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Detroit’s Best Defensive Pair

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"I think the best pair we have on the team right now is DeKeyser and Quincey, the steadiest pair each and every day, the two guys playing the best," coach Mike Babcock said. "I just think they're been really solid, the two of them. They seem to play well together."...

Quincey's play improved dramatically midway through last season. Following a mistake-prone first half in which he posted a minus-14 rating, he settled down after being paired with DeKeyser and put up a plus-9 rating the rest of the way.

"Q's a defender who really competes hard, good penalty killer, plays hard and is heavy, and is making simple plays," Babcock said. "Dan DeKeyser is a guy who's grown into his game, I think a real elite skater, elite hockey sense, moves the puck well. His puck skills haven't transferred into the offensive zone, yet he's on his way, making real good progress, real important player for us."

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Wings Skating In Vancouver

The Wings are skating at the Univ. of B.C. before flying off to Edmonton later today.

via Bill Roose tweet,

Everyone is here and accounted for at the #RedWings practice this morning at the University of BC.

Updates to this post during practice if need be.

added 3:47pm,

 

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What To Do With Xavier Ouellet?

from Ansar Khan of Milve,

Here are five things to watch this week:...

Will Ouellet stay or go back?

Defenseman Xavier Ouellet impresses the team each time he's called up and inserted into the lineup.

Will he be sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins when Jakub Kindl (sprained elbow) comes off injured reserve? Or will the Red Wings make a move to clear a roster spot and keep Ouellet permanently?

The team is hesitant to place anyone on waivers and risk losing another player for nothing (Andrej Nestrasil was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 21). That leaves only one option - deal somebody for a draft pick.

Defenseman Brian Lashoff would be the mostly likely candidate for such a move, having appeared in only 11 games.

Kindl has been practicing and is eligible to come off IR anytime.

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St. James talks about Tatar’s trade value…

I'm sticking to a quick take one final time as my physical resources are on the rebound from a dreadful December's worth of health this and health that, but I've got to make mention of this comment from the Free Press's Helene St. James, made while discussing Tomas Tatar's blossoming into a consistent point-producer (16 goals, 10 assists and 26 points in 36 games played):

Tatar had 19 goals last season, and is well on his way to topping 20 this season. To essentially be a two-time 20-goal scorer at age 24 makes Tatar intriguing as a trade asset. The Wings are eager to add a top-four defenseman who shoots right, and to get someone of quality - like Buffalo's Tyler Myers - it would take a young hotshot. Maybe the Wings can sway the Sabres with Tatar and defenseman Jakub Kindl (who doesn't seem to have a future in Detroit), along with a second-round draft pick. It helps tremendously that another prospect is banging on the door, as Teemu Pulkkinen is having a standout season with Grand Rapids. He's already delivered an AHL-leading 19th goal of the season, and he shoots right, with NHL-caliber delivery.

Tatar has helped make the Wings a viable playoff team again this season, and his value could end up strengthening them as a Stanley Cup contender.

She continues, and...

I don't see how we get from the Sabres asking for Anthony Mantha or Dylan Larkin AND the Wings' 1st-round pick AND an NHL defenseman to Tomas Tatar and an NHl defenseman.

I've seen the Sabres prospects, and they're all pretty damn good, but outside of Girgensons and the Rasmus Ristolainen who makes Myers expendable, the team's still got a pretty significant chunk of in-progress players.

Tim Murray seems to either want players who've established themselves at the NHL level and/or players whose NHL debuts aren't imminent, and a Tatar-and-Kindl type deal doesn't just seem like "not enough" for Myers--it also seems like the "wrong kind" of deal.

Is Tomas Tatar tradeable? Yeah, but the team's also looked to develop Tatar as Jiri Hudler, But A Better Skater for a while now, and Tatar's becoming that player.

I don't think that Tatar and Kindl are the players Murray's looking for, however, and in addition to Kindl probably not being "enough" on defense [edit: Smith is the kind of player I would see Buffalo wanting /end edit], I don't think that Murray wants anything less than at least one of the jewels in the Wings' prospect crown. Pulkkinen is one of those players, Sproul is one of those players, Larkin and Mantha are definitely those kinds of players. Tatar's (sans Capgeek) someone who's going to be due for a raise soon, and that's not what Buffalo needs.

