Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Islanders game-day updates: Nyquist returns, Kindl still sits, Weiss’s surgery successful

Updated 15x at 2:27 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to keep the good times rolling as a team that snapped a six-game losing streak can extend its winning streak to three games against the New York Islanders this evening (7:30 PM, FSD Plus/MSG Plus/1270 AM).

MLive's Ansar Khan reported both lineup notes and reported that Detroit Power and Lighting's up to its usual tricks:

Khan continued...

Based on how they're skating, almost in the dark here, looks like Helm and Abdelkader are still out and Nyquist is in.

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These look to be the lines: Nyquist-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi, Jurco-Sheahan-Alfredsson, Miller-Andersson-Tatar, Cleary-Glendening-Eaves.

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Looks like Samuelsson and Tootoo will be healthy scratches.

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Guatavsson is first goalie off the ice, so he'll be starting tonight.

As did DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

Power outage in downtown Detroit has affected the #RedWings and @NYIslanders at Joe Louis Arena. Waiting to see if teams skate this morning.

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#RedWings practicing in JLA brown out in downtown Detroit. http://pic.twitter.com/TkNvGOFFZk

The Free Press's George Sipple...

Wings are practicing at half powered Joe Louis Arena.

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Dimly lit practice http://pic.twitter.com/lo3dlhBhJu

And Newsday's Mark Hermann:

Power outage at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit today. Not sure about morning skate

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They tell me there is half power in arena. Employees being cautioned not to use elevatorss
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Media, visitors have to wait at security entrance.

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Sounds like they will be skating

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Most Red Wings skating at one end of rink, where there are lights on. A few guys working on passing at other end

Tada! Eventually. Per Khan...

All the lights are back on at the Joe now.

And Hermann:

Looks like power is back on. Good to go in Detroit

The Free Press's Helene St. James also issued injury news:

#RedWings F Stephen Weiss core muscle surgery for sports hernia went well, expected back after Olympics.

Also, from Fox Sports Detroit...

Red Wings fans wish to give you a long, long trip as a present, Mikael...

My father always called them "dink hats." He said: "It's not a knit cap, it's a dink hat, because when you wear it, you look like a dink" (I still don't know what a dink was as defined by my father, but it was bad to be a dink.

Yahoo Sports' Ryan Lambert's "What We Learned" comes from Dink Hat Land. I'm not even quoting it because Ryan Lambert is an idiot. Let's all be shocked that he suggests that the absences of eight regulars yielding the Wings struggling but the absence of a slightly fewer number of Penguins yielding no issues for Pittsburgh proving that the Red Wings are--for the first time ever, Lambert purports to reveal--"not very good."

Because, you know, Lambert's never hated the Red Wings with the burning passion of a thousand suns, nor has he ever suggested that the Wings or their fans "suck."

Not dinky at all, part 1: RedWingsCentral's latest prospect report focuses on Alexei Marchenko's pleasantly surprising North American pro debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins, though there's much more in the report...

Playing in all 29 of the Griffins’ games, Marchenko not only has a sparkling plus-15 rating, he’s also among their top defense scorers with two goals and 14 assists for 16 points.

“He’s done an outstanding job all season,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “He’s super smart, he moves the puck well, he doesn’t get into trouble, and defensively, he’s as safe as anybody out there. He’s just done a fantastic job.”

...

The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder isn’t a bruising physical player, he doesn’t have a booming slap shot, and he doesn’t look like a naturally-gifted skater at first glance. But the bottom line is he’s a mobile, puck-moving defenseman who is a rock in his own zone.

“He’s a deceptively good skater,” Fischer said. “He doesn’t look like the most explosive guy on the ice but he never gets beat and he always plays good angles. He can really move the puck out of the zone by making a great first pass or skating it out to the blue line and making the first pass.”

Again, the report continues, and it's a must-read as usual...

Not dinky at all, part 2: MLive's Jessica Webster offers dinner suggestions for those of you spending New Year's Eve in Ann Arbor, and this is just cool:

1. Grange Kitchen & Bar (118 W. Liberty)
Canadians love poutine, eh? Grange Kitchen & Bar is famous for its duck confit poutine, and chef Brandon Johns plans to have a large supply of it on hand for the restaurant's New Year's Eve and New Year's Day menus.

