The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/05/12 at 02:18 PM ET
Updated 6x with injury/Kronwall/Flyers-Wings updates at 6:51 PM: Today’s Red Wings news went from bad to worse when the Wings, who will attempt to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks when they head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers and watch Mark Howe’s number be retired by his former team, announced that the team had recalled Doug Janik, Chris Conner and Jordan Pearce to replace Jakub Kindl (“upper-body”), Todd Bertuzzi (groin) and Jimmy Howard (“lower-body”) in the Wings’ lineup.
Thankfully, the NHL’s second star of the week in Niklas Kronwall and his Wings teammates will receive a two-day break after tomorrow night’s game, and get another two-day break after Friday and Saturday’s games against Los Angeles and Nashville, respectively, though this in-progress post offers scant good news in terms of during-practice updates from MLive’s Ansar Khan…
Wings’ Datsyuk skating today in warmup suit. Looks to be moving around well.
Bertuzzi, Kindl, Howard, Lidstrom not skating, as expected. They are out Tuesday at Philly.
Clearly also not on the ice but likely a maintenance day as he’s been bothered by sore knee.
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose...
Just saw Jordan Pearce in JLA parking lot, says he heard of call-up late Sunday as Griffins boarded bus for 6-hour ride home from Hamilton.
Here’s a good sign: #RedWings center Pavel Datsyuk is skating at JLA for the second straight day, and looking pretty darn good at doing so.
Who penned an early reflection upon the Wings’ recalls of Janik, Conner and Pearce:
Already without the services of center Pavel Datsyuk (knee surgery) and defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom (bruised ankle) and Jonathan Ericsson (fractured wrist), the Wings were dealt another blow over the weekend when goalie Jimmy Howard and defenseman Jakub Kindl were injured during Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago. The status for both Howard and Kindl is unknown, but certainly based on the players who were brought up, it’s likely that neither will play against the Flyers.
With 15 games left in the regular-season, the Wings are very much alive in a race with Vancouver, St. Louis and the New York Rangers for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Currently, the Wings are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and tied with the Blues at 89 points each, however, St. Louis holds the first tiebreaker.
Injuries is just part of the game, and players like defenseman Niklas Kronwall knows that the Wings will have to rely on their depth to weather this current storm, particularly on the blue line which has taken the brunt of the injuries.
“I think Smitty has played great ever since he got called up,” Kronwall said. “Kuba, before he left the game (Sunday) has played really well. The two of them as a pair has been great. (Kyle) Quincey ever since he’s gotten in has played really well. I think all-in-all it’s been OK, just looking forward to the next game. Dougie Janik has been here a few times, we all know he’s very solid and an NHL player for probably most teams in the league. … We know that he’ll do a great job.”
The six serviceable defensemen that the Wings will take to Philadelphia will be Kronwall, Smith, Quincey, Janik, Ian White and Brad Stuart.
In 17 minor-league games with the Griffins, Pearce has a 3-7-1 record with a 3.53 goals-average average and one shutout. He will backup Joey MacDonald Tuesday in Philadelphia.
WXYZ’s Tom Leyden’s also firing off updates from the Wings’ practice at the Joe:
Jimmy Howard not on the ice with #RedWings teammates as practice starts at Joe Louis.
Nicklas Lidstrom also not on the ice for #RedWings
Defenseman on ice are Smith Kronwall White Quincey Stuart #RedWings
Zetterberg not skating today either. #RedWings
I’ll continue updating this post as news rolls in…I waited an extra twenty minutes to post it because I wanted to make sure that I had more than a few Twitter updates and nothing more to give you. One does not post content simply for the sake of posting it—if there isn’t any substance behind the post, there’s no point in wasting your valuable time.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: At least the Flyers are banged-up, too, via USA Today and the Courier-Post’s Randy Miller:
Injuries to Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Kimmo Timmonen and Andrej Mezsaros are creating opportunities for call-up Eric Gustafsson and frequent scratch Andreas Lilja.
