The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/12/12 at 07:48 PM ET
Updated 4x at 8:05 PM: Many thanks to Paul for the updates. Back from the doc, mom checked out okay, had a few freckles removed by the doc but continues to remain skin cancer free.
Anyway, from the Red Wings’ practice in Los Angeles, we’re finding out mediocre news on the injury front. MLive’sAnsar Khan reported that Nicklas Lidstrom at least skated with his teammates for the first time since suffering a bone bruise to his left ankle on February 25th versus Colorado, but Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Todd Bertuzzi (groin) remain out, as Khan notes:
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Pavel Datsyuk (coming off arthroscopic knee surgery), Nicklas Lidstrom (deep bone bruise in ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (strained groin) and Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle) are out for Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). Babcock said he thinks Bertuzzi will be ready for Wednesday’s game in Anaheim (10 p.m., FSD).
So goaltender Jimmy Howard is the only player who will return to the lineup Tuesday.
At least we know that Kindl’s “upper-body injury” isn’t related to his head now, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James offers more deails about Lidstrom and Datsyuk:
A few updates as Detroit Red Wings practice has just gotten under way here at Toyota Sports Center: Captain Nicklas Lidstrom was on the ice early but was only on for a few minutes. Lidstrom has been battling a deep bone bruise since getting hit on the outside of an ankle Feb. 25 against Colorado. It doesn’t look like he’ll be back Tuesday, when the Wings begin their three-game trip to California by taking on the Los Angeles Kings.
Pavel Datsyuk (knee) is part of practice again. Fellow forward Todd Bertuzzi (groin) is also skating.
Earlier today, the Wings, as they’d said they’d do, called up forward Gustav Nyquist.
That was already the plan when he was sent back to Grand Rapids on Sunday morning, to play for the Griffins in their evening game. Nyquist scored a goal in a 5-2 win over the Houston Aeros, giving him a team-leading 20 goals and 55 points in 54 games. No wonder the Wings like him so much. He has given them three assists and has a plus-two rating in seven games for Detroit this season; two of those assists came this past weekend.
Amongst St. James’ Twitter updates:
Lidstrom on ice for practice
Lidstrom already off the ice, not good
Lidstrom talking to team trainer pic.twitter.com/BU2WXbkO
Bertuzzi practicing pic.twitter.com/Y4EFfd12
Bertuzzi practicing pic.twitter.com/Y4EFfd12
Datsyuk waiting for his turn in drill pic.twitter.com/CLfNsvBh
Practice still ongoing, will update as soon as know official word on the #RedWings injured
Lidstrom working out with trainer now, doing medicine ball stuff
Group hug as practice nearly over ... #redwings pic.twitter.com/Jqc6apZl
Lidstrom working out pulling rope. Rope is losing.
Bertuzzi said he’d skate tomorrow, determine if play against Kings
Lidstrom says he’s out at least next 2 games
Lidstrom said he felt a little better today on ice, but could only do a few laps
Datsyuk still on ice
Lonely vigil for Datsyuk pic.twitter.com/rjLllSGd
Babcock said Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Bertuzzi are all out for Kings game.
Babcock estimated Bertuzzi may play Wednesday against Ducks.
From Datsyuk: “I feel better and better. It’s small step, but I feel better.” Sounded like small chance he plays Wed, better chance for Sat
Babcock on Datsyuk: “Pavel will tell me when Pavel is ready. He’s invited any time.” #RedWings
One more picture of Pavel Datsyuk, chatting with assistant coach Keith McKittrick pic.twitter.com/UD5AkZ8J
Lidstrom, kindl and bertuzzi on the ice for Wings practice in El Segundo
Lidstrom skated for a few minutes before leaving the ice. Doesn’t bode well for next two games. Hasn’t practiced in more than 2 weeks
Wings practicing with these lines: 51-40-26, 11-43-93, 20-8-44, 96-48-39. Datsyuk working in on top two lines. Nyquist in transit from Hou
Lidstrom said he is doubtful for next two games, Bertuzzi not sure about Tuesday. Will see after morning skate.
Datsyuk on ice long after teammates have left.
Nyquist just arrived from Houston. No need to skate after playing 3 games in 3 nights.
Babcock said Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, Lidstrom and Kindl out Tuesday. Only Bertuzzi possible for Wednesday.
