The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/27/13 at 12:22 PM ET
Updated 13x at 3:37 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full when they battle the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM, NBCSN nationally, FSD and NESN in Detroit and Boston, 97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan delivered good news of a sort...
Optional skate for Wings. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi are skating. Neither is playing tonight, however.
Datsyuk left the ice. Wasn't out there long, maybe 10 minutes.
As well as unsurprising news regarding a superstitious and somewhat beleaguered goalie:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirmed...
Datsyuk and Bertuzzi on ice at Joe Louis Arena.
Both Datsyuk and Bertuzzi have been ruled out for tonight's game with Boston. But it's a great sign they both are on ice with a few players.
Datsyuk just left ice and talked to trainer before heading to locker room. Bertuzzi still our there.
And the Bruins let everyone know they're in town, too:
B's settling in to Joe Louis Arena, as Detroit hits the ice for a morning skate ^CS http://pic.twitter.com/pBN8DJpNcF
Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly catch up with fellow countryman/former teammate Daniel Alfredsson ^CS http://pic.twitter.com/PBcaT67GqK
CSNNE's Joe Haggerty dropped a pair of Tweets as well...
Lucic on playing in DET: "Looking forward to it. Ive only played 1 gm in Joe Louis Arena in 7 yrs. They add a different element to the East"
Gregory Campbell buying, donating & delivering 400 pies to homeless shelters on Thanksgiving morning for 3rd straight yr. Good on Soup Man
And an article about the Bruins' power play...
[T]he Bruins were dead last in the NHL in power play opportunities last season, and once again this year they’re 30th of 30 NHL teams with 62 power play chances in 24 games. That hasn’t been as much of an issue in the past as the Black and Gold hasn’t had a power play that could really inflict damage on their opponent, and the Bruins would much rather play five-on-five hockey than get into a special teams battle with more well-heeled opponents.
But this season the Bruins actually have a little something going on the man advantage. The addition of Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith, Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson to the talent already on those B’s power play units has assistant coach Geoff Ward’s PP plan in the top half of NHL teams ranking 14th with a 19.7 percent success rate.
“The PP has been pretty good as of late. We’ve had some chances. Zdeno had a goal in the Carolina game, and [vs. Pittsburgh] we had a quick goal. That’s obviously what you want,” said Lucic. “I think our PP this year is better than it’s been in year’s past. When we got our opportunities, which we haven’t had many of other than the Carolina game, we need to try to make it a weapon more than it’s hurt us in the past.
And NHL.com's Brian Hedger is present and accounted for as a representative of the league on a "Rivalry Night" game:
Datsyuk was on the ice for 10 mins and left #RedWings optional morning skate. Not playing vs #Bruins but first time back on ice since OTT
So this happened...
Ericsson extension is six years, $25 million, cap hit of $4.25 mill #RedWings #NHL
The Red Wings are back home after a brief detour to Buffalo, but maybe it would have been better if they had stayed on the road.
They have struggled lately and a lot of that has taken place at The Joe. As a result, Detroit now has a 4-4-6 home record despite being 11-7-7 overall.
To make matters worse, Detroit will be without Pavel Datsyuk (head) and Todd Bertuzzi (shoulder) tonight. They also won’t lead with goaltender Jimmy Howard, although that’s for an entirely different reason.
Howard hasn’t won a game since Nov. 1 and has allowed at least three goals in six of his last eight contests.
“Let’s be clear, we’ll go as far as Howie takes us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News. “He’s an elite goalie who it hasn’t gone as good as he’d like to lately. We’ll give him a breather to work with Jimmy (Bedard, Red Wings goaltender coach).”
Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been great lately and he’ll have to keep that up because the Boston Bruins aren’t likely to make many mistakes. The Red Wings rank in the bottom third of the league when it comes to goals per game while the Bruins lead the league with a team 1.83 GAA.
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been stunning and he’ll be backed up by one of the league’s deeper offenses. That’s nothing new for the Bruins, although the cast is different this season, including newcomers Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, and Jarome Iginla. All of them have stepped up at various times, along with returning stars Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but this team still has another level if they can all come together.
“Chemistry on the ice develops with time and through adversity, through tough times, through good times,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, according to CSN New England. He added, “So I think it’s an ongoing thing, and those guys will let that evolve throughout the whole year. You just hope it’s at its best always at the right time of the year.”
As it is, they are certainly a serious contender. With a 16-6-2 record, the Bruins lead the Atlantic Division, but the Red Wings are only five points behind despite their recent slump. Detroit has plenty to overcome, but they can keep the pressure on Boston with a win tonight.
