The Malik Report
Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news:
The Free Press's Helene St. James addressed the elephant in the room:
The Detroit Red Wings don't play again until the end of the week, when they then will do so twice in 48 hours. In such situations, the vast majority of the time a team uses one goaltender one night and another the next. So there we have it: Odds are Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek will each play again very soon. But in what order?
That's the intrigue rendered after weekend games that saw Howard in net during the 7-2 loss Saturday at Philadelphia and Mrazek in net during the 5-1 victory Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Coach Mike Babcock deferred when asked who'd start Thursday at Florida, saying he wanted to think it over. The Wings took Monday off, but resume practice Tuesday as they prep for a hectic final few weeks.
Babcock made it very clear he didn't fault Howard for the Philly disaster. Babcock also made it clear how highly he thinks of Mrazek's mental toughness, saying after Sunday's game that, "he just thinks that he's going to win and has that capability. We needed a win and we didn't help Howie out (Saturday) and we helped Pete out early and Pete was good."
Marek Zidlicky – The veteran, and newly-acquired, Red Wings defenceman paced the attack with a goal and two assists in Sunday’s 5-1 win at Pittsburgh. Since coming over from New Jersey, Zidlicky has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in seven games, with five of those points coming on the power play. While the ice has been tilted in his favour, with 75.0% offensive zone starts in Detroit, Zidlicky has put up strong possession numbers (59.9 SAT%, +6.3% Rel. SAT%) in seven games with the Wings.
And MLive's Ansar Khan...
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
With an aging Perani Arena serving as the background for a city clamoring for better days, ownership behind Flint's new Ontario Hockey League team extended the first olive branch.
In a swiftly-called news conference Monday, one that was tentatively scheduled for later in the week, IMS Hockey Corp. unveiled "Flint Firebirds" as the name for the hockey team that will call Flint home beginning in the fall.
A firebird, team officials say, represents freedom, oftentimes the result of a difficult journey, and offers significance to residents of Flint and Genesee County.
continued with a picture of their logo...
Here is Mike Babcock...
Petr Mrazek is below along with Teemu Pulkkinen...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Red Wings, looking like a team on the verge of unraveling, needed a big-time performance from their goalie on Sunday. Mrazek delivered by making 43 saves in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center.
"He's just good," Babcock said. "He relishes these opportunities. He just thinks he's going to win. He has that capability. We needed a win and we didn't help (Jimmy Howard) out last night (in a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia). We helped Pete out better and Pete was good."
Mrazek embraced the role as slump-stopper for a team that had gone 2-4-0 in March and didn't play particularly well in the two wins.
"If you feel pressure it's no good," Mrazek said. "You have to just stay positive all the time. You have frustrating times in games when you can't score and everything is going in. You just battle hard and come back."
According to Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea, construction on the Red Wings' follow-on rink should begin within the next couple of weeks:
Heavy machinery has been placed at the site of the new Detroit Red Wings arena in anticipation of major construction beginning in the next few weeks. A specific start date for earth-moving hasn't been disclosed by Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate arm of team owners Mike and Marian Ilitch's business holdings.
The $535 million multiuse arena and events center is scheduled to open in summer 2017.
"We have moved heavy equipment on-site to prepare for the start of construction on the new (arena) in the next several weeks and to comply with local frost laws," Doug Kuiper, vice president of corporate communications for Ilitch Holdings Inc., said in a statement.
Frost laws restrict weight limits on roads and highways during the spring, when the thaw can weaken the ground underneath the pavement — meaning heavy equipment must be moved while the ground still is frozen.
Update: The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar notes that there's a sticky wicket in the works, too:
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
"This was a big win for us after the way we've played lately," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It was a good start and we scored some goals.
"After the last game we had a players-only meeting and we just said enough is enough; we have to go out and play and enjoy playing. It seemed everyone was a little afraid out there and not embracing it. But today, we did a lot better."...
Goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 42 shots to earn the victory. David Perron was the lone Penguin to score, midway in the third period.
