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The Malik Report

Red Wings off-day news: Detroit recalls Nyquist; Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Kindl, Bertuzzi, Howard ‘out’

Updated 8x at 3:13 PM: Ugh. The Red Wings have recalled Gustav Nyquist from Grand Rapids for tomorrow night’s game against Los Angeles as the Wings remain “banged-up”...

RED WINGS RECALL GUSTAV NYQUIST FROM GRAND RAPIDS… Detroit Squares off With Los Angeles Tomorrow Night at Joe Louis Arena …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that forward Gustav Nyquist has been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. Nyquist, 22, currently leads the Griffins in scoring and ranks eighth overall in the AHL (second amongst rookies) with 54 points (19G-35A) in 53 games played. The 5’10”, 185-lb. native of Halmstad, Sweden, has previously appeared in five games for the Red Wings this season, recording 0G-1A-1P.

Currently in possession of a 43-21-3 record, Detroit will take on the Los Angeles Kings (31-23-12) tomorrow night (puck drop – 7:30 p.m.) at Joe Louis Arena. All fans in attendance for this match will receive an Ian White 5x7 mini tradeable Fathead courtesy of Quicken Loans Inc. Friday’s game is also a Meijer Kids Night, with the first 2,500 fans aged 12-and-under set to receive a free Red Wings t-shirt compliments of Mejier. Face painters and an old-time-hockey organist will be on hand tomorrow night at The Joe

And at least in terms of initial news, things aren’t peachy keen, per MLive’s Ansar Khan...

Datsyuk on ice in full gear for Wings. Ericsson practicing. Bertuzzi, Howard, Kindl not skating.
Lidstrom took a brief spin on ice before practice. Howard also was on briefly before the practice
Zetterberg not practicing for wings
Wings practicing with these lines: 51-13-26, 20-43-93, 11-8-39, 96-48; 55-23, 27-18, 2-37, 52; 31-36
Nyquist leads Griffins in scoring with 54 points (19 G, 35 A), 8th in AHL. Has no goals and one assist in 5 games with Wings.

The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness...

Ericsson on ice with wings
Datsyuk on ice with wings also. No Howard and Lidstrom. Both were out briefly before.
Helm centering Franzen and Miller
Bertuzzi also missing

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...

slowly, Wings getting healthier.. Datsyuk (knee) on for practice…Lidstrom (ankle) and Howard (groin) were skating on own before practice
Bertuzzi (groin) still not ready…Gustav Nyquist called up from GR
Ericsson out there for Practice too

DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose...

Some good news: #RedWings Nicklas Lidstrom skated on his own today, albeit for a very short time. At least he got the skate boot on.
How many #RedWings fans know enough to consider #Avalanche defenseman Jan Hedja as Public Enemy No. 1?
More good news: Pavel Datsyuk has joined his #RedWings teammates in full equipment for today’s practice.
Jonathan Ericsson is also practicing with the #RedWings this morning.
The #RedWings have recalled Gustav Nyquist from @GriffinsHockey of the American Hockey League.”
Jiri Hudler roofed a shot breaking water bottle behind G Jordan Pearce at #RedWings practice, hence water on the glass. http://t.co/kWwHk1oR

And the Wings’ Twitter account:

Thursday’s practice is underway at JLA. Datsyuk and Ericsson are both skating. Bertuzzi, Kindl and Zetterberg are absent.
Nick Lidstrom (ankle) and Jimmy Howard (lower body) skated prior to the team’s practice this morning.

Amongst the Wings’ promotions:

MEET PATRICK EAVES: The Red Wing forward will be signing from 6-7 at the @Meijer in Livonia. Details: http://t.co/gTHDNKxW
WIN TICKETS: Don’t forget to enter to WIN a 4-pack of tix to the Mar 30 game, courtesy of DTE Energy. http://t.co/DlO2p5RR
Look at what we are giving away when we hit 150K followers. Tweet shirt, WC 13 gear and a Mule signed card sheet. http://t.co/Q3sV99Kq

My best guess is that Zetterberg’s taking a “maintenance day,” and I hate jumping the gun for the sake of Twitter quips, but you might as well know that Bertuzzi, Howard and Lidstrom are probably still “out,” and after sitting on this entry for 10 minutes, I feel that it’s appropriate to get the news out, as early as it is by my standards to get the news out there.

