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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Blue Jackets game-day articles: Kronwall pushing his recovery timeline

The Red Wings will be starting Jimmy Howard in goal tonight as Petr Mrazek is sick, and the Blue Jackets' lineup is in flux as well ahead of tonight's game (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM).

NHL.com took note of the Wings' emergency recall of Jared Coreau...

Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek is sick and won't play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-O, NHL.TV).

Goalie Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings. Goalie Jared Coreau was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to back up Howard.

Mrazek, who has supplanted Howard as Detroit's No. 1 goaltender this season, is 26-15-6 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 49 games.

Coreau, 24, is 29-10-2 with a 2.15 GAA and .931 save percentage in 42 AHL games this season.

The Red Wings enter Wednesday one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and are trying to extend their streak of reaching the postseason to 25 straight seasons. Philadelphia also has a game in hand on Detroit.

And MLive's Brendan Savage penned a game-day article:

Coach Jeff Blashill said he didn't find out until this morning that Mrazek was sick and he isn't sure how long he'll be laid up.

"I have no idea," Blashill said. "In terms of the illness? I don't know. All I know is he's ill right now. I think we'll take it day by day."

Howard hasn't played since a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jackets March 8 in Columbus. He allowed four goals on 31 shots before the Blue Jackets sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.

Kronwall, who sprained his knee in Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers, skated this morning for the first time since getting hurt but Blashill said he won't play tonight either. Blashill said it's possible Kronwall could return to the ice when the Red Wings move on to Florida to play the Panthers Saturday and the Lightning Tuesday.

"I thought he skated good today," Blashill said. "He won't play tonight but I thought he skated good today. We'll continue to evaluate but it's day by day. I know he's really pushing to get back as soon as possible. He's a heck of a warrior so we'll see."

This is the second time Kronwall has been sidelined with a knee issue. He missed 15 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his other knee in January. The Red Wings have a 6-8-3 record without the veteran defenseman in the lineup.

"It's been a bit of a rough (season) but you gotta fight through it," Kronwall said. "This time of year you want to be playing. But hopefully I'll be back in there soon. It feels pretty good."

Savage continues, and the Free Press's George Sipple confirms that Kronwall is pushing his recovery:

Blashill said there’s a chance Kronwall could return on the upcoming trip to Florida. The Wings visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Kronwall had an awkward fall during the second period of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers at Joe Louis Arena. Andreas Athanasiou landed on Kronwall’s right leg as Kronwall fell backward.

“Hopefully another good one tomorrow, and we’ll go from there,” Kronwall said after skating for the first time since the injury. “Feels pretty good.”

Kronwall admitted that he escaped a more serious injury.

“Right when it happened, it was more of a scary thing,” Kronwall said. “You’re trying to do everything when you’re falling to limit the damage. I think, all in all, I got lucky. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there with the guys.”

FYI:

Bailey Seagraves, a 19-year-old goaltender from nearby Hilliard, Ohio, served as today’s practice goaltender, along with Howard. Seagraves said his season recently ended with the Springfield Pics in the U.S. Premier Hockey League. Jeff Salajko, the Wings’ minor league goaltending coach and a Columbus resident, has worked with Seagraves in the past. “You can’t pass up an opportunity like this,” Seagraves said. “Pretty amazing.”

On the Blue Jackets' side of the ice, the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline filed a game-day article...

You know how it is with minor-league call-ups, right? How long they stick is only sometimes up to them and how well they play? Asked if there's a plan this morning, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said they'll get a look.

"I don’t know (how long of a look), but it’s not going to be one game and you’re out of here," Tortorella said. "We want to give them a true assessment. At least for me, I just want to see them play. You can’t do that in one game. After these next couple of days, we play a lot of games and there won’t be much practice time. We’ll just be playing games.

"For me, not totally understanding the whole organization without having (training) camp here, I’d like to see them be here for a bit. We’ll bounce some guys in and out of the lineup to give them some time. I have to start looking toward next year. That’s where I’m at in my mind, but we’re trying to play hard every night here."

Here, best we can tell, is what the Blue Jackets' lines will look like tonight:

F1: Brandon Dubinsky - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand

F2: Brandon Saad - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

F3: Nick Foligno -- William Karlsson - Scott Hartnell

F4: Gregory Campbell - Michael Chaput - Matt Calvert

And then there's this:

-- The Blue Jackets may delight in getting a look at some of their younger players. Maybe Josh Anderson, Kerby Rychel, Daniel Zaar, Sonny Milano, Michael Paliotta and others get a look the rest of the way. But what must some NHL teams who are desperate to earn a playoff berth think? What must Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh, think when they see the Blue Jackets baptizing young players against a Red Wings team that's right in the pack? Tortorella: "It’s a bit of a juggling act. I’ve been on the other end of it, where teams are fighting to get in. I know there are a couple of teams that want us to beat Detroit tonight. We also have to keep that in mind to keep the integrity involved. We also have to think of ourselves a little bit. Every time we go out there we try to win the game. That’s certainly going to be my focus as a coach. But we also have to have a long term view as far as getting ready for next year and where we are. Some guys are playing for their jobs and they’re on the team this year. These guys here, the young kids, are trying to make an impression as we enter camp next year. It’s a little bit of both."

If you're interested, the Blue Jackets' website posted profiles of and video interviews with John Ramage and Oliver Bjorkstrand, and ColumbusBlueJackets.com's Rob Mixer believes that the Jackets will ice the following lineup:

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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.