The Malik Report
Updated 10x at 7:04 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT), Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika reports that Jimmy Howard isn’t quite ready to return from a shoulder injury...
Jimmy Howard said he will not dress for Red Wings tonight against the Blues but expects to play Saturday at NSH
But it sounds like when Howard returns, so will Datsyuk, per the Red Wings’ Twitter account:
Datsyuk: Still not sure about tonight. I still not skate like Helmer ... fast.
Reporter asked Datsyuk, if not tonight, will he be ready to play on Saturday? ‘If not tonight, practice tomorrow,’ Pav responded.
Babcock: I am assuming he’s (Datsyuk) is going to go on Saturday.
Cotsonika also offered a n interesting tidbit regarding Todd Bertuzzi’s hit on Ryan Johnson:
The Detroit Red Wings’ game against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7:30 PM, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT) is exactly the kind of game that would normally cause worry and angst among Wings fans as it’s a classic late-season-letdown in the making—a “throwaway” game against a team that’s bound for the golf course in two weeks—save the fact that…
Well, the Wings boast a less-than-lovely 1-1-and-2 record on the 5-game home-stand which concludes tonight; they have, technically speaking, lost four of their past five games; and, very plainly speaking, the Wings need the points as they’re only one point ahead of the San Jose Sharks and 3 ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference standings. The Blues might be just the team the Wings need to shake themselves out of their doldrums, too. The 13th-place Blues will be playing the second game of a back-to-back slate that started with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild, snapping a two-game winning streak, and the Blues will be without a wing-killer in T.J. Oshie, who was benched by the team for skipping (missing?) practice on Monday.
Updated 2x at 6:39 PM: As you probably know by now, Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi was not suspended after taking a 5-minute major and game misconduct thanks to an unintentional but careless and dangerous hit on Blackhawks forward Ryan Johnson, and while Sportsnet is reporting that Bertuzzi was fined for the incident, that seems unlikely, especially given Ken Holland’s comments to MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Todd Bertuzzi will not be suspended for his hit to the head against Chicago’s Ryan Johnson on Monday, the Detroit Red Wings confirmed today.
“Colin Campbell (NHL vice president of operations) talked to him after the game,’’ Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “They felt the punishment was appropriate.’‘
On the West Side of the state, the Grand Rapids Press’s Chris Knape reports that Christopher Ilitch made an intriguing comment about the Red Wings’ future home while speaking to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids…
“He practiced a little (Monday) and we’re going to see how he feels (Wednesday) morning,” Holland said. “I would think there is a possibility he dresses for the St. Louis game, but if he’s not ready I would fully expect him to play Saturday.”
The Red Wings don’t feel the need to rush Howard back for two reasons: They’ve already clinched a playoff berth, and Joey MacDonald earned himself a chance to start again with his performance against the Blackhawks on Monday. MacDonald made 38 saves to help the Wings earn a point. Marian Hossa beat him with an in-close slap shot 36 seconds into overtime, but the Red Wings were down a man. MacDonald has a 5-4-3 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 14 appearances for Detroit this season.
“What I like about him is he’s 30 years of age,” Holland said of MacDonald. “Even though he hasn’t played a lot of NHL, he’s played a lot of pro. When he goes in to play a game there’s a lot of the guys in this league now that went through the American Hockey League that he played against. Joey’s a pro. We feel good about Jimmy and every time Joey plays another good game it gives him a comfort level and us a comfort level so we’re in no rush to bring back Chris Osgood.”
Speaking of Osgood, Holland said the Wings hope to have the veteran goalie back by the middle of next week. Osgood has been out since early January following sports hernia surgery, but he did get to celebrate the birth of his first son, Max Anthony, last Thursday.
“He started slow (Monday),” Holland said of Osgood. “The hope is he comes back (Wednesday) feeling good and can practice again, then good on Thursday, Friday and Saturday—and by the middle of next week we’re looking at having Chris Osgood coming back. If not, certainly we’ll go with Jimmy and Joey.”
USA Today’s Kevin Allen points out that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom and Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne aren’t the only 40-plus-year-olds who have managed to stave off old man retirement:
Right wing Mark Recchi (Boston), 43, is among the most important forwards on a Bruins’ team that has aspirations of reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The spunky forward is second on the team with 33 assists, plus he has 15 goals and he’s plus-15.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson (Tampa), 41, is a No. 1 goalie with a .912 save percentage and four shutouts this season.
Center/wing Mike Modano (Detroit), 40: Although his season was undermined by a freak skate accident that cut his arm earlier this season, he scored a wondrous goal against Pittsburgh last week. Still skates like he’s a young man.
Updated 3x with 2:07 with…t-shirt news?: This morning/afternoon’s “late-breaking” stories subsequent to the Red Wings’ 3-2 OT loss to Chicago include a recap from the Macomb Daily’s George Pohly, who received a classic, “Stating the obvious” quip from Henrik Zetterberg about a possible Wings-Hawks playoff series…
“That would mean short travel,” Zetterberg said. “There could be a lot of games between us.”
