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Red Wings-Predators preview: message-sending made difficult

The Detroit Red Wings hopped back on Red Bird II on Friday afternoon having slept an extra night in their own beds subsequent to their 2-0 win over Columbus thanks to the generosity of Mike Ilitch, and when the Wings face off against the Nashville Predators tonight (8 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/WXYT), they will both face a possible playoff opponent as the Predators sit one point out of eighth place in the Western Conference, and, put delicately, a team that’s kicked the snot out of Detroit this season.

The Predators have gone 4-2-and-2 over their past eight games, Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime win over Boston included, but they boast a 3-game winning streak and a 3-and-1 record over the Red Wings this season, and they’re well aware of the fact that they can seemingly cycle the puck down low against the Wings’ defenders, earn breakaway opportunities and go to the Wings’ net with seeming impunity, as Predators captain Shea Weber told the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper:

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Red Wings’ Brian Rafalski will play on Saturday, but Pavel Datsyuk is iffy

Updated 5x at 1:10 with Hudler and Osgood news: Here’s an update on the respective injury statuses of Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski and forward Pavel Datsyuk, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

The Red Wings appear to have caught a break on the injury front, as defenseman Brian Rafalski won’t miss any games and forward Pavel Datsyuk is only day-to-day.

General manager Ken Holland said this morning that Rafalski is “planning to play in Nashville. Pav is sore but possible for tomorrow.” Datsyuk’s status will be determined Saturday morning.

Datsyuk was hurt midway through the third period of Thursday’s 2-0 victory at Columbus when he was hit along the boards by Nashville’s Rick Nash, suffering what the Wings termed a lower-body injury.

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Red Wings-Blue Jackets wrap-up: hangover game

On St. Patrick’s Day, the Detroit Red Wings came down from the emotional high that was defeating the Washington Capitals by a 3-2 tally on Wednesday by skating into Columbus and getting out-shot by a wide margin and out-played to some extent thanks to a classic case of back-to-back games’ “heavy legs,” but Joey MacDonald was sensational, stopping 37 shots to deliver Mike Babcock his 300th win and a 2-0 victory for Detroit.

The win was costly, however, as the Wings lost both Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski to injuries, with Datsyuk suggesting that he suffered a “lower-body injury” (left knee/left ankle/Charley horse?) in a third-period collision with Rick Nash, and Rafalski avoiding a severe knee sprain via a knee brace after Antoine Vermette lost his footing and dumped Rafalski into the end boards, leaving Rafalski on the ice in pain, clutching his right knee. In theory, we’ll know more about the players’ injuries on Friday, barring Babcock’s discretion…

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Wings prospect Gustav Nyquist nominated for Hobey Baker award for second time

Red Wings prospect and University of Maine Black Bears forward Gustav Nyquist is crossing his fingers that, by mysterious machinations, the NCAA will choose to include Maine in college hockey’s Division I playoffs. In the interim, and as Division I’s respective conferences crown playoff champions this weekend,* the Portland Press-Herald’s Rachel Lenzi reports that Nyquist’s spectacular second-half performance for Maine earned him a particularly prestigious honor:

On Thursday night, five days after the University of Maine men’s hockey team was eliminated from the Hockey East quarterfinals, Gustav Nyquist received some consolation. Nyquist, the Black Bears junior right wing, was named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in Division I college hockey.

“I’m a little surprised,” said Nyquist, who gave credit to his teammates and linemates when discussing the individual nomination. “There’s so many good players out there in college hockey. It must be really tough to narrow it down to 10 (finalists), then to three. Just being nominated as one of the top 10, it’s a huge honor. There are so many players who could be in that top 10.”

Nyquist is Maine’s leading scorer this season and is currently Hockey East’s second-leading scorer with 18 goals and 33 assists in 36 games.

Nyquist also spoke to the Bangor Daily News’s Larry Mahoney about the news:

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Initial reports regarding Brian Rafalski, Pavel Datsyuk’s injuries are unclear

Updated at 1:41 AM: The Detroit Red Wings lost the services of Brian Rafalski and Pavel Datsyuk in their 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets via collisions with Antoine Vermette and Rick Nash, respectively, with Rafalski staying on the ice for a while after grabbing his right knee, and Datsyuk leaving the ice after appearing to jam his left knee or ankle into the boards in the Columbus zone. Wings coach Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson that Rafalski would be fine, but Datsyuk had a, “Lower-body injury” and would be reevaluated on Friday, and MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms via the sources themselves:

“I just take a hit – lower-body injury,’’ Datsyuk said. “I’m hoping (to play Saturday in Nashville), but now it’s after the game. In a couple of days we’ll see. Tomorrow we’ll make a decision. See how it feels in the morning.’‘

Asked how concerned he is, Datsyuk said. “I don’t know, it’s hard to say now.’‘

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NHL’s GM’s want to broaden video review, but not to review goaltender interference wave-offs

Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski offered a superb summary of the general managers’ talk about possibly expanding video review to cover high-sticking penalties and waved-off goals, but as a Red Wings fan, I can only firmly plant my palm onto my forehead when reading what disciplinarian Colin Campbell had to say to Nicholas J. Cotsonika about what the NHL does and does not want to review:

Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Is it likely that you’ll go back to the managers in June with what specifics that may be broadened in video review?

