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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: on defensive learning curves, Brunner, Abdelkader and the coach

Updated 3x at 5:23 AM: I am annoyed. I happen to love mammoth, twenty-printed-page blog entries that eat bandwidth and crash browsers...But ever since we've moved to our now not-so-new software platform, I've got a character limit, so during the playoffs, when the press push is absolutely masive I've had to separate multimedia from the game wrap-ups, and now I'm positing an overnight report as well. Damn you, reader-friendly common-sense character limits!

This morning's  dominant sidebar stories involve Jonathan Ericsson, Damien Brunner, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl (and Justin Abdelkader and Mike Babcock. Okay, the list is long, thus the separate entry). Starting at the beginning...

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose wisely points out that Ericsson's the team's #2 defenseman, and he's doing just fine and dandy in that role. Nobody's afraid when "Errorson" hops over the boards anymore, and his partner, who happens to be the Red Wings' #1 defenseman, isn't surprised to see Ericsson thrive in his "new" role:

“Just the responsibilities that have come with that role, I think he’s been great,” Kronwall said. “Everybody in this organization knew that he could do it, and had been knowing it for a few years, ever since he came in and played that great series, I think it was against Columbus, his first playoff. I think he’s really come into his own.”

Combined, the Ericsson/Kronwall duo has accounted for 39 hits in the playoffs against the Ducks and Blackhawks. Ericsson had nine hits in the first two games of the Chicago series, second only to Abdelkader (13). He’s also the only Detroit player to appear in every postseason game without receiving a penalty, which speaks to his discipline.

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 3 wrap-up: out-Winged, out-Hawked, outworked

The Detroit Red Wings' 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their second round series was somewhere between a Gustav Nyquist-style master stroke and a Muhammad Ali "rope-a-dope," including its share of controversy and enough post-game chatter to merit its own multimedia post. In terms of the wrap-up thereof, I cannot help but start at what many believe was the crux of the game in Andrew Shaw's presence in Jimmy Howard's crease negating what would have been a game-tying 2-2 goal.

The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc took note of that sticky wicket from the Hawks' perspectives...

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 3 multimedia post

As an adjunct to the quick take, and because this stuff comes together before all the stories are available to concoct an actual wrap-up--and hopefully to make said wrap-up a little easier to read--here are the multimedia offerings from the Red Wings' 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their second-round series, starting with NBC-narrated higlights:

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The Hawks, they wuz robbed! But what if the roles were reversed?

You probably know by now that the Chicago Blackhawks could have tied their game against the Detroit Red Wings had a goal not been waived off because one Andrew Shaw was ruled to be interfering with Jimmy Howard, as ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers noted...

“I disagreed with the call,” Quenneville said. “He didn’t touch the goalie. ... It certainly [changed the momentum of the game.] We’re 2-2, had everything going, some hits, offensive zone time. Obviously coming back from 2-0 that quick, we were in great shape.”

The play began when Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg put a shot on net from the right circle with 14:20 left in the third period. The puck was deflected just before it reached goaltender Jimmy Howard and traveled into the net. The official standing just to the left of the net immediately waved it off.

The replay showed Shaw was standing in the crease, but he appeared to not make contact with Howard. Shaw had also been bumped further into the crease by two Red Wings just moments before the goal.

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Red Wings-Blackhawks Game 3 quick take: take your anger and shove it into the net

Updated 7x with more and more video at 11:17 PM: I get it. The Hawks will look at the goalposts and at the waved-off goal by Andrew Shaw and insist, despite the penalty disparity, that they should still be playing the Red Wings, who managed to hang on and defeat them 3-1.

I get that the media will insist that Shaw was pushed into the crease by Jakub Kindl, and that it should at least be 2-2--Puck Daddy already has the play of course (they were silent on Saturday, all evening long), and that Patrick Kane's goal was "completely legal" because the breakaway pass-over-Quincey-and-Smith's head was sent to him after Johnny Oduya cleanly hit johan Franzen who was down, but hey, the rules demand that play continue if one of what Eddie Olczyk would deem one of Oduya's "pushes" (see: his "push" to Justin Abdelkader, using his stick) just happened to drop a guy (clip? Clip? Nope).

They can all go *#$%@& themselves. The refereeing was terrible on both sides, but the Hawks "got" the goal they "lost." The end.

