The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/15/13 at 12:50 PM ET
Updated 12x at 2:46 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap a 6-game home losing streak and a 4-game winless streak when they battle the Washington Capitals tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/CSN Washington/NHL Network U.S/1270 AM), and as the Wings are playing a slate of back-to-back games tonight and tomorrow (against the Islanders, in Longs Island), the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's Tweet regarding the morning skate isn't surprising...
An optional skate at the Joe. Weiss on ice. He's been out with a groin. No Patrick Eaves. We'll see at noon if he's claimed off waivers.
Nor are the Tweets of MLive's Ansar Khan:
Optional skate today for Wings includes Stephen Weiss (groin) who's not due back until next week.
Patrick Eaves not skating as he waits to see if he's claimed off waivers by noon.
This one might hold more interest:
The Red Wings posted a "Best of Games 1-16" highlight clip...
As well as a pun-ishing game preview in their Game Day Blog...
Wings Host Caps in Monumental Game
In early November, it's rare to call a game consequential; but with points on the line and right division races, Washington could be in first place in the Metropolitan Division and Detroit could be in second in the Atlantic by the conclusion of the games Friday night.
“We’ve been able to get one point [at home] a number a times and we haven’t been able to get the second one,” coach Mike Babcock told the media on Thursday. “We’re taking steps here and need to continue to get better. Playing without the puck will be key for us.” Tonight, when the Wings get Jonathan Ericsson back, they'll look to snap their home losing streak.
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 NHL-Network, or listen in with Ken Kal and Paul Woods on 97.1 The Ticket or AM 1270.
As well as a historical note...
On This Day in Red Wings' History... On November 15,
1927: Jack Adams takes over as coach and general manager of the Detroit franchise.
1938: Sid Abel plays in his first NHL game, as the Wings lose 2-0 to the New York Rangers.
And here are Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:
Win the Special Teams Battle - The Caps have the league's best Power Play. They've scored 20 PPGs this season already. Taking penalties could really hurt in this game. Washington also has the second best PK in the league.
Be Aggressive on the Attack - The Wings registered 43 shots against Winnipeg and played well. Tonight, they've got to play the same way as they did against the Jets.
Box Them Out - The Capitals are big and strong up front and they go hard to the net. They're hard to stop. Detroit has got to find a way to keep Washington to the outside.
The Capitals' PR department offers the following in their "Capitals Today" press release:
The Washington Capitals play the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Nicklas Backstrom has registered five points (2g, 3a) in five career games against the Red Wings and Alex Ovechkin has recorded 12 points (7g, 5a) in eight career games against Detroit. Jason Chimera has earned more points (18) against the Red Wings than any other NHL team, recording five goals and 13 assists in 39 career games against Detroit.
74 Strikes Again – John Carlson scored a goal and earned an assist on Tuesday against Columbus, marking his 14th career multi-point game. Carlson has earned five points in his last six games (11/2-11/12: 4g, 1a) and ranks third in the NHL in goals by a defenseman this season (4).
Goal Scoring Joel – Joel Ward has scored a goal in three consecutive games (11/9-11/12), matching the longest goal-scoring streak of his career. Ward has now posted a three-game goal-scoring streak four times in his career. The Toronto, Ontario, native has scored nine goals in 19 games this season, passing his goal total of eight from 2012-13 (39 games). Through games of Nov. 13, Ward ranks first in the NHL in shooting percentage (29.0%), second among Washington skaters in goals (9) and tied for fifth on the team in points (13).
Caps Connections – Steven Oleksy was born in Chesterfield, Mich., located approximately 30 miles north of Detroit. Oleksy played collegiately at Lake Superior State University in Michigan from 2006-09, where he registered 20 points (3g, 17a) and 110 penalty minutes in 113 games. Washington head coach Adam Oates made his NHL debut with Detroit on Oct. 10, 1985. Oates played in parts of four seasons with the Red Wings, registering 199 points (54g, 145a) and 65 penalty minutes in 246 games from 1985-1989.
Familiar Foes – Martin Erat has played 74 career games (regular season and playoffs) against the Red Wings, the most of any player on Washington’s roster. Erat has registered 33 points (15g, 18a) in 57 regular-season games against Detroit and seven points (1g, 6a) in 17 playoff games against the Red Wings.
