The Malik Report
As Paul has noted, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun wrote a thoughtful, thorough and balanced dissection of the dysfunctional machine that was the Russian Olympic hockey team, from the player picks made by the Russian Hockey Federation to coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's bizarre decison-making to the severely under-performing players on what was clearly a team that was anything but united in its pursuit of gold. LeBrun's take on why the Big Red Machine sputtered smoke and leaked oil throughout the 2014 games is superb.
This is interesting, per the Red Wings' PR department. The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding a tripleheader this weekend and the Red Wings resume practicing at Joe Louis Arena today at 2 PM, and they'll resume their NHL season with games in Montreal on the 26th and in Ottawa on the 27th. Will some of these warm bodies be with them, or is this just maximizing-LTIR-spending stuff while augmenting the practice squad?
RED WINGS RECALL FOUR FROM GRIFFINS
… Detroit Resumes Practice Today as Olympic Games Continue …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday recalled forwards Cory Emmerton, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Adam Almquist from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Just prior to the NHL's roster freeze, the Red Wings demoted Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco (who will likely return to Detroit from the Olympics on that same NHL charter that Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will be taking tomorrow) to the Grand Rapids Griffins to ensure that the pair would get some playing time in during the Olympic break, and the team preemptively recalled Mikael Samuelsson to maximize their LTIR spending...
But Luke Glendening found himself in contractual and playing limbo as NHL rules stated that no player who had played in 75% or more of their team's pre-Olympic break games could be sent down during said break.
As to what could happen after the NO-SKATE-mandated break between February 9th and today (the non-Olympian Wings will practice at the Joe at 2 PM), nobody really knew how the rules worked, so the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner asked Glendening to clarify his situation.
Until the Olympic roster freeze lifts this Sunday evening, Glendening reports he's Red Wings property, though he doesn't believe he'll remain with the team for long:
Updated 6x at 12:08 PM:
Utterly stunning, and...Both heartening for Red Wings fans (as my pal Thomas on Twitter suggested) and devastating for the Russians' best player and captain, Pavel Datsyuk.
The Russians somehow came into their quarterfinal game against Finland, they scored the game's first goal (Kovalchuk via Datsyuk), and then they more or less went to sleep--Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, almost everybody but the man wearing #13, who tried to take the team onto his shoulders, and Malkin, who sparked himself awake later in the game--and surrendered a stunning, stunning 3-1 loss to Finland as a result.
Updated 4x at 8:58 AM: Team Sweden advanced to the Olympic semifinals (they will play the winner of 7:30 AM's Finland-Russia game on Friday) by defeating Slovenia 5-0 on Wednesday morning, but the score doesn't tell the game's tale at all.
The Slovenians had superb scoring chances while the game was scorless, they held the Swedes off the board until Alex Steen (via Daniel Alfredsson) scored with 1:10 left in the 1st, and Sweden didn't take a 2-0 lead until 1:42 into the 3rd period.
The result was a bit of a wash--Alfredsson had an assist, Jonathan Ericsson (who Aftonbladet reports has a 144 IQ and is a member of MENSA) didn't play much during the third peirod, Gustav Nyquist got an assist on the 5-0 goal and Loui Eriksson, Erik Karlsson and Carl Hagelin piled up points (2 goals for Hagelin, with one assisted by Gustav Nyquist and one assisted by Jonathan Ericsson's brother Jimmie) as Henrik Lunqvist pitched a 19-save shutout--but the Slovenians gave the Swedes all they could handle for two periods, and that has to be applauded.
In terms of the Red Wings' players participating in the game, via the IIHF...
The Russians and Finns have something of a contentious relationship, having actually gone to war against each other at one point (Finland was also once part of the Russian empire), and it is expected that today's quarterfinal between the nations' hockey teams (7:30 AM EST, CBC/NBCSN), and Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the counries' bitter hockey rivalry will be front and center this morning...
Russia will need a solid performance against Finland on Wednesday, the team that has given them so much trouble on the international stage. The Finns are a bogey team for the Russians, beating them four out of six times the two teams have faced each other in the Olympics. Three of those wins were shutouts for Finland. This will be the real test for the Russian defense, because giving up even one goal could mean the end of the Olympic dream.
“This will be war.” Alex Ovechkin said about the upcoming game. “We’re are ready for this war.”
But this is a Red Wings blog, so why is this story here? Well, it appears that a certain Pavel Datsyuk is still a chessmaster both on ice and during media availabilities. He's chosen not to e particularly forthcoming during these Olympics, and Chesnokov reports that Datysuk's still deflecting questions like Tomas Holmstrom tipped pucks:
This is going to be a very busy and a very long day for me and possibly for you if you're interested in both watching the Olympic quarterfinals and reading about the Red Wings non-Olympians' return to Joe Louis Arena's ice.
This morning, we've got a slate of four quarterfinal games taking place, and the Red Wings have either player or coaching representatives on four of the eight teams playing...
And this afternoon, we're going to find out how Stephen Weiss, Johan Franzen and several other Wings are doing, though the absences of Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek (two Olympic "third stringers" and someone playing for Grand Rapids) make me wonder who the Wings will be shooting at:
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news:
The Grand Rapids Griffins skated in a sled hockey game to raise money for their "Sled Wings" and the Griffins Youth Foundation, and a good time was apparently had by all...
I guess it was too much to hope for. Tomas Tatar played an another fantastic game alongside Marian Hossa and the surprising straw who stirred the drink on Slovakia's top line in Michal Handzus, Tomas Jurco played his heart out yet again...
But the Slovaks dug a 4-goals-to-zip deficit for themselves, and they couldn't quite dig themselves out of it, losing 5-3 to the Czech Republic.
Slovakia rallied to 4-3 and pulled Jan Laco, but Andrej Meszaros taking a dumb penalty yielded a 5-on-5 instead of a 6-on-5, and Tomas Plekanec had no trouble stuffing the puck into an empty net and punching the Czechs' ticket for a quarterfinal battle with the U.S. tomorrow at noon (12 PM on USA and TSN2).
As I'm writing this, Latvia's pulled a gigantic upset and will battle Canada on Wednesday (12 PM EST on USA Network and CBC), and Tomas Tatar's Slovaks almost pulled off a comeback from a 4-0 deficit, but they couldn't quite make it happen, losing 5-3, and as such, the Czechs will advance to battle the Americans on Wednesday (12 PM on MSNBC).
Pavel Datsyuk and Russia will battle the Finns on Wednesday at 7:30 AM (NBCSN), and Datsyuk's Swedish Wings teammates will tangle with Slovenia a little earlier on Wednesday (3 AM EST on NBCSN).
After Tuesday's practice, Sweden's captain spoke with NHL.com's Corey Masisak regarding the team's faith in Henrik Lunqvist, and Niklas Kronwall believes that the Swedes will be just fine because they know they can rely on their starting goaltender...
"It's huge, there's no doubt about that," Kronwall said. "To be able to go far and deep in these tournaments, you need the best goalie. So far he's been unbelievable for us. I think other teams the guys are pretty comfortable with whoever is in net because that's how the good the goalies are these days. We're fortunate to have the best goalie in the world."
And while I'm not going to translate it, Gabriel Landeskog admitted to Expressen's Magnus Nystrom that he did ask Daniel Alfredsson about the Swedes' quarterfinal collapse against Belarus in 2002, and Alfredsson suggested that the Swedes can't play being terrified of losing--they've got to just go out and give their best effort. That's certainly going to be true against the upset-happy Slovenes.
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.