The Malik Report
Updated 2x with an interesting Ken Daniels tidbit at 5:21 AM: The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Minnesota Wild tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/FS North/97.1 FM) without the services of their two most important players not named Jimmy Howard in Pavel Datsyuk (knee, probably still a week out), Nicklas Lidstrom, who’s been ruled out of this weekend’s games with a bone bruise in his left ankle/foot, and a support player in Jonathan Ericsson (out for a month with a broken wrist), but probable returnee Kyle Quincey (groin, skated on Thursday) and the Wings need rather desperately to kick off a stretch of three games in five nights by bulding upon their three game losing streak-busting win over Columbus and getting on something of a roll.
The Vancouver Canucks did the Wings a favor by defeating the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, affording the Wings the opportunity to remain tied with the Blues for first in the Central Division standings while only dropping 3 points behind the Canucks, but if the Wings do win the Central, they could very well face the 12th-place Wild, who lost goaltender Nicklas Backstrom’s services but rallied from a 4-1 3rd period deficit to tie the Montreal Canadiens and ultimately lose 5-4 in a shootout.
Per the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell, I’m sure that Coach’s Corner will involve some anti-Red Wings and anti-Maple Leafs talk after Wings GM Ken Holland and former Leafs president Richard Peddie offered the following takes on banning fighting in developmental programs, perhaps all the way up to the CHL level at some point:
“I’d love to see it at the lower levels,” Holland said. “Are we ready for no fighting in the NHL? I don’t think so. I think the game is evolving at the National Hockey League level. You get into the playoffs and there’s hardly any fighting. I think it’s great there’s no fighting in youth leagues. It’s a good thing.”
Former president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Richard Peddie also supports a ban on fighting outside of professional hockey.
“I don’t disagree with what they’re doing at the junior levels on the whole fighting side,” Peddie said. “I know there are lots of pros and cons. I’ve heard it debated at the (NHL board of) governors’ meetings. There are things very unique in hockey versus basketball and baseball. I’m really up in the air at the pro level, but at the junior level, I’d have no problem with it whatsoever.”
As noted in the off-day post, Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an address to Windsor, Ontario’s Odette School of Business this morning, and in addition to posting a short video of Holland’s comments, the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell penned a fantastic article which both explains Holland’s philosophies regarding player development…
“Very conservative, very slow, patience, patience, patience,” said Holland, explaining his managerial philosophy. “It’s better to get someone there (NHL) one year late, rather than two years too early. When you do that, it’s a mistake. It (success) is like a ladder. You’re meticulously adding one piece at a time. There’s no other way.”
His belief that strong sports teams should be built and maintained by strong management teams…
The Detroit Red Wings will be reminded of their departed friends in Philadelphia next Tuesday, when Mark Howe’s #2 is retired, because Brad McCrimmon’s family will also be in attendance and will be recognized by the Flyers, and today, the Wings’ press corps reports that the family of another one of the Wings’ friends in Stefan Liv’s wife and two young sons. Jonathan Ericsson spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about hosting the family for a few days and bringing Liv’s oldest son, Herman, down to the Joe on Thursday…
“Now we have some kids in the house it’s hard to play around with those guys,” said Ericsson, who suffered a fractured left wrist last Saturday. “Carrying them around I usually have one in each arm. Now I can’t really do much with either of them.”
Acting as a chaperone, Ericsson was in the Wings’ locker room Thursday introducing his teammates to five-year-old Herman Liv. His three-year-old brother Harry and their mom, Anna, did not attend Thursday’s practice.
“The kids are fine, they’re too young, I think, but for Anna her days are up and down, of course. So it’s nice for them to think of something else for once.”
Per Holland: Lidstrom has “deep bone bruise. Is out for weekend. Will be re-evaluated on Monday.” Lidstrom hit in ankle last Saturday.
#RedWings will be without Nicklas Lidstrom for Friday against #Wild and Sunday against #Blackhawks
I’m leaving all the practice news from today in the off-day post, so head there for your Thursday Wings news fix.
Updated 10x at 8:52 PM: Although quite a bit can change over the course of 24 hours when it comes to sore ankles, there’s bad news from today’s Red Wings practice regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s sore left ankle/foot, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness....
Lidstrom not on ice at wings practice. Quincey is, along with smith and janik.
No Datsyuk on ice also.
And MLive’s Ansar Khan...
From a purely practical perspective, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s decision to give his players as many days away from the rink as possible from the middle of February on plain old makes sense. After game 55 or so, even if you’ve got special teams that are as inconsistent as the Wings’ have been, and even if you’re one gritty and ugly win removed from a three-game losing streak, as the calendar turns from February to March…
There are only so many meetings that you can have and so many drills you can run in practice before your players tune you out, and if you keep banging your players’ heads into walls, well…Fans of the St. Louis Blues, a team that now leads the Central Division and will probably lead the NHL by the time the Wings tangle with the Wild on Friday (those are the pratfalls of having a light schedule: for the next week or so, pundits will stare at the standings and lament how the mighty Wings have fallen simply because they have a relatively “light” schedule over the next two weeks), will probably find this out in a Hitchcockian year or two, but we’ll let them learn how’ “Hitch’s” grinding on his players, even as a “kinder and gentler” Hitch, tends to diminish teams’ dominance over time on their own.
Updated 4x with Samuelssen on the trade deadline at 3:43 PM: The Red Wings have gotten to a point in the season where addressing the team’s issues in terms of special teams play, attention to detail and consistency of effort can only be hammered into players who’ve played over 60 games together so much before the coaching staff’s talking to a wall, and as such, while the Wings could have practiced after Updated at 2:31 PM: Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that sacrosanct no-play-hockey day:
No practice for Wings today. They will skate Thurs. in preparation of Minnesota Friday at JLA.
So we won’t know whether Nicklas Lidstrom’s ankle is better, whether Pavel Datsyuk took a spin on his own today, or whether Kyle Quincey’s groin has healed until tomorrow at the earliest, and probably not until Friday’s morning skate.
The Wings did issue a press release regarding Todd Bertuzzi’s appearance at an elementary school tomorrow…
The Detroit Red wings broke a 3-game losing streak, leapfrogged the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division standings (with the teams now tied in regulation or OT wins) and nuzzled the tungsten carbide-studded treads of their Winged Wheel to within a point of the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks by accomplishing one simple task:
The Wings, who were playing without Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist) and Kyle Quincey (groin) essentially out-spoiled a team that currently exists to shatter other teams’ playoff dreams, or at least make their roads in April and May a little bit harder, by lurking in the weeds and actually surrendering a 2-1 third-period lead to the Columbus Blue Jackets before rallying for an ugly but satisfying 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
As noted in my little quick take, the Detroit Red Wings were supposedly out-hit 33 to 2 over 60 minutes of play against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the 5-2 winners kind-of-sort-of laughed it off:
Lot of laughter in #RedWings locker room after seeing local stats crew put CBJ down for 33 hits, DET, 2. Wings likely to talk to NHL HQ
For discussion’s sake: what stat do you think is most subjectively kept by your team’s stats crew? I find that the Wings’ crew may or may not occasionally give Pavel Datsyuk an extra takeaway, and tend to record every time the puck hits the end boards as a missed shot, but other than a few deviations from the norm, they’re really excellent. Do you find it a little strange that the home team almost always has both more takeaways and giveaways than its opponent, or that the home team almost always finds its way to register more hits than its opponent, regardless of how physical the game might be?
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.