The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"We should be fresh and ready to go," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate. "Obviously, in these games taking care of the puck is going to be key because we don't seem to be quite as smooth as you like but that's always a priority when you first come back. Keeping your shifts short and trying not to get caught in your own zone so you don't get worn out, especially early in the game."
The Red Wings have only one lineup change from their previous game, as Daniel Cleary is in for Teemu Pulkkinen, who was reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins following last Tuesday's 5-4 shootout victory over Minnesota. Pulkkinen played in Monday's AHL All-Star Game.
Tomas Jurco (lower back pain) skated again but isn't quite ready.
"I like putting Jurcs in but the trainers won't let him go," Babcock said. "I'm hoping he's ready to go Thursday, so Cleary will go in the lineup."
This will be Cleary's first game since Jan. 7 and just the second time he has played in the past 14 games.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Based on the skate this morning at BB&T Center, looks like Cleary is in tonight. Jurco (back) still out. They're not calling up Pulkkinen.
Lashoff (scratch)-Kindl (IR, elbow)
Updates as needed..
added 11:49am, via Khan,
Nyquist-Zetterberg=Weiss, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
Datsyuk-Tatar-Sheahan, Jurco (net front), DeKeyser.
Jurco didn't take part in line rushes, so he might be in power play practice just holding the spot for Cleary, who's practicing on PK.
The Red Wings open the "stretch" against the Florida Panthers this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM), and the Panthers took to the ice first in Sunrise, as noted by the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov:
Thornton still not ready.but close #flapanthers
Petr Mrazek will be in net for Red Wings tonight with Howard injured #flapanthers
No sign of Trocheck Guess he's staying in minors esp with Thornton close to return #flapanthers
Of text-related note:
The Red Wings begin their "second half" and/or "stretch run" campaign with a pair of games in the Sunshine State--tonight, the Wings battle the Florida Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) and Thursday, the Wings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Over the next 5 days, the Wings play a trio of games against teams the Wings have historically had particular difficulty defeating this week in the Panthers, Bolts and Saturday's opponent, the New York Islanders.
The Wings' 63 points and 27-11-and-9 record are good for 2nd in the Atlantic Division (one behind Tampa; Detroit's also tied in points with the Islanders and sit 3rd in the Eastern Conference), tonight's game is of particular significance: the Panthers have 3 games in hand on Detroit's 47, but the Panthers also sit 13 points behind the Wings, and carving out a 15-point lead would at least give Detroit a nearly unassailable margin for error...Against the Panthers, anyway.
Gordie Howe, his sons Mark, Marty and Murray, his daughter Kathy and the extended Howe family--Wayne Gretzky included--will be attending a combination dinner to raise funds for the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon and something of an impromptu family reunion on February 6th. The event was billed as Howe's final public appearance, but Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave reports that Dr. Murray Howe believes that his father's post-stem cell replacement progress may yield more public appearances.
In any case, Howe is more like himself than he's been in a significant period of time, and that's what matters:
The 86-year-old hockey legend is now stick-handling beanbag pucks around his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas. He can throw and catch a football with either hand (like he could before a serious stroke on Oct. 26 robbed him of mobility along most of the right side of his body).
He can form short sentences, respond accurately to basic questions and tell "little three-minute stories," son Murray Howe said. Recently, Gordie pushed a shopping cart around the grocery store. And on another day, he and Murray walked about a half-mile at a local mall -- stopping several times for short breaks.
And best of all, Gordie Howe absolutely knows who he is as well as his role in the hockey universe. Ask him about "Mr. Hockey," Murray said, and Gordie points to himself.
So the Saskatoon appearance, once thought to be impossible because of his poor health, is definitely on. Howe will travel from Lubbock to Saskatoon in a private jet and sit among other VIPs for the 55th Annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner before a sold-out crowd.
