The Malik Report
The NHLPA managed to carve out a holiday break that prohibits any sort of team activity (other than flying to and from games) from and including the dates of December 24th to December 27th as part of the 3rd owners' lockout, and while I know that some of you rather DESPERATELY wish you could be watching hockey instead of interacting with your relatives...
The longer break means no more flying back home on Christmas eve to spend time with your family, only to fly out on the evening of Christmas Day for teams that are trying to squeeze in family time during road trips, nor retail-style Christmas Day flights to and fro to take part in Boxing Day matinees (which are a little more pointless than usual thanks to both the expansion of Bowl Week and the World Junior Championship's popularity).
I'm going to work on a catch-up post of some sort this evening, but in the interim, the Wings posted a "Happy Holidays" video focusing upon the team's charitable efforts...
The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Wings' "Europeans" about their Christmas traditions...
Update: SoDakWingNut with art:
The Red Wings' 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres was a gorgeous result negating a horrific, hideous, gross and disgusting start.
The Red Wings' 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres might not be more if the team doesn't keep 'er going after this.
The Wings' 6-3 win included losing Stephen Weiss to a head injury and Niklas Kronwall to an "upper-body injury" whose severity we will find out sooner than later;
The Wings' 6-3 win happened despite Jakub Kindl playing so hideously badly (with Brendan Smith not far behind) that, had Kronwall not gotten smeared, Kindl might be finding himself waived and Grand Rapids bound come December 28th.
It was gorgeous, it was exciting, it was wonderful to see Detroit rally from a 3-1 deficit, to see Detroit score 4 power play goals and to see Johan Franzen snap his scoring streak, but this is a "conditional" win--conditional upon improved performance as the Wings begin a road-heavy second half schedule after the break.
Edit/update: This is a relief:
Via Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian, here's the hit:
Niklas Kronwall got sandwiched by 2 Sabres early in the 2nd period and left the game...
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM on Tuesday afternoon, speaking with Braylon Edwards and Sean Baligian about the return of Stephen Weiss, the Wings' shootout issues and his philosophies regarding developing prospect slowly:
The Buffalo Sabres have actually gone 5-4-and-1 over their past 10 December games, and they're at least in the process of attempting to regain playoff footing, so ahead of tonight's game (7:30 PM start on FSD/MSG B/97.1 FM; Stephen Weiss is back for Detroit but Jimmy Howard remains sidelined), Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the Sabres are to be underestimated at one's peril:
"They gave everyone a tough game,” Babcock said. “They win too much. Everyone was talking about (Connor) McDavid was going there or (Jack) Eichel was going there. It doesn’t look like either one is going there.”
Buffalo has 29 points and just nine points out of the playoffs.
“Those guys play hard,” Babcock said. “They’re organized and check real well. They make it hard on you. They made it hard on Boston last night. When you’re not scoring like we are so everyone is hard. So let’s get ready like we did last night for 60 minutes and eventually everything is going to turn.”
The Sabres are an injury-depleted team that dropped back-to-back games to Colorado and Boston this past weekend, so the Buffalo News's Mike Harrington reports that the Sabres will debut highly-heralded prospect Joel Armia this evening:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Stephen Weiss will return to the lineup tonight for the Detroit Red Wings against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit), but goaltender Jimmy Howard will allow his sore groin a few more days to heal.
Weiss has missed four games with a shoulder injury. As with anyone coming back after sitting out more than a week, Weiss said he'll try keep his shifts short and play simple.
"Just get to the net and try to find loose pucks and create some chaos in front of the net and hopefully bang some in," Weiss said.
Weiss scored twice on Nov. 24 vs. Ottawa, after sitting out a month with a groin strain. The Red Wings are 8-1-2 when he's in the lineup.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Weiss skating on line with Glendening and Miller.
Defense pairs the same as previous game:
Lashoff appears to be scratched.
added 10:42am, more from Khan,
Howard and Mrazek have the nets. McCollum is standing along the boards waiting for his turn.
added 10:45am, Khan again,
In order to activate Weiss, Wings must either send down McCollum or put Howard on short term IR (he'd be eligible to return Saturday).
added 11:05am, Khan tweet,
Weiss confirms he is in tonight. Mrazek first off ice, so he is starting.
from Ansar Kahn of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings were well-positioned to go into the Christmas break on an upswing, with a four-game homestand.
But they couldn't score and couldn't solve their shootout dilemma. Now they're just trying to salvage one win before the holiday, before the schedule gets much more difficult.
The Red Wings look to end a six-game winless streak (0-2-4) Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.
They haven't gone winless in seven in a row since Nov. 4-19, 2013. It was a stretch similar to the one they're experiencing now, as they lost five consecutive games that extended beyond regulation - three in shootouts and two in overtime.
The Red Wings are winless in five at JLA (0-1-4), leaving valuable points on the table. They play 19 of 26 games on the road after Christmas.
Here are five things to watch this week:
Forward Stephen Weiss is expected to return Tuesday after missing four games with a slightly separated shoulder. He had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games before his injury. The club could use all the offensive help it can get.
from chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Quick update from Wings practice as they prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Stephen Weiss appears ready to return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury.
“I’m ready to play,” Weiss said after practice Monday. “Now we’ll just see if coach puts me in, but yeah I’m ready to go.
“I’m real excited,” Weiss added. “Obviously, you don’t want to miss this many games but that’s the way it goes sometimes with injuries. It’s tough to watch these last few at home and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting one in before (the break).”
continued including some Jimmy Howard talk...
Also from Pleiness, Babcock on the Buffalo Sabres...
According to the media at Detroit's practice today...
Mrazek looks like the starter tomorrow night, Howard and McCollum in one net while Mrazek is in the other.
Following practice, a family skate is planned so it looks like it will be a slow news day.
Howard left practice early, so Mrazek it is.
added 12:31pm, Ted Kulfan tweet,
Weiss looks close to being ready the way he is skating and shooting
added 12:51pm, Weiss says he is ready to go...
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.