The Malik Report
Updated 9x at 5:28 PM with a great article from Ken Campbell and Babcock and McLellan’s pressers: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/TSN2/“joined in progress” by Versus after the Bruins-Flyers game, so Center Ice/GameCenter Live are unlocked), coach Mike Babcock has chosen to make only one lineup change, as the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness reports:
Kris Draper will play tonight. Still don’t know who he is replacing in the lineup, but all signs point to Drew Miller.
After not practicing Tuesday, Brian Rafalski missed the morning skate. He confirmed he was playing. He just took the extra time off to rest his knee.
Babcock confirmed to the Sporting News’s Craig Custance...
The Detroit Red Wings face what is doubtlessly their most important game of the 2010-2011 season when they face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/TSN2/“joined in progress” after the Bruins-Flyers game on Versus, so Center Ice/GameCenter Live are unlocked for the game). If the Wings continue to lose puck battles, take penalties and struggle to stop the Sharks’ cycling game while losing the battle for possession and control of the puck, they’re all but certain to shake hands with San Jose sooner than later.
The Wings have only rallied from a 2-0 series deficit twice in franchise history, with the most recent coming against the Vancouver Canucks in 2002, but the Sharks have no desire to become the third team in the Wings’ 20-year and 19-season streak of playoff appearances to surrender the lead to the Wings. After a Tuesday’s worth of practices which included line changes by both teams—at this point it appears likely that Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will play on separate lines, and Kris Draper will join the Wings’ lineup—the Sharks insisted that they’re not only in control of this series, but also plan on ensuring that there’s a handshake line at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.
Former Red Wings player and vice-president Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning have stunned the hockey world by taking a 3-0 lead on the Washington Capitals on Tuesday evening, and Yzerman revisited his decision to leave the Red Wings family in a conversation with the National Post’s Bruce Arthur:
“Well, first off, I think 99% of the general manager jobs that are available, you’re not just handed the keys to a Rolls Royce, you know? There’s issues; that’s why the job was available,” says Yzerman, who is a finalist for the NHL’s general manager of the year after his first year with the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Organizationally, we’re just getting started. I mean, this is positive and exciting for us, but where we are as an organization, to build to where we want to be as a perennial playoff team, and have prospects [at the minor-league level], we’re not there. That’s going to take some time. Where we ultimately want to get to, I don’t know if we’re ahead of schedule on that.”
Former Wings coach Scotty Bowman’s not surprised by Yzerman’s success as a general manager…
When there’s too much multimedia to fit in the game post, it’s time for Middle of the Night Multimedia. This slate of Wings-Sharks multimedia is very Flash-heavy, so take care before clicking on the “further reading” link:
The Red Wings haven’t said much about Sunday’s news, but as Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has worn goalie masks with “Let’s Roll” written on their back plates, he spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about what happened, as well as the reason why a young man from upstate New York—who was actually in Ann Arbor on 9/11 as he played for the U.S.‘s NTDP—chose to commemorate the sacrifices made by those who passed away almost ten years ago:
“I didn’t know anybody, fortunately, but it sort of struck home because we did have one kid from New York City, whose father did work downtown,” he said. “I remember he was a little frantic trying to get a hold of his father.”
Howard said that he remembers learning about Beamer and the “Let’s Roll” acclamation when his coaches on the U.S. Development Team recounted the story of Flight 93.
“The ‘Let’s Roll’ on the back of my mask was a rallying cry when we went over to Slovakia for Worlds, the Under-18s, that year,” Howard said. “The story just stuck with me. I’m very patriotic, you know. Whenever I read stories about that, even today, I still get goose bumps and tingles at how shocking it was.”
Since Howard turned pro, he’s updated the artistic design of his custom mask. But one thing will always remain … and that’s the tribute to those who died during the worst act of war on American soil.
“It will always be there to symbolize what those brave men did on that flight,” said Howard, of the two words. “It will always be there as a tribute to them.”
Updated 7x with Howard talking snow at 3:18 PM: Today’s Red Wings and Sharks practice updates begin via Twitter and Red Wings social networking manager Jake Duhaime, who reports that Mike Babcock chose to shake up the Wings’ lines today:
Tuesday’s practice is underway at JLA. http://yfrog.com/h2myowlj
Datsyuk and Zetterberg are not practicing on the same lines. Z is with Bert and Cleary, Pav with Mule and Holmstrom.
NHL.com’s Brian Hedger reports that Brian Rafalski didn’t practice today...
