Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Lightning set-up and overnight report: banged-up Wings hope to get back on track vs. Bolts

Ahead of tonight's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Sun Sports/NHL Network U.S. with the cursory Center Ice/GCL blackout/97.1 FM), I have one piece of advice for Red Wings fans concerned about Henrik Zetterberg's status as on the LTIR until December 28th, Jimmy Howard's "dinged up" knee, Stephen Weiss's groin (okay, there aren't many of you), Danny DeKeyser's shoulder (the Free Press's Helene St. James first issued a freaky-out-headline-update on Howard and then revealed that DeKeyser should be back on the 28th) or any other of the Red Wings' asundry injury issues:

Please stop playing "doctor" unless you're with your significant other, because we're not going to find out what's wrong with players or how long they're going to be out until we find out.

As I have learned, there's another very good reason to not try to make expert guesses (educated ones are human-nature understandable, but some of us seem to believe we are orthopedic specialists all of a sudden here).

We're not going to find out about players' injury statuses in all that much detail because player health is privileged information, and it is entirely possible, if not probable, that the Red Wings, their players, their coach and their GM may very well lie to the media and to us about their players' statuses to protect their interests and/or competitive advantages.

It's not personal, and everybody does it, but lying about injuries in sports is, at times, a survival measure.

Our jittery Wings are coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and a 20-minute practice on Wednesday, which preceded most of the injury shenanigans, so the long story long is that we aren't going to find out much more about their injuries until today anyway (that, and for whatever reason, Weiss wants to wait to return to Detroit to allow strange people to touch his abdomen...To me, strange people touching your abdomen are strange people touching your abdomen regardless of geography)...

And the Wings are going to be battling a Lightning team--an injury-depleated one(!)--that defeated the Wings 3-2 in OT on November 9th and is coming off of a 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

The Lightning's Tumblr account (editorial content on Tumblr? Seriously? No cat .gifs or porn? My mind is blown) offered quite the narrative take on the Bolts' loss...

OK, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Lightning, for the first time in quite some time, struggled on the penalty kill. They committed a couple of very costly penalties, particularly the Richard Panik five-minute boarding major, and gave one of the best power play units in the league a chance to shine. The Caps did, scoring three power play goals. The Bolts also yielded a sixth-attacker goal in the final minute, as Washington again made the Lightning pay when it had one extra skater on the ice. And for the first time all season, the Bolts didn’t win the shootout; as a result, they surrendered the extra point.

Yeah, Panik got suspended for two games. Which is good given that many Red Wings fans remember Dick Panic as the guy who got away with concussing Adam Almquist. Panik may be one of Tomas Tatar's best pals, but he's a real dick on the ice.

In nearly every other aspect of the game, however, the Lightning dominated. Coach Jon Cooper has been looking for more shots on goal. The Bolts obliged, peppering Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer with 42 shots, three shy of their season-high for shots in a game. In five-on-five play, the Lightning were the better team, by a wide margin. Interestingly, Washington came into this game having won consecutive contests in regulation for the first time all season and one of the big reasons why was their excellent defensive play. They had allowed only three total goals in those two victories and were getting compliments on how cleanly they had been breaking out of their zone. But in this game, it was the Bolts who were cleanly breaking out of their own zone and entering the Washington end with speed. The Caps, on the other hand, had numerous problems with Tampa Bay’s forecheck and back pressure, which continually forced turnovers. As a result, the majority of this game was played in the Washington defensive zone.

The Lightning also looked good on the power play, which had scored only four goals in the previous 17 games. But they netted two in this one – hopefully a sign that it will start producing on a more regular basis.

I was impressed with the Lightning’s resiliency. After Tampa Bay’s 3-0 lead was cut to 3-2 early in the second period, one might figure the Caps would build on that momentum. But instead, the Bolts snatched it right back and re-established their five-on-five dominance. When Tyler Johnson’s goal gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead with over seven minutes left in the period, the Lightning didn’t allow the Capitals any more looks – until the aforementioned boarding penalty.

