The Malik Report
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Throw out the young stars on entry-level contracts, and Mrazek is arguably the NHL's best bargain. For just $737,500, the Red Wings have a goaltender who ranks in the top six in goals-against average (2.20), save percentage (.924) and shutouts (four).
By every measure, Mrazek — a fifth-round pick — has outplayed his counterpart since graduating from the Grand Rapids Griffins, stealing the crease before heading into the 2015 playoffs. Howard was on Team USA's 2014 Olympic roster; he'll watch Mrazek dress for Team Czech at the 2016 World Cup.
Surely, Holland wants Mrazek to be Detroit's goaltender of the future, not just the present, but he'll have to pay. Would Mrazek take less money than his backup?
Even if Mrazek — a pending restricted free agent — signs for, say, $5.2 million, Detroit will leapfrog Dallas and become the owner of the NHL's most expensive goalie tandem.
Holland asserted before February's deadline that he was not trying to make a trade in net. That could change at the draft.
The Red Wings aren't currently retaining salary on a traded player but may need to employ that option if they wish to move Howard this spring. Alternatively, they could save cap space by buying out the 31-year-old (here's how that would work finanacially) and go hunting for a more affordable Number 2.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a casual Friday as they prepared to take on the New York Rangers in a Saturday afternoon game at Joe Louis Arena (2, FSD, NHL Network). A 3-2 rally over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday left the Wings in a good mood as they reaffirmed their footing in the playoff race.
"We played with a little more desperation in our game, more urgency, and that's kind of what we have to do here," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "It's going to be a playoffs just getting into the playoffs, and we know that. It's time to step up."
That's especially key in the defensive zone.
"I don't think we've spent lots of time in our zone, but what we have done is given up too many easy goals," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Where, earlier in the year, there were times we played too much D-zone, right now, our chances against in our own zone are too big. I don't think we spend lots of time there, but when we do give up a chance, it's way too big.
"We've got to do a way better job of protecting our net front. There's been probably a series of I don't know how many goals or even plays where guys have ended up open in front of our net, so that's on us to make sure we get that corrected."
Any worthwhile news will be posted, other than that, enjoy your Friday.
Next game is 2pm ET tomorrow with the New York Rangers in town.
added 1:04pm, Khan tweet,
Blashill said everyone is available for tomorrow's game. Declined to reveal starting goalie or lineup decisions.
First up, extended game highlights of the4 Wings 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets...
Below, watch Blashill, Abdelkader and Mrazek post-game...
The Red Wings needed to have Thursday's game against the Winnipeg Jets, and they needed it badly. Sitting two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the Eastern Conference's final Wild Card spot, the Wings needed to snap their 3-game losing streak as expediently and expeditiously as possible.
The Wings didn't choose the expedient route, giving up a 2-0 lead to the Jets before rallying in slow but steady fashion, tying the game over a 5:45 stretch in the 2nd period on goals from Larkin and Ericsson, and winning the game with under 5 minutes left in the 3rd thanks to a goal by Justin Abdelkader, who was a constant source of Jets aggression all night long.
Petr Mrazek was superb, got help from a crossbar with under 30 seconds left in regulation, and the Wings' special teams play was at least good on the PK as the Wings rebounded from a dreadful first period with better and better play against a surprisingly stout opponent.
Now the Wings have snapped their 3-game losing streak, they're 4 points clear of the Flyers and Hurricanes, and two big games against the Rangers and Maple Leafs loom this weekend.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
• With 16 games remaining in the regular season, the Red Wings are holding down the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They're one point behind Pittsburgh in the wild-card race, trail third-place Florida by six points in the Atlantic Division and are eight behind division co-leaders Tampa Bay and Boston. They're two points ahead of Philadelphia and four in front of Carolina in the bid for a wild-card spot. Philadelphia has one game in hand on the Red Wings, who have one in hand on Carolina.
