Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings off-day news: Lidstrom still hobbled by sore ankle, Datsyuk not skating, either

Updated 10x at 8:52 PM: Although quite a bit can change over the course of 24 hours when it comes to sore ankles, there’s bad news from today’s Red Wings practice regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s sore left ankle/foot, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness....

Lidstrom not on ice at wings practice. Quincey is, along with smith and janik.
...
No Datsyuk on ice also.

And MLive’s Ansar Khan...

Lidstrom not skating for Wings today. Quincey is practicing.
...
Also, Datsyuk is not skating for Wings.
...
Wings are skating with these lines: 51-40-26, 11-8-44, 20-43-93, 96-48-39; 55-23, 37-18, 2-4, 27; 35-31

Lidstrom told the press that as soon as he can squeeze his left foot into his skate, he should be OK to play, and I believe Ken Holland suggested that he’d be back by the weekend at the latest, so that’s not a huge concern; the fact that Pavel Datsyuk isn’t able to skate as he continues to recover from knee surgery might be a little more concerning. There will obviously be “more to come” after practice ends…

And in the, “Marginally Red Wings-related to tide you over” department, per the Grand Rapids Press’s Todd Chance…

Star Wars Night with the Grand Rapids Griffins

Playing hockey with a Jedi Knight is not fair. With their obvious advantage using “the Force” to manipulate the puck, mere members of the Republic like you and I wouldn’t stand a chance. So it’s a good thing they don’t let them play. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to meet one along with some of your other favorite Star Wars characters at Saturday’s Grand Rapids Griffins game at Van Andel Arena.

The game versus the Oklahoma City Barons starts at 7 p.m. Proceeds from this popular themed night will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. More than 50 costumed characters will roam the arena and interact with fans. In addition to light sabers and Griffins Star Wars-themed pucks and T-shirts being sold on the concourse, a photo area will be set up for fans to get their picture taken with their favorite characters for a small donation. And during the third intermission, one lucky fan will win a chance to gut a Tauntaun and crawl inside of it to stay warm. (Ok, that won’t happen – just seeing if you were paying attention.) But you could get a picture with Darth Vader, a souvenir Star Wars puck, and a Griffins win. Sounds like a hat trick, you will score.

And Peter J. Wallner, here are your Griffins-related items of note…

Can the Grand Rapids Griffins continue a long climb back into playoff contention? They have won three in a row since veteran goaltender Ty Conklin arrived from Detroit, and are eight points out of eighth place and a playoff spot.

The pursuit continues with a busy weekend starting with 7 p.m. home games Friday (against Rochester) and Saturday (Oklahoma City) before heading to Hamilton for a 5 p.m. game Sunday.

As well as a note from the Westland Observer:

Tickets are on sale for third annual Westland Wild Wings vs. Detroit Red Wing Alumni Hockey game set for Saturday, March, 24, at the Mike Modano Ice Arena, 6210 N. Wildwood at Hunter.

Join the Westland Wild Wings made up of Mayor William Wild, other city officials and residents as they seek a win against the Detroit Red Wing Alumni. The game will be at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children. Children under age 3 are free. Tickets are available at the mayor’s office, the Bailey Recreation Center and the Mike Modano Ice Arena. Seating is limited to 800, so get your tickets early. Sponsorship opportunities also are available.

For more information, call (734) 729-4560 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The event will raise money for improvements at the Mike Modano Ice Arena.

And a very important charitable note about Sunday’s Wings game against Chicago:

PLAYERS’ WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS TO HOST PUCK DRAW

… Mystery Puck Draw on March 4th to Benefit the McCrimmon Family …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings’ wives and girlfriends will hold a mystery puck draw on the concourse at this Sunday’s home game (March 4) against the Chicago Blackhawks. When doors open at 2:30 p.m., fans are encouraged to visit the puck draw tables on the concourse behind Section 126.

Fans have the opportunity to purchase a select puck from an assortment of 300 hockey pucks signed by members of the 2011-12 team. Pucks cost $25 apiece and must be paid for by cash or check. Each puck has been signed by a Red Wings player and packaged in a black box to conceal the autograph. The fan who opens the box with a puck signed in gold by Niklas Kronwall will meet the Wings’ defenseman after the game. Each puck comes with a certificate of authenticity.