First Timers – Michael Latta, Steve Oleksy, Nate Schmidt, Alexander Urbom and Tom Wilson will each play at Joe Louis Arena for the first time in their NHL career tonight.
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, Jordin Tootoo's skathing with the Griffins, per WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski...
@DetroitRedWings RW @Jtootoo22 will make his @griffinshockey debut 2nite. His thoughts on being in GR at 6. #news8 http://pic.twitter.com/QxsE648P6B
And yes, this guy is the Griffins' starter right now, per the Griffins themselves:
Tom McCollum at practice this morning. We're counting the hours until the puck drops. #GoGRG @ Van… http://instagram.com/p/gvdTrqD1-p/
And if you're interested, Michigan Hockey re-posted its profile of Steve Olesky from August:
.@StevenOleksy comes to #Hockeytown tonight. Here's our article from the last time we caught up with him. http://mihockeynow.com/2013/08/steven-oleksy-talks-nhl-debut-season-eastside-elite-hockey-league/
The morning skate wrapped up quickly, and MLive's Khan delivered predictable news...
Jimmy Howard, as expected, is starting tonight for Wings.
As did Pleiness...
Jimmy Howard is starting tonight against Caps.
Who noted that Olesky has another Michigan tie:
Danny DeKeyser talks about LCN grad Steve Olesky, who plays for the Washington Capitals. http://www.tout.com/m/7fcfn2
The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo also posited 3 reasons "Why the Red Wings' Losing Streak Isn't As Bad As It Seems:
1. Five of those losses were in overtime or a shootout, meaning the Red Wings have gotten five of 12 possible points in those games. It’s actually been better than going 2-4 in regulation time in those six games.
2. The Red Wings haven’t played poor hockey. They had just one real stinker in the losses, a 6-1 defeat to Ottawa. The rest of those games could have gone either way, obviously.
3. There is the matter of the in-between. The Red Wings won three of four games on their Western Canada road trip right in the middle of their current home losing streak.
The Wings' disappointing performances of late didn't boot the Wings out of NHL.com's Corey Masisak's "Super 16," either:
13. Detroit Red Wings (9-5-5) LW: 11
The Red Wings have points in eight of their past 11 games, but five overtime or shootout losses does not take the sting out what has become a prolonged slump. Detroit needs more offense and that could from a combination of coach Mike Babcock shuffling lines to find more balance or from GM Ken Holland finding some salary cap space so Gustav Nyquist can be recalled. If either or both of those things work out and the defense corps gets healthy, the Wings could be back challenging for the top spot in the East.
MUST READ: Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News makes the case for Henrik Zetterberg to be captain for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
I'm going with, "Um, uh" regarding this Tweet from the Wings:
Midway through #Movember Share your 'stache with us! Tag your photo #DRWMoBro then check out our Movember page: bit.ly/HQmFK6
For the record, when McGill University reported that Wings coach Mike Babcock will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree yesterday, they gave Babcock a reaction quip...
Babcock will be made a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, as part of the Convocation ceremonies to be held on Monday, Nov. 25. McGill will also bestow honorary degrees to Calgary philanthropists and McGill benefactors Richard A. Walls and Carolina J. Walls, both of whom will receive a degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa. The honorees will share the stage with approximately 1,800 graduating students at the ceremonies to be held at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts in Montreal.
“No question about it that an honorary degree from McGill was more improbable to me than winning a Stanley Cup,” said Babcock when asked which he would have thought more unlikely had someone told him 25 years ago he would one day hoist Lord Stanley’s hallowed Cup or be granted a Doctor of Laws from McGill. “When I went to McGill, I had no idea of the quality of people I would meet and the quality of institute that I would be attending. And I didn’t know it until after I arrived and maybe even until after I left what a great school it was and how it was going to impact my life. So to be honoured in this fashion is so humbling and unbelievable.”
And this morning, their communications department posited their reasoning as to why Babcock's worthy of the honor:
MIKE BABCOCK, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Monday, November 25, 2013 – 2:30 p.m.
