The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers started out as a wash and finished as a heart-attack-inducing thriller, but as the Wings try to solidify at least some sort of playoff footing heading into the Olympic break, I'll take the atrial fibrillation ahead of a day set aside to promote women's heart health.
This time the Red Wings at least flipped the script against a team that's become a nemesis of sorts--and a team that the Wings hopefully won't play again until next season--by out-shooting the Panthers by a wide, wide margin but getting scored on first instead of surrendering a lead, with Scottie Upshall's breakaway goal 19:34 into the 1st (Howard leans to the right, Upshall scores through the left pad) ruining a dominant 11-to-2 shot disparity and incredibly strong first period effort by the Wings.
A slightly tentatative Pavel Datsyuk and company didn't waiver, however, and Daniel Alfredsson scored a helluva top-shelf goal off a fine exchange with Henrik Zetterberg, who didn't get an assist, and a set of passes and rebound retrievals, respectively, by Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader 6:30 into the 2nd:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“Sooner or later I needed to start,” Datsyuk said after the morning skate. “I’ve been waiting enough.”
It was Datsyuk’s decision. He is the captain of the Russian Olympic team and wanted to play in a couple of games before heading to Sochi, Russia, on Sunday.
“I just hope we’re doing the right thing,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I hope we’re not bringing him back just because it’s the Olympics. I hope he’s actually ready and we’re going to find out tonight. One thing about getting back on the ice, you can’t hide out there.
“It’s in his country, he wants to play bad, but he’s a smart guy, he isn’t going to jeopardize his career over something like this. Makes no sense. So we got to trust him. Same way it happens all the time. You trust them. In the end they make the decision. That’s what injured players do.”
Asked how he feels, Datsyuk said, “It’s hard to say but when game starts, I start to more feel it and then I can say. But now it’s OK.”
Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Glendening-Miller. Looks like Eaves, Cleary, Bertuzzi are scratched, assuming Datsyuk ready.
added 12:00pm, Khan says Babcock notes Datsyuk is in tonight, Eaves on stand-by just in case.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“It wasn’t bad, yeah, I can move,” Datsyuk said. “Better every day. Now I skate with the team and it’s more fun and more enjoyable and more confidence.”
Datsyuk realizes the importance of playing a couple of games before the Olympic break. The Red Wings play at Tampa Bay Saturday.
“It’s everybody that’s feeling the pressure, but I need to be smart and make the right decision,” Datsyuk said. “We’ll see tomorrow.”
He added, “It’s important (to play a couple of games), but it’s frustrating to stay in the locker room and watch the game. It makes me more nervous and can’t help the team in the locker room.”
more on the Wings...
Ted Kulfan tweets Datsyuk on the ice for practice.
More updates when available...
added 11:35am, Bill Roose tweet says everyone skating but Franzen.
added 11:39am, Khan tweets,
Based on how they're skating it looks like Datsyuk expecting to play tomorrow. He's on line with Helm and Alfredsson.
Other lines: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader; Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco; Andersson-Glendening-Miller.
Eaves, Cleary and Bertuzzi also skating but appear to be the odd men out. On defense, Kindl is only player not skating. Weiss is skating.
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
Sure, Henrik Zetterberg would like to have a break, or at least catch a break. Sometimes his back aches, sometimes his legs are weary. But he’s needed in all sorts of places now, and the next time you hear him complain, it’ll probably be the first.
This is the greatest test of Zetterberg’s captaincy, across two continents, no time to rest. And somehow, in the midst of guiding the Red Wings through their injury woes, before helping guide Sweden in the Sochi Olympics, Zetterberg is playing as well as ever.
In fact, I’d suggest he’s having one of the remarkably impactful seasons of his career. He leads the Wings with 16 goals and 48 points despite missing 13 games to injury. He’s doing it without a batch of ailing teammates, including Pavel Datsyuk, who may return from a 14-game absence Thursday.
Zetterberg is taking on more duties, all while helping teach the youngsters how to shave. Well, if not shave, how to behave. You’d think it’d wear on a 33-year-old star, with the Wings again scrapping to reach the playoffs. But as the toil has mounted, the toll hasn’t, and as he stood in front of the updated standings on the eraser board in the dressing room, I’d swear it seemed Zetterberg was enjoying this even more than normal.
Besides the Datsyuk news, Ansar Khan of Mlive with updates on Weiss, Franzen, Gustavsson and Sheahan the only roster player eligible to play in Grand Rapids during the break...
Center Stephen Weiss will travel with the team to Florida and Tampa Bay in order to continue practicing.
He will skate with the Plymouth Whalers, his junior club, during the first part of the Olympic break, before NHL clubs resume practicing on Feb. 19.
“If all goes well we’d like to get him a couple games in Grand Rapids,” Holland said.
Weiss likely will play two games with the Griffins on a conditioning stint, either the weekend of Feb. 21-23 or the following weekend.
added 1:10pm, from the Detroit News,
The Detroit City Council has approved a new hockey arena land transfer deal in a close vote.
The vote came afterthe president of Olympia Entertainment addressed the City Council and a packed auditorium Tuesday, making a final push prior to the panel’s vote on a land transfer that will pave the way for a new hockey arena and entertainment district downtown.
The Wings have a scheduled day off today, will practice Wednesday then fly to Tampa for their game on Thursday.
So news today probably will be a little slow but I did find this at Sport-Express and I have not seen many of the fans complaining about Datsyuk.
There is still the hotheads of the number of fans, "Red Wings" has accused the Russians in contempt of the contract, as it skips team matches for a dream of home Olympics. At the same head coach, "Wings" Mike Babcock talks about the problems of their leader with his foot, which he can not fully rely in skating and genmenedzher Ken Holland while stressing: the club is sympathetic to the desire to make the star at the Olympic hockey tournament.
added 12:36pm, Babcock says Pavel Datsyuk will play Thursday.
WDIV's Mara MacDonald reported that the deal that will expand the Downtown Development Authority's footprint by forty blocks to accommodate the Ilitches' follow-on rink replacing Joe Louis Arena will probably be approved by Detroit's City Council today (at 10 AM), but she also reported that it will likely pass by a narrow 5-4 vote.
When the council meets with representatives from Olympia Entertainment and Ilitch Holdings this morning, the members of the council who either expect more concessions from the Ilitches or those who plan on voting "no" on principle (and/or out of personal interest) may be a little more obstinate after reading the Free Press's front-page story.
According to Joe Guillen and JC Reindl, the proposed deal on the table involves the City and Downtown Development Authority transferring the remaining 27 properties which encompass the proposed arena's footprint to the Ilitches for the pricey sum of one dollar--after various Ilitch companies have spent almost $50 million gaining control of the majority of the real estate in the area:
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.