The Malik Report
As the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators prepare to face off tonight in Game 4 (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/CBC/CNBC/97.1 FM), which may very well determine whether the purported seven-game slugfest between Detroit and Nashville will in fact go the distance, or will, instead, be a short and disappointing series for Red Wings fans…
Aside from some potential line changes and maybe adding Hal Gill “lower-body injury” to the mix, the Predators rather obviously don’t plan on changing much of anything in terms of their game plan, including Barry Trotz continuing to issue complains to the referees and media about those dastardly Red Wings supposedly interfering with dear Pekka Rinne with the same determination the Predators displayed while laying siege upon Detroit’s ping pong territory.
Given the blather and silliness of last week’s #Webering craze, well…This is plain old weird, but the Production Line’s Michael Petrella took note of an exchange Todd Bertuzzi (ironically enough) had with the Nashville Predators’ players after Tuesday’s practice, as confirmed by MLive’s Ansar Khan and the NHL Network’s Dave Strader:
From Red Wings TV producer @Will_Posthumus:Today, Predators players were using the ping pong tables in the hallway outside of the locker rooms. Todd Bertuzzi saw this and then… — Will Posthumus (@Will_Posthumus) April 17, 2012
…told them if they wanted to play they needed their own table, then folded up the table, and rolled it into the Wings locker room. #boom — Will Posthumus (@Will_Posthumus) April 17, 2012
Updated, of course, at 10:51 PM: Paul might wonder if I’m trying to take out a monopoly on the front page given today’s Red Wings-related activity, given the Shanban post, the Black Aces press release, the epic practice post (I actually put about eight hours of work into that one), news about the Red Wings’ uptick in revenues, the pre-game playoff festivities post, Brad Stuart’s take on the lack of respect between players and our first “Everybody panic about Nicklas Lidstrom!” story of the spring….
So one tends to tread carefully in the evening, especially given that what rolls in during the evening hours is either a) redundant, b) will likely find use in the game set-up thread or c) both. That being said, I can’t in good conscience allow these stories to “sit” until morning, so, in bullet point form, you should know that…
Updated w/ quotes at 8:31 PM: The Associated Press’s Larry Lage has filed the preliminary version of a story about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom that will be bolstered with quotes from the 41-year-old about, well, the inevitable given the possibility that the Wings will play their last game of the season at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday if they can’t rally from their 2-1 series deficit:
Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom insists he hasn’t thought about whether this is his last season.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner jokes he’s gotten good at waiting until after each season is over to make a decision.
A week away from his 42nd birthday, Lidstrom looks as if he could keep playing for years if he chose to continue his stellar career.
More to come on this one via an update in a few hours, and it should be interesting to read what Lidstrom has to say.
Update: As it turns out, most of the comments come from Lidstrom’s teammates, as well as his opponents:
Updated with a self-assessment from Stuart regarding his play: The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell spoke to several members of the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings about the levels of “cheap shots” and downright disrespectful play witnessed during the playoffs thus far, and Wings defenseman Brad Stuart not only called out Brendan Shanahan and the NHL’s department of player safety for their inconsistencies…
“I did read a comment right from Shanahan that mentioned discipline in the playoffs might be different than it was during the regular season because playoff games are more important to guys,” Stuart said. “They might take a one-game suspension in the playoffs that might be worth three or four during the regular season, which kind of sends mixed signals. If you can go after a superstar and get one game for it, knock him out for three or four games, whose got the advantage there? It does send a mixed message.”
Stuart said the only way the league is going to get a handle on this problem is by consistent enforcement.
“As players, I think consistency is something that would be more effective,” Stuart said.
But Stuart also told Waddell that players don’t like the fact that, as is predictable in these instances, the non-hockey media’s focusing on the rock-em-sock-em aspects of the game…
My practice post continues to be updated on an as-needed basis, but as it’s fallen off the front page, and this shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle, the Red Wings’ website posted a very cool video of their playoff game “opening ceremonies”:
We know that the economy is starting to rebound, if only ever-so-slowly, in Michigan, and while the job market and municipal financial situations remain pretty damn bleak, MLive’s Michael Wayland reports that those who can save their pennies are helping the Red Wings return to a state of financial health so strong that it hearkens back to the heady “Mid Naughts”:
Eight hundred and twenty-four thousand seven-hundred and six equals the return of Hockeytown for Detroit. That number is the amount of hockey fans who entered Joe Louis Arena during the regular season this year, making it the first sellout season (41 games) since the 2006-07 season.
“It was a fantastic season,” said Rob Mattina, Red Wings vice president of marketing. “We had 69 consecutive sellouts (back to December 2010).”
That streak – now at 70 with Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators –could continue as the team competes in its 21st straight playoff appearance. And while having red and white in the seats makes for an “electrifying” atmosphere at the Joe, they also help bring in the green in a recovering economy.
“There’s more competition nowadays for disposable income,” Mattina told MLive.com. “It’s not just other professional sports as the competition, it’s anywhere people would spend their disposable income—restaurants, movies, theaters, plays, symphonies, anything such as that.”
Updated 12x at 5:45 PM: The Red Wings’ coaches chose to shake things up in the personnel department a day after Detroit dropped a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators, and the Wings’ personnel tweaks ahead of a must-win Game 4 had nothing to do with the recalling of 11 Black Aces from Grand Rapids. MLive’s Ansar Khan provides the details thereof...
Wings’ Cleary is wearing red, skating on top two line. Bertuzzi and Nyquist skating on third line.
Wings skating with these lines: 51-40-26, 93-13-11, 14-8-44, 20-48-96; 5-18, 55-23, 27-52; 35. 29; extras 41, 39, 15, 4
Looks like Babcock has reunited Lidstrom with White. Ericsson is paired with Quincey.
The Grand Rapids Griffins’ regular season wrapped up yesterday with a loss against the Hamilton Bulldogs, and this morning, the Red Wings’ PR department stated that 11 of the Griffins’ players will be heading to Detroit today or tomorrow to serve as “Black Aces”:
RED WINGS RECALL 11 GRIFFINS TO SERVE AS ‘BLACK ACES’ DURING 2012 PLAYOFFS
… Detroit and Nashville Square off in Game Four on Tuesday Night at The Joe ...
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that 11 players have been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League to serve as ‘Black Aces’ during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The group, consisting of five forwards, five defensemen and one goalie, will practice before or after the Red Wings each day and will be on hand to dress for NHL post-season games should the need arise. Four of the 11 players saw game action with the Red Wings during the 2011-12 regular season including forwards Joakim Andersson and Fabian Brunnstrom, and defensemen Doug Janik and Brendan Smith. Garnet Exelby, a veteran blue-liner in his first season with the Griffins, has over 400 games of NHL experience with the Atlanta Thrashers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Updated 2x at 12:18 PM: The Red Wings are on the ice for practice as I write this, with MLive’s Ansar Khan reporting that Nicklas Lidstrom and Ian White are skating together, and NHL.com’s Brian Hedger reporting that Danny Cleary’s skating on the Datsyuk line, with Gustav Nyquist demoted to the 4th line and Todd Bertuzzi skating with Miller and Abdelkader…
And while that should tide you over till the after-practice updates, if you are, as the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts
RedWingsFeed) suggests, no longer a Brendan Shanahan fan because he chose not to suspend Shea Weber, Pro Hockey talk’s Joe Yerdon reports that Shanahan told WFAN’s Boomer and Carton in New York that he didn’t suspend Weber because, well…The Wings didn’t lie and tell Shanahan that Henrik Zetterberg was hurt:
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.