“It was quite a bit of a surprise,” Gustafsson said before getting 10:57 of ice time Sunday in his 19th NHL game of the season. “I was getting ready to play in Albany (on Saturday) and then they called me in the afternoon and told me I was coming here.”
Timonen’s absence ended his consecutive-games streak at 248. It has been suspected that Timonen, an All-Star this season, had been playing through an injury because his ice time has dropped dramatically in recent games. He’s averaging 21:21 this season, but he has been under 20 minutes five times in his last seven games.
Meszaros was coming off his best game of the season, a one-goal, two-assist effort in the Flyers’ 6-3 win against the New York Islanders. He had missed just one game this season — on Feb. 16.
“They are a big part of the team,” Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said of Timonen and Meszaros after the Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 1-0 Sunday. “We hope they can come back soon in the lineup, but guys who was playing tonight, Andreas and Gus, they play unbelievable.”
• According to the Midland Daily News, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper and Joey Kocur will appear at Friday night’s Saginaw Spirit game;
• The Red Wings’ website reminds us that Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald will be signing autographs at Hockeytown Authentic s on Wednesday:
Detroit Red Wings netminders Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald will sign autographs on Wednesday, March 7, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy to raise money for two Metro Detroit charities.
By making a $20 donation by cash or check only, fans can get one item signed by both goaltenders. All donations will be split between Howard’s charity of choice, the Arthritis Foundation, and the non-profit selected by MacDonald, Operation: Kid Equip.
Wristbands for Wednesday’s autograph signing will be issued at Hockeytown Authentics starting at 11:30 a.m. A maximum of 500 wristbands will be handed out prior to 5:00 p.m. and those who receive wristbands may begin to line up for the autograph signing no earlier than 4:00 p.m. A wristband will get fans one autograph from Howard and one from MacDonald.
For more information, please call Hockeytown Authentics at (248) 680-0965. Hockeytown Authentics is located at 1845 E. Big Beaver on the northwest corner of Big Beaver and John R in Troy.
• In case you didn’t already know it, ESPN’s Sean Allen says that Niklas Kronwall might be a smart fantasy hockey pick-up for this week;
• Interesting: ESPN UK’s Steven Lynch was asked to explain what a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) consists of;
• Interesting, part II: according to the Associated Press, Chris Osgood scored his one and only goal on this date in 1996;
• Not so interesting: The Committed Indian’s Sam Fels assumed that the ice at the Joe was horrific on Sunday;
• Not so interesting, part 2: Blee bloo blah bloo “what we learned”;
• And here are your first two slates of power rankings lists, from NHL.com’s Dave Lozo...
6. Detroit (43-20-3 [last week] 6: The Red Wings clearly are not the same team with Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk out, but what team would be? If the lower-body injury Jimmy Howard suffered Sunday is serious, then there could be problems.
And ESPN’s Scott Burnside:
2. Detroit Last Week: 2: Not only did the Wings drop a close 2-1 decision at home on Sunday, they also lost netminder Jimmy Howard to injury again. Can Joey MacDonald rework his backup magic?
Update 0.5: Per Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:
Wanted: healthy bodies at #Redwings practice. No Howard, Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Kindl, Datsyuk (who skated on own).
Here’s an oh thank goodness correction:
@TomLeyden Z is out there.
Per the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
[Bertuzzi and Cleary] not skating along with the ones that are already known to be hurt
Datsyuk skated before practice for second straight day
Ahem ahem, per the Wings (does “skating on his own” count as “present” or not?)...
The Wings are on ice for their Monday practice. Pavel Datsyuk is present.
Bertuzzi, Cleary, Kindl, Lidstrom and Howard are not skating with the team.
Update #0.75: Per Khan:
Wings’ lines at practice: 51-40-26, 20-43-93, 96-8-39, 48-41; 55-23, 27-18, 2; 31-pearce
And this is a bit of a head-scratcher from the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:
It hasn’t taken rookie defenceman Brendan Smith long to endear himself to fans of the Detroit Red Wings. Friday, Smith tallied his first National Hockey League goal in a win over the Minnesota Wild. Sunday, Smith dropped the mitts and tangled with Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks in his inaugural NHL fight.
