The Malik Report
From MLive's Ansar Khan:
Updated 6x at 3:42 PM: Ahead of tonight's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames (9 PM EDT ON FSD/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM), both teams shuffled their lines considerably, with Ladislav Smid drawing back in for Calgary and Brad Richards leaving the Wings to head back to Detroit with a bad back, yielding both shifted forward lines and defensive units in his wake.
MLive's Ansar Khan listed the Wings' lines as follows:
New defense pairs:
Looks like Kindl will be scratched.
So Brad Richards will miss tonight's game in Calgary and tomorrow's game in Vancouver, and we'll see what happens after that.
Update: Upper or lower?
Update #2: Sportsnet's Roger Millions has the answer:
Updated 6x with news about Richards' back injury and stuff at 2:01 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap a 3-game winless streak against the Calgary Flames this evening (9 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM), but the Flames are equally desperate (if not more so) as they've dropped 4 straight and 5 of 6.
The Flames hit the ice first in Calgary, per Sportsnet's Roger Millions...
Smid is in on defence. #Flames
And the Fan 690's Pat Steinberg...
Smid sounds like he's good to come back tonight. First game since January. #Flames
That should yield, per the Flames' website, a Giordano-Wideman, Russell-Engelland and Hamilton-Smid set of defensive pairings.
#Flames will go with same pairings as last two days: Giordano-Wideman; Russell-Engelland; Smid-Hamilton.
The Flames are starting Jonas Hiller in goal, and their forward lines will remain unchanged from Tuesday's 6-2 loss to Washington, so they should look like this (per NHL.com's Aaron Vickers)...I think?
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
From ESPN's Craig Custance's Friday Insider article:
After taking time to think about it, Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary reported to Grand Rapids this week, and will focus on getting his game in shape to make his AHL debut this season. When we chatted last week, he felt like he still had a lot to offer right now.
“I feel like I can still play. I have a lot of passion,” Cleary said.
He said he looks forward to working with the young players in Grand Rapids and wasn’t ready to retire, which was really his only option other than reporting. “We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “It’ll be just another challenge.”
And ESPN's Corey Pronman, suggesting that he ranked some prospects "too high"...
The Calgary Flames have lost 4 straight games and 5 of 6--with their most recent loss coming in a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday--they've demoted Karri Ramo and a chunk of his $3.8 million salary to the AHL's Stockton Thunder, and after being associated with a moderate amount of trade rumors, their GM, Brad Treliving, addressed the media on Thursday.
This is not the kind of team that the Red Wings want to face coming off a 3-game losing streak of their own, but tonight's opponent (9 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM) is both in a tailspin and desperate for a redemptive win, so the Red Wings, you and me might as well prepare all of ourselves for the Flames' level of desperation this evening.
As CalgaryFlames.com's Aaron Vickers noted, the Flames' GM is trying to salvage his team's season before it gets away from them:
Of prospect-related note:
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo registered a goal and an assist in 12:37 of ice time as TPS Turku defeated SaiPa 4-1;
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom had an assist and won 22% of his faceoffs in 12:19 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK defeated Brynas 3-2 in OT;
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin played 4:52 in SKA St. Petersburg's 4-1 loss to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.
"We're not sure what we're doing tomorrow with the D corps, so I wanted to explain that to them," Blashill said. "We're not sure about the pairings yet. I just think as a team we've got to be better and the D corps has got to be better. I just wanted to make sure they knew that. We're certainly thinking about how we can best get guys in the right spot."
The Red Wings (3-3-0) have lost three in a row and have been outshot by an average margin of 33-23 in six games. They're not spending enough time in the offensive zone. A more active blue line can help.
"First off, to me, it goes beyond shots; it's the difference that was real worrisome to us," Blashill said. "If you're getting outshot on a consistent basis it's hard to win. I think zone time was real worrisome to us. If you're spending too much time in your end and not enough in their end it's tough to win. I do think our D can do a better job of being a little more proactive and getting up in the play. I think we can do a better job of putting other teams on their heels. We worked on that a little bit today."
Blashill also addressed Mike Green's slow start (1 point)...
The Red Wings hit the ice in Calgary a little after 1 PM MDT, choosing to practice after last night's loss to Edmonton:
From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:
The ECHL schedule-makers did no favors for a Walleye team that figures to be road weary by the time Toledo’s home opener finally rolls around on Nov. 7.
The Walleye open the season with eight straight road games before playing their first contest at the friendly confines of the Huntington Center. In fact, 12 of the team’s first 14 contests and 16 of its first 20 games are being played away from home.
“It is what it is,” Walleye coach Derek Lalonde said. “We need to get through this stretch a little bit above water. We still need to get points in this 20-game stretch. No matter what happens, we will be much better for it later. But we need to win now.”
Toledo began the season last Friday with a 3-2 loss at Indianapolis in a game that went to the shootout. The Walleye followed that with a 5-1 loss at Cincinnati and have started the season with an 0-1-1 record.
The team has two more weekend road trips before playing at the downtown arena. Toledo is at rival Kalamazoo — which is looking for its first win — on Friday, and on Saturday, the Walleye play at Evansville.
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