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Red Wings-Senators morning skate Tweets: Howard starts, Wings hope to shake slide

Updated 4x at 12:03 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to finish off October on a high note as they begin a set of back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/TSN 5/RDS I/97.1 FM), and the Senators' beat writers actually scooped the Wings in terms of the starting goaltender, with the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan reporting the following:

Jimmy Howard starts tonight for Wings; Mrazek in Ottawa Saturday.

The skate continued...

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What To Do With Brendan Smith?

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans....

Q: If the Wings are going to start sitting a D-man like Brendan Smith as a healthy scratch, then why don't they put him on the block and see what kind of return they could get for him? Does Smith have a long-term future with the Wings? – Saskatoon Wingnut

A: I think it's fair to wonder about Smith's future with the organization, especially with defensemen like Alexey Marchenko (recalled last week), Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul in the system.

This is a big year for Smith, who needs to show marked improvement by cutting down on mistakes and making better decisions with the puck.

I doubt they would trade a defenseman mid-season unless they're getting one back in return. Even though they have some in Grand Rapids who could step in, injuries can take a toll and you don't want to risk being short on the blue line.

more Q & A...

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Prospect news: Ehn’s ice time inching up; Perry pitches a shutout

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 8:36 in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 win over HV71. Ehn's slowly but surely earning a full-time role with Frolunda;

In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -1 with 2 shots in the Flint Firebirds' 2-0 loss to Windsor;

And in the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 17 of 17 shots in the Wenatchee Wild's 3-0 win over Prince George.

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Early overnight report: Red Wings-Senators set-up

The Detroit Red Wings face the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/TSN 5/RDS I/97.1 FM; tonight is Hockey Fights Cancer night at Joe Louis Arena) with the Red Wings hoping to snap a streak in which they've lost 5 of 6 games, and the Senators hoping to build upon the momentum generated by Wednesday's 5-4 shootout win over Calgary.

The Red Wings have found themselves offensively challenged of late, so they shifted lines during Thursday's practice--reuniting the Larkin-Zetterberg-Abdelkader and Tatar-Sheahan-Nyquist lines, shifting Darren Helm to center the "third line" with Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco, and returning Luke Glendening to his fourth-line center's role.

Our friends in Ottawa were more than happy to talk about topics that aggravated them after a short practice on Thursday, but the comments that drew the media's attention came from Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, who told the media that, after four overtimes that have ended in shootouts for the Senators, he feels that 3-on-3 OT is gimmicky. Sportsnet captured Karlsson's take:

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Krupa: Cleary embracing his opportunity in Grand Rapids

From the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:

He loves hockey. He still wants to play, and he is happy to do it in the AHL. Oh, sure, more NHL play remains a possibility. But there is other work to be done, by a tough-as-nails guy from the small, historic town of Carbonear, on Conception Bay in Newfoundland, who struggled long and hard to build an NHL career, though early disappointment and injury.

“I’m having a great time,” he said of his determination to return to the ice in the AHL.

“You know, listen, I just needed some time to think. I think I earned that right just to think anytime you’re told something — you’ve got to go somewhere different. So I took some time, talked to a bunch of people,” including two wise men of the game and former teammates, Chris Chelios, executive adviser to Wings general manager Ken Holland, and Kris Draper, Holland’s special assistant.

“Cheli was a big influence. Drapes was a big influence. Plus I know lots of guys down here,” Cleary said. “You know, I just love it. I love playing. I love the preparation. And yeah, I wasn’t ready. So, I took the two-mile ride down to join them.”


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Wings Are Working On Fixing The Offense

from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,

The Wings continue to stand in last place in the league in shots per game at 24.3.

The Philadelphia Flyers lead the league in that category with 34.9 shots per game.

"We need to spend more time in their zone, create some O zone time because we get into their zone and as soon as we get there, they chip the puck out," Tatar said. "We have to hold on to it, create some chaos down there. We have to spend more time in the O zone, we know that for sure, and from the O zone time we can get more shots, obviously."

One area the Wings have worked on is being harder on the puck once it's in the offensive zone.

"As we’ve gone through the nine games I think five of the nine we’ve had greater zone time than we’ve spent in our own end," Blashill said. "But we gotta create more off of it and we’ve got to make other teams continue to defend so that they’re tired by the time they get the puck out, but also create offense out of it. I think we can still do a better job of that."

Abdelkader said they have to be able to maintain their speed throughout the game.

"I think we’re maybe a little slow to pucks at times," Abdelkader said. "We have to be more physical, keep our shifts short so we can go at a high tempo. I think sometimes we get stuck out there a little too long."

Another part of that is face-offs. The Wings are currently 25th in the league with a 47.5 face-off winning percentage.


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Post-practice articles: Regarding the Wings’ line shuffling; Wings frustrated with lack of offense

Updated at 2:25 PM: The Red Wings' practice on Thursday yielded the reuniting of the Larkin-Zetterberg-Abdelkader and Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar lines, a bit of a surprise in that Jeff Blashill named Jimmy Howard his starter for Friday night's game vs. Ottawa, and a heavy emphasis on improving entries on the power play.

The Senators didn't reveal whether Craig Anderson or Andrew Hammond would start on Friday's game, but as Ottawa's coming off a 5-4 shootout win that snapped a 4-game winless streak, the Red Wings will have to match Ottawa's depseration if Detroit is to exit its stretch of losing 5-out-of-6.

MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with coach Blashill regarding the team's line shifting...

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Q and A with Darren Eliot spotlights Wings-related questions

The Muskegon Chronicle's Mark Opfermann spoke with Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot regarding a variety of Red Wings and hockey-related topics:

Q. The Red Wings are off to a .500 start, how do you see the team right now?

A. I see them needing to grab hold of a little bit of an identity. I think it's time for some of the younger core guys that have been here a few years now, it's their team and they have to grab a bigger piece of that and establish that identity. They're going through a little bit of a transition phase, but part of that is who's going to establish that? (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Niklas) Kronwall are tremendous leaders, the organization is well established, but it's transition time and some of those younger guys have to step up and grab it and be the reason they're going to win.

Q. It's a contract year for Muskegon's Justin Abdelkader and he has to be considered one of those guys, right?

A. Yes. He's the perfect example for any player that has aspirations to play at a higher level. He's gotten better at something each and every year once he turned pro. He's worked his way into a position of prominence on that team and he wants to score. They need him to score now, but he's the type of player, if the puck is not going in the net, he's still doing a lot of things that help this team win hockey games.

Opfermann continues...

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Practice Tweets: Red Wings get back to work; Larkin back on top line, Howard starts Friday

Updated 6x at 12:38 PM with Howard starting Friday: This morning, the Red Wings got back to work ahead of Friday and Saturday's home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators (who defeated the Calgary Flames 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday), hoping to shake off what's become a 5-of-their-last-6-games losing/winless streak.

MLive's Ansar Khan first reported in...

Wings on ice for practice. Datsyuk skating again. Injured players Green, Quincey and Richards not skating.

With DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose following...

The #RedWings are on the ice this morning. Everyone who should be out here is practicing.

And the Wings posting a Vine video of practice:

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Jeff Blashill appears on Sirius XM Radio

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill appeared on the NHL on Sirius XM Radio this morning, speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson regarding the Wings' start, areas for improvement and more over the course of a 13-minute interview:

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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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