The Malik Report
The Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Friday night, with the teams reprising roles on Saturday in Toronto (7 PM EDT on the NHL Network U.S. and Sportnset One), and the game-winning goal may have served as the most visceral reminder that while Mike Babcock may be a superstar coach, he doesn't have Gustav Nyquist or Henrik Zetterberg at his disposal in Toronto:
Fox Sports Detroit's Andrea Nelson duly noted what the Wings feel about the whole Mike Babcock situation, as uttered to Ken Daniels in a 1st-intermission interview...
Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall was asked how weird it was to look at the visitor's bench during a first intermission interview with FOX Sports Detroit: "You know what, I think it's time we stop talking about that. Right now we need to focus on our own game, set that aside."
But you and I both know that there's going to be a Babcock-vs.-the-Wings narrative throughout the regular season, and prior to the game, Babcock spoke about his situation with the Windsor Star's Bob Duff...
Among the Red Wings prospects' performances on Friday night:
There's no box score, but the Grand Rapids Griffins engaged in a preseason game against the Lake Erie Monsters, and according to the Griffins, all went well in Bowling Green, Ohio, with the Griffins defeating Lake Erie 5-1:
The Red Wings' 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs was far from the prettiest game I've seen, and it was far from the most dominant performance the Wings have played this preseason, but to some extent, it was plain old necessary to shut up the media horde that descended upon Detroit to watch Mike Babcock triumphantly return to the Joe at the Wings' expense.
I don't mean that without some tongue-in-cheek irony regarding the game's result, especially given how the Leafs are trying to literally emulate the Wings' on-ice ways, but the Wings needed this one to remind their fans that Mike Babcock is only a coach and the people who affect change are the ones who skate on the ice, and Detroit was the stronger team on Friday night.
From the Red Wings:
DETROIT ASSIGNS McCOLLUM AND RECALLS PATERSON
… Red Wings Set for Preseason Finale Saturday Night in Toronto …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned goaltender Tom McCollum to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and recalled goaltender Jake Paterson from the Griffins.
The Red Wings (5-0-2) will travel to Toronto tomorrow to wrap up their preseason schedule with a rematch against the Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. (NHL Network/audio stream on DetroitRedWings.com). Detroit’s roster currently includes 28 forwards, 14 defensemen and three goaltenders.
The Detroit Red Wings will be without Danny DeKeyser's services as they battle the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight (7:30 PM EDT on FSD Plus and TSN 4) and tomorrow in Toronto (7 PM EDT on the NHL Network U.S. and Sportsnet One), but the Wings are slowly but surely getting healthier.
Tonight's Wings lineup includes Dylan Larkin skating alongside Brad Richards and Tomas Tatar, as well as Xavier Ouellet skating alongside Mike Green; the Maple Leafs are also dressing a veteran lineup in Mike Babcock's return to Detroit.
Here's a live thread to suit your needs, and as I know that some of you don't get FSD Plus--and my cable system doesn't carry the NHL Network--I'm sure that we'll be talking about alternate means of viewing both tonight and tomorrow's games.
Michigan Hockey posted a clip of Mike Babcock speaking with the media as he arrived at Joe Louis Arena for the first time as an opposing coach...
And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa took note of Babcock's comments...
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today agreed to terms with Evgeny Svechnikov on a three-year entry-level contract.
Svechnikov, 18, was Detroit’s first-round pick (19th overall) during the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., in June. The 6-foot-2, 199-lb., winger made his NHL preseason debut with the Red Wings on Sept. 22 at Chicago before returning to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In three games with Cape Breton this season, he’s picked up six points (3-3-6), a plus-four rating and recorded 15 shots on goal. As a rookie with the same team in 2014-15, Svechnikov finished third on the club and second among QMJHL rookies with 78 points (32-46-78) in 55 games. He led his team in points-per-game at 1.42 and ranked among team leaders with 32 goals (3rd), 46 assists (T1st), a plus-19 rating (2nd) 70 penalty minutes (5th), 10 power-play goals (3rd) and 183 shots (3rd).
The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran penned a story about Mike Babcock's energetic and passionate pursuit of winning hockey games, but the comments made from Ken Holland are the ones that "stick" for me:
“The word I use is passionate,” says Ken Holland, Babcock’s long-time friend and former boss with the Detroit Red Wing. “Passion and lots of energy. You love what you’re doing. He loves hockey.
“We’d come home from a road trip at 2 in the morning and he’d say to the assistant coachttp://www.torontosun.com/2015/10/02/leafs-babcock-returns-to-joe-louis-arenahes, ‘See you at 6:30.’ They’d be there in the morning, like clockwork.
“He brings lots of energy. He’s on top of everything. He puts in long hours.”
Though the Wings won the Cup in 2008, Holland thinks Babcock’s best year as a coach was 2013-14, when the injury-riddled Wings — no Pavel Datsyuk, no Henrik Zetterberg — made the playoffs with a bunch of callups from Grand Rapids.
“He gave them structure, he supported them, he gave them confidence,” says Holland. “Mike’s hand on the rudder was a big factor in us making the playoffs.”
[Jeff] Blashill has been getting as many questions here about the significance of facing Babcock as the latter has answered in Toronto.
“I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for Mike,” Blashill said. “Mike is someone I’ve learned a ton from. We had a special relationship and he is a good friend. But I’ve also coached against a lot of people I’ve worked with in the past. It’s our team against their team.”
Some saw Babcock’s departure as a good thing in the sense it broke a long routine in Detroit. The Wings have made the playoffs with regularity under Babcock, but not advanced far.
“I think it was time for us to get a new voice in the locker room,” said winger Johan Franzen. “And maybe it was time for him, too, to try something else.”
And Kris Draper spoke with TSN 1050's Leafs Lunch regarding Babcock's legacy in Detroit, Jeff Blashill's Wings, and the Wings-Leafs home-and-home series as well:
Updated 9x at 2:59 PM: The Red Wings battle the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight (7 PM EDT on FSD Plus, TSN4) and tomorrow (NHL Network U.S., Sportsnet One), and the Wings found out today that their young lineup will be missing Danny DeKeyser for the next 3-4 weeks due to an ankle sprain. After the morning skate, Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media, per DetroitRedWings.com:
MLive's Ansar Khan published the Wings' lineup for this evening...
Per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Tom McCollum has cleared waivers, as did everyone else who was on waivers yesterday:
The Wings have to be roster-compliant and cap-compliant by Tuesday (via DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji)...
And the Wings usually waive players and make cuts on Saturday or Sunday--usually Sunday--but I wouldn't be surprised if they waited until Monday to make their final cuts.
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.