The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/12/12 at 01:41 PM ET
Updated 8x at 6:58 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/FS Arizona/WXYT), MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the scheduling grind has caught up to the team’s players in the injury department:
Datsyuk skating at wings practice.
Datsyuk looks tentative. not working in line combinations.
Zetterberg centering line with Franzen and Bertuzzi. Filppula centering Hudler and Cleary
Babcock said Datsyuk game-time decision. couple of others also game-time decision.
Commodore said he’s not sure if he’s in tonight. Took a shot off right foot in Chicago game and is sore.
The Wings’ website’s Twitter account confirms that Datsyuk’s “iffy”:
Pavel Datsyuk is out here for today’s morning skate. We’ll find out in a bit if he’ll play tonight or not.
What’s on the line tonight? For Jimmy Howard, it will be a shot at his 100th regular season victory.
For the #Wings, tonight is a chance to win a 13th straight home game in the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena.
Cleary talking to reporters about his bobblehead doll, which will be given away to the first 7,500 fans tonight.
Happy Birthday to Niklas Kronwall, born on this date in 1981.
Ken Kal won’t give Cleary his bobblehead until he finishes his interview. Kidding, of course. http://t.co/zlhbhB0B
According to Datsyuk, no decision has been made about his status for tonight. Says decision will be made by him and the coaching staff.
Babcock: We’ll make a game time decision. (On Datsyuk)
Babcock on Mursak’s potential return: He’s got to earn his own trust. As long as they trust themselves, I trust them.
Babcock on Howard: He’s given us real value in the net. He’s a competitor and he works real hard off the ice.
Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating also confirms...
Red Wings back to work this morning, going for 13th straight win at home tonite vs PHX. RW Live at 7 on FSD #tightrace http://t.co/BqBuG1rG
Pavel Datsyuk on the ice for morning skate. He missed the ugly loss @NYI. Wings-PHX tonight. RW Live at 7pm in FSD.
Wings w/a couple of gametime decisions. If Datsyuk doesn’t play, Mursak in? Will be his first gm of season. Kindl/Commodore also up in air.
As does the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Quick update from Thursday’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. Forward Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Mike Commodore will be game-time decisions for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Datsyuk missed Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders with an undisclosed injury.
Jan Mursak, who’s back from a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids, will take Datsyuk’s spot in the lineup.
Commodore dressed as a seventh defenseman against the Islanders but did not play. He took a shot off the inside of his right ankle in Sunday’s win against Chicago. Jakub Kindl will play if Commodore can’t go.
Also: From Wings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime:
Overheard in the locker room .... ‘I haven’t played the last two games and my glove is still wet.’ - Jimmy Howard #hockeyequipmentproblems
That’s why NHL’ers have to go through so many pairs of sticks, skates, gloves, goalie gear, etc.—shoving wet hockey equipment into equipment bags and then storing those bags in the cargo hold of Red Bird III doesn’t help. It’s entirely possible that Howard’s gear didn’t air out from the Toronto game until sometime last night…
WATCH: Like most tLike most things Pavel Datsyuk does, even his stretching routine has flair.
• And here’s Ansar Khan’s official morning skate post:
The status of center Pavel Datsyuk will be determined at game time tonight, as the Detroit Red Wings seek their 13th consecutive home victory when they face the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit).
Datsyuk sat out Tuesday’s game because of a lower-body injury. He was on the ice for today’s morning skate but looked a bit tentative and wasn’t skating on a line.
“After three days off, of course I feel better, but I need to see,’’ Datsyuk said. “After eight hours, we make decision. I hope so. Looking forward to playing.’‘
Said coach Mike Babcock of Datsyuk’s status: “I don’t know for sure, we’re going to make a game-time decision.’‘
Henrik Zetterberg skated on the line with Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi. Franzen at center didn’t work out too well, to say the least, in the 5-1 loss to the Islanders. Valtteri Filppula moved from wing to center on the second line, with Jiri Hudler and Danny Cleary.
Update #1: Here are Babcock’s morning skate comments..
And MLive’s Ansar Khan posted a report discussing the Wings’ struggles on the road, defensive issues and what Khan reports is a horrible power play over the team’s past 11 games—going 2-for-25—earlier this morning:
“Every team goes through a stretch like we just did, so we’re not going to make excuses,” defenseman Brad Stuart said. “It hasn’t been easy, but we got to find a way in these types of games to be a little better. It’s not just going to happen, we have to commit to it, but certainly we feel comfortable at home.”
