The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/09/12 at 02:01 PM ET
Updated 9x at 6:20 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/WXYT AM), the Red Wings ended up recalling Joakim Andersson from the Grand Rapids Griffins on an emergency basis, but MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings did so For precautionary reasons:
Ken Holland said Abdelkader has flu and is gametime decision. Andersson recalled just in case
There’s also good news on the Henrik Zetterberg front…
Bertuzzi and Zetterberg skating for Wings
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that the aforementioned Abdelkader isn’t skating…
No abdelkader on the ice
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that there’s actually good news on the long-term injury front…
Wings call up Andersson
Bertuzzi skating with Wings at morning practice, Datsyuk too
Datsyuk at morning skate http://t.co/ttDi0mKI
Abdelkader has flu, per Holland
Which DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose confirms:
Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk are participating in #RedWings morning skate.
Abdelkader has the flu and is a game-time decision, which is why Andersson has been called up.
Here’s a look at the #RedWings likely line combinations (if Abby plays) and D-pairings for tonight’s game vs. #LAKings: http://t.co/mX7q31yW
Roose also posted the game notes, which indicate that Steve Kozari and Dan O’Rourke will referee tonight’s game, with David Brisebois and Don Henderson working the lines.
Amongst the Red Wings’ website’s Twitter updates:
Happy GAME DAY everyone! Tonight, the #Wings host the LA Kings at JLA. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM on FS-D and 1270 AM.
The Red Wings have recalled Joakim Andersson from @griffinshockey of the American Hockey League.
MUST WATCH: Kris Draper and current Red Wing players are teaming up to ‘Defeat the Label.’ http://t.co/sWzYlO8n
Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Dan Cleary are also Red Wing representatives for the campaign. http://t.co/f15vonpU
Kris Draper poses with his ‘Defeat the Label’ sweatshirt. The campaign hopes to end bullying in schools. http://t.co/Ir9wzVs4
The Wings are on ice for today’s morning skate. Abdelkader (illness) is a game time decision.
Bertuzzi, Zetterberg and Datsyuk are all out there as we type.
Things are a little crowded in the Wings dressing room. BSmith needed to borrow Emmerton’s stall for a second http://t.co/N6pVE6m5
Holmstrom: ‘Injuries happen every year, to every team. Maybe it’s happening with us now and not a month from now.’
How fast can things change in the NHL? ‘If you have one good or bad week, you could be in a totally different spot in the race.’ Homer said
Update #0.5: From St. James:
Bertuzzi didn’t sound like he’ll play at Nashville, either
• And I don’t even know where to begin regarding crazy internet stalker fan weighing in on the Kronwall hit.
Update #0.75: From Khan:
Bertuzzi said groin still not feeling right. Doubts he will play Saturday. No need to take any more chances.
Babcock said he expects Abdelkader to play tonight but Andersson will take war ups just in case
Lidstrom skated by himself before practice Babcock said but won’t play this weekend as expected.
Babcock said Abdelkader Ok to play, but Andersson will take warmups just in case
Andersson was a precautiuon for Abdelkader (flu) but looks like abby will be playing
According to Wings GM Ken Holland, forward Justin Abdelkader has the flu and will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The did recall Joakim Andersson from Grand Rapids just in case Abdelkader can’t play.
And here are more quips from the Wings’ Twitter account:
Babcock: ‘It looks to me like he’s playing.’ (On Abdelkader) ... He’ll take warmups along with Anderson, who was called up this morning.
Babcock: ‘I think they made some significant moves to try and improve their team. They are going to battle. They are going to be desperate.’
Babcock: ‘This is going to be a hard game for us’
Babcock: ‘There’s no question that we aren’t as skilled as we usually are. Let’s try and beat them another way.’
Babs on Lidstrom: ‘When I talked to him this morning, there was no indication he was playing today or tomorrow.’
Babcock said it ‘looks like’ Abdekader (illness) will play. Both him and Andersson will take warmups tonight.
Update #1: ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Wings and tonight’s game in their “Daily Debate”...
BURNSIDE: Only four games on tap Friday, but all four have significant playoff implications and you have to wonder what the Los Angeles Kings’ mindset will be as they head to Joe Louis Arena having been nipped 3-1 in Columbus Thursday night. That’s four straight wins for the mighty Blue Jackets and, to add insult to injury, former Kings defenseman Jack Johnson scored the winner with nine seconds left in the first period.
