Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Flames set-up and overnight report: the thin line between competing and rebuilding

The Detroit Red Wings begin the road-heaviest portion of their schedule tonight against the Calgary Flames tonight (9:30 PM EDT, FSD/TSN/AM 1270), and as the Wings hope to rebound from their crappy 0-and-2 weekend series against Columbus, and the Wings begin a slate of 3 games in 4 nights in Calgary, Edmonton and then Vancouver by facing off against a team whose status depends on whose story you believe.

Technically the Wings were just "winless" this past weekend just as, technically, the Wings have a 12-9-and-5 record over the course of 26 games played, good for 6th in the Western Conference. While even I resorted to some wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the Wings' craptastic weekend, the team still believes that it's got what it takes to turn around its crappy road record and 0-for-36 road power play in a hurry, and it hopes that Valtteri Filppula's highly probable return and Gustav Nyquist's highly controversial recall will inject some badly-needed offense into the mix...

All while attempting to turn around a 3-5-and-2 road record while playing 7 of this month's remaining 9 games away from Joe Louis Arena.

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Nicklas Lidstrom will be featured on a stamp…As will Salming, Lundqivst and…Jorgen Jonsson?

According to both Aftonbladet's Linus Nordberg and Expressen, former Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will soon find his visage on a Swedish postage stamp, just like Peter Forsberg...

But Lidstrom, Borje Salming, Henrik Lundqivst and less-than-successful NHL'er but Swedish World Championship hero Jorgen Jonsson will all be featured on stamps that the Swedish Posten (postal service) will release to help promote the upcoming World Championships.

For the second year in a row, Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland are co-hosting the Worlds, but this time around, the medal rounds will take place in Stockholm, and after having a hard time filling buildings for expensively-priced round robin games last spring, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation's enlisted Lidstrom, Mats Sundin and Forsberg as ambassadors to drum up business and goodwill going into this year's event.

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John Tortorella gets particularly angry

Update: Whoops, wrong blog! This applies to the Rangers, not the Red Wings...shows you that I've got some rust on me, Sorry!. New York Rangers coach John Tortorella almost named names tonight (and if you can't see the video, click the link):

 

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Savage is talkin’ about the Red Wings’ road ahead

The Detroit Red Wings will play seven of their next eight and eight of their next nine games away from Joe Louis Arena, with a March 20th game against Minnesota and a March 31st affair against Chicago marking the team's only remaining home games until April.

This week's three-game road swing through Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver seems mild and moderate compared to the seven-or-eight-day and four-game road trip that includes a pair of "on the road and still on the road" games against Anaheim and then road tilts in Phoenix and San Jose in the last week of March, and the Wings' schedule is equally split between 7 home games and 7 road games (including two more "western swings") in April, so Detroit needs to figure out how to win on the road in a hurry.

MLive's Brendan Savage separated the injury news and/or Nyquist recall/Tatar demotion stories from an article very specifically discussing the Wings' road trip, and the Wings were blunt when speaking with Savage about the importance of turning their 3-5-and-2 road record around in a hurry:

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Red Wings Tuesday practice post: Nyquist up, Tatar down, Fil close, Helm better, it’s sink or swim

Updated 2x at 4:56 PM: The Red Wings chose to hold one final practice at Joe Louis Arena before embarking on their Western Canadian road swing through Calgary (on Wednesday), Edmonton (on Friday) and Vancouver (on Saturday), and perhaps from a Wings fan's perspective, it's "good news, bad news."

The bad news is that the Wings chose to send Tomas Tatar back to Grand Rapids, swapping him out for Gustav Nyquist. The good news is that the team did so to make room for Valtteri Filppula's return at some point during the road trip, as MLive's Brendan Savage reports...

"I think Filppula is back in so suddenly there's no power-play time for Tatar," coach Mike Babcock said. "You got to give Tats a ton of credit. He came up for one game ... and he earned himself 17 games. We'll give Gus an opportunity and see what he can earn himself. I thought (Tatar) played really good. I thought he did good things. The only thing is suddenly if you're not on the power play, where's he getting his touches? Because Filppula is going to do that. We don't perceive him ahead of Fil. Any way you look at it, that's less ice time for him and less opportunity. So we made that flip. (Nyquist) is getting an opportunity. We have an extra forward now. We need to take an extra forward on the trip. We'll see what happens."

Filppula told Savage that he's almost ready to return, though Savage notes that Filppula has yet to receive medical clearance to play after injuring his left shoulder over two weeks ago...

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Nyquist Up, Tatar Down

added 11:56am,

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday recalled right wing Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned left wing Tomas Tatar to the Griffins.

A native of Halmstad, Sweden, Nyquist has a three-point lead in the AHL scoring race with 60 points (23-37—60) in 57 games. The second-year pro saw a six-game point streak come to an end on Friday versus Hamilton, but the 23-year-old has racked up 15 points (6-9—15) over his last nine games, including four three-point outings. In 121 career games with the Griffins, Nyquist has recorded 122 points (46-76—122) and 52 penalty minutes.

A member of the 2012 AHL All-Rookie Team and a two-time AHL All-Star, Nyquist leads the Griffins in goals and assists, topping the 58 points (22-36—58) he registered in 2011-12.

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Shaky Wings and broken laptops

Greetings, dear readers...I've been absent for the past three days and am just calming down at 6 AM for a reason that I'll get to in a minute...

But I was asked to weigh in on this past weekend's games to ground this entry in hockey observations, and all I can say is this: if the Wings miss the playoffs, we'll look at the Wings' bombs against Columbus as the reason--just as much because the Blue Jackets have provided a blueprint for opponents to defeat the Wings via mild annoyance as opposed to St. Louis Blues-style mashing and grinding into pulp.

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What Would You Pay Jimmy Howard?

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal notes...

The Detroit Red Wings will have to buck up for Jimmy Howard this summer when he’s an unrestricted free agent. Is he worth Kari Lehtonen’s $5.9 million, which starts next season? That’s an overpay by the Dallas Stars. But I’d say Howard should go from $2.25 million to $5 million. They don’t have a backup. He’s their guy. You have to temper Detroit’s excellent first half because they have 14 road games left in their final 22 games.

read on for more hockey topics...

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Let’s Look At The Games This Week

Paul here while George continues to deal with a new laptop issue.

Instead of recapping the OT loss to Columbus today, I thought we could look at what's in the near future.

If unsure, let me tell you:

Wednesday In Calgary

Friday in Edmonton

Saturday in Vancouver

3 games in 4 nights on a tour of western Canada.

The way the Wings are playing right now, this trip could turn into the trip to hell and back or they could perform a compete turnaround and come back home with at least 4 points.

Sit tight folks, the next three games could be the make or break part of the season.

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0-for-36 Should Say Enough

Detroit fans probably have that number embedded in their brains by now...

from Anshar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings play 14 of their final 23 games on the road and need to win a fair share of them to get into the playoffs.

They're going to need a contribution from their power play. They haven't gotten it yet.

Following Saturday's 3-0 loss at Columbus, the Red Wings are 0-for-36 on the power play in 10 road games. They are the only club that hasn't converted on the man-advantage away from home.

They have the personnel. They've shown that at home, where they rank ninth in the NHL at 22.6 percent (14-of-62).

continued

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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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