The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/02/12 at 02:40 PM ET
Updated 8x at 6:56 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Minnesota Wild tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/FS North/97.1 FM), there’s finally good news on the injury front for Detroit, per MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Wings skating with these defense pairs: kronwall-stuart, quincey-white, smith-kindl. Janik is 7th D.
Wings skating with these lines: 51-40-26, 11-8-44, 20-43-93, 96-48-39.
Quincey playing for Wings tonight. Janik reassigned to Grand Rapids.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms...
Quincey says he can play tonight if OK with trainers
Doug Janik being sent back to Grand Rapids
And here are some early morning skate quips from the Red Wings’ Twitter account...
Kindl: ‘It’s impossible to replace a guy like Nick in the lineup. We know that as a group, it is an opportunity for us to step up as well.’
Smith: ‘For me, this is an opportunity to play for a job. It’s an opportunity to prove myself.’
Babcock said he plans to use the same lines as he did against Columbus.
Babcock on Lidstrom’s injury: ‘He hasn’t progressed in the way he initially thought.’ Nick is expected to miss this weekend’s games.
Babcock: For me, those (injuries) are opportunities on our team for growth, so take advantage of it.
And NHL.com’s Brian Hedger is in town to cover today’s game and Sunday’s tilt against Chicago, and he adds the following:
Quincey on the ice for #Redwings morning skate. He will likely be paired with Ian White vs. #Wild tonight.
Lidstrom with a deep bone bruise in his ankle won’t play in either game this weekend, so #Redwings will be down him and Datsyuk.
Babcock said Lidstrom definitely out tonight and likely out Sunday, but didn’t entirely rule him out vs. #Blackhawks Sunday.
Janik says he’s going back down to Grand Rapids to play tonight with Quincey (groin) giving it a go. #Redwings
Tonight will also be Kindl’s 100th game and Brendan Smith’s first regular season home game. #Redwings
As for the Wild, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo...
No #mnwild morning skate. So likely no Backstrom update til 530 ETish. Matt Hackett en route
The Wild’s Twitter account confirms:
Couple early AM #mnwild notes to start off gameday: Wild 1 of 5 teams to win at Joe Louis Arena - no one has won twice over #RedWings there
#mnwild also trying to win 3 straight vs. #RedWings for 1st time ever - also get 3 wins in a season for 1st time ever
#mnwild has recalled @MattHackett31 from @houston_aeros: ow.ly/9pF8D
Update 0.5: Okay, this isn’t so good, via Khan:
Wings’ Datsyuk said he doesn’t know when he will start skating. Had arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 21.
Update #1: Here’s the Wings’ press release regarding Janik:
RED WINGS REASSIGN JANIK TO AHL
… Detroit Battles Minnesota Tonight at Joe Louis Arena …
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that defenseman Doug Janik has been reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL). Janik was recalled from Grand Rapids earlier this week and skated in Detroit’s 5-2 road victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets (18:14 TOI, +2 rating) on Tuesday night. The 31-year-old native of Agawam , Mass. , has recorded 25 points (7G-18A), 55 penalty minutes and a team-best rating of +16 in 53 previous appearances with the Griffins this season.
Originally selected by Buffalo in the second round (55th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Janik has registered 3G-15A-18P-18PIM in 182 career NHL games with the Sabres, Canadiens, Stars, Lightning and Red Wings. The 6’1”, 215-lb. blue-liner was signed by Detroit as an unrestricted free agent on July 8, 2009, and has appeared in 21 games with the Red Wings over the course of the last three seasons, tallying 0G-2A-2P-25PIM. Janik has skated in 577 career games at the AHL level, registering 36G-146A- 182P-916PIM and a +56 rating for Grand Rapids , Hamilton , Rockford and Rochester .
• Via RedWingsFeed, the Sporting News’s Sean Gentile has already pounced upon Hedger’s note about Babcock not ruling Lidstrom out for the weekend (Ken Holland said he won’t play on Sunday, so that’s enough for me);
• MLive’s Brendan Savage engaged in some Red Wings awards talk...
• Here are some quick quips from the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff...
Kyle Quincey (groin) back in #redwings lineup for Friday game vs. #wild. D Doug Janik returned to #AHL Grand Rapids.
#redwings defence pairings: 18-27; 23-55; 2-4.
#redwings D Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) skated on his own prior to Friday’s morning skate.
