The Malik Report
There are more prospects playing tonight, but some games of consequence took place this afternoon, and I'm going to try to squeeze them and a news release ien before the Wings-Capitals game:
First, as a FTR, NHL.com reports that Evgeny Svechnikov is officially on Russia's WJC selection camp roster;
In the Champions hockey league: Julius Vahatalo didn't register a point in TPS Turku's 2-1 shootout loss to Lukko Rauma, and the loss eliminated TPS from the Champions Hockey League quarterfinals;
Axel Holmstrom took 2 shots and finished at -1 in Skelleftea AIK's 4-1 loss to Davos, which eliminated Skelleftea from the CHL playoffs as well;
And Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 in the Frolunda Indians' 6-4 win over Lulea Hockey, a win that pushed Frolunda through to the CHL semifinals.
Back over on this side of the pond, Grand Rapids Griffins forward Eric Tangradi is playing lights-out hockey, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the surging forward:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
Mike Green spoke with the Washington press about his time with the Capitals, speaking with the Washington Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan...
“I mean, I was just a piece of the puzzle, really,” Green said Tuesday morning, during his first trip inside Verizon Center’s intimate (read: tiny) visiting dressing room. “I didn’t do anything spectacular other than enjoy playing the game here. You know, we enjoyed when the fans would come out and watch, and like I said, I was just a piece of the puzzle. It’s exciting to see how far it’s come, though, since when I first started.”
And it’s shocking to realize how few of the current Caps were here for that time. The only current Capital who played in Green’s debut in October 2005 — a 7-2 road loss — was Ovechkin. Brooks Laich was the only other current player who took the ice for Washington that season. It was a team of Ben Clymers and Steve Emingers and Matt Pettingers and Brian Sutherbys, a team not terribly far from something special, but still emerging from a massive tear-down. Green’s first home game — also a loss — attracted a crowd of about 10,400. There were acres of empty purple seats back then, and pointed questions about how far down the list of NHL franchises the Caps ranked.
“I remember my first couple games in the Verizon Center — I think at the time it was called the MCI Center — there was maybe six, eight thousand fans,” Green said on Tuesday. “And now I know they sell out most nights, if not every night. And that’s quite an accomplishment for the organization.”
And the Washington Times' Zac Boyer...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mike Green returned to Washington on Tuesday, lately looking more like the dynamic offensive threat he was on the Capitals blue line the past 10 years.
After a slow start, followed by a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six games, Green has been picking up the pace offensively for the Detroit Red Wings.
He is jumping up in the play, taking more chances. He has nine points (goal, eight assists) in his past 14 games.
"The more comfortable you get the more confident you are," Blashill said before the game. "He couldn't get traction because of the injuries (groin in training camp, shoulder on Oct. 23), but since he's been back we've had him with a pretty stable partner in him and Kronner (Niklas Kronwall) being together real consistently.
Updated 4x at 2:11 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Capitals (7:30 PM on NBCSN/Sportsnet/97.1 FM) revealed that the Capitals will play with Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson in their lineup, while the Red Wings made no lineup changes save starting Jimmy Howard opposite Braden Holtby.
The Capitals will ice the following lineup, per NHL.com's Katie Brown...
CBS Sports' Chris Peters focuses on the Red Wings' resurgence while penning his latest list of power rankings:
Some openly wondered if this was the year the Detroit Red Wings would take a step back. Losing head coach Mike Babcock and bringing in rookie bench boss Jeff Blashill was one reason. The team's core of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall getting older was another. Plus the tough decisions the team had to make in net.
None of those concerns has really materialized so far this season. Blashill has done a fine job of replacing Babcock. The aging core remains effective, but are now bolstered by a youth movement that has significantly improved the roster. Meanwhile, goaltending has been among the least of Detroit's concerns as both Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard have played well when called upon as they share the net.
Right now, the Wings are one of the league's hottest teams. They have not lost in regulation in any of their last 10 games and now sit firmly in second place in the Atlantic Division.
There has been a lot of impressive things happening during the streak, like the wings winning five of the eight overtime games they've played in or more importantly, that they've scored 33 goals over their last 10 games. Prior to the streak, the team had scored four or more goals in a game only three times. They've scored four or more six times during their current run.
