Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings off-day news: in a holding pattern

Updated 4x with Samuelssen on the trade deadline at 3:43 PM: The Red Wings have gotten to a point in the season where addressing the team’s issues in terms of special teams play, attention to detail and consistency of effort can only be hammered into players who’ve played over 60 games together so much before the coaching staff’s talking to a wall, and as such, while the Wings could have practiced after Updated at 2:31 PM: Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that sacrosanct no-play-hockey day:

No practice for Wings today. They will skate Thurs. in preparation of Minnesota Friday at JLA.

So we won’t know whether Nicklas Lidstrom’s ankle is better, whether Pavel Datsyuk took a spin on his own today, or whether Kyle Quincey’s groin has healed until tomorrow at the earliest, and probably not until Friday’s morning skate.

The Wings did issue a press release regarding Todd Bertuzzi’s appearance at an elementary school tomorrow…

Todd bertuzzi To Visit Greenfield Elementary …Appearance Marks the 92nd School Visit Made by the Red Wings This Season…

Detroit, MI…Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi will visit Greenfield Elementary School in Beverly Hills on Thursday, March 1, 2012, as part of the Red Wings School Assembly Program sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

At the start of the 2011-12 season, the Red Wings School Assembly team made a pledge to introduce the sport of hockey to 100 elementary schools by seasons end. Bertuzzi’s appearance at Greenfield Elementary earmarks the 92nd visit of the season. The remaining eight visits will take place at local elementary schools throughout the month of March.

The Red Wings School Assembly Program was launched in 2010 as a vehicle to introduce kids to the sport of hockey and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. During each visit, the school assembly team opens the program with a lesson on exercise and healthy eating tips, followed by a fun face-off between teachers and students during a hockey shootout competition.  Each school participating in the program receives two full sets of floor hockey equipment complete with hockey sticks and goalie nets courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. A Red Wings folder and a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan keepsake magnet that lists five fun after-school activities are also distributed to the students.

• I’m raising an eyebrow regarding the timing of this article by DetroitRedWings.com’s Zack Crawford...

With large and small-scale events surrounding the 2013 Winter Classic game, southeastern Michigan will be buzzing with activity as the new year is ushered in activity that – will equate to dollar signs for a lot of local businesses.

Much more than a single hockey game, the NHL’s Winter Classic featuring the Red Wings and Original Six rival Toronto will be especially unique because of its dichotomous nature. With college and minor-league games at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit and the main event at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, the 43 miles between the two stadiums will see a spike in business from the multitude of fans – both locals and out-of-towners – who will be spending money at and nearby the events.
Dave Beachnau, executive director of Detroit Sports Commission, weighed in on the effect that the Winter Classic would have on Detroit. Although expectations on turnout and impact are purely speculative at this point, Beachnau expressed that the event would be extremely lucrative for the region.

“Certainly it would have a tremendous impact,” he said. “Without knowing any of the stats or expected attendees and out-of-town versus in-town, it’d be difficult to really speculate on what the impact might be. But certainly that time of the year, which is traditionally a slower period for downtown hotels and the region from a visitors’ perspective, certainly it’d be a great shot in the arm.”

The relatively short distance between Ann Arbor and the Canadian fan base make it possible for day-trippers from across the border to attend the game and head home afterwards. But Beachnau expects a large number of Canadians to come across and stay in downtown Detroit or in the suburbs for the weekend.

“If there’s going to be ancillary events taking place in the city and the surrounding areas,” said Beachnau, “it will probably rival a Super Bowl weekend like we had here in Detroit.”

If past Classics are any indication, it’s unlikely that that the 2013 Winter Classic revenue will rival the $270-plus million that the 2006 Super Bowl at Detroit’s Ford Field brought in.

•  Via RedWingsFeed, CBS Detroit posted a few important quips regarding performances during yesterday night’s game…

–C Henrik Zetterberg scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 8:26 of the third period, firing a shot from a sharp angle, right along the goal line, that found an opening. Zetterberg continued his strong play of late. He has five points (goal, four assists) in the past two games and four multiple-point games since Feb. 4.

