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WWJ: Kraft Hockeyville U.S. finalist in Sault Ste. Marie

Here's an FYI from WWJ Newsradio 950:

"The Mitten” might be home to Hockeytown with the Detroit Red Wings, but an Upper Peninsula city is vying to become Hockeyville USA.

The Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie has made it into the final four as a Kraft Hockeyville USA finalist for the chance to host a NHL  pre-season game and win $150,000 in rink upgrades.

“It is so exciting! We are just exploding up here from the excitement,” Linda Hoats, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau, told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.

Pullar Stadium, home to the minor league Eagles hockey team, is the only Michigan arena in the finals — and they need your help to win.

Fans can cast their vote for Pullar Stadium until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 by texting the keyword “PULLAR” to 35350, by calling 1-855-255-5975 or online at http://www.krafthockeyville.com Each .person can vote up to 50 times per method per day.

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‘Vertical construction’ on the Red Wings’ follow-on rink can begin

I will have more on this later, but it's huge news for Olympia Development as the City Council's endorsement of a zoning change = construction on the follow-on rink can truly begin:

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Red Wings-lightning Game 3 morning skate Tweets: Wings take a semi-optional

Updated 6x at 12:02 AM: The Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT, not 7:30, on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; Chris Lee and Jean Hebert will referee tonight's game) hoping to take control of a series in which the footing isn't exactly even just yet.

The Red Wings hit the ice at the Joe at 10:35 AM, as noted by the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...

@DetroitRedWings on ice, practice, Joe Louis Arena. Game 3, 7 p.m.

MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Wings "took an optional"...

Optional skate for Wings, but most players on the ice, including Datsyuk, Zetterberg. Top 4 D not skating.

And if you were wondering how important it is to win tonight's game...

Somebody needs to tell the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson that this IS something you see every day...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning Game 3 set-up: taking the lead in an uneven series

The Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a slightly early (7 PM EDT start, not 7:30 PM, on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) Game 3 this evening, and sometimes the people who are paid to put things into context summarize a whole game's worth of jitters in one paragraph.

The Free Press's Steve Schrader issues a perfect reading of the temperature and/or atmosphere of Red Wings nation in his "Octopus Garden"...

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that winning one game at Tampa is a good thing, a bright side, it's what the Red Wings needed to do, they now have home-ice advantage and all that. But this time of year, you only feel as good as the last game. That's just the way it is.

And WDIV's David Bartkowiak, Jr. summarizes everyone's feelings about Brendan Smith rejoining the lineup:

He has to be smarter. Period. And if he is he can be a huge asset on the back end. He can jump up into the rush and help pop in a goal or two and rely on his speed to get back into position on defense.

If you don't already know the Wings' story, we'll get to it soon enough, and Smith and Justin Abdelkader's respective returns to the Red Wings' lineup play large roles in the narrative.

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On Yzerman’s legacy and the fact that his team is the ‘other one’

Like everybody else who cheers for the Red Wings, I have some very strong and positive feelings for Steve Yzerman, but given that the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning are playing against each other in the playoffs, I also believe--and have believed since I was hacking, whacking and slugging my friends in the tennis court across from Divine Child High School in the 90's that there is one and only one axiom in hockey: when someone doesn't represent your side, and the puck has been dropped, there are no friends on the ice.

The Red Wings will host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 600 Yzerman Drive at 7 PM this evening, and I will make sure that my Steve Yzerman poster will be where it's been for the last ten days--down and facing the wall. These are Steve Yzerman's Lightning trying to end the Wings' season, so there's no question of loyalty or sentiment for me.

