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Red Wings-Sharks game-day updates: Smith in, Tootoo out, Jensen in Frozen Four this eve

Updated 9x at 2:14 PM: The Detroit Red Wings are preparing for what is essentially a must-win game against the San Jose Sharks tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN CA/97.1 FM), and while I don't expect to hear much of anything regarding TSN's Aaron Ward's report that the Wings may be close to re-signing Jimmy Howard, I will say this: until it's done--and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff tossed some cold water on the report--all we can do is speculate, and sometimes that's counter-productive, especially given that the beat writers are saying, "Hold your horses there, folks."

Anyway, regarding tonight's game...Comcast Sportsnet California's Kevin Kurz has already penned a game preview...

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Vladdie Konstantinov’s still fighting and still ‘in there’ sixteen years after his injury

Via RedWingsFeed, this is the kind of stuff that gets me a little teary-eyed: Vladimir Konstantinov is still "in there" despite suffering a severe traumatic brain injury sixteen years ago, and the Livonia Observer's Ken Abramczyk reports that Konstantinov spends most of his week continuing to recover from his injuries at the Recovery Project in Livonia, MI. I can't quote the whole article, but Konstantinov's mobility continues to improve, and, most importantly, so does his cognitive functioning, even if it's only a little bit at a time:

Konstantinov has developed a level of acceptance for what has happened, Swingle said. “He enjoys watching hockey,” Swingle said. He attends occasional games and visits with players. He enjoys going to restaurants with family and friends. “He knows what is going on,” Swingle said. “He definitely keeps up. The quality of his life has tremendously improved. He can walk by himself.”

After discussion of his recovery, here's...Well, the heartwarming part:

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TSN’s Aaron Ward reports that Red Wings are close to extension with Howard

Updated 19x at 2:33 PM: This just popped up, and it's a bit of a doozy:

Update: Ah yes, but a report is a "report":

Update #2: Ditto, says the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

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Krupa’s no fan of the shootout

I'm in the minority here, but I like ties in sports. I like ties in sports because there really are instances when neither team's performance has merited a "win," and, perhaps as in life, there ain't no shame in shooting for a tie.

However, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa suggests, the invention and adoption of the shootout does more than ensure that fans paying $50-250+ per ticket leave the rink with a result including a "winner" and "loser." The fact that a shootout win earns teams two points encourages teams to "shoot for a tie," playing incredibly defensively-oriented and plain old boring-to-watch hockey knowing that, should they nurse a tie for 65 minutes, they've got an even chance of earning two points via what is nothing more than a skills competition (cough five wins for Columbus this season cough).

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Red Wings-Sharks set-up and overnight report: on prolonging ‘the streak,’ Pulkkinen and Stuart

The Detroit Red Wings' coaches and management have spent the past two days engaging in what I'd argue is the worst course of action for the representatives of a team in the middle of a vicous battle for its playoff life: they made repeated public statements insisting that the team's personnel have performed up to expectations (much to the ire of annoyed Wings fans), and that the team did not need reinforcements going into its final nine games in order to "control its fate" (much to the ire of annoyed Wings fans).

The Wings begin a slate of three games in four nights against the San Jose Sharks tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM: tonight the Wings are also holding a food collection drive to benefit Gleaners' Food Bank at the Joe). Then the Wings head to Chicago tomorrow (8:30 PM EDT, and the NHL Network's gobbled up that game, so cue the Center Ice/GCL blackout) and battle the Predators on Sunday (7:30 PM EDT), and given what's transpired in the Western Conference Standings over the Wings' three-day break, the Wings need to win at least two of the next three games.

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Anyone Planning To Boo Brad Stuart?

Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front spoke with Jonathan Ericsson after practice regarding Brad Stuart returning tomorrow night as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

“I hope the fans know that he really liked it here, but he really didn’t have a choice because he didn’t want to be away from his family and kids,” Ericsson said. “I really hope they don’t boo him.”

A bit more from 'Big E' regarding Stuart.

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Red Wings Wednesday practice post: Smith in for White, Wings holding Gleaners’ food collection Thu

Updated 5x at 6:56 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena skating with their tweaked lines as they prepare for a three-games-in-four-nights slate beginning with a game against the very grumpy (very, very grumpy) San Jose Sharks tomorrow night, and MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the team threw a bit of a curve ball...

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Red Wings GM Ken Holland talks to WDFN, Fan 590 about Wings’ playoff chances, trades

Updated with Ken Holland's Fan 590 interview: Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on WDFN's Matt Sheppard show this morning, and Holland spoke at length to Sean Baligian about his team's playoff chances, their trade deadline philosophy about about essentially rebuilding on the fly.

WDFN's Twitter account posted some highlights from the interview:

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Red Wings overnight report: Wings still believe they’ll make the playoffs, but lineup tweaks persist

Aside from prospect-related news, Tuesday was not a super fun "off-day" for Red Wings fans. The team announced that Darren Helm would continue skating but the team's no longer expecting him to return from what we've learned is a "slight tear" in one of his discs, and it is entirely possible that we'll hear similar news about Todd Bertuzzi soon.

With the Wings not playing until the team begins a three-games-in-four-nights slate against San Jose on Thursday, the team god bad news in terms of the Western Conference standings on Tuesday, too: St. Louis took a 3-point lead on the Wings via a 1-0 win over Nashville and the Columbus Blue Jackets snuggled right up to 2 points behind Detroit's 43 by defeating San Jose 4-0.

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Talkin’ prospects: Khan confirms that Red Wings are bringing Alexei Marchenko, Teemu Pulkkinen to GR

The Grand Rapids Griffins somewhat inadvertently revealed that they'd not only signed Richard Nedomlel and Jake Paterson to amateur try-outs, but also that Alexei Marcheko was practicing with the team, and this evening, MLive's Ansar Khan is confirming Matias Strozyk's report that the Wings are also bringing Teemu Pulkkinen over for a look-see.

With Calle Jarnkrok scheduled to head back to Sweden after Saturday's slate of three Griffins home games played over the course of four nights (Wednesday vs. Chicago, Friday vs. Milwaukee and Saturday vs. Peoria), and Nedomlel, Paterson, Marchenko, Ryan Sproul and now Pulkkinen joining the mix, the Wings' AHL affiliate is becoming something of a talent evaluation machine.

Wings assistant GM Jim Nill tells Khan that, well, "that's the plan" given that the Wings want to determine whether players like Marchenko, Paterson and especially Pulkkinen are ready to make the jump to professional hockey---and Khan reveals that the Wings plan on bringing both Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok over to North America on a full-time basis next year, even if they don't make the Wings' roster:

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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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