–D Niklas Kronwall had a goal and two assists to snap a six-game scoreless streak. He had only two points (goal, assist) in his previous 14 games. But he has a career-high 13 goals already, as he’s joining the rush and stepping up into the play more often.

Between you and me, I think that it’s incredibly important that Kronwall continues to find more and more consistent scoring form because without him—and maybe this is one of the reasons the Wings went out and got Kyle Quincey—the Wings’ “secondary scoring” from their blueline suffers in a big way.

• Speaking of acquisition talk, I suppose this is the place to posit these quips from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun’s “rant” answers:

stunard2000: Another year, another non-trade made by the Wings. Are you kidding me? Don’t they know the spark it provides to sign a big name to the roster? Don’t they know it gives the guys a feeling that ‘Hey, our management is doing all it can to get us deep into the playoffs?’ Don’t they know that its just in time for the playoff push? And don’t they know that historically, the Wings have exited the playoffs early because they didn’t make a move to shore up some part of the team? Where’s the Shanny deals? The Brett Hull, Larionov, Dino C trades? Give the team a spark. Give them something they’re missing (um how about an enforcer which has been missing since the middle ages?).

My take: Boy, some of you Wings fans are hard to please. You’ve got the best GM in the NHL and you’ve been the model franchise for 20-plus years and it’s not good enough? Yes, the Wings were quiet on deadline day, but they acquire Kyle Quincey prior to it, a solid addition on the blue line. Yes, I would have like to see them add some size/grit to their bottom six forward group. But the price for Paul Gaustad was a first-round pick, which the Wings didn’t have. Pittsburgh, Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia also didn’t do much on deadline day. It was that kind of year. Not many sellers. I wouldn’t sweat it if I were you. The Wings are still a big-time contender
the1manparty: What was with the lack of action at the trade deadline? I find it hilarious that the NHL was promoting the day with #bebold, and teams were anything but. There are so many teams that needed help going into the playoff push, and no one took initiative. The teams that needed to sell or at least mix up the locker room seemed to be the worst. Do the Capitals really think they are in any position to succeed over the coming months? Why not move someone to wake the locker room up? Their leadership obviously isn’t doing it. The only team that could be said to have done anything is Nashville, and for that reason I hope they are rewarded.

My take: The No. 1 reason for it is parity. The standings are so close that not enough teams would all-out declare themselves sellers. That created a market where the rentals cost too much (see first-round pick for Paul Gaustad). Leafs GM Brian Burke for a years now has pushed the idea of bringing back the ability to retain salary in trades. Right now, that’s against the rules in this CBA. But Burke believes if teams could eat some of the salary of a player it is trading (as was the case pre-2004 in the NHL), that it would loosen up the trade market. More and more GMs are agreeing with Burke on this and I can tell you the NHL will give it some thought in the next round of CBA talks. Not only would you get more trades on deadline day, but you’d get more trades year-round.

• In news regarding coaches, part 1: Wings coach Mike Babcock bears scars on his face from his playing days, and in light of the injury suffered by his friend Todd McLellan, the Wings’ media corps asked Babcock about the injuries he’s suffered behind the bench, and DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose took note of said conversation:

Sports can be a cruel business – and a dangerous one – as San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan learned last weekend.

The former Red Wings’ assistant continues to deal with concussion-like symptoms after he was accidentally struck in the head with a stick during Sunday’s game in Minnesota.

To make matters worse, the Sharks lost to the Wild, finishing a dismal nine-game road trip with a 2-6-1 record. Then the team’s charter plane experienced mechanical problems leaving the Sharks in Minnesota for an additional day.

“Well, I haven’t been hit in the head with a stick on the bench – except for a few stitches to the face in practice,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said this week. “But the time we went off the runway in St. Louis was probably the worst time as flights go, but I really haven’t had an experience like that.”

