The Malik Report
Sportsnet’s Brett Popplewell wrote a massive article revisiting the tragedy in Yaroslavl which took the lives of former Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, defenseman Ruslan Salei and scores of NHL and international players whose untimely passings touched everyone in the hockey world. Popplewell’s article is both excellent and incredibly difficult to read, as it should be:
At 4:05 in the afternoon all but one of the Railway Men were sealed inside an aging plane, staring down an empty runway. In the cabin sat Lokomotiv, the gods of Yaroslavl whose names 600,000 people cheered and cried. Twenty-six hockey players and 11 coaches and staff embarking on a two-hour flight to their season opener in Minsk.
Directly behind the cockpit sat the coaches. There was Brad McCrimmon, the ‘Beast’ from Saskatchewan, one of two men on-board with his name on the Stanley Cup. Still driven by ambition at the age of 52, he had recently left his home in Detroit and crossed the Atlantic to coach this team. And beside him sat his assistant, Igor Korolev, the former Maple Leaf who played for five teams in a 12-year NHL career, back in his homeland but far from his family in Toronto on this, the day after his 41st birthday. Beside him sat his old friend Alexander Karpovtsev, the former Ranger who’d stood by Korolev’s side on his wedding day in Moscow 21 years ago. He was the second man aboard this plane with his name on hockey’s most revered chalice.
Behind the coaches sat the players. Young and old, from the former all-star to the struggling prospect, together they formed one of the strongest teams in the second-best league in the world.
Continue reading, and bring out your Kleenex box…
Updated 10x at 8 PM: The Red Wings are apparently practicing after their 5-2 victory over Phoenix last night, and NHL.com’s Brian Hedger reports that a certain player who suffered a “lower-body injury” on Thursday did indeed earn a little rest, while another skated with the Wings full-out for the first time in a good long while:
No Datsyuk at #Redwings practice today, as expected. Resting lower body injury, which Babcock described as a bump, not a tear.
Jan Mursak out on ice practicing for #Redwings as well. First full practice since broken ankle in late Sept.
“More to come,” obviously, as the Wings are getting a noontime practice in before engaging a friendly competition to raise money for the Salvation Army by manning kettles around Metro Detroit.
In the coming events category, via NHL.com and RedWingsFeed, Red Wings player mentor and former defenseman Chris Chelios join the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Chicago, and Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness about Chelios’s legacy as a Wing:
The Detroit Red Wings’ 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night most certainly represented the best first period and, maybe predictably, middling second and third periods the Wings played because, despite the Wings’ fantastic, five-goal first period, it essentially devolved into a forty-minute exercise in clock-killing for the Wings, to the point that Joe Louis Arena was maybe half full by the time the Coyotes gave the Wings a bit of a scare in the third period.
Hell, it’s entirely possible that, if you missed the news about Pavel Datsyuk being taken out of the game for precautionary reasons (Wings coach Mike Babcock insisted that Datsyuk was simply “sore” going into the game, and would be fine) and didn’t suffer from a serious case of Wings fan injury neurosis (where’s Jobu when you need him?), you turned the game off somewhere between the halfway mark and the ten-minute mark of the third period, too, and I can’t blame you for saying, “Okay, I’m not going to raise my arms and say, ‘Woohoo!’ every other minute for the next hour-and-a-half, so I’m done, and thanks, Wings’”...
The Detroit Red Wings’ 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night illustrated how the Wings play when they are at their very best…And how darn hard it still is for the Wings to pay attention to detail when their attention span starts to waiver and wander.
The Wings raced out to a fantastic 5-0 first period lead thanks to nothing less than an elegant exploitation of the Coyotes’ error-prone defense, plucking pucks away and capitalizing on turnovers, cycling said puck and then putting it into the back of the net past Mike Smith and Jason Labarbera.
According to Fox Sports Detroit’s Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond, the Red Wings have chosen to sit Pavel Datsyuk for the rest of their game against Phoenix due to a “lower-body injury.” Here’s hoping it’s nothing but soreness, precautionary reasons and a 4-goal lead to blame.
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan says the move was precautionary.
Update #2 at 10:10 PM: Regarding Datsyuk, Wings coach Mike Babcock told WXYT that Datsyuk left early as he was “a bit sore” going onto the game, he stayed sore and the Wings felt they should take him out, and will give him Friday off.
Update #3: Babcock further told the Free Press’s Helene St. James that Datsyuk “got a bump” the other day but will be fine. saying he didn’t suffer a tear or anything else…
Update #4: Via the Red Wings’ Twitter account:
Babcock on Datsyuk: We knew he was a bit sore going into the game, but he’ll be fine. We’ll probably give him tomorrow off and go from there
Babcock on Datsyuk: He’s got a bump the other day and he’s fine.
