The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Pros: He has good offensive ability and moves the puck well. He can quarterback the power play and has a tremendous point shot. He also kills penalties.
Cons: Not particularly strong defensively; second on the team in giveaways. Not a great skater. Not overly physical for a big man.
The bottom line: The Red Wings have liked Franson since he was in Nashville. He would slide right into their top four, and even though their power play is flourishing (first in the NHL), it wouldn't hurt having a right-handed shot.
But they won't overpay for a rental. With several teams looking for defensive help at the deadline and right-handed shooters at a premium, the Leafs should be able to get at least a second-round pick as well as a good prospect or young roster player.
Maybe Toronto, being out of the playoff picture, wouldn't have an issue trading within the Atlantic Division and dealing with an old rival. But would the Maple Leafs want to help a team whose coach (Mike Babcock) they covet, a coach they inquired about last summer and one they undoubtedly will make a pitch for if he's available after the season? The Leafs might feel they have a better shot at landing Babcock if the Red Wings lose in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Wings' early-morning practice and appearance at a Detroit Economic Club luncheon ended up yielding a surprisingly blunt "State of the Team" from coach Mike Babcock, and while this entry's going to be a little rambly and/or wandering, Babcock's comments are worth the journey.
Babcock had this to say about the Wings' special teams while attending the DEC luncheon, as noted by CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak...
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock also spoke Monday. The team has won nine of its last 10 games and is tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points. Special teams has been a strength for the Red Wings this season, with their power play ranking first in the NHL and their penalty kill ranking ninth.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to our players, they’ve done a real good job,” Babcock said. “Our coaching staff, we have a brand new coaching staff except for Jimmy Bedard, they’ve done an excellent, excellent job. Tony Granato has come in here and really helped our penalty kill. We got off to a great start … won games off our penalty kill.
“It took us longer on the power play,” Babcock continued. “Jim Hiller came in and really gave us some ideas to improve, and we’ve adjusted what he was using to our group, and our group’s bought in, and we have a dangerous, dangerous, dangerous power play night in and night out. We seem to be on the attack for two straight minutes, which is real positive.”
With the coach receiving quite the comment from Justin Abdelkader...
16-second videos don't usually constitute entries, but in the case of the Grand Rapids Griffins' "Purple Game" against San Antonio on Friday, in which the Griffins will raise funds for the Van Andel Institute's cancer programs and Parkinson's disease research, both through ticket sales and by auctioning off special purple jerseys, you're damn right I'm promoting this:
Six Red Wings prospects played games today, but that's all they did, so this entry will actually be a little "spartan":
In the SHL, Mattias Janmark registered 2 assists and finished at +2 in 20:13 played, and Christoffer Ehn won 100% of his faceoffs in 4:23 played in the Frounda Indians' 5-0 win over HV71. You can watch highlights from the game by clicking on the recap link;
In Russia, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin remains sidelined with an injury, and SKA St. Petersburg lost 5-1 to the Ak Bars Kazan;
From Broadway World:
WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY Continues this Week on NBCSN
NBC and NBCSN will combine to present seven hockey games in seven days this week, highlighted by the NHL Game of the Week on NBC on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET, featuring Sidney Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins and Patrick Kane's Chicago Blackhawks, as well as aWednesday Night Rivalry showdown at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN between the Penguins and Pavel Datsyuk'sDetroit Red Wings.
