The Malik Report
by Paul on 04/01/14 at 09:10 AM ET
Most recently updated at 2:59 PM...
added 10:23am, via Chuck Pleiness tweet,
From the looks of things, Pavel Datsyuk won't play Wednesday against Boston. He's on the bench as the team skates lines.
added 10:32am, via Khan tweets,
Lines: Nyquist-Legwand-Franzen, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Helm-Bertuzzi, Miller-Glendeniing-Abdelkader.
Datsyuk was skating alone at one end of the rink while top power-play unit practices at other end.
Legwand taking Alfredsson's place at point on first power play unit with Kronwall; Nyquist-Franzen-Bertuzzi up front.
Second power-play unit has Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco up front, DeKeyser-Kindl at points.
added 10:55am, via Roose tweet,
Pavel Datsyuk said he will be a "game time decision" to play for the #RedWings tomorrow
added 11:01am, Datsyuk talks after practice...
Update at 11:20: This is good news, per Wakiji...
#RedWings Alfredsson did not practice as a maintenance day but will play Wednesday.
And Pleiness posted a video of Alfredsson speaking to the media:
Update at 11:22 AM: Oh, Babs, per Pleiness...
Wings coach Mike Babcock says he hearsDatsyuk could play Friday but he's just worried about the players that he knows are skating.
Mike Babcock said that he's under the impression that Pavel Datayuk will return to #RedWings lineup this Friday vs. @BuffaloSabres.
Update at 11:29 AM: Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit posted a video of Datsyuk speaking with the media:
Update at 11:33 AM: Here's Babcock after practice via Pleiness:
Update at 11:49 AM: Oy vey, Fox Sports Detroit posted a clip of Daniel Cleary talking about his knee:
Update at 12:18 PM: Here's Pleiness on Datsyuk, in text form:
Datsyuk could return as early as Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, or at the latest by Friday at home against the Buffalo Sabres.
“I’m going to assess him in the game,” Babcock said after practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. “I think someone told me he’s playing Friday, I don’t know. I thought it was up to him (when he would start playing again),” Babcock continued. “I haven’t been involved in those things all year. I spend my time worrying about the players that are playing, so if I hear he’s in tomorrow, I’ll start worrying about him then.”
Datsyuk said he’s a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game.
“We’ll see tomorrow how I feel,” Datsyuk said. “It was (my) first full practice with team. I’m happy to be back with the team. I need a little more time to pick up the pace, pick up everything.”
“The whole thing is to understand it’s not about Pavel one bit, it’s about the Red Wings and the guys that are playing and we’ve just got to keep grinding. I don’t want to get caught up in that whatsoever, I want to have us keep on working.
Datsyuk has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games this season.
“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing, keep grinding,” Babcock said. “The players that are here, we’re going to worry about the ones that are dressed. We’re not going to spend a whole bunch of time talking about the ones that aren’t. When they’re dressing then we’ll talk about them.”
Update at 12:22 PM: Here's St. James on Datsyuk in text form..
The time off helped, but pain remains and conditioning is a concern.
"Need little bit more time to pick up pace, pick up everything," he said.
Asked whether he'd play Wednesday, Datsyuk said, "Tomorrow is tomorrow. See how I feel."
Babcock said that "someone told me he's playing Friday. It's up to him. I haven't been involved in those things all year. I spend my time worrying about the players that are playing.
"The whole thing to understand is it's not about Pavel one bit. It's about the Red Wings and the guys that have been playing, and we've just got to keep grinding. I don't want to get caught up in that whatsoever. I want to just have us keep on working."
The Wings sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining in the regular season. They are two points up on eighth-place Columbus, but the Blue Jackets have a game in hand.
And on video:
Update at 12:25 PM: Fox Sports Detroit's Wakiji took note of Daniel Cleary's comments about having a reaction to a Synvisc injection:
#RedWings Cleary: I had a reaction to the shot. It's kept me off the ice for a long time.
#RedWings Cleary: There's a 1% chance of getting a reaction & I was that 1%. Swelled up real bad, took 3 weeks for the swelling to go away.
#RedWings Cleary: I had to drain it numerous times. So now it's starting to feel better.
#RedWings Cleary: It's been boring, it's been mentally trying. looking to get back on the ice in the next few days.
#RedWings Cleary: It's awesome. You're first-hand witnessing NHL players evolving in front of your eyes. That part of it's good.
