The Malik Report
The Red Wings' 6-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks wasn't more costly because the Wings "got help in the standings" for the first time in a long time: Ottawa, which is 5 points behind the Wings, lost 5-1 to the Rangers, and the Bruins, who are also 5 points back having played 1 more game than both Detroit and Ottawa, dropped a 3-2 OT decision to Anaheim.
After the game, Wings coach Mike Babcock, who's become a media-beleaguered gentleman during the Wings' 3-7-and-1 March schedule, chose to announce that Petr Mrazek would start Saturday's all-important showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and you will have to take what he told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness about Mrazek vs. Jimmy Howard as you will:
When Babcock was asked if he had a No. 1 goalie he responded with, “I’m starting Pete Mrazek next game.”
At the same time, Babcock told Pleiness and the assembled media that he didn't feel that his goaltenders--plural, because Petr Mrazek gave up two soft goals, too--were solely to blame for the Wings' issues...
With the Wings having just completed their 10th remaining game of the 2014-15 campaign, I've changed my mantra from, "Catch the Bolts" to "get a point!"
The Wings' disastrous March 3-7-and-1 record and game-to-game and period-to-period performances have deteriorated to the point that it's all but essential for the Wings to "go .500" to not drop into a Wild Card spot, and as such, the goal of earning one point every night might be a little more realistic than hoping for wins.
Thursday, the Wings placed fans on an emotional roller coaster that resulted in a 6-4 San Jose win and what was an exasperating, infuriating and incredibly frustrating effort in which BOTH Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek weren't good enough, NOR were the players in front of either--Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar had 4 giveaways apiece, at least on paper, and 3 of Nyquist's giveaways yielded Sharks goals on a -11 team.
As a result, I'm sure that more of you are going to insist that Howard's incompetent, but you will see him on either Saturday against Tampa or Sunday vs. the Islanders, the coach remains the coach, friends, and the Wings' games against Ottawa on Tuesday and Boston on Thursday, with both teams 5 points behind Detroit, become monumental ones.
The "one difference" that pundits insist separates the Red Wings from the San Jose Sharks involves the fact that the Sharks will more readily promote players to the NHL level, while the Wings tend to keep players in Grand Rapids until they're "over-ripe," much to the ire of some fans--and a good example is Sharks prospect Mirco Mueller, who's interning on the Sharks' 3rd pair, and Anthony Mantha, who's playing for the Griffins, because the Wings "traded down" from the 18th pick that the Sharks used to snag Mueller to take Mantha 20th overall and Tyler Bertuzzi 58th overall.
Mantha may not make his permanent Wings debut for another year or two, and the same is true of Bertuzzi; the Sharks, in another example, already have Barclay Goodrow, who eschewed an AHL deal from the Wings a year ago, playing in the NHL.
As such, the Mercury News's David Pollak asked two Red Wings players about the difference in organizational philosophy from a player's perspective:
"For the young guys, for sure it's tough to understand," [Tomas] Tatar said. "Your mind is not really strong maybe enough to keep you down there in Grand Rapids because you think you're doing good but the club won't call you because there are so many players here. It's kind of hard, but as soon as you go through it then you establish yourself here and you can appreciate your time there."
Did all that time in the minors make it an easier transition?
"You come here, you know the system, you're familiar more," Tatar said, "and it's up to you to take your chance here."
Nyquist had a similar response.
Updated 2x at 6:59 PM: After announcing that 25 of the first 30 contracts awarded for the construction of the "Detroit Entertainment Center" were awarded to Detroit businesses, and then stating that the Eddystone Hotel will be renovated with 1 of 5 units designated for "affordable housing," Olympia Development of Michigan appeared before Detroit's City Council on WXYZ reports that the Ilitches revealed a new aspect of their project...
Olympia told council it plans to have a park similar to Campus Martius next to the arena for outdoor events. It will be open to the public.
There are also plans to renovate the historic Eddystone hotel, and turn it into about 100 homes.
“Restoring the Eddystone Hotel helps preserve an important piece of Detroit’s rich architectural history while creating much needed job opportunities and affordable housing for Detroiters,” said Rod Blake, Director of Development for Olympia Development of Michigan.
Once approved by city leaders and the Historic District Commission, work on the Eddystone Hotel could begin as early as fall of 2015.
But given that it is entirely possible that baseball, football and hockey games might be taking place at the same time at Comerica Park, Ford Field and the "Detroit Entertainment Center," as well as concerts at the Fox Theatre and Filmore Detroit, there are concerns about parking...
