The Malik Report
Red Wings overnight report: on Wings’ Olympians, injury issues, Callahan, Ouellet and prospect stuff
As I'm writing this, Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr and Rene Fasel have already given their, "Will the NHL participate in the 2018 Olympics" bluster presser, Slovenia is en route to a quarterfinal match-up with Sweden on Wednesday (at 3 AM EST), the Russians have inducted 146 former players and coaches into their Hockey Hall of Fame, and the teams that aren't skating in today's qualification round playoff games (as MLive's Brendan Savage noted, Norway will play Pavel Datsyuk's Russians at 7:30 AM on the CBC and NBCSN and Slovakia will battle the Czech Republic at 12 PM on NBCSN) are practicing or have already completed their practices.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reported that Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg won't return to Detroit until Thursday while allowing Ken Holland to weigh in on the sticky wicket that is Zetterberg (herniated disc in his back) and Pavel Datsyuk (Knee? Groin? Fallopian tube bruise?) skating in the Olympics.
Going into today's qualification games and tomorrow's quarterfinals, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner took note of the Red Wings Olympic participants' performances thus far (and I'm going to skip Canada as Mike Babcock and Ken Holland do not play, and won't post the stats or the lack thereof of Jonas Gustavsson or Jimmy Howard, who haven't played a minute in these games)...
As an FYI, the Grand Rapids Griffins are skating in their annual "Sled Wings" game to raise funds for sledge hockey and the Griffins foundation this evening:
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner provides a few more details regarding tonight's event:
I was asked an interesting question by a TMR reader yesterday: why didn't the Red Wings' ownership simply charter a plane to bring Henrik Zetterberg, who needs to see a back specialist ASAP to address the herniated disc that ended his Olympics early, instead of making him "fly commercial?"
I'm about to find out whether Red Wings forward and Team Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk's willing to speak with the media today, but I can't do so without posting this fantastic story from the AP's Larry Lage--a Southeastern Michigan-based correspondent--who found proiling Datsyuk a wee bit difficult on Monday as Datsyuk didn't feel like engaging in any sort of chit-chat.
Lage still wrote a wonderful profile of the quiet Magic Man:
As Datsyuk's name was announced during pregame introductions before the Russians played Slovenia in their Sochi Games opener, the roar the Detroit Red Wings star received from the crowd rivaled the welcome for Ovechkin. Why?
"Everybody knows him," Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov explained after Monday's practice. "Everybody likes him."
Lage noted that Datsyuk made a telling remark about his approach to the game after his two-goal-and-shootout-goal performance against the Americans this past Saturday, addressing his health as well as his team's health...
Red Wings prospect Andreas Athanasiou's not quite tearing things up at Anthony Mantha's 100-point level, but he sure is close, and the Ontario Hockey League took notice by naming the Barrie Colts forward their player of the week:
The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Detroit Red Wings prospect Andreas Athanasiou of the Barrie Colts is the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 16 after leading the league with eight points in four games scoring six goals with two assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-4.
Here's today's barely-touched, Google-translated Russian tidbit of the day. R-Sport snagged this quip from Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, speaking about Red Wings forward and Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk:
"On the Russian team there are lots of strong players, and one of them--is, of course, Pavel Datsyuk," Bilyaletdinov told reporters. "I understand why he's loved by the team, and why all the fans love him. Datsyuk's a fantastic hockey player, a fantastic teammate, that's why he was chosen to be captain. Datsyuk--he's a player who needs no introduction, everyone knows him and everyone likes him."
This isn't necessarily Red Wings-related, but the Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article about the very obvious friendship between Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson, and I have most certainly wondered aloud whether Karlsson might be able to defect to the Red Wings at some point if only to hang out with Alfredsson during practices and off-days, because the pair's just adorable (and this is just part of a much longer and really superb article):
“He brings a lot of things to the table that helps me at this stage of my career,” Alfredsson said. “His enthusiasm and joy and a lot of things. We have a lot of fun together.”
The two have been friends since Alfredsson made the announcement June 20, 2008, that Karlsson would be the first-round, 15th overall, selection of the Ottawa Senators in the NHL draft. Alfredsson was captain of the Senators. When Karlsson was called up a month after being sent to the minors, he moved in with Alfredsson.
Updated 4x at 9:17 AM: I've woken up so early that the start times of Tuesday and Wednesday's Olympic playoff qualification round games were just being set. here's what you need to know in terms of the Red Wings taking part in the tournament, per NHL.com and Team Sweden GM Tommy Boustedt:
Qualification Playoff games Feb. 18:
Russia [and Pavel Datsyuk] vs. Norway 7:30 AM EST
Czech Republic vs. Slovakia [and Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco] 12 PM EST
Quarterfinal games Feb. 19:
Updated 4x at 2:27 PM: This is slightly-edited Google-translated Russian from Sport-Express's Artem Agapov, but you've got to admit that Pavel Datsyuk's still got the one-liner magic going, as quoted after Russia took a 1-0 shootout decision over Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco's Slovaks:
Q: You couldn't score even on the power play. Maybe you should change something?
Datsyuk: We will work on this, thanks for the help.
Q. So why couldn't you score at least one goal?
Datsyuk: We probably didn't have a clear head. Also, we weren't at peace, cold hearts. We had a very emotional game yesterday, everyone wanted to score and made the wrong decisions.
Q. Another game, qualifying round--for the right to play in the quarterfinals. Is this good or bad?
Datsyuk: Well I can't say anything about that. Now we'll go rest, ask me again after.
Wow. From a hockey fan perspective, never mind a Red Wings fan's perspective, Sunday's Slovakia-Russia game was absolutely fascinating and absolutely enthralling.
Russia ended up winning 1-0 in a shootout (Tomas Tatar did not score on his attempt but he sure made a gorgeous move), but Slovak goalie Jan Laco and company were just astonishingly good defensively, and a team that had lost to both the U.S. and Slovenia made the unstoppable Russians look human.
Pavel Datsyuk looks mostly like himself save attempting to pivot when starting from a stop, and he deked and dangled and tried to key offense despite what was a slightly-less-than-Datsyukian 19:47 of 65-minute ice time, going 16-and-9 on faceoffs; Tomas Tatar made a Datsyukian steal off of Datsyuk very late in regulation, and he was quite solid offensively and superb defensively, taking a shot in 16:28 of ice time on the top line with Hossa and Handzus; Tomas Jurco was much less noticeable but still played a solid 14:18 and occasionally made a slick move.
Here's Tatar's shootout attempt from Pete Blackburn on Twitter:
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.