The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/11/12 at 02:38 PM ET
Updated 2 with a conversation with Ken Holland from the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness at 3 PM: Excellent Red Wings news from the Free Press’s Helene St. James: the Wings will at least have Jimmy Howard back between the pipes on Tuesday:
Wings send Nyquist and Pearce back to Grand Rapids, good indication Howard and Bertuzzi will return Tuesday at LA
Holland tells Free Press: Howard is ready to go Tuesday at LA, Nyquist will play tonight for GR, rejoin Wings Monday in LA in case needed.
No practice today for #RedWings. Lidstrom and Datsyuk still expected back during California trip
MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms, but reports that Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom’s respective statuses remain somewhat uncertain:
Red Wings have reassigned Gustav Nyquist and Jordan Pearce to Grand Rapids. So Howard and either Datsyuk or Bertuzzi (or both) ready for LA.
GM Holland said Nyquist will return to Wings for Calif. trip. They wanted him to play for Griffins in big game tonight at Houston.
Holland said status of injured players Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, Lidstrom, Kindl will be determined Tuesday morning.
The Wings have taken the Griffins’ top defensive pair from a team desperately trying to win out their games to try and close a nine-point gap between themselves and a playoff spot (they’ve lost two straight games minus Janik, Smith and one or two of Gustav Nyquist, Chris Conner or Jakub Kindl in the lineup), so the Wings are giving the Griffins a hand…But the Toledo Walleye have lost so very regularly that they’re hosed playoff-wise, so there was a little less urgency to send Jordan Pearce or Thomas McCollum to Wheeling, West Virginia than there was to send Nyquist to Houston for a mid-afternoon Griffins game against the Aeros.
St. James confirms her Twitter updates in article form as well:
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that goaltender Jimmy Howard, who has missed the past three games with a sore groin, is ready to return Tuesday when the Wings play at Los Angeles, so that eliminates the need for Pearce.
Nyquist has been filling in for Todd Bertuzzi, who also has missed the last three games with a sore groin. Holland said the Wings decided to have Nyquist play for the Griffins tonight, then rejoin the Wings Monday in L.A. in case he’s needed against the Kings. Nyquist has an assist in each of his past two games with Detroit.
The Wings didn’t practice today, common after back-to-back games. They flew home after losing, 3-2, Saturday night at Nashville, and leave again this evening for California, where the schedule also features the Ducks on Wednesday and the Sharks next Saturday.
Holland said the remaining injured players are status quo, meaning both Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) are expected to return some time this week.
Ditto for Khan:
General manager Ken Holland said Nyquist was sent down so he could play for the Griffins tonight in Houston. He will return to the Red Wings for their three-game trip to California, which starts Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Holland said the status of injured players Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) and Jakub Kindl (upper body) will be determined Tuesday morning.
Howard told M-Live.com on Saturday that he expected to start against the Kings and Holland confirmed that he will. Howard missed three games with a strained groin.
Pearce did not appear in any games during his stint.
Nyquist has an assist in each of the past two games and has three points (all assists) in seven games for the Red Wings. He leads the Griffins with 54 points (19 goals, 35 assists).
As the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff notes, there’s more than one reason why Nyquist might spend the rest of the season in Detroit, courtesy demotions included:
Among all of the Detroit Red Wings’ walking wounded, the one who figures to face the longest issues with his injury is the one that is still playing. Right-winger Dan Cleary continues to be bothered by his left knee. He was scheduled to have it drained for a fourth time on Sunday, before the Red Wings embarked on a three-game west coast road swing. “It’s been sore,” Cleary acknowledged. “Is it getting better? I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s been touch and go. It’ll be fixed at the end of the year, let’s put it that way.”
Cleary has taken a cortisone shot in the knee, but indicated it didn’t help his problems. He isn’t certain what the cure for what ails his knee will be, but didn’t rule out off-season surgery. “I don’t know, we’ll see,” he said. “I’m trying to manage it the best I can here until we get to the playoffs, and then do what I can.”
Part of that program is to skip as many practices as possible to remain off the wonky leg as much as he can, while still maintaining his overall physical condition. “Yeah, I’ve been doing that a little bit lately,” Cleary said. “It’s touch and go. It depends on the day I guess. I’ve had a few things done to it, and I’m hoping I’ll have a big relief in a few weeks.”
With seven players on the sidelines, Wings coach Mike Babcock is anxious to see how Grand Rapids call-up Gustav Nyqvist fits into the club’s system over the next while, to get a grasp on whether he can be of any help come playoff time.
“That’s what we’re hopeful for, that he’s spent enough time in the minors,” Babcock said. “He’s been a dominant player as a rookie in the minors. 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.”
Duff’s also posted four of those handy-dandy media-only MP3’s from the Red Wings’ loss to Nashville last night in comments from Joey MacDonald…
And Wings coach Mike Babcock:
Regarding MLive’s poll question as to which team best suits the Wings as a first-round playoff opponent? My favorite fictional team, the Djibouti Camel Dung Gatherers.
Update: Per the University of Notre Dame’s Josh Flynt, Riley Sheahan’s season is probably over because Notre Dame was swept out of the CCHA playoffs by Michigan;
• And the Delicate Genius’s website provides the details of the Shawn Burr Foundation’s hockey game between his pals and the Red Wings’ Alumni team on March 17th, which is a day probably better spent at the rink than the Old Shelaleigh.
Update #2: Ken Holland spoke to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness at some length about his team’s spate of injuries this season as compared to the team’s mad dash for a payoff spot during the 2009-2010 season:
“When the year starts you know you’re going to get injuries,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Sunday. “It’s important to have depth. Also, injuries help you develop and grow your team if you can get through it. Fortunately we banked points away the first 50 games.”
The Wings are currently without Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Nicklas Lidstrom (deep ankle bone), Jonathan Ericsson (fractured wrist), Jakub Kindl (upper body), Todd Bertuzzi (groin strain), Jimmy Howard (groin strain) and Patrick Eaves (concussion). Holland said Howard is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Kings. As for Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Bertuzzi, their status won’t be known until Tuesday morning. Holland added that he doesn’t think Kindl has skated since suffering the injury last week against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sounds like a concussion or shoulder injury…
“The development of Joey MacDonald and Brendan Smith has been real important for us staying where we’re at,” Holland said. “And our coaches have gotten a chance to look at Gustav Nyquist for a couple of games now. Hopefully we’re developing a little more depth. I think it all depends where you’re at in the standings when injuries occur,” Holland added. “If you’re struggling to make the playoffs and you’re hit with injuries it’s a disaster, but fortunately we banked a lot of points away and we’re weathering the storm on the standings front. We want to get healthy here and take a run at home ice.”
The Wings, who are just 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, are just 16-18-1 on the road this season. They play their next three on the road.
“I don’t know if we’ve played that bad on the road of late,” Holland said. “We out shot Nashville almost 2-1 (Saturday) night and we out shot Philadelphia 35-12 the last two periods. I don’t know if we’ve played that bad.”
“We’ve just found ways to win at home and we’ve found ways to lose on the road,” Holland said. “Specialty teams have been a factor. I think we were 2-for-4 (on the penalty kill) Saturday night and 0-for-4 or 0-for-5 (on power play). I think our power play has shown signs of getting chances. You hope eventually you’re going to work your way out of it. I think we’ve been like 3-for-50 or 45 over the last 10 games. The record says we play good at home and bad on the road, but I think … we scored with five seconds left to go to beat Nashville at home and we seem to find ways to lose on the road,” Holland added. “These last few games it would have been nice to get some road wins. We need to figure out ways to win games on the road.”
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