The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings have something of a problem on their hands. The Wings have dropped 2 straight games--an ugly loss to Columbus on Saturday and a disappointing showing against the Flames on Tuesday--and as the 4-4-and-1 Wings prepare to play their second of three February games against the St. Louis Blues tonight (8 PM EST, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Midwest, 97.1 FM), amidst a stretch of four games played over the course of six nights...
The Blues have played exactly one game since their 5-3 loss to Detroit last Friday night, and they played the kind of game which bodes poorly for the Wings: the Blues were thrashed 6-1 by Nashville on Tuesday, and the Blues aren't planning on going into their fourth meeting with the Wings next Wednesday, February 15th (oh boy, it's an NBC game) with anything less than a Wing-beating win in the fashion of the 6-0 beating the Blues inflicted upon the Wings on the 2013 schedule's opening night.
Blues captain David Backes (who you might remember was assessed a bogus match penalty in last Friday's game) told the Belleveille News-Democrat's Norm Sanders that the Blues plan on shaking off their loss against Nashville in order to render some vengeance upon the Wings...
When Sergei Fedorov was hired as CSKA Moscow's general manager last summer as part of a Vladimir Putin's impetus to rejuvenate Moscow's professional hockey teams, and coming with Fedorov's hiring was an infusion of cash via a sponsorship deal with Russia's second-largest oil and natural gas giant, Rosneft (the largest oil and natural gas company, Gazprom, is a sponsor of both the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg, whose GM and KHL commissioner Alex Medvedev happens to sit on Gazprom's board of directors).
Fedorov made it very clear at the time that he was not necessarily retiring at the age of 42 (he's now 43) and the intonation from the Russian press was that Fedorov would make a curtain call with CSKA at some point during the 2012-13 season as he'd "turned pro" with the one-time powerhouse of Russian hockey as a 16-year-old.
The Detroit Red Wings' best defensive prospects, like Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman and the still-too-skinny Adam Almqvist, are still a few years away from being ready for prime time, but the Red Wings' prospect pipeline is deep and strong in terms of assets in players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Riley Sheahan (and, down the line, Tomas Jurco, who's having a rough time adjusting to playing against men after dominating against 16-to-20-year-olds; obviously, Petr Mrazek gives the Wings tons of hope in terms of having a "goalie of the future" a year or two away from being ready to challenge Jimmy Howard) and especially the pair of players that the team hopes have some Datsyuk-and-Zetterberg-like potential in Jokerit Helsinki sniper Teemu Pulkkinen and Brynas IF center Calle Jarnkrok.
Over the past two or three seasons, the Wings' brass has insisted that it would allow Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok to remain in Europe until they're ready to begin NHL internships, not AHL ones, and while penning his mid-season ranking of the Top 20 Red Wings Prospects, RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest reports that Jarnkrok may make the jump to the NHL next season--if he receives Wings' director of European Scouting and member of the Frolunda Indians' board of directors Hakan Andersson's blessing:
In large part, that will depend on how well he performs at the IIHF world championship in May, assuming he makes Team Sweden.
“We’ll see how he finishes,” said Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “We all feel he’s a top-six forward in the long run. He’s a smart player, he works really hard, he’s got good hands, good hockey sense. Adapting to the game, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
Pavel Datsyuk's lawyer headed to court today to deal with a lawsuit filed against a local businessman who was making, selling and profiting from Datsyuk-themed merchandise, and the Detroit News's Mike Martindale reports (via RedWingsFeed) that "Pasha LLC" has been barred from selling its t-shirts and jerseys:
Oakland Circuit Judge Martha D. Anderson issued a preliminary injunction after hearing arguments from attorneys for Datsyuk and for Terrance Sullivan and his businesses, Pasha LLC and Pasha Sportswear.
Datsyuk's attorneys, who seek unspecified damages in a lawsuit against Sullivan and his companies, claim Sullivan's actions have confused the public and harmed the hockey star.
Sullivan's attorney, Kevin Stoops, told Anderson there have been emails between Sullivan and Datsyuk regarding product plans and manufacture dating back five years, and that he intends to file them in the case.
