The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/04/14 at 01:04 PM ET
Updated 8x at 6:24 PM: The undermanned Red Wings begin a slate of 3 games in 4 nights and a surprising slate of "4-point games" against the New Jersey Devils this evennig (7 PM EST, FSD/MSG/97.1 FM). The Devils took an early morning skate, and the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti live-Tweeted its events...
Damien Brunner (charley horse) on the ice for Devils' morning skate. It's an optional, but all players are expected to skate.
Bryce Salvador (bruised collarbone) also out there now for the skate
All players on Devils' active roster are on the ice for the morning skate.
Devs' lines: Zubrus-Zajac-Jagr; Henrique-Elias-Brunner; Clowe-Loktionov-Ryder; Carter-Gionta-Bernier. Extra: Josefson. No D pairs so far.
DeBoer said he believes Salvador and Brunner will be options for tonight.
DeBoer called starting Brodeur tonight "a hockey decision."
Brunner says he feels good to go and it will be coach's decision if he plays.
Volchenkov, Harrold and Josefson are still on the ice, so it looks like Brunner and Salvador will play.
As did the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere...
Pete DeBoer says if Salvador and Brunner come out of morning skate okay, they'll play.
DrBoer said decision to start Brodeur was purely a hockey decision after goalie's solid game vs. Islanders.
DeBoer said he'd talk to slumping Ryder if his skid continues.
Talk that Devils have agreed to trade Brodeur to Minny. Wild deny it.
We'll get to the Brodeur report in a minute.
Volchenkov and Harrold will be Devils scratches.
Idea that Devils would trade Brodeur and allow him to play a "home farewell" is ridiculous.
Jacob Josefson also a Devils scratch.
If there is a team or GM that would do that, it isn't Devils or Lou Lamoriello.
And NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale:
Bryce Salvador (bruised collarbone) and Damien Brunner (charley horse in left leg) are skating for the NJD this morning.
DET center Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) did not make the trip to NJ.
In the text department, the Newark Star-Ledger's Charles Clayton reports that the New York Daily News's Andy Clayton claims that the Devils are going to trade Brodeur to Minnesota, pending his approval:
With Wednesday’s NHL trading deadline looming, a source told the Daily News the Devils and Minnesota have agreed upon a deal that would send the lifelong Devil and future Hall of Famer to the Wild. The deal is pending the approval of Brodeur, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, and, according to the source, wanted one last home game with the Devils.
That could be Tuesday, when the Devils host Detroit, the team Brodeur beat 19 years ago for his first of three Stanley Cups in Jersey.
.The source said Brodeur and Devils president and GM Lou Lamoriello met last week where they discussed teams Brodeur would and would not accept as a landing spot. Brodeur, whose contract expires after the season, has said he will wait until the summer to decide on his future, telling the Star-Ledger in January that his heart is telling him to come back next season, but “my body might be a different story.” At that time, he also raised the possibility of finishing his career with a different franchise.
Minnesota would be a sensible spot for Brodeur. His twin sons, Jeremy and William, attend Minnesota’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s School.
Gulitti doesn't buy it:
I reported Wild's interest in Brodeur three days ago. Nothing has changed. No deal in place.
If there was a deal in place, Brodeur would not be playing tonight. Why would either side risk injury?
To be honest, I don't know that Lou Lamoriello has even made the decision that he's going to trade Martin Brodeur.
Gulitti also penned a quick morning skate update...
Brunner, who played for the Red Wings last season, was a healthy scratch for the Devils’ first game against Detroit this season—a 3-1 loss on Dec. 6 at The Rock.
The Devils trail the Red Wings by three points for the final playoff spot in the East. The Red Wings, who will be missing centers Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee), have two games in hand. The teams will meet again Friday night Detroit.
Martin Brodeur will start in net for the Devils as he remains uncertain whether he will be traded before the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. Wednesday. He has not played at Prudential Center since a 3-2 overtime loss on Jan. 7.
Jimmy Howard will start in net for Detroit.
Here is the breakdown of the players skating this morning:
Forwards: Dainius Zubrus-Travis Zajac-Jaromir Jagr; Adam Henrique-Patrik Elias-Damien Brunner, Ryane Clowe-Andrei Loktionov-Michael Ryder; Ryan Carter-Stephen Gionta-Steve Bernier; Jacob Josefson.
Defensemen: Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlcky, Anton Volchenkov, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, Peter Harrold.