#RedWings Cleary on react to shot: It's quite fitting, actually, how you see we've gone this year with injuries on the tm. It's like,really?
Update at 12:29 PM:
NHL.com's Matt Cubeta also praised Gustav Nyquist as a fantasy hockey player "delivering the goods," if you will...
In 50 games this season, the 24-year-old has 27 goals, 18 assists, a plus-14, eight penalty minutes, eight power-play points and 138 shots on goal. He currently ranks as the 176th player in Yahoo leagues. But most importantly he has 17 goals, 10 assists and a plus-11 rating in his past 21 games.
What surprises me most is that Nyquist has been this productive while averaging 16:44 of ice time per game. During this fantastic 30-day stretch he's exceeded the 20-minute mark once. It does help that 3:12 of his average ice time comes on the power play; however, his strong play shows that when he's on the ice, he's generating quality scoring chances. The center- and right wing-eligible forward primarily has been skating on a line with Johan Franzen and David Legwand and has recorded a minus rating just once in the past eight games; he's a plus-7 in that span.
The one thing to be concerned with about Nyquist is that his shooting percentage is extremely high and probably unsustainable. Nyquist's 19.6 percentage ranks fourth in the NHL among players to skate in at least 50 games, but with seven regular-season games remaining on Detroit's schedule, there's a chance he can carry this hot streak for a little longer. I wouldn't expect his shooting percentage to remain so high next season.
Nyquist has seen his Yahoo ownership skyrocket to 62 percent, but it's actually a bit surprising it's not higher considering how dominant he's been recently. If he's still out there in your league make sure you grab him now. He could be the difference in you winning or losing your league.
In projections of a different kind, Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek penned a story about the Red Wings' last lease at Joe Louis Arena, which was approved by Detroit's City Council on Monday...
A City Council analysis found the deal will net Detroit a little more than $17 million over the term of the lease – about $3 million less than if the city had extended the prior lease arrangement. It includes money to “settle all claims” against lessee Olympia Development, including a dispute over unpaid cable revenues.
But Ilitch Holdings Vice President Mike McLaughlin, representing Red Wings’ owners Mike and Marian Ilitch, told Council the new lease terms are fair.
“There are a lot of issues that have been addressed since it was renegotiated,” McLaughlin said. “Frankly, we felt we went above and beyond our obligations.”
Some Council members and residents disagreed, arguing the deal is so one-sided in Olympia's favor it appears the city barely negotiated at all.
The Red Wings will likely keep playing at Joe Louis until 2017, when the new arena is scheduled for completion. The lease has a provision that the arena be demolished “promptly” once the team leaves.
But if that doesn’t happen, the deal also has a controversial non-compete clause – meaning the city can’t hold any revenue-generating events in a building it owns.
And, earlier this morning, MLive's Khan penned something of a "state of the Wings" article:
After a two-day break, the Red Wings host the league-leading Boston Bruins Wednesday (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network exclusive). The Bruins have opened a nine-point lead in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference by going 15-0-1 in their past 16 games.
The Red Wings are 2-1-0 vs. Boston, having won the past two meetings.
The Red Wings, with 84 points, lead a pack of six teams competing for two wild-card spots in the East. Columbus looks to be their toughest competition. The Blue Jackets have 82 points but have one game in hand and own the first tie-breaker (33 wins in regulation or overtime vs. 30 for Detroit).
But the Red Wings just need to stay ahead of Washington (81 points), Toronto (80), New Jersey (79) and Ottawa (78) and they’ll extend their playoff streak to 23 seasons.
“All the games are big right now,” goaltender Jonas Gustavsson said. “If you look at the standings it’s tight and it will be tight all the way, so all the points that you can get you’ve got to grab them. We can’t be satisfied with these two games; we’ve got to try to improve as a team and battle and we’ve got to get some more wins.”
The Red Wings have more regulation/OT wins than the Capitals (25) and Maple Leafs (27).
Update at 2:03 PM: Fox Sports Detroit's Wakiji spoke with the Wings about playing the Bruins...
"Machine-like right now, for sure," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Since the Olympic break they've been outstanding. I don't know if anyone in the league is really surprised. We all think they got a good team. (Patrice) Bergeron I think is an elite player. He's like the conscience of the team, he does it right. He can drag the rest of the guys into battle. (David) Krejci is a real good player. That line with (Milan) Lucic and (Jarome) Iginla is going. Iggy is like he's got new life. He's energized and he looks that way when he plays. Not just that he's scoring but just in the hop in his step and the way he's playing. They got good deep and veterans in the third and fourth group that play real well. They look like a good club to me, it should be a lot of fun.
