The Malik Report
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Wings coach Mike Babcock has switched up his third and fourth lines.
He’s got Riley Sheahan centering Drew Miller and Luke Glendening, while Joakim Andersson will center Stephen Weiss and Teemu Pulkkinen.
For Andersson, it’s the first time he’ll play center all season.
“Working down low in the D-zone is the biggest difference I would say,” Andersson said. “Playing wing, on the wall, you have to get the pucks out and stuff. It’s stuff you’re not used to and breaking out of the zone when we rim the puck up the walls, you’re not used to that as a center, otherwise not too much.”
When Andersson had been in the lineup he was playing wing alongside Glendending, who centered the line, and Miller.
“The way we play we try and have all three forwards doing everything right,” Andersson said. “The first guy will play down low, as a winger you might not have as much responsibility to be the third guy. We have to have all three guys doing everything.”
more including Babcock on Mrazek...
added 12:33pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Different look for third and fourth lines at skate. Glendening playing on wing with Sheahan and Miller. Andersson centering Weiss, Pulkkinen
Top 2 lines:
More updates coming as needed.
added 10:44am, via Khan...
Lashoff (scratch)-Kindl (IR)
added 10:48am, more from Khan...
First power play:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Pulkkinen, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
Tatar-Datsyuk-Weiss, Sheahan (net front), DeKeyser
added 11:17am, Pulkkinen after practice...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Tatar is the kind of good, young player who would attract much interest if shopped for a right-handed shooting defenseman, the team's biggest need. Some have speculated he could be part of a package to land Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres. But even before Tatar's recent surge, one member of the front office called that notion "laughable," saying "we'd look awfully dumb if we did that."
Babcock sees a lot of untapped potential in the 24-year-old winger.
"As long as he keeps working on his details and is committed to doing it all the time he's going to get there," Babcock said. "That's the biggest challenge for a young player. What allowed you to be good last year isn't good enough this year and the years to come. You got to keep getting better if you want to be the best. That's what guys like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg have done. So for our young players, they have great examples."
"He's always in a cheerful mood," Sheahan said. "He's always joking around. He's a good guy to be around. He's a lot of fun."
Tatar has many reasons to be happy.
"It's a reason to be smiling, to be part of this team," Tatar said. "My dream (has) come true to play in the NHL, so every day when I walk in here I have a big smile.
"I hate bad mood, so I always try to make people laugh and try to bring the energy and put a smile on everyone's face."
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
If there is a hockey god, one of these years, Mike Babcock is going to get recognized as the NHL’s top coach. It didn’t happen for him last year, when he dragged the league’s second-most injured team to its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance; Colorado’s Patrick Roy won it then, and there was a good case to be made as to why he should’ve. Babcock also didn’t win it the season he led Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship; then-Caps coach Bruce Boudreau won it that year. Year-in and year-out, Babcock works with whatever lineup he’s been given – more recently, an injury-riddled roster with star players in their twilight, as well as youngsters developing their game – and wrenches the most out of it.
Despite leading the Wings to at least the second round of the playoffs in six of his nine seasons behind their bench, Babcock has never garnered enough votes among the NHL Broadcasters Association to win the Jack Adams. You understand why it’s happened – voters often look at the “which coach has reversed his team’s fortunes to the most shocking degree” formula (that’s the one Roy won on in 2013-14) – but sooner or later, we need to recognize the value of Babcock’s consistency as at least equal to the one-hit wonder coaches who may or may not have been the beneficiaries of extraordinary, unsustainable goaltending or another factor beyond their control.
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
After spending most of last week meeting with team scouts in Las Vegas, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he plans to watch the Grand Rapids Griffins play three times this week.
The AHL's Griffins host the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday, the Utica Comets on Friday and the Iowa Wild on Saturday. All three games start at 7 p.m.
Among the players on Holland's radar are forwards Landon Ferraro and Anthony Mantha and defenseman Ryan Sproul.
Ferraro, 23, was drafted in the second round by the Wings in the 2009 NHL draft. He scored 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in 72 games for the Griffins in 2012-2013 and 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points in 70 games last season. He appeared in four games with the Wings, scoring no points.
