The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/03/13 at 02:53 AM ET
I may not agree with Red Wings GM Ken Holland or the Wings front office's highly likely decision to stand pat at the trade deadline, but at least the organization has preached a consistent message about doing so over the past couple of weeks.
No depth moves, we were told, no moving the team's first-round pick, first we were told regarding the Bouwmeester trade, and then Holland confirmed, no rentals during what the team's acknowledged is a transitional and/or rebuilding year. We've more or less heard this refrain since, well, hell, since Joakim Andersson was given the provisional "get a place for now" over a month ago, if not since the that Sunday practice in Columbus when Jonathan Ericsson stepped on a puck and injured his shoulder...If not since the team missed out on Ryan Suter.
Would I like to see the Wings be more aggressive in terms of trades? You bet.
But with the "impact" players all but gone, and the team not in the mood to make short-term gains that could cause long term cap-space or prospect-losing pain, this team is all but guaranteed to make exactly one move on Wednesday--recalling Brian Lashoff from the Grand Rapids Griffins--and while being pissed off about the situation doesn't make you a bad person or Wings fan...
We don't run the team. We have our voices, and they're heard a little more than we might imagine, but we don't make the personnel choices.
And, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan suggests, the team's management has decided to wait until the off-season to meaningfully address its needs for a top-pair defenseman and top-six, goal-scoring forward:
"I like our depth," Holland said Tuesday. "Unless we get that (top-four defenseman or top-nine forward), I don't think we have a deal."
Simply, Holland doesn't appear to be interested in acquiring a rental player who likely would leave for unrestricted free agency this summer.There was, however, a temptation Tuesday when Stars officials had forward Jaromir Jagr on the block.
But …The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent was traded to the Bruins for a first-round pick and two prospects. The Red Wings also were interested in Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, a top-four-caliber defenseman. But he was traded to the Blues on Monday for a conditional 2013 first-round pick and two prospects.
There still are players expected to be available who could help the Red Wings — if Holland backtracks on his stance against rentals — such as defensemen Mark Streit (Islanders) or Ryan Whitney (Oilers). Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell is also available, but with three years and more than $21 million left on his contract, not many teams likely will bite.
And there are some forwards worth looking at. Tomas Fleischmann (Panthers) has two years and $9 million remaining on his contract. The former Red Wings second-round pick (2002) scored a career-high 27 goals last season, but has slumped to eight goals this season.
Jason Pominville (Sabres) has two years and $10.6 million remaining on his contract. And like Fleischmann, Pominville's production has dropped off this season (23 points and 10 goals compared to 73 points and 30 goals last season).
Outside of that, Holland and Co. are waiting for help from within. Forwards Todd Bertuzzi (back, 1-2 weeks), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body, day-to-day) and Darren Helm (back, indefinite) have missed the majority of the season, but could return soon.
"That would be better than any move I could make," Holland said of adding the forwards to the lineup.
Holland was more interested in talking about the statuses of his injured players, as MLive's Ansar Khan noted:
General manager Ken Holland said Henrik Zetterberg (groin) and Mikael Samuelsson (upper body) are day-to-day and that their injuries are not significant. Darren Helm (back) and Todd Bertuzzi (back/leg) will make the trip to Phoenix and Colorado Thursday-Friday.
He said of Zetterberg: “We'll be conservative, but we realize we're in a playoff hunt. There's a chance he could play Thursday.''
He said of Samuelsson: "He's very sore. He skated today, but needs his full range of motion. Felt good in the skate. Good, positive step. He's on the horizon.''
He said Bertuzzi is optimistic he can return in a couple of weeks and that Helm saw another specialist two days ago.
"Everyone agrees he's on the right path,'' Holland said. "We'll start pushing it and see how it responds.''
Holland said of Danny DeKeyser's potential debut during this trip: “Mike (coach Babcock) will play him when he thinks he's ready and he gives us a chance to win. We're not holding mid-season tryouts. We got to win games.''
Ditto, he told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
“Bert is feeling very good,” Holland said.