The Wings can't afford to take penalties against the Bruins.
"One of the big things is their power play with (Zdeno) Chara there in front of it," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "It's going to be tough. We're going to have to find a way to at least tie up his stick."
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is likely to be a Vezina Trophy candidate with his 34-14-5 record, 2.02 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
"They're a team that has had the core group together for awhile now," Daniel Alfredsson said. "They don't give up anything easy, and you know it's going to be a game where it will be close for awhile and then it seems like they pounce on one mistake and then score two goals late and win 5-2. Patience is extremely important against a team like that, in the neutral zone, and obviously in today's league if you can get the lead and force the other team to do something that they don't usually do that could be to our advantage. That first goal is huge (Wednesday)."
The Wings also realize that if they do make the playoffs, the Bruins are a potential first-round matchup.
"If we get in we're most likely playing them or Pittsburgh," Justin Abdelkader said. "You have to look it that way too. It's a good test for us and a good measuring stick."
And I believe this is a "right back at you":
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also spoke with the Wings regarding their forthcoming tangle against Boston:
[D]on’t count out the Wings, who were 5-1-2 at home last month.
Detroit has defeated the Bruins twice this season, just one of four teams to do so. The Red Wings have out-scored Boston, 10-7, including a 6-1 victory in November.
“I don’t know. We’ve played well,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “I don’t know what it’s been. I think we play similar type systems. Babs and their coach (Claude Julien) are pretty good friends so that’s maybe why there is a similarity between the two teams.”
The red-hot Bruins haven’t lost in regulation on the road in 16 games (10-0-6), establishing a new point streak franchise record set during the 1940-41 season (9-0-6).
“They play a little bit different than most teams,” Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “They forecheck hard when they can but if they don’t have good pressure they’re going to sit up in the neutral zone and they’re really good at it. They make it really tight in the neutral zone, and then in their end they’re tough to get a forecheck on because they use their D really well going from one side to the other. They kind of want you to commit and then they throw a cross-ice pass wide and open you up that way creating a lot of their offense from that. So spot the puck in good areas in their end and then get the forecheck from there. That’s going to be a key for our success.”
Should the Red Wings finish the regular season with the second wild-card spot, Wednesday’s game will be a preview of a first-round playoff series, though goalie Jimmy Howard doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s a totally different beast when it comes to the playoffs,” said Howard, who has a 3-1-0 record and 2.21 goals-against average in four career starts versus Boston. “I think everybody ratchets their game up. Something like that I don’t really believe.”
Update at 2:10 PM: Here's more Wings-B's stuff from the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy:
The Bruins could very well face their tomorrow night's opponent, the Red Wings, in the first round. The last time the B's went to Joe Louis Arena, the Wings crushed them 6-1.
"I'm not so much concerned that they beat us badly. We didn't play very well the last time we were in there and they actually had a real good good. So there was a big difference there," said coach Claude Julien. "But I think we have to recognize the fact that we could see them in the playoffs. It' s getting closer to being finalized here in these last few games. We need to go there with a purpose, continue to play well. As you said, it's not an absolute must-win, but we have to play better than we did the last time we were there."
Update at 2:59 PM: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a Datsyuk update:
When asked to critique Datsyuk’s improvement, Babcock said, “I’m going to assess him in the game.”
It’s clear that Datsyuk’s skating has improved over the last week, but he’s not where he needs to be, making an exact timeframe difficult to establish. Still, his teammates are anxious to get him back soon.
Without Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings have heavily relied on youngsters like Gustav Nyquist, who on Tuesday was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Month for March.
Detroit has got balanced scoring from rookies and veterans with exactly half of the goals since the Olympic break coming from youngsters who were on Grand Rapids’ Calder Cup championship team last spring.
“It’s great to see him out on the ice skating and being part of practices,” Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “We feel that we’re playing pretty consistent hockey right now and getting a guy with his experience and his offensive abilities, among other things, will be a big boost for this team.”
Whether Datsyuk returns Wednesday or later in the week, the Red Wings are just excited to know he’s coming back sooner than later.
“It would be huge to have Pav back,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He’s one of the best two-way players in the game. We could definitely use him.”
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