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The Malik Report

The NHL’s keeping its doctors in the loop regarding the new concussion protocols

After this past weekend’s worth of on and off-the-record furor from general managers regarding the NHL’s decision to shove a new concussion-diagnosing profile down the league’s collective throat without consulting its GM’s, coaches or medical personnel, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the league is at least doing its best to clarify its expectations while addressing the concerns of team doctors:

Last week, NHL general managers who faced the cameras and endured the media scrums following the Florida meetings seemed pleased with the NHL’s new concussion initiatives and swift introduction of enhanced protocol to better diagnose the injury. Yet, over the weekend, reports indicated some unnamed GMs aren’t happy with how the issue is being handled, or implemented.

To date, the league has hosted two of four planned conference calls - mandatory for all team doctors and trainers and optional for NHL coaches and general managers. These calls have been hosted by the NHL’s Julie Grand and Dr. Ruben Echemendia, the director of the NHL/NHLPA concussion working group, and are designed to educate all involved.

Sources say the calls have included a ton of questions, comments and complaints, but have also helped quell a lot of fears and have eliminated some of the misconceptions. For example, it was believed an on-ice official could order a player into protocol. In fact, the officials are not authorized to do so, but they can advise the bench of the symptoms they may have observed, thus encouraging the team’s medical staff to take the necessary steps.

Continue with Coyotes and Cooke talk.

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Zetterberg wants the NHL to “throw the book” at Matt Cooke

Updated at 7:02 PM: Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg spoke in very specific and concrete terms when he was asked what the NHL should do in terms of dealing with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke’s latest suspend-able offense, as he told the Sporting News’s Craig Custance:

Henrik Zetterberg isn’t one to make outlandish statements. The Red Wings star forward typically lets his play do the talking. But when asked what he would do if he were handing out the suspension for Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke, he didn’t hesitate.

“At least the season,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t think he should play any more this year. And then we just have to see what we’re going to do after that.”

Zetterberg later clarified that when he says season, he means the whole thing. Playoffs included.

“He keeps doing stuff over and over,” Zetterberg said. “I think the suspensions he gets doesn’t really bother him. He keeps going out and doing that stuff.”
“We have to be harder on suspensions. Especially guys who do this over and over again,” he said. “We have to respect each other as a player. You can’t go out and hurt a guy like that. It could be career-ending.”

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Red Wings-Pengins game-day updates: Salei to step forward?

Latest update at 6:50 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (7:30 PM, Versus/TSN 2/WXYT), Wings coach Mike Babcock revealed that the team may use a slightly unfamiliar name up front in one Ruslan Salei, as reported by the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

The Red Wings are so low on personnel that they’re calling on defenseman Ruslan Salei to play tonight against Pittsburgh, as they may be down to 10 forwards. Forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (groin) and Jiri Hudler (shoulder, neck, fever) are out. Todd Bertuzzi didn’t skate this morning because of a sore back but will take the pregame warm-ups and see how he feels. Mike Babcock was certain Bertuzzi will play.

Today’s morning skate was Salei’s first practice in a week, as he’s been home in California for the birth of his second daughter. Salei didn’t know he was playing right after the skate, but Babcock expressed no doubt.

“Salei will be our seventh D and our 12th forward if we choose to use him there,” Babcock said.

St. James also reports that Chris Osgood hopes to return to the lineup by Wednesday, assuming he experiences no further setbacks…

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Red Wings-Penguins set-up: winning and getting healthy matter more than the match-up

The Detroit Red Wings face off against a playoff nemesis tonight in the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 EDT, Versus/WXYT), and they’ll do so minus the services of Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler.

While the fact that neither team likes the other very much thanks to their Stanley Cup Finals meetings in 2008 and 2009 might play into both teams’ levels of energy and engagement in the game, and their history certainly makes for a “good story” in the media, the absences of Datsyuk and Sidney Crosby take some of the bloom off this would-be rose, and, perhaps moreover, the bottom line for both teams is simple—as NHL.com suggests, the Wings and Penguins are in tight races for playoff positioning, and they want to earn two points in the standings more than anything else:

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Red Wings will go up to 11 against Penguins

Not good news: MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings’ medical staff has chosen to keep Pavel Datsyuk (“lower-body”), Johan Franzen (he apparently has a groin injury) and Jiri Hudler (flu) out of the Wings’ lineup for Monday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, meaning that the Wings will dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen once again:

“We’re anticipating Hudler, Franzen and Datsyuk all out tomorrow,’’ [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland said. “They’re all day to day. We’ll see as we go.’‘

Defenseman Ruslan Salei will return to the lineup after being away for a week to be with his wife, who had their third child.

The Red Wings will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen. They have no other alternative. They can’t recall a player from the Grand Rapids Griffins because they don’t have the salary cap space, Holland said.

There are only two ways they would recall a player: If Chris Osgood were healthy and could dress, it would enable them to send Joey MacDonald down and use his cap space. Of they could put someone on long-term injured reserve.

