The Malik Report
The Hockeytown Winter Festival officially begins today at Comerica Park, with teams of disabled American and Canadian veterans set to break in the rink at 8:30 AM, open skates scheduled for Tuesday the 17th, Friday the 20th and Tuesday the 24th, an incredibly rare open practice scheduled for 12 PM on Wednesday the 18th at CoPa, and the Red Wings' acting owner, coach and several players set to spend their "off day" revealing a significant charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink...
But Red Wings fans are feeling much less than "festive," even after having seen Petr Mrazek's Winter Classic pads (via Puck Daddy and Kathryn Jean, a.k.a. Ms. Conduct):
The Red Wings are both holding open skates at Comerica Park as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, though you have to buy tickets to take part, and they're holding an open practice on Wednesday at 12 PM, which is a pretty big deal as the team's held all of half-a-dozen free-and-or-charitable practices open to the non-season-ticket-holding public over the past half dozen years.
The Wings just posted an infographic regarding both the open skates and the open practice, and here it is, stating that the doors open at 11 and that parking at the Comerica garage will be $6.
I know that this news comes on very short notice, that we're talking about a weekday during the holiday season and that the high will be all of 32 degrees on Wednesday, but I would strongly urge you to take advantage of something that is probably not going to happen again for a long time and to skip work and/or school if you are at all able to fill the damn stands.
For the vast majority of Wings fans who were either unable to snag Winter Classic tickets or plain old couldn't afford them or their season-ticket-package price of additional admission, here's a chance to see the guys on outdoor ice for $6 frickin' bucks and the price of gas down to the ballpark:
Update: Alums on ice! From right to left, Igor Larionov, Joe Kocur, Kris Draper, Dino Ciccarelli, Larry Murphy and Kirk Maltby, with Osgood being Osgood:
Former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman did his best managerial job on Sunday while speaking with the media, not working on making his Tampa Bay Lightning team a better one. As We All Bleed Red's Sanjay Sharda noted, Yzerman spoke with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating for a short interview aired during the second intermission of Sunday's game, and Yzerman stated the following:
1. He felt that it was absolutely necessary to ensure that he would not be occupied with his duties for the Lightning or Team Canada before committing to the game;
2. He really, really, really wants fans to understand that he hopes to get on the ice once or twice before the game, and that he hasn't skated at all over the last four of five years, so those who are absolutely giddy about seeing Steve Yzerman skate for the Red Wings again will be satisfied, but those who expect Yzerman to keep up with the Kris Drapers and fellow members of the Wings' alumni training campers--who Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji reported skated at Comerica Park on Sunday night--you're going to be sorely disappointed:
Amongst Sunday's Red Wings prospect-related news...
Uh, it could be worse? Whlie Anthony Mantha and the Canadian World Junior team head to Sweden, the Grand Rapids Griffins keep winning and even the Toledo Walleye have won two straight, the Red Wings are 2-for-December (2-4-and-2)...
But they're not AIK Stockholm? During the last game played before the SHL goes on Christmas break (and the last game before AIK forward and Wings prospect Mattias Janmark skates for Sweden in the Channel One Cup from the 19th-22nd in Moscow), and the good news is that Mattias Janmark finished at all of a -1 in 15:00 of ice time as AIK dropped an 8-1 decision to Brynas IF at home.
Expressen's Jens Dahlqvist and Jenny Rydberg report that AIK coach Rikard Franzen publicly apologized to AIK fans after the loss, and AIK now sits in 11th place in the 12-team SEL after 32 games played.
Updated 2x at 12:43 AM: Make that both Abdelkader and Franzen out for this week:
Red Wings forward Johan Franzen was punched and/or elbowed in the face by Tampa Bay Lightining forward Radko Gudas during Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Bolts, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that Franzen's likely to miss at least one of the Wings' next 4 games--and the Wings play a course of 4 games over 7 pre-Christmas-break nights this upcoming week:
Johan Franzen skated off late in the second period after taking a hit to the hit by Tampa Bay defense Radko Gudas. So frustrated was Franzen, he earned an unsportsmanlike penalty for shouting expletives at the referees who missed the hit. He did not return to the game.
“I don’t know. It’s all those guys who get bumped in the head,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “You know what it’s like in the league now. They’re gone forever. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know protocol what will happen or whatever. We’ll figure that out.”
That means the same thing Pavel Datsyuk went through and the same thing Justin Abdelkader will go through: first players have to display no concussion-like symptoms while riding an exercise bike for 30 minutes; then they can engage in a light skate; then they can practice; and then they have to pass their baseline neurological test. As such...
Update: Ugh (although...Petr Mrazek's Winter Classic pads are cute, yay?):
The Detroit Red Wings, due to injuries at least, have brought up Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Petr Mrazek and Luke Glendening, and have been giving Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, their young defense and players like Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves just as many chances to score as they've given Daniel Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi...
But a team whose roster is constantly in flux due to injuries--see Justin Abdelkader's status as "out for a bit" and Johan Franzen's undisclosed injury--is still struggling with the "kids" who were supposed to be brimming with confidence and game-breaking abilities playing prime-time minutes (and Mikael Samuelsson sitting in the press box), with players like Datsyuk and Bertuzzi hitting a conditioning wall as they attempt to get their game legs back, and especially with Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and even Jimmy Howard absent.
As such, the Wings looked absolutely awful in dropping their second consecutive home game and both of their first pair of games of six-of-ten, this time in the form of a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Update: Oh joy:
Red Wings forward Johan Franzen was punched in the face by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Radko Gudas in the 2nd period of the Wings-Bolts game, and Franzen smashed his stick as he went off the ice...taking a 2-minute misconduct penalty as a result.
Franzen apparently had a good reason to be pissed off:
My best guess is that Franzen is being held out of the game for precautionary reasons given head injury concerns. He was chirping at the officials and looked OK in terms of his eye, where I thought he got scratched.
Update: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji's take:
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop didn't have the puck frozen at all when Todd Bertuzzi poked home a rebound, but the Wings can't seem to score against Florida teams without the refs waiving goals off, this time due to "intent to blow":
Last night/this morning did my best to sum up my take as well as the media's takes on the Red Wings and Maple Leafs' HBO 24/7 debut last night--the episode airs in Canada at 7:30 PM EST tonight on Sportsnet, and as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, it's going to air on HBO again...
Sunday; 5:30 p.m. Monday; 2:25 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday; 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday; midnight Thursday; 11:45 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.
It will also air on HBO2 at midnight Sunday; 9 p.m. Friday; and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 30.
And as the episode is totally not uploaded to YouTube (warning: there are totally swear words for those of you who find an f-bomb or five offensive) or available for viewing (wink wink nudge nudge), RedWingsFeed found that the Toronto Star's Damien Cox gave episode 1 a ho-hum review before listing the "Toronto scenes that matter"...
The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning hope to rebound from Saturday losses (Detroit lost 4-1 to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay lost 3-0 to New Jersey) when the teams tangle today (5 PM EST, FSD Plus/Sun/1270 AM).
The Lighning have made a predictable choice in goal, as noted by TampaBayLightning.com's Missy Zielinski:
Ben Bishop will start the second of back-to-back games for the #Bolts today vs. Detroit.
For the Wings, Petr Mrazek will start (and MLive's Brendan Savage ponders whether the Wings should alternate Mrazek and Jonas Gustavsson), and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that Wings coach Mike Babcock's chosen to throw Tomas Jurco right into the fire, as it were:
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.