The Malik Report
Such a strange set of contrasts this morning. The Red Wings' 1-0 loss to St. Louis places them in a particularly difficult position in terms of needing to win almost each and every one of their 9 remaining games to climb from their current 42 points to the 54-to-56-point range that just about everybody agrees is the magic number where teams won't require "help" from fellow competitors losing crucial games of their own...
But Sunday's incredibly disappointing game was preceded by an inordinate amount of hype regarding the official awarding of the 2014 Winter Classic to the host Red Wings and Maple Leafs.
The bottom lines are pretty simple here:
1. Replica "main event jerseys" are being sold for $225 and the alumni game jerseys are being sold for $175 at all the usual places (Hockeytown Authentics, the NHL's shop, if you want to get really professional customization, places like IceJerseys, Detroit Athletic, SportsHaven, Fanatic U, etc.);
The St. Louis Blues headed to Nashville to play the Predators after defeating the Red Wings 1-0 on Sunday, and by the time the Wings resume playing on Thursday (against the Sharks), there is no doubt whatsoever that the Wings will be on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in as three full days off "burn" Detroit's 2 games in hand on most teams.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, the 19-15-and-5 Wings (who have 17 regulation or OT wins) have 42 points, and with 5 road games, 4 home games and two back-to-back slates remaiing, the Wings need to earn 13 of a possible 18 points to get to what most everyone agrees is a magical 55-point "you don't need help to make the playoffs" spot.
I would yell and scream at the Red Wings for engaging in awfully stupid lateral passing up the ass, shooting an unbelievable number of single, un-screened shots on Brian Elliott (who had a ridiculously easy night thanks to no butts in front, no screens and no rebound attempts from the Wings, never mind sustained pressure by the Wings) and essentially playing like they didn't God-damned *#$%@& care until the last five minutes of their 1-0 loss against the Blues, but Jeebus *#$%@& Monkey, I cannot believe how ridiculously jobbed the Wings were by Dan O'Halloran during the last three minutes of the game.
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs officially announced that the 2014 Winter Classic will take place in Ann Arbor, MI (at Michigan Stadium on January 1st, possibly the 1st Wings-Leafs game of the 13-14 season) with a doubleheader of Alumni Games preceding the main event on December 31st, and a Hockeytown Winter Festival preceding the main events (high school, NCAA GLI, OHL, AHL games, open skates and concerts at the Joe and Fox Theatre, and yes, HBO's 24/7 will return and air on HBO in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada). Here's what the jerseys look like for the alumni games (on the adults) and main game (kids wearing 'em). They are of course on sale at the Joe and online right now:
Update: sans Tweets, here are the main event jerseys...
If all goes well, the Detroit Red Wings and NHL's announcement regarding the 2014 Winter Classic should stream below the jump:
The Red Wings' game against the St. Louis Blues today (12:30 PM EDT, NBC Sports/NHL Network Canada/97.1 FM, and today the Wings are partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the Joe today) makes for "good TV" and "easy storytelling") for those without a rooting interest, for several reasons:
- After today's Winter Classic presser, a pair of teams separated by one point in the Western Conference standings (43 points for Detroit to 42 for St. Louis, though the Blues have 2 games in hand, and that 12-to-10 ratio won't change after today's game) face off with playoff hopes on the line (the Wings sit in 7th place in the West and the Blues 8th, with Detroit holding a 3-point lead over the Coyotes and 4 over those infernal Blue Jackets);
I've already received some Tweets and will certainly receive some emails regarding the mysterious email the Red Wings sent their fans on Saturday night, stating that they will make an "announcement" at 10:30 AM EDT today (and that the announcement will be streamed on DetroitRedWings.com and re-shown in snippets during today's matinee between the Wings and Blues, which starts at 12:30 PM EDT, and will conveniently air on NBC and the NHL Network Canada), so if you missed Sportsnet's John Shannon's tip-off that it involves formally awarding the 2014 Winter Classic to Detroit, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reiterated that statement on Saturday afternoon:
The NHL sent the following email to media types on Thurdsay, and yes, I am pretty damn sure that the "jersey unveiling" will involve displaying merchandise that will be available at the Joe and/or on the NHL.com's online store in short order (I've removed the contact info so you don't call the contact person in the middle of the night):
Updated and turned into an afternoon report at 5:32 PM: The Red Wings flew back to Metro Airport this morning after splitting their road trip, dropping a 4-2 decision to Phoenix on Thursday and defeating Colorado 3-2 in overtime last night.
As today is "Fan Day at the Joe," and as tomorrow's post-Winter Classic announcement matinee game against St. Louis will represent the team's third game in four nights, MLive's Ansar Khan's Tweet about a recall offers the only worrisome news we'll know about tomorrow's roster machinations:
After last night's game, Mike Babcock told the media that he was worried that Henrik Zetterberg had re-tweaked his groin, so this recall (Sheahan has to fly all the way from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Detroit to make tomorrow's game) probably involves making sure that the Wings have enough warm bodies to cover in case Zetterberg and/or Damien Brunner (hip flexor) can't play.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“I thought Mule was fantastic in the middle, dominated the faceoff circle, really played well, went head-to-head against (Matt) Duchene all night long and was very good,'' Babcock said.
Babcock paired Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together in an effort to energize the team following Thursday's 4-2 loss at Phoenix. He had Franzen center the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Gustav Nyquist.
Franzen, who won 8-of-13 faceoffs, enjoyed the change of pace.
“Little bit more involved in the game,'' Franzen said. “Got some more pucks, a lot more skating, so it was fun.
“Try something new and get a little boost maybe.''
Red Bird III remained parked at Denver International Airport on Friday night as the Free Press's Helene St. James reported that the Red Wings' coaches and leadership agreed that burning a Saturday for the sake of an overnight flight back to Detroit, especially given that the team's going to play a 12:30 PM matinee game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, wasn't worth the wear and tear on their bodies.
The Wings barely earned their night's rest, but Jimmy Howard was sensational, Niklas Kronwall was vicious and Pavel Datsyuk scored two gorgeous goals as the Wings rebounded from a downright doofy 4-2 loss to Phoenix with a rope-a-dope, 3-2 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.
As such, the 19-14-and-5 Wings now sit in 7th place in the Western Conference, 1 point ahead of Sunday's opponent (though the Blues have played 36 games to the Wings' 38) and 4 points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, in no small part thanks to St. Louis' 3-1 win over those same Blue Jackets earlier on Friday evening.
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.