Update #1: As noted in the overnight report, The Hockey News’s player poll ranking the 50 best players as picked by 150 NHL’ers includes Henrik Zetterberg (20th), Nicklas Lidstrom (7th) and Pavel Datsyuk (2nd), and this morning, THN’s “unveiling” mentions Zetterberg:

20. Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings: Born Oct. 9, 1980 in Njurunda, Swe. Drafted in the seventh round (210th overall) by Detroit in 1999. Named Rookie of the Year in the Swedish Elitserien in 2000-01. Named to the NHL all-rookie team in 2002-03. Earned the Viking Award, given to the best Swede playing in North America, in 2007 and 2008. Won Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006. Scored 13 goals and 27 points in 22 games en route to Stanley Cup championship in 2008 and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Signed through 2020-21 with $6.083 million cap hit.

• Via RedWingsFeed, the Novi Patch’s Rebecca Jasikot reports that Wings assistant GM Jim Nill appeared at Novi Middle School for career day…

Detroit Red Wings Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jim Nill was the keynote speaker and talked to all 900 students in the gymnasium at the beginning of the day.

“I’m 53 years old, and I still don’t know what I want to be. So don’t worry,” he joked.

Nill, who grew up in a small farm town in Alberta, Canada, said he would have never expected to end up living in Novi and managing the Red Wings.

“The world is full of opportunity, and we don’t know when or where the journey is going to take you, but you can prepare yourself for this journey,” he said.

He said students should follow several principles to prepare for life, including building a strong foundation, being committed, making good choices, being passionate and keeping an open mind.

“I have a challenge for every one of you ... go into this world, make it a better place to live each and every day,” Nill concluded.

After students asked Nill several questions about his job, they gave him a large round of applause with some cheers.

• The Wings have posted a little promo for their charitable foundation…

• Interesting, per Pleiness:

Ericsson practicing with both hands on stick. Has chip fracture in left wrist. http://t.co/T7t3liBl

• My search engine monkeys found that the Westland Observer’s LeAnne Rogers wants you to know that the Wings’ Alums will face off against a team in Westland to raise funds for Mike Modano Ice Arena:

Citing his many hours of hockey training over the winter in anticipation of the upcoming annual Red Wing Alumni hockey game, Westland Mayor William Wild is hopeful the third time will be charm for his Wild Wings hockey team.

But seriously, Wild is looking forward to another successful fundraiser — the first two games were sold out. “The tickets go fast. We get 800-900 people there, so get your tickets while you can,” said Wild.

At $10 for adults and $5 for children, tickets are currently on sale for the hockey game which will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Mike Modano Arena. Tickets can be purchased at the Mayor’s Office, the Bailey Recreation Center and the ice arena.

Through ticket sales, sponsorships and other donations, the hockey games have raised more than $20,000 each year. The 2010 proceeds assisted in the restoration of Central City Park. Last year, proceeds went for improvements to the arena, originally constructed more than 30 years ago.

“We did a concessions stand upgrade and remodel. We added digital screens and did some energy efficiency work although most of that was a grant,” said Westland Parks and Recreation Director Robert Kosowski.

Money raised from the 2012 charity hockey game will go to help fund installation of four new pro-style locker rooms at the arena. The work will cost an estimated $400,000.

• And WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley spoke to Ken Kal a little earlier this morning. Kal engaged in a lengthy interview, discussing the Wings’ injury situations, their spotty play of late and the team’s injury situations given that the Wings want to catch the Blues in the Central Division race and fend off the Predators:

Download file

Update #1.5: Carlos Monarrez is covering practice for the Free Press, and his best bet is that Nyquist will replace Todd Bertuzzi in the lineup.

