The Malik Report
Updated with a Babcock interview at 9:50 AMThe Red Wings face something of a running of a gauntlet of difficult opponents and media maelstroms in their back-to-back games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks this weekend, but Wings coach Mike Babcock chose this weekend as the team’s annual Fathers’ Trip to both shake off mid-season doldrums and ensure competitive performances against the Leafs, Hawks, and, on Tuesday, the New York Islanders. The Red Wings received a private guided tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday evening, and the players all but gushed about the opportunity to impress their fathers, mentors and friends this weekend, as the Free Press’s George Sipple noted:
“[My dad]‘s excited, for sure,” Abdelkader said. “It’s awesome. They’ve been there for our whole career, pretty much, have done so much and been such an influence, so it’s great to bring them on a trip and see how the daily routine works.”
How about his mom? “My mom, she is lobbying for a mother’s trip, for sure,” he said.
Updated 3x at 12:34 AM on Friday: If you check out the Red Wings’ Twitter account this evening, you’ll find out why the team chose to fly to Toronto over two days prior to their match-up with the Maple Leafs on Saturday night: the Wings’ Fathers’ Trip is beginning with a little guided tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame prior to what will likely be a leisurely day of meetings, practicing and a team dinner in a location other than a simple hotel buffet room with the players’ fathers and mentors on Friday night. MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to the Wings about the non-business portion of their road trip prior to the team’s departure:
“I think it’s good for the dads to get a chance to see that, and I think it will be good for us too to share that with our dads,’’ future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom said.
Said center Darren Helm of Lidstrom: “He’s got his own section, probably. He should have a lot of stuff there. We have a lot of history here. It’ll be interesting to see the history throughout the league.’‘
Welll isn’t this interesting in the Red Wings-related news category, via AnnArbor.com’s Pete Cunningham:
The next outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium may feature National Hockey League teams.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed Thursday that he has been approached by the NHL about playing host for the Winter Classic, in what would be the league’s sixth annual New Year’s Day outdoor game.
“We have been approached by the NHL about utilizing our facility for the 2013 Winter Classic,” Brandon said in a statement. “There are a lot of complex circumstances that need to be ironed out before anything moves forward. We will have more to say if/when something materializes.”
The NHL has yet to announce which teams would play in next year’s Winter Classic, but the fact that Brandon has been approached suggests rumors about the Detroit Red Wings being eyed as potential participants to be true. The Red Wings played against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009 Winter Classic played at Wrigley Field.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has delayed his announcement of participants in the past. He didn’t name the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers as the 2012 participants until Sept. 25, 2011.
Updated 4x with a Helm/Holmstrom update at 2:14 PM: Well, Jimmy Howard (192,685 votes as a write-in, finishing sixth among goalies), Nicklas Lidstrom (476,979 votes, fourth among defensemen), Pavel Datsyuk (313,783, ninth among forwards) and Henrik Zetterberg (206,852 votes, 12th among forwards) didn’t make the All-Star Game’s starters’ cut, though it’s highly likely that Howard and Lidstrom will head to Ottawa via selections made by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department later this month.
This morning/afternoon’s crop of Red Wings-related news begins on a good note, however, via MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Holmstrom and Helm are back at practice for Wings.
Wings practice lines: 93-13-44, 51-40-26, 20-8-11, 14-48-41; 5-18, 55-23, 52-22 (4); 35-29
Helm and Holmstrom, both nursing groin injuries, have left practice halfway through.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose confirms:
Red Wings prospect Petr Mrazek and the Czech World Junior team didn’t exactly finish where they’d hoped to at the World Junior Championships, but they ended the tournament on a winning note via a non-televised, 5-2 win over Slovakia (whose Tomas Jurco sat out due to a hip flexor injury) in the fifth place game. Mrazek stopped 29 shots. Mrazek put things bluntly while speaking to the Calgary Herald’s Bryce Forbes...
“If somebody would have told us before the tournament we would be fifth place, we will take it,” he said. “But it’s a little disappointing after the Russian game.”
