The Malik Report
Several Red Wings prospects engaged in games on Wednesday, and one feature story involved a prospect who was recently traded, so here goes:
In the SHL, Mattias Backman played 18:30 and took 2 shots, but finished at -2, in Linkopings HC's 3-2 loss to Farjestads BK;
In the KHL, again, Alexander Kadeikin is injured, but SKA St. Petersburg continues its playoff-bound trajectory, defeating Dynamo Riga 3-1;
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored 2 goals, registered an assist and finished at +3 in the Guelph Storm's 6-3 win over Erie;
These are the games that make us all worry. The Detroit Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins could very well simply be "one of those games," a tilt where the Wings' quality of competition (or lack thereof) and sporadic schedule were going to catch up with a team that had won 9 of 10 games...
But we've watched the Wings lay eggs against their toughest opponents all season long, and after losing to Tampa Bay (at least the Wings still have 3 games in hand on the Bolts) and Pittsburgh, with games against Montreal, Chicago, Anaheim, LA, San Jose and Nashville all on the February schedule, this one is cause for "Rut roh, Raggy, were the Wings just feasting on 'lesser lights' for the last 10 games?" questions among the fan base.
Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery spoke with NBC's Mike Emrick this afternoon, and Emrick discussed the Wings-Penguins match-up and rivalry, the Wings' younger players stepping up and the "state of the Wings" in terms of their likely regular-season finish in the top half of the Eastern Conference:
Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika discussed the present wave of young players who happen to be blossomig on the Red Wings' roster presently in Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist,; as we all know, Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet and Teemu Pulkkinen, the AHL's leading scorer, aren't far off, either...
And as such, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner suggests that Pulkkinen's campaign with the Grand Rapids Griffins may be MVP-worthy:
The right winger has seven goals and 14 points in eight games with the Griffins following his first extended stay with the Red Wings, when he scored his first NHL goal. He's a strong candidate to become the Griffins' first MVP since Don MacLean in 2005-06. Despite missing six games, Pulkkinen leads the AHL in scoring with 53 points in 41 games, and his 27 goals is five more than his nearest competitor, Paul Thompson of Albany.
Coach Jeff Blashill is in his corner.
"Certainly we look at those individual honors as secondary to team success," Blashill said. "But I want our players to get any honors they deserve, and I can't imagine there too many players in the league making a bigger statement than Teemu Pulkkinen."
Wallner continues, discussing Pulkkinen's one minus in his plus-minus, as well as the possibility that Pulkkinen might hit 40+ goals and 85+ points if he remains with the Griffins. He also speaks with Pulkkinen himself about his campaign, and "Pulkky" is a practical fellow in that department:
"Sure I do. I think every player knows how many goals they have," he said. "But I don't pay much attention to that. I know how the team is doing, and I just try and go out and enjoy each day because everyone knows in a couple months it will be summer, and then you don't play hockey."
Updated 6x at 4:29 PM: The "Morning Skate Tweet" post is actually jam-packed full of information, but in terms of post-skate articles and commentary, here's what you need to know about tonight's Red Wings-Penguins tilt (8 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM).
The Penguins' Twitter account posted the Penguins' lines during the morning skate (and Marc-Andre Fleury will oppose Petr Mrazek tonight)...
Today’s #Pens line rushes:
Defensive pairings at skate:
Sergei Fedorov will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame tomorrow, and he gave a fascinating, glib and friendly interview to Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery today, discussing his time with the Wings, the booing he faced after he left, his current job as CSKA Moscow's general manager and his status as a Metro Detroiter during the summer. It's good to hear Sergei happy, healthy and enjoying his work:
This is quite the bummer, from Pro Hockey Talks Dhiren Mahibian:
This happened very quietly and admist a whole lot of NHL news, but the Hobey Baker Award's website announced its preliminary 2015 award nominees, and Michigan's Andrew Copp, Zach Hyman and a certain Dylan Larkin were named to the field, as noted by Winging It in Motown...
And the University of Michigan:
Update: From Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples:
The Detroit Red Wings face a significant test in tonight's "Rivalry Night" game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and tonight's status as the NBCSN Rivalry Night tilt = Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien penned something of a primer...
A lot has changed since the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins faced off in the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Final, but in some ways, plenty of key factors remain.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still the go-to guys for the Red Wings offense, even with the rise of younger players such as Gustav Nyquist. The Penguins still seemingly go as far as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang can take them, even if the supporting cast (and front office) has changed dramatically.
From a more recent perspective, Pittsburgh hasn’t played since the Vancouver Canucks crushed them 5-0 on Saturday.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
These are the top 10 goal-scorers in the National Hockey League: Rick Nash, Alex Ovechkin, Tyler Seguin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steven Stamkos, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Max Pacioretty and …
Tomas Tatar, a 5-foot-10, 24-year-old forward in his second full season with the Detroit Red Wings after four seasons in the minors.
Tatar has 23 goals, tied with Corey Perry, ahead of 808 others. He has the best possession numbers in the league among players who have appeared in at least 20 games. When he has been on the ice, the Wings have controlled 59.2 percent of the shot attempts.
Once again the Wings drafted a skilled player, stashed him away, let him develop and made him earn an NHL job. Along with other younger players – Gustav Nyquist in particular – Tatar seized an opportunity last season when the Wings ran into injury trouble and helped them make the playoffs for the 23rd straight time.
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.