The Malik Report
The Red Wings take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/Sportsnet/97.1 FM) facing a stiff challenge after a long lay-off:
The Canucks are coming off of a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (and Henrik Sedin exited with a "lower-body injury"), and Vancouver occupies a region in the Western Conference where five points separates the 7th place team from the 15th-place team.
Vancouver comes in on a 3-game losing streak including Thursday's loss, so nothing would be better for the slumping Canucks than pouncing upon a sleepy Red Wings team that hasn't played since Monday.
The Canucks ought to beware, however, because the Red Wings feel that snapping their 13-game unbeaten streak gave the team the opportunity to rest, regroup during their 3-day break and ultimately focus on playing better hockey, as they told the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Justin Abdelkader and Luke Glendening hosted twenty kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan for a holiday shopping spree Thursday night.
The children were treated to a pizza party before given $150 each to shop for gifts at a local Meijer store.
Of prospect-related note:
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye continue to win, win and also win. On Thursday, Zach Nastasiuk scored a goal, Marek Tvrdon had an assist on said goal, Jeff Lerg stopped 31 shots and 2 of 3 shootout shooters, and the Walleye defeated the Brampton Beast 4-3 in a shootout. The Walleye's website posted a recap:
It's hard to watch waiver losses Landon Ferraro and Andrej Nestrasil succeed from a, "They could'a been playing that well here" standpoint, but as their play doesn't apply to the Red Wings, I can't help but admit that I'm rooting for both of them individually. Both players worked very hard to become strong contributors to the Grand Rapids Griffins and they wanted to succeed here, so it's good to see them fulfill their potential, even if it's not with the Wings.
In Ferraro's case, as WEEI's DJ Bean notes, everything's going superbly well thus far for the Boston Bruins' fourth-liner:
Claude Julien has used him to kill penalties, something he loves doing. In addition to his normal fourth-line role, the B’s have moved him up at times, even giving him shifts with Patrice Bergeron’s line.
Ferraro had zero points in his 10 games for Detroit this season before being waived. He has six points (three goals and three assists) in 11 games for the Bruins, with his points coming every which way. He’s put up points as a fourth-liner (scoring a goal on Nov. 25 against the Wings while skating with Joonas Kemppainen, assisting Tyler Randell’s goal on Dec. 5 against the Canucks) and he’s put up points playing higher in the lineup (his game-winning goal last week against the Canadiens with Ryan Spooner, a couple of points with Bergeron and Brad Marchand).
When Ferraro hasn’t been helping generate offense, he’s been given occasional opportunities to play key defensive even-strength shifts, such as the shifts following the expiration of a Bruins power play. The former 32nd overall pick is relishing a jack-of-all-trades role.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had playing in this league since I’ve been in here,” Ferraro said.
Continued, and I may not cheer for the Bruins as a division rival, but I wish Landon the very best.
According to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, the Red Wings are quite concerned about the fact that--as per usual--their power play at home isn't doing nearly as well as their power play is doing on the road:
If you looked at Thursday's NHL statistics, you saw the Red Wings' power play ranked fourth on the road, at a blistering 24.3 percent (9-for-37). At Joe Louis Arena? A dismal 27th (9-for-62, 14.5 percent).
So all told, the Red Wings were sitting 19th, at 18.2 percent (18-for-99), not good enough by the Red Wings' high standards. They were second last season at 23.8 percent.
"We know we can be way better," forward Tomas Tatar said.
Players and coaches both agree the disparity between home and the road is strange, and don't read too much into it.
"I don't think you can say we get too fancy at home," coach Jeff Blashill said. "That's the thing people talk about when you don't do things at home, but I don't see that necessarily. The biggest thing with our power play is to focus on delivering the puck to the net and delivering more chaos around the net with people around the net. That's been our focus now the last couple of weeks and we'll have to continue to do that."
Said Tatar: "We have get to the net and pick up rebounds. We need those dirty goals in the dirty areas and play a little more simple."
Kulfan continues, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Kyle Quincey regarding his engagement in a first full practice with the Wings since his ankle surgery:
Watch Justin Abdelkader on the ice during an average 40-second shift and it becomes abundantly clear there’s no quit in his game.
The same can be said about his academic pursuits.
See, when the Red Wings’ star began his collegiate career at Michigan State University in 2005, he was determined to finish what he set out to do – win a national championship and earn an undergraduate degree.
His game-clinching goal in the waning seconds against Boston College in the NCAA finals lifted the Spartans to the national championship in 2007.
Now, as a newly-minted college graduate, the Muskegon, Mich., native can say he’s achieved both.
“It was something that I kind of promised my parents when I left (home) that I would get my degree,” Abdelkader said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted and I think it’s a huge accomplishment, something that you’ll need one day whether it’s in the business world or coaching college hockey. To me the degree is important.”
The Detroit Red Wings practiced on Thursday ahead of Friday's game against the Vancouver Canucks (7:30 PM on FSD/Sportsnet/97.1 FM), and it was revealed that Jimmy Howard would start Friday, and that, at some point this weekend, the Wings will recall an extra forward for Sunday's game vs. Calgary (Rogers' Hometown Hockey will precede the game in Canada, broadcasting from Sarnia, ON) and Tuesday's game vs. New Jersey.
#RedWings Blashill: We’d probably bring somebody up regardless after (GR’s) game on Saturday ... (1/2)
#RedWings Blashill: … so we have somebody available to us Sunday and Tuesday because of the fact they’re going to be on break. (2/2)
Grand Rapids doesn't play a game between Saturday's home tilt vs. Texas and December 26th, so that's a 6-day break for GR.
As for tomorrow night's opponent, Jacob Markstrom's starting for the Canucks against the Flyers, so it will be Miller vs. Miller time tomorrow evening.
The Free Press's Helene St. James addressed the Wings' likelihood of recalling a prospect...
The Red Wings announced that Meijer and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are the "Detroit Events Center's" first "Landmark partners" (in terms of sponsorship) earlier today, and Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea translates the press release into plain English:
Meijer Inc. and St. Joseph Mercy Health System are the first two major sponsors at the new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena.
Both companies have signed five-year deals starting with the 2017-18 season, Olympia Entertainment announced Thursday. Terms were not disclosed.
The deals represent the latest injection of revenue at the $627 million project under construction and comes one month after Olympia announced it had sold almost all of the suites at the 20,000-seat arena opening in 2017.
As part of its deal at the arena, dubbed the Detroit Events Center, Meijer is working on an interactive kids' area and will offer free summer hockey clinics featuring appearances by Red Wings players. St. Joseph Mercy, meanwhile, will have a "Healthy Hockeytown" platform that will include health-oriented events including 5K runs and yoga classes, and expand its program, currently at Joe Louis Arena, that offers fans healthy food options.
Updated 3x w/ Howard starting vs. Vancouver @ 12:29 PM: At 11 AM, the Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena for their first full team practice in three days, preparing for Friday's game against the Vancouver Canucks (who play in Philly this evening).
MLive's Ansar Khan reported no line changes...
#RedWings lines at practice:
Quincey (IR) practicing with team again but not due back anytime soon.
This is incredibly impressive:
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.