The Malik Report
Updated 11x at 7:09 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full when they welcome the 23-7-5 Anaheim Ducks to Joe Louis Arena this evening (7:30 PM, FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1 FM)--as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted, the Wings have won 2 of their past 15 games at home--and the Red Wings' Game Day Blog also reminds us that yesteray night and this morning's plethora of
pinatas, I mean good injury news doesn't change the fact that it would be more accurate to suggest that this is a Wiffins-Ducks game:
Detroit has center Pavel Datsyuk back from a seven-game absence following a concussion, but the Red Wings are still without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back), goalie Jimmy Howard (sprained knee), defenseman Danny DeKeyser(shoulder) and three other forwards, including Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader (concussion protocols). Franzen left Detroit's game Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning early in the second period after being hit in the face by defenseman Radko Gudas.
Rookie Tomas Jurco, Detroit's second-round pick in the 2011 NHL draft, made his NHL debut against the Lightning and the Red Wings have called up center Riley Sheahan from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to replace Franzen.
"Normally, and I say this all of the time, someone else gets an opportunity," coach Mike Babcock said. "We’re running out of guys to get opportunities."
As the Wings' morning skate got underway, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported that Mikael Samuelsson's likely to draw back into tonight's lineup--and i doing so, he delivered further bad injury news:
The weather outside is frightful — so much in fact that officials have been forced to cancel some of Tuesday’s open skating sessions at Comerica Park.
The first two skating sessions Tuesday morning will no longer take place due to icy conditions. Organizers say the cold temperatures aren’t good for the ice because it can shatter. However, the rink will be up and ready for open skating, beginning at 11 a.m.
As has become predictable, a lack of practicing yielded actual good news on the injury front for the Red Wings ahead of tonight's Teemu Selanne Farewell Tour and/or Red Wings reunion with the Anaheim Ducks team Detroit bounced from the playoffs last spring (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1)--and, somewhat intriguingly, these teams will play their two "playoff rematches" within a month.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reported that Darren Helm (shoulder) is "ahead of schedule" and may return as early as this weekend against Toronto;
Ken Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) are both quite likely to return on or around December 28th, and Holland suggested that the concussed Johan Franzen and concussed Justin Abdelkader won't be back until the weekend at the earliest, but that they're both OK as they take their first few steps through the NHL's concussion protocol;
And while attending the ceremony dedicating the Wings' charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink, Jimmy Howard and his teammates told Fox Sports Detroit's Jon Paul Morosi that Howard will be back before the Winter Classic, too.
But there are some worrisome sets of numbers for Red Wings fans going into tonight's game: 0-2-3, 5-8-6 and 23-7-5.
Via RedWingsFeed, I didn't think that HBO would do this, but they've posted the first episode of 24/7, Road to the Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings on their YouTube channel:
The Red Wings recalled Riley Sheahan to essentially replace Johan Franzen for at least a "couple of games," with the Grand Rapids Griffins recalling Louis-Marc Aubry from Toledo as a result, and Ken Holland offered an intriguing take as to why he picked Sheahan in a conversation with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Sheahan, 22, has leapfrogged Cory Emmerton as far as call ups go.
“We’ve seen Emmerton for nine games, we know what he can do,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We haven’t really seen Riley Sheahan. He’s a first-round pick. He had a pretty good rookie year last year and had a good playoff in Grand Rapids. Let’s see what he can do.”
Sheahan, who was selected in the first round (21st overall) in the 2010 draft out of Notre Dame, has six goals and eight assists in 23 games with the Griffins. He’s played in two games over his career with Detroit, one in each of the past two seasons and has no points.
Both Sheahan and Landon Ferraro are no longer waiver-exempt next year, but the Wings are down two "unnatural" centers in Franzen and Abdelkader and two natural centers in Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm, so recalling a player who's focusing on defense this year makes sense.
Regarding Franzen, as MLive's Ansar Khan notes, we don't know whether he'll miss one game or more than one game because the Wings didn't practice on Monday, and the NHL's "concussion protocols" play out depending on how players react to physical activity:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled center Riley Sheahan from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
A native of St. Catherines, Ontario, Sheahan has skated in 23 games with the Griffins this season, recording 14 points (6-8-14) and 10 penalty minutes. He helped the Griffins to a Calder Cup in 2012-13, recording 36 points (16-20-36) in 72 regular-season games and tying for the AHL rookie lead in the playoffs with 16 points (3-13-16) in 24 games. Sheahan has also appeared in two career games with the Red Wings, recording four penalty minutes.
The 22-year-old forward was originally drafted by Detroit in the first round (21st overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent three seasons at the University of Notre Dame, registering 64 points (20-44-64) and 74 penalty minutes from 2009-12.
From the NHL:
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE® AND DETROIT RED WINGS® FOUNDATION SPEARHEAD RENOVATIONS AND UPGRADES TO CLARK PARK RECREATION CENTER AS PART OF 2014 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC® LEGACY INITIATIVE
NHL Winter Classic Legacy Donation Includes Zamboni® Ice Resurfacing Machine, Outdoor Rink Renovations and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Upgrades
DTE Energy, Johnson Control and York Among Legacy Initiative Supporters
NEW YORK (December 16, 2013) – The National Hockey League and Detroit Red Wings Foundation today unveiled its extensive renovations and upgrades to Detroit’s Clark Park Coalition recreation center as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Legacy Initiative.
Updated 6x at 2:28 PM: I actually managed to get some sleep (rare!) thanks to Paul holding down the fort (and the Wings won't practice today; they will, however, make a significant charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink at 3 PM, and again, the team practices outdoors at Comerica Park on Wednesday), but I've woken up to predictable news regarding the Red Wings' injury front from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
#RedWings G Jimmy Howard (knee) going on short-term IR, center to be named being called up for Tuesday vs. Anaheim.
#RedWings F Justin Abdelkader (blow to head, undergoing concussion protocol) biked today, might be ready come the weekend.
#RedWings F Darren Helm (shoulder) expected to join morning skate Tuesday, if goes well, could be ready Thursday/weekend
from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,
"I'm trying to get his body. I don't know if he (was) trying to poke the puck or jump around or something, but as his head comes up, I catch it (with) a shoulder in his head," Engelland said Monday. "I don't know if he's trying to jump around. But I'm expecting him to finish his check, and I've kind of gotta protect myself instead of turning away and getting hit and heading head-first into the boards."
That said, Abdelkader didn't appear to be attempting to throw a check, the two were several feet from the boards and Engelland appeared to shrug his shoulder upward. At minimum, he didn't nearly attempt to avoid contact, which is enough to earn a suspension on its own merit.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he also believed Engelland's contact to be unintentional and was surprised that it merited an in-person hearing. He also noted that Engelland indeed caught Abdelkader in the chin with his shoulder, and that his suspension in December 2011 will play a role in the upcoming decision.
"Justin's leaning into the play, and I think Deryk's intention is to go stick-on-puck," Bylsma said.
added 12:18pm, I have added the video below in case you want to review the hit.
The Hockeytown Winter Festival officially begins today at Comerica Park, with teams of disabled American and Canadian veterans set to break in the rink at 8:30 AM, open skates scheduled for Tuesday the 17th, Friday the 20th and Tuesday the 24th, an incredibly rare open practice scheduled for 12 PM on Wednesday the 18th at CoPa, and the Red Wings' acting owner, coach and several players set to spend their "off day" revealing a significant charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink...
But Red Wings fans are feeling much less than "festive," even after having seen Petr Mrazek's Winter Classic pads (via Puck Daddy and Kathryn Jean, a.k.a. Ms. Conduct):
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