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Practice Tweets and articles: Red Wings prepare for Caps, Pens

The Red Wings practiced at the University Liggett School today, preparing for Saturday's game against Washington (2 PM EST) and Sunday's game against Pittsburgh (3 PM EST).

The team's goaltenders preceded the players onto the ice, as noted by the Free Press's George Sipple:

Henrik Zetterberg, 36, has 877 career points. What will be his final career point total? @DetroitRedWings

MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed the Wings' presence at McCann Arena...

Howard on ice before practice but left once it started. Club hopes he's ready for conditioning game or 2 next weekend with @griffinshockey

...

#RedWings power-play units:
Mantha-Nielsen-Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall-Zetterberg
&
Tatar-Athanasiou-Vanek, Helm (net front), Green

...

#RedWings practice lines:
Mantha-Zetterberg-Tatar
Vanek-Nielsen-Athanasiou
Larkin-Helm-Abdelkader
Ott-Sheahan-Glendening
Jurco (extra)

...

Nyquist also practicing. Has five games remaining on suspension. Will return March 4 at Edmonton. #RedWings

...

#RedWings defense pairs:
DeKeyser-Green
Kronwall-Smith
Ouellet-Jensen
Sproul (extra)

...

Petr Mrazek, as you'd expect, in starter's net for #RedWings

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa went with a little self-promotion...

12 days before trade deadline.

#RedWings in the cellar in east.

-10 BOS 1 game in hand.
-9 TOR, TOR 1 game in hand.

6:30 p.m. #KrupaQs

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji said, "Hello"...

In "cheerier" news, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan duly noted that Dylan Larkin seems to be shaking off one hell of a sophomore slump...

“The third period [on Wednesday] was one of Larks’ best periods,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Larks had good jump in the third (period). That was one of his better periods in a while.”

Larkin played just over 16 minutes — more than he had since Jan. 22 — as Blashill put Larkin on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar, while switching out Anthony Mantha. Larkin was credited with two shots on net, was strong on the puck, and was noticeable — something that hadn’t always been the case in recent games.

“I switched Mantha and Larks because I thought Larks had a little more compete in him (against St. Louis),” Blashill said.

The second NHL season hasn’t gone as smoothly for Larkin as his first. In 54 games, Larkin only has 19 points with 12 goals and seven assists and a minus-18 rating. Larkin has been unable to find chemistry with consistent linemates. But Blashill has seen progress.

“I also would say this, I see him doing tons of good stuff,” Blashill said. “I see him doing the types of things that it takes for long-term success that you guys won’t see, and it won’t show up on the score sheet.

“But he’s stopping on pucks, he’s playing from the defensive side of the puck, and those types of things are critical in order to be a real good player in the league.

“He’s really taken steps forward.”

And in not-so-cheery news, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff talked about the Wings' trade candidates:

The attraction to Vanek, who shares the team lead with 13 goals, is obvious. He’s a high end skill player who can ignite a power play and goes to the dirty areas to score, a vital characteristic in the playoffs. Vanek has been quite open to discussing the possibility that he could be wearing another team’s sweater in two weeks time.

“You wait and see, and wait for a phone call I guess, someone to let me know if I’m staying or going,” Vanek said. “I’ve got to worry about tomorrow, make sure my game is good, and that’s about all I can control.”

There hasn’t been as much outward speculation about Ott but as a depth forward who can kill penalties and play all three forward positions, he certainly would prove an asset to a contender. An NHL source indicated that Detroit GM Ken Holland’s phone is blowing up with calls about Ott’s availability.

Of the two, Vanek certainly offers the potential to bring more in return in any transaction.

“Do I like it here?” Vanek asked rhetorically. “Yeah I do. Could I see myself staying here? Yeah that would be great but again, it’s a business. I think Kenny’s got to make a decision. At the same time, if there is a deal to be made, it’s gotta be right on both sides. I’ve been through it before. Would it surprise me that he would move me if he could get something good? No, not at all. If I was the GM, it would be something I would look at.”

Vanek made it clear he doesn’t want to leave Detroit - he’s actually loved his time with the Wings. But like he said, he’s aware that’s a call which is out of his hands.

“I like it here a lot,” Vanek said. “I think it’s been a good fit. I think it’s a good culture here. Are we one of the better teams in the league right now? I don’t think so. Are we too far off from getting back in the playoffs and making some noise? I don’t think so. Again, I think we’re not there but I think this team could get there.”

Also, the Free Press is selling a book called The Joe, a 128-page tribute to Joe Louis Arena and Mr. Ilitch, this March.

FYI:

Update:

Ted Kulfan also said, "Hello":

Red Wings practicing at Liggett today...interesting how they are able to score, clear zone all while playing against themselves

...

Different than facing Blue Jackets, Wild and Blues

FYI:

After practice, per Sipple...

Jimmy Howard wason ice today, but Blashill said won't be available before the break. @DetroitRedWings

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Comments

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An NHL source indicated that Detroit GM Ken Holland’s phone is blowing up with calls about Ott’s availability.

I wonder what the offers are and why KH is waiting.

