The Malik Report
The last two weeks have been quite the trip work-wise. I'm hoping that this is the last morning where I spontaneously wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to write an overnight report before an early Sochi game--this time, the Gold Medal game between Sweden and Canada at 7 AM EST (on NBC and the CBC; the game will re-air on NBCSN at 5 PM and the CBC at 1:30 PM)--and while my little corner of South Lyon's so dark and so quiet that I could go outside and drop a pin to listen to it land in on refrozen ice, the internet connects me to the world, and Twitter's abuzz with Canadian, American and Swedish journalists taking pictures of the Bolshoy Arena, Tweets of Canadians lining up at the ass end of dawn to watch the game together all across Canada, and a few intrepid Swedes are engaging in the most polite form of trash talk that exists.
While the Red Wings' Olympians battled, you and I have been on quite the roller-coaster ride thanks to one Henrik Zetterberg's back surgery and the subsequent news that he's out until a potential playoff run, so I'd like to begin this entry with a conversation DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose had with Kyle Quincey, discussing the exact procedure Zetterberg underwent on Friday:
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news:
The Grand Rapids Griffins have been struggling mightily of late, but they took a step toward righting their ship on Saturday evening, rebounding from Friday's 4-2 loss to Oklahoma City by squeaking out a 4-3 victory on Saturday evening, splitting their home-and-still-at-home series against Oklahoma City.
The Griffins' website provides a recap...
I was quite curious as to whether the Red Wings' Swedes--Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist--would take part in the Swedish Olympic Federation's reception for Swedish Olympians in Stockholm on Monday.
In theory, each of the Swedes' NHL players had to ask their respective teams whether they could skip a day of practice by noon on Saturday, and in the Wings' cases, the team's games in Montreal on Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th would've required a major revision in the Wings Swedes' travel plans.
According to Expressen's Mattias Ek, the NHL chose to take care of the problem by nixing any sort NHL'er participation in said event:
Updated 3x at 7:01 PM: As Paul noted, the biggest news to come out of Saturday's Red Wings practice involved Stephen Weiss choosing to decline a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids ahead of more practice time.
While Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika and Sportsnet's Jordan Heath-Rawlings penned superb articles about a certain Red Wings coach's battle for Olympic gold against the Wings' Swedes tomorrow morning (7 AM EST, NBC/CBC), Khan and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported that the Wings' non-Olympians, including the recalled Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Gleason Fournier, quietly practiced at the University of Ligett School in Grosse Pointe Woods...
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Stephen Weiss said he won't play in Grand Rapids tomorrow, feeling he needs more practice time. Still hopes to be ready for Wed. at Montreal
But Weiss said he might need to play a game or two for Grand Rapids next weekend before returning to NHL.
This set of players recalled by the Red Wings will take part in today and tomorrow's Wings practices, which DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose confirms will take place at Grosse Pointe Woods' University of Ligett School. We'll have to wait to find out whether Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco remain with the Wings post-Olympic break, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that Gleason Fournier will head back to Grand Rapids on Sunday evening:
DETROIT RECALLS JURCO, SHEAHAN AND FOURNIER FROM GRAND RAPIDS
… Red Wings Set to Resume Schedule Next Week with Visits to Montreal and Ottawa …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled forwards Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan and defenseman Gleason Fournier from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Updated at 10:25 AM: As you might imagine, Team Canada and Team Sweden (which is not particularly concerned about the refereeing "controversy"; Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist might be concerned as to whether they should attend a Monday-evening Swedish Olympic reception in Stockholm, however, given that the Wings play in Montreal on Wednesday and Ottawa on Thursday) are jostling verbally ahead of tomorrow's Gold medal game (7 AM EST, NBC/CBC), and while you and I are pretty familiar with Babcockian commentary, as noted this morning by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun...
The Canadians are the defending Olympic champs, having accrued the knowledge of what it takes on this stage in this exact game four years ago in Vancouver. From Sidney Crosby to Jonathan Toews to 11 returnees overall from Vancouver, these guys understand what it's going to be like Sunday.
"The reality for me is we have 11 guys play at the Olympics last time and have success," coach Mike Babcock said earlier in the tournament. "This is a new opportunity, and we've got to come up with a new identity and a new way to play for a new group. Does experience and experience in winning help? Absolutely. Do the Olympics weigh in more than the guy who played and won the Stanley Cup? I don't know that. I like guys who have won because you've been through it; you've done it right. You don't win unless you do it right."
Including a wee bit of bluster...
You're going to get Google-translated Swedish for this one, but this story is most certainly of Red Wings-related note: According to Expressen's Henrik Sjoberg, Sweden plans on holding a reception to honor its Olympic medalists on Monday evening in Stockholm, but the Swedish hockey team's players have to decide whether to participate in the event by 9 PM Sochi time--noon Eastern Standard Time--and the hockey players have to ask their individual NHL teams for permission to fly back to Stockholm with the Swedish Olympic Committee.
With the reception taking place on Monday night and Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist NHL employer set to play in Montreal on Wednesday and Ottawa on Thursday, the Red Wings' Swedes might put themselves in quite the travel pickle if they choose to take part in the celebration instead of flying home on an NHL-chartered plane alongside the Americans at 1 AM Monday, Sochi time:
As Paul noted, ahead of tomorrow's Gold medal game between Sweden and Canada (7 AM EST, NBC/CBC), the Swedish newspapers chose to stir up a little controversy.
Aftonbladet's Mats Wennerholm finding that former NHL'er and Modo Ornskoldsvik assistant GM Peter Forsberg was more than willing to facetiously describe the referees' assignments for tomorrow's game a "*#$%@& joke."
Sweden's other sports tabloid, Expressen, responded with Carl Juborg asking Don Cherry whether having a Canadian referee would hurt Sweden, and Juborg received a predictable reponse--Cherry stated that he'd bet money on a Canadian referee calling Team Canada (who Cherry believes will prevail, of course) for the game's first penalty to prove their "impartiality."
As noted in the overnight report, the Associated Press's Larry Lage Tweeted that he'd spoken to Red Wings GM Ken Holland, and Holland had stated that 1. Zetterberg won't return from Friday's surgery until/unless the Wings begin playing playoff hockey in mid-April, and 2. In terms of Zetterberg's long-term health, his herniated disc won't yield a "premature" end to #40's hockey-playing days.
Lage penned an article chronicling his conversation with Holland, confirming and fleshing out the details of their discussion:
"I don't anticipate he'll be ready to play in any games of the regular season," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told The Associated Press on Saturday. "I'm hopeful that we can play our way into the playoffs and that he'll be back, but that's down the road."
The Red Wings and Swedish Olympic hockey team captain played once at the Sochi Games before pulling out because of the injury. Holland is hopeful Zetterberg's back injury does not prematurely end his career.
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.