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Red Wings-Panthers game-day updates: Clemensen vs. Gustavsson in net; lines shuffled; Z, Abby return

Updated 7x at 3:19 PM: The Red Wings get back to work laying agmes 40 and 41 on the schedule against the Florida Panthers this evening (7 PM, FSD/Fox Sports Florida/turns out that the NHL Network dropped this game so it won't be blacked out/AM 1270) hoping to rebound from a 3-0 loss to the Islanders this past Monday, hoping to welcome Henrik Zetterberg back into the lineup and hoping to win for the first time in three attempts against the Panthers, who beat the Wings 3-1 on December 7th and 3-2 in a shootout on December 10th.

Again, the Panthers are well aware of the fact that the third episode of HBO's 24/7 series airs tonight at 10 PM...

Cats will be playing in front of HBO 24/7 cameras again tomorrow night vs. DET -- what's your best idea for a homemade sign? Use "#HBOCats"

In Europe, the Spengler Cup's Twitter account retweeted the lineup sheet from today's CSKA-vs-Geneve-Servette game from SRF's Jann Billeter, and Sergei Fedorov didn't take part in the game, which CSKA lost 4-3.

Back in Sunrise, the Miami Herald's George Richards reported that Scott Clemensen may end up starting against the Wings instead of Tim Thomas (who was activated off the IR on December 24th)...

Saw quite a few Michigan and Quebec tags on the Alley today. Should bode well for #FlaPanthers attendance v #RedWings #Canadiens next 2 days


Scott Clemmensen is first off for #FlaPanthers ... so Clemmensen v #RedWings, Tim Thomas v #Canadiens on Sunday it appears


Tim Thomas is 2-0 against the #RedWings this month but it looks like #FlaPanthers going with Scott Clemmensen tonight

And Fox Sports Florida's Erin Brown and the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov confirmed, with Filakov adding a lineup note after a somewhat amusing reaction to the goaltending swap:

Skates about over. Nothing new. !#flapanthers


There is news Thomas is still on ice and Clemmensen is off #flapanthers


Gomez prob in Barch out #flapanthers


Clemmer in.Gomez in #flapanthers

NHL.com's Alain Poupart posted morning skate lines that contradicted Filakov's latter statement--but Krys Barch's status as a scrapper doesn't aid his cause.

#FlaPanthers lines at morning skate: Flash-Bjugstad-Huby, Bergy-Barkov-Boyes, Matthias-Goc-Kopecky, Barch-Shore-Hayes.


Hmm, Scott Clemmensen the first #FlaPanthers goalie off the ice at morning skate. Expectation had been that Tim Thomas would start vs. DET.

Meanwhile in Sweden, Red Wings prospects Jake Paterson and Anthony Mantha will help Canada take on the Czechs at the World Junior Championships, as noted by TSN's Mark Masters...

Led by Jake Paterson, Canada hits the ice for the pre-game warm-up http://pic.twitter.com/leWn3qVRcz


Canada lines v CZE: Rychel-Petan-Lazar; McDavid-Horvat-Reinhart; Hudon/Leier-Drouin-Mantha; Gauthier-Laughton-Anderson

Shifting focus back toward today's game, NHL.com's "Daily Primer" sets up tonight's tilt as follows...

Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers -- This could be "get well" night for the Red Wings, who hope to have captain Henrik Zetterberg and forward Justin Abdelkader back in the lineup. The Red Wings are probably glad to be away from Joe Louis Arena; they are 11-3-3 on the road but 6-10-6 in their own building. Florida is coming off a 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday and has dropped two in a row after five consecutive victories. The Panthers expect to have starting goaltender Tim Thomas (lower body) back in the lineup; he hasn't played since beating Detroit on Dec. 10.

According to the Panthers' game notes, Ghislain Hebert and Francois St. Laurent will referee tonight's game, and Derek Amell and Derek Nansen will work the lines...

And the Panthers' website posted an infographic regarding today's game:

The Wings eventually took to the ice with some VIP's in tow...

And St. James offered encouraging lineup notes:

From #RedWings morning skate, looks like Zetterberg with Alfredsson and Abdelkader, Datsyuk with Bertuzzi and Jurco for Florida game.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirmed...