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Cory Schneider.
Coach Pete DeBoer said he decided to start Brodeur against the Red Wings based on merit.
"I just look at the hockey. I met with Marty and I met with Schneids," DeBoer explained. "I've told everyone I'm making hockey decisions based on winning the next game the rest of the season. That's always been the case. I can't do it any other way. I'm not looking at next year or contracts. We don't do that with any of our players.
"Marty came out of the break, got us a big win on the Island and looked sharp. He deserves another start. Simple as that."
DeBoer joked about Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
"I didn't know that. Lou doesn't tell me anything," he said.
He does wonder what might happen.
"Of course you do. General curiosity and they have the trade deadline shows going on in Canada. We get all those (TV) feeds," he said. "It's obviously an exciting time of year for fans, for coaches, for players. I use the word unsettling for the players. For everybody else it's more curiosity what's going to happen as much with your own situation as with everyone else around the league."
The Red Wings' beat writers took in the Devils' morning skate as well, with MLive's Ansar Khan...
Damien Brunner is back in the lineup for Devils tonight, facing his former Wings team for first time.
The Free Press's Helene St. James...
Damien Brunner expects to play tonight
Pete DeBoer confirms Damien Brunner playing tonight against #RedWings
And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
The #RedWings will face the @NHLDevils and legendary goalie Martin Brodeur tonight. During his 21-season career, DET has employed 23 GKs.
On this day in 1991, the #RedWings acquire Brad Marsh from @MapleLeafs for an 8th-round pick. He played 75 of his 1,086 career games w/ DET.
Since 2002, #RedWings have made nine deadline deals, bringing Jiri Slegr, Mathieu Schneider, Cory Cross, Todd Bertuzzi & Brad Stuart to DET.
Happy birthday to @RedWingAlumni Tord Lundstrom (69), Ladislav Kohn (39), and posthumously to Frank Bennett, who would be 92 today.
“@rotondoj: @Bill_Roose you forgot Robert Lang” Good catch! He's not listed in the item I saw in game notes.
Those game notes state that Mike Leggo and Gord Dwyer will referee tonight's game, with Brian Murphy and Mark Shewchyk working the lines.
Martin Brodeur is first #Devils' player off the ice this morning. Will tonight be last time the legendary goaltender faces the #RedWings?
After missing the last two games, Damien Brunner said he's playing vs. the #RedWings tonight on line with Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique.
A couple hours ago, MLive's Ansar Khan penned a morning report stating that the Wings need to "grind out" low-scoring games sans Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Weiss, Cleary, Kindl, etc. etc. It's a fantastic summary of "Where the Wings Stand":
Starting with Tuesday’s game in New Jersey, they will play 22 games in 41 days to wrap up the regular season.
They’re prepared for a grind, and they know they must grind out some tight-checking, low-scoring games. With star players either out (Henrik Zetterberg) or ailing (Pavel Datsyuk), the Red Wings must rely on team defense, like they did in last Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime victory at Montreal.
Aside from allowing the tying goal in the final minute of regulation, that game serves as a blue print for how the Red Wings want to play the rest of the way.
“That’s what we’d like to do,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It doesn’t always go the way you want each and every night so you got to play hard and be organized and we plan on doing that. We’ve been doing that for a long period of time now. I think we’ve had a good run here. We’ve played real well and we’ve got to continue to play well.”
Half of their games (11) are against clubs they’re battling with for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (two each against New Jersey, Columbus, Montreal and Toronto and one each vs. the New York Rangers, Carolina and Tampa Bay).
Grind it out? That's the theory:
“That’s how we need to play to have success going forward, no doubt,” defenseman Nicklas Kronwall said. “It just showed how tight we can be. If you play good enough defensively you’re going to win games. That’s going to be the focus point here moving forward because we’re going to get our chances offensively. Managing the puck, but also when we don’t have the puck do the right things, be in the right spots, help each other out.”
In the, "Ancillary and/or interesting news" departent,
1. Yes, as the Free Press reports, Sean Avery will appear on Dancing With the Stars' latest iteration. Expect him to step on EVERYBODY's toes;
NO. 446, THE ILITCHES, $3.5 BILLION
Detroit natives Mike and Marian make their real folding money selling Little Caesars pizzas, but they’re best know around here for owning the Red Wings and Tigers.
In the trade rumor department...TSN just posted a round-up...
Blue line help for Red Wings?