The proceeds of Sunday’s puck draw will benefit the family of former Red Wings player and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who tragically passed away in a plane crash on Sept. 7, 2011, along with the rest of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team (KHL). The Red Wings have worn a special red and blue patch on their jerseys throughout the 2011-12 season in honor of the three former Red Wings who were on the plane: McCrimmon, defenseman Ruslan Salei and goaltending prospect Stefan Liv.

The team has raised more than $14,000 for the Love for Lokomotiv initiative through the sale of red ‘Love for Lokomotiv’ wristbands this season. The Wings have also collected over $54,000 for the families of the three former Red Wings by selling game-worn jerseys from opening night as well as the game on Feb. 12.

Update #1: The Wings’ website’s Twitter account confirms the obvious:

The Wings are currently on the JLA ice for practice. Kyle Quincey is skating, Nick Lidstrom (ankle) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) aren’t.
...
Jonathan Ericsson is in the locker room. His wrist is wrapped in a black cast.

Via RedWingsFeed, McGill University’s website posted a clip of Mike Babcock chatting to hockey broadcasters during one of his son’s games…

And the Blackburn News’s Mike Vlasveld offers the following:

Talking to #RedWings GM Ken Holland this morning, he thinks the west could be won by just about anybody this year.
...
He also said he felt good about his team and that he thinks they could make a deep run into the playoffs. #RedWings #Holland

Update #1.5:: Per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

Quincey (groin) said he feels good, will play if Ok with trainers

: From the Red Wings’ Website’s Twitter account:

The crowd of reporters around Jonathan Ericsson. http://t.co/5F3fPzsi
...
Mursak on his goal the other night: ‘It was a nice feeling. I know it was just the second of my career. I’m hoping to score a few more.’
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How tough is it to be traded midseason? Kyle Quincey left Colorado with just a duffel bag. Most of his belongings are still back there.
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According to Mike Babcock, Nick Lidstrom’s status is still up in the air for tomorrow.
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Babcock: ‘We skated good today and we’ve got to get ready for a good test tomorrow.’
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Babcock: ‘I thought Stuie and Kroner were outstanding the other night.’

And MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Babcock said Lidstrom status for friday uncertain. Trying to get comfortable in skate. Had it adjusted. Quincey possible for Friday.

This is cringe-worthy, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

Babcock said Lidstrom (ankle) going for more tests, questionable for tomorrow. Didn’t practice today


Update #2.5: Per MLive’s Ansar Khan, this counts as good news...

Ericsson (fractured left wrist) said he hopes to start skating Friday. Time frame still one month

• As an FYI, DTE Energy’s holding a contest to encourage fans to “go green” via a Wings ticket giveaway;

• And, via RedWingsFeed, this is cringe-worthy in a very different way:

Update #3: the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that we shouldn’t see Pavel Datsyuk until the Wings’ trip out West between the 13th and 17th:

General manager Ken Holland says Datsyuk (knee) recovery remains on target to return during California trip

Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, here’s Ken Holland speaking to the Windsor Star about his organization’s philosophy, while, according to the description of this video he, “[T]alks about his speech at the Breakfast of Champions series sponsored by the Odette School of Business at the Caboto Club in Windsor on March 1, 2012.”

The Wings’ website also posted a press release regarding Sunday’s puck draw, and, via me, here’s Helene St. James’ initial practice report:

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom didn’t practice for a fourth straight day, but it appears mostly now to be a matter of him getting comfortable in his skate boot.

Lidstrom suffered a swollen ankle when he was hit by a puck last Saturday. He hasn’t skated since, but asked today if Lidstrom can play Friday against Minnesota without having been on the ice for so long, coach Mike Babcock smiled and said, “His name is Nick.”

Defenseman Kyle Quincey, who missed Tuesday’s game with a sore groin, skated and will play Friday barring a setback.

Update #5: News didn’t sound good for Nicklas Lidstrom in MLive’s Ansar Khan’s practice report...

Lidstrom had more tests today for his bruised ankle. He put his skate on but still doesn’t feel comfortable. They are making adjustments to the skate.

“It’s still sore,’’ Babcock said. “We’ll see tomorrow if he can skate. He had (the skates) on today but it was an adjusted skate. But when you adjust something until you go and try it you’re not going.’‘

Lidstrom has missed one game after taking a puck off the ankle in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss at Colorado Meanwhile, Kyle Quincey (sore groin) made it through the entire practice and hopes to play Friday.

