Khan, HSJ in the morning: On ‘dirty goals’ and Bertuzzi, party of one

Of Red Wings-related note from our usual morning columnists in MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

  1. Khan discusses the Wings “scoring dirty goals” against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday as part of an “if you missed it” NHL notebook:

“We needed to be harder at the net,” [coach Jeff] Blashill said following the 6-3 victory in Chicago. “I didn’t think overall our complete level was that bad against Calgary (last Thursday), but we were not hard enough at the net for sure. Certainly, (Saturday in Montreal) we didn’t create many chances at all. We needed to make sure we got to the net.

“We stopped at the net [Sunday]. We found ways to score dirty goals. We got to find ways to score dirty in order to be a team that scores enough. It was a good sign for us to make sure we go hard at the net.”

Even rookie Lucas Raymond realizes the importance to get your nose dirty. That’s what he did for the second of his three goals on this night, rushing the net and banging in the rebound of Dylan Larkin’s shot.

“If you want to score goals, you have to get into those areas,” Raymond said. “You can’t just shoot and score fancy goals. You have to get in there and that’s usually where most of the goals are scored as well. I’m trying to get in there more and more.”


2. And the Free Press’s Helene St. James discusses Tyler Bertuzzi’s status as the NHL’s only unvaccinated-against-COVID player:

“We believe there is only one active player in the NHL who has not commenced the vaccination process,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Free Press on Monday. In a 32-team league with 23-man rosters, that would make Bertuzzi the only one of 736 players. 

The NHL and Players Association agreed not to have a vaccine mandate, but teams can suspend without pay players who miss team activities because they are unvaccinated. People within the Wings organization say there is no indication Bertuzzi will change his mind. He has referred to his decision as “a life choice.”

The Wings play nine times in Canada, meaning Bertuzzi stands to miss nearly 11% of games. He stayed in Detroit and skated on his own during the Wings’ first foray to Montreal and then met the Wings in Chicago. On the next trip [this weekend], he will miss two games and one practice, and be responsible for meeting the team in Boston. Their longest trip to Canada comes in mid-March, when they will be gone a week while playing at Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

There’s no doubting how much it means to the Wings to have him available.

“I think the world of Tyler as a person and as a player,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He does so many things that are important to win. He’s a hard player. He wins pucks. He’s smart. He’s good defensively. He goes to the net hard and ultimately that was what that was an example of. We’re a better team for sure when Tyler is in the lineup and it was good to have him back.”

I really do wonder whether Bertuzzi would be on Team Canada’s radar for the Olympics if he simply assented to being vaccinated.

He’s not just giving up $450,000 in pay for the sake of not taking a shot; at this point, given his production and intangibles, he’s giving up a shot at playing in the Beijing Olympics (where everyone who attends must be vaccinated against COVID), too, and that’s just disappointing.

Choices have consequences.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.