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The Malik Report

The 4th Line

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The ideal fourth line is hard to play against, responsible defensively and chips in the occasional goal.

The Detroit Red Wings haven't gotten that from their fourth line this season, but coach Jeff Blashill hopes the recently formed trio of Darren Helm, Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan can be a much-needed energy line.

"We put it together with the idea that we wanted an identity on that line," Blashill said. "They all play a similar-type game, they're all real good defensively, they can be physical, they have offense in them. They're a good, grinding-type line."

Blashill said the inspiration for that line came from watching the Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula, J.T. Brown and Ryan Callahan play well against the Red Wings on Feb. 3.

continued

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Bruins set-up; on Richards’ 1,100th game, the GSH line & interviews

The Red Wings face the Boston Bruins today (3:00 3:30 PM EST on NBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) both facing up at the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings--where the 30-19-and-6 Bruins sit one point ahead of the 28-18-and-9 Wings' 65 points--and facing an uphill climb as the Wings haven't beaten the Bruins in six games.

When did the Wings last defeat the Bruins? Game 2 of the 2014 playoffs. Before and after that game, Boston's won 10 of 11 meetings between the two teams.

The Bruins are coming in with an impressive 6-game road winning streak as well, having most recently defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Saturday, and the ever-charming Brad Marchand has goals in 12 of his past 12 games.

In front of Jonas Gustavsson, and minus Patrice "body injury" Bergeron, the Bruins delivered Claude Julien's 500th coaching win on Saturday; the B's credited their absent captain for bearing down on the Wild, as BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj noted:

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Prospect news: Griffins win in Iowa; Walleye defeat Brampton; Marsh scores 2, Saarijarvi 2 helpers

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, Colin Campbell had 2 assists, 4 different Grand Rapids Griffins players scored, Jared Coreau stopped 28 of 31 shots, and the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Iowa Wild 4-3. The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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St. James delivers a must-read about Petr Mrazek

The Free Press's Sunday sports section focuses upon birthday boy Petr Mrazek, whose performance has been nothing less than spectacular this year...

This season, Mrazek has cemented his stellar reputation by playing so well he should be in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best goaltender. He has allowed 16 goals in his past 13 starts, and his .933 save percentage and 1.94 goals-against average ranked first among NHL goaltenders as of Saturday. All of this, and today is Mrazek’s 24th birthday.

“He has special qualities and ones that are real hard to judge,” said Jeff Blashill, who has coached Mrazek in the minors and with the Wings. “You can’t judge them going onto the draft floor. You can’t judge them until you really experience someone on a day-to-day basis.

“He’s got a great confidence to him. He believes in himself. It’s not a bravado, fake confidence. It’s a true confidence. He’s one of the rare people I know that in big situations doesn’t get nervous. I’d be interested in testing his heart rate, because he doesn’t ever appear to get nervous.”

Mrazek should trademark the phrases “stay positive” and “look forward,” because he delivers one or both after many of his games. Shut out the Florida Panthers as they sit atop the Atlantic Division? Look forward to next game. Get pulled in the playoffs? Stay positive. There’s virtually no difference in his demeanor whether he has let in one goal or three.

“The main thing that stands out about him is his level of compete and his ability to put things behind him,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “With the amount of goalies I’ve been with, I know a lot of them, they let one in, and it’s like a snowball effect. He’s not like that. He’s not cocky, but confident, and I think that’s what makes him who he is. He’s been amazing.”

St. James continues in what's nothing less than a must-read, and how's Jimmy Howard doing? St. James answers that question:

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Report- Another Winter Classic Game For The Detroit Red Wings And Toronto Maple Leafs

Elliotte Friedman reported on Sportsnet a few minutea ago that the Wings/Leafs will be playing a Winter Classic game in Toronto, January 1st, 2017.

Chicago/St. Louis will play on January 2nd.

added 9:23pm,

You can watch Saturday Headlines at the KK Hockey section.

