The Malik Report
It's a little early for a "mad dash," but here are a few more stories regarding the Red Wings and their match-up with the Rangers this evening (8 PM EST ON NBCSN/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM; don't forget that Slava Fetisov will appear on The Daily Show at 11 PM, too) that didn't make the morning skate or game day entries.
First and foremost, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa confirms that Henrik Zetterberg passed his baseline neurological test and will play tonight:
Henrik Zetterberg, who appeared in 57 of the Red Wings' 61 games before Jamie Benn of the Stars punched him twice in the head on Feb. will return to the lineup Wednesday night against the Rangers.
Zetterberg had been out with concussion-like symptoms.
In the sixth season of a 12-year contract, Zetterberg, 34, is two points behind the team leader, Pavel Datsyuk, in points with 49 (15 goals, 34 assists).
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on WBBL's Huge Show with Bill Simonson on Wednesday afternoon, and Holland discussed the Wings' trade deadline acquisitions and much, much more over the course of a 20-minute interview:
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Erik Cole expects a few anxious moments before he makes his Red Wings debut tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
“For sure. Absolutely,” said Cole when asked if he’ll be nervous before puck drop. “It’s an exciting moment for me to play for this organization. It’s just a great opportunity.”
One of the newest members of the team, Cole is familiar with joining a new team for the stretch run to the regular season. The 36-year-old Cole was part of two deadline deals since 2008-09 – first from Edmonton back to Carolina – the team that originally drafted him in 1998 – and to Dallas from Montreal.
“You know a bit more about what to expect, so that helps for sure,” Cole said. “Just being an older player and being comfortable with my surroundings, wherever that may be, you find your way and deal with it as it comes. When you get to the rink, lots of times that’s the easy part.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We are three-quarters of the way through the season and beginning to get a pretty good grasp on who should take home the hardware. Now, I still reserve the right to change my mind come early April once the regular season is over, but at this very point, here's how I see the award leaders. Agree or disagree?
Candidates: Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators; Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens; Jack Capuano, New York Islanders; Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues; Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers; Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning; Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings; Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals; Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets; Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames
The skinny: Laviolette has to be the favorite given where expectations were for the Preds in September. You could lump Capuano and Maurice in that group, too. It's funny how Therrien never gets any love for this award, even though he continues to do a great job and his Canadiens are in first place. Hartley deserves so much credit for taking a team many people thought would be in the Tank Derby this season and instead continuing to fight a playoff spot. The Giordano injury will likely do him in, but three-quarters of the way into the season, tip your cap to Hartley. But my pick? And I know he likely won't even be nominated, but I'm going with Babcock. Some people wondered in September whether the Wings might finally miss the playoffs this season. They looked at a blue-line corps that didn't impress anyone. They looked at a number of young players who lacked experience. But they forgot to look at the best coach in the NHL.
read on for LeBrun's other hardware 'winners' at the 3/4 mark of the NHL season...
Also, rember voting is for regular season only, playoff results are not considered.
Big update: Good news!
Updated 7x at 1:50 PM: The Red Wings tangle with the New York Rangers in a "Rivalry Night" game this evening (8 pm EST on NBCSN/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM;
the Wings are collecting school supplies for charity tonight [Edit: on FRIDAY /end edit]), and the Wings' morning skate revealed that Henrik Zetterberg will probably play, assuming that he clears his baseline neurological test this afternoon.
The Bergen Record's Andrew Gross reported that the Rangers won't be holding a morning skate, so 1 of only 4 games on the NHL schedule this evening got the NBCSN game preview treatment, a "pick" from CBS Sports' Chris Peters, and after the morning skate, an "Over the Boards" conversation between NHL.com's Dan Rosen and Wings coach Mike Babcock regarding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky's additions:
From the Grand Rapids Business Journal's Pat Evans:
Van Andel Arena is considered the “best” place to watch a minor league hockey game.
