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Red Wings-Sharks game-day updates: Datsyuk in, Franzen out, MacDonald (back) to have MRI

Updated 6x at 5:40 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/ NBC Sports Network airing the Sharks’ feed/97.1 FM), the Red Wings’ website provides good news and bad news from a very late morning skate:

From DRW PR: The Red Wings are 19-13-1 all-time on St. Patrick’s Day.
Wings are on the ice for their morning skate in San Jose. Johan Franzen (back) is not out there at the moment.
Here is your look in at today’s morning skate at HP Pavilion. http://twitvid.com/ISXDK
According to Mike Babcock, Pavel Datsyuk will play tonight. Johan Franzen will not

Cleary: It’s a big game for us tonight and we certainly realize it is a big game for them as well.
Cleary: It’s great to have Pavel back. It’s a statement to how important he is to our team.
Jordan Pearce, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame talks St. Patrick’s Day. http://twitvid.com/UTB6N

Here are the Twitter-based videos the Wings posted so you don’t have to scoot to view ‘em:

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms the Franzen news and issues a Wings lineup…

Franzen not skating for the Wings. Cleary taking his place on line with Datsyuk and Bertuzzi.
Wings skating with these lines: 51-40-26, 11-13-44, 20-43-8, 96-48-39; 55-23, 27-18, 2-37, 52-4 (injured); 35-36
Babcock said Franzen is out tonight due to back spasms/strain

As does the Free Press’s Helene St. James...

Goalies warming up here at HP Pavilion http://pic.twitter.com/4SwtNkzA
Sharks coach McLellan smiled on hearing Babcock saying no more desperate than Wings: “Hah. Babs. ... It’s sportsmanship.”
No Franzen at #RedWings morning skate. Looks like Datsyuk with Cleary and Bertuzzi
Babcock confirmed no Franzen
Lines will be 44-13-11; 51-40-26; 20-43-8; 96-48-39 #redwings against Sharks
McLellan on facing the #RedWings without Nicklas Lidstrom: “Not having him in is certainly an advantage for us.”

Because St. James filed a pre-post-morning skate quote update for those who couldn’t wait to hear Babcock state whether Franzen would play:

Quick update from the morning skate: Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen is not on the ice with his teammates.The Wings take on the San Jose Sharks at 10 tonight (NBCSN, FSD) at HP Pavilion. Pavel Datsyuk is making his return after being out since Feb. 21 after knee surgery, but Franzen looks to be out because of back spasms that caused him to leave practice early on Friday.

The lines that are skating are:

Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Jiri Hudler

Danny Cleary-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi

Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Holmstrom-Cory Emmerton-Jan Mursak

The Wings are looking to halt a three-game losing streak.

“It’s very similar to when we lost the six in a row earlier in the season,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s unacceptable, not good enough. We’re just been careless. It’s time to buck up and get ourselves ready. We’ve got 11 games left to get ourselves prepared and get ourselves back winning again.”

And the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa confirms the news, too:

no sign of johan franzen on ice. while he could be getting treatment for a possible game time decision, scratch seems more likely.
players huddled around coach mike babcock at center ice, now. babcock, and players, too, looking for much more oomph tonight; desperation!
babcock says datsyuk in officially and franzen out. babcock does not know time table on franzen. macdonald mri on back, surgery 6 yrs ago.
top line tonight to be datsyuk bertuzzi cleary. cleary on bad knee since dec. 1. getting lubrication injections. persisting through pain.
other lines will remain the same. zetterberg-filppula-hudler; helm-miller-abdelkader; emmerton-mursak-holmstrom.