• In news regarding coaches, part 2: Toledo Walleye coach Nick Vitucci went a little nuts on Saturday evening, throwing a temper tantrum that got him ejected from the Walleye’s game against the Wheeling Nailers and suspended for the Walleye’s next game because Vitucci was furious that the Nailers’ goon jumped Toledo’s #1 defenseman. Puck Daddy found a video of Vitucci’s meltdown:

• And in news regarding a coach’s favorite, RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest’s weekly prospect report focuses on top prospect Gustav Nyquist, who has yet to display the traditional mid-rookie-season drop-off in play that most college and major junior hockey graduates display during their rookie AHL seasons:

Nyquist, second in AHL rookie scoring with 51 points in 49 games, has averaged a point-per-game every month of the season except one — November, when he missed the mark by just two points — and his slumps have been few and far between. Only three times has he gone without a point for more than one game, and his three-game pointless drought in January was his longest of the season.

“Most college kids come here and at the 40-game mark, they run out of gas, but Gus, this hasn’t bothered him at all,” said Griffins head coach Curt Fraser. “He continues to lead us offensively. He’s generated a ton of offensive opportunities for us.”

The 5-foot-11 185-pounder was drafted by the Red Wings out of the Swedish junior ranks in the fourth round (121st overall) in 2008. He came to North America the following season and blossomed into a Hobey Baker finalist in three NCAA seasons with the Maine Black Bears.

With the Griffins, he’s played both left and right wings as well as the point on the power play, and he’s on pace to become the first Red Wings prospect in Grand Rapids to average a point per game since Jiri Hudler did it in 2005-06 with 96 points in 76 contests. Nyquist, always known for being a responsible two-way player, has a plus-3 rating and is second on the team with 136 shots, an average of 2.75 per game.

“He’s fast and when he’s got the puck, he’s very good at protecting it, he’s an excellent playmaker, and he’s starting to get better at shooting the puck more,” Fraser said. “A lot of our guys here are skilled guys who look to pass, but he’s starting to shoot more this year and that will really help him when he gets to the NHL.”

Nyquist is expected to challenge for a full-time NHL job as early as next season and is at the front of the line among forward prospects.

I’m off to find more gnus…Back soon.

Update #1: We seem to be dealing in “hypotheticals” today. NHL.com’s E.J. Hradek ponders the futures of ten potential unrestricted free agents-to-be, including a certain Red Wings defenseman who has a big family decision to make:

Brad Stuart, D, Wings: The No. 3 pick (Sharks) in the 1998 NHL Draft, Stuart began his career in San Jose during the 1999-2000 season as a defender who had more of an offensive component to his game.

A dozen years and four teams later, Stuart has settled into a more defensive-minded, physical role in Detroit, where he was part of a championship team in 2008.

For my money, the 32-year-old fits best where he currently resides. If he can’t work out a new deal in Hockeytown, there will be teams seeking a veteran defender with Cup-winning experience. In other words, he’ll have options.

Yeah, but E.J., he’s worried about his family, not…Oh, never mind, he doesn’t place any sort of context into any of his comments regarding the ten free agents-in-waiting, and sometimes I think NHL.com doesn’t pay him to worry about details.

• NHL.com’s Dan Rosen tackles a slightly different topic…

Race for first in the Western Conference: The New York Rangers look like they’re going to be runaway winners of the Eastern Conference’s regular-season crown, but the Western Conference has a much more muddled picture, at the top and the bottom of the top eight.

The top, though, is where we’re going to look. Vancouver has vaulted into the No. 1 position with a great February run, but Detroit, St. Louis and Nashville all are right there with them. The Canucks and Predators made moves at the deadline that should make them better, while the Blues and Red Wings added nothing to their current rosters.

With the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race also looking like a fight to the finish, it certainly would benefit one of these teams to separate from the pack before the calendar flips to April in order to get some much-needed relaxation before the playoffs begin. There will be several teams battling tooth and nail for the final three playoff spots.

