The Malik Report
Updated 7x at 2:06 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs (7 PM on FSD/TSN 4/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) revealed that James Reimer and Petr Mrazek will oppose each other in goal, that Mike Green won't play for the Wings (nor will Tomas Jurco, per MLive's Ansar Khan), and that Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov will be guests at the Hall of Fame Game this evening.
Mike Babcock also had some kind words to say about the Wings, as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James:
"They do things well," Babcock said. "I am very impressed with (Dylan) Larkin. When I watch them, I see what I expect. I thought they got off to a real good start this year. They had a little bit of a hiccup and now they seem to be playing better again.
"I thought the Tampa-Detroit game was a good game to watch, it was high level by both teams, so it's fun to watch."
On the Wings' side of things, Ken Kal reports that Dylan Larkin remains something of a phenom...
Among the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's notes:
Blashill will not be sporting a mustache during Movember, which NHL players are taking part in to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. “No, not a chance,” he said. “I like to stay married. Mrs. Blashill wouldn’t be thrilled with that. I’m lucky I’ve hung onto her as it is so I’m not going to add a mustache to the mix.”
The Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/TSN 4/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), hoping to embark upon the team's first three-game winning streak of the season, while the Leafs hope to earn their second win over the course of 3 games.
The Maple Leafs took to the ice at the Air Canada Centre first, as noted by TSN's Jonas Siegel...
James Reimer starts tonight for the Leafs. Third straight start.
Jonathan Bernier not on the ice again this morning. Mike Babcock said yesterday that Bernier was expected to skate today.
TorontoMapleLeafs.com's Paul Hendrick...
Sportsnet posted a video profile of Sergei Fedorov and his lengthy career, and it' spretty damn spiffy:
As Paul noted, NHL.com's Dan Rosen collected a who's who's list worth of hockey luminaries praising Sergei Fedorov...
Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductee Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings defenseman, 1991-2012): "Being able to maneuver and stickhandle when he was going full speed is what really sticks out. He was such a dynamic player being able to do that. He could fly and stickhandle and he could shoot the puck too. He was hard to defend because he could beat you 1-on-1 or he could make a long, nice pass. He was a real dynamic player."
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman (Red Wings captain, 1985-2006): "He's an incredible athlete. His skating ability, his puck handling, his shooting, strength and his power … he had everything. And he was a tremendous off the ice with fitness testing, playing tennis, playing golf. Just an incredible athlete."
And Rosen also tells the story of Fedorov's defection:
[Back] at the Shilo Inn, Lites sat and waited for Fedorov to return from Memorial Coliseum, where he played for the Soviets in an exhibition game in advance of the 1990 Goodwill Games. Polano, an interpreter, and a driver were in the waiting car. The Red Wings had a private jet ready to go.
Fedorov already met with the Red Wings contingent at the hotel prior to the game. He played that night only because he wanted to, which added to Lites' angst.
"The biggest fear was failure," Lites said.
But Fedorov's luggage was already in the car. Lites felt he was ready.
"He was the last guy off the bus, probably at 11 o'clock at night," Lites said. "They were going to a team meal, and you know Russian kids at that time were poor, so they're dressed poorly, for lack of a better term. Sergei was in a suit. I mean, he was ready to go."
The 6-5-and-1 Red Wings hope to earn their longest winning streak of the year when they battle the 2-8-and-2 Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/TSN 4/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) at the Air Canada Centre.
For the Red Wings, this game kicks off a slate of 3 games played over the course of 5 days and nights (the Wings host Dallas on Sunday and Washington on Tuesday), sandwiching Monday's Hockey Hall of Fame inductions of Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom.
For the Maple Leafs, Friday's game begins a back-to-back slate that wraps up when Toronto heads to Washington on Saturday.
For the Detroit, tonight's game represents the opportunity to win three straight games for the first time this season.
For Toronto, tonight's game affords the opportunity of rebounding from a 4-2 loss to Winnipeg on Wednesday while raining on Detroit's parade.
The Wings will attend Fedorov and Lidstrom's inductions on Monday, and as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes, Detroit and the Red Wings' hockey greats will be strongly represented in Toronto this weekend:
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned an article discussing Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom's imminent Hockey Hall of Fame inductions with Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Scotty Bowman and Brendan Shanahan. It's a helluva read:
Nicklas Lidstrom’s instinctual perception of hockey allowed him to play with such effortless simplicity, his greatness often was discounted. Eventually, Lidstrom’s performance was acknowledged as approaching perfection.
Sergei Fedorov played one of the most complete games of any forward in NHL history. He did it at such a high level for the Red Wings, he could bend the sport to his will.
The induction of Lidstrom and Fedorov in the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, with events beginning in Toronto on Friday, is spurring a walk down memory lane, including for Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan, two former teammates already enshrined, along with their great coach, Scotty Bowman.
“It’s a great reminder of all the success we had together, and all the fun we had playing together,” Lidstrom said from Sweden before he left for Ontario. “It makes it even more special when you’re going in with a former teammate that you played with for over 10 years. So, it will be very special.”
Have fun with this one from the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan:
Any disappointment Mark Stone felt in missing a game against his hometown team was shared by his general manager, who is still bothered by the fact the second-year winger was suspended for a "very accidental" hit to the head of Detroit's Landon Ferraro.
Speaking on TSN1290 in Winnipeg before Thursday's game against the Jets, Bryan Murray said his attempt to reason with Stephane Quintal -- the Senior VP of Player Safety for the NHL -- fell on deaf ears.
"I talked to Quintal about it for a long time," Murray said of the controversial incident at the Joe Louis Arena last Friday. "It's very frustrating to see that (Stone) got two games. First time offender, never had an issue ever in his career. I suggested if you have to fine him to give him a warning ... but they didn't listen to me."
"Mark Stone is one of the least penalized players in the league," added Murray. "He's a poke checker, he's a puck stealer, but he doesn't finish his checks very often. I guess now I can't tell him to go hit more. On that play he was trying to steal the puck. He kind of got directed into Ferraro by Luke Glendening, and it ended up he's 6-foot-2 versus a player who is 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11. He made contact, he did hit the head, but it was very accidental."
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Mike Green regarding his status as possible for tomorrow night's game against Toronto as he recovers from an "upper-body injury":
Blashill said a determination on Green for Friday's game would be made following the morning skate at ACC.
“I’d rather be (out) one more game than put yourself in a bad situation and be out for seven,” Green said. “I’ll hopefully be back in a day or two.”
Thursday was Green’s first full practice with the team since his Oct. 23 injury at Calgary, though he sounded much more hopeful for a return in Sunday’s matinee when the Red Wings will host the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena.
“That was a good test, kind of do a little battling,” he said. “Then you can really gage where you’re at as far as strength. That’s sort of where I’m at right now, making sure I’m strong enough to compete. Battling in the corners, battling in front and once I’m there I’ll be ready.”
Roose continues with a preview of Sunday's home game against Dallas...
2. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Kyle Quincey regarding what's sounding like highly probable ankle surgery:
The most "warm fuzzy"-incuding moment came here:
Otherwise, Kyle Quincey suggested that he's leaning toward having surgery on his left ankle, and the beat writers reported that Pavel Datsyuk isn't quite ready to travel with the team yet, but the Free Press's George Sipple had good news about Mike Green...
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