Colin Campbell: “We had a discussion and there were some requests to expand video review. I told them they couldn’t be general in those requests and where do you want to expand it to? Right now I think we’ve played 1,080 games and we’ve probably had 5-8 situations where it’s ‘why don’t we call it how we think we see it instead of the view we need with the puck across the line?’ The managers had a little bit of feel for, ‘If you think it’s in, then call it in,’ and we don’t operate that way. There was some appetite to take video review a little further.”

Cotsonika: Is there a chance that a four-minute minor or goalie interference could be up for video review next year?

Campbell: “Yeah, the four-minute minor was our request because we’ve had situations where on video review it’s the other players stick and it’s a hard call on the ice. We said we can live with it for 82 games, but in the playoffs that’s a pretty big turnaround if you get the wrong call. The referees have supported us on that. They would like some help on that. That’s our plea in hockey operations. We threw that at the managers and that could get some traction in June.”

Cotsonika: What about goalie interference?

Campbell: “Goalie interference did not have any traction.”

So it’s four more years of Tomas Holmstrom’s shadow touching another goaltender and resulting in waved off goals. Oy yoy yoy…

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Red Wings-Blue Jackets game-day updates: MacDonald’s in, Holland weighs in and baby Salei’s arrived

Updated 7x at 2:50 with Babcock audio, Osgood news, and Hudler’s out as he’s ill: The Detroit Red Wings will have a now-familiar face in the lineup tonight when they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 PM, Fox Sports Detroit/FS Ohio/WXYT) in Joey MacDonald:

The crazy life of a back-up goalie. Joey MacDonald was sent down to Grand Rapids earlier in the week when it appeared Chris Osgood was ready to play. But Osgood still isn’t quite ready, as it turns out. So here was MacDonald being recalled yesterday afternoon, and now it looks like he’ll get the start tonight here in Columbus.

The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms while discussing the second undercurrent going into tonight’s tilt with the first of two very important Wings people in Jimmy Howard—ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun talked to Ken Holland as well, so please continue reading—the fact that the Wings appear to have steadied themselves after a 4-game losing streak and what appeared to be a bit of top playoff seed malaise:

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Red Wings-Capitals wrap-up and Wings-Blue Jackets set-up: refresher course

The Detroit Red Wings took a midnight flight to Columbus, where they’ll play against the Blue Jackets tonight (7 PM EDT, FSD/FS Ohio/WXYT) feeling as good about themselves as they have in a long time thanks to a tightly-contested 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. The Wings played a determined and genuinely enthusiastic game against a novel and highly-skilled opponent, rising to the occasion of stifling the Capitals’ offense while answering with clutch goals of their own, and by playing a solid 60-minute game in the first time since what seems like forever, they snapped the Capitals’ 9-game winning streak while pushing the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks further behind them in the Western Conference standings.

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A cheer-up comment from Brian Rafalski

Okay, so the news that Chris Osgood is apparently still “too sore” to back up Jimmy Howard for tonight’s Red Wings-Capitals game isn’t exactly great news. In fact, it’s downright worrisome. But maybe this quip from Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski, who spoke to NHL.com’s Bob Snow about his long and winding road to the NHL, as well as his three Stanley Cup wins with the New Jersey Devils and WIngs, might cheer you (and me) up:

“The two experiences [with New Jersey and Detroit] are very similar,” Rafalski said. “The first year, obviously, winning the championship at each and then losing in the Finals the second and then being knocked out [of the playoffs] early in the third year. I guess that means we’re supposed to win it this year,” he said, smiling about the Wings possibly paralleling the Devils’ three-year Cup calendar in 2000 and 2003 by replicating it in 2008 and 2011. 

“I’ve been on some very good teams,” Rafalski said. “I came into New Jersey with some very skilled players and fit in real nice playing with some real good defensemen early in my career like Scott Stevens, and Scott Niedermayer, and having Larry Robinson as coach.

“All that continued [in Detroit]. I’ve just tried to learn from who is around you. Take this, and ask, ‘Can I use that? How can I use it, and in what part of my game?’ Just absorb things that are important. Each Cup was special with the path to each; each takes just as much effort. It is the highest echelon of this sport.”

I sure hope we’re due.

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Red Wings-Capitals game-day updates: Datsyuk, Ovechkin ready to face off

Updated 8x with Osgood news, other stuff at 3:16 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Washington Capitals tonight (7:30 PM EDT, Versus/the game is also on Fox Sports Detroit and Comcast Sportsnet Washignton/WXYT) in a showdown which will showcase two of the league’s most highly-skilled teams and two of the league’s most dynamic players in Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin, who, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes, happen to be good friends as the pair played together for Dynamo Moscow during the lockout:

Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk and the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin are old friends, and chatted prior to the morning skates. Inside the Wings’ locker room there’s a good deal of excitement about seeing Ovechkin play, as he’s about as dominant as they come. He’s racked up four goals and eight assists during the winning streak.

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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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