Amidst the debate of the future of fighting in the junior ranks, Smith, who played NCAA hockey for former Windsorite Mike Eaves at Wisconsin, where fighting is prohibited, is a supporter of fisticuffs on the ice. “Maybe some people think it’s a macho thing, but I just think it’s part of the game,” said Smith, who didn’t have any problem with Shaw challenging him to a bout after he’d slammed Blackhawks star Patrick Kane with a solid bodycheck. “As kind of a younger guy, a gritty guy, he’s got to stick up for his team, too. That was his job, and it just happened that way.”
Smith credits the sport of lacrosse, and his older brother Rory, a member of the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth and a national team player who helped Canada win the world box lacrosse title last summer, with teaching him the finer arts of pugilism. “Actually, my older brother, he’s kind of a fighter in lacrosse,” Smith said. “I played with him growing up in hockey, so he’s taught me a few things. I’m not ever going out looking for a fight, but it’s more of a protection thing, so I don’t get hurt.”
Smith believes the key to successful and safe fighting is to not let your emotions get the best of you. There’s a high adrenaline, but the biggest thing is to stay focused,” he said. “It’s when you get upset and really want to hurt the guy, that’s when your face is vulnerable. You’ve just got to keep calm and collected. It’s kind of hard to think about when you’re frustrated, because you want to beat somebody up. But when you get in a fight, you just have to be calm and collected.”
Update #0.85: Per the NHL:
Niklas Kronwall, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Burke (Brian Burke’s son), Bob McKenzie, Shane Hnidy. With Bill and EJ [on NHL Live today]. 5-7 ET
Update #1: F*** it…This is good enough to jump the gun for, per Ted Kulfan...
Howard says he is day to day ultrasound showed nothing bad
And the Free Press’s Anthony Fenech:
Howard: “I’m still day-to-day” with undisclosed injury; not traveling to Philly, hopeful for Friday. #Redwings
Update #1.5: Why George, are you grasping at straws because you’re a Wings fan, too, and are jittery as hell going on 5 hours of sleep and feeling guilty already because you know you’re gonna be gone from 2:30-5:30 to take your aunt to a doctor’s appointment?
Hell yes, but good gnus is good gnus, per FSD’s Dana Wakiji...
#Redwings Howard said he’s not making trip to Philly. Just treatment and rest, still day to day.
And MLive’s Ansar Khan...
Howard said ultrasound showed no real damage. Still day to day. Hoping for Friday.
Update #1.75: no surprise, per FSD’s John Keating:
Jimmy Howard will not make the trip to Philly. Jordan Pearce has been called up to back up Joey MacDonald Tuesday on FSD. #injurybug
Update #1.85: You may cringe with me regarding this, “Sell him while his value is high” quip from Dobber Hockey regarding Niklas Kronwall:
“Sell High” pick of the week: Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings. Don’t do it yet, but when you hear confirmation that Nicklas Lidstrom is returning, that’s the time to shed yourself of Kronwall. But what a great sign of things to come (if and) when Lidstrom does retire. Kronwall has three points in each of the games that Lidstrom has missed, inflating his numbers to the 30-point mark and making him a very appealing asset to your fellow owners.
Warm fuzzies time? Via the Wings:
Jan Mursak is seated two lockers down from Pavel Datsyuk, who resumed skating with the team today. ‘He has been a great influence,’ 39 said.
Update #2: Substantial stuff from the Wings:
Babs on 35: ‘Obviously he felt something yesterday, we ran some tests today and we found nothing. He’s day-to-day with a lower body injury.’
Babcock said that Dan Cleary is fine and should play tomorrow in Philadelphia.
Babcock: ‘The reality is that you go through lots of things through the year. You’ve got to suck it up and get back to it.’
Babcock emphasized that injuries to some players present opportunities to others.
Again, NHL.com’s Brian Hedger is getting a little overenthusiastic about pushing the, “Oh boy, are the Wings hurting!” angle:
Just putting together my story on #Redwings current injuries and nine guys are dealing with some ailment or another by my count. Will list.