And from the Red Wings:
Lidstrom and Kindl are among the first few players to trickle out onto the ice surface.
Bertuzzi, Datsyuk and Ericsson are all skating. Bert is currently firing pucks at Howie.
Ready to go! instagr.am/p/IFfwhpx4yS/
Lidstrom took a few laps and has since left practice after chatting with Coach Babcock.
Gustav Nyquist, who is in transit, was not present for Monday’s practice.
Bert hasn’t talked to the coaches about his status. Says he ‘felt good’ and will make a decision tomorrow.
Kindl: ‘There’s no rushing it. I want to be 100 percent.’ Said it felt a little better, but wasn’t taking contact.
Howard: I don’t think people have realized, but the playoffs have basically started. That’s how close the division is.
Drew Miller said he’ll have MSU winning the Final Four in one of his brackets. Said it is something he does every year.
Lidstrom said he is taking things day by day. Hopes that the rest will be good for a playoff run.
Lidstrom says the ankle is feeling a little bit better. ‘Good enough to take a few laps, but not good enough for games yet.’
Pavel Datsyuk takes part in the Red Wings Monday practice at the Toyota Center in El Segundo, California. say.ly/GPk1zdS
Gustav Nyquist arrived at the very end of practice, just as Abdelkader was riding the bike. http://instagr.am/p/IFwik7x41d/
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose provides us with a note about Gustav Nyquist’s busy weekend...
Nyquist will head to his fifth city in five days when he rejoins the Wings in southern California Monday afternoon. The Wings, who are in a battle with the St. Louis Blues for the lead in the Central Division, will play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Tuesday.
Nyquist scored in the Griffins’ 5-2 win over the Aeros on Sunday. He also had an assist in each of the Wings’ games over the weekend – in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Kings, and Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Nashville. Last Thursday, the Wings summoned Nyquist from Houston where the Griffins were set to play a weekend series. He played Friday and Saturday in place of injured Todd Bertuzzi (groin). But should Bertuzzi and/or center Pavel Datsyuk (knee) return Tuesday, Nyquist would likely be send down.
As well as a cringe-worthy update regarding Danny Cleary’s troublesome left knee:
Cleary had his aggravatingly sore left knee drained for a fourth time Sunday. The two Baker’s cysts, which formed a few months ago behind his knee have been a source of concern for much of the season for Cleary, who said prolonged rest is likely the only thing that will alleviate the often-excruciating pain.
“Trying to manage it the best I can here until we get to the playoffs and then do what I can,” Cleary said. “It’s been sore. Is it getting better? I don’t know. We’ll see. It’ll be fixed at the end of the year, let’s put it that way.”
It’s helped some that Cleary has taken some practices off lately, something he hopes to continue to do.
“Yeah. I’ve been doing that a little bit lately,” he said. “It was touch and go, depends on the day I guess.”
Cleary expects that the knee will be drained a fifth time before the end of the season.
Update #0.5: Despite all the blather about GM’s meetings yielding rule changes, here’s what Ken Holland told the Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stevenson about the red line coming back:
“I think pretty well everybody in our group agrees that they like it the way it us,” said Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We can change the rules, but we’re going to have another set of circumstances five years from now and four years from now. That’s the problem.”
Update #0.75: Scouting the enemy a little bit early, LAKingsInsider.com’s Rich Hammond reports that the Kings want to avenge last week’s 4-3 loss in short order. The Kings defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday, but they’re still smarting from blowing 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads this past Thursday:
Just four days after their Meltdown in Motown, the Kings will get a chance for revenge tomorrow night when they host the Detroit Red Wings. The first game back after a road trip is traditionally tough for the home team, but the Kings have put themselves in a position where they can’t afford to fall into the normal trappings of the season. The wounds are still fresh from Friday, when the Red Wings scored two late goals to beat the Kings in regulation. The Red Wings are expected to regain the services of goalie Jimmy Howard, but the status of some of their other injured players remains undetermined. Anze Kopitar said the Kings won’t dwell too much on the previous loss to Detroit…
KOPITAR: “You throw the DVD away and you forget about it. There’s just no time for thinking about it, pretty much. You’ve got to look ahead and play the games that are coming up.’’