As of 12 PM the Twitterers have gone silent, so I’m guessing that they’re in the room speaking to the players and coach right now.

• Technically speaking, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon, Central Division, blah blah blah;

• And this is just cool—but sad, too—per the Jackson Citizen-Patriot’s Lauren Gentile:

A sellout crowd of 20,066 people attended the Detroit Red Wings game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. It would be hard to find one more excited to have been there than 5-year-old Kellen McCord. Kellen, a preschooler at St. Mary’s of Jackson, enjoyed the experience of a lifetime that day when he was named the “Honorary Youth of the Game” by the Red Wings Youth Organization.

“He was so excited. It was an honor for him to get to be a part of something like that,” family friend Mandy Kennedy said.

Kellen is in Stage 4 of nueroblastoma cancer, or nerve cell cancer. He has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and had surgery on the primary tumor in his abdomen. In the future, Kellen will go through at least two more rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

“The cancer has not slowed him down one bit, he is just like a typical 5-year-old. He loves to be active, busy, and play hockey,” said Cory McCord, Kellen’s father.

As the honorary youth of the game, Kellen was on the ice with Karen Newman as she performed the national anthem, and rode the Zamboni on the ice.

“He loved the zamboni ride,” Cory McCord said. “He was a little nervous about the national anthem part because the arena was pretty full, but he just loved the Zamboni part.”

Update #2: Well that’s that, per Pleiness:

Bertuzzi, Lidstrom, Howard and Datsyuk all out for friday
Nyquist will start on a line with Abdelkader and Cleary

And Khan:

Babcock said Zetterberg will play Friday. Datsyuk, bertuzzi, lidstrom, kindl and Howard not playing but all are close

Update #2.5: Comments regarding general hockey observations, part 1: Puck Daddy reports that some GM’s want to bring back the red line as a marker of two-line passes, and will bring up the issue when the GM’s meet in Florida on March 12th. Ha ha ha ha ha NO WAY IN FARKING HELL. It will not make the game safer; it will just slow it down and move the “trap” forward;

• And as Paul posted, let’s all feign surprise now that The Score’s Daniel Wagner revealed that the NHL, which has let obstruction creep back into the game in a big way, has called 200 fewer hooking penalties and 100 fewer holding penalties than it did at this point last year.

The moving pick is back, players away from the puck who are charging in on the forecheck or to help in 50-50 battles along the boards are being held up these days, players with the puck or battling for the puck can be grabbed, groped and roped down as if the NHL was tackle football or a rodeo, “battles in the crease” now involve all sorts of cop-a-feel plays, and if hooks and grabs aren’t overly obvious, the refs are ignoring ‘em. The game’s suffering in terms of its most exciting plays—scoring chances—because of these issues, and that’s disappointing to say the least. I shudder to think what the league’s gonna let go come playoff time.

Also: Barry Melrose will hold a chat with ESPN users at 2 PM EST. I hate the fact that we’re going to EDT this weekend. Spring Forward Sunday is not my favorite day.

Update #3: More from Kulfan...

Datsyuk says he is getting better and looks like a go foir west coast trip
Lidstrom not likely until the road trip

And Khan...

Babcock said Zetterberg will play Friday. Datsyuk, bertuzzi, lidstrom, kindl and Howard not playing but all are close
Only lineup change for Wings Friday is Nyquist in for Conner

And Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji:

#Redwings Ericsson is able to skate, keep up conditioning and hold stick lightly but still very limited with the wrist.

Update #3.5: From Fox Sports Detroit’s Wakiji:

#RedWings Lidstrom: I tried 2 skate out there today & I can still feel the pain. So it’s still day by day & hopefully each day I’ll get btr.
#RedWings Lidstrom: It’s getting better every day. My motion is getting better, my movements,my foot’s getting better so that’s encouraging.
#RedWings Lidstrom: Not that’s been lingering so long. I’ve been hit in the ankle but this 1 hit that right spot where it’s hurting so much.
#RedWings Lidstrom: They put a thing kind of on the outside of the skate to protect it, same thing try to take the pressure off it as well.

Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, here’s the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s practice report:

Wings coach Mike Babcock said Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (groin strain), Jimmy Howard (groin strain) and Jakub Kindl (upper body) won’t play Friday against the Los Angeles Kings.

“I’m not worried about (getting chemistry back),” Babcock said. “We have up 18 shots to Chicago the last time at home. We gave up 23 on the road and lost 3-2. We played well. Not concerned about that. We talked about our power play the other night after the game I was frustrated with it,” Babcock added. “Frustration is a waste of time so why the heck should I be frustrated. Took yesterday to regroup and get myself back on track. We have to freshen up our mind. Let’s get ready.”

Babcock expects Lidstrom and Bertuzzi back after this weekend. Lidstrom and Howard both skated a bit on their own and Datsyuk took part in the full practice. Datsyuk also skated a full practice.

“I feel good,” Datsyuk said. “Nice to comeback and skate with teammates. They helped me a lot. Not to much pressure. They slowed down I think making me feel better. Everyday I’m getting closer,” Datsyuk said. “That’s all I can say for sure. I (will) go with team to West Coast and we’ll see. For sure not tomorrow. I’m on my way. A happy way.”

The team recalled Gustav Nyquist from Grand Rapids. He’ll start on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary.

“Based on what he has done up here there’s nothing to base it on,” Babcock said. “He’s been a dominate player wherever he has been. I think he’s eighth in scoring in the (AHL) and done a real good job. We expected him to hit the wall and he hasn’t he’s kept on going. We’re going to play him with Abby and Cleary to start the game and we’ll see how it goes.
He’s got unbelievable sense. Strong on the puck and good without it, he’s an NHL player.”

Jonathan Ericsson (fractured wrist) also took part in the full practice, but isn’t expected back soon.

“It’s a little bit restricted out there,” he said. “I’m just trying to be on the drills that I can be out there. I don’t want to lose too much with my conditioning or skating out there on the ice. Can’t do too much with the puck. I’m just trying to do what I can.”

Update #4.5: More from Wakiji...

#RedWings Babcock on Fri’s game: No Nick. No Pav. No Bert. Z’s in. No E obviously. No Kindl. Lots of names. It’s Nyquist for Conner.
#RedWings Datsyuk: Nice to come back & skate w/teammates.They help me a lot. Not 2 much pressure.They slow down,I think, making me feel btr.

The Wings...

News from practice. Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Howard and Kindl are all expected to miss tomorrow’s game vs. LA.

And Pleiness:

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom tried skating Thursday, but it didn’t last long.

“I can still feel the pain,” Lidstrom said. “So it’s still day-by-day and hopefully each day I’ll get better.

“I wouldn’t think so (Saturday),” Lidstrom added. “It’s been almost two weeks now so I think I need a practice or two before playing in a game. I doubt that I’ll be playing on Saturday. Probably on that West Coast trip, if it feels better, if I don’t have that pain when I put the skate on.”

Update #5: Here’s Khan’s off-day report:

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk joined his teammates on the ice for practice today at Joe Louis Arena, the first time he has skated with the club since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Feb. 21.

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom (deep bone bruise in right ankle) took a brief spin on the ice before practice, the first time he has done that since getting injured on Feb. 25. Datsyuk and Lidstrom won’t play this weekend, Friday at home vs. Los Angeles and Saturday at Nashville, but both expect to return at some point during the the three-game trip to California that starts Tuesday in Los Angeles.

“I feel good,’’ Datsyuk said. “Nice to comeback and skate with teammates. They help me a lot. Not to much pressure. They slow down I think, making me feel better.’‘

He added, “Everyday closer. I’m on my way. ... I wanted a little bit of rest before playoffs, but not like this way.’‘

Forward Todd Bertuzzi (strained groin), defenseman Jakub Kindl (upper body) and goaltender Jimmy Howard (strained groin) did not skate and will not play Friday. They’re likely out Saturday, too. But coach Mike Babcock said they are close to returning.