And Jason Brough penned a set of "game notes"...
— With one-third of its home schedule in the books, the Red Wings stand 4-4-6 at Joe Louis Arena. The last time a Wings team finished .500 or worse on home ice was in 1985-86, when they were 10-26-4 at home. They finished last in the Norris Division that season.
— Tonight, the Bruins and Red Wings will play their first game in Detroit as divisional foes since Mar. 2, 1974, when they played to a 4-4 tie. That season, Phil Esposito won the Hart Trophy, Bobby Orr won his seventh Norris Trophy and the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final (lost to Philadelphia).
— On Nov. 21, the Red Wings snapped an eight-game home winless streak (0-2-6) that included three overtime losses and three shootout losses. The Wings have lost 11 straight OT/SO games at Joe Louis Arena (last win: April 1, 2012), the club’s longest winless streak since going 12 straight from Mar. 30, 1997-Dec. 28, 1998. The last NHL team to go winless in as many consecutive home OT/SO games was the N.Y. Rangers (14 games, Dec. 23, 2002-Oct. 19, 2005). (Elias Sports Bureau)
— The Red Wings have had the better of the Bruins during the past four+ seasons. Since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Detroit has won five of the teams’ six meetings. The lone Boston win came on Oct. 5 of this season, a 4-1 win at TD Garden.
— Since November 18, 2010, Tuukka Rask is 6-0-0 when facing 40+ shots in a game. In those games, the Bruins netminder has allowed only a combined five goals on 248 shots.
— Jonas Gustavsson is expected to start in goal for the Red Wings tonight. This would be his second straight start and fourth in Detroit’s last six games; he is 5-0-1 with a 2.35 GAA and .926 save% this season. No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard is mired in a career-long seven-game winless streak (0-3-4) and has lost 13 games this season (5-7-6), three of them in a shootout.
— Daniel Alfredsson is slated to suit up in his 1,199th NHL game tonight. His games-played total ranks third all-time among Swedish-born players, behind long-time Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) and Mats Sundin (1,346). Lidstrom will have his #5 jersey retired in Detroit on Mar. 6, 2014.
— Michigan native and rookie Torey Krug is tied for the NHL lead in goals by a defenseman, with seven. (Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, Michael Stone). The last time that a Bruins defenseman led the NHL in goals at his position was 1995-96, when Raymond Bourque scored 20 (tied with Gary Suter).
— Through 24 games, the Bruins have 12 power-play goals (T-6th fewest in the NHL) on an NHL-low 62 opportunities in an NHL-low 100:27 power-play time. The Red Wings have had the man-advantage for 25:25 more than the Bruins (125:52), but even that figure is the 4th-lowest in the league.
— On Sunday, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg became the ninth player in franchise history to score 700 career points for the historic hockey franchise. He reached the milestone in 739 NHL games, the fifth-fewest among the nine players. (Steve Yzerman – 519 games, Sergei Fedorov – 638, Gordie Howe – 673, Pavel Datsyuk – 706) (Elias Sports Bureau)
Per the official game notes, Dan O'Halloran and Frederick L'Ecuyer are your refs, and Steve Barton and Steve Miller will band together to work the lines.
NESN posted a game preview...
The Boston Bruins are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and lead the Eastern Conference with 34 points after a thrilling overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. The B’s next game is at Joe Louis Arena, where they will clash with an Original Six rival, the Detroit Red Wings, on Wednesday. The Red Wings, who sit in a third-place tie in the Atlantic division with 29 points, are just 2-3-5 in their last 10 games, and the challenge of beating a talented Bruins team has increased in difficulty with superstar center Pavel Datsyuk unable to play because of a head injury. These teams have split the first two meetings of the season, and this is the first of three regular-season matchups that will be played in Detroit.
NHL.com's Hedger penned an article about Jimmy Howard's hiccups...
"It's just the way it's going right now," Howard said. "I can't really put my finger on it, but I'm not going to get down about it, that's for sure. I thought the season started off good. It's just been the month of November that hasn't been very kind. It's just something I have to work through. It's just something I have to deal with."
He's right on target about November. After getting a win Nov. 1 against the Calgary Flames, Howard hasn't won since. He's 0-3-4 during his winless streak, with three of the four one-point losses happening in shootouts. His primary stats have also soured. During the seven winless starts, Howard has posted a 3.03 goals-against average with an .899 save percentage. As a result, his season totals (2.72 GAA, .908 save percentage) have inflated from their previous marks (2.50 GAA, .915 save percentage). The team in front of him has also struggled. The Red Wings can't seem to get all six of their top defensemen healthy at the same time, while the offense has struggled to score almost all season long. Asked if the sputtering offense puts extra pressure on goalies to be near perfect, Howard refused to take the bait.