The Red Wings have hit a bit of a wobble since their record-breaking home winning streak came to an end, but they remain an elite team and the Kings’ heavy road schedule is one of the reasons I don’t think the Kings are going to be able to crack the top eight in the Western Conference. The Wings have fallen four points off the pace in the Central Division with St. Louis continuing to roll along at the top of the division, the conference and the league standings. So you know the Wings will be a bit ornery Friday. The Wings have won just twice in their past seven outings and are still without Jimmy Howard, although Joey MacDonald has certainly proven he’s a more than capable backup in recent weeks. I figure the Kings take another one on the chin Friday. You?
LEBRUN: Well, you would be wobbling, too, if you had both Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk out of the lineup at the same time. Of the two superstars, Lidstrom should be back sooner, although Wings GM Ken Holland via text told me this morning that the seven-time Norris Trophy winner is out through the weekend. Call me crazy, especially with the Kings in a back-to-back situation and the Wings so mighty at home, but I have this gut feeling L.A. is going to squeeze one out at Joe Louis. The playoffs start now for the Kings.
Update #1.5: From Khan...
Howard said he feels much better. Was on ice last two days before practice. Faced shots today. Hopes to be ready Tuesday in LA
And St. James:
Spoke to Jimmy Howard. He says he’s feeling much better, hopes to play Tuesday at LA
• And if you find yourself in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Saturday, the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette’s Justin A. Cohn provides the lineups for Saturday’s game between the Red Wings Alumni and the Fort Wayne Komets alums.
Update #2: LAKingsInsider’s Rich Hammond is nothing less than delighted to be in Detroit two days after it hit 65 degrees (it’s 38 degrees right now and will drop down to 16 tonight), and he offers the following “Key Three”:
In the end, this 48-hour microcosm might end up being the perfect epitaph for the Kings’ season. On Tuesday, the Kings went to Nashville to face a Predators team that had — as Darryl Sutter put it — a home winning streak of Biblical proportions, and the Kings scored five goals on a goalie who hadn’t allowed more than two goals in his previous eight game. Then, the Kings went to Columbus, to face the last-place Blue Jackets. The Kings lost, and not because of any fluke. They deserved to lose, and these aren’t the type of losses that playoff teams suffer.
Instead of being excited and motivated to grab two points on the road, the Kings looked stale at the start of the game, and the Blue Jackets made them pay for it. Where were top players such as Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty? They were not impact players. Sutter shortened his bench in the second period, and basically rolled three lines, but the Blue Jackets scored the only goal of the period, and Sutter did more shuffling in the third period but the Kings couldn’t rally in the third period. What was the key aspect of the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets? I present three options at the link below, and you can vote for your choice…
Here’s his “link”:
1. SLUMBER AT THE START
Anze Kopitar had a solid first period overall, not just because of his shorthanded goal, and Dustin Penner had some jump early. Where was everyone else? The second line, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in particular, wilted. The Blue Jackets didn’t do anything terribly brilliant in the first period, but the Kings, for the most part, looked listless. They should have been confident and loose, coming off a big victory over Nashville two nights earlier, but didn’t look that way. The lack of intensity carried over to the final minute of the period, when Jack Johnson aggressively pounced on a loose puck and scored a sharp wrist shot from the slot.
2. SECOND-PERIOD SWING
After they gave up a goal with 8.5 seconds remaining in the first period, the Kings came out strong in the opening minutes of the second period and put consistent pressure on Columbus. That culminated just after the two-minute mark, when Jarret Stoll fed Dustin Penner for a grade-A chance directly in front of the net. According to the official stat sheet, Penner missed the net from about three feet away. Naturally, as karma goes, the Blue Jackets took a 3-1 lead just 65 seconds later, after Jonathan Bernier was unable to control a rebound in the blue paint and Mark Letestu scored. That was a deflating momentum-turner for the Kings.
