The Malik Report
Updated 10x at 4:11 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice for a much-needed practice after a much-needed day off to allow the team to mentally and physically regroup from both their 7-game series against the Ducks and Wednesday's stumble against the Hawks, and while the schedule of the first four games may give the Wings a significant advantage tomorrow's essentially a re-set (1 PM EDT start on NBC, the CBC and 97.1 FM, and both FSD and WDIV are airing post-game shows), and the three-game break between games 3 and 4 also theoretically aids the cause of the underdogs (or "the nail," as it were)...
If the Wings' task in attempting to win four of the next six possible games wasn't enough of an uphill battle, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted that the Wings have a significant historical milestone marker serving as something of a millstone...
Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner spoke to Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano, and Detroit's representative on the NHL's Board of Governors doesn't mince words in suggesting that the Wings are the underdog team in terms of attempting to battle the Blackhawks...
“It would be the upset of upsets,” he said. “Chicago is really very, very talented. Our team is in the middle of the pack now. We don’t have the depth of star players anymore. We can match up with Kane and Toews with (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk, but we don’t have a Patrick Sharpe or Marian Hossa. Their depth of star players exceeds our.”
He tells Regner that the Wings were unable to keep the aforementioned Hossa for a simple reason...
As we wait for the Red Wings' Friday practice to begin, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned a superb article about Tomas Tatar's role with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Deadline Detroit's Rebecca Powers profiled Fox Sports Detroit analyst Darren Eliot, but a short interview Dallas Stars GM and former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill gave to the Fan 590's Bob McCown and John Shannon caught my eye (or ear, as it were):
I was particulaly ill and out of the loop when the Wings allowed the Stars to take Nill, and while his interview mostly involves finding a replacement for Glen Gulutzan (the Grand Rapids Press's Wallner wonders whether former Grifins coach Curt Fraser might get a nod, and the Dallas News's Mike Heika wonders whether Nill will try to swipe associate coach Tom Renney from Detroit)...
The Chicago Tribune's Dan McNeil may subscribe to the "Blackhawks in square root of two!" theory:
So this is the dreamy, second-round match up that was to titillate the senses? The type of grudge match that was to rekindle all the deep-seeded ill feelings Chicagoans and Detroiters had for each other in the days of the old Norris Division?
The hammer and the nail have no rivalry. The nail may not like the hammer, but it's disdain for it does not constitute a rivalry because the hammer barely acknowledges the nail's existence.
Right now the Blackhawks are the hammer and the Red Wings are the nail. That will not change during the duration of these Western Conference semifinals.
He continues at length and concludes with the following:
Meantime, enjoy these not-so-spicy Wings, who are nothing more than an annoying impediment that won't take long to remove.
Updated at 12:04 PM: I spotted this clip of Red Wings prospect Tomas Jurco attempting to use a "Frankenstick," as inspired by Grand Rapids Griffins equipment manager Brad Thompson, in my subscription feed, and Puck Daddy found it while I was out doing a pop run, too. The Griffins players' reactions to the stick are amusing, and then Jurco gets his hands on the stick...With predictable results:
Update: the Griffins posted a Griffins-Marlies Game 4 preview as well:
I've been in and out of late, so some of the Red Wings-related scuttlebutt (Datsyuk staying, says Mike Babcock? I sure hope so) and prospect news (the Grand Rapids Griffins have a 2-1 lead on the Toronto Marlies heading into tonight's game via a 5-4 win on Wednesday evening, and Martin Frk's Halifax Mooseheads won the QMJHL title and will play in the Memorial Cup), but I would be terribly delinquent if I didn't post the following:
Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer spent 15 minutes speaking to WBBL's Huge Show about both the Wings and their prospects' development, discussing some of his points of emphasis for the team's prospects and the front office's plans regarding filling the hole left on its roster by Jim Nill's decision to leave the team to become the Stars' GM. This interview is more than worth your time as Fischer's thoughtful and eloquent delivery is jam-packed with hockey knowledge:
The most interesting part of the interview? The last couple of minutes involve the ways in which the organization is addressing its prospects' engagement in social media...Intriguing stuff.
Aside from what I'm sure were league-wide suggestions that the Wings-Hawks series should simply end with handshakes on Saturday because one particularly crappy performance by the travel-weary Red Wings against a rested and doubtlessly deeper Blackhawksawks team means that Detroit's simply "outclassed" and should give up now (or maybe that's just how I read the blather as a tinfoil hat-wearing Wings fan, including listening to Steve Rosenbloom mock the "kiddie" Wings as "too soft," and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff of all people suggest that the series' result is a foregone conclusion)...
The Wings themselves took Thursday off, and they'll practice today ahead of tomorrow's Game 2 (1 PM EDT, NBC/CBC/97.1 FM, with post-game shows airing on WDIV and Fox Sports Detroit), but if there are two or three particular areas of emphasis for the Wings if they are to re-set the series come Saturday, the first area of emphasis involves simply playing fewer minutes penned into their own zone, as the Detroit Free Press's Mitch Albom suggests...
from Brian Savage of Mlive,
FoxSportsDetroit.com: Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula must play better for the Red Wings to have a chance against Chicago, writes Art Regner. "If Franzen and Filppula can't raise their level of play, the Wings have little chance against the talent-laden Blackhawks. Detroit must play (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg on separate lines as much as possible....
Oakland Press: There was no silver lining in the one-sided Game 1 loss, writes Pat Caputo. "The Chicago Blackhawks are that good. The Red Wings have glaring flaws. The Red Wings have glaring flaws....
Chicago Sun Times: Chicago fans, who chanted "Detroit sucks" at every opportunity in Game 1, are going to find themselves missing the Red Wings when they move to the Eastern Conference next season, writes Rick Morrissey....
more from each website...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"Maybe it had to do something with the rest, (but) it seemed like after the first period they had their legs and we didn't,'' Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We have tomorrow off, take full advantage of it and then get a good skate on Friday.
“We played a lot of hockey in the last little time and with a lot of travel. The day off and sleeping in our own beds will do us well."
The Red Wings have dropped Game 1 in each of their past four series. All have come on the road.
"We've been in this position before,'' Howard said. “We were in this position last series. It's one game. They definitely played better than us. Saturday we have to respond."
Said Damien Brunner: “It’s good for us to get a day off. We came off a seven-game series. That’s not an excuse. But, I think we take that day off.''
from Scott Powers of ESPNChicago,
The Blackhawks’ play put Quenneville in a better mood in his postgame news conference. He was often frustrated even after wins in the first round.
“Much better from our prior series,” Quenneville said. “What we’re talking about in our team game was in place. Had some pace, had some speed, zone time. I thought everybody contributed.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was on the other side of the spectrum. He was now the coach searching for something more from his team.
“We got to get up to speed because we haven’t played like that in a while,” Babcock said. “We got to get back at her and get playing at a high tempo because obviously they’re playing at a level tonight we’re not playing at.”
more on the Blackhawks side...
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.