The Malik Report
I'm sticking to a quick take one final time as my physical resources are on the rebound from a dreadful December's worth of health this and health that, but I've got to make mention of this comment from the Free Press's Helene St. James, made while discussing Tomas Tatar's blossoming into a consistent point-producer (16 goals, 10 assists and 26 points in 36 games played):
Tatar had 19 goals last season, and is well on his way to topping 20 this season. To essentially be a two-time 20-goal scorer at age 24 makes Tatar intriguing as a trade asset. The Wings are eager to add a top-four defenseman who shoots right, and to get someone of quality - like Buffalo's Tyler Myers - it would take a young hotshot. Maybe the Wings can sway the Sabres with Tatar and defenseman Jakub Kindl (who doesn't seem to have a future in Detroit), along with a second-round draft pick. It helps tremendously that another prospect is banging on the door, as Teemu Pulkkinen is having a standout season with Grand Rapids. He's already delivered an AHL-leading 19th goal of the season, and he shoots right, with NHL-caliber delivery.
Tatar has helped make the Wings a viable playoff team again this season, and his value could end up strengthening them as a Stanley Cup contender.
She continues, and...
I don't see how we get from the Sabres asking for Anthony Mantha or Dylan Larkin AND the Wings' 1st-round pick AND an NHL defenseman to Tomas Tatar and an NHl defenseman.
I've seen the Sabres prospects, and they're all pretty damn good, but outside of Girgensons and the Rasmus Ristolainen who makes Myers expendable, the team's still got a pretty significant chunk of in-progress players.
Tim Murray seems to either want players who've established themselves at the NHL level and/or players whose NHL debuts aren't imminent, and a Tatar-and-Kindl type deal doesn't just seem like "not enough" for Myers--it also seems like the "wrong kind" of deal.
Is Tomas Tatar tradeable? Yeah, but the team's also looked to develop Tatar as Jiri Hudler, But A Better Skater for a while now, and Tatar's becoming that player.
I don't think that Tatar and Kindl are the players Murray's looking for, however, and in addition to Kindl probably not being "enough" on defense [edit: Smith is the kind of player I would see Buffalo wanting /end edit], I don't think that Murray wants anything less than at least one of the jewels in the Wings' prospect crown. Pulkkinen is one of those players, Sproul is one of those players, Larkin and Mantha are definitely those kinds of players. Tatar's (sans Capgeek) someone who's going to be due for a raise soon, and that's not what Buffalo needs.
[edit #2: And again, "what Buffalo needs" is a whole lot more complicated because Detroit and Buffalo are in the same division, and in theory, these teams will be seeing each other in the playoffs in the not-too-distant future, which makes any trade between the two teams that much more unlikely /end second edit]
SoDakWingNut captured the "spirit of the thing":
The Detroit Red Wings lost a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, and while the Wings surrendered 2 empty-netters after Tomas Tatar made things 2-1, the 4-1 tally may have been more accurate a description of the disparity in play, execution, attention to detail and grit by the two teams.
Ryan Miller also stopped 29 of 30 shots, but I thought the Wings did a fine job of doing what they are too apt to do on the road--make an opposing goalie look better than he already is--and the Wings weren't able to execute against a team that made life very hard on Detroit's goaltender, who was far from culpable in a "team loss" where getting too cute and, to some extent, playing too honestly hurt the WIngs against a team that exploited every opportunity to muck, grind, mash, crash and clothesline the Wings to their advantage...
On both the scoresheet, with the officials and in terms of the team's ability to win puck battles and earn a hard-fought victory.
Updated 4x at 5:24 PM: The Red Wings begin their first 6-game road trip of the season (the team engages in a second 6-game trip in February) by kicking off a jaunt through Western Canada tonight in Vancouver (10 PM EST on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM). As the Canucks "took an optional" and the Wings simply reverted back to the lines they've been employing for the past three or four games, the most revelatory portion of the morning skate involved...This:
In the text-and-video department:
The Red Wings kick off a 3-game Western Canadian road swing and a 6-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks this evening (10 PM EST on FSD/CBC/97.1 FM) needing to match a more desperate opponent's urgency.
Vancouver's coming off a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles, but possesses a 3-1-and-1 record over its past 4 games; prior to that little stretch, however, Vancouver lost 5 straight, and they sit in a 3-place tie for 3rd in the Pacific Division.
