The Malik Report
The Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche heaven't even taken to the ice for their respective morning skates ahead of tonight's game (9 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM), but my decision to sleep in given the 12:30 PM EST Avs skate and 1:30 PM EST Wings skate (and the whole birthday thing) wasn't the brightest one.
I'm going to try to catch up with what was a very, very busy morning of Wings news as briefly as possible, so:
1. As Paul reported, USA Today's Kevin Allen has reported that the Wings have made a pitch for the 2018 World Junior Championships. Logistically, I'd imagine that the Wings would at least have to utilize their new rink, Compuware Arena, the Ice Cube and possibly Windsor's WFCU Centre to make things work (and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan is confirming);
Scott Lewis of Sportsnet lists five teams as potential trade targets for Cody Franson, Detroit is one of them...
The Red Wings are light on cap space, but they might make the most sense as a potential rental destination for Franson. Of course, the Maple Leafs will be looking to maximize the return on the 6-foot-5 defenceman, so the addition of Franson to an already deep Red Wings team may be little more than wishcasting for Detroit fans.
The Red Wings have a few impressive young players already in the NHL and more coming down the pipeline. Perhaps there’s a deal to be made with multiple parts involved and Franson serving as the centrepiece.
Potential trade chips: Tomas Jurco, Dylan Larkin, Xaveir Ouellet, Teemu Pulkkinen, Ryan Sproul
read on for the other teams
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Detroit Red Wings executives are in Colorado Springs Thursday to talk with USA Hockey officials about the possibility of Detroit serving as the site for the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The Red Wings' new downtown arena is scheduled to be completed by then.
The World Junior Championships showcase the world's top teen-age players, many of whom go on to play in the NHL. More than 366,000 fans attended the 2015 tournament in Toronto and Montreal.
Join me in wishing George a Happy Birthday and I will let him announce his age if he so chooses.
It is a pleasure having George around and nobody covers the Detroit Red Wings like George does.
The Red Wings Fathers' Trip begins as the Red Wings play a "rivalry game" of sorts against the Colorado Avalanche this evening (9 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM), and this one's not a trap game--but it's a deceptively difficult one.
The Avalanche rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in an 11-round shootout on Tuesday, and the Avs have won 3 of their past 4 games (2 shootout wins) while building a 3-0-and-1 record, but Colorado also finds itself in a messy battle to earn one of the Western Conference's wild card spots and/or sneak back into the Central Division's playoff picture.
Teemu Pulkkinen is probably going to spend the balance of the 2014-15 season in Grand Rapids (barring Wings injuries), but that's not necessarily a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
On a busy day for Red Wings prospects (see: Dylan Larkin was named the NCAA Division I hockey rookie of the month and Jake Paterson was named the OHL's goalie of the month, both for January), Pulkkinen's 2-goal performance in the Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-1 win over the Toronto Marlies gave Pulkkinen 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points--registered over the course of only 39 games played--and helping Pulkkinen hang on to the title of the AHL's leading scorer despite having played anywhere from 1-6 fewer games than the AHL's other top scorers.
Jonas Gustavsson also stopped 30 of 31 shots in his second and final "conditioning stint" start (Gustavsson and Xavier Ouellet were recalled after the game, with Tom McCollum heading back to GR), as the Griffins website's game recap notes:
The Wings have made it official (the Free Press's Helene St. James reported this several hours ago)
DETROIT RECALLS OUELLET AND GUSTAVSSON
… Goaltender Tom McCollum Assigned to Grand Rapids …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled defenseman Xavier Ouellet from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and recalled goaltender Jonas Gustavsson from his conditioning loan with the Griffins. Additionally, the Red Wings assigned goaltender Tom McCollum to the Griffins.
Ouellet, 21, has played 21 games for the Red Wings this season, notching three points (2-1-3), including his first NHL goal on Nov. 28 versus New Jersey. He has also appeared in 24 games with Grand Rapids, recording eight points (1-7-8) and a plus-seven rating. The Bayonne, France, native has totaled 94 career AHL games over the past two seasons, logging 25 points (5-20-25), a plus-10 rating and 40 penalty minutes. Originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (48th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet skated in 223 games with the QMJHL’s Montreal Juniors and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada from 2009-13, recording 160 points (41-119-160) and capturing a spot on the QMJHL First All-Star Team in back-to-back seasons (2012 and 2013).
