The Malik Report
SI's Sarah Kwak gave Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar quite the set of compliments today:
With old, reliable names out of the lineup, new ones began to emerge. Before this season, Nyquist and 23-year-old left-winger Tomas Tatar had nine goals in 67 games between them. Now they lead the Red Wings with 28 and 19 goals, respectively, and are being called the team's next generation of stars.
It might be too early to hand the keys to the franchise to this dynamic duo, but there are reasons to believe that they're more than a flash in the proverbial pan. Their profiles have skyrocketed, but not altogether surprisingly. Both Nyquist and Tatar were perhaps overripe by the time they stuck with the Wings. As is the case with most Detroit prospects, breaking into the lineup is often the hardest part. Since signing in March 2011, Nyquist, a fourth-rounder in 2008, was sent down to the minors 11 times. Tatar has made nine such trips since he was drafted 60th overall in 2009.
Such is the plight of playing for a deep, talented, and well-managed organization. When success is as longstanding and commonplace as it has been at the Joe, there isn't much room for learning on the job. Particularly up front, rookies come in as veterans. So to go with his impressive speed, Nyquist has developed a hockey IQ that is already "off the charts," in the words of Detroit coach Mike Babcock. And Tatar has shown no quit in his play as he continues to make those around him better.
And she continues...
The AHL found a unique way to announce that Red Wings prospects and/or Grand Rapids Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Ryan Sproul has made the league's All-Rookie Team:
Updated 3x at 2:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to earn two points, if not send something of an, "We're not going to be easy pickings" message, when they tangle with the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (8 PM EDT on NBCSN, TSN2 and 97.1 FM). If anything, the biggest message will be two points, however, because the Columbus Blue Jackets will be spotted a 1-0 lead in their Rich Peverley make-up game against Dallas.
Very optional for the #RedWings this morning with Howard, Gustavsson, Bertuzzi and Andersson on the ice here at Consol Energy Center.
Roose then revealed the starting goaltenders...
Red Wings-Penguins set-up and morning report: the only ‘message’ Wings need to send is a 2-point one
Update: Oh joy:
The Red Wings were relatively satisfied with their slightly ugly 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but the Wings will need to take their games to another level if Mike Babcock's ship is to take 2 points from the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TSN2/97.1 FM), especially given the wild-and-woolly way in which the Wings took a 5-4 OT decision from Pittsburgh on March 20th.
Tonight's "NBC Rivalry Night" game may precede a rekindling of the teams' playoff rivalry a week from now, and the Peguins, who are as flummoxed by the NHL's new playoff format as the rest of us, have split their past 4 games but have won 4 of 6, including a 3-2 shootout win over Colorado last Sunday--a win in which the Penguins sat a bunch of slightly-injured players.
As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Chris Adamski notes, the Penguins are dealing with a number of injuries, but none more significant than Evgeni Malkin's "foot injury":
The Red Wings didn't paint a work of art in winning a rather homely 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres last night, but the Wings' 3-2 win last Friday wasn't pretty, either, and given that a) those damn Blue Jackets both won in overtime vs. Phoenix, b) those damn Blue Jackets start tonight's Rich Peverley Make-Up Game with a 1-0 lead over Dallas, and c) given that the Red Wings have a big game against the Penguins tonight (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TSN2/97.1 FM), sometimes you've got to bank away points any way possible, and the Wings have earned a necessary 4 of 4 points and 2 regulation wins over Buffalo.
The Eastern Conference Wild Card standings are still bunched-up at the top, but Detroit and Columbus have separated themselves from the rest of the pack:
The Sabres tossed off several slew-foots, Mike Weber boarded Gustav Nyquist, and the game was less than friendly, but WGR 550's Paul Hamilton felt that it was at least one Red Wing who played dirtily early on, with Darren Helm running goaltender Jeff Hackett too aggressively until #43 was called for goaltender interference:
The Red Wings' prospects mostly had a good day/evening Tuesday, but we may be engaging in another, "Will he or won't he come over?" situation regarding one player:
In Sweden's SHL, Linkopings HC lost a 7-3 decision to Skelleftea AIK, losing the series 4 games to 1, and Skelleftea now advances to the SHL final to defend last year's title.
Mattias Backman finished at +2 with a shot and 2 assists 23:45 of ice time, and the defenseman was on loan to LHC, so he may do what Mattias Janmark did last night in heading to North America to finish out the year with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
In North America, in Major Junior Hockey:
The Red Wings defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Tuesday night, earning Mike Babcock his 414th winas the Wings' coach (the most ever), and then Pavel Datsyuk broke the quote machine while speaking to Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon:
Update: Here's Datsyuk:
And we have a winner, via Sarah "Helmerroids" Dwyer:
When Mickey Redmond described what was eventually a 4-2 Red Wings win over the Buffalo Sabres as "not the prettiest of games," I thought, "You know what, I bet he's great at letting people down easy."
The Red Wings rallied from a 1-0 deficit--though it took 32-and-a-half minutes for them to do so--killed off 1:51 of a 5-on-3 almost immediately after Brendan Smith tied the game, did absolutely nothing on their own power plays, the Wings pushed themselves ahead by one goal early in the 3rd, by 2 later in the game, and the team predictably gave up a 3-2 goal with 2:11 left, having to eke out a 4-2 decision via an empty-netter...
Updated at 12:55 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to shake off Saturday's loss to Montreal when they battle the Sabres this evening (7 PM, FSD/MSG-B/97.1 FM), kicking off a slate of back-to-backs (Detroit plays in Pittsburgh tomorrow), 3 games in 4 nights and 4 in 6 to close out their regular season.
Again, last night's Devils loss theoretically drops the Wings' "Magic Number" of points needed to clinch a playoff spot down to 3, though the Wings and Blue Jackets (who host the Coyotes this evening) are still neck-and-neck in terms of locking down the first Wild Card spot, which would allow the teams to avoid a 1st-round match-up with the Boston Bruins (and again, Columbus has 40 total wins to the Wings' 37 and 35 Regulation-or-OT wins to the Wings' 32):
I would complain more about the Red Wings' schedule if the Blue Jackets weren't engaging in such similar circumstances.
After Monday's practice, the Red Wings flew to Buffalo to take on the Sabres tonight (7 PM EDT, not 7:30, on FSD, MSG-B and 97.1 FM); the Wings then head to Pittsburgh for an NBCSN "Rivalry Night" game against Pittsburgh on Wednesday (8 PM EDT start); the team will fly back to Detroit to host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, likely after taking Thursday off, and they will then head to St. Louis to battle the Blues on Sunday (this time on NBC, at 12:30 PM EDT, or 11:30 AM local time).
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.