The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/19/13 at 11:31 AM ET
Updated 7xat 3:18 PM: The Detroit Red Wings received bad news on the injury front during and after yesterday's optional practice, and today, the entire team got back to work at Joe Louis Arena ahead of Wednesday's game against the surging Wild (who defeated Vancouver last night)...
But the injury fairy made an appearance at the incredibly well-attended practice...
Fear not! Sort of:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that we shouldn't expect to hear much of anything from the Wild today:
The Wild have won three straight games and seven of their past ten.
In the prospect department, it's all but certain that the Wings will sign Northern Michigan goalie Jared Coreau, and the Marquette Mining Jounral's Matt Wellens spoke to Corneau about his highly probable signing...Last week...
In an interview last week with The Mining Journal, Coreau said he had seven teams, including the Wings, interested in him following the Wildcats' first-round CCHA playoff series loss at Michigan. Coreau said at the time he wanted a fair shot at the NHL and would sign with the organization that gave him that kind of opportunity.
The Red Wings appear to be that organization.
"Really it just comes down to where I will get an opportunity to play and I'll take it from there," Coreau said. "There is no certainly yet where it could be. It's exciting. I'm kind of nervous. I want to have a chance and know what I have to do in terms of work and everything. I'd like to hear that the NHL teams and representatives are in the AHL, they are involved a lot with the AHL team and at games watching you develop."
Grand Rapids Griffins first-year head coach Jeff Blashill contacted NMU head coach Walt Kyle the Monday after the Wildcats' season-ending loss to Michigan to inquire about Coreau. Blashill is also a former assistant coach at Ferris State and Miami. He was head coach of Western Michigan for one season before becoming an assistant for the Red Wings.
The Griffins are the AHL affiliate of the Red Wings. According to the source inside the NMU hockey program, the 6-foot-4, 208-pound Coreau could start his pro career in Detroit before joining the Griffins at a later date.
Coreau, 21, attended rookie camps in Edmonton and Calgary after his sophomore year. After his freshmen year, he attended rookie camps put on by the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks. In addition to the Oilers, Flames, Rangers and Sharks, the Perth, Ontario native was being pursued by the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's sad," Coreau said last week about leaving NMU. "There are great guys here. It's too bad because I think next year is going to be a big year for Northern. We'll be going into a league that we should be top three."
In trade talk, MLive''s Ansar Khan suggested that the Wings were interested in Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid during his first "trade talk" column, and today, Khan turns the spotlight toward Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky's a bit older (36) and not exactly big at 5'10," but he's probably the best UFA-to-be defenseman on the market, especially given that the Ottawa Senators probably want to hold on to Sergei Gonchar as they make due without Erik Karlsson:
Contract: Final year, with a salary-cap hit of $5.6 million. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 5.
Strengths: A highly skilled player who can quarterback the power play. He is mobile, has a tremendous point shot. He can move the puck and carry it.
Weaknesses: He is not big, he is a pure finesse player. He doesn't hit or block shots. He relies on quickness to defend.
Why the Red Wings might be interested in him: They have been seeking a top-four defenseman since the off-season. Kyle Quincey's injury (four-to-six weeks with a fractured cheek bone) might increase the need for such a player. They like skilled puck-movers and could use another point man on the power play.
What it might take to get him: Second-round pick and/or second-tier prospect.
The Islanders haven't gone in the tank yet. If they stay in playoff contention, they might not go into selling mode. But, if they do, they surely will unload Visnovsky, a player who twice refused to play for them before finally reporting.
If the Red Wings make a pitch for a defenseman, should they get a puck-mover who can quarterback the power play, like Visnovsky, or should they seek someone who is bigger and stronger defensively?
This is the kind of thing that gets me mushy:
"Eaves is going to get checked out, he got a shot in the jaw, it went off his stick into his jaw, so we'll see what happens with him,'' coach Mike Babcock said.
Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk (flu) left practice early but are fine and expected to play Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network exclusive).
Eaves suffered a broken jaw and concussion when hit by a shot from Nashville's Roman Josi on Nov. 26, 2011, If he can't play, the Red Wings will need to recall a player from the Grand Rapids Griffins, because they have no healthy extra forwards.
Here are the lines they skated with today:
Justin Abdelkader-Pavel Datsyuk-Johan Franzen
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Damien Brunner
Daniel Cleary-Joakim Andersson-Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller-Cory Emmerton-Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Brian Lashoff-Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl-Ian White
Jimmy Howard (starting Wednesday)
Update #1.5: FYI/FTR:
Update #4: Here's the Free Press's George Sipple's practice report:
Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves left practice today, after taking a puck to the jaw. Defenseman Brendan Smith nearly got hit in the face with a puck, too, while attempting to tip shots for fun.
“Eaves is going to get checked out,” coach Mike Babcock said after practice. “He got shot in the jaw or whatever off his stick. ... We’ll see what happens.”
Forward Henrik Zetterberg left practice early but later jogged past reporters. Babcock said Zetterberg is fine.