Zetterberg skating with Alfie and Abdelkader...Datsyuk with Jurco and Bertuzzi

As did MLive's Ansar Khan:

Wings lines at skate in Florida: Jurco-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi, Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Alfredsson, Miller-Andersson-Tatar. Cleary-Glendening-Nyquist


Looks like Eaves and Samuelsson are scratched, Helm skating but not cleared to play. Franzen still not skating.


Gustavsson has a net to himself, indicating likely starter, while Mrazek and Howard share a net.

Also hmm, from St. James:

From morning skate, looks like #RedWings lines tonight at Florida are 44-13-26, 8-40-11, 20-18-21, 71-41-14, with Samuelsson and Eaves out.

In the general interest category, from NHL.com...

And Fox Sports Detroit...

Great Lakes Invitational consolation game between @MSU_Hockey & @umichhockey is on FSD at 3:30 pm. #HockeytownWinter #GLI


GLI Championship game will be streamed live online: http://msn.foxsports.com/detroit/story/gli-championship-live-stream-121813 & tape delayed on FSD at 10 pm. #HockeytownWinter #FSDChat

I have to go on an errand that's time-sensitive, so I'm going to post this before Babcock confirms the lineup. Will ask Paul to fill in details.


Upate #1: Here are the Tweets Ansar Khan posted while I was out...

Gustavsson has a net to himself, indicating likely starter, while Mrazek and Howard share a net..


Babcock said Gustavsson is starting.


Clemmenson is starting for the Panthers, per Florida media.


Jimmy Howard (knee) is confident he'll be ready to start Monday in Nashville. Darren Helm (shoulder) not sure he'll be ready Monday.

Here's what the Free Press's Helene St. James reported...

No Darren Helm (shoulder) for #RedWings tonight, sounded very doubtful about Monday, which puts Winter Classic appearance at risk.


Mike Babcock splitting up Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey because "they've been minus quite a bit." Smith & Kronwall, Quincey & DeKeyser.


Darren Helm, icing bum shoulder. http://pic.twitter.com/6K0dUEoBxH


#RedWings F Pavel Datsyuk on who he is bringing to Winter Classic: "Whole country." #TheRussiansarecoming


Todd Bertuzzi on putting on shirt before media interview: "This is just one of the many things that set Helmer and me apart."

The Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov filed a Panthers game-day report...

Panthers coach Peter Horachek changed his mind and decided to start Scott Clemmensen in goal tonight against the Detroit Red Wings to give Tim Thomas another day to recover fully from a groin strain that will now keep him out of seven straight games.

Thomas hasn’t played since winning two games in four days against the Red Wings on Dec. 7 and 10th. Thomas told the Sun Sentinel, “We just want to be smart and give me some practice time,’’ Thomas said after morning skate at the BB&T Center. “So take it day by day. ‘’

“Just an extra day and extra time. He can play but we’re just giving him the extra time to make sure everything is good,’’ Horachek said. “We’re looking in the long term rather than the short term.’’

Horachek added that this being the first game of a back-to-back set, concluding with the Canadiens on Sunday, played into his decision to start Clemmensen.

When I kiddingly said that he owns Detroit, Thomas shot back: “Yeah, hopefully the teams owns them.’’

In another lineup change, Horachek is putting forward Scott Gomez back in the lineup on the fourth line with David Hayes and Shawn Matthias, with Krys Barch headed to the bench after playing the last six games. Gomez has played in just five of the 22 games that Horachek has coached, including just one in the past 11.

“He’s got good energy, a lot of good experience and he’s chomping at the bit,’’ Horachek said. “What we’re looking from him is that experience factor and energy he brings. He’s a positive person on the bench, he’s positive in the locker room, and hopefully that will spur that on. As much leadership you can get in the room the better. He was a very good pro and handled himself very well. He did all the right things, he worked hard. It’s a matter of showing the younger players how to handled themselves properly.’’

And FloridaPanthers.com's Tori Martinez posted "Five Things to Watch" during tonight's game. Four matter to Wings fans:

RED WINGS (17-13-9) at PANTHERS (14-19-5)

THRICE IS NICE?: This will be Detroit and Florida’s third matchup of the season. In the Panthers first matchup against the Red Wings on Dec. 7, forward Jonathan Huberdeau recorded the game-winning goal in the third period, giving the Panthers a 2-1 victory in Detroit. Then in their second meeting at the BB&T Center three days later, it would be decided by the shootout, in which Aleksander Barkov and Brad Boyes scored for a 3-2 Panthers victory. Will this be back-to-back wins at home for the Panthers and three straight?