“If you go back to our last four games, starting with the Dallas game (5-4 win on Jan. 3), we gave up way too many opportunities—off rushes, off turnovers, poor decisions,” [Wings coach Mike] Babcock said. “You can’t win like that. Well, you can win once in a while, but you can’t be a good team.”
Babcock said he has no idea if the team was drained physically and/or mentally.
“But that’s what we looked like, that’s what I’m going with,” he said. “We’ll give them a day off (Wednesday) and get freshened up, and that puts the onus back on them. We have to play harder than that.”
After playing backup goaltender Ty Conklin the past two games, the Red Wings will turn to Jimmy Howard tonight. He has allowed eight goals on 47 shots since posting a 3-0 shutout against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 31, in the team’s previous home game. His teammates must tighten up their play in front of him.
“We have to get back to the basics, look ourselves in the mirror and just get back on track,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Right now we’re not playing the way we want to be playing the game.”
Said captain Nicklas Lidstrom: “We have to play a lot better without the puck. It’s a concern when you’re letting in four goals and you have to score five or six to win games.”
Update 1.5: Also from the Wings’ Twitter account:
Update 1.75: I guess we ought to make this official:
RED WINGS RECALL JAN MURSAK FROM AHL … Slovenian Forward Appeared in 19 Games with Detroit Last Season …
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that 23-year-old forward Jan Mursak has been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL). A native of Maribor , Slovenia , Mursak was originally selected by Detroit in the sixth round (182nd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The 5’11”, 190-lb. winger has appeared in 19 games with the Red Wings (1G-0A-1P) and 190 games with the Griffins (39G-48A-87P) thus far in his professional career.
Currently 26-15-1 on the 2011-12 NHL campaign, Detroit will take on the Phoenix Coyotes later tonight (puck drop – 7:30 p.m.) at Joe Louis Arena. The first 7,500 fans in attendance for this ‘Bobblehead Thursday’ match will receive a free Danny Cleary bobblehead compliments of Dodge RAM, the official truck of the Detroit Red Wings. Tickets to all upcoming Red Wings home games are available at the JLA Box Office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets and online at DetroitRedWings.com.
Update #2: Here’s the Free Press’s George Sipple’s mornig skate report:
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate that he needed a little more time to decide on tonight’s lineup against the Coyotes.
“We’ve got a couple game time decisions,” Babcock said. “I’m not going to go through them all with you. I’ll let you know by what you see in warm-up or after.”
Forward Pavel Datsyuk, who missed the last game with a lower-body injury, said after the morning skate he had to talk to the trainers but hoped to play.
Jan Mursak is available if Datsyuk can’t play. Mursak has been out all season with a broken ankle.
“He was a very bright spot in training camp,” Babcock said of Mursak. “We thought he was going to be a player for us, an important player for us. It hasn’t gone the way he wanted. We hope to get him rolling.”
Defenseman Mike Commodore (foot) is questionable.
NOTEBOOK: Babcock is one win away from 400 career victories and Jimmy Howard is one shy of 100. ... Defenseman Niklas Kronwall turned 31 today.
There are a couple game-time decisions for the Red Wings before Thursday night’s contest against Phoenix. Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury) took part in Thursday’s morning skate.
“I feel OK,” said Datsyuk, who added that he feels “better” after three days off the ice.
Datsyuk said a final decision would come down to what the trainers and coaches say.
“Eight hours, we’ll make the decision,” Datsyuk said.
If Datsyuk can’t play then Jan Mursak, who was recalled from Grand Rapids Thursday morning, will be inserted into the lineup. Mursak fractured his left ankle during the exhibition season and was sent to Grand Rapids last month for a rehabilitation stint. Mursak played six games in Grand Rapids and had one assist.
“I feel good. It’s not really sore; the ankle is feeling good, as it should,” Mursak said. “It was good (to play). We had two back-to-backs and I felt good. I was skating pretty good. The only problem was timing. (But) I’m ready. I’m back into the hockey shape and ready to compete for a spot here.”
Update #4: If you missed it, Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk will represent the Wings at the All-Star Game;
Update #5: Here’s Ken Kal’s game-day preview, in which he harasses one Danny Cleary about his bobblehead night:
• Also in the multimedia department, this might be your wallpaper if you’re a Pavel Datsyuk fan;
• And here’s Danny Cleary talking to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about campaigning for a bobblehead:
Short of pounding the pavement and kissing babies at Fourth of July parades, Danny Cleary campaigned hard for today. Last August, the Red Wings’ forward emerged victorious in Operation: Bobblehead – an online voting initiative set-up by the team’s marketing department to determine which six players would have their likeness emblazoned on a 6 ½-inch polyresin figurine this season.