“I felt good today, so if it keeps getting better I’m optimistic I can play Friday,’’ Quincey said. “That was a tough practice (a lot of skating) and I felt good. I went as hard as I could out there, so that’s a good sign. I felt good. … If everything progresses I’ll be in. It’s up to the medical staff and coaches.’‘

Pavel Datsyuk (arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 21) hasn’t resumed skating yet

Nor did the news sound good when the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa related it…

Lidstrom, who took a puck off the ankle against the Avalanche on Saturday, was not seen in the dressing room Thursday morning. Coach Mike Babcock said the Wings’ equipment staff worked on a skate to help accommodate Lidstrom’s sore ankle, and that the morning skate Friday would provide new information on Lidstrom’s day-to-day status. Lidstrom missed only a few dozen games in his long career, so far.

Asked when the captain and essential force would play, Coach Mike Babcock said he did not know, yet.

“It’s a good question,” Babcock said. “I don’t know the answer to that. We sent him back for tests, here, today. He’s still sore. We adjusted his skate so he could skate, and we’ll see what happens. We’ll see in the morning.”

Jonathan Ericsson said he will resume skating Friday. Ericsson is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a fractured wrist, which the Red Wings describe as a chipped bone. He wore a wrap and a brace, at times, as he walked around the dressing room, working out.

Pavel Datsyuk also worked in the exercise and weight room, and took treatment on the training table. He remains a week or two from returning to the lineup, according to the Red Wings’ original timeline for Datsyuk’s recovery from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone fragment from his knee.

And then the Free Press’s Helene St. James dropped something of a bomb:

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been diagnosed with a “deep bone bruise,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press this afternoon. “He is out for the weekend. We’ll re-evaluate on Monday.”

Lidstrom will miss both Friday’s game against Minnesota and Sunday’s against Chicago. After that, the Wings play at Philadelphia on Tuesday. Lidstrom suffered a swollen ankle when he was hit by a puck last Saturday. He hasn’t skated since, as he’s had discomfort each time he’s tried to put on his skate boot. Brendan Smith will remain in Detroit while Lidstrom recovers.

The Wings’ blue line should get one boost for the Minnesota game, as defenseman Kyle Quincey, who missed Tuesday’s game with a sore groin, skated today and felt good. “We’ll see what the trainers say,” he said. “They have the final decision. But it felt good today, so yeah, I’m optimistic. That was a tough practice, and I felt good.”

Doug Janik is with the Wings in case Quincey can’t play.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who is out at least until April with an injured left wrist, was at Joe Louis Arena to get treatment. He said he’ll likely start skating soon — maybe as early as Friday -—but he won’t be practicing for a while.

The Wings aren’t used to going through practices or games without their cyborg-like captain.

“We all hope he is going to be back soon,” Henrik Zetterberg said of Lidstrom.

Update #6: Here’s the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s practice report:

Nicklas Lidstrom made adjustments to his skate, but he still was unable to skate in practice. It’s unlikely he’ll play Friday against Minnesota.

“We sent him back here for tests today,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s still sore. We adjusted his skate so he could skate. So I don’t know. We’ll see tomorrow if he can skate.

“We have lots of guys here that can’t get their skates on so they get adjusted that you don’t know about, but since you knew about it before. He had (the skates) on today but it was an adjusted skate. But when you adjust something until you go and try it you’re not going.”

Kyle Quincey practiced and looked good. He hopes to return against the Wild after missing Tuesday with a groin injury.

“I felt good today so if it keeps getting better I’m optimistic I can play Friday,” Quincey said. “I’m not a doctor, I’ll let them deal with the medical stuff. That was a tough practice and I felt good.

“Something was on the scan or whatever and they decided to play it safe,” Quincey added. “It’s up to them. I really don’t know how it happened. I went as hard as I could out there so that’s a good sign. I felt good. If it gets better tomorrow we should be good.”

Regarding the Holland video, here’s Mike Vlasveld’s Article about Holland from the Blackburn News….

The General Manger of the Detroit Red Wings is in Windsor today, speaking to business students at the University.

Dean of the Odette School of Business, Alan Conway says students can learn a lot from Ken Holland, “He’s been instrumental in an organization that went from clearly mediocre or less, to being maybe the greatest sports organization in the world.  In terms of success, in terms of success in a longevity way, and in terms of success in terms of an organization where people feel a real affinity.”

Holland spoke at the Caboto Club this morning as part of the business school’s “Breakfast of Champions” series.

Conway says the Wings GM would also be heading to the school’s campus to spend time with smaller groups of students today.”

As well as another video from the Windsor Star...

The Red Wings’ website also filed the following press release:

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.

