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Custance: Red Wings legend Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday appearances may be among his last

Update: NHL.com's John Kreiser also wished Howe a happy birthday on behalf of the NHL(!) and posted a slate of significant figures from Howe's career:

Red Wings legend Gordie Howe turns 85 on Sunday, and the Red Wings will commemorate his birthday by wearing commemorative #9 jerseys in warm-ups prior to Sunday's matinee against Chicago (12:30 PM EDT, NBC/NHL Network Canada/97.1 FM, and the jerseys will be auctioned to support the Gordie Howe Foundation).

Howe is slowing down a bit and battles a "mild cognitive impairment" at times, but his family told the Canadian Press that he'll attend both Sunday and Monday's games (he's signing autographs during the 1st or 2nd intermission, and with a movie about his comeback with the Houston Aeros set to preiiere on the Hallmark Channel on May 4th, Howe will be in the public eye again, but ESPN's Craig Custance reports that Howe's appearances on Sunday and Monday may be the last times fans will be able to see him in such a crowded setting--though the family is pulling back the curtain on Howe's now very-private life for the sake of their father's enjoyment of the next two days:

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Thanks for your service, Kent Huksins: Red Wings trade Huskins to Flyers for 7th round pick

Updated 2x at 3:27 PM: Per the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, with Carlo Colaiacovo ready to return from his shoulder injury and the fact that the Red Wings signed Danny DeKeyser, the team needed to make roster room, and it's done so by trading Kent Huskins to the Philadelphia Flyers:

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Red Wings Saturday practice post: Lidstrom recruit DeKeyser debuts, Franzen, Samuelsson near return

Updated 10x at 2:52 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice this morning to prepare for Sunday's matinee game against the Chicago Blackhawks (12:30 PM EDT, NBC/97.1 FM, and the Hawks lost 2-1 to Anaheim last night) with a new face in the lineup...

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Red Wings overnight report: Welcome to the Big Red Machine, Danny DeKeyser

Updated 2x at 4:53 AM: I know that my fellow members of the ever-twitchy Red Wings nation spent all of five minutes celebrating the Red Wings' signing of Danny DeKeyser before wondering what the team will do about Valtteri Filppula and whether the team can make playoff-strengthening moves at the trade deadline given Ken Hollad's comments to NHL.com's Brian Hedger (cue: Pavel Datsyuk's future and extending Jimmy Howard and Damien Brunner as well).

I'm sure that Holland, Jim Nill and the Wings' braintrust (Nick Barnowski reported that capologist Ryan Martin was in Grand Rapids to watch University of Minnesota defenseman Ben Marshall play in the NCAA regionals) spent about five minutes celebrating a signing that SI's Allan Muir accurately described was a "water is also wet" move to the rest of the hockey world before catching the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 loss to Anaheim and the now playoff-bubble-bound Columbus Blue Jackets' 6-4 win over Calgary(!)...

But I hope that Holland and Nill at least cracked a couple of beers and toasted what Red Wings fans thought was a sure "miss" on a "can't-miss prospect." As far as Red Wings fans are concerned, DeKeyser's signing proves that there's still an allure to playing for the Wings, a "cachet," if you will, that hasn't quite faded despite Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement, and that's a huge relief.

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Red Wings do indeed land Danny DeKeyser (confirmed by the team)

Updated 18x at 7:30 with comments from Holland and Jim Nill: I wrote the Red Wings-Sharks wrap-up from 1-5. Finally got to sleep at 6:30. Woke up around 9. Have been enjoing the watch for Danny DeKeyser since then (and posting the Wings beat writers' stories about Filppula and Colaiacovo, NHL.com's Hedger's interviews with Holland and Bill Roose's chat with Michael Shanks ahead of Gordie Howe's 85th birthday celebration on Sunday), and have been watching Red Bird III's flight path on Flightaware for such a long time that I'm practically ready to make airplane noises.

TSN's Darren Dreger posited this at 4:23 PM...

Then Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos offered this...