Kopitar also talked about rebounding from the loss to Detroit with last night’s victory over Chicago and being able to salvage a “decent’’ 2-2 road trip…
KOPITAR: “It was a decent road trip. Maybe the effort in Columbus was not where we wanted it to be, or the game itself, but we played good in Detroit and we took the positives out (of it). Darryl came in and said that if we play like that, most likely we’re going to win games. We just put it together. Now, it’s that time of the year. In the position we’re in right now, you can’t look back at what happened. You can only look ahead. I know it sounds like that every time, but you have to put it behind you. Whether it was a 7-1 loss or a 3-2 loss, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve got to put it behind you and look ahead and play the games that are coming up.’’
Update #1: Here’s Khan’s practice report, now with quotes!
“First time [I’ve skated] in 2½ weeks or so,’’ Lidstrom said. “I tried it a few days ago. It was better today, I could do a few laps, but still not where I want it to be to able to play a game or practice with the guys.’‘
Lidstrom said it’s “day by day,’’ but he probably needs “two good skates’’ before he can play. The soonest would be Saturday in San Jose, the final game of this trip. Lidstrom continued to work out extensively off ice, but said not being able to skate is tough mentally.
“I didn’t think it was going to take this long,’’ he said. “I thought I was going to be back earlier. It’s been lingering, it hasn’t been getting any better, so it’s getting a little bit frustrating.’‘
But, with 11 games left following the Anaheim game, Lidstrom believes he’ll have enough time to get back into a groove before the playoffs.
“I’m hoping to play quite a few games before the playoffs,’’ Lidstrom said. “It’ll help to get back into game shape again and in the long run you hope the rest will help everyone that’s out right now, to help us get a long run in the playoffs.’‘
Lidstrom has had the padding inside his skate altered, but said, “I can still feel it, so it’s hard to take the pressure off it. You have to tie your skate and that’s where it’s hurting.’‘
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Pavel Datsyuk (coming off arthroscopic knee surgery), Todd Bertuzzi (strained groin) and Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle) also are out for Tuesday’s game. Babcock said he thinks Bertuzzi will be ready for Wednesday’s game in Anaheim (10 p.m., FSD). So goaltender Jimmy Howard is the only player who will return to the lineup Tuesday.
Said Bertuzzi: “It felt all right, first real skate with the team.’‘
Update #1.25: In the AHL, Nyquist’s Grand Rapids Griffins still believe that they can make the playoffs. Emphasis on “can” instead of “will”:
This Week’s Games
Tue., March 13 - GRIFFINS at Texas Stars - 8:30 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., March 16 - Toronto Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WBFX 101.3 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., March 17 - Hamilton Bulldogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Never Say Never: The Griffins began last week having won five of their last six games, ending a season-high five-game winning streak with a 1-0 loss to Hamilton on March 4. The team was down four goals to Texas heading into the third period of last Wednesday’s contest against the Stars, but goals by Travis Ehrhardt, Landon Ferraro, Chris Conner and Chris Minard erased the deficit and forced overtime. A deflection by Mike Forney gave Texas the 5-4 overtime win, but it marked the second time this season the Griffins earned a point after trailing by four goals. Grand Rapids also erased a 4-0 first period deficit against Lake Erie on Dec. 28, gaining the extra point in a 6-5 overtime loss. The Griffins then split back-to-back weekend games against Houston, dropping a 5-1 decision on Saturday night and winning 5-2 on Sunday evening, improving their record to 6-2-1-0 since the arrival of Ty Conklin.
Playoff Picture: The Western Conference playoff race continues to tighten as the end of the regular season (April 15) draws nearer. The conference’s final five playoff seeds (4-8) are currently separated by just one point, with a four-point gap between third place and tenth place. Grand Rapids is currently eight points behind eighth-place Lake Erie but has four games in hand over its North Division rival. The Griffins have played the fewest number of games (59) of any Western Conference team, meaning they can make up ground with seven games in the next 14 days.