That major penalty got the Caps back in the game, as they scored twice. When the kill finally ended early in the third, the Lightning had seen their lead evaporate. That was a kick to the gut. But as was the case after the second Washington goal, the Lightning got right back on the bicycle – and thoroughly outplayed the home team for the rest of the third period. In all, the Bolts outshot the Caps, 15-7, in the final frame. They retook the lead when Ondrej Palat scored with 11:24 left and managed the game well from that point on. If not for a couple of key Grubauer saves, they would have gotten another and likely put the game out of reach. But the Caps hung in there and got the game tied with the sixth attacker.

So here’s the takeaway. On most nights, the Lightning performance would have been good enough for two points. But you’ve got to tip your cap to the Washington power play and Alex Ovechkin, who tied a career high with four goals. He single-handedly saved his team tonight from a regulation loss. The Bolts will bank their single point, their fourth in the last three games, and prepare for Detroit on Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning weren't amused by their lack of fit and finish, as they told the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson...

“This is a game we should have won. We had that game ... a bunch of times we had that game and we just couldn’t close it,’’ St. Louis said. “Everybody in the building knows where the puck is going, No. 8, that’s his shot. Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job of taking it away from him.’’

Tampa Bay built an early 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes, getting power-play goals from St. Louis and Nikita Kucherov before Nate Thompson scored on a 2-on-1 rush at 11:07, 18 seconds after Kucherov scored, for the three-goal lead before the Capitals registered a shot on goal to chase starter Braden Holtby, who was replaced in net by rookie Philipp Grubauer. St. Louis’ power-play goal at 2:26 ended Tampa Bay’s scoreless drought on the road at 139 minutes, 39 seconds.

Ovechkin then scored off a one-timer from a faceoff win by Backstrom at 14:14, which came on Washington’s third shot of the game. Backstrom scored a power-play goal 6:24 into the second to make it 3-2. But Johnson found a rebound to regain a two-goal lead at 12:41 to stifle the Capitals’ momentum.

But Panik, back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the two previous games, hit Karl Alzner from behind and into the boards for the major penalty at 16:31. Ovechkin scored twice on the ensuing continuous power play — including seven seconds into the man advantage on a backdoor play coming down the left side — to tie it at 4 heading into the third period.

“I was backchecking and I tried to finish the (check), but I was a little behind and it’s a bad penalty,’’ Panik said. “I feel really bad. I put the team in a bad spot, a bad situation. I feel really bad about it. ... it can’t happen in a game, and hopefully it’s not going to happen again. I should have just taken a couple of more strides, hit him clean and then everything would be OK.’’

Even with the game tied, the Lightning remained aggressive (they outshot Washington 15-7 in the third), regained the lead on Palat’s goal at 8:36 and looked primed to get out of town with the victory.

And they told the Tampa Bay Times Damian Cristodero that they were particularly peeved with how easy they made Ovechkin's work...

"Everybody in the building knows where the puck's going," Lightning captain Marty St. Louis said. "That's his shot. Obviously, we didn't do a good job taking it away from him and when we were there we didn't block him, so he scores four pretty much from the same spot."

Asked if that was the inexperience of a young team with eight rookies showing, coach Jon Cooper said, "There's young guys, old guys, everybody is on the ice when he was scoring his goals, so I wouldn't say it's a young thing. I'd say it was a dumb thing."

The loss — finalized with a 3-2 five-round shootout in which Ovechkin was actually stopped by goaltender Ben Bishop — couldn't have been more frustrating for the Lightning (17-10-3).


"He didn't even have to work for his goals," Cooper said. "We know where he is. We know what he can do. We just didn't have a stick on him. We weren't in the lane, and that's the troubling part."

As they also told TampaBayLightning.com's Missy Zielinski...

“We threw 40-plus shots on net and scored five-plus goals, we should have been able to win a hockey game with that,” head coach Jon Cooper said.