Following Wednesday Night Rivalry, NBCSN presents the Wednesday Nightcap at 10:30 p.m. ET, as Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals visit Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks. This week's coverage beginstonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when the Blackhawks host Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the Arizona Coyotes. NBCSN rounds out the week's coverage on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, as Zemgus Girgensons and the Buffalo Sabres host Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Updated 2x at 3:14 PM: It turns out that the Red Wings' very early Monday practice (the team rarely practices before 11 AM, but they were skating at 10:20) had everything to do with player-coach-GM-and-owner appearances at a Detroit Economic Club luncheon, and had I known the event was taking place, I would've bought a sportcoat and headed to my least favorite social situation--a fancy luncheon and/or dinner--to hear the players, coach, GM and owner offer answers to questions in a semi-relaxed environment.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa "live-tweeted" the event via some paraphrasing, and I always enjoy reading the off-the-cuff remarks as they can be particularly revelatory:
The Red Wings beat writers' practice reports (post updated repeatedly FTR) = we know that Petr Mrazek will start for the Wings on Wednesday, though his return to Grand Rapids seems eventually inevitable unless Ken Holland bucks his own modus operandi and actually trades an unrestricted free agent-to-be;
We know that Babcock's starting to become bullish on the concept that Xavier Ouellet and Teemu Pulkkinen "think they should be here," suggesting that the Wings' depth is superb at present (and perhaps that said "depth" might have earned post-trade deadline spots on the Wings' roster), saying this to the Windsor Star's Bob Duff...
“I like the fact we have too many D,” Babcock said. “X (defenseman Xavier Ouellet) feels like he should on the team. He’s in Grand Rapids. (Forward Teemu) Pulkkinen feels he should be on the team. He’s in Grand Rapids. I think one of the greatest things to create a winning environment is competition for jobs and accountability. Blash (Grand Rapids AHL coach Jeff Blashill), our scouts and our guys here have done a good job getting the players and have done a good job of creating depth on our roster.”
The Red Wings issued a press release stating that Xavier Ouellet had been returned to Grand Rapids earlier this morning, and that may not be of interest to you, but the Grand Rapids Griffins' press release about said move (via RedWingsFeed) involves a move that is noteworthy, even though it's "minor league" in nature:
The Detroit Red Wings on Monday assigned defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins released defenseman Jared Nightingale from his professional tryout.
Nightingale will return to the Toledo Walleye, but one wonders whether he's "earned a spot" when Ouellet inevitably returns to Detroit--and somewhere in the interim, the Griffins have both added Brian Lashoff to the roster from the Wings, and have seen Scott Czarnowczan earn a roster spot ahead of Richard Nedomlel, who's still in Toledo.
Ouellet, 21, has picked up three points (2-1—3), two penalty minutes and a plus-four rating in 21 games with Detroit this season, notching his first NHL point (assist) on Nov. 22 at Toronto and his first NHL goal on Nov. 28 at New Jersey. The Bayonne, France, native has also appeared in 24 games with Grand Rapids, registering eight points (1-7—8), 18 PIM and a plus-seven rating. Detroit’s second choice (48th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet has totaled 94 career AHL games with the Griffins from 2013-15, logging 25 points (5-20—25), 40 PIM and a plus-10 rating.
Updated 11x at 2:27 PM: As Paul noted, the Wings skated a little earlier this morning at Joe Louis Arena, and the practice was routine until Mike Babcock made his post-practice comments to the media, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan:
Howard thinks he's ready to play. Needs to be cleared by doctors in next day or two.
Babcock said Mrazek starting Wednesday. Howard is backing up. Howard might start Saturday
So they'll carry three goalies for now. Franzen being on IR creates the roster spot.
Babcock said he wants to stick with hot hand. Made it clear Howard is their No. 1 goalie.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, the Free Press's Helene St. James, WXYZ's Brad Galli, Fox 2's Jennifer Hammond and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose are all confirming, and I'll be adding some articles to this entry shortly (as well as more comments from Babcock).
Also, from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
ESPN's "30 for 30" series aired Of Miracles and Men, a film chronicling the Miracle on Ice from the Soviet perspective, last night. Keith Olbermann spoke with the documentary's producer, Jonathan Hock, for about 7 minutes, and the interview sets the stage for those of you who weren't around at the time--again, from the Russian perspective. The film will re-air over the next couple of weeks, and again, Slava Fetisov made an intriguing protagonist:
added 3:06pm, Watch the full version of the feature below, one hour and forty three minutes long.
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.