The Malik Report
Facing a significant amount of public furor after having fired Red Wings analyst Larry Murphy, MLive's Ansar Khan reports that Fox Sports Detroit's released a statement that does little to nothing to explain why Murphy was so suddenly and summarily dismissed:
“We wanted our primary team of Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels to call the remaining games as the Red Wings make a push for the playoffs. We thought it was only fair to let Larry know as soon as possible that he would not be scheduled for any more assignments. We thank Larry for his contributions to our telecasts over the years and we wish him well.”
Of course, this does not explain why Murphy wasn't retained to work between the benches at home games or in the studio.
FSD said this is the only statement it will make on the matter.
The Detroit Red Wings wrap up their back-to-back series against the Anaheim Ducks tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/FS West/97.1 FM) and begin a set of literal back-to-backs as the team's going to play the Coyotes on Monday (10 PM EDT, FSD/NHL Network U.S.) facing the same task the Wings did before their 5-1 win over Anaheim: Detroit has to "keep up with the Joneses."
The 15-11-and-5 Wings have 35 points and sit in 7th place in the Western Conference, but a team with 3 games left on its 4-game West Coast swing (tonight, Monday and Thursday's game against San Jose) needs to get at least 2 points over the next 30 hours worth of hockey, if not 3, all because the 8th-place Stars sit 2 points behind Detroit, the Sharks, Predators and Blue Jackets sit 3 points behind Detroit, and Phoenix sits 4 points behind the Wings.
I know, I know, I can hear you saying, "We get it already, George!" but the fact remains that those blown games against the unbeaten-in-12(!) Blue Jackets, Wild, Flames, etc. can still bite the Wings' playoff hopes in the ass if the Wings don't find the kind of consistency they haven't displayed since the middle of February...
Updated 3x at 7:10 PM: For an "off day" and a Saturday, today's been incredibly busy in the Red Wings news department. We've received two takes on FSD's firing of Larry Murphy, Carlo Colaiacovo's been cleared to play, Danny DeKeyser watch has begun, and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau vowed that his team would play better coming off last night's 5-1 Wings win.
It turns out that the Wings did not take Saturday "off" after all, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
This morning, MLive's Ansar Khan broke the news that Fox Sports Detroit fired Red Wings color commentator Larry Murphy before the Wings-Flames game, and this afternoon, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke to Murphy about his firing...
"I certainly wasn't expecting it; I was surprised," said Murphy, who had been with the network since 2002-03. "I was shocked. I didn't know anything was up. I certainly didn't see it coming."
Murphy was told of the decision by Greg Hammaren, senior vice-president/general manager of FSD. An e-mail to Hammaren wasn't immediately returned.
"They said that ratings were down and they looking to make changes," said Murphy, who turned to broadcasting after a Hall of Fame, 21-year career in the NHL, ending with the Red Wings.
And the #bringbackMurph movement on Twitter and Facebook:
Updated 2x with Colaiacovo, DeKeyser and Ducks news at 4:37 PM: Two items of Red Wings-related note have popped up this afternoon. First, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings have the option of playing Carlo Colaiacovo against the Ducks tomorrow...
And Notre Dame's win over Ohio State at the CCHA semifinals today means the following:
Update: We should find out which team will end up signing Danny DeKeyser very soon!
It's 12-something PM on the West Coast and after 3 in Metro Detroit, and while Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau stated that his team would practice the day after their 5-1 loss to Detroit last night (their Twitter account posted a picture of the team practicing as I was writing this), I don't recall Red Wings coach Mike Babcock stating definitively whether the team would practice or just accompany Jakub Kindl to Disneyland given that Babcock's told the Wings press that the team's staying at the resort(!).
In theory, Babcock and the Wings were supposed to be practicing on a very limited basis with a probable playoff run a little over a month away, but the, "Rest is a weapon" theory hasn't prevailed, perhaps due in no small part to the Wings' incredibly inconsistent play.
Anyway, with round 1 of the back-to-back slate against Anaheim having concluded, I'm going to pose a question:
This is what Justin Abdelkader accomplished in the Red Wings' 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night:
Between Abdelkader's hat trick (the box score for your free Arby's curly fries can be found here), Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk's 3-point nights (including Datsyuk registering his 250th goal and 500th and 501st assists) and Jimmy Howard's extremely underrated 33-save performance, the Red Wings handed the Anaheim Ducks their first home loss in 14 games and set up one helluva rematch on Sunday (8 PM EDT, FSD)...
But tonight's most significant figure involves the 2 points that the now 15-11-and-5 Wings earned, giving them 35 points and 13 regulation or OT wins over the course of 31 games played.
Via RedWingsFeed, I'm stunned, absolutely stunned. Red Wings fans may have made fun of Larry Murphy for his dry delivery and space goggles, but Murphy's views and hockey expertise were greatly appreciated, and his frankness while offering analysis during Fox Sports Detroit's Red Wings broadcasts was very much so good to hear in good times and bad. According to MLive's Ansar Khan, however, the belovedly stiff Murphy's been fired by Fox Sports Detroit:
“I was shocked, didn't see it coming,'' Murphy told MLive.com. “They said they just needed a change, ratings weren't what they were. That was basically it (for an explanation). I'm still trying to figure it out.''
[Fox Sports Detroit VP and general manager Greg] Hammaren did not return a call from MLive.com seeking comment.
Murphy said he was scheduled to work the studio for the game at Calgary last Wednesday when he got a call “out of the blue'' from Hammaren the day before telling him he was terminated. He also had been slated to work in the broadcast booth during the four-game road trip that started Friday in Anaheim. But now Mickey Redmond is on the trip.
Those of you who deemed Justin Abdelkader "Log" after he scored two goals without using his stick against Vancouer, well..We need to figure out a new nickname for him.
My theory (and I hate quoting myself, but even I think this is funny)?
Justin Abdelkader had a hat trick, Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists, Johan Franzen had a goal and two assists and, perhaps most importantly, Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 34 Ducks shots, including 11 of 12 in the 1st and 15 in the 2nd--and he had an assist--in the Wings' 5-1 win over Anaheim, snapping the Ducks' 13-game home unbeaten streak (curly fries scoresheet here).
Wings prospect Martin Frk with 5g, 3a tonight...
thanks to John Moore tweet for the pointer...
Update: The Halifax Metro News's Andrew Rankin offers a Frk'ing amazing recap (and photo gallery):
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.