The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings began their Western Canadian road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and maybe, just maybe, we can call this a moral victory.
Detroit out-shot their opponents 29-28, they out-chanced Edmonton, they out-attempted Edmonton 60-43, won the faceoff battle 34-24, and blew 11 minutes and 6 opportunities worth of PP time, didnt really show up until the 2nd period, and just...
This team is beating itself right now, and it's beating itself because the Red Wings' players are over-thinking and under-playing as they try to shake the Babcockian systemic tendencies from their game and embrace a more aggressive, north-south style under their new coach. As a result, there are tons of individual plays and over-commitments that yield turnovers, offsides calls against, too-many-men penalties, and generally watching the Wings grind themselves into dust turning over pucks in their zone, stopping short at center ice and deferring passes and shots in the offensive zone, all while getting out of position enough that the forwards leave large gaps between themselves and their defensemen, yielding superb scoring chances against.
You add that up and it's a recipe for a team trying way too hard to think their way through a game that is instinctual, and in the case of the Wings vs. the Oilers, a loss that feels even more embarrassing than it actually was. In a weird way, this game was a step forward more than it was a step back, but the overall gain was incremental at best.
Of Red Wings-related note not too long before the Red Wings-Edmonton Oilers tilt this evening (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM):
The Red Wings posted a game-day preview...
The Oilers' website posted an interview with Henrik Zetterberg...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Johan Franzen has suffered numerous concussions during his career, from a plethora of hits.
The most recent one happened more than nine months ago and has put his career in serious jeopardy.
Edmonton Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer, who delivered the hit that ended Franzen's season on Jan. 6, said he feels bad for the Detroit Red Wings forward.
"I feel really bad for him," Klinkhammer said Wednesday, prior to the Red Wings-Oilers game at Rexall Place. "It wasn't really intentional. I was kind of skating to the bench and he was skating one way, I saw him at the last second, kind of braced myself and I think his head hit my head or something. Completely unintentional."
continue plus some Datsyuk talk...
New Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill has high expectations of his squad and feel that they haven’t been playing to their potential.
The Red Wings and Oilers engaged in morning skates ahead of tonight's McDavid-vs-Larkin match-up (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM), and there were no lineup surprises for either team, with Max Talbot squaring off against Petr Mrazek in the nets and the Red Wings utilizing the lineup they've employed in practice for the past two days (i.e. Ferraro in, Jurco out).
On the Oilers' side of the ice, Edmonton's 630 CHED's Reid Wilkins took note of the Oilers' line machinations:
Defenceman Andrew Ference will play just his second game of the season Wednesday night as the Edmonton Oilers host the Detroit Red Wings.
Ference has been a healthy scratch the last four games but will replace the injured Griffin Reinhart against Detroit.
“You just skate hard when you’re not in and work on stuff after morning skates and practice,” said Ference. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary. You just put in the work and get ready when you’re ready to go.”
“I think if you peeled the onion back a little bit, it’s hurting him,” said McLellan of Ference’s lack of game action. McLellan added that Ference is handling the situation “very professionally.”
I appeared on TSN 1260 in Edmonton today...
Updated 2x at 2:07 PM: The Detroit Red Wings begin their Western Canadian road swing in Edmonton this evening (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM), and while the Red Wings' record in Western Canada over the past few years has been nothing less than stellar, the Wings face a decent amount of pressure to up their record to 4-and-2 instead of dropping to 3-and-3 so very early in the season.
This isn't game-related, but it's a pretty neat factoid:
This, we already knew...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. ESPN is ranking the top 100 NHL players, and Niklas Kronwall was named to the first batch of rankings:
87. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings
Age: 34 | Experience: 11 years
Position ranking: 18th among defensemen
2014 ranking: 16th among defensemen
2. MLive's Brendan Savage took note of the Red Wings' particularly good record in Western Canada:
From the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
Dylan Larkin’s path to the NHL was direct and short, and coaches and programs in Michigan provided a way.
Among the Red Wings scoring leaders with six points, five games into his first season, Larkin, 19, is also helping defy a general policy of the franchise, one that has served it well: Patient, sustained development of young talent in Grand Rapids and Toledo. Larkin is the first teenager in the Wings’ lineup since Jiri Hudler in the 2003-04 season.
Playing mostly on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, his speed and skill are apparent. Larkin has been among the Wings’ better players in each game during their 3-2 start.
He is likely to have few, if any, bus trips with the Griffins to American Hockey League games.
Asked which of his previous coaches helped accomplish such a quick ascent to the NHL, he was quick and direct, as he stood in front of his dressing stall at Joe Louis Arena.
“There was quite a few,” said Larkin, who grew up in Waterford and whose father, Kevin, is a Toronto native who played collegiate soccer at Southern Indiana. “I played with my uncle Paul growing up, with the Lakeland Hawks, and it kind of grew my passion for the game. And I went over to Belle Tire, and played for Joe Smaza. He just kept telling me where I thought I could be. And I’d say another one was Doug Brown,” Larkin said, of the former Wings player. “I played with his son Christopher, and he was like a parent coach, and he taught me a lot about hockey. And he was a great guy.”
The Red Wings are kicking off a 3-game Western Canadian road swing tonight in Edmonton (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM), and the McDavid vs. Larkin angle of the game's being played up by both the print media and Sportsnet:
The Wings are intrigued by seeing McDavid up close and personal, but Wings coach Jeff Blashill chose to view Larkin, McDavid, Eichel et. al. from a collective point of view while speaking with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
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.