(Faculties and Schools: Arts, Education, Law, Music, Religious Studies, Science)
A former co-captain of the McGill Redmen hockey team, Mike Babcock (BEd ‘86) is known worldwide for coaching winning teams, whether it is in the National Hockey League as Head Coach of the Detroit Red Wings or on the international stage. Since he began his coaching career in the NHL, his teams have won more regular season and playoff games than any other team in the league. Mike Babcock is the only coach among the members of the prestigious Triple Gold Club, having won the World Championships in 2004, the Stanley Cup in 2008, and an Olympic gold medal in 2010.
Above all, Mike Babcock’s name is synonymous with the achievement of excellence, the subject of his 2012 book, Leave No Doubt, highlighting the theme that one cannot accomplish great things without facing great adversity and making peace with uncertainty. For over a decade, Mike Babcock has brought this message on countless visits to children’s hospitals where he spends time getting to know cancer patients and their families.
The Capitals' morning skate got underway while I posted that...
The #Caps are on the ice for morning skate at the Joe Louis Arena. #CapsWings tonight at 7:30 p.m. http://pic.twitter.com/uwuHMHkXng
And the Washington Post's Katie Carerra reported that Mike Green's "Lower-body injury" didn't cooperate:
Mike Green, who missed the last two days of practice with a lower body injury, is on the ice at the Joe for the #Caps morning skate.
After skating a few laps gingerly, Green headed to the dressing room.
Don’t expect Green to play tonight given quick departure from skate. Strachan will likely make #Caps debut, has been skating w/ Schmidt.
I try to wait until Babcock makes his morning skate comments to open this entry, but it appears that he's not going to chat, so this tibit from ESPN's Craig Custance's Insider-only mailbag seems particularly timely in absence of Babcock commentary:
While we all know the dominance of Ken Holland and his scouting/draft team, did the 2012 offseason show his eagerness to sign anyone? He has landed some great players over the years, either through the draft, trades or free agency, but 2012 stands out in my mind as a flop for him. The failed signings of Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson have put the Wings in a cap conundrum. Gustav Nyquist is in the basement when he should be in the big leagues, Samuelsson has a NTC (which I know goes to veterans over age 35) and Tootoo's cap hit of $1.9 million is very high for someone who has struggled to crack the lineup in the time he's been in Detroit. I'm just theorizing here that Kenny might've bit off more than he could chew last summer knowing that the salary cap was going down. He knew Valtteri Filppula would be coming off the books, and he'd be re-signing him or adding someone else (Stephen Weiss), but obviously had no clue about Daniel Alfredsson. After the failed attempt at Parise and Suter, did he think he had to make some move of grit for Tootoo? And bringing Sammy back hasn't been a great move either. He milked that injury over the summer so he wouldn't be amnestied. Just food for thought.
David Adelmab, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
David, I agree that time hasn't been kind to the Red Wings' summer of 2012. I really believe they thought they'd be getting either Ryan Suter, Zach Parise or both. When that didn't happen, they were forced to go to Plan B, and it wasn't pretty. It's made for a tight squeeze right now, but it really is a short-term problem. It's not as if Holland went out and signed guys to seven- or eight-year deals that summer. Detroit was also dealing with the unknown with the lockout looming. There were some projections, but the reality is that nobody knew exactly how much the cap was going to go down. Nobody knew for sure if there would be amnesty buyouts, and some people anticipated salary rollbacks. It wasn't a great environment to plan for this season. It's going to take some stickhandling around the cap in the short term and it's getting attention right now, but it's still a fixable problem that really doesn't have repercussions beyond this season for Detroit. Don't forget, they have buyout options this summer.
Quite frankly, Plans B and C went to Tampa Bay. From what I've read, the Wings wanted to bring in defensemen Matt Carle and/or Sami Salo, but Steve Yzeran snached them both up, and as we all know, the Wings had no idea that the youth movement resulting from the team's litany of injuries would yield rather ironic roster inflexibility because Holland over-veteran-built the team in anticipation of a pair of "bridge" years between vets and the "kids" instead of preparing for a full-out youth movement--by Detroit standards, anyway.
I'll post this and wait 10 minutes to find out what happens with Eaves.
Update #1: Via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a video of Jonathan Ericsson talking about the Wings' ups and downs:
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reveals that Babcock spoke to the press after all:
Jonathan Ericsson, who has missed the last 10 games with a shoulder injury, will return to the lineup. He’ll be paired back with Niklas Kronwall.
