The Malik Report
From start to finish, the Red Wings' 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks was a game between teams that still don't like each other very much...
But Petr Mrazek's amazing save on Joel Ward directly led to a Wings rush going the other way, with Pavel Datsyuk passing the puck off Martin Jones, and bouncing to Justin Abdelkader for the game-winning goal...
Fox Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson faced Dylan Larkin in a set of skill-based challenges, and the results were...good TV:
The Red Wings headed into the overnight hours in Metro Detroit with a fine target in the slightly-slumping San Jose Sharks, a struggling Pacfic Division team that's alternated wins and losses over its past four games and a team that has a terrible home record. Ideally, the Wings would've pounced upon the Sharks and tied a team-best 3 road-game winning streak...
As Thursday's game played out, the Wings faced stiff opposition from the Sharks, a game-tying goal on the bump-up shift and mucking, grinding, clutching, grabbing, hooking, holding and otherwise dastardly but legal play throughout what was at times a beautiful and at times an inelegant game, and the Wings were out-shot by a wide margin (36-25) as well...
But Danny DeKeyser opened the scoring, Justin Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal less than 20 seconds after Petr Mrazek made a remarkable save on Joel Ward, and the Wings hung around, hung around, hung around and managed to puck-possess and grind their way to a hard-fought 2-1 road win, with a pout-scrap by Joe Thornton at the end as the cherry on top.
Mrazek was fantastic in stopping 35 shots, Pavel Datsyuk had an astonishingly good game, Dylan Larkin had 8 of the Wings' 46 shot attempts and the Wings' PK was essential and superb with Drew Miller back in the lineup, going 3-for-3.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS AND FLAGSTAR BANK UNVEIL FLOOR HOCKEY PROGRAM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins and Flagstar Bank on Thursday unveiled a new floor hockey program to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids and the Griffins Youth Foundation. The official launch of Flagstar Floor Hockey was held at the Boys & Girls Club Steil location (235 Straight Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504).
“The Griffins are so thankful for Flagstar Bank and their commitment to community,” said Bob Kaser, Griffins vice president of community relations and broadcasting. “The new floor hockey program provides kids at Boys & Girls Clubs and our Griffins Youth Foundation with another great activity, all while helping grow the game of hockey.”
Alexey Marchenko's been a rock-solid defenseman for the Red Wings since he was recalled to spell Kyle Quincey, but Quincey's returning to the lineup shortly, and the Free Press's Helene St. James wonders aloud what might happen to Marchenko, who can most easily be sent back to Grand Rapids, when Quincey returns:
Often, these situations resolve themselves by someone else getting injured. If not, then the easiest move is to send down Marchenko, 24, since he does not need to be exposed on waivers. Another possibility is Jakub Kindl being put on waivers - it's not ideal to risk losing a player for nothing, but Kindl can't seem to gain a foothold as a regular and prior attempts to trade him have been unsuccessful.
Asked about the situation, general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press he's "got to make some moves." Pressed for whether he'd push to keep Marchenko with the Wings, coach Jeff Blashill smiled and said he's in the "day-to-day business."
At the same time, Blashill has made it clear how highly he thinks of Marchenko, playing him every game even as more experienced players have been available. There's a reason for that.
"I think he's done a good job through the course of the year of he doesn't give up many chances," Blashill said. "I look through our chances against for the first 40 games, and especially our grade-A chances against, he's probably got the least amount of grade-A chances against of any of the defensemen, so he does a good job with that. When he is playing his best hockey, he manages his game well. He can make good pop-out passes. He's smart defensively. He makes a lot of defensive plays."
St. James continues, speaking with Brendan Smith about Marchenko's play, and she posted a video of Marchenko, Smith and Blashill discussing the situation:
Updated 4x at 6:31 PM: The San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings square off tonight (10:30 PM EST on FSD/CSN California/97.1 FM), and the morning skate revealed that the Sharks will start Martin Jones opposite Petr Mrazek.
After the skate, the Sharks posted a video of coach Pete DeBoer's pre-game comments...
According to TheAHL.com, Xavier Ouellet and Jeff Hoggan will represent the Grand Rapids Griffins at the AHL All-Star Game on February 1st in Syracuse, NY. Congrats to both!
The Detroit Red Wings kick off the West Coast portion of their 6-game road trip against the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM EST on FSD/CSN California/97.1 FM).
The Sharks have split their past 4 games, and are coming off of a 4-1 loss to Winnipeg this past Saturday; the Red Wings are on a 2-game winning streak, with their most recent win coming against New Jersey, and Detroit will regain Drew Miller's services this evening.
Prior to the Sharks' morning skate, CSN California's Kevin Kurz penned a short game preview from San Jose's perspective:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. From MLive's Brendan Savage's notebook:
Basking in sunshine? Like any Eastern Conference team, the Red Wings look forward to heading west in the middle of the winter to get away from the cold weather. There's only one problem this year. "It was 58 (degrees) and raining," said captain Henrik Zetterberg. "At least it's not going to snow. It's warmer than here. But for us before, when we were in the Western Conference, those trips got tough for us. Now we just do it once. You almost look forward to it. I think it's good for us to get some time together and play some road hockey."
One-night home layover: Blashill originally wanted to fly directly from New Jersey to San Jose Monday but changed his mind after a gentle nudge from general manager Ken Holland. "Ken Holland said you might want to think about that again at the beginning of the year and we changed it and thankfully we changed it," Blashill said. "I thought it was great to be home yesterday. I'm sure the guys felt the same way. It's just a day to kind of get yourself refreshed, get lots of laundry done and get ready for a good road trip here."
2. And Sportsnet's Luke Fox suggests that the NHL picked the "wrong All-Star" from the Wings, while positing a set of power rankings:
The Detroit Red Wings begin the Western U.S. portion of their 6-game road trip against the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM EST on FSD/CSN California/97.1 FM).
This game is both more consequential than it looks and very hard to "set up"; with the Florida Panthers streaking in the East, the 20-13-and-7 Wings sit 3rd in the Atlantic Division, 2 points behind Montreal and 3 points ahead of Boston and Ottawa;
The 18-17-and-2 San Jose Sharks sit in second-to-last place in the Pacific Division, but the Sharks haven't played since Saturday's 4-1 loss to Winnipeg, and the Sharks are also 3 points out of 2nd in the division as the Pacific is jam-packed.
San Jose's split its last 4 games (2-and-2) and is 4-4-and-2 over its past 10 games, and it's spent the 4-day break practicing and holding team meetings, attempting to hone their games for a pre-All-Star break push, as the Mercury News's Curtis Pashelka notes:
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.