The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings seemed to be far too content to try to use the same lurking-in-the-weeds game plan against the Nashville Predators which they successfully employed against the Kings on Friday, and in a four-point game against a team far superior to the floundering Kings, the Wings made a huge tactical error, and thanks to some terrible special teams play on Detroit’s part—giving up 2 power play goals against and going 0-for-4 on their own power play—Detroit dropped a 3-2 decision to a Predators team that is only 4 instead of a potential 8 points behind Detroit in the Central Division standings—and the Wings’ loss means that the Blues are now 4 points ahead of Detroit, too (Update: scary thought—if the Wings don’t re-take the division lead, they’re all but guaranteed to play the Predators in the 1st round!).
Two days after the eighth anniversary of the “Bertuzzzi-Moore” incident, Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi spoke to Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson in a sit-down interview, mostly talking about his renaissance and “reinvention” as a defensively-responsible forward with the team he hopes to win a Stanley Cup with in the Detroit Red Wings:
Wings coach Mike Babcock adds some intriguing comments to the mix in the 5:22 interview.
Updated 4x with game chatter and stats at 7:10 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to build upon their 4-3 win against Los Angeles when they face off against the Nashville Predators tonight (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM/yes, we “spring forward” tonight), it’s pretty easy to become apoplectic trying to follow the Red Wings’ injuries, and this quip from MLive’s Ansar Khan’s Twitter account has me hoping that the newly re-christened Red Bird III will take the Red Wings will take the team back to Detroit for one more night in the players’ own beds before they head out West, or at least that the team’s booked some first-class tickets to Los Angeles for Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub Kindl:
@KristiLeigh73 Howard might have, to face shots, but Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Bert, Kindl did not go to Nash. None of injured players back tonight
There is some good news: Red Wings’ Twitter account reports that Joakim Andersson’s been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, which, as MLive’s Brendan Savage points out, means that Justin Abdelkader’s healthy enough to give ‘er a go after battling the flu over the past few days.
Savage also reports good news regarding Jimmy Howard:
The Detroit Red Wings’ gritty 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings allowed the Wings to take a midnight flight to Nashville to battle the Predators this evening (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM/Don’t forget we “spring forward” this weekend) at least having kept pace with the Blues (2 points ahead of Detroit) and Canucks (1 point ahead) in the Western Conference standings, and ensuring that, should the depleted Wings fall this evening, Nashville can only creep to within 4 points of Detroit in the Central Division race, not 2…
But in terms of preparing to go into tonight’s game and perhaps one or both of the Wings’ games in Los Angeles and Anaheim next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, minus the vast majority of Justin Abdelkader (flu), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist), Jimmy Howard (groin), Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in his ankle) and Jakub Kindl (“upper-body”), this Red Wings team whose roster includes seven actually-playing skaters/goalie and eight total warm bodies who didn’t start the season in Detroit, and six who started the year in Grand Rapids…
Friday night’s win was as crucial to the team “learning how to win as it is currently constructed” it was to breaking a two-game losing streak, if not more as the team slowly skates toward the playoffs now knowing that the Smiths, Janiks, Nyquists, Anderssons, Conners and MacDonalds of the world can get the job done—even if only in a fashion that is as aesthetically pleasing as nose hair until the Wings manage to, muck, grind, out-hustle, out-work and out-lurk-in-the-weeds their opponents to a positive result.
The Detroit Red Wings’ long list of sidelined players—Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom—got a player longer in the form of the flu-addled Justin Abdelkader on Friday night, meaning that, if you count back-up Jordan Pearce, the traded-for Kyle Quincey and the then-injured Jakub Kindl, Detroit faced off against Los Angeles with eight players, or a third of their roster and 40% of their players, who hadn’t started the season in Detroit.
That list includes six call-ups from the Grand Rapids Griffins, and it’s entirely probable that each and every one of Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Doug Janik, Joakim Andersson and the interim starter and now full-time back-up in Joey MacDonald will continue with the team to Nashville for tomorrow night’s game against the Predators (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM).
As such, the Detroit Red Wings’ depleted lineup displayed all the confidence you’d expect from a team that seemed to play the first period as if it was issuing a collective, on-ice statement lamenting, “We’ve gotta play through another injury? Are you f***ing kidding me?”
