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Red Wings-Flames morning skate Tweets: Red Wings’ lines, d-pairs in flux, Richards (back) absent

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?

Millions continued...

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On Cleary reporting to Grand Rapids, prospect rankings and the ‘Kid Line’

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"...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Flames set-up

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:

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Prospect news: Vahatalo breaking out in Finland; Marsh scores hat trick

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.

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Evening news: Regarding ‘changes on defense’; Svechnikov named to Russian Super Series team

The Red Wings took part in an optional practice today, and afterward, Wings coach Jeff Blashill discussed "making changes" on defense, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan:

"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)...

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Practice Tweets: Zetterberg, Richards skip practice; defensive change in the offing

The Red Wings hit the ice in Calgary a little after 1 PM MDT, choosing to practice after last night's loss to Edmonton:

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Walleye take their game on the road

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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Post-game videos + a ‘Detroit Events Center’ visit

The Red Wings' website posted a slate of post-game interviews from Detroit's 3-1 loss to Edmonton a couple of hours after I went to bed, so:

Here's Tomas Tatar...

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Jeff Blashill Sees The Positives In Loss To Edmonton

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Many of the same issues have plagued the Detroit Red Wings the past three games: Lack of offense, ineffective power play, having to play catch-up hockey....

"I thought in large parts tonight we played (well)," Blashill said. "We went into the game with a real focus of spending less time in our end and more time in their end and we did that.

"Do we need to continue to get better? Absolutely. Are the results good enough? No. But again, I thought there were a lot of areas we took in the right direction and now we got to get better on Friday."...

His club has scored only one goal in each of the past two games and five during this slide, but Blashill was encouraged to see more shots (a season-high 29). It would have been much more if they hadn't had 24 shots blocked and missed the mark on 17 others.

"I think you're going to have some blocks. That's the league. I think everybody plays tight defensively," Blashill said. "But the missed ones ... you want to make goalies make saves. Too many times tonight we missed the net on some prime opportunities. That's something we can talk about, but the focus is we got those opportunities and let's continue to get those opportunities."

read on

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Oilers wrap-up; Tatar scores his first

The Red Wings took a late flight to Calgary after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers, a loss that dropped the Wings to 3-and-3 but seemed to give the team an incremental but important amount of improvement over their particularly flat performances against Carolina and Montreal.

For the Oilers, the game hinged upon Connor McDavid's eventual game-winner in the 2nd, which was scored in demonstrative fashion, as NHL.com's Derek Van Diest noted...

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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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