“Keep him under 30 minutes,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the ice time Ericsson would get. “Obviously, he’s a real good player for us, good defender, can pass the puck, huge size, gives us one more high end guy to get the puck going. We’re a better team with him. The forwards need the puck and he can do that plus play against real good players.”
Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey will make up the second blue line pairing.
“Their third line scores big time,” Babcock said. “We’re going to need our top two pairs probably play against three lines so it’s important to have a real good top two.”
Jakub Kindl will also rotate in the mix. The Wings have to find a way to contain Alex Ovechkin, who has 14 goals and seven assists through 17 games.
“He’s just a big man with super, super skill,” Babcock said. “He can be physical, but his ability to shoot the puck makes you so nervous. He’s a great skater. When he plays the off-side he pulls it between your legs and shoots it through the screen all the time. When he’s playing his forehand side he does that outside-in move. He finds a way to activate himself and get open.”
His linemate Nicklas Backstrom has five goals and 20 helpers.
“He hangs out high, Backstrom and (Martin) Erat find the pucks and they try to find him,” Babcock said. “You give him any space at all and he can kill you. He plays minutes and he can score goals. It’s hard to score goals in the NHL, even though it wasn’t last night, it’s hard most nights and he can score.”
Update #2: As Patrick Eaves cleared waivers and was assigned to Grand Rapids, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted an ugly stat...
#redwings Kyle Quincey and #capitals Alexander Ovechkin are both minus-10. It may be the only thing that they have in common.
And the Free Press's Helene St. James posited her morning skate update, having discussed the Wings' home-ice struggles with the team:
Asked whether he sees the Wings as mentally fragile right now, coach Mike Babcock said, "Oh, no question about it. Confidence is fleeting in the NHL. It's amazing to me how a guy can score goals all the time and then suddenly not score for a while, and he can't score. It's the same with your team. So you've got to stay the course. I thought we played lots well enough to win last game, and we didn't. So we can hang our head and feel bad about ourselves or we can do the same thing again When you do it right all the time, in the end, you win most of the time."
The Wings have to look back all the way to Oct. 15 — a month ago on the nose — to their last home victory, a 2-1 decision over Columbus.
"It is unusual," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We've just got to keep playing the way we've been doing the last few games. We've done a lot of good things. Just keep working hard and maybe shoot a little bit more."
The Capitals have won five of their last seven games. They're led by superstar Alex Ovechkin, who has crammed 14 goals and seven assists into 17 games. To the Wings' advantage, Jonathan Ericsson is back from a shoulder injury just in time to boost the defense. Ericsson will be partnered with Niklas Kronwall, moving Danny DeKeyser to play opposite Kyle Quincey, and Jakub Kindl with Brian Lashoff.
Up front, the only change is Daniel Cleary, who replaces Tomas Tatar on a line with Joakim Andersson and Mikael Samuelsson. Zetterberg is with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi, while Luke Glendening mans the fourth line between Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader.
Babcock is giving Helm another game as the second-line center. Asked about using Johan Franzen in the middle instead of the wing, Babcock said, "We think he's a better winger, and he thinks he's a better winger."
Stephen Weiss, the prime candidate to center the second group, skated with teammates for the first time today; he'll try for more daily as he recovers from a sore groin.
Update #2.5: St. James also posted a short video:
Update #2.5: The Hockey News posited a preview of tonight's game--and remember, it's one of those damn NHL Network games, so Center Ice and GameCenter Live will be blacked out in the U.S.:
CAPITALS (10-8-1) at RED WINGS (9-5-5)
The Detroit Red Wings have lost eight of their last 11 games and have slipped into the fourth-place wildcard spot in the Atlantic Division. The Washington Capitals on the other hand are looking to take over first in the Metropolitan with a win at the Joe tonight. The Wings have lost their past six games at Joe Louis Arena, their worst slump since 1996-97. Wasn’t the move to the Eastern Conference supposed to help the Wings? Five of the six losses have come in shootout, so that softens the blow just a tad. The Wings better not take this game to shootout, the Capitals are tied for a league-best four wins in the skills competition thanks to the offensive arsenal Adam Oates has at his disposal.