Currently out: Lidstrom (ankle), Howard (lower body), Datsyuk (knee), Ericsson (wrist) #Redwings
Playing through aches: Bertuzzi (groin), Quincey (groin), Cleary (knee soreness), Zetterberg (lower body/ankle). Forgot Eaves out, too.
Oh, Kindl (upper body) likely out, too.
So, make it 10 afflicted #Redwings right now, in all. Some able to play through them, others aren’t.
Update #2.5: So that’s that, per Khan...
Babcock said Cleary will play tomorrow. Bertuzzi, Kindl out
#RedWings injury update: Cleary should play in Philly. Bertuzzi, Howard, Kindl, Lidstrom out. Still no Datsyuk either.
That’s the theory, says Kulfan:
Cleary is ok to play but bertuzzi is out
Update #2.75: Per Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:
#RedWings Babcock on Lidstrom: I think Nick’s moving around better. I don’t know when he’ll be back but ideally soon.
#RedWings Howard: Got ultrasound on injury & nothing really serious showed. Just get treatment here & get back as soon as possible.
#RedWings Kronwall: (Lidstrom’s) been 1 of those guys who’s really never been hurt all through his career. We’re not used 2 playing w/o him.
Update #3: Michigan Hockey posted a late-breaking Wings-Hawks recap from Michael Caples;
• Here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan’s off-day article:
Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Jakub Kindl (upper body), Jimmy Howard (lower body) and Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in ankle) did not skate and will not accompany the team to Philadelphia for Tuesday’s game (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). All are listed as day-to-day.
Danny Cleary, who’s had a sore also, also stayed off the ice, but coach Mike Babcock said he will play.
Howard said an ultrasound today revealed no significant damage. He’ll stay off the ice for a couple of days and hopes to be ready for Friday’s home game against Los Angeles.
“It’s nothing serious and it’s still day-to-day,’’ Howard said. “Just get treatment and get back as soon as possible. I’m feeling better. Hopefully, it gets better every single day here.’‘
Forward Chris Conner and defenseman Doug Janik, recalled today from the Grand Rapids Griffins, will be in the lineup Tuesday. Goaltender Jordan Pearce, also recalled, will back-up Joey MacDonald. The team did not recall Ty Conklin because he is subject to re-entry waivers, and also, there’s no point in having him come up to sit on the bench.
Also, Pavel Datsyuk skated before practice in a warm-up suit. He was moving around well and is hoping to return during the West Coast trip next week.
• The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness also managed to get Ken Holland to state the obvious:
Wings GM Ken Holland says Jimmy Howard has a groin strain.
Jakub Kindl is out for the game against Philadelphia with an upper-body injury according to Wings GM Ken Holland
No word on Nicklas Lidstrom’s injury after practice.
Update #4: Niklas Kronwall shrugged off being named the NHl’s second star of the week, but his teammates didn’t blow off their teammate’s accomplishments while speaking to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
“I’m not surprised,” defenseman Brad Stuart said. “He put up some good numbers and had a great week. He had 7-8 points, that’s not bad. He’s been getting a lot of good chances and putting some of them in.”
The 31-year-old Kronwall is just the second Wings’ player so honored by the league this season. Goalie Jimmy Howard was the Second Star on Nov. 14. Also recognized by the league this week were Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who is this week’s First Star, and Chicago goalie Ray Emery, who was named Third Star. Kronwall has supplied a must-need spark to a Wings’ blue line that has come under siege lately with three defensemen bitten by injuries.
“Kronner is a guy who will take on responsibility when guys go down and will look to be more of a leader,” Stuart said. “I don’t know if that has anything to do with his hot streak, but he’s definitely that type of player who will step-up when he’s needed.”
Kronwall provided Detroit with offense from the blue line in the absence of injured captain and seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom (bruise ankle), beginning with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win at Columbus last Tuesday. Kronwall had his second consecutive three-point game – the first back-to-back three-point games of his career – with three assists in a 6-0 victory against Minnesota last Friday at Joe Louis Arena. He then accounted for Detroit’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago on Sunday. While he had an outstanding offensive week, Kronwall is quick to deflect the attention that a league honor draws to that of his teammates.