Yet the Bolts penalty kill went a step in the wrong direction, as the Caps took advantage with three power-play goals in the second period to crawl back from a 3-0 hole that the Lightning had built 11 minutes into the contest, which carried Washington the rest of the way.

Tampa Bay has now lost six straight road games as well as six consecutive in the District.


The Lightning’s Nate Thompson added an even strength goal 18 seconds after Kucherov’s power-play tally to continue to build on their lead. J.T. Brown led a 2-on-1 into Washington’s zone, which Thompson finished for his second goal in as many games and a 3-0 lead.

“Without some of our regular guys in the lineup we can’t get too cute, we needed to generate shots and that’s what we were trying to do,” St. Louis said.

And the Associated Press:

"He didn't even have to work for his goals," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said of Ovechkin. "He didn't move on the first one, he didn't move on the last two at all. If you're going to let that guy take shots, well, this is sometimes going to happen. That's the disappointing part."

The Bolts' coverage focused on Panik's suspesnion and the awarding of the 2016 Frozen Four to the city, and the Bolts didn't practice, either, so the Tampa Tribune's Erlendsson's article about a "Crunch Line" is one of two stories that give us what I can only describe as a "flavor of the Bolts" absent personnel news...

[The] line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and St. Louis has been pumping in pucks and providing a boost to a sometimes anemic Tampa Bay offense.

Since being put together last week against Ottawa, the trio has combined for five goals and 13 points in three games, accounting for more than half of the nine goals the team scored in those games. In Tuesday’s shootout loss in Washington, the line accounted for three of the five goals.

Small in stature — Palat is the biggest of the three at 6-foot, 180 pounds — they have made up for that in other areas in the short time together.

“They may not be the biggest in size, that line, but there’s a lot of heart,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They know where to be, they know which side of the puck to be on, they use their speed and quickness to get to those areas and they have a little chemistry going.’’

All three players have high-end speed, smarts and tenacity. They have utilized those assets to their advantage to become the Lightning’s most effective line since being placed together.

“Our speed is probably our biggest asset that we have to use and rely on that heavily,’’ said Johnson, an MVP himself after winning the award in the American Hockey League last season. “It’s just playing with our speed, be in the right position at all times, and just try to battle hard.’’

And the Tampa Bay Times' Cristodero penned an article discussing Teddy Purcell's struggles...

The Lightning wing has one of the best wrist shots on the team, yet has just three goals in his past 24 games.

"It's always frustrating when you go into these little slumps," Purcell said. "You can't wait for your bounces; you have to go out and create them. Personally, that's something I put a lot of pride in myself, to go out and do that and be that go-to guy."

Purcell, 28, in the first year of a three-year, $13.5 million deal, has seven goals and 17 points in 30 games but had four goals and eight points in his first six games before cooling.

To try to get him going, coach Jon Cooper on Tuesday put Purcell on a line with C Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn. It is hoped Killorn's nose for the puck and Filppula's passing ability will create chances for Purcell to shoot. "When (Purcell) doesn't have the puck, sometimes that's when he's not involved, and he can be ineffective," Cooper said. "But when he has the puck, really good things happen on the ice."

Before offering a game preview:

Lightning vs. Red Wings

When/where: 7:30; Tampa Bay Times Forum

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM

Key stats: Lightning C Tyler Johnson entered Wednesday tied for third among league rookies with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists), and he has three goals and 10 points in his past 12 games. … RW Marty St. Louis has three goals, six points in is past three games. … Tampa Bay has lost three straight to the Red Wings at the Times Forum while being outscored 16-8. … Detroit's 22 road points (10-3-2) lead the East. … Detroit has lost eight straight OT or shootout games.

NHL.com's game preview is a balanced one...

Season series: This will be the second of five games. In the opener on Nov. 9, Teddy Purcell scored 3:51 into overtime and Ben Bishop made 25 saves to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win. Henrik Zetterberg scored both goals for the Red Wings.

