The Malik Report
Prior to today’s practice at Joe Louis Arena (MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Brendan Smith is skating with the big club today), Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to 97.1 the Ticket’s Stoney and Bill about his team’s chances of rallying from a 3-1 deficit against the Nashville Predators:
ith the Red Wings down 3-1 in their series with Nashville and their proverbial backs to the wall, Mike Babcock is not panicking. He still believes in his team and his message. The Red Wings coach joined the Stoney and Bill show Thursday morning and feels his team is not dead because of the way they are playing.
“If you’re down 3-1 in a series and you feel like you’re getting outplayed and you feel they’re better than you, it’s harder to sell,” he said.
He added he does not believe the critics who say they are not getting good scoring opportunities, saying, “We had tons of quality chances in that last game — quality, quality chances. Their goaltender made the saves.”
You can listen to the interview below:
Amongst this morning’s crop of Red Wings stories, which include an, “It’s not over yet!” from WDIV’s Katrina Hancock and a note about the Wings, “One game at a time” mindset from from MLive’s Brendan Savage,, something inevitable this way comes.
The National Post’s Michael Traikos believes that the Red Wings’ management cannot afford to wait to decide which player might have to fill the role of succeeding Nicklas Lidstrom, regardless of whether Lidstrom chooses to continue playing after this season…And Traikos suggests that, should the Wings not pull off a miraculous comeback against Nashville, Ken Holland might tip the scales toward his captain returning by, say, promising to add a Ryan Suter to the mix during an all-too-long off-season:
It is difficult to imagine anyone filling the skates of a seven-time Norris Trophy winner who has won four Stanley Cups and missed only 40 games during his 20-year career. But sooner or later, the Red Wings are going to have to contemplate life without Lidstrom or — at the very least — a day when his skills diminish to the point where he is just another defenceman.
“He’d probably tell you he doesn’t recover like he did when he was 20 or 25 or even 35,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said earlier this week. “But he’s still a pretty good player and important to us.”
The Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators may or may not be thanking the TV scheduling gods as NBC’s likely desire for a Sunday matinee (though Game 6’s starting time is “to be determined” literally as well as figuratively) as the teams received a something that rarely happens in the playoffs—a genuine “day off”—for both teams to rest the nagging injuries that just about every player is suffering from at this time of year, and for both teams to catch their breath after Tuesday’s 3-1 Wings loss.
Because the Wings have, in theory, anyway, out-played as well as out-shot the Predators by a significant margin thus far, Red Wings executive Kris Draper and GM Ken Holland took to the airwaves on Wednesday, preaching a party line which they essentially have to espouse given that Detroit’s season is on the line thanks to the team’s 3-1 deficit:
Updated at 11:13 PM: Maybe this summarizes the series as good as anything else: the Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators chose to take advantage of the two-day break between Game 4 and Game 5 to rest and prepare for an all-important and possible elimination game on Friday, but while the Predators chose to speak to the media and announced that Thursday’s practice in Nashville will be open to the public as a reportedly jubilant crowd welcomed the would-be dragon-slayers back to Tennessee after Nashville’s 3-1 win...
Red Wings executives Kris Draper and GM Ken Holland made the media rounds representing a team that will hold a short practice in Detroit before flying to Nashville on Thursday, and the Wings announced that they’re holding a viewing party on Friday at the Hamlin Pub in Rochester Hills, sponsored by, appropriately enough, Absolut Vodka.
Updated with a belated Nicklas Lidstrom interview at 9:06 PM: In lieu of a belated off-day update (which is in the works), here’s a bit of a whopper to tide you over: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to WBBL’s Huge Show on Wednesday afternoon, suggesting that the overbuilt Predators may lead the series by a 3-1 margin, but aren’t exactly dominating play in what remains a “really close series”:
I’m not sold on the, “It’s just parity” suggestion, and I don’t know if the “veteran team” can just keep on keepin’ on and assume that they can pull off yet another miraculous comeback…
But I will say this: in the cap era, the Red Wings are the definition of an elite team by cap standards in that they make the playoffs every season, they win over half their games, they usually make multiple-round playoff pushes and they present a winning, player-friendly atmosphere which attracts players to take less than market value salaries to join the Big Red Machine.
Updated 3x with a partial transcript of the interview from Sportsnet at 11:53 AM: Red Wings special assistant to GM Ken Holland (that’s his title) Kris Draper spoke to The Fan 590’s Greg Brady and Jim Lang this morning, splitting a nine-and-a-half-minute interview between discussing his steadfast belief that the Wings are not, as suggested by several pundits in the recap cycle, cooked geese, and then assessing the levels of violence and player disrespect taking place during this year’s playoffs in an incredibly, incredibly eloquent manner.
Draper’s just as baffled by the explicit intent-to-injure plays and blatant head-shots, illustrating some sort of fundamental lack of respect between players and disregard for the NHL’s ham-handed disciplinary procedures, as the rest of us are:
The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators didn’t exactly leave me—or you—speechless in the quick take, but as fans like you and me ponder what’s going on with a clearly wounded animal heading into Friday night’s game (yes, it might be Nicklas Lidstrom and/or Tomas Holmstrom’s last games as Wings, and yes, we may have already witnessed our last game on JLA ice until mid-September) in Nashville…
The Red Wings, at least, will take Wednesday off before regrouping and hoping to rally from a 3-1 deficit for the second time in two seasons, against perhaps the most perplexing playoff goalie opponent since Dwayne Roloson back in 2006 in one Pekka Rinne,
At this point, it appears that the Detroit Red Wings may very well play the last game of the 2010-2011 season Friday night in Nashville. The Red Wings out-shot Nashville 41-17 and had every opportunity to score on this year’s version of Dwayne Roloson, circa 2006, in one Pekka Rinne…
And instead of bearing down on their chances in the Predators’ zone, three catastrophic defensive mistakes doomed Detroit, which dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.
Paul for George who will return later tonight…
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Roman Josi thought he had time, thought he could protect the puck, thought there was nothing to worry about. But just as he was preparing to make an outlet pass from behind his net, the best thief in the NHL stole the puck, stepped out front and beat an unsuspecting Pekka Rinne.
“I knew he was coming,” Josi, the Nashville Predators defenceman, said after a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarter-finals on Sunday, “but it happened so fast. He just lifted my skate and was gone.”
If he had wanted to, Pavel Datsyuk probably could have taken the rookie’s watch as well. That is how skillful the Detroit Red Wings forward has become at stealing pucks. He has averaged 106 takeaways a season over the last six years, leading the league three times.
Updated 4x at 6:41 PM: The story regarding Todd Bertuzzi possibly telling the Nashville Predators to get their own damn ping pong table was mostly debunked this morning via Twitter, so the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James tried to get to the bottom of the story:
“I came out of our room, saw some of their guys wanting to play on our Ping Pong tables and told security,” Bertuzzi told the Free Press. “I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t move the table myself.”
Rumors that Bertuzzi had personally packed up the table and wheeled it away swirled around the morning skates today. The Wings host the Predators at 7:30 (NBCSN, FSD) in Game 4 looking to even the first-round series. No one among the Wings had heard of Ping Pong Gate, but greeted it with delight.
“You know he’s a terrible Ping Pong player,” Danny Cleary said with a grin. “At least he can do something with it. But it’s good. He’s our sheriff around here.”
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