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Wings Plan For Another Playoff Run

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“I think we’ve done a lot of good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I think we’re a way better team than we were. We’re way quicker. We skate, our young kids are good players. We need a few more of our veterans to be better than they’ve been and we’ll be fine.”

They have gotten a tremendous boost from young forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, each of whom has 24 points. Nyquist has nine goals in his past 10 games and 14 for the season. Tatar has 13 goals....

“It’s encouraging to see these young guys that really have taken steps in their development,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “That’s made us a faster team and a better team.”

They need more consistent play from goaltender Jimmy Howard and better defense.

If they make a move before the March 5 trade deadline, they’re more apt to pursue a top-four defenseman than a forward. But the pickings are slim, and to acquire any player the soon-to-be capped out Red Wings would need to shed an equal amount of salary. That will make it tough to deal.

If they have to make do with what they have, that’s fine by them.

“I think we’ve been playing a lot better the last 10 games, going the right way,” Zetterberg said. “Hopefully we get some guys back after the break. We’re going to have a fun run all the way into the postseason.”


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The Latest On Pavel Datsyuk And Team Russia


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Red Wings-Lightning quick take: yet again, Bolts bite Wings in the butt

What looked like a promising effort turned out to be an utter bullshit game. The Red Wings go into the Olympic break still far behind the Bolts and still in "Wild Card" instead of division playoff spots thanks to a combination of poor play during key points of the game and dreadful refereeing or the lack thereof on the game-winner--despite Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall looking and playing inept on the Killorn goal, Ericsson's stick was held 2 separate times and Kronwall's stick was held on the goal itself (Glendening's stick being grabbed, held and tugged out of his hands by Tampa was fine though)--and as such, the Red Wings blew a pair of one-goal leads end ended up losing 4-2 to Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

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Updates On Weiss, Sheahan And Glendening

Khan tweets,

Stephen Weiss will start skating with Whalers on Tues. and if all goes well will play couple games in Grand Rapids weekend of Feb. 21-23.

Riley Sheahan will be reassigned to Grand Rapids during Olympic break (next game is Friday). To be determined if he'll be back after break.

Luke Glendening said he's not eligible to play in Grand Rapids until NHL players resume skating on 2-19. He'll go to GR then and play.

added 1:31pm, Mark Masters of TSN tweets...

Babcock on staying focused before OLY break: "It takes the same amount of time to do it right as to do it wrong. We’re here anyway …"

Babcock: "We’re not going anywhere until the game’s over so why wouldn’t we play well?"

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The Wings Will Go With The Same Lineup

The beat writers report no lineup changes tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, same group as Thursday.

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Datsyuk Today

Ansar Khan of Mlive with a report on Datsyuk and Ericsson today after practice,

“Looks like everybody fast, ice is so small, goalie so big, net so small,” Datsyuk said after practice Friday. “I hope everybody slow down and be careful with my age.”

Datsyuk played on the wing with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson. He might move back to center on Saturday.

“We played him on the wall because he wanted to,” Babcock said. “He practiced in the middle today, but I think he’s going to play on the wall again tomorrow. We’ll just see how he does.”

Said Datsyuk: “It’s first game I played in one month, it’s a little easier to play on the wing. But I’m hoping I play tomorrow at center.”

Asked if he thinks he can handle more minutes, Datsyuk said, “That’s coach priority. If he trusts me more I’ll play more minutes.”


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Everything Looks The Same As Wings Skate In Tampa

Ansar Khan tweets,

Wings practicing at the Tampa Times Forum. Skating with same lines: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader, Datsyuk-Helm-Alfredsson

Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Glendening-Miller. Eaves, Cleary and Bertuzzi also skating.

added 1:08pm, Khan...

On defense, Weiss is skating in place of Ericsson. No word yet on why Ericsson isn't practicing. But other pairs intact: 27-65 and 23-2.

added 1:34pm, Khan again,

Babcock said Ericsson had maintenance day and expected to play tomorrow.

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Red Wings-Panthers quick take: ‘easy’ game ends wild and woolly but Wings emerge with 2 points

The Detroit Red Wings' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers started out as a wash and finished as a heart-attack-inducing thriller, but as the Wings try to solidify at least some sort of playoff footing heading into the Olympic break, I'll take the atrial fibrillation ahead of a day set aside to promote women's heart health.

This time the Red Wings at least flipped the script against a team that's become a nemesis of sorts--and a team that the Wings hopefully won't play again until next season--by out-shooting the Panthers by a wide, wide margin but getting scored on first instead of surrendering a lead, with Scottie Upshall's breakaway goal 19:34 into the 1st (Howard leans to the right, Upshall scores through the left pad) ruining a dominant 11-to-2 shot disparity and incredibly strong first period effort by the Wings.

A slightly tentatative Pavel Datsyuk and company didn't waiver, however, and Daniel Alfredsson scored a helluva top-shelf goal off a fine exchange with Henrik Zetterberg, who didn't get an assist, and a set of passes and rebound retrievals, respectively, by Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader 6:30 into the 2nd:

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Datsyuk And Babcock On Pavel’s Return Tonight

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“Sooner or later I needed to start,” Datsyuk said after the morning skate. “I’ve been waiting enough.”

It was Datsyuk’s decision. He is the captain of the Russian Olympic team and wanted to play in a couple of games before heading to Sochi, Russia, on Sunday.

“I just hope we’re doing the right thing,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I hope we’re not bringing him back just because it’s the Olympics. I hope he’s actually ready and we’re going to find out tonight. One thing about getting back on the ice, you can’t hide out there.

“It’s in his country, he wants to play bad, but he’s a smart guy, he isn’t going to jeopardize his career over something like this. Makes no sense. So we got to trust him. Same way it happens all the time. You trust them. In the end they make the decision. That’s what injured players do.”

Asked how he feels, Datsyuk said, “It’s hard to say but when game starts, I start to more feel it and then I can say. But now it’s OK.”


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The Wings Are Skating In South Florida


Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Glendening-Miller. Looks like Eaves, Cleary, Bertuzzi are scratched, assuming Datsyuk ready.

added 12:00pm, Khan says Babcock notes Datsyuk is in tonight, Eaves on stand-by just in case.

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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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