Posted by George0211 on 02/17/17 at 11:35 AM ET

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Are we too far off from getting back in the playoffs and making some noise?

Vanek is now a hand puppet for Ken Holland.

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 11:43 AM ET

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“The third period [on Wednesday] was one of Larks’ best periods,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Larks had good jump in the third (period). That was one of his better periods in a while.”

So, “logically” he is back on the third line with Abby and Helm, which just makes zero sense. The line makes no sense if you want to win tomorrow and the line makes no sense if you do not care about the result and just want to develop Larkin into a better hockey player.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 12:08 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 12:08 PM ET

My god, why does every prospect we have in this organization, NEED to be with an allstar in order to develop, or the waterworks get turned on?  Didn’t Zetterberg himself start out as a 3rd liner? We already have 1 rookie up there, could it be worthwhile to see whether Tatar is a a salvageable Red Wing before we have a contract decision to make?

Have you consider that maybe just maybe the best thing for a struggling 2nd year player is to NOT be on the 1st line defending top talent, and opposing the top D pair?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/17/17 at 01:04 PM ET

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Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 12:08 PM ET

Break up lines. Don’t break up lines. Break up lines. Don’t break up lines. Which is it?

Play Mantha with Z. Play Larkin with Z. Play Mantha with Z. Play Larkin with Z. Which is it?

Blashill needs to be consistent with his lines. Blashill needs to switch up the lines.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:29 PM ET

Primis's avatar

An NHL source indicated that Detroit GM Ken Holland’s phone is blowing up with calls about Ott’s availability.

If this is true and Kenny hasn’t already acted, he should be fired for that alone.  Any return, anything at all, for Ott, would be outstanding.  So of course Kenny is gonna’ wait and screw it all up and get nothing except Ott still on their books….

Posted by Primis on 02/17/17 at 01:29 PM ET

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Have you consider that maybe just maybe the best thing for a struggling 2nd year player is to NOT be on the 1st line defending top talent, and opposing the top D pair?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/17/17 at 01:04 PM ET

I’ve brought this up several times now. Larkin isn’t cutting it against other team’s lower lines what makes people think he is going to do better against top lines?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:31 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Primis on 02/17/17 at 01:29 PM ET

Wait, you mean to tell me Holland has an asset that multiple teams want, and he’s not taking the 1st offer that’s tossed at him? What? Why would he want to hear all offers first? Why would he want to negotiate one buyer vs. another? Why would be want to make any attempt at driving the price up?

I know whenever I go to negotiate something, the first offer is the offer I take, never want to lose out!

My god, the hatred just has no bounds, no footing in common sense whatsoever sometimes.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/17/17 at 01:33 PM ET

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Posted by Primis on 02/17/17 at 01:29 PM ET

Do you mean he should just take the first offer because it’s the best offer?

I’ll give you $3 dollars for your TV then. You’d better take that offer right now. no better offers will come by nor are you going to be able to gauge the desire for your TV nor leverage offers for even $4.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:34 PM ET

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Didn’t Zetterberg himself start out as a 3rd liner?

I mean, Pavs got to start with Hully, but he also had to plod along with Boyd Farking Deverauex. And it was a hall of fame team, too but still. Larkin is much more valuable if he can develop as a star on his own versus a person who tails off of Z

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 01:34 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/17/17 at 01:33 PM ET

I’m sure that’s not what Primus meant because both you and I came to the same conclusion.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:34 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Sheahan is still in. Probably trying to showcase his amazing defensive skills for a trade partner…..hahahahaha

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 02/17/17 at 01:35 PM ET

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Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 01:34 PM ET

do you mean like Yzerman?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:37 PM ET

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Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 01:37 PM ET

Yzerman was a scrub, seriously. Who needs to play a two way game? Who cares what Scotty Bowman says?

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 01:53 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I mean, Pavs got to start with Hully, but he also had to plod along with Boyd Farking Deverauex. And it was a hall of fame team, too but still. Larkin is much more valuable if he can develop as a star on his own versus a person who tails off of Z

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 01:34 PM ET

Actually at its most effective the “2 Kids and a Goat” line was Z, Pavel, and Hull.  A HHoFer already enshrined, one sure thing not in yet, and Z maybe or maybe not.  Devereaux was in there at first but the line wasn’t nearly as effective of course.

Devereaux was probably that team’s Luke Glendening.  I’m not sure if that’s more an insult to Devereaux or Glendening.  The again, Scotty never played Devereaux 20:00 a game because he actually had the slightest inkling what he was doing.

I don’t think it’s so much that Larkin needs to be with Z, but that Larkin needs to not be with complete duds alongside him.  Putting him with Helm and Abdelkader, who have combined for 10 goals between them, is playing him alongside duds.  That’s not a scoring line, that’s a checking line.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/17 at 02:47 PM ET

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Posted by ilovehomers on 02/17/17 at 01:53 PM ET

right, I know. that’s weird.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 03:07 PM ET

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Have you consider that maybe just maybe the best thing for a struggling 2nd year player is to NOT be on the 1st line defending top talent, and opposing the top D pair?