On Tap: The Griffins will finish off their season-high five-game road trip on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EDT against the Texas Stars, the only team on the Griffins’ schedule whom they haven’t beaten yet (0-1-1). Grand Rapids will then return home for back-to-back games against North Division opponents this weekend, hosting Toronto at 7 p.m. on Friday and Hamilton at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Welcome Back: The Griffins have been without several key pieces during their season-high five-game road trip, but have seen Joakim Andersson, Chris Conner and Jordan Pearce return after all spending time with Detroit last week. Andersson logged 6:17 in the Red Wings’ 4-3 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night and returned to the Griffins’ lineup for their game in Houston on Saturday. Andersson has a plus-one rating and three shots in five games with Detroit this season. Conner was assigned to the Griffins last Wednesday and recorded four points (2-2—4) in three games with the team last week. The Livonia, Mich., native has suited up for eight games with the Red Wings this season, recording one goal, two assists and a plus-two rating. Pearce did not see game action for Detroit, serving as the backup to former Griffin Joey MacDonald in three contests last week. Pearce has a 3-7-1 record, a 3.53 goals against average and a 0.874 save percentage in 17 games with the Griffins this season.
Still Missing: The Griffins still have three players with the parent Red Wings, including Gustav Nyquist, who was summoned back to Detroit on Monday. The 22-year-old forward has three points and a plus-two rating in seven games with Detroit this season, recording assists in back-to-back games last week. He assisted on the game-winning goal in the Red Wings’ 4-3 win over Los Angeles on Friday and added another assist in the team’s 3-2 loss to Nashville on Saturday. Brendan Smith has also made an impact on the scoresheet, notching his first NHL goal on March 2 versus Minnesota and adding four more points (all assists) in nine games with Detroit this season. Doug Janik is a plus-four with two penalty minutes in four games with Detroit since being called up to Detroit on March 5.
Milestone Watch: Curt Fraser will become the first head coach in franchise history to log 300 games in Tuesday’s contest at Texas. Fraser, in his fourth season as the Griffins’ coach, owns a cumulative 139-121-17-22 record since taking over prior to the 2008-09 season…Francis Pare’s 11th goal of the season in Sunday’s 5-2 win over Houston was his 75th as a Griffin, tying Kip Miller for third place all time. Pare is also three games shy of tying Dave Van Drunen for eighth all time in games played and is three assists away from 100 as a Griffin…Tomas Tatar will tie Cory Emmerton (77) for 10th all time in assists with two more helpers…Gustav Nyquist will become the Griffins’ all-time rookie scoring leader with his next point.
And in news of minor league affiliates past, from he Glens Falls Post-Star:
Four people will join the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame next month. The latest class of inductees was announced Monday.
They are: NBC Sports broadcaster Dave Strader, former Adirondack Red Wings Murray Eaves and Peter Mahovlich, and former Red Wings trainer Dave Casey.
The four will be inducted in a ceremony at Heritage Hall in the Civic Center before a Phantoms game on April 14.
Strader, a Glens Falls native, began his professional broadcast career as the radio announcer and public relations director for the Adirondack Red Wings from 1979-1985. He called the team’s first Calder Cup in 1981. Strader, who still lives in the city, is a play-by-play announcer for NHL on NBC and NBC-Sports Network
Eaves played with the Adirondack Red Wings between 1987-90. He was later an assistant coach with the team for three seasons from 1995-98 He won the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award, awarded to the player best exemplifying sportsmanship, determination, and dedication to hockey, two seasons in a row.
Mahovlich played two seasons with the Adirondack Red Wings at the end of his 16-year NHL career, winning a Calder Cup with the Red Wings in 1981. Mahovlich, who remains in the area, is a pro scout for the Florida Panthers.
Casey served the Red Wings as trainer for the first 14 years of their existence, missing just two of more than 1,200 games. He’s the only person in Adirondack hockey history to earn four Calder Cup rings.
7. Detroit Red Wings [last week] 6 [last ten] 4-5-1: Are 3-3 without Lidstrom and Datsyuk, scoring 20 and allowing 14 in that span. Don’t want to penalize a team without its stars too much, especially when backup Joey MacDonald started all last week.
And Fox Sports’s Joe Rosen:
4. Red Wings [no change, highest/lowest] 2/20: The Wings are 1-4-1 in their last six road games but should get some bodies back for this week’s California road trip. Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard, Todd Bertuzzi and Nicklas Lidstrom are all close to returning.
Update #2.5: Things you can’t make up: a horse named Howe Great, well, I’ll let the Associated Press tell you:
Every now and then an NHL star or a hockey team inspires a racehorse owner.
There have been several horses named for Wayne Gretzky (The Great Gretzky, Gretsky, Gretskyshattrick) and one for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team (Believeinmiracles).
