The Malik Report
Update: The Wings have confirmed their signing of Mattias Backman (and the Free Press is confirming, too):
The Red Wings' prospects still playing playoff hockey had big nights on Tuesday, with the Grand Rapids Griffins advancing to the AHL's Western Conference Finals and Halifax Mooseheads forward Martin Frk registering a hat trick at the Memorial Cup.
RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest took note of the Griffins' top performers in his latest prospect report (and the Griffins-Oklahoma city Barons series starts with back-to-back games in Grand Rapids on Friday and Saturday):
The Detroit Red Wings may have earned Eric Duhatschek's rising from the (mostly) dead "like a vampire" (squid) desgination after their 3-1 win over Chicago on Monday night, but even after an off-day's worth of comments and columns (and my goodness, do days when players don't practice yield a preponderance of pondering), but I believe that Grantland's Katie Baker summarizes the out-of-towners' takes on what may or may not be the "national team's" 2 games-to-1 deficit against the underdog Red Wings:
Unlike the other two teams that trail playoff series 2-1 at the moment, the Blackhawks have the disadvantage of playing Game 4 on the road. But this also means that, should they manage to even up the series, they'll have home ice in the pivotal Games 5 and 7. As surprised (and humbled!) as I've been by the performance of the Red Wings, I still give the Blackhawks the benefit of the doubt after their regular season, and think they have the best chance to ultimately advance.
Now I'll readily admit that, as you probably know by now if you read my in-game ranting on Twitter, the Red Wings in the playoffs = professionalism sometimes goes out the window (this does not translate to in-rink behavior unless my ass has paid for a ticket, however), so you're going to have to pardon me when I say this:
You may take the Chicago Tribune's Ed Sherman's analysis of the Chicago Blackhawks' national TV footprint for what you will:
The Blackhawks are as close to a national team as any in the NHL. Look no further than NBC. The network is riding the Hawks hard during the playoffs. The reason is simple: Ratings.
The Hawks' local numbers from the nation's No. 3 market are having a huge impact on the overall national rating for their games on NBC and NBC Sports Network. In Chicago, an average of nearly 300,000 viewers tuned in for Game 3 on NBC Sports Network Monday night. That's nearly 20 percent of the estimated 1.6 million viewers who tuned in across the country.
Let's say there are many Hawks fans within the executive offices at NBC Sports.
The one major flaw with TSN's absolutely spectacular online offerings involves the fact that they are not embeddable on other websites. As such, they're usually relegated to "hey, look at this" status until YouTubers translate them to watchable formats (see: Kronwalled), but this one merits mentioning right now:
TSN's compiled a top ten list of Pavel Datsyuk's best goals and shootout goals. It's almost 3 minutes long, and I'm sure you've seen them all before, but they are worth your time all over again.
UPDATE: We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted the video:
Not bad for a player without much natural talent, if we are to believe Glenn Healy...
Updated w/ a Frk-centric highlight clip at 3:38 AM: Disclaimer/warning: Yarr, an auto-play highlight clip lurks within: The Grand Rapids Griffins needed to take out the Toronto Marlies to avoid a winner-take-all Game 7 situation in their second-round AHL playoff series. The Griffins did things the hard way, rallying from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits by scoring 3 goals over the final 9:56 of the 3rd period and advancing to the AHL's Western Conference Finals via a 4-3 victory.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a recap of the game's events...
Update: Well, every reader says that I've got it wrong in my interpetation of Fraser's commentary, so...Readers are right?
Since the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scored the 2-1 goal (in the Red Wings' 3-1 victory last night) after Johan Franzen was boarded at the opposite end of the ice by Niklas Hjamarsson, but were denied another when Viktor Stalberg's shot and game-tying goal on Jimmy Howard was negated because the referees deemed Andrew Shaw to be interfering with Jimmy Howard's ability to make a save, the media's pounced on the situation and has addressed the situation in predictable talking-out-of-the-ivory-tower-to-those-uninformed, biased-boobs-who-happen-to-pay-their-salaries fashion:
The Detroit Red Wings are encouraging fans attending Thursday’s playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena to help “Fill a Boot” to benefit the family of fallen Wayne-Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke.
Dearborn firefighters will be at each arena entrance collecting money from 6:30 to 8 p.m., which is the faceoff time for game 4 of the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinals, which the Red Wings lead 2 games to 1.
Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg plans to match donations up to $3,500.
HockeyWebCaster on YouTube posted the CBC's opening montage prior to Game 3 of the Red Wings-Hawks series, and it's pretty slick:
Update: For the record, I enjoyed the post-game montage, too, and it leads off a "Hockey Night Online" post-game show in which P.J. Stock and Andi Petrillo discussed Game 3:
Updated 6x at 3:10 PM: The Red Wings aren't practicing today and I'm not sure whether the Blackhawks are skating thanks to the two-day break between games and the simple truths that a) practice for practice's sake doesn't necessarily register with players (less is more) and b) everyone is banged-up to some extent at this time of year, so "rest is a weapon," as Mike Babcock would say.
But there's a preponderance of Wings and Hawks-related news that either didn't quite make the recap or overnight report cut or plain old popped up during my four-and-a-half hours' worth of sleep. I will leave Sportsline's Brian Stubits, Yahoo Sports' Harrison Mooney and the Score's Justin Bourne's astonishment at a goofy comment by Glenn Healy to you (according to Mr. Healy, Pavel Datsyuk doesn't have all that much hockey god-given talent; Bourne, Grantland and Deadspin of all places offered analyses of last night's game as well)...Well, okay, here's Healy. Cue the jaw-drop:
Updated 3x at 5:23 AM: I am annoyed. I happen to love mammoth, twenty-printed-page blog entries that eat bandwidth and crash browsers...But ever since we've moved to our now not-so-new software platform, I've got a character limit, so during the playoffs, when the press push is absolutely masive I've had to separate multimedia from the game wrap-ups, and now I'm positing an overnight report as well. Damn you, reader-friendly common-sense character limits!
This morning's dominant sidebar stories involve Jonathan Ericsson, Damien Brunner, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl (and Justin Abdelkader and Mike Babcock. Okay, the list is long, thus the separate entry). Starting at the beginning...
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose wisely points out that Ericsson's the team's #2 defenseman, and he's doing just fine and dandy in that role. Nobody's afraid when "Errorson" hops over the boards anymore, and his partner, who happens to be the Red Wings' #1 defenseman, isn't surprised to see Ericsson thrive in his "new" role:
“Just the responsibilities that have come with that role, I think he’s been great,” Kronwall said. “Everybody in this organization knew that he could do it, and had been knowing it for a few years, ever since he came in and played that great series, I think it was against Columbus, his first playoff. I think he’s really come into his own.”
Combined, the Ericsson/Kronwall duo has accounted for 39 hits in the playoffs against the Ducks and Blackhawks. Ericsson had nine hits in the first two games of the Chicago series, second only to Abdelkader (13). He’s also the only Detroit player to appear in every postseason game without receiving a penalty, which speaks to his discipline.
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.