"We've got a special prix fixe New Year's Eve dinner in the dining room," said Johns. "Then starting at 11 p.m., we'll be serving up a lot of Canadiany food in the bar upstairs. We'll have peameal bacon, poutine, maybe even some octopus in some form as a nod to the Red Wings."

Johns says they'll keep the bar open late on New Year's Eve, then reopened on New Year's Day from 3 to 9 p.m. for the post game crowd.

"On New Year's Day, we'll have a smaller menu, but with some of the same items. Definitely the poutine," said Johns. "And maybe some French Canadian meat pies."

Reservations for the New Year's Eve prix fixe dinner and for New Year's Day can be made by calling 734-995-2017.

MLive's Khan issued post-practice player personnel notes...

Nyquist confirms he is back tonight after missing three games with groin issue.

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Looks like Kindl will be healthy scratch on defense for second game in a row since he's the only D-man still on the ice.

As did Sipple:

Babcock said Nyquist is in, Tootoo is out tonight vs. Islanders.

Update: Ho ho ho, fa ra ra!

Newsday's Hermann also offered a telling set of quotes from Babcock:

Wings coach Babcock on Isles: 'no different from us, a grp that hasn't gotten traction. They had a number of key injuries'

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Babcock: 'It's hard to get traction in this league when you don't have your players'

The Lights Are On, etc. etc.

Update #1.5: Escuse, Pavel Datsyuk?

Hope to see you at the game tomorrow. We are going to have a singer special guest in the stands. Guess who?

And the Wings' Twitter account confimed the lineup news, eventually, anyway:

UPDATE: Gustav Nyquist said he WILL return tonight against New York #RedWings

Via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted Babcock's game-day presser, too:


Update #2: From Khan...

It looks like Wings will reassign Tootoo to Grand Rapids today.

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Ken Holland confirms Tootoo has been assigned to Grand Rapids.

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Holland said Weiss' surgery today for a sports hernia went well. Out 6-8 weeks but they won't bring him back before OLY break.

And Sipple:

Jimmy Howard planned to wear a special Santa goalie mask tonight. He's not sure when he'll wear it.

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Asked if Jimmy Howard has a special Winter Classic mask being creatred, he said: "We'll see."

When Ray Bishop posted pictures of Howard's Christmas mask, he also revealed that he's got Howard's Winter Classic mask to work on this week:

Look what just arrived today @Bishop Designs... "Howie's" Winter Classic mask... It's gonna be a LONG few days before Christmas this year!...

Update #3: Yay? Per the Wings:

UPDATE: Stephen Weiss has undergone successful surgery on a sports hernia; he is expected back after the Olympic Break #RedWings

In the "reminders" department, MLive's Eric Lacy re-posted the Hockeytown Winter Festival's schedule...

Friday
3:30 p.m. - Michigan State vs. Michigan Tech
7 p.m. - Western Michigan vs. Michigan

Saturday
3:30 p.m. - Consolation Game
7 p.m. - Championship Game

Sunday
Ontario Hockey League Doubleheader

1:30 p.m. - Windsor Spitfires vs. Saginaw Spirit
5 p.m. - London Knights vs. Plymouth Whalers

Dec. 30
American Hockey League

5 p.m. - Toronto Marlies vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

Dec. 31
Maple Leafs vs Red Wings Alumni Showdown

1 p.m. - Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni (first game)
3:30 p.m. - Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni (second game, different teams)

Jan. 1
NHL Winter Classic

1 p.m. - Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs (game to be broadcast on NBC)

And 97.1 the Ticket posted their "We're at the Hockeytown Winter Festival" dates.

Also, per DetroitRedWings.com's Roose...

#RedWings Ken Holland said Franzen definitely will not play until after Saturday. Hopes Abdelkader and Helm will play Saturday in FLA.

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Surgery for #RedWings Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) was successful in Philly. Holland said Weiss has a "significant" tear in a core muscle.

And Khan:

Franzen has skated a little bit on his own the past couple days but won't be ready for Saturday's game because he needs a couple practices.

Update #4: I happen to think that the Wings need another top-pair defenseman, but ESPN's Craig Custance's "Holiday Gifts" insider-only blog entry suggests that the Wings need another "gift":

Detroit Red Wings: A pure finisher or sniper. This forward group has a good mix of depth, experience and youth and yet it still goes long stretches without scoring goals. It’s time for a blockbuster to liven things up. We’d make a phone call to Craig MacTavish and offer him whatever he wanted for Nail Yakupov, as long as the package didn’t include four names -- Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser. There are intriguing names in the Detroit system and on the current roster that might convince MacTavish not to hang up the phone. If he declines, than I’m sending Ken Holland a DeLorean to go back and not sign Stephen Weiss.

