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Red Wings’ Swedes prepare for border war semifinal; Detroit-watching teammates eager to watch drama

Updated 3x at 6:25 PM: Minus oodles of foreign-language translation, let's just say that the Finns and Swedes have something of a contentious history, and as such, tomorrow morning's semifinal between the "Teemu Forever" crew and the Red Wings' Swedes (7 AM EST on NBCSN and TSN; the U.S.-Canada game will air at 12 PM on NBCSN and the CBC) might be nearly as scrappy as today and tomorrow's border battles between the Americans and Canadians.

Team Sweden captain Niklas Kronwall told ESPN's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun that the countries have a very passionate rivalry...

The two nations have a long history with each other. As Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall put it: "It goes way back, obviously. The two countries have always competed in everything; in sports in particular. I think it's hard for people outside to really understand what the rivalry is all about." And while the Swedes boast greater talent with stars Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Lundqvist, Erik Karlsson and Daniel Sedin, the Finns are not to be trifled with. Just ask Russia.

And for the present moment, both Daniel Alfredsson and Kronwall (joined in the fight by Jonathan Ericsson, Gustav Nyquist and goalie-caddy Jonas Gustavsson) told Burnside that the Tre Kronor's ("Three Crowns") status(es) as both an under-the-radar and slowly-improving team will hopefully continue on their present trajectories:

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Red Wings and Griffins charitable announcements/reminders galore

In the charitable news department:

The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding a charitable meet-and-greet with Jordin Tootoo on Saturday and will be raising funds for Duchene Muscular Dystrophy research on Friday, but if you don't find yourself in Western Michigan this weekend, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus's Brian Beaupied notes that the Red Wings' Alumni Association will be taking part in its most...unique...game of the season on Saturday night in Brighton, MI:

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Red Wings associate coach Tom Renney wouldn’t mind seeing the Olympics become a young NHLers’ game

Via RedWingsFeed, today's been a busy day in terms of Red Wings practice news and updates regarding Jakub Kindl (had a sprained MCL), Stephen Weiss (going to Grand Rapids for one game) and both Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco (appear on track to start the post-Olympic-break schedule with the Wings), but Red Wings associate coach Tom Renney's comments to CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak merit mentioning because Renney believes that the spate of Olympic-related injuries might require a response that would alter the shape of professional hockey players' participation:

Maybe the time has come with through the progression of, in Canada the Program of Excellence, and [in] the United States the National Development Program, where that now becomes an under-23 event,” Renney said, “and you re-engage the World Cup and have that on the quadrennial, let the young great players in our game, if that’s where they are, play at the under-23 level, if you will, and it still becomes an exciting and outstanding event.

“But maybe as the players get on, it doesn’t put them in such a precarious position in terms of injuries and fatigue and those types of things to come back to their club team and do what is expected of them as most likely leaders and all that kind of stuff on their teams,” Renney continued.

Renney is not fan of the concept of moving Olympic hockey to summer, however:

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Red Wings’ Weiss headed to Grand Rapids; Jurco, Sheahan to stay up(?)

Updated 3x at 4:34 PM: I'd usually stick this in today's practice post, but this is significant news in itself:

Here's Pleiness's article about Weiss--who will be accompanied to Grand Rapids by Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan, Adam Almquist and Cory Emmerton, who the Red Wings' beat writers reported were simply brought up for practice purposes (the Wings take tomorrow off and Bill Roose reports they'll skate at the University of Ligett School in Grosse Pointe Woods on Saturday and Sunday):

Weiss is still recovering from sport hernia surgery on Dec. 23. He expects to be cleared prior to Wednesday’s game in Montreal.
“I don’t know about specific games, I just know that we were shooting for after the break to be ready to be available to play,” Weiss said. “So that’s obviously going to be up to the coaches whether or not they put me in the lineup but that’s still the plan: to be ready and available for those first couple of games back.”

Weiss will play Sunday in Grand Rapids when the Griffins host the Milwaukee Admirals.

The Grand Rapids Griffins host the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday and Saturday and will host Milwaukee on Sunday, so the warm body will be appreciated.

Update: THIS IS GOOD NEWS:

Update #2:

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Red Wings Thursday practice post: on Zetterberg & Datsyuk, the trade deadline, Kindl’s knee & Alfie

Updated 5x at 3:02 PM: While the Red Wings' non-Olympians got to work at Joe Louis Arena this morning...

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Red Wings selling tickets for a Nicklas Lidstrom ‘meet and greet’ on March 6th

This is different: the Red Wings are selling individual tickets for a special "Meet and Greet" event with Nicklas Lidstrom that will be held prior to his jersey retirement ceremony on March 6th:

TICKETS ON SALE NOW CITY THEATRE VIEWING PARTY FOR NICK LIDSTROM JERSEY RETIREMENT NIGHT ON MARCH 6
… Lidstrom to Make Appearance at Official Viewing Party, Presented by Miller Lite…

DETROIT– The Detroit Red Wings announced today that Detroit’s City Theatre will host the official Nick Lidstrom Jersey Retirement Night Viewing Party, presented by Miller Lite, on Thursday, March 6.

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Zetterberg Will See A Back Specialist In New York

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Zetterberg's tournament ended a week ago, when he was forced to pull out as captain of Team Sweden because of a herniated disk in his back. He boarded an NHL charter red-eye Wednesday in Sochi and is scheduled to see a back specialist in New York after landing there today.

Team Sweden's doctor has said Zetterberg is likely to need surgery, but the question is when. Until a doctor says otherwise, the Wings are hoping Zetterberg can still play again this season.

"He's got to see a specialist to make that final determination," Holland said.

read on for an update on Datsyuk...

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St. James: Red Wings’ Datsyuk delays return to Detroit

FYI:

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Red Wings overnight report: on the Wings’ Olympians, Franzen, Weiss and Pulkkinen

Like Paul, I'm going to try and lay low after pulling a week's worth of 2 to-4-AM wake-up calls on Thursday. The Olympics have been exciting to follow but absolutely grueling in terms of wear and tear on my far-less-than-100% self. 

Aside from some Olympic practices today, as Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reported, the first wave of NHL'ers will head back to North America ahead of Friday's semifinals...

Though this Tweet from Sport-Express's Slava Malamud is eyebrow-raising:

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Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill takes battle against muscular dystrophy to the ice

This story from the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner speaks for itself:

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill remembers the emotional struggle Rob Facca went through as his son, Louie, battled Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy while they coached together at Western Michigan University.

Their friendship and Blashill's desire to help fight the disease persists.

"He remains to this day a very, very good friend of mine," said Blashill, who hired Facca, now the associate head coach of the Broncos. "I got to see, No. 1, the beginning of their battle with this, and No. 2, to see how Rob and (wife) Nikki and Louie live their lives as fighters. ... They refuse to let it ruin their daily lives."

Blashill, who coached WMU in 2010-11, has pledged $100 toward disease research for each goal by the Griffins against Oklahoma City in home games Friday and Saturday. It coincides with an Ice Duchenne weekend planned at Western Michigan.

Continued

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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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