And, aside from Elliotte Friedman’s note about Pavel Datsyuk and the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts’s double tribute to Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne, today’s focus involves the fact that the Red Wings could indeed face the Blackhawks, Nashville Predators or Anaheim Ducks, among others, in the first round of the playoffs. That means a tough road ahead for the Wings, as the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo suggests:
Update 1:55 PM: for some reason, Sportsnet claims that Bertuzzi’s been fined an unspecified amount: As Paul reported, the NHL has apparently decided that giving Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi a 5-minute major, 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct for elbowing Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Johnson was enough punishment for #44, and will not suspend or fine Bertuzzi for his hit. Red Wings GM Ken Holland confirms, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes:
Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi will not face any further disciplinary action for his hit on Chicago forward Ryan Johnson in Monday night’s game.
“I talked to the league – no suspension for Bert,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said this morning.
Update: The Red Wings also posted a comment regarding the news, per Bill Roose:
he Red Wings have been told that Todd Bertuzzi will not face additional disciplinary action from the NHL for a first-period hit that earned the veteran power forward a game-misconduct, his first ejection in more than seven years.
Bertuzzi earned a five-minute major penalty for elbowing and a game-misconduct when he hit Blackhawks center Ryan Johnson in the head during the Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime loss Monday.
The Red Wings held an optional practice Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena. Bertuzzi, who left The Joe shortly after his game ejection, did skate Tuesday, along with Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Joey MacDonald, Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard.
First and foremost regarding the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks; it’s almost impossible to guess what will happen to Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi after he was given a 5-minute major and game misconduct for an unintentional but no less vicious check on Blackhawks forward Ryan Johnson. Do the NHL’s “new rules” regarding hits to the head apply in this instance? Is Bertuzzi a “repeat offender?” Did he intend to leave his feet and elbow Johnson in the head?
Bertuzzi’s such a controversial figure that your answers to these questions depend on whether you’re one of the Steve Lepores of the world, who believe that Bertuzzi remains a monster, or whether you’re more like me, and appreciate the fact that, per Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers, Todd Bertuzzi 2.0 felt terrible about the hit, as Johnson himself suggested:
Ryan Johnson took a Todd Bertuzzi elbow early in the first period and had to leave for a few minutes to be evaluated. He also had to have a small part of his right ear stitched back on. Johnson, who had suffered a concussion Feb. 11 in Dallas, returned to Monday night’s game, playing a little more than 13 minutes. Bertuzzi, meanwhile, was given a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. Johnson said Bertuzzi came into the Blackhawks locker room and apologized to him.
“I knew I was going to have to kind of take a hit to make the play there, but I don’t think it was anything malicious,” Johnson said. “He was very apologetic, came walking right in here and said ‘Sorry’ as soon as it happened.”
[Blackhawks coach Joel] Quenneville said “We didn’t do much with (the power play), but a five-minute major was probably the right call.” Asked if Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kabina’s elbow to Dave Bolland was worse, Quenneville said, “absolutely.”
Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika provides a slightly roundabout way to wrap up today’s pre-Red Wings-Blackhawks game stories by very specifically spelling out where the Red Wings’ go-to playoff goalie spent his Saturday night…
Late Saturday night, after leaving in the third period of a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard had an MRI exam at the Detroit Medical Center. Howard lay in a coffin-like tube with a sore left shoulder. For about 45 minutes, he had nothing to do but listen to the machine’s loud clack-clack-clacking and worry about what the results of the exam might reveal.
“I was just sitting there, thinking, ‘Please don’t be anything. Please don’t be anything,’ ” Howard said.
Before, via conversations with Howard, his interim replacement, Joey MacDonald, and his mentor, Chris Osgood, revealing the fact that Howard isn’t taking the, “Time is on my side” approach that his eventual netminding partner, Tom McCollum, has adapted. Instead, Cotsonika reveals, the fact that Howard spent the portion of his 27th birthday usually dedicated to revelry in an MRI machine got him thinking about his almost desperate desire to prove that he can deliver for Red Wings fans, and his teammates, come playoff time:
According to the Hockey News’s Justin Bourne, four specific traits separate great coaches from good or decent ones—respect-building, mastery of intimidation, choosing one’s words carefully and a combination of motivational and technical advice—and Bourne says that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has the second trait down pat:
Some of the best in the business - think Mike Babcock as Example 1A - offer a mix of intelligent, thoughtful insight with searing “oh crap, he’s mad isn’t he?” Intimidating coaches can correct sloppy passes in practice with a single look (a look you begin to understand after a few weeks) or silence the room when he walks into it.
My Dad, Bob Bourne, played for Pat Quinn in Los Angeles and has mentioned Quinn was a great coach partially because of how strong and scary the guy was; players took him seriously. As much as you need to be “co-workers” so players can comfortably ask questions, the relationship needs to be established - team decisions are made democratically only until the dictator makes the final call.
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.