NO MAN LEFT BEHIND: On their five-game winning streak, the Panthers had allowed a total of eight goals. In their last two games, the Panthers have allowed 11. On Monday Dec. 23, the Cats allowed six goals, including five in the final two periods of play against cross-state rival Tampa Bay. Florida got on the board first as Sean Bergenheim scored a power play goal. Then things started to take a turn when Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn tied the game up seconds later in the first period and it was all Lightning from there. The Panthers were disappointed by this loss and look to rebound against Detroit.

WHO’S ON TOP: With Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell and Barkov nothing is impossible. These three players make huge impacts in game changing situations. They, along with Scottie Upshall (out hurt) lead the Panthers is scoring as Fleischmann (5-14-19), Campbell (4-12-16) and Barkov (6-10-16) have posted solid numbers to date.

SUCCESS OF LATE: In the past the Panthers haven’t found the greatest of success against Detroit but this year has been different so far after beating them two times in a row to open up their season series. Florida has won 7 out of the last 10 games overall.

Update #2: The Red Wings' Game-Day Blog posted a historical note...

On This Day in Red Wings' History...On December 28, 1929

Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk born on this day in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

And Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:

Get Started on Time - Both teams have been idle for 5 days, so it may take time to get the legs going. It's important to start early and finish strong.

Take Advantage of Special Teams Play - Florida is last in the NHL on the power play, and 29th on the penalty kill. Stay out of the box and make the most of your time with a man advantage.

Play a Full 60 - Work hard each shift and play a complete game as a unit.

MLive's Ansar Khan penned a game-day article...

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has seen too many minuses from the defense pairing of Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith, so he splitting them up. Smith will be paired with Niklas Kronwall and Quincey will join Danny DeKeyser for tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

“Maybe they shouldn’t be playing together,” Babcock said of Quincey and Smith. “I don’t know the answer to that. But it was interesting; Q was a minus-3 the other night (3-0 loss to the New York Islanders Monday); he had nothing to do with any of the goals. That’s life.”

The other pair consists of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff. Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall’s regular partner, is out 3-5 weeks with fractured ribs.

“I was going to (put DeKeyser with Kronwall), but I want to have two (matchup) pairs,” Babcock said. “Smitty and Q together have been minus quite a bit; it hasn’t gone as good for those guys. Ideally this gives us two pairs, especially on the road. … If we miss the matchup we still got two guys that can handle it.”

Quincey has a team-worst minus-13 rating. Smith is minus-6.


Jonas Gustavsson is starting in goal, after a sore groin forced him to back up Petr Mrazek on Monday. Jimmy Howard (MCL) said he expects to be play Monday in Nashville.

Forwards Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson are healthy scratches. Center Darren Helm (shoulder) skated again but isn’t ready and might not play Monday either. Johan Franzen (concussion) hasn’t begun practicing with the team, so he probably won’t return anytime soon.

And the NHL offers an update regarding the progress made on the Winter Classic's ice surface:

Update #3: The Free Press's Helene St. James has filed a game-day report:

The Wings play the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center tonight (7 p.m., FSD). The Panthers are on a 5-2 run, which includes a springboard victory Dec. 10 against the Wings. The Wings are coming off an embarrassing 3-0 loss Monday at home.

Good timing, then, to get Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader back. That allows for at least two scoring lines, with Zetterberg centering Abdelkader and Daniel Alfredsson, and Pavel Datsyuk playing with Tomas Jurco and Todd Bertuzzi. Joakim Andersson is with Drew Miller and Tomas Tatar, and Luke Glendening is with Daniel Cleary and Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist is likely to get some power play time, but he's only just come back from a groin injury.

Jonas Gustavsson is starting in goal. On defense, Mike Babcock is splitting up Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey because "they've been minus quite a bit." Smith is to be paired with Niklas Kronwall and Quincey with Danny DeKeyser. "Ideally, that gives us two pairs," Babcock said, noting that if one pairing misses a match-up, "we've still got two guys that can handle it."

Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl are the third pairing.

It's a nice boost for Jurco - who turns 21 today - to be staying in the top-six mix, even with more options available now that the Wings are healthier. Babcock had a laundry list of Jurco's assets ready when asked what he likes about him, saying, "he's big and he's fast and he's skilled and he skates and he works. Looks like a good hockey player to me."

