The Malik Report
Updated 8x at 2:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to upset the mighty Boston Bruins as the teams' first-round playoff series gets underway this evening (7:30 PM on FSD and NESN locally, NBCSN and TSN nationally and on 97.1 FM; does Octopi Hockeytown extend to Boston?), and while the Bruins skated quite early...
WEEI's DJ Bean reports that Claude Julien took a page out of Mike Babcock's book and "held an optional":
Burning hot take: If today's morning skate is an optional, perhaps Bruins just had Paille do his before. Would throw folks off the scent
Or he was just skating before because that's what injured players do. That's the more likely, but I'm not assuming anything. #Bruins
Which means that, as the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy notes, more than just Daniel Paille's status remained up in the air:
Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Spiros Anastas will leave the team after the Griffins attempt to defend their Calder Cup championship this spring, and Anastas is going to a lesser-known institution that's a familiar place to the Wings' former coach.
Anastas is going to take over as the University of Lethbridge's (Alberta) coach, taking a position once filled by Mike Babcock, and Anastas spoke with the Lethbridge Herald's Dylan Purcell about his new challenge:
He’s still an assistant coach in the American Hockey League, preparing for the playoffs for the defending league Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
He’s recruiting players for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey team as part of his new head coaching duties.
He has to find a place to live in Lethbridge, and has to evaluate the players he is inheriting and determine what resources he has at his disposal.
And he’s planning to get married this summer.
If it sounds like Spiros Anastas needs a couple of extra hours in the day, don’t worry, he’s found them.
“It’s been really busy. We’ve got the playoffs ahead for the Calder Cup defence. They say sleep is a weapon but I am going to have to use it wisely but I think I can handle it, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Purcell continues, and Anastas is truly somebody worth rooting for, so I wish him all the best.
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids...
Update: The Wings posted an "Octopi Hockyetown" video, too:
The Detroit Red Wings will begin their playoff journey against the Boston Bruins tonight (7:30 PM EDT on FSD and NESN locally, NBCSN and TSN everywhere else and on 97.1 FM), and if you haven't seen the schedule already, here's a different version for you:
Aside from multimedia, the other thing I can bring you up to speed with involves the Red Wings' prospects, and a significant amount of "stuff" took place.
In playoff action, in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored 2 goals, including a game-tying 3rd period marker (he looks quite happy about it, too) as his Guelph Storm defeated the Erie Otters 5-4 in Game 1 of the OHL's Western Conference Final.
"I've been out four months or so, when I was coming back, I was just working out every day, skating," Bertuzzi told a post-game press conference following Guelph's win. "Just being able to be back with the guys and have that positivity... it's good to be back and working hard."
Updated 3x at 12:24 AM: Well if there's one thing I do well, it's being sick, so I'd like to thank Paul for keeping TMR running while I had a delightful little three-day break (that last part's a lie, but you get my drift).
Anyway, quite a bit of Red Wings news came down while I was absent, so while I'm not going to be able to catch up with all the oodles of Wings-Bruins set-up stuff, I can try and get you caught up with the Zetterberg news (and a short prospect catch-up post is in the pipeline).
As Paul noted, Henrik Zetterberg did skate with the Red Wings at today's practice, but Zetterberg was quite insistent that his chances of returning for the first round of the playoffs are slim to nil.
Fox 2 posited a video report of Zetterberg taking to the ice...
The Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins begin their first-round war tomorrow evening (7:30 PM on FSD, NESN, NBCSN, TSN2 and 97.1 FM), and the Red Wings' PR department released their playoff theme earlier today (and we'll conveniently ignore the fact that committing the act in its literal sense will get you kicked out of the Joe):
‘OCTOPI HOCKEYTOWN’ PLAYOFF CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO DETROIT
... Lucky Fans Who Use the Instagram Hashtag #OctopiHockeytown Will Appear on Metro Detroit Digital Billboards …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings announced today the return of the ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ playoff campaign to encourage fans to connect and cheer on the Red Wings as the team embarks on its historic 23rd straight playoff run.
Here comes your wallpaper?
from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,
When he's on -- It looks like Howard is gliding over top of the ice. He makes it look effortless but powerful, beating the play on his skates without retreating too far into his crease, locking in low and wide as the puck-carrier gets closer without committing to his knees too soon, and keeping his hands pressed forward and active.
When he's off -- The backward flow that is inevitable anytime a goalie starts as aggressively as Howard off the rush creeps into his game in other situations. He retreats too quickly and loses angle on rush chances, or shrinks back into the blue ice in traffic on end-zone play, dropping his hands and sliding into shots, playing down to his 6-foot size by exposing the top of the net and opening holes.
much more including an interest goal chart on where Howard is scored on plus a look at Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Julien was asked about holding too much respect for the Wings headed into their playoff series and he mentioned the “underdog card” he thinks Detroit is playing given some of their injuries.
“I don’t believe in never respecting your opponent," Julien said. "They’re in the playoffs because they’re a good team, and that’s the respect that you give them. But that doesn’t mean you play on your heels or at the end of your stick because you have respect for them. It just means you have to be ready. I think it’s pretty obvious to us that they want to play the underdog card, which is not surprising. We just have to go out there and not care about what they say.
“We’re not letting them fool us with that underdog card and that they don’t have the players. We’ll just go out there and play our game. I know he’s got players, and he’s got players that have done extremely well for him. The guy that right now is a question mark for them is [Henrik] Zetterberg, but other than that those young players have done a good job even if the [Dan] Clearys and the [Todd] Bertuzzis are question marks in the lineup. They’ve got a pretty good lineup with a lot of choices. That’s how I look at it.”
via Dana Wakiji tweets,
Franzen: Even if I’m not scoring that’s not what I’m doing for this team. It’s not why I go out and play games to score goals.
Franzen: I’ve got a lot of things to do before that. It’s not even fifth on the list, probably, when you go out to a game.
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.