The Malik Report
Justin Abdelkader hit Aleksandr Barkov pretty heavily during the Red Wings' 3-0 victory over Florida on Monday, and Barkov left the game with an "upper-body injury," never to return. Abdelkader told the press after the game that he didn't attempt to hit Barkov in the head, that he kept his feet down and tried to finish through the body, but something tells me that Gerard Gallant and the Panthers will be lobbying the Department of Player Safety for a review:
Derek MacKenzie fought Abdelkader at the end of the game in retaliation, but Abdelkader won the fight.
The Detroit Red Wings faced long odds in defeating a Florida Panthers team that had won 5 straight against the Wings and 5 of 6 in Detroit, but the Wings had to defeat the Panthers to not fall further out of the Atlantic Division's playoff race.
The Wings played exactly the kind of game you'd hope, especially from a team shorthanded on the blueline: Detroit scored 3 3rd-period goals, including a power play marker, en route to a 3-0 shutout win over the Panthers, out-working and out-grinding the Atlantic Division leaders while reducing the points deficit between the teams to 6.
Just as importantly, Pavel Datsyuk scored two big goals on 7 shots, Henrik Zetterberg had 2 big assists, Jakub Kindl fared in the scoring on Tomas Tatar's game-winner and Danny DeKeyser played 25:32 as the Wings killed 5 Florida power plays and scored a power play marker.
The only question will be whether Justin Abdelkader's hit on Aleksander Barkov will be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety (see below for video of the hit); otherwise, the Wings left no doubt that they can out-grind and out-skill a tough opponent, with Mrazek pitching a 23-save shutout as the cherry on top.
This story is very hard to translate into "hockey," but the Associated Press reports that the Paul Reddam-owned colt "Nyquist" is the odds-on favorite to win the Kentucky Derby as of February:
Winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Nyquist is gearing up for his 3-year-old debut in the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita on Saturday. On Sunday, he worked five furlongs in 59.38 seconds.
"He's got so much class, so much raw ability," Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said after the colt's workout. "It's hard to believe that he's any more mature than last year, but he's doing everything right and thriving on training; he's doing super."
Named for Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, the colt is owned, trained and ridden by the same team that campaigned 2012 Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another. J. Paul Reddam is the owner; Mario Gutierrez is the jockey.
Nyquist's odds? 9-1:
1. Nyquist (Doug O'Neill, trainer; Mario Gutierrez, jockey): Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old won all five races in '15. ... Trainer, rider and owner (J. Paul Reddam) won 2012 Derby and Preakness with I'll Have Another. ... Sired by Uncle Mo ... Next start: San Vicente, Santa Anita, Saturday. ... Derby future odds: 9-1.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video...
2. Here's the Panthers' version:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill spoke with the Canadian Press's Jonas Siegel regarding the outlook ahead of the trade deadline, and both GM's feel that the parity in the NHL = far fewer "sellers" than ever before:
"That's going to be the unknown," said Nill, whose Dallas squad sits comfortably in a playoff spot at the moment with 71 points. "There's probably 3-5 teams that are saying 'Hey we're probably out of it', but I think everybody else is saying 'You know what, we're in it.'"
Injuries and losing streaks in the ensuing weeks could quickly alter such conversations, he added. Detroit GM Ken Holland has never been a seller at the deadline. His Red Wings have made the playoffs in 24 consecutive seasons.
What he's hearing currently from rival general managers is "wait and see."
"They're saying 'I want to see what happens in the next month,'" said Holland. "If you're two points out of a playoff spot on the trade deadline it's hard to pull the plug and start letting players go."
Holland said the standings give general managers of a good idea of what they're going to try to do leading up to the deadline. But with more teams conceivably in the playoff race, it's harder to make definitive plans until days before the cutoff. It was at about this point last year — a few weeks before the deadline — that Holland dialled up then-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello inquiring about the availability of Marek Zidlicky, a right-shot defender on an expiring contract that the Red Wings coveted.