That's why this superb article from the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman gets its own entry--Yzerman is an executive, the other team's GM, and as grateful as I am to him as a Red Wings fan, he's on the other side now, and he is not rooting for the Detroit Red WIngs:

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Evening news: On Abdelkader and Smith’s returns, Mrazek, Game 3 and multimedia

Of Red Wings-related note this evening, and in the vein of stuff that didn't make it into the practice post before I ferried the mom to the accountant's:

If there was a theme to the Red Wings' practice and post-practice activities, it was this statement from Wings coach Mike Babcock, as noted by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, that embodies the Wings' outlook going into Game 3:

“The think I would say when you evaluate our team, we have a lot more to give,” Babcock continued. “We’re two games in and we’re 1-1, we have a lot more to give. We need everyone on deck. We can’t be one on or one off. We need everyone onboard. Abby’s a competitor. He’s a guy that’s good at the net. He plays hard. He competes hard. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”

The Wings are looking forward to the return of Justin Abdelkader, as they told CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak...

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That (doesn’t) bite

FYI, from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

There are pictures from Game 2 that show Lightning forward Steven Stamkos appearing to bite the glove of Kyle Quincey. Stamkos laughed off the charge after the game and Quincey did Tuesday, also.

"If he was biting my hand, it was my glove and not my fingers," Quincey said. "I didn't feel anything. I didn't see any pictures. That's the first I heard of it."

Quincey was more perplexed by getting an extra two minutes of roughing for the scrum, and putting Tampa Bay on a power play, during which it scored.

"I never go after after a guy like Stamkos, that's not in the hockey by rules," Quincey said. "To get two minutes for roughing. ... I never saw him coming. He choked me from behind."

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Practice articles: Red Wings to get Abdelkader back, Smith to play; Garrison out for TB, fans pissed

Updated 5x at 2:07 PM: The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning's practices revealed that:

1. Brendan Smith is coming back into the lineup at Alexey Marchenko's expense;

2. Justin Abdelkader is returning at Stephen Weiss' expense;

3. Fans are pretty damn peeved at Mike Babcock today...again...for keeping Joakim Andersson in the lineup and bringing Smith back in...

4. Jonathan Ericsson is battling an ankle injury, which is kind of ironic given that he played some of the best hockey he's played all season in Games 1 and 2;

4. In Tampa Bay, we should expect no lineup changes, though Jason Garrison continues to get closer to returning;

5. Fans are pretty damn peeved at Mike Babcock today...again...Which makes the strong probability that he will continue to frustrate fans with his personnel moves for years to come somewhat ironic (though the whole fans being peeved at the coach and everyone else after dropping a 5-1 decision on Saturday is understandable, no neener-neener finger-pointing from me here, especially given my bafflement at the Andersson-over-Weiss-over-Pulkkinen scenario).

Anyway, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness was first out of the multimedia chute, posting clips of an oblivious Brendan Smith grousing at the media...

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Practice Tweets: Weiss out, Ericsson not practicing for Wings; Garrison still out for Bolts

Updated 13x at 12:44 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 11 AM, hoping to rebound from Saturday's 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay via some hard work and preparation for Game 3, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reported that the Wings will be making at least one lineup change for Tuesday:

Stephen Weiss is in Red today, meaning he's out Tuesday since he's not skating in Top 6 forwards.


Looks like Jonathan Ericsson isn't going to practice again today due to a nagging foot or ankle injury. Cleary in Black filling in.

MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed...

Ericsson not skating today again. He's been bothered by an ankle/foot issue but has played through it.


Early indication is that Weiss will be scratched for Abdelkader in Game 3 since Weiss is extra forward skating with top six (in red).

And meanwhile, in Tampa Bay...

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Keys To Game 3

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

1. Better defensive-zone coverage

This was their main issue in Game 2. The Lightning scored two goals on plays in which the Red Wings didn't sort out and two more by speeding through the neutral zone virtually untouched.

It wouldn't be surprising if rookie Alexey Marchenko, who was a minus-2, is replaced by Brendan Smith, a healthy scratch the past three games. That would allow for the reunion of Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey, the club's steadiest defense pairing this season. They could be matched against Tyler Johnson's line while Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson play against Steven Stamkos' line, or vice versa.

2. Convert on the power play

The Red Wings, with the second-ranked power play during the season, have gone 1 for 7, registering just eight shots in 12:40 with the extra man. 


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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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