#redwings D Lidstrom (bone bruise in foot) did not skate and remains doubtful for Sunday vs. #blackhawks.
#redwings Babcock on Lidstrom: “They looked at it yesterday and they thought the deep bone bruise was more serious than we thought.”
#redwings Smth on JLA debut: “I haven’t even played at the Joe yet. I don’t know what to expect. We’ll see what happens.”
• As well as some confirmation regarding Lidstrom’s ankle issues from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Janik headed to GR and quincey looks ready to go
Lids out for thisbweekend says the ankle is still sore
Lidstrom disappointed the soreness hasn’t subsided yet; still hasn’t attempted to go on the ice because of swelling/soreness
• Hedger’s latest updates bolster the, “Wait five damn minutes before assuming that it’s time to file a story” theory:
Lidstrom says the plan right now is for him to miss both games this weekend and re-evaluate ankle bone bruise next week. #Redwings
Lidstrom also said he’s a little concerned that it might be a longer-term injury than first anticipated, because it hasn’t improved a lot
The swelling has gone done considerably in ankle, but Lidstrom said it’s still too painful to skate when he laces up the boot. #Redwings
Update #1.5: The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s morning skate update involves Quicney’s return in more ways than one:
“It was kind of a fluke thing that happened, and hopefully, wasn’t very serious,” Quincey said. “Missing Columbus was frustrating, but I think it helped me in the long run. It was just one game. It’s better be safe than sorry. I’m ready to go tonight.”
“He was going make a decision this morning if he was good or not and apparently he’s going to play so I’m going back to Grand Rapids,” Janik said. “Everybody wants to be in the NHL and it’s been awhile (for me). I got called back up and got a chance. It’s always nice when you get called back up and your team wins. It was short but I enjoyed it.”
Janik played in Detroit’s 5-2 win on Tuesday over Columbus.
“(Grand Rapids is) a few points back right now, but we have a three games in hand on just about everybody,” Janik said of the Griffins’ playoff hopes. “With the addition of Ty Conklin it’s made for a good run here and hopefully tonight I’ll go down there and we’ll keep it going.”
“He played really well for us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Janik’s play. “He’s a good penalty killer for us. He fits in well, he’s a good player and good security for us.”
The Wings’ depth on the blue line allowed them to part with Mike Commodore at the trade deadline.
“We knew the morning of the trade deadline we had a tough decision to make,” Babcock said. “Anytime you let Mike Commodore go somewhere else you’re risking, but we felt the game for him personally was so much better than if he stayed here. We felt that was the right decision to make as a management team. Then, we wanted to look at Smith and obviously with Quincey here they’ve got to play. We had Janik too so we were covered off in that situation pretty good. Making that trade for Quincey was a real important one,” Babcock added. “We’ve got to get him up to speed with how we play, special teams and all that. Smith has been in the minor for probably a lot longer than he wanted to be. We think he’s ready to play. We like him there. We’re setup that if guys decide to leave in the offseason we’re covered.”
• Here’s a Lidstrom update from St. James, too:
Lidstrom on his ankle: “Swelling is still there, but it is a lot smaller than it was a few days ago.”
Update #1.75: Here’s Ansar Khan’s morning skate report:
Defenseman Kyle Quincey will return to the lineup tonight for the Detroit Red Wings against the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit), after sitting out one game with a sore groin.
Defenseman Doug Janik has been reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Janik logged 18:14 of ice time in Tuesday’s 5-2 win at Columbus, his season debut for Detroit.
“Everybody wants to be in the NHL and it’s been awhile (for him),’’ Janik said. “It’s always nice when you get called back up and your team wins. It was short, but I enjoyed it.
Quincey will be paired with Ian White tonight, coach Mike Babcock said.
Update #2: Here’s Helene St. James’ morning skate report:
Lidstrom was at Joe Louis Arena this morning to undergo treatment. He’s had the ankle X-rayed twice already to rule out a hairline fracture but admitted the bruise has become more of a concern than when he originally got hurt last Saturday after being hit by a puck on a rim-around.
“It’s been longer than I thought it was going to be,” Lidstrom said. “It’s still sore, so I’m going to take the weekend off and re-evaluate how it is on Monday.”
Lidstrom hasn’t skated since the injury, because there’s too much discomfort trying to get his foot into the skate boot. His unavailability means another game for Brendan Smith, who is slated to play opposite Ian White tonight, in Lidstrom’s usual spot. With Quincey back, the Wings returned Doug Janik to the minors.