• The Red Wings will face 12 opponents in their final 16 games. They play the New York Rangers, Toronto, Philadelphia and Montreal twice apiece. Five of those 12 teams – the Rangers, Florida, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Boston – are currently holding down playoff spots. Eight of the 12 have records above .500. Five of those teams – Toronto, Columbus, Buffalo, Montreal and Winnipeg – appear to already be out of the playoff race. Four others – the Rangers, Tampa Bay, Boston and Florida – appear to be locks to make it.
read on for more notes...
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland joins the crew of Hockey Central @ Noon to talk about his club hanging on to a playoff spot, working with Jeff Blashill after several seasons with Mike Babcock, the ceiling for rookie Dylan Larkin, and his goaltending tandem.
Listen here, some interesting stuff, 12 minute interview.
If Sportsnet provides and audio/video embed, I will post it here.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
... no prospects who aren’t in the NHL. Dylan Strome is part of the future core in Arizona, but he doesn’t count for this exercise.
With that in mind, six players from each team were identified as the core, and I did the math to help get a sense of where each team is in the developmental cycle. The numbers ended up, in some cases, being surprising. Here are all 30 cores, listed from youngest to oldest:
29. Detroit Red Wings
Core average age: 29.3 years old
Pavel Datsyuk, 37
Dylan Larkin, 19
Gustav Nyquist, 26
Henrik Zetterberg, 35
Petr Mrazek, 24
Niklas Kronwall, 35
Datsyuk and Zetterberg skew the Red Wings to the old side, but there’s a nice, younger generation of Red Wings coming, led by Larkin. The biggest missing piece is a young, top-pairing defenseman to take the place of Kronwall, who is slowing down. But nearly every team in the league could say the same thing.
all teams (paid subscription and as always, the hockey topics from the ESPN Insiders is well worth it)
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"I think everything is magnified this time of year," Green said. "Obviously, with how tight it is, the magnitude is stronger, and we have to make sure we do the right things tonight."
Coach Jeff Blashill had some new and old lines going during the morning skate, putting speedy Andreas Athanasiou with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar, and reuniting Dylan Larkin (who has no points his last seven games) with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Riley Sheahan centered Gustav Nyquist and Pulkkinen, leaving Luke Glendening, Darren Helm and Brad Richards on the fourth line.
Putting Athanasiou with Datsyuk might gain the puck magician a split-second more of space, as Athanasiou can make things happen with this speed.
Blashill said the move is less a reflection on Athanasiou and more on trying to find good line combinations amid the recent slide.
"Hopefully, that line together can do some real good things," he said.
added 12:45pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
from Edward Pevos of Mlive,
During Wednesday's tour, Tom Wilson, Olympia Entertainment Pres. & CEO said the goal of The District is to bring people to the area well before games or events. There will be six restaurants and seven clubs in the arena alone. The adjacent outdoor plaza will host events and concerts before the actual concerts and events start inside the arena.
The plaza will be a place to tailgate and the huge screen will make for a great gathering place for fans to watch games. The plaza will have room for hundreds of people.
Forty feet underneath the outdoor plaza will be the Red Wings practice ice rink. It will also be the rink used by the Little Caesars Hockey Club. The main ice rink is also being built underground, along with a lot of other aspects of the new arena. The entrance to the arena building itself will be on ground level.
Inside the arena
For the fans, the seats will be about two inches bigger than the seats at The Joe. The rows will also be spread further apart. It's all about comfort. The lower bowl will be where most of the seats are located, making for great views and up-close seating throughout the arena.
The upper sections are also not too far from the ice, making for great views no matter where you sit. There will also be various other places to watch a game, including the clubs and the gondola seating high up over the ice for a unique perspective. Tom Wilson compared it to sitting on top of the Green Monster at Fenway Park.
For the players, the locker rooms will be four times the size they are at The Joe. They hope is updated amenities will better support the team and help draw high-ticket free agents.
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.