In addition to what he reported in Insider Trading, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote on ESPN.com that the Detroit Red Wings are believed among the teams looking at defenceman Christian Ehrhoff. More than half of Ehrhoff's $40 million contract will be paid out by the end of the season.
LeBrun updated that storyline this morning--and he talked about the Wings' level of interest in Ryan Kesler, too...
I was also told Tuesday morning that the Red Wings still have not got into any player discussion with Vancouver on the Kesler front. While both clubs are believed to have talked last Thursday, to this point it hasn't got past that.
Is veteran Detroit GM Ken Holland lying in the weeds to see how the Kesler thing plays out? Perhaps.
Or maybe he's just more focused on what he really needs, a top-four defenseman.
We told you Monday of Detroit's interest in Christian Ehrhoff. That remained as of Tuesday morning according to sources but it wasn't going to happen at the sticker price the Sabres had on him.
Same as Detroit, Philadelphia's real need is a top-four defenseman more than anything. I know they really like Alexander Edler but as this point it appears the Canucks aren't keen on trading him unless it's a whopper of an offer.
The Wings can clearly afford at least three Whoppper...Oh, wait.
In an Insider-only entry, ESPN's Craig Custance talked Kesler and Ehrhoff trade turkey, too.
First, regarding Kesler:
Unlike many of his contending colleagues, Detroit GM Ken Holland has managed to keep most of his first-round picks through the years in a very conscious effort to stock the system with young players. The system is now stocked, and he certainly has the assets to pull off a deal.
“He’s got enough young forwards,” said one NHL source.
As Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk age, it hasn’t been easy for Detroit to add other elite players. The Red Wings are no longer the slam-dunk free agent destination they were in the past, missing out on guys like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in recent years. Holland wasn’t ready to pay the full price last year for Jay Bouwmeester. The Stephen Weiss experiment has gone sideways, so this is an opportunity to bring in a player in an age group in which the Red Wings don’t have a lot of high-end players.
Their best players are in their early or mid-30s. They have veterans in their late 30s. There’s another group of talented players in the 23- and 24-year-old range. There just isn’t that impact forward in the 28- to 30-year-old range. Kesler would change that.
Not for Anthony *#$%@& Mantha...
And then, regarding Ehrhoff and Edler--and these are only 2 of Custance's 10 deadline "observations"...
One of the challenges for the Red Wings in making this deal is that the Canucks' preference is to land a young, high-end center.
Detroit’s best forward prospects at the NHL level are Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar -- all wingers.
And rather than pay a steep price for Kesler, the Red Wings might prefer spending some of their youth on a defenseman like Christian Ehrhoff or even Alexander Edler.
As Niklas Kronwall ages, the Red Wings could really use one more veteran top-four defenseman to ease his minutes.
The Wings have inquired about Vancouver's Alexander Edler and Buffalo's Christian Ehrhoff, but appear to be focusing on Ehrhoff, at the moment.
TFP reported last Thursday that the Wings had been inquiring about Ehrhoff's availability, and on Monday, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reiterated Detroit's interest.
LeBrun, however, indicated that the Wings would not overpay to get Ehrhoff.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland has plenty of young assets he is willing to part with, but some players he prefers not to deal, such as Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.
Holland has also spoken to the Vancouver Canucks about forward Ryan Kesler, who is expected to be dealt by Wednesday's 3pm ET trade deadline.
And both Sportsnet's Mark Spector and the Vancouver Province's Ben Kuzma played Kesler games, while the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch suggested that the Wings are interested in...35-year-old defenseman Chris Phillips?
Sources say the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins have both shown interest in Phillips. It’s not know what the asking price is because Murray is focused on trying to keep the veteran in the fold.
The Senators sent out an email last week offering defenceman Joe Corvo to anybody who wanted to give him a chance The club will gauge interest in UFA’s Milan Michalek and Phillips.
I can't see the Wings and Sens dealing, period, after the Alfredsson fun-and-games fiasco, and Corvo...is right-shooting and mobile, but bounces around.
Never mind regarding a Corvo trade, either, per TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Quoting my player-assessing partners in crime, The Sports Forecaster:
#44 D | 6'3", 206 lbs. | Edmonton
Birth Date:January 5, 1984 (30 years old)
Place of Birth:Lansing, MI
Drafted:Drafted by NY Rangers in 2003 (4/122)
Assets: Moves the puck well from the back end and is mobile. Also has NHL size for a defenseman, as well as late-blooming overall ability. Can dominate the game at lower levels.