Big story: Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Red Wings lineup Tuesday after missing the previous seven games with a concussion and had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Florida Panthers. Datsyuk skated on the top line between Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen, which totaled two goals and five points. Datsyuk has 13 goals and 25 points in 25 games and still leads the League with 41 takeaways.


Red Wings [team scope]: Detroit is 6-1-2 away from Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 1, but the shootout loss Tuesday was a disappointment considering the team held a 2-0 lead entering the third period. Jimmy Howard finished with 25 saves and was beaten twice in the tiebreaker, by Aleksander Barkov on nifty reach-around backhand attempt, and then by Brad Boyes. Tomas Tatar was the only scorer against Tim Thomas, who turned away Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist in the shootout. The loss was the second to the Panthers in four days, after the Red Wings dropped a 2-1 decision on Saturday. Detroit is 0-5 in shootouts this season.


Lightning [team scope]: The good news is Tampa Bay scored a season-high four goals on the road on Tuesday. The bad news is Alex Ovechkin scored four goals by himself to lead the Washington Capitals to a 6-5 shootout victory at Verizon Center. The Lightning couldn't hold leads of 3-0, 4-2 and 5-4 before losing their sixth straight road game (0-4-2) in the tiebreaker. Tampa Bay has lost the past three games that have extended to overtime after beginning the season 6-0 in overtime/shootouts. Martin St. Louis and Tyler Johnson each had a goal and two assists. Ben Bishop made 26 saves but equaled his season-high by allowing five goals in the game. Ovechkin's fourth goal came with just 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation to pull his team into a 5-5 tie.


Who's hot: Alfredsson has four goals and 10 points in the past nine games. … Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas ranks among the top 10 in the League and first in the NHL among rookies with 103 hits.

Injury report: Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (hip flexor) is probable, forwards Henrik Zetterberg (lower back), Stephen Weiss (groin) and Darren Helm (shoulder) are out and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) is on injured reserve. … Lightning defensemen Keith Aulie (upper body), Victor Hedman (lower body) and Brian Lee (knee) and forwards Ryan Malone (lower body), Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia) are out; forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body) is day-to-day.

And the AP/Stats LLC's preview yields what you'd expect:

Martin St. Louis and Tyler Johnson had a goal and two assists apiece for Tampa Bay, which is 1-2-2 over its last five. It scored one more goal Tuesday than it had combined over its previous four games. Tampa Bay scored twice on the power play after going 2 for 30 over its previous 10.

"We were looking for our power play to help us get going," St. Louis said. "We scored some early goals and that's what you want on the road. We just couldn't close it.''

Teddy Purcell scored in overtime to give the Lightning a 3-2 win over Detroit on Nov. 9, snapping a six-game losing streak in the series. Henrik Zetterberg scored twice for the Red Wings and Steven Stamkos added a goal for Tampa Bay, but both currently are out with injuries.

Ben Bishop stopped 25 shots for the Lightning in the last meeting, and he could be back in net despite a rough outing against the Capitals. He went into that contest having gone 2-2-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average over his previous five starts.

Jimmy Howard made 31 saves in the first matchup with the Lightning, who have never posted consecutive wins over the Red Wings since entering the league in 1992 and are 6-24-1 with two ties all-time in the series.

That defeat is part of a stretch for Howard during which he is 1-4-5 with a 2.81 GAA.

Gustavsson's going tonight, and while I'm not sure whether Howard's "tweaked knee" means that his "Olympic roster spot" is "further jeopardized," as the Free Press's Helene St. James suggested, it is worrisome:

Howard practiced Wednesday morning at Tampa Bay Times Forum but left early. Within a few hours, the Wings called up Petr Mrazek to have him available Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Howie tweaked a knee," general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. "He's going for tests. We don't know how serious it is. Obviously, he can't play, so we called up Mrazek."

Henrik Zetterberg, out with a herniated disc, was put on Long-Term Injured Reserve to make room for Mrazek.

