The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/12/14 at 06:35 PM ET
Updated 4x at 2:51 AM: I was just listening to Mickey Redmond's interview with Detroit Sports 105.1's Drew Lane, and Mickey--who you will be able to hear in a moment--suggested that Columbus Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau in fact broke Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar's ribs with that unpunished and vicious cross-check that was lost in the shuffle of Comeau's 2-game suspension (it appears that Teemu Pulkkinen, possibly preferred in an either-or situation given Kirk Maltby's analysis of the David Legwand trade, will get half a dozen games to show what he can do at the NHL level):
That certainly seems to be the case given this Tweet from the Free Press's Helene St. James...
And here's Mickey speaking with Lane, discussing the Wings' awful third-period goal differential, their uphill climb in terms of making the playoffs and Comeau's shenanigans during the 4-1 loss:
The Red Wings have nine home games left. But with a 12-11-9 record at Joe Louis Arena, home ice hasn’t been as comforting as years past. But the Red Wings also need to find a way to score goals.
They’ve scored one goal in the last two games, both losses, and are beginning to show the full effects of not having Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery). Without the two stars, along with the loss of Darren Helm (concussion symptoms) and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), the Red Wings are lacking offense.
In Tuesday’s first period, the Red Wings had 18 shots on net, three power plays, yet came away with only one goal.
“We had a couple of good looks, but we have to be able to score and take advantage of those opportunities,” [Niklas] Kronwall said.
The Wings still believe that they can get the job done, but it's going to be very difficult...
“They always say these are four-pointers (in the standings), but when I look at the standings it’s always two points,” Babcock said. “We have a game (Friday against Edmonton), and we have to get back at it the next game. It’s disappointing but there’s no sense dwelling on that. As excited as they (Blue Jackets) are, the emotions are the other way for us. But it’ll be over for them in a few minutes, the same with us.”
After Friday’s game against Edmonton, the Red Wings play 10 consecutive games against teams who are currently in playoff position. Overall, they only have four games (of the 17 left) against teams out of the playoffs.
“We still believe in what we have in here, but we have to do it for 60 minutes and put ourselves in good position and stay positive,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
Again, Kulfan outlines the situation in detail, but if the Wings are to make the playoffs for the 23rd straight season, we can't see another game where Jonathan Ericsson finishes at -4 and everybody on the roster looks intimidated by their opponent.
Many of you have talked about the Wings' need to fight back in a literal sense given what Comeau did to Brendan Smith and Jurco, but the Wings have to take their game to their opponent and win to earn a measure of vengeance by the time Columbus and Detroit tangle again on the 25th.
Update: Just as I hit "submit entry"...
Update #2: In text form, from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, on Jurco...
Jurco is suffering from a rib injury that occurred in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at Columbus. According to Wings general manager Ken Holland he’ll miss 10-14 days and then be re-evaluated.
Pulkkinen leads Grand Rapids with 51 points (26 goals) in 60 games this season, taking full advantage of being the ‘go-to player’ with the departures of the likes of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Juro and Riley Sheahan.
“He’s got a very dangerous shot and he’s got a lot of confidence to shoot the puck,” said Jiri Fischer, who’s the Wings’ director of player development. “Off the rush, he’s not afraid to challenge defensemen one-on-one. He just wants to play well. He just wants to be better than the other guy.”
That wasn’t the case early on in Pulkkinen’s development, where he found himself a healthy scratch quite often with the Griffins last season.
“He didn’t take the next step after being the rookie of the year,” Fischer said. “I believe he thought it was going to be easier for him to get better. I think he snoozed a little bit. When he got called up to Grand Rapids, he didn’t earn the trust of (Griffins coach) Jeff Blashill to put him consistently in the lineup. He was basically watching in the press box for almost the entire playoffs.”
That’s when the light clicked on.
“Last year he started to work a little bit harder,” Fischer said. “He showed up in our development camp and he won the treadmill test. He showed up in great shape.”
And Weiss, etc.:
Wings general manager Ken Holland said that Stephen Weiss went back to see the doctor who performed his sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia and learned that the pain was from scar tissue and was normal. They hope to get more news in 7-10 days.
Jimmy Howard (flu) and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) are expected at practice Thursday.
Holland didn’t have an update on Darren Helm (concussion-like symptoms) and Daniel Cleary (knee).
Update #3: Here's the Free Press's St. James in article form:
Pulkkinen was called up from the minors Wednesday to offset the loss of Tomas Jurco, who general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press is out at least 10-14 days because of a rib injury.
Pulkkinen, 22, has 14 goals and 20 assists in 59 games this season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He's a fourth-round draft pick of Detroit's dating to 2010.
Jurco said after Tuesday's 4-1 loss at Columbus, which dropped Detroit to 29-23-13, that he was hurt on a cross-check from Blake Comeau in the second period. The Wings don't play again until Friday when they host the Edmonton Oilers, which is why Wednesday was used as a day off. Normally injured guys would still go to Joe Louis Arena for treatment, but like many institutions in southeast Michigan, the Wings declared Wednesday a snow day and told everyone to stay home.
Jurco's injury is the latest to beset a team seemingly unable to go a game without losing someone — those sidelined in sick bay already include Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson and Stephen Weiss. Weiss has been told to keep pushing through pain that's set in as he seeks to come back from sports hernia surgery, indicating a return this season is still possible. Helm has been out since last week with concussion-like symptoms, but has at least started riding a bike.
Update #3.5: From MLive's Ansar Khan:
After experiencing a setback, Stephen Weiss went to Philadelphia to see Dr. Will Myers, who performed his sports hernia surgery on Dec. 23.
“The pain he’s feeling has more to do with scar tissue and normal rehab,” Holland said. “We’re hoping in the next 7-10 days we’ll get good news.”
Holland expected to have updates on Darren Helm (concussion symptoms), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) Thursday, when the team returns to practice.
Helm has not skated since March 4, so his return isn’t imminent. He is riding the exercise bike. Gustavsson practiced on Tuesday and said doesn’t expect to be out much longer.
Update #4: This quip via DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose is...weird:
Jurco was injured during the second period of the Wings’ 4-1 loss at Columbus when he was deliberately cross-checked in the midsection by Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau. Jurco did not play the third period of Tuesday’s game at Nationwide Arena.
On Wednesday, the league's department of player safety levied a two-game suspension on Comeau for his first-period illegal hit from behind on Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.
“He just hit me kind of hard. It was really sore,” Jurco said. “I didn’t think it would be good idea to skate around the ice, play at 50 percent. I couldn’t battle anymore for pucks, so I decided it would help team more (to sit out) than me just skating around and not doing anything. It’s been fun. I was here (Grand Rapids) last year, I got to know the guys and the coaches, what the game is, what it’s all about. It’s been great time. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Jurco joins a growing list of injured Red Wings that includes forwards Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Darren Helm (upper body), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Stephen Weiss (groin) and goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) whose status is day to day. Captain Henrik Zetterberg (back), center Joakim Andersson (broken foot) and forward Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) are out.
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