Flaws: Doesn't display enough game-to-game consistency in the NHL. Makes mistakes with and without the puck. Must also avoid taking bad penalties that really hurt his team.
Career Potential: Puck-moving d
ESPN's Scott Burnside also summarized why I wouldn't touch Thomas Vanek--who wants to test the UFA waters--with a ten-foot pole. Dealing with Garth Snow's asking price, especially given Vanek's, "I'm gonna play the market no matter what" stance, make little sense, and the fact that Vanek went and got blotto during the Olympics, while serving as Austria's captain, speaks very poorly of his character, or the lack thereof:
Then there are the niggling questions about Vanek's commitment. Yes, he took responsibility for an ill-advised party session during the Olympics before his Austrian team laid a giant egg against lightly regarded Slovenia in the qualification part of the tournament, an incident that caused great embarrassment to the Austrian hockey community.
On top of that, Vanek just wasn't very good -- his only contribution to the Austrian cause in Sochi seemingly to throw his goaltender under the bus in postgame comments early in the tournament.
And then the biggest factor of all of course is the asking price for Vanek's rental services.
Snow, who gave up a first- and a second-round pick plus scorer Matt Moulson to acquire Vanek earlier in the season, is asking for a first-round pick and a top prospect plus another pick or prospect or some variation therein. Who can blame Snow? Vanek is a top offensive player and he needs to return at least some of the assets he frittered away in the ill-advised deal to bring Vanek to Long Island.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff also chose the morning skate to posit an article reiterating Ken Holland's trade deadline stance:
"I’d like to do a hockey trade if possible, if there’s one out there that that we think makes us better,” Holland said. “I call a hockey trade a trade that affects your team going into next season, where you can get a player that’s going to be on your roster in September. I’m obviously open to it. Certainly we’re going to explore the marketplace.”
In Detroit’s current situation, battling for a playoff spot, Holland believes it would be foolhardy to deal away a significant part of the club’s future in order to try and move up a few spots on the standings ladder.
“Because of where we are in the standings and because of the unknown with the number of our key players with regards to injury, it’s pretty difficult to step up and trade high draft picks and real top prospects in order to get short-term players,” Holland said. “When you’re (tied for) the last playoff spot it’s hard to trade a top prospect or a first-round draft pick to rent a player. We’re not looking at top-end rentals for those two reasons – because of our place in the standings and because of the unknown about some of our top players.”
“We’ll see. It depends on what’s available. I don’t see us playing a big price on a rental. I don’t believe that’s the direction we should go, but you never know when you get to Wednesday.”
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman then weighed in via his "30 Thoughts," with this note maybe adding some context to the mix:
7. We love the big moves. But as we head into the final 24 hours to the 3 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline, keep an eye on the small ones. Twenty teams are within $2 million of the cap. More than half of those are using long-term injury exemptions, which limits further flexibility if they're expecting those wounded mortals to return. So if a trade for a draft pick or a waiver move makes you scratch your head, wait to see if a second shoe drops.
For what it's worth, Capgeek states that Zetterberg's $6.08 million salary hasn't been put on the LTIR yet, and that the Wings have $1.545 million in "deadline space" sans Z's salary.
This is important to Wings fans, however:
5. "What the Canucks are asking for Kesler is reasonable enough that you can tell they will move him," one exec said. "What they wanted for [Alex] Edler is unreasonable enough that you can tell they don't want to move him." Unless, of course, the return is massive.
Also, regarding two more players linked to the Wings, at least marginally speaking:
9. Nashville Predators GM David Poile told The Tennessean' John Glennon that David Legwand is unlikely to be traded. "If we trade David for a draft pick or prospect that's not going to come in and play here [immediately], you could argue quite convincingly that that's not going to make us a better hockey club," Poile said. For what it's worth, there was one point earlier in the season I chased a rumour that Anaheim was interested in Legwand, only to have it roundly denied. It came up again this week. But if the Ducks are serious, they're going to have to up the offer.
14. At least one team was told the New Jersey Devils is not trading Jaromir Jagr.
As I was cobbling all of this stuff together, the Wings' morning skate got underway, per Roose...
Spoke to Jaromir Jagr about Lidstrom Night. Said the legendary #RedWings D-man "could conserve energy, play 25 min. and still be offensive."
