The Malik Report
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
...despite all the injuries and call-ups, on top of the retirements of Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, on top of the loss of Brad Stuart in free agency, do the Wings stink? Is their 21-season playoff streak swirling down the toilet?
Nope. Not yet, anyway. The Wings entered Wednesday night’s game against the St. Louis Blues on a three-game winning streak and sixth in the Western Conference, looking like they will remain very much in the mix, at minimum.
Their top two players – Henrik Zetterberg, the captain, and Pavel Datsyuk, the magician – are healthy and leading. Zetterberg went into the game against the Blues with 18 points, third in the NHL, behind only Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek and Chicago’s Patrick Kane.
They seem to have found another European gem, Swiss free agent Damien Brunner. He isn’t eligible for the Calder Trophy because he’s 26, but he leads all first-year NHLers with six goals.
from Louie Korac at NHL.com,
Hitchcock admitted there's an unknown element entering tonight's game by gambling on Allen to help the team out of a slump.
"I don't know. I haven't done that before for a long, long time, so I have no idea how this is going to turn out," Hitchcock said. "This is new ground for all of us.
"He's played really, really well. His last four or five starts in Peoria have been excellent. But this is a different league. We're a lot like Detroit. Detroit brought [Mrazek] in [a 5-1 win at St. Louis on Feb. 7]. He was competitive. I thought the players fed off his competitiveness. That's what we're hoping for Jake. He's got to get his career started somewhere. Other than Toronto, you couldn't get a bigger building to play in. You couldn't get a bigger atmosphere for a young guy to start his career other than probably Toronto."
Former Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will attend 97.1 FM's SportsFest alongside Tomas Holmstrom this Saturday, and in the interim, Lidstrom has returned to Detroit to meet with the Red Wings' brass as the two parties attempt to define Lidstrom's post-hockey role with the team as a part-time Swedish scout, an ambassador of sorts, a draw for sponsors and, most likely, an at-large member of the Wings' braintrust regarding moves made at the trade deadline, the draft and in free agency...
When he's not letting the front office, Mike Babcock, the Wings' current players or new captain Henrik Zetterberg pick his brain, he's probably going to catch up with best pal Tomas Holmstrom and his old neighbors from Novi, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Lidstrom will attend both tonight's game between the Wings and Blues and Friday night's game against Anaheim:
"I believe, tonight, he's in the box with me, and Friday, he's in the owner's box," general manager Ken Holland said.
Could seeing fellow 42-year-old Teemu Selanne play Friday possibly persuade Lidstrom to come back, especially given how badly the Wings need help on defense? Don't bet on it. Earlier this season, Lidstrom told the Free Press he's very happy with his decision to retire last summer, after 20 seasons with the Wings.
He won four Stanley Cups, seven Norris trophies, and established a legacy as one of the best defensemen to ever play hockey. He and his family now reside in their native Sweden.
Updated 4x at 6:30 PM: This game is apparently ESPN's "Game of the Week," too: Normally, I'd try to keep the game-day updates regarding tonight's game between the Red Wings and St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM EST, NBCSN/TSN/97.1 FM) in one thread, but surprising and unpleasant injury news regarding a player whose size and strength the Wings rather desperately needed to employ against St. Louis merits its own entry. According to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, Johan Franzen will mis tonight's game due to a hip flexor injury (first it was groins, then shoulders, and now backs and hip flexors)...
Wings general Ken Holland just confirmed that Johan Franzen will miss tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues due to a hip flexor injury.
“It’s day-to-day and has progressively gotten worse,” Holland said in a phone interview. “We’re going to give him a day off and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Franzen has played all 12 games this season and has three goals and six assists. Patrick Eaves will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last four games.
Because the morning skate was optional the Wings didn’t skate lines so it won’t be known until game time who is skating with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner on a line.
And MLive's Ansar Khan's confirming:
The Macomb Daily's Jerry Wolfe reports that Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall's going to donate tickets for Red Wings games to families affected by autism, starting this season, in association with the Autism Alliance of Michigan:
Kronwall, 32, was turned onto AAoM after hearing Anthony Ianni speak about awareness and safety training for those with autism who face bullying. Ianni, a recent Michigan State University graduate and basketball player, has been traveling the state sharing his story about overcoming the challenges he faced as a child in school and now as an adult. He speaks of a need for acceptance, understanding, and eliminating bullying of those with autism.
While bullying occurs throughout schools, those with autism and other disabilities are often bullied more frequently than those without any disability. People with autism have more than average social challenges since autism can interfere with one’s ability to community or understand social signals.
“I was moved by his message; the struggles and how much he has been able to accomplish in his life,” said Kronwall in a release by the Autism Alliance.“I am ready to give back to this community and can think of no better organization to target my own efforts around awareness and acceptance than the Autism Alliance of Michigan.”
Red Wings-Blues game-day updates: nothing new on the injury front as Wings prepare for Rivalry Night
Updated 5x at 1:32 PM: The Detroit Red Wings are preparing to face off against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7:30 PM EST, NBC Sports Network/TSN/97.1 FM) knowing that they face something of a wounded, angry animal in the winless-in-February Blues. The Wings' morning skate hasn't brought much in the way of news in the injury department....
But the in-the-locker-room news isn't exactly super, per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
I don't generally get too nervous about the Red Wings' opponents (nervous about everything else? Yes), but tonight's game against St. Louis (7:30 PM EST, NBC Sports Network/TSN2/97.1 FM) scares the hell out of me.
The Red Wings have won three straight games coming into their 3rd meeting with the Blues this month (the Wings beat St. Louis 5-3 on February 1st and 6-1 six days ago) and the teams' 4th meeting since the Wings' ugly 6-0 drubbing by St. Louis on opening night. While Sunday's 3-2 rope-a-dope win over Los Angeles was anything but beautiful, the Wings are feeling pretty good about themselves going into games 3 and 4 of their 4-game home-stand...
But the Blues are coming off a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles on Monday; and they went 0-3-and-1 on their four-game home stand, and the Blues are 0-for-February (0-4-and-1), having last won against Columbus on January 31st.
With Nicklas Lidstrom in attendance as he's in town to talk about his role with the Wings and attend 97.1 FM's SportsFest on Saturday, the Wings (who remain without Todd Bertuzzi as well as everybody else who's banged-up) face a final examination of their first-quarter progress while welcoming a snarling, angry 800-pound gorilla into their living room.
While watching the video, I continue to wonder if Babcock will ever learn how to pronounce Filppula?
Mental health issues are coming to the fore this week in Canada, where Bell Canada's donating 5 cents per Tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk to mental health charities and research, and the Red Wings are voicing their support both the Bell Let's Talk campaign and Binghamton Senators (the primary AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators) coach Luke Richardson's Do it for Daron charity, which hopes to help combat mental illnesses and prevent suicide in young people through their Hockey Talks inditiative.
These issues are very important to me, so I'd suggest that you check out the above link and watch the commericals the Wings and Danny Cleary shot for DIFD:
The 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings are partnering up with 97.1 The Ticket’s Fourth Annual Detroit SportsFest, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Suburban Collection Showplace Exhibit Hall A in Novi, Mich. Admission to this sports-filled festivity is free with parking available for five dollars per vehicle.
Former Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom will make an appearance to sign autographs and help celebrate Motor City’s rich sports history. The Coke Zero Red Wings Experience will include a variety of interactive games, a live DJ and the chance to win tickets to upcoming Red Wings’ home games.
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