Boom. Done:

From the dean of hockey journalism himself:

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Ahead of Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday, actor Michael Shanks talks about portraying Mr. Hockey

Updated 3x at 2:47 PM: As Red Wings broadcaster Ken Daniels revealed last night, the Wings will wear commemorative jerseys bearing Gordie Howe's #9 when they skate in warm-ups prior to Sunday's game against Chicago, with the jerseys slated to be auctioned off for the Gordie Howe foundation. Howe turns 85 on Sunday, and Mark and Marty Howe told the Canadian Press that Howe will attend both Sunday's game against Chicago and Monday's game against the Avs.

The Hallmark Channel also plans on airing a made-for-TV movie about Howe's time spent with the Houston Aeros, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke to the actor plaing Howe, one Michael Shanks (who's on Twitter and just posted a photo gallery from the film on his website) about Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story:

"When this came along it was kind of the best of both worlds,” said Shanks, who is best known for his role as Dr. Daniel Jackson in the long-running military sci-fi TV series “Stargate SG-1”. It was the most fun that I’ve had shooting something, which I kind of expected too,” Shanks said. “I’d been dying to do a hockey movie throughout my career. Sure ‘Stargate’ was fun stuff … but when you get to combine your two passions, this is a rare opportunity."

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Red Wings GM Ken Holland tells NHL.com’s Hedger that he’ll move cautiously at the trade deadline

Updated w/ Datsyuk/Howard talk at 1:10 PM: NHL.com's Brian Hedger told the Twitter world that he engaged in an expansive interview with Red Wings GM Ken Holland last night, and it involves Holland's take on possibly making trades given that the team's enduring what truly is a "rebuilding year." Sometimes you have to start at the end, so here's the end, and I highly suggest that you go back and read the rest of Hedger's article:

"We've got a younger team and we're trying to rebuild it," Holland said. "We have to decide if now's the time … are we a playoff team, and not only that but is now the time to do something or should we continue letting the kids go? We've probably got better depth than we thought we did when the season started, and the [young players] are going to get better. So we're going to continue to evaluate."

If the right deal materializes, look for Holland to pull the trigger. If not, he can be content standing pat.

"Trades, to me, can't be forced," Holland said. "Trades happen because two sides each get something they want. Even if you think you have a need and want to do it, there has to be a fit. Somebody else has to have a need. It's a responsibility to work the phone and see what's available, but part of our deadline moves will be internal. We hope to get some of our injured people back."

Continued

Update: Make it a two-parter. Hedger also spoke to Holland about the futures of Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard:

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Red Wings send Carlo Colaiacovo to Grand Rapids for conditioning

This is not the news regarding a Red Wings defenseman that I was expecting this morning:

Update:

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Red Wings ask fans to donate school supplies on Monday, April 1st

From the Red Wings' PR department...

RED WINGS TO HOST SECOND ANNUAL SCHOOL SUPPLY COLLECTION PRESENTED BY PNC BANK ON MONDAY

… Fans who Donate on April 1 can win an Autographed Brunner Puck and Photo …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will host the second annual School Supply Collection presented by PNC Bank to provide children in low-income households with the necessary supplies to learn and participate in their classrooms. The school supply collection will take place during the team’s home game on Monday, April 1, when the Wings take on the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit and AM 1270).

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Red Wings mid-day news: on Franzen, Filppula, Jarnkrok’s debut and the stifling Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings will fly back to Detroit around 12:45 PM EDT today, and won't arrive until just before 5 PM, and their most immediate concern involves the health of one Johan Franzen, who suffered a "lower-body injury" during last night's 2-0 loss against San Jose. The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that whatever's ailing Franzen is bad enough that he'll see a physician on Friday night...

Last night, I had my first, "Wow, Valtteri Filppula's playing his way out of town" moment. I genuinely like Filppula, and I don't root against any Red Wings player, regardless of whether I like them or whether I heard the clang when they dropped the Stanley Cup at Cheli's Chili, Brett Lebda, but with the salary cap going down and the Wings having to make so many hard decisions with their roster (Filppula, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller, Damien Brunner, Ian White and Jimmy Howard will be UFA's, and Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Jakub Kindl and Joakim Andersson will be RFA's), especially given that the team needs to make roster room for full-time Griffins graduates Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist.

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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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