The Malik Report
Henrik Zetterberg came back. Pavel Datsyuk worked his ass off. But the Detroit Red Wings blew a 2-0 lead to the Boston Bruins, were out-shot 12-3 in OT, and this happened:
Faceoff loss by Glendening, Bruins go D to D, Krejci to Hamilton, Hamilton shoots...And the puck goes off Glendening's stick near the blueline, Iginla tips the puck, and it goes off Danny DeKeyser's skate...And past Jonas Gustavsson at 13:32 of Ot.
NO CHANCE FOR Gustavsson, who started in Jimmy Howard (flu's) stead.
3-2 Boston in OT, Bruins up 3-1, last game of the season very possibly on Saturday at 3 PM on NBC.
The game-day post is packed to the gills with news regarding Red Wings captain's Henrik Zetterberg's highly likely return to the Wings' lineup in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins this evening (again, 8 PM start, not 7:30, on FSD/NESN/NBCSN/TSN and 97.1 FM), and the post contains oodles of video and other place-setting storylines as well...
But you may recall hearing that Henrik Zetterberg returned to North America from the 2014 Olympics on the same NHL-chartered plane as the Slovak Olympic team, and that Zdeno Chara ended up carrying Zetterberg's suitcase.
The Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno spoke with Chara and Bruins forward/Team Sweden Loui Eriksson about Zetterberg's fateful exit and then departure from Sochi due to a back injury which required a "discectomy," 2 months' worth of recovery, and is now hopefully ending with something of a classic, "Sports team captain returns from major injury during playoffs, rallies team from deficit" storyline:
The Grand Rapids Griffins spent yesterday traveling from GR to Abbotsford, BC as they'll begin their 5-game first-round playoff series against the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday. The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner wrote a fantastic, comprehensive article (and this excerpt is just part of it) which sets up the series by asking both last year's Calder Cup Champs and this year's new faces how they plan on defending their title.
Wallner duly pointed out that several of the Griffins' biggest early-season contributors are in Detroit now, and he did note that Anthony Mantha may eventually join the cause if Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs continue to get ran over by the QMJHL's defending champion Halifax Mooseheads:
“I think you draw upon all of your experiences,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “One of those is the emotional roller coaster than we went through a year ago. I don’t know if that’s an advantage, because, no matter the experience or how you’ve been playing, it’s how you execute on Friday that matters the most.”
The most consistent – and regularly available – player has been Teemu Pulkkinen, who led the Griffins with 31 goals and 59 points during the regular season. A year ago, the right winger from Finland got into 14 playoff games before the arrival of the Detroit players put him on the bench.
Jordin Tootoo still a fan favorite, ‘good guy’ in Grand Rapids, as illustrated in stick-giveaway vid
I tend to post the Grand Rapids Griffins' videos as a matter of course, so I stuck this little ditty in the Griffins-Abbotsford Heat 1st round preview post, and since that time, Jordin Tootoo's kind gesture's "gone viral":
Updated 19x at 2:25 PM:
If we believe what the Hockey News's Ken Campbell is reporting, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg may end up skating in Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings this evening (8 PM EDT on FSD and NESN locally, NBCSN and TSN nationally and 97.1 FM; again, I still believe that "the other guys" have to carry the team), and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan report that Zetterberg's skating with the regulars--though the rest of the lineup is in flux:
I love this little piece of art from the Detroit News's David Guralnick, too:
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
With the Detroit Red Wings trailing 2-1 in their first-round series against the Boston Bruins, they’ll go into tonight’s Game 4 with their captain and one of their best players in the lineup for the first time in two months.
A source close to the Red Wings said Henrik Zetterberg has been cleared to play tonight, after missing the last 30 games (including playoffs) and all but one game of the Olympics with a back injury. The source said Zetterberg will likely play only “limited minutes,” somewhere in the range of 10 to 12, but even that will be a massive upgrade for a Red Wings team that is reeling with injuries and has been outscored by the Bruins 7-1 in the past two games.
Ahead of tonight's slightly-late-starting Game 4 between the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins (8 PM EDT on FSD and NESN locally, and NBCSN and TSN nationally, as well as 97.1 FM), the tenor of the series has started to shift.
While the Bruins' press kept reminding us again and again on Wednesday that the Wings' 3-0 loss in Game 3 signals a series heading toward a 5-game conclusion, the voices of the Bruins' media who chose to stay home (I'm starting to wonder whether they'd argue that they simply chose to save on airfare for the second round) have been supplanted by those of the people who will probably be following whichever team advances to play Montreal next week.
National writers, new newspaper or online outlets and head correspondents showed up on Tuesday stuck around for Wednesday's practice. Today, they're preaching the same chorus: wouldn't it be a great story if Henrik Zetterberg returned from his back surgery to rally the struggling Wings?
If Xavier Ouellet does not play for the Red Wings on Thursday--and MLive's Brendan Savage reports that the signs aren't necessarily positive regarding "X-Man's" playoff debut--he may get to Abbotsford, British Columbia in time to join his Grand Rapids Griffins teammates when they begin battling the Abbotsord Heat on Friday and Saturday.
The Griffins may receive another blueline addition as they amass Wings prospects who've been eliminated from playoff competition (see: Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman, Andreas Athanasiou, Zach Nastasiuk), and neither the big defenseman nor his WHL-playing teammate will have to travel far:
During last night's Red Wings game, the "GM Cam" found Sergei Fedorov speaking with Wings GM Ken Holland and executive Chris Chelios.
I wasn't too surprised as Fedorov rather wryly informed the media at the Winter Classic Alumni game that he still spends his summers in Metro Detroit, and as CSKA Moscow's season has ended--and KHL teams' training camps begin at the end of July, with exhibition games and tournaments spanning the entire month of August--this is Fedorov's "summer vacation."
The Detroit Free Press's George Sipple reports that Fedorov was a welcomed guest:
I figured that the Grand Rapids Griffins' setting up of their first-round series with the Abbotsford Heat would yield all of the Red Wings' prospect news today, but two stories popped up this afternoon:
1. Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager (via RedWingsFeed) reports that Anthony Mantha had quite the moment during last night's game between the Halifax Mooseheads and Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs. Val-d'Or ended up losing the Conference Final match-up via a 6-5 OT decision (Val-d'Or still leads the series 2-1) but Mantha scored a hat trick in the affair...
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.