The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings packed their bags and took a late-night flight to Winnipeg--a city that I cannot deny only polar bears like me love at this time of year (hey, the Wings' off-day will be mostly above freezing, so no complaining! It's not -15 Fahrenheit!)--with momentum on their side and a very happy native of the Winnipeg suburb of Selkirk in tow.
The Wings have rattled off 3 straight wins since their 4-game losing streak, defeating Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, with Saturday's win coming via 5-0 tally. Saturday's game earned Petr Mrazek his first NHL shutout and this gentleman his first goal in what seemed like forever to both Darren Helm, the Red Wings and Wings fans:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' third game of the weekend takes place today in Rockford, so the Red Wings' ECHL affiliate had the spotlight to itself on Saturday night--and had the spotlight to itself in a big way as both the Stanley Cup and Wookiees, Stormtroopers and Darth Vader were in attendance as the Walleye wore X-Wing pilot-inspired jerseys and their opponents wore Darth Vader-inspired jerseys on Star Wars Night (with both sets auctioned off for charitable purposes).
The Walleye earned a measure of "revenge" against the "empire," too--if you're willing to call the Kalamazoo K-Wings the bad guys. Kalamazoo defeated Toledo 6-4 on Friday evening, but the Walleye Struck Back on Saturday, and Red Wings prospect Trevor Parkes led the way.
Parkes registered a goal and 2 assists, Marek Tvrdon scored a goal, Max Nicastro took 3 shots and Richard Nedomlel was "ejected" from the game at its conclusion (he got 2, 10 and a game misconduct), all as the Walleye defeated Kalamazoo 3-1.
The Walleye's website provides a spartan recap...
The Detroit Red Wings may have struggled with some mental and physical fatigue after having played 3 games over the course of 4 nights coming into Saturday night's battle with the Edmonton Oilers...
But the Oilers didn't prove to be much of an opponent. Save a couple of goalposts and Brian Lashoff taking a tipped shot off of Stephen Weiss in the visor, there were no "scary" moments en route to Petr Mrazek's 14-save shutout and the Red Wings' 5-0 trouncing of the Oilers, giving the Wings 3 straight wins and their second-ever sweep of Alberta and British Columbia.
The Red Wings-Oilers game will be delayed a little bit due to the Pavel Bure jersey retirement ceremony ceremony in Vancouver (yay "fall back?"I I know I'll be up till 5 or 6 with the extra hour because newspapers publish later during "fall back"), and the Red Wings posted a very meaty Game-Day Preview video which includes substantial chats with Petr Mrazek and Darren Helm, as well as Wings coach Mike Babcock's game-day presser, so enjoy:
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Helm admits he was pretty down some days with the back problems, especially. He originally hurt the back doing squats.
“There were a couple of dark days that swamped my mood, where I’d second-guess things. I was a little concerned it would come to this day, whether I’d be playing again,” said Helm, who saw four doctors who couldn’t find any structural damage in the back.
“The back felt good going into this past camp, then I pulled my left groin then I got down to Grand Rapids and tweaked my right groin, maybe because I played back-to-back games” said Helm. who will will play on the fourth line Saturday with Drew Miller and Mikael Samuelsson.
“I’m sure he’ll be bagged 15 seconds into shifts,” said coach Mike Babcock, who will play it by ear to see how much ice-time he gets.
Will he be as lightning quick as he was before, when he’d blow by checkers?
“I guess we’ll find out tonight. I’ve been a pretty good practice player,” he said.
He's anything but the Red Wings' player anymore, but this move absolutely baffles me, per Flames Nation's Kent Wilson, who reports that Rito Berra and Karri Ramo will now be Calgary's goaltending tandem, with Joey MacDonald heading to the Abbotsford Heat:
MacDonald was fine in the Wings' 4-3 win over Calgary, but...Well, I still don't get this one.
Updated 14x at 4:55 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to build upon their 2-1 win over Vancouver and their 4-3 win over Calgary, aiming to continue their winning ways against the Edmonton Oilers this evening (10 PM EDT, FSD/CBC/97.1 FM), and as Paul noted, Darren Helm will play this evening. MLive's Ansar Khan reported that Helm's playing, and he clarified Johan Franzen's status, too:
The Wings, as expected, have activated Darren Helm, who'll make season debut tonight, and placed Jonathan Ericsson on long-tern IR.
Johan Franzen is out tonight but expected to play Monday in Winnipeg, Ken Holland said.
But just to cover all the bases, remember the morning skate is still to come...
The Red Wings flew to Edmonton for tonight's tilt against the Edmonton Oilers (10 PM EDT, FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) with some roster complications in tow, but also feeling decently enough about themselves after having earned slightly ugly 4-3 win over Calgary on Friday, building upon the Wings' 2-1 win over Vancouver on Wednesday, allowing the team to place some distance between themselves and that ugly 4-game winless streak.
The roster complications first:
I'm putting this in TMR because it's a late-night ramble:
Because the Toronto Star's Damien Cox gets a little esoteric in suggesting that, "Socialism is alive and well among NHL brotherhood," so will I: the Czech Republic has a fine history of protest literature, to the point that one can make valid arguments as to whether Vaclav Havel was a better president or playwright, and he was inspired by the "Prague Spring" movement in 1968 (cue Jaromir Jagr's jersey number) and the failed attempts by Alexander Dubcek to give socialism a "human face."
The old joke--given that the term "socialism" was used interchangeably with Soviet-style totalitarian communism--was that, "Socialism only has one face: the one you wipe your behind with."
In light of the NHL's attempts to "normalize" wages by instituting a salary cap, as well as the fact that so many of the league's brightest talents take less than the per-player cap maximum (20% of the salary cap during a given year)--including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who signed identical 4-year, $28 million contracts on Friday--the Toronto Star's Cox wonders if the NHL has in fact given birth to a crop of incredibly well-paid socialists:
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.