"No, I think I was putting too much on my plate, trying to go out there and make everything look so great," he said. "All you need to do is keep the puck out of the net."
Sounds easy enough, but any goalie knows it's not, especially those in the middle of losing streaks. Howard and Bedard are already in the process of analyzing his technique, on video and in practices, but the biggest help will probably be a mere victory or two. Confidence is everything.
"I don't think it's much, I think it's just a little bit," Howard said. "You get a win, you get on a little bit of roll and this will all be forgotten about."
The same could be said for his team. They are mirror images right now, with both just looking for that hot streak they feel is right around the corner.
"There's definitely no pushing of the panic button, that's for sure," Howard said of the Red Wings' recent rough patch. "We obviously know it's a long season and we're getting points, but you always want to get that extra one."
Kevin Weekes weighed in on the match-up...
One thing we need to consider is that lot of Detroit's core guys have played a lot of hockey. I'm not only talking about their age on their birth certificate, but also their age in terms of games played -- especially with all the playoff games they have played and the travel they used to endure in the West. Making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 22 straight seasons can take its toll. It's an incredible accomplishment in all any pro sport, but it also comes at a price. Pavel Datsyuk, for example, has played in 140 playoff games in his career. That's almost two additional full NHL seasons.
The good thing for Detroit, though, is that Grand Rapids won the Calder Cup in the American Hockey League last spring. We've seen some of those guys poke their faces up, like Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. That's a good sign for the Red Wings; it means there's help on the way. But to this point, it's been a little bit of a disappointing year, just based on the expectations there.
I think the biggest challenge for the Red Wings is that they don't have a Drew Doughty or a P.K. Subban or Oliver Ekman-Larson on their blue line. I think Niklas Kronwall is a heck of a player and Jonathan Ericsson is a nice player. Danny DeKeyser has also been really impressive but he's hurt again. They just don't have one of those game-changers. Without having that, it's pretty difficult to make plays and help get the puck out of your zone and get the puck out of trouble. Detroit doesn't have one of those guys right now.
Of course, they had one of the game's all-time greats in Nicklas Lidstrom. They haven't filled that hole since he retired in 2012. Obviously, Nicklas Lidstroms don't come along every day. But at the same time, look at the L.A. Kings. They had Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson and they were able to trade Johnson because they had Slava Voynov. That's a lot of good D.
When you look at a lot of the top teams, including the Boston Bruins, quite often they have one, if not two or three, of those guys on the back end. Detroit has some room to improve in that area.
And the NHL's "Morning Skate" email offered this note about the match-up, too:
BRUINS, RED WINGS FACE OFF ON RIVALRY NIGHT
Original Six foes Boston and Detroit meet for the third time this season when they face off on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast. The clubs split their first two matchups, with the Bruins earning a 4-1 victory Oct. 5 and the Red Wings posting a 3-2 win Oct. 14. Wednesday marks the 582nd all-time regular-season meeting between the clubs; Detroit (250-235-96) holds a 596-570 points advantage in their head-to-head matchups (BOS: 236-247-98).
In the charitable news department--as well as the not-so-charitable news department:
And now I cringe, per the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) skated today but out at least throughs Friday for #RedWings
Ken Holland said Datsyuk feels better but won't play Friday at NYI. Maybe Sunday in Ottawa but not sure yet.
The Macomb Daily's Pleiness...
Holland says Datsyuk out Friday. Doesn't know if he'll make road trip.
And the Detroit News's Kulfan:
Holland says decision will be made after game on whether Datsyuk will make the trip...he skated on his own today
Update #1: From the Bruins...
#NHLBruins on the ice for pregame skate at The Joe ^CS http://pic.twitter.com/vLaMIBohAq
Defense pairs in rushes: Chara-Hamilton, Bartkowski-Boychuk, Krug-Miller, Seidenberg-McQuaid ^CS
Lines status quo. Lucic-Krejci-Iginla, Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson, Söderberg-Kelly-Smith, Paille-Campbell-Thornton ^CS #NHLBruins
And the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy...
McQuaid and Seidenberg skate together on fourth pair
Bleh, power rankings, from Sportsnet's Luke Fox:
13 [down 1 last week 12: Detroit Red Wings] Losing Pavel Datsyuk (probable concussion) is never a good outcome, but Detroit should be able to maintain as it enters a slate of eastern-heavy games.