“(Datsyuk) is going in the right direction,’’ Babcock said. “Soon I think you’ll see Nick back and Bert back, too. By the end of the weekend for sure.’‘

The Red Wings recalled forward Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins. He’ll be in the lineup Friday, Babcock said, on a line with Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary.

Henrik Zetterberg did not skate today but Babcock said he will play Friday. Jonathan Ericsson (fractured left wrist) practiced with the team for the first time since getting injured on Feb. 25 but won’t return until late March or early April.

Update #5.5: Now we go to two very weird places.

1. Blogra.com notes that it’s been exactly 8 years since the Bertuzzi-Moore incident;

2. And the Wings ’ website posted its first “Winter Classic” video promo in speaking to Alex Delvecchio about the Wings’ 1952 Stanley Cup win:

Update #5.75: Perhaps equally strange, Si’s Darren Eliot penned an article suggesting that the movie Goon is AOI (Antiquated On Arrival) while noting that even Red Wings players have to doff gloves from time to time:

Despite the sanitizing of the sport over time and the current conjecture at the major junior level, the New York Rangers lead the NHL in fights and are enjoying one of their best seasons since winning the Cup in 1994. Conversely, the perennially relevant Detroit Red Wings eschew fighting as a part of their DNA, yet their youngsters Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith—two former college players, no less, who came from leagues (CCHA, WCHA respectively) where fighting leads to automatic ejection and game misconduct—have dropped their gloves recently, demonstrating that they won’t be intimidated at this level. It’s a test that every young player must pass. I think that’s the way fighting in hockey was meant to be—two players settling something between them and proving their willingness to engage in fisticuffs versus willfully and repeatedly throwing down.

The requirement is still there that if you play a feisty game, you’d better prove you can back it up, especially as a raw rookie like Smith or an emerging, energetic twenty-something like Abdelkader, who took up boxing to be better prepared for what awaited him in the NHL.

Update #5.85: Even more from Wakiji:

#RedWings Babcock on @GNyquist: He’s got unbelievable sense. Strong on the puck and good without it, he’s an NHL player.
#RedWings Datsyuk: Every day closer. That’s all I can say for sure. I (will) go with team to West Coast and we’ll see.

Update #5.9: WXYZ’s Tom Leyden attended practice as well:

#RedWings Lidstrom got a skate on today and took the ice for a bit without pads. Still hurts to push off. Out for tomorrow & Saturday
#RedWings Lidstrom assures us nothing is broken, just a deep, painful bone bruise.
#RedWings Datsyuk did get back out there and wont play tomorrow but did not totally rule out Saturday. I’d guess unlikely, but possible.
#RedWings Babcock said opponents should be aware of Kronwall checking. “If I’m coming up boards on that side, my head is up.”
#RedWings Kronwall says all he always thinks about and works on is keeping his feet on the ice when he delivers those checks.
#RedWings Ericsson skating with team to keep conditioning up but still can’t handle stick. Chip fracture came when he protected face on shot
Regarding Ericsson -> RT @RooseBill: Not a shot. It was a clearing pass by Brad Stuart.

Update #6: Here’s the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s practice report:

Datsyuk (knee) skated with the team during practice Thursday and Lidstrom (deep ankle bone bruise) skated on his own before practice. But both have been ruled out for Friday’s game against Los Angeles, and very likely won’t play Saturday in Nashville. So both are aiming for a return to the lineup during the three-game California trip next week. Thursday’s spin around the ice was Lidstrom’s first time since getting hurt Feb. 25 against Colorado.

“I tried to skate today but I can still feel the pain,” said Lidstrom, who has missed the last four games. “It’s still day by day, and hopefully it’ll get better. Probably on what West Coast trip (he expects to play), if it feels better, if there’s no pain when I can put the skate on.”
“It’s just a deep bone bruise,” Lidstrom said. “I’ve been hit the ankle before but this hit the right spot and it’s been hurting. When I push off, it hurts and that’s the main thing. A week ago I couldn’t put my skate on it was so swollen. That’s gone, but that deep bone bruise is still hurting. It’s getting better every day. My motion is getting better on the movements in the foot. That’s encouraging.”