The Red Wings got into Denver a little late due to the sloppy weather that ended up making Metro Detroit's roads a slush-fest on Wednesday afternoon, so their delayed practice + no super exciting news save Xavier Ouellet and Jonas Gustavsson joining the Fathers' Trip + Tom McCollum heading back to GR = it appears that the beat writers chose to incorporate their write-ups into their night-time news cycle stories.
MLive's Ansar Khan bucked the trend to note that Henrik Zetterberg's about a year removed from having to undergo back surgery after losing his year-long battle against a herniated disc at the 2014 Olympics, and both Zetterberg and his teammates agree that the 2014-15 season has been an entirely different animal for the surgically-repaired captain:
Zetterberg, 34, hasn't missed a game this season. He leads the team with 46 points in 50 games, tied for 13th in the NHL before Wednesday's game. He has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the past six games, clicking on a line with Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader. The Red Wings are 7-1 in their past eight games.
"He's captain for a reason, he's our engine," Kronwall said. "I think right now he's probably playing the best he ever has."
Zetterberg practiced Wednesday at the Pepsi Center, after taking a maintenance day Tuesday for an issue he said wasn't related to his back. He said he'll be in the lineup Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).
"It's been good, it's been fun to be playing," Zetterberg said. "Last year I just want to scratch from the memory bank. This year coming in I didn't really know how to feel. I've been skating well. I've been feeling good health-wise. Also been playing with some fun linemates, young guys that kind of keep me feeling a little younger."
Khan continues, and Zetterberg certainly looks like someone who's going to be wearing the "C" when the Wings' new rink opens in 2017-18. I'm not sure you could suggest that with any certainty a year ago at this time.
Lost amidst the remarkable stories about Gordie Howe's recovery from his stroke via adult stem cell therapy and his imminent trip to Saskatoon to make a public appearance at the Kinsmen Club's dinner--something that will serve as both a charitable event and a family reunion--was the news that Gordie's brother Vic passed away last Saturday.
There's no small irony in the fact that Vic was apparently suffering from dementia, and Gordie's sister spoke with the Canadian Press about her brother's passing:
Howe's sister, Helen Cummine, said the 85-year-old had dementia and suffered a cardiac arrest.
"It was very, very hard," she said.
Cummine, who lives in Saskatoon, said family members coming to the city to celebrate Gordie Howe's career at a celebrity sports dinner on Friday will probably gather to remember Vic. She added that Gordie and Vic were particularly close and when Gordie was told about his brother's death "there were quite a few tears shed."
"He must have understood," she said. "We're all up in age, so every day is a blessing."
She also said this about Gordie's visit to his hometown:
"When they get off the plane (tomorrow), instead of going to the hotel, Gord wants to come right here," she said. "You go along thinking all these years thinking he's just a brother, and then you see all this outpour of love and support that people have shown. It makes your heart grow a little bigger."
The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for January 2015, including Kitchener Rangers goaltender Jake Paterson.
Paterson has been named the Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month for January. The Detroit Red Wings prospect had a memorable month, going 7-2-1-0 between the Saginaw Spirit and his new club posting a 2.27 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage. Paterson made instant headlines in Kitchener, recording a 29-save shutout in his first appearance with the Rangers on January 9 to blank the Belleville Bulls 5-0. The Mississauga, ON, native stymied the Kingston Frontenacs at The Aud on January 23, making 39 saves in a 2-1 win to earn first star of the game honours. Paterson's final outing of the month saw him lead the Rangers over the Guelph Storm 4-1 on January 31, turning aside 49 of the 50 shots he faced. The overage veteran set the Spirit franchise wins record by a goaltender earlier this season before joining the Rangers.
Paterson was named the OHL's goaltender of the month, Dylan Larkin was named NCAA Division I hockey's rookie of the month, and today, Teemu Pulkkinen's pair of goals in the Grand Rapids Griffins' 3-1 win over the Toronto Marlies gave Pulkkinen 26 goals and 50 points in 39 games played--and those numbers lead the AHL in scoring.
Also of quick prospect-related note, and related to Saturday's Great Skate:
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.