Jimmy Howard is starting in goal, and the lines up front will start as follows:
St. James also posted a seven-second video of Lidstrom speaking about his injury:
• More Lidstrom from Hedger:
Lidstrom concerned about injury taking longer? “A little bit, especially when it’s been almost a week now and it’s still sore.” #Redwings
Lidstrom:“I was hoping it was going to be a couple of days and I’d miss one game ... but this is lingering longer than I was hoping for.”
• The Griffins are also confirming Janik’s demotion and have sent Bryan Rufenach back to Toledo as a result (Gleason Fournier remains with the team).
Update #2.5: Here’s the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s morning skate report:
One back, one down, one back on skates, and one still in limbo. That’s the latest news regarding the injury-plagued Detroit Red Wings defensive unit. Kyle Quincey will return for Friday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Minnesota Wild after missing Tuesday’s 5-2 win at Columbus over the Blue Jackets.
“It was kind of a fluke thing that happened, and hopefully, wasn’t very serious,” Quincey said. “Missing Columbus was frustrating, but I think it helped me in the long run. It was just one game. It’s better be safe than sorry. I’m ready to go tonight.”
The same can’t be said for Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who will miss his second straight game due to a deep bone bruise in his ankle. The Wings also anticipate that Lidstrom will be sidelined for Sunday afternoon’s home date with the Chicago Blackhawks. “He’s definitely out today. I think he’s probably out for the weekend. They looked at it yesterday and they thought the deep bone bruise was more serious than we thought. I assume he’s out, but he’s Nick.”
Lidstrom admitted concern that the injury is lingering. “Yeah, it’s been longer than I thought it was going to be, so we just have to wait it out see how it feels on Monday,” Lidstrom said. “I’ll take the weekend off and then re-evaluate on Monday and see how it is. Right now, I can ride the bike, not pushing off with my toe, but I can work out that way. Just from putting the skate on, it’s too sore to even push off, so there’s no need to go on the ice when I can’t push off.”
Quincey’s return meant that Doug Janik was sent back to down to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League after a one-game stint with Detroit. “I’m going to to back there and play tonight,” Janik said. “Everybody wants to play in the NHL. It had been awhile, so it’s nice to get called up, get a chance. It’s always nice when you get called up and your team wins. Everyone’s feeling good. It was short, but I enjoyed it.”
Meanwhile, defenceman Jonathan Ericsson, out since chipping a bone in his wrist a week ago, skated on his own at Joe Louis Arena prior to the team’s morning skate. He’s not expected back until late March.
Update #3: Here’s the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s Lidstrom update:
Lidstrom, still bothered by a bone bruise in his ankle, will miss tonight’s game against Minnesota and Sunday’s game against Chicago. That’ll make three games Lidstrom will have missed — longer than he expected to be out and leaving Lidstrom wondering when he’ll return.
“Especially when it’s been a week and it’s still sore,” Lidstrom said. “I was hoping a few days and miss one game and I’d be right back. But it’s been lingering longer than I thought it would.”
Lidstrom said the swelling has subsided but not enough to comfortably put his skate on and begin skating. Lidstrom has had two X-rays done on the ankle and there have been no signs of fractures. The plan now is for Lidstrom to stay off the foot through the weekend and be re-evaluated Monday.
“I don’t like it,” said Lidstrom of not playing, having only missed 37 games (including Friday) in his 20-year career. “I’d rather be on the ice or on the bench and be part of the game. It’s a lot harder (watching).”
Update #3.5: Here’s more from Khan regarding Datsyuk…
Pavel Datsyuk (arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 21) said he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to resume skating. He is working out off ice. The team still expects him to return in about 10-12 days.
“I little bit (concerned), especially when it’s been almost a week now and it’s still sore,’’ Lidstrom said today. “I was hoping it was going to be a couple of days and maybe miss one game and then be back at it. It’s been lingering longer than I thought.’‘
Lidstrom will sit out home games against Minnesota tonight and Chicago on Sunday and be re-evaluated on Monday. He said X-rays after the injury on Feb. 25 and again two days later revealed no fracture. But there still is some swelling.
“I had it X-rayed twice, we’ll see what they say on Monday, what they want me to do,’’ Lidstrom said. “Right now, I can ride the bike, not pushing off with my toe, but I can work out that way.’‘
He has had the padding inside of his skate adjusted to relieve some of the pain.
