The Malik Report
Updated with Brendan Smith news at 7:39 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Red Wings posted their Game-Day Preview video, which includes Frans Nielsen, Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader, coach Jeff Blashill and forward Tomas Tatar:
2. Frans Nielsen may be a strange selection for the All-Star Game, but that doesn't mean that he's any less excited about or honored by the selection, as he told MLive's Ansar Khan:
from Dom Luszczyszyn of The Hockey News,
As we reach the halfway point of the season let's take a look at three players whose stock is rising, and three players who have seen their stock drop....
Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings
Q1 Value: 0.89 wins
Current Value: 2.22 wins
This is a tough one (and kind of cheating) because his sample size was so small before this that there would naturally be a lot of volatility. Mantha has 35 career games under his belt, and the previous value was based on his first 15 where he projected to be a solid middle six player notching five points in 15 games with a respectable possession rating. Since then he’s exploded and has been arguably the Red Wings best player, pacing the team in goals, points, shots, and Corsi. The point and goal totals are likely to come down as he gets more NHL time, but it does show his scoring ability exhibited in junior is starting to translate.
What’s really impressive here is his shot ratio. Over the second quarter, he was +60 which was easily the team’s best. Other than his linemates Tomas Tatar (+57) and Henrik Zetterberg (+53) as well as number one D-man Mike Green (+23), pretty much everyone else on the team was deep in the negatives. To be that far above water on a team that’s basically drowning is a very good sign. Mantha always showed a lot of promise given his high ranking in our annual Future Watch, and he’s finally living up the hype. If he’s not already Detroit’s best forward, he will probably cement himself as it soon.
more on other NHL players...
From the Red Wings:
RILEY SHEAHAN AND BRENDAN SMITH SET TO APPEAR AT METRO DETROIT MEIJER LOCATIONS
... Sheahan to Appear at First “Red Wings Day at Meijer” on Sunday, Jan. 15 in Lincoln Park …
DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan and defenseman Brendan Smith are set to appear individually at six Meijer locations throughout the Metro Detroit area, signing free autographs and interacting with the fans of Hockeytown during this season’s “Red Wings Days at Meijer.” Sheahan will make the first appearance of the campaign on Sunday, Jan. 15 in Lincoln Park (3710 Dix Highway), while Smith will appear at the Meijer in Chesterfield Township (27255 23 Mile Rd.) two days later on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Sheahan and Smith will each make two additional stops in Royal Oak, Madison Heights and Detroit.
The first “Red Wings Day at Meijer” in Lincoln Park will run from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., with Sheahan signing from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. All other Meijer visits will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., with player signings to occur from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. The season-long schedule can be found below.
The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta discussses the Red Wings' possible expansion draft strategy:
The first thing, beyond trade deadline thinking, Holland and his staff need to worry about is June's expansion draft. By all accounts, they're at risk of losing either goalie Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, or defenseman Danny DeKeyser or Jonathan Ericsson.
As things currently shape up, you'd have to imagine the Wings are protecting seven forwards, three defenseman and a goalie. That means Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Frans Nielsen (NMC), Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader are going to be protected, leaving two spots for two of Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening and Athanasiou -- Dylan Larkin is exempt.
On defense, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall are going to be protected, leaving one spot for DeKeyser or Ericsson (flip a coin), and either Howard or Mrazek in goal -- and based on performance this season, Howard may be sticking around.
The concern, I'd imagine, is losing DeKeyser or Ericsson, and that's who I'd look at if I'm Vegas GM George McPhee.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Grand Rapids Griffins have chosen to change things up with a hot yoga session to help time pass more constructively between games:
Members of the Grand Rapids Griffins, guys who make a living playing on ice, took a break Tuesday for something warmer.
The team, facing a week of practices before three away games in four days beginning Friday, left the rink and hit the mats for a morning of hot yoga.
It was a well-earned and welcome break for the Griffins, who lead the Western Conference with a .691 winning percentage. But, it wasn't a frivolous way to kill a day.
"You get so wound up, you get so tight playing, so it's mostly a way to help with flexibility," said Griffins captain Nathan Paetsch, who at 33 and in his 14th season, credits yoga will prolonging his career.
Wallner continues, and he posted a video of Paetsch discussing the benefits of Yoga:
Updated 7x at 3:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face an incredibly stiff task in battling the Chicago Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), but the morning skate brought good news for the Wings: Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green will officially return for the Wings, who are starting Petr Mrazek opposite Corey Crawford tonight.
Our friends from Chicago spent their post-morning skate activities discussing their All-Star game representatives, as noted by the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc...
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to pull off a rare win in Chicago against the Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan noted how incredibly poor the Wings' record against Chicago has been over the past couple of years:
* The Blackhawks are 10-1-2 in their past 13 regular season games against the Red Wings, outscoring them 38-23. Chicago leads the Western Conference with 57 points.
As WGN is airing the game in Chicago, Bob Vorwald penned a list of notes regarding tonight's game:
According to the NHL's press release, the following Red Wings player will represent the team at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles:
F Frans Nielsen (DET)
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...
As does the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Update: Michigan Hockey and the Red Wings confirm:
The Detroit Red Wings' "Dads' Trip" consists of the final two games of their 7-game road trip, starting with tonight's affair against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and a win against the 26-12-and-5 Blackhawks would be monumental for the 17-18-and-5 Wings.
Detroit's practice on Monday revealed that Justin Abdelkader (knee) and Mike Green (upper-body) are highly lkely to return on either Tuesday or Thursday against Dallas, and both players would bolster a Wings lineup that's coming off a 6-3 loss to San Jose;
Our friends from Chicago chose not to practice the day after winning a 5-2 decision over the Nashville Predators, and the Hawks have won all 3 games of a 4-game home stand which concludes this evening.
As MLive's Ansar Khan noted, the Blackhawks have been ridiculously dominant against the Wings of late:
"We're getting down to crunch time, we all know that," Zetterberg said. "We know how many games we have left, we know how many points are left to (attain). We pretty much know many we got to win."
The Red Wings are tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with the Buffalo Sabres. They are seven points out of the final playoff spot. And having three other teams to leap-frog makes it that much more difficult.
"You know you have to put a run together for weeks and games," Zetterberg said. "If you're not doing that, you're not going to move. Even if we're doing that and other teams are doing that, it's the same thing. It's hard to be behind and we're behind now."
Will Zetterberg need to deliver another fiery dressing room speech like the one documented in the EPIX special prior to the Centennial Classic?
"We'll see. It's nothing that I'm planning on doing," Zetterberg said. "When it's necessary, I do. We all know what we have to do. You can only talk and say that much. You got to out and play better."
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.