The Malik Report
Also from Khan,
Jimmy Howard in net usually occupied by next game's starter.
more as needed...
added 12:18pm, Khan again...
lines at practice:
From ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, regarding the expansion draft:
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings only have one player with a full no-move, and that's Frans Nielsen -- so he's automatically on their protection list. Second-year forward Dylan Larkin is exempt from the expansion draft.
Right now I see the Wings going with a 7-3-1 protection list because they have so many forwards who are eligible for the expansion draft even with Larkin exempt. Forward Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, for example, are eligible for the expansion draft as third-year pros, so the Wings either have to protect them or expose them.
Detroit has some tough choices up front. Let's assume they protect Nielsen, Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan; that leaves them with one spot left, for either Mantha, Athanasiou, Darren Helm or Luke Glendening. Three of those guys will have to be exposed.
Sportsnet's Sean McIndoe has doled out quarter-season awards, and he's named Jimmy Howard his "comeback player of the year" (thus far):
The winner is… Jimmy Howard.
Midway through last season, Howard looked like he was just about done as an NHL starter. He was coming off back-to-back seasons where he'd posted a below-average .910 save percentage, and he was struggling to even reach that low bar (he'd finish the year with a .906).
He'd lost the starting job to Petr Mrazek, and the six-year contract he'd signed after his last decent season, way back in 2013, was looking like one of the league's worst. He started two playoff games, lost both, and headed into the off-season with everyone wondering if there was any way the Detroit Red Wings could unload him.
They couldn’t, and they're pretty happy about that right now.
Howard's been fantastic so far, posting a .940 save percentage. That hasn't translated to many wins (he's 4-5-0) and he's still splitting time with Mrazek, but he looks like a bona fide NHL starter again, if not something more.
If he can keep it up, the outlook for a Red Wings team that can't seem to score suddenly starts seeming a lot less hopeless.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Pistons' move downtown (presser at 3 PM today on the Wings' website) is only part of what appears to be an organizational affiliation of sorts between Palace Sports & Entertainment and Olympia Entertainment, as noted by the Free Press' James Jahnke...
The deal between Pistons owner Tom Gores and the Wings-owning Ilitch family likely will include the sides’ entertainment arms partnering -- Gores’ Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Ilitches’ Olympia Entertainment.
Details of the deal are expected to be complex and involve additional long-term business relationships between Gores and the Ilitch family. They're expected to include a joint venture operating various theaters and entertainment venues, and possibly a partnership on media broadcast rights for the Pistons, Red Wings and Ilitch-owned Detroit Tigers.
2. Twitter is very busy with notable news this morning:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Red Wings are not in a playoff position as they approach the 20-game mark of the season. Of course, more than three-quarters of the season still needs to be played, but it's often said the standings don't change much after 20 games, which is usually around Thanksgiving.
One year ago on this date, 13 of the 16 clubs that were in a playoff position reached the postseason. Florida, Philadelphia and Anaheim were the teams on the outside that got in, replacing Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.
This year, the Red Wings must replace one of the clubs they're looking up at. There is a long way to go, but history is not on their side.
Here are five things to watch for this week:
Can Mrazek rebound?
The Red Wings were counting on strong goaltending from Petr Mrazek to help compensate for their offensive shortcomings. But Mrazek is off to a shaky start (4-5-1, 3.16 goals-against average, .901 save percentage). He has allowed four goals in each of his past four starts.
Ironically, the team is supporting Mrazek well, averaging 3.1 goals per game in his 10 starts. They have averaged only 1.44 goals per game in Jimmy Howard's nine starts.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Steve Ott regarding the Red Wings' precarious position thanks to a set of third-period setbacks in which the Wings have blown tied games and emerged without points:
“It stings obviously,” Ott said. “Those are the points you need to build towards the playoffs and is scares you when you’re missing those opportune moments. For us we have to find a way to correct that ship already. We’ve given those up and we’re not going to get them back.”
A hard practice Monday was designed to help remedy those maladies and ensure that the Wings can find ways to hang on to such valuable commodities as every point is in the raging battle for one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots.
“The parity in the league is so close,” Ott said. “We’re trying to score. They’re trying to score. It’s the first person obviously to crack in situations is who usually ends up on the wrong side. And what I mean by crack, it’s sticking with the details of our game and continue to stay strong. When you’re details stay strong to the end of the game you have a chance to at least get a point and you try to win again or you find that big goal in the last five minutes. Having that extra confidence to score a big goal is something we need to find right now.”
2. In the prospect department, the Mississauga News's Ian Colpits reports that Vili Saarijarvi will make his Mississauga Steelheads debut on Friday vs. Sault Ste. Marie, three months after Saarijarvi had wrist surgery:
Updated at 7:35 PM: The Red Wings engaged in a fairly-well-attended practice (Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Mike Green and Frans Nielsen took "maintenance days") on Monday afternoon, and after practice, the team addressed its need to shoot more pucks on goal, as DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted:
"I don't think there's any doubt, we got to have more of a shot mentality," [coach Jeff] Blashill said. "I don't think we're doing a good enough job, I think we're passing up shots when we have opportunities to shoot and just create chaos off that. With that said, we got to do a better job of driving to the middle and getting to the net. Those are areas that are easy to help create offense. That's an area we got to do a better job at."
In the Wings' two best performances, a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators Oct. 21 and a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks Oct. 22, the Wings had 43 and 32 shots, respectively. Since then, they've only surpassed 30 shots three times, 36 in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers Oct. 30, 33 in a 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Nov. 4 and 35 in their 3-2 shootout win at Philadelphia Nov. 8.
Updated at 4:25 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 3 PM, taking part in a mid-afternoon practice as they hoped to work their way out of a 4-game losing streak.
DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji reported in...
Edit/update: This is official:
The Pistons will announce Tuesday at 3 p.m. that they will move to Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit starting with the 2017-18 season, a source told The Detroit News on Monday.
The source requested anonymity because an official announcement has not yet taken place.
The announcement will follow a 2:30 p.m. meeting of the city’s Downtown Development Authority board at Detroit Cass Tech High School. The meeting is open to the public.
The DDA votes on whether to support private investments and business growth within Detroit’s central business district with loans, sponsorships and grants, infrastructure improvements and other programs that increase economic activity.
In 2015, the DDA signed off on zoning changes that allowed for construction to start on Little Caesars Arena, which will be the new home ice of the Red Wings — and where the Pistons are expected to move to if a deal is reached. The rezoning allowed for vertical construction at the arena site and the razing of a historic building.
The Free Press's Vince Ellis also confirms:
From the AHL:
LORITO NAMED CCM/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Lorito has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 20, 2016.
Lorito played two games and totaled two goals and four assists for six points, climbing towards the top of the AHL’s scoring leaderboard.
Lorito had a goal and two assists on Wednesday night as Grand Rapids doubled up Texas, 6-3, then matched that effort in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Stars. Five of Lorito’s six points during the week came on the power play, as the Griffins went 5-for-13 with the man advantage in the two games.
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