3. ROUND ONE TO JOHNSON
It might be years before anyone can accurately ``score’’ the trade that sent Jeff Carter to the Kings in exchange for Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. But round one went to Johnson, and not just because the Blue Jackets won. Carter had a bit of a disadvantage, because Johnson was playing in front of his adoring new fans while Carter got booed every time he touched the puck. Johnson, though, clearly looked like the more motivated and aggressive player of the two. Johnson had a goal and looked loose. Carter looked tight, as he tried to force a couple chances early, and finished the game without a point and with zero shots on goal.
• The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers the following Twitter update...
• And here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan’s game-day update post:
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said forward Justin Abdelkader is expected to play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit Plus), despite battling the flu. But Joakim Andersson will take the pregame warmups just in case. The Red Wings today recalled Andersson from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Andersson, 23, has 16 goals and 19 assists in 54 games for the Griffins. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound center appeared in four games with Detroit earlier this season and had no points and a plus-1 rating.
Todd Bertuzzi skated today but said his strained groin is not as strong as it needs to be. He probably won’t play Saturday in Nashville.
“Still got to do some stuff with the trainers, but if that (skate) was any indication then I need a little bit more (time) than that,’’ Bertuzzi said.
He said it’s been bothering him for a while but he tried to play through it, until he just couldn’t skate the way he needed to.
“I got to be smart with it. My body is not 24 years old, it needs a little more, especially for the importance of what’s going on but it still at the same time (stinks),’’ Bertuzzi said. “I don’t like being out. But I can’t afford to rush it back and be out for a longer period of time.’‘
“It’s an important part of the year right now. We still got some work to take care,’’ Bertuzzi said. “I still want to be a part of it. But I’m not going to go out there 60 percent of my speed and strength.’‘
Goaltender Jimmy Howard (strained groin) has been on the ice the past two days, before practice. He faced some shots today and said he hopes to be ready for Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles.
• The Wings’ website also posted an article about Brad Stuart’s contribution to National Reading Month;
Update #2.5: Here’s Helene St. James’ morning skate report:
The Wings host the Los Angeles Kings at 7:30 tonight (FSD). They’re already relying on the Griffins to help them through an injury-plagued stretch; the latest addition is Gustav Nyquist, a smart, skilled winger who is slated to play with Abdelkader and Danny Cleary tonight. Nyquist has one assist in five appearances for the Wings this season. He ranks first on the Griffins in scoring with 19 goals and 54 points in 53 games.
“He’s spent enough time in the minors,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s been a dominant player as a rookie in the minors. Most teams would have that guy on their team already.”
Abdelkader had been under the weather, but Babcock said after the morning skate that, “he’s playing for sure. Last night we didn’t know if Abby was playing for sure - he was having a little trouble keeping his food under control. It looks to me like he’s playing. At game time, we’ll have Andersson warm up, if Abby is not available, Andersson will play.”
In injury updates: Todd Bertuzzi (groin) skated but didn’t sound optimistic he’d be back before Tuesday. Jimmy Howard (groin) also went on the ice, and sounded very upbeat he’d be back Tuesday.
Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) skated by himself and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) took part in the morning skate; Babcock said both remain on track to return next week.
Update #2.75: Amongst the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s comments:
#redwings Abdelkader (flu) will go vs. #kings. F Joakim Andersson recalled from #AHL Grand Rapids all will take warm-up, just in case.
#redwings datsyuk (knee), Bertuzzi (groin), Ericsson (wrist), partake in morning skate, but won’t play vs. #kings.
#redwings Lidstrom (foot) skated briefly on his own. Howard (groin) took some shots earlier, and hopes to share net in Saturday a.m. stake.
#redwings Howard could play as early as Tuesday at #kings.
Update #3: Here’s the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s game-day report:
Detroit Red Wings rookie Gustav Nyqvist is of the belief that it will be better the second time around. Recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to help bolster an injury-riddled Detroit lineup for Friday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Los Angeles Kings, this will be Nyqvist’s second National Hockey League stint this season, and he feels better prepared for the experience.
“I don’t feel quite as nervous as I did before,” said Nyqvist, who collected an assist, and was plus-one during an earlier five-game stint with the Wings. “It’s a lot more comfortable now, you’ve met the guys and it’s a lot of fun to come up here.”