Jonas Gustavsson already was tabbed to make the start against the Lightning. Howard played OK in Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss at Florida, but he's had a tough November, and this injury not only derails his attempt at regaining his footing with the Wings, it jeopardizes his shot at competing for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics.

Howard is 6-8-7 this season with a .910 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average.

I hope that he's not seriously injured for more than Team USA's sake.

Holland also spoke with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan about Howard's issue and the team's decision to place Henrik Zetterberg on the LTIR...

"We'll get some pictures and find out the extent," Holland said. "We don't know right now. He (Howard) said his knee was bothering him, he tweaked it. Let's see what the pictures show."

Coach Mike Babcock didn't seem concerned after practice Tuesday — "he got bumped," Babcock said — but Howard's discomfort continued into the afternoon, spurring the need for Mrazek.

Zetterberg must miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days retroactively, although he was likely to miss that much time regardless. The team and Zetterberg both said earlier he would be off the ice a minimum of two weeks. He hasn't yet began skating and just started some light rehabilitation. He will not be eligible to return until Dec. 28 in Florida.

"Why rush him for a game on the 22nd when we can give him another five or six days?" Holland said. "He hasn't even begun skating. This gives us some space."

And MLive's Ansar Khan reminded us all why the Wings recalled Mrazek:

Gustavsson, who has been bothered by a sore hip flexor, suffered his first regulation loss in his most recent start, 2-1 to Florida on Saturday. He is 8-1-1, with a 2.03 GAA and .930 save percentage.

You don't want to be stuck with two goalies who "can't go," and given that Zetterberg's "timeline" was never anything less than pre-at-or-around-Christmas, I'm with Holland: just get the cap space taken care of and let the players heal.

I really do wonder whether the Wings' rather obviously protective medical staff hasn't been on the same page as Mr. Stephen Weiss, because it certainly sounded like #90's been playing through an injury that he didn't feel was worth informing the training staff of as "bothersome," never mind debilitating. Weiss spoke about his injury with the Free Press's St. James...

Weiss finished Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Florida, but was so bothered that he knew he couldn’t take any more pain.

“It’s pretty sore,” Weiss said. “I’m going to get it checked out when I get back.”

Weiss missed six games in November with a pulled groin, but said, “it was good for a little bit after that. It’s been a little bit sore, nothing crazy, and then it went south here pretty quickly.

“I’m concerned, for sure. Any time when you’re not in practice and not able to skate, it’s not a good feeling. Just have to see what the tests say. Last night was no good.”

Weiss said he’s had “minor” groin pain before, “usually at the start of the season, through training camp when it’s pretty high intensity, but never at this point in the season. I’m trying to do what I can to prevent it, and it’s not really working. Maybe there’s something going on in there.”

It’s been a tough stretch for Weiss, who joined the Wings this off-season after a decade with the Panthers. He hasn’t emerged as the second-line center the Wings hired him to be, something he’s the first to admit. Now he faces the potential of an indefinitely layoff, and then the grind of a comeback.

“It’s a bad feeling,” he said. “You want to be 100% and be out there with the guys, and when you’re not, it takes a toll on you, especially when things are going the way they have.”

Who also posted a video of Weiss discussing his status...

And the lineup news as a result went like this given that Babcock told the players to scoot and get some sun after practice (again, per St. James), as MLive's Ansar Khan noted:

Weiss has gone 20 games without a goal, one short of his career-long drought in 2002-03, his rookie season. He has just four points (two goals, two assists) in 26 games.

He said he’s never experienced groin issues to this degree.

“I’ve had minor stuff, usually at the start of the season, kind of through training camp when it’s pretty high intense, but never anything at this point of the season,” Weiss said. “I don’t know why it’s happening. I’m trying to do what I can to prevent it. It’s not really working, so maybe there is something going on in there.”

Said coach Mike Babcock: “I just know it’s been affecting him, and now here we are.”