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Gustav Nyquist pulls the ‘Ray Sheppard,’ dekes Crawford down and scores

Ray Sheppard was as slow as Larry Murphy and had hands of stone in terms of puckhandling, but he scored 50 goals for the Wings the year before they flipped him to San Jose for Igor Larionov, and he did so by skating in on goalies and simply waiting for them to take themselves out of the play. Gustav Nyquist made a Ray Sheppard-like deke on Corey Crawford tonight, but he only did so after absolutely flying up ice and dekeing and dangling around Brent Seabrook:

Via RedWingsFeed, do you like Gif's? Do you follow World of Isaac on Twitter? Then you get this:

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Red Wings hope to aid fallen firefighter’s family on Thursday

According to Red Wings community relations manager Christy Hammond, the Red Wings are holding a charitable drive for a fallen firefighter's family this Thursday:

The Detroit Red Wings encourage fans coming down to Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals to make a donation to help ‘Fill a Boot’ at any of the arena entrances this Thursday, May 23, against the Chicago Blackhawks (NBCSN, CBC and 97.1 The Ticket). All funds collected will be donated to the Westland Fire Fighters Charity’s fund for the family of fallen firefighter Brian Woehlke, who passed away while battling a Westland fire on May 8. He leaves behind his wife Jennifer and his 13-month-old daughter Ava.

Representatives from Dearborn FD will be on hand with their boots at each arena entrance to collect monetary donations from the time doors open at 6:30 p.m. until the puck drops at 8:00 p.m. Captain Henrik Zetterberg will personally match all donations collected on Thursday up to $3,500.

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Ken Holland’s low expectations = proper expectation management?

SI's Stu Hackel suggests that Red Wings GM Ken Holland's purposefully low-set expectations for his team's 2013 season serve as nothing less than a sterling example of how every team's management and ownership should realistically address their team's personnel issues, using the "Cuppy Cuppy Cuppy" turned every-spring "Woe is us!" phenomenon that is Ted Leonsis as a counter-example...

[O]n January 16, a few days before this short season began, Holland told a gathering of the Detroit Sportscasters Association, "There's the possibility that we might not make the playoffs this year."

His words seemed shocking because Detroit's last failure to reach the postseason occurred in 1990, but they weren't mean to be subterfuge. The fact was that the Red Wings had lost a pair of stalwarts -- the great defenseman, captain, and future Hall of Famer Nick Lidstrom, and one of their heart and soul guys in big winger Tomas Holmstrom -- to retirement. Veteran blueliner Brad Stuart had departed via free agency. A group of young players and new faces was coming in. How was this going to work?

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High heat and humidity might make the Joe’s ice less than ‘fast’ tonight

As noted in the game-day update thread and as mentioned this morning, Southeastern Michigan's expecting temperatures to peak around 90 degrees this afternoon and evening, and the local weatherpeople are forecasting a significant possibility of severe thunderstorms, so while the Chicago Blackhawks gushed about playing on the "fast ice" at Joe Louis Arena yesterday, the Detroit News's Matt Charboneau notes that the ice might not be so nice after all:

It was a common refrain around Joe Louis Arena on Monday as the Red Wings and Blackhawks prepared for Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals: The ice in Detroit is among the best in the league.

But even the playing surface inside Joe Louis Arena suffers when the temperatures outside are in the upper 80s and the humidity is high.

"It is good ice here," Chicago's Viktor Stalberg said after the team's morning skate. "But it didn't feel great this morning maybe because the heat outside. It usually is one of the better surfaces, that's for sure. It makes the game a little quicker and the puck tempo better."

The Red Wings bring in gigantic dehumidifiers that they park outside the Joe to aid in removing moisture from the air, but you can only do so much to aid a 34-year-old building's cause when you open the doors to let 20,000 people in, so the Wings and Hawks alike should expect the ice to be slushy and wet in the 1st period and hopefully improve as the game goes along. Al Sobotka and the Wings' building crew definitely have their work cut out for them tonight.

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Cotsonika offers a definitive profile of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika wrote one helluva profile of Wings coach Mike Babcock, and like Babcock himself, it pulls no punches while leaning heavily upon the impressions Babcock has made upon Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl:

The Wings made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season, winning their last four games to get in. They upset the second-seeded Ducks in the first round, coming back from 2-1 and 3-2 series deficits to win in seven games. They entered Monday night tangled in a 1-1 tie with the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, responding to a 4-1 loss with a 4-1 win.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the NHL for a reason,” said defenseman Jakub Kindl.

It’s not because he’s warm and fuzzy. It has been an open secret around the Wings that Babcock has clashed with players for years now, from the top to the bottom of the roster. He has clashed with management this season, too, about how certain players are used and the composition of the roster, often issuing public reminders of how much less he has at his disposal. But is that a negative? Or is that a positive? Or does your perception depend on the results?

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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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