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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 2 quick take: no handshake line as Wings assert selves

Updated 3x at 4:50 PM: The Detroit Red Wings just turned the table on the Chicago Blackhawks, who were supposed to absolutely steamroll the Wings, delivering a puck possession clinic of their own in a 4-1 victory that evens the series 1-1 and at least ensures a fifth game.

From start to finish...Well, save the first shift of every period...The Wings played at least solid hockey, and after the inevitable Brendan Smith gaffe yielding a Chicago goal, the Wings rebounded with hard work, effort, attention to detail, silky smooth tranistion game passes from defensemen to forwards skating with speed through the neutral zone, and instead of trading chances with the Hawks, the Wings slowly but surely abandoned the one-and-surrender-one tendencies to begin to absolutely pound the snot out of the Hawks in terms of possession, control, "zone time," slot penetration and anything else you'd like to describe as a metric of a strong team and individual game.

Yes, yes, it was Brendan Smith again, with a doofy gaffe that yielded a Patrick Kane goal 14:05 in, negating a strong and stronger start, and the Wings were unable to cash in on double minors to David Bolland (in fact, the Wings have yet to dent the Hawks' 4 penalties), but one could also argue that Smith was rather deftly tripped by Patrick Sharp, and Kyle Quincey's block of Michal Handzus' shot placed the puck on Patrick Kane's stick.

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 2 game-day updates: no changes for Chicago, Miller likely in for Detroit

Updated with AHL news at 12:19 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to right their ship by bouncing back from Game 1's third-period meltdown today as they face the Chicago Blackhawks in a matinee affair (1 PM EDT, NBC/CBC/97.1/post-game on WDIV and FSD), and there's little news on the player personnel front save the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton, NHL.com, the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus, ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Tracey Myers and probably seven or eight other Chicago sources stating that Michal Handzus (back) will play for Chicago today, but Viktor Stalberg (healthy scratch) will not...

So enjoy Ken Kal's game-day preview from the Wings' website. It features Drew Miller, who may or may not play today, depending on whether coach Mike Babcock believes he's ready to go based upon his play in warm-ups...

And it's a day late, but Wings coach Mike Babcock's colorful and somewhat combative Friday afternoon presser should put you in the mood for hockey:

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 2 set-up and overnight report: time to see what the square wheel can do

The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to assuage a third-period meltdown as they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their second-round series today (1 PM EDT to accomodate the Preakness Stakes on NBC, also on the CBC, 97.1, and WDIV and Fox Sports Detroit will air post-game shows in Michigan). If the teams' recent history (and the experts) are to be believed, as noted by the Chicago Daily Herald's Mark Lazerus noted, the Wings may as well give up now...

The Blackhawks have won eight consecutive games against the Red Wings. That’s their second-longest winning streak against the Wings in the 87-year history of the rivalry. The Hawks won 13 in a row during an 18-0-1 run from April 8, 1970, to Jan. 17, 1973.

The Hawks were 4-0-0 against the Red Wings in the regular season. Since 2005-06, teams that have gone 3-0 or better against an opponent in the regular season are 10-1 against that team in the postseason. In 2008, the Canadiens went 4-0-0 vs. the Flyers, then lost 4-1 to Philadelphia in the second round of the playoffs.

And Corey Crawford's record vs. Detroit in the regular season and playoffs is an equally scary 12-2-and-2, but the Hawks don't expect the Wings to give up easily. Instead, the Hawks told the Sun-Times' Mark Potash that they're expecting the Wings to literally and figuratively push back:

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Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Toronto 4-1, lead second-round series 3-1

The Grand Rapids Griffins have been playing lights-out spectacular hockey while I was away, and on Friday night, the Griffins took a 3-1 lead over the Toronto Marlies in their second round AHL series, defeating Toronto 4-1. The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a recap of the game...

The Grand Rapids Griffins pushed the Toronto Marlies to the brink on Friday night with a 4-1 victory at Van Andel Arena, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Landon Ferraro banked the game-winning goal off a Marlies defenseman and past former Griffin Drew MacIntyre with less than 10 minutes remaining, a rare reward for the home team on a night in which Grand Rapids outshot Toronto by a 2-to-1 margin (36-18).

The Griffins will have a chance to close out the Marlies and advance to their first conference finals in seven years on Saturday when they host Game 5 at 7 p.m.

