The Malik Report
Updated 5x at 10:46 PM: The Detroit Red Wings returned home from their first-round sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes, and, according to WXYZ’s Tom Leyden, they received very good news in that coach Mike Babcock will ask the team to practice on Friday morning, but will then give the team Easter weekend off as the team prepares to rest, recuperate and watch playoff hockey, hoping that every other series “goes long” and that it’s the Wings’ pro scouts who rack up air miles instead of the team.
From the tarmac, Leyden fired off the following Tweets:
As we wait for the Red Wings’ team plane to land at Metro Airport and the Red Wings to emerge from the plane and offer a few quips and quotes to the press—there’s no practice today as the Wings will have spent three-and-a-half hours and 1,700+ miles in the air—here are a few Red Wings-Coyotes tailings for your reading pleasure, anchored by an article from Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating.
Keating, writing from Red Bird II, says that the Wings fans who are already worried about the Wings having to shake off as much as a week’s worth of rust thanks to their sweep of the Coyotes need not to work themselves in a tizzy worrying about about Lady Byng Trophy finalist Nicklas Lidstrom and his supporting cast spending too many evenings watching hockey instead of playing it:
In case you missed this quip in the Wings-Coyotes recap or notebook, the Detroit Red Wings want you to know that tickets for the first three home games of the second round go on sale tomorrow at 12 PM EDT:
RED WINGS SECOND ROUND PLAYOFF TICKETS GO ON SALE TOMORROW AT 12:00 P.M. NOON
… Detroit Advances to Round Two of the Post-Season for the Fifth Straight Year …
Detroit, MI… The 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings became the first team to punch their ticket to the second round of the 2011 NHL playoffs last night, defeating the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 6-3 at Jobing.com Arena to complete a four-game sweep of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series. This is the 14th time the Red Wings have advanced to the second round of the post-season since their current playoff-appearance streak began back in 1991.
The Detroit Red Wings advanced to the second round of the playoffs via a 6-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes which included two goals from Patrick Eaves, two assists from Valtteri Filppula, an assist from Jiri Hudler and yet another sterling performance from Darren Helm, but those four forwards are still technically “depth” players given that they’ve tended to rotate in and out of the Wings’ “top nine” depending on the team’s injury situation.
Wings coach Mike Babcock has begun to suggest that, at least in the cases of Helm and Eaves, the Red Wings can’t call the pair “fourth liners,” as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
After the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 on Wednesday night, I took the high road in stating the obvious—that the Coyotes were a tenacious opponent, that I fully respect the organization’s right to exist and, quite frankly, that even this old Jets fan doesn’t believe that the Coyotes should be the team that relocates to Winnipeg, and, for that matter, the Yotes’ fans proved that they earned their right to use the Whiteout, and that I simply find the Canadian press’s corpse-picking mentality nothing less than distasteful…
Then I look at the box score, and realize how damn hard the Wings’ road was. Down 2-1 and 3-2, battling a team that hacked, whacked, cross-checked, picked pushed and shoved the Wings while continuing to target Nicklas Lidstrom and the Wings’ star players, I remember Jimmy Howard’s big saves, the absolutely vicious nature of what was the nastiest, hardest-fought four-game sweep I’ve witnessed in years…
And I look at the fact that Red Bird II’s scheduled to leave Metro Airport at 6 AM EDT to pick up the Wings to do nothing on Thursday but spend time with their families, and nothing on Friday but practice and watch fans pick up tickets for home games 1, 2 and 3 of Detroit’s second round series when they go on sale at 12 noon.
The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (depending on the time zone you occupy), but the final score doesn’t tell the game’s story at all. The Wings had to overcome the kinds of bad bounces that the Coyotes endured over the first three games of the series, rallying from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to tie the game, eventually go ahead and hang on against an out-and-out assault by an emotional and determined Coyotes team that may have given the Wings their toughest sweep over the course of their 20-year, 19-season playoff run.
The Red Wings were far from perfect in the first round, but as Scotty Bowman often said, the first round is the most dangerous round, and when you survive it while improving on a game-by-game basis, and then surviving the final game (especially without the services of both Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen)...
You’ve accomplished something important and something significant. You’ve taken the first step, and in the Wings’ case, you’ve taken the first step forward in what you hope will be the chance to earn a long playoff run in the shortest period of time possible so that you can rest, recuperate, heal bruises, as Jimmy Howard told John Keating, earn some rare family time at this time of year and hope that everyone else “goes long” and beats the snot out of each other.
