The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 2:38 PM: The Red Wings and Candiens' morning skates ahead of tonight's tilt (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/RDS/Sportsnet/City TV/97.1 FM) were relatively uneventful save the talk radio scuttlebutt.
It sounds like Teemu Pulkkinen's going to play on the Glendening line, that Landon Ferraro will play alongside Weiss and Andersson, and that Justin Abdelkader's still out tonight, but that's about it for the Wings; the Habs held an optional, and other than Brian Flynn playing in Torrey Mitchell's place, they won't be making any substantial lineup changes, either.
It is important that the Red Wings win tonight, as NHL.com noted...
* The Detroit Red Wings would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Canadiens in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Canadiens AND either the Senators lose in any fashion or the Bruins lose in regulation OR if the Senators lose in regulation.
And Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough translated into English:
Updated 6x at 12:22 PM: The Red Wings face a deceptively simple task against the Montreal Canadiens this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/RDS/Sportnset East/City TV/97.1 FM): snap a 5-game losing streak against the Canadiens, and the Wings are in the playoffs.
If the Wings lose and the Senators lose tonight, the Wings are in the playoffs, too, but if the Senators defeat the Rangers and the Wings lose, things get...complicated.
The Max Pacioretty-less Canadiens preceded the Red Wings onto the ice at the Habs' practice facility, but the Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs reports that not all of them skated...
Only an optional game-day skate for #Habs in Brossard this morning
And the Canadiens confirmed:
Entraînement optionnel pour les Canadiens ce matin. // Optional skate for the CH this morning in Brossard. #GoHabsGo
Stubbs also posted today's referee and linesmen's assignments...
Thanks to the Washington Capitals' 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division and Wild Card standings look like this today:
If the Red Wings defeat the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 PM on FSD/Sportsnet East/RDS/CityTV/97.1 FM) this evening--and Detroit has not done so in some way, shape or form in seven games now--the Wings will be in the playoffs.
No magic numbers, no math, no more worrying about the Ottawa Senators (who play the Rangers tonight).
The Wings, who are without Erik Cole for the balance of the year, who are most likely without Johan Franzen for the balance of the year, probably without Justin Abdelkader until Saturday, and are without Tomas Jurco, simply need Jimmy Howard to stand on his head opposite Carey Price and the Max Pacioretty-less Montreal Canadiens to defeat 'em for the first time in 6 tries.
In playoff action, in the OHL, the second round did not begin on a good note for the Guelph Storm or Tyler Bertuzzi; Guelph dropped a 7-4 decision to Sault Ste. Marie, and Bertuzzi finished scoreless and at -1;
In the SHL, we now know that Axel Holmstrom and Skelleftea AIK will attempt to defend their SHL championship against the Vaxjo Lakers. Vaxjo defeated Christoffer Ehn and the Frolunda Indians 4-1, taking their semifinal series 4 games to 3, and Ehn finished at -1 in 12:13 of ice time.
And FYI: David Pope and the University of Omaha-Nebraska Mavericks will battle Providence in the Frozen Four on Thursday at 5 PM. The game will air on ESPN2.
In regular season play, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins will spend this weekend in San Antonio, Texas, playing a set of back-to-backs in San Antonio, but they made hay while the home sun shined on Wednesday, defeating their arch-rival Milwaukee Admirals 6-2.
The Griffins' website posted a recap...
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Three top college NHL prospects, including high-profile Detroit Red Wings draft pick Dylan Larkin of the University of Michigan, have committed to play for the USA at the World Championships next month.
Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey of Harvard and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Mike Reilly of the University of Minnesota also are expected to be on the roster.
Larkin is considered a Jonathan Toews-style center prospect, and Vesey had 32 goals in 37 games. Reilly is a puck-moving defenseman.
continue for a bit more...
Updated at 2:42 PM: The Detroit Red Wings received some good news and some very bad news during Wednesday's "optional" practice. While Erik Cole skated--perhaps to keep his spirits up--Cole told reporters that he's done for the season and that his career may be in jeopardy due to a spinal contusion;
While Justin Abdelkader only skated briefly at the end of practice, he's apparently going to travel with the team on its two-game road trip to Monreal (who won't have Max Pacioretty in the lineup) and Carolina (Jimmy Howard is starting vs. Carey Price), and Abdelkader stated that his injured right hand is bruised and inflamed, not broken.
In the former category, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with a distraught and distressed Cole...
While Red Wings fans were finding out about Erik Cole and Justin Abdelkader's relative health or the lack thereof (poor Cole, done for the year :( ), Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels delivered a fantastic interview on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery show, discussing the Wings' battle to make the playoffs, the competition that Ottawa and Boston are providing, the possible playoff opponents that the Wings might not want to face, and he addressed the Wings-Habs match-up tomorrow night (no Max Pacioretty for Montreal tomorrow), too:
At the end of the Red Wings' optional practice on Wednesday, Erik Cole dropped a bombshell:
Update: Pleiness posted a video of a somber Cole discussing the fact that his career is in jeopardy:
Updated 9x at 1:32 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena after last night's 3-2 win over Carolina, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reported that the Wings were "taking an optional":
Looks like it'll be an optional skate this afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. Just 9 skaters and 3 goalies on the ice so far.
Erik Cole has just stepped on ice. It's his first time on ice with teammates in eight days.
Door is closed so it looks like just 10 skaters today.
MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed:
Optional practice today for Wings. Only 13 players skating but Cole is on the ice for first time in a week.
Abdelkader (hand) not skating.
There's one bit of prospect news to pass along: Dominic Turgeon registered an assist in the Portland Winterhawks' 5-4 OT win over Seattle last night, and that win advances the Winterhawks to the 2nd round of the WHL playoffs;
If the Red Wings do in fact qualify for their 24th consecutive playoff appearance, the Ottawa Senators have ensured that the ride is going to be bumpy, and the Red Wings' 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes gave us every indication that it's going to be...Touchy-feely.
The Red Wings most certainly rallied in clutch and/or playoff fashion against Carolina, but the manner in which they did so was less than elegant, from Gustav Nyquist's, "Khubodin could'a had that one" tying marker to Datsyuk's while-falling winner, and those are the kinds of slightly mucky goals that the Wings are going to need to score, for two reasons:
1. When you see this team in person, twice, without three healthy forwards, you start realizing that just as Pavel Datsyuk's irreplaceable even playing with a sore left ankle, when you stack up Justin Abdelkader (hand), Tomas Jurco (upper-body), Erik Cole (????) and Johan Franzen (concussion), even given Franzen's reputation among Wings fans, this team is missing a line of talent, a line of size and a line of goal-scoring potential that makes Detroit's game absolutely mucky without them.
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.