The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings attempted to wrap up the California portion of their 7-game road trip on a high note, taking on the slumping-at-home San Jose Sharks on Saturday evening.
The Wings regrettably caught the Sharks on a bad night--San Jose was determined to out-detail the Wings as they wished to avoid a 4th straight home loss--and the Red Wings were merely OK at best over the course of a 6-3 loss.
To the good, Anthony Mantha scored another goal, Thomas Vanek and Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and an assist apiece, and Petr Mrazek stopped the majority of the 20 very difficult shots he faced in relief of Jared Coreau, but the Wings just never took away the Sharks' patented force-a-turnover-down-low-and loop-it-back-to-the-point-for-a-shot play, and the Sharks spent all night working that play to the tune of half-a-dozen goals on the Wings.
This was a hard lesson learned for a team that is missing Mike Green and Justin Abdelkader badly, and with a brutal schedule to come--the Wings are at Chicago, in Dallas and then home to Pittsburgh this upcoming week--the Wings need some of their injured players to come back and aid the cause.
Of game-time Red Wings-related note:
1. Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen get along particularly well, and they make things happen on the ice, too. As the Wings' beat writers found on Saturday, one may lead to the other, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
One of the most skilled [players] Nielsen has played with is Thomas Vanek, his current linemate on the Red Wings and formerly with the Islanders.
“Just with his raw talent, he’s right up there with the best guys I’ve played with,” Nielsen said of Vanek who, like Nielsen, signed July 1 as unrestricted free agents. “With his passing ability, ability to find lanes, and he goes hard to the net and spends a lot of time in there. If you don’t have a play, you know you can throw it in there (toward the net) and he’ll be around the net, and he’s really skilled in close. He’s up there with the best I’ve played with.”
The Red Wings-Sharks game will now air on Fox Sports Detroit as well as FSD Plus:
Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video:
As the Red Wings prepare to face the San Jose Sharks, MLive's Ansar Khan asked Wings coach Jeff Blashill a hard question: why is Riley Sheahan still in the lineup given his incredible lack of production? Blashill answered Khan as follows:
"We make decisions to maybe healthy scratch somebody based on process," Blashill said. "That's defensive process, that's battle level, that's compete level, that's effort level. Just because the puck hasn't gone in for him this year, it's unfortunate, but I think his game lately has been good, to be honest with you. He's doing lots of things that help us."
Sheahan has no goals, six assists and a minus-14 rating in 38 games. The only game he missed, Dec. 29 at Ottawa, was due to an injury.
When Sheahan is playing well, like he was the final 20 games of the 2015-16 season, he's utilizing his 6-foot-3, 226-pound frame to drive to the net and create scoring opportunities and he's responsible defensively.
"I sat there for 20 minutes and had a session about getting to the net and being harder at the net and getting pucks to the net," Blashill said. "It's hard to take one of your few guys that's really a natural net presence guy out of the lineup when that's what you're looking for more of. Wouldn't make any sense.
"I think Riley has done lots of good stuff. It's well-documented that he hasn't scored. While I want him to score, I want his process to be great and I think his process has been very good lots of nights."
Khan continues, and he posted a video of Blashill answering the question:
Updated 5x at 5:00 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM on FSD Plus/CSN California/97.1 FM), and the Red Wings and Sharks' morning skates revealed that San Jose will start Martin Jones opposite Jared Coreau, with Mikkel Boedker returning to the lineup, while Detroit will stick with the same lineup the team employed against Los Angeles on Thursday.
CSN California's Kevin Kurz filed a morning skate report...
The Detroit Red Wings hope to close out their California trip with a win against the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/CSN California/97.1 FM).
The Sharks took to the ice first at the SAP Center, as noted by the Mercury News's Curtis Pashelka...
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to wind up their 3-game California trip on a high note as they play the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM on FSD Plus/CSN California/97.1 FM), and the 17-17-and-5 Red Wings face quite the challenge in battling the 23-14-and-2 Sharks.
San Jose was all smiles on Friday as the Sharks hosted the California Golden Seals alumni, but the Sharks' off-ice workouts may have afforded some reflection as well: the Sharks are mired in a 3-game losing streak, and San Jose blew 2-1 and 4-2 leads over the course of a very bad third period on Thursday, ultimately losing 5-4 to the Minnesota Wild.
Friday's Sharks press mostly focused on defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who's missed the Sharks' 0-2-and-1 stretch with a broken...well, "facial fractures" after blocking a shot a week ago, and addressing Vlasic's status afforded Sharks coach Pete DeBoer a brief moment of reflection regarding the Sharks' record of late, as noted by CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz:
Of prospect-related note: in the AHL, Evgeny Svechnikov scored the Grand Rapids Griffins' only goal as the Griffins suffered a rare home loss, losing 2-1 to the Charlotte Checkers. The Griffins' website filed a recap:
Updated 2x at 6:01 PM: Both the Red Wings and San Jose Sharks chose not to practice on Friday, after a very different set of respective Thursday results--a 4-0 victory over LA for the Wings, and a 5-4 loss to Minnesota for the Sharks.
San Jose mostly held off-ice workouts on Friday, and they hosted members of the California Golden Seals' alumni, but there were some minor injury developments in terms of Sharks injuries:
Updated with the Griffins' game-day preview @ 3:30 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The final episode of Epix' "Road to the Outdoor Classics" airs this evening at 10 PM, and Make-A-Wish program participant Jager Perreault will be featured in the episode as his wish of meeting Henrik Zetterberg comes true:
2. The Red Wings didn't have any prospects playing in the World Junior Championship's medal round, but Finland's Vili Saarijarvi, Switzerland's Joren van Pottelberghe and the Czech Republic's captain, Filip Hronek, played large roles in their team's efforts. ESPN's Corey Pronman mentioned Hronek as a "standout" performer in his World Junior Championship recap:
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.