Who: Detroit Red Wings Goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald

What: Autograph Signing for Charity

When: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7

Where: Hockeytown Authentics
        1845 E. Big Beaver
        Troy, MI 48083

Why: To collect monetary donations for the Arthritis Foundation
and Operation: Kid Equip

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world and supports more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. The foundation helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education, pursuing public policy and legislation and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

Operation: Kid Equip helps at-risk students in the tri-county area by providing free school supplies, books, hygiene, clothing and food items to help them get through the school day. Operation: Kid Equip’s vision is a community where every child’s basic school day needs are met. To effect long-term community improvement, we also work to increase awareness of the issues facing school-aged children to empower them to succeed in school and in life.

Update #7: The Red Wings’ Twitter account is posting updates from Todd Bertuzzi’s elementary school visit (there will be a write-up later), and they’re now selling, “I got Kronwalled” t-shirts;

• Speaking of Twitter, from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:

By most standards, Brendan Smith wouldn’t be considered an avid social media junkie. In other words, he’s not someone who spends an exorbitant amount of time on Twitter.

But if sending a message to his 9,000 followers can help his younger brother win the most prestigious award in the college hockey world, then so be it.

“Just trying to show some love for the little bro,” said Smith, referring to his brother, Reilly Smith, who is on this year’s preliminary ballot for the Hobey Baker Award.

Wednesday night, Brendan Smith, the only player on the Wings’ current roster with a Twitter account (@bssmith7), tweeted a link to the online voting page with a message that read: “Everyone vote for my little brother Reilly Smith for Hobey Baker award.”

Reilly Smith is a junior forward and the University of Miami and currently leads the Redhawks with 38 points, including 21 points in the team’s last 15 games.

Along with Colgate’s Austin Smith (no relation) and Minnesota Duluth’s Jack Connolly, Smith is considered to be one of the top offensive college players in the U.S.

“He’s up for the Hobey Baker and I looked at it the other day and he didn’t have as many votes as I was hoping, so I threw out a little Tweet to see if people would vote. It will be kind of cool to see some of the (Red Wings) fans throwing some votes out there and if they’ve watched him they would appreciate how he plays. He’s a very good player and I’m just trying to do show some brotherly love.”

In 2009, Reilly Smith was drafted by Dallas in the third round, so not sure how that will play among Red Wings’ fans.

“He actually grew-up loving the Red Wings which was funny, because as Toronto kids we all loved the Leafs and he was the only one in the family who loved the Wings,” Brendan Smith said. “He’s a very good player and his team is starting to play very well lately. They struggled to start, but that will always happen with a young team.”

If you’d like to show your support for Smith’s little bro, CLICK HERE to vote.

Shifting gears, the Grand Rapids Griffins report that Griffins captain Chris Minard was named the AHL’s player of the month…

The American Hockey League on Thursday announced that Grand Rapids Griffins left wing Chris Minard has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for February. Minard registered eight goals and five assists for 13 points and recorded a plus-seven rating in 10 games during February, returning to form after having missed the season’s first 36 games due to a concussion.

Minard, who tied for the league lead with eight goals during the month, is the first Grand Rapids player to win the award since it was instituted by the AHL in 2007-08. He also became the first Griffin to earn such an honor since April 2001, when Derek King was named the International Hockey League’s player of the month in that circuit’s final season of existence.

A veteran of 10 pro seasons and 40 NHL contests with Edmonton and Pittsburgh, Minard logged four multi-point games during February, including three consecutive outings from Feb. 11-15. He notched three points (1-2—3) and a plus-three rating in a 5-4 loss to Houston on Feb. 11, was named First Star after tallying his first hat trick of the season and another plus-three rating in a 7-4 win over San Antonio on Feb. 12, then chipped in two assists in a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago on Feb. 15.

The 30-year-old capped off the month by netting his second hat trick in less than two weeks as part of a four-point night on Feb. 24, earning First Star honors and a plus-three rating in a 6-1 rout of Lake Erie. Minard became just the sixth Griffin to log multiple hat tricks in a single season, and his two hat tricks in a span of five games/13 days marked the second-fastest pair in Griffins history behind Donald MacLean, who recorded his in consecutive games on Jan. 14-18, 2006. Minard’s three career hat tricks now tie him for second all time on the Griffins, matching Kevin Miller and standing two behind MacLean.

Despite playing in only 17 contests this season, Minard places second on the club with a plus-nine rating and has averaged a point per game (12-5—17). His 12 goals already rank fifth on the Griffins, while his 11 even-strength markers are one off the team lead.

