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Mid-day news: A Wings-Canucks preview; ESPN rankings and suspension talk

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

The Wings and Canucks have yet to take part in their morning skate, but the Canucks website's Daniel Fung has penned a preview of tonight's game (10 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM):

Keys to the Game

Canucks: The bottom-9 has to produce. Coach Desjardins has admitted his reluctance to reunite the Sedins and Vrbata was because he didn't want to be a one-line team. Vrbata and the twins delivered on Thursday night but the onus is on the rest of the forwards to produce as well so opponents have to worry about something other than shutting down the Sedin line.

Canucks: Build on Thursday's PP success. After bumping their long man-advantage slump against the Capitals, Vancouver's power play figures to get another boost with the return of Weber to the line-up. Weber was tied for second on the team with five power play goals last season and provides a right-shot, one-timer option that has sorely been missing for most of this season.

Red Wings: Get the early jump. Visiting teams have gotten off to strong starts in every game so far this season at Rogers Arena and the Red Wings will want to follow that same formula to success. Considering all three of Detroit's wins this season have come when they've opened the scoring, the opening goal tonight will be a critical one.

VanCityBuzz's Ian Lusher also notes that the Canucks are 0-2-and-2 at home this season...

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IIHF Feature On Teemu Pulkkinen

from Lucas Aykroyd of IIHF.com,

Teemu Pulkkinen was born in Vantaa, where Helsinki’s airport is located. That’s fitting, as the Finnish winger’s career is taking off with Detroit this year.

The 23-year-old played two NHL games with the Red Wings in 2013-14, going pointless, and 31 last season (5-3-8). But it looks the former World Junior ace is ready to become a fixture in Motown, and he’s getting opportunities on the second power play unit under new head coach Jeff Blashill. He’s also enjoying the chance to play alongside high-octane linemates like Gustav Nyqvist and Riley Sheahan.

“He’s a good player,” said Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg. “He’s done everything right so far, and he’s the kind of player who puts the puck away when he gets a chance.”

With the AHL’s Grand Rapid Griffins, Pulkkinen accomplished just about everything he could. He captured a Calder Cup title in 2013, made the league’s all-rookie team in 2014, and earned first-team all-star honours with his AHL-leading 34 goals – which he scored, amazingly, in just 46 games.

“It’s getting better,” Pulkkinen said of his early-season performance with Detroit, following a 4-1 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens on October 17. “I feel good about myself, but it’s early. You just have to get going and work hard.” 

continued

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Jeff Blashill Says The Wings Need More From Everyone

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"I think we still got better in us, individually," Blashill said. "We had some guys really going and some guys were just OK and some guys didn't have great games.

"We need 20 guys having great games in order to win in this league. You're not going to be your best every night, but we got to have more guys with 'A' games every night and we're going to need that (Saturday in Vancouver), we're going to have to grind one out."...

Said Blashill: "I don't know if we stopped skating but we probably didn't get on our toes enough. When we did have time in their end, we didn't do a good enough job of getting pucks to the net, not that we weren't attempting them, but we got to do a better job getting them through."

more

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Flames wrap-up and Red Wings-Canucks set-up

The Red Wings boarded a very late flight to Vancouver for tonight's game against the Canucks (10 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) stinging from a 3-2 OT loss to the Calgary Flames and the loss of Mike Green thanks to a charge from Josh Jooris.

To the latter item, the Free Press's Helene St. James reported that no news was bad news...

Coach Jeff Blashill did not have an update on Green immediately after the game, including whether Green would be available Saturday when the Wings play at Vancouver. Given that Green never returned to Friday's game, it would seem doubtful he would be available so soon.

To the former, the now 2-and-6 Flames were absolutely delighted having delivered the Red Wings their 4th straight loss in comeback fashion, as they told the Canadian Press:

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Prospect news: Griffins lose again; Tvrdon scores 2 in Walleye win; de Haas registers 2 assists

Of prospect-related note:

It could be worse. The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 3-1 decision to the Charlotte Checkers on Friday, and Grand Rapids is now 1-and-5 on the early season. The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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Red Wings-Flames quick take: point taken on a down-and-dirty night in Calgary

Wings fans have had an ideal start's worth of expectations for the team that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the team hasn't lived up to thanks to a strange schedule, new personnel, young players thrust into promiment roles and a new coach whose system wasn't as much a copy of as a strong resemblance to Mike Babcock's, so the Wings headed into the second of three Western Canadian games on a long losing streak.

On Friday night, the Red Wings lost Mike Green to an injury and lost 1-0 and 2-1 leads en route to a 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary that was predicated upon Detroit barely losing out in a goaltending battle. Jimmy Howard was far superior to Jonas Hiller, stopping 37 of 40 shots, but Howard didn't get the run support as the Wings were worn down in the 2nd and 3rd periods by short-term injuries to Kyle Quincey and Niklas Kronwall, and the Wings just never got their flow back, literally or figuratively.

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Mike Green (shoulder?) injured in Wings-Flames game

This one wasn't pretty, but "doubtful to return" is a lot better than "out," and Josh Jooris should have been called for charging:

Update:

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Red Wings-Flames game-day articles II: profiling Blashill; on line changes, personnel tweaks & Jurco

Of Red Wings-related note prior to the Wings-Flames game:

Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video:

The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek profiled Jeff Blashill, and he wrote a heck of a good article:

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Brendan Smith Ready For The Power Play Opportunity

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A good skater with offensive instincts, Smith quarterbacked the power play at Wisconsin and with the Grand Rapids Griffins. But former coach Mike Babcock declined to give him the opportunity in Detroit, never elaborating on the reason but probably fearing Smith's risk-taking tendencies would lead to shorthanded chances against.

"I'm obviously excited about it," Smith said. "It's going to be a challenge, but we have to produce. I think I can help in that area. I think we can get some stuff going, but I think we got to gel a little bit better on the PP."

The Red Wings failed to convert on 12 consecutive power plays heading into this game and are 2 for 19 on the season (10.5 percent). They ranked second in the NHL in 2014-15.

Blashill said he needed a point man for the second unit after pairing Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green together on the first unit. Smith might rotate with Danny DeKeyser.

"Smitty's done it in the past. He's done it for me in the past," Blashill said. "DK's done it in the past. We hope one of them can do a real good job."

more

added 6:14pm, from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,

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TMR afternoon line: Blashill on Jurco

From MLive's Ansar Khan:

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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.

 

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