The Malik Report
Updated, and beware, an auto-play highlight clip lurks within: Just found out about this, recap coming: the Grand Rapids Griffins surrendered 3 3rd-period goals and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 6 of the AHL's Western Conference Final on Tuesday night.
As such, the teams will play for the right to face the Syracuse Crunch in the Calder Cup Final in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night. The game will take place at 7 PM EDT at Van Andel Arena in GR.
Update: Oh, boy. This one was a heartbreaker for the ages. Two goals and 1:33 of playing time in the 3rd period separated the Griffins from the Calder Cup Final...But things went wrong in a hurry with under 4 minutes left to play, as the Griffins website's recap notes:
In theory, this exhausted blogger (still, go figure) has a light morning.
The Detroit Free Press (via photos) and Michigan Hockey (text, video, photos) looked back at the top moments of the Red Wings' 2013 season, USA Today posited a list of the top unrestricted free agents-to-be, and Valtteri Filppula's picture includes a ridiculously astute comment from Matt Kartozian as to why he's going to earn $5 million somewhere that isn't Detroit:
7. Center Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings): The Red Wings hope they can re-sign him, although teams around the NHL seem to think he will test the marketplace. He has had one noteworthy statistical season, when he had 23 goals and 66 points in 2011-12. But there is a leaguewide romance with his skill set, especially with a shortage of centers with offensive potential.
There is a ridiculous level of romance with Filppula's skill set, and while USA Today's list notes that the kinds of players the Wings need to go to the front of the net, stay there and hack and whack at rebounds--like Nathan Horton, Bryan Bickell, David Clarkson, Ryane Clowe and even Viktor Stalberg--exist on the pre-cap-complaince buy-out UFA market--there's nobody who can replace Filppula's speed (even if he uses that speed to gain territory in the offensive zone before peeling off and trying to back-pass all the God-damned time).
This interview was posted a wee bit late, and it's a classic, "GM speaking from car, on phone, occasionally ear-dialing" interview, but this past Friday, Ken Holland spoke to WBBL's Huge Show's Bill Simonson, and he offered both reflections upon the regular season and playoff run that was, as well as the shape of the roster to come--stating that the Wings fully plan on having Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff on the roster next year--and that the Wings will attempt to add some "secondary" players through free agency or possibly through trades.
Holland speaks to Simonson for a total of 12 minutes:
Per the Grand Rapids Griffins' PR department, the Red Wings have officially assigned Danny DeKeyser to the Griffins,
which probably means that he's healthy enough to play for them as his broken right thumb has healed though his right thumb hasn't quite healed yet:
DANNY DeKEYSER JOINS GRIFFINS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Monday assigned defenseman Danny DeKeyser (de-KAI-zuhr) to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
A native of Detroit, DeKeyser signed with the Red Wings on March 30 after completing his junior season at Western Michigan University, where he was named an NCAA Second Team All-American and the CCHA’s Best Defensive Defenseman for the second straight season. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound blueliner picked up 49 points (12-37—49) and 107 penalty minutes in 118 games with the Broncos over three seasons.
Red Wings afternoon news: on Andersson bolstering GR’s playoff run, Bickell, Helm and Tweets of note
Updated 2x at 1:49 PM with Ian White lamenting his status: Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:
- First, foremost and for the record, the Detroit Free Press's readers named Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels Michigan's best sports broadcaster, and I think MLive's readers got it right in naming Jimmy Howard the Wings' MVP (hell, even Lambert praised Howard today);
- Second, the Grand Rapids Griffins haven't rolled along as much as they have "roared" along since the Red Wings sent Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Anderson down to bolster the Griffins' scoring. Andersson registered a goal on Saturday (assisted by Nyquist) and two assists on Sunday, whens the Griffins took a 3-games-to-2 lead over the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL's Western Conference Final, and, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes, the Griffins' power play has shifted out of neutarl:
First and foremost, beware: auto-play videos lurk within!
Five days after the Red Wings' season-ending loss to Chicago and two after the team's locker room clean-out day, I'll admit it: I'm still pissed off. I'm still pissed off about the way the series unraveled and I'm still pissed off about the fact that the even-up refereeing gods as well as the outside-of-Detroit-press's insistence that the "hockey gods" both intervened in determining the outcome of Games 6 and 7.
I'm not thrilled with the fact that the lack of any sort of standard of officiating, and the complete and total absence thereof after whistles, are turning "scrums" from discipline-defining exchanges to sidehows. But that's beside the point.
The Blackhawks are still standing, and, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Adam L. Jahns, the Blackhawks have raced out to a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings because they're not letting the Kings frustrate them the way the Wings did:
The Grand Rapids Griffins faced a must-win situation in their last of three straight games in Oklahoma City, OK (the AHL utilizes a 2-3-2 playoff format), and tied 2 games to 2 with the Oklahoma City Barons, the Griffins stood up and delivered a command performance, defeating the Barons 3-0 and taking a 3-2 lead in the AHL's Western Conference Final--with Petr Mrazek pitching a 37-save shutout and Joakim Andersson registering 2 assists.
The Griffins now head home and will host the Barons on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, with the winner of this series slated to battle the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL's Calder Cup Final.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a superb recap:
This morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James pondered where Jordin Tootoo fits into the Red Wings' lineup going forward, pointing out that Wings coach Mike Babcock both lauded Tootoo's regular-season performance and stated taht Tootoo's essentially not the kind of player who's going to find himself skating during the playoffs lest he take an unnecessary penalty. Tootoo chose his words wisely while speaking about his situation with St. James, and he also did so while speaking to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
“Playoff hockey is very intense and that’s my kind of game,” Tootoo said after cleaning out his locker at Joe Louis Arena on Friday. “Obviously you’ve got to make sure what you think is the right combination of guys in the lineup to win, and obviously I wasn’t part of that combination. But you never know, guys go down, things happen, there are a lot of ups and downs. Mentally, physically, I was prepared to be thrown into the battle.”
As Pleiness notes, Tootoo didn't play during the Predators' playoff win over the Wings during the 2011-2012 season (and he was benched after taking a costly penalty in the first game of the Wings-Ducks series), and issuing frustration-based comments regarding his benching helped pave his way out of town. Tootoo bit his lip a slightly while telling Pleiness that he more or less dealt with not playing as best as he could:
A little under two days removed from the Red Wings' locker room clean-out day, a pair of pundits are already looking toward next season, when the Red Wings will move to what we've been told is a bigger, meaner but more "open" Eastern Conference.
Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner spoke with several Wings players and the Wings' coach about, as Mike Babcock likes to put it, "Learning how to play in a whole new league," which is especially appropriate given that there was no inter-conference play this past season:
The Grand Rapids Griffins and Oklahoma City Barons spent Friday night hunkered down in a parking garage, waiting out tornadic weather in the Oklahoma City area, and on Saturday night, the Barons may have hoped that the Griffins had left Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Petr Mrazek under the rink. The Griffins tied their AHL Western Conference Final series at 2 games apiece via a convincing 4-0 win, Andersson scored the only goal that would count as the gamer, and Mrazek pitched a 40-save shutout.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' website relates the game's details via a superb recap:
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