Without three centermen, the #RedWings will get a look at Joakim Andersson on the top line with Nyquist and Franzen tonight vs. @NHLDevils.
Joakim Andersson is skating with Mule and Nyquist up on first line at morning skate #RedWings
Wings skating with same lines as Mon: Nyquist-Andersson-Franzen, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Abdelkader-Helm-Alfredsson, Miller-Glendening-Bertuzzi
So Bertuzzi is in, Eaves is out, and the defensive pairs will probably be Kronwall-Ericsson, DeKeyser-Suddenly-Competent-Quincey and Lashoff-Smith.
In the prospect department:
1. If you missed it, RedWingsCentral's latest prospect report focuses on Teemu Pulkkinen;
2. And Jake Paterson's sitting out today's Saginaw Spirit-Sarnia Sting matinee game, which is tied 2-2 after 2 periods.
While waiting for the Wings' beat writers to speak with Babcock, the Bergen Record's Gulitti filed his game-day report, and it's all about Brodeur.
Because he is playing tonight, Brodeur did not speak to the media following today’s morning skate—a practice he has maintained since the 2012 playoffs. Brodeur has a no-trade in his contract, which expires after this season, and, thus, has the right to block or accept any trade. Playing in Minnesota would likely be appealing to him because it would present an opportunity to play more often behind rookie Darcy Kuemper and because his twin sons, Jeremy and William, attend school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer said nothing concerning the trade deadline factored into his decision to go with Brodeur tonight over Cory Schneider.
“I just look at the hockey,” DeBoer said. “I met with Marty, I met with Schneids and I’ve told everyone I’m making hockey decisions based in winning the next game the rest of the season. That’s always been the case. I can’t do it any other way. I’m not looking at next year or contracts and we don’t do that with any of our players. Marty came out of the break, got us a big win in the Island, looked sharp and he deserves another start. It’s as simple as that.”
*#$%@&, I can't wait forever and the beat writers seem to have gone out for lunch. I'm posting this as is.
Update #1: NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale's game-day update focuses on Brodeur...
Detroit coach Mike Babcock was asked what impressed him the most about Brodeur.
"Longevity," Babcock said. "Look at the goalies today, their size and all the hip injuries because of butterfly. I don't know if a guy could be as good for so long as he has been. Obviously, the style New Jersey plays has helped and his ability to play the puck has helped, but he's flat out been a star for a long, long time.
"From the outside looking at the situation, if you have been this long with one team and you could retire with that team, you've hit it out of the park."
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador (bruised collarbone) and forward Damien Brunner (charley horse in left leg) both practiced Tuesday and are expected to return to the lineup following a two-game absence.
Here is the possible lineup for the Devils:
Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr
Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner
Ryane Clowe - Andrei Loktionov - Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas - Jon Merrill
Scratched: Peter Harrold, Jacob Josefson, Anton Volchenkov
And MLive's Ansar Khan discusses Joakim Andersson's sudden promotion to the team's first line center position, where he'll play between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist:
“It’s going to be fun,” Andersson said. “It’s an opportunity to play more minutes with two real good players. I never played with Mule before, but with Nyquist I played lots.”
Andersson has top-line experience, having played with Nyquist and Tomas Tatar on the Grand Rapids Griffins’ No. 1 line. His role is to provide a defensive presence and to retrieve pucks.
“Winning faceoffs, be smart and be a good third guy for them,” Andersson said. “Mule has played center lots in his career, too, so he can do that work as well. We just got to read off each other, but of course as a centerman you have more responsibility to be that third guy (back defensively).”
Coach Mike Babcock didn’t want to break up his other lines (Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco and Justin Abdelkader-Darren Helm-Daniel Alfredsson), so he bumped up Andersson, who has seven goals and 13 points in 54 games. His minus-10 rating is a sore spot, however. He was a plus-3 as a rookie last season.
“He’s such a good player, such a complete player, I don’t think that’ll be too hard for him,” Nyquist said. “He was first line in Grand Rapids pretty much all his time down there. Obviously, he’s known as a very well defensive center but he can really make plays, he’s smart, he’s got a good shot. I think he’ll fit right in.”