Forward Mikael Samuelsson (finger) said he attempted to stickhandle while skating on his own after the Wings practiced. Samuelsson, who missed time earlier in the season with groin issues, has played in three games this season.
He said he didn’t know when he’d be able to play again: “If I set a date, probably going to miss it anyways. Take one day at a time. Feels better, though. But not there yet. Maybe a week.”
Update #4.5: From Hedger:
Thigh rises are silly high again under the NHL's revised pad-sizing policy, but how do you protect goalies' knees given that knee pads are still a bit behind the protective curve? Maybe softening up those thigh rises would help...And the fact that so many teams make players block shots (see: the Rangers don't just tell players to use skate fenders: instead, the training staff places hard plastic protectors on players' gloves so that everyone can block shots, even Richards, Gaborik and Nash) doesn't help...
The Finnish SM-Liiga has 92-foot-wide ice, but I just can't see NHL teams agreeing to give away a row's worth of on-the-glass seats...
Henrik Zetterberg skated but left the ice early. Babcock said Zetterberg was "fine," and it appeared that way as Zetterberg was running after practice.
…Pavel Datsyuk left practice a few minutes early also, staving off flu-like symptoms.
Update #6: Via RedWingsFeed again, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff filed a practice report...From Monday...
As the Detroit Red Wings ready for Wednesday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Minnesota Wild, there was nothing but bad news on the team’s injury front. Centre Darren Helm was hoping to return to the lineup from a back injury, but lasted just 10 minutes into Monday’s practice before being forced to leave the ice.
“I think we’re dealing with a minor setback,” Helm said. “It didn’t feel too good, travelling, sitting down a lot, I don’t know if that was the cause of it. We were pushing pretty hard on the ice and added in a few new exercises. I don’t know if it was a combination of it all, but the last couple of days it’s just not feeling the way it was earlier.”
Meanwhile, the diagnosis of the damage to defenceman Kyle Quincey’s injured cheekbone was more serious than first hoped and it’s expected he’ll be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
“There’s too much swelling,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He sees (the eye doctor Tuesday), but we still won’t know anything because of the swelling. We will re-evaluate in a week, but he’s got multiple fractures.”
The news is even worse regarding right-winger Todd Bertuzzi, who labours to even walk with his back injury and doesn’t have any idea when he’ll be able to play again, or if surgery might ultimately be his destination.
“I’m not sure,” Bertuzzi said. “With the back, unfortunately it’s just time. I don’t have an answer. I wish I did because that’s the frustrating part. If you have a knee injury or something you know how long it’s going to take, but when it’s the back you have no clue. I went to the hospital for four days, and have kind of been every two weeks getting needles and resting. It was the only thing that would control the pain. No pills could really take away the pain.”
Bertuzzi hopes to avoid surgery, but also doesn’t want to return to action until he knows he can play without setbacks. “I’ve got a couple of issues with my discs,” he said. “I did three shots and it’s gradually gotten better after each one.”
Update #7: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose sets up Wednesday's Wings-Wild game:
Since the Red Wings played in Minnesota last month, the Wild have gone … well, wild. After posting a 3-1 win at Vancouver on Monday night, the Wild have posted a 9-3-0 record in the last dozen games. The Wild now sit atop of the Northwest Division with 34 points, just two-points ahead of the Canucks.
The Wild visit Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, in what is the Red Wings’ only home game prior to Easter Sunday. The game is also the season-series finale between the two clubs, who split the first two contests this season.
“They’re a hard working team,” Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff said. “Obviously, a guy like (Zach) Parise is on the puck a lot and he’s tenacious, as is (Ryan) Suter, two new guys who are helping them out a lot. So I think if we can keep our special teams going the way that they have in the last couple of games I think we’ll be alright.”
Special team play will be a challenge for the Wings, who have struggled with consistency all season. Minnesota, however, has scored a power-play goal in nine of its last 11 games, going 9-for-39 in that stretch. Minnesota is 9-5-1 when scoring a power-play goal, and 7-5-1 when it is stopped on the man-advantage.
The Wild are benefiting from their defensive unit, which aside from Suter, are a combination of young prospects, like 2010 first-round pick Jonas Brodin, and crafty veterans, such as Tom Gilbert.
“They have a real good back end,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Everybody knows about Suter, but Brodin is a player that’s going to be known well in the league over time. I think (Jared) Spurgeon is really smart guy, and playing well. (Clayton) Stoner and (Justin) Falk are great big men that can skate and move the puck, and Gilbert is playing in their 5-6 pair, which is pretty good D-men to be playing in their 5-6 pair. That’s a pretty good group.”
As someone who has played against some of the top forwards in the Western Conference in his first season, Lashoff said the Wild’s lines are extremely dangerous, especially a guy like Parise, who has seven points in the last six games, and eads the Wild with 11 goals this season.
“He’s definitely one of the guys that I’ve noticed,” Lashoff said. “He’s very aggressive and on the puck and he never gives up and battles in the offensive zone for sure. He’s one of the tougher players that I’ve had to play against."
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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.