Both ends of this race will be interesting, but the teams at the top are the ones to watch because they’re all Stanley Cup contenders. The top seed doesn’t always guarantee playoff success, but twice in the last four seasons the Western Conference’s best regular-season team has gone to the Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings won it all in 2008.

If you’re keeping score at home, NHL.com notes that the Wings would play the Blackhawks if the season ended today, and Pro Hockey Talk’s Jason Brough gushes about said potential match-up:

Detroit (1, 2) vs. Chicago (7,8): One of the NHL’s best historic rivalries, this would also be a great series from an entertainment perspective. Both teams can put the puck in the net and the amount of top-end talent is huge. The Blackhawks have been awful at times this season, but they can also get very hot. An upset wouldn’t be out of the question.

• And ESPN’s Craig Custance combines the aforementioned “storylines” while asking “pressing questions” about each and every one of the NHL’s six divisions in his Insider blog:

Central: Which Central division team is best poised to win a Stanley Cup?

With all due respect to fans of the Atlantic, the Central has emerged the league’s biggest powerhouse division this season. The Detroit Red Wings went on a historic run at home. The Nashville Predators made the best deadline additions to a team that was already climbing the standings. As good as Detroit has been at home, the St. Louis Blues might be the best home team in the league. The Chicago Blackhawks have the talent and experience to make a run, although every game that Jonathan Toews misses with concussion symptoms raises our concern a little bit higher. But which one is built to win it all?

Our money is on Detroit, even with Nashville’s aggressive deadline additions. Injuries are starting to creep up and that’s always a concern with the Red Wings during the postseason, but this team has all the ingredients of a Stanley Cup winner. GM Ken Holland added the necessary defensive depth to make a long, grueling playoff run. Jimmy Howard is capable of stealing playoff games and might have been Detroit’s best player in its second-round loss to the Sharks last spring. The Wings also have one of the three best players in the world in Pavel Datsyuk. Would the addition of a player like Paul Gaustad have been a good thing for Detroit? Absolutely. Will missing out on him prevent a championship? Not at all.

• As an FYI, “Here come those damn lists” version: the Hockey News is slowly but surely posting its list of the top 50 players in the NHL, 5 at a time, and no Wings made #‘s 50-45;

• As an FYI, “Yes, the rest of the league paid attention” version: Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski took note of the 33-2 hit disparity between the Wings and Blue Jackets on Tuesday night;

• In the multimedia department, part 1: SI has updated its gallery of the NHL’s 60 current starting and/or back-up goaltenders’ masks to reflect call-ups and demotions;\

• In the multimedia department, part 2: The Grand Rapids Griffins’ Facebook page posted 110 images from the Griffins’ sled hockey game against the “Sled Wings” on Tuesday night;

• I’m allowed to laugh at this one, right?

MLive’s Brendan Savage posted a round-up of the Wings’ power rankings statuses, and what did captain dickmonger, I mean SI’s Adrian Dater, have to say about the Wings?

2. Detroit Red Wings Last Week: 1: Is the addition of only Kyle Quincey near the deadline (for a first-round pick) going to be enough for the playoff run? Good question. The Quincey era didn’t get off to a great start, with some ill-advised comments about his former Avalanche team, then an 0-1-1 start in the Wings’ lineup. It was somewhat surprising that GM Ken Holland didn’t do more at the deadline. Their under-.500 road record is a bit of a concern, but not all that much.

You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me. After giving Quincey a “pass” in the Denver Post, Dater’s still kicking at Quincey and is still doing so to further what seems to be more and more like a personal spat with Quincey as opposed to substantiated suggestions that anybody but Dater himself couldn’t stand KQ…What a baby!

• Back toward the land of maturity, the Hanover-Horton High School’s “Skywriter’s” Brooke Schuster penned an article about attending the Red Wings’ “High School Journalism Day,” and I think that’s a pretty damn spiffy event;

• And of leap-day-related note, per NHL.com’s John Kreiser:

Feb. 29, 1980, was a historic day for two of hockey’s most famous families, who were at vastly different stages of their careers.