With 53 points in 54 games, Nyqvist is one shy of the Grand Rapids mark for a rookie. He already owns the team’s rookie assists mark with 35 helpers. ““I like him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I think he’s a real good player. I think he’s going to be a top-six NHL forward.
“He’s really good without the puck, which allows you to play him more. A lot of people that generate offence in our league, you’re scared to death of them without the puck, so a coach can’t get them on until they’re about 27 years of age. This kid seems to know how to play without the puck, so he gives you confidence.”
Nyqvist will play on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Dan Cleary, and recognizes he’ll need to up his pace of play in the big show. “Everything is faster, but at the same time, everyone is a better player, too, and that makes it more easy to play out there,” Nyqvist said. “You’re playing with the best players in the world and that helps a lot, too.”
Centre Joakim Andersson was also recalled from Grand Rapids after Abdelkader came down with a bout of flu Thursday, but it appears that Abdelkader will be able to answer the bell Friday.
“He’s playing for sure,” Babcock said. “Last night, we didn’t know for sure if Abby was playing or not. He was having a little trouble keeping food under control. We’ve gone through the process, and it looks to me like he’s playing. At game time, we’ll have Andersson in the warm-up, and if Abby’s not available, Andersson will play.”
Duff followed his report up with a pair of Tweets...
#redwings MacDonald on Nyqvist: “He reads the game well. He’s a great passer, he sees the whole ice.”
#redwings Cleary on Nyqvist: “I think Ny’s going to be a Red Wing very soon.”
2 #NHL Slovenians - #redwings Mursak, #kings Kopitar - meet tonight. “In the news, they’re all talking about tonight’s game,” Mursak said.
Only #coyotes (8.5) have taken fewer PIM per game than #redwings (8.7). #flyers (14.5) most PIM in #NHL per game.
Despite a bevy of skilled forwards like Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the Los Angeles Kings struggle to score goals. The Kings rank 29th in the NHL in goals per game (2.15), ahead of only Minnesota (2.06). But L.A. doesn’t give up a lot of goals (third in the league at 2.08 per game) and has one of the best goaltenders in the game in Jonathan Quick.
The Detroit Red Wings, who’ve lost two in a row in regulation, will look to rebound tonight when they host the Kings at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit plus). The Kings are battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“They’re a talented crew,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously, they’ve had a year with some ups and downs. Darryl (new coach Sutter) has gone in there. They will well-coached before, they’re well-coached now. I think they’ve made some significant moves to try and improve your team. They’re going to be a desperate, desperate team. Their whole division has gone from a division that looked like at the start of the year might go one way, to all battling to get in the playoffs. Everything’s tight. This is going to be a tight game for us. We haven’t been as good here of late. We need a win, and they need a win, so it should be fun.’‘
The Red Wings are 2-0 vs. L.A. this season, winning 4-1 on the road on Nov. 19 and 8-2 at home on Dec. 17.
“They got a lot of talent and good goaltending,’’ Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald said. “Quick’s one of the tops in the league. We got to keep on building, like we did halfway through the second and in the third in Philly (Tuesday). We put a lot of pressure on their D, forced them to make some turnovers. When you got one of the top goalies in net, you got to put pressure on him, put pucks to the net and look for rebounds.’‘
Here’s even more injury news from Khan:
Goaltender Jimmy Howard (strained groin) has been on the ice the past two days, before practice. He faced some shots today and said he hopes to be ready for Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles.
“It’s getting better every single day,’’ Howard said. “We just want to take all the precautions and make sure everything is healed up, with it being so close to playoffs. Everything’s feeling back to normal. I think we nipped it in the bud pretty quickly there. We were able to great treatment right away. That’s probably saved us some time.’‘
Babcock said Nicklas Lidstrom skated by himself before practice, the first time he has done that since suffering a deep bone bruise in his right ankle on Feb. 25.
“I thought he’d be playing already,’’ Babcock said. “Nick heals faster than anyone I know, and wants to play worse than anyone I know. When I talked to him this morning, there was no indication he was playing today or tomorrow.’‘
Update #4.5: I don’t know what the hell to make of this one from RedWingsFeed...WXYT’s Jeff Riger wants to know what fans should expect from their teams in terms of fan-friendly promotions given that the Blue Jackets freely swapped out “Carter” nameplates for “Johnson” ones last night. That’s kind of hard to do given that Red Wings jerseys don’t have nameplates, necessitating yanking stitched and heat-sealed-on letters off the backs of jerseys and leaving very obvious outlines of said letters.