“I think my daughter is pretty happy, and she’s getting to the game early to snag one,” said Cleary, who garnered 90 percent of the vote submitted via DetroitRedWings.com and Facebook.
While it wasn’t as contentious as a Mitt Romney-Newt Gingrich Republican debate, Cleary and teammate Todd Bertuzzi (who won a later vote and will have his own bobblehead night Feb. 23) had a spirited rivalry in the offseason, trading calls and messages as both men tried to leapfrog the other in the Internet polls[.]
“We had a lot of fun with it, it’s pretty neat,” Cleary said. “I’ve already seen it, so it’s a good keepsake to have.”
Asked if he’s now reached a new standard in celebrity with tonight’s bobblehead debut, Cleary chuckled, and said, “I don’t know, maybe. I think it’s a fun little idea. I think it’s something that we’ll look back on and it will be pretty cool. I think the biggest thing would be for kids, they love that stuff.”
The first 7,500 fans at tonight’s Red Wings game will receive the Cleary bobblehead, courtesy of RAM truck.
Update #7: Via Jamie Favreau on Facebook, in addition to holding a private signing with Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit City Sports will hold signings with Pavel Datsyuk on Saturday, February 11th and Gordie Howe on Sunday, March 10th.
Update #8: Via RedWingsFeed, I like the way he thinks: the Sporting News’s Jesse Spector says that the NHL should at least say that they would have picked Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne to attend the All-Star Game to recognize their respective statures;
• From the Coyotes’ side of things, Gilbert Brule spoke to Dave Vest about his pick-up by Phoenix on re-entry waivers, and Todd Walsh reports that defenseman David Schlemko will miss significant time—6 to 8 weeks—with a broken foot which required surgery;
• Vest also filed a game preview:
The Coyotes will try to earn another road win tonight when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (20-17-6) will enter the game looking to snap a five-game losing streak to the Read Wings dating to last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The teams have played only once this season; Detroit won that game, 5-2, on home ice on Dec. 8.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will coach his 700th NHL game tonight and become just the 39th head coach to reach the 700-game mark. His .610 points percentage is the fifth-highest among active head coaches.
Center Gilbert Brule, whom the Coyotes claimed off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, will make his Phoenix debut wearing sweater No. 8. In 27 games with Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League this season, Brule notched eight goals and 10 assists. Brule, 25, was drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Coyotes defenseman David Rundblad will be in the lineup for just the second time since being acquired from Ottawa on Dec. 17 for Kyle Turris.
Mike Smith is expected to be in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has allowed one goal in four of his past five starts and has stopped 135 of 142 shots (.951 save percentage) in that span.
• DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose reports that Jan Mursak may or may not play in tonight’s game, depending on Pavel Datsyuk’s status…
The decision on Mursak’s status for the game hinges on Pavel Datsyuk’s undisclosed lower body injury. Datsyuk was injured in Sunday’s overtime win at Chicago. He sat out Tuesday’s loss to the New York Islanders, but did participate in Thursday’s morning skate.
“After three days off of course I feel better, but I need to see,” Datsyuk said. “After eight hours we make decision. I hope so. Looking forward to playing.”
Mursak thought he might play, but he hadn’t been told by coach Mike Babcock, who indicated that Datsyuk and defenseman Mike Commodore would be game-time decisions.
“It depends on how Pav feels,” said Mursak, who will turn 24-years-old on Jan. 20. “We’ll see what they tell me.”
Mursak had an outstanding training camp and preseason, and it was expected that he would start the regular-season in Detroit and add speed and energy to the Wings’ third or fourth line. While surgery wasn’t required, he wore a cast followed by an immobilizer on his left foot, which kept the Slovenia native off the ice for three months. Late last month Mursak came off long-term injured reserve and was sent to Grand Rapids for a six-game rehabilitation assignment with the Griffins. There he had an assist and was a minus-3 while logging plenty of ice time.
“The ankle feels good, no pain. I feel really comfortable,” said Mursak, who was recalled by the Wings on Thursday. “I was playing a lot there, getting back in hockey shape. I was just a little bit out of timing, deciding on when to pass or when to shoot. I had a lot of chances, but just didn’t produce much. When the chances are there I know sooner or later they’ll start going in.”
A few more things: Via RedWingsFeed, here’s EJ Hradek talking about Niklas Kronwall…
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