Barry Schwartz, the former chairman of the New York Racing Association and a lifelong Rangers fan, owns or has owned horses named Henrik, Sean Avery and O Shanny — for goalie Henrik Lundqvist and former Rangers Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan.
Now comes Howe Great, a 3-year-old colt on the road to the Kentucky Derby named for Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. Barry Irwin, whose Team Valor International owns the horse, came up with the name for the son of Hat Trick. It’s also a nod to the Gordie Howe hat trick — a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game.
Howe Great moved into the latest AP Run to the Roses Top 10 at No. 10 following his one-length victory over Dullahan in the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday. Although the race was on turf, Irwin and trainer Graham Motion will be looking at the May 5 Derby (run over dirt) if the colt runs well in his next start, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14. Howe Great has won four in a row, all on the turf.
Irwin and Motion took a similar approach last year before winning the Derby with Animal Kingdom.
• I think I’ve covered this three or four times now, but if you want to read more comments from Red Wings GM Ken Holland made prior to attending the GM’s meetings, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness will happily provide them.
Update #3: And here is Helene St. James’ post-practice report updated with player comments:
Lidstrom, Datsyuk and forward Todd Bertuzzi are all out for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, but Datsyuk is optimistic he’ll be back before the trip is over.
Datsyuk, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, stayed on the ice doing drills with video coach Keith McKittrick long after practice ended. Datsyuk told the Free Press exclusively afterward that, “I feel better, much better, but it’s a small step. But I’m happy it’s better and better. Now it’s ‘We see tomorrow.’ Maybe Wednesday. Maybe Saturday. We see how this feels.”
Coach Mike Babcock said he expects Bertuzzi to play Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Lidstrom has been battling a deep bone bruise since getting hit on the outside of his right ankle Feb. 25 against Colorado. He’s out at least two more games, saying all he could do today was skate a few laps. At best, he might return Saturday at San Jose.
The Wings do get back No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard against the Kings. He has missed three games because of a sore groin. “It could have been a lot worse than it was,” he said. “With the way it happened and me not realizing how or when it happened, we caught something before it got too bad.”
Defenseman Jakub Kindl, who is battling an upper body injury, skated for 20 minutes but remains out for the trip.
Update #3.5: Here’s St. James’s video of Datsyuk shooting pucks. Aside from telling you that the code is silly big and that having Firefox with AdBlock Plus and NoScript extensions prevent the video from skipping to a commercials—and I never have to watch commercials on YouTube, either—well…Good luck.
Update #3.75: Via RedWingsFeed, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame may not have a permanent home, but the Detroit Free Press’s Mike Bruendell reports that the MSHOF is inducting 23 new members, including former Red Wings defenseman Marcel Pronovost.
Update #4: Here’s Khan on Kindl:
Kindl skated for about 20 minutes, but a strained oblique muscle is preventing him from handling the puck and shooting. He will not play on this three-game California trip.
“It felt pretty good skating forward, but I haven’t really shot, haven’t really passed the puck hard,’’ Kindl said. “I was afraid it was going to hurt, so I just tried to (avoid) it.’‘
Kindl was hurt during the Feb. 21 game in Chicago, but played two more games before pulling out of the Mach 4 game vs. the Blackhawks after a couple of shifts.
“Just tried to shoot the puck, I broke the stick, felt like something tweaked,’’ Kindl said. “I played through it and it got to the point where I just couldn’t do it. I felt like somebody stabbed me with a knife, so I just couldn’t take it anymore.’‘
He said it hurts to sneeze.
“When I’m walking it’s fine,’’ Kindl said. “But as soon as I put my stick in my hand or try to pass the puck, using my whole muscles, it hurts. So I just got to let it heal.’‘
Update #4.5: Here’s more about Pronovost joining the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Among this year’s class is Marcel Pronovost, the former Red Wings defenseman who was a part of four Wings Stanley Cup-winning teams and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.
“They all stand out,” said Pronovost of his Stanley Cups. He has actually been part of eight, having won one with Toronto, and three with New Jersey as a pro scout.
Pronovost valued his time with the Wings and the hockey that was played during those Stanley Cup years in the 1950s.
“I spent a lot of time at the Olympia,” said Pronovost of his fondest thoughts. “We had more respect back then (amongst players). I like (the current game) but I wouldn’t want to play it.”
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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.