“Just from putting the skate on, it’s too sore to even push off, so there’s no need to go on the ice when I can’t push off,’’ Lidstrom said. “It (the puck) just hit me in that right spot. Even though the skate is protected it’s still going to hurt if you’re hit right in that spot. I got hit a few weeks ago on the inside (of the ankle, Feb. 17). That was different, not as bad. … I’m not going to do anything with the foot for a few days and hopefully it’ll settle down and we’ll try it out on Monday again.’‘
After sitting out the next two games, Lidstrom will have missed only 38 out of a possible 1,850 games, regular season and playoffs, in his 20-year career.
“I don’t like (watching). I’d rather be on the ice or on the bench being part of the game,’’ Lidstrom said. “It’s a lot harder sitting on the side.’‘
Update #4: Here’s the Wild’s website’s game preview, penned by Mike Doyle:
Who’s hot: With captain Mikko Koivu out, Heatley has stepped up his offensive game. He has 16 points in the last 17 games (7-9=16), including scoring his 20th of the season last night. Not only does Heatley lead the Wild in scoring with 46 points, he hasn’t let his defensive game suffer. He is second on the team in plus/minus rating with a plus-8 rating.
Tonight’s storyline: Even if Backstrom didn’t suffer an injury last night against the Canadiens, Harding probably would’ve gotten the start tonight against the Wings. He has been lights out against Detroit, going 2-0-1 in all three games against the Red Wings this season. With the status of Backstrom unknown, Harding will have to step up as the Wild tries to claw its way back into a playoff spot tonight, and possibly beyond.
Keep an eye on: Kassian isn’t known for offensive prowess, but against Montreal, he showed flashes of a goal-scoring power forward. He scored his first and second career goals, and was robbed of another in the second period. Don’t expect Kassian to be on the power play, but his offensive game has improved this season, and he is using his size and strength to control the puck in the offensive zone. If he continues this type of play, expect more ice time and chances for the hulking forward.
Probable Wild line combos: The Wild didn’t have a morning skate, but expect the same line combinations as last night:
Probable defensive pairings: The team will go with the same defensive pairings as yesterday:
Between the pipes: Harding has saved 110 of 114 shots faced for a .965 save percentage and one shutout against Detroit this year.
• TSN has taken note of the Lidstrom news;
• MLive’s Aaron Foley filed a report about Todd Bertuzzi’s visit to Greenfield Elementary School;
• And here’s NHL.com’s Brian Hedger’s Lidstrom report:
“I’ve had it X-rayed twice, so we’ll see what they want me to do on Monday,” said Lidstrom, who has missed a total of 38 games out of a possible 1,850 regular season and playoff games in his NHL career. “Right now just ... I can ride the bike. Not pushing off with my toe, but I can still ride the bike and work out that way.”
The longest period of time Lidstrom has missed is six games in 2007-08, when he had a knee sprain. Is he concerned this current injury might require a longer time to heal, especially with just 18 games left in the regular season?
“A little bit, especially when it’s been almost a week now and it’s still sore,” Lidstrom said after Detroit’s morning skate Friday. “I was hoping it was going to be a couple of days and I’d miss one game and be back at it, but this is lingering longer than I was hoping for.”
Lidstrom was struck on the outside of the ankle by a slap shot during a 4-3 home loss Feb. 25 to the Colorado Avalanche. A week prior, Lidstrom was struck on the inside of the same foot by a Mike Fisher wrist shot early in the third period of Detroit’s game against the Nashville Predators. He played through the Fisher shot, which caused some soreness but wasn’t as severe. Lidstrom even felt strong enough to assist on the game-winning goal.
“I got hit a few weeks ago on the inside,” Lidstrom said. “That was different. It wasn’t as bad. It wasn’t as sore as this one is. (This one) just hit me right in that spot where, even though the skate is protected, it’s still going to hurt ... and I think it hit right in that spot.”
The good news for Lidstrom is the swelling has subsided from a few days ago and he can get his foot in his skate thanks to some alterations made to it. The problem is when he ties it tight enough to skate.
“It was just too sore once I tied the skate, too sore to push off,” said Lidstrom, who has 10 goals, 21 and a plus-25 rating in 62 games. “When you’re skating, you kind of push off with your toes and I just couldn’t push off. That’s the problem with it.”