“I think you do whatever you can out there to help the team in whatever situation that might be, and the points that I’ve been getting is more a credit to the guys up front who have been doing a great job,” he said. “A lot of them have come from just giving it to someone in our own zone and then they do the rest.”
Kronwall’s goal against the Blackhawks was No. 40 scored by a Wings’ defensemen this season, which leads the league for defensive scoring. His seven-points equals a career-best three game stretch, which he first established in the 2009-10 season when he had three goals and four assists in wins over Columbus, Vancouver and Anaheim during a four day period. The Swedish-born defenseman has reached career-highs this season for goals (14), power-play goals (6) and game-winning goals (4), in 66 games. He’s also registered a personal-best 146 blocked shots, which leads the team and is third most in the Western Conference.
“It’s obviously nice to be recognized, but at the same time we all feel in here that it’s a team game, and it just happened to be me this time,” Kronwall said. “I’ve been able to give the puck to the right guys at the right time of the game a few times and they have been doing the rest of the job, so I’d like to give them more credit than I deserve really.”
update #5: Here’s the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s updated off-day report:
“It’s all about opportunity,” Babcock said, noting the injuries are opportunities to play for younger players. “You could feel sorry for yourself but that’s a waste of time. Let’s have some guys who are healthy and get after it and win some games.”
Howard had an ultrasound Monday morning that revealed nothing major.
“Nothing serious,” said Howard, who is hopeful of returning later in the week. “Basically it’s day-to-day. I’m feeling better today, so hopefully I keep getting better every single day from here.”
Howard was relieved Sunday after one period after suffering the lower-body injury. Howard said he felt tightening as the first period progressed. This comes two weeks after Howard missed eight games with a broken right index finger.
“It definitely is (frustrating) but it’s part of being a professional athlete,” Howard said. “Injuries happen and you try to limit them as best as possible. The guys have been doing a tremendous job. We’ve really not lost any ground in the standings.”
Bertuzzi played in Sunday’s 2-1 loss against Chicago but was slowed by the groin pull, which he originally suffered in Friday’s victory over Minnesota.
Kindl and Howard both were hurt in Sunday’s game. Kindl left after two shifts because of soreness in the upper-body, Babcock said. Kindl won’t be available until at least Friday’s game against Los Angeles.
Datsyuk skated on his own for the second consecutive day before Monday’s practice and is aiming for a return during the West Coast trip next week.
Babcock said Lidstrom is “moving around better” and is getting closer to a return. Tuesday’s game will make it four consecutive games Lidstrom will have missed.
Ericsson is skating on his own, but a return isn’t likely until later in the month.
“We just all have to do what we do,” said Niklas Kronwall, who was named the Second Star by the NHL in its weekly honors after totaling seven points in three games last week. “The minutes will get spread out a little more, so everyone needs to focus on what they do and do it as well as you can. The minute you try to do (too much) that’s when you get in trouble. We have to get through this as a team.”
Update #6: WXYZ’s Tom Leyden filed a injury update report...
The injury bug has bitten the Red Wings as they prepare for Tuesday night’s battle with Philadelphia.
A slew of regulars - Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary, Jacob Kindl and Jimmy Howard - did not skate with the team during this afternoon’s practice. Datysuk did skate by himself before practice without his teammates on the ice as he continues to recover from a minor arthroscopic knee surgery.
Howard was lifted from Sunday’s loss against Chicago after one period, replaced by Joey MacDonald, who once again will get the start in net against the Flyers. Howard spoke with the media after practice and confirmed he suffered a lower body injury which was tested by ultrasound today. He underwent treatment with the Red Wings training staff and will not make the trip to Philadelphia.
Howard deemed his injury day-to-day and hopes to return to the ice for Friday’s game against Los Angeles at Joe Louis Arena.