In Hartford, Gordie Howe scored the 800th goal of his legendary career during the Whalers’ 3-0 victory against St. Louis. The 51-year-old took a feed from Greg Carroll and beat Mike Liut for the milestone goal, the next-to-last of his career.

“That was great,” he told the media after the game. “I was especially glad it happened at home.”

In Winnipeg, “Miracle on Ice” team member Dave Christian made an instant impact in his first NHL game. Christian, whose father and uncle were members of the 1960 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team, scored seven seconds into his first NHL game for the Winnipeg Jets—32 years later, it’s still the fastest goal ever by a player in his NHL debut. It was the first of his 340 goals during an NHL career that saw him play for five NHL teams.

Even Wayne Gretzky has a connection to Leap Day. In 1996, the Great One made his debut with the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 29, scoring a goal in a 2-2 tie against Vancouver.

Update #2: The Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo offered this charming little ditty just prior to the Wings-Blue Jackets game:

Nicklas Lidstrom is not going to play tonight at Columbus because of an injury. Pavel Datsyuk was already out because of knee surgery. The Red Wings have lost three games in a row and have dropped to the fourth-seed in the Western Conference for the playoffs - with Nashville just two points behind them. The trade deadline passed Monday and the Red Wings didn’t deal for a forward, which many had anticipated.

What’s happening here? The euphoria of the Red Wings’ NHL record 23-game home winning streak has vanished in just a few days.

Panic? Don’t know about that. But make no mistake, while the Blue Jackets are a horrible hockey team, the Red Wings, who are 15-16 on the road this season, desperately need a win tonight.
And it’s not all on Joey MacDonald rising to the moment in goal.

Johan Franzen hasn’t played well recently. He needs to tonight. Henrik Zetterberg is the lone Red Wings’ resident superstar who is dressing tonight. He must be productive.
The Red Wings’ called up Brendan Smith. He is potential star. He has been kept “overly ripe” as general manager Ken Holland likes to refer to the Red Wings letting their players develop at Grand Rapids. Well, they need him now. Not just as a sixth defenseman, but to show his considerable skill with Lidstrom out.

This shouldn’t be a tough game for the Red Wings to win tonight, regardless, but they have not responded well to Datysuk being sidelined, and they haven’t in the past when Lidstrom hasn’t played. For example, when he didn’t play against Montreal earlier this season because of the flu, the Red Wings were blown out 7-2.

If the Red Wings don’t win tonight, especially if they don’t get any points, panic might be in order. Ever other top contender in the Western Conference is playing well. The Red Wings have gone from having the best record in the league to having home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs be put in jeopardy with remarkable swiftness.

Panic averted?

Probably not, knowing how high-strung my fellow Wings fans are.

• And I don’t know what this is about, but what the hell:

Update #3: This is pretty important, from the Plymouth Whalers:

Join the Plymouth Whalers as they team up with the American Red Cross for a blood drive

Date: Friday, March 2nd

12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Inside Compuware Arena - 14900 Beck Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170

Hey fans, the Whalers have set up a blood drive through the American Red Cross and we need your support! Our blood drive is set-up on e-donor, which is a website that allows you to make an appointment for the blood drive.

As an added bonus, anyone that attempts to give blood, will receive a ticket voucher to a future Whalers regular season game.

If you are interested in donating blood at the Whalers Blood Drive, please go to www.redcrossblood.org

Click on “Make A Blood Donation Appointment” and enter the sponsor code “whalers”

I can’t give blood because I’m “pickled”—whether it’s blood or organs, my stuff’s unusable because people could be allergic or have bad reactions to the various medications I take for my health issues—and I’ve always felt very guilty about that.

And amongst notes from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun’s chat with ESPN readers:

Ken Holland (Joe Louis Arena): Hi Pierre. A lot of Red Wings fans are not happy with me that I didn’t make a deal for a defenseman or forward before trade deadline with the cap space we have. Considering what Nashville and San Jose did trade wise, what are my chances of winning the cup this playoff season?