“I don’t like it, really,” said Lidstrom, whose skate has already been fitted with a protective outer shell to absorb impact whenever he is able to return. “I’d rather be on the ice or on the bench being part of the game. It’s a lot harder sitting on the side and watching rather than being part of the game.”
Update #5: Miscellaneous news time!
• WZZM reports that the Grand Rapids Griffins are hosting a diaper drive tonight;
• The Midland Daily News notes that Kris Draper, Darren McCarty and Joey Kocur will attend the Saginaw Spirit’s game against Owen Sound on March 9th;
• HabsInsideOut’s Dave Stubbs reports that Gordie Howe will be signing autographs in Montreal on march 24th;
• The Detroit Athletic Club’s Dan Holmes wrote a lovely article about Kirk Maltby’s legacy;
• At the other end of the career spectrum, here’s some excellent news about Red Wings prospect and Saint Cloud State University defenseman Nick Jensen from Hockey’s Future’s DJ Powers…
February was a good month for St. Cloud State, who went 4-2-0 during that stretch. The two losses that the Huskies posted were by one goal. One reason behind St. Cloud State’s success during February can be attributed to the play of sophomore defenseman Nick Jensen (DET). In the Huskies’ six games during the month. Jensen posted nine points (one goal, eight assists). He posted at least one point in each game during the month. One area where Jensen helped St. Cloud State excel during the month was on the power play. The Huskies were 5-for-17 on the man advantage during the month. Overall, Jensen ranks third on the team with 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) playing in all 34 games to date. His 22 assists lead St. Cloud State.
Update #6: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose filed a report about Lidstrom...
Lidstrom was injured following a neutral zone face-off won by the Avalanche when Hejda blasted a shot from center ice around the left boards and behind the Wings’ net with 15:09 left in the second period.
“It just hit me in that right spot, even though the skate is protected it’s still going to hurt if you’re hit right in that spot,” Lidstrom said. “I got hit a few weeks ago on the inside. That was different, not as bad, not as sore as this one is.”
Lidstrom only managed to finish Saturday’s game because he didn’t remove his skates during the intermission, which he’s done consistently throughout his 20-season career. Had he taken off his right skate he wouldn’t have gotten it back on, Lidstrom said. But now Lidstrom is becoming a little concerned that the ankle could be more problematic than first thought.
“It’s been almost a week now and it’s still sore,” he said. “I was hoping it was going to be a couple of days and maybe miss one game and then be back at it. It’s been lingering longer than I thought. I’ll take the weekend off and then re-evaluate on Monday and see how it is. It’s been longer than I thought it was going to be, so we just have to wait it out see how it feels on Monday.”
The 41-year-old legend drove to the Detroit Medical Center, where he had X-rays, immediately after Saturday’s game. He had another X-ray taken on Monday, but both reports were negative. Lidstrom did not play in Tuesday’s 5-2 win at Columbus. Lidstrom’s diagnosis is a deep bone bruise, which until late this week, prevented him from putting a skate boot on without much pain. The swelling as subsided enough that he can at least put a skate on, but not without a level of discomfort.
“It was just too sore once I tied the skate. It was too sore to push off,” Lidstrom said. “When you’re skating you kind of push off with your toes and I just couldn’t push off. Just from putting the skate on, it’s too sore to even push off, so there’s no need to go on the ice when I can’t push off. I’m not going to do anything with the foot for a few days and hopefully it’ll settle down and we’ll try it out on Monday again.”
If Lidstrom does come back for a 21st season next fall, he said that he would entertain thoughts of wearing the clear-plastic guards over his skate boots that more and more defensemen are wearing.
“It’s something I’ll take into consideration, he said.
• And for thoroughness’ sake, here’s NHL.com’s Hedger’s note about Quincey (I swear to you, if the Wings’ medical staff believed that he wasn’t ready to go injury-wise, he would be sat down until he improved—it’s too late in the season to screw around with players trying to play through injuries, which is exactly why Lidstrom’s been shut down and Datsyuk’s not been asked to skate yet):
hile the Detroit Red Wings won’t have Nicklas Lidstrom for at least two more games, they will get one veteran defenseman back in the lineup.
Kyle Quincey, who sat out Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a sore groin, said after the team’s morning skate Friday that he feels good enough to play against Minnesota. That prompted the Wings to send defenseman Doug Janik back to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Friday afternoon.
