The Malik Report
Attempting to jam as much as possible into the Red Wings-Blackhawks recaps and multimedia posts yields some strange decisions for a very tired blogger who's been working since the game ended and finds himself with "tailings" and notebooks written just before the game to sort out at 4 in the frickin' morning.
I don't need the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Potash to remind me that the Hawks and Wings are playing tight-checking hockey, the Free Press's George Sipple's note that Bryan Bickell will be an unrestricted free agent for a team in some cap trouble doesn't ease the pain of watching him score another goal against the team I cheer for, and talk about the Wings insisting that they weren't going to waste Game 6's advantage in terms of being able to take out the Hawks without having to endure a winner-take-all Game 7, or being reminded that the Wings and Hawks' star players had been kept in check after Jonathan Toews registered two assists makes me cringe (and no, I don't feel much sympathy for a rejuvenated Team Canada hopeful in Brent Seabrook).
The stats aren't pretty. The Red Wings have surrendered 3 of the 20 3rd-period goals they've given up this post-season and have now lost 3 straight games to the Chicago Blackhawks, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Chicago on Monday night (and I worked my butt off to post oodles of multimedia for your viewing pleasure), ensuring a melee at the "Madhouse on Madison" on Wednesday night.
Whether you place the blame for the Wings' loss on their mistake-prone young and depth players, the inability of their top lines to out-score the Hawks' altered personnel, their defense's inability to efficiently move the puck up ice, clear their own zone or move bodies out of Jimmy Howard's crease, the Wings' special teams struggles, their coach's inability or unwillingness to match his opponent's lineup changes, unseen and unreported injuries that are always a factor, the inconsistent and plain old poor refereeing that's plaguing every playoff game, an inability to execute, bad breaks or plain old playing a team that's had Detroit's number for far too long now...
Here are the multimedia offerings pertaining to the Detroit Red Wings' 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their second-round series.
NHL.com's highlights are narrated by the CBC...
ESPN posted a 3:47 clip in which Barry Melrose breaks the game down, NBC Sports posted a 1:46 highlight clip, Fox Sports posted a 1:05 highlight clip, the CBC posted a 2:55 highlight clip, Sportsnet posted a 3:46 highlight clip, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted an 5:48 highlight clip and TSN posted a 3:47 highlight clip. I will let you decide whether Toews was offsides on the play which resulted in the Bickell goal on your own.
Updated 4x at 11:44 PM, with highlights and stats, and, put bluntly? Depth wins you playoff games and loses you playoff games. And the Wings' depth players are, by and large, young and/or inexperienced. There's a reason that the Wings kept the Drapers and Maltbys around for so long, at the expense of some serviceable players. Because, come playoff time, experience is invaluable and veteran savvy means fewer mistakes. This has been a team whose playoff run has been marred by mistakes because it has so little experience and because its veterans are overcompensating for the lack thereof.
The Detroit Red Wings 4-3 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks yields a Game 7 on Wednesday in Chicago, it yields the Red Wings having given control of this series back to the Blackhawks thanks to three successively poorly-played games, and it makes me wonder whether the hockey gods want the Wings or the Hawks to win this one.
Depending on your point of view, Johan Franzen either did or did not have control of the puck on the 2-2 goal. Depending on your point of view, the penalty shot that decided this game was either awarded because Carlo Colaiacovo slashed Michal Frolik on the hands/stick, or because one of many, many chintzy calls this game was marred by because the referee saw what he wanted to saw.
What an amazing goal...Joakim Andersson gave the Wings a 2-1 lead from the "Pavel Datsyuk spot," knuckling a hard shot past Corey Crawford:
I've never seen Don Cherry so excited about Jimmy Howard's attention to stick tape detail...
Ahead of tonight's Game 6 between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks (8 PM EDT, NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM, with a post-game show on FSD, and the game-day post is jam-packed with comments from both teams' players and coaches), the Wings' website posted a pair of game-day videos, first chronicling the team's battles against the Blackhawks thus far...
And here's Wings coach Mike Babcock's game-day presser, comments about Brendan Smith's maturation-in-progress included:
As noted in the game-day update thread, Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith didn't make the brightest comments about the liberties the Blackhawks have been taking while speaking to MLive's Ansar Khan after today's morning skate, but Smith has slowly but surely settled down in terms of his on-ice demeanor, playing more consistently and making fewer mistakes while skating alongside Kyle Quincey (though the pair remains something of an "adventure" on ice).
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan found that Wings coach Mike Babcock has taken note of the fact that Smith's settled down, at least somewhat, and #2's poise has translated into more ice time...
Defenseman Brendan Smith is averaging 19 minutes of ice time during the playoffs, something that will only help in the future.
"Just the experience is an important thing," coach Mike Babcock said. "What I like about Smitty is he knows we think he's a good player, so when he makes mistakes, and you talk to him about it, it's not the end of the world.
"He's an ultra competitive guy and when he makes a mistake, he's usually trying to make a play rather than guys out there hiding and doesn't want the puck. He's not one of them. He's going to get better and better."
But Babcock also told NHL.com's Corey Masisak that he's not sure whether the 24-year-old will live up to his billing as Niklas Kronwall's supposed successor:
Well this is crappy news with a significant silver lining, per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Losing Game 5 Saturday was bad enough, but forward Justin Abdelkader received more bad news afterward. His parents' house in Norton Shores, Mich., the house Abdelkader grew up in, suffered damage in an electrical fire Saturday night.
The damage was contained to the detached garage as Abdelkader's parents arrived home that evening to see smoke billowing out of the garage.
Had they arrived later, or had they gone down to Chicago to watch Game 5, which they had been thinking about, the entire incident could have been a lot worse.
"If no one had been home, it could have been burned down in five to six hours," said Abdelkader, who said four fire trucks arrived on the scene and tore down the side of the garage to get to the source of the fire."
I posted this in the Red Wings-Blackhawks game-day update post, but it merits its own entry: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with The Fan 590 this morning, and in addition to addressing the Wings' youth movement as it pertains to attempting to win Game 6 against the Blackhawks tonight, Holland spoke at length about the reason why he stood pat at the trade deadline in terms of both "buying" and "selling" potential unrestricted freeagents, he discussed the changes and challenges that coach Mike Babcock's had to face during a rebuilding-on-the-fly season:
This story compliments both the Free Press's Helene St. James' interview with Holland and the CBC's Cassie Campbell's interview with Holland prior to Saturday night's game.
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.