The Malik Report
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs' alums skated at Comerica Park prior to tomorrow's Alumni Showdown (the games start at 1 and 3:30 PM on FSD and the CBC, but NBCSN will air the second game at 4 PM for some reason), and in absence of anything more substantive to do, I'm going to Tweet the pertinent pictures that I've spotted (and there are more, many many more):
Upated 3x with some Leaf stuff at 4:30 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings received mostly good news at today's morning skate ahead of tonight's Red Wings-Predators game (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/1270 AM). The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that both Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup this evening:
A couple more regulars are coming back for the Detroit Red Wings, with Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm on deck tonight.
The Wings close out 2013 with a game at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m., FSD), looking to build on a 3-1 run.
Howard and Helm have each missed about three weeks, Howard with a sprained left knee and Helm with an injured left shoulder.
Helm will center Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco, a line with good speed and scoring skill. Henrik Zetterberg is with Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist, and Pavel Datsyuk with Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Tatar. Joakim Andersson is with Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller.
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms (and notes that Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson will sit out), noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was particularly effusive in his praise for Howard:
Updated at 5:03 PM: As I watch a team wearing an incredibly ugly uniform skate on the ic...Oh wait, I mean the Maple Leafs Alumni take part in their final pre-Alumni Showdown practice, I found good news via the grapevine:
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha scored a comeback-making 2-3 goal and registered 2 assists in Canada's 5-3 win over the Slovaks at the World Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Mantha now has 8 points (4 goals and 4 assists) over the course of 3 games played for Canada.
And Zach Fucale stopped 16 of 19 shots in Jake Paterson's stead.
Paterson Fucale will go against the Americans, per TSN's Mark Masters:
George is out and about for the next three days, covering all the action at Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium.
So you have me pluse George will be filing reports too.
Let's start off with some good news and I will update this post as needed...
added 12:32pm, MSM report Franzen skating too.
added 12:37pm, Kulfan tweets,
Jimmy Howard looks good to go
added 12:39pm, Khan tweets,
Based on the skate it looks like Helm is in tonight, skating with Jurco and Abdelkader.
added 12:41pm, St. James tweets,
Lines from #RedWings skate are: 44-13-21, 14-40-11, 8-43-26, 20-18-71.
added 12:48pm, Khan with a tweet,
Power-play units: Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi with Kronwall-Alfredsson at points; Tatar-Cleary-Nyquist with Kindl-DeKeyser at points.
If you have not yet visited the Coke Zero Fan Zone outside of Comerica Park's gates, if you aren't interested in the steady stream of alumni signing autographs, the Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit that contains just about every individual NHL award, the Wings and Maple Leafs "locker rooms," street hockey, food, bands, the bouncy castle and slide for kids, skating on a synthetic rink or any of the other events taking place for all of a $5 admission fee, please take note of the following:
The Stanley Cup® will make appearances inside the Molson Hockey House during the below dates and times ONLY:
Monday, December 30th, 2:30-4:30pm
Tuesday, December 31st, 12:00-2:00pm
Following those two appearances the Stanley Cup® will move inside Comerica Park for the remainder of the day (Dec. 30 & 31). There will be a $5 charge for all photo opportunities with the Stanley Cup®. All proceeds from this photo opportunity go directly to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. Guests must provide their own camera.
The Stanley Cup® appearance is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Only one Red Wings prospect took part in the Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park this past Friday and Saturday, but defenseman turned checking forward Mike McKee's Western Michigan University Broncos won the GLI, and the Red Wings posted a wonderful video recap of the fesitivities:
Updated 3x at 11:57 AM: With the Grand Rapids Griffins-Toronto Marlies game taking place later today and the Alumni Showdowns taking place tomorrow, Winter Classic hype's taking over both Southeastern Michigan and Toronto, and the spectacle of a be-all-end-all Biggest Hockey Game Ever that will theoretically reignite the rivalry between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs is justified...
But the reality of the non-hype situation is that it turns out that both tonight's game between the Red Wings and Predators (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/1270 AM) will matter quite a bit, and Wedneday's game will matter even more in terms of two points that both teams rather desperately need to earn in the standings.
The Maple Leafs' 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last night gave the 20-16-and-5 Leafs 45 points earned over the course of 41 games--and while the Red Wings have won 3 of their past 4 games, including Saturday's 4-3 win over Florida, the 18-13-and-9 Wings have amassed 45 points over the course of 40 games, so they're technically sitting in 4th place in the Atlantic Division because they've got a game in hand, but would have to win both tonight's game and the Winter Classic itself to emerge from both teams' 42nd game of the season to come out on top.
- Don’t be surprised if the Detroit Red Wings re-sign Daniel Alfredsson for one more season, if he’s up for it. He’s almost a point-a-game player after just turning 41. He probably looks at Jaromir Jagr (who will be 42 during the Sochi Olympics) and says why not?
The staggering run of injuries to the Wings has been a boon for their drafted players like winger Thomas Jurco and centre Riley Sheahan, who have both looked good. The Wings also love farmhand defencemen Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul. Jurco and Ouellet are the closest to being regular NHLers. Detroit would love to deal winger Mikael Samuelsson but he has a $3 million contract. Nobody will take him because he’s always hurt. Would Detroit waive him for a roster spot? Probably, but they’d still be on the hook for all but $100,000 of his salary-cap hit because he signed after he was 35.
The Grand Rapids Griffins will battle the Toronto Marlies today at 5 PM (televised on FSD, Sportsnet and other local outlets) on Comerica Park's ice surface, with Luke Glendening and Trevor Parkes in tow (but Petr Mrazek not taking part due to Jonas Gustavsson's sore groin)
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner noted that the Griffins' morning skate will be the only opportunity for the team to acclimate to the outdoor ice surface, but the Griffins do have four players with outdoor experience in Nathan Paetsch, Glendening (4 games' worth of outdoor experience), Teemu Pulkkinen (ditto) and Adam Almquist.
We're expecting partly sunny skies and teperatures in the high teens today and tonight, so the weather should be perfect for the Griffins, but Mother Nature has thrown a wrench into tomorrow's Alumni Showdowns (1 and 3:30 PM at Comerica Park) as we may experience some snow showers and gusty winds, and the Winter Classic itself may include the beginnings of 1-3 inches of snow!
Update: Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press's George Sipple (who's taking part in a Freep.com chat at 10 AM today) spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill regarding his team's strengths and weaknesses:
This entry's going to be a little rambly, so I'm going to parse it out on a chronological basis.
If you're headed downtown tonight, tomorrow or on Tuesdya, the Red Wings want you to know that the Hockeytown Winter Festival's OHL games taking place presently, tomorrow's televised Griffins-Marlies game at 5 PM and Tuesday's Alumni Showdowns (they're scheduled to take place at 1 and 3:30 PM, but NBCSN has the 2nd game airing at 4) aren't the only hockey-related activities taking place at Comerica Park.
Outside the ballpark, the Coke Zero Fan Zone is free if you have a ticket to a game and $5 if you don't, and, as the Red Wings' official "Coke Zero Fan Guide" notes, there's a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit that contains almost every NHL trophy--including the Stanley Cup on Monday and Tuesday--alums are signing autographs, and, as WXYZ notes, there's food, music, and much more "fun for all ages" all taking place in what is usually Comerica Park's parking lot:
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.