The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/17/13 at 01:14 PM ET
Updated 3x with Wild updates at 5:28 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Minnesota Wild tonight in a pseudo-matinee game (6 PM EST, FSD/FS North/97.1 FM) with both teams hoping to snap two-game losing streaks. The Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek opposite Niklas Backstrom tonight, and the Wings will also receive a roster reinforcement in the form of Mikael Samuelsson, but whether Pavel Datsyuk plays tonight, we don't yet know, and we won't know until game time:
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan is confirming...
As is the Free Press's Helene St. James...
And MLive's Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings' Game Day blog also offers "three keys to the game" from Ken Kal:
Limit Turnovers - Turnovers hurt the team in their last game, especially in the third period. The Wings need to take better care of the puck tonight.
Play Better in Front of our Goalie - That means clearing rebounds and not allowing the opposition to get multiple scoring chances.
Compete Hard for 60 Minutes - Win the one-on-one battles, especially in the corners, and play with an edge.
Roose penned an article discussing the Wings' "Fathers and Mentors' trip," which spans tonight's game and Tuesday's in Nashville, and he focused on a yarn-and-a-half that Jordin Tootoo spun about his father Barney's trip from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut to Detroit before getting down to brass tacks:
“Obviously everything has been different here, not only for myself, but I think a lot of people around here,” Tootoo said. “Obviously, my dad is excited to meet a lot of the other dads and the players.”
For Tootoo, the trip is a way for him and other players to show their gratitude to their dads, or in some cases, other men who mentored them.
“Our parents have been there through thick and thin and this is kind of a ‘thank you’ to them for showing us the ropes,” he said. “And now it’s kind of our turn to show them what we kind of do on a daily basis. I also think it’s a great opportunity for all of our fathers to reflect on their kid’s pasts, reminisce and have a good time with each other.”
Justin Abdelkader, Daniel Cleary, Carlo Colaiaicovo, Cory Emmerton, Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Drew Miller, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, and Henrik Zetterberg are among the players, coaches and training staff hosting their dads, brothers, friends and mentors on the two-game trip, which concludes Tuesday in Nashville.
With the lockout shortened schedule and games being played every other day, it would have been easy for the Wings to eliminate this year’s trip. But coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t hear of it.
“This is one of the things we do, so why wouldn’t we have it?” he said. “The dad’s didn’t plan the lockout, they had nothing to do with. We like having them. It’s a great thing to do. … We’ve been doing it ever since I’ve come here. It’s lots of fun.”
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Winner: Mike Babcock, Detroit
Runners-up: Barry Trotz, Nashville; Peter DeBoer, New Jersey
Comment: Always an award that could have half a dozen or more deserving nominees, Babcock gets the early nod for steering the Red Wings through the post-Lidstrom era with a shaky -- and injured -- defence corps, yet the Wings persevere. Trotz gets mentioned annually and Pekka Rinne's strong play might be more reason for Nashville's success, but they're succeeding with minimal production from Shea Weber (or any forwards) after Ryan Suter left as a free agent. Perhaps there should be some Ewing Theory applied to the big ticket free agents signed by Minnesota, since the Devils haven't missed a beat without Zach Parise, but DeBoer deserves credit for keeping the Devils on track. Battling early injuries and dancing around goaltender usage, Vancouver's Alain Vigneault should be among those nominated too, so it pains me to have him among honourable mentions. Toronto's Randy Carlyle and Montreal's Michel Therrien could be in the discussion too, as both Toronto and Montreal are exceeding preseason expectations.
On the Wild's side of the rink, MinnesotaWild.com's Mike Doyle has penned a game preview...
The Minnesota Wild will celebrate Hockey Day in America by hosting the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the second time the two teams have met this season, with the Red Wings taking the first game in Detroit, 5-3.
Minnesota recalled a pair of forwards yesterday. The Wild recalled Jason Zucker and Johan Larsson from the Houston Aeros, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Zucker played in six games with the Wild last season after signing an entry-level deal out of the University of Denver. The speedy left wing leads the Aeros with 41 points (19-22=41). Zucker ranks second amongst AHL rookies in goals and scoring. Larsson hasn’t played a game with the Wild and will wear number 47. In Houston, he has 27 points (13-14=27) in 50 games.
The Wild also placed Josh Harding on Injured Reserve yesterday as he’s felt off while taking new medications in treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Yesterday, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Justin Falk didn’t practice with the team due to illness and their status for today is unknown. The Wild didn’t hold a morning skate so the lineup will not be determined till game time.
On Thursday, the Wild as outlasted in a shootout against the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3. Zach Parise got Minnesota on the board in the second period with his team leading 7th goal, with assists going to Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley. Mike Rupp followed up with his first goal with the Wild. Mikael Granlund assisted the goal. Koivu closed out the scoring for the Wild in the third period, assist going to Heatley and Ryan Suter. Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves in the game.
