The Malik Report
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
The Wings will welcome Hall of Famer Gordie Howe to Monday night's game.
Howe celebrates his 88th birthday this Thursday.
"We’re pretty lucky around here," Blashill said. "Ted Lindsay was in here last week. To have Gordie Howe come in here means a ton. This organization has unreal history and he’s as big a piece of that as anybody. So to have him here tonight will be a great thing. I think it’s great for the Howe family that he’s able to come here and he’s really doing a good job, health-wise."
Even the Sabres are excited about seeing the Red Wings legend.
"I've been in this building a large number of times and I can count every time I know that Gordie Howe was in the building," Bylsma said. "I know he's going to be here tonight, it's his 88th birthday, I think on Thursday and we've had five or six guys talk about it in our dressing room that Gordie Howe's going to be here tonight, hoping to see him, hoping to get a picture. He just has that special about him, you look at the wall here and see a whole string of Hart trophies. He's not a hockey player I saw other than in highlights but he's got to be one of the greats of our game. In '14 he was in here, I got a picture with him, got him to sign it. It's in my basement on the wall."
more on the Wings...
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres are looking for late-season challenges, things that will teach them and give them team-building experiences. They’ve got one Monday.
The Detroit Red Wings are ninth in the Eastern Conference, one position shy of a wild-card spot. Detroit has made the postseason for 24 straight years, so they’ll certainly be focused on beating the Sabres in Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).
“Every game’s probably their most important one,” Buffalo center Jack Eichel said. “We’ve got to match their intensity. We’re playing for a lot of self-pride here at this point and building toward the future. Every game is a step for us to try and get better.”...
The Red Wings’ 24-year playoff streak is the longest in the NHL. Pittsburgh is second at only nine seasons.
“We want to play in the postseason,” Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “When we do that obviously the streak continues. In here, our main focus is not the streak. It’s to be able to play in the playoffs. That’s the message we’re trying to get through.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena is about as close to a must-win situation as the Detroit Red Wings have faced this season.
And they're turning to the goaltender who has some experience in these scenarios over the past few years, as Jimmy Howard gets the start.
"I've been in the situation, and the fact that you've come out on top gives you confidence that you can do it again," Howard said.
"Just play the way I know I'm capable of playing. If can do that, then I just give the guys a chance."
Howard has played better than Petr Mrazek since mid-February, going 3-2-1, with a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Mrazek, since Feb. 12, has gone 6-6-2, with a 3.30 GAA and .888 save percentage.
"Every game we try to go with the group that we think gives us the best chance to win that night and we decided that tonight we're going to go with Jimmy," coach Jeff Blashill said.
via Gregg Krupa tweet,
jimmy howard in net that normally indicates starter.
Ansar Khan tweets,
#RedWings on ice for morning skate. Mrazek in starter's net.
Based on how they're skating it looks like Marchenko is in for Smith tonight.
Defense pairs for #RedWings at skate:
Smith skating with Pulkkinen
Correction: Howard is in the starter's net for #RedWings.
More coming as needed.
added 10:43am, Khan...
lines same at skate
added 10:48am, Khan with a power play tweet,
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Sorting out the goaltending situation
What has happened to Petr Mrazek? He was leading the NHL in goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.934) heading into the Feb. 12 game vs. Colorado. Since then he's gone 6-6-2, with a 3.30 GAA and .888 save percentage. He's been pulled four times.
Jimmy Howard is 3-2-1 since Feb. 18, with a 2.80 GAA and .911 save percentage. Howard has won his past two starts, at Florida and Columbus.
With two pairs of back-to-back games this week, coach Jeff Blashill might elect to rotate the goalies.
If the Red Wings win their final seven games in regulation/overtime they will be in the playoffs, regardless of what any other team does.
But don't count on that happening. They will need some help. They need Philadelphia and Boston to lose games.
The Flyers host Winnipeg, Washington and Ottawa and visit Pittsburgh this week. The Bruins have a tougher schedule, with road games this week against New Jersey, St. Louis and Chicago.
From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Gordie Howe turns 88 on Thursday, and though dementia has left him a man of few words, he exudes joy from what always mattered most to him — family, hockey, children.
Howe is doing so well, in fact, his family plans to bring him to Joe Louis Arena on Monday night to see the Detroit Red Wings play the Buffalo Sabres. Howe practically is synonymous with the Wings: He played for them in 1946-71, leading them to Stanley Cup championships in 1950, ’52, ’54 and ’55. A statue of him graces the concourse at the Joe.
Murray Howe, the youngest son of Gordie and Colleen Howe, will be driving his father to Detroit from their home near Toledo. Mark Howe, the director of pro scouting for the Wings, also plans to be at the game to help his dad celebrate his birthday early.
Murray Howe, a radiologist at Toledo Hospital, spoke to the Free Press on Saturday about Gordie, providing a peek into a typical day in the life of Mr. Hockey.
“He wakes up around 9 or 10 a.m. and has breakfast,” Murray said. “After that he conks out until around noon, then he has a big lunch. Then he conks out again, till around 3 in the afternoon. Then he’ll be up for the day, and we’ll start doing the rounds. Bedtime is around 8:30 most nights.”
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in SKA St. Petersburg's 1-0 triple OT loss to CSKA Moscow. CSKA leads the Western Conference Final 3 games to 0;
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo played 10:01 in TPS Turku's 5-2 loss to Karpat Oulu. TPS trails their series 3 games to 2;
In the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov had a goal and an assist, finishing at +1 with 5 shots and a 3-for-5 faceoff record in the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' 5-2 win over Chicoutimi. Cape Breton tied the series 1-1;
The Red Wings are in uncharted territory, needing everything but a miracle to make the playoffs as the team looks at its final 7 games needing to win 5 or 6 thereof, and as both a pundit and fan...
I don't give a crap how campy this sounds. Saturday's loss broke my heart. The Wings' 7-2 loss to the Penguins was arguably the worst loss of the season, and it was the second time in 3 games that the Wings absolutely fell apart on ice.
On a day that the Red Wings needed help in the form of losses from the Bruins (who won), Islanders (who won) and Flyers (who are losing as I write this), Detroit got no help, and the team's lack of structure and poise seems to disturb the players and coach as much as it does you and me.
At this point, if the Wings worry about anything more than coming out against Buffalo on Monday and Montreal on Tuesday playing competitive hockey, they're in trouble.
The Free Press's Jeff Seidel expresses the frustration that many Wings fans feel this morning...
The Pittsburgh Penguins were spanking the Wings on Saturday afternoon — on the way to a ridiculous 7-2 victory — and Wings coach Jeff Blashill called time-out.
The players circled around him at the bench, and he became as animated as he has been all season. His face turned red, as he yelled and pointed at the scoreboard in embarrassment and then he pointed at the ice in frustration. The players declined to talk about his message, but if I had to guess what he said, it’s the same things that Wings fans were thinking:
“Are you freakin’ kidding me?”
“This is disgusting!”
“You look like you just gave up, rolled over and died!”
For a team that was fighting for its playoff life, trying to eke into the playoffs for the 25th straight season, needing every game and every point, this was pure humiliation.
To be clear, the Wings’ playoff streak didn’t end on Saturday. Not officially.
But with just seven games to play, the Wings’ margin for error has shrunk to a razor-thin line.
About The Malik Report
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