The Malik Report
Red Wings off-day news: Forbes says Wings 9th-most-valuable NHL team; on Z, Mule, Gustavsson & Alfie
The Red Wings aren't practicing today and Wings coach Mike Babcock's heading to Montreal to receive an honorary doctorate from McGill University, so we're likely to hear very little about Pavel Datsyuk's status until tomorrow's practice and team visit to Children's Hospital.
On the heels of the Red Wings' 3-2 win over Buffalo yesterday afternoon, there is some Wings-related news this morning, and the biggest news comes in the form of significant figures from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Nice Jared Cowen elbow to Pavel Datsyuk’s jaw Saturday that on-ice officials overseeing the Ottawa Senators-Detroit Red Wings clash somehow missed. “He had the puck, kind of strange no one saw a star player like that,” said Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. You think? Datsyuk has concussion-type symptoms as a result.
And while we're shaking our heads at rife incompetency, there's this:
This Red Wings team is engaging in something of a from-the-ground-up November rebuild--or at least that's what I'm telling myself given that the Wings' 3-1 win over Buffalo leaves the Wings at 4-3-and-5 for the month.
Howevver! Minus Datsyuk, minus Todd Bertuzzi (upper body something-something) and Danny DeKeyser (out for a while with a separated left shoulder), the Wings have won 2 of their past 3 games, and the team won't play again until Wednesday's barometer game against the Bruins.
From the Detroit News:
Former Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom and former Lions kicker Jason Hanson head the list of inductees for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, announced Sunday.
Lidstrom was a 12-time NHL All-Star and seven-time Norris Trophy winner. Hanson kicked 19 winning field goals.
Also to be inducted are Dorne Dibble, an Michigan State All-American and NFL champion with the Lions; former Olympic and World Cup soccer player Alexi Lalas (Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook); Tom Mach, Detroit Catholic Central football coach and winner of four state titles and 17 Catholic League championships; former Cy Young winner John Smoltz (Lansing Waverly), an eight-time All-Star with the Braves; Percy Show, an All-America linebacker at MSU who also won Butkus and Lombardi awards and is in the College Football Hall of Fame; and longtime U-M/Lions broadcaster Jim Brandstatter.
It wasn't pretty, but no DeKeyser, no Bertuzzi, no Datsyuk and a pair of games starting within 22 hours of each other against a team that clearly tried to emulate the Nashville Predators in terms of both their, "Party in the front, something something in the back" 3rd jerseys and their attempts to lull Detroit to sleep defensively all added up to one ugly puppy...
But the Red Wings rallied from yet another 1-0 first period deficit this time around, they received a penalty shot save from a very, very solid Jonas Gustavsson, and the Wings managed to grind out an ugly road win while wrapping up a slate of 4 games played over the course of 6 nights, defeating Buffalo 3-1.
Given the Wings' moribund performance against the Senators on Saturday, and especially given the sudden absence of Alfredsson, the Wings needed their "secondary scorers" to step up, and they did so in a big way.
The beginning wasn't pretty. Seven-and-a-half minutes into the first, Darren Helm whiffed on an attempt to clear the zone, and the Wings' top defensive pair and "third line" simply stood and watched as Drew Stafford slid the puck to Cody Hodgson, who stuffed the puck past Gustavsson at 7:47...
Bruce Garrioch, totally not rubbing it in:
Jared Cowen was back in his familiar spot on the Senators’ blueline against Carolina here Sunday night.
Much to the displeasure of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings wanted the book thrown at the club’s defenceman after they claimed top centre Pavel Datsyuk suffered a concussion on an uncalled elbow to the head in the third period of Ottawa’s 4-2 victory Saturday in Detroit.
NHL spokesman John Dellapina said VP of safety Brendan Shanahan had a thorough look at the elbow by Cowen with seven minutes left in the game and deemed that the contact was “accidental” and “inadvertent”.
