The Malik Report
Like Paul, I'm going to try and lay low after pulling a week's worth of 2 to-4-AM wake-up calls on Thursday. The Olympics have been exciting to follow but absolutely grueling in terms of wear and tear on my far-less-than-100% self.
Aside from some Olympic practices today, as Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reported, the first wave of NHL'ers will head back to North America ahead of Friday's semifinals...
Though this Tweet from Sport-Express's Slava Malamud is eyebrow-raising:
This story from the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner speaks for itself:
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill remembers the emotional struggle Rob Facca went through as his son, Louie, battled Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy while they coached together at Western Michigan University.
Their friendship and Blashill's desire to help fight the disease persists.
"He remains to this day a very, very good friend of mine," said Blashill, who hired Facca, now the associate head coach of the Broncos. "I got to see, No. 1, the beginning of their battle with this, and No. 2, to see how Rob and (wife) Nikki and Louie live their lives as fighters. ... They refuse to let it ruin their daily lives."
Blashill, who coached WMU in 2010-11, has pledged $100 toward disease research for each goal by the Griffins against Oklahoma City in home games Friday and Saturday. It coincides with an Ice Duchenne weekend planned at Western Michigan.
The Red Wings' non-Olympians and some Grand Rapids Griffins call-ups (who appear to have been recalled to flesh out a very lean practice squad as the Wings' players slowly filter back into Metro Detroit after taking vacations during the NHL's 10-day mandated no-practicing-for-healthy-players break) skated at Joe Louis Arena today, and here's what went down:
As Paul has noted, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun wrote a thoughtful, thorough and balanced dissection of the dysfunctional machine that was the Russian Olympic hockey team, from the player picks made by the Russian Hockey Federation to coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's bizarre decison-making to the severely under-performing players on what was clearly a team that was anything but united in its pursuit of gold. LeBrun's take on why the Big Red Machine sputtered smoke and leaked oil throughout the 2014 games is superb.
This is interesting, per the Red Wings' PR department. The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding a tripleheader this weekend and the Red Wings resume practicing at Joe Louis Arena today at 2 PM, and they'll resume their NHL season with games in Montreal on the 26th and in Ottawa on the 27th. Will some of these warm bodies be with them, or is this just maximizing-LTIR-spending stuff while augmenting the practice squad?
RED WINGS RECALL FOUR FROM GRIFFINS
… Detroit Resumes Practice Today as Olympic Games Continue …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday recalled forwards Cory Emmerton, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Adam Almquist from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Just prior to the NHL's roster freeze, the Red Wings demoted Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco (who will likely return to Detroit from the Olympics on that same NHL charter that Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will be taking tomorrow) to the Grand Rapids Griffins to ensure that the pair would get some playing time in during the Olympic break, and the team preemptively recalled Mikael Samuelsson to maximize their LTIR spending...
But Luke Glendening found himself in contractual and playing limbo as NHL rules stated that no player who had played in 75% or more of their team's pre-Olympic break games could be sent down during said break.
As to what could happen after the NO-SKATE-mandated break between February 9th and today (the non-Olympian Wings will practice at the Joe at 2 PM), nobody really knew how the rules worked, so the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner asked Glendening to clarify his situation.
Until the Olympic roster freeze lifts this Sunday evening, Glendening reports he's Red Wings property, though he doesn't believe he'll remain with the team for long:
Updated 6x at 12:08 PM:
Utterly stunning, and...Both heartening for Red Wings fans (as my pal Thomas on Twitter suggested) and devastating for the Russians' best player and captain, Pavel Datsyuk.
The Russians somehow came into their quarterfinal game against Finland, they scored the game's first goal (Kovalchuk via Datsyuk), and then they more or less went to sleep--Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, almost everybody but the man wearing #13, who tried to take the team onto his shoulders, and Malkin, who sparked himself awake later in the game--and surrendered a stunning, stunning 3-1 loss to Finland as a result.
Updated 4x at 8:58 AM: Team Sweden advanced to the Olympic semifinals (they will play the winner of 7:30 AM's Finland-Russia game on Friday) by defeating Slovenia 5-0 on Wednesday morning, but the score doesn't tell the game's tale at all.
The Slovenians had superb scoring chances while the game was scorless, they held the Swedes off the board until Alex Steen (via Daniel Alfredsson) scored with 1:10 left in the 1st, and Sweden didn't take a 2-0 lead until 1:42 into the 3rd period.
The result was a bit of a wash--Alfredsson had an assist, Jonathan Ericsson (who Aftonbladet reports has a 144 IQ and is a member of MENSA) didn't play much during the third peirod, Gustav Nyquist got an assist on the 5-0 goal and Loui Eriksson, Erik Karlsson and Carl Hagelin piled up points (2 goals for Hagelin, with one assisted by Gustav Nyquist and one assisted by Jonathan Ericsson's brother Jimmie) as Henrik Lunqvist pitched a 19-save shutout--but the Slovenians gave the Swedes all they could handle for two periods, and that has to be applauded.
In terms of the Red Wings' players participating in the game, via the IIHF...
The Russians and Finns have something of a contentious relationship, having actually gone to war against each other at one point (Finland was also once part of the Russian empire), and it is expected that today's quarterfinal between the nations' hockey teams (7:30 AM EST, CBC/NBCSN), and Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the counries' bitter hockey rivalry will be front and center this morning...
Russia will need a solid performance against Finland on Wednesday, the team that has given them so much trouble on the international stage. The Finns are a bogey team for the Russians, beating them four out of six times the two teams have faced each other in the Olympics. Three of those wins were shutouts for Finland. This will be the real test for the Russian defense, because giving up even one goal could mean the end of the Olympic dream.
“This will be war.” Alex Ovechkin said about the upcoming game. “We’re are ready for this war.”
But this is a Red Wings blog, so why is this story here? Well, it appears that a certain Pavel Datsyuk is still a chessmaster both on ice and during media availabilities. He's chosen not to e particularly forthcoming during these Olympics, and Chesnokov reports that Datysuk's still deflecting questions like Tomas Holmstrom tipped pucks:
This is going to be a very busy and a very long day for me and possibly for you if you're interested in both watching the Olympic quarterfinals and reading about the Red Wings non-Olympians' return to Joe Louis Arena's ice.
This morning, we've got a slate of four quarterfinal games taking place, and the Red Wings have either player or coaching representatives on four of the eight teams playing...
And this afternoon, we're going to find out how Stephen Weiss, Johan Franzen and several other Wings are doing, though the absences of Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek (two Olympic "third stringers" and someone playing for Grand Rapids) make me wonder who the Wings will be shooting at:
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.