The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/04/13 at 11:43 AM ET
The Red Wings won't take to the ice to prepare for tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes (10 PM EDT, FSD/NHL Network U.S. and the Center Ice/GCL blackouts that come with an NHL Net game/97.1 FM) until around 2 PM EDT, but the Red Wings' website and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose area already in game-day mode...
Have the Jump Early - Dictate the play to the Coyotes from the opening face off. Keep the foot on the gas...pedal to the metal!
Take Away Coyotes' Time and Space - Detroit can't give Phoenix the time to make plays or shoot the puck; the Wings need to keep the pressure on the Coyotes for 60 minutes.
Have a Balanced Attack - Pavel Datsyuk has put up incredible numbers against Phoenix in his career. That being said, the Red Wings shouldn't rely solely on him to carry the load. They need scoring help from everyone in a Winged Wheel sweater.
As well as a historical note:
On This Day in Red Wings History...On April 4, 1971
The legendary career of Gordie Howe comes to an end in Hockeytown as Mr. Hockey plays his final Red Wings’ game in a season-finale loss at Madison Square Garden.
Regarding Mr. Hockey, the Hallmark Channel will air the made-for-TV movie, "Mr. Hockey: the Gordie Howe Story" on Saturday, May 4th, and the DVD of the movie will be available at Wal-Mart on Tuesday the 7th, but the Canadian Press reports that those of you who have access to the CBC will be able to to watch the film early:
The story of Mr. Hockey is headed to CBC later this month. The public broadcaster says its made-for-TV movie "Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story" will air April 28.
Set in the 1970s, it follows Howe's return to the ice at age 45, as he and his sons are selected to play for the Houston Aeros in the fledgling WHA league.
"Saving Hope" star Michael Shanks plays Howe and former "90210" co-star Kathleen Robertson portrays Howe's late wife and manager Colleen.
Shifting focus back to present-day Wings news, MLive's Brendan Savage and Ansar Khan debate which of the Red Wings 9 defensemen merit full-time duty in their game-day debate...
ANSAR KHAN: It's a nice problem to have. Kronwall, Ericsson, Quincey and Smith are locks, certain to play every game. Kindl's rapid improvement has elevated him to the No. 5 spot, as I see it. But, I'm not convinced that he wouldn't get yanked after a couple of bad games.
That leaves four players competing for one spot, in my opinion. Lashoff was solid most of the season, but he's a rookie and seems to have hit a bit of a wall. DeKeyser will get in a game or two, but I doubt they'll throw a rookie in there permanently when they're battling to make the playoffs and veteran options exist.
White clearly has fallen out of favor with Babcock. So ... that leaves Colaiacovo, who I believe will round out the top six, despite his lack of action this season. Now, they just need to keep everyone healthy.
BRENDAN SAVAGE: On one hand, some of the choices are easy. On the other hand, not so much.
Kronwall, Ericsson, Kindl and Smith are among the four I'd absolutely put in my top six. But the other two? Hmm, that's where it gets tough. Quincey has played better after a rough start so I'd probably put him in there, leaving one more available spot.
As much as I like veteran defensemen, White scares me a bit and the injury-prone Colaiacovo hasn't played much this season so I don't know what to expect from him. Lashoff has been a pleasant surprise and adds size while the unproven DeKeyser is the wild card.
As much as I'd like to roll the dice and say the Red Wings should give DeKeyser a shot, I'll go with White based on his 22 career playoff games.
And MLive's Khan reports that the Wings have yet to engage in contract extension negotiations with Valtteri Filppula, and he also offers injury updates in a game-day notebook. Khan reports that Darren Helm's going to remain in Detroit for the next couple of days, but after seeing a second back specialist, he's been told to "push" himself in order to attempt to return to action this season...
“He confirmed what a few other doctors said, that there's nothing really structurally wrong with it,'' Helm said. “I can kind of start pushing things and nothing's going to happen, not any big problems. If I go too hard, too fast, things will get a little messy, but if I keep a good, steady pace and be smart about it I shouldn't have any problems.''
He has been skating on his own for a week or so. He said his back isn't getting worse, which is a good sign. He has played only one game this season (Jan. 25).
“Today was the first day I did any shooting on a goalie,'' Helm said. “That was the next step of my skating. I'll add a couple extra shooting drills. In the gym I've been adding different exercises, adding weight, everything's been going pretty good.''
Khan reports that Todd Bertuzzi's back has responded to treatment, and that Bertuzzi's engaged in two full-contact practices with his teammates, but the pinched nerve in his back that's causing leg pain has yet to calm down...
