The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/05/13 at 01:20 PM ET
Updated 3x with game-day videos at 5:42 PM: The Detroit Red Wings basically have to win tonight's game against the Colorado Avalanche (9 PM EDT, FSD/Altitude/97.1 FM) thanks to their awful performance in the team's 4-2 loss to Phoenix last night, and we already know that the Wings will swap out three defensemen for Ian White, Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser.
The Avs' morning skate revealed little in the way of roster changes...Because the Avs will go with the same lineup they dressed in their 3-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday...
And while the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the team informed the media of Mike Babcock's choice to start in goal opposite J-S Giguere...
The Wings did not hold a morning skate after not arriving in Denver until 1:36 AM local time, so St. James reports that we're going to have to wait until game time to discover the identities of the defensemen Babcock chose to scratch:
The Detroit Red Wings opted not to hold a morning skate today, after a late night of traveling. They play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center tonight (9 p.m., FSD), looking for redemption after a sloppy second period Thursday at Phoenix resulted in a 4-2 loss and a costly two points in the standings.
Jimmy Howard is slated to start again in net, which says something about Mike Babcock's lack of faith in Jonas Gustavsson. Normally, a backup goaltender would start once in back-to-back games.
There isn't likely to be any changes up front, as Damien Brunner and Mikael Samuelsson are both ailing. That leaves just 12 forwards available.
The big changes are coming on defense, where Babcock said Thursday night he'd put in all three guys who sat out the Phoenix debacle. That means Ian White, Kyle Quincey and, most notably, newcomer Danny DeKeyser.
DeKeyser, 22, hasn't even had a whole week's worth of practices with the Wings as he transitions from college to the top level of the pros. But he was highly coveted for a week after becoming an unrestricted free agent because he's a 6-foot-3 defenseman who can really skate.
Babcock didn't say which three defensemen will come out, but it's not going to be Niklas Kronwall nor Jonathan Ericsson. Carlo Colaiacovo was minus-3 at Phoenix, and Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff also struggled. Smith is a good puck mover, though, so he might stay in, at the expense of Jakub Kindl.
Update: The Avs' website posted clips of coach Joe Sacco's game-day press conference...
As well as game-day comments from Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie and Aaron Palushaj...
NHL.com's Rick Sadowski, the former Avs columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, offers educated guesses regarding both teams' lineups...
The Detroit Red Wings will have a different look on defense Friday night when they meet the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Kyle Quincey is expected to play after missing nine games with a fractured cheekbone and Danny Dekeyser will make his NHL debut after playing three seasons at Western Michigan University.
Quincey, 27, who was injured in a March 15 game against Edmonton, has one goal and one assist in 26 games. Dekeyser, 22, signed a two-year contract with the Red Wings on March 30. He was Western Michigan's captain this season and had two goals and 13 assists in 35 games.
Here are the projected lineups for Friday's game between the Red Wings and Avalanche:
Johan Franzen – Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader
Valtteri Filppula – Henrik Zetterberg – Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist – Joakim Andersson – Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey – Ian White
Danny Dekeyser – Brendan Smith
Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Jakub Kindl, Brian Lashoff
Injured: Todd Bertuzzi (back), Damien Brunner (lower body), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body)
Jamie McGinn – Matt Duchene – PA Parenteau
Cody McLeod – Ryan O'Reilly -- Gabriel Landeskog
Brad Malone – John Mitchell – Aaron Palushaj
Patrick Bordeleau – Mark Olver – David Van Der Gulik
Greg Zanon – Erik Johnson
Matt Hunwick – Shane O'Brien
Jan Hejda – Tyson Barrie
Injured: Steve Downie (knee), Milan Hejduk (shoulder), David Jones (knee), Chuck Kobasew (back), Paul Stastny (foot), Ryan Wilson (ankle)
Fight The Fatigue - Lots of travel in the past 2 days. Lots of travel in the past month, period. The Wings have got to be mentally tough and put those tired thoughts in the back of the mind. The Avs are rested and didn't play last night, so it's important the Wings are mentally sound.
Play for 60 Minutes - Detroit has to compete hard the entire game. Not competing for the entire game could cost the team two points. All points are huge now with just 11 games left.
Take Away Avs' Time and Space - Colorado is a young and fast team. The Wings need to slow them down in the neutral zone; that's where they generate that speed.
And a historical note:
On This Day in Red Wings History...On April 5, 1955
Ted Lindsay scores four times in the Red Wings’ 7-1 win over Montreal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Roose spoke to Danny DeKeyser about his NHL debut tonight, too:
Danny DeKeyser’s parents and two of his six siblings traveled to Arizona on Thursday hoping to see the rookie defenseman make his NHL debut. That didn’t happen, but all isn’t lost.
Though the DeKeysers have to wait an extra day, the delay will be well-worth it when they watch their son and brother begin his pro career tonight against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
“It’ll be a good night. There’ll be some energy for sure,” said DeKeyser, in an exclusive interview with DetroitRedWings.com.