The Mercury News’s David Pollak reports that the Sharks held an “optional” morning skate…

Optional skate here at HP this a.m. for #sjsharks as they prepare to face DET tonite. Lines? Looks like lines ikely to remain a mystery.
Still, unless there’s some unknown owies at this point, I’d expect things will look much like they did in 2-1 shootout win over NSH.
Zero surprise: Niemi in goal tonight for #sjsharks vs. DET.
Marleau wearing a “St. Patty is My Daddy” t-shirt today. Says his wife bought it for him.
McLellan says any tinkering with #sjsharks lineup for DET tonight will be for health reasons only. Hmmm. Hard to guess w/optional skate.
Among those not skating, however: Marleau, Murray, Burns. Last #sjsharks on the ice: Wingels, White, Vandermeer. U take things from there.
McLellan on Babcock’s argument DET w/no wins in week more desperate than #sjsharks: “I’ll trade his desperate measures for ours right now.”

Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil provides some morning skate quips from the Sharks…

McLellan on #sjsharks knowing #redwings so well: “it’s a relatively easy game to prepare for. Very tough game to play”
Boyle on matchup w/ Datsyuk: “he’s probably the top guy with the puck in the whole world”. #SJSharks #redwings
Boyle: difficult to close gaps on Datsyuk w/ the puck: “he gets way more respect than other players do, that’s for sure” #redwings #SJSharks
Mike Babcock and a large media scrum. #redwings http://pic.twitter.com/z3bbw95d
McLellan senses Niemi has been more comfortable lately: “he knows waking up he’s coming to the rink to play” #sjsharks

As does CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz...sort of:

Niemi to make his 10th straight start tonight. #sjsharks

I have to say this somewhere: I know that I could have posted that Franzen skipped the morning skate instead of sitting on these “Tweets” until Mike Babcock confirmed that Franzen would be out, but I just don’t believe in posting something for the sake of posting it. Once I’ve got actual confirmed news, I’ll post something, but being first isn’t necessarily the goal here.

Update #1: Rut roh, per St. James:

Joey MacDonald (back spasms) said he’ll have MRI Monday to hopefully rule out disc issue. Has shooting nerve pain down one leg.

Khan confirms:

Wings’ Joey MacDonald will have MRI on back Monday. Said pain is shooting down nerve to leg.

Update #1.5: Via our pals at RedWingsFeed, here’s Khan’s morning skate report:

Johan Franzen won’t play tonight against the San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit), as Pavel Datsyuk returns to the lineup after missing 11 games following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Franzen experienced back spasms during Friday’s practice.

“I don’t know what you call it, a strain or something. He spasmed up, not feeling like he can play,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know what the time line is on something like that.’‘

Danny Cleary will replace Franzen on the line with Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. All three have had issues with injuries lately.

“We think they’re good players, we expect they’re going to play well,’’ Babcock said. “We need them to play well if we’re going to be successful.

“Obviously, we would have liked to have the Mule, but those are things that happen. There’s no sense worrying about who’s not here. Let’s just play hard. They’re a desperate team and we’re a desperate team. We both need wins badly.’‘

Update #2: CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz posted way more in his massive game-day article than I can quote, but here are its highlights:

Crash the net: The Sharks have just 13 goals in their last nine games, and, as is often the case when a team is struggling to find the scoreboard, the players say that getting to the net more is the way to change that.

“Just getting quality shots through, and traffic,” Justin Braun said. “The goalies are good, you’re not going to beat them clean from the point very often. If we can get some traffic, get some rebounds, that will help us out.”

The Sharks lead the league in 34.4 shots per game, but many of them are too routine for the opposing goalie.

“We get a lot of pucks to the net. I think we could get in front of the goalie more,” Vlasic said.

Familiarity breeds contempt: The Sharks have won two of three games against the Red Wings, but dropped a 3-2 decision in the most recent match up at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 19. That was the 23rd and final win of the Red Wings’ record home streak. San Jose, of course, has knocked Detroit from the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. These are two teams that know each other well.

“We’ve played this team more than anybody else in the last two or three years, so not a lot of secrets,” McLellan said. “It’s a relatively easy game to prepare for; a very tough game to play.”

