The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings flew to Nashville to face a Predators team that will be on the back half of back-to-back games (the Predators play in Colorado on Monday afternoon) mired in their worst slump of the season and perhaps playing their worst hockey since the team stumbled out of the gate with a 1-and 2 record. The Wings have dropped consecutive losses to St. Louis, Anaheim and now the Minnesota Wild, who rallied from a 2-goal deficit and defeated the Wings 3-2 thanks to 3 goals scored over the course of 4 minutes and 10 seconds.
Despite the returns of Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk from injuries, and despite Kyle Quincey having shaken off what DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported were over 20 stitches thanks to a high stick from Devin Setoguchi, the Wings' inability to generate any offense whatsoever from players not named Zetterberg, Datsyuk or Brunner, their absolutely horrific power play and the team's seemingly tracing paper-thin level of self-confidence all but doomed the team to its third loss over the past six days as soon as Torrey Mitchell's game-winner hit the back of the net.
Updated 3x with clips of Mrazek, Zetterberg and Babcock speaking to the media at 9:30 PM: The Detroit Red Wings now find themselves admist a 3-game losing streak thanks to a loss of poise, a loss of direction and a seemingly baffling lack of effort, intensity and attention to detail after giving up 3 goals over the course of 4 minutes and 10 seconds, en route to a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.
The Red Wings, bolstered by the additions of Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson, got off to a superb start, and it took 8-and-a-half minutes for Damien Brunner to score a gorgeous goal off a superb outlet pass from Brian Lashoff and some magic worked by Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and after out-shooting Minnesota 14-8 in the 1st period, the Wings struck quickly in the second, with Pavel Datsyuk scoring 20 seconds into the second period from Zetterberg and Lashoff...
But the Wings seemed to all but collapse after Dany Heatley mucked the 2-1 goal past Petr Mrazek off a bizarre faceoff loss and puck that went off Lashoff and right to Dany Heatley. A poor pinch by Jonathan Ericsson and a terrible defensive play by Samuelsson yielded a game-tying goal by Jason Zucker under four minutes after Heatley scored...
Updated 3x with Wild updates at 5:28 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Minnesota Wild tonight in a pseudo-matinee game (6 PM EST, FSD/FS North/97.1 FM) with both teams hoping to snap two-game losing streaks. The Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek opposite Niklas Backstrom tonight, and the Wings will also receive a roster reinforcement in the form of Mikael Samuelsson, but whether Pavel Datsyuk plays tonight, we don't yet know, and we won't know until game time:
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan is confirming...
The Detroit Red Wings took a slightly delayed flight to Minnesota to kick off their Fathers' Trip on Saturday, and that trip consists of games against the Minnesota Wild tonight (6 PM EST, with the pre-game stuff airing at 5:30 PM FSD/FS North/97.1 FM) and the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Amidst a stretch of six games played over the course of 12 nights, the Wings left Detroit hoping to right their listing ship and return to playing a simpler, smarter brand of puck possession hockey after dropping consecutive losses to St. Louis and Anaheim, and they'll do so with Petr Mrazek starting tonight, Mikael Samuelsson returning to the lineup (at the expense of Gustav Nyquist, who was sent back to Grand Rapids on Saturday).
There's at least a "50-50" chance that the ever-chipper Pavel Datsyuk will return from his shoulder bruise as well, and the Wings have received some good news in the injury department over the past two days:
Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk may or may not play in tomorrow night's game between the Wings and Minnesota Wild as he's nursing a bruised shoulder, but the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reports that Datsyuk's dry sense of humor was intact and healthy as he attempted to evade questions about his injury during post-practice scrum:
"My shoulder? It's good always," he said. "Why you ask?"
Asked if it is a bruise, Datsyuk smiled a crooked smile and said, "No, it's fine. Much better."
"It's like 50-50, now," he said, with a sigh, about his prospects for playing the Wild.
Updated 9x at 4:02 PM: Gustav Nyquist has been demoted, Mikael Samuelsson will play tomorrow and Petr Mrazek will start vs. Minneosta: The Detroit Red Wings back on the ice after dropping a 5-2 decision to Anaheim on Friday, getting in one last practice before heading out on the Fathers' Trip's worth of road games in Minnesota on Sunday and Nashville on Tuesday. The Wings are scheduled to fly to Minnesota at 2:46 PM, missing out on most of "Hockey Day in Michigan," so today's practice may be an abbreviated affair.
There is some good news in the injury department today (for once) from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...
Red Wings-Ducks wrap-up and overnight report: mistake-prone Wings reminded that they’re on their own
Given the near-insane number of injuries that the Detroit Red Wings are dealing with, the news that Pavel Datsyuk missed Friday night's game against Anaheim with only a "shoulder bruise" that's being classified as a "day-to-day" injury.
The Wings sent Jonas Gustavsson (groin) down to Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint on Friday, and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Jan Mursak (shoulder) are supposedly "close" to returning, but Carlo Colaiacovo and Brendan Smith (left shoulder injuries) are at least 7-10 days out, the same will probably be said about Johan Franzen (hip flexor), and on Friday, we found out that Todd Bertuzzi (back, on the IR so that the Wings could recall Gustav Nyquist) and Darren Helm (back) are probably going to miss another month of hockey--if not longer.
But the Detroit Red Wings can't be excused from having played tremendously mistake-prone hockey over the past three games. The Wings' 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings was rope-a-dope hockey at its best (or worst); the Wings' decision-making bit them in the butt during their 4-3 OT loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, and on Friday, with Nicklas Lidstrom (and Damien Brunner's parents) in town, the Wings found a way to turn a 4-game home-stand into a 2-1-and-1 split--by surrendering 1-0 and 2-1 leads en route to an incredibly sloppy performance and a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
Update: Wings coach Mike Babcock told the media that Pavel Datsyuk has a shoulder bruise in his post-game press conference: The Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks did indeed involve some broken Wings sticks and a gaggle of broken Wings in Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder?
wrist?), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Johan Franzen (hip flexor), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Jan Mursak (shoulder), Brendan Smith (shoulder), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and Grand Rapids-bound Jonas Gustavsson (groin)...
But, in the words of Mickey Redmond, "The bottom line is that you've got to play with what you've got and try to survive."
True words for hockey, life and probably some other activities, and with the Red Wings having dropped both of their games in front of Nicklas Lidstrom, and having split their 4-game home stand thanks to all of one good game's worth of play against Edmonton, rope-a-dope hockey against Los Angeles and then losses to St. Louis and now Anaheim--with the latter two losses yielding a turnover-prone Wings team bitten by poor line changes, poor decisions on set plays, and efforts in which the team fired more pucks into opposing players or wide of the net than they did at the opposing goalie...
Injuries can only explain the poor decision-making, the lack of confidence with which the Wings have played and their plain old inefficient, self-defeating style of play against teams whose check-and-trap styles can be defeated by playing smarter than one's opponent.
Ass barns. Now we know why the Red Wings recalled Gustav Nyquist, and the Wings did so because one of their most important players is "banged-up":
Datsyuk is out for tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena due to an unspecified injury. General manager Ken Holland said Datsyuk is day-to-day.
That is why the club recalled Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Valtteri Filppula will move to center, on a line with Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader. The other top line features Henrik Zetterberg centering Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary.
Datsyuk played 20:08 in Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss to St. Louis. He practiced on Thursday but did not take part in Friday's optional morning skate.
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms:
Per MLive's Ansar Khan, good news for one of the Red Wings' players who's nicknamed "Gus":
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.