Lidstrom, who suffered a deep bone bruise on his ankle, had hoped to return to practice today, but was unable to do so. He also will not play Tuesday night. Defenseman Doug Janik, forward Chris Connor and goaltender Jordan Pearce were all recalled from Grand Rapids and will be with the Red Wings in Philadelphia.
Bertuzzi is nursing a sore groin. He tried to play through the pain Sunday, but Babcock indicated he will not be ready for Tuesday’s game. Cleary is expected to play.
Here’s the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ off-day report...
“It’s all about opportunity isn’t it?” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Monday. “You can go around feeling sorry for yourself which is an absolute waste of time or you can find more players. The bottom line is guys that aren’t healthy that are trying to play and can’t move, they’re not doing us any good anyway,” Babcock continued. “So let’s have a bunch of guys that are healthy, let’s get after it and let’s win some games.”
The Wings will also be without captain Nicklas Lidstrom. General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that Lidstrom will miss a fourth straight game because of a deep bone bruise in an ankle.
“I think Nick’s moving around better, I don’t know when he’ll be back but I think it will be soon,” Babcock said.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall said with Lidstrom or not, the team has to keep pushing on.
“Knock-on-wood, he’s been one of those guys that’s never really been hurt in his career,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We’re not used to playing without him but that’s the way it is and we just have to look forward and do whatever we can out there.”
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and forward Pavel Datsyuk (knee) also remain out.
Here’s Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji’s update...
“It’s all about opportunity, isn’t it? You can go around feeling sorry for yourself, which is an absolute waste of time, or you can find more players,” Babcock said. “The bottom line is the guys that aren’t healthy that are trying to play and can’t move, they’re not doing us any good, anyway. So let’s have a bunch of guys that are healthy and let’s get after it and find a way to win some games.”
The Wings did not recall goaltender Ty Conklin, as he would have to go through re-entry waivers. Howard, the Wings’ regular goaltender, said he had his injury tested Monday morning.
“Went and got ultrasound on injury, and nothing really serious showed,” Howard said. Just get treatment here and get back as soon as possible.”
Howard remains hopeful he can play Friday against the Los Angeles Kings. Until then, Joey MacDonald will fill in again. MacDonald has played in 10 games, going 7-2-1 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
“Joey has played great for us,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Obviously, it’s sad to see Howie go down, but, hopefully, it’s not too bad. But, at the same time, I’m very confident in Joey, who has played great ever since he’s got the nod.”
“I think Nick’s moving around better,” Babcock said. “I don’t know when he’ll be back, but, ideally, soon.”
It’s an unfamiliar situation for the Wings, playing without Lidstrom. Their 2-1 loss Sunday to Chicago was only the 10th home game he has missed in 20 seasons.
“Well, knock on wood, he’s been one of those guys who’s really never been hurt all throughout his career,” Kronwall said. “And we’re not used to playing without him. In saying that, that’s the way it is and we just have to look forward and do whatever we can out there.”
Here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s report…
“It’s all about opportunity, isn’t it?” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “You can go around feeling sorry for yourself, which is an absolute waste of time or you can find more players. The bottom line is the guys that aren’t healthy that are trying to play and can’t move, they’re not doing us any good anyway. So let’s have a bunch of guys that are healthy and let’s get after it and find a way to win some games.”
The Wings recalled three players – defenseman Doug Janik, forward Chris Conner and goalie Jordan Pearce – from their AHL affiliate to fill out the team’s roster for Tuesday night.
Detroit practiced without seven regulars on Monday as Todd Bertuzzi (groin strain), Danny Cleary (knee), Jakub Kindl (upper-body), Jimmy Howard (groin strain), Nicklas Lidstrom (bruised ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (fractured wrist) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee surgery) did not skate with the team.
However, Ericsson and Datsyuk did skate on their own prior to the team’s full practice. Cleary should be ready to go against the Flyers, Babcock said, but as for the others, many, including Bertuzzi, Howard and Lidstrom are day-to-day.
“It’s nothing serious and it’s still day-to-day,” said Howard, who had an ultrasound on his groin Monday morning. “Just get treatment here and get back as soon as possible. Nothing major showed.”
