The Malik Report
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
After spending most of last week meeting with team scouts in Las Vegas, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he plans to watch the Grand Rapids Griffins play three times this week.
The AHL's Griffins host the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday, the Utica Comets on Friday and the Iowa Wild on Saturday. All three games start at 7 p.m.
Among the players on Holland's radar are forwards Landon Ferraro and Anthony Mantha and defenseman Ryan Sproul.
Ferraro, 23, was drafted in the second round by the Wings in the 2009 NHL draft. He scored 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in 72 games for the Griffins in 2012-2013 and 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points in 70 games last season. He appeared in four games with the Wings, scoring no points.
Ferraro might be having his best season as a pro, with 16 goals and five assists for 21 points in 38 games. It sounds like Ferraro might be the next Griffin called up, should Wings coach Mike Babcock need another forward.
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
Tom McCollum was all smiles in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room Sunday night.
Thrust into duty for the first time in four seasons, McCollum, called up last Sunday, Jan. 11 to fill backup duties after Jimmy Howard went down with a groin injury, scored his first NHL win as a goaltender in Detroit's 6-4 comeback over Buffalo.
"It's obviously not the way I imagined it would happen, but it's a great feeling," McCollum said. "I'm just really happy the team turned it around and really turned it on after I got in there."...
"Anytime with young players when things go good for you, sometimes the next night they don't go quite as good," Babcock said. "Mentally, the preparation, the everyday stuff, the veterans learn how to do it. For Pete, things have gone real good for him and didn't go as good for him (Sunday) night.
"Good for Thomas McCollum, who we didn't expect to be in the net. Het gets his first NHL win."
Update: Via SoDakWingNut:
The Red Wings pulled a Red Wings on all of us Sunday night.
In yet another situation where the Wings show up very, very late and seem to be headed for the exits mentally far too early, the Wings rallied over both the Buffalo Sabres and themselves, taking a 3-0 deficit and turning it into a 3-0 victory that will yield both curly fries with the scoresheet and quite possibly a statement made to those of us who believe that this team doesn't possess the mental toughness that its record indicates.
The Wings also earned Tom McCollum his first NHL win, and it's a deserved one at that for the long-suffering McCollum, though the night most certainly belonged to a certain Henrik Zetterberg, whose hat trick and 4-point night reminded us that the Captain ain't no slouch.
As per NBCSN usual, Keith Jones suggested that the Sabres "gave" the Wings this victory, and one might suggest as much if the Wings hadn't dug the hole they'd dug against a team that has now lost 11 straight. In the end, the Wings pulled this one out of their butts with the kind of panache Zetterberg's 5-3, between-the-legs goal announced.
*#$%@& the critics, Detroit's got its flaws, but the Wings be fo real.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
A year ago, Tomas Tatar barely made the Red Wings' roster out of training camp.
This season, when he had a slow start with one goal and no assists in the first nine games, there were more than a few amateur general mangers in HockeyTown who suggested Tatar needed more seasoning.
Today, Tatar is proving his doubters wrong again after scoring two goals in Friday's 5-2 victory over the previously streaking Nashville Predators.
With 20 goals, Tatar is not just leading the Red Wings but he's also tied for eighth in the NHL. The players ahead of him include guys named Stamkos, Nash and Ovechkin.
Not bad company, eh?
Tatar has already exceeded his season-high of 19 goals last season in 28 fewer games. In his last four games, Tatar has four goals and an assist.
All of that has some people asking about why Tatar isn't going to the All-Star Game.
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
The second line of Tomas Tatar, Gus Nyquist and Riley Sheahan is beginning to heat for the Detroit Red Wings....
"They're good players. They just got to turn into good pros now," Babcock said. "They got to learn to work every single day and do it right all the time. If they do that and they stay hungry and they're really driven they become really good players."
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
The difference is "huge," Mike Babcock said before the Red Wings' 5-2 defeat of the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
"They're not getting forechecks on you and wearing on your D, because (Mrazek) can play the puck," Babcock said. "It's a real skill set. It's part of his game that we give up less chances with Mrazek in net, because of the way he plays the puck."
Mrazek, who stopped 34 of 36 shots, said the skill is a result of liking to do it, inspiration and training.
