The Malik Report
This evening, we take a winding road through Hockey Hall of Fame stories, starting with Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski discussing Sergei Fedorov's role in the Legends' Classic:
Sergei Fedorov had left the ice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday afternoon when one of the arena workers told him the news.
“One of the helpers told me I was first star, and said ‘how’s that for a weekend?’”
Fedorov will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, as part of the Class of 2015. But on Sunday, he scored two goals for Team Pavel Bure in its Legends Classic exhibition game against Team Doug Gilmour – a game that ended 5-5 in regulation, and saw the Canadian side win in a shootout.
The game featured several of Fedorov’s old teammates from the Detroit Red Wings: Fellow Class of 2015 inductee Nicklas Lidstrom; center Kris Draper; defenseman Paul Coffey; forward Dino Ciccarelli; and defenseman Larry Muprhy.
Fedorov, who joined the game during its first half after receiving his Hall of Fame blazer before puck drop, looked like he could step into the NHL tomorrow.
“Fitting. It’s Sergei,” said Draper.
Wyshynski continues with what was a revelation to Fedorov; NHL.com's Dan Rosen offers us Kris Draper's take on participating in a game alongside his hockey idols:
From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:
The early returns are in, and the NHL’s new 3-on-3 format is doing what it was supposed to do. Getting rid of the shootout.
Including the Washington Capitals’ come-from-behind win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, there were only 13 of the skills competitions through the first 210 games of the season.
The drop-off has been so dramatic that, before Sunday’s games, 14 teams had yet to have a shootout. Only five have had more than one.
On the whole, only 6 per cent of NHL games are ending in shootouts this season, which is down more than half from the average over the first 10 years of its existence: 13.4 per cent.
Many influential voices around the league like what they see, including Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who has likely become 3-on-3 hockey’s strongest proponent the past several years.
“I think it’s been fabulous,” Holland said on Sunday, two days after his team beat the Leafs in a wild 3-on-3 session that ended with defenceman Jakub Kindl roofing the winner. “Very exciting hockey, lots of chances and highlight goals. What am I missing?”
Continued with some dissenting voices
The Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars looks worse than it is on paper--and perhaps better than it was on paper, too.
Detroit played in a game where this was legal "incidental contact"...
And this was a roughing penalty on Jonathan Ericsson...
Of prospect-related note:
In the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov had 3 assists in the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' 10-6 loss to Quebec;
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi scored a goal on 4 shots as the Flint Firebirds took a 4-3 shootout decision over Oshawa;
And in the USHL, Chase Pearson registered 2 assists as his Youngstown Phantoms won 5-2 over the Green Bay Gamblers.
I'm trying to keep the Hockey Hall of Fame inductee articles to a bare minimum, but I absolutely love one of the answers Sergei Fedorov gave to the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran as to "where they were when they got the call from the Hall," and it's too good to not share in its own entry:
First Russian to play 1,000 games and record 1,000 points . . . Retired as the highest-scoring Russian with 438 goals and 1,179 points . . . Won the Stanley Cup three times with the Red Wings.
Where were you when you got the call? “I was at a friend’s house. We were having a few beers. The phone rang, it was a 416 area code. I didn’t really believe it. Then someone said: ‘Stay on the line, we’re going to have a national media conference call.’ ”
What do you miss most about playing? “I know it’s not the correct answer. I can still do it. See kids play and know you’re better than them.”
What do you miss least? “Concussions, injuries, late flights, hotels.”
And I still believe that Fedorov, Lidstrom and Kris Draper could totally be playing the game today if there weren't 23-man rosters or salary caps--and if they wanted to play. Fedorov's accumulation of back issues and the fact that he's become CSKA Moscow's GM are really the only reasons that he's not playing now.
The Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby penned an article about "The Perfect Human" joining the Hockey Hall of Fame, and while Nicklas Lidstrom spoke humbly about his induction, others were a little more enthusiastic about Lidstrom's brilliance:
“During my career, I was always focused on the next game (1,564) or the next season,” Lidstrom said. “I never allowed myself to imagine I’d be hearing from the Hall. I took a lot of pride in being dedicated to the game, so it means a great deal to me to be recognized by those who know the game best.”
Lidstrom was the classic low-key Swede when he was on the ice. Calling many of his 263 playoff games -- second only to Chris Chelios in league history -- Hockey Night In Canada’s Jim Hughson was amazed at how Lidstrom conducted Detroit’s symphony.
“I would gravitate to him all the time,” Hughson said. “He would always have the puck, he would always control the play and it always looked effortless. It always felt like he never left the ice. He did play half the game, but it almost seemed more than that. It was like a security blanket when Nick was on the ice. He’d either have the puck or he’d go back and get it and everyone would have a sense of calm about everything, because he had a sense of calm. Hockey is so frenetic and I don’t see other players who can make it look so settled when they’re on the ice. There’s always a sense of panic in the game, but there never was with Lidstrom.”
