, I can at least tell you that Dan O'Rourke and Dean Morton will referee tonight's game, with Scott Driscoll and Mark Shewchyk working the lines;
as MLive's Michael Nizolek notes, Jimmy Howard won't start tonight's game (Petr Mrazek will start; Brian Lashoff replaces Jakub Kindl, and Daniel Cleary will sub for Stephen Weiss), but #35 will certainly be stewing in his own juices on the bench after dropping yet another shootout loss:
The Detroit Red Wings head into tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 PM on FSD/CBC/the NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM) having dropped slightly behind Toronto's 7-2-and-1 record over their past 10 games thanks to the Wings' pair of shootout losses yielding a 7-1-and-2 record.
The first loss came against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, with the Leafs winning 2-1, and as Toronto rested on Thursday and Friday, the Wings dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Florida before hopping a charter flight to Hogtown.*
We already know that James Reimer will most likely start opposite Petr Mrazek; after Friday's game, Wings coach Mike Babcock stated that Brian Lashoff would replace Jakub Kindl and that Daniel Cleary would replace the slightly-injured Stephen Weiss for a Wings team that's already missing Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader due to shoulder injuries.
Ironically enough, Sportsnet posted the only clip I could find of Jonathan Huberdeau's hit on Weiss, which hurt Weiss' left shoulder:
Prospect news: Griffins’ late rally stuns Barons; Turgeon registers 3 points; 2 ‘prospect showdowns’
The Grand Rapids Griffins came into a tough "home and home" series against the pain-in-the-ass-to-play Oklahoma City Barons on a 2-game losing streak, and the Griffins dropped a 2-0 lead to said Barons...Before scoring 2 3rd-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory on Friday night.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' website posted a game recap....
The Red Wings' team plane is undergoing maintenance--kind of like its shootout game--so the Wings had to hop a charter flight to Toronto for tonight's game against the Maple Leafs (7 PM EST on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM) hoping to do better than the Wings did during Wednesday's 2-1 shootout loss to a Leafs team that must have pretty gleefully watched Detroit drop Friday's 3-2 shootout decision to Florida from homes across Leaf Land.
The Wings still technically sit tied for the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference leads in terms of points, but a 7-1-and-1 record of late has yielded an 0-2-and-2 record of late that has the Wings sitting at 17-6-and-7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning's 19-8-and-3 record--or if this isn't too early for you, to put it more bluntly, Tampa Bay has 18 Regulation-Or-Overtime Wins to Detroit's 16 ROWs.
Petr Mrazek will start tonight, Daniel Cleary will replace the injured Stephen Weiss (shoulder), and Brian Lashoff will be replacing Jakub Kindl, whose combination of inept play and decision to take a pair of minor penalties in the 3rd period earned him a spot in the press box.
The Red Wings play the Panthers two more times this season, on January 27th and March 19th, and they play both games in Sunrise. That's probably a good thing for the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov, given the way he led off his recap:
The Free Press's Helene St. James had initially heard that Stephen Weiss had suffered a separated shoulder during the Red Wings' 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, but Ken Holland clarified the situation to both St. James and MLive's Ansar Khan (sort of, anyway):
Weiss was injured late in the second period of Friday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, when he was checked into the boards by Sean Bergenheim.
General manager Ken Holland said Weiss was still making the trip to Toronto, however, and listed him as questionable for the game.
"See how he feels in the morning," Holland said.
Weiss has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games since returning from a pulled groin.
"Obviously, we need him," forward Gustav Nyquist said. "He's been great ever since he got back. It's great to see him on the ice again. He helps our team out a lot. Hopefully it's not too bad."
"You're our Nashville, baby." That certainly summarizes the way the Red Wings play against the Nashville Predators, with all of the classic goal-line giveaways, rampant and contagious stand-and-watch-itis and, "Four players stand and watch one guy score" shit that the Wings used to commit in the Music City.
It's bad enough that when you see Florida on the schedule, you know that either the Wings are going to give away the game or some sort of controversial non-goal call will bite them in the ass.
And now for your once-weekly in-game Gordie Howe health update, from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Son Mark Howe told the Free Press on Friday that, "he's getting better. He's on the upswing."
Gordie Howe, 86, suffers from dementia and has endured a series of strokes since summer. He suffered a serious one in October, and family feared he was going through another serious stroke Dec. 1, when he was unresponsive for 30 minutes. He was rushed to hospital, where tests revealed he was dehydrated.
Gordie Howe since has been released from hospital and is back at the home of his daughter, Cathy, at her family's house in Lubbock, Texas.
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