The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/13/13 at 12:29 PM ET
Updated 8x at 3:43 PM: Crappy news regarding Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan and MLive's Ansar Khan...
And it appears that the Wings are preparing to play without Stephen Weiss for an extended period of time:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms Howard's injury, and now we're waiting to find out how bad Stephen Weiss's groin issues are--the fact that the team's recalled Eaves suggests that he's going to be out for at least a couple of weeks...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James reveals which knee was "dinged up" by Daniel Cleary at the end of Wednesday's practice:
Update: Khan confirms in article form:
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has a grade 1 sprain of his left medial collateral ligament and will be out two-to-four weeks, general manager Ken Holland said.
The injury, suffered Wednesday near the end of practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, could sideline Howard for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium and dash any hopes he had for making the U.S. Olympic team.
Could sideline him, or he could return around that time. We'll have to wait and see.
The Red Wings now will lean even more on backup Jonas Gustavsson, while giving Petr Mrazek an occasional start.
Update #1.5: Cue the press release!
RED WINGS RECALL EAVES AND GLENDENING, ASSIGN EMMERTON TO GRIFFINS
… Red Wings Begin Four-Game Homstand on Saturday Against Pittsburgh …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled right wing Patrick Eaves and center Luke Glendening from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned center Cory Emmerton to the Griffins.
Eaves, 29, has skated in three games with the Red Wings this season, averaging 9:14 of ice time. The Calgary, Alberta, native joined Grand Rapids on Nov. 15 and has six points (4-2-6) and eight penalty minutes in eight games with the club. In 2012-13, Eaves appeared in 34 games with the Red Wings, showing eight points (2-6-8) and four penalty minutes. The nine-year NHL veteran has 141 points (72-69-141) and 145 penalty minutes in 417 games with Ottawa, Carolina and Detroit and 19 points (9-10-19) and 18 penalty minutes in 26 career AHL games.
Glendening, 24, has split his second professional season between Detroit and Grand Rapids, recording no points in nine NHL games and 10 points (3-7-10) in 17 AHL games with the Griffins. A Grand Rapids, Mich., native, Glendening helped his hometown team win the Calder Cup in 2012-13, registering 26 points (8-18-26) in 51 regular-season games and leading all AHL rookies with 16 points (6-10-16) in 24 postseason games. The University of Michigan product also recorded 70 points (31-39-70) in 165 contests with the Wolverines from 2008-12.
Emmerton, 25, has played nine games for the Red Wings this season, recording two assists. In 130 career NHL games with Detroit, he has tallied 21 points (12-9-21) and 22 penalty minutes. The St. Thomas, Ontario, native has also notched 14 points (3-11-14) in 18 games with Grand Rapids this season. He has appeared in 235 career games for the Griffins since 2006, recording 125 points (37-88-125) and 76 penalty minutes.
6 games over the course of 10 pre-Christmas nights = Wings need as many bodies on deck as possible.
Update #2: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan weighs in:
Howard was injured in Wednesday during practice trying to make a save late in practice.
“We were having a little fun playing rebound and I went to my right and made a dandy save,” said Howard of the play. “But I felt something go wrong with my knee. Having fun, and the next thing you know…what can you do?”
The injury very likely ends whatever Olympic hopes Howard had this season. The U.S. team will be announced on Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic. With a 6-8-7 record, 2.66 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, Howard was in a battle with several other goalies to secure a roster spot.
In theory, Howard, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Henrik Zetterberg could all return on or around the 28th, but that's an "in theory" theory.
Without Howard, the Red Wings will now lean on goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who is having a career-best type of season.
Gustavsson has an 8-1-2 record, ranks sixth in the NHL with a 1.93 goals-against average, and is seventh with a .933 save percentage.
“He’s 8-1-2, that’s pretty hard to argue with,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s been excellent, he’s given us an opportunity every night.”
Update #3: The Free Press's Helene St. James has been drumming up the, "Howard's U.S. Olympic Job Is On The Line" angle forever, so let's all be surprised that the possibility of Howard missing the Olympics is the focus of her article about #35's knee issue:
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today that an MRI revealed Howard has a grade 1 medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Holland estimated Howard will miss 2-4 weeks, jeopardizing his shot at playing in the New Year's Day Winter Classic between the Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium, and decreasing his already slim chances of making Team USA.