Babcock said Johan Franzen will move back to center. Beyond that, he hasn’t figured out his lines for the game against the Lightning (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

Ditto for the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

“I just know it’s been affecting him and now here we are,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Mule’s got to go back in the middle. We’ll figure out the lines tomorrow.”

Cue the cheerier news, per St. James on video...

Kulfan via his notebook...

…Darren Helm (shoulder) skated on his own briefly but there remains time-frame on a possible return to the lineup.

…The Red Wings had an early practice Wednesday, giving them ample time to enjoy the sun the rest of the day.

"They'll get more vitamin D (from the sun) than from any bottle," Babcock said. "This is the way we planned it. We knew we'd have a slow start in practice, but they got energized as it went on."

Kulfan, who noted that the ever-grumpy Johan Franzen was forced to speak with the media about his successes of late, and doing so made Franzen even more grumpy...

Over the last 14 games, Franzen has 17 points (seven goals). And with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg unavailable during stretches of those games because of injuries, Franzen has kept the Red Wings afloat.

“Mule is a guy who has been so good since those guys got hurt, been so determined, and he’s led,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We’ve told him, we’re not accepting anything less. He’s been that good and we expect him to be that good. We need him.”

In his ninth season Franzen has heard the talk about his inconsistency. But in Franzen’s mind, there’s no substance to talk about streaks in sports.

“There’s no answer to (these) things,” Franzen said after Wednesday’s practice. “You can play, feel great as ever and play the best ever, and you don’t score or create points. Then you can be bad for five games and just happen to get points. It’s just how it is.”

Franzen insists there’s nothing different to how he’s played recently. Teammates, however, believe Franzen has been playing differently.

“He’s been a big horse, the way he’s been producing points every night,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “He’s been playing real well at both ends. And lately it seems like it’s been night after night. With all the injuries we’ve had, Mule has been big putting up points for us.”

Said Datsyuk, who, like Franzen, had two points in Tuesday’s loss to the Panthers: “He’s dangerous. It’s like previous years, but he’s also shooting the puck and chasing the puck. It helps the team for sure.”

As the Free Press's St. James also noted...

The Wings have managed to tread water, not the least because of Franzen, who has played like the beast Steve Yzerman saw eight years ago when he dubbed Franzen “Mule.” With Franzen leading, the Wings have won five of eight games and accumulated 11 of 16 points while without Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg or both.

“Mule is a guy who has been so good since those guys got hurt,” coach Mike Babcock said after a short practice Wednesday designed to maximize time in the sun. “He’s been so determined and he’s led, that we’ve told him we’re not accepting anything less. He’s that good, and we need him to be that good.”

At 6-feet-3 and 220 pounds, with a scorer’s hands, Franzen can be frustrating because he can go for such long stretches without making much of an impact.

He has shown what he’s capable of the past month, though Franzen says “nothing is different.” He said he isn’t skating better, that he didn’t decide to lead in absence of Zetterberg and Datsyuk, and that he’s only been through one slump and one huge scoring streak in his nine-season career.

And MLive's Ansar Khan noted that Pavel Datsyuk's insisting that he's not "in good shape" despite having posted a goal and an assist in his return:

“Felt not good, out of shape, no energy,” Datsyuk said. “It’s hard, when you don’t do anything (for more than a week), to come back and play, hard to pick up speed. It looks like I’m a little bit behind everybody, not strong enough in the defensive zone.”

Datsyuk missed seven games and didn’t practice for more than a week after taking an elbow to the chin from Ottawa’s Jared Cowen on Nov. 23. His line generated offense, though, as Datsyuk assisted on Todd Bertuzzi’s power-play goal and later scored his team-leading 13th goal. Johan Franzen assisted on both goals.

“Yeah, but we need more chances and play better,” Datsyuk said. “Especially I need to play better in the defensive zone, not make big mistake like I did last game.

Datsyuk was disappointed he wasn’t able to check Nick Bjugstad along the boards and as he took the puck to the net for the tying goal with 5:22 remaining in the third period.