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Xavier Ouellet Recalled By The Detroit Red Wings

added 3:48pm, Press release is below...

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Jonathan Ericsson Questionable For Sunday’s Game And Niklas Kronwall Needs More Practice Time

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Ericsson was hurt late in Friday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche and didn't practice Saturday at McCann Arena.

If he can't play, Jakub Kindl will take his place. Kindl skated Saturday with Alexey Marchenko.

Blashill said Petr Mrazek will make his fifth consecutive start in goal – on his 24th birthday.

The Red Wings are 3-0-1 during a five-game homestand that concludes on Sunday.

Blashill said he'll use the same 12 forwards who have played the past several games, so Teemu Pulkkinen will be a healthy scratch for the sixth game in a row....

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who had his knee scoped on Jan. 18, didn't skate Saturday and won't play the next two games.

"Kronwall is at a spot right now where it's a matter of getting into game shape," Blashill said. "It's somewhat difficult to do when you're not practicing. We're going to have to take that day by day. (He) didn't feel as good yesterday, so he didn't skate today. Hopefully he can get to where he can skate on consecutive days and then back into game shape. Obviously, he's not going to play tomorrow. I don't expect him Monday (at the New York Islanders) and then we'll take it from there going into next week."

a bit more on the Wings...

added 3:32pm, Notes from Dana Wakili of the Wings' website,

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Practice Tweets: Wings regroup; Ericsson ‘questionable’ with lower-body injury; Mrazek starts Sunday

The Red Wings regrouped from their 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon, skating at Joe Louis Arena in preparation for a pair of matinee games against Boston (3:30 PM Sunday on NBC) and the Islanders (1 PM Monday on FSD).

The Wings have lost something like 10 of 11 games against the Bruins, who sit one point behind the Wings today (with a matinee game scheduled for 2 PM in Minnesota), so the Wings must emphasize the importance of defeating the Bruins; defeating the Islanders going into a 2-day break wouldn't hurt, either, as that game kicks off a 4-game road trip.

Detroit hit the ice just after noon, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...

Ericsson not skating today as #RedWings on ice for practice.

...

Kronwall also not practicing. He needs a few practices before being cleared to play.

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Wings’ players eagerly anticipating Stadium Series game

NHL.com's Paul Harris spoke with the Red Wings' players regarding their participation in the Stadium Series game against Colorado later this month:

"I think it's going to be great. A lot of my friends [from Detroit] are going to come," said Red Wings defenseman Alexey Marchenko, who has previous outdoor experience. "Always great to play outdoor game. Great atmosphere, lots of people, should be fun. I played with the (Grand Rapids) Griffins (of the American Hockey League) two years ago. Not such a big crowd, but still it was fun."

That was on Dec. 30, 2013, at Detroit's Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers, when Grand Rapids lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Toronto Marlies. That game was part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, held in conjunction with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, in which the Red Wings lost against the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 before a NHL record crowd of 105,491.

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Scoring From The ‘D’

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

The Red Wings blue-line corps is putting the puck in the net with more regularity than it has all season.

Jonathan Ericsson's goal in Friday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena gave the Red Wings' defensemen five goals in the last five games and seven in the previous eight.

That's been a big boost from a group that struggled to put the puck in the net early in the season.

"When us defensemen contribute, that extra goal ... maybe is the difference at times," said Mike Green, who has been an offensive specialist throughout his 11-season NHL career. "I know when other teams' defensemen jump up into the play and shoot pucks it causes a lot of confusion.

"I noticed we've done it a little bit more and pucks are going into the net for D-men, which is nice to see."

During the aforementioned five games, the Red Wings have scored 16 goals – an average of 3.20 per game – while earning seven of a possible 10 points with a 3-1-1 record.

By comparison, the Washington Capitals lead the NHL with an average of 3.30 goals per game while the Dallas Stars are second at 3.24. An average of 3.20 would rank third in the NHL.

Getting the defenseman to become more offensive is something coach Jeff Blashill and his staff have been preaching.

read on

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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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