The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings will board Red Bird III and fly to Nashville this morning to prepare for tonight’s game against Nashville (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/WXYT) hoping to accomplish more than simply earning a measure of revenge for their dreadful collapse in a 4-3 loss in Nashville eleven days ago:
The Wings begin a pair of back-to-back games this week, all against Central Division foes—in Nashville tonight; in St. Louis on Tuesday and at home against the Blues on Saturday, and in Chicago on Friday—and thanks to the Wings’ losses in Vancouver and Calgary last week, the Wings rather desperately need to gain ground in the Western Conference and Central Division standings.
Red Wings Christmas morning report: A wonderful fundraiser and hoping for a Lidstrom year to grow on
Updated 2x with ugly road records and Zetterberg creativity at 4:03 PM: On Christmas morning, or what is more like when kids tend to wake mom and dad up and ask, “Can we open our presents yet?” and mom and dad say, “It’s 5 AM!” one might become a little philosophical, and the stories I’m about to present you could have been tossed off with a particularly moralistic bent, especially as a certain former teammate of this morning’s protagonist continues to spout off to the media ahead of what is essentially “Foppa: 24/7”—and the IIHF just cleared the 2006 Swedish Olympic team from any potential game-throwing wrongdoing as a Christmas present.
As I’m imagining that you might have to spend the day with relatives who want to tell you other things than how the masons and “grays” are ruling the world (my slightly schizophrenic uncle brightened up many a Christmas party), however, let’s just go with, “Sometimes this holiday is about how well you take care of others, and sometimes it’s how well you take care of others by just being the best person you can be, especially when you don’t have to.”
Updated 3x with another Wings Christmas story and details of an event at the Hockey Hall of Fame at 4:56 PM: Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Detroit Red Wings’ organization and players are pretty flexible in terms of accommodating requests from the NHL to engage in the kinds of promotional activities which involve playing on holidays or sloughing through particularly nasty travel schedules to give the league a TV ratings boost, but the Wings have consistently stated that there is one date that they never want to circle on their calendars for anything other than rest and relaxation—Christmas. Kris Draper and Chris Osgood used to speak out particularly bluntly about the fact that they’d fight at the collective bargaining table to ensure that the NHL does not ask its players to indulge in a ratings bonanza on the 24th or 25th, and the Red Wings’ current players hold similar sentiments, as they told MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“It’s fun to watch sporting events on Christmas Day, but I’m glad it’s not us (playing),” forward Cory Emmerton said.
While the collective bargaining agreement prohibits games or practices on Dec. 24-25, it was traditional for the NHL to play on Christmas from the 1920s to 1971. The Red Wings played many games on Christmas, the last in 1971 (5-3 loss to Toronto). But it’s been 40 years since the league played on Christmas, according to NHL.com. And several Red Wings said they hope it stays that way.
“It’s great because it’s one day out of the year that we deserve to spend time with our families,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We’re constantly on the road going back and forth all over the country, and to get these three days off (including Friday) is going to be great for us.”
Updated at 1:11 AM: The Detroit Red Wings had hoped to return from their 3-game swing through Western Canada humming Meatloaf’s “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” but instead, the Wings began their Christmas break when Red Bird III landed at Metro Airport just before 4:30 in the morning on Friday, most likely dropping the f-bombs from Tenacious D’s “The Road” (NSFW link) instead.
After playing a decent game in their 3-2 win over Edmonton, the Wings, well, collided with the Canucks repeatedly, but came out on the losing end of a 4-3 decision, and instead of learning their lessons from games one and two, the Wings combined the rear-dragging fatigue from the Edmonton game and the unnecessarily expended energy thanks to a tremendously lackluster start in a 3-2 loss to Calgary.
Via RedWingsFeed, here’s a holiday classic in the making from Fox Sports Detroit: while Mark Howe’s promoting the Winter Classic, FSD found the best Wings alumnus around and made Larry “Uncle Murph” Murphy recite, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” with a Red Wings twist. Murph told Ken Daniels that it only took him five takes to get it down (and he was probably compensated in $1 hot dogs from Joe Louis Arena)!
