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The Malik Report

In a strange way, the Red Wings’ messy roster situation includes answered hockey prayers

I've spent the past two days basically hibernating after two weeks' of 2-to-4-AM wake-up calls and Olympic work, absolutely exhausted by the time change and grind. The Nicklas Lidstrom of blogging (Paul) has kept at it, however, so I'm not necessarily surprised to find that, ahead of the Wings' back-to-back games in Montreal tomorrow and Ottawa on Thursday:

  • Johan Franzen won't be sure whether he's bested his post-concussive headaches until he's played in a game, which is worrisome;
  • Neither Jakub Kindl (knee) nor Stephen Weiss (abdominal issue) are quite ready to play (so Ryan Sproul will make his NHL debut);
  • Pavel Datsyuk came back from the Olympics with his knee feeling just as badly as it did when he left;
  • And we won't know whether Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall or Gustav Nyquist came back from Sochi any worse for wear until Wednesday's morning skate.
  • On top of all of that, Ken Holland informed Detroit Sports 105.1 FM that he's not going to move what might become a draft-lottery-eligible 1st round pick, nor any of the team's top prospects, in order to bolster his Henrik Zetterberg-less roster with the trade deadline a little less than eight days away (and you can be most certain that the first words that come out of his managerial counterparts' mouths when talking trade turkey involve Anthony and Mantha).

I don't believe in the hockey gods--I believe that the puck has no loyalty, nor sense of "fairness," but is instead a frozen, cylindrical and merciless vulcanized rubber disc--but I do believe in a higher power, and in the words of Bill Cosby, I believe that "God has a sense of humor."

Remember October, November and December, when you and I were both incredibly frustrated with Tomas Tatar sitting in Mikael Samuelsson's stead, Gustav Nyquist stuck in Grand Rapids due to salary cap issues, and when so many of you were asking whether this offensively-challenged Wings team might be better-served seeing what Tatar, Nyquist, and of course Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan could do instead of the Samuelssons, Tootoos, Clearys and Bertuzzis?

We kind of forgot to send our requests in to the hockey gods or whatever other higher hockey power we believe in without a, "While playing alongside a healthy Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk."

For the first half of this season, Wings fans, myself included, wanted to see what "the kids" could do.

Now we're about to find out whether "the kids" can extend the Wings' playoff streak to 23 seasons, and even if they aren't able to deliver one more playoff push, their performances all but ensure that, going forward, the biggest permanent changes we're going to see on the Wings' roster will involve permanent promotions for Jurco, Sheahan and Luke Glendening.

We're getting what we asked for, friends. We just kind of forgot to be specific when we asked to finally see the Wings be forced into embracing its youth movement with both arms.

Cross your fingers, folks, because "The kids," both up front and on defense (somebody has to step up and support Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson in the points-from-the-blueline department, and Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser, Kindl and even Brian Lashoff seem more likely to produce than a certain Mr. Quincey), are going to be the ones who will determine whether the Wings keep playing into late April.

[edit: I know what Pat Caputo had to say trade-wise, but realistically speaking, if the Wings aren't going to move their 1st rounder and top prospects are off limits, it's going to be incredibly hard for the team to make a move]

Update: While I'm at it, here's WXYZ's Brad Galli's practice report:

 

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Comments

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Yeah, too bad this year Ken Holland and Mike Babcock were too loyal to the has-beens for a ridiculous amount of time. Maybe the Wings would be in a better position right now instead of limping into the second half holding down the 8th spot by 1 point. Remember sitting Tatar? lmao Babcock. If I ever again see Cleary or Bertuzzi wearing a winged wheel during a game that actually means something I will go apesh__. But, no way our coach is that thick headed right?

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 02/25/14 at 08:27 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

He is thick-headed. But the players eventually decided who was going to play and who wasn’t, and they forced his hand. I’m glad they did.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/25/14 at 08:34 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Ken Holland informed Detroit Sports 105.1 FM that he’s not going to move what might become a draft-lottery-eligible 1st round pick, nor any of the team’s top prospects, in order to bolster his Henrik Zetterberg-less roster…

I sure as heck hope that turns out to be true. Let the “kids” play. If they make the playoffs, it’ll be a huge boost to their confidence. If they just miss the playoffs, that frustration will help fuel their desire to do better next year.