Updated 7x with some trade talk at 3:21 PM: I received clearance from the boss to sleep in after the Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames to recharge my batteries, so this isn't exactly the news I'd hoped to wake up to:
It sounds like Howard's okay, which is good given that the Wings are going to face an angry Blues team that dropped a 6-1 decision to Nashville last night after the team takes an hour-long flight to St. Louis on Red Bird III, which is scheduled to take off from Metro Airport at 3:16 PM today...
At this point, the Detroit Red Wings have a better record at "breaking" goalies than they do in breaking through them. Attempting to rebound from an ugly 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Red Wings worked incredibly hard to accomplish very little over the course of a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, but the Wings sent Miikka Kiprusoff packing after two periods due to the same kind of "lower body injury" which felled Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
That's a bit of a problem because the Wings will end up playing Brian Elliott's Blues as they themselves attempt to recover from a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Nashville Predators when the Wings and Blues meet for the second of three times this month on Thursday, in St. Louis...
And while it's uncertain whether an overworked Jimmy Howard will be spelled by Petr Mrazek, while it's highly likely that the overworked Niklas Kronwall (averaging 23-25 minutes per game) will receive any relief, and while it's hard to say what the Wings' lines will look like, barring any of the injury surprises that have become almost predictable, the 4-4-and-1 Wings have begun to develop an Achilles heel that none of us thought would be plaguing them:
The Detroit Red Wings knew that they'd be facing a fired-up Flames team that had lost a 3-2 shootout decision after surrendering the game-tying goal in the final seconds thereof on Saturday, and knew that they'd have to push much harder and play much better than they did in the team's awful 4-2 loss to Columbus...
And instead, the Wings kinda rolled over and died, but not before madly flapping and flailing their arms like a person trying to swim against the current after falling into the Detroit River outside the Joe--and that current is way, way, way too fast to combat by doing anything other than going with the flow.
Updated 2x at 3:53 PM: I tried to cram an unbelievable amount of information into the Red Wings-Flames game-day update post, but the video parts didn't fit, so here's Ken Kal's game-day preview from the Wings' website, in which Kal speaks to Jimmy Howard, Danny Cleary and Niklas Kronwall about capitalizing on the Wings' home-heavy first-half schedule...
The Flames' website posted a game-day preview of its own, as well as interviews with Mikael Backlund and coach Bob Hartley, but something tells me that you're going to be more interested in what Jiri Hudler had to say to the media...
Yesterday, the Detroit News's Mike Martindale reported that Pavel Datsyuk's suing a local businessperson who's been selling memorabilia with Datsyuk's likeness on them for some time now, and today, the Detroit Free Press's George Sipple spoke to Datsyuk's lawyer, who wants people to know that the lawsuit is not a, "Find someone who's may or may not be violating the concept of intellectual property and sue the pants off of them" one:
“Lawyers have been involved in efforts to try to amicably resolve this matter since the summer of 2012,” said Datsyuk’s attorney, Mahesh Nayak. “If you can believe it, we have given efforts to that degree to amicably resolve it since that time and have been obviously unsuccessful in getting there.”
Datsyuk wears the No. 13 for the Red Wings, which use a red and white color scheme on their hockey jerseys.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before Oakland Circuit Judge Martha D. Anderson. The suit is filed against Pasha LLC, Pasha Sportwear and Terrance Sullivan.
The competing storylines about the Red Wings' desire to build a follow-on rink to replace Joe Louis Arena, as part of a $650 million mixed-use development which will be located between Cass and Woodward Avenues just north of I-75, have become something of a contest of late. On Sunday, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea told us that the probably corporately named rink (the Belle Tire?) may "break ground" this year, and today, the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar wants to put the brakes on that scenario:
A University of Michigan professor who is a consultant on a potential $650 million, 35-acre sports and entertainment complex in Detroit dismissed earlier media reports that said he predicted construction for the downtown project could begin this fall. Rosentraub said he didn't intend to give a firm timeline for the project that includes a new home for the Detroit Red Wings professional hockey team.
"I was responding to a hypothetical and I said first A, B, C and D need to happen. The rest of the scenario was left out. It went straight to the conclusion without giving the context," Rosentraub said. He said he doesn't know, nor is he willing to predict, when construction could begin.
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.