Update #5: More from St. James:
Danny Cleary, meanwhile, remains troubled by his left knee, though he’s playing. He’s already had the knee drained three times since late January, and a cortisone shot didn’t help as expected.
“Is it getting better? I don’t know, we’ll see,” Cleary said this morning. “It’s been touch-and-go. It’ll be fixed at the end of the year, let’s put it that way. I’m trying to manage it the best I can here until we get to the playoffs. Then, just, do whatever I can. I had a few things done to it that I hope will have a big relief in a few weeks.”
Regarding tonight’s opponent, the Kings, who added Jeff Carter at the trade deadline, sit in 9th place in the Western Conference, part of the clump of teams that rotate in and out of the playoff picture almost daily.
“Talented crew,” Babcock said. “They’ve had a year with some ups and downs. ... I think they’ve made some significant moves to try to improve their team. They’re right there in the battle - they’re going to be a desperate, desperate team. Their whole division now has gone from a division that looked like, at the start of the year, might go one way. Now, they’re battling to get into the playoffs, so everything is tight. It’s going to be a tight game for us. We haven’t been as good here of late. We need to win, and they need to win, so it should be fun.”
Update #6: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Cleary has had his knee drained 3 times over the last month-and-change…
“It’s been sore,” said Cleary, who is being held back from occasional practices. “It’s getting better, but we’ll see, it’s been tough. It’ll have to be fixed at the end of the year (season), let’s put it that way. We’ll try to manage it the best we can until we get to the playoffs and do whatever I can (to play).”
Cleary had a cortisone shot, too, but that only provided limited relief. He’ll have the knee drained again Sunday before the Wings go on a three-game road trip through California. Cleary doesn’t expect to miss any games but the knee is proving to be more troublesome than expected.
“We talk a lot,” Cleary said of the training staff. “I’ve had a few things done and I’m hoping it’ll be a relief.”
And here’s even more about Bertuzzi’s groin:
“Still not as strong as I want it to be,” Bertuzzi said. “I have to be smart with it. My body isn’t 24 years old. It needs a little more (time) especially with the importance of what is going on, but I don’t like being out. At the same time, I can’t afford to rush it back and be out for a longer period of time.”
Bertuzzi tried to play through the injury but it got to the point where it was impacting his skating.
“I just couldn’t skate the way I could skate,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s the time of year we still have some work to take care of and if I’m going 60 percent of my speed and strength, I’m not doing the team any justice.”
Update #7: St. James offers both some injury news and an interview with Gustav Nyquist in her updated game-day post:
Update #8: Finally, here’s Rich Hammond’s game-day update on LAKingsInsider.com:
Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice so, not surprisingly, he’s the starter tonight. Based on the morning skate, it seems Brad Richardson will be replacing Jordan Nolan in the lineup, with no other changes. Richardson has been a healthy scratch from the previous three games and five of the previous six games. “We’ll put his speed back in,” Darryl Sutter said. “We’ve been trying to get him back in. He’s a guy who can play a couple positions for us, give us a different look.’’
Sutter, it seems, was not pleased with the officiating last night in Columbus. The Kings had one power play, compared to the Blue Jackets’ five power plays. Steve Kozari, one of last night’s referees, is also doing tonight’s game. Sutter said, “We’ve been a little bit unlucky lately, in terms of drawing penalties. The one referee we had last night, hopefully he can elevate his game.”
One other notable aspect of tonight’s game… It’s the first-ever head-to-head meeting of Slovenian NHL players as the Kings’ Anze Kopitar faces Detroit’s Jan Mursak. More notes and quotes to come…
Update #9: Here’s the “More to come,” a little belatedly, regarding the Wings...
The perennially strong Detroit Red Wings know that nobody is going to shed tears over their woes, but the Red Wings have had a remarkable run of injuries. Tonight, they will be without Jimmy Howard (groin), Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and Jakub Kindl (upper-body), and Justin Abdelkader is questionable because of flu symptoms. The Red Wings were riding high, with a record 23-game home winning streak, but now have a 2-4-1 record in their last seven overall.