Andersson could be there for a while. The Red Wings are hoping Datsyuk (knee) will be back soon, but there’s no way of knowing. The same can be said for Weiss, who experienced a setback Monday in his attempt to come back from sports hernia surgery.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we do,” Babcock said. “Obviously, (Datsyuk and Zetterberg) are elite players but reality is we’ve played lots of the season without them, played without Mule, without Weiss. I expect the guys who play in their spots to do what they do, don’t worry about being Pav or Z, be yourself and play. We’ve been fortunate Helm’s back and playing well, Riley Sheahan looks like a real good player in the league, Nyquist has played real well for us, (Luke) Glendening has been excellent for us. We got lots of players contributing who we think are good players.”
Update #2: Here's NHL.com's Morreale's Wings-related game-day post:
"This is what we got," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "That's just the way it's gone this year. We've been fortunate that [Darren] Helm is back and playing well, Riley Sheahan looks to be a really good player in the League, [Gustav] Nyquist has played really well for us and so has Luke Glendening. So when you go through the whole thing, lots of players are contributing who we think are good players."
[Jimmy] Howard, who is 13-13-9 with a 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 35 games this season, was asked his thoughts on possibly being the last goalie to face Brodeur in a Devils jersey. The NHL Trade Deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET and it has been speculated the 41-year-old likely Hall of Fame member might be dealt after the game.
"I grew up a Rangers fan and watched Marty a lot, tuning into MSG when they played the Rangers since the rivalry was so good," Howard, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., told NHL.com. "I'm sure it wasn't a good memory for Marty, but for me, when Stephane Matteau scored the overtime winner [in the 1994 Eastern Conference Final] was one of my best memories. But Marty has certainly won his fair share of Stanley Cup crowns."
Howard acknowledged it is strange to think Brodeur could actually wear another jersey other than that of the Devils.
"When you think of the New Jersey Devils, you think Marty Brodeur," Howard said. "He's one of the best goalies to ever play the game. He holds records in every category, and it's not too often you get someone like that to come through the NHL. It's just an honor to get to play against him."
Here are the possible line combinations for the Red Wings against the Devils:
Gustav Nyquist - Joakim Andersson - Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader - Darren Helm - Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Todd Bertuzzi
Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall
Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey
Brian Lashoff - Brendan Smith
Update #3: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog posted a Wings-Devils preview...
Both teams have returned from the Olympic break on a bit of a roll. The Red Wings have won two straight against the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The Devils had taken two straight before dropping a 4-2 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at Prudential Center. The Devils trail the Red Wings by three points for the second and final wild card playoff berth, but Detroit has played two fewer games making the clash Tuesday a critical one in the Eastern Conference standings.
General manager Ken Holland has admitted he will not make a splash prior to the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday unless it's a "trade that affects your team going into next season."
Detroit is in a similar position prior to this year's deadline as it was last season; missing several core players heading down the stretch. The Red Wings are hoping to get captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) just in time for the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but first they have to get there.
"We had some unrestricted free agents last year," Holland told Detroit's website. "We weren't a buyer, we weren't a seller, I felt if we could just get out team together we could play our way in, which we did. Other than Zetterberg, for the most part we're healthy. We're probably the healthiest we've been since early December."
Ken Kal's Keys to the Game...
Play well 5-on-5 - Devils don't take penalties. They are 1st in the NHL in this category.
Be on the Attack - The last time we were in New Jersey, the Devils had just 11 shots on goal. Play the same way. Dictate the play.
Solid Goalkeeping - Howie needs to make big saves when tested. The defense will need to be good in front of Jimmy, as well.
And here are some "Morning Skate" quotes. From yesterday:
Pavel Datsyuk will not play tonight, he's out with knee inflammation. "Can’t play; issue with my knee...We’re looking day-to-day, hard to say anything." - Pavel Datsyuk
Stephen Weiss is also out after suffering a setback in practice yesterday. He's been sent for further tests.
"I kind of thought Stephen Weiss would be ready a week ago, but the body hasn’t responded the way we had hoped." - Ken Holland
Dan Cleary hurt his knee and is likely out for the next three games.
Jakub Kindl (lower-body injury) won't play again tonight.
Joakim Andersson will play on top line alongside Nyquist and the Mule.
Todd Bertuzzi is expected to return on fourth line with Glendening and Miller.
Jimmy Howard will be in goal.
Patrick Eaves is likely a healthy scratch.
Update #4: The Free Press's Helene St. James' update involves a discussion with Damien Brunner, who reflected upon the Wings' injury issues:
"You never want to see that happen to any team," Brunner said. He's close with many Wings, of course, from playing in Detroit last season and from renewing acquaintances at the Sochi Games. "You see at the Olympics, I saw Z a couple of times and I felt really bad for him. And now I think Pavel's knee is bad again, and those are two key guys for them. Top two centermen out.
