The Malik Report
Given Darren Helm's murky status due to his "upper-body injury" (we should learn more about Helm when the Red Wings practice at noon), the Wings hedged their bets regarding their lack of depth up the middle via a simple pre-trade-deadline call-up--which doesn't count against the 4 post-deadline call-ups they're capped at making in non-roster emergency situations:
A little after the trade deadline hits at 3 PM EST today, Red Wings will hold a special media availability in which the press will have their only opportunity to speak with Nicklas Lidstrom ahead of tomorrow's jersey retirement ceremony (6:30 PM, FSD, and the Wings now have a special webpage dedicated to the event), so a second wave of news will hit after practice and whatever moves the Wings do or do not make.
The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo's getting ahead of the field to some extent with an article about Lidstrom's legacy, and he's doing so in somewhat controversial fashion, suggesting that it's not Gordie Howe or Steve Yzerman, but instead Lidstrom who is the best-ever Red Wing:
If there is any consolation in the Red Wings' 4-3 loss to Martin Brodeur (farewell, Martin?) and the New Jersey Devils, which involved Daniel Alfredsson losing teeth, Darren Helm succumbing to an "upper-body injury" and brutal defensive performances not only from the Wings' top pairing, but the "kid line" of Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, and in all honesty, the vast majority of their teammates--as well as the Wings losing ground to Toronto, Columbus, Washington, Ottawa and of course New Jersey in the Wild Card race...
1. The Red Wings will be able to put this game behind them in a hurry given that they host the Avalanche on Nicklas Lidstrom jersey retirement night (the Wings now have a special webpage dedicated to the affair), and then get another chance to push the Devils behind them on Friday;
2. And I still vividly remember how the Wings laid several eggs when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Calgary Flames during "Mikka Kiprusoff farewell night," prior to going on quite the winning streak to end their 2013 season.
Tonight's crop of Red Wings prospect news is a bit thin, but still significant:
In the first playoff news of the spring, in the BCHL, David Pope had two assists as his West Kelowna Warriors defeated the Vernon Vipers 5-1, taking a 1-0 series lead;
IIn soon-to-be-in-the-playoffs news, according to Expressen's Stefan Ottoson and Jonathan Grolund, Mattias Janmark and AIK Stockholm will have to play against Djurgardens IF to determine whether the AIK's demoted from the SHL to the Allsvenskan;
Kelowna's Major Junior franchise didn't do as well, with the WHL's Kelowna Rockets losing 5-1 to Everett. Mitchell Wheaton finished at -1 in the affair;
For whatever reason, NHL.com chose to spotlight this part of the Red Wings' 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils on video. Daniel Alfredsson lost at least a pair of teeth due to an uncalled high stick from Andrei Loktionov, and he attempted to retrieve his chiclets...
What a shitty, shitty game.
The Red Wings gave up a goal on the first shift and the next-to-last shift, and that was more than enough to cede two points in a "four-point game" against the Devils, who prevailed 4-3 over Detroit thanks to an Adam Henrique goal 27 seconds into the 1st, a Stephen Gionta game with 47 seconds left in the 3rd...
And awful, awful defense in between.
Was Jimmy Howard shaky? At times. Were Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall doofy? At times. But the Wings spent the entire night playing like they do against the San Jose Sharks--shoveling pucks from the side boards into the slot, with no forwards to clear the puck save Devils ones.
We do not know what's going on, but this is not good news for a Red Wings team severely depleted up the middle:
During his post-game interview with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating, all Wings coach Mike Babcock stated was that Helm "left the bench" and didn't return for the 3rd period.
Update: 'Tis mysterious:
I just updated the Wings-Devils game-day post, but even though it's so close to game time--and I am quite superstitious about posting within an hour of puck drop (hate it)--the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan had a conversation with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock that merits mentioning, especially after the Flyers somehow fleeced the Isles out of Andrew MacDonald (Does Ed Snider have compromising pictures of Garth Snow building a fort with his gigantic goalie pads? With a goat?).
Anyway, here's what Babcock had to say to Kulfan about his trade deadline input...
As for Babcock, he's not paying much attention to the entire process.
"Zero," Babcock said. "If they phone me, I give them my two cents, and if they don't, what am I going to do? The way I look at it is we have a group I believe is going in the right direction and we have a lot of kids on the farm (in the minor leagues). We're excited about what we have here."
And Gustav Nyquist delivered an equally interesting take on the fact that his center in Ottawa and Montreal was Pavel Datsyuk, but tonight, "Goose-tav" and Johan Franzen are lining up with Joakim Andersson between them. Nyquist also played alongside Henrik Zetterberg for a time, but all of a sudden, there's an #18 in the middle instead of #13 or #40:
Given that the Red Wings are playing 3 games over the next 4 nights, they probably won't practice on Wednesday--or they'll hold an optional skate--and two players will be put to good charitable use tomorrow afternoon. From the Wings' PR department:
RED WINGS FORWARDS LUKE GLENDENING AND RILEY SHEAHAN TO VISIT ROSEDALE ELEMENTARY ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
... Wings School Assembly Program Has Visited 85 Schools This Season, Reaching More than 32,000 Students ...
DETROIT -Red Wings forwards Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan will visit Rosedale Elementary in Livonia, Mich., on Wednesday, March 5, as part of the Detroit Red Wings School Assembly Program sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and The Kroger Company of Michigan. The program will take place from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the school gymnasium.
Updated 8x at 6:24 PM: The undermanned Red Wings begin a slate of 3 games in 4 nights and a surprising slate of "4-point games" against the New Jersey Devils this evennig (7 PM EST, FSD/MSG/97.1 FM). The Devils took an early morning skate, and the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti live-Tweeted its events...
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.