Kurz reports that Wings antagonist Brad Winchester will be in the Sharks’ lineup to provide size and intimidation, and he notes that the Wings have lost 7 of their past 8 on the road and are 0-for-28 on the PP…

And here’s McLellan on Lidstrom’s absence:

“He means a lot to that team, obviously I’m well aware of that from just the locker room out,” said McLellan, a former assistant coach with Detroit, of Lidstrom. “The rest of the hockey world gets to see him play every night, and when you combine both he’s as good as there is. Not having him in is certainly is an advantage or us, but that opens up advantages on their team for others to step up.”

Go and read the rest on your own.

• I actually agree with Joe Thornton about this: the Sharks’ website posted a video of Thornton reminded anyone who’s attending tonight’s game—and you can extend this to any sporting event or whatever—to pick a designated driver or take a cab if you’re drinking on St. Paddy’s Day:

Update #3: Here’s Khan’s story about MacDonald...

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald will have an MRI on his back Monday, hoping to rule out any connection to previous issues. MacDonald began experiencing back spasms during the second period of Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at Anaheim. It forced the team to bring up Jordan Pearce from the Grand Rapids Griffins to serve as Jimmy Howard’s backup tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

“Mine’s a little different than Mule’s (Johan Franzen also has back spasms),’’ MacDonald said. “Mine’s more or less a nerve going down my leg. Kind of concerned about that a little bit. Can’t do anything until we get a picture and see how it is.’‘

MacDonald had surgery in 2006 to repair a bulging disk. He doesn’t think this latest ailment has anything to do with that, but he wants to be sure.

“It’s not quite the same feeling, so hopefully it’s a little different,’’ MacDonald said. “I kind of felt it coming on, in the second period it got worse and worse and kind of battled through it for rest of the game. Yesterday, it was really bad, last couple of days just stiff. Hopefully it’s just a spasm and nothing else. It’s just one of those things, long road trip, lot of travel, buses, planes, maybe had something to do with it. It’s not fun.’‘

Helene St. James mentions MacDonald in her updated morning skate report, which is overflowing with quips and quotes:

“It’s very similar to when we lost the six in a row earlier in the season,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s unacceptable, not good enough. We’re just been careless. It’s time to buck up and get ourselves ready. We’ve got 11 games left to get ourselves prepared and get ourselves back winning again.”

The Wings are 1-2 against San Jose this season. The Sharks are fighting to secure a playoff spot and have shored up their hold with five points in the last six games. Sharks coach Todd McLellan called tonight “a relatively easy game to prepare for,” because the teams have played each other so much going back two years of meeting in the playoffs.

“It’s a very tough game to play,” he said. “They’re dynamic offensively, they hold onto pucks, they’re everything that they’ve been over the past few years. Jimmy Howard gives them a chance to win every night. You’ve got to find a way to get three against them, because they’re probably going to get at least two.”

But how about playing them without Nicklas Lidstrom? “We haven’t had an opportunity to do that yet,” McLellan said. “He means a lot to that team, obviously, I’m well aware of that from just the locker room out. The rest of the hockey world gets to see him play every night, and when you combine both, he’s as good as there is. Not having him in is certainly an advantage for us.”

Franzen didn’t talk to reporters. He was at the arena to get treatment, and he did at least look more comfortable walking than he did the day before.

Goaltender Joey MacDonald, another guy who is dealing with a sore back, is out indefinitely. He’s scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to, as he put it, hopefully rule out that his pain might stem from a herniated disc. He had surgery for that in ‘06, and doesn’t want to repeat the experience. He’s been in a fair bit of pain, though, dating back to Wednesday’s game against Anaheim.

“It’s kind of a spasm,” he said. “I felt it coming on in the second period and it just kind of got worse and worse and I just kind of battled through it for the rest of the game. But yesterday it was really bad, just stiff. It’s not fun.”

St. James believes that the Wings can recall Ty Conklin from Grand Rapids, but I’m not sure whether he’d have to go through re-entry waivers as he’s been down there for about a month, and has played more than 10 AHL games. Despite the fact that the Wings are rather desperate for wins right now, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Pearce or Tom McCollum get a game in as the Wings need to know what they’ve got if MacDonald misses any time.

