The Malik Report
The Red Wings are about to get incredibly "busy" in the hockey sense of the term. After today's practice, they'll fly to New Jersey to kick off a slate of 3 games played over the course of 4 nights and a total of 5 in 8 afternoons and evenings (Sunday's game against the Rangers is a matinee).
After a two-day break on March 12th and 13th, the team will play on an every-other-night basis for the balance of the month, racking up 10 games over the course of 17 afternoons and evenings...
So the 28-20-and-12 Wings will reach the 75-game mark by March 31st, and between now and then, we'll find out whether the team can make any hay in terms of wiggling out of a messy race for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
In penning his "Look Ahead in Hockeytown," DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose both previews this week's quartet of games and frames the Wings' situation as Ken Holland prepares for Wednesday's trade deadline and the players on the ice prepare to "get busy":
In Red Wings prospect news...This is a short entry, but I'm trying to keep prospect news separate from big-club news.
In the ECHL...Hoo boy. The Toledo Walleye are now 0-and-2 under interim coach Dan Watson after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Greenville Road Warriors. Jared Coreau sat this one out, so he didn't have the opportunity to try to win his second professional game; the defensive pair of Max Nicastro and Richard Nedomlel finished at -1, with Nedomlel taking eight minutes in penalties, and those of you who remember 6'9" defenseman Ildar Telyakov from the Red Wings' summer prospect camp might want to note that Ildar is now playing for the Walleye.
The Walleye's website recounted the game's events...
Today is the calm before the storm for me. Over the next three days, Paul and I are going to be grinding out trade deadline coverage (and I swear, in this day and age, the minimum ratio of internet rumor to actual trade is 1,000 to 1), and in terms of my workload, the Red Wings will resume practice on Monday ahead of a slate of 5 games played over the course of 8 nights, including a 3-in-4 slate on Tuesday, Thursday (Nick Lidstrom jersey retirement night) and Friday, so I'm going to be really *#$%@& busy.
As of the middle of Sunday afternoon, however, last yesterday and last night's worth of trade and follow-on rink talk, prospect news and what I'm sure will be the first of at least three dozen articles dedicated to Lidstrom's legacy (irony: my favorite Wing is retiring, and I won't be at the rink...Ah well, it'll be better on TV anyway) serve as the main Red Wings-related news items on a blessedly practice-free day (yay, no practice, no injury news!).
This morning, MLive's Brendan Savage did ask fans whether they'd prefer to see the Wings go after a forward reinforcement or someone to bolster the blueline, all while noting that Ken Holland essentially told MLive's Ansar Khan what he told the New York Times--the Wings' 1st round pick's off the table, and at present, fans' window-shopping won't translate into any real deadline action:
Something tells me that between now and Thursday's actual retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom's #5, which will be aired on Fox Sports Detroit starting at 6:30 PM EST (we "spring forward" next Sunday), we're probably going to learn more little, "humanizing" details regarding the "Perfect Human" than we did during the course of his playing career.
Today, the Detroit Free Press essentially kicks off what will be "Nicklas Lidstrom Jersey Retirement Week" with a pair of photo galleries and an incredibly in-depth article (factoid sidebar story included) regarding the recent Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductee's career and legacy. This is more than a, "Worth your time" article, including significant commentary from Steve Yzerman and Ken Holland, but I'm going to skip some of the juicier parts and take note of what Lidstrom's actually doing at present--working as an assistant coach with Vasteras IK's 2000-birthdate team, coaching his son Samuel.
Lidstrom's described what he does as a 5-day-a-week job (I'm sure we'll hear from the Swedish press, too), and here's how St. James frames Lidstrom's return to Sweden (again, Tomas Holmstrom will also be heading home to Pitea this summer) and post-NHL life:
I know that many of you are less than enthused about the concept that the Red Wings aren't likely to make a trade deadline move, especially given what Ken Holland himself had to say to the New York Times (on Saturday, reiterating that the Wings' first round draft pick is not for sale) and MLive's Ansar Khan (on Wednesday), but the reported asking prices for Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler (as well as someone who insists he's going to test the unrestricted free agent marketplace in Thomas Vanek) are nuts...
