The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators may or may not be thanking the TV scheduling gods as NBC’s likely desire for a Sunday matinee (though Game 6’s starting time is “to be determined” literally as well as figuratively) as the teams received a something that rarely happens in the playoffs—a genuine “day off”—for both teams to rest the nagging injuries that just about every player is suffering from at this time of year, and for both teams to catch their breath after Tuesday’s 3-1 Wings loss.
Because the Wings have, in theory, anyway, out-played as well as out-shot the Predators by a significant margin thus far, Red Wings executive Kris Draper and GM Ken Holland took to the airwaves on Wednesday, preaching a party line which they essentially have to espouse given that Detroit’s season is on the line thanks to the team’s 3-1 deficit:
Updated at 11:13 PM: Maybe this summarizes the series as good as anything else: the Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators chose to take advantage of the two-day break between Game 4 and Game 5 to rest and prepare for an all-important and possible elimination game on Friday, but while the Predators chose to speak to the media and announced that Thursday’s practice in Nashville will be open to the public as a reportedly jubilant crowd welcomed the would-be dragon-slayers back to Tennessee after Nashville’s 3-1 win...
Red Wings executives Kris Draper and GM Ken Holland made the media rounds representing a team that will hold a short practice in Detroit before flying to Nashville on Thursday, and the Wings announced that they’re holding a viewing party on Friday at the Hamlin Pub in Rochester Hills, sponsored by, appropriately enough, Absolut Vodka.
Updated with a belated Nicklas Lidstrom interview at 9:06 PM: In lieu of a belated off-day update (which is in the works), here’s a bit of a whopper to tide you over: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to WBBL’s Huge Show on Wednesday afternoon, suggesting that the overbuilt Predators may lead the series by a 3-1 margin, but aren’t exactly dominating play in what remains a “really close series”:
I’m not sold on the, “It’s just parity” suggestion, and I don’t know if the “veteran team” can just keep on keepin’ on and assume that they can pull off yet another miraculous comeback…
But I will say this: in the cap era, the Red Wings are the definition of an elite team by cap standards in that they make the playoffs every season, they win over half their games, they usually make multiple-round playoff pushes and they present a winning, player-friendly atmosphere which attracts players to take less than market value salaries to join the Big Red Machine.
Updated 3x with a partial transcript of the interview from Sportsnet at 11:53 AM: Red Wings special assistant to GM Ken Holland (that’s his title) Kris Draper spoke to The Fan 590’s Greg Brady and Jim Lang this morning, splitting a nine-and-a-half-minute interview between discussing his steadfast belief that the Wings are not, as suggested by several pundits in the recap cycle, cooked geese, and then assessing the levels of violence and player disrespect taking place during this year’s playoffs in an incredibly, incredibly eloquent manner.
Draper’s just as baffled by the explicit intent-to-injure plays and blatant head-shots, illustrating some sort of fundamental lack of respect between players and disregard for the NHL’s ham-handed disciplinary procedures, as the rest of us are:
The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators didn’t exactly leave me—or you—speechless in the quick take, but as fans like you and me ponder what’s going on with a clearly wounded animal heading into Friday night’s game (yes, it might be Nicklas Lidstrom and/or Tomas Holmstrom’s last games as Wings, and yes, we may have already witnessed our last game on JLA ice until mid-September) in Nashville…
The Red Wings, at least, will take Wednesday off before regrouping and hoping to rally from a 3-1 deficit for the second time in two seasons, against perhaps the most perplexing playoff goalie opponent since Dwayne Roloson back in 2006 in one Pekka Rinne,
At this point, it appears that the Detroit Red Wings may very well play the last game of the 2010-2011 season Friday night in Nashville. The Red Wings out-shot Nashville 41-17 and had every opportunity to score on this year’s version of Dwayne Roloson, circa 2006, in one Pekka Rinne…
And instead of bearing down on their chances in the Predators’ zone, three catastrophic defensive mistakes doomed Detroit, which dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.
Paul for George who will return later tonight…
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Roman Josi thought he had time, thought he could protect the puck, thought there was nothing to worry about. But just as he was preparing to make an outlet pass from behind his net, the best thief in the NHL stole the puck, stepped out front and beat an unsuspecting Pekka Rinne.
“I knew he was coming,” Josi, the Nashville Predators defenceman, said after a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarter-finals on Sunday, “but it happened so fast. He just lifted my skate and was gone.”
If he had wanted to, Pavel Datsyuk probably could have taken the rookie’s watch as well. That is how skillful the Detroit Red Wings forward has become at stealing pucks. He has averaged 106 takeaways a season over the last six years, leading the league three times.
Updated 4x at 6:41 PM: The story regarding Todd Bertuzzi possibly telling the Nashville Predators to get their own damn ping pong table was mostly debunked this morning via Twitter, so the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James tried to get to the bottom of the story:
“I came out of our room, saw some of their guys wanting to play on our Ping Pong tables and told security,” Bertuzzi told the Free Press. “I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t move the table myself.”
Rumors that Bertuzzi had personally packed up the table and wheeled it away swirled around the morning skates today. The Wings host the Predators at 7:30 (NBCSN, FSD) in Game 4 looking to even the first-round series. No one among the Wings had heard of Ping Pong Gate, but greeted it with delight.
“You know he’s a terrible Ping Pong player,” Danny Cleary said with a grin. “At least he can do something with it. But it’s good. He’s our sheriff around here.”
Updated 10x with…music news…at 6:54 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators will face off tonight for an all-important Game 4 (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/CNBC/CBC/97.1 FM), MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings’ players received a little break in terms of managing their energy levels, despite the fact that ESPN’s Criag Custance reports that ping-pong gate was in fact an exaggeration(!), and that the Wings’ security crew were the people who shooed Predators players away from Detroit’s ping pong table—at Todd Bertuzzi’s insistence—(oh well, it’s the “spirit of the thing” that matters, despite the Wings’ playoff blog’s assertion that the story was…embellished [FTR, I don’t believe them]):
Wings have optional morning skate today. About a dozen players on the ice.
RedWings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime reports that the Wings’ coach is more concerned about his players taking care of business when the puck drops tonight instead of trying to hammer points home by beating wwhat are now dead horses:
Babcock starts his presser by saying ... “This is the third time (I’ve spoken to the press) since last game.” Let’s play hockey!
Updated 2x at 2:45 PM: Forget the Shanahan stuff…Here’s what Henrik Zetterberg had to say to the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff about the non-suspension on Shea Weber:
Not known for his outspoken comments, in his own quiet way, Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg called out NHL disciplinarian and former teammate Brendan Shanahan for the rash of on-ice incidents that have so far plagued the Stanley Cup playoffs. Zetterberg felt that had Shanahan thrown the book at Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber for slamming Zetterberg’s head into the glass during Game 1 of the series between the two teams, then perhaps the ensuing mayhem in other series might never have happened.
“It could be true,” Zetterberg said. “I think the league had a pretty good opportunity in Game 1 to set the bar, and I guess they did. There’s been a few incidents after that.”
Update #2: WXYZ’s Brad Galli caught Zetterberg’s comments on video, too:
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.