Update #1.5: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's game-day update:
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk already has been ruled out for Friday's game at the New York Islanders, general manager Ken Holland said today.
It will be the third game in a row Datsyuk has missed due to concussion-like symptoms, after being elbowed in the chin by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen on Saturday.
Datsyuk skated for about 10 minutes today during an optional practice prior to tonight's game against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit). He left before speaking with the media.
Holland said it's too soon to know whether Datsyuk will play Sunday at Ottawa or even make the trip to New York and Ottawa with the team.
Todd Bertuzzi (upper-body injury) also skated today but will miss his third consecutive game. He remains day-to-day.
Update #2: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog offers an abbreviated game set-up...
Wings Host B's in Original Six Showdown
Coming off a 3-1 win in Buffalo on Sunday, Detroit will look to keep the ball rolling when they host the Bruins at The Joe.
Welcome to the Detroit Red Wings Game Day Blog, where you can get behind-the-scenes information, thoughts from players and staff, and up-to-date news on anything and everything Red Wings on game day.
You can watch tonight's 7:30 PM matchup on Fox Sports Detroit or NBC Sports Network, or listen in with Ken Kal and Paul Woods on AM 1270.
A historical note...
On This Day in Red Wings' History...On November 27
1960: Gordie Howe becomes the first NHL player to collect 1,000 career points as the Red Wings shutout Toronto 2-0.
1990: Wings trade defenseman Lee Norwood and a fourth-round draft pick in 1992 to New Jersey for left wing Paul Ysebaert (above).
And Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:
RAM Keys to the Game with Ken Kal
Get off to a Fast Start - Be on the attack early and dictate the play.
Win the Special Teams Battle - Both teams excel on the penalty kill. Detroit has 6 more power play goals than the Bruins; the Dastyuk-less Wings will need to convert on PP opportunities tonight.
Win the Battles Along the Boards - Boston is strong and physical. Detroit needs to get physical in the corners and come away with the puck to generate scoring chances.
The Bruins love to pin the Wings to the boards and *semi-legally* hold them there. The Wings can't get caught up in allowing themselves to be shoved toward the boards and mashed and smashed. They need to move the puck to the middle of the ice whenever possible.
Update #3: Here's more from Holland on Datsyuk, per MLive's Khan:
Holland said it's too soon to know whether Datsyuk will play Sunday at Ottawa or even make the trip to New York and Ottawa with the team.
"He feels OK,'' Holland said. "He’s not going to play on Friday. He needs two or three days of practicing all-out, so it’s a day-to-day thing.’’
Update #4: FYI: Bill Roose is about 6'5":
Update #5.5: Of note from the Windsor Star's Bob Duff...
#redwings Holland: "When Lidstrom retired and Stuart went back to San Jose, there was opportunity for Big E & he’s taken full advantage."
And one Ken Kal:
See the Calder Cup champion @griffinshockey outdoors at Comerica Park on December 30th. Show up and give them a warm "Hockeytown" welcome.
Add winger Damien Brunner to the list of unhappy Devils.
Like goalie Cory Schneider, who is frustrated about dressing as Martin Brodeur's backup for a third straight game, Brunner said he is surprised and unhappy about being scratched from Wednesday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Let's be honest. You've probably heard that from everyone that's benched," Brunner said after the morning skate at Prudential Center. "It's okay. It's not okay, but I'm working hard to get back. At some point I'm going to come back. I hope sooner than later.
"After all the games I've played this season it's a surprise that I'm out after the last game. I had good jump. My legs were underneath me. I was skating the right way. I generated a lot of speed through the neutral zone. We had a lot of O-zone (offensive) time. At least no D-zone (defensive) time at all."
Yet Brunner has failed to score in his last 12 games (no goals or assists). After sitting out Thursday's game in Los Angeles, Brunner was back in the lineup for the last two.
Update #7: Here's more on Datsyuk--albeit only a "little more"--from the Macomb Daily's Pleiness:
Pavel Datsyuk, who won’t play Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins, skated roughly 10 to 15 minutes before many of his teammates got on the ice.
Wings general manager Ken Holland said afterwards Datsyuk won’t play Friday and isn’t sure if he’ll make the trip to Ottawa for Sunday’s game.
“He skated a little bit,” Holland said. “I just talked to him. He feels OK. He’s not going to play on Friday. He needs two or three days of practicing all-out so it’s a day to day thing.”
Datsyuk suffered what’s believed could be a concussion late in third period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Senators after taking an elbow to the jaw by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowan.
