The Malik Report
The Grand Rapids Griffins face a boatload of adversity this evening. They're trailing a Texas Stars team that's been far more offensively potent and more dangerous on the rush during the teams' second-round series, needing to win both Games 6 (at 8 PM EDT tonight, on WOOD Radio and the AHL Live) and 7 (Monday at 8:30 PM EDT) to stave off elimination.
According to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, while Texas Stars coach Willie Desjdardins hopes to eliminate the Griffins this evening, he wouldn't be surprised if the series "goes 7"...
“They’re not coming in there to just show up,” he said. “It’ll be a real tough game and we expect (a Game) seven because they’re just going to play so hard.”
“They’re feeling better about themselves and they’re starting to play good, so it’s going to be tough,” he said.
And the Griffins plan on taking the Stars up on that theory:
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Let's clear this up once and for all: Mike Babcock will coach the Detroit Red Wings in 2014-15, no matter how much other teams might want him, no matter what the media dream up. He has a year left on his contract. The Wings want him back. He doesn't want to leave.
Babcock said even if the Wings fired him now, he would not look for another job until after next season. The youngest of his three children will be a senior in high school in the Detroit area. He will not uproot his daughter, and he will not coach elsewhere during that time.
"I ain't missing it," Babcock said.
There are no guarantees beyond that – not for the Wings, but not for other teams, either. General manager Ken Holland plans to discuss an extension with Babcock at some point this summer. Babcock is in no rush one way or the other.
"I have a contract for a year; Ken Holland has a contract for a year," Babcock said. "I assume the sequence of events are, they deal with Ken Holland first, and then they deal with Mike Babcock. But I'm real comfortable, and I mean that, and I've said it. I'm on record. I'm comfortable in my situation. It's not like I need someone to do anything right now. I’m fine because I think our team’s going in the right direction again.”
This is more of a "reminder post" than anything else. However, in terms of Red Wings players taking part in hockey games today:
At 1:45 PM, Jakub Kindl's Czechs will battle Norway;
Grand Rapids trails Texas 3 games to 2, and both tonight's game and tomorrow's possible Game 7 take place in Austin.
Tyler Bertuzzi keeps on surprising people--myself included. The Guelph Storm opened their Memorial Cup tournament against the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday, and instead of playing as a support player, Bertuzzi stole the spotlight, matching the highly-heralded Kerby Rychel's 2-goal performance as Guelph defeated Edmonton 5-1.
Bertuzzi's goals were numbers 4 and 5, but he still served notice that the scrawny kid wearing #17's to be underestimated at one's peril by tagging a pair of sniper's markers (click for the one highlight clip I could find as Sportsnet geo-blocked their stuff).
Storm coach Scott Walker told the Canadian Press that he's used to Warren Rychel's son, Todd Bertuzzi's nephew and one more Storm player with pro ties dislaying both inherited and learned savvy when the spotlight's on 'em...
Tomas Tatar's Slovaks kept their hopes of making the World Championships' quarterfinals alive today via a 4-1 victory over Italy, but the Good Tatar and the Bad Tatar were equally visible in the parts of the game I was able to watch (thanks to a wonky feed of a Polish broadcast).
The good Tatar scored the Slovaks' 3-0 goal, had an assist on their 4-1 goal, and he co-led the Slovaks with 6 shots in 15:39 of ice time, including a significant amount of time on both the power play and penalty-kill.
The bad Tatar, however, deked himself and Italian goaltender Daniel Bellissimo out of a penalty shot attempt which Tatar literally had to stop because he'd lost control of the puck four feet in front of a slowly-opening net (Bellissimo bit on deke 15 or 16)...
And the bad Tatar took an incredibly stupid penalty with all of 1:25 left in the game, chasing an Italian player up the ice and grabbing and shoving him--while the Slovaks were already down a man--giving Italy a 5-on-3 to close out the affair.
Jakub Kindl's already wrapped up his World Championship game (a loss vs. the Danes), so today's Red Wings-player-or-prospect-playing schedule now reads as follows:
At the World Championships: Tomas Tatar's Slovaks are battling Italy presently--Slovakia's up 2-0 halfway through the game, but Tatar hasn't registered a point yet;
And at the Memorial Cup in London, ON: Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm vs. the Edmonton Oil Kings @ 4 PM (on the NHL Network and Sportsnet).
This entry's going to be even ramby-er than usual, so please bear with me.