This is just a hot streak in a season, the kind that pretty much any team can go on. However, the Red Wings are playing better hockey as a whole. They really are a different team with Datsyuk in the mix, but they've got the depth around him and Zetterberg to make their jobs easier, too. Detroit has a chance to push their consecutive playoff appearances to 25 seasons this year and look poised to do at least that. What they have to try to do now is build off of this recent run of success and find a way to sustain the increased goal scoring they've enjoyed over the last month. Year after year we learn that you just shouldn't ever count out the Red Wings.
Peters continues, ranking the Wings 11th overall...
Updated 3x at 12:35 PM: The Red Wings will try to extend their points streak to 11 games against the Washington Capitals this evening (7:30 PM on NBCSN with Ken Daniels and Pierre McGuire/Sportsnet/97.1 FM). Normally, this post is Tweet-based, but a couple of articles popped up overnight, so:
1. The Capitals' website posted several notes about tonight's game in their "Capitals Today" press release:
Hockey's Future's Ryan Womeldorf examines the Red Wings' Major Junior-playing prospects, and the headliner is, well, the headliner:
Evgeny Svechnikov, LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Drafted: 1st round (19th overall), 2015
After just one season in North America, the big Russian (6-2, 200) had already made quite the name for himself. With a 32-goal, 78-point debut effort in the QMJHL for Cape Breton, Svechnikov became one of the hottest prospects heading into the 2015 NHL Draft and the Red Wings were all too happy to snap up the power forward with the goal-scorer’s hands.
The 2015-16 season has already been a strong one for Svechnikov and the Screaming Eagles. Cape Breton is currently second in the Q’s Maritimes Division, just one point back of division leader Moncton. Svechnikov, meanwhile, has appeared in 27 of the team’s 33 games so far and has notched 17 goals and 22 assists. He’s on pace to best his goal total of a year ago and generally has looked like the dynamic power forward the Red Wings envisioned when they selected him.
Svechnikov still has a long way to go in his development – he recently just turned 19 – but he appears to be a future top-six forward for the Red Wings going forward.
The 15-8-and-4 Red Wings face quite the test in battling the 18-5-and-2 Washington Capitals Tuesday evening (7:30 PM on NBCSN with Ken Daniels and Pierre McGuire providing commentary/97.1 FM; yes, this is Mike Green's return to Washington, too), marking the Wings' third and final match-up with the Capitals this season.
In a vacuum, this game is a tough task in itself; the fact that it kicks of a slate of 3 games in 4 nights against the Capitals on the road, then the Atlantic and East-leading Canadiens at home on Thursday and the suddenly surging Devils in Newark this Friday adds up to a particularly difficult week for the unbeaten-in-10 Wings.
Our friends broadcasting the game, a.k.a. NBCSN, provide a fine preview of tonight's action:
Okay, let's tally them up:
- Joe Hicketts is going to Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp, where his coach from the Victoria Royals, Dave Lowry, will coach the team. Hicketts is being touted as a possible captain or alternate captain;
- Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom were named to Team Sweden's World Junior preliminary roster earlier today;
- NHL.com reports that Vili Saarijarvi has been named to Team Finland's preliminary WJC roster;
- And we already know that Evgeny Svechnikov will play in the World Juniors for Russia;
- Who else: Winging It in Motown's SlapShotgoal reports that Joren Van Pottelberghe has been invited to Switzerland's World Junior Selection camp, and that makes it 6 Wings prospects who are highly likely to play in the World Junior Championships.
Updated 2x at 6:30 PM: After taking part in a short practice at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings hopped an early afternoon flight to Washington, where they'll face a potentially Karl Alzner and Marcus Johanssen-less Washington Capitals team on Tuesday (7:30 PM on NBCSN).
The 15-8-and-4 Wings will be looking up at the 18-5-and-2 Capitals, who are coming off a 3-2 loss to Winnipeg this past Saturday, but the Wings have earned points in 10 straight games (7-0-and-3), including Saturday's 5-4 OT win over Nashville.
Monday's practice included the Wings keeping the lines that Jeff Blashill placed together during the 2nd and 3rd periods of the Predators game, and the coach told the assembled media that he'll name his starter for Tuesday's game at the morning skate.
MLive's Brendan Savage kicks off our "article" coverage of Monday's practice with a video of Wings coach Jeff Blashill discussing the match-up with Washington and the current status of the Wings' "process" of evolving into an elite team:
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.