The Vancouver Canucks lost their last game 3-2 to the LA Kings and talk about having a bounce back game tonight against the Wings.
Updated 6x at 5:45 PM: The Red Wings flew to Vancouver to begin their Western Canadian road swing against the Canucks tomorrow night (10 PM EST start on FSD), and MLive's Ansar Khan reported that all the Wings' players were present and accounted for Friday's practice...
Everybody practicing today for Wings at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, including Kindl, who's not eligible to come off IR until Sunday.
As did the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
Kindl (elbow) participating in practice today
In the prospect department, Dylan Larkin didn't register a point as Team USA was ousted 3-2 by Russia in the World Junior Championship's quarterfinals, and Axel Holmstrom and Christoffer Ehn's Swedes are tied 3-3 with Finland presently;
Practice continued, with Khan reporting a bit of a switch-up:
Ansar Khan of Mlive answered some questions from his readers...
Q: I know he shoots left but do the Wings have interest in Keith Yandle?
A: They would have interest in anyone who can help them, including Yandle. The Arizona Coyotes look like they're already out of the playoff chase, so they might step up efforts to move Yandle. But, again, a rebuilding team will be seeking a top prospect, a good young roster player and/or a first-round pick, assets I don't see the Red Wings relinquishing, especially for a player who will be unrestricted in July 2016.
Q: If you were a betting man, who do you think will be our trade acquisition (if any)? Washington lacks depth down the middle and we seem to be center heavy. Not sure we can part with what they'd want (for Green)
A: I doubt they'll acquire any of the top-tier defensemen that might be available. If they make a move, it'll probably be for a second- or third-pair defender.
"He's a good skater, good two-way player, I think he's done everything that Team USA would want. I was very impressed with the way he played."
"Plays hard both ways, he can transport the puck up the ice, he makes little plays. He competes hard. He's a good prospect, a good player. Our scouts liked him a lot when we picked him. Certainly the way he's played at Michigan and now the way he's played at World Junior, we're very happy with where he's at with his development."
That's Ken Holland on Dylan Larkin at the WJC. More propect talk from Holland by Ansar Khan on Mlive.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Tomas Tatar has missed hanging out with his Detroit Red Wings teammates - going to dinner with them, catching a movie, going shopping.
He'll get his wish, in spades, over the coming two months, as the Wings make up for a very home-friendly November and December with a marathon of road games. Today was tagged for traveling to Vancouver, where Saturday's game against the Canucks begins a stretch that has the Wings away from home 17 of the next 23 games.
It all evens out after 82 games, of course, and being on the road can lead to some great bonding.
"I won't say it's going to be nice to go on the road," Henrik Zetterberg said after scoring the game-winning goal in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over New Jersey. "But we don't see these trips any more that often. Now we're going to get a little long trip, and it's going to be good for our group to get together and spend some time together."
Before the Wings moved to the Eastern Conference at the start of the 2013-14 season, the schedule would feature two trips each to California and western Canada. Such trips often include two days between games - like this upcoming one, when the Wings will have Sunday off in Vancouver, because the next game isn't until Tuesday at Edmonton. That means fun times, to Tatar.
Update: From SoDakWingNut:
The Red Wings are about to go on a very, very long trip, most likely leaving after Thursday's practice for a 6-game road trip that will take them through Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and then back East to Washington, Buffalo and St. Louis, not seeing the Joe for a home game until the 17th of January...
And they're going to do so having both fumigated the locker room lest the Devils' mumps lingered at the Joe, and they're going to do so on a winning note. The Wings had a difficult December, losing for 6 of their 10 home games (though 4 losses were of the OT-or-shootout variety) and splitting 2 of their 4 road games regualtion losses there), going 6-4-and-4 on the month, but the Wings ended the month, year and 38th game of the 14-15 campaign the way the team hopes to play going forward.
Detroit won nothing less than a "trap game" against a trapping Devils team, surrendering the game's first goal but tying things up in a hurry, hanging in until they un-tied the game with 5:01 left in the 3rd and pushing their way toward a 3-1 win that was just as necessary as it was "clutch"--with Jimmy Howard superb in the net, the Wings' defense stellar in front of him, and the Nyquist-Helm-Franzen line leading the way offensively.
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.