The Malik Report
Mike Babcock with his assessment of the Wings' OT loss to the Lightning.
I'm running a fever so I'm going to keep this brief, but...
I'm *#$%@& baffled. The Red Wings continue to waste strong performances by Jimmy Howard, and thanks to a litany of turnovers, unforced errors and plain-old poor decision-making, the Wings have dropped 3 straight (taking 2 out of a possible 6 points) and have lost 5 straight at Joe Louis Arena, for the first time in 26 years.
This one came in the form of a 3-2 OT loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team the Wings will play 4 more times this season, and it came thanks to some really dumb mistakes--whether it was the complete and total lack of coverage on Ryan Malone, the team's baffling inability to cover Steven Stamkos after coming off of over 4 minutes of power play time, or Kyle Quincey's doofy give-it-to-the-game-winner pass to Teddy Purcell under pressure from Richard Panik.
Updated 3x at 8:52 PM: This is of course the one question those of you who've been wondering about Steve Yzerman's participation in the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown wanted to hear the answer to, and in typical Yzerman fashion, he gave 97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger a non-answer:
Yzerman will appear on Fox Sports Detroit during the second intermission, and while we're droppin' bombs, Mike Babcock had spoken to Ken Kal in a little chit-chat prior to Kal losing his voice this morning, and Babcock stated that Ken Holland had offered Valtteri Filppula a seven-year contract prior to the start of free agency, but Filppula chose to test the market anyway, and when Filppula circled back around, "the money was all gone." [edit: and Mickey Redmond said that Holland had told him that the Wings had 2 offers for Filppula, one pre-free agency and one during free agency, but 4 or 5 teams were after Filppula and he was gone]
Update: the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa all but Tweeted a column:
I'm still feeling quite dreadful today, and ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM, FSD/SUN/97.1 FM), I cannot deny that addressing Johan Franzen's status from an, "I am open about having an anxiety disorder" perspective was less than pleasant.
I don't think this will make things any better: Valtteri Filppula's return to Detroit as a high-scoring member of the Tampa Bay Lightning is the topic of the day, and MLive's Brendan Savage wonders whether the Red wings made a "mistake" in not re-signing Filppula:
Updated 4x with video at 3:53 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings find themselves particularly shorthanded ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM, FSD/SUN/97.1 FM), with no Stephen Weiss (groin, out 7-10 days), no Johan Franzen (????) and having swapped out Xavier Ouellet and Adam Almquist ahead of tonight's battle with Valtteri Filppula's 11-4-and-0 Lightning.
The Wings come into tonight's game having laid quite the pair of eggs in losses to Winnipeg on Tuesday and Dallas on Thursday, while the Lightning's 4-2 win over Edmonton on Thurdsay was their 3rd straight and 6th over the course of their past 7 games.
While one could very well argue that Weiss having to not play for a couple of games might allow him to watch the game from a different perspective and shake his scoring funk, and regardless of what's ailing Johan Franzen, we all wish him well...
Wings coach Mike Babcock's understandable decision to keep his one scoring line together has the Wings "platooning" lines 2-4, and that means a player who was "sucking wind" at the end of Tuesday night's game in Darren Helm's received a helluva promotion, as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff notes:
I've been battling boogers for the last two days, so I apologize for taking a dirt nap, but it was very necessary (and many thanks to Paul for keeping TMR rolling along)...And while I've generally been out of the loop, I'm aware of the fact that both those with good intentions and those who simply don't know have speculated that Johan Franzen's absence from the team is due to some sort of flare-up of his social anxiety issues.
I cannot speak to the accuracy or inaccuracy of such suggestions; all I can tell you is that I did translate an article in which Franzen told Aftonbladet's Mats Wennerholm that he suffered from a pretty moderate-to-severe case of social anxiety as a youngster and teenager back during a conversation held in 2009...
And I can at least speak to you as someone who readily admits that I suffer from a moderate-to-severe anxiety disorder as well as moderate "major depression."
From the Red Wings' PR department:
Red Wings support troops this Tuesday
Team hosts military members, holds care package Collection on Nov. 12
The Red Wings will host their sixth annual Military Appreciation Night presented by Applebee’s on Tuesday, Nov. 12, when the team takes on the Winnipeg Jets at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit and AM 1270).
The first 7,500 fans can pick up a Red Wings military hat sporting a USO logo on the back by visiting the designated giveaway tables. Fans can purchase tickets to Military Appreciation Night through a special offer that includes a donation back to the USO and guarantees a Red Wings military hat at http://www.DetroitRedWings.com/military.
“We are excited to be a part of Military Appreciation Night with the Red Wings,” said Mark Schostak, whose family owns 65 Michigan Applebee’s locations, “and we are proud to continue to honor servicemen and servicewomen year-round with Military Monday, when veterans and active duty military will receive a 30-percent discount on their food purchases all day every Monday at Applebee’s.”
Yesterday Babcock said Helm would not center the 2nd line, today is another day.
via Khan tweet,
Other lines: Andersson with Abdelkader and Miller. Glendening with Cleary and Eaves. Samuelsson and Tootoo scratched. Weiss has groin injury
I will update this post as necessary if more news is made available.
Plus a George update, he tells me he will be back sometime today.
added 11:34am, via Gregg Krupa tweets,
babcock said of helm up on 2d line: "just do what you do. don't do anything different. just provide speed.
"let those other guys make the plays. be at the net for them."
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
It’s not really much of a surprise to Tampa Bay general manager Yzerman that Filppula is proving to be a perfect fit. While in the front office with the Red Wings, Yzerman watched Filppula emerge from the Detroit system as a versatile forward.
“We were looking for a responsible, two-way center that could play in all situations, and he has done that for us,” Yzerman said. “He’s fit in very nicely. I think he’s enjoying playing with the players that we have in the style that we play. But again it was an important position for us, and we just felt he would be a real good fit.
“It is relatively early, but we are pleased with how he has fit in.”
Filppula is not only called on to center the second line, but also he runs the second power-play unit, is one of the first penalty killers to jump over the boards, takes many important faceoffs and often faces the opposition’s top lines.
When it’s time for Tampa Bay to protect a lead late in the game, Filppula is often tapped by Cooper to tackle the assignment.
“He’s just a quiet, confident, calm person,” Cooper said. “He’s stabilized our forward group. He goes a little bit unnoticed in the sense that we have some other guys out there that get more points and they have a little bit bigger name in the game.
“But when you watch the game, he gets those non-hero minutes. He’s out there against the big lines playing big minutes at big times in big games.”
from Damien Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
... Darren Helm skated in the second-line center spot at Friday’s practice, but Babcock said there is no chance he will play there during the game. Babcock also said he is not splitting up Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who have carried the team.
That limits their options.
“Our second line (isn’t) getting it done,’’ Babcock said. “Last night, let’s be honest, Pav and Z and (Todd Bertuzzi) won the game for us. We checked it right back (blowing a 3-2 lead late and losing 4-3 in overtime to Dallas).
“We did tons of great things; I went through it meticulously today. That’s basically what I told the players; let’s keep getting better because we are getting better. But we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. There were just a couple mistakes. The amount of zone time Pav and Z and those guys had alone, they could have had five (goals).’’
The problem is, aside from the top line and Daniel Alfredsson (13 points), nobody else is providing offense. Weiss has just three points in 17 games. Both of Franzen’s goals came in the same game; in his other 12 games he has only three assists.
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.