The Malik Report
He is one of the most dynamic and exciting players to watch in the NHL. With undeniable skill, flair and ability, he has hypnotized opponents and brought fans to their feet. He is Pavel Datsyuk, also known as the Magic Man.
I'm getting a little tired of saying, "This isn't the kind of post I'd usually make," so let's go with, "It appears that the Ilitches aren't exactly planning on downsizing, as a certain Toronto radio host named Bob McCown is certain to suggest over the next two days, especially given that the latest real estate development involves the Ilitches' main moneymaker being expanded as part of the District Detroit rink-and-economic development," per the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar:
Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza is helping deliver some of the biggest plans to overhaul downtown Detroit in recent history, including Wednesday's announcement that the company will build a new eight-story headquarters on Woodward Avenue.
The large pepperoni pizza catapulted Little Caesar's company into the upper echelon of pizza chains and is the driver behind the Ilitch family's billion-dollar sports and entertainment empire.
"Little Caesars is by far the biggest, the fastest growing part of our business," said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc. Wednesday.
The Toronto media hasn't been able to completely dominate the Mike Babcock conversation this week as the Wings both hosted Wednesday's game and host the Panthers prior to Saturday night's Wings-in-Toronto rematch, so the Detroit News's Bob Wojnowski wrote a helluva Babcock-contract essay this evening...
It's foolish to think this isn't about money, and also foolish to think it's only about money. When Babcock and Holland talked during the summer, the Wings were in flux, swept out of the playoffs in the first round after squeaking in to extend the franchise's streak to 23 seasons. Then they didn't land the free-agent defenseman they sought and didn't appreciably change the roster.
Holland is the master of crafty conservativeness, and it has made the Wings a model of stability. If he wasn't concerned about the team's direction before the season, maybe his coach was. I asked Babcock what he liked most about being here, and he didn't hesitate.
"I like the team, I like where I live, I like winning," Babcock, 51, said. "First and foremost, the thing that makes me the happiest in the world, outside my family, is winning. Hard to believe more than hunting or water-skiing, but it's the truth."
Paul noted what Nick Kypreos had to say about Pavel Datsyuk. He wasn't the only person talking about the Red Wings on The Fan 590 today.
Mike Babcock appeared on the Brady and Walker show to discuss the Wings' play (even with tonight's loss, the Wings remain atop the Eastern Conference)...
You could see it slipping away.
The Red Wings played a pretty damn solid game against the Maple Leafs, putting up 22 shots over the first 2 periods of play, getting a gorgeous goal from Gustav Nyquist late in the 2nd and firing 18 3rd-period shots on James Reimer, but as soon as Phil Kessel tied things up on a dim-and-dimmer set of pinches-and-not-cover plays by Jonathan Ericsson and Danny DeKeyser, it was Toronto's game.
Why did the Leafs dominate the shootout and win 2-1 in a game they trailed for 45 minutes? Well aside from the Wings having shootout-scoring problems and Jimmy Howard (who was superb otherwise) being his predictably beatable self, the Leafs built upon their confidence throughout the 3rd period and overtime, and the Wings...
Miss the *#$%@& out of Justin Abdelkader. The Wings' shots were either far too one-and-done or they were fired at or over Reimer or into Leaf shin pads--to the tune of another 32 blocked/wide shot attempts--because the Wings weren't planting their asses in front of Reimer's crease. At all. There was no jam in terms of making things ugly for Reimer or scoring muck-and-guck goals--instead, a Wings team that had won 3 straight games wanted to make things pretty, and we know what happens when the Wings get too cute.
So Toronto gets 2 points out of 3 in the opener of the back-to-backs, Toronto will rest while the Wings play the Florida Panthers on Friday, and the Wings will have to close out the season series on Saturday with a win on Hockey Night in Canada and/or "At the end of four days of lusting After Mike Babcock Night."
Here's the shootout...
That's Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet today on Pavel Datsyuk.
Kypreos and Doug MaClean talked some Wings today on Hockey Central at Noon and the conversation starts around the 7:08 mark.
Go here, then click the listen button for the December 10th podcast and it wasn't all negative talk either.
via the Detroit Red Wings,
Featuring - Ken Kal, Babcock, Weiss, Tatar, & Nyquist.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"They're a team that lives off transition, they want to get the puck onto their forwards' sticks and make plays," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "It's just important for us to keep going the way we have been, rolling four lines, keeping them off our D and having (possession) in the offensive zone."
It figures to be another festive atmosphere, with many Leafs fans in attendance.
"It's always a great atmosphere, it's always a lot of fun with the 'Let's Go Red Wings' and the 'Go Leafs Go' chants," Howard said. "It always makes for like a playoff atmosphere."
Said Babcock: "I hear about it all the time afterwards, I don't really notice that stuff myself to be honest. It's exciting for the players. You want hockey to be important, so the more rivalries you have the better you are."
It's always an important game for Ontario natives like Kyle Quincey and Stephen Weiss.
"I was a huge Leafs fan growing up, so it's always fun getting a chance to play them," Quincey said. "Now being in their division, it's always a meaningful game. It's always an exciting game and it's always fun getting up for it."
per Khan tweet,
First power play:
Franzen-Datsyuk-Zetterberg, Jurco (net front), Kronwall
2nd power play:
Tatar. Weiss, Nyquist, Sheahan (net front), Kindl
Khan also mentioned lines are the same as yesterday too.
Other media reports state Abdelkader on the ice but still wearing the no-contact gray.
added 11:36am, via Khan,
Andersson and Kindl in for Cleary and Lashoff are the changes tonight from the previous game, in addition to Howard starting.
"They (the team's veterans) have been here through the good times and the slower times and now they see our team on the climb again," Babcock said. "This is the best team we've had here since '09, not necessarily point-wise, but direction-wise. We have more players that are hungry and going in the right direction than we have in a long time."
That's Mike Babcock via Ansar Khan of Mlive where you can read more on the Wings...
added 4:40pm, below, watch Babcock talking about the team via Helene St. James tweet.
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.