Uh, no...

Update #5: Sportsnet's Ryan Dixon posited a recap of Episode 2 of HBO's 24/7 series...

The second episode of 24/7 taught us a few things, one of them being that Mike Babcock can, in fact, lose his cool.

Leaning heavily on the coach speak he’s got a great handle on, Babcock kept his chin up and implored his Detroit Red Wings players to do the same despite the team’s struggles early in the show. More than once he referenced body language, barking at players not to hang their heads as they exited the ice after a bad period or game.

But as Detroit was getting its lunch fed to it by the Anaheim Ducks right in its own rink, Babcock snapped on the camera crew that was setting up for an intimate intermission shot.

“Get the f—k out of here,” he said to the people who’ve been chronicling the Wings’ ills from close range.

My problem with the series is the following:

From the Detroit perspective, Babcock was certainly the most dominant personality, though we did get a nice candid moment from defenceman Brendan Smith early on. He and teammate Justin Abdelkader were driving to a game versus the Penguins, and Smith was relaying the fact he’d been asked if he’d rather face Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. He basically laughed and said he knew it was going to be a long night either way, offering an honest look inside the mind of a good hockey player who knows how hard it is to stop really, really good hockey players

For the record, CBS Sports' Chris Peters posted a preliminary Winter Classic forecast...

As with any outdoor hockey game, weather is going to be a factor and it's something that is always worth closely monitoring when it comes to the NHL Winter Classic. With 10 days to go, early forecasts are starting to materialize for Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 1.

According to Weather.com's 10-day forecast, Ann Arbor is expecting a high of 19 degrees, with a low of 11 on Jan. 1. The forecast also projects a partly cloudy day with a 10 percent chance of snow during the day. So, in other words, just about perfect for outdoor hockey.

With a 1 p.m. ET start time between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, some cloud cover would be good for the ice and for TV viewers hoping to avoid a glare. It also obviously keeps the temperature down. There are still likely to be complications with the ice, as they can't control everything, but these conditions sure seem to be favorable.

Weather comes into play every year, of course. There's the issues with the ice, but the weather also becomes part of the atmosphere and helps set the stage. You can only do so much about Mother Nature and forecasts this far are out often can and probably will change dramatically. If it does somehow hold up, however, it could be a great setting at the Big House.

And Newsday's Hermann revealed that the Wings will see an one-time on-paper teammate tending the opposition's net tonight:

Nabokov will start again. McDonald back in lineup. Ness too

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Boulton, Carkner, Regin are out

Update #5.5: Per Roose:

Just got a glimpse of the #AlumniShowdown rosters of those actually skating. #RedWings have 45 players, while #MapleLeafs list 53 guys.

Update #6: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan filed a game-day article focusing on the Wings' "Kid Line"...

The only change coach Mike Babcock will make for Monday night’s game against the New York Islanders is bringing back forward Gustav Nyquist (groin). The Red Wings sent forward Jordin Tootoo back to Grand Rapids to get Nyquist back in the lineup.

“Those guys (recent callups) played good, so guess what they get to do,” Babcock said.

Forwards Tomas Jurco (one goal, one assist), Riley Sheahan (two assists) and Luke Glendening (four hits in 17 minutes, 30 seconds) were among the Red Wings’ best players in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout victory in Toronto.

Nyquist has missed the last three games and is eager to return to the lineup.

“I’ve had a few good skates here and I feel good,” Nyquist said. “The heart rate feels good, and it’ll be good to play again.”
...

Defenseman Jakub Kindl is a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game.

“We just want him to compete defensively and be good defensively, don’t let people get behind him,” Babcock said.

Update #7: MLive's Ansar Khan took note of Nyquist's return (Khan says that he'll play with Datsyuk and Bertuzzi) and offered updates regarding the rest of the Wings' injury issues...

General manager Ken Holland said forward Justin Abdelkader has been cleared to play after missing four games with a concussion but he isn’t playing tonight.

“We’ll give him a few more days; he’s definitely in Saturday in Florida,” Holland said.