Update #4: The Free Press's Helene St. James also took note of Darren Helm's shoulder issues:

"It's not where I want it to be at this stage," Helm said Saturday. "I thought I was going to be questionable for the last game before the break, and I thought for sure I'd be ready for tonight, but that's not the case."

Helm said going up and down the ice in practice "is really good. But physical play, I don't think I can hold up to that, yet."

Helm didn't sound convinced he'd be ready to play Monday, when the Wings are at Nashville. The next game after that is the crown jewel of the regular season: The Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Helm will be smart, but that'd be hard to sit and watch.

"It'd be a tough one to swallow," he said. "It wouldn't be very fun to miss that one, especially after the back injury, getting back, feeling really good. Then this kind of fluky thing, it didn't really even hurt that much during the game that I hurt it, and then missing three weeks after. I was really looking forward to that game. It's still is a possibility. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out I'd be pretty upset to miss that one."

And she posted a video of Helm speaking with the media:

NHL.com's Alain Poupart also filed a morning skate report:

Center Henrik Zetterberg will be in action for the first time since Dec. 1 after missing 11 games because of a back injury.

"I'm glad to be back playing," Zetterberg said. "It's been a while. Just to come back and play with the boys, it's going to be fun."

Along with Zetterberg, the Red Wings also are expected to have forward Justin Abdelkader back after he missed five games because of a concussion.

Center Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing seven games when the Red Wings faced the Panthers 18 days ago and had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout loss.

Despite his long absence, Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in scoring with 30 points in 28 games.

"Obviously it's great to have him back; now we've got to get him playing," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Being back and playing is a totally different thing. It takes time. If you're Z, you've been out 11 games, so we've got to keep his shifts short."

Even with Zetterberg and Abdelkader back, the Red Wings still have a long injury list. The latest addition to that list is defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who was placed on injured reserve Friday with a rib injury sustained in a 3-0 loss against the New York Islanders on Monday.

"It's going to be nice when everyone is healthy," Zetterberg said. "We've basically had one game this year with our starting lineup. But you'd rather have it before Christmas than after Christmas."

Update #5: For the record, CSKA Moscow lost 4-3 in OT to Geneve-Servette at the Spengler Cup, but Eurohockey.com's Alan Ilijic reports that Sergei Fedorov DID play for CSKA.

The Wings' Game Day Blog also posted a "Morning Skate Update":

Henrik Zetterberg will return to the Wings lineup tonight after missing several weeks with a back injury.

"I haven’t done much lately. It’s only one goal on this team and that’s playing in the middle June and raise that Cup. Whatever you do until that is … as long as you get into the postseason and we’re healthy and we play good – that’s our goal."- Henrik Zetterberg

Justin Abdelkader will also return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a concussion.

"It’s already been two weeks, but I’m looking forward to getting back and I feel ready to go. Hopefully I can help the team." - Justin Abdelkader

Darren Helm is doubtful due to a shoulder injury.

"I just want to play. It’s painful...I’m skating, I’m shooting, doing a lot of good things. There’s a couple things I don’t know if I can handle, the hard physical grind of an NHL game...but it’s close, right around the corner, it’s coming." Darren Helm

Johan Franzen hasn't skated yet because of concussion-like symptoms.

"I still get dizzy and headaches. It’s motion triggered. I can get through workouts fine, but if I try and play keep away I can’t do that. If there’s too much going on I get dizzy, my vision gets blurry and stuff like that."  - Johan Franzen

Jimmy Howard hopes to return on Monday in Nashville.

Jonathan Ericsson is out and will go on IR with fractured ribs; he's expected to miss 3-5 weeks.

Jakub Kindl will be in for Jonathan Ericsson.

Jonas Gustavsson will be in goal.


Update #6: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of Babcock's praise for Jurco:

Someone asked coach Mike Babcock after Saturday’s morning skate what he has liked about young forward Tomas Jurco.

“Besides he’s big and fast and skilled and skates and works?” Babcock said. “Looks like a good hockey player to me.”

In his first five NHL games, Jurco has two goals and one assist and hasn’t looked out of place at all. At the age of 21, and despite only one season of American League experience with Grand Rapids, Jurco looks ready to contribute at the NHL level.

“When they come up here, they’re job is to take someone’s job and have it for the next 15 years,” Babcock said. “People have to take jobs and younger guys have that opportunity when they’re good enough.”