If the Griffins win tonight, they'll advance to play the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers' AHL affiliate...

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The Hossa-vs-Franzen debate, directly referenced, series-pertinent for the Hawks and Wings

I've not wanted to step into this minefield since the summer of 2009, but the Free Press's Helene St. James is a seasoned pro in navigating these sorts of things, so she went out and plainly stated that, for the Red Wings-Blackhawks series, anyway, Detroit needs Johan Franzen to match or eclipse the play of one Marian Hossa, and this is just a snippet from a much longer article:

Franzen himself repeatedly has said this time of year is, for him, “more fun. It’s tighter out there. More energy out there, and that’s fun. When you win, it’s fun. That’s all I care about, is if we win.”

It seems incongruous that Franzen doesn’t care more whether he scores, that he doesn’t connect him scoring with the team having success. It’s how it works, especially this time of year: Star players have to be star players. Like Hossa, who has seven points in six games.

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Red Wings pre-game 2 evening gnus: Wings hope to rebound, regain literal and figurative edges

The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will resume their "commuter" series (at least by Detroit-to-Anaheim-and-back standards) tomorrow at an early CDT hour (1 PM EDT, 12 noon CDT, on the CBC, NBC and 97.1 FM, with post-game shows on WDIV and Fox Sports Detroit), but if we are to believe everybody from Chicagoland's best to Jimmy Devellano, the Wings are down by more than a single game, and have a vertical climb in attempting to rally against the much-heralded Hawks.

NHL.com's Brian Hedger suggests that the Blackhawks have not only "surpassed" the Wings, but as their ascent has taken place amidst salary cap-era constraints, that the Hawks may in fact serve as the real model franchise going forward:

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‘Octopi Hockeytown’ and ‘Throw Your Wings Up’

According to the Free Press's George Sipple, the Red Wings' official playoff theme is "Octopi Hockeytown," and a local artist named Baby G has a tune about "Throwing Your Wings Up"...

As they say, "Pass or fail?"

Update: From, well, me:

It's a solid website, but the octopus-tossing is in picture form only.

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Red Wings pre-Game 2 practice updates: Miller may return; Babcock expects team to rebound

Updated 10x at 4:11 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice for a much-needed practice after a much-needed day off to allow the team to mentally and physically regroup from both their 7-game series against the Ducks and Wednesday's stumble against the Hawks, and while the schedule of the first four games may give the Wings a significant advantage tomorrow's essentially a re-set (1 PM EDT start on NBC, the CBC and 97.1 FM, and both FSD and WDIV are airing post-game shows), and the three-game break between games 3 and 4 also theoretically aids the cause of the underdogs (or "the nail," as it were)...

If the Wings' task in attempting to win four of the next six possible games wasn't enough of an uphill battle, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted that the Wings have a significant historical milestone marker serving as something of a millstone...

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Jimmy D discusses the Red Wings-Hawks series and ‘rebuilding on the fly’

Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner spoke to Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano, and Detroit's representative on the NHL's Board of Governors doesn't mince words in suggesting that the Wings are the underdog team in terms of attempting to battle the Blackhawks...

“It would be the upset of upsets,” he said. “Chicago is really very, very talented. Our team is in the middle of the pack now. We don’t have the depth of star players anymore. We can match up with Kane and Toews with (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk, but we don’t have a Patrick Sharpe or Marian Hossa. Their depth of star players exceeds our.”

He tells Regner that the Wings were unable to keep the aforementioned Hossa for a simple reason...

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Former Wings assistant GM Jim Nill’s very busy reshuffling the Dallas Stars’ coaching deck

As we wait for the Red Wings' Friday practice to begin, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned a superb article about Tomas Tatar's role with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Deadline Detroit's Rebecca Powers profiled Fox Sports Detroit analyst Darren Eliot, but a short interview Dallas Stars GM and former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill gave to the Fan 590's Bob McCown and John Shannon caught my eye (or ear, as it were):



I was particulaly ill and out of the loop when the Wings allowed the Stars to take Nill, and while his interview mostly involves finding a replacement for Glen Gulutzan (the Grand Rapids Press's Wallner wonders whether former Grifins coach Curt Fraser might get a nod, and the Dallas News's Mike Heika wonders whether Nill will try to swipe associate coach Tom Renney from Detroit)...

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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.



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