Lidstrom and the Wings don’t want to rush the injury and get hit during a game again.

“That’s what the trainers are thinking, you don’t want to reaggravate it and you’re out for another week,” Lidstrom said. “You want to take your time and heal properly before you step on the ice.”
Jimmy Howard (groin) skated on his own before practice and remains day-to-day — although he’s unlikely through this weekend. Jakub Kindl (upper body) didn’t practice, and neither did Henrik Zetterberg, although for Zetterberg, it was more of a day to rest. How does Babcock coordinate practice without so many regulars?

“You just do what you do and do the best you can,” Babcock said. “You don’t wear anyone out and get ready for the games.”

Update #7: Here’s the Detroit Free PRess’s Carlos Monarrez’s off-day report:

Lidstrom did not take part in today’s practice, but he skated beforehand for the first time since he suffered a deep bone bruise on his ankle Feb. 25. Lidstrom said he does not expect to play in the Wings’ next two games, against the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Friday (7:30 p.m., FSD) and the visiting Nashville Predators on Saturday (8 p.m., FSD). But he might be ready for next week’s three-game California swing.

“I tried to skate out there today, and I can still feel the pain, so it’s day-by-day and, hopefully, each day, I’ll get better,” Lidstrom said.

Datsyuk practiced for the first time since he had arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 21. Datsyuk had a light practice and went through drills mostly away from the rest of the team.

“I feel good,” he said. “It’s nice to come back and skate with teammates, and they helped me a lot, not too much pressure. They slowed down, making me look better.”
“Every day, closer,” he said. “But I go with the team to West Coast, and we’ll see.”

Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) returned to practiced, but other players remained out, including forward Todd Bertuzzi and goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin). Wings coach Mike Babcock said Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Howard will not play Friday. Forward Henrik Zetterberg did not practice but will play. Babcock also expressed optimism about Datsyuk—as well as other players’ return to practice.

“He’s going in the right direction,” Babcock said. “I think you’ll see Nick back soon, too. I think you’ll see Bert back soon, too. So by the end of the weekend, for sure.”

Via RedWIngsFeed, here’s Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji’s practice report...

“It’s always a good sign when guys start skating with the team again,” Kronwall said. “It’ll be tough to have one practice and get back to playing after being out two, two and a half weeks. It might take some more time I thought [Datsyuk] looked real good. But, again, it’s Pavel. He’s one of the best in the world. He makes everything look easy out there.”
The Wings sent Chris Conner back down and called up Gustav Nyquist for the third time this season. Nyquist will play Friday.

“Based on what he has done up here, there’s nothing to base it on,” Babcock said. “He’s been a dominant player wherever he has been. I think he’s eighth in scoring in the (AHL) and done a real good job. We expected him to hit the wall, and he hasn’t. He’s kept on going. We’re going to play him with Abby (Justin Abdelkader) and (Danny) Cleary to start the game, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Regarding Ericsson?

“It’s a little bit restricted out there,” Ericsson said. “I’m just trying to be on the drills that I can be out there. I don’t want to lose too much with my conditioning or skating out there on the ice. Can’t do too much with the puck. I’m just trying to do what I can.”

Wakiji also spoke to Niklas Kronwall about his hard hits of late, including his hit on Flyers forward Jakub Voracek…

Everything happened so fast out there,” Kronwall said. “You’re not really thinking. You just try to lay a clean check on someone. It’s always unfortunate when someone gets hurt. Hope he gets back. He’s a hell of a player.”
“Kronner has to continue to play his game,” Babcock said. “He didn’t target the head. His head was leaning forward. He didn’t want to hurt him in any way. I think we all know that. He’s got to be competitor and play hard, and that’s part of the game. We want that in the game, but we sure don’t want anyone getting hurt. Kronner understands that and understands how the game is supposed to be played.”