• Paul and I tried to make sure that one Wings fan got into the team’s Thursday practice, and he did, posting a slate of Flickr photos from practice and the parking lot signings. I loved the Clark Park practice opportunity, but I desperately wish that the Red Wings would hold at least a monthly open practice—admission fee included if necessary—for non season-ticket holders. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch a practice, or how many fans crowd around the little booths offering single-game tickets or partial season-ticket plans after the few open practices the Wings have held over the past six seasons.

Update #3.5: Is somebody sharing quotes with Pleiness? He’s not in San Jose, but here’s his morning skate report anyway:

Wings backup goalie Joey MacDonald will have an MRI done, probably on Monday. He said he felt his back tightening up in the second period of Wednesday’s loss in to Anaheim.

“I think it’s kind of a spasm,” MacDonald said. “It got worse and worse and I kind of battled through it for rest of the game. (Friday) it was really bad, last couple of days just stiff. Hopefully it’s just a spasm and nothing else. It’s just one of those things, long road trip, lot of travel, buses, planes, maybe had something to do with it,” MacDonald added. “It’s not fun.”

Johan Franzen will miss tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks. He experienced back spasms during Friday’s practice.

“Mine’s a little different than Mule’s,” said MacDonald, who had surgery to repair a bulging disk in his back in 2006. “Mine’s more or less a nerve going down my leg. I’m kind of concerned about that a little bit. I can’t do anything until we get a picture and see how it is.”

The Wings will get Pavel Datsyuk back after missing 11 games following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He’ll have 11 games to prepare for the postseason.

“It’s enough time to get back in my kind of shape and everything, but we’ll see,” Datsyuk said. “It’s hard to say. Sometimes it’s enough, sometimes it’s not enough. I hope so I’ll be 100 (percent).”

Update #4: Multimedia time! The Sharks’ website posted Todd McLellan’s morning presser…

As well as Dan Rusanowsky’s interview with Logan Couture:


The Red Wings’ Twitter page posted a clip of Babcock’s morning skate scrum:


Detroit Red Wings on WhoSay

Update #4.5: Here is the ever-dramatic Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa’s morning skate report:

It is official, Pavel Datsyuk will play Saturday for the Red Wings for the first time since Feb. 21, giving the slumping team a needed boost with one of the best two-way players in the NHL back in the lineup against the San Jose Sharks. However, Johan Franzen is out because of a bad back and no schedule has been set for his return. The 11 remaining regular season games will determine whether Datsyuk is in top form headed to the playoffs. He said he is cautiously confident that he will be.

“I think so, and I hope so, too,” Datsyuk said. “I think it’s enough time to come back and get to my kind of shape, and everything. But we’ll see. Sometimes it’s enough and sometimes it’s not.”

Danny Cleary will skate on the top line with Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

“It’s great to have Pavel back,” Cleary said. “It’s an understatement to say how important he is to our team. You know, we’re the walking wounded around here these days.”

Franzen hurried to the team bus and told reporters only, “No, I’m out.”

Coach Mike Babcock said no timetable is in place for Franzen, who said he began cramping in his lower back during practice Friday. While Franzen said he has had some difficulty with his back in the past, he said he never felt anything like the spasms he experienced Friday.

Update #5: If it’s OK with you, I’m going to ignore the Sharks set-up portions of the Mercury News’s David Pollak’s game-day blog post—the Sharks are desperate for both a playoff spot and home-ice advantage, they think every game played will be a 3-pointer, Niemi’s comfortable, McLellan might make changes, etc. etc.—for this:

Asked about the impact that Nicklas Lidstrom’s absence has had during Detroit’s recent struggles, Babcock expanded his answer to include missing defensement Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl as well.

