The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings’ gritty 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings allowed the Wings to take a midnight flight to Nashville to battle the Predators this evening (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM/Don’t forget we “spring forward” this weekend) at least having kept pace with the Blues (2 points ahead of Detroit) and Canucks (1 point ahead) in the Western Conference standings, and ensuring that, should the depleted Wings fall this evening, Nashville can only creep to within 4 points of Detroit in the Central Division race, not 2…
But in terms of preparing to go into tonight’s game and perhaps one or both of the Wings’ games in Los Angeles and Anaheim next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, minus the vast majority of Justin Abdelkader (flu), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist), Jimmy Howard (groin), Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in his ankle) and Jakub Kindl (“upper-body”), this Red Wings team whose roster includes seven actually-playing skaters/goalie and eight total warm bodies who didn’t start the season in Detroit, and six who started the year in Grand Rapids…
Friday night’s win was as crucial to the team “learning how to win as it is currently constructed” it was to breaking a two-game losing streak, if not more as the team slowly skates toward the playoffs now knowing that the Smiths, Janiks, Nyquists, Anderssons, Conners and MacDonalds of the world can get the job done—even if only in a fashion that is as aesthetically pleasing as nose hair until the Wings manage to, muck, grind, out-hustle, out-work and out-lurk-in-the-weeds their opponents to a positive result.
The Detroit Red Wings’ long list of sidelined players—Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom—got a player longer in the form of the flu-addled Justin Abdelkader on Friday night, meaning that, if you count back-up Jordan Pearce, the traded-for Kyle Quincey and the then-injured Jakub Kindl, Detroit faced off against Los Angeles with eight players, or a third of their roster and 40% of their players, who hadn’t started the season in Detroit.
That list includes six call-ups from the Grand Rapids Griffins, and it’s entirely probable that each and every one of Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Doug Janik, Joakim Andersson and the interim starter and now full-time back-up in Joey MacDonald will continue with the team to Nashville for tomorrow night’s game against the Predators (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM).
As such, the Detroit Red Wings’ depleted lineup displayed all the confidence you’d expect from a team that seemed to play the first period as if it was issuing a collective, on-ice statement lamenting, “We’ve gotta play through another injury? Are you f***ing kidding me?”
Well the Red Wings registered all of 15 shots on goal, surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads, and yet they won thanks to—of all things—a goal by Darren Helm with 1:13 left in the 3rrd and some fantastic saves by a goalie who gave up some squeakers in Joey MacDonald.
4-3 Detroit. Are you f***ing kidding me?
Between you and me, this breaks a superstition that I should not post anything after Bill fires off the live blog, and as Paul already mentioned this, I would usually take to TMR’s Facebook page or Twitter to let you know that the game-day update post includes a significant addition as of 6:18 PM (and it does, including the Wings website’s game-day preview and another Ken Holland radio interview)...
But this is too cool to stuff in the game-day post. Red Wings forward Jan Mursak and Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar both hail from the hockey hotbed of Slovenia, a very small Eastern European/Balkan country which can boast 2.05 million residents and a land area just a wee bit smaller than Israel (i.e. it’s the 153rd-biggest country in the world, which is pretty damn small). The fact that Mursak and Kopitar are playing against each other for the first time has the country atwitter, as Mursak told MLive’s Ansar Khan...
According to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner, the injury-plagued Red Wings’ management staff did in fact kick every tire leading up to the trade deadline, and while Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin and the rest of the front office attempted to bolster a team which currently boasts five players who started the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins going into tonight’s game against Los Angeles, the Wings did their best to to add more to their lineup:
According to a source close to the team, this is how it played out for the Wings on deadline day 2012. There were two primary targets for the Red Wings on Feb. 27: Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad, now with Nashville; and Columbus’ Sami Pahlsson, now with Vancouver.
The entire league was aware that the Wings wanted to add a gritty, big-bodied forward who was an above-average face-off man. Gaustad fit that description, but the day before the deadline, the Sabres informed the Wings that they had already been offered a first-round draft pick for Gaustad. Detroit had traded their first-round pick a week earlier to the Lightning for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Wings asked the Sabres to contact them if things changed but knew the call would never come—Gaustad was gone.