The Red Wings face the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

“Pav is always going to be a good player,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Was he as great as he always is? No. Is he going to take time to get going? Yeah. That’s just part of it. But he still is a good player. Him, Mule and Bert dominated at times in the game. But anybody who misses (time), it takes you some time.”

Even Franzen perked up while speaking with Khan about Datsyuk:

“He looks great,” Franzen said of Datsyuk. “I come back from injuries a lot of times; you’re not going to feel great. He’s such a great player, so it’s nothing we will notice because even if he feels bad he’s still going to look good to us.”



Otherwise...Per the Wings...

  • For the record, part 1: the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald reports that HBO's 24/7 Wings-Leafs series, which premiers on Saturday at 10 PM in the U.S., won't air until Sunday in Canada because Sportsnet's going to bleep out the curse words;




So about the only the Red Wings have going for them is that timing. You see, Detroit is in its first season as a member of the Eastern Conference, and currently sits fourth in the conference and third in the Atlantic Division with 38 points. You put that same team in the West and you're looking at 10th place in the conference, two points out of a playoff spot, and heading toward the halfway mark of the season without your captain and perhaps your No. 1 goalie.

  • For the record, part 5, and this is cool: Mickey Redmond addressed the Red Wings' record, their shootout woes and injuries while speaking with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew Lane on Wednesday, and Mickey stated that:
  1. He's HBO's resident mic'ed-up alumnus taking part in the Alumni Showdown;
  2. Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe and THE ENTIRE RUSSIAN 5 will be signing a limited edition lithograph surrounding the alumni game, which he is aware may be generating more interest than the Winter Classic itself;
  3. And Sergei Fedorov's not flying in until the evening before the game.
  • For the record, part 5: "Grosse Pointe's" Kirk Maltby also chatted with Detroit Sports 105.1's Matt Dery on Wednesday...



Finally, I need to put out a Swedish Translation Help APB: Sundsvall's Tidning's Eric Westlund conducted a very wide-ranging interview with Henrik Zetterberg, but the Swedish is so colloquial Njurunda/Timra stuff that I'm afraid to do more than post the Google Translation because it's...A tough nut to crack, even with multiple online translators and a Swedish-to-English dictionary.


Let me know if you can lend a hand via email (georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com), Twitter or Facebook....

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



This is your “freaky-out headline?” “Olympic roster spot” is “further jeopardized.”

Hmmm ... seems like fact to me.  Your boss went further, saying the Olympics “ain’t gonna happen” for Howard.  Seems like you should take your gripe up with him.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/12/13 at 08:59 AM ET

pilgrim's avatar

Hmmm ... seems like fact to me.  Your boss went further, saying the Olympics “ain’t gonna happen” for Howard.  Seems like you should take your gripe up with him.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/12/13 at 07:59 AM ET

Holy shit. Just WAIT till Paul hears about this, George. Papa Emperor is not going to be pleased.

Posted by pilgrim from the ice at the bottom of the world on 12/12/13 at 09:53 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I can’t wait until Dec 28th and see what happens when the LTIR puts the Roster and Cap in a bind.  KH will have some decisions to make.

And Jimmy is not going to make the Sochi trip and that is a good thing.  He needs the time off to get ready for a playoff run.

Oh Shit, gotta go…my Dogs bumped my knee…need some pictures.  Red Wings lie??? I am in SHOCK!!!

Any points before 2014 are a bonus with the Wings until then.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/12/13 at 10:43 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar

may very well lie to the media and to us about their players’ statuses to protect their interests and/or competitive advantages.

That and well yannow some team infested with a roving band of douchebag players might try to capitalize on said injury. (to show how tough they are) I did not say Ottawa.

......on the bright side, the injuries seem to keep kicking the cap problem down the road.

LGRW !!!!!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, Czech out my recliner..... on 12/12/13 at 12:55 PM ET

George Malik's avatar


Uh, no. And I can tell you truthfully that the boss and I were rather irked about St. James’ panic-mongering.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/12/13 at 03:27 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.