Either way, I think the next 24 games will be a blast to watch. So, let the games begin – please.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/25/14 at 08:42 PM ET

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Quincey has been better than all those d since Smith was taken away. dekeyser included. Sproul is not making his debut unless someone else is injured. the swedes were given the day off so the team was short on the back end for practice

Posted by jkm2011 on 02/25/14 at 10:05 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m going with an even bet that one of the Swedes might not play tomorrow due to plain old exhaustion. Kronwall and Ericsson were part of a Swedish team that played 4 or 5 defensemen for the vast majority of the Olympics.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/25/14 at 10:08 PM ET

The_Firebird's avatar
<iframe width="480" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-W6as8oVcuM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe

Posted by The_Firebird on 02/25/14 at 10:12 PM ET

The_Firebird's avatar

Whoops, boffed that up.

Well anyhow, I believe Samuel L Jackson said it best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W6as8oVcuM

Time to let the kiddies swim in the deep end of the shark tank.

 

Posted by The_Firebird on 02/25/14 at 10:17 PM ET

Avatar

Sproul is on the trip because someones getting traded! Not really but itd be fun.

Posted by brians neck on 02/25/14 at 11:24 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Now we’re about to find out whether “the kids” can extend the Wings’ playoff streak to 23 seasons

In Jimmy we trust. 

 

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 02/26/14 at 12:58 AM ET

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If one of them get a non-injury related day off and the Wings lose, it will be among the worst coaching decisions of Babcock’s career.  There’s no way they get the day off in this tight of a playoff race. 

And if that was the plan, wouldn’t the Wings bring up their best defensive defenseman to replace one of their two best defensive defenseman?  Why would they want an offensive defenseman right now who struggles in his own zone, when the main objective is locking down defensively?

You say Sproul “will make” his debut when the article you link to says “could make” his debut.  That’s a huge difference, even for someone making an “even bet”.

Posted by jkm2011 on 02/26/14 at 09:06 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

In Jimmy we trust. 

I hope, but tonight it’s likely Jimmy (two weeks of no playing) vs Price (just won gold medal and pitched multiple shutouts).

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/26/14 at 10:13 AM ET

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I really hope Holland does not trade away the 1st rounder on a rental.

Posted by George0211 on 02/26/14 at 10:21 AM ET

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Depends on the rental.

Posted by brians neck on 02/26/14 at 11:01 AM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Kenny is not making a trade….much like in years past. A) I think he forgot how and B) there’s not much people want from the Wings except prospects and if he trades those away now, he should be traded.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 02/26/14 at 11:55 AM ET

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Depends on whats available. Im not of the mind that noone is untouchable.  Rather have proven talent than prospective talent. That being said no players like that will be available.

Posted by brians neck on 02/26/14 at 12:40 PM ET

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and if he trades those away now, he should be traded.

Why?  They have too many guys who are going to be out of waiver options after this year and nowhere near enough spots with the Red Wings.

What’s the alternative, bringing them all to training camp and then losing some to waivers at the beginning of next season?

Seems to me that this is the perfect time to trade some prospects.

Posted by Garth on 02/26/14 at 12:43 PM ET

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I continue to insist that there are guys available who would improve our team.

Just picking a name from a hat—the Islanders got Lubomir Vishnovsky from the Ducks for a 2nd round pick—2 years ago.  Now the Islanders are in firesale mode, Vishnovsky’s coming back from injury, he’s 38, and, oh, he’s probably pissed they didn’t let him play in the Olympics.  Are we really sure we couldn’t get him for a third rounder and Brian Lashoff?  Are we really sure Marchenko doesn’t bring 90% of what Lashoff brings right this second, while Vishnovsky would improve the second power play unit and chip 20 minutes a night on the second pairing.

Now, of course, Vish is also under contract for next season, and not for cheap.  So that might not be a great move.  But it’s a move we could make to improve our blueline today without giving up a top prospect or 1st rounder.  It’s silly to pretend that there are no moves available.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/26/14 at 12:52 PM ET

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Seems to me that this is the perfect time to trade some prospects.

Posted by Garth on 02/26/14 at 11:43 AM ET

GMs are probably thinking: why pay for these guys now, when I can probably have them for free in the fall?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/26/14 at 03:31 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

GMs are probably thinking: why pay for these guys now, when I can probably have them for free in the fall?

Sadly, this.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 02/26/14 at 04:32 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

If Hank is getting a pass it’s because his was a wear and tear injury that he played through most of the last two/three seasons.  It was going to get bad enough at some point to require surgery. 

For the record, I do not fault either of them for playing for their country.  Want to see the NHL take a huge step back talent wise?  Don’t let players participate in the Olympics and see what happens.

The talent is already too diluted in the NHL.  I don’t want to see the NHL become the Canadian/American Hockey League.

Posted by wedge56 on 02/26/14 at 06:13 PM ET

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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.