The Malik Report
On Friday night, the Detroit Red Wings weren't willing or able to out-work a difficult opponent battling for its playoff lives in the Calgary Flames, and as a result, Detroit blew a 2-0 lead and ended up getting its ass handed to it, losing 5-2 to the Flames and setting up a must-win situation going into a "4 point game" against Boston on Sunday.
If the Wings kick Boston to the curb, the B's will more or less be out of the Atlantic Division race, but if the Wings don't, Boston will be 9 points back with a game in hand.
On Friday, the Wings put on a clinic for the vast majority of the 1st period, getting two gorgeous goals from Justin Abdelkader, but after that, both Abdelkader and the Wings were out-worked, out-hustled, out-hooked, out-held, out-clutched, out-grabbed, out-hacked, out-whacked and out-skated by a Flames team that just had more urgency and just had more moxie.
Add in the fact that Jimmy Howard was screened staggeringly well by his own defense on the 2-2, 3-2 and 4-2 goals (Jonathan Ericsson finished the night at -3), add in the fact that one of those pucks should have hit Howard (at least), and add in the fact that the Flames blocked 21 Wings shots, and you get a game in which the team that out-shot its opponent 35-24 and out-attempted its opponent 64-37 got its ass handed to it, especially in the second and third periods.
I happen to believe that it's bad luck to post anything between the start of the Abel to Yzerman live blog and the end of the game, but this little ditty merits mentioning ASAP.
I'm late to the party as Winging It in Motown's already noted it, but DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose made a surprising revelation in his game-day notebook, and it's eyebrow-raising to say the least:
Still symptomatic from his latest concussion, Johan Franzen skated on his own twice this week, including Friday prior to the Red Wings’ optional morning skate, at Joe Louis Arena.
Franzen is still experiencing migraines since he absorbed a blind-side hit to the head by Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer on Jan. 6. The Wings' power forward is being treated by Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, an Ann Arbor-based neurologist and consultant for the NHL Players’ Association.
It is estimated that Franzen has had at least 10 concussions throughout his hockey-playing career. Last season, a concussion forced him to miss 22 regular-season games, as well as withdraw from representing Sweden in the Sochi Olympics.
Franzen, who has missed the past 22 games with this latest head injury, remains on injured reserve and is not close to returning to the Wings' lineup, though he continues to work toward a comeback.
Roose continues, discussing Jiri Hudler, Alexey Marchenko, the Wings' power play an Reilly Smith's contract extension as observed by brother Brendan, but again, the eyebrow goes up regarding the fact that Franzen is both being treated by an NHLPA doctor (which is good, but surprising) and that we're going with "at least 10 concussions."
I know his inconsistency drives us all nuts, but I sure hope that Franzen gets to play hockey again, because he's probably played through some of those concussions, and you and I both know that they've added up and taken a toll on his play.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has posited his latest "30 Thoughts" column, and he offers yet another take on why the Dion Phaneuf-to-Detroit deal may have fallen apart:
2. Everyone’s weighed in on what happened with Dion Phaneuf, so allow two more theories. First, there wasn’t enough time for the Maple Leafs and Red Wings to put together such a complex deal on short notice. Second, the Braydon Coburn trade changed everything. Whatever the two teams may have considered, that was altered by Philadelphia’s return for the non-rental defenceman (Radko Gudas, a first-round pick and a third-rounder).
Toronto considers Phaneuf a better player than Coburn, so it would look at that return and say, “We’ve got to have at least that.” Coburn’s contract is nowhere near as onerous as Phaneuf’s, though.
Updated 8x at 2:54 PM: The Red Wings will most likely have Jonathan Ericsson's services when they tangle with the Calgary Flames this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; the Wings are collecting school supplies this evening), and while the Flames may not have Mark Giordano in their lineup, they've still won 3 of their past 4 games, including a 4-3 shootout win over Boston last night.
The Flames sit tied for 3rd in the Pacific Division, and they actually have one less win than Detroit (36 vs. 35), but all the Wings' shootout losses = the Wings have 83 points to the Flames' 74.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa is first out of the chute with a game-day article, explaining Ericsson's status...
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on Sportsnet 960's Boomer and Pinder show this morning, discussing the Wings' trade deadlie machinations, discussing the Wings' trade deadline additions, the Wings-Flames tilt, the developmental pipeline (and Anthony Manthan in particular) and this evening's game against Calgary, as well as the inevitable Mike Babcock question.
Holland spoke for almost 18 minutes:
Updated 6x at 12:12 PM: The Red Wings face a test of a different kind against the Calgary Flames this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; the Wings are collecting school supplies this evening), embarking upon a set of 3 games in 4 nights against a Flames team that's in a desperate struggle to earn a playoff sport.
