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Jimmy Williams, Detroit’s secret weapon

RedWingsFeed was watching "Pardon the Interrupton" on ESPN this afternoon, and I wasn't. This happened:

This gentleman (sorry, I don't watch PTI so I don't know who's who) apparently corrected himself after a commercial break.

Edit/clarification: I am not attempting to condemn ESPN's hockey coverage per se or Mr. Michael Wilbon. I'm glad that TMR readers state that Wilbon watches hockey in Chicago, and while we may slag on ESPN for its TV coverage, Barry Melrose and Steve Levy have been breaking down every game in 3-minute clips online, ESPN has been dispatching Pierre LeBrun and Detroit-based Craig Custance to games, Katie Strang provides strong Rangers coverage and was a stalwart during the lockout, ESPN Boston loves its Bruins and ESPN Chicago loves its Hawks (and the Bucci Overtime Challenge is a pleasant bane of my existence). ESPN's TV coverage of hockey sucks. ESPN's online coverage of hockey is the reason it's been my browser's homepage since 1996.

Put simply, especially because this guy's from Chicago, my reaction was, "HAHAHAHAHAHA."

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Red Wings arrive in Chicago wary of desperate Blackhawks

Very briefly: the Red Wings didn't arrive in Chicago until the NHL announced the following...

"The starting time for a potential Game 6 of the series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, if necessary, has been set for 8 p.m. ET on Monday in Detroit."

But the Wings were very blunt about the concept that the pressure they face to take the Blackhawks out on Saturday night comes from within, and that they're well aware of the fact that the Blackhawks will not go down easily, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted:

“Pressure? No, pressure’s for tires, that’s the old saying,” said forward Daniel Cleary, while speaking to reporters at the Red Wings’ team downtown hotel Friday afternoon. “Our thing is it’s a race to four. Those guys are champions, they’re winners, they know the toughest game ever is to try and eliminate a team. We have to be ready. It’s going to be the hardest game we’ve played all season.”

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Watching Game 4 Chicago/Detroit

from Paulsen of Sports Media Watch,

Game 4 of the Blackhawks/Red Wings second round Stanley Cup playoff series drew a 1.1 U.S. rating and 1.8 million viewers on NBC Sports Network Wednesday night, the highest rated and third-most viewed second round game ever on the network. Only Rangers/Capitals Game 3 last year (1.9M) and Sharks/Red Wings Game 2 in 2010 (1.8M) drew more viewers.

The strong numbers came despite competition from the other high-profile second round series — the overtime Game 4 between the Bruins and Rangers. Bruins/Rangers drew a 0.7 U.S. rating and 1.4 million viewers on CNBC.

The Blackhawks/Red Wings and Bruins/Rangers games overlapped from 8:00-10:00 PM ET, earning a combined 3.3 million viewers over the two-hour period. During those two hours, the Stanley Cup Playoffs was the top draw on cable in total viewers and the adults 18-49 demo....

Locally, Blackhawks/Red Wings Game 4 scored a 10.04 rating in Chicago — the market’s highest ever for a second-round game on NBCSN — and a 12.35 in Detroit.

a bit more on the ratings...

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Jonathan Toews wants you to know that Jonathan Toews is a great player, and Toews will be fine

The Vancouver Sun's Cam Cole took note of the attention Jonathan Toews' shenanigans receieved from the Detroit press during and after the Red Wings' 2-0 win over Chicago on Thursday, as well as the after-the-fact comments about Toews losing his temper on Friday. So Cole attended the Blackhawks' Friday practice, and after asking Brent Seabrook whether he calmed Toews down when Toews was busting nuts regarding the third penalty he took (Seabrook did), Cole cast a sympathetic ear toward Toews:

Toews, to his credit, never ducks the spotlight, even when it’s unkind. He didn’t deserve the penalty that cost the Blackhawks the decisive goal, by Jakub Kindl. He was nabbed for high sticking, but in fact all he did was lift the stick of Justin Abdelkader, who lost the handle on his own twig and had the butt end of it hit him in the face. But he wasn’t complaining about it Friday.

“I mean, I understand that what happened in the second period wasn’t a good thing,” Toews said. “I don’t attribute it to me losing my temper. Obviously, I was a little bit careless with my stick and it ended up costing me, and costing my team. But when things go well for our team, sometimes maybe I get more credit than I deserve, and I think same goes the other way. And I understand that’s part of it. Our best players need to be our best players. We need to lead, we need to grab the rope and start pulling for the rest of the guys, and it starts with myself.”