And NHL.com’s Aaron Vickers:
2x at 3:30 PM: Gustav Nyquist was named to the AHL’s All-Star Game roster: Earlier this morning, the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema penned an article discussing Westland native Chris Conner’s attempts to regain his spot with the Red Wings after being assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins to earn regular playing time as he returns from a broken hand…
“You grow up playing the game, and obviously putting on that (Red Wings) jersey was a great experience,” Conner said after Griffins practice Tuesday morning at Van Andel Arena. “I definitely want more of it.”
There’s a good chance he won’t have to wait long to get his wish. Conner had been playing well with the Red Wings, providing tenacious speed and high energy, and likely will be recalled soon. After going scoreless in his first three games in Detroit, he had a goal and two assists in his past three games before the injury, playing with Danny Cleary and Darren Helm on the third line.
“It was awesome. I worked hard to get to that level and it was definitely exciting,” Conner said. “I embraced it, but obviously you want to keep going and now get back there and do the best you can.”
Red Wings-Stars wrap-up and overnight report: A little too ‘interesting’ (and Pulkkinen at WJC news)
The Red Wings took a late-night flight back to Detroit after their rather sloppy 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars, and they’re going to take a day off before preparing for the “Fathers’ Trip” weekend slate of back-to-back games against Toronto and Chicago. By the looks of the Wings’ fit and finish during Tuesday’s game, from Jimmy Howard on out, the Wings need a day or two to recharge their mental and physical batteries.
In a game which, as MLive’s Ansar Khan noted, featured no Wings power plays for the second time over the course of the past three games and one power play for Dallas, the line of Valtteri Filppula, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler in particular were nothing less than spectacular, but despite Hudler’s 2-goal performance, Filppula’s goal and 2 assists and Zetterberg’s 3 assists, the line finished at a collective +1 because they were also on the ice for three of the Stars’ four goals, and that may tell the tale for the Wings of late:
The Detroit Red Wings’ 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars represented two very badly needed points, a very badly needed road win…And it was a game that the Wings made far, far too hard on themselves due to a second shaky performance out of Jimmy Howard over the past three games, a disturbing willingness by the Wings’ defenders to stand and stare as teams loop, whirl, deke and dangle the puck in Detroit’s defensive zone before finding players left unattended or picking corners, and in terms of attention to detail, attention span and consistency of effort…
This game was a [expletive deleted]ing mess, and the Wings made it far, far, far too hard on themselves while attempting to beat an injury-depleted team (convenient that, like the Chicago game, the Wings couldn’t earn a power play, eh?) because they simply couldn’t or wouldn’t emerge from the defensive funk they’ve been in for a while now. The Wings can obviously out-score just about anybody, but it’s worrisome when they seem to feel that that’s all they need to do.
ESPN’s Craig Custance reports good news regarding Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber:
Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber took a major step forward in his recovery from a concussion Tuesday, practicing without contact for the first time since suffering the injury on Dec. 23.
Weber skated Tuesday with the Predators in a public practice in Franklin, but Nashville coach Barry Trotz says there is still no timetable for when the Norris Trophy finalist will return to game action.
Weber didn’t speak to reporters after practice Tuesday.
The Red Wings are offering quite the promotion on their website. Here are the details of the “Miller Lite Red Wing For a Day” contest:
Miller Lite Red Wing for a Day
Hey fans! Ever wonder what it’s like to be a Detroit Red Wing? Miller Lite, the official domestic beer of the Detroit Red Wings, wants to give you the opportunity to be an honorary Red Wing for a day!
One winner will have the opportunity to:
-Meet with Wings GM Ken Holland and receive an honorary Red Wing for a day certificate
-Watch the Red Wings practice
-Run drills on and off the ice with coaching staff
-Meet with team trainers, coaches and players
-Tour the Red Wings locker room
-Watch that evening’s game from the Miller Lite Party Deck and receive other great prizes!
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.