“We haven’t moved the puck good,” Babcock said. “If you watched our last game, we turned the puck over multiple times just on half-wall turnovers and lack of execution. We’ve got to execute better. And when you’re a team built like we are, you’ve got to move the puck on the back.”

Babcock, by the way, spent his Tuesday off-day at Pebble Beach, knocking that little white ball around the course. After joking that he lived for golf, he said he didn’t really even like the game, but did like the idea of going to Pebble Beach.

“It was a fantastic day and it was a good thing to do on an off day just to get away from what’s going on. Saying that, when I went to the San Jose-Nashville game at night, I was right back to where I was before I golfed,” Babcock said.

So does he plan to do it again sometime?

“It was a one and only unless you’re going to lend me the cash,” he said, also taking note of what he purported to be a $79 million price tag on one of the homes down there.

Update #5.5: Via RedWingsFeed again, here’s the Wings website’s game preview…

• And from, uh, me, here’s Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser speaking to WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley:


Download file

Update #6: Here’s more on Babcock’s off-day activities, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:

Last Thursday morning, Babcock and assistant coaches Bill Peters and Jeff Blashill played the challenging 7,040-yard golf course.

“I was outstanding as always. I live for golf like you have no idea; no I really don’t like golf really,” Babcock joked. “I liked going to Pebble Beach, it was a fantastic day and it was a good thing to do on an off-day just to get away from what’s going on. In saying that when I went to the San Jose-Nashville game at night I was right back to where I was before I golfed.”

The coaching trio traveled to northern California ahead of the team following Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at Anaheim in order to play the course, which Golf Digest calls the sixth-best course in the America.

While Babcock’s respectable 21 under par round doesn’t pale in comparison to rounds shot by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods or Graeme McDowell, who all won U.S. Open championships at Pebble Beach, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that the Wings’ coach won’t soon forget.

“It was a one and only, unless you’re going to lend me the cash,” said Babcock, of the $530 greens fees.

But besides playing one of the most majestic courses in the world, Babcock was spellbound by the stone chateau – once owned by actor Gene Hackman – for sale near the 10th green.

“I enjoyed it very much, it was an impressive place,” Babcock said. “I was very impressed with the house that was for sale for $79 million. I thought that was great.”

One more thing: Check out Robbie Benneian’s conversation with Landon Ferraro.

A couple more “one more thing” things: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s story on Datsyuk hit at 9:30...

• MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Cleary’s day by day by day in terms of managing his knee issues;

• Per the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons:

Speaking of Ilitch, if the Red Wings don’t come up with nine points in their final 11 games, they’ll miss out on a 100-point season for the first time since 1999. The Red Wings last missed the playoffs in 1990

• Here’s a quip from Chris Osgood about smaller goalies in the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson’s HockeyWorld column:

Scouts will look at junior or European goalies under six feet, but how closely? Under quick feet, good glove, competes hard, there’s the but ... he’s under-sized.

“I don’t know if I’d have been drafted,” said Chris Osgood, who won 401 games and was only five-foot-10 and 180.
Hands up, how many people thought Matt Cooke would be in the Lady Byng running this year? The kinder, gentler Cooke has had 15 minors and not one fighting major. Thirty penalty minutes. And he’s got 31 points, 16 goals in Pittsburgh. That’s the same number of goals as Pavel Datsyuk. OK, Datsyuk also has 43 assists.
Funny how the Red Wings can’t beat anybody now without 41-year-old Nick Lidstrom, who is still in considerable pain with that bone bruise on his ankle that pains him every time he puts his foot in a skate boot, never mind takes a stride. Is this what we have to look forward to if he ever hangs up his skates? OK, they haven’t had Datsyuk (knee) either. He’s the second-best player in the league after Crosby in most recent players’ poll for The Hockey News. The Wings are going to draw Nashville in Round 1 (worst-case scenario), unless they get No. 4 seed and start at home where they’re dynamite.

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stonehands-78's avatar

JMac out?




Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 03/17/12 at 05:36 PM ET

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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.


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