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A sign of the ‘brave new world’ of NHL player monitoring: nutrition, sleep, recovery all matter

This article is a little "different" in terms of its Red Wings-related status, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway: the Wall Street Journal's Rachel Bachman reports that pro sports teams are focusing very heavily on players' vitamin D levels as there's a correlation between vitamin D and soft tissue injuries, and the Red Wings' nutritionist was quoted in Bachman's article:

Pro and college sports engage in “smack talk,” about maintaining healthy vitamin D levels in their athletes, says Lisa McDowell, sports dietitian for the Detroit Red Wings and a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association. “It’s a source of pride when your team checks in with a good level.”

Some teams also test athletes for other nutrients such as iron and magnesium to make sure deficiencies aren’t slowing them down.

Ms. McDowell aims to get her hockey players’ vitamin D levels between 40 and 80 nanograms per milliliter. Many players show up to training camp with vitamin D levels in the teens, she says.

An adequate vitamin D level for the average person is between 20 and 50 ng/ml, with a level over 50 potentially producing adverse effects, according to the IOM. But some experts have said the bottom end of that range is too low, and the Endocrine Society recommends maintaining a level between 40 and 60 ng/ml.

Red Wings players get little sun due to the team’s Midwestern locale. Ms. McDowell encourages players to spend time outside when the team plays in California so they can soak up vitamin D.

The Wings, like me, take vitamin D supplements as well...I happen to have a vitamin D deficiency (my initial blood test results had a vitamin D level of 6, which my doctor had never seen before), but I'm not posting this for that reason:

I'm posting this article because it's a reminder that players' nutrition and even bloodwork are monitored like never before in the NHL, with every team employing nutritionists to make sure that the players are eating well, taking the right supplements and taking care of their bodies in terms of rest and recovery from games. The Wings have spoken with a sleep specialist as well, and you may have seen some of the Tweets/Instagram pictures of the players sitting down with compression sleeves pumped up around their legs or arms to facilitate muscle recovery.

It ain't eating pizza and having a Coke and a couple cigarettes after a game any more.

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Quincey on the prized ‘HNIC’ towel

Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt spoke with NHL players of all stripes regarding the prized status of a Hockey Night in Canada interview towel, and Kyle Quincey addressed the phenomenon as only Kyle Quincey can, discussing Don Cherry's status as must-see TV, and, well...

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey remembers high school parties screeching to a halt whenever intermission arrived. Music off. TV to full blast. Everyone silent, listening to Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner segment, then the intermission interview. “Three minutes later, boom, party’s back on,” Quincey says.

As for the towel? Quincey never really noticed it until he reached the NHL. He still remembers his first Hockey Night in Canada interview. He didn’t know players could keep their towel. He gave it to his parents. They still have it at home.

“I think it was, like, holy s--- I’ve made it,” Quincey says.

Prewitt continues, and somehow I'm imagining Quincey hanging out at a high school party in his denim suit...

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Red Wings-Islanders morning skate Tweets: No line-up changes for Detroit or NYI

Updated with lineup news at 12:48 PM: The Red Wings play their last game before the All-Star break as they face the New York Islanders this evening (7 PM EST start on FSD/MSG Plus/Sportsnet Ontario and Pacific/97.1 FM), and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings will take a 6-day break after tonight's game:

Petr Mrazek is back in goal, in what will be his last game in a fantastic month. He has gone 6-1-1, with a 1.24 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in January.

After the Islanders, the Wings don't have anything on their agenda until practice Feb. 1. Where some teams don't go on break until after playing Wednesday, a favorable schedule means Wings players have been told that they are allowed to scatter for sunny shores straight from New York.

The Islanders took to the ice around 10:20 AM for their morning skate...

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Dylan Larkin eligible for fan vote into All-Star Skills Comp’s ‘Breakaway Challenge’

From the NHL's All-Star skills competition release:

Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™

Fans will have two opportunities to exercise their vote in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™. While five spots will be determined by team captains, one guaranteed spot in this event will be determined by the fans, who will vote on Twitter as part of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™ Fan Vote campaign.