Updated 7x at 6:32 PM with one more slate of updates: The Detroit Red Wings will welcome back Valtteri Filppula (skate cut) when they host the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (7:30 PM, FSD/FSAZ/WXYT), according to WXYT’s Brad Galli, via RedWingsFeed:
Valterri Filppula will play for the #RedWings tonight, according to Mike Babcock
Babcock says Filppula in tonight against Phoenix
Update the first: From NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:
Filppula will play tonight, according to Babcock. Will wear Kevlar socks and says he will wear them even after cut heals. #Redwings
Via Facebook, “Fake Henrik Zetterberg” co-creator Greg DeLisio stated that the Wings will host a very specific doppelganger this weekend:
The Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes face off tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/WXYT/FSAZ, and its Johan Franzen bobblehead night tonight) as a pair of teams on streaks.
The Coyotes feel very good about theirs as their two-game road winning streak, most recently involving a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators, has them sitting atop the Pacific Division with 33 points; their opponents, however, feel a little more about streaking the way fans in Calgary did one unfortunate night when someone chose to only keep his socks on while attempting to re-live some 70’s silliness on ice (with predictably disastrous results), with a 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday punctuating yet another multiple-game losing streak.
As the two-time first-round opponents renew hostilities for the first time since last April, PhoenixCoyotes.com’s Dave Vest suggests that the Wings face something of a road juggernaut which hopes to increase Detroit’s magic number to 3 consecutive losses while eclipsing the Wings’ 33-point status:
Blues’ anger at Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has to do with who he punched, not a ‘running’ problem
During the Red Wings’ 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday, both Blues goalie Brian Elliott and Wings goalie Jimmy Howard were engaged in collisions which resulted in goaltender interference penalties:
Because of the fact that we’re talking about goalies getting hit here—and it seems as if players have started to exploit the fact that the one thing Brendan Shanahan won’t automatically suspend a player for is running into a goaltender—the issue left the Blues’ press in something of a tizzy, but the fact that Howard also went unpunished when he chose to take matters into his own hands, and very specifically chose to punch David Perron, who’s just returned from a year’s worth of post-concussion symptoms, left both Perron and the Blues particularly sore about the incident, as they told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy RUtherford:
Grantland offers something of a strange self-critiquing beast of hoping to establish a higher standard of sports journalism, and today, they’re offering a 21-year-old article by Johnette Howard regarding the “Making of a Goon” named Joey Kocur. It’s a good read, and perhaps these days, it’s an even better read knowing that Kocur ended up winning a Cup with the Rangers in 94, came out of retirement to win 2 more Cups with the Red Wings, worked for the Wings’ coaching staff for a while, and is now both a successful businessman and the president of the Red Wings’ Alumni Association. We need a story about a “goon” with a happy ending right now:
In the beginning, it wasn’t Kocur’s idea to fistfight his way to the NHL. His first fight? He was just fourteen, playing in his first exhibition game with a new team, and an older kid cornered him and dared him to go. He says he was just fifteen when his coach was Gerry James, a sort of Bo Jackson of Canada, who had dual careers with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. James pulled Kocur aside and told him that if he wanted to make hockey a paying career, he had better start fighting with his fists.
“So I did,” Kocur recalls. “I had about ten penalty minutes in the first twenty games. In the last forty games, I had two hundred fifty.”
But Kocur’s start — his real start — came at age seventeen, the night he knocked out a kid named Bruce Holloway in a Western League game in Kamloops, British Columbia. Not every man can recognize a peek at his destiny when he gets it, and even then, not everyone accepts it. But there was no question in young Joe Kocur’s mind that he had done both after he saw Holloway collapse with a suddenness that was astounding.
Continued, and the article’s worth your time.
Red Wings off-day news: Fake Henrik Zetterberg’s hard at work; Joey ‘Mac’ and more Wings-Blues stuff
Updated 4x at 5:15 PM with angry Blues: The Red Wings received their first “off day” in a little over a week today, but the gents behind Fake Henrik Zetterberg, Jacob Hawkins and Greg DeLisio, kept Henrik Zetterberg busy by asking his doppelganger—and his nemesis—to endure a little automotive trouble:
You can follow Jacob, Greg and Fake Henrik on Facebook and Twitter, and their characterization of a hockey-gear-wearing office worker who’s just trying to find his niche in the big city left a smile on my face. I don’t know how they got “earnestly Swedish” down, but they’ve done it.
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.