Johan Franzen (concussion) has skated a little bit on his own the past two days but isn’t likely to play Saturday.

“Appears to me he’d be questionable for Saturday, based upon he needs 2-3 practices to feel good,” Holland said.

Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) continues to practice and make progress.

“Z appears to be doing good, but we’ll make that decision on Friday (whether he plays),” Holland said.

And here's what Holland had to say about Weiss's surgery:

“The doctors are calling it a core muscle injury,” Holland said. “The doctor said 6-8 weeks, but with the Olympic break (from Feb. 9-25) we’re shooting for him to play right after the Olympics.’’He added, “I guess he had a fairly significant tear but surgery went well. We had other players in the past here have that same surgery (Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom). They seemed to come back in good shape.”

Update #8: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Mike Babcock regarding the team's new-found depth up front in the forms of Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening...

"Well it’s a huge deal for me,” Babcock said. “I didn’t know Riley Sheahan could play in the league and now I know he can and he can be good in the league. So what it does is when you have bumps and bruises, you can let guys get better. You don’t have to rush people back in the lineup. I thought those guys were real good and some of our guys that have been out, when they come back in they’ve got to be real good to keep their spot.”

He spoke with the Wings about the power outage...

The Wings were literally kept in the dark for part of Monday’s morning skate, as a power failure left Joe Louis Arena without full lighting power.

“We just changed some things up,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “We tried to go at the one end as much as possible. It’s hard for the goalies with the pucks coming in and they don’t see it clearly, so where the light was the brightest, that was the end we were trying to shoot at all morning.”

He took note of Weiss's surgery...

“The doctors are calling it a core muscle injury,” Detroit GM Ken Holland said. “The doctor said 6-8 weeks, but with the Olympic break we’re shooting for him to play right after the Olympics.”

And he offered good news from Gustav Nyquist:

"I’ve had a few good skates here over the last few days to try and get back to game pace,” Nyquist said. “Everything feels good.”

The Free Press's George Sipple's game-day report focuses on the Wings' roster crunch...

While the Wings have several players still out with injuries, some of them have begun skating. In turn, those players have reoccupied their locker stalls. That left rookie forward Riley Sheahan as the odd man out after today’s morning skate; Sheahan didn’t have a stall. He instead was given chair to use while taking off his equipment.

“I got more leg room,” Sheahan joked.

Sheahan said he’s just “going with the flow” and isn’t thinking much about how many more games he’ll play with the Wings before possibly going back to the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL).

Wings coach Mike Babcock said the good thing to come out of the team’s spate of injuries is knowing that there are some good, young players knocking on the door.

“Everybody that’s playing in our lineup took someone’s job before,” Babcock said. “They don’t remember that. But they did. You remember when somebody takes your job.”

And Sipple spoke with Howard about his "holiday" mask:

Howard said the idea came from Ray Bishop of Bishop Custom Designs. The plan was for Howard then to put the game-worn mask up for auction to raise money for Toys for Tots.

“I don’t know if I’m going to hold off till next year with it or wear it when I come back after Christmas,” Howard said.

Update #9: Newsday's Hermann posted a few more Tweets from the Islanders' morning skate...

Colin McDonald, finally back in lineup: `Makes you realize how badly you want to be here'

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[Islanders coach Jack] Capuano on lineup: "Listen, we’re in last place so no one should be arguing about who’s in and who’s out at this particular time."

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Might as well play Nabokov one more time with break coming up. Capuano didn't blame him for goals off faceoffs Saturday. `He's played well'

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If there is a tinge of good news in Isles land, it's that Vanek feeling more comfortable on and off ice. Big goal vs NYR, two vs Ducks

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Vanek likes LI. `It's sure different from Buffalo, with the traffic.' But he likes that it's so close to NYC and so different.

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Saw in Newsday's This Date in Sports that 35 years ago today Trots had 5 goals and 3 assists. NHL is a different game now.

(Trots = Brian Trottier)

NewYorkIslanders.com's Eric Hornick posted a morning skate update...

Lineup Notes/Changes: Colin McDonald draws back into the lineup, replacing Eric Boulton on the fourth line. Aaron Ness is back on the blueline, while Matt Carkner comes out of the lineup.

Nabokov:  Evgeni Nabokov makes his fifth straight start for the Islanders tonight.    

