The Malik Report
There's been a significant amount of chatter--well, let's be honest, there's been a significant amount of passionate and sometimes downright viciously vindictive debate--about what the Red Wings need to do roster-wise when Andersson, Datsyuk, Franzen and Howard return to the lineup.
Wings fans haven't been talking very much about the team's effort not just since the Winter Classic, but especially during and after the team's clutch and more than slightly lucky win over a very physical and very nasty Los Angeles Kings team this past weekend.
While the Wings most definitely laid an egg and a half against the Blues, and they needed an eight-round shootout to dispatch the Blackhawks, following all of that up with a gigantic 4-1 win kicking off four games of an Atlantic Division rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens seemed to hammer home a point: regardless of the names on the backs of the jerseys, this Red Wings team is starting to play like itself again.
Shocking news regarding what was most certainly the biggest hockey game ever held, from Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika:
I've been nursing a bad noggin today so I'm about to listen to this interview for the first time myself.
This strikes me as very, very odd, but "On Frozen Blog" reports that there may be more to the Red Wings' decision to scratch Todd Bertuzzi than we know:
I don't believe that the Wings want to "shop" their nuclear deterrent--he's just had a rough couple of games since the Winter Classic and needs a kick in the pants.
Update: Well who the hell knows:
I don't believe it. Not for a second. The boss and I tried to get on top of this one and it turned out to be bologna.
The Montreal Canadiens website posted a preview on tonight's game,
“They’re a team that has their own unique style. I have a lot of respect for them; that’s a team that made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons and that’s not easy to do,” explained Therrien, who was at the helm of the Penguins squad that lost to Detroit in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. “That shows what a great job their management and coaching staff is doing over there. It’s an accomplishment to make the playoffs the way the league is now and they’ve managed to consistently earn their spot. They’re strong on the puck and they’re a fast team. The game tonight will be an important one for us and it won’t be an easy one.”
Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front after the morning skate today,
“He’s playing tonight so that’s good for us, good to have him back,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We just have to keep him healthy.”
Alfredsson has missed the last six games with lower-back inflammation.
“It feels great I mean it’s always frustrating to be out and now be able to skate like I have and have no issues it feels great actually,” Alfredsson said after practice. “You work yourself in, definitely keep it simple and short shifts to get into it. You can skate as much as you want in practice but it’s a different pace in game, more physical as well so trying not to get caught out there too long is definitely going to help.”...
“He’s a smart player, knows how to play,” Babcock said. “Helmer’s line struggled last game, so this gives him a chance.”
Alfredsson replaces Todd Bertuzzi in the lineup.
“Why don’t we just talk about the guys that are playing,” Babcock said when asked what he needs to see more out of Bertuzzi.
Howard on the ice in full geat, working with Bedard, Andersson on the ice after 8 days and Weiss is skating too.
Alfredsson wearing a red jersey, may be playing tonight.
added 10:31am, Khan says...
Howard is facing shots, which obviously is a good sign since he said on Tuesday his knee would be re-assessed in a week.
added 10:41am, More Khan,
Based on how they're skating it looks like Alfredsson is back tonight, on line with Helm and Cleary.
Other lines at the skate: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Miller-Glendening-Eaves.
Based on how they're skating it looks like Bertuzzi might be scratched. Datsyuk and Franzen are skating but not ready to play.
added 11:05am, MSM report Kindl still skating, looks to be out again.
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Today was a very optional skate with just a handful of guys taking part.
“We play every second day obviously and so we talked about this quite a few games ago, this is how we’re going to handle ourselves right through until we have a day off coming up,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Just make sure everyone’s ready to go. I didn’t come in here and evaluate yet. If you’re 23 and under and you weren’t on the ice I probably said something but the bottom line is we’ve got to be ready to play tomorrow.”///
Of the injured players, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk took part in the practice.
Babcock won’t know if any of them will be ready to play Friday, but it appears highly unlikely.
“I don’t know he hasn’t done any negotiating with me,” Babcock said when asked about Alfredsson’s status. “I haven’t heard anything about it so we’ll see.
“We’ll talk to tomorrow after we skate,” Babcock continued. “It’s like anything, once you skate and you come back the next day sometimes that’s a little bit different so there’s no sense me making decisions I don’t need to make.”
more on the Wings...
Montreal beat writer Marc Antoine Godin for La Presse tweeted (translated).
Optional training of the Red Wings this afternoon. The injured Daniel Alfredsson, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen are on the ice.
added 12:59pm, Chuck Pleiness tweets,
Alfredsson says he's going to talk to trainers and coaches if he's ready for Friday. Says feels good after a few hard skates.
added 1:09pm, Beat writers report Gustavsson will start again tomorrow night.
added 1:26pm, via Pleiness,
Franzen said today is the first day he hasn't felt foggy since suffering a concussion. Seems very encouraged.
Between having been in attendance for Darren Helm's uncomfortable exchanges with the media last summer and fall, addressing his inability to train during the offseason when he wasn't squirming, and having heard so many NHL'ers insist that offseason training is the fitness foundation that helps them avoid injuries...
I've kind of assumed that Helm was going to bounce from minor injury to minor injury this season, and that Red Wings fans will see the "real Darren Helm" on a much more regular basis next season.
Helm was a difference-maker in the positive sense over the course of the Red Wings' 5-4 shootout win over Chicago despite finishing at -3 on the evening, and the Hockey News's Rory Boylen believes that Helm might have been a Masterton Trophy candidate if his "perseverance and dedication to hockey" wasn't being rewarded with an injury-plagued return to action:
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.