The Malik Report
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media ahead of today's Wings-Rangers game, and the Wings posted a clip of Blashill's pre-game availability:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Here's the Wings' Game Day Preview video:
2. Among the New York Journal News's Rick Carpinello's game-day notes:
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 12:22 in the Frolunda Indians' 2-1 loss to Lulea Hockey on Friday. Lulea tied the SHL semifinal at 2 games apiece;
In regular-season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Wolves but rallied for a 4-3 win on a goal from Mark Zengerle.
Eric Tangradi, Mitch Callahan and Colin Campbell also scored for Grand Rapids, Nick Jensen had 2 assists and Tom McCollum stopped 21 shots for Grand Rapids. The Griffins' website filed a recap...
The Detroit Red Wings face the New Yrok Rangers Saturday with the playoffs on the line (12:30 PM EDT start on FSD/MSG/97.1 FM), and while the Red Wings can still make the playoffs if they lose Saturday's game, it behooves Detroit to win to get in.
The Wings are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, and will be starting Jimmy Howard;
The Rangers, who are coming off a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, are starting Antti Raanta, and sitting Mats Zuccarello, Marcus Kruger, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, but the Rangers are doing so hoping for a healthy lineup in their first-round match-up with either the Penguins or Panthers, as Newsday's Steve Zipay noted:
Good stuff from the Red Wings:
Simply put, 3-on-3 overtime for five minutes has been a huge success. And it goes beyond the numbers, which are a testament to its effectiveness on their own. Going into the last weekend of the season, there have been 271 games that have gone beyond 60 minutes and 166 of those have been decided in overtime. It’s the first time since the shootout was established in 2005-06 that there have been more games decided in a game situation than in a skills contest. Overall, 61.3 percent of games that ended in regulation ties have been decided in overtime, compared to just 45.5 percent last year. Overall, since the shootout was introduced, only 43.2 percent of games have been decided in overtime prior to this season. Overall, fewer than nine percent of all games end up going to a shootout.
The architect of the plan is pleased with what he sees. “Personally, I think it’s been a total home run,” said Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. “I don’t think we could have asked for anything more when we made the decision.”
The advent of 3-on-3 overtime is the most exciting wrinkle the NHL has developed since the obstruction crackdown after the lockout in 2004-05. More than a decade later, obstruction has found its way back to prominence and the rodeo is in full swing. It remains to be seen whether or not coaches will find a way to stifle 3-on-3 play, but they were largely unable to do so in the first season. Holland said the ideal percentage of games going to overtime would be somewhere in the 65-percent range. The league is not quite there yet and may never get that high, but the games that go to 3-on-3 are choc full of the kinds of plays that make the game so exciting. Sometimes the extra five minutes is the only redeeming part of the game.
“There have been more goals, but even in those games where there hasn’t been a goal, most nights there are scoring chances,” Holland said. “The games that I’ve seen, even the ones that weren’t decided, have been more entertaining. There are scoring chances, there are breakdowns, there are 2-on-1s, breakaways, stretch passes. If you’re not entertained by 3-on-3, I don’t know how much more we can do.”
As Paul noted, the NHL released a set of clinching scenarios for teams battling for a playoff spot, and this is Detroit's:
Detroit Red Wings Saturday Playoff Scenario
Opponent: at NY Rangers
DET Result Playoff Impact
Regulation/OT win: Will clinch playoff berth
Shootout win: Will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs:
(1) Bruins lose to the Senators in any fashion
(2) Bruins defeat Senators in a shootout
(3) Flyers lose to Penguins in any fashion
* Cannot be eliminated with shootout win
OT/Shootout loss: Will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs:
(1) Bruins lose to Senators in any fashion
(2) Flyers lose to Penguins in regulation
* Cannot be eliminated with OT/shootout loss
Regulation loss: Will clinch playoff berth if:
(1) Bruins lose to Senators in regulation
Will be eliminated if all of the following occur:
(1) Bruins get at least one point against Senators
(2) Flyers defeat Penguins in any fashion
The NHL's press release continues...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
To truly appreciate the Red Wings' run, it helps to have some separation from it. "Looking back at the streak now, it's unbelievable in today's sports," said Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom via e-mail. "A lot of teams have had a chance to rebuild and pick early in the draft and build the team from scratch while the Wings haven't had that chance. [They are] still able to put a competitive product on the ice and go deep into the playoffs."
In the spirit of not taking it for granted, here are 24 of the most moments from the Red Wings' playoff streak:
1. Bringing the Stanley Cup back to Detroit
Given that they've won four Stanley Cups during this playoff streak, it's easy to forget that there were times when people wondered if the Red Wings would ever win the big one again.
Then, in 1997, the Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers to win their first Stanley Cup since 1955.
"I remember being anxious to get my hands on the Cup," Lidstrom said. "It'd been a long wait for the City of Detroit. There was a lot of talk about having not won it. That feeling of finally winning it ... it was great to win that first Cup at home in front of our home fans."
more including a video from Pierre LeBrun on the Wings' streak...
TSN's Darren Dreger spoke with Nicklas Lidstrom regarding this year's Norris Trophy race, and Lidstrom discussed his definition of the Norris trophy...
"You have to be a solid all-round defenceman. You have to be good with the puck and be able to make plays and be the, not necessarily the offensive threat, but you can be the guy that starts the play that ends up with the puck in the back of the opponent’s net."
"You have to be able to play against the top forwards or top players in the league defending as well, so I think, overall, you have to be good on the offensive side of the puck, but also on the defensive side of the puck."
Lidstrom also acknowledges that the ability to play big minutes should be considered.
"You have to be able to play a lot of minutes because some players, when they get over a certain amount of minutes they don't play as well,” he explained. “Some players might get over 22 or 23 minutes, but their play isn't as strong when they have to play 27 or 28 minutes on some nights. I think you have to be able to play a lot of minutes and play well when you do it, but play well on both sides of the puck."
Lidstrom continues with Dreger at significant length, discussing this year's candidates, and there's this:
From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:
Toledo (46-19-5) can clinch the conference title with a win over a desperate and streaking Kalamazoo team tonight in the regular-season home finale.
“I want us to go out and win the East, instead of backing in,” [coach Derek] Lalonde said. “We want to earn it.”
The Walleye host the [K-Wings], who are scratching and clawing to earn one of the final slots in the Eastern conference playoffs, at 8:15 at the Huntington Center.
Toledo controls its own fate. The Walleye have 97 points and are seeking a second straight conference championship, while the Stingrays (42-18-10) have 94. Both teams have two games remaining.
“I told the guys on Wednesday that I really hoped that South Carolina wins because I want us to go take the conference,” Lalonde said. “We can do that with winning one game this weekend. So I was excited when South Carolina won.”
Toledo closes the regular season with a home and home series against rival Kalamazoo. The Wings have won eight straight and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games.
“Kalamazoo is playing as well as any team in the league,” Lalonde said.
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