Homecoming for Martin: Monday’s game is a pseudo-homecoming for Matt Martin, who was born just across the river in Windsor, Ont. Martin has 12 family and friends making the trip to Detroit to watch him play. Originally a Red Wings household, the Martins have traded in their red and white for blue and orange.

Martin:  I’ve only played here once before. I have a lot of family and friends coming to the game tonight. This is the team we grew up watching, but no one in my family is a Red Wings fan anymore.  It’s always fun to be here, but it’ll be even more fun with the two points.

Injured Wings: Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm and Justin Abedelkader are all listed on the Red Wings IR. Gustav Nyquist is reportedly returning for the Red Wings tonight.

They Said It: It’s good to have Colin back. He’s an energy guy, we played all last season together, so me him and Casey know each other pretty well. Hopefully tonight we can provide some energy and momentum for the team.– Matt Martin on the return of Colin McDonald

From the Coach: The main thing was faceoffs and our intensity level and making sure that we won the line of scrimmage. It’s a battle, and we haven’t done that in a long time and it costs us the hockey game. You have to make sure that on those 50/50 pucks you are tying guys up. That was crucial.

And NHL.com took note of the machinations and offered a prospective set of lines for both teams in its "At the Rink" blog:

Secondary scoring has been an issue during the Islanders' prolonged slump -- the top line of Thomas Vanek, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo has accounted for 33 of New York's 93 goals -- but the second line is showing signs of life. Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey are heating up. Nielsen and Grabner each have three points (two goals, one assist) in their past three games, and Bailey has two assists in his past two.

"They're no different from us," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the Islanders. "They're a group that hasn't gotten traction. They had a number of key injuries. It's hard to get traction in this League when you don't have your players."

Jonas Gustavsson, 2-2-1 with a 3.12 goals-against average in five starts since Howard went down, will be in goal for the Red Wings. The Islanders counter with Evgeni Nabokov, who is 1-1-2 with a 2.44 GAA since he returned from a groin injury that sidelined him 11 games.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano instituted a few lineup adjustments for the game Monday. Forward Colin McDonald is back on the fourth line and defenseman Aaron Ness is on the third pairing with Brian Strait.

Forwards Eric Boulton and Peter Regin and defenseman Matt Carkner are healthy scratches.

"Listen, we're in last place so no one should be arguing about who's in and who's out at this particular time," Capuano said.

Here are the Islanders' and Red Wings' projected lineups:

RED WINGS

Gustav Nyquist - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi

Tomas Jurco - Riley Sheahan - Daniel Alfredsson

Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Tomas Tatar

Daniel Cleary - Luke Glendening - Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

    Brendan Smith - Brian Lashoff

Jonas Gustavsson

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Mikael Samuelsson, Jakub Kindl

Injured: Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc), Johan Franzen (concussion), Darren Helm (shoulder), Justin Abdelkader (concussion), Jimmy Howard (sprained MCL), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia surgery)

Note: Right wing Jordin Tootoo was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

ISLANDERS

Thomas Vanek – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner – Frans Nielsen – Josh Bailey

Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome – Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Colin McDonald

Andrew MacDonald – Thomas Hickey

Calvin de Haan – Travis Hamonic

Aaron Ness – Brian Strait

Evgeni Nabokov

Kevin Poulin

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Peter Regin

Injured: Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion), Radek Martinek (back)

MLive's Khan also posted a set of Wings lines in a second game-day report which notes that the Wings are quite happy with the ways in which they've rebounded from an 0-4-and-2 stretch:

The Detroit Red Wings skated in a dimly lit Joe Louis Arena Monday morning due to a power outage.

“You kind of felt like when you were younger,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We always used to go skate on the 23rd at night, not a lot of light out, outdoors, the day before Christmas (in Sweden).”

All of the lights came back on after they left the ice, so there will be no issues for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit), as the Red Wings seek their third consecutive win and the chance to head into the three-day Christmas break feeling good. The Red Wings (17-12-9) are coming off wins over Calgary (3-2 in overtime Thursday) and Toronto (5-4 in a shootout Saturday).

"We’re playing better hockey every game,” forward Drew Miller said. “A lot of positives we can build off each game. I don’t think it’s been pretty by any means but we’re finding a way to win and gaining that confidence we had in the past.”

These teams have split two games this season on Long Island; the Islanders won 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 16 and the Red Wings prevailed 5-0 on Nov. 29.