Larkin was on the first line last year and was our best forward. He played couple of shifts with Z yesterday and had his best couple of shifts in months according to Blashill. And I personally see absolutely no reason to play Larkin with Abby and Helm and expect him to develop this way. Abby and Helm play their brand of hockey. Put the puck behind the opposing goal and battle for it. Then they normally lose those battles and when they win, both give the puck away right away. If you want Larkin to “learn” this type of hockey, then yes, he should be playing where he is playing. We already tried AA to play on a 4th line and that was a fiasco. We already tried Jurco and killed him in the process. The guy forgot how to play hockey and has zero confidence. You want to do the same with Larkin? Well, I disagree with that approach.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:15 PM ET

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The again, Scotty never played Devereaux 20:00 a game because he actually had the slightest inkling what he was doing.

sorry, are you comparing Bowman to Blashill or Babs? Both played Glendening as much as you are suggesting. Actually Babs played Luke more minutes so I guess you mean Babs.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/g/glendlu01.html

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 03:20 PM ET

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Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:15 PM ET

IMO, the point of putting Larkiin is to get him to move with the puck & make passes, to mach his speed with Helm’s speed and to have Abbey be the net front player (see Holmstrom). Larkin really needs to work on passing the puck. Giving him targets with speed (for breakaways) and a net front player is what he really needs to work on. Are Abbey and Helm the perfect match for him, no. But, not everyone can play with Z.

Since I know you have no idea how good a passer Abbey it’s hard to even begin to mention that pairing Larkin’s scoring ability with a player who can pass the puck makes sense. You are not willing to believe it, so don’t even comment on that.

Also, Larkin had his chance to play with Z last season and to learn. now he needs to study Z’s play and how he moves the puck to other people and emulate that. Larkin needs this skill to make the next step. so far, he has shown little aptitude at this.

Why do I get the sense that if Larkin were playing with Z and Mantha playing with Abbey and Helm you would be saying exactly the same thing regarding who Mantha wouldn’t be playing with?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 03:30 PM ET

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Why do I get the sense that if Larkin were playing with Z and Mantha playing with Abbey and Helm you would be saying exactly the same thing regarding who Mantha wouldn’t be playing with?

Of course, I will be saying that because again in my opinion putting young skill guys with grinders accomplishes nothing.
And now there is perfect opportunity to play Larkin and Mantha with Z.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:49 PM ET

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Since I know you have no idea how good a passer Abbey

It’s not that I have no idea, but rather you might be the only person who thinks that Abby is a good passer. OK, maybe you and Murray as you have the same opinion on every single thing.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:51 PM ET

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My god, why does every prospect we have in this organization, NEED to be with an allstar in order to develop

This is just not true. Skilled guys like Mantha, AA, Larkin and Jurco should be developing their game playing with skilled players. Grinders like Nosek, Callahan, Bert (although I am not sure, maybe he is skilled enough), etc could be developing playing with the likes of Helm, Abby and Glendening.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:53 PM ET

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And now there is perfect opportunity to play Larkin and Mantha with Z.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:49 PM ET

To okay lines and two very bad lines.

It’s not that I have no idea…

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:51 PM ET

no. you do.

This is just not true. Skilled guys like Mantha, AA, Larkin and Jurco should be developing their game playing with skilled players. Grinders like Nosek, Callahan, Bert (although I am not sure, maybe he is skilled enough), etc could be developing playing with the likes of Helm, Abby and Glendening.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:53 PM ET

The NHL is not Eastside Hockey Manager.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 05:50 PM ET

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Actually all of the young forwards, AA, Mantha, and Larkin have now played on the third and fourth lines and none have done very well. There again, it’s the constant line changes that negates cohesiveness, no one knows what or where the other players will do or go in certain situations.Biggest problem are those third and fourth lines aren’t scoring because those players aren’t putting the puck on goal creating huge rebounds and breakouts, making it a fire drill to try and get back etc.

Posted by stateofmifan on 02/17/17 at 06:27 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

And now there is perfect opportunity to play Larkin and Mantha with Z.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:49 PM ET

To okay lines and two very bad lines.

It’s not that I have no idea…

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:51 PM ET

no. you do.

This is just not true. Skilled guys like Mantha, AA, Larkin and Jurco should be developing their game playing with skilled players. Grinders like Nosek, Callahan, Bert (although I am not sure, maybe he is skilled enough), etc could be developing playing with the likes of Helm, Abby and Glendening.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 03:53 PM ET

The NHL is not Eastside Hockey Manager.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/17/17 at 05:50 PM ET

People like this ^^^^ is why I could only handle a couple years in the Pacific Northwest. They’re feckin incorrigible.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 02/17/17 at 09:46 PM ET

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Vladimir16,.  What you saying no sense, commylibs.

Posted by stateofmifan on 02/17/17 at 10:41 PM ET

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Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 02/17/17 at 09:46 PM ET

Wow. I wonder why there are divides in our country when generalized statements like these are made. I’m so sorry you couldn’t find just one like minded person while living out west. That probably says more about you than the people who have made lives out here.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 02/18/17 at 12:54 PM ET

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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.