As the Detroit Red Wings took a much-needed day off to re-set their body clocks and hopefully clear their heads as they hope to climb out of a 2-0 series hole for only the second time over their past 20 playoff runs, and the San Jose Sharks raced across the country to join the Wings in preparing for Wednesday night’s game (which will only be “Joined in Progress” on Versus after the Bruins-Flyers game; more on that in a bit), the Wings’ press corps offered more than a few suggestions as to how the Wings might rectify their problems in attempting to play the Sharks on even ground, but the out-of-towners mostly focused on the obvious, easy angle:
Snow showers. The Detroit News’s David Guralnick found that the San Jose Sharks’ snowing of Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard make for fantastic photography, former NHL referee Kerry Fraser found them to be an easy topic to address, and the Sharks themselves, before departing for Detroit, insisted to the Mercury News’s Mark Emmons (David Pollak was busy jabbing back at Ken Kal’s parody of the Sharks’ fan base) that they’ll continue because it’s Jimmy Howard’s fault, and will continue:
The first is that they’re up against some serious-ass odds, especially given that the supporting cast has left Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Howard without support, as spelled out by NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:
Detroit is just 5-21 all-time when losing the first two games of a playoff series and only 2-6 when facing the same situation during the team’s remarkable 20-year run of postseason appearances. Also, after dropping the first three games against the Sharks in the same round last season, Detroit lost that series in five games. When you include the 2010-11 regular season, the Red Wings have lost 10 of the previous 12 meetings against San Jose and appear to be completely flummoxed. Also working against them is a middling record at Joe Louis Arena during the regular season, even being booed off the ice a couple of times.
Updated 2x at 6:48 PM, and I didn’t think that the Franzen no-goal via intent to blow was as big an issue as it is: The Detroit Red Wings didn’t practice on Monday as they didn’t arrive home from San Jose until midnight EDT last night and don’t resume their series against San Jose until Wednesday, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun headed down to Joe Louis Arena to speak to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock about his take on Sunday’s 2-1 loss and the Wings’ options going forward. Babcock apparently took another look at the game and then sought out advice from his usual cast of coaching friends (Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock, Dave King, etc.) before offering this assessment of the Wings’ effort:
“We were better in Game 2, but in saying that, I still don’t think we skated at a high enough level,” the Detroit Red Wings head coach told ESPN.com on Monday. “To me, they’re skating better and winning more races and 50-50 puck battles than we are. They’re up 2-0 and they deserve to be up 2-0, I believe. We have to be better.”
“When I watched it again and looked at the scoring chances, we had more than I thought,” said the Olympic champion coach. “But we’re like a power play that’s one and done. In other words, you get a chance and then you don’t sustain it. They are getting chances and they’re grinding us. They’ve had a power play, especially in the second period, where after it’s over they then spend the next four to five shifts in your zone wearing on you, wearing on you and wearing on you, taking over the momentum of the game. As much as we had a few chances and hit a couple of posts, the reality is they’ve been better than us. Their five-man game is better, we’ve been more stretched out than they have been.”
Babcock is indeed considering lineup changes, but he’s not going to start complaining about the penalties assessed to his team, “snow showers” aside:
Updated at 5:59 PM: Todd McLellan and Joe Pavelski say nothing will change: The sidebar story of note regarding the Red Wings 2-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday involved the Sharks’ continued use of “snow showers” to annoy Jimmy Howard, and TSn analyst and former referee Kerry Fraser says that at least he’d call a penalty on the Sharks (which is a no-no, as we already know) for their antics:
Grab the shovel because you are bang on relative to the ‘snow job’ that Jimmy Howard is getting. As a referee, I wanted players to STOP before running into the goalie. The method and purpose here, however, is blatantly obvious. Action must be taken by the referees. Here’s how I would have handled the situation.
The second time it happened I would have approached the San Jose bench and had a direct conversation with coach Todd McLellan. Todd is a very intelligent coach and an excellent guy to deal with. I would have said, “Todd, we have a pattern here that you and I need to address. The next Shark player that stops hard for the purpose of deliberately throwing snow in Jimmy Howard’s face will receive an unsportsmanlike minor penalty! Can I count on you to take care of this please before I have to?”
Knowing Todd as I do I believe that would be all it would take? If, however it did happen again my greatest hope is that the act would be committed by the worst offender - Joe Pavelski! One call would take the snow plow off the road until next winter and justice would be served.
Continued, and he regrettably is equally demonstrative about the fact that “incidental contact” is a non-reviewable play…
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