“We found a way to win games in overtime and in a shootout instead of dropping a point, which is a positive thing,” Babcock said. “I thought we really worked hard against Calgary. It took us a lot to score; we don’t score easy. I thought we worked really well in the first and the third against Toronto, had a tough second period. We really have to compete hard with the group we’re playing.”

Update #10: DetroitRedWings.com's Roose spoke with Ken Holland about Stephen Weiss's surgery...

Stephen Weiss’s surgery to repair a damaged core muscle was a success Monday morning. The surgery was done in Philadelphia by Dr. William C. Meyers, who has performed similar surgeries on former Red Wings.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland suspects that Weiss will be out of the lineup through the Winter Olympic break in mid-February.

“The doctors are calling it a core muscle injury,” Holland said. “The doctor said 6-8 weeks but with the Olympic break we’re shooting for him to play right after the Olympics. I guess he had a fairly significant tear but surgery went well.”

Weiss has struggled with the injury for much of the season. The first diagnosis was a groin injury, but earlier this morning it was determined he had a sports hernia. According to Dr. Meyer’s web site, sports hernias are musculoskeletal injuries involving attachments and/or soft tissue support structures of the pubis that are career ending or threaten quality-of-life.

“We had other players in the past here have that same surgery; Draper had it, Holmstrom,” Holland said. “They seemed to always come back in good shape.”

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness filed a game-day entry:

Gustav Nyquist returns to the lineup after missing three games with a groin injury.

“I’ve had a few good skates over the last few days to try and get back to game pace,” Nyquist said. “Everything feels good.”

Nyquist will play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

“It’s different being on a bike or in the weight room for sure,” Nyquist said. “You could kind of feel it at first because I was off the ice for four days. You’d lose your breath pretty quick. But again, I’ve had a few good skates here. I feel good right now. It’s going to be fun to play tonight.”

Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal tonight.

Jakub Kindl and Mikael Samuelsson will be healthy scratches.

With Nyquist returning the Wings have re-assigned Jordin Tootoo back to Grand Rapids.

Tootoo played in just two games after being recalled last week, recording his first point of the season averaging roughly six minutes of ice time per game.

Update #11: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Ken Kal's Game-Day Preview:

Update #12: The Wings' Game Day Blog offers a historical note...

On This Day in Red Wings' History...On December 23, 1983

Steve Yzerman and John Ogrodnick both record hat tricks as the Red Wings trounce the Maple Leafs 9-2.

And a set of morning skate notes:

Michigan First Credit Union Morning Skate Update

Gustav Nyquist will return to the lineup after missing a few games with a groin injury. Nyquist will replace Jordin Tootoo, who will be a healthy scratch.

Darren Helm (Shoulder) is eying a return for Saturday against Florida.

Justin Abdelkader (Head) hopes to return Saturday, as well.

Johan Franzen (Head) will definitely not be back until after Saturday.

Jonas Gustavsson will get the nod in goal.

Jakub Kindl will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

Ken Holland said Stephen Weiss had a "significant tear" in his core muscle. He had successful surgery in Philly and is expected back after the Olympic Break in February.

 

Update #13: Joy of joys, power rankings! ESPN's Pierre LeBrun posited a list thereof...

16. Detroit [record]17-12-9 Last Week: 16 After a six-game winless streak (0-4-2), the Red Wings got two big wins -- over Calgary and Toronto.

As did CBS Sports' Brian Stubits:

16 [Red Wings, last week 17]:  The Red Wings haven't won in regulation in nine games but they can't really care right now as back-to-back wins ended a six-game losing streak.

 

Update #14: DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson asked Detroit's players about the Joe's partial power outage this morning...

“It’s been interesting for sure,” Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said. “I didn’t know if we’re even going to get to practice at the start but I guess we had to play half ice because half of the rink was lit up. But it’s been alright, I mean it’s just a little adversity but it’s cool to have a change sometimes maybe it will help us out somehow.”

The temporary power outage occurred at 9 a.m. and affected much of The Joe’s lighting, as well as the surrounding area’s stoplights in downtown Detroit, but was restored two hours later as the Wings were wrapping up practice. Although the rink was a little bit darker than normal, the Red Wings adjusted to the issue by simply conducting most of their drills on the brighter of the two ends.