Jurco didn’t know what to expect when he was promoted to the Red Wings “I didn’t what to expect and didn’t know if I could play at this level,” Jurco said. “I didn’t know anything. So I’ve just worked hard since the first game and I know I’ve seen I can do it, (I can) play here. I’m just trying to impress the coaches every day.”

Jurco was scheduled to play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi Saturday, an indication of Babcock’s increasing trust and confidence.

“This is just a good experience to see where I’m at and it’s good for me to know what the hockey is like (in the NHL),” Jurco said.


“It’s much more about positioning (in the NHL),” Jurco said. “It’s more about thinking out there. The speed is about the same (as the AHL), The AHL is really fast too. You just have to know what to do.”



Update #7: MLive's Brendan Savage posited a game-day theme, if you will...

It's going to be more than three weeks before the Detroit Red Wings play their next game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings play seven of their next eight on the road beginning tonight against the Florida Panthers and their home only game during the next 22 days is Jan. 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As virtually every hockey fan in Michigan knows, that's the annual Winter Classic and it will be played before more than 107,000 fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

So although it's considered a home game for the Red Wings, the Winter Classic could turn out to be more of a neutral site matchup since the Maple Leafs are expected to have plenty of their own fans on hand.

It won't be until Jan. 18, when the Red Wings play the Los Angeles Kings, that they'll be back at Joe Louis Arena.

And that might not be a bad thing considering the Red Wings are 11-3-3 on the road this season – no Eastern Conference team has more victories away from home – while they're just 6-10-6 at Joe Louis Arena.

Considering the Red Wings' home record, is it a good thing they're heading out on the road for the next couple of weeks and can they continue their dominance away from Joe Louis Arena?

And the Wings' Game-Day Blog offers this note about Pavel Datsyuk:

Pavel Datsyuk has been red hot all season, leading the team in goals with 14, but he's also been especially hot against the Florida Panthers. In 11 career games against the team, he has 6 goals and 9 assists, for a total of 15 points, with part of that total coming the last time the Wings met the Panthers and Pavel recorded a goal and an assist.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


SYF's avatar

Tim Thomas is 2-0 against the #RedWings this month but it looks like #FlaPanthers going with Scott Clemmensen tonight.

Whatever for?  Go on and stick Thomas in net.  I want my Wings tested and angry on New Year’s Day.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/28/13 at 01:04 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Why is Nyquist stuffed on the 4th line?

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/28/13 at 01:41 PM ET

Paul's avatar

St. James tweets…

No Darren Helm (shoulder) for #RedWings tonight, sounded very doubtful about Monday, which puts Winter Classic appearance at risk.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/28/13 at 01:48 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Khan tweet,

Jimmy Howard (knee) is confident he’ll be ready to start Monday in Nashville. Darren Helm (shoulder) not sure he’ll be ready Monday.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/28/13 at 01:50 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Another St. James tweet,

Mike Babcock splitting up Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey because “they’ve been minus quite a bit.” Smith & Kronwall, Quincey & DeKeyser.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/28/13 at 01:51 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Quincey & DeKeyser.

An awesome pair of tits stuck with a boob.  Awful

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/28/13 at 02:08 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Mike Babcock splitting up Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey because “they’ve been minus quite a bit.”

I think that quote would go under the “no sh*t” category.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 12/28/13 at 02:14 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I think that quote would go under the “no sh*t” category.

Posted by calquake on 12/28/13 at 01:14 PM ET

And in the sub-category of, “Duh.”

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/28/13 at 02:27 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Posted some updates with a little more from Khan about the Quincey-Smith-giveaway-pals-forever breakup.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/28/13 at 02:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted some updates with a little more from Khan about the Quincey-Smith-giveaway-pals-forever breakup.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/28/13 at 01:35 PM ET

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/28/13 at 02:39 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Thank goodness Zetterberg and Abdelkader are back.

We all know what Z brings, and I really liked the way Abdelkader improves every line he’s been put on this year… and this year he’s been on over a dozen different combinations.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 12/28/13 at 04:33 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Why is Nyquist stuffed on the 4th line?

Posted by MoreShoot

That was my initial reaction. But it was noted that he’s just coming back from a groin injury so they’re probably just trying to limit his ice time.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/13 at 05:03 PM ET

DocF's avatar

These combinations give Detroit four lines with offensive upside.  All of them are at least decent defensively, so this should be good.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/28/13 at 07:03 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.