Darren Helm (back) saw another back specialist two days ago and it still looks like he’s heading in the right direction.
“We’ll start pushing it and see how it responds,” Holland said.
And as the Wings didn't practice on Tuesday, I'm guessing that Kyle Quincey's desire to play through pain (Per Pleiness) will receive a "go" or "no-go" designation either today or on Thursday:
Quincey could return as early as Thursday, which is a lot quicker than originally thought.
“It’s been two weeks and a couple days so I’m pretty fortunate there,” said Quincey, who was supposed to be out four to six weeks. “Those two weeks felt like a couple of months. My personal goal is to play Thursday, that’s no guarantee so we’ll see what happens.”
Quincey still has no feeling on the right side of his mouth and cheek.
“The nerve hasn’t come back,” Quincey said. “Once that does I will start having feeling in my teeth and gums and lips. It’s not too bad. I just dice up the food pretty good. The blender is getting a lot of use.”
Sans trades or practice news, Thursday night's opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes, defeated Los Angeles 3-1, and the Coyotes sit only four points behind Detroit in the Western Conference standings. As of Monday afternoon, anyway, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose set up the "Week Ahead in Hockeytown" as follows...
THURSDAY – at PHOENIX COYOTES (14-15-6): The Coyotes are 9-0-1 this season and 107-4-5 under coach Dave Tippett when leading after two periods. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera has allowed three or more goals in each of his last three starts as he fills in for No. 1 keeper Mike Smith, who is nursing an upper body injury. LaBarbera has surrendered 11 goals and is 1-1-1 since replacing Smith between the pipes. His loss was a 3-2 setback to the Red Wings last week in Glendale. Smith and defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) are both in injured reserve, but are listed as being day to day. Though he’s missed the last 10 games, Michalek still leads the Coyotes with 68 blocked shots.
PLAYER TO WATCH: One of the most fluid young defenseman in the league, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is among the Coyotes’ top offensive contributors. The 21-year-old defenseman is tied for first among all Phoenix blue-liners in scoring with 19 points, and leads the team with 16 assists. He ranks is tied for seventh among all NHL defensemen in points, and is first on the team with five multi-point games. Ekman-Larsson signed a six-year contract with the Coyotes on March 15. In eight career games against the Red Wings, Ekman-Larsson has been held to one assist with a minus-3 rating and 12 shots.
FRIDAY – at COLORADO AVALANCHE (12-18-4): The Avs have the league’s third-best penalty kill at home this season, successfully killing off 90.5 percent of their own penalties. … Colorado ranks second in the league with 586 blocked shots, trailing only Toronto (609). The Avs are blocking shots at a 17.2 per game average, which is the highest average of any team since the league began tracking the statistic. The season record is 17.1 blocks/per game, established by Florida in 2009-10. Individually, defenseman Greg Zanon leads the Avs with 85 blocks. He led his respective team, including Nashville, and finished among the league's top 10 in that category for five consecutive seasons from 2006-11.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Since signing a new two-year contract worth $10 million last month, Ryan O'Reilly has jumped toward the top of the team scoring race. After being held scoreless in his first two games this season, including the March 5 game at Detroit, O’Reilly has produced 13 points with four goals in 14 games in March, matching his career-high for points in a single month. He also had 13 points in February, 2012. … Like Mike Modano did when he signed with the Red Wings, O’Reilly now wears No. 90 this season, giving up on No. 37, which he wore the first three years with the Avs. Always a fan of No. 9, O’Reilly simply accepted the number that he was given when he arrived in Denver four years ago, because No. 9 was taken.
