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One fine mess, or a completely salvageable situation?

Among discussion suggesting that the Wings need to make a big trade (they don't have the cap space necessary to make one unless it's dollar-in-dollar-out), or that they're plain old using players incorrectly (there's a ton of merit to Kyle McIlmurray's argument, but the Windsor Star's Bob Duff offered a rebuttal of the, "Why Pulkkinen's being scratched" discussion, too), I feel that I have to throw my hands up in the air, and wave 'em like I really care...

Before suggesting that it should not be a surprise that Jeff Blashill comes from a similar school of player evaluation and belief system about "team needs" in terms of line match-ups and special teams play, and noting that the latter topic--the Wings' dreadful special teams play--isn't something that can be blamed solely on the players or solely on power play coach Pat Ferschweiler.

Just as the Wings' personnel decisions are made in concert between Blashill, the coaching staff and the management, and then those players have to go out on the ice and execute to make the coaches and management look good, special teams take on a life of their own, and there really is a sense that after the halfway mark of the regular season, there's only so much that can be done to stop a runaway train of bad momentum from propagating itself in a manner that escapes correction.

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WiiM: Niklas Kronwall talks about retirement and more

Zeb Habs from Habs Eyes on the Prize found a video interview with Niklas Kronwall, from Expressen, that he shared with Winging It in Motown. Among Kronwall's comments:

How long  do you think you will be going?

NK – That’s a bit early to talk about, but I hope to play as long as possible. I know

it isn’t the best of answers but I haven’t really had that thought (about ending my

career) in my head yet. And I really don’t want to think about it either. But

everyone you talk to that has had to retire early, for one reason or another, all of

them say the same thing; "play as long as you can" because the grey boring life

after your career makes you realize that there is nothing better than to play

hockey. So I will try to hang on to this career as long as I possibly can.

Kyle McIlmurray continues with the transcript...

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Red Wings-Panthers tailings: accentuating the positive

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan noted that Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was particularly insistent in suggesting that the Wings didn't play poorly over the course of their 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers...

"From a process standpoint, I was happy with lots of areas," Blashill said. "That may sound funny to lots of fans when you lose 6-3, but anybody can come watch the tape and see a lot of the good things we did and the execution that was pretty good, to be honest with you."

2. And the Free Press's Helene St. James noted that Blashill defended his decision to utilize an extra skater twice over the game's last ten minutes, with the Wings scoring a goal and surrendering an empty-netter as a result:

"Anytime they get the puck and come in a score right away, it doesn't look good," he said. "But I would have done it again. We hadn't generated anything for about the five-minute stretch before that. I thought it was the right move. I think time is overrated in terms of if you're not generating, you can have all the time in the world, it won't matter. If we had been generating, I wouldn't have done it. But we weren't generating chances, so I thought it was the right thing to do."

3. Khan also noted that Jimmy Howard was in self-defense mode after the game, suggesting that he didn't surrender any goals due to a lack of self-confidence...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Panthers wrap-up—relentless positivity follows two ugly losses

The Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers gave Detroit an 0-and-2 record during the team's Moms' Trip, and it gave the fan base pause as Detroit fell out of a golden opportunity to gain ground on a Panthers team now 9 points ahead of Detroit, a Tampa Bay Lightning team 2 points ahead of the Wings, and now a Boston Bruins team that occupies the Atlantic Division's 3rd guranteed playoff spot.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill dug his rhetorical heels in after the game:

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About ‘coach Bertuzzi’

From WDIV's Jamie Edmonds (with a non-embeddable video attached to the story):

Red Wings fans remember Todd Bertuzzi as the hard-nosed tough guy who scored 314 goals and 770 points in his 19-year career.

Nowadays he’s known as “Coach Bertuzzi” at least to a bunch of teenage hockey players.

“After retiring, I became an assistant coach of the Oakland Grizzly team here, the Junior Grizzlies," Bertuzzi said. "Then this year I decided to take over the head coaching job.”