Kindl experienced some soreness prior to Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago when he left the game after skating only two shifts. He did not return to the game, and Babcock said he believes that the status of the 25-year-old defenseman is longer than day-to-day.
“Well you start the game, you don’t play any shifts and you leave the game, I mean, we can’t have that happening,” Babcock said of Kindl. “He’s got to be ready to play. So I don’t imagine he’s coming to Philly, he wasn’t preparing like he was. He’s not day-to-day for sure. When’s the next game? (Friday) So that’s four days for sure he’s away, right?”
And here’s NHL.com’s Brian Hedger’s report:
“It’s frustrating, but it’s part of being a professional athlete,” Howard said. “Injuries happen. Guys have been doing a tremendous job. We’re not losing any ground in the standings. We’ve just got to continue to find ways to go out there and steal some points.”
In order to do that this time, the Red Wings recalled three players from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Monday morning: forward Chris Conner, defenseman Doug Janik and goalie Jordan Pearce. Backup goalie Joey MacDonald, who relieved Howard on Sunday and took a loss for the first time in his last eight appearances, will again become Detroit’s starter until Howard is fit to return. As for Lidstrom, the Wings captain is still healing from a deep bone bruise in his ankle, which he injured blocking a slap shot with the outside of his skate late in a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 25 at Joe Louis Arena.
“When you don’t have Nick or Pav, when you don’t have two guys like that in the lineup, it always hurts,” MacDonald said after Sunday’s game. “You know what, it’s time for guys to step up, and I [think] guys are stepping up. We’ve still got a lot of hockey left. I know we’ve got some injuries here, but you know what? [It’s] better to get those injuries now and go on.”
It’s just that the list of aching Red Wings doesn’t stop at the already listed names. Defenseman Kyle Quincey is also playing through a groin issue that kept him out against Columbus last week, while forward Danny Cleary has lingering knee pain after having fluid removed last month and forward Henrik Zetterberg is dealing with a lower-body injury believed to be an ankle problem. In all, that’s 10 Wings dealing with some sort of injury to varying degrees.
“I think you have to find your way through,” said Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was announced as the League’s second star for last week’s stellar play. “Injuries come to every team through the course of the year, and now it’s bit us a little bit. But at the same time nobody is really thinking too much about it. We can’t lay down and feel sorry for ourselves. Whoever is out there, they need to make sure they do whatever is required and we’ll go from there.”
There is some scattered good news to be found among the piles of bandages and ice bags. Datsyuk has skated on his own the past two days and reportedly looked good after having his knee scoped on Feb. 21 to repair loose cartilage fragmentation. The dynamic two-way forward and top draw-taker hopes to return at some point next week during a road trip that culminates with three games in California. Then there’s Lidstrom’s ankle, which Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said was doing a little better on Monday after Detroit’s captain sat out the past three games to rest it.
The injury bug has also provided plenty of minutes the past three games for highly-regarded rookie defenseman Brendan Smith, who scored his first career goal on Friday against Minnesota and has responded well to seeing his minutes increase in each game he’s played. He even showed some grit in a long fight on Sunday against Chicago rookie Andrew Shaw.
“We got some guys out, but at the same time it’s a good opportunity for these other guys to show what they can do,” Kronwall told reporters in Detroit on Monday. “Smitty’s done a great job ever since he got called up, playing great, using his skating to his advantage, playing physical when he needs to. He’s been looking really good. Times like this [are] when guys get a chance to show what they’re made of.”
The Wings kept that line going while speaking to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
“Depth’s always important in a long season,” Justin Abdelkader said. “You go through stretches where you have injuries. We’ve been fortunate we’ve been fairly healthy all season, now we have injuries and it’s an opportunity for a lot of guys. Hopefully our depth can show in times like these.”
“It’s frustrating, but it’s part of being a professional athlete,” Howard said. “Injuries happen. Guys have been doing a tremendous job stepping in. We’re not losing any ground in the standings, we’ve just go to continue to find ways to go out there and steal some points.”