The eligible candidates are forwards Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fans can vote via Twitter for their favorite eligible player by including his hashtag – #NHLBreakawayDuchene, #NHLBreakawayLarkin or#NHLBreakawaySaad. Voting will open on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. ET and close on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. ET.

Each team will provide one goalie to participate in this challenge. Each shooter will attempt two shots, and teams will alternate after each shot. Style, creativity, and flair are encouraged. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.

As soon as the last competitor completes his routine, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will get another opportunity to make their case on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will be crowned the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™ winner and score one point for his team.

Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest percentage of fan votes scores one point.

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Charitable news: ‘Great Skate’ raises $25K; ‘Shocks and Saves’ game this Saturday

From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner (with an embedded photo gallery):

Fans and skaters got to join the Grand Rapids Griffins on the ice over the weekend in the Griffins' 14th annual Great Skate at Rosa Parks Circle.

The 34-hour event, with 24 hours of at least one Griffins player on the ice beginning late Saturday night through 10 p.m. Sunday, raised about $25,000 for the Griffins Youth Foundation.

About 350 kids play in the foundation's first-through-12th grade and girls hockey programs. It also supports the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team. The foundation provides all equipment, staffing and ice time, with expenses exceeding $500 per child per year.

And if you're interested in attending a Wings alumni game during the All-Star break, the Saginaw News's Hugh Berenreuter reports that the Saginaw Spirit will host their annual "Shocks and Saves" game this upcoming Saturday:

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

- Mrazek on a roll

Petr Mrazek has secured the No. 1 goaltending job with a spectacular month. He has gone 6-1-1 with a 1.24 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and two shutouts. He has won six in a row on the road and it is safe to assume he will start Monday.

Mrazek's .932 save percentage for the season is first in the NHL among goalies with at least 30 appearances. He is third in the league in GAA (2.03) among goalies with 30 or more games.

- Scoring slumps

Three of the Red Wings' top four goal-scorers from last season are mired in slumps, the main reason why the team is 22nd in goals per game (2.44).

Gustav Nyquist has one goal and five points in 15 games. Tomas Tatar has three goals and six points in 17 games. Justin Abdelkader has one goal and two points in 10 games.

more

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up

The Detroit Red Wings face the New York Islanders this evening (7 PM EST start on FSD/MSG Plus/Sportsnet Ontario/Sportsnet Pacific/97.1 FM) facing a somehwat similar situation to their game against the Ducks, home-ice advantage in New York's corner excluded.

The Islanders have won 3 of their past 4 games and are 4-3-and-1 in January, having most recently defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2 this past Friday. They were supposed to play the Flyers on Saturday, but that game was postponed, so the Islanders, who are 15-7-and-3 at home, held an optional practice on Sunday.

Newsday's Arthur Staple summarized the key points of the Islanders' strong roll of late:

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Prospect news: Walleye defeat Grizzlies; Turgeon, Hicketts score, Saarijarvi adds a helper

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL, Zach Nastasiuk had a goal and an assist and Jeff Lerg stopped 18 of 20 shots as the Toledo Walleye wrapped up their 3-in-3 series against Utah with a 5-3 win over the Grizzlies. The Walleye's website posted a recap:

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Jensen and Tangradi’s recall = ‘extra bodies in case players can’t play’

Okay, let's get this out of the way. Why did the Red Wings recall Nick Jensen and Eric Tangradi from Grand Rapids, sending Joakim Andersson to the AHL ahead of tomorrow's game against the New York Islanders?

The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings have some "banged-up" players, and that the Wings are going to need some insurance:

"We are bringing in the extra bodies in case players can't play," general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press Sunday afternoon. The Wings didn't practice, which is common after back-to-back games, but an unidentified forward and defenseman are questionable. We won't know until tomorrow morning," Holland said, "and can't risk trying to get them to New York City tomorrow."

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Wings Recall Eric Tangradi And Nick Jensen, Joakim Andersson Sent To Grand Rapids

 

Press release is below...

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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.

 

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