The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Red Wings GM Ken Holland still tells the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the Wings will only make a trade if they find a "dramatic upgrade" over the players on their roster, but he's starting to talk about exploring the market as well:
“If we acquire players in a trade they have to come in and be better than the players we have,” Holland said. “The reason you make a trade is to bring in players you think are better than what you got. If we do anything, the players have to be without a doubt better than what we got.”
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an off-day notebook discussing the Wings' concerns regarding their goals-against--or the lack thereof...
Speaking after [Monday's] game about the sudden surge in goals allowed, team captain Henrik Zetterberg wanted to scratch Sunday's result because it was "tough goals," he said, adding that Monday's outcome came down to "mental mistakes. That will happen in the course of a season. We just have to keep playing the way we want to and minimize our turnovers and we will be fine."
Gustav Nyquist called Sunday's game "crazy, both ways." Darren Helm said, "that's not the team we want to be."
The resounding perspective within the locker room was that the two games were a blip, not a trend. Head coach Jeff Blashill said he didn't think his team gave up "that much more than in previous games" in actual scoring chances.
Thursday begins a three-game road trip, with further stops at Ottawa and the New York Rangers. After excelling on the road throughout January, the Wings are 0-3 on the road to start February.
2. Among MLive's Ansar Khan's notes:
from Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet,
While the Boston Bruins took a bit of the shine off him in his most recent start, Petr Mrazek has been having a phenomenal first season as starting goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings. His .930 save percentage is a big reason why the Wings are solidly in the playoff picture, despite a goal differential that has hovered at or around zero for much of the season.
Mrazek is tied for third in the NHL in save percentage among goalies with with 30+ games played, and he is tied for first in even strength save percentage at .942, with Cory Schneider.
The question for the Red Wings is whether this is the kind of play they can expect from Mrazek going forward in his career.
Even Strength save percentage is a better predictor of future success than all situations save percentage, but with Mrazek, we’re still dealing with a relatively small sample.
One way we can look at how Mrazek is trending as a goaltender is to look at his save percentages by zone. We know that goaltenders who stop the highest percentage of shots from the red zone or inner slot have the highest likelihood of repeating good save percentages in all areas, as that area remains more consistent than others do.
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took a shot, won 50% of his faceoffs and finished at -2 in 10:59 of ice time as Skellefetea AIK lost 5-2 to Linkopings HC;
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin won 63% of his faceoffs, finished at -1 and played 9:33 in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-1 loss to Jokerit;
In the AHL, The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum as the longest-tenured goaltender in Griffins history:
From MLive's Ansar Khan...
And the Free Press:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
From the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Pavel Datsyuk began a new week as he closed the old one: by scoring. Datsyuk’s goal midway through the third period of Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center was his sixth goal in the past five games. It was also the 310th of his career, pushing Datsyuk past Brendan Shanahan into seventh overall in goals in Red Wings history.
“He’s Pavel Datsyuk,” Henrik Zetterberg said with a smile. “I don’t think anyone is surprised. He is playing the way he always has been. Even as he gets older in age, he keeps playing the way he always has. Looking back at my career, he’s probably going to be the player that I’m most proud of playing with. We’ve had a lot of fun together.”
That especially has been true the past six games, which have seen the two reunited on the same line for the first time in years.
Gustav Nyquist passed the puck to Datsyuk for Monday’s goal.
“He’s really heating up here and producing,” Nyquist said. “Even when he wasn’t producing as much as he has done lately, he’s always a great player for us. When they got put together, him and Hank, seem to have gotten some energy off of that and are really finding each other. That’s great to see.”
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Datsyuk’s hot streak last week coincided with coach Jeff Blashill reuniting Datsyuk and Zetterberg with Justin Abdelkader a big, bruising presence on the other wing. Blashill, also, figured it would just be a matter of time before Datsyuk’s offensive game clicked into gear.
“He was getting lots of chances and we all know when Pavel gets that many chances, he’s going to score,” Blashill said. “He was getting a little frustrated because he wasn’t scoring as much as he wanted. My message was keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you have to keep grinding and doing exactly what you’re doing. In the end, he was able to score because he kept at it.”
Of prospect-related note:
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -2 in the Flint Firebirds' 5-2 loss to London;
And in the WHL, in a battle between Joe Hicketts' Victoria Royals and Dominic Turgeon's Portland Winterhawks, Turgeon scored a goal and assisted on the overtime winner as the Winterhawks defeated Victoria 2-1 in OT. Hicketts finished at -1 for Victoria.
On an evening of discontent in Red Wings nation, Sports Illustrated's Joshua Kloke:
Credit is due to Blashill for ensuring the transition from Babcock was a smooth one, but the real reason for Detroit’s success, as is usually the case, is the depth in their lineup.Besides Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the Wings’ top five scorers include rookie Dylan Larkin, who is a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, as well as Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar, who are both producing the second-highest points per 60 minutes totals (all situations) of their respective careers. For all the inherent risk in relying on Zetterberg and Datsyuk, two skaters who are on the long side of 35, the supporting cast has quietly gone about its business.
As we approach the February 29 trade deadline, the list of buyers in the market will be obvious. Washington, Florida, Dallas, St. Louis and Chicago will all try to upgrade and fill holes for Stanley Cup run. But a look up and down Detroit’s roster begs the obvious question: Do the Red Wings even need to make a drastic move? This team might just be good enough as is to contend for the Eastern Conference crown.
Detroit GM Ken Holland is up against the salary cap. That’s a blessing and a curse: The Wings won’t be able to do much in the trade market, so their focus will be on readying the pieces they have for a the playoffs. There are no glaring gaps in the lineup. Petr Mrazek has emerged as a likely Vezina Trophy candidate, sporting top five numbers in both save percentage and goals-against average. Jimmy Howard hasn’t looked capable of taking the Red Wings to the next level in recent years but Mrazek, like many on the roster, is heating up at just the right time.
There are 25 games left on Detroit’s regular season slate. Over the course of those games, it should come as no surprise if a typically strong Red Wings team emerges as one of the most formidable dark horses in the East.
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.