After sifting through offers from several NHL clubs last week, DeKeyser, who was an undrafted free agent, signed a two-year contract with the Red Wings last Saturday. DeKeyser’s parents, Linda and Mick, along with a half-brother, Gerard, and a half-sister, Jennifer, are expected to attend the game.
“I’ll be amped up and ready to go,” said DeKeyser, who learned that he was playing when Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told him after Thursday’s game in Phoenix. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time now, so hopefully it stays that way into the game and I’m excited to get playing here.”
The Wings canceled today’s morning skating, opting to stay at the team hotel and rest for their second game on back-to-back nights, making tonight’s pre-game preparations that more important for a 22-year-old making his pro debut.
“I always think that pre-game skates always help, especially for young guys who are new to the league,” DeKeyser said. “They just need to learn about the surroundings, know the arena, the boards, stuff like that, so I think it helps in that matter, and it also helps in feeling comfortable for the game, because you know what to expect when you step on the ice so you’re all set to go.”
RedWingsFeed offers a note...
And a comment from...Will Arnett?
And finally, MLive's Brendan Savage and Ansar Khan debate whether Valtteri Filppula will re-sign with the team:
ANSAR KHAN: I could see this going either way, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit. My guess is the sides will compromise at a figure of $4.5 million per season and Filppula stays.
He's essentially a 40-point player who had one breakout season. But, in a weak free-agent market, he probably would get more than $5.5 million per season.
I think he'll take less to stay. The Red Wings are concerned about losing him, especially with the possibility of Pavel Datsyuk returning to Russia after 2013-14. But, I can't see them paying Filppula more than the $4.7 million per season Niklas Kronwall earns.
BRENDAN SAVAGE: This looks like something that is going to end the way Jiri Hudler's negotiations did last year, when he was coming off his best season – with Filppula asking for more than the Red Wings want to pay and ultimately getting a better deal from another team.
It's unlikely the Red Wings will give more than $5 million a season to a guy who had never scored more than 20 goals until last season. I think this season will mark Filppuala's last one with the Red Wings unless he lowers his contract demands.
Update #2: This is charming...
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's already penned his notebook for the evening, discussing DeKeyser's debut, Kyle Quincey's decision to make Denver his off-season home and the lovely little clusterf*** existing within the Western Conference standings...
The Western Conference standings change every day with one game or loss rapidly moving a team up or down in the standings — in, or out, of the playoff picture.
The top eight teams in the West make the playoffs, but there are about 12 teams that likely feel they still have a chance to qualify.
"It's a logjam" Babcock said. "Everybody thinks they have a shot, and that's what people wanted. They wanted exciting, and it's exciting. I'd rather be one of the teams that have separated themselves (Chicago, Anaheim), but that's the way it is and (we) just embrace what we have going."
And, in the prospect department, from Penticton, BC's AM 1150: Wings prospect James De Haas was initially credited with the game and series-winning goal as his Penticton Vees defeated West Kelowna 2-1 in OT last night, but he deferred credit, saying a teammate had tipped the shot via Twitter. As such...
Brock Balson played hero again for the Penticton Vees in Game 5 of the BCHL Interior Conference Finals. Balson tipped a James De Haas shot just 1:44 into overtime, as the Vees came from behind to defeat the West Kelowna Warriors 2-1 to win their second consecutive Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy as Interior Conference Champions.
Balson was also the hero in Game 3, scoring in double-overtime in West Kelowna to put the Vees up 3-0 in the Interior Conference Finals. That was the first of three consecutive overtime games between the Vees and the Warriors, with West Kelowna winning Game 4 and Penticton ending the series in Game 5.
The Vees won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and will now play the Surrey Eagles in the 2013 Fred Page Cup Finals for the BCHL Championship. The Vees are looking to defend their 2012 championship, whereas the Eagles are looking for their first title since 2005. The Eagles finished with the best record in the BCHL during the regular season and will have home-ice advantage in the championship series as a result.
The series will start in Surrey on Friday, April 12 with Game 2 on Saturday, April 13. Games 3 and 4 are in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) on Monday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 16. The schedule for the remainder of the potential games will be announced at a later date.
Update #3: Let's all feel warm and fuzzy about Kyle Quincey returning to his previous employer's rink...
“I'm really looking forward to it, going back to where I played for three years,'' Quincey said.
Quincey, who still resides in Denver, was hoping to get enough tickets to accommodate his friends.
“The hardest thing about the trade was (leaving) the guys in the dressing room,'' Quincey said. “They have a great group of guys there, my closest friends. I have a lot of friends there outside of hockey. It'll be good to see them again. I had a lot of good memories there.''
Quincey loves this area, for many reasons.
“Just a great place for me to train; you're at (a high) altitude all the time,'' Quincey said. “The best thing about it is it's sunny every day; you can't beat that.''
He enjoys outdoor sports like mountain biking, road biking and paddle-boarding down the Colorado River.
“The people there are great, made a lot of good friendships there,'' Quincey said.
And, via RedWingsFeed, here's the Wings website's Game-Day preview...
And the Wings' TV crew asked Danny DeKeyser 10 questions:
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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.