And while I don't like the concept of the Wings adding, at most, a depth defenseman, I despise the concept of the team surrendering Anthony Mantha, Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen, Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet or Petr Mrazek--as well as at least one of Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco or Riley Sheahan, and that first round pick--for the sake of making a move.
In terms of the Red Wings' respective AHL and ECHL affiliates, things have "gotten back to normal." The Grand Rapids Griffins withstood a rough stretch and are winning on a regular basis once again, and the Toledo Walleye are...Well, still losing.
The Grand Rapids Griffins swept their weekend series with the Abbotsford Heat via a 4-3 shootout win on Friday evening and a 5-2 win on Saturday, as reported/recapped by the Griffins' website (though there is some...uncertain...news regarding the Griffins' goaltending):
I've been trying to keep the Wings posts down to a minimum after Friday's, "I'm back, elevendy twelve posts, whee!" adventure, especially given that the CBC's Satellite Hotstove fed into the rumorama ahead of the deadline, but...
You are aware of the dust-up between Johan Franzen and Chris Neil toward the end of Thursday's 6-1 Wings win over Ottawa, with Neil tearing off Franzen's helmet and attempting to instigate a fight with 6-and-a-half minutes left in the teams' final regular season meeting.
Well, Franzen suggested that Neil may have been flying in like Superman after the fact, and on Friday, Neil suggested that Franzen was "yellow" and that big, mean Franzen was in fact the instigator, with the "gutless" Franzen having lost significant respect across the league for spearing Neil and then refusing to fight.
Let's just say that Franzen gave as good as he got on Saturday, telling the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that one does not drop one's purse and lipstick, as it were, to indulge an instigator...
Stories continue to roll in regarding Johan Franzen's wonderful takes on purse-gate after Saturday's Pavel Datsyuk-less practice, and the Free Press's Helene St. James and MLive's Ansar Khan added their voices to trade deadline discussion talk (see also: my take and the overnight report's worth of chatter)...
But I guess this was an inevitable "lede" (i.e. lead story) for the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel's weekend notebook: "Red Wings Among the Sellers at the Trade Deadline? Don’t Buy It"
Don't buy it at all. That's not how the Wings roll, and you can take it from Ken Holland himself, who says that the Wings will neither deal UFA's-to-be nor top prospects for a "quick fix" (as he told MLive's Khan earlier this week):
Yesterday, I discussed possible Red Wings trades, a.k.a. my belief that the team won't be active between now and Wednesday's 3 PM EST trade deadline; today, both Winging it in Motown and MLive's Ansar Khan (who also covered Purse-gate) weighed in on possible deadline deals, and now the Free Press's Helene St. James has posited an overview of the Wings' options.
St. James believes that the Red Wings will look to add a defenseman if at all possible, though she duly debunks Kesler speculation...
As Wednesday’s 3 p.m. buzzer nears, there’s been a great deal of focus on Livonia’s Ryan Kesler. He’d be a terrific second-line center behind Pavel Datsyuk — but at what price? Kesler, 29, is Vancouver’s third-best player. For Detroit to get him, it’d likely cost Justin Abdelkader, a combination of Gustav Nyquist/Tomas Tatar/Tomas Jurco, and either a first-round pick or a high-end prospect like Ryan Sproul, Calle Jarnkrok or Teemu Pulkkinen. Weigh that price against Kesler, whose history includes the 2011 Selke Trophy but also significant time missed because of various injuries.
And regarding potential defensive moves...
Updated 4x with more Purse-Gate at 2:46 PM: Okey dokey, so we've covered the status of Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk--not practicing this weekend per the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan (Daniel Cleary is sick, and I believe Khan stated that Mikael Samuelsson is hurt, too).
The rest of the Wings did practice, however, and here are the team's lines, per the Free Press's George Sipple (again, no game until Tuesday's road tilt kicks off a 5-games-in-8-nights slate = lines not set in stone)...
Datysuk isn't skating. Weiss and Andersson are rotating in place of Datsyuk
Weiss also skating with Jurco and Tatar.
MLive's Ansar Khan...
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.