Van Andel Arena appears in the ranking “Best Stadium Experience by League for 2014” by Stadium Journey, ranking No. 1 in the category best of minor league/junior hockey.
The arena is the home of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
Stadium Journey co-founder Paul Swaney says in a review that Van Andel Arena is “a perfect place to see AHL hockey.”
The metric Stadium Journey uses for rating venues is called FANFARE and includes food and beverage, atmosphere, neighborhood, fans, access, return on investment and extras.
Van Andel Arena scores a 4.3 out of 5 on the FANFARE scale.
Updated 3x at 11:50 AM:
Also from Khan...
Marchenko (strained oblique muscle) is practicing.
George here taking over, and here's my version:
The Detroit Red Wings' new trade deadline acquisitions will get to work when the Red Wings host the New York Rangers this evening (a delightful "Rivalry Night" game at 8 PM EST on NBCSN/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM; the Wings are collecting school supplies this evening), and this should be a humdinger of a "First Game Back from a West Coast Swing" trap game:
New York actually has 39 wins to the Wings' 35 and 84 points to the Wings' 81, and they've won both 5 of their past 6 games (with their most recent win involving defeating Nashville 4-1 on Monday) and 9 of their past 11 games, and they of course acquired the much-ballyhooed Keith Yandle on Monday as well--and they're playing fantastically well despite not having the services of Henrik Lundqvist ("vascular injury") in the net (Cam Talbot's been starring in Lundqvist's place).
Things don't get any easier for the Wings after tonight; they host the playoff-desperate Calgary Flames on Friday, they head to Boston to battle the Bruins in a Sunday matinee, and then they host the Oilers to wrap up a slate of 4 games in 6 nights.
Tuesday was actually a very busy day for the Red Wings' prospects and their teams, and it involved an under-the-radar transaction that was a bit of a bummer in Jared Coreau and Martin Frk heading to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye due to the returns of Petr Mrazek and Teemu Pulkkinen to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
In game action:
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin may be injured, but SKA St. Petersburg's going to be just fine. They defeated Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3-1 and lead their 1st round playoff series (yes, the playoffs are already here in the KHL).
There's already a playoff series that's over as Sergei Fedorov's team, CSKA Moscow, defeated HC Sochi (Cory Emmerton's team) 6-0 and swept that series 4-0;
The NHL doesn't deliver formal "apologies" to players, but Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave believes that the league ought to do the same thing that Erik Cole did during Tuesday's practice--apologize for Jamie Benn's unpunished indiscretion that probably concussed Henrik Zetterberg:
Zetterberg has missed the last four games after he was punched repeatedly in the head by Benn in a scrum surrounded by four officials. Zetterberg left the game and did not return for the third period, when the Wings overcame two two-goal deficits in the third period of a wild, 7-6 Detroit victory. And what did we hear from the NHL about that? Crickets.
Imagine how league officials would have responded if Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby or Washington's Alexander Ovechkin had been sucker-punched like that. Or anybody in Toronto or New York. Oh, the outrage!
Such hypocrisy. For a league that insists it's doing everything possible to protect its players from head injuries -- especially when caused by such gratuitous violence -- the unthinkable decision not to slap Benn with some form of supplemental discipline is inexcusable.
Zetterberg missed four games with headaches. He skated hard Monday and again on Tuesday, and hoped to be cleared for contact afterward. He remains questionable for Wednesday's game against the visiting New York Rangers.
If he does play, he'll likely be flanked by Cole, a speedy and acerbic 6-foot-2, 210-pound on one wing, and Justin Abdelkader, 6-1 and 220 pounds, on the other. Not since Steve Yzerman had Bob Probert on one wing and Gerard Gallant on the other has a top-line center been surrounded by such a combination of size, speed, grit and goal-scoring ability
Gave continues, and while I wouldn't go as far as to compare Abdelkader and Cole to Gallant and Probert...Do you think the NHL still owes Zetterberg an apology it won't give him? Should the NHL apologize when players who injure others go unpunished?
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.