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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: practice personnel shuffles to continue; Sweden-Finland discussion, etc.

Thursday was a very busy day in terms of Red Wings news. We received some new information about Henrik Zetterberg's injury; after practice, we found out that there's another injured Wing (Jakub Kindl), that Stephen Weiss will head down to Grand Rapids for a one "conditioning stint" game, that Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco will practice with the Wings on Saturday and Sunday *the team has the day off today), but might not remain with the team when the Wings' post-Olympic break schedule begins; we found out that Pavel Datsyuk's going to spend a few more days in Russia; and the Wings' non-Olympians talked trash and made their picks for today's Olympic quarterfinals.

Today's Olympic schedule looks like this...

As the Red Wings won't have the services of Jimmy Howard, Jonas Gustavsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist, Jonathan Ericsson, Pavel Datsyuk and possibly Henrik Zetterberg until Monday or Tuesday, the Free Press's George Sipple posited a slate of notes which suggest that the Wings' will continue to shuffle the personnel deck to ensure that they'll have enough warm bodies to continue to practice with a near-full squad until their Olympians return (long sentence, sorry):

NOTEBOOK: Assistant general manager Ryan Martin said Stephen Weiss will play Saturday for the Grand Rapids Griffins on a conditioning stint. …The Wings sent Riley Sheahan, Cory Emmerton, Pulkkinen and Adam Almquist back to Grand Rapids. Martin said Sheahan will play for Grand Rapids tonight, then return to practice with the Wings on Saturday and Sunday. Martin said defenseman Gleason Fournier will be called up to practice with the Wings on Saturday and Sunday. … Slovakia Olympians Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco are expected to practice with the Wings on Saturday. Martin said he wasn’t sure what Henrik Zetterberg’s status was for weekend practices.

Again, Zetterberg saw a back specialist in New York on Thursday, but I have no idea whether we'll find out his prognosis today or whether the Wings' physicians and management will hold a meeting to determine how they'll deal with Zetterberg's prognosis per the player's wishes as well as the doctor's sometime this weekend.

For now, we're all waiting and worrying together.

Ahead of today's Olympic semifinals, Wings coach Mike Babcock made a comment that might amuse Wings fans while speaking to the Canadian Press...

Having been with this team for almost two weeks now, Babcock couldn't get a read on his team from a brief twirl at Bolshoy Ice Dome's practice rink. But that's nothing new.

"I can't get a feel in the morning skate in Detroit, either," he said. "Sometimes I think we're the ('76) Canadiens and the puck's going all over and then we don't do anything and sometimes I think our hands look like feet and we get out there and we play great. Now we got to go out, we got a good plan, we got good people, now we got to go out and execute."

In the "for further reading" department, you can read the Winnipeg Sun's Ted Wyman report that Babcock helped the Canadian curling team focus as well.

The Swedes have weighed in with their tangle-to-come against Finland, too. Expressen's Mattias Ek and Henrik Sjoberg asked Niklas Kronwall whether he plans on "Kronwalling" the Finns (answer: it may happen, but making big hits on Olympic-sized ice can take you waaaaaayyy out of position, so he's not going to force anything);

Daniel Alfredsson had this to say to NHL.com's Apron Basu about his history of battling Sweden's so-called "Little Brother"...

No country can match the three Olympic medals Finland has won since NHL players were first included at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.One of those medals came at the 2006 Turin Olympics when Finland lost the gold-medal game 3-2 to big brother Sweden, but the Finns have grown up considerably since then.

"You know, I played them my first time in the World Championships in '95 in Sweden, and they ended up winning their first World Championship," Sweden forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "They've had tremendous success here in the Olympics, we've met them pretty much every time, and I don't think it's so much big brother, little brother any more. It's more healthy rivals that are very proud of their hockey team, and also really happy to represent their country. They know how much it means."

And Kronwall told Basu that the Wings, I mean Swedes ( wink), have to find a way to score more goals 5-on-5:

Sweden has had question marks attached to each of its four wins in the tournament. In the 4-2 opening win against the Czech Republic, Sweden raced out to a 4-0 lead before letting up and allowing the Czechs back into the game. The 1-0 win against Switzerland came on a goal at 12:39 of the third period by Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson. In the win against Latvia, Martins Karsums had a breakaway midway through the third that would have tied the game 4-4 were it not for a tremendous save by Lundqvist. Then there was the game against Slovenia.

Sweden needs to find its game in time for the semifinal or else it could be Finland playing for gold Sunday.

"There's no doubt that we haven't played our best game yet," said Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who replaced Zetterberg as team captain. "At least that's how we feel. We've still got some left in the tank and we need to bring that out [Friday] to be able to have some success and come out on top."

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with the Swedes, too:

The Swedes, with eight Olympic medals, and Finns, with five, are in a love-hate relationship that manifests itself in sports.

“We always seem to play each other in the big tournaments,” said Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, of Sweden, who is logging 16 minutes, 11 seconds ice time through four games. “It’s about pride.”


Sweden and Finland will play a patient finesse game from the perimeters, relying on occupying the middle in a zone defense and puck possession to produce scoring chances.

“Patience is obviously a huge key to our game,” said Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, captain of Sweden. “You just have to stick to what you are doing and keep doing the same things over and over.”

Having seen Finland play in the third period against Russia, when it mucked up the middle of the offensive zone and stymied arguably the most gifted offensive talent in the tournament, forward Daniel Alfredsson, of the Wings, was impressed.

“They played disgustingly disciplined, tight defensively and waiting for chances,” said Alfredsson, who has two goals and two assists in four games.




In the prospect departent...

1. In game action, in the OHL, Jake Paterson stopped 25 of 29 shots as the Saginaw Spirit dropped a 5-2 decision to the Peterborough Petes (with the 5th goal going into an empty net), and Andreas Athanasiou didn't register a point in the Barrie Colts' 3-1 loss to Belleville;

2. In the silly stuff department, the Grand Rapids Griffins posted the latest episode of "Off the Pipes With Piper":

I think these videos are hilarious as can be.



And in the literature, appearances and promotional news department (this is new):

1. Mark Howe gave 35 minutes of his time to Newsworks' Shai Ben-Yaacov, discussing his memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life Lived in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, his career with the Philadelphia Flyers and the present-day team (Howe is the Wings' director of pro scouting but he still lives in not-too-far from Philadelphia in New Jersey);

2. And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports the following:

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Darren McCarty of Leamington will be making a pair of appearances in Windsor this weekend to sign his new book My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star.

McCarty will be at the Costco, 4411 Walker Road, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. McCarty will also be at the Chapters at Devonshire Mall on Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

For further information on the book, go to http://www.triumphbooks.com/DarrenMcCarty

Meanwhile, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader and defenceman Danny DeKeyser will be making appearances at a number of Detroit-area Meijer stores beginning with this Friday.

DeKeyser will be at the Auburn Hills Meijer, 800 Brown Road, Friday from 5-7 p.m. He will also appear at the Detroit Meijer, 1301 West Eight Mile Road, March 17 from 4-6 p.m. and the Royal Oak Meijer, 5150 Coolidge Highway from 5-7 p.m.

Abdelkader’s first appearance will be Saturday at the Utica Meijer, 15055 Hall Road, from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, he’ll be at the Warren Meijer, 29505 Mound Road, from 3-5 p.m. Abdelkader will also appear March 19 from 4-6 p.m. at the Taylor Meijer, 14640 Pardee Road.

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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.