The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 11:13 PM with Franzen stuff, visor talk and Nicklas Lidstrom’s street-re-naming ceremony video: Our friends at NBC Sports have decided to “flex” their schedule during the last weekend of the regular season, swiping the second half of the Red Wings’ back-to-back games against the Chicago Blackhawks from Fox Sports Detroit. The Wings host the Blackhawks on April 8th
at 7:30 PM and will now have to make a quick turnaround for yet another wacky start, with the Hawks hosting the Wings at 12:30 PM EDT on Sunday the 10th—or 11:30 AM local time. Here’s NBC’s press release regarding said game:
DETROIT RED WINGS AT CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS IS NBC SPORTS’ “NHL GAME OF THE WEEK” ON SUNDAY, APRIL 10
Central Division Rivals “Flexed” For National Broadcast
NEW YORK (March 24, 2011) –The Sunday, April 10, Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks game has been flexed as NBC Sports’ “NHL Game of the Week” and will be played at the United Center in Chicago at 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Hockey League and NBC Sports announced today.
According to the detroit NEws’s Ted Kulfan, the Red Wings’ playoff ticket prices involve a bump-up on the back end and upper-bowl tickets, but when they go on sale this Saturday, March 26th, seats closest to the ice will cost about the same as they do now:
The Red Wings playoff tickets for first three home games of the first round will go on sale at noon Saturday.
Prices will range from $50-$120 per ticket, similar to last season’s price range. Fans will be able to purchase up to four tickets per game for each of the team’s first three opening round home games.
Tickets are available at Joe Louis Arena Box Office, as well as all TicketMaster locations, including The Hockeytown Café in Detroit and Hockeytown Authentics in Troy. Tickets also can be obtained by logging on to detroitredwings.com, or by calling (800) 745-3000.
Here’s the Wings’ press release regarding playoff tickets:
Minus 63 goals and 147 points in the absent Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi, the Red Wings haven’t fared well during their five-game home stand. They dropped a frustrating 5-4 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, and while Jimmy Howard rebounded from Monday’s outing with a superb 31-save effort and Jiri Hudler returned from a neck/back injury and scored a key goal, the Wings are now 0-and-2 on their home stand thanks to a Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The Wings weren’t necessarily concerned with catching the Canucks, who are now 10 points ahead of Detroit in the Western Conference standings, but they were hoping to both “bank points” to hold off the San Jose Sharks (who are 1 point behind the Wings) and defend the Central Division against late pushes from the Blackhawks and Predators (both 7 points behind Detroit, and the Hawks have 3 games left against Detroit), all while slowly rounding into playoff form, and instead, the Wings have looked like a team that can neither score the game’s first goal nor exhibit the kind of clutch scoring that wins games minus a full line’s worth of scoring and the team’s only real “power” forwards.
Updated 6x at 7:04 PM: Not good news from MLive’s Ansar Khan as the Red Wings prepare to face off against the Vancouver Canucks tonight: Chris Osgood’s having some difficulties in recovering from sports hernia surgery:
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood has suffered another setback in his attempt to return from sports hernia surgery on Jan. 11, as the club today placed him on long-term injured reserve, retroactive to last week. Joey MacDonald has been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins and will dress as Jimmy Howard’s backup tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.
Update/edit: Here’s what Ken Holland told Khan about Osgood, and it’s bad news:
Osgood isn’t eligible to come off long-term IR until the final two games of the regular season, April 8-10 vs. Chicago.
“We’re back to square one with him,’’ Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Everybody’s frustrated. When we took him off LTI 10 days ago, the player, the doctor and the trainers all signed off on it. He felt good. The first day he had a full practice he felt sore but though he was going to push through it. I think he felt the pressure to come back with the playoffs looming. It’s obvious he’s not anywhere close to playing.’‘
Holland said Osgood will take a few days off and then hopefully start practicing again.
“It’s been apparent he needs 7 to 10 days of full practices to convince himself he’s healthy and to get his level of performance up to the point where he feels he can be effective at NHL game level. I know Chris is very frustrated, disappointed. He wanted to get back and play some games.’‘
Updated with audio and video at 3:48 PM: As Paul already posted, things continue to get stranger and stranger on the injury front as the Detroit Red Wings prepare to tangle with the Vancouver Canucks tonight (7:30 PM, FSD Plus/Versus/TSN/WXYT). The Red Wings had to sign OHL graduate Troy Passingham to an amateur try-out after Chris Osgood decided that he wasn’t ready to play tonight, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports:
Osgood decided after the morning skate he’s not yet ready to dress, and because the Wings have had to call up Jan Mursak to offset the injuries up front, there’s no salary cap space.
Passingham, a 20-year-old out of Mississauga, Ontario, has been signed to a 24-hour amateur tryout. He’s just finished up his season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, going 9-10-3 with a .879 save percentage and 4.76 goals-against average. Passingham was on the sofa hanging out with his girlfriend Tuesday afternoon when his phone rang “My agent called me yesterday and then an hour later (assistant general manager) Jim Nill called me and we got everything set up,” Passingham said. “I was pretty excited. I was just sitting there at my girlfriend’s house in Windsor when I got the call. Obviously there was a lot of excitement and it was a really long day yesterday, but I’m here now, so that’s good.”