SUNDAY – vs. ST. LOUIS BLUES (17-14-2): The Red Wings haven’t seen the Blues since everybody and their brother were anointing them Stanley Cup favorites. Recently, the Blues had held opponents under 20 shots in four of the last five games, helping maintain their league leading mark of just 23.5 shots per game this season. The Blues also led the league last season in fewest shots allowed, while ranking second in 2010-11. … Patrik Berglund collected his first short-handed goal of the year on Feb. 13 at Joe Louis Arena. The Blues’ center is one of three NHL players with at least four power-play goals, two game-winning goals, and a short-handed goal this season. The others are Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg and Buffalo left winger Thomas Vanek. … This is the fifth and final meeting of the season series with the Blues. Despite allowing eight power-play goals to the Blues, the Wings are 2-1-1 vs. St. Louis this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: The resurgent Chris Stewart enjoyed another incredibly productive month of March. For his career, the Toronto native has accrued 54 points in 68 games during March, while February is a distant second at 34 points in 60 games. All eight of the right wing’s goals last month came at even-strength, helping the Blues earn a +5 goal differential. Prior to March, the Blues were No. 22 with a -6 differential. Stewart finished the month with 16 points. … Stewart is among a trio of Blues – the others are rookie Vladimir Tarasenko and center Patrik Berglund – with three goals against the Red Wings this season.
In the prospect department, in playoff hockey, James De Haas registered an assist as his Penticton Vees defeated the West Kelowna Warriors 5-4, taking a 3-1 lead in the BCHL teams' second-round series;
And in regular season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins went 2-for-4 in Texas thanks to a 5-1 drubbing of the Houston Aeros. The Griffins' website provides a recap (and a photo gallery; the Houston Aeros website's recap and the Houston Chronicle's Mike Damante's recap don't add much to the mix):
Francis Pare reached an historic milestone on Tuesday at the Toyota Center, scoring his 100th and 101st goals in a Griffins uniform to help Grand Rapids defeat the Houston Aeros 5-1.
The Griffins (39-23-3-3) scored four goals in 5:03 during the second period to take a commanding lead they wouldn’t lose.
After a scoreless opening period, Chad Billins put the Griffins on the scoreboard at 7:58 of the second. The defenseman blocked the puck at the line and quickly snapped a shot from the top of the left wing circle through traffic and under Darcy Kuemper’s glove.
Grand Rapids took a two-goal lead on a shorthanded goal at 9:52 of the middle period. Adam Almquist’s shot deflected off a defenseman and Jan Mursak worked the puck back to Almquist at the point. Almquist returned a pass for Mursak, who sent the puck back towards the net, where Luke Glendening popped in a rebound to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead.
Tomas Jurco put Grand Rapids ahead by three goals with a backhand shot at 11:05 of the second period. Pare picked up the loose puck in front of the right circle and fed it to Jurco, who flipped a backhand shot into a wide open net. After giving up three straight goals, the Aeros pulled Kuemper in favor of Cody Reichard.
Pare scored his 100th goal as a Griffin just under two minutes later, becoming just the second to reach the century mark after Michel Picard. The Lemoyne, Quebec, native backed up from the right wing circle and snuck his shot above Reichard’s catching glove at a near-impossible angle at 13:01. The goal was Pare’s 20th of the season, marking his third 20-goal season.
But Pare didn’t stop there. The right wing received a great pass from Louis-Marc Aubry and quickly netted his 101st goal at 6:10 of the third period, all but sealing a Griffins victory with a 5-0 lead.
The Aeros (33-24-5-5) scored their lone goal of the game at 7:50 of the final period. The puck took a Houston bounce right to Stephane Veilleux, and the left wing’s shot slipped past Tom McCollum before the goaltender could recover.
Kuemper stopped 13 of 16 shots and Reichard made 11 saves for the Aeros in their loss to the Griffins. McCollum earned the victory behind 25 saves.
The Griffins will battle Abbotsford on back-to-back nights this weekend to wrap up their season-high seven game road trip, starting with a matchup on Friday at 10 p.m. EDT.
Abbotsford, as in Abbotsord, British Columbia, where it appears that Ryan Sproul will join them:
In the lovely world of power rankings, MLive's Brendan Savage compiled a collection of this week's Monday listings, and TSN's Scott Cullen and SI's Adrian Dater added their takes to the mix on Tuesday.
Cullen assesses the Wings as follows...