Pierre LeBrun: Just as good
Kevin Tremblay (Québec city): Bonjours pierre je suis un fans des red wings de detroit et j’aimerais savoir s’il y avait des rumeurs pour acquerir un attaquant ou un defenseur et si oui, quel aurait ete la monaie d’echange des wings . Merci Thank you.

Pierre LeBrun: Les Wings ont essayer d’echanger pour Gausad mais n’avais pas un choix de premiere ronde parce qu’ils l’ont echanger pour Quincey… Buffalo demandait un choix de preimere ronde

Right, even I can translate that into, “The Sabres asked for a first-rounder and that’s why the Wings didn’t get Gaustad.”

Andy (Houghton, MI): Who do you think captures the Central crown this year? Detroit has been great, but seems to be stumbling a bit lately, while St Louis and Nashville won’t fall behind.

Pierre LeBrun: Wings will win it but Blues and Preds will be just a point or two behind. What a division
Rick Nash (Colombus): Why couldn’t I get traded to a good team like Detroit? Now I have to suffer here in Colombus for the rest of the season. Why ME???

Pierre LeBru: Hang in there bud, your time will come in June
JeremyB666 (Kewadin, MI): Who takes over as captain of the Red Wings when Lindstrom retires? My bet is either Datsyuk, Zetterberg, or Howard.

Pierre LeBrun: well it wouldn’t be a goalie… don’t forget Kronwall…It would be Datsyuk, Zeetterberg or Kronwall

• And here’s hoping that Patrick Eaves can attend this Red Wings/97.1 the Ticket-sponsored event:

Join 97.1 The Tickets Bill McAllister at Meijer on Wed, March 8th at Meijer in Livonia on Middlebelt Road for all the Wings action. Stop by from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for your chance to meet Wings player Patrick Eaves. Stop by for interactive games such as Mini-Rink, Gockey, Hockey Net and Tunnel and more from Meijer, The Detroit Red Wings and your station for sports… 97.1 The Ticket .

Autograph procedure for Patrick Eaves Signing:

The first 150 people in line will receive a priority wristband that will ensure an autograph.

Wristbands will be handed out starting one hour before the autograph session

Update #3.5: I posted this in yesterday’s game-day update thread, but I think it’s incredibly important to repeat and ruminate upon, per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:

A week ago, when the Detroit Red Wings acquired Kyle Quincey from the Tampa Bay Lightning, it looked like it would be quite some time before Jakub Kindl would be seen again on defence for the team. But injuries to Quincey and Nicklas Lidstrom, and Monday’s trade of Mike Commodore to the Lightning have once more opened the door of opportunity, and Kindl will be back in the lineup Tuesday as the Wings face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Wings coach Mike Babcock was succinct in summing up what Kindl will need to do to keep his spot in the lineup. “A willingness to take a hit, and a willingness to be involved and go back and get the puck,” Babcock said. “His skill level was never an issue. He’s got to compete on a nightly basis, and compete hard defensively. If you do that, you can play.”

Detroit general manager Ken Holland suggested that the return of Kindl and the recall of former first-round pick Brendan Smith to also play on the defence Tuesday are exhibits of the club’s deep organizational pool. “If you’re going anywhere in the playoffs you got to have depth,” Holland said. “You’re going to have injuries, and you’ve got to find ways to win games. When our No. 1 goaltender (Jimmy Howard) goes down two weeks (with a broken finger), there was this media infatuation with what we’re going to do with our back-up. Well, Joey MacDonald quieted that down.”

Babcock also scoffed at any notion that the Wings are getting old, citing the likes of Justin Abdlekader, Cory Emmerton and Jan Murask as other youth on the current team, and Gustav Nyqvist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson as players close to making the leap from the minor leagues. “We’ve got lots of young players,” Babcock said. “We’ve said that all along. A few years back, we were older, because we relied on those people. Now, we’re not near as old. A lot of guys are in their prime, and we’ve got a lot of kids.”