"I always like to move the puck, play it behind the net and if it's transferred," he said. "When I stop it, and it's a transfer play, I'm trying to get the game faster, so we are not spending so much time in our zone."
The Detroit Red Wings returned home from their six-game road trip and prepared to battle the NHL's highest-scoring team, and Saturday's game had, "The Preds might pounce all over a road-weary Wings team" written all over it.
That didn't happen, because the Wings, from Petr Mrazek on out, played steady, strong, and consistent hockey, and in what was at some points a chess match and other times a track meet, Detroit pounced upon their offensive chances while diminishing the Predators' attempts to score, all en route to a 5-2 victory that should set up a strong weekend's worth of point-earning by the Wings (Buffalo visits on Sunday).
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"They've got a great back end, even without (the injured Ryan) Ellis in lineup; they can defend and they can really move the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I think they've got the best goalie in the league and they have enough scoring up front that it keeps you in trouble.
"They're quicker than most teams because of their back end. They can just flat-out get the puck going in a hurry. They built a good back end there, really good players and they make it hard on you."
Shea Weber (6-4, 233) continues to be the anchor of the defense.
"He's a freak of nature," Babcock said. "You're not supposed to be that big and that good and that fast and that hard and that committed. He's a special, special player. He's a special human being actually. He's a great man.
"He sets the tone there, but Seth Jones is no slouch. (Mattias) Ekholm is no slouch. (Roman) Josi's no slouch. You add Ellis into the mix and there's not many teams that have left and right (shots) on the back that can attack the net like they can. They're good and so they play faster than they actually are."
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Lines at the skate:
First power play:
Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Nyquist, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
Tatar-Weiss-Pulkkinen, Sheahan (net front), DeKeyser
Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan provides a set of injury updates, and he reports that none of the Wings' injured players will return before Detroit's final 3 pre-All-Star Break games (Saturday vs. Nashville, Sunday vs. Buffalo and Tuesday vs. Minnesota) have taken place (i.e. no returns till after the All-Star Break). Among Khan's updates from Ken Holland:
Tomas Jurco: He left after the second period in Edmonton on Jan. 6 due to lower back pain.
"He saw a back specialist who prescribed some medication and it appears the medication is working," Holland said. "He's getting better every day. He should be back after the All-Star break."
Johan Franzen: He was injured on a blindside hit from Edmonton's Rob Klinkhammer on Jan. 6. Franzen finished the game but began feeling ill afterward. He is working out off-ice.
"Has had the odd headache, has good days and bad days," Holland said. "Until he's on the ice practicing for three, four, five days in a row, there's no time frame. We're waiting for him to get on the ice."
Jimmy Howard: Suffered a slightly torn groin muscle last Saturday in Washington and is estimated to be out another 2-3 weeks. He is working out off-ice. The club hopes he can return sometime between Jan. 31-Feb. 7, but there is no way of pinpointing a precise date with this type of injury.
"Don't think he'll play on the Florida trip (Jan. 28-30)," Holland said. "With groin injuries there is no black and white. We try to be conservative. We'll see how he feels once we regroup after the All-Star break."
Khan continues with news about Gustavsson and Kindl as well:
In his weekly mailbag feature, Ansar Khan has a question for you...
Q: It seems as though the Wings are reluctant to make splash when it comes to trading for what they need. I respect (general manager) Ken Holland's asset management and his unwillingness to trade away assets the Wings have drafted and developed, but isn't trading for those final pieces (without selling the farm or the future, of course) a part of building a team that can make a legit run at the Cup?
A: Is it possible to attain "those final pieces" at the trade deadline without dealing a significant part of the future?
Last year they paid what appeared to be a heavy price for rental center David Legwand (good center prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a second-round pick).
If the Red Wings feel they're in good position at the March 2 trade deadline to make a serious playoff run or even compete for the Stanley Cup I'm sure Holland will be aggressive in pursuing that final piece (right-handed shooting defenseman).
But I don't see them dealing a top prospect (like Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Xavier Ouellet or Ryan Sproul) or a good young roster player (Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan) for someone who you don't know for sure will get them over the top, especially for a rental.
Would a package including a roster player like Jakub Kindl or Joakim Andersson, a mid-level prospect and a second-round pick land them someone like Edmonton's Jeff Petry, who's unrestricted in July and certain to be moved?
more Q & A...
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.