"He's good and he relishes these opportunities," said coach Mike Babcock of Mrazek. "He thinks he's going to win and he has the capability. We needed a win and we didn't help Howie (Jimmy Howard) last night, but we helped Pete early, and Pete was good....
"We didn't focus on them, we focused on us," Zetterberg said. "We've had enough issues lately. We just wanted to come out and have a good start and go from there and that's what we did."
Overcoming some adversity at this point in the schedule isn't entirely a bad thing.
"Everybody goes through some adversity. We were real dialed in and we had great leadership (Sunday)," Babcock said. "For you to win and fight through adversity, you need good leadership and Zetterberg, (Niklas) Kronwall and (Pavel) Datsyuk are as good as it comes.
"We just needed to bounce back."
For once, the coach and I were thinking the same thing. Prior to the Red Wings' 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, he talked about the big question: Who are these Wings, anyway? and suggested to the Free Press's Helene St. James that the Wings are a good team, and he said this to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The head coach for the Detroit Red Wings began today's pre-game presser by having a little fun with a small band of media. "I don't know if you heard - it was 7-2 in Philly yesterday," he said. "I got up this morning and looked out and the sun was there. Honest to God, it was.
"OK. What's going on?"...
"We went 64 games and never lost back to back," Babcock said. (The Wings have now done so twice in eight days). "No matter what happened, we played with great structure, we competed, and we kept coming. In the last five games, can you say any of that? None of it. So who are? Are we the team that played 64 times, or are the team that played these last times? I like the 64 times."
more with Babcock saying either Cleary of Jurco will replace Weiss today and no mention of Helm...
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
"Too much standing around, and not really wanting the puck," Kronwall said. "We have to get back to work. We can't sit back. There's too much standing around and not trusting each other right now."...
But the bottom line to all this? The Red Wings (37-19-11, 85 points) are struggling.
"If this wasn't an exclamation point, I don't know what it is," coach Mike Babcock said. "We have a chance to bounce back in about 20 hours and we better regroup and play.
"We gave them four goals that were freebies, tap-ins. We weren't good enough. All we have to do is look at ourselves. We haven't been good enough."
added 6:25pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"I think it's almost that we're hiding out there," Zetterberg said. "We're all afraid. We don't want the puck. If you have it you'd rather give it to someone else. And then all of a sudden we start playing. So we know that we can play. Somehow we want to wait 20 minutes before we get going. Where we are right now we can't do that."...
"I never thought it was a lack of effort at all, but I thought it was a lack of execution and just details; early in the game I didn't think we wanted the puck very bad," Babcock said.
"You don't do it really well and you're not totally committed and you're not detail-oriented, you can't win in the league. They're professional athletes over there and they want to win. We didn't compete hard enough. They were way better than us."
I was glad that Paul let me take Friday "off," because I very simply couldn't listen to the Red Wings' platitudes any more.
Yes, we're only talking about a team that had lost 3 of its past 4 games going into today's tilt in Philadelphia, but there are only so many, "We're going to be fine's," "We have to copmete harder's," "We're getting better and better, the goals will come's" Jimmy Howard insisting that he feels greats and Mike Babcock suggesting that his team just needs to, to quote Larry the Cable Guy, "Git 'er done's" before you want to scream.
I may pretend to be a professional on the internet, but I'm just as much of a Red Wings fan as you are, and watching what was a 12-point lead over the Boston Bruins dwindle to 5 ahead of a game in a city the Wings haven't won in since 1997 (Philadelphia) had me good and pissed off going into the first of two Wings matinee games, so it was better for me to step away and let you yell around (to the tune of about 100 comments) than to join the scraps.
Could the Wings stem the bleeding on Saturday, while tomorrow's opponent hosted the Bruins in a simultaneous matinee?
You know the answer by now. Detroit lost a dreadful, horrible 7-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Boston Bruins defeated Pittsburgh 2-0, snuggling up to 3 points behind the Wings for 3rd in the Atlantic as Detroit goes into Pittsburgh for an NBC game tomorrow.
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.