The Malik Report
Given that the Detroit Red Wings have amassed a 3-7-and-1 record since defeating tonight’s opponent, the San Jose Sharks (10:30 PM EDT, FSD, probably without a pre-game due to the CCHA final between WMU and Michigan at 7:30 PM/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM) way back on February 17th, it would seem appropriate for Detroit to bookend its worst stretch of hockey this season by finishing up the last game of their last West Coast swing of the regular season by putting a Pavel Datsyuk-sized dent in the Sharks’ playoff hopes.
But that’s where the problem regarding tonight’s game lies.
Updated 6x at 5:56 PM: Good news-bad news from the Red Wings’ practice on Friday in San Jose, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James on Twitter:
Datsyuk says he’s playing against Sharks
In locker room after practice, Cleary asks, “Where’s Mule?” Kronwall supplies his answer “food court”
Babcock said Franzen has back spasms, doesn’t know status for tomorrow
Here’s the entirety of St. James’ Twitter quips...
Every indication suggests that as soon as Nicklas Lidstrom is able to return from the bone bruise troubling his left ankle, he’ll be back on the Wings’ blueline, maybe as soon as next Wednesday or Friday…But the Wings’ struggles without Lidstrom have the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek suggesting that the Red Wings would be in serious trouble should Lidstrom retire after this season*:
There isn’t panic in the Motor City exactly, but with the news that team captain Nicklas Lidstrom has gone home to have his injured ankle (diagnosed as a deep bone bruise re-evaluated), there has to be concern at the very least. The Red Wings were wiped out in both Los Angeles and Anaheim on the first two games of a short California road trip that wraps up Saturday in San Jose. The good news is centre Pavel Datsyuk is supposed to return for that game, which should give the slumbering offence a boost. The bad news is that without Lidstrom, the defence looks a little thread-bare.
Oh, there’s panic in the Motor City, and the fact that Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson are sidelined as well are highly “underrated” in terms of hobbling the Wings’ defensive corps…
The Red Wings won’t practice till 12 or 1 PM PDT today, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern in terms of learning whether the Wings will be able to “dig out “of the hole they’ve dug for themselves while employing Pavel Datsyuk’s services against the San Jose Sharks, but a few stories/videos popped up which are worth noting this morning:
At least the San Jose Sharks did the Red Wings a favor on Thursday night. After an “off-day” which was anything but a day of rest and relaxation for Red Wings’ fans nerves, Saturday night’s opponent defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout with, according to the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa, Mike Babcock watching the Predators climb to within a point of Detroit in the Central Division standings.
That’s particularly important given the Wings’ 3-8-and-1 record of late, and while we’re all hoping that the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues at least kept the gap between Detroit and St. Louis to a theoretically closeable 8 points, the reality of the situation is that when the Red Wings get back to work today, they’re going to be hoping to preserve home-ice advantage over an incredibly highly likely first-round opponent in Nashville, and given the fact that the Wings had to shut down and send home Nicklas Lidstrom on Thursday and then Continue Reading »
Updated 3x at 6:07 PM w/ confirmation of Pearce’s recall: Thought MLive’s Ansar Khan’s report about Nicklas Lidstrom being shut down for the weekend was bad? Well it’s not exactly shocking news that the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that Lidstrom will head back to Detroit, but here comes the crapola: Joey MacDonald tweaked his back, sooo…per St. James...
While the rest of the team flew from Los Angeles to San Jose, where they play Saturday, Lidstrom flew back to Detroit. Goaltender Jordan Pearce flew in the other direction, called up to serve as the team’s backup while Joey MacDonald recovers from back spasms suffered in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at Anaheim. Lidstrom has missed a career-high eight straight games since suffering a bone bruise when he was hit on the outside of his right ankle by a puck Feb. 25 against the Colorado Avalanche.
“We’re discouraged and frustrated,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. “We thought he’d be back playing by now. He had a hard time putting his foot in the boot yesterday, so we decided to bring him home. He’ll be reassessed Monday morning.”
Updated with an odd “Tweet” at 5:35 PM: No surprise here: MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings’ trainers and medical staff have chosen to keep Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom off the ice Friday and Saturday, and after a “travel day” on Sunday, the Wings will reconvene for a morning skate prior to Monday’s home game against Washington, and that’s where and when Lidstrom will give a slightly rested bone bruise in his left ankle an on-ice test:
“We’re giving him a few days off to see how it responds,’’ Holland said. “(Trainer) Piet Van Zant told him to shut it down until we get home on Monday, keep him off ice 3-4 days to do more healing.’‘
Holland, who returned to Detroit today from the NHL’s general managers meetings in Florida, said Lidstrom was given the option of flying home today, but he’s not sure if he took that option. Lidstrom has not skated for more than a couple of minutes since getting hit with a puck that rimmed along the boards on Feb. 25. After sitting out Saturday in San Jose and Monday at home against Washington, he will have missed 10 consecutive games, four more than his previous career-high (2008).
“I talked to Piet yesterday. Based on information from Nick, he’s a little discouraged, a little frustrated. It’s not healing as fast as he thought,’’ Holland said. “The doctors really felt a couple of weeks was going to be sufficient enough to get him up and running. But he’s not ready. There’s no time frame.’’ He’s better, but not to the point he needs to be to practice full out.’‘
Holland also provides injury updates regarding Pavel Datsyuk (knee)...
Updated with more gabba at 3:37 PM: The Red Wings are flying to San Jose this afternoon, choosing not to practice after their back-to-back losses against Los Angeles on Tuesday and the Ducks last night, respectively.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James filed the following addendum to her stories about the Wings’ losses with an eye toward what will be a must-win game against a San Jose Sharks team that’s fighting for its playoff life on Saturday evening, noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t really have much to say about the fact that his team played without Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise, back Monday at the earliest), Pavel Datsyuk (knee, possibly back on Saturday), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, out 3-4 more weeks) or Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle, no timeline as of yet):
Update: the voting page can be found here...
Here’s something to cheer you up given the lovely result of Wednesday night’s Wings-Ducks game: last month, the Red Wings encouraged local recreational hockey teams to submit YouTube videos explaining why their team should have the privilege of facing off against a team of Red Wings Alumni, and while the Wings haven’t revealed how one might vote for the five finalists, RedWingsFeed’s search engine robots (I can only afford untrained monkeys) found that the Wings have chosen the following teams to vie for your affections. In no particular order, they are…
Gustav Nyquist might be the luckiest person who left the Red Wings’ locker room after Detroit dropped a wretched 4-0 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. Nyquist’s Red Wings teammates will have to sit and stew in their own juices during a much-needed off-day as the team chose to remain in LA after both Wednesday night’s defeat and Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Kings.
They’ll fly to San Jose this afternoon and try to pick up the pieces after essentially losing all hope of winning the Central Division against the Blues, who sit 8 points ahead of Detroit in the Central Division and western Conference standings, and placing their home-ice advantage over their probable first-round opponent in the Nashville Predators, who sit only 2 points behind the Wings, thanks to a 2-and-5 record in March and a perfectly hideous 3-8-and-1 record since the team set their home-ice winning record against the Sharks way back on February 19th.
Why is Nyquist lucky? MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings sent Nyquist back to the Grand Rapids Griffins, who’ve won 2 straight games and will welcome their leading scorer back for a hard playoff push.
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.