And in case you didn’t already know it Hockey’s Future’s Andrew Sykes says that Valtteri Filppula’s become one of the Central Division’s best “breakout players”:

Valtteri Filppula, C, Detroit Red Wings: Filppula had already established himself as an excellent two-way player with great speed, but this year the 27-year-old has added an offensive punch to his game. Already surpassing his previous career-high of 40 points set back in 2009, Filppula has registered 21 goals and 54 points in 66 games for Detroit this year.

The team’s third leading scorer behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, Filppula has reached the offensive potential that he has long been considered to have but often failed to realize.

The smooth-skating Finn continues to be a very intelligent player in all areas of the game, and with the added production, he has forced opposing teams to pay closer attention to him while at the same time taking some of the scoring load off the likes of Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

Update #8: Here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s off-day report:

It was good to see Nicklas Lidstrom skate – albeit for a half a minute, or less, on his own – and Jonathan Ericsson practicing for the first time since fracturing his left wrist, though he still can’t handle the stick. And while the Wings went on with practice without Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard and Jakub Kindl, it was a good sign that Pavel Datsyuk was back skating with teammates and without limitation at Joe Louis Arena.

“He’s going in the right direction,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Soon I think you’ll see Nick back and Bert back soon too. By the end of the weekend for sure.”

The Wings won’t have Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Howard and Kindl back in time for Friday’s home game against the Los Angeles Kings, Babcock wasn’t ready to count out any of the injured quartet for Saturday’s Central Division game at Nashville. Though it’s a good sign that Lidstrom could finally put a skate on his right foot and step on the ice for the first time, the Wings’ captain thinks a realistic return would be on the Wings’ west coast trip next week, which begins Tuesday against the Kings at the Staples Center. He was hurt when he was struck by a shot against Colorado Feb. 25.

“It’s just that pain when I push off, it hurts, that’s the main thing,” Lidstrom said. “A week ago I couldn’t put my skate on, it was still swollen. That’s come down but it’s that deep bone bruise that’s hurting me. It’s getting better, it’s getting better every day. My motion is getting better, my movements, my foot’s getting better so that’s encouraging.”

Datsyuk, the Wings’ leading scorer, has missed the last seven games following arthroscopic surgery to clean up loose cartridge more than two weeks ago. The All-Star center had been skating on his own since last Sunday, and he too hopes to be back in the lineup sooner than later.

“Nice to comeback and skate with teammates,” Datsyuk said. “Everyday closer. That’s all I can say for sure. I (will) go with team to west coast and we’ll see. … I’m on my way.”

The Wings made a personnel move on Thursday, recalling rookie forward Gustav Nyquist from Grand Rapids. Babcock indicated that Nyquist, the eighth leading scorer in the America Hockey League with 19 goals and 35 assists in 53 games with the Griffins, will begin Friday’s game on a line forward Danny Cleary and center Justin Abdelkader.

“He’s been a dominate player wherever he has been,” Babcock said. “We expected him to hit the wall and he hasn’t he’s kept on going. He’s got unbelievable sense. Strong on the puck and good without it, he’s an NHL player.”

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Puck's avatar

What’s your take on goalie situation going into this weekend? Joey gets Friday night and Jimmy back for Saturday Nashville game?

Posted by Puck from San Francisco, CA on 03/08/12 at 03:00 PM ET


I hope Nyquist plays well enough to make it impossible for him to be sent back to GR

Posted by !! on 03/08/12 at 05:02 PM ET


Good to see Datsyuk hasn’t lost his sense of humor.  Can’t wait to see him back in the line-up.  Good to hear that others are close also.

Posted by Karen W. from Cleveland, OH on 03/08/12 at 05:16 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I think that’s the way fighting in hockey was meant to be—two players settling something between them and proving their willingness to engage in fisticuffs versus willfully and repeatedly throwing down.


Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/08/12 at 06:25 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.