“As far as speed and contact, I still haven't had any of that,'' Bertuzzi said. “Still having a few issues with my leg, so hopefully within a week or so I start seeing (improvement).''
And it's expected that Kyle Quincey will return to the Wings' lineup on Friday, despite the fact that Quincey will be wearing a full facial shield...and despite the fact that he can't feel his teeth because the healing bones in his shattered cheekbone are numbing nerves in his jaw:
“I’m a lot more comfortable (with the cage),'' Quincey said. “It blended in a little bit better so I can kind of see through it. I tried to get a few hits out there, but guys won’t come near me. I don’t know if it’s the cage or they’re scared.''
Regarding future Wings, the Marquette Mining Journal's Matt Wellens reports that new Wings prospect Jared Coreau spent his pre-signing-with-the-Wings time training at Northern Michigan University's athletic facilities...
The Red Wings officially announced the signing of Northern Michigan University junior goaltender Jared Coreau to a three-year entry level deal on Wednesday, less than a week after agreeing to a two-year deal with Western Michigan University junior defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
As first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie and confirmed shortly after by The Mining Journal, Coreau and the Red Wings reached a tentative agreement on March 18 and met in Detroit the following day. Coreau's contract was finalized this week and the announcement made exactly 28 minutes after the trade deadline passed.
The Wildcats' 6-foot-4, 208-pound goaltender finished with a 2.70 goals against average and .919 save percentage as a junior for Northern, starting all 38 games. As a sophomore, Coreau had a .928 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average, but only appeared in 23 games.
Coreau continued training in Marquette since visiting the Wings and will be joining the organization on Monday. He will begin his professional career in Detroit, most likely as the team's third-string goaltender, before being sent down to the Red Wings' AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids where he could see some action with the Griffins.
Coreau had one more year of eligibility remaining at NMU, but with six other NHL franchises besides the Red Wings pursuing him, decided to forgo his senior year and turn pro.
DeKeyser joined the Red Wings on Saturday and skated with the team that day, but has yet to appear in a game for Detroit.
The Wings play on the road against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday and in Denver on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche before returning to Joe Louis Arena on Sunday to host the St. Louis Blues. The Red Wings then take three days off before hosting the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, April 11.
Regarding the trade deadline and the Wings' lack of moves, I've spent the past 12 or so hours thinking pretty damn hard about the ways that Wings fans are handling the team's decisions to:
A) Not have a back-up plan after striking out on Ryan Suter last summer;
B) Attempting to sign veteran players to smooth the transition to a post-Nick Lidstrom team, and then choosing to reluctantly embrace a youth movement of sorts after Mikael Samuelsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi's injuries (as well as all the rest of the team's injuries) forced the Wings to utilize players it had assumed would play for one more season in Grand Rapids in veterans' steads...
C) And on-the-fly embracing of a youth movement's resulting in a subsequent decision to see "what (most) of the kids can do" (if you watch the Griffins' "Between the Benches" videos, the looks on Tomas Tatar's face in the Griffins' locker room tell you all you need to know as to why the Wings chose to send Tatar down to become the team's "leader without a letter") and to reassess the team's long-term needs for a top-pair defenseman and a top-six, goal-scoring forward with size and strength when the cap going down results in compliance buy-outs that the Wings will have cap space to bid upon (especially if the team does clear roster space to accommodate Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson's full-time promotions)...
But after writing another two paragraphs on the topic, I've decided to shut up about my philosophies in terms of sticking with the organization, even if it's uncomfortable to do so, for a day or three. It's just too soon, and it's not my job to tell you what to think or how to feel, though I am within my rights to request that you treat each other civilly as you vent and express your frustrations.
All I'm saying here is that I don't think that any of those of us who call ourselves Red Wings fans, me included, are going to be remotely happy with the team's management's personnel decisions in terms of addressing its fundamental personnel needs until this summer plays out, and I hope that we can work out our feelings regarding that fact together.
That's it. Please be civil with each other, and please remember that the management is engaging in a longer-term plan than any of us are willing to accommodate at present. Other than that, vent away. It's not my job to tell you how to be a fan, what to think or what to believe. All I can offer you is my opinion, and these days, I'm assuming that you're gonna disagree with it, so maybe it's time to put my "Wings roster strategy going forward" opinion on the shelf for a couple of days.
In the "Ha Ha" department, Pavel Datsyuk and Bill Roose had an amusing exchange...
New Wings prospect Jared Coreau re-Tweeted oodles of congratulatory messages regarding his signing with the Wings through his Twitter account, Rozi3B1rd, including an imposing picture...
And that's a little more staged than this gem posted by Michigan Hockey:
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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.