Todd Bertuzzi (upper-body injury) also skated with Datsyuk.
The Wings have added a "Morning Skate" update to their Game-Day Blog:
Pavel Datsyuk skated for about 10 minutes this morning, but is out tonight with a possible concussion.
Ken Holland says he wants Pavel to be symptom-free for a few days before he returns to game action.
Datsyuk rode the stationary bike yesterday, but did not skate.
Ken Holland said Pavel is feeling better, but likely out for Friday's game in Long Island.
Todd Bertuzzi also skated for a bit this morning, but is out tonight with an upper-body injury.
Jonas Gustavsson will start his second straight game in goal tonight.
"They’re a good team, but it’s also a fun challenge. That’s why you play, you want to compete and try competing against the best and they’re a solid team. So it’s going to be a good challenge for me and for our group. It’s a good test to see where we're at."
- Jonas Gustavsson
Let's all feel warm fuzzies regarding this Tweet from the Bruins:
Reilly's brother Brendan singing his praises in the Wings' locker room this morning. "extremely wise" "very smart" "witty" "mature" ^CS
ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald offers the following things to "Watch For" in tonight's game...
ROUND 3: The Bruins and Red Wings will face off for the third of four meetings this season. The teams have split the first two games, with Boston winning 4-1 on Oct. 5, before Detroit took the second game, 3-2, on Oct. 14. Both of those games were played at TD Garden. Despite suffering that loss, the Bruins played well and created plenty of quality scoring chances against Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who was playing his first game of the season. Gustavsson made 28 saves against the Bruins. Boston is 6-3-0 on the road this season, and 8-2-0 against Atlantic Division rivals. The Red Wings are 4-4-6 on home ice and 3-3-1 against division opponents.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY: The Bruins have played three consecutive overtime games and have a 2-0-1 record. Boston has points in its last five games (4-0-1) and owns an 8-1-2 mark in its last 11 games. The Bruins have also out shot their opponents in four of the last six games. The Red Wings beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 last Sunday in Buffalo. The Red Wings are 2-2-1 in their last five games and 2-3-5 in their last 10. The Bruins are 4-2 in overtime this season, while the Red Wings are 1-7.
MASKED MEN: It’s likely Tuukka Rask will face the Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard between the pipes. Rask is 13-5-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. Howard is 5-7-6 with a 2.72 GAA and a .908 SP. If Detroit decides to go with Gustavsson, he’s 5-0-1 this season, including the win over the Bruins. Rask is 1-2-1 in four career starts against the Red Wings. Howard is 3-1-0 against the Bruins.
KRUG’S TOWN: Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug grew up a Red Wings fan in Livonia, Mich. He spent his collegiate career at Michigan State University and has already played two games against the Red Wings earlier this season. Both of those games, however, were played in Boston. After the second game, he said he was looking forward to playing at The Joe and he’ll get that chance Wednesday night. He’s been a sensation for the Bruins and has already registered seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 24 games this season. He’s also receiving strong consideration for Team USA at the upcoming Winter Olympics.
SI's Allan Muir has tossed Jimmy Howard right out of his Olympic Goalie Power rankings...
And I don't know what to think about this suggestion from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston:
From a hockey fan’s perspective there is nothing not to love about HBO’s award-winning “24/7″ series, which peels back the curtains and offers a fascinating window inside NHL dressing rooms. But at least one former participant wasn’t very fond of his experience with all-access cameras. What stands out for Washington Capitals centre Brooks Laich three years after taking part in the inaugural series was how disruptive it was for the team. He is also troubled by the fact that players aren’t paid for putting up with the headache. “I think it would go a long way, especially for your bigger guys,” Laich says. “For (Alex) Ovechkin, for (Nicklas) Backstrom it was a lot of work. Every day they want to talk to those guys. Every day. They don’t want to miss how your feeling: ‘Maybe this guy is grumpy today and we need that footage.’ They always err on the side of having everything and then they cut it down. It really is taxing.”
The agreement between the NHL and HBO doesn’t include any direct compensation for the players who take part. However, both the league and NHL Players’ Association believe that the wide-ranging exposure they get from the series makes it a worthwhile venture. All Laich remembers getting from HBO in exchange for his troubles was a DVD copy of the Pens/Caps series, which he didn’t even bother watching. “It was very intrusive,” he says. “We were the first ones and we didn’t know what we were really getting into. We went through a tough stretch, we lost eight in a row, and then all of a sudden they were popping into meetings and disrupting meetings.”