Well the Red Wings registered all of 15 shots on goal, surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads, and yet they won thanks to—of all things—a goal by Darren Helm with 1:13 left in the 3rrd and some fantastic saves by a goalie who gave up some squeakers in Joey MacDonald.
4-3 Detroit. Are you f***ing kidding me?
Between you and me, this breaks a superstition that I should not post anything after Bill fires off the live blog, and as Paul already mentioned this, I would usually take to TMR’s Facebook page or Twitter to let you know that the game-day update post includes a significant addition as of 6:18 PM (and it does, including the Wings website’s game-day preview and another Ken Holland radio interview)...
But this is too cool to stuff in the game-day post. Red Wings forward Jan Mursak and Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar both hail from the hockey hotbed of Slovenia, a very small Eastern European/Balkan country which can boast 2.05 million residents and a land area just a wee bit smaller than Israel (i.e. it’s the 153rd-biggest country in the world, which is pretty damn small). The fact that Mursak and Kopitar are playing against each other for the first time has the country atwitter, as Mursak told MLive’s Ansar Khan...
According to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner, the injury-plagued Red Wings’ management staff did in fact kick every tire leading up to the trade deadline, and while Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin and the rest of the front office attempted to bolster a team which currently boasts five players who started the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins going into tonight’s game against Los Angeles, the Wings did their best to to add more to their lineup:
According to a source close to the team, this is how it played out for the Wings on deadline day 2012. There were two primary targets for the Red Wings on Feb. 27: Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad, now with Nashville; and Columbus’ Sami Pahlsson, now with Vancouver.
The entire league was aware that the Wings wanted to add a gritty, big-bodied forward who was an above-average face-off man. Gaustad fit that description, but the day before the deadline, the Sabres informed the Wings that they had already been offered a first-round draft pick for Gaustad. Detroit had traded their first-round pick a week earlier to the Lightning for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Wings asked the Sabres to contact them if things changed but knew the call would never come—Gaustad was gone.
Updated 9x at 6:20 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/WXYT AM), the Red Wings ended up recalling Joakim Andersson from the Grand Rapids Griffins on an emergency basis, but MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings did so For precautionary reasons:
Ken Holland said Abdelkader has flu and is gametime decision. Andersson recalled just in case
There’s also good news on the Henrik Zetterberg front…
Bertuzzi and Zetterberg skating for Wings
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that the aforementioned Abdelkader isn’t skating…
Update: I posted this entry in the wrong weblog, so I’m re-posting it here: In theory, the Red Wings’ two-day break between their loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday and a crucial set of back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1 FM) and Nashville tomorrow (8 PM EST—and yes, we “spring forward” on Sunday morning—FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM) would set up the Wings for a productive final West Coast Swing with reinforcements in tow.
Instead, as we learned on Thursday afternoon, barring a morning skate miracle, the Red Wings will not play either tonight or tomorrow while employing the services of Todd Bertuzzi (groin; at least “out” long enough that the Wings recalled Gustav Nyquist), Jimmy Howard (groin, skated before practice on Thursday), Nicklas Lidstrom (sore ankle, skated before practice on Thursday), Pavel Datsyuk (knee, skated in gear on Thursday), Jakub Kindl, “upper-body,” didn’t skate) or Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, did skate, 3-4 weeks out). It’s possible that we could see everybody but Ericsson return by the time the Wings visit LA next Wednesday, if not by next Saturday in San Jose at the latest, but for now, the Wings have to make due with who’s available.
Updated with a substantial portion of evening news at 8:40 PM: Red Wings GM Ken Holland and his compatriots will make their annual trek to the Breakers’ Resort in Florida for GM’s meetings on Monday, March 12th, and while Holland isn’t sure whether he’s going to be on board with the popular concept of bringing the red line back to prohibit two-line passes, as he told Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika (more on his column later)...
“The game is fast,” said Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. “We want the game to be fast. But how do you get the game to be a little bit controlled?”
But Holland did tell the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek that he’s going to push for his version of the Burke “trading teams should be able to split the cap hit” plan—i.e. an albatross that’s unlikely to pass—in asking the GM’s to consider extending overtime to 5 minutes of 4-on-4 hockey and then 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT to reduce the number of games which are decided by shootouts. His conversation with Duhatschek is particularly interesting because Duhatschek pushes Holland just as he’ll push his peers regarding the possibility of adopting a 3-2-1 point system instead…
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.