Ferraro might be having his best season as a pro, with 16 goals and five assists for 21 points in 38 games. It sounds like Ferraro might be the next Griffin called up, should Wings coach Mike Babcock need another forward.
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
Tom McCollum was all smiles in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room Sunday night.
Thrust into duty for the first time in four seasons, McCollum, called up last Sunday, Jan. 11 to fill backup duties after Jimmy Howard went down with a groin injury, scored his first NHL win as a goaltender in Detroit's 6-4 comeback over Buffalo.
"It's obviously not the way I imagined it would happen, but it's a great feeling," McCollum said. "I'm just really happy the team turned it around and really turned it on after I got in there."...
"Anytime with young players when things go good for you, sometimes the next night they don't go quite as good," Babcock said. "Mentally, the preparation, the everyday stuff, the veterans learn how to do it. For Pete, things have gone real good for him and didn't go as good for him (Sunday) night.
"Good for Thomas McCollum, who we didn't expect to be in the net. Het gets his first NHL win."
Update: Via SoDakWingNut:
The Red Wings pulled a Red Wings on all of us Sunday night.
In yet another situation where the Wings show up very, very late and seem to be headed for the exits mentally far too early, the Wings rallied over both the Buffalo Sabres and themselves, taking a 3-0 deficit and turning it into a 3-0 victory that will yield both curly fries with the scoresheet and quite possibly a statement made to those of us who believe that this team doesn't possess the mental toughness that its record indicates.
The Wings also earned Tom McCollum his first NHL win, and it's a deserved one at that for the long-suffering McCollum, though the night most certainly belonged to a certain Henrik Zetterberg, whose hat trick and 4-point night reminded us that the Captain ain't no slouch.
As per NBCSN usual, Keith Jones suggested that the Sabres "gave" the Wings this victory, and one might suggest as much if the Wings hadn't dug the hole they'd dug against a team that has now lost 11 straight. In the end, the Wings pulled this one out of their butts with the kind of panache Zetterberg's 5-3, between-the-legs goal announced.
*#$%@& the critics, Detroit's got its flaws, but the Wings be fo real.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
A year ago, Tomas Tatar barely made the Red Wings' roster out of training camp.
This season, when he had a slow start with one goal and no assists in the first nine games, there were more than a few amateur general mangers in HockeyTown who suggested Tatar needed more seasoning.
Today, Tatar is proving his doubters wrong again after scoring two goals in Friday's 5-2 victory over the previously streaking Nashville Predators.
With 20 goals, Tatar is not just leading the Red Wings but he's also tied for eighth in the NHL. The players ahead of him include guys named Stamkos, Nash and Ovechkin.
Not bad company, eh?
Tatar has already exceeded his season-high of 19 goals last season in 28 fewer games. In his last four games, Tatar has four goals and an assist.
All of that has some people asking about why Tatar isn't going to the All-Star Game.
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
The second line of Tomas Tatar, Gus Nyquist and Riley Sheahan is beginning to heat for the Detroit Red Wings....
"They're good players. They just got to turn into good pros now," Babcock said. "They got to learn to work every single day and do it right all the time. If they do that and they stay hungry and they're really driven they become really good players."
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
The difference is "huge," Mike Babcock said before the Red Wings' 5-2 defeat of the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
"They're not getting forechecks on you and wearing on your D, because (Mrazek) can play the puck," Babcock said. "It's a real skill set. It's part of his game that we give up less chances with Mrazek in net, because of the way he plays the puck."
Mrazek, who stopped 34 of 36 shots, said the skill is a result of liking to do it, inspiration and training.
"I always like to move the puck, play it behind the net and if it's transferred," he said. "When I stop it, and it's a transfer play, I'm trying to get the game faster, so we are not spending so much time in our zone."
The Detroit Red Wings returned home from their six-game road trip and prepared to battle the NHL's highest-scoring team, and Saturday's game had, "The Preds might pounce all over a road-weary Wings team" written all over it.
That didn't happen, because the Wings, from Petr Mrazek on out, played steady, strong, and consistent hockey, and in what was at some points a chess match and other times a track meet, Detroit pounced upon their offensive chances while diminishing the Predators' attempts to score, all en route to a 5-2 victory that should set up a strong weekend's worth of point-earning by the Wings (Buffalo visits on Sunday).
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.