Mike Babcock has a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal on his resume. Now he’s about to add a law degree from McGill University to the list. Pretty impressive coach. (Detroit Free Press)
Joel Ward is enjoying his best season as a Washington Captial. The former Pred has nine goals on the year, only second to Ovi’s 14. (Washington Post)
Player To Watch: Mikhail Grabovski. He has been heating up again of late, scoring seven points in seven games. He now has 17 points in 19 games – a production necessary to make up for the loss of Mike Ribeiro last off-season.
Update #3: From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
#Caps Ovechkin spoke about #RedWings @Datsyuk13: “We played with him when I was young in Dynamo and national team. We know each other well."
Ovechkin on #RedWings: “Great team, great organization. It’s always fun to play against those kinds of teams, especially w/ those players.”
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posited another ugly stat...
#redwings last W at JLA? Oct. 15 vs #CBJ.
And his game-day article focuses on Ericsson's return, among other topics:
Back after a nine-game layoff due to a shoulder injury, during which Ericsson insists he “led the league” in diaper changes on his newborn daughter, he’ll skate with Niklas Kronwall in Detroit’s top defensive pairing and he asked to stymie Ovechkin, second in the NHL with 14 goals in 17 games.
“It’s a good test right away,” Ericsson said. “It’s fun. Hopefully I can help out.”
Regardless of who he’s playing against, the Red Wings, mired in a four-game winless skid, will be just delighted to see their 6-4, 221-pound defenceman back wearing his No. 52 Detroit wear.
“Big E is a big part of this team,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he actually provides for us back there. Every single night he’s steady, and more times than not he makes the correct plays out there, so it’s going to be great to have him back in the lineup.
While defenceman Brendan Smith (shoulder) remains on the shelf, the Wings will make one other lineup adjustment. Forward Daniel Cleary comes back in after being a healthy scratch Tuesday against Winnipeg and Tomas Tatar sits out.
“I’m not going to change how I play,” Cleary said. “I’ll just go out and work hard and try to be effective on the forecheck and try to provide some offence. Obviously we have to get back to winning at home. We haven’t been very good lately.”
In a small way, maybe this could help Stephen Weiss. Nobody ever wants to get hurt, and Weiss would surely rather be playing than recovering from a groin injury. But at least, for a few days, this gives an opportunity for Weiss to clear his head from a nonexistent start to the season offensively.
"It gives you some time to clear your head a little bit," said Weiss, who who took part in Friday's morning skate. "It's tough to do when you're playing every other night. It's been good that way. But you don't want to be missing any time. That's no fun."
And neither has it been enjoyable scoring only three points (two goals, one assist) in 17 games, before hurting his groin Nov. 7 against Dallas. Being injured and not playing is not the optimum situation for Weiss.
"It's brutal," Weiss said. "But you know what, that's life sometimes and sometimes things don't go the way you want and it doesn't come easy. I'll just keep working hard and hope I can get back in the lineup ready to go."
Weiss has been on the ice for two consecutive days, although Friday was the first time he did more of a full-blown workout.
"It was pretty much the first day on the ice today, so I’m just going to continue to do a little bit more every day and once it's not a problem, get into practice and hopefully play," Weiss said.
While Comcast Sportsnet Washington's Chuck Gormley noted that Capitals coach Adam Oates and Wings coach Mike Babcock have something of a history together:
Tonight in Detroit, Oates will be matched against Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose first year as an NHL coach was in 2002-03 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Oates was a 40-year-old center on that team and was eight months older than his coach.
“We kind of butted heads a little bit at the beginning,” Oates said. “It was more because he didn’t know me and I was an older guy and sometimes older guys can be difficult. But once we got through the first couple months we hit it off great. He’s a very good coach. I learned a couple things off him and it was fun to work with a guy that explained things. That’s one of the things I took away from him.”
Those 2002-03 Ducks went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the New Jersey Devils in seven games. Oates, who was one season away from retirement, tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with 13 points.
Also on that team were MacLean, who was an assistant coach, and defenseman Dan Bylsma. All four men – Oates, Babcock, McLean and Bylsma – are now head coaches in the NHL.
