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Red Wings-Islanders game-day updates: Boychuk in for Islanders, Wings sticking with Friday’s lines

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. Jeff Blashill and Jack Capuano gave pre-game updates ahead of today's matinee between the Red Wings and Islanders (2 PM EST on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM):

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Important Games Ahead

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

The popular line inside the Detroit Red Wings' dressing room Friday was that every one of the remaining 31 games on the schedule are as important as the rest with teams jockeying to secure playoff positions.

But at the same time, nobody was denying that the next five are especially big. All are at home and four are against Eastern Conference foes the Red Wings could end up battling for a spot in the postseason tournament.

The stretch begins today with a 2 p.m. matinee against the New York Islanders, who like the Red Wings have 58 points in the Eastern standings.

"It's important. Gotta win," said rookie All-Star Dylan Larkin, who leads the Red Wings with 17 goals. "Every game is important for the rest of the season. It's so tight. I was looking (at the standings), you could be taking in the draft lottery or you could be in the playoffs and not in the wild card.


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Prospect news: Griffins romp over IceHogs, Callahan scores hat trick; Walleye lose, Svechnikov 1+1

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins had a helluva night. Mitch Callahan had a hat trick and a total of 5 points, Martin Frk had 2 goals, Tom McCollum stopped 37 of 38 shots and the Griffins defeated theRockford IceHogs by a staggering 9-1 tally. The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up—more on the line this time

For the second time in four games, the Red Wings and Islanders tangle today (2 PM EST start on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM), with the winless-in-2 Wings hoping to repeat the success of their 4-2 win over the Islanders just prior to the All-Star Break.

The stakes are a little higher this time around as the 25-18-and-8 Wings and 26-17-and-6 Islanders have the same number of points (58), and both teams may find themselves fighting it out for one of the Wild Card spots that the Wings currently occupy due to Detroit's 2-game losing streak.

The Islanders are coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, but they received good news after today's practice at Joe Louis Arena, as the Islanders website's Cory Wright reported--Johnny Boychuk will return to an otherwise healthy Islanders lineup today:

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A ‘BrewHaHa’ reminder

From the C&G Newspapers' Jennifer Sigouin:

Joe Louis Arena is prepping for an action-packed night on the ice — but this time, hockey won’t be the game of choice.

The Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment will host the Hockeytown BrewHaHa Frozen Fowling Fest, presented by MotorCity Casino Hotel, from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 19 inside the Joe. This is Olympia Entertainment’s seventh installment of the Hockeytown BrewHaHa series, which was originally based on craft beer but has expanded to include much more.

“It really incorporates a lot of fun vibes,” said Sara Turnbull, private event sales account executive for Olympia Entertainment. “It’s really enjoyable for all.”

As its name suggests, the event will feature a hefty lineup of craft beer, with Founder’s Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, Atwater Brewery and Motor City Brewing Works among the list of breweries that will offer samples. In addition, visitors can nosh on seasonal small plates prepared by Olympia’s executive chef, John Borso. Turnbull noted that guests can expect “foods to warm you up” on a chilly evening.

While attendees enjoy their food and drinks, they can head onto the ice — which will be covered — to test their skills at a game of fowling (pronounced like “bowling”), courtesy of the Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck. The sport originated in Detroit and combines football, bowling and horseshoes.


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Galli: It appears that Gordie Howe’s no longer signing trading cards

This has been unofficial news for a while now, but WXYZ's Brad Galli found official word, as it were:

Gordie Howe has been through a lot in the last few years.

He suffered two strokes in 2014, and then his health took a surprising turn for the positive when he went through stem cell replacement in Mexico.

Throughout his career, the Hockey Hall of Famer has always been gracious to fans. Howe has consistently signed autographs in person and famously, through the mail.

But according to one trading card company, the days of collecting new Gordie Howe autographs have come to an end.

Leaf Trading Cards released its newest product, featuring autographed Howe cards. When a Twitter user asked if signature cards were a sign for possible health improvements, the company responded.

As far as I know, Howe hasn't signed for Upper Deck since his stroke, but it's been understood more than anything else.

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Articles from practice: Athanasiou’s opportunity; Sheahan’s demotion; on Smith and scoring struggles

The Red Wings brought up Andreas Athanasiou from Grand Rapids today, and practiced with Andreas Athanasiou centering Tatar and Nyquist ahead of tomorrow's matinee game with the New York Islanders. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose Tweeted the Wings' stacked lines...

The #RedWings practiced today with the following lines: 40-13-8; 43-17-71; 21-72-14; 41-15-26.

And with Mrazek starting tomorrow, the Wings' lineup should look like this:









After practice ended, Blahsill told the Free Press's George Sipple that he planned on sticking with those lines Saturday:

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Practice Tweets: Athanasiou joins Wings as they regroup from losses to Lightning, Panthers

Updated at 3:28 PM: Mrazek starts Saturday.

The Red Wings hit the ice for a "short practice" today, attempting to rebound from losses to Tampa Bay and Florida when the New York Islanders come to town for a 2 PM matinee tomorrow.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reported that "short" didn't apply to the goalies:

15 minutes before start of practice, jimmy howard, petr mazek and goal tending coach jim bedard already hard at it. @DetroitRedWings

Eventually, the Wings took to the ice, per Fox 2 (and, for the record, our friends from Brooklyn dropped a 3-2 decision to Washington on Thursday evening)...

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Listing the NHL’s best Russian-born players

SI's Allan Muir penned a list of the 10 best Russian-born NHL'ers, and while he picks Alex Ovechkin as the #1 player, four Red Wings alums made Muir's list: Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, and two Wings whose numbers will most likely be retired by the team:

3. Pavel Datsyuk (2002-present): He might be the most respected player in the game today, and certainly one of the most skilled. Even in his declining years, Datsyuk is still the game’s preeminent puck wizard, capable of highlight reel dekes and dangles. He’s also one of the top defensive forwards in the league, his dogged determination rewarded with three Selkes and a string of top-three finishes. A two-time Cup winner, his talent and selflessness epitomize the old-school of Russian hockey.

2. Sergei Fedorov (1991-2009): “He was the best player I’ve ever played with,” Ovechkin said of his former teammate. “He was unbelievable. You put him in every position and he was going to be the best. His hockey sense was unbelievable. His shot and vision, unbelievable."

While Ovechkin now owns the Russian goal-scoring record, Fedorov set the standard in every other noteworthy category. He collected 1,179 points during his 1,248-game NHL career, making him the highest-scoring Russian in NHL history. He scored 176 points in 183 playoff games, making him the most prolific Russian in the postseason. He captured three Stanley Cups, the most of any Russian player. He won both the Hart and Lester Pearson MVP awards in 1994 and claimed two Selke trophies on his way to becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2015.

Muir continues...

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Grand Rapids Griffins-Sled Wings game scheduled for February 9th

From the Grand Rapids Griffins, via RedWingsFeed:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will face off in their 11th annual sled hockey game on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6:40 p.m. at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE).

The two sled hockey teams will be comprised of players from both the Griffins and the Sled Wings Junior Team.

The doors will open at 5 p.m. Prior to the game, fans can try out a sled on the ice for a minimum $1 donation (5:15-6:25 p.m.) and get autographs from their favorite Griffins players (6-6:25 p.m.). The game will consist of two 20-minute periods with a running clock. At 7:30 p.m., following the Griffins and Sled Wings Junior Team game, the Sled Wings Adult Team will take the ice against Davenport University.

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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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