The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings fell into an all-too-familiar trap in dropping their first (and in this case "only") game back from a Western Canadian road swing against a team that had made the same trip, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild in a game that wasn't nearly as close on the ice as it was on the scoreboard.
While the Wings weren't particularly thrilled with the Jordin Tootoo goal that was waved off because Drew Miller may or may not have touched the puck with a high stick, and Niklas Kronwall's hit on Charlie Coyle, which was mis-identified as a high-sticking penalty having drawn blood, didn't help the Wings' cause, either, but the Wings still out-shot Minnesota by a wide margin (38-19) and had five power plays, so the now 7th-place Wings could have bettered their fortunes by not giving up a goal 2:04 in and by converting with the man advantage.
Instead, the Wild are heading back to Minnesota having won four straight games, and they puffed out their chests while speaking to the Pioneer Press's Brian Murphy...
Updated with video stuff at 10:48 PM: I'm well aware of this fact...
But, regardless of the waved-off Tootoo goal, regardless of Kronwall's hit, the Detroit Red Wings' 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild was both a case of the Wings falling into a classic "trap game" and a case of bad habits and plain old disinterested play surfacing at the worst time possible--and that's why tonight's loss is so infuriating.
If we are to believe NBC Sports' Eddie Olczyk, Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall's dirty hit to the head of Charlie Coyle--and it was ill-timed--was a hideous and egregious offense for which no one should stand. Kronwall received a double-minor for high-sticking and the Wild scored on their power play.
The Red Wings theoretically scored a goal here, but referee Dave Jackson deemed Drew Miller to have tipped the puck down with a high stick:
According to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has decided to lend a hand to Mary Mrdjenovic, a young lady whose high school athletic career's come to a premature end due to a severe back injury. The 4.0-GPA student applied for a Detroit Red Wings foundation college scolarship, and she's going to receive one:
“We have our scholarship every year and thought it would be nice to give her a scholarship too,” Zetterberg said. “Obviously, with what happened to her, I think it’s for a good cause. It’s high school hockey. They’re good students and every time you have a chance to give back you should.”
Mary’s accident occurred Feb. 20, but Zetterberg wasn’t aware of it until last week, days before the banquet meant to honor the top boys and girls prep players from across the state. Mary attended the banquet, where she also received all-league and all-academic honors.
Via RedWingsFeed, former Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom's in Gothenburg, Sweden today to take part in a photo shoot for a clothing line (seriously), and Goteborgs-Tidingen's Johan Skold asked Lidstrom about the role of a "retstickor"--literally translated, a "teaser," or what we might call "instigators" or "shift disturbers"--in winning playoff hockey. Here's a rough translation of what Lidstrom had to say about the topic:
"I think that, especially in playoff games, it's important to have a 'teaser,'" he says when GT/Expressen meets him in Gothenburg during a photo shoot for the clothing brand Bjornklader.
"If you can annoy the opponent or build up your team's confidence by doing certain things on the ice--there's a certain kind of player who can shift the series in a way that favors their own team," he explains.
He mentions that a player like Sean Avery was difficult to deal with but all the better to have on his team. Another is, of course, Tomas Holmstrom.
The Red Wings-vs-Wild game may be NBC's "Rivaly Night" match-up, but tonight's 10 PM EDT game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks is definitely tonight's marquee game. According to the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc, Marian Hossa won't be taking part in the game due to an "upper-body" injury:
Updated 4x with Babcock's comments at 3:56 PM: Cue game-day update post #2: The Red Wings won't have Patrick Eaves in the lineup against Minnesota tonight (7:30 PM EDT, NBCSN/TSN2/97.1 FM), with the team having recalled Gusav Nyquist to take his place. Jimmy Howard will start opposite Niklas Backstrom, and the Wild will be icing the same lineup they did against Vancouver on Monday.
As noted in the overnight report, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a fantastic article about Niklas Kronwall's maturation into an on-and-off-ice leader for the Wings, and NHL.com's Brian Hedger follows that up with a similarly superb profile of the Red Wings' #1 defenseman. Kronwall's doing his best to perform an impossible task...
"He's in a tough spot," Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall's defense partner, told NHL.com. "He's absolutely our No. 1 defensemen and he's got some big shoes to fill ... but you know, it's Nick Lidstrom and you can't really do that. Nick's got what, seven Norris trophies? That pretty much says it all, but without [Kronwall], it would've been tough to be where we're at."
And while he's no longer in Norris Trophy talk these days, in no small part due to a -7 plus-minus rating earned during the Wings' early struggles, the Wings' players tell Hedger that Kronwall's playing like an MVP:
Red Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok's Swedish team, Brynas IF, won't repeat as Swedish Eliteserien champions. They were ingloriously swept from the playoffs by Skelleftea AIK on Monday, leaving Jarnkrok's future up in the air.
The Wings signed him a year ago, but chose to loan him to Brynas for the Eliteserien season, and the Swedish-language newspapers have assumed that he's heading to Detroit next season...But the Wings have tended to assign players graduating to the AHL or NHL level the following season to the AHL's Grand Rapids Grifins.
According to Aftonbladet's Hans Abrahamsson and PEO Larsson report that the Wings will bring Jarnkrok to Detroit sooner than later, but he's only coming over to visit for now. Roughly translated from Swedish:
Updated 8x at 1:59 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face off against a difficult opponent in the Minnesota Wild tonight (7:30 PM EDT, NBC Sports Network/TSN2/97.1 FM), and it sounds like they won't have Patrick Eaves (sore but not broken jaw) in the lineup:
Cue the cavalcade of morning skate Tweets and confirmations!
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.