"But if a team in this league can handle it, I guess it's the Red Wings. They do a pretty good job. All the young guys fill in, and they're productive and they're able to put some wins together."
Brunner is returning to the Devils' lineup after missing two games because of injury. The Wings (68 points) won, 3-1, when they played here in December and come into tonight's game on a two-game winning streak. That streak was built with Datsyuk in the lineup, though, even if he didn't have any points.
"I think, throughout the year, we've had a fair number of injuries that we've kind of, more or less, played that way throughout this season," Alfredsson said. "Now that the final stretch is here, it's going to be extremely important that we not give up any easy goals. But I think you're going to see that throughout the league, not just with us. It's going to be tougher to get goals, and all teams are going to be playing their best every night."
Update #5: The Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti also spoke with Brunner and Devils coach Pete DeBoer regarding tonight's affair:
“It should be a fun game,” he said. “A lot of face I know over there. It’s going to be a big game for us. We play them back-to-back here. We’re both in the playoff race. There’s going to be four big points on the line.”
The Devils trail the Red Wings by three points for the final playoff spot in the East and the Red Wings have two games in hand. The teams meet again Friday night in Detroit.
“It’s a great opportunity to hunt down a team directly above us in the standings,” DeBoer said. That’s exactly the situation you want this time of the year and an ability to pick up four points and have the other team not pick up any. That said, it’s a big mountain to climb. They’re a very good team and it’s going to be a great test.”
The Red Wings will be without centers Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Pavel Datsyuk (left knee), but the Devils know from experience that they will still be a dangerous opponent. The Red Wings were without Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Darren Helm due to injuries on Dec. 6 at Prudential Center and defeated the Devils, 3-1.
“Obviously, those guys are dynamic guys you really have to pay attention to,” DeBoer said of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. “But I think what we’ve seen of that team is they have the ability to have interchangeable parts. They play a good structure system game and when you play that way, you can interchange people and still survive. I think that’s been the story of their season and, I’d like to think, a little bit the story of our season too in that we’re still in the hunt because of our ability to do that.”
The Devils' website posted a video of Brunner speaking with the media, too:
On the Red Wings' side of the rink, DetroitRedWings.com's Roose spoke with Joakim Andersson about his promotion:
“Well he’s just gotta be a guy who gets some pucks back, gotta be a guy who wins faceoffs and plays well in detail and the rest will look after itself,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Just play and do what he does.”
Playing on a line with two wingers who are playing extremely well right now should give a boost to any centerman, Andersson said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun with two great players,” he said. “I haven’t played with Mule much but Nyquist I’ve been playing with him before and it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re missing some top centermen, so it’s an opportunity for me and a couple of other players to get some of those minutes that they usually get.”
Since returning from a concussion last week, Franzen produced three goals and five points in road wins at Montreal and Ottawa. Though he missed 27 games, Franzen is still fifth in team scoring with 12 goals and 28 points in 33 games. As for Nyquist, since mid-January, the 24-year-old Swede has collected at least a point in 11 of the past 13 games, producing 10 goals and 18 points and a plus-7 rating during that span.
As for Andersson joining his line, Nyquist believes the transition from fourth line center to the No. 1 hole will be a smooth one.
“He’s such a good player, such a complete player, I don’t think that’ll be too hard for him,” Nyquist said. “He was first line in Grand Rapids pretty much all his time down there. Obviously, he’s known as a very (good) defensive center but he can really make plays, he’s smart, he’s got a good shot. I think he’ll fit right in.”
Andersson, who has seven goals and 13 points in 54 games, hopes the switch will breathe some life into his game.
“Hopefully I can start to produce too with them,” Andersson said. “It’s been awhile since I’ve put up some points. … Playing with those guys will give me an opportunity to do that.
Update #6: MLive's Khan spoke with the Wings regarding facing Brodeur:
“When you look at the size of the goaltenders today and the hip injuries because of the butterfly, I don’t know if a guy can be as good as long as he’s been,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously, the style New Jersey has played and his ability to play the puck has helped him but he’s flat out been a star for a long, long time. When you’ve been this long with one team and you can retire with that team, you’ve hit it out of the park.”