“We just changed some things up, we tried to go at the one end as much as possible,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s hard for the goalies with the pucks coming in they don’t see it clear so where the light was the brightest, that end we were trying to shoot at all morning.”

Practicing in the dim lighting did rekindle some fond memories for the defenseman, though.

“You kind of felt like when you were younger; we always used to go skate on the 24th at night, not a lot of light out, outdoors, the day before Christmas (in Sweden),” Kronwall said.

The darkened arena may have made it more difficult to see and handle the puck, but Smith thought that added challenge forced him to concentrate more during practice.

“It was a little dim but I think you just had to focus down on making better plays and passing a little more efficiently,” Smith said. “But it didn’t affect us I think that’s the thing about the team here, everybody is professional and they know when to maybe buckle down a little bit more and it was alright.”

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins starter Tom McCollum about his preparations for the Griffins-Marlies outdoor tilt on December 30th:

“I know from watching the games, they talk a lot about the glare and, obviously, the weather conditions will weigh on your mind a bit, too,” he said.

Once the game begins, however, he expects to settle in.

“There may be a little awe that, ‘Hey, we’re playing hockey in the middle of a baseball field,’" he said, "but once we get going and the guys lay a few bodies on and get a few shots on, it will just be like any other hockey game where we’re out there battling for the two points.”

The Griffins play at Milwaukee on Thursday and at Rockford on Friday and won’t get a chance to practice outdoors until Sunday, when a light skate is planned the night before the game.

They also have a morning skate planned before the 5 p.m. puck drop on Dec. 30.

“That doesn’t really bother me,” McCollum said. “We could practice on a cold, sunny day and, with our weather, you could play in a snow storm. We’ll both have the same conditions, whatever they are.”


Update #15: Here are Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:

Get into their Defense - The Islanders' D doesn't have a lot of size, but they are good on the transition. The Wings need to get to them and be physical. Win the battles against them in their zone.

Spend Time in the O-Zone - The more time Detroit spends in New York's end, the more opportunities the Wings will have to score.
Play Well in Front of your own Net - Keep turnovers to a minimum and keep the Islanders to the outside.

Get a Win - A win is the perfect present going into the break. Happy Holidays everyone!

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

SYF's avatar

Thanks for the shots of energy, Tootoo.  Hoping we’ll see you sooner than later in 2014.

Good having Nike back to give us another scoring option.  I’m hoping to see a Jurco-Sheahan-Nyquist line for once in the game.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 12/23/13 at 12:58 PM ET

Avatar

Tootoo already sent down yet Cleary Danny Boy Buckets is still on this team. Unfu__ing believable.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 12/23/13 at 01:02 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Looking for to a puck-possession-game… hoping I won’t be disappointed.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Sheahan. I haven’t seen any Griffin’s games, so I’ve relied on what I’ve read to make my opinions and the talk about Sheahan wasn’t as glowing as his play seemed to warrant.

With Weiss gone for so long there’s room for a GR-center to play for us and I wouldn’t be disappointed seeing Sheahan getting 3rd or 4th-line minutes with us. Usually a call-up has more problems playing 200’ but Sheahan hasn’t been slow coming back.

I consider this year-2 in a 3-year-rebuilding and I’m pleasantly surprised by how competitive we are looking.

Here’s hoping Zetterberg and Datsyuk get back on the same line for New Year’s Day!

Posted by alwaysaurie on 12/23/13 at 01:55 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Jurco-Sheahan-Alfredsson

Ooooo. Me likey. That could be a very potent line.

With some guidance, I could see Sheahan becoming a Homer clone.

...Mikael Samuelsson & Johan Franzen, very happy birthdays!

For his present, Sammy is getting a special foam cushion to put on his nearly permanent spot in the press box. Enjoy, Sammy.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/23/13 at 02:04 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I’m disappointed that Kindl is sitting again instead of Quincey.

Other than that, welcome back Nyquist! Help us pot a couple tonight, will ya?!

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/23/13 at 02:09 PM ET

Avatar

There’s no reason to sit Kindl for long. Quincey undeniably hurts the team more than he helps it.

I hope Babcock is telling Kindl to use this as a chance to watch the game from afar and think about how to get back to being a solid all around player, as opposed to walking up and saying “Hey, you’re scratched tonight”.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 12/23/13 at 02:22 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

It worked well for Smith to sit and watch. Hopefully it will help Kindl too.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/23/13 at 06:41 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.