“The NHL reviewed it and said there was no penalty for it so he’s playing,” said coach Paul MacLean before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
It helped Cowen had no past history and Shanahan felt the incident was similar to the one last week when Dennis Seidenberg caught Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan with an elbow and didn’t give the Boston defencemen any discipline.
I'm not sure how to take this, but MLive's Brendan Savage reports that the Red Wings' coach suggests his possibly-concussed player is doing solidly enough given that he took an unpenalized and un-league-disciplined hit to the jaw last night:
[C]oach Mike Babcock made contact today with Datsyuk, who remained behind in Detroit while his teammates traveled to Buffalo for an afternoon game with the Sabres.
Datsyuk was elbowed in the head by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen with 7:48 left in the third period and played just three more shifts before calling it a night.
"I just texted him and he seems to be doing just fine," Babcock said before faceoff at the First Niagara Center. "So we'll see if he's available the next game."
Update: For the record, it appears that the "Turdburger Jersey" is indeed real:
Update: No surprise here:
Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk did not accompany his teammates to Buffalo for today's game against the Sabres (5 PM EST, FSD/MSG Buffalo/1270 AM) because Datsyuk was hit in the jaw by Senators defensman Jared Cowen with about 7:50 left in the 3rd period of the Wings' 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday evening (and again, thanks to Puck Daddy for the video)...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James both reports that the NHL's reviewing the hit....
I don't know how this is going to come out, but the fact that the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's recap...
“After the first 10 minutes, when we didn’t play very well, I thought the guys really picked it up,” said Lehner. “We have to be a little bit more disciplined. We had a few too many penalties, some of them were soft. It’s tough on the (officials). I don't think it's their fault. It’s like there was water out there with how much they were diving. I think we’ve just got to take the positives and go to the next game.”
And Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika's Tweet...
And this video...
The Vancouver Sun's Jim Jamieson asked Red Wings GM Ken Holland about "fancystats," and I believe this is as close to, "We read Winging it in Motown's CSSI's just like everybody, but we also chart our own faceoffs for a reason" as we're going to get:
“We’re not doing hockey analytics, per se,” said Detroit GM Ken Holland earlier this month when the Wings were in town. “We’ve had companies present to us. I would say the analytics we use are probably the same ones other teams use.”
Holland, the dean of NHL GMs, said he believed analytics is more suited to a fixed-event sport like baseball — though it has some value in hockey.
“Baseball is a lot of one-on-ones — a pitcher and a batter,” he said. “Those players meld together to form a team. Analytics in hockey, it’s a little more difficult, because you rely on four other people. You can be doing your job every time, but if someone else is not doing their job, you might get a minus. I think there’s a place for analytics. I think it’s a tool that you use along with your pro scouts, along with the statistics, along with your gut instincts. We’re looking at it, trying to figure out how it can help.”
The Wings seem to fall in line with the teams who won't dismiss the stats, but--as you keep on seeing the Wings' goalies do--attempt to match possible statistical bias for statistical bias, suggesting that not everything can be quantified, at least not yet:
The Red Wings' prospects were particularly busy over the past three-and-a-half days, and the first event that took place was more or less a formaltiy--confirming news reported by TVA Sports' Renaud Lavoie this past Sunday--per the Wings:
The Red Wings today agreed to terms with left wing Andreas Athanasiou on a three-year entry-level contract. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.
Athanasiou, 19, has appeared in 22 games with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, leading the club with 26 points (9-17-26). A fourth-round pick (110th overall) of Detroit in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Athanasiou has appeared in 206 career OHL games with Barrie and London, totaling 152 points (71-81-152), a plus-27 rating and 103 penalty minutes. He was third on the Colts during the 2013 postseason with 25 points (12-13-25) in 22 games, reaching the OHL finals for the second straight year after winning a championship with the London Knights in 2011-12.
Also on Wednesday, the Red Wings' other "marquee attraction" of the week, Anthony Mantha, didn't disappoint in the second game of the Subway Super Series. Mantha scored another goal en route to the QMJHL's 4-3 win over Russia (and Mantha scored the game-winner in the first QMJHL-Russia tilt).
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