The Wings were shot down by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, 5-2. Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves in the losing effort.
And he believes that the Wild will dress the following lineup:
Parise - Koivu - Heatley
Brodziak - Granlund - Seto
Zucker- Cullen - Clutterbuck
Mitchell - Konopka - Rupp
If Falk is out, Nate Prosser will be back on the blue line:
Suter – Spurgeon
Gilbert – Brodin
Prosser – Stoner
The Star-Tribune's Michael Russo offered a different kind of morning skate update...because the Wild aren't holding one today...
Good morning from Chateau Russeau, where for a rarity, I didn't have to be at a morning skate. Because of the early game, the players didn't go down to the X today, so I can't give you the lines so many of you are curious about. We will talk to coach MIke Yeo at 3 p.m., so I will blog and tweet them soon after.
To guess lines, one we know. After combining for two goals in the shootout loss to Colorado on Thursday, you know Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley will remain intact.
From there, it's just a guess because Pierre-Marc Bouchard was sick yesterday and likely won't play today and because Yeo will have to choose one other forward to come out.
My guess is Zucker slots right into a line with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi because Torrey Mitchell filled in there yesterday.
The other line in practice was: Mikael Granlund-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck in practice. So if that stays the same, perhaps Yeo just slots Larsson onto the fourth line with Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka and sits Mitchell? Or perhaps he plays Mitchell and has Larsson center the fourth line with Rupp. I'd think Rupp plays because he scored last game and was the forward Yeo pretty much chose to get more ice time once Clutterbuck left the game. Remember also, Konopka took a bad penalty against the Avs and Yeo made his displeasure known by not giving Konopka another shift. Still, my guess is that Mitchell sits.
The only caveat to all this is if the club isn't comfortable playing a banged up Clutterbuck, who did feel better yesterday but was having issues with peripheral vision in the second period of the Colorado game. That's why he left the game.
Update #0.25: Take this for what you will:
Coach Mike Babcock said he'd have "to make a decision" on which forward comes out if Datsyuk is able to play. He missed the last game because of a shoulder bruise, but has since skated twice.
Mikael Samuelsson will make what will be just his third appearance of the season after being sidelined by a pulled groin.
"I'm excited, for sure," Samuelsson said of rejoining the lineup. "I look forward to tonight."
On defense, Kent Huskins is coming in for Jakub Kindl, who continues to struggle to gain a foothold as a regular despite numerous opportunities. "It's frustrating," Kindl said. "I wish I had the answer."
Huskins said, "it's great" to play again after being a healthy scratch for five games. "It's my job to come back in and contribute, and I look forward to doing that."
Petr Mrazek is scheduled to get his second NHL start.
Not much going on otherwise in the injury department: Darren Helm is on the trip but isn't skating, isn't working out, and isn't remotely close to joining the lineup. Johan Franzen (hip flexor) skated, but isn't playing tonight.
She also offered a Twitter quip about Darren Helm's status:
Johan Larsson will make his NHL debut, while Jason Zucker will make his season debut tonight as the Wild hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Hockey Day in America.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be out of the lineup with an illness. Zenon Konokpa will be a healthy scratch.
Zucker will skate on a line with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi. Larsson will skate with Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck. The first line of Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Zach Parise will remain intact. Mikael Granlund will center Torrey Mitchell and Mike Rupp.
Nate Prosser also be in tonight for Justin Falk, who was sick and missed yesterday’s practice.
Per the Star-Tribune's Michael Russo:
And MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article about the fathers' trip:
Barney Tootoo played hockey, but not the way his son plays.
“He was finesse,'' Tootoo said. “I mean, when you’re that small … he was a little shifty around the net more than he was dropping the gloves. My mom likes the more physical stuff. She’s the one that created all of the physical part when I was growing up.''...
Kyle Quincey brought his father, Marty, who owns a sales agency in Kitchener, Ontario.
“He's pumped, he's looking forward to it,'' Quincey said. “He's a huge hockey fan. Just being with the boys is what he's looking forward to.''
Jimmy Howard brought his father-in-law after taking his father and grandfather on previous trips.
“I'm just trying to spread it around and give everyone a chance,'' Howard said. “He's just excited to be able to do something like this. He's a big sports fan and to be able to travel with us is real exciting. He was all over it.''
Jonathan Ericsson brought his younger brother, Jesper, who is in the U.S. for only the second time. The only other time Jesper saw his brother play in person since Jonathan joined the NHL was when the Red Wings started the 2009-10 season with a pair of games in Stockholm, Sweden.
“I'll meet lots of people, you get to know these guys over time,'' Babcock said. “You understand their kids and where they come from. The other thing is the guys have a great time and we usually play hard.''
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