A pair of mathematicians found that Lidstrom was "nearly perfect," too:
The Red Wings had hoped to establish their first 4-game winning streak against a Dallas Stars team that brought an 8-3-and-0 record into the Joe on Sunday.
With Andreas Athanasiou substituting for Landon Ferraro and Jakub Kindl sitting despite scoring the game-winner on Friday, the Wings...
The Wings got done *#$%@&. Detroit out-shot (mostly), out-battled and out-puck-possessed the Dallas Stars, but the Wings were unable or unwilling to solve Kari Lehtonen, and between Jimmy Howard getting kneed in the head and the Ericsson penalty for getting charged by Ales Hemsky (as you'll see below), the momentum the Wings had in the 3rd period that was going toward tying the game disappeared with a poof as Detroit gave up 2 empty-net goals and lost 4-1.
This was a "moral victory" that proves that there is no such thing, because Detroit played how you need to play defensively and puck possession-wise to win, but Dallas' defense was difficult to penetrate, the Wings fired 22 shots ON Lehtonen and 28 wide/blocked, and this game just got ugly in a hurry.
I will grant you that Detroit needed to not give up two first-period goals, but Detroit also played very well for the final forty minutes and wasn't rewarded for its play.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at TheRecord,
Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov are joining Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios, Igor Larionov, Dominik Hasek, coach Scotty Bowman, executive Jimmy Devellano and owner Mike Ilitch as members of the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Factoring in the slam-dunk future induction of general manager Ken Holland and potential induction of Pavel Datsyuk, and the '01-02 Red Wings could tie for the most Hall of Famers of any team in NHL history. Here is an oral history of how that team came together and won the Stanley Cup:
HOLLAND: "We lost out the previous year to L.A. in the first round of the playoffs. We hadn't been in the final four that season and the two previous seasons since our Cup in '98. We still had obviously what we thought was a real good hockey team, real good nucleus."
HOLLAND: "It really started with, I got a call from (Buffalo Sabres GM) Darcy Regier in the middle of June saying that Dominik Hasek had gone to Darcy and had gone to the ownership and they were going to trade Dom Hasek. We were on a short list of teams that Dominik Hasek had interest in, and that got the wheels in motion. We traded (Slava) Kozlov and a first to Buffalo to get Dominik Hasek."
ROBITAILLE: "When I knew I wasn't going to sign with the Kings, which no one knew, and with the kids at school, I was trying to figure out where we would go. My wife looked at me and they had just made the deal for Dominik Hasek and she said, 'Well if you're going to go somewhere as a free agent, who do you think has the best shot to win the Cup?'
continued with appearences from Shanahan, Bowman, Fedorov, Lidstrom and Peter Karmanos...
From TSN's Dave Hodge:
My thumb is up to the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2015, and especially to Nicklas Lidstrom, who "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
Perhaps you recognize those words. They form the criteria for selecting the winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Though the Lady Byng attributes describe Lidstrom perfectly, it is a trophy he never won. Seven times he was the winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the best defenceman in the NHL. Isn't it likely that he demonstrated all the requirements of a Lady Byng winner in at least one of those seasons? How about in all of them?
During his entire NHL career, which spanned 20 years, Lidstrom received 514 minutes in penalties. The NHL's single-season record is only 42 minutes less. Eight times Lidstrom kept his single-season penalty total at or below 20 minutes. For anyone else who ever played defence in the NHL, it was considered difficult to perform well without taking penalties somewhat regularly. Lidstrom was an all-time great performer who seldom needed to break the rules.
Lady Byng voters always managed to prefer someone else, and almost always selected a forward. It was as if they didn't believe what the numbers told them - that a defenceman could excel the way Lidstrom did. Obviously, he didn't need a Lady Byng win to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he should have had several.
Of Hall of Fame-related note:
MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article discussing Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom's respective legacies...
Lidstrom was also as humble, personable and down-to-earth as any superstar in pro sports. Teammates often referred to him as "The Perfect Human."
"That's obviously being sarcastic," said Kirk Maltby, who spent 14 years playing with Lidstrom. "But you know when you're around a guy like that day in and day out and see how easy he makes the game look, it's kind of ... different than a guy like Sergei Fedorov, who goes coast-to-coast for a highlight-reel goal.
"There's games where you didn't even know Nick was on the ice and at the end of the night he'd have three points and be plus-4 or plus-5. Nick, he wasn't a flashy guy but he'd make a great pass or we loved it when he'd be the D-man on a 2-on-1 and he'd almost always pick off the pass if somebody tried to go across the ice.
"We'd always have fun in practice to see if somebody could beat him. He picked off 90 percent more than he missed. He was just a great athlete."
Savage continues with comments from Chris Osgood and Chis Chelios, and MLive's Ansar Khan asked past and current Wings to share their takes regarding playing alongside Lidstrom:
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.