The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to rebound from their 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday with a hard practice today and a solid morning skate tomorrow, but while the Wings have two more two-day breaks over the next week-and-a-half’s worth of hockey, they’re definitely going to travel to California on either Sunday or Monday (probably Monday) for their last West Coast swing of the season, Wings coach Mike Babcock and his assistants have to be realistic about their team’s situation.
With 15 games left over the last 30 days of the regular season, there isn’t a player on the team that’s completely healthy. Nagging injuries are part of the bargain after 67 games, so giving the team extra “off days” makes sense physically. The wings certainly hope that they’ll receive good news in terms of their injured players (Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl, Nicklas Lidstrom) on Thursday, but there’s no sense in skating them or any of their teammates into the ground with 31 days to go before the team prepares for a first-round opponent.
Following up this afternoon’s off-day post: we’re (as in you and me are) going to talk about Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall escaping supplementary discipline regarding his hit on Flyers forward Jakub Voracek, and instead of sharing my opinion, as it’s not going to change yours—and trust me, in six years of doing this I’ve learned that people form their opinions when they see the hit, and no amount of video or discussion will change it, which is just the way things are—but there is news that no one can dispute as good here: Jakub Voracek told the Philadelphia Daily News’s Sam Carchidi that he’s feeling decently today:
Voracek was drilled in the face by an open-ice, second-period hit by Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall; he received stitches on the upper and lower part of his mouth. The winger may undergo a baseline test, performed for concussions symptoms, on Thursday. On Tuesday, Voracek passed a less-detailed concussion exam.
“I don’t want to say I feel too good, because every day is different,” said a subdued Voracek. “Hopefully, I can get back as soon as possible.”
Voracek did not fault Kronwall for the hit. Kronwall was not disciplined by the NHL.
“I think it was clean,” he said. “I had my head down…..I saw him standing on the blue line and I was kind of naive and thought he was going to back up. It was a tough hit to take, but I think it was a clean hit from my side. It was my bad, and I think those hits should stay in the game.”
Again, Voracek’s opinion might not be yours, and that’s okay.
Updated 3x with Ken Holland offering injury updates at 1:43 PM: The Detroit Red Wings aren’t practicing today, per the team’s Twitter account, but they made a move in sending Chris Conner back down to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins will be playing against the Texas Stars tonight, and as Paul noted, the Wings renewed their affiliation with their developmental arm for five more seasons:
The Grand Rapids Griffins and Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday announced a five-year extension of their affiliation agreement, ensuring that the relationship between Michigan’s premier hockey teams will continue through at least the 2016-17 season.
The 10-year-old affiliation, currently in its final season of a second five-year deal, has helped produce a Stanley Cup and an AHL regular season championship, along with multiple division titles for both teams.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall will not be suspended or fined for his hit on Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek on Tuesday, an NHL spokesman said.
Kronwall leveled Voraceck with a shoulder check to the head midway through the second period. Voracek left the game and ended up receiving stitches in his mouth. He was to be re-evaluated today.
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James confirm, though both Khan and St. James say the Wings haven’t heard a peep from the NHL about the hit. TSN’s Bob McKenzie first reported the news.
Update: Per CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio:
Voracek uncertain of status for tomorrow. They r watching for concussion. Says hit was clean and his fault
Also, from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi:
Voracek says he’ll know Thurs. if he can play. Sounded subdued. #Flyers
Voracek says it was a clean hit, the type that should not be outlawed. Blamed himself for having his head down. #Flyers
The Detroit Red Wings took a midnight flight back to Detroit to engage in two much-needed days of rest and practicing, especially in terms of the Wings’ lengthy list of injured players (see: Todd Bertuzzi, Jonathan Ericsson, Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl, Nicklas Lidstrom) after dropping their 5th of their past 7 games via a spirited but unsuccessful 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
On a night when Mark Howe’s jersey was retired by the Flyers, the Wings couldn’t quite deliver in terms of fulfilling Howe’s desire to see the Wings tie things up and win in overtime, and because of the Wings’ slide of late, they now sit two points behind the St. Louis Blues (who won on 5-2 decision over Chicago) and six points ahead of Saturday’s opponent in the Nashville Predators in terms of the Central Division standings.
I’m guessing that you’re curious as to what the Flyers’ players and coach had to say about Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Jakub Voracek, who received some stitches to his mouth but should be OK, so that’s where we’ll start this wrap-up of the game, via the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Dearborn councilman Bob Abraham received four stitches in a vicious assault by some yutz who felt that Abraham’s sons’ friends wearing Blackhawks jerseys merited attacking someone, and as the Dearborn Police have joined the investigation for this moron, the Detroit Free Press reports that there’s a number that Wings fans can call to ensure that the Wings fan who jumped Abraham will be brought to justice:
Detroit Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said officers are seeking witnesses and hope surveillance video contains clues. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-SPEAK-UP (800-773-2587).
Abraham also spoke to the Free Press about the assault in retrospect:
I know that the Detroit Red Wings dropped a 3-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers because of the usual reasons that have haunted them over their past half-dozen or so games—puckhandling errors by their goaltender, a power play that went 0-for-4 again, plain old fluke bounces and an inability to rally after surrendering a multiple-goal deficit…
But for f***‘s ake, I’m a Red Wings fan, and while I’m not gonna get into trying to defend Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Jakub Voracek (Review? Definitely. Fine? Maybe. Suspension? Don’t think so), an incredibly depleted Red WIngs team did their director of pro scouting proud by displaying grit, jam and resolve in attempting to rally from a 3-1 deficit—and nearly accomplishing their task despite the absences of Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson.
Updated 4x with Flyers comments at 12:03 AM: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall lined up Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek at the Flyers’ blueline tonight, hoping to land an elbow or butt into Voracek’s body…But Voracek was leaning forward and hit Voracek shoulder-to-head. I don’t believe there was any intent to injure on Kronwall’s part, but this will certainly be reviewed as Voracek was woozy and left the game
Here’s how the Flyers’ broadcasters saw it:
Here’s hoping that Voracek’s okay.
Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Here’s NHL.com’s clip, narrated by the Wings’ broadcasters:
The Associated Press provides some text accompaniment to the Flyers’ retirement of Red Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe’s #2, which he wore for 10 seasons with Philadelphia, but something tells me that you’ll be more interested in watching the 22:25 video (or at least the last 5 minutes thereof) of the retirement ceremony:
Update: The Philadelphia Daily News’s Frank Saravalli posted the text of Howe’s speech:
Red Wings-Flyers game-day updates: No changes for either team; news about the Griffins’ Swedish line
Updated 8x at 6:32 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers prepare to face off tonight (7 PM on the dot, not 7:30; FSD/CSN Philly/97.1 the Ticket), Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio and NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman expect no lineup changes for both teams this evening after the Wingsi and Flyers engaged in “optional” skates this morning:
Optional skate for Flyers today - no Briere, Jagr, Giroux, Hartnell, Timonen, Meszaros or Carle
Bryzgalov first goalie off for Flyers
Appears to be an optional skate for Wings. Franzen and Holmstrom among 10 guys on the ice
Babcock said he’s not sure if Wings will watch Mark Howe ceremony from bench. Said he’ll let players make the choice
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi also reports that there will be no roster surprises for either team, but it’s also worth noting that he believes that the Mark Howe jersey retirement ceremony will take place promptly at 7 PM (and the Courier-Post’s Randy Miller reports that the game is slated to start at 7:26 PM):
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.