As of now, Howard will not be put on injured reserve.
Howard hurt himself during practice Wednesday at Tampa, when he made a kick save on Daniel Cleary. Howard said his left knee tweaked as it absorbed his entire weight.
The Wings already were counting more on backup Jonas Gustavsson, who is 8-1-2 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. Petr Mrazek, who has made one appearance with the Wings this season, was called up to serve as the no. 2 guy while Howard heals.
Howard had a rough November, leaving him at 6-8-7 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. That's tarnished his body of work as he's under consideration for the U.S. squad that will compete in February at the Sochi Games. Three goaltenders will make the roster, and two of those spots already are locked up by Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller.
Howard is competing for the third spot with Cory Schneider, who is 4-6-4 but has a 1.89 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. Schneider might further appeal because at 27 he's a couple of years younger than Howard, which could sway the selection committee that he'd be a better pick as it would give Schneider experience for future Team USAs. The roster is slated to be announced Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic.
Update #4: Take this chatter from CBS Sports' Brian Stubits for what you will:
U.S. general manager David Poile explained how Team USA would handle injured players in a conference call with the media Thursday.
"If we think any of these [injured] players are going to be on the Olympic team or we want them on the team and they're going to be healthy by Feb. 11, then we'll have to name them on the team and then we'll have to deal with replacing them if the injury doesn't come around," Poile said.
Howard has a 6-8-7 record, .910 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average. He does have a stronger body of work, including a stellar performance last postseason and a recent strong showing at the World Championship in 2012. He's likely in the mix to be Team USA's No. 3 at this point, assuming he recovers in time.
Team USA is dealing with a litany of injuries to players that would be considered strong candidates to make Team USA including Howard, Quick, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin and Ryan Callahan.
For the Red Wings, this is another derailment in Howard's efforts to get back on track.
Meanwhile, Detroit can lean on Gustavsson, who has posted an 8-1-2 record, .933 save percentage and 1.93 goals-against average. Though he'll have a heavier work load with Howard out for an extended period, the Wings should have confidence they can at least get by with Gustavsson.
Update #5: And, regarding the other moves, from St. James:
The Detroit Red Wings flipped one forward for two on Friday to boost their ranks.
Cory Emmerton was sent back to Grand Rapids, and Luke Glendening and Patrick Eaves were recalled. That will give the Wings 13 healthy forwards for Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wings are without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back, out at least till Christmas), Darren Helm (shoulder, return unknown) and Stephen Weiss (groin, status under re-evaluation). Zetterberg and Weiss are both on IR.
Eaves was put on waivers last month after being unable to crack the lineup regularly. He has no points and was a minus-2 after three games. Glendening has made nine appearances, with no points and a minus-3 rating.
Update #6: Finally, some good news!
Mrazek will serve as the backup to Gustavsson.
“With the two of them we believe they can give us the type of goaltending that gives us a chance to win,” Holland said.
Update #8: MLive's Ansar Khan clarified Howard's situation to some extent...
Holland said Howard was moving gingerly on Friday, two days after getting hurt in practice. He has not been placed on injured reserve, but he won’t be back before Dec. 28.The injury jeopardizes his chance to play in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic and possibly dashes his hopes to make the U.S. Olympic team.
“He’ll see how he feels in a week,” Holland said. “Knee sprains are harder on a goalie because they bend the knees so much and put pressure on it.’’
And Khan noted that Gustavsson has Olympic aspirations of his own:
"If you play good, you get some opportunities, you get a bigger chance to make the (Olympic) team,” Gustavsson said. “But there are a lot of (Swedish) goalies over here now. It wasn’t like my first year when I made the Olympic team (2010); we had maybe only 2-3 guys from Sweden playing in the NHL. The competition is tougher this time, but of course it’s something I would like to be a part of.”
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers is Sweden’s top goalie. Gustavsson appears to be a shoo-in for one of the other two spots.
Gustavsson said he’s trying not to think about it, but added, “First time I was there it was special, unbelievable, especially since it was in Canada (Vancouver). Now it’s in Russia (Sochi), which also is a big hockey country. That would be a lot of fun, too. I think every hockey player wants to be there.”
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