[edit #2: And again, "what Buffalo needs" is a whole lot more complicated because Detroit and Buffalo are in the same division, and in theory, these teams will be seeing each other in the playoffs in the not-too-distant future, which makes any trade between the two teams that much more unlikely /end second edit]

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Quick take, Red Wings vs. Canucks: Clotheslined

SoDakWingNut captured the "spirit of the thing":

The Detroit Red Wings lost a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, and while the Wings surrendered 2 empty-netters after Tomas Tatar made things 2-1, the 4-1 tally may have been more accurate a description of the disparity in play, execution, attention to detail and grit by the two teams.

Ryan Miller also stopped 29 of 30 shots, but I thought the Wings did a fine job of doing what they are too apt to do on the road--make an opposing goalie look better than he already is--and the Wings weren't able to execute against a team that made life very hard on Detroit's goaltender, who was far from culpable in a "team loss" where getting too cute and, to some extent, playing too honestly hurt the WIngs against a team that exploited every opportunity to muck, grind, mash, crash and clothesline the Wings to their advantage...

On both the scoresheet, with the officials and in terms of the team's ability to win puck battles and earn a hard-fought victory.

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Red Wings-Canucks game-day post: Canucks promise bounce-back game as Wings embrace road mentality

Updated 4x at 5:24 PM: The Red Wings begin their first 6-game road trip of the season (the team engages in a second 6-game trip in February) by kicking off a jaunt through Western Canada tonight in Vancouver (10 PM EST on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM). As the Canucks "took an optional" and the Wings simply reverted back to the lines they've been employing for the past three or four games, the most revelatory portion of the morning skate involved...This:

In the text-and-video department:

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Red Wings-Canucks morning skate Tweets: Canucks ‘took an optional’; Wings return to ‘usual’ lines

The Red Wings kick off a 3-game Western Canadian road swing and a 6-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks this evening (10 PM EST on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) needing to match a more desperate opponent's urgency.

Vancouver's coming off a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles, but possesses a 3-1-and-1 record over its past 4 games; prior to that little stretch, however, Vancouver lost 5 straight, and they sit in a 3-place tie for 3rd in the Pacific Division.

As Paul noted, the Canucks already posted a game-day video, but the morning skate did not produce scintillating news, as noted by the Vancouver Sun's Elliott Pap...

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Video- The Vancouver Canucks On Playing The Detroit Red Wings

The Vancouver Canucks lost their last game 3-2 to the LA Kings and talk about having a bounce back game tonight against the Wings.

 

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Practice Tweetapalooza: Red Wings prepare for Saturday’s game vs. Vancouver

Updated 6x at 5:45 PM: The Red Wings flew to Vancouver to begin their Western Canadian road swing against the Canucks tomorrow night (10 PM EST start on FSD), and MLive's Ansar Khan reported that all the Wings' players were present and accounted for Friday's practice...

Everybody practicing today for Wings at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, including Kindl, who's not eligible to come off IR until Sunday.

As did the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

Kindl (elbow) participating in practice today

So:

The 21-12-and-3 Canucks lost 3-2 to Los Angeles on Thursday, and Vancouver's 3-1-and-1 record of late came after a nasty 5-game losing streak.

In the prospect department, Dylan Larkin didn't register a point as Team USA was ousted 3-2 by Russia in the World Junior Championship's quarterfinals, and Axel Holmstrom and Christoffer Ehn's Swedes are tied 3-3 with Finland presently;

Practice continued, with Khan reporting a bit of a switch-up:

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Wings Probably Won’t Move Top Prospects For A Defenseman

Ansar Khan of Mlive answered some questions from his readers...

Q: I know he shoots left but do the Wings have interest in Keith Yandle?

A: They would have interest in anyone who can help them, including Yandle. The Arizona Coyotes look like they're already out of the playoff chase, so they might step up efforts to move Yandle. But, again, a rebuilding team will be seeking a top prospect, a good young roster player and/or a first-round pick, assets I don't see the Red Wings relinquishing, especially for a player who will be unrestricted in July 2016.

Q: If you were a betting man, who do you think will be our trade acquisition (if any)? Washington lacks depth down the middle and we seem to be center heavy. Not sure we can part with what they'd want (for Green)

A: I doubt they'll acquire any of the top-tier defensemen that might be available. If they make a move, it'll probably be for a second- or third-pair defender.

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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.

 

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