Oates said he always enjoys going back to the Joe, which was built in 1979 and is the fourth-oldest arena in the NHL behind MadisonSquareGarden in New York, Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., and Rexall Place in Edmonton.
He said the arena carries a mystique, especially for first-time visitors like Caps rookies Tom Wilson, Nate Schmidt and Michael Latta.
“There is an intimidation factor,” Oates said. “There are a lot of banners up there [Stanley Cups in 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008] and a lot of famous players [Hall of Famers Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay, Terry Sawchuk, Alex Delvecchio, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman]. But on the flip side, enthusiasm conquers some of that. It’s a one-game elimination. You’re in awe, but you’re so excited those mistakes don’t show up and I’m hoping that’s the player I get.”
The Red Wings haven’t gone winless in seven consecutive home games since 1989-90, which was the last season they missed the playoffs. They went winless in six in a row at home in 1996-97 (0-4-2, W-L-T), the year they won the Stanley Cup.
“It’s been tough here for us, but it’s not like something’s miraculously going to happen for us to get out of this,’’ goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “It’s going to take hard work and the right attitude. I think the other night we played a great team game (3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg Tuesday); it just didn’t happen for us. More times than not if we play like we did against the Jets we’ll come out on top.’’
The Red Wings (9-5-5) are winless in four in a row overall (0-1-3).
Again, the Wings aren't just wary of Ovechkin's presence:
“It’s not just Ovechkin,’’ Babcock said. “Their third line scores big-time. So instead of a hard matchup we’re going to have to have our top two pairs probably play against three lines, so it’s important to have a real good top two.’’
The Capitals' third line features Mikhail Grabovski centering Jason Chimera and Joel Ward.
Babcock said of Ovechkin: “He’s just a big man of super super skill. He can be physical but his ability to shoot the puck makes you so nervous. He’s a great skater. When he plays the off-side he pulls it in through your legs and shoots it through a screen all the time. When he’s playing the forehand side he does that outside- in move a fair bit. He finds a way to activate himself real well and get open. He hangs out high. If you give him any space at all he can kill you that way.’’
Update #5: The Capitals' "Monumental Network" posted Alex Ovechkin's game-day comments...
And if you wish to read the Washington Post's Katie Carerra's stories about Capitals GM George McPhee's take on extending overtime or John Carlson's play, you may most certanly do so, but her one non-Mike Green game-day Tweet is more noteworthy:
Oates confirms Green is out tonight vs Red Wings. Holtby will start. #Caps
Update #5.5: The Hockey News's Ken Campbell wins the, "I haven't been watching Wings games but I can make random comments about potentia Olympians!" award for the day in saying this about Johan Franzen, who was actually playing quite well prior to his "upper-body" injury, and had a very good outing vs. Winnipeg:
Johan Franzen: Not only is he not producing, there have to be concerns about his ability to get around the big ice surface.
Update #6: Here's the Washington Post's Katie Carerra's game-day update:
Defenseman Mike Green will miss Friday’s game against the Red Wings after suffering a contusion in Washington’s 4-3 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Green, 28, was on the ice in full gear for the start of Washington’s morning skate here at Joe Louis Arena but only made a few gingerly laps around the rink before heading back to the visitors’ dressing room when actual drills began. This will be the first game Green’s missed due to injury this season but the 94th in the past 232 regular season contests dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.
“I think he was stiffer than he anticipated,” Coach Adam Oates said. “He’s got a contusion there, lower body, and just doesn’t feel good enough to go.”
Oates said at this stage, Green hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game at home against the St. Louis Blues.
Without Green in the mix, Tyson Strachan will make his debut with the Capitals after being recalled from the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Strachan will be paired with Nate Schmidt, who the 29-year-old blueliner worked with frequently during training camp and the preseason.
>> Here are the projected lineups for both teams.
Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen-Darren Helm-Daniel Alfredsson
Dan Cleary-Joakim Andersson-Mikael Samuelsson
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Justin Abdelkader
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey-Danny DeKyser
Jakub Kindl-Brian Lashoff
Jimmy Howard is expected to start.
Update #7: The Wings' Game Day Blog posited a bullet-point-style game-day update:
Patrick Eaves was waived yesterday; he was not picked up off waivers so he will report to Grand Rapids.