Quincey will play with Ian White. Nicklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart will be another pairing, while rookie Brendan Smith and 25-year old Jakub Kindl – playing his 100th NHL game—will form Detroit’s third defense pair.
And here’s Hedger’s lineup report:
Detroit went back ahead of the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division and second place in the Western Conference when the Blues lost to Vancouver on Thursday—both teams have 87 points, but the Wings have played one fewer game—while Minnesota starts the day 12th in the conference, five points behind eight-place Dallas.
The Wild will be without goalie Niklas Backstrom, who injured his leg early in Thursday’s loss. Minnesota recalled Matt Hackett from AHL Houston to be the backup against Detroit, while Josh Harding will get the start.
Here is what the lineups for both teams likely will look like when they take the ice at Joe Louis Arena:
Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Palmieri
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Stephane Veilleux - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer
Matt Kassian - Darroll Powe - Nick Johnson
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Nate Prosser - Kurtis Foster
Justin Falk - Tom Gilbert
Josh Harding will start in goal, with Matt Hackett serving as the backup.
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Danny Cleary - Justin Abdelkader - Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Johan Franzen
Tomas Holmstrom - Cory Emmerton - Jan Mursak
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Kyle Quincey - Ian White
Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl
Jimmy Howard will start in goal, with Joey MacDonald the backup.
“It’s still sore,” Lidstrom said. “They wanted me to take the weekend off and reevaluate it on Monday. It’s been longer than I thought it was going to be, so we’re just going to have to wait it out and see how it feels on Monday.”
Last Saturday against Colorado, Lidstrom was trying to stop a slap shot with his skate, but at the last second, the puck bounced and hit his ankle instead of his skate blade. He’s had two X-rays on the ankle since the injury occurred, and both times the results were negative.
“They looked at it yesterday, and they thought the deep bone bruise was more serious than we thought,” said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who never likes to dwell on injuries.
Babcock’s approach to injuries is, it opens up opportunities for other players to prove themselves.
“Lots of times you don’t know a lot about some of the guys on your team until people are injured,” Babcock said. “If you look at our lineup the other night (Tuesday at Columbus) without Nick, without (Kyle) Quincey, without (Jonathon) Ericsson, those are chunks of you lineup—three real ‘D’—and I didn’t think we missed a beat. We’re never going to replace their skill. You can see that at practice. But in saying that, I thought we were very efficient, and that’s a good sign for us in team depth.”
Lidstrom originally thought that as soon as he was able to get his skate on, he’d be back playing. But the ankle is still too swollen and sore to attempt to skate.
“From just putting the skate on, it’s too sore to even push off,” Lidstrom said. “There’s no point to really go onto the ice when I really can’t go push off walking around in here (the dressing room).”
Update #7: Via RedWingsFeed, here’s Ken Kal’s game-day preview with Justin Abdelkader…
• From the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s notebook:
This and that
- Heading into play tonight, the Wings have four defensemen who have scored over 20 points (Lidstrom 31, Kyle Quincey 24, Niklas Kronwall 27 and Ian White 28). Minnesota has just one defenseman over 20 points (Jared Spurgeon 22).
- Doug Janik was assigned back to Grand Rapids after filling in for an injured Quincey Tuesday.
“Everybody wants to be in the NHL and it’s been awhile (for me),” Janik said. “I got called back up and got a chance. It’s always nice when you get called back up and your team wins. It was short but I enjoyed it.”
Janik gets back in time to help the Griffins’ push to make the playoffs.
“We’re a few points back right now, but we have three games in hand on just about everybody,” Janik said. “With the addition of Ty Conklin it’s made for a good run here and hopefully tonight I’ll go down there and we’ll keep it going.”
Quote of the day
“Looking at the standings every day is a great thing,” Babcock said. “We’re focused on winning. The league is tight, if you don’t get points, if you don’t get prepared, teams can beat you and you end up not feeling as good as you want looking at the standings.”
• From CBS Detroit:
The 2011-12 Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season recently came to an end, with a memorable and tightly-contested campaign wrapping up with the Ferris State Bulldogs having finished as the top-ranked team in the conference. Beginning this evening, Friday, March 2, the CCHA’s ‘Road To The Joe’ will officially begin when six teams kick off their opening round playoff matchups.
Ferris State, Michigan, Western Michigan, Miami and Michigan State all receive automatic byes to the conference quarter-finals by virtue of having finished in the Top 5 of the CCHA’s final regular season standings. The remaining six squads will look to advance by winning their upcoming best-of-three first round series: No. 9 Ohio State at No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 10 Alaska at No. 7 Lake Superior and No. 11 Bowling Green at No. 6 Northern Michigan.