As has become usual in Red Wings-at-the-World Championships recaps, I've got some good news and some bad news regarding Jakub Kindl and the Czech Republic's game against Denmark this morning (Tomas Tatar's Slovaks will battle Italy at 1:45 PM EDT, too):
The good news is that the beleagured Red Wings defenseman scored the Czechs' 3-1 goal, he took 3 shots and played 22:17.
The bad news? The Czechs, who are battling the same stomach bug that's ailing the Slovaks, surrendered their 3-1 lead and ended up losing 4-3 in a shootout, which is...a bit of an upset, to say the least.
The IIHF's Peter Westermark describes Kindl's goal as follows:
At the buzzer [ending the second period], Morten Green was called for handling the puck, giving the Czech’s their fifth opportunity of the night with the man advantage to start the third. The Danes survived, but the Czechs sustained their pressure even after Denmark had returned to full strength, and five minutes into the third, it was 3-1 after Jakub Kindl’s shot from the point sailed past a screened Nielsen in the Danish net.
via the IIHF,
Abdelkader will miss his team’s next game on 18 May against Finland.
The infraction occurred at 11:05 of the game against Kazakhstan on 16 May. With the score 0-0 Kazakh forward Konstantin Pushkaryovbegan to move with the puck toward his defending blue line, passing the puck forward to a team mate just as he crossed the blue line. After Pushkaryov released the puck, Abdelkader began his approach on his opponent, starting approximately half way between the Kazakhstan blue line and the center ice red line.
As Abdelkader closed the gap between himself and Pushkaryov he maintained a wide stance. Pushkaryov, anticipating body contact moved to his right in an attempt to avoid the check. Abdelkader makes no attempt to play the puck, further widening his stance and initiating knee-to-knee contact with Pushkaryov when the two players met.
Today's schedule of Red Wings-related events goes as follows:
At 9:45 AM EDT, Jakub Kindl's Czechs will battle Denmark at the World Championships;
At 1:45 PM EDT, Tomas Tatar's Slovaks will play Italy in Minsk (no TV for either game but they can be...found);
And at 4 PM EDT, Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm will battle the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Memorial Cup (on Sportsnet and the NHL Network).
I'd argue that Friday involved far too much discussion of Mike Babcock's future as it relates to a certain team in Pittsburgh, and it turns out that Babcock was in London, ON on Friday to watch Anthony Mantha score the only goal the Val-d'Or Foreurs needed to defeat the London Knights in the Memorial Cup's opening game, but he wasn't in the mood to talk...
And Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner believes that the Red Wings, and Babcock, need to let the Pittsburghs, Torontos, and the players of a youthful Red Wings team what's going to happen regarding any possible extension or exit as Regner believes that the team's relative youth might yield a performance-dropping distraction:
Red Wings playoff prospect news: Griffins on the ropes; Mantha helps Val-d’Or win first Mem Cup game
Updated substantially at 2:27 AM: Posting this and will flesh it out with recaps shortly:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins are on the ropes now, facinga 3-games-to-2 deficit and possible elimination from their attempts to "Defend the Cup" thanks to a 3-2 OT loss to the Texas Stars. The Griffins had to rally from a 2-0 deficit in the goals department, and they out-shot Texas 40-29, but lost early in OT.
The Griffins will have to win Games 6 and 7 on Sunday and Monday in Austin, Texas to advance.
And at the Memorial Cup, Anthony Mantha scored the only goal the Val-d'Or Foreurs needed to open the tournament with a 1-0 win over the host London Knights.
Val-d'Or won't play again until Monday's match-up with Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm on Monday, giving the team two days ot recover from their seven-game QMJHL championship series; Bertuzzi's storm will take to the ice tomorrow to battle the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Update: Regarding the Griffins, I'm gonna be honest: I don't know whether Grand Rapids can match the Stars. When Bob Kaser suggested that the Stars might be the best team in the AHL left in the playoffs, I didn't think he was wrong, and even though Jordin Tootoo, Landon Ferraro and Tomas Jurco returned for Friday's 3-2 OT loss, I have this unnerving feeling that the team's missing Adam Almquist and Alexey Marchenko's puck-moving skills on the blueline to the point that the Griffins can't answer the Stars' lightning-fast transition game.
The Griffins must, must, must shut the Stars down on Sunday and Monday if they are to advance, and they need some help from their third and fourth lines in the scoring department, but the unsaid statement needs to be made, too: Petr Mrazek's got to be better. He's let some goals go by him on the rush that have to stay out.
Anyway, the Griffins' website posted a recap...
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.