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The Malik Report

One more Red Wings update: Eaves out for a week, Mursak up from GR

Updated 3x at 5:03 PM: Continuing a string of Red Wings updates: the Free Press’s George Sipple provides the results of Patrick Eaves’ MRI while reporting that the Wings have recalled Jan Mursak from the Griffins to take Eaves’ place in the Wings’ lineup:

[T]he Wings are waiting for results from MRI exam on forward Patrick Eaves. General manager Ken Holland said today that Eaves could be out for a week.

Eaves is “sore” from lower-body injury, Holland said. He won’t travel to Buffalo on Saturday and might not travel to California for the start of the Wings’ western trip next week.

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:

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Mathieu Schneider joins NHLPA as special assistant to Donald Fehr

Five years after Chris Chelios won then-Red Wings teammate Mathieu Schneider over to his dissident party opposing the reign of Ted Saskin, the newly-retired Schneider has joined the NHLPA as a high-profile player advocate (per the NHLPA’s website):

Mathieu Schneider, a veteran defenceman of 20 seasons in the NHL, has joined the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) as a Special Assistant to the Executive Director, Don Fehr announced today.

“I am pleased to have Mathieu join the NHLPA’s staff,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “His vast experience as an NHL player and as an active member in his Association will make Mathieu a great addition to the staff and an exceptional asset for the players.”

In his newly-created position at the NHLPA, Schneider will work on a number of on-ice and off-ice matters. Schneider will also play a role on behalf of the Association in future rounds of collective bargaining.

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To the net, Mule!

Even amongst a sea of Re Wings off-day news and updates regarding Patrick Eaves, who won’t play on Thursday against Dallas due to a “lower body injury” of unspecified severity (it’s bad enough that he won’t be attending a scheduled autograph signing at Meijer in Westland from 5-7 PM today, with Johny Ogrodnick pinch-hitting), the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan posted a story worth front-page status, duly noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock expects Johan Franzen—who’s in the midst of a 10-game goal-less slump—to stop lurking in the weeds like a sniper and return to playing a power forward’s game:

“He can always shoot the puck,” Babcock said. “The challenge for Mule is we want him on the inside and be big and physical and be at the net. He can always be a shooter. He’ll be able at (age) 40 to glide up and down the wing and get two kids to pass him the puck and score goals. (But) if you want to be a dominant power forward you have to be involved and be on the inside. When you’re scoring those things seem to come naturally, but when you’re not, you tend to get away from it. He’s in the process of working himself back.”

Franzen played a Ray Sheppard-style perimeter game while getting up to speed following what were really two knee surgeries (one to repair his left ACL and one to take a chunk out of his right ACL to reconstruct his left one) over the past year, but as the year-from-his-return-from-surgery mark came and went, he seemed to be rounding back into the “bully on the playground who can push his way right through smaller, weaker kids” form that is the Mule’s trademark, but as the Wings slumped in early February, Franzen went back to his perimeter-lurking ways.

Also of note from Kulfan, albeit repetitiously:

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Rick Dudley to sign extension with Thrashers: Bad hair, good GM

The Buffalo News’s Mike Harrington reported the following about an hour and a half ago...

[New Buffalo Sabres owner] Terry Pegula said yesterday that Darcy Regier is staying on as Sabres GM so the new owner isn’t eyeing any sort of search for a new man for the job. One candidate that fans and media have thrown around a lot if the job opened was Atlanta GM Rick Dudley, the former Sabres forward. That talk is now over.

Dudley has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Thrashers, NHL sources have confirmed. Terms are unknown but Dudley certainly would have been a hot commodity for the Sabres and other clubs had he become a free agent.

Concern the Thrashers might be moving from Atlanta to perhaps Winnipeg was no real concern to Dudley, who maintains a home in Lewiston and is on the road scouting much of the time. Dudley is not slated to be in Buffalo tonight.

Per Twitter, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore confirms the news and says that the man whose weaved-and-transplanted hairline is a bit of an adventure will indeed sign a 4-year extension on Thursday.

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Red Wings off-day report: Patrick Eaves to have test on lower-body injury, plus other stuff

Updated 6x with Eaves out news at 2 PM EST: It’s difficult to read the tea leaves on this one: Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves left during the second period of the Wings’ 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks with what the team described as a “lower-body” injury, and MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Eaves will have an MRI to determine whether he’ll miss time with his knee and/or leg injury today:

Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves will have an MRI today to determine the extent of his knee/leg injury, general manager Ken Holland said. Eaves was hurt midway through the second period of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to San Jose, when he delivered a check on Torrey Mitchell and their knees collided.

If Eaves is out for Thursday’s game against Dallas, the Red Wings will need to recall a forward from the Grand Rapids Griffins (likely Jan Mursak), unless Valtteri Filppula is ready to play. He’s been out since Feb. 7 with a sprained knee but said he expects to return either Thursday or Saturday.