And the Free Press's Joe Guillen reports that the City Council isn't thrilled about the fact that Olympia Development's plans involve razing the Hotel Park Avenue, or the fact that 4 of 5 housing units will be...let's say expensive...
Updated 6x at 4:00 PM:
At the morning skate, the Wings' beat writers revealed that Pavel Datsyuk won't be playing tonight as his "lower-body injury" hasn't met Datsyuk's healed-enough-for-a-game threshold, that Erik Cole won't be playing tonight as his "upper-body injury" is still aggravating him, that Jakub Kindl won't be playing because Niklas Kronwall is ready to return, and Jimmy Howard will be playing as the Wings' "starter" because the Red Wings' coach is getting a little gruff regarding Howard's ahead of tonight's game against San Jose (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM).
I hate to play "read the tea leaves," but Howard might be "the starter until he's not the starter" for more than one reason this evening:
Howard's 12 years older than the "Brawl in Hockeytown" which turned 19 today (so he's 31).
The San Jose Sharks' morning skate didn't get the same Twitter treatment, so the Mercury News's Davd Pollak revealed the player who would oppose Howard...
First off ice for #SJSharks: Niemi.
Speaking of history, the Red Wings' Game Day Blog posited several historical notes...
Updated 7x at 11:37: Howard starts, Kronwall in, Cole, Kindl, Datsyuk out
With questions about both coaches' futures swirling (TSN's Travis Yost just posited a "fancy stats" explanation of why Babcock's the best coach slated to be on the market this summer), a City Council "reveal" of plans regarding the Wings' follow-on rink in the offing, and the Wings in a massive march slump, the Detroit Red Wings hope to get back on track against the San Jose Sharks this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM; it's an O'Halloran game, too).
NHL.com posted a pretty solid video preview of tonight's affair:
In the FYI and prospect departments:
Probably his most memorable goal as a member of the Detroit Red Wings is below...
In lieu of a more formal mid-day news post, I find it ironic that even NHL.com's Dan Rosen's mailbag answer regarding a topic heating back up continues to ignore what Mike Babcock and Ken Holland suggested prior to the regular season--that it was more likely than not that Babcock would not sign a contract extension with Detroit after the regular season and playoff run are over so that the coach could focus on hockey instead of negotiating a salary...
How can these Mike Babcock "could" leave the Red Wings rumors continue? As rumors go, this feels incredibly daft? -- @Hoskinsauce
They can continue and will continue until Babcock signs a new contract to stay with the Detroit Red Wings or announces he is leaving Detroit to become a coaching free agent, which in my opinion would make him the most sought after free agent in the NHL this summer. Babcock hasn't discussed his future in Detroit beyond this season for quite some time. There might be quiet, behind-the-scenes negotiating going on between him and general manager Ken Holland, but it's more likely that they're focused on trying to win this season and will address the issue of his future at the end of the season. The longer it goes, the more the rumor will persist. Babcock will have plenty of options and a lot of money thrown at him if he decides to leave Detroit. The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly will court him, but would Babcock want to go into a rebuilding situation?
And MLive's Brendan Savage conducted a Q and A with Danny DeKeyser:
Aside from Mike Smith's James Brown concert reenactment and Shane Doan attempting to smash opponents' knees into the boards and then twist/stomp to snap knee ligaments--and watching the officials sort of shrug the Smith-started-it-with-a-stick-to-Helm's-face, dude-humps-Helm's-stick and all the clutching and grabbing go--because the new "standard of officiating" is just hideously poor on all sides of the puck (and Mike Smith is nothing less than a disgusting actor who consists of 3-day-old human squaline)...
Taking in last night's Wings-Coyotes game as a fan was an incredibly frustrating experence, and that frustration didn't just stem from Jimmy Howard's crappy goaltending.
It was a game where the Wings simply played dumb hockey against a team that probably came into its road trip hoping to beat a Wings team it still despises (that was quite evident in the level of physicality last night, even if the personnel is different, the remaining Coyotes from the playoff series [plural] between the teams let the new guys know that this game was for all the marbles), it was a game in which the Wings took nearly 40 shots but refused to attack the net, it was a game where Niklas Kronwall's absence, Erik Cole having to duck out and Luke Glendening leaving for a short period of time seemed to paralyze the team...
And it was a game in which the Wings got the point they needed to make it very hard for the Senators or Bruins to gain ground, but in every other facet, the Wings laid several eggs on ice.
Updated 5x at 3 PM: Oh boy. Per the Free Press's George Sipple...
Update #2: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan confirm that Erik Cole will be out until Tuesday at the earliest and that Kronwall and Datsyuk are "closer":
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.