The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings' 2-1 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers was the LIVING EMBODIMENT of an ugly win, but in a month, it could be a beautiful, beautiful thing for a team that's now -20 in terms of goal differential in the 3rd period and managed to fire more pucks wide or into Oilers players (35) than it did on Viktor Fasth.
With nine players injured, the lines shaken up a bit (Nyquist with the "Kid Line" until Abdelkader replaced him in the 3rd period) and Teemu Pulkkinen playing in limited action during a superb NHL debut (2 shots, 3 more attempts, and a hit in 7:36 played), the Red Wings played...
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"In our league, when you win, everything is OK," coach Mike Babcock said after today’s morning skate. "It doesn't matter what your record is. We need to have some success here, and not just from how-we-play point of view but on the points, on the board, because of the standings, the way they are.
"We're right there in the race. The standings aren't an issue for us. We've just got to make sure we're mentally strong enough to play for 60."
The Wings are 3-3-1 since the Olympics, when Babcock said, "We talked about it, after the Olympic break, we've got to win two out of every three. We got off to a good start, and then we lost two in a row. We've got to bounce back."
Updates from the morning skate will be posted here as needed.
added 10:36am, via Khan tweets,
Wings skating with these lines: Abdelkader-Legwand-Franzen, Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar, Bertuzzi-Glendening-Alfredsson, Miller-Emmerton-Pulkkinen
Helm is skating but not taking part in line rushesadded
added 10:44am, More Khan,
Same power play units they practiced with yesterday: Pulkkinen at left point alongside DeKeyser with Legwand, Tatar and Sheahan on 2nd unit.
First power play unit has Franzen, Nyquist and Bertuzzi up front and Kronwall and Alfredsson at points.
Gustavsson skating as third goalie, not ready to dress yet. Mrazek will back-up Howard tonight vs. Oilers.
added 11:23am, via Khan,
Following his first skate with team in more than a week Helm said he's hoping to return next week but hard to put time frame on concussion.
from Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News,
If there’s one thing Teemu Pulkkinen can do, it’s fire the puck.
“He has an unbelievable shot,” said Cory Emmerton, who was a linemate of Pulkkinen’s in Grand Rapids. “Probably one of the best I’ve played with. I don’t know if he’s scored a fluke goal all season.
“They’ve been slap shots, just blowing it past the goalie.”
Pulkkinen, a 2010 fourth-round draft pick, makes his NHL debut Friday when the Red Wings host Edmonton. Pulkkinen replaces Tomas Jurco (broken rib) in the lineup.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Pulkkinen, who was skating on a line with Emmerton and Drew Miller during Thursday’s practice. “I’m not nervous. It’s one game. It’s a different game, but you have to have fun.”
I will post any practice updates in this posted as needed...
added 11:00am, Beat writers report Gustavsson started practice with the team but left early, Alfredsson not skating.
added 11:05am, via Chuck Pleiness tweets,
Looks like Abdelkader will play alongside Legwand and Franzen, while Nyquist will play with Tatar and Sheahan.
Pulkkinen playing on what looks like the fourth line with Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton.
added 11:09am, via Ansar Khan tweet,
Emmerton skating with Pulkkinen and Miller. Glendening skating with Bertuzzi. Miller filling in on that line, looks like in Alfredsson spot.
added 11:35am, via Pleiness tweet,
Pulkkinen looks like he's playing the point on the Wings' second power play unit, along with DeKeyser, Legwand, Tatar and Sheahan.
added 12:16pm, Below, video of Pulkkinen talking about playing his 1st NHL game tomorrow night.
FYI, the Red Wings' charitable donut is on sale at local Tim Horton's locations this week...
And amongst the Wings' press releases, tomorrow is "High School Journalism" day at the Joe...
I'm not fond of the Columbus Blue Jackets, nor am I fond of Blake Comeau, who's apparently broken some of Tomas Jurco's ribs via that nasty cross-check in addition to having been suspended two games for boarding Brendan Smith...
But I've got to say that Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen's reaction to Comeau's suspension, as noted by the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline, was the most eloquent, "I didn't like it" I've heard this side of, "I disagree with the suspension but I respect the league's decision and the review process":
"I’ve had this principle that I’m not going to comment or complain on the process (the league) takes," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. "They try to be through and consistent and they do a good job. It was a hard hit and they said he was tracking the target for a while. I heard their logic. As much as I want to support our players, we have to suffer the consequences."
Kekalainen said assistant GM Bill Zito spent the day preparing a defense for Comeau.
"We did research on hits that were similar, and we argued our case," Kekalainen said. "(Zito) did a good job presenting the case to Shanahan and his crew. I don’t know if it helped or not. It’s two games, but I don’t know what it might have been or what effect it had on it."
Updated 4x at 2:51 AM: I was just listening to Mickey Redmond's interview with Detroit Sports 105.1's Drew Lane, and Mickey--who you will be able to hear in a moment--suggested that Columbus Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau in fact broke Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar's ribs with that unpunished and vicious cross-check that was lost in the shuffle of Comeau's 2-game suspension (it appears that Teemu Pulkkinen, possibly preferred in an either-or situation given Kirk Maltby's analysis of the David Legwand trade, will get half a dozen games to show what he can do at the NHL level):
That certainly seems to be the case given this Tweet from the Free Press's Helene St. James...
And here's Mickey speaking with Lane, discussing the Wings' awful third-period goal differential, their uphill climb in terms of making the playoffs and Comeau's shenanigans during the 4-1 loss:
Columbus Blue Jackets Blake Comeau was suspended for 2 games because he boarded Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith from behind--right into the view of the rink-side cameraman--and it certainly appears that the lack of a major penalty is the reason Comeau was suspended...
But the reason Red Wings fans like myself drew the ire of Blue Jackets fans (and staffers) by using words like "cheating" to describe Columbus's win (not that cheating in hockey is anything less than "part of the skill of the game," so preventing Petr Mrazek from making the save on the 1-1 goal and Matt Calvert pinning Jonathan Ericsson to the ice on the 3-1 goal, that stuff happens, and the reffing was dreadful on both sides) involves the reason that the Red Wings recalled Teemu Pulkkinen from Grand Rapids today:
Comeau very purposefully cross-checked Tomas Jurco above his hockey pants and below the chest-protecting part of his shoulder pads just under 5 minutes into the second period, and it is entirely possible that Comeau broke one or two of Jurco's ribs as a result:
Red Wings pro scout Kirk Maltby discussed the Red Wings' uphill battle to make the playoffs for the 23rd straight season while speaking with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery, addressing the Wings' injuries and the ramifications of the Wings' loss to Columbus last night--and he talks about Jarnkrok vs. Pulkkinen, too:
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.