This year’s CCHA Championship will be staged at Joe Louis Arena on Friday, March 16 (Semi-Final Game #1 – 4:30 p.m. & Semi-Final Game #2 – 8:00 p.m.) and Saturday, March 17 (Consolation Final – 3:30 p.m. & Mason Cup Final – 7:30 p.m.). Throughout the weekend, eleven lucky fans will win a one-of-a-kind autographed jersey combo of CCHA alumni who have gone on to skate in the NHL.
• And here are some Twitter updates from Bob Duff...
Former #spitfires G Matt Hackett called up by #wild for tonight’s game at JLA vs. #redwings. Niklas Backstrom out 2-4 weeks with leg injury.
#wild only #NHL Western Conference team with chance to go unbeaten at JLA this regular season. Won 2-1 in OT Nov. 1 at Detroit.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James...
Just an aside: Lidstrom (bone bruise) expected out 3 games. Lidstrom missed 6 games Feb-Mar ‘08 (knee). Returned to lead Wings to Cup.
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
CORRECTION: The #RedWings are 15-14-7 in Nicklas Lidstrom’s absence during his 20 #NHL seasons.
Tonight is JUST 9th time in his illustrious #NHL career that #RedWings legend Nick Lidstrom will miss a regular-season or playoff home game.
Update #8: Of course Brian Hedger snuck an entry in on the At the Rink blog that I missed, talking about 100-game-player Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith receiving the opportunity to win jobs with the Wings after the team traded Mike Commodore and both Jonathan Ericsson and Nicklas Lidstrom got hurt:
“It’s crazy,” Kindl said. “You never know when you’re going to be out there, but some things you can’t control. You just have to always be ready and do everything you can. Whenever you have the chance, you’ve just got to be ready.”
Smith said he’s felt ready to play in the NHL for a while, and he’ll get the chance now to see if he’s right.
“I think we went from eight ‘D’ to four ‘D’ in, like, 23 hours,” said Smith. “It’s an opportunity for (me), and I’m pretty excited about it. I’m just going to try to not waste this opportunity and get out there and play my best. These are the things I’ve been told to try to manage.”
He’s gotten a good amount of practice at it, too, just by monitoring the defense situation in Detroit while playing in Grand Rapids.
“The biggest thing is to not let all of the news get to your head,” Smith said. “When you get the call, play well. When you’re down (in the AHL), play well. When you’re a professional player, it’s just about playing well and being consistent. It doesn’t matter if you’re up or down. These are the things I’ve got to do.”
He also had to play it as cool as possible when Holland picked up Quincey and not let it send an unintended message about his play or development path.
“Obviously, for myself, I was a little shocked,” Smith said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ But I called my dad and my agent, and they’re just like, ‘Hey, it’s all the master plan. You know that you’re a good player. Don’t let that stuff get into your head.’ Because if it does get into your head, then you’re not playing your best, you’re playing to what you think is going on. You’re distracted. You never want to be like that.”
“A few people have told me there were a few offers, and (Holland and Babcock) told me I’m the future (plans), and I’ll be around for a while ... which is awesome to hear,” Smith said. “For Kenny to tell me I’m the future of the Red Wings, it’s pretty cool. I’m just going to try to play my best and try to live up to that.”
The Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stevenson also offers this assessment of the Wings as his #3 pick as the eventual Cup winner:
Detroit Red Wings. Trading for Kyle Quincey in the days leading up to the trade deadline boosts the blue line depth and Jimmy Howard, back from a broken finger, gives them solid, consistent goaltending. “Win one more for Nick,” might be rallying point as Nicklas Lidstrom’s Hall of Fame career might be down to his last or second-last season.
Update #8: In case you didn’t already know it, Wings GM Ken Holland would like to see overtime expand as opposed to giving regulation wins 3 point status (which is what Steve Yzerman wants):
Holland has pushed another idea instead. He’d like to see overtime extended so that if the 4-on-4, five-minute period doesn’t produce a goal, there’s another five-minute period but at 3-on-3 before it ever gets to a shootout.
“The races are so close, the more games decided by playing hockey, the better,” Holland said, not hiding his feelings on the shootout.
Update #8.5: Um, per HockeyTube.net:
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