Between the Vancouver media’s assertions—to Wings coach Mike Babcock’s face, no less—that the Red Wings have “conceded the Western Conference title” to the Vancouver Canucks by choosing to sit out Todd Bertuzzi (sore back), Johan Franzen (groin), Jiri Hudler (neck) and Pavel Datsyuk (???) for tonight’s match-up between the Red Wings and the team which has an 8-point lead over the Wings and suggestions such as the following from the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, you’d think that tonight’s Wings-Canucks tilt (7:30 PM, Versus/TSN/Fox Sports Detroit Plus/WXYT) is either a prelude to a Western Conference Final showdown and/or the be-all-end-all game which will prove, once, for all, and forever, whether the Canucks have surpassed the Wings, as Campbell suggests:
When the Detroit Red Wings look across the ice during warmup Wednesday night, they’ll be looking at a mirror image. It appears the Vancouver Canucks have grown up and become the Red Wings, minus the Stanley Cups, of course. The question now is whether grasshopper (the Canucks) can snatch the pebble from Master Kan’s (the Red Wings) hand and win a championship. There’s a chance the Canucks and Red Wings will give a preview of a playoff showdown when they hit the ice in their last regular season meeting. And if the first three games of this season were any indication, we can only hope this won’t be their last of 2010-11. Western Conference final, anyone?
As the Vancouver Canucks’ press corps has played up, “The Canucks are just like the 2008 Red Wings” comparisons since, um, December, I expected the Canucks’ press to ham it up ahead of Wednesday night’s tilt (7:30 PM, Versus/TSN/Fox Sports Detroit/WXYT), but during Mike Babcock’s off-day presser, he was essentially told by the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma that, by declaring Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi out for Wednesday night’s game (the Wings have at least called up Jan Mursak now that Chris Osgood’s healthy), the Wings, who are eight points behind Vancouver, have “conceded” the Western Conference title. Babcock happened to disagree with Kuzma’s suggestion, as the journalist in question notes in his pre-pre-game set-up:
“I don’t think we’ve conceded anything,” said Babcock. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve just tried to win every day. You’d like to finish as high as you can. The higher the better, and the better you feel about yourself, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. We’ve tried it all different ways and whichever way you do it, you embrace it.”
Updated with Hat Trick Dick news and an Osgood/Franzen/Bertuzzi assessment from Ken Holland at 6:40 PM, and the Red Wings have recalled Jan Mursak and sent Joey MacDonald down to Grand Rapids: Bad news on the injury front for the Red Wings; According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, Todd Bertuzzi’s sore back will place him on the Wings’ increasing list of injured players going into tomorrow’s game against Vancouver:
“I don’t think we’ll have Franzen, Datsyuk, Hudler or Bertuzzi available for tomorrow,’’ coach Mike Babcock said after today’s practice
It would be the first game Bertuzzi has missed during his second stint in Detroit. He has played in 155 consecutive games as a Red Wing.
“He’s had aches and pain for a while and he just can’t go,’’ Babcock said. “So we’ll give him a few days.’‘
Jiri Hudler did practice on Tuesday, but is “iffy” for tomorrow with a sore neck…
Sweden has an official website, and in light of the fact that the City of
Novi will re-name a street in honor of Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, Anders Wallin posted a profile of Lidstrom, who suggests that there are three reasons that he’s back in contention for the Norris Trophy at 40, after declaring that he’s “had the best job in the world for 20 years”
“Summer training has meant that I’ve been injury-free and always been able to play many matches during a season,” he says. “Then I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been in a good team and have grown in confidence the older I’ve become. Finally, I think it has to do with positioning, your grasp of the game — knowing where to be on the ice.”
The acclaim showered on him is one of the things that drives Lidström to constantly seek improvement.
“I read what’s written about me and it acts as a spur,” he says. “It makes me want to maintain the same level of play — or better — in every match.”
Lidstrom won’t necessarily commit to playing beyond this season, but he sounds like he’s still enjoying what he does for a living:
The Detroit Red Wings managed to pull off a near-miraculous comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, rallying from a 4-0 deficit, but they came up short in terms of results because they couldn’t complete their comeback, and dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Penguins on Monday night.
After a solid five minutes’ worth of hockey, the Wings seemed to collapse into their classic mid-January, “We’ll just tread water until our injured players come back” form, looking like a team that rather desperately missed Pavel Datsyuk’s two-way play and the offensive pop that Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler give them while getting out-worked, out-hustled and out-played as the Penguins chased Detroit all over the ice and made Jimmy Howard, who didn’t have a terrible game despite pumping out quite a few rebounds, look much worse than he actually played, scoring 4 goals on 15 shots against someone who the Wings admittedly hung out to dry. After Joey MacDonald took over, the Wings finally settled down and started playing like themselves again, scoring 4 consecutive goals…
But they seemed to run out of gas once they tied the game, and their three shooters made Brent Johnson look unbeatable before James Neal scored the shootout winner on the Penguins’ third attempt. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari offers a “just the facts” recap…
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