The Malik Report
The Red Wings take on the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:00 PM EST start on FSD/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), with the Wings hoping to build upon a 2-game winning streak while facing a puzzling opponent:
Before the Dion Phaneuf trade, the 25-23-and-6 Senators were attempting to nudge itself back into contention for a Wild Card spot, and the Senators served notice that they were warming up over the weekend, defeating the Maple Leafs 6-1 on Saturday and the Lightning 5-1 on Monday.
Those victories serve as more than enough notice to the 3rd-in-the-Atlantic Wings that they're going to face stiff opposition this evening.
This is also the 4th game of 5 regular season meetings between the Wings and Sens this season: the Wings dropped a 3-1 decision to Ottawa on Friday, October 30th and defeated them 5-3 on Saturday the 31st, and Detroit defeated Ottawa 4-3 in ovetime on November 15th. These teams are familiar with each other, and they tend not to like each other very much.
All of that being said, the media spotlight will be squarely on Dion Phaneuf on Wednesday, and the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch breaks down the deal:
You may take this for what you will, from the Miami Herald's George Richards...
[Aleksander] Barkov was sent back to South Florida after being knocked out of Monday's game by Detroit's Justin Abdelkader. As part of the NHL's concussion protocol, Barkov was automatically out of Tuesday's game and is expected to miss Friday against St. Louis as well.
One member of the Panthers' front office said Barkov was sent back only because he wasn't playing Tuesday and isn't scheduled for any more neurological tests. The Panthers hope to have Barkov back Saturday against Nashville.
As for Abdelkader, not only did he not get a penalty for the hit on Barkov but he won't face any supplemental discipline from the league either. With no hearing scheduled, Abdelkader is expected to be in the Wings' lineup Wednesday against Ottawa.
"That's our best player and my good friend so maybe I'm looking at the situation differently,'' said Jussi Jokinen, who has had a beef with Abdelkader since last week. "But in talking to others around the league, it was a dangerous hit. He needs to be suspended. ... After seeing the replays, the league needs to do a better job."
Said Shawn Thornton: "My understanding of the rule is, if a player is vulnerable, it's the player's obligation to not throw that hit. He did."
And the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov:
Of prospect-related note:
And in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins filed their weekly press release:
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Yes, he says snip in the video, not snipe (cut him some slack, he was 13).
Reporters caught up with Larkin following Tuesday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena to ask him about the video and his alter ego, D-Boss.
“When we were 13 we were hoping that it would blow up and get a bunch of views. So it's fun,” Larkin said, referring to the video. “Looking back, yeah, it's a little bit embarrassing, it makes me cringe a little bit but I was a kid. I was young.”
Larkin’s Red Wings teammates definitely had some fun at the rookie’s expense, of course.
“It's been funny, I guess,” he said. “They're all having fun with it. I guess I have to own it. It's already out there."
The beginning of the video, shot in his friend’s basement, shows Larkin draped in an American flag and wearing a rally cap (that’s a baseball cap turned inside out), as he introduces what’s about to go down.
From the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo:
Mrazek’s leads the NHL in save percentage (.933) and goals against average (1.97). No Red Wings’ regular goalie has been under two for a full season since Sawchuk in the ‘50s.
The Red Wings won four Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008, and they were backstopped by three different goalies, Mike Vernon (1997), Chris Osgood (1998 and 2008) and Dominik Hasek (2002).
Perception is the Red Wings’ championship drives were fueled by overall team play rather than the goalie.
It’s why Osgood, despite posting obvious Hall of Fame statistics, hasn’t been inducted yet. Vernon isn’t in the Hall, either, Hasek is, but his resume was build primarily playing for Buffalo.
This is different. Mrazek is THE dominant force for the current Red Wings.
The Red Wings struggle to score goals. They will be without their best defenseman, Niklas Krowall, for an extended period.
Yet, they keep rolling – mostly because of Mrazek. He is their great elixir.
Updated 2x at 3:23 PM: The Red Wings practiced ahead of tomorrow's match-up against Dion Phaneuf and the Ottawa Senators (boy, that sounds weird) on Tuesday afternoon, and there were no surprises (thankfully).
Coach Jeff Blashill told the beat writers that the Wings won't make any lineup changes tomorrow, which means that Petr Mrazek is starting and Andreas Athanasiou, who had to leave practice to have a broken skate fixed, will remain in the lineup; Niklas Kronwall is apparently skating on his own as well, and the only "bad news" came in the form of finding out that Mike Green is still "day to day" with a sore groin.
The Senators are coming into town on a two-game winning streak, having defeated Toronto 6-1 on Saturday and Tampa 5-1 on Monday and as the game's being televised on Sportsnet and TVA Sports as well as Fox Sports Detroit, there will be a gigantic media push in town to cover Phaneuf's Senators debut.
That's usually not a good thing for Team Trips in the National Spotlight, but the Wings need to capitalize upon games 3-5 of their 5-game home stand, so defeating whoever the hell dresses for the Senators is of primary importance.
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding Kronwall's status...
I'm late to the party on this one, and that's on purpose. I didn't want to talk about it, because it's kind of silly, but it's taken on a life of its own.
Several days ago, Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray found a video in which a 16-year-old Dylan Larkin engaged in the kind of basement shenanigans that a 16-year-old filming a video with his buddy is wont to do.
The video was taken down, but Deadspin's Samer Kalaf found a new copy of it today, and Kyle and others reported that fans brought signs to yesterday's game that made fun of Larkin calling himself "D-Boss" or misspelling "Snipe Show" to "SnipShow." I'm told that the players, who are always on the lookout for embarrassing material regarding their teammates, had good chuckles at Larkin's expense.
If you want to watch Dylan Larkin say things and do things that are completely innocent for a 16-year-old--or anybody hamming it up for what they think is a private YouTube video of shooting pucks in your basement--but that you can't un-see and un-hear, enjoy. Me, I did a lot of dumb things when I was 16, and I'm not going to judge "Larks" or "D-Boss" for being a little younger than he already is now.
So, with a serious stick-tap to Winging It in Motown and Kyle for finding this...I'm suggesting that you go down the rabbit hole at your own peril:
Updated 3x at 1:41 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice around noon on Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday's TSN game against...Dion Phaneuf's...Ottawa Senators, and just prior to practice, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose "dropped some knowledge":
At 23 years old, @pmrazek34 is the 6th youngest goalie, and the first since Osgood (1993-94) to win 20 games in a season for the #RedWings.
The youngest 20-game winners for the #RedWings: Lumley (18), Osgood (21), Sawchuk (21), Crozier (22), Cheveldae (22) and Mrazek (23).
The Wings received good news on the Abdelkader front, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
No hearing for #RedWings Abdelkader with NHL for hit on Barkov. Team believes he's in the clear.
And the Wings got to work, per the Free Press's George Sipple:
In the FYI department, per Crain's Detroit Business and CDB's Bill Shea, it appears that the Red Wings' follow-on rink will have a corporately-sponsored name:
I keep on hoping for the "Belle Tire."
Update: Here's more from Crain's Detroit Business's Shea:
Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reports the following:
There’s no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader following his big check on Florida’s Aleksander Barkov last night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.
The incident, which occurred early in the second period, left Barkov woozy and forced him from the game entirely. Abdelkader wasn’t penalized on the play — that, along with the hit itself, infuriated the Panthers and head coach Gerard Gallant.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald.
“I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way,” Gallant added, noting that Abdelkader “left his feet a little and got [Barkov] in the jaw.”
Barkov won't play tonight vs. Buffalo.
One more damn time, if you haven't seen the hit:
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