The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings have a particularly stiff test on their hands as they begin a two-games-in-a-week slate against the Nashville Predators (8 PM EST, Fox Sports Detroit/FS Tennessee/AM 1270, and the Wings welcome the Predators to the Joe on Saturday) this evening. The Wings will be facing the team that bested them last April while attempting to rebound from losses against St. Louis (technically an OT loss), Anaheim and Minnesota with an 0-for-the-road power play, no Johan Franzen (or Todd Bertuzzi, or Darren Helm, or Brendan Smith, or Carlo Colaiacovo, but Jonas Gustavsson's healthy and Jan Mursak has recovered from his shoulder injury)...
And the currently 9th place Wings, who sit three points behind the Predators (19 points to 16 points) in the Central Division standings, will be facing a particularly pissed off opponent this evening. The 5-2-and-3-for-February Predators have lost two straight games, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to Anaheim on Saturday and a 6-5 loss in Colorado on Monday that was marred by one of the worst non-called off-sides goals I've seen since the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. Via Puck Daddy and Hockey WebCaster on YouTube, here's Avs winger Matt Duchene, offsides by a mile:
Red Wings evening news: Power play tweaks, Tootoo returns to Nashville and say no to Jay Bouwmeester
Updated 2x at 8:16 PM: Paul's already let us know that Devin Setoguchi will be speaking to the NHL's "Department of Player Safety" about his high stick on Kyle Quincey (Per the NHL and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michel Russo, and Russo believes that there might be a fine in the offing, but no suspension given that Setoguchi got a double minor for the 20+ stitches his cross-check-high-stick yielded), so, as I was regrettably out of the office on an epic grocery sun, let's add some text to this afternoon's crop of Tweets from the Red Wings' practice in Nashville.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings spent a significant amount of time working on their horrific power play while the "Fathers and Mentors" watched, and there's good news on the injury front as well going into tomorrow night's game against Nashville (and the Predators dropped a 6-5 decision to Colorado on Monday afternoon, in Denver, so they're going to be agitated tomorrow)...
It was a big day for forward Jan Mursak, who was cleared to play and taken off injured reserve, where he landed after hurting his collarbone on opening night. Coach Mike Babcock said he wasn't sure if he'll change the lineup, but he did rule out the possibility of having forward Johan Franzen, who has missed three games because of a sore hip flexor. Besides Mursak, the healthy choices are Patrick Eaves and defenseman Jakub Kindl.
The Wings are seeking stop a three-game winless streak and to halt some bad habits, such as blowing leads. They were up, 2-0, at Minnesota on Sunday, then couldn't recover after making a couple of mistakes that led to three straight goals by the Wild. It didn't help the Wings that they had three power plays, as they dropped to 0-for-six games with the man advantage on the road. They're at 13.6% overall, 25th in the NHL.
Oh, Jakub Kindl...
This is kind of last minute notice, but the Grand Rapids Griffins are holding a wine-tasting event tomorrow to benefit the Easter Seals of Michigan, and you can buy tickets for $30 or $50 here. From the Griffins...
The Grand Rapids Griffins have partnered with Easter Seals Michigan to step away from the ice for a night to host the second annual Red, White and Brews wine and beer tasting fundraiser on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 6-9 p.m. at the Goei Center.
Griffins players will serve craft beer and wine samples to over 200 guests at the event, which will also feature live music, hors d’oeuvres by YoChef’s Catering Company, silent and live auctions and special guests. Items up for bid include suite tickets and parking to the May 5 Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds game in Chicago; Griffins collectables and tickets; a “Milwaukee or Bust” package that includes Lake Express Ferry tickets; Amway gift baskets; autographed Detroit Red Wings sticks; Shanty Creek lodging and golf; gift cards and more.
Updated 2x at 2:43 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice about an hour ago in Nashville, hoping to kick-start themselves after dropping their thrid straight game against Minnesota last night, and there is some good news in the injury department, from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
Here come Tweets galore...