You can guess the true identity of Saint Nick on your own…
As we and the Red Wings still stew over last night’s 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames and the media continues to discuss Jimmy Howard’s beef with goalie-running and/or Niklas Kronwall’s non-suspension for a hit with still drew the ire of both Ryan Kesler and Canucks GM Mike Gillis, who insisted that Kesler had to do nothing less than try to fight Kronwall in retaliation…
Two comments regarding the Wings’ possible deficiencies popped up, starting with a ramble/reminisce from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun about the Canucks’ “puck luck” and Detroit’s subsequent loss in Calgary...
Updated 3x at 11:45 AM with Wings ticket and Danny Dekeyser news...First and foremost, an apology: this recap’s quite late because my internet conked out last night from about the start of the 3rd period onward: For the second night in a row, the Detroit Red Wings didn’t show up at the start of a challenging road game. For the second night in a row, the Detroit Red Wings surrendered a 2-goal lead, and then surrendered a 3rd goal after a controversial call didn’t go their way. For the second night in a row, the Detroit Red Wings’ special teams were awful. For the second night in a row, the Red Wings mounted a furious third period comeback against a determined opponent, but the Wings’ stars, support players and leaders simply couldn’t complete their rally because they’d left their goaltender to the wolves by “cheating” toward offense early, exposing the kinds of flaws and fragile collective confidence that had Wings fans worried as all hell get out in November…
And as such, the Wings flew home to Detroit slowly sinking in the Western Conference standings thanks to a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames (clicky for the “Quick Take”), going 1-for-3 on their two-game road trip and dropping 2 games below .500 on the road.
Despite the absence of player quotes, the Calgary Herald’s George Johnson captured the “spirit of the thing” most astutely:
added 12:33am, Paul here, relaying a message from George stating he is having internet issues and may not be able to get to the recap in the morning. Thanks.
Yes, the Detroit Red Wings can suggest that they left Calgary, where they completed a slate of three games in four nights, four in six, five in eight and and six in ten, all involving travel, with positives to grow upon, especially given the fact that they arrived in Calgary very late after a draining 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks the previous night…
But as the Wings head into the Christmas break, their 3-2 loss to Calgary was both a case of too little, too late, a case of sticking to the same tired old, “Let’s not show up, give up a 2-goal lead, give up a 3-goal lead after a controversial play and then show up in the third period and expend way too much energy while not getting enough done” script, and, perhaps most worrisome given our slow but steady progression toward the New Year, an exhibition of the same systemic and confidence-based flaws which have dogged a team in transition throughout a season which finds them still scrambling for position in the middle of the Western Conference—which is somewhere the Wings don’t want to be two or three months from Christmas.
Updated at 8:10 PM w/ Kerry Fraser talking about the goal: The points of controversy during the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks involved a hit for which Niklas Kronwall was neither fined nor suspended and a goal after which Jimmy Howard was not penalized for punching one Jannik Hansen, but just when you thought we were going to put the controversy behind us, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun (via RedWingsFeed) reports that the league agrees with Howard’s, ahem, position on Hansen’s fall and Alexander Edler’s subsequent 4-1 goal:
Upon further review, am told league believes Jannik Hansen goal should NOT have counted last night.
League’s feeling is that Jimmy Howard didn’t have a chance to make a save. Not worth a penalty to Van but should have been no goal.
When I say Hansen goal, of course I meant Hansen crashing into Howard and Edler scoring.
Update: TSN’s Kerry Fraser agrees that the goal should not have counted, too—but he’s no fan of Kronwall’s hit:
In a slate of hockey predictions for 2012, SI’s Adrian Dater suggests that the NHLPA is girding itself for a third owners’ lockout over the course of seventeen years and the second lockout in eight years because, well, the NHL believes that if the NFL and NBA can get away with a “work stoppage” without alienating its fans, so can a sports league for whom, “Okay, fans, we’re not going to let you or the players who want to play in the building into rinks for a while because we like brinksmanship—but you’re gonna be totally cool with that and come back again, right?” has become something of a familiar refrain:
There will be a work stoppage. I know, I know. How can this happen again? Is everybody in the NHL insane? After what happened in 2004-05, how can there even be the most remote possibility that another lockout/strike will occur at the start of next season?
It could, and according to more than a few wired-in hockey people I’ve talked to in recent days, it likely will happen again in 2012. “Better than a 51-percent chance,” is how one high-profile agent described it to me. NHL Players Association boss Donald Fehr met with agents last week, and the mood coming out of the meeting, at least to some who were there, was pessimism that a shutdown can be avoided after the current collective bargaining agreement with the NHL expires on September 15.
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.