Updated 9x at 6:20 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/WXYT AM), the Red Wings ended up recalling Joakim Andersson from the Grand Rapids Griffins on an emergency basis, but MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings did so For precautionary reasons:
Ken Holland said Abdelkader has flu and is gametime decision. Andersson recalled just in case
There’s also good news on the Henrik Zetterberg front…
Bertuzzi and Zetterberg skating for Wings
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that the aforementioned Abdelkader isn’t skating…
Update: I posted this entry in the wrong weblog, so I’m re-posting it here: In theory, the Red Wings’ two-day break between their loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday and a crucial set of back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1 FM) and Nashville tomorrow (8 PM EST—and yes, we “spring forward” on Sunday morning—FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM) would set up the Wings for a productive final West Coast Swing with reinforcements in tow.
Instead, as we learned on Thursday afternoon, barring a morning skate miracle, the Red Wings will not play either tonight or tomorrow while employing the services of Todd Bertuzzi (groin; at least “out” long enough that the Wings recalled Gustav Nyquist), Jimmy Howard (groin, skated before practice on Thursday), Nicklas Lidstrom (sore ankle, skated before practice on Thursday), Pavel Datsyuk (knee, skated in gear on Thursday), Jakub Kindl, “upper-body,” didn’t skate) or Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, did skate, 3-4 weeks out). It’s possible that we could see everybody but Ericsson return by the time the Wings visit LA next Wednesday, if not by next Saturday in San Jose at the latest, but for now, the Wings have to make due with who’s available.
Updated with a substantial portion of evening news at 8:40 PM: Red Wings GM Ken Holland and his compatriots will make their annual trek to the Breakers’ Resort in Florida for GM’s meetings on Monday, March 12th, and while Holland isn’t sure whether he’s going to be on board with the popular concept of bringing the red line back to prohibit two-line passes, as he told Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika (more on his column later)...
“The game is fast,” said Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. “We want the game to be fast. But how do you get the game to be a little bit controlled?”
But Holland did tell the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek that he’s going to push for his version of the Burke “trading teams should be able to split the cap hit” plan—i.e. an albatross that’s unlikely to pass—in asking the GM’s to consider extending overtime to 5 minutes of 4-on-4 hockey and then 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT to reduce the number of games which are decided by shootouts. His conversation with Duhatschek is particularly interesting because Duhatschek pushes Holland just as he’ll push his peers regarding the possibility of adopting a 3-2-1 point system instead…
The Detroit Red Wings received a mixed bag of injury news during Thursday’s practice as Pavel Datsyuk (knee, back next week) skated in full gear, Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, out 3-4 more weeks) took part in the affair, and Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in his ankle, back next week) nd Jimmy Howard (groin, out for the weekend) at least laced up their skates, but Henrik Zetterberg (???, will play tomorrow), Todd Bertuzzi (groin, won’t play tomorrow, thus Gustav Nyquist’s recall) are “out,” as is Jakub Kindl (upper-body, returning next week?).
The Red Wings’ resident injury-inducing defenseman also spoke to WXYZ’s Tom Leyden about any potential changes to his game given his hit on Flyers forward Jakub Voracek, and whatever Niklas Kronwall plans on doing to refine his checking game will be slight, at best:
I think everything happens so fast out there it’s not always easy to judge if it’s a good hit or not,” said Kronwall. “You always want to think it’s a good hit, but you can’t really tell until you see the replay because everything happens so fast out there.”
Updated 8x at 3:13 PM: Ugh. The Red Wings have recalled Gustav Nyquist from Grand Rapids for tomorrow night’s game against Los Angeles as the Wings remain “banged-up”...
RED WINGS RECALL GUSTAV NYQUIST FROM GRAND RAPIDS… Detroit Squares off With Los Angeles Tomorrow Night at Joe Louis Arena …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that forward Gustav Nyquist has been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. Nyquist, 22, currently leads the Griffins in scoring and ranks eighth overall in the AHL (second amongst rookies) with 54 points (19G-35A) in 53 games played. The 5’10”, 185-lb. native of Halmstad, Sweden, has previously appeared in five games for the Red Wings this season, recording 0G-1A-1P.
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to rebound from their 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday with a hard practice today and a solid morning skate tomorrow, but while the Wings have two more two-day breaks over the next week-and-a-half’s worth of hockey, they’re definitely going to travel to California on either Sunday or Monday (probably Monday) for their last West Coast swing of the season, Wings coach Mike Babcock and his assistants have to be realistic about their team’s situation.
With 15 games left over the last 30 days of the regular season, there isn’t a player on the team that’s completely healthy. Nagging injuries are part of the bargain after 67 games, so giving the team extra “off days” makes sense physically. The wings certainly hope that they’ll receive good news in terms of their injured players (Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl, Nicklas Lidstrom) on Thursday, but there’s no sense in skating them or any of their teammates into the ground with 31 days to go before the team prepares for a first-round opponent.
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.