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It’s been a year since Matthew Wuest passed away

Matthew Wuest passed away a year ago today from colon cancer. He is missed for his work on Capgeek, RedWingsCentral and his presence online and "IRL":

Matthew and I never got along, but I respected and admired the hell out of him.

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Practice Tweets: Mrazek remains out; Kronwall ‘working in’ but not taking regular shifts yet

Updated 3x at 1:33 PM: The Red Wings practiced in Sunrise, Florida prior to Saturday night's Spacey Night game against the Florida Panthers, hoping to build upon the Wings' 3-1 win over Columbus on Thursday.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose was the first to weigh in from practice...

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Morning news: Praise for Zetterberg, advanced stats, possible Wings-Caps talk and more

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Brendan Savage took note of the praise Henrik Zetterberg's teammates levied at "Captain Z" for his leadership prior to last night's win over Columbus:

"I wouldn't say (it's) unusual but when things need to be said he'll step up and speak his mind, say what the team needs to hear," said Darren Helm, who scored the Red Wings' final goal. "I'm not surprised that he's done it. He does it.

"That's a good leader. He's not always rah-rah or yelling at guys but when he steps up and speaks, you listen. He's leading in the dressing room, leading on the ice. You want to play hard for the guys beside you.

"You want to play hard for the captain."

Zetterberg also did some talking on the ice snapping a 12-game drought with his 13th goal of the season, which proved to be the eventual game winner.

Savage continues...

2. Also from MLive, Tom Mitsos continues his discussion of advanced stats with a clever player comparison;

3. NHL.com's "Playoff Platter" is hoping for a certain possible playoff match-up to take place:

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Post-game videos in the morning

The Red Wings posted post-game videos from Detroit's 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on the team's YouTube channel, and they did so late last night/early this morning (after my bedtime), so:

Here's Henrik Zetterberg...

Luke Glendening...

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More Stamkos talk, this time from TSN’s McKenzie

From Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshot:

Bob McKenzie was on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 on Friday morning.

As part of a larger discussion on how the Detroit Red Wings have been one of the few ‘rebuild on the fly’ success stories for years, based largely around the fact that they’ve drafted so well in the later rounds:

“We’ll see where it goes. They’ve got some work to do on the salary cap front in terms of signing these guys. Danny DeKeyser’s contract is up. Mrazek’ contract is up. Riley Sheahan’s contract is up. But they’ll get those guys done.

“I’ll be curious to see – I don’t know, and again, this is not me reporting anything, but I’ll be curious to see IF Steven Stamkos gets to unrestricted free agency this summer, would the Wings try to get involved in that and see if there’s a way that they could manipulate it.

Nichols continues, and I'll post the interview as soon as TSN 1260 uploads it.

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Ken Holland addresses the Red Wings’ struggles

TSN's Gary Lawless spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland about the Wings' playoff streak:

With 11 games to go, Detroit is in a fierce wild-card race, and sit just one point ahead of the suddenly hot Philadelphia Flyers.

“I don’t know how I’ll feel on the day after the regular season if we don’t qualify,” Wings GM Ken Holland told The Watercooler. “I’m hoping we’re about to play our best hockey and that we get in. You can’t focus on the streak. You have to be thinking about the next game and how we can win it. I don’t think the streak motivates our players or wears on our players. I’m not sure how much it means to the collective group.”

Holland has been with the Red Wings throughout the streak and while it means a lot to the franchise, he says the present takes precedence over the past.

“I want our team to get in so the players we have today can experience the playoffs. And once you’re in, you never know what can happen,” said Holland.

So what’s wrong with the Wings? How did they find themselves in this spot?

“We haven’t played consistently for long enough stretches. We were outshot 23-3 in the first period in Philadelphia the other night. Then we were really good in the second and third. But you’re not going to win in this league coming from behind all the time,” said Holland. “Our power play hasn’t been very good since around Christmas — one of the worst in the league. When the other team gets a power-play goal, then you have to beat them 2-0 in 5-on-5 to win. It’s too hard.”

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Blue Jackets wrap-up—12 steps to find your happy place

The Red Wings are above the playoff line by points and regulation-or-OT wins over the Philadelphia Flyers, who have 2 games in hand again, after a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, and winning against a team that has (now) a 10-3-and-2 home record against you ain't bad...

But the Wings will have to head into Florida on Kevin Spacey night with a real possibility of Howard starting to one-up themselves, and Detroit still needs to win 7 or 8 of its final 11 games (given the way Philly and Pittsburgh are playing) to make the playoffs.

Thursday night's game was a lot better than what the Wings displayed against the Maple Leafs and especially the Flyers, but it was definitely a "work in progress" game, too. The Wings were up by 1 or 2 goals for the vast majority of the game, the second period was ugly and the third period was a grind.

As a result, the Wings' opponent--and their press corps--were severely underwhelmed with the game, as noted by the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline:

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Red Wings-Blue Jackets quick take: attention to detail, effort, urgency, yield huge win

The Red Wings faced quite the task in battling the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday evening.

Columbus owned a 10-2-and-2 record against the Wings at home; Detroit was facing an uphill climb in attempting to finish the regular season winning 8 or 9 of their final 12 games--most likely the "magic numbers" necessary to fend off the Flyers' Wild Card push--having lost 5 of their 7 March games.

The Red Wings had their hiccups, but Detroit scored the game's first goal, the Wings built upon their lead, and while their power play stank on ice as per usual, their penalty-killing was superb and Jimmy Howard was absolutely stout in the Wings' net, helping the Wings earn a 3-1 victory that was only sullied by a last-minute Columbus goal.

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Prospect news: Kadeikin, SKA advance to KHL WCF; Frk breaks a goalie’s stick

Two items of prospect-related note:

1. Alexander Kadeikin sat on the bench as the 13th forward as his KHL team, SKA St. Petersburg, defeated Dynamo Moscow 4-1 to advance to a Western Conference Final rematch with Sergei Fedorov's CSKA Moscow team;

2. And the Griffins posted a video of Martin Frk breaking the shaft of a goalie's stick with a wicked wrister:

Update: Jeff Lerg stopped 45 of 47 shots as the Toledo Walleye defeated the Indy Fuel 6-2. The Walleye's website posted a recap:

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Savage: Strong play might yield more Mantha

From MLive's Brendan Savage:

"Well, I talked to (coach Jeff Blashill) quite a few times," Mantha said Thursday before the Red Wings' game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. "He told that if I kept playing the way I was it could be (staying with the Red Wings) for the rest of the season. But it's not for sure yet, so I just need to prove to them that they need to keep me and that's how I need to focus and play my game."

Mantha played well in his first NHL game, Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

He had four shots on goal in 14:45 of ice time and hit the post in the third period when the Red Wings were trying to mount a comeback after a horrendous start saw them fall into a 2-0 first-period hole.

"I thought Anthony did a good job," said Blashill, who coached Mantha last season in Grand Rapids. "My biggest thing with him is if wins physical battles and stick battles he's going to be a really good player. And I thought he won physical battles and stick battles.

"Now, this is a relentless league so you gotta come back out tonight and do it again and then again and again and again. But I thought he did a real good job against Philly."

Continued with more notes...

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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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