The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note on a blustery Sunday afternoon:
• As Paul already noted, Blues defenseman Ian Cole has been summoned to the principal’s office for a hearing with Mr. Shanahan after checking Justin Abdelkader shoulder-first in Saturday’s 3-0 Wings win. I’m guessing that Cole’s going to be fined but not suspended given his status as a first-time offender and given that Abdelkader returned to play;
The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues wasn’t exactly perfect given that the Wings relied very heavily on Jimmy Howard’s 31-save performance, but just as Justin Abdelkader shook off a shoulder to the chin and returned to score the Wings’ second goal, his teammates shook off a slightly shaky first period and rebounded nicely from Friday night’s loss to Chicago by managing their levels of mental and physical energy like the seasoned pros they are, withstanding the Blues’ physical push before pouncing on a more mentally and physically tired team that was playing the same second half of back-to-back games, delivering the denizens of the so-called Hockeytown a fine New Year’s Eve present.
Massive run-on sentence being said, the Wings really did play smarter and more efficient hockey than their opponent while at least displaying an understanding that the Blues were going to try to knock Detroit onto its heels and indecisive play in the same way that the Blackhawks did on Friday, and this time around, the Wings wouldn’t be “had.” As a bonus, Johan Franzen finally emerged from his mid-December slumber, so something to be said about appreciating learning on the fly and heading into an incredibly busy January schedule accentuating positives.
The Detroit Red Wings copyrighted “Hockeytown, USA” as a marketing slogan prior to the 1995-96 season, and over the past 17 years, the sustained development of and growth in Metro Detroit and Michigan’s youth hockey programs, scholastic and national team programs, major junior hockey leagues, etc. back up the title as a statewide moniker for a state which always identifies itself by association with the city that holds its heart; Minnesota is no doubt the, “State of Hockey,” and New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and more than a few other states both in the Midwest, Northeast and even the Sunbelt could and maybe should market themselves via similar slogans.
As we all know, however, the “Hockeytown” nickname has spawned its share of detractors, and in a very strange twist, the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy reports that another NHL owner says that Mike Ilitch ought to hand over the term to its…well, rightful owner. Here’s what Flyers owner Ed Snider had to say about the term to the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein:
“I’m very proud of the Flyers and what we’ve accomplished,” Snider said. “They call Detroit Hockeytown U.S.A., and I don’t want to take anything away from it, but I think Philadelphia is Hockeytown U.S.A.”
Cue Wings public address announcer Buldd Lynch, via Lacy:
A little under 24 hours after dropping a distressing 3-2 decision to Chicago, the Detroit Red Wings displayed something which the St. Louis Blues seemed to have exhausted their reserves of on Saturday night: restraint.
As a result, the Red Wings rode a sterling shutout performance from Jimmy Howard and the proper exertion of pressure upon one’s opponent at the proper time—in the form of three second-period goals when the Blues started to tire thanks to 85-plus minutes of hard-charging, balls-to-the-wall physical hockey—and the Wings simply, elegantly and efficiently continued to steamroll the Blues, defeating their Central Division opponents by a 3-0 tally.
Somehow, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader managed to pass his baseline tests in the “quiet room” and return, and scored a goal no less, after taking a shoulder directly to the head from St. Louis Blues defenseman Ian Cole. Cole received 2 minutes for an illegal check to the head. [edit: at 11:14 PM: Here’s a better video]:
Here’s hoping that Fox Sports Detroit posts Mickey Redmond’s discussion of player safety as it applies to shoulder and elbow pads, too, as he did a better job of explaining what’s what in terms of protection being used as a weapon than Don Cherry’s done over the past ten years (aside from hitting Ron MacLean in the head, which never hurts).
And yes, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that the hit was doubtlessly suspension-worthy.
Update: This isn’t great, either, but here’s the hit in slow motion. Slow motion can be a dangerous thing as it allows us to assume that the hitter meant even more sinister intent than he already planned in the half second before the hit:
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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.