I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised to see the Wings experiment with Jakub Kindl as a forward from time to time…And Khan also posted an article regarding the Wings’ takes on the head-shot debate this morning, too.

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Adam Larsson, the next Nicklas Lidstrom?

This Sunday morning’s usual crop of notebooks generally focus upon the ramifications of the general managers’ meetings, from Larry Brooks’ lambaste of the NHL’s new concussion protocol to the Boston Globe’s Kevin Dupont’s “state-of-the-present-game’s safety-via-an-alumnus’s assessment notebook, Terry Frei’s belief that more “bravery” is needed from progressive-minded GM’s, a discussion of the new stanchion pads which will be installed in most rinks next season from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo and even a few comments about concussions from Mathieu Schneider and an update on the NHLPA’s stance on visor use via the Vancouver Province’s Jim Jamieson...

But the really intriguing comments of the morning come from the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, whose slate of Hockey World (and “More Hockey World”) offerings include both one Oiler’s take on concussions and a scouting report regarding one of the most intriguing draft prospects to come along in quite some time—in a player who’s being explicitly compared to Nicklas Lidstrom. Matheson hopes that the Oilers will draft Adam Larsson for good reason:

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Red Wings-Predators wrap-up: the egg and you

Here’s the recipe: Red Wings go into Nashville. The Predators, who insist before and after the game that they “respect” the hell out of the Red Wings, attempt to injure them in every way, shape and form as they try to check the Wings’ players into next month. The Wings get a bad call or two against them, the Predators get a few weird bounces—earned, mind you, by hard work and a relentless forecheck—which go into the back of the Wings’ net, the Wings struggle on a crucial special teams opportunity or two and Pekka Rinne stands on his head. Add water, stir and bake at 375 degrees in front of a packed whatever-the-heck they’re calling the Predators’ rink this week and give Nashville two points.

Sound familiar? The Red Wings tried to break through against the Nashville Predators minus the services of Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler, and while every one of the Wings’ 11 forwards, 6 defensemen and their goaltender (Jimmy Howard stopped 36 shots in a spectacular performance) worked their tails off, they came up empty on a rare power play drawn with only 3:53 left in the game and came up short against the Predators, dropping a 3-1 decision to Nashville, which has both won 4 of its 5 games against the Wings and has a game remaining against Detroit in Nashville, where the team’s been all but invincible against Detroit.

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Dominik Hasek wants to play for at least one more season in the KHL

Former Red Wing Dominik Hasek visited an old haunt on Saturday night, dropping the puck prior to Saturday night’s Sabres-Thrashers game on Saturday night as he’s in Buffalo to take part in the Willie O’Ree Skills Weekend, which is being hosted by his “Hasek’s Heroes” hockey program. After the game, Hasek told Buffalo reporters that he wants to play for at least one more season in the KHL at 46 years of age, as noted by the Associated Press:

“I still believe I could play on the highest level. However, it wouldn’t be a good idea to come back right now to the NHL,” Hasek said. “I feel like I want to stay in hockey, but it’s got to be Russia.”


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Gordie Howe continues to hold his own

Red Wings legend Gordie Howe’s spending his weekend in Calgary, Alberta to watch over a “pro-am” hockey tournament which hopes to raise significant funds for the “Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s Research,” but Mr. Hockey himself hasn’t spoken about his status as dealing with his wife’s passing in quite a long time, so the Calgary Herald’s George Johnson asked his son Marty to provide fans with an update as to how the 82-year-old’s doing:

“When I originally took over, I had to pull back the reins a bit,’’ says son Marty, who travels with his dad on behalf of the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s. “But he does not like alone time. So actually, mentally and physically he’s so much better when he’s busy. These events perk him up. He thrives on this. The more we do, the better he seems to feel so I just keep him as busy as possible.

“Mentally, he’s declined a bit. There’s a lot of publicity over the research being done on ex-players and concussions. I’m sure he’s had his share over time, with the no helmets and everything.’’ The cause is a near and dear one.

Johnson reports that Howe spends most of his time with Mark, Marty or Murray, and I believe his grandson Travis is now one of his business managers, and Marty states that the Scotibank-sponsored “pro-ams” are taking up more and more of Gordie’s time:

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Red Wings-Predators game-day updates: Datsyuk out, Franzen iffy

Updated 3x at 3:32 PM: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Wings may end up playing shorthanded against the Nashville Predators tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/WXYT) as Pavel Datsyuk (“lower-body”) won’t play, and Johan Franzen’s a bit iffy as well:

Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk will miss tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m., FSD) and continues to be listed as day-to-day with the lower-body injury he suffered in Thursday’s game.

Coach Mike Babcock said forward Johan Franzen will be a game-time decision after getting ‘bumped’’ the last game. If Franzen can’t play, the Red Wings will have one player less than a full complement and will go with 11 forwards and six defensemen.

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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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