The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/19/13 at 02:17 PM ET
Updated 7x at 4:33 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (9 PM, FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM), and as Paul noted, the Wings' beat writers reported that Niklas Kronwall won't be available tonight:
The Red Wings' game-day blog sets up tonight's tilt...
Detroit has won four in a row, including its past three with backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson in for the injured Jimmy Howard, since losing him the last time these two teams met on Oct. 10.
Gustavsson has been outstanding, posting a 1.67 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in his three starts. He had 38 saves in Detroit's 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
"You've got to give [Gustavsson] credit. He could win first star three nights in a row," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the win in Denver. "I thought he played great."
But the win was costly for Detroit. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall sustained a concussion on a hit from behind by Colorado forward Cody McLeod.
While Kronner will be out tonight, he was moving all extremities and accompanied the team to Phoenix; the Wings are hopeful he'll be able to return soon.
It offers a historical note...
On This Day in Red Wings' History... October 19, 1930
The Detroit franchise changed its name from Cougars to Falcons.
And here are Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:
Be Disciplined - Detroit needs to stay out of the penalty box. Play hard, but don't take penalties.
Be Competitive - The team burned a ton of energy against Colorado, especially the defense with the injury to Kronwall. Fatigue could be a factor. We need to be mentally tough to get over that.
Have a Balanced Attack - All fourth lines need to contribute. Phoenix doesn't give you much, so the Wings need to make the most of their chances.
Kronwall talks with media says he has to go through process but is optimistic he can return very soon— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) October 19, 2013
Update #1.5: Oh, dear:
Update #5: Here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's game-day update:
“I feel real good, actually, after the circumstances,” said Kronwall, who will not play Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes. He will be replaced by Brendan Smith. “No issues so far. So far, so good. It could have been a lot worse. So far I’m feeling very good, actually. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the ice again.”
“I shouldn’t have been put myself in that situation,” Kronwall said. “I know he’s a forechecker, one of their more physical guys, and he’s just trying to do his job. I put both of us in a bad spot. For some reason I thought he was closer to me than he was. I almost turned right into him. But that’s history. I’m feeling pretty good and looking forward to getting back on the ice with the guys.”
Kronwall lost conscienceness for a few seconds after the collision with the end boards, but “after that I was back on track.”
McLeod reached out to Kronwall after the first period and apologized for the hit.
“He apologized and I told him I shouldn’t have put both of us in that spot, either,” Kronwall said. “I’m happy he reached out and I have no hard feelings.”
Smith replaced Kronwall after being a healthy scratch the last four games. Smith’s inconsistency on the defensive end resulted in him being taken out of the lineup. He realizes it’s an area he must work on.
“I just have to go out there, play steady, compete hard, and play hard with and without the puck,” Smith said. “Those are the things coaches want to see. Play steady and safe and I’ll get myself back in the lineup.”
Said Wings coach Mike Babcock: “The way I look at it, the evaluation period is 82 games long, not (four) or however many games he’s played. I’d just be patient and keep watching. He’s (Smith) a good player.”
Update #6: The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Kronwall...
The "Tony" he refers to is Red Wings team physician Anthony Colucci, and Kronwall must pass his baseline neurologicaltest as adminstered by Colucci to be cleared to return to play.
And Ken Kal spoke with Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard (regardingJonas Gustavsson's recovery) and Mike Babcock (about the team's defensive issues, faceoffs and Samuelsson entering the lineup):
Update #7: FYI:
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