For the Wings, a short series isn’t as much about age as it is about the players who were injured getting time to heal and the odometer on Red Bird II and the time changes the players have to endure being kept as low as possible early on. They might have to fear a little rust going forward, but it’s more than worth what the Wings will earn in the exchange in terms of time to recharge their physical and mental reserves.
According to the roster sheet for the Red Wings-Coyotes game, Mike Modano is in for the Wings and Johan Franzen (ankle, face) is out. He apparently couldn’t go in the warm-ups and the Wings chose not to test it out.
I spotted an interview Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson had with Hockeykanalen.se in between finishing up a scouting trip to the World Under-18 Championships in Germany and his and the Wings’ amateur scouts’ other interest, the forthcoming World Championships in Slovakia, but…
It’s a video interview. In Swedish. So I posted an APB on Twitter, and hockey blogger Marie Hallman incredibly graciously offered to translate the main points of the interview. She explains its context, and she also says that she’s heading to the Worlds herself, which will mean some fantastic coverage and probable conversations with any Swedish Wing prospect participants!
Here’s her summary of the interview:
Updated 9x at 9:38 with a clever take on the Chrysler 200 commercial: I don’t know about you, but as the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes prepare to face off tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Arizona/CBC/Versus/WXYT), I’m feeling anxious and jittery. I want this series to be over as much as the Wings do for the sakes of recuperating from the injuries inflicted upon them by the Coyotes’ physical players, keeping their “air miles” down and plain old ensuring that when you’ve got an opponent down, you take ‘em out.
The Wings need to display extremely focused, determined and disciplined play against a team that’s insisted it will channel its ownership uncertainty into a “last stand” mentality, physically and otherwise, and given that they’ve all but guaranteed a win tonight, the Wings have an incredibly stiff task ahead of them this evening.
That being said, it wouldn’t be particularly bad for sleep-deprived Wings fans, their blood pressure and anxiety levels included, to witness a tightly-contested an extremely intense series reach its conclusion for a little fan R&R as well, and as I’ve woken up with an accelerated heartbeat and in an, “Oh shiznit, I’m sure I missed something!” panic every time I’ve succumbed to a few hours of sleep, I’m ready for this thing to be over as of yesterday.
In any case, while the Coyotes’ website just posted Tippett and Babcock’s game-day pressers, I got a head-start on this entry because I didn’t feel like sitting on the following stories. Thus, my good timing equals a smorgasbord of pre-game reading to alleviate your and my jitters:
DetroitRedWings.com’s Jake Duhaime and Yahoo Sports’ Sean Leahy offer some thoughts about the NFL’s 2012 schedule as it relates to possible Winter Classics in Detroit and elsewhere:
Though a small news item that flew under the hockey radar yesterday may have a big role in next season’s buzz. The Wings may have cleared a key hurdle in hosting the 2012 Winter Classic. Sean Leahy of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog has the breakdown of the NFL schedule that nobody else has, specifically, who will be using a stadium on New Year’s Day and who won’t be.
New Meadowlands Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, long seen as future Winter Classic destinations, will be hosting NFL games on January 1st. Yankee Stadium, also seen as a potential site, will be in the second year of a bowl game agreement. And after the Metrodome roof collapse last season, TCF Bank Stadium may have an emergency plan, but it might not have the cache of other locations and matchups.
With Pittsburgh and Washington having played in the game in 2011, one must imagine that Heinz Field, FedEx Field, and Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley would be out of the mix. Chicago’s Soldier Field is not being used, but with Wrigley Field hosting the game in 2009, it would be hard to expect such a quick return.
Of course, we’re simply speculating, but between Michigan Stadium, Comerica Park, an original six club, and a strong DMA TV market, the idea of spending the start of 2012 outdoors isn’t too far fetched, like say, my New Year’s resolutions.
The Wings simply aren’t first on the runway here—the Rangers are, complications included, and it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that the NHL may have to give Canadian franchises an olive branch by bringing them into the Winter Classic mix, with the Heritage Classic being played on U.S. soil instead. It’s a wonderful thought, but I get the feeling that the Wings won’t host a Winter Classic any earlier than 2014.
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.