From DetroitRedWings.com's Lynn DeLoss Estes, the Red Wings will be holding their annual wine-tasting Toast of Hockeytown on March 18th (and the Grand Rapids Griffins are holding theirs tomorrow):
The 13th Annual Toast of Hockeytown presented by ITC Holdings Corp. will be held on Monday, March 18, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The event benefits the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and will take place on the covered ice of Joe Louis Arena. Only 500 tickets are available to this exclusive event.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland's witnessed half his roster miss time due to injuries, and Detroit remains an injury-ravaged team (see: Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Jan Mursak, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brendan Smith, with Johnas Gustavsson, Mikael Samuelsson, Pavel Datsyuk, Ian White, Patrick Eaves and Jonathan Ericsson having returned to health, Valtteri FIlppula nursing a nagging sore MCL and Kyle Quincey and Brian Lashoff getting "banged-up"), but Holland told the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson that he expected the 48-games-in-99-nights schedule to yield a demolition derby:
Detroit’s Holland feels the 48-game season is an absolute war of attrition. NHL teams’ medical rooms are so full that players are taking numbers for treatment with games being played three or four times a week and the energy level in every game ramped through the roof.
“It’s a playoff run from January to April — three-and-a-half months of games every second day, then the 16 finalists get to do it all over again in the playoffs,” Holland said. “There is the added intensity and the physicality, how hard people backcheck. It’s not even the hitting. It’s up and down the ice. There is no coasting. One hundred feet up the ice, 100 feet back, that’s taxing on players’ groins. We are pushing the players to the limit and coaches are taxing their best players. At the end of the day, it comes down to what clubs can stay the healthiest.”
Updated 2x at 11:23 AM: From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, a not unexpected move:
Update: The Griffins are confirming...
RED WINGS AND GRIFFINS SWAP GOALIES
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Monday recalled goaltender Jonas Gustavsson from the Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings flew to Nashville to face a Predators team that will be on the back half of back-to-back games (the Predators play in Colorado on Monday afternoon) mired in their worst slump of the season and perhaps playing their worst hockey since the team stumbled out of the gate with a 1-and 2 record. The Wings have dropped consecutive losses to St. Louis, Anaheim and now the Minnesota Wild, who rallied from a 2-goal deficit and defeated the Wings 3-2 thanks to 3 goals scored over the course of 4 minutes and 10 seconds.
Despite the returns of Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk from injuries, and despite Kyle Quincey having shaken off what DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported were over 20 stitches thanks to a high stick from Devin Setoguchi, the Wings' inability to generate any offense whatsoever from players not named Zetterberg, Datsyuk or Brunner, their absolutely horrific power play and the team's seemingly tracing paper-thin level of self-confidence all but doomed the team to its third loss over the past six days as soon as Torrey Mitchell's game-winner hit the back of the net.
Updated 3x with clips of Mrazek, Zetterberg and Babcock speaking to the media at 9:30 PM: The Detroit Red Wings now find themselves admist a 3-game losing streak thanks to a loss of poise, a loss of direction and a seemingly baffling lack of effort, intensity and attention to detail after giving up 3 goals over the course of 4 minutes and 10 seconds, en route to a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
The Red Wings, bolstered by the additions of Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson, got off to a superb start, and it took 8-and-a-half minutes for Damien Brunner to score a gorgeous goal off a superb outlet pass from Brian Lashoff and some magic worked by Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and after out-shooting Minnesota 14-8 in the 1st period, the Wings struck quickly in the second, with Pavel Datsyuk scoring 20 seconds into the second period from Zetterberg and Lashoff...
But the Wings seemed to all but collapse after Dany Heatley mucked the 2-1 goal past Petr Mrazek off a bizarre faceoff loss and puck that went off Lashoff and right to Dany Heatley. A poor pinch by Jonathan Ericsson and a terrible defensive play by Samuelsson yielded a game-tying goal by Jason Zucker under four minutes after Heatley scored...
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.