He views it as a necessity in today’s NHL. “Just to stay under the cap you need youth,” Babcock said. “The other thing about it is it’s hard to make deals. You’ve got to develop from within, and I think we’ve done a real good job of doing that. These players here, most of them were in the minors when we started after the lockout ,and they’ve found their way here, whether that be Fil (Valtteri Filppula) or (Jiri) Hudler. Guys have come along that way. Good for them.”

Update #4: the Free Perss’s Jame Samuelssen believes that the Red Wings will be just fine sans a huge trade deadline acquisition:

Wings GM Ken Holland implied on Monday that Nash had a list of teams that he’d be willing to play for, and the Wings weren’t one of them. But regardless, he didn’t end up on any Cup contender and will be available again this summer when the Wings might have as good a chance as any to go after him given the cap space that should be available. Nash was the lone superstar available on Monday. The rest were complimentary pieces that did provide depth for some teams and could have provided depth for the Red Wings. And only Holland and his staff know exactly what was on the table at deadline time.

But we do know that there are far more buyers than there are sellers in this day and age of parity in the NHL. And because of that, we know that price was very high for a guy would be on the second or third line of the Wings forwards. And so ask yourself if it’s worth the risk to gamble a potential future star (D Brendan Smith) for a guy who might help this year? I say no.

I get the emotion that fans want to go for it NOW. I wrote last week after the Quincey acquisition that as much as the Wings have won over the last fifteen years, you still have to make a run when you can, especially with the clock ticking on the career of the great Nicklas Lidstrom. But you have to go for it within reason. The Wings’ goal is to win Stanley Cups now, and in the years to come. And the fact is that they are good enough to win the Cup this year as the team stands. Granted, they need a healthy Pavel Datsyuk back soon and certainly in time for the postseason.

But even if Holland had added some depth on Monday, this team would not be going very far without Datsyuk. His return is infinitely more important than the arrival of a player like Steve Ott from the Stars.

The game has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Instead of two or three teams which are heavy favorites to win, there now are seven or eight who enter as potential favorites.

And then there are more who can advance with right combination of hot goaltending and inspired play. The Red Wings are one of those teams. And nothing that could have happened on Monday would have changed that.

They have a team that can win a Cup. And if they do, perhaps Quincey will join that not-so-impressive list of players acquired at deadline time in years past. When you’re already as good as the Wings are, you don’t need much. And from the looks of it, the Wings don’t need much this year — especially because not much was out there to be had.

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Alzy's avatar

Nyquist. Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen. Those are the three forwards I can’t wait to see on the Wings based on what we’ve heard. Nyquist and Jarnkrok especially, it sounds like they potentially could be another Datsyuk-Zetterberg combo. Nyquist seems like he could be a definite point-per-game impact player. Amazing how Kenny, Hakan Andersson and the rest of the gang continually find these players. LGRW

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 02/29/12 at 04:54 PM ET

SYF's avatar

No practice for Wings today. They will skate Thurs. in preparation of Minnesota Friday at JLA.

Noyse.  Gave up three breakaways in one period against the Cawks a week ago and gave up an SHG last game against the Jackets.  Reward?  A day off.  Wish I had an incentive like that every time I slacked off on the job while everything goes to shit.  And a PAID day off to boot.

Walleyes.  8,200 for an ECHL game?  Outstanding!  If you’re out there reading, Toledo, I tip my cap to you.  Really wished we could draw numbers like that here in Vegas regularly.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/29/12 at 04:58 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Nyquist. Jarnkrok, Pulkkinen.

Posted by Alzy from Innisfail, Alberta, Canada on 02/29/12 at 01:54 PM ET

What, no pudgy Tricky Dick Axelsson?

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/29/12 at 05:03 PM ET

perfection's avatar

The Wings did issue a press release regarding Todd Bertuzzi’s appearance at an elementary school tomorrow…

seems a good idea to warn parents. you never know, Bert could be hungry….

