The Malik Report
As we wait for news from the Red Wings’ morning skate ahead of tonight’s game against the Ducks (10 PM EDT, FSD/FS West/97.1 FM), some off-day chatter merits noting:
• As previously mentioned, the Hockey News’s poll of 150 NHL’ers yielded 3 Wings players listed among the top 50 in the NHL: Henrik Zetterberg was named the 20th-best player, Nicklas Lidstrom was named the 7th-best player and best defenseman, and as the Hockey News reveals today, the players believe that Pavel Datsyuk is the second-best player in the NHL, behind Sidney Crosby:
Ted Lindsay talks about the Red Wings’ Alums and about not playing in the Winter Classic Alumni game
This merits its own entry: Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay spoke to the Wings’ website about the Red Wings’ Alumni Association’s agenda while speaking very briefly about the Winter Classic. Lindsay absolutely despised the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he tells the Wings’ website that back surgery will prevent the 87-year-old from playing in the Winter Classic Alumni game:
Gordie Howe can’t theoretically play, either, due to wrist surgery and bad knees, and Steve Yzerman’s stated that he won’t attend given that he hasn’t skated since he retired due to his osteotomy, but something tells me that we might see the trio do a one-shift
The Detroit Red Wings’ frustrating 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night leaves the Wings facing a quick turnaround for tonight’s game against the Ducks (10 PM EDT, FSD/FS West/97.1 FM) with almost no margin for error in their 12 remaining games.
The Wings now sit seven points behind the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference and Central Division standings, and are only two points ahead of an increasingly probable first-round opponent in the Nashville Predators, so the Wings may very well need some help to simply earn home-ice advantage over Nashville, never mind make a stab at the Central title as Detroit’s 2-and-3 March record and 3-5-and-1 record since the team established their home-ice winning record against San Jose some 24 days ago, and while the Wings might get Todd Bertuzzi (groin) back in their lineup tonight, Pavel Datsyuk (knee, will return Saturday at the earliest), Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise, will return Monday at the earliest), Jakub Kindl (upper-body, ???) and Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, out 3-4 more weeks) remain sidelined, and if Tuesday’s effort is any indication, Jimmy Howard’s teammates need to do much more than run around like a mite team if they are to defeat the Ducks, who are both out of the playoff picture and possess a similar 2-and-3 record this month thanks to a 3-game losing streak.
The Detroit Red Wings may be playing with Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and a pair of defensemen who are missed more than we might think in Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl, and their absences played no small part in Detroit’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night…
But there are no excuses for the Red Wings having given up 4 shorthanded goals over the past 8 games, not having scored a power play goal themselves since the tenth of never, nor are there any excuses for the complete and total lack of structure with which the Wings played far too frequently and for stretches of far too much time against the Kings—and it’s got to stop here and now if the Wings are to harbor any hopes of avoiding a first-round match-up against the Nashville Radulovs—strange bounces and bad breaks included.
Several Red Wings-related stories and early notebooks have popped up since I took a lovely little pre-game nap (actually, I had an anxiety attack in the middle, so it was terrible), and instead of sitting on the stories for the overnight report, I’d like to get ‘em out there for you to read by adding them as a supplement to today’s game-day post.
As I write this we’re a little more than an hour out from tonight’s faceoff between the Wings and Kings (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS California/97.1 FM) and 24 hours from a back-to-back against Anaheim (10:30 PM on Wednesday, same TV/radio), and as we begin our “mad dash,” it’s worth noting and then some that when Nicklas Lidstrom spoke to the Wings’ media corps today, he admitted that he absolutely despises sitting out, and the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa took note of the comments made by a man who, perhaps thankfully for Red Wings fans, simply cannot stand the fact that he’ll have missed at least ten games thanks to a bone bruise in his left ankle that will sideline him until Monday’s home game against Washington, at the
updated with some odd comments from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Predators GM David Poile: In no small part due to the fact that the KHL “poached’” restricted free agent forward Alexander Radulov from the Nashville Predators and then spent the past four seasons insisting that Radulov was the prime example as to how the KHL-NHL relationship had improved in terms of the NHL respecting the KHL’s valid contracts and not “poaching” players themselves, the NHLPA has no problem with a restricted free agent-to-be coming back to fulfill the terms of his contract, and as such, they’ve rubber-stamped the NHL’s front office’s decision to allow Radulov to return to the Nashville Predators, and play for them during the playoffs, without having to clear waivers.