Of course, that inside access is exactly why fans love the show so much. The series is set to return for a third time in December and will follow the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings while they prepare to face one another in the Winter Classic. HBO’s cameras are set to join those teams on a full-time basis starting Dec. 5.
Update #8: This Datsyuk update from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan is cringe-worthy:
Forward Pavel Datsyuk (concussion symptoms) skated on his own Wednesday morning. Datsyuk will miss Wednesday night's game against Boston and Holland has ruled him out for Friday's game at the New York Islanders.
"He skated a little bit today; I just talked to him, he feels OK," Holland said. "He's not going to play Friday. He needs two or three days on the ice practicing."
It's likely Datsyuk won't play Sunday in Ottawa, so the next target is Dec. 4 when the Red Wings return home to play Philadelphia.
Update #9: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a short clip of Bruins coach Claude Julien's game-day presser:
Update #10: The Boston Herald's Steve Conroy penned a game-day update:
Bruins coach Claude Julien ruled out Dennis Seidenberg for tonight's game against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, but Adam McQuaid is still a possibility for tonight. Julien said a decision on his availability will be made after pre-game warmups. McQuaid has been out since suffering a lower body injury on Nov. 9 against Toronto while Seidenberg has been on the shelf since suffering a lower body injury in New York on Nov. 19.
The B's will be facing a banged-up Wings team, which will be without top-notch forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi as well as good young defenseman Danny DeKeyser. Before winning their last two of three games, the Wings had lost seven straight, though they did manage the loser point in five of those games.
No matter the circumstances, they're still the Red Wings to Julien.
"I don't think you ever take those guys likely," said Julien, whose team has won eight of 10 games. "They've always been a good competitive team and its just a matter of time beofre they start winning their fair share of games. They always play us well. I don't think there was ever a reason before and still to this day to take a team like tha lightly. There never is in this league, but they've got enough of a reputation that we know better than to go out there and assume that becuase they are wounded and have some injuries that it's going to be easy for us."
Jonas Gustavsson, who socred a win over the B's in Boston on Oct. 14, will go against Tuukka Rask.
Tonight's game will be a homecoming for Torey Krug, who grew up in Livonia, about 25 minutes from the Joe, and played at Michigan State. It will also be another installment of the Smith versus Smith saga, with the B's Reilly Smith facing off against his big brother Brendan, a Red Wings defenseman.
Update #11: The Wings have posited their Game-Day Preview video...
DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson penned an article about Darren Helm and Johan Franzen's respective "returns to health" and their contributions made while playing on the same line...
After missing 18 months of hockey due to injuries, Helm made his return to Detroit’s lineup in early November, scoring the game-winning goal in a 5-0 victory over the Oilers. The center has recorded seven points in the 11 games he’s appeared in, and is currently on a three-game scoring streak.
“Some good bounces, some good luck, some good linemates,” Helm attributed his recent success to. “I don’t really try to change anything in my game I just kind of play the way I always do and I don’t really think about any of that.”
Franzen didn’t miss nearly as much time as his teammate, having sat out four games with a back injury, but fed off Helm’s energy when he returned to the second line.
“I think coming back from injury I got to play with Helmer and Tatar and you know he was really hungry to come back after missing all those games and I was hungry coming back so we probably fed off each other a little bit and playing with him is pretty easy,” Franzen said. “He has really great speed and he gets a lot of pucks, win pucks in the corner so he’s easy to play with and creates a lot from just being fast and he started out, his first game had a breakaway and scored on that and of course gave him confidence.”
After recording five points in the first 13 games of the season, Franzen has scored eight points in seven games since returning from injury, including a three-point performance against Washington in mid-November. The right wing has also scored four points in the past five games, and his secondary production hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I thought him and Helmer both of them, they haven’t played a lot of hockey, so I thought they were going to have a heart attack in the first,” Babcock said after Franzen’s return against Winnipeg. “They dominated some shifts and were out for some long ones. I mean, you got the puck in the offensive zone, you’re not going to change. I thought those guys played well, have us a real good second group.”
DetroitRedWings.com's Roose added a Tweet of note...
@NHLBruins legend Johnny Bucyk is at The Joe today. For those of you too young to remember, Chief began his NHL career with the #RedWings.
The New England Hockey Journal's Jesse Connolly penned a Wings-Bruins "Tale of the Tape"...
NEWS & NOTES
* The Wings enter tonight's contest with just two wins in their last 10 tilts. Detroit somehow managed to lose five consecutive games in overtime or the shootout during that stretch. Their only victories came against weak opponents in the Hurricanes and Sabres.