Calgary also defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout last night, and they've won 3 of their past 4 games, so they're coming into tonight's game on a roll.
This isn't necessarily a good sign, per MLive's Ansar Khan:
Optional morning skate for Wings. Ericsson is skating, after missing practice yesterday.
From the Red Wings:
DETROIT RED WINGS FOUNDATION, TIM HORTONS CAFE & BAKE SHOP BRING BACK ANNUAL RED WINGS DONUT
... Special-Edition Donut with Edible Red Wings Logo is Now Available at Participating
Detroit Area Restaurants ...
DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop are pleased to announce the return of the “I Love the Red Wings” Donut, a specially-themed donut decorated with an edible Red Wings logo and red and white sprinkles. The Red Wings Donut will be available in all Michigan Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurants for $1.25 beginning Friday, March 6, through Sunday, March 15. Proceeds from the sale of the special donut will benefit the Detroit Red Wings Foundation.
“We are thrilled to be able to help support our Detroit professional sports teams, including the Red Wings and its Foundation,” said Devin Gough, Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop Regional Marketing Manager. “The team’s support of the growth of hockey is a mission that would make our founder and namesake, Tim Horton, proud.”
Now in its sixth year, the “I Love the Red Wings” Donut has raised more than $145,000 for the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. This year, local Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop owners have set a goal of raising more than $80,000 from donut sales. Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is the Official Coffee of the Detroit Red Wings and the Official Coffee served at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings begin a particularly nasty stretch of 3 games in 4 nights (amidst a 4-games-in-6-nights scrape) against the Calgary Flames this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/TVA Sports/97.1 FM);
If Wednesday's 2-1 OT win over the Rangers was the classic, "First Game Back From a West Coast Swing Trap Game," this is most certainly the, "The Flames Actually Sit 8th in the West/3rd in the Pacific, Don't Overlook Them Trap Game."
With the Wings seemingly destined to battle for home-ice advantage in an almost inevitable first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 36-15-and-11 Wings' 83 points are pretty damn solid, but Calgary has a 35-25-and-4 record and 74 points, too, and they defeated the Boston Bruins (Sunday's opponent) 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday.
The Flames have won 3 of their past 4 games, and Thursday's win involved a 34-save performance from best-on-the-road goaltender Kari Ramo, a rally from a 2-1 deficit and an 8-round shootout punctuated by a "Forsberg" (it's a Kent Nilsson move, dammit) from David Schlemko.
Hell, let's just go with the highlights first for once:
The last weeks NCAA regular season play + Major Junior hockey teams going down the stretch + AHL and ECHL regular seasons having a little under 20 games left = the weekends are incredibly busy for both the Red Wings' prospects and those who follow them, but the week is a bit up and down. As such, this entry contains two games and three "if you missed it" stories:
First, in playoff hockey, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin remains sidelined with an unspecified injury, but his team, SKA St. Petersburg, is on to the second round of the KHL playoffs, having dispatched Torpedo Nizhny Novogrod 2-0 on Thursday, taking the first round playoff series 4 games to 1;
The SHL playoffs are a little strange as they're going to have to wait and find out which team is the lowest of the 7-to-10th place-team group to qualify for playoff play-in hockey via one-off Wild Card games; the 11th and 12th teams in the league have to play for their SHL lives against the winners of the Allsvenskan (the Swedish version of the AHL) in relegation play;
This is one of those, "Line 'em up and sell papers/prepare for the clicks to flow" stories, which is fine in Ottawa, but it's enlightening in Southeastern Michigan for a different reason: earlier this evening, Daniel Alfredsson received the key to the city of Ottawa, and the day yielded a very perhaps properly rare glimpse into the post-hockey life of Birmingham, MI's most unassuming resident.
On Thursday morning, Alfredsson told the CBC Ottawa that he's just enjoying helping his four sons in school and coaching his oldest boys' Little Caesars team, and he reiterated said story to the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren...
"This is not going to sell a lot of papers, but it has been drastically different than being an NHL player, but it has been fun,” Alfredsson said, with a laugh, Thursday as he was back in Ottawa to receive the key to the city.
(So yes, I peeked ahead and decided to be cheeky. It will sell papers.)
Alfredsson says he is humbled and proud of the honour, which he believes is as much about lending his voice to discussions about mental illness and for his charity work as it is about his abilities as a hockey player. The off-ice contributions also made him feel more in tune with the community.
“I understand the recognition I get in this city,” he said. “I’m very proud to be getting that recognition. It’s something I want to share with everyone.”
Alfredsson told Warren that he's at peace with his playing career being over...
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.