The Malik Report
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Writers are supposed to be objective and not make themselves the story. Usually, that’s no problem. I have covered many big events, and though I enjoy my job and feel fortunate to do it, I don’t root for anyone and don’t get overly excited for anything anymore.
But I’m breaking the rules now, because this Winter Classic presents a problem for me. I can’t be objective. I can’t leave myself out of it. And frankly, I am as excited for this as I have been for any sporting event in a long time.
Full disclosure: I grew up in the Detroit area. The first time I went to a hockey game, the Toronto Maple Leafs visited the Detroit Red Wings, and I was hooked, begging my parents for a pair of skates and a chance to play. I followed the Wings, and I watched the Leafs, too, because we could get “Hockey Night in Canada” on Channel 9 from Windsor, Ontario.
I went to the University of Michigan. I covered hockey and football for The Michigan Daily, the school newspaper. I joined the Detroit Free Press after college, and my first job was covering Michigan football. My second was covering the Red Wings. (Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr’s reaction when I left for the Wings beat: “You got demoted?”) I still live in Ann Arbor, five miles from the Big House, and have U-M football season tickets.
Two videos from Sportsnet, the first one features Draper, Gilmour, Lidstrom, Sitler and some face time for Gordie Howe.
The second video which can be viewed below is Ken Holland talking about the Winter Classic.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose revealed the Alumni Showdown rosters via Twitter earlier today, and over the course of a pair of articles by Andrea Nelson and Roose, now we're finding out about Game 1 and Game 2 (1 PM and 3:30 PM starts, respectively, on FSD, the CBC and NBCSN--with the 2nd game on tape delay starting at 4) in terms of their formats...
Tuesday’s games will be played in equal halves. Game 1 will consist of 20-minute running time and the clock will stop in the last five-minutes of each half. Game 2 will be 25-minute running time with the clock stopping in the final 10-minutes of each half.
And now the Red Wings' official rosters (the Leafs released their Game 1 and Game 2 rosters a few weeks ago)
[Nicklas] Lidstrom is expected to head up a legendary Red Wings’ defensive corps in Game 2 that will consist of Murphy, Chris Chelios, Mark Howe, Slava Fetisov, Paul Coffey and Brian Rafalski.
Wings forwards for Game 2 are expected to be Larionov, Ciccarelli, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Mickey Redmond, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, Slava Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov and Doug Brown. Goalies will be Chris Osgood and Manny Legace.
Roose continues and speaks at length with Lidstrom and Kris Draper, but that means that Game 1's Wings roster will look like this:
I'm kind of busy watching the Grand Rapids Griffins play the Toronto Marlies right now, and tomorrow, when the Red Wings are practicing at the Big House, I will be taking in the Alumni Showdown, but even if I stayed at home in an attempt to "catch everything," and stayed up for the next three days, there's no way in hell that I'd be able to catch everything that's going to be said, written, put on video or Tweeted about the Winter Classic and the lead-up to it.
I wish I could be everywhere at once and get everything, but there are going to be hundreds of media outlets attending the events and hundreds of people who aren't even putting out content in attendance to be part of the spectacle because the media want to be there just like fans want to be there to see what a hundred and seven or so thousand people in a rink looks like.
I will do my best, but I cannot and will not catch everything, and some good stuff is going to slip through the cracks. I hope that's okay with you.
If I did try to catch everything, it would look like this entry that I started after the first intermission and finished with 12 minutes left in the 2nd period of the Griffins-Marlies game:
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (Dec. 30, 2013) – A look at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® “By the Numbers.”
0 Per stadium policy, zero bags are allowed into Michigan Stadium, including all bags, backpacks, purses, camera and binocular cases, etc.; fans should plan on leaving bags and purses locked in the trunk of their vehicle.
1 Cable cam that will be used in network coverage by NBC and CBC
4 Of the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the U.S. since 1975 were NHL Winter Classic games
4.5 Approximate drive, in hours, between Toronto and Detroit by car
7 Number of times the Maple Leafs and Red Wings have faced off in the Stanley Cup Final (1936, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1963, and 1964)
I hate to agree with the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno, but despite HBO 24/7's best efforts, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs may be one of the NHL's most historically bitter rivals, but they are not rivals in the present-day sense of the term, and when Whyno spoke with the Leafs and Wings at last weekend's game at the Air Canada Center (and the Leafs at their practice in Toronto on Monday), he found that both the Leafs and Wings agreed that their status as division rivals is great and all, but you've got to play playoff hockey to truly rekindle what really was--and hopefully will be--an absolutely vicious hate-hate relationship:
It was the hope for HBO’s “24/7” and the Winter Classic, that the Leafs and Red Wings would rekindle their old rivalry now that they’re division rivals for the first time since 1998. But it will take more than just an internationally televised regular-season game to drudge up a lot of hostilities between Toronto and Detroit.
“Maybe the ‘24/7’ and maybe the Winter Classic can help with all that,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “To have a rivalry to me, what you do is you meet in the playoffs, you have two really good teams, you have hard series and you build up some animosity for one another. That hasn’t been possible.”
I may be covering the Red Wings-Predators game as best as possible and am monitoring the Winter Classic stuff going on at U of M (NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports that the weather forecast looks good) and the Alumni Showdown news--and this is a good question...
I'm actually at Comerica Park today to take part in the Grand Rapids Griffins-Toronto Marlies game taking place at 5 PM (on FSD and Sportsnet). If you want to follow along, the Griffins, the AHL, the Marlies, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, Fox 17's Steve Amorose, WOOD TV's Larry Figurski and of course Kukla's Korner's woman on the street, Monica McAlister, are all here Tweeting away, and so am I...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke to the Griffins after their morning skate:
This is a little campy, but the NHL (via RedWingsFeed) posted a 4-minute video offering a "Tale of the Tape" regarding the Red Wings and Maple Leafs as the "numbers" pertain to the Winter Classic:
Update: The NHL just posted its final 24/7 teaser, too:
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs' alums skated at Comerica Park prior to tomorrow's Alumni Showdown (the games start at 1 and 3:30 PM on FSD and the CBC, but NBCSN will air the second game at 4 PM for some reason), and in absence of anything more substantive to do, I'm going to Tweet the pertinent pictures that I've spotted (and there are more, many many more):
Upated 3x with some Leaf stuff at 4:30 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings received mostly good news at today's morning skate ahead of tonight's Red Wings-Predators game (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/1270 AM). The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that both Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup this evening:
A couple more regulars are coming back for the Detroit Red Wings, with Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm on deck tonight.
The Wings close out 2013 with a game at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m., FSD), looking to build on a 3-1 run.
Howard and Helm have each missed about three weeks, Howard with a sprained left knee and Helm with an injured left shoulder.
Helm will center Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco, a line with good speed and scoring skill. Henrik Zetterberg is with Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist, and Pavel Datsyuk with Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Tatar. Joakim Andersson is with Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller.
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms (and notes that Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson will sit out), noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was particularly effusive in his praise for Howard:
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.