"It's the nature of the business...but you've got to look at everything as an opportunity."- Patrick Eaves
"Obviously, Patty Eaves is a real good player, a real good person, does everything right...It’s disappointing we weren’t able to make it work and we’re hopeful he’s going to get himself an opportunity." - Mike Babcock
Jonathan Ericsson will come off long-term IR and make his return tonight.
Ericsson will be back on the blueline paired with fellow Swede Niklas Kronwall.
Dan Cleary will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch.
Cleary will take Tomas Tatar's spot tonight.
Jimmy Howard is again between the pipes.
Brendan Smith is still a few days away from seeing game action (Shoulder).
Stephen Weiss (Groin) skated, but will not play tonight.
And the Capitals' website posted clips of Tyson Strachan speaking with the media...
A few quips from Karl Alzner...
And coach Oates' game-day presser:
Update #7.5: Here are Mike Vogel and John Walton speaking about tonight's game:
Update #8: DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson took note of Cleary's return to the lineup in her game-day article:
“Obviously we have to get back to winning at home, haven’t been very good lately so I’m excited and have to just go out and play well,” Cleary said. “I’m not going to change how I play, just go out and work hard and try to be effective on the forecheck and try to provide some offense.”
Detroit’s offense has struggled this season, as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have accounted for 40 percent of the team’s goals. The Euro Twins’ linemate Todd Bertuzzi has recorded five goals, but no one else on the roster has notched more than three.
Babcock has changed the Red Wings’ lineup to account for injuries and to generate more offense from other lines, but knows a six-game winless skid isn’t helping his team’s confidence.
“No question. Confidence is fleeting in the NHL,” Babcock said. “It’s amazing to me how a guy can score goals all the time and then suddenly not score for a while. It’s the same with your team, so you got to stay the course. I thought we played well enough to win last game and we didn’t, so we can hang our head and feel bad for ourselves or we can do the same thing again. We got to do it in a more consistent basis and do it right and we’ll be all right.’’
Washington enters Joe Louis Arena with the No. 2 power play and No. 1 penalty kill in the league, led by Ovechkin, who has recorded 14 goals in 17 games this season. Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals with 15 assists, centering the top line with Ovechkin and Brooks Laich, and poses another threat to the Red Wings with his passing capabilities.
“You’ve just got to minimize his space and time,” Henrik Zetterberg said of Ovechkin. “Obviously, he’s got a great shot and finds a way to always be open it seems. Playing with Backstrom, too, he’s a really good disher. You’ve just got to be aware of them whenever they’re out there and try to have the puck as much as possible.”
Update #9: Hmm.
RED WINGS ASSIGN PATRICK EAVES AND LUKE GLENDENING TO GRIFFINS
… Eaves Joins Griffins After Clearing Waivers on Friday …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned right wing Patrick Eaves and center Luke Glendening to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins
Eaves, 29, has played in three games with the Red Wings this season, averaging 9:14 of ice time and recording four shots on goal after recovering from a knee injury suffered in the preseason. The Calgary, Alberta, native has appeared in 175 games with Detroit since 2009, tallying 51 points (27-24-51) and 46 penalty minutes. In 417 career NHL games with Ottawa, Carolina and Detroit, the 6-foot, 187-lb., forward has 141 points (72-69-141) and 145 penalty minutes. Eaves has also picked up 13 points (6-7-13) in 67 NHL postseason games. Originally a first-round selection (29th overall) of Ottawa in 2003, Eaves has played 18 career AHL games, all with the Binghamton Senators. He recorded 13 points (5-8-13) with Binghamton in 2005-06.
Glendening, 24, has played eight games with the Red Wings this season, registering two penalty minutes and eight shots on goal, while averaging 9:28 of ice time. A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Glendening has appeared in 59 career games with the Griffins, notching 32 points (11-21-32), a plus-19 rating and 64 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 195-lb., forward helped Grand Rapids to a Calder Cup championship in 2012-13, recording 16 points (6-10-16) in 24 postseason games.
Update #10: Well that explains it, per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
#RedWings have sent Luke Glendening back to minors, so Tomas Tatar will be in lineup vs. Capitals.
Update #11: Capgeek explains all!
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