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/29/12 at 05:08 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by SYF from a “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” on 02/29/12 at 02:03 PM ET

I think he is the one that got away, so to speak. I guess there’s a tiny little bit of hope yet… he probably has a year or so left to really decide he’s ready to stop screwing around and be an NHL player, and put the work ethic in. But I don’t think anyone is or should be holding their breath. Too bad… you read some of the things Andersson and company have said about him and it’s really clear they felt his talent was/is exceptional.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/29/12 at 05:22 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Agree, Nathan.  As of Feb. 13, 2012:

{Translated from Russian}

February 13, 2012   Ice Hockey

Swedish striker “Modo” Dick Axelsson close to the transition in Minsk “Dynamo”. According to Sportbladet, the player has already agreed on the terms of the contract, which will take effect from next season.

Axelsson contract with the “Modo” ends this year and failed hockey player with the club to agree on the terms of the new deal. The rights to the player in North America belong to the “Detroit”, but after a bad performance in the AHL two years ago, interest in the Swede across the ocean is much weakened. Note that he Axelsson has not yet confirmed that negotiations with the “Dynamo.” This season, the 24-year-old striker spent the “Modo” 31 matches, gaining 18 (9 9) points and 55 penalty minutes. Overall the forward (191 cm, 93 kg) has also repeatedly been called to the national team of Sweden in the Euro Tour stages.

The guy has not had a steady job since he left the Griffins in ‘09.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/29/12 at 05:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Dick won’t return to Modo, but there’s no deal with Dynamo Minsk as of yet. I do believe that he’ll head to another country’s pro hockey league eventually to escape some of the press scrutiny and bad-boy image that have dogged him in the Eliteserien, but I’m not sure if he’ll head to Russia for the big money or perhaps Switzerland or Germany for the lifestyle instead. Something tells me that the Wings—who will probably keep his rights—are going to sit down with Axelsson and let him know what life’s really like in the KHL. Axelsson wouldn’t adapt very well to how incredibly rigorous and regimented things can be on a KHL team ran by an old-school coach.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/29/12 at 06:11 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Between you and me, I think that it’s incredibly important that Kronwall continues to find more and more consistent scoring form because without him—and maybe this is one of the reasons the Wings went out and got Kyle Quincey—the Wings’ “secondary scoring” from their blueline suffers in a big way.

I noticed in the Columbus game Kindl was rapid-firing the puck on net in the power play.

Also, they brought up Smith who has good scoring ability from the blue line.

Posted by w2j2 on 02/29/12 at 06:16 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Kindl and Smith, not to mention Stuart, are capable of playing the point on the power play.  I much prefer to see Hudler lurking near the goal as his stealth mode is more valuable than is his right shot on the point.  His defensive weaknesses (lack of quickness in transition and lack of speed) make his a liability when things go wrong now.

The best thing about Smith last night is that he blended right in and did not stand out.  Usually, rookie defensemen stand out account mistakes made.


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 02/29/12 at 07:03 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Dick won’t return to Modo, but there’s no deal with Dynamo Minsk as of yet. I do believe that he’ll head to another country’s pro hockey league eventually to escape some of the press scrutiny and bad-boy image that have dogged him in the Eliteserien, but I’m not sure if he’ll head to Russia for the big money or perhaps Switzerland or Germany for the lifestyle instead.

Yeah, that’s what I got from that article, George.  Maybe even Italy or the UK.  I’m not hopeful on his return to the North American leagues.  The guy makes Daigle look mature by comparison.  Un-frickin-believable…

Youtube superuser, awood40, compiled a couple of great monthly vids for us Wings fans:

Detroit Red Wings:  Top 10 Goals of the Month of January.

Detroit Red Wings:  Top 10 Goals of the Month of February.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/29/12 at 09:58 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Great vids SYF, thanks for posting the links.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 03/01/12 at 09:08 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Great vids SYF, thanks for posting the links.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 03/01/12 at 06:08 AM ET

Sure thing, Joe.  If you have a youtube account, subscribe to his channel.  It’s crazy good how dedicated that channel is for Red Wings fans.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 03/01/12 at 04:54 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.