Also of Wings-related note this afternoon (expect this post to be updated as practice news rolls in):

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All about Herm 2 Hockeytown 2

Abel to Yzerman launched the “Herm to Hockeytown” phenomenon a year ago, and while our fearless leader is currently at sea, defending our nation from enemies abroad and reliable internet access, Herm to Hockeytown 2 will take place on March 11th, 2011, when the Red Wings tangle with the Edmonton Oilers, and between The Production Line handling pledges and a dedicated group of Twitter-based Wings fans like Jen MacRostie taking the reigns this year, Bill’s absence hasn’t detracted from the momentum carrying an initiative which benefits Children’s Hospital of Michigan from going forward and growing by leaps and bounds.

I asked Jen to weigh in about H2H2 to help clarify what’s going on and how you can get involved if you haven’t done so already, and here’s our Q and A:

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Red Wings-Sharks wrap-up: Sharp like a spork

Updated in the middle of the night with multimedia, quotes, notes and a bit about Gustav Nyquist: The Detroit Red Wings came home after a 3-game road trip hoping to stave off the usual, “First game back let-down” while facing the streaking San Jose Sharks, but a combination of lack of attention to detail, constant back-passing and regrouping that stifled the Wings’ transition game and tangling with a team that plain old wanted the game more than the Wings did wasted a superb goaltending performance by Jimmy Howard and resulted in a 4-3 loss to the Sharks on Tuesday night.

The Wings lost Patrick Eaves to a knee or thigh injury of unspecified severity and seemed to lose their focus after successfully killing off a full 2-minute 5-on-3 thanks largely to Howard, choosing to trade the kinds of rushes with the Sharks that involve slowly skating into the Sharks’ zone, firing a long shot on Niemi and then allowing the Sharks to roar back down the ice, usually on an odd-man rush, and register both a superb scoring chance on Howard and some serious “zone time,” establishing a cycling game which eventually bit the Wings’ defenders as they chased the puck carrier once again, with the expected pass-to-the-slot-and-goal result (Devin Setoguchi’s strange goal included).

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Red Wings’ Mike Modano confirms return plan of action

This isn’t necessarily news to Red Wings fans in Metro Detroit, but Wings forward Mike Modano confirmed to NHL.com’s Brian Hedger that he will indeed return from a three-month absence due to torn tendons and nerve damage in his right wrist when the Wings play against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday:

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Red Wings-Sharks game-day updates: good news about Osgood

Updatedd 5x at 4:16 PM: As the Red Wings prepare to face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area/WXYT), the Wings received good news regarding Chris Osgood’s recovery from sports hernia surgery, as the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness notes:

Osgood has been taken a few shots recently during his half-dozen times on the ice before the full team takes it. He’s hoping to get into a few practice drills as early at Wednesday.

“Hopefully tomorrow I’ll practice with the guys a little bit, not that much, just every day bump it up a little bit,” Osgood said Tuesday. “I’m pretty fired up about it.”

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Red Wings-Sharks set-up, the grateful Bertuzzi, Detroit’s top athletes, power rankings, etc.

The Detroit Red Wings received Monday off after playing 3 games in 3 cities over the course of just under 72 hours over this past weekend, and tonight, they return to Joe Louis Arena to play a San Jose Sharks team (7:30 PM EST, FSD/CSN Bay Area/WXYT) that’s won eight of their past ten games, has won three straight games (including a 3-0 shutout of the Avalanche on Saturday) and boasts one of the NHL’s “Three Stars of the Week” in goaltender Antti Niemi, who boasts a 0.98 goals-against average and .963 save percentage over the Sharks’ three wins.

In other words, the Wings have to face their usual caliber of opponent in their first game back after a road trip. As the Sharks’ winning streak has earned them nothing more than a fourth-place standing in the Western Conference, one point behind the 3rd-place Coyotes and only four points ahead of the 11th-place Chicago Blackhawks, the Wings certainly can’t match the desperation of the Sharks. 

As the Wings prepare to tangle with the playoff pack and/or possible first-round opponents over the next two weeks—the Wings play the Sharks (twice), Stars, Kings (twice), Coyotes and Ducks, as well as a just-out-of-the-playoff-picture Sabres team—however, the Wings’ play can’t falter much, five-game winning streak included, because if the Wings lose to the teams chasing them, their seven-point lead (80 to 73 points) over Phoenix and twelve-point lead over the Blackhawks (68 points) could disappear in a hurry. The next two weeks’ worth of games will determine whether Detroit cruises toward its customarily 1st or 2nd-place playoff spot, or whether they’ll end up in de-facto playoff series against the teams that want to do nothing more than tear into the Wings’ heels.

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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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