“So much respect for a guy like that, what he’s done for the game of hockey,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “He’s one of those guys you’ll back on your career and say ‘I played against him.’ It’s been fun, I hope he continues because he’s still got some left in the tank.”
Brodeur is 9-9-1 vs. the Red Wings in the regular season.
“The career he’s had the way he’s played in the big games is extremely impressive,” Detroit’s Daniel Alfredsson said. “I never played with him, met him a few times, what you can tell is he loves the game. He made the goaltending position a lot more interesting by the way he plays, reading the puck, reading the play, not trying to make the same saves all the time. He’s extremely smart that way.”
Brodeur is perhaps the best puck-handling goaltender of all-time.
“He’s probably the guy responsible for the trapezoid (the no-touch zone for goalies behind the net) because he was so effective playing the puck,” Alfredsson said. “Every time you play New Jersey the coach would tell you 20 times try to dump the puck so he can’t get it, but he was so agile on his skates that he would usually get there anyway.”
Update #7: NJ.com's A.J. Perez adds more Wings thoughts about Brodeur:
"I grew up watching Marty play," said Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. "I grew up a huge Rangers fans, so I love how Mike Richter and Marty competed. They battled to stop every single puck. They never gave up and I try to do the same thing."
Brodeur led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and five final appearances altogether, the last coming two seasons ago when New Jersey fell to the Los Angeles Kings.
At 41, Brodeur has played more than 200 games more than Patrick Roy -- a goalie Brodeur has also eclipsed in most categories when it comes to the record books. Brodeur has slowed in recent years as injuries and maybe age have caused his save percentage to drop in four of the last five seasons.
"I don't know what he was like 10 years ago, but he was 10 years younger," said Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who coached an Anaheim Ducks team that fell to the Devils in the 2003 final. "Father time catches up to us all."
Babcock not only has coached against Brodeur and the Devils for years, but he also coached Brodeur in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Babcock made the decision to bench Brodeur in favor of Roberto Luongo midway through the tournament; Canada eventually won gold.
"Classy," "Babcock said when asked how Brodeur handled the goalie change in Vancouver. "Everybody wants to play because they're proud, resilient and think they can get the job done. They don't want it to happen. Good pros make sure it's about the team. In the end it's about winning and he got a gold medal."
Update #8: The Wings posted a game-day preview video...
MLive's Anssr Khan had a chitchat with Damien Brunner...
"Playing for the Red Wings for me was just unreal,” Brunner said. “The dressing room is great, great guys around you. I miss Royal Oak, the area where I lived and the guys who were there with me, like Abby (Justin Abdelkader) and Smitty (Brendan Smith) and Kuba (Jakub Kindl), and the road trips, movie time with Pasha (Pavel Datsyuk). Also Joe Louis Arena -- it’s been a while since I’ve been there, so the second game this week is in that building and I’m really looking forward to that, too.”
The teams meet for the final time this season Friday in Detroit.
Brunner has nine goals, 17 points and a minus-11 rating in 42 games. He missed the past two games with a charley horse. He was a healthy scratch the first time the teams met on Dec. 6.
“After that game I started to play really well for about eight or 10 games,” Brunner said. “Then I got injured and was out again.”
As did the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere...
“It will be a fun game. A lot of faces I know,” Brunner noted. “It’s going to be a big games for us. We play them back-to-back and we’re both in the playoff race. It’s going to be four big points on the line.”
And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
Though he’s playing for a different organization, Brunner said he still feels for the Red Wings who have dealt with a season full of injuries, especially those to Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, whom he first played with in Switzerland during the NHL’s lockout in 2012.
“You never want to see that happen to any player, especially with the Olympics again with Z where I saw him and I talked to him a couple of times,” said Brunner, who played for Switzerland in the Sochi Games last month. “I felt really bad, and now I think Pavel’s knee is bad again and those are two key guys and top two centermen out. But if a team in this league can handle it it’s the Red Wings. They do a very good job and all the young guys filling in and they’ve been able to put some wins together.”
Who also noted the following:
STINGY DEFENSE: The last time the Red Wings were in New Jersey they held the Devils to a franchise-low 11 shots on goal. Detroit won that game 3-1.
Since then, the Devils have been held to less than 20 shots three times but won twice.
“If they jump up into the rush they have a really good chance, otherwise, I think they’re thinking more defensively than anything else,” Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “I think it’s going to be a tight game tonight as well.”
MLive's Brendan Savage also asked fans whether the Wings can win without Henrik Zetterberg.
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