The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings weren’t going to play near-flawless hockey forever, and after steamrolling an injury-ravaged Buffalo Sabres in the first period of their 4-1 win, the Wings took their collective foot off the gas pedal, got a little casual and way too fancy after three straight penalties taken in under 10 minutes shook ‘em up a bit, and…
Well, as the Chief suggested, Jimmy Howard has been in, “I can bail you out, boys, no worries” mode all year long, and between Howard stopping 19 of 20 second and third-period shots against and the Wings’ ability to stifle the Sabres’ offense just enough to regularly expose the Sabres’ lack of depth, the Wings endured an honest-to-goodness road letdown without surrendering anything more than some pride (assuming that Justin Abdelkader emerged from the “quiet room” no worse for wear, anyway).
I’m going to have to ask you to pardon the “freighter in a dry dock for two years’” worth of rust on The Malik Report for the next two-to-four weeks as I’ve been out of the loop, and in that spirit, here’s a very late reminder regarding a very important in-person appearance which you might want to make at Joe Louis Arena’s box office tomorrow, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Greg Monahan:
For the second time this season, the Detroit Red Wings will make a limited number of $9 tickets available to fans for select homes games during the remainder of the 2011-2012 regular season. The specially-priced tickets go on sale this Saturday, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. and are only available at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office. The deal will apply for all home games from January through the end of the regular season slate in early April, including six premium home games where tickets will start at $19.
Updated 2x with some insider info at 4:17 PM: Ahead of what’s supposed to be a potentially fabric-of-the-NHL-chaging meeting of the NHL’s Board of Governors on Monday—assuming that what is truly a collection of power brokers generally consisting of hard-liners, dinosaurs, curmudgeons and a mostly aged and intransigent bunch doesn’t simply say, “Well, we don’t know what the hell’s going to happen with Phoenix, anyway, so can we delay this decision till we know where the Coyotes will play during the 2012-2013 season (if we have one)?” or perhaps to simply say, “Look, the Blue Jackets are losing money, so they go East,” or perhaps, “Moving the Predators East makes the most geographic and territorial sense given that the Thrashers are gone”...
The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell spoke to Ken Holland and the Wings’ players about their desire to no longer force their fans to burn the midnight oil on such a regular basis, and as we already know by now, if you mention, “Red Wings” and “Eastern Conference,” you’re bound to generate enough web hits that the media’s been milking this topic like the low-hanging fruit it is all season long.
In any case, Holland suggests that the same-old, same-old won’t cut it, despite the Wings’ willingness to be a “good citizen”:
Updated 2x at 4:14 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the a returning Ryan Miller (update: Possibly? He’s been cleared to return but even NHL.com’s not sure whether Miller or Jonas Enroth will start tonight, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was noncommittal while speaking to the Sabres’ website and WGR 550’s Bill Hamilton believes that Miller will back up Enroth) and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/MSG Buffalo/WXYT), the injury-riddled Sabres are both welcoming Miller and Tyler Ennis back into the lineup and are welcoming a rookie who the Buffalo News’s John Vogl can only describe in one manner to the NHL…
The numbers—6-foot-8 and 260 pounds—already tell you Joe Finley is huge. But the Sabres’ newest defenseman stood up on skates while meeting with the media Thursday afternoon and I was right next to him. And let me tell you, he is H.U.G.E. Finley is up from Rochester and will likely pair with Brayden McNabb Friday night while making his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings. Not an easy spot. But the 24-year-old, a former No. 1 pick of the Washington Capitals, has overcome serious injuries the last two years and is grateful for the chance.
“I really just took it upon myself to focus on things I can control and that’s trying to play a real simple, solid brand of hockey,” Finley said. “I’ve been fortunate to do that so far. Things are moving in the right direction but there’s a long way to go to being here fulltime, that’s for sure.”
The news regarding Eaves’ injury didn’t stop the Wings from sending Fabian Brunnstrom back down to Grand Rapids, however, and just as Wings GM Ken Holland downplayed Eaves’ surgery as something the Wings have become familiar with while speaking to the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
General manager Ken Holland said this afternoon he expects Eaves to miss 6-to-8 weeks, though “we’ll know more after he’s had the surgery. But Danny Cleary had a broken jaw, Brad Stuart, and that’s about the time they missed.”
Holland also told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness that, given Brunnstrom’s status as the team’s 13th forward Cory Emmerton’s strong showing as the team’s new fourth line center has essentially bumped Brunnstrom from the lineup), and given the fact that Jan Mursak is starting to progress in terms of his return from a broken ankle, the team doesn’t really need to call an extra body up from Grand Rapids:
Updated at 1:15 AM with player reaction: From the Red Wings’ PR department…
INJURY UPDATE FOR PATRICK EAVES
Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves suffered a fractured jaw when he was struck by a puck during the third period of the Red Wings 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday (11/26) evening at Joe Louis Arena. Eaves was transported to the Detroit Medical Center where he will remain overnight. Further evaluation will take place over the next several days to determine if surgery is required. No timetable has been set for Eaves’ return to the lineup.
Oh boy…And if you haven’t seen it, here’s what happened:
As I’m covering for the boss your previously-regularly-scheduled Wings coverage won’t return till Monday, but here’s a quick update ahead of tonight’s game between the Red Wings and Nashville Predators (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/WXYT): the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness reports that Cory Emmerton’s streak of games played as the Wings’ fourth-line center will come to an end tonight, but Mike Babcock’s “ride the hot goalie” theory will continue as the Wings try to solve Pekka Rinne and his glove hand tonight:
After making 41 saves in a shootout win over Boston Friday afternoon, Jimmy Howard will be back between the pipes for the Wings. It’ll be his 15th straight start.
Patrick Eaves will be back in the lineup, replacing Cory Emmerton. Eaves has been a healthy scratch in the last five games.
The Wings top two forward lines remain the same. The bottom two will have Darren Helm centering Jiri Hudler and Eaves, while Justin Abdelkader centers Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom.
Update: Here’s something of an explanation for Howard’s start, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
This is becoming a pretty familiar sight for Red Wings fans, and that’s not a bad thing:
I’ll let you guess who the Free Press’s Mike Brudenell’s speaking to in a wide-ranging Q and A about a certain broadcaster’s imminent honoring by the Hockey Hall of Fame, with one hint: his favorite color is camouflage:
Question: A broadcaster for 32 years—longer than your short but colorful playing career: a life in itself to you?
Mickey Redmond: We take a lot of this stuff for granted. We come and we go and do our job ... but I’ve always been very happy and content to go to Joe Louis and broadcast a game and wear my emotions and feelings on my shirtsleeve. To broadcast ... be part of the Red Wing alumni and go out and skate ... and put smiles on kids’ faces and raise money for great causes ... it’s hard to package that all together, but it’s the greatest thing, and I feel so blessed to be where I’m at and do what I do. It’s as good as it gets.
The Red Wings won perhaps their most important hockey game played in November in a good ten years via a 5-0 win over a tired Anaheim Ducks team on Saturday night, and if the usual suspects played into the winning effort: Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots and while padding stellar statistics and continuing to shine when the Wings’ confidence wanes; while he didn’t register an a point, Tomas Holmstrom stirred the drink on the power play via both superb screening, puck-tipping and rebound retrieval, and he added four shots and two takeaways to the Wings’ cause while continuing to prove his worth at even strength (who the hell knew that the Wings’ fleet-footed third and fourth-liners occasionally need a 38-year-old to slowly but authoritatively carry the puck up ice to slow down the pace of play?)...
And then there was the captain.
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.