The Malik Report
All the hubbub of playing in Montreal isn't just hubbub. Given that the Red Wings' follow-on rink is designed after the Bell Centre and given that the Red Wings almost never win in Montreal due to reasons that may or may not include a perceived or real home-ice refereeing ad vantage, going to Montreal and pulling out a win is a big--and rarely-achieved--deal for the Red Wings.
On Saturday night, the day after dropping an embarrassing 5-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Red Wings still looked a step behind the Montreal Canadiens, who won 4-1...
And I'd argue that the Red Wings have shown us not only that they're not exactly going to dominate the league this season, but they've also shown us that the indecisiveness in transitioning from Mike Babcock's go-go-stop system to Jeff Blashill's go-go-go, aggressive-all-the-time system is going to take time and maybe take some early points to learn how to play instead of think.
Sure, the Habs got a controversial/cheapie goal, the Wings took too many penalties and the Wings got out-shot by a wide margin again, but Detroit's just not on the same page here, and that's not a personnel thing in my opinion as much as it is a systems thing, even against Montreal.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Johan Franzen's situation:
"Right now the number one thing from my perspective is that Johan has a wife and a family,” the Wings general manager said in a phone interview. “If he gets to a place in his life where he wakes up every day and feels good about himself and feels good about facing the day … but right now he’s not there. I think that’s the most important thing before there’s even any contemplation of returning to play hockey.”
Franzen, 35, missed his third straight game Saturday night in Montreal after leaving Joe Louis Arena Tuesday after the morning skate prior to the Wings taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He has suffered multi concussions in his career, the last of which occurred last season after a blind-side hit by Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer last January. He finished the game, but began experiencing concussion-like symptoms the next day.
Franzen didn’t return the rest of the season.
“It’s like last year,” Holland said. “He went home, day of the game, we thought all was good. We don’t want to use the word setback. I don’t think it’s been as positive recovery the last couple of months as I think we wanted us all to think.
Among the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa's notes:
Detroit started the season with three straight wins. Rookie coach Jeff Blashill is continuing Mike Babcock’s emphasis on skating and skill. Top-line center Henrik Zetterberg is playing like he’s eight years younger. Justin Abdelkader is developing into a go-to power forward. And 19-year-old Dylan Larkin, who dominated college hockey as a freshman last year, is performing with poise beyond his age. This is taking place despite the absences of Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), Danny DeKeyser (foot), and Darren Helm (head/shoulder).
When they return, the Red Wings might have to make some hard decisions. Bubble players who must pass through waivers to be assigned to the AHL include Landon Ferraro and Teemu Pulkkinen. Detroit’s philosophy is to develop players in Grand Rapids, at times past their due dates. This makes them ready to contribute at the NHL. But the risk is they lose their waivers-exempt status because they stay so long in the AHL.
Shinzawa continues, discussing myriad topics...
The Red Wings received good news during the morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens (7 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM) in that Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser are good to go. Here are the pertinent articles and videos from the morning skate and this early afternoon:
First, the Red Wings posted a game-day video...
DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with DeKeyser regarding his return...
Updated 4x at 12:29 PM: Helm is in as well: The Detroit Red Wings hope to assuage their 5-3 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes when they visit the Montreal Canadiens this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The Habs are 5-and-0, and CBS Sports' Chris Peters has picked Montreal to win 4-2 this evening, which isn't a huge stretch given that the Canadiens swept their 4-game season series against Detroit last year. To say this is gonna be a hard game is an understatement.
CBC Montreal's Doug Gelevan also offered a set of three things to watch this evening...
Belated but worth your time, from WXYZ's Brad Galli:
Michelle Robinette watched the Red Wings practice from a place she's never been: the front row.
Friday night, she'll get even closer, when the 33-year old Waterford native brings her family to the penalty box for warm-ups.
Michelle is a fighter, but she's not going to the box because of a penalty.
She's fighting breast cancer for a third time. The Red Wings are celebrating her determination as part of the ninth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Joe Louis Arena.
"Just to bring our family together, it's an unbelievable experience," Robinette said.
Her family joined her for practice, watching from behind the bench. Before the game, they'll move to the penalty box before they sit in lower bowl seats for the game against the Hurricanes.
Galli continues, and here's the video of the report:
from Arpon Basu of NHL.com,
"They've had a good team for a while," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "I think they're very similar to what we're trying to do here, keep the same structure in place and same core group of guys. That's why they've had success making the playoffs for so many years; they believe in that group and that's what we're trying to accomplish here.
"It's a good role model for what we're trying to do, and they're playing some of their best hockey right now."...
"Their foundation is pretty similar [to ours]," Therrien said. "[They're] a good team with a lot of speed and a lot of skill. They're not easy to play against, they can be creative offensively, and you can't forget that their bread and butter is to play well defensively."
The Red Wings have been able to withstand the absence of Datsyuk thanks to rookie Dylan Larkin, who extended his season-opening point streak to four games Friday. The Waterford, Mich., native played one season at the University of Michigan. Pacioretty also played his college hockey there and said he is eager to see Larkin play as a pro for the first time.
"I've heard about him second hand," Pacioretty said, "and I've heard he's unbelievable."
Out of the frying pan and into the fire? The season is early and the Detroit Red Wings have had a helluva time against the Carolina Hurricanes, so:
Detroit hopes to rebound from a 5-3 loss to Carolina against the 5-and-0 Montreal Canadiens this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM), hoping to somehow defeat a Canadiens team that swept last season's 4-game series against the Wings.
The Canadiens were a little busy on Friday--discussing Tomas Plekanec's 2-year contract extension, the Blue Jays' playoff run, and reflecting upon the Canadiens' 3-0 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday, as the Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan noted:
Of prospect-related note:
The Red Wings hopped a flight to Montreal hoping to earn a little redemption against the Canadiens on Saturday given that Detroit dropped an ugly, ugly 5-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, going into the 5-and-0 Canadiens' home rink (7 PM EDT start on FSD/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) might be a little less daunting for a team so...
Thoroughly embarrassed and out-performed over the course of two moribund performances against the Hurricanes?
The Hurricanes were of course absolutely delighted with their victory, as they told CarolinaHurricanes.com's Michael Smith:
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.