* The Bruins come in on an 8-1-1 run and are looking for their seventh victory in 10 road games this season. Boston's outscored the opposition 27-17 on the road so far in 2013-14.
* Pavel Datsyuk will miss his second straight game tonight. He was elbowed in the head by Senators defenseman Jared Cowen on Saturday.
* Henrik Zetterberg has been racking up assists (as you'll see below), but the Wings captain has gone seven games without a goal. He went six straight from Oct. 17-30, but still ranks second on the club with 10 tallies.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
* Home ice hasn't been awfully kind to the Wings so far in 2013-14. In the last full NHL season (2011-12), Detroit owned a record of 31-7-3 in their barn and followed that up by going 13-7-4 at Joe Louis Arena during the lockout-shortened campaign. That's 21 non-victories in 65 games. So far this season, the Wings have already failed to win 10 of their 14 home tilts, going 4-4-6.
* One big reason for Detroit's struggles has been injuries. Virtually every member of the Wings' top six not named Zetterberg has been sidelined at some point in the early going. Sans their top-line center, Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings are a much weaker foe.
* Tonight we'll see a battle between two goalies having strong seasons that own not-so-hot numbers against the opposition. Jonas Gustavsson's been solid when called upon to sub in for Jimmy Howard, as he's 5-0-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average. However, he owns a 3-4-1 record and bloated 3.35 goals-against average against the B's. Tuukka Rask, one of the early leading candidates for the Vezina Trophy, is 1-2-1 with an .893 save percentage in four games against the Red Wings.
The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin penned a game preview article...
This isn't exactly the Red Wings team the Bruins expected to be welcoming into the Eastern Conference this season. Detroit has been struggling of late, and now will face the Bruins Wednesday night without Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.
Detroit comes into the matchup having gone 2-3-5 in its last 10 games.
But that doesn't mean the Bruins expect an easy game, especially not in Joe Louis Arena. Though in a strange twist, the Red Wings have actually been worse at home than on the road this season, with a 4-4-6 record in Detroit and a 7-3-1 record on the road.
"I don’t think you ever take those guys lightly," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "They’ve always been a good, competitive team. It’s just a matter of time before they start winning their fair share of games. They always play us well. I don’t think there’s been any reason before and still to this day to take a team lightly. There never is in this league, but they’ve got enough of a reputation that we know better than to go out there and assume that because they are wounded, they’ve got some injuries, that it’s going to be an easy night for us."
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
TV, radio: NBC Sports Network, NESN, WBZ-FM (98.5)
Records: Bruins 16-6-2, Red Wings 11-7-7
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug-Johnny Boychuk
Matt Bartkowski-Kevan Miller
Notes: The Bruins will be without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg again; Julien declared him out for the game. But Adam McQuaid will be a game-time decision. Both defensemen participated with the team in the morning skate. Miller will get another game if McQuaid is out. ... This is already the third time (of four) the Bruins and Red Wings will face off this season, with each team winning once so far ... The referees for the game are Dan O'Halloran and Frederick L'Ecuyer. The linesmen are Steve Barton and Steve Miller.
And MLive's Brendan Savage posited a "just the facts" preview:
One of the top teams in the NHL will be at Joe Louis Arena tonight.
Based on the standings, it's not the Detroit Red Wings.
The Boston Bruins, who lead the Eastern Conference with a 16-6-2 record, will visit Detroit in a Thanksgiving Eve matchup before the Red Wings hit the road for games Friday against the Islanders and Sunday in Ottawa.
The Red Wings and Bruins have split two meetings this season, nine days apart back in October.
Jonas Gustavsson will get his second straight start in goal for the Red Wings, giving Jimmy Howard a breather as he tries to snap out of the longest slump of his career.
Pavel Datsyuk will also miss his second straight game for Detroit with concussion-like symptoms.
Update #12: From the Bruins:
Homecoming for Michigan native @ToreyKrug tonight ^CS http://pic.twitter.com/ZXLVtVFmMa
Torey: "around Thanksgiving, it's a good time to play in front of friends & family - and hopefully, the *right* team comes out on top" ^CS
CSNNE's Joe Haggerty penned a game-day preview:
PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRES PUMPED: Brad Marchand has three goals and nine points in 24 games after being the Bruins leading scorer last season. It’s time for the Nose Face Killah to get things going, and consistently bring the agitating and offensive game that everybody knows he has deep down inside. The unwillingness to annoy opponents and fight to get to the front of the net speak to a player whose pilot light is flickering a little bit. He needs to fully turn it back on before he gets passed by players like Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “It’s a foreign building for me. I’m in my seventh year and I’ve only played one game at Joe Louis Arena. They definitely add a different element to the Eastern Conference with the experience, and the elite team that they are. It’s another big test waiting for us in this Thanksgiving week.” –Milan Lucic, who is excited about playing in the old barn in Detroit.