But Toews, who insisted to the Hawks' press that his team should feel confident about themselves and upbeat going into what he and his teammates inisst will be the first of three straight wins starting on Saturday night, want to set the record, uh...Straight...That he's a great player, even when he's not registering points...

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Friday practice post and/or travel day news: Hawks look on the bright side

Updated 14x at 6:24 PM: While the Red Wings flew to Chicago on Friday afternoon, the Blackhawks practiced while trying to rebound from Detroit's 2-0 win on Thursday night, hoping to stave off elimination in Game 5 on Saturday night (8 PM, NBC/CBC/97.1 FM, post-game on FSD) while the Wings hope to advance to the Western Conference Final.

The Hawks' practice was sparsely-attended (and you'll have to excuse the Twitter roll call)...

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 4 tailings: Wings still respect Hawks despite authoring improbable upset

Updated with one more audio interview at 1:43 PM: Prior to the Red Wings' 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, both the speculatory-minded and measured thinkers in the Detroit media corps suggested that, "Whoever wins Game 4 will win the series."

Wings fans might agree with that assessment, but the Score's Cam Charron suggests that no one should write the Blackhawks off heading into Game 5 on Saturday...

And that's just fine with the Red Wings. As the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek points out in his weekly notebook, Wings coach Mike Babcock readily admits that his team's playoff run seems highly improbable...

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Red Wings raised over $15,000 for fallen firefighter’s family

From the Red Wings' community relations department:

RED WINGS RAISE $15,029 FOR BRIAN WOEHLKE FAMILY FUND

… Fans Donate $11,529 at Game 4 and Zetterberg Contributes $3,500 …

Detroit, MI… The sellout crowd of 20,066 at Joe Louis Arena opened up their hearts and wallets on Thursday night prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Chicago to support the family of fallen Westland firefighter Brian Woehlke, who passed away while battling a Westland fire on May 8.

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Sovetsky Sport reports that Pavel Datsyuk’s made up his mind regarding future with Red Wings

Updated 2x with Greenstin's comments to Khan and Duff at 3:06 PM: Ugh. Not what I wanted to wake up to:

Sovetsky Sport's Artury Enikeew suggested that Pavel Datsyuk has signed a tentative agreement to play for Ak Bars Kazan for 3 seasons beginning in 2014, and that the contract will be announced after the NHL season ends...

But Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reports that that's inaccurate:

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Red Wings forward Joakim Andersson’s playing understatedly superb 2-way hockey

There's no doubt in my mind that the Red Wings' "x-factor" through their playoff run has been the performance of their third line, and while the Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson-Damien Brunner line didn't factor in the scoring in the Red Wings' 2-0 win over Chicago last night, Nyquist deked and dazzled his way past and through Blackhawks defenders, registering 2 shots and 2 takeaways in only 10:26 of ice time, Brunner took 2 shots, attempted 3 more and probably (frustratingly) passed up half a dozen more, and Andersson had 1 takeaway, had 2:23 of PK time and went 5-and-1 in the faceoff circle...

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Grand Rapids Griffins to battle Oklahoma City Barons in AHL WCF, stand with Oklahoma City tonight

As noted on Thursday, the Grand Rapids Griffins have been a step ahead of the Red Wings in terms of their 2012-2013 schedule, and they're a step ahead of the Red Wings in terms of their playoff push.

The Griffins will face off against the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL's Western Conference Finals tonight, hosting the Edmonton Oilers' affiliate for back-to-back games at Van Andel Arena before heading to OKC for 3 games.

The Griffins have posted an incredibly thorough, if not exhaustive series preview, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner both spoke to Griffins alums (Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson) and the Griffins' coach, respectively, Wallner also posted the series schedule and a recap of the Griffins' regular season tilts against the Barons, and...

Well, the Barons' practice facility is located half a mile from the path of the tornado that tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, and several of the team's players, their equipment manager and coach told the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones that they saw the tornado forming over their houses. Former Baron and current Griffins defenseman Triston Grant told Wallner that he had to check in on his friends in OKC, and Waller notes that the Griffins are very specifically holding a charitable drive to benefit the victims of the tornado at tonight's home game:

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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.

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