Updated 2x at 7:47 PM: The Red WIngs took part in a less-than-revelatory afternoon practice in Taylor prior to flying to Miami to take on the Panthers (Tuesday @ 7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus) and Lightning (Thursday @ 7:30 PM EST on FSD).
Ahead of a trio of "trap games" (Saturday's home tilt against the Islanders included) and a very early 4 PM-scheduled flight for the Wings, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and the Free Press's George Sipple added some intriguing twists to the mix.
Sipple revealed that Jimmy Howard's going to travel with the Wings...
Jimmy Howard said he skated for 15 minutes today and will go on trip.
Howard said he hasn't watched replay of injury.
Sounds like Jimmy Howard is still a couple weeks away from playing.
And that Tomas Jurco may or may not supplant Daniel Cleary from the Pulkkinen-and-Franzen-less lineup:
Updated 2x at 2:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings got back on the ice a little late, but they did return to work on Monday afternoon--ahead of a week of "trap games," starting with tomorrow night's tilt against the Kryptonite, I mean Florida Panthers (7:30 PM on FSD Plus)--and I'd gather that they're practicing in Taylor because the Joe was used for the auto show.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the Wings' goaltending situation remains the same for the present moment...
No sign of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard on the ice at Taylor SportsPlex. It's Mrazek, McCollum and Gustavsson.
Xavier Ouellet on the ice. That most likely means Kindl still isn't ready to play and Ouellet will be in the lineup Tuesday in Florida.
(I'm just glad that Ouellet's sore wrist has healed faster than Kindl's elbow)
Tomas Jurco on ice. In White.
White jersey = bottom-couple lines jerseys, red = top lines jerseys, black = defensemen, goalies, gray = no-contact.
And this, we've talked about:
So Wings fans are having a discussion on Twitter, and I suppose it's worth discussing here as well.
You know I don't like speculation--I'd rather discuss facts and educated guesses, and issue an honest, "I don't know" when we delve into the land of speculation, but now is as good a time as any to have this conversation.
Mike Richards is on waivers with a nearly immovable contract, and in a month, we might be calling what's happening with Richards (Kings tried to trade him, could find no takers) the "treatment" given to a waived, AHL-bound Jakub Kindl...
The 29-year-old Richards has "comparables" in terms of duration of contract and inconsistencies in one Johan Franzen, who's signed through the 2019-20 season (per SporTrac), and at 35, has increasingly missed time due to concussion-related issues over the past 3 years.
The Red Wings have posted the fourth and final installment of Dan Mannes and Kyle Gajewski's videos chronicling the team's Western Canadian road trip, and as so many of you have stated, while these videos are of brief duration, they're sure as hell better than anything from the 24/7 experiment. Far, far, far superior quality and quantity here:
Off to Vancouver!
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of all publications examined the Wings' rink-and-entertainment district "from afar," and the Journal-Sentinel's Don Walker penned the article to serve as a compare-and-contrast situation to the Milwaukee Bucks' push for a new, partially publicly-subsidized arena.
This part, we haven't talked about, and yes, it's worth posting on a hockey blog:
Once the housing and other development is built, will people come?
Robert Gibbs, president of Gibbs Planning Group, an urban retail planning consulting firm in suburban Birmingham, Mich., says there is a strong market in the downtown area for entertainment, restaurants and what he calls community service retail outlets like Target.
"Within five miles of the project, there are 300,000 people," he said. "A lot of people who live in that area have to drive to the suburbs for shopping," Gibbs said.
"There is no doubt Detroit is on a roll," added [Olympia Development's Steve] Marquardt. "The city and district are well positioned for growth in the years to come. People will be drawn to the district because they have high interest in the area."
"In general, it's a desert there for certain services," said Castaneda-Lopez.
Walker continues, and while the rink is most likely to be the one part of the project built by the summer of 2017--mostly because the surrounding economic development will probably be delayed due to City, County and State finaggling--but it's that surrounding development and the realization of the "neighborhoods" promised when Comerica Park was built that will tell us whether the $650 million investment is really worth it.
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