This Week 19 Last Week 11 Detroit Red Wings18-13-5: Rebounded from a 7-1 pasting at home against Chicago Sunday to win against Colorado Monday, but the Wings minus Zetterberg are ripe for the picking.
And the ever...let's say "up-and-down" Dater offers this take:
12 Detroit Red Wings Last Week: 11
With Jay Bouwmeester going to St. Louis, will Detroit try to keep up with a deadline trade for a quality D-man? Wouldn't shock me, though the Wings' D did get a nice upgrade over the weekend with the signing of local boy Danny DeKeyser, who finished up his college career at Western Michigan. It didn't hurt that Wings legend Nick Lidstrom was put to work by GM Ken Holland to act as the ace recruiter. "To have a chance to play for your hometown team is definitely something special,'' DeKeyser, a Macomb native, told reporters. "I'm going to come in, get my feet wet a little bit, practice here this week and just take it from there. I want to be a big part of the team here. I just have to work hard, then we'll see what happens." Oh, and happy 85th, Gordie Howe.
And finally, part 1: the Grand Rapids Griffins' video crew is at it again. They've posted two "Between the Benches" videos, chronicling their back-to-back games against the Lake Erie Monsters on March 22nd and 23rd, with the first video covering the majority of the Griffins' 4-3 shootout loss to the Monsters on Friday the 22nd...
And the second part covering the shootout loss and its aftermath--as in the road trip to Cleveland:
And finally, part 2: I don't care if it's a repeat: Griffinshockey.com's Kyle Kujawa explained why the Wings may allow Calle Jarnkrok, who's gone pointless but played strongly in Tuesday night's game against Houston, to head back to the Eliteserien to play one more year for Brynas IF if he's not able to crack the Wings' roster--because it's the organization's top prospect's his hometown team:
“We haven’t talked about it so much yet,” said Jarnkrok. “We will see what happens. Maybe I will be in Sweden, or Detroit, or here. I’m not sure.”
Having played at the professional level regularly in Sweden for four seasons, there’s talk that Jarnkrok could be ready to jump directly to the NHL next year. But high numbers don’t always translate across the pond, which is why the Red Wings chose to evaluate him in the AHL to determine the best route. With the possibility of losing several forwards, like Nyquist, Tatar and Joakim Andersson, permanently to the NHL next season, the Griffins could use another player to slot into a skill role. But Sweden is always an option for Jarnkrok as well, where he’s played for Brynas IF, the team he grew up rooting for.
“It feels great to be able to play for my home town,” said Jarnkrok, a native of Gavle, Sweden. “It’s very good to have an important role on the team and be a guy who scores goals and makes points.”
Jarnkrok explained that playing for Brynas was a dream come true. Growing up in Sweden, many young hockey players follow the NHL, but don’t always get to watch much of the action due to the time difference. Jarnkrok grew up wanting to play for Brynas, only altering his plan once he realized he had a chance to play in the NHL.
“From the beginning I dreamed of playing in the Elite League,” he said. “When I got older, I dreamed of going to the next level and playing with the best. It’s been a dream of both.”...
And whether he does end up in the NHL, AHL or SEL next season, it’s clear that he’ll make an impact. He finished eighth in Sweden’s top league in scoring this season, setting a personal best with 42 points. However, it was a disappointment compared to last season, when he finished 14th overall in scoring but helped Brynas capture the SEL championship. He hopes to do the same thing in North America in the not-so-distant future.
“It was a great feeling, especially doing it for my hometown,” said Jarnkrok. “The whole city was watching, it was great. It was a dream come true.”
I am seriously considering holding an impromptu TMR gathering in Grand Rapids next weekend:
Local fans will only have a few chances to see Jarnkrok live this season. He’ll help the Griffins close out a road trip and begin their final homestand of the season, giving him three games in Grand Rapids from April 10-13. But he’ll also have a chance to shine on the international stage, as he’s being considered for a spot on the national team for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, held in Finland in Sweden from May 3-19.
I'm pulling double duty heading up to the trade deadline to give the boss a hand, so I'll see you in a couple hours.
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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.