KEY MATCHUP: With Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi out of the mix for Wednesday night’s Wings/Bruins tilt, the Bruins top defensemen pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton will have one simple rule: shut down Henrik Zetterberg. The Wings have been incredibly top heavy with their scoring this season, and are being carried by Zetterberg and Datsyuk. It will be incumbent on guys like Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen step up for Detroit, but Zetterberg should be the guy that Boston is looking to take away from Detroit in the divisional showdown.
STAT TO WATCH: 39 – the number of years since the last time the Bruins and Red Wings have played at Joe Louis Arena as divisional rivals on March 2, 1974. The game was smack dab in the middle of the Bobby Orr Era, and the two teams played to a 4-4 tie on that day.
INJURIES: Defensemen Adam McQuaid (lower body) and Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) are day-to-day for the Bruins. Seidenberg has been ruled out for Wednesday night while McQuaid will be a game time decision.
Danny DeKeyser (upper body) is expected to miss at least a month, Pavel Datsyuk is working through concussion protocols and Todd Bertuzzi has an undisclosed upper-body injury that’s not related to the back injury that sidelined him most of last season.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask will be back in net for his second straight game after sitting out the weekend win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Rask is third in the NHL with a 1.69 goals against average and a .943 save percentage, and only trails the surprising Ben Scrivens of the Los Angeles Kings in both categories. This will be Rask’s 21st game played in 25 games for the Bruins this season as he’s on a pace to play well over 70 games this season.
The Red Wings will start the Monster, Jonas Gustavsson, after he played well vs. the Bruins in Detroit win in Boston earlier this season while a struggling Jimmy Howard hasn’t won a game since Nov. 1. Gustavsson is 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals against average and a .926 save percentage for the Wings in the best NHL stretch of his career.
Update #13: It took long enough, but here's the Bruins website's Caryn Switaj's game-day notebook:
Detroit Outlook;VWhile the Bruins' blueline is on the mend, the Red Wings have faced injury troubles, especially up front. On Wednesday night, they'll be without Pavel Datsyuk (head), Todd Bertuzzi (upper-body) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
"Obviously injuries are tough. I think the biggest thing about injuries is that they’re going to happen; everybody knows that," said Detroit blueliner Brendan Smith, older brother of B's winger Reilly. "It opens the door for a young guy, a rookie guy to jump in and show what they’ve got and I think we have a great organization to do that," he added, unconsciously making a parallel to what has made Boston and Detroit two of the elite teams in the league. You just have to keep battling through them."
Detroit has had an up-and-down November, going through a stretch of seven straight losses from Nov. 4-19, with five of them coming in overtime or a shootout.
"We have gone through this little situation here where we’ve been tying games and not being able to pull them out in shootouts or in overtime, I guess the biggest thing we can take out of that is we’re still getting a point," said Smith. "That’s big, but at the same time we want to be winning. I think we just have to stay with the system, and the system will take care of us."
"I don’t think you ever take those guys lightly," said Julien. "They’ve always been a good competitive team and it’s just a matter of time before they start winning their fair share of games. They always play us well. They’ve got enough of a reputation that we know better than to go out there and assume that because they’ve got some injuries, that it’s going to be an easy night for us."
Homecoming for Torey;VTorey Krug played in the Spoked-B in 'The Joe' during the preseason (and even hitched a ride on the Zamboni), but Wednesday night will be his first time in regular season action.
"It’s great, it’s a lot of fun," said the former Michigan State Spartan. "We came in preseason a little bit different. Coming in now with our full squad playing their full team, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Especially coming in on Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to play in front of friends and family. And hopefully, the right team comes out on top."
Krug played many games in the confines of Joe Louis Arena, whether playing for Belle Tire as a young player in the minors, or as a Spartan.
"As a minor hockey player, you play some games in here and at Michigan State I probably played close to 10 games here. So it helps, it’s a lot of fun playing in this building and it’s going to be cool to look up in the stands and see my family." At Michigan State we always had a good weekend against Minnesota and Wisconsin; it was always a fun crowd, a family crowd, a family atmosphere. Just a lot of fun; go home for the day and have dinner and then you get right back to the rink and go to work."
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