After hanging up his skates, Big Bert caught the coaching bug and is heading up the midget minor team based out of Troy, which is conveniently close to his home in Bloomfield Hills.

So, two years in, what’s Bertuzzi’s coaching style?

“Oh man, I’ve had some good coaches,” he said.  “Mike Keenan, Mike Babcock. I try to take a good mixture or everything.”


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Red Wings-Panthers quick take: gut-check time

The Red Wings needed to win their game against the Florida Panthers to salvage the "Moms' Trip" and to ensure that they at least treaded water in the Atlantic Division standings the day after their 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Kicking off a set of 2 games against Florida in 5 days, the Wings were up against the wall in terms of needing to gain ground on the Atlantic Division's leaders...

And Detroit bombed, surrendering a 3-0 1st period lead, rallying on a pair of Dylan Larkin goals, and surrendering the stinger on a strange play in which Derek MacKenzie may or may not have put the puck in with his hand (replays were inconclusive) and may or may not have stuck Jimmy Howard's skate in such a way as to impede the goaltender (ditto), all en route to a 6-3 loss.

The Wings are struggling mightily right now, and the last two nights have been painful to watch. With the Islanders coming in on Saturday and the Panthers visiting on Monday, Detroit has to get its shit together and get that shit turned around in a hurry.

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Prospect news: Scandinavian update

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 1 shot, won 60% of his faceoffs and played 12:38 in Skelleftea AIK's 3-0 win over Malmo;

Christoffer Ehn finally got some ice time, finishing at -1, winning 40% of his faceoffs and playing a solid 8:06 in the Frolunda Indians' 5-3 loss to HV71;

And in the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -2 in 13:41 of ice time as TPS Turku defeated Assat 4-2.

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Evening news: Game-day previews; on Kronwall, Smith and charitable news

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here is the Wings' Game-Day Preview video:

2. The Wings' moms say, "Hello!"

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Niklas Kronwall Will Start Skating Soon

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall hopes his recent arthroscopic knee surgery will solve an issue that's been bothering him off and on since 2010.

Kronwall expects to start skating this weekend or Monday. The earliest he can be activated from long-term injured reserve is Feb. 13 vs. Boston. But he might need more time.

"I had something similar done in 2010, came back for training camp in 2½ weeks or so," Kronwall said. "This time you add on 300 games or so in a few years and it's going to take a little longer, unfortunately."

continued plus a few more notes on the Wings...

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As The Trade Deadline Approaches, What You Need To Know About The Detroit Red Wings

from Scott Cullen of TSN,

Included in this Trade Deadline Playbook is a look at each team’s pending free agents, players with no-trade clauses, top prospects in the system and more. 

*Contract and no-trade status via General Fanager

UFA in 2016: C Brad Richards, LW Darren Helm, LW Drew Miller, C/LW Joakim Andersson, D Kyle Quincey
RFA in 2016: C Riley Sheahan, RW Teemu Pulkkinen, D Danny DeKeyser, D Alexey Marchenko, G Petr Mrazek
No-Trade Clauses: C Pavel Datsyuk, D Mike Green, D Niklas Kronwall, D Jonathan Ericsson (modified)
Others of Interest: RW Tomas Jurco, C Luke Glendening, D Brendan Smith, D Jakub Kindl
Top Prospects: LW Evgeny Svechnikov, RW Anthony Mantha, D Xavier Ouellet, D Joe Hicketts, D Vili Saarijarvi, LW Andreas Athanasiou, C Dominic Turgeon, D Ryan Sproul, LW Axel Holmstrom, RW Martin Frk, D Robbie Russo
The Plan: The Red Wings are in a playoff spot, as usual, thanks in large part to great play from goaltender Petr Mrazek and sensational rookie winger Dylan Larkin. If they’re going to be more than just another playoff team, though, the Wings might need to dip into their prospect reserves if they are going to go for an immediate upgrade on the blueline.  

more on the Eastern teams and Western teams...

added 3:32pm, If interested what teams have what picks available, see below...

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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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