“We’re not as skilled as we normally are, so we have to find a different way to win the game,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “I think this is a great challenge for us to be excited about.’’
Of course, the Red Wings still have a goalie, Joey MacDonald, with a 1.82 goals-against average in 11 games this season, and players such as Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall, among others, and the last time the Kings visited Detroit, they were handed an 8-2 beating. Babcock was asked about facing the Kings tonight…
BABCOCK: “They’re a talented crew. Obviously they’ve had a year with some ups and downs. Darryl has gone in there, and they were well-coached before and they’re well-coached now. I think they’ve made some moves, some significant moves to try to improve their team. They’re right there in the battle. They’re going to be a desperate, desperate team. Their division has gone from, at the start of the year looking like it might go one way, to now they’re all battling to get in the playoffs. Everything is tight, and it’s going to be a tight game for us. We haven’t been as good here of late, and we need a win and they need a win, so it should be fun.’’
Question: Are they a different team since Darryl Sutter took over? Have they changed?
BABCOCK: “Oh, I think so, for sure. Every coach comes in and changes over time. Terry Murray was a really good coach, and they were really structured and organized. Darryl is a different kind of coach, but he’s been a veteran coach in our league for a long time. He does a real good job and he demands a lot out of his teams, and he usually gets a lot out of them. So this is going to be a hard game for us.’’
And if you’re interested, he penned a wrap-up of the Kings-Blue Jackets game.
• DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned an update on Jimmy Howard’s status….
There was a distinct aura around Jimmy Howard as he talked about his groin injury, which beckoned good news for the Red Wings Friday morning.
“Everything’s feeling back to normal,” said Howard, who was on the ice prior to the team’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena.
Howard hasn’t played since leaving last Sunday’s game after the first period against Chicago. On Monday, an ultrasound was performed, but tests were negative. Howard’s rosy optimism Friday was in far contrast from his low-key hopes of a quick recovery when he first suffered the injury.
“I think we nipped it in the bud pretty quickly there,” Howard said. “We were able to get treatment right away. That’s probably saved us some time.”
The plan is for Howard to go to Nashville with the Wings and participate in Saturday’s morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. If all works out, a return to the lineup could come as early as Tuesday in Los Angeles, Howard said.
“I feel a lot better. It’s getting better every single day,” he said. “Skated yesterday, skated today, took some shots. Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll share a net. Then practice Monday in L.A. We just want to take all the precautions and make sure everything is healed up, with it being so close to playoffs.”
• According to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, Danny Cleary has not had a Synvisc injection, and he found Babcock willing to give Nyquist gushy praise…
“He’s been a dominant player as a rookie in the minors,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Most teams would have that guy on their team already. We’re going to go the other way. If he’s ready, he’ll show he’s ready with his confidence in his puck play. If he’s not ready, then that’s fine, too. We’ll give him all the time he needs.”
Nyquist has appeared in five games this season in Detroit, averaging just over eight minutes of ice time and has just one assist.
“I like him,” Babcock said. “I think he’s a real good player. I think he’s going to be a top-six NHL forward. He’s really good without the puck, which allows you to play him more. A lot of people that generate offense in our league, you’re scared to death of them without the puck, so a coach can’t get them on until they’re about 27 years of age. This kid seems to know how to play without the puck, so he gives you confidence.”
Nyquist is excited for his second go-around in Detroit.
“Down there you maybe play some more minutes and here it’s a different kind of role, but it’s still awesome to be up here and playing with these guys,” Nyquist said. “I think for everyone it’s something that you’ve looked forward to your whole life and it’s something that you’ve worked hard for and it’s some mixed feelings. When you get out there I don’t think anyone is nervous when you get out there on your first shift. It’s what you do and just a lot of fun to play.”
#RedWings GM Ken Holland told us on @hnicradio he has not requested the 3-on-3 OT idea to be put on the agenda at next…... week’s GM meetings agenda. He pitched the idea last year, but didn’t get much support ...... He’d welcome to discuss at meeting if there is renewed interest, however.
Here’s Holland’s interview:
• Barry Melrose spoke about the Wings-Predators match-up, too…
And the Wings’ website posted a lighthearted game-day preview:
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