The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings may have a sigificant chunk of players on their roster suffering from too-many-games-played fatigue, they are most certainly more "banged up" than they're letting the press know, and the Wings may have 13 days and 7 games left in their season, but if they keep splitting hairs, as they did via shootout losses to Chicago and San Jose, we'll be talking about the team's World Championship participants and locker room clean-out two weeks from this morning.
The Wings sit in 9th place in the Western Conference this morning, and they are facing a Nashville Predators team that's "playing for pride" and playing as a spoiler tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/NBCSN/NHL Network Canada/97.1 FM).
Per the Los Angeles Times' Helene Elliott:
The Dallas Stars defeated San Jose 2-1, and I just watched the shootout--damned shootout--deliver a 3-2 win for Columbus over the Minnesota Wild, and the Blue Jackets are now tied with 9th-place Detroit, too.
The Red Wings and Blackhawks played their last game as Central Division rivals last night, and while the Hawks came out on top (as is usual these days), the New York Times' Ben Strauss suggests that the rivalry won't fade away simply because the Wings are highly likely to move to an Eastern-based conference next season, and Strauss spoke to several of the most prominent figures in Wings-Hawks history about said rivalry:
“It’s two great sports cities,” said Chris Chelios, who played parts of nine seasons with the Blackhawks and 10 with the Red Wings. “The fans love it, lots of fights, lots of excitement. It’s always special, and it will be missed.”
As usual, it did not take long for the home crowd to voice its feelings for the invaders from Detroit on Friday. Within seconds of the last note of the national anthem, chants rang out across the stadium. They were not of the PG variety. It was the 725th regular-season game between Chicago and Detroit, the most among opponents in the N.H.L. Fittingly, it was a thriller, with the Blackhawks needing five shots in a shootout to win, 3-2. Even in enemy territory, there were plenty of cheers for the Red Wings goals.
“As far back as I can remember, the Detroit fans loved to go to Chicago, and the Chicago fans loved to go to Detroit,” said the Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay, who played 13 seasons in the 1940s and ’50s with Detroit, then three with Chicago. “And back then our cars didn’t go very fast.”
Continued, and the article's more than worth your time.
Maybe this is just me, but after the Wings went 0-2-and-2 against the Chicago Blackhawks this season (including last night's disappointing 3-2 shootout loss), and given that Chicago's absolutely owned Joe Louis Arena over the past three seasons, I'd be quite happy if the Wings somehow managed to both make the playoffs and avoid a first-round match-up with Chicago.
The players feel a little differently about the possibility of Chicago and Detroit concluding their status as Central/Norris Division rivals via a playoff meeting, as noted both in the overnight report and by MLive's Brendan Savage:
Spotted this on Twitter at 5 AM: Red Wings forward Jordin Tootoo and the Team Tootoo fund are holding a special night to raise funds for and awareness about suicide prevention and mental illness in at-risk youth and everyone else--on April 22nd (of course), when the Wings host the Phoenix Coyotes--and Tootoo and Fox 2 are partnering up to help get the word out.
Tootoo spoke to Fox 2's Dan Miller about joining the Wings and his charity's message...
Very quietly, Gordie Howe keeps on keepin' on. While he didn't speak at the event, Howe was in Calgary, Alberta to be feted for his 85th birthday before the first of three "Pro-Am" tournaments held in his name begins in Calgary today.
The Pro-Am kicks off a pair of pro-vs.-amateur events in Alberta, with the second slated to take place in Edmondon. Both will benefit the Alzheimer Society of Alberta & Northwest Territories, and in May, a Scotiabank-sponsored Pro-Am in Toronto will raise funds for the Baycrest Institute's The Gordie & Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s.
The Red Wings can't seem to get their positives to outnumber the negatives dogging them lately, and that has Detroit fighting for its playoff life as the scene shifts to Nashville on Sunday.
On Thursday night, the Red Wings were able to eke out a point of a 3-2 shootout loss to San Jose--in a game that they didn't play very well--and despite a much, much better effort in terms of intensity, attention to detail, actually playing puck possession hockey and not only taking shots, but chasing pucks, retrieving rebounds, going to the opposing team's net to cause havoc while generating secondary and tertiary scoring opportunities, and really bearing down defensively after a lackluster first period...
The Detroit Red Wings cannot score three goals, and they are dooming their own playoff chances because of it, having dropped 3 of 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks and following up last night's 3-2 shootout loss to San Jose with a 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago.
For the second night in a row, the Red Wings gave up the first goal, a bizarre back-door-tap-in by Viktor Stalberg.
For the second night in a row, the Wings tied things up, getting a power play tip-in by Johan Franzen off a Carlo Colaiacovo shot, and for the second night in a row, the Wings took a 2-1 lead quickly, with Cory Emmerton banging home a rebound for a top-shelf goal. But the Wings seemed to trip over themselves when the Hawks were given a too-many men penalty with 1:31 left in the 2nd. They stopped moving forward. They seemed content to guard a 2-goal lead.
Updated 8x at 3:26 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a must-win situation tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 PM EDT, FSD Plus/CSN Chicago/NHL Network, with the requisite Center Ice/GameCenter Live blackout/97.1 FM), and the Blackhawks' morning skate was a routine affair...
Updated 3x at 12 PM: Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news:
If there's anyone who needed to hear that the Red Wings are officially committed to holding their summer prospect development camp, their prospect tournament and the big club's main camp in Traverse City, it was the venue that lost at least half of its operating income when the lockout canceled last year's prospect tournament and training camp. Centre Ice Arena's Anne Reaves spoke to the Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook about the news (and estimates suggested that Centre Ice lost somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million and that the Traverse City area may have lost out on $4 million in ancillary spending):
"It was one of the most frustrating situations to not know the outcome and then to watch everything fall to the wayside," Reeves said. "Our challenge is to kick the moss off the rock and get it rolling downhill again. We've got to build that momentum. It's a challenge, but I'm confident we'll be able to get our crowds back. There's no question."
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.