"Lou told me 'Ken, I want to see where my team goes,'" Holland recalled.
Siegel continues, and if you recall, Holland told the Wings' media corps that he's not going to be in the player rental market this year.
This comes from WXYZ, and while I'm grateful for the upgrades that the Red Wings have made to a building that won't be standing five years from now, you're going to have to color me skeptical on this one:
Uploading a photo to Facebook from the Joe Louis Arena may get a lot easier for some fans.
AT&T announced that the company added a new base station at the arena to give customers faster and more reliable service.
The 4G LTE technologies will make it easier to text, watch videos and post to social media inside the Joe, according to the company.
“AT&T’s investment at the Joe will keep Detroiters better connected than ever before,” said state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) in a press release. “Projects like these are an important part of Detroit’s recovery story and great news for everyone taking in a Wings game or an event downtown.”
Updated 8x at 2:36 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) delivered a thoroughly mixed bag of news. The beat writers reported that Petr Mrazek will start for Detroit; they also reported that Mike Green will miss tonight's game with a sore groin, and that Jakub Kindl will come into the lineup as a result.
The Miami Herald's George Richards also reported that Al Montoya will start for the Panthers this evening, and Richards noted that Little Caesars hockey grad Vincent Trocheck earned a nod from the NHL:
#FlaPanthers Vincent Trocheck named NHL third star of the week...3-3, 6 in three games.
Al Montoya confirmed for #FlaPanthers at #RedWings
#FlaPanthers D Erik Gudbranson is not on this road trip.
From the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov:
Update: Mike Green is out with a sore groin.
The Red Wings will attempt to snap a 5-game winless streak against the Florida Panthers this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM). Winning tonight's game is absolutely essential for the Wings to climb back into the Atlantic Division's playoff picture, and it could mean the difference between placing themselves within striking distance of the Panthers or ensuring that Florida wins the division.
The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:40 for the morning skate, per the Wings...
#RedWings morning skate. #LGRW https://vine.co/v/i1HPuHi2wVW
.@pmrazek34 first goalie off at morning skate. #RedWings #FLAvsDET
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They need to start racking up points at home and they have a good opportunity this week with four games.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Looking to cool off Panthers
The Red Wings face Atlantic Division-leading Florida for the second time in five days on Monday (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit Plus). The Panthers have won five of six from Detroit, including both meetings this season. They have gone 23-6-2 following an 8-9-4 start....
Florida's power play has converted in five consecutive games (8 for 22).
The Panthers, behind goaltender Roberto Luongo, lead the league in goals-against average (2.21).
2. Athanasiou here to stay?
Will Andreas Athanasiou remain in the lineup permanently? That depends on his performance.
Saturday was a good start. Called up for the second time this season, Athanasiou centered a line with Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, provided an assist and posted a plus-2 rating while logging a team-low 9:48.
His speed and offensive upside make him an upgrade over Joakim Andersson. Athanasiou can also kill penalties.
When Niklas Kronwall comes off long-term injured reserve in another week or 10 days, the club must send either Andersson or Athanasiou back to Grand Rapids.
The Red Wings will attempt to defeat the Florida Panthers for the first time in 3 tries this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM), and the Wings will do so with their memories fresh from last Thursday's 6-3 Panthers romp.
Put simply, this is a game that the Red Wings have to win if they are to get back into the thick of the Atlantic Division standings, never mind close their 8-point deficit on the Atlantic-leading Panthers. With today's game and a March 19th meeting left in the teams' season series, Detroit can considerably close the gulf between themselves and the Panthers, or Detroit can all but ensure that it will be playing for 2nd or 3rd in the division.
The Wings enter tonight's game having won at home for the first time in 7 tries on Saturday against the Islanders; Florida, which has won 5 straight games against the Wings and 5 straight games at the Joe, is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Much of the Panthers' story is likely to focus upon Little Caesars graduate and 22-year-old center Vincent Trocheck, who's become a valuable contributor, as the Sun-Sentinel's Alain Poupart notes:
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.