The Malik Report
The Red Wings will battle another "Beast of the East" in the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night (7:30 PM EST on FSD/97.1 FM), and the Wings will do so looking down at the Bolts via a one-point lead in the Atlantic Division, and possessing a game in hand on a team that dropped a 4-2 decision to Carolina on Tuesday.
All of that being said, the Wings are very wary of the Lightning, as Wings coach Mike Babcock told DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
“They got huge talent. They’re good on the back, good up front,” Babcock said, of the Lightning. “They got real good depth, they got a guy named (Tyler) Johnson who’s a star in the league. They got excellent talent base. They got a young team, a big goaltender (Ben Bishop). We’ve had some good games with them over the last couple of years and they’ve come out on top more than we’ve come out on top. We got Florida first and we’re going to focus on that but look forward to playing them both.”
Some of the Bolts' "back end" will be absent--Matt Carle and Radko Gudas are injured--but after Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Panthers, Justin Abdelkader told Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave that the Wings are aware that Thursday's affair is more than a "four-point game":
The Red Wings earned their 6th straight win and climbed to the top of the Atlantic Division via a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, and the Wings hold a game-in-hand advantage over Thursday's opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning (who lost 4-2 to Carolina)...But Red Bird III's 43-minute trip from Miami to Tampa may have felt like an Escape From Miami.
Detroit's win wasn't exactly a clinic on winning hockey games, but the 28-11-and-9 Wings' 65 points in 48 games played not only give them a slim lead over the 30-15-and-4 Lightning's 64 in 49 and the 30-13-and-3 Canadiens' 63; the Panthers have only played in 45 games, but they now sit a full 15 points behind Detroit, Boston's 8 points behind the Wings, and Toronto and Ottawa sit a full 17 in arrears.
Edit: Wrong blog, sorry.
Via Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian, this is just an awful feeling, and teammates have to deal with it: Ryan Suter chipped the puck around the boards trying to get the puck out of trouble, and he ended up taking out his friend Zach Parise's front tooth:
As noted earlier this evening, the Canadian Press reported that Gordie Howe's son Marty, who was in Calgary today to announce the sponsor of a pro-vs-amateur hockey tournament, stated that his father's improved so much since undergoing stem cell therapy that Gordie is likely to undergo the procedure again.
The Canadian Press's Donna Spencer flushed out her story with slightly later-filed quotes, and Marty explained both his hopes for his father...
“He is doing so much better,” Marty said Tuesday in Calgary. “It’s a joy to have him with us still. Hopefully, in my mind, we’re going to have another treatment of this probably within two months. I’m actually hoping if he keeps doing what he’s doing he’ll be able to travel again and maybe get to five or six events a year so people can see him another time."
(Howe will appear at the Kinsmen's Club of Saskatoon's Sports Celebrity Dinner, with his family and Wayne Gretzky, on February 6th; the City of Saskatoon's renaming the Kinsmen's arena after Howe, too)
Quick take, Red Wings vs. Panthers: Six in a row, top of the Atlantic, but the win was scary & weird
[edit/note: Yes, I know, the title of this entry is odd, but consider it the only 50 Shades joke I'll make /end edit]
Yes, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4, negating a 2-1 first-period deficit, pushing the Panthers 15 full points behind Detroit in the Atlantic Division and leapfrogging the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost 4-2 to Carolina, to take 1st in the Atlantic, and this win was the Wings' 6th in a row.
Detroit leads Tampa by a point (65-64) despite having fewer wins (28 to 30) and ROWs (26 to 28), and Detroit has a game in hand on Thursday's opponent. Detroit is also tied for 1st in the Eastern Conference with the New York Islanders, Saturday's opponent, and only the Anaheim Ducks have more points than the Wings, Isles and Nashville Predators.
Just as importantly, the Wings' "secondary scorers" led the way on Tuesday, with Luke Glendening scoring 2 goals, Stephen Weiss scoring 1 and adding 2 assists, Riley Sheahan registering 2 assists and the DeKeysers, Quinceys and Ouellets playing quite solidly on defense...
But watching this game was nothing less than *#$%@& terrifying. Detroit showed up late and left early, just as they did in their 5-4 shootout win over Minnesota a week and an All-Star break ago, the Wings' goaltender gave up at least two "squeakers," the Wings gave up 3 power play goals on 4 PKs, and the Wings' game was about as convincing as the frozen octopus thrown onto the BB&T Center ice surface is a solid indicator of any sort of responsible octopus-throwing (it ain't):
I'm pretty floored by this:
Quoting TSN's summary of a non-geoblocked video:
Bell Let's Talk: Babcock joins the fight
It's not often an NHL coach will open the doors of his family home to a member of the media, but after watching an episode of Off the Record, Mike Babcock picked up the phone and called TSN. He wanted to do more and invited Michael Landsberg to his home during the NHL all-star break and opened up. Mark Masters was also there and has more in this report.
The coach ain't kidding, and he talks about suicide, the stigma of mental illness...It's...As somebody who deals with severe depression and anxiety, I'm impressed, I'm really impressed.
Edit/update: And if you were wondering about the timing or are unfamiliar with the "Bell Let's Talk" campaign:
Update #2: And from TSN 1200 in OTtawa...
Several items of Red Wings-related note popped up while I ferried the mom to the family doc, and as they don't necessarily fit in the game-day entry, I'm dedicating a second entry to said articles/videos.
We start with DetroitRedWings.com's Ken Kal's Game-Day preview setting up tonight's game between the Wings and Panthers (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM):
Also regarding tonight's game:
The Canadian Press has filed an early "sans-quotes" story about Gordie Howe, and it mostly treads upon information that we already know about, but the first line is important:
Gordie Howe is doing so well after stem cell treatment that his son would like the hockey legend to undergo the treatment again.
Gordie Howe suffered a pair of strokes late last year.
Marty Howe says his father did not have long to live when the family decided to take him to Mexico last month for stem cell treatment.
He adds that his father can now walk again and his speech is improving.
The CP will post a with-quotes story within the next 2 hours, and I'll update this entry accordingly.
The Red Wings will tangle with a team that's had a surprising amount of success in Detroit in the Florida Panthers this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM), and while the Panthers sit some 13 points behind Detroit (with 3 games in hand), the team sounds incredibly confident about defeating the Wings, per a FloridaPanthers.com video...
And NHL.com's Alain Poupart's game-day article, which notes that the Panthers are only 5 points behind the Wild Card-slotted Bruins:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"We should be fresh and ready to go," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate. "Obviously, in these games taking care of the puck is going to be key because we don't seem to be quite as smooth as you like but that's always a priority when you first come back. Keeping your shifts short and trying not to get caught in your own zone so you don't get worn out, especially early in the game."
The Red Wings have only one lineup change from their previous game, as Daniel Cleary is in for Teemu Pulkkinen, who was reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins following last Tuesday's 5-4 shootout victory over Minnesota. Pulkkinen played in Monday's AHL All-Star Game.
Tomas Jurco (lower back pain) skated again but isn't quite ready.
"I like putting Jurcs in but the trainers won't let him go," Babcock said. "I'm hoping he's ready to go Thursday, so Cleary will go in the lineup."
This will be Cleary's first game since Jan. 7 and just the second time he has played in the past 14 games.
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.