Joey MacDonald, who had his six-game win streak snapped Sunday, will start against the Flyers.
“When you’ve got guys like Pav and Nick out of the lineup, guys are going to step up,” MacDonald said. “We’ve got some young guys here, a few call-ups that played well in the minors. It’s an opportunity for them. It’s a good time to show the coaches what we have down there. Guys can come here, step up and play well.”
Bertuzzi was able to play in Sunday’s loss after being a game-time decision prior.
“The minute that you try to over-do things and over-think things that’s when you get in trouble,” Kronwall said. “It’s a team game and we all have to come together and work through this as a team and as a group. Tomorrow night is a new game and we’re looking forward to it.”
• Yes, as the Detroit News, MLive’s Brendan Savage, the Detroit Free Press and ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun report, Ken Holland will assist Steve Yzerman’s managerial team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia...
“It’s obviously nice to be recognized, but at the same time we all feel in here that it’s a team game, and it just happened to be me this time,’’ Kronwall said. “I’ve been able to give the puck to the right guys at the right time of the game a few times and they have been doing the rest of the job. So I’d like to give them more credit than I deserve really.”
Kronwall has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the past three games. He has a career-high 14 goals, which is tied for second among NHL defensemen, behind Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, who has 15.
“Kronner is a guy who will take on responsibility when guys go down and will look to be more of a leader,’’ Brad Stuart, Kronwall’s defense partner, said. “But I don’t know if that has anything to do with his hot streak. But he’s definitely that type of player who will step up when he’s needed He’s been getting a lot of good chances and putting some of them in. He’s been doing a great job.”
Kronwall and others have had to step up in the absence of injured defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl.
“He’s played better and better,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “You talk about these injuries, but someone else steps up and rises to the occasion, and I think that’s important. It allows a player to gain confidence, be a better player when the other players come back. It improves your team.’‘
• Via RedWingsFeed, here’s Kronwall speaking to NHL Live:
• Shifting gears, DetroitRedWings.com’s Roose spoke to Ken Daniels about broadcasting his first Red Wings game from Philadelphia tomorrow...
“Over the years the networks have grabbed so many games,” said Daniels, who can finally claim to have called a Wings’ game from all 30 NHL cities. “You have to go back before Versus even, when Fox was doing games, too.”
Tuesday will be just the seventh time that the Wings have traveled to Philadelphia for a regular-season game since the 1997-98 season, which also happens to be the year that our friends from the Great White North gave us the silky smooth articulator. With five of the last six games played on either Saturdays or Sundays, it’s certainly easy to see why the broadcast networks would have liked the Wings-Flyers matchup for so many years. It didn’t hurt either that Detroit and Philadelphia played for the 1997 Stanley Cup and were widely considered Cup contenders throughout the next decade. And while Tuesday will be the fourth time that Daniels has ever called a game in Philly – he’s broadcast from there for Versus and CBC – the 7 p.m. game will be Redmond’s first since his playing days ended more than 37 years ago.
Asked if he thought it peculiar that he’s never called a game with his longtime TV partner, Redmond shook his head, and said, “I don’t think so because in this world nothing is odd anymore. It’s so odd that it’s normal with the unbalanced schedule.”
Both Daniels and Redmond are especially thankful to be calling this particular Wings-Flyers contest, if for nothing else, the pre-game ceremony which promises to be very emotional.
The Flyers’ organization plans to retire Mark Howe’s No. 2 before the game, which Fox Sports Detroit will carry in its entirety. The entire Howe family, including its patriarch, Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, will be in attendance at Wells Fargo Center. Also expected to attend, is Maureen McCrimmon, the widow of the late Brad McCrimmon, and the couple’s two children.
Mark Howe and McCrimmon were defensive partners and friends during their Philadelphia playing days, and again for a short time in Detroit in the early 90s.
“Just knowing that they were best friends, it’s really neat,” Daniels said. “I know that Mark wants Maureen to be there for Brad and that’s pretty cool.”
• And, via Paul, here’s Scott Hartnell speaking to the Flyers’ website about the Wings:
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