Given that the Detroit Red Wings both lost Evgeni Nabokov’s services because players who play in pro leagues outside the NHL after the NHL’s regular season begins have to clear waivers if they sign with an NHL team, given that the league never really grieved Jiri Hudler’s one-year stint with Dynamo Moscow the way they consistently pestered the KHL about Radulov’s situation, and given that the Wings may very well have lost in terms of bidding for the mercurial Jaromir Jagr’s services because that no-sign-without-waivers rule applies to players until July 1st of the summer following a European pro with NHL experience’s decision to play in a non-NHL league during the regular season, it should come as little surprise that, according to the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, the Red Wings aren’t delighted with the NHL and PA’s decision to exempt Radulov from returning to a possible playoff opponent in the Predators, and the Blues aren’t happy with the league’s decision, either:
Red Wings-Kings game-day updates: Howard in, Bertuzzi/Datsyuk to return later, Lidstrom out for trip
Updated 7x at 5:54 PM w/ video: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS California/97.1 FM), the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa has jointed the Twitterverse, and he offers a succinct summary of the news from the Wings’ morning skate:
Wings skating at staples center in l.a., before the game tonight. all hands on deck. Lidstrom skated briefly, before others.
There might be a subtle tweak to tonight’s lineup, however, per MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom skated briefly but has left the ice as the team prepares for the morning skate at Staples Center.
Franzen practicing at center on line with Cleary and Nyquist. Other lines are 51-40-26, 20-43-8, 96-48-39. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi also skating
Defense pairs are same: kronwall-Stuart Quincey-white smith-Janik. Kindl skating again as is Ericsson
But the news regarding the Red Wings’ injured players is a mixed bag:
Babcock said he doesn’t expect Lidstrom to play on trip
The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms, and reports that Todd Bertuzzi (groin) might return on Wednesday, with Pavel Datsyuk probably returning from knee surgery on Saturday:
Updated 4x at 11:57 AM: The Detroit Red Wings remain without the services of Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom, and probably Todd Bertuzzi, as they face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/Fox Sports West/97.1 FM—and if you’re in LA, the Wings are holding a meet-up at Los Angeles’s Coney Dog restaurant), and they’re heading into a stretch of back-to-backs against Los Angeles and Anaheim (the Ducks dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Colorado on Monday) and a barometer game against the playoff-desperate Sharks on Saturday…
Really, really, really needing to avoid allowing the Kings to exact their revenge for a 4-3 loss last Friday at the Joe if the Wings harbor any hopes of catching the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. While the 11th-place Kings hope to close their two-point gap on the Sharks for the 8th and final playoff spot, the Wings sit 6 points behind St. Louis in the Central Division standings, and, thanks to a Predators win on Monday, the Wings now sit only 2 points ahead of the team that took them out on Saturday.
Updated 4x at 8:05 PM: Many thanks to Paul for the updates. Back from the doc, mom checked out okay, had a few freckles removed by the doc but continues to remain skin cancer free.
Anyway, from the Red Wings’ practice in Los Angeles, we’re finding out mediocre news on the injury front. MLive’sAnsar Khan reported that Nicklas Lidstrom at least skated with his teammates for the first time since suffering a bone bruise to his left ankle on February 25th versus Colorado, but Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Todd Bertuzzi (groin) remain out, as Khan notes:
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Pavel Datsyuk (coming off arthroscopic knee surgery), Nicklas Lidstrom (deep bone bruise in ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (strained groin) and Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle) are out for Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). Babcock said he thinks Bertuzzi will be ready for Wednesday’s game in Anaheim (10 p.m., FSD).
So goaltender Jimmy Howard is the only player who will return to the lineup Tuesday.
At least we know that Kindl’s “upper-body injury” isn’t related to his head now, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James offers more deails about Lidstrom and Datsyuk:
Paul here for George who is out running some errands.
The beat writers report Lidstrom spent about 5 minutes on the ice, then skated off and talked with both the trainers and Babcock.
Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, Kindl and Howard are all practicing, at least so far.
added 6:24pm, per the beat writers from Babcock- Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Kindl and Bertuzzi are out for Tuesday and Wednesday, although Bertuzzi may try to play on Wednesday.
Lidstrom says he is progressing but could only take a few rounds around the rink.
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.