In recognition of his achievement, Minard will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

Via RedWingsFeed, it should come as no surprise that the Griffins have recalled Gleason Fournier and Bryan Rufenach from Toledo with Doug Janik and Brendan Smith in Detroit….

And here’s their weekly press release:

This Week’s Games
Fri., March 2- Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sat., March 3- Oklahoma City Barons at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Sun., March 4 - GRIFFINS at Hamilton Bulldogs - 5 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
...
Clean Sweep: Grand Rapids started last week in fifth place in the North Division and 14th in the Western Conference, but the Griffins quickly jumped to 12th by winning three straight games. Last Wednesday, in Ty Conklin’s first start as a Griffin, the team held the Bulldogs to just one first period shot while firing 15 of their own, and they got out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second frame. Hamilton rallied before the end of the period, but the Griffins held on for a 4-2 victory, aided by a three-point night from Gustav Nyquist. Last Friday, the team hosted the Lake Erie Monsters and rode a Chris Minard hat trick to a 6-1 victory over their division rivals. While the offense had been clicking the previous two games, it was the defense that was on display in a tightly-contested 2-1 road victory over the Toronto Marlies on Saturday. The win helped the Griffins tie a season high with a three-game winning streak and improve to 14-4-1-1 against their own division, including a perfect 4-0 record against the division-leading Marlies.

On Tap: The Griffins will play their fourth three-in-three of the season this weekend, opening up with the fourth of four straight games against North Division opponents by hosting Rochester on Friday at 7 p.m. If they can beat the Amerks, they’d claim a four-game winning streak for the first time since Feb. 27-March 8, 2011. The team will stay home on Saturday to take on Oklahoma City at 7 p.m., in the first of four meetings with the Western Conference-leading Barons during the month of March. The Griffins will close out the weekend with a Sunday visit to Hamilton at 5 p.m. Grand Rapids is 5-1 against Hamilton this season, outscoring the Bulldogs 27-11.

Promotions: Fans who attend Friday’s contest versus Rochester can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Fans can ride the Rapid to and from the game and enjoy complimentary fare by showing their ticket. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps. College students can show their ID to purchase a lower bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden’s. Finally, with a ticket in the Griffins WGRD D-Zone, fans can avoid concession lines and get $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to their seats. Visit griffinshockey.com/dzone to purchase D-Zone tickets. Saturday night’s game versus Oklahoma City is Star Wars Night, presented by Consumers Energy. The 501st Legion returns for another year, with proceeds benefiting the Griffins Youth Foundation. Over 50 costumed characters will be roaming the arena and interacting with fans. In addition to light sabers and Griffins Star Wars-themed pucks and t-shirts behind sold on the concourse, a photo area will be set up on the concourse for fans to get their picture taken with their favorite characters for a small donation. Fans can also bring their skates to the rink and take to the ice after the game for the J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skate.
...
Helping Hand: Griffins center Jamie Johnson has assisted on each of Chris Minard’s past nine goals, earning the primary assist on all but two of those tallies. Johnson’s four assists last Friday versus Lake Erie were the most by a Griffin since Tomas Tatar tied a franchise record with five on Nov. 27, 2010 at Chicago. Johnson (0-4—4) and Minard (3-1—4) each recorded a four-point game, the most by a Griffin since Francis Pare notched four (1-3—4) on Feb. 9, 2011 at Chicago. The pair now hold the Griffins’ season-best in points in a game, after the team saw players enjoy three-point nights on 19 occasions: Gustav Nyquist and Chris Conner (four times each); Minard, Johnson and Fabian Brunnstrom (twice each); and Brent Raedeke, Louis-Marc Aubry, Pare, Tatar and Doug Janik (once each).

Wins for Ty: After being assigned to the Griffins by the Red Wings last Tuesday, Ty Conklin led the team to a perfect 3-0 record last week, allowing just four goals on 67 shots for a 1.34 goals against average and a 0.940 save percentage while earning a nomination for AHL Player of the Week. Conklin is the second goalie in Griffins history to win his first three decisions, joining Mathieu Chouinard, who started 5-0 in 2000-01. The Griffins are riding their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 31-Jan. 7, thanks to Conklin and a defense that has limited the opposition to four goals over a three game span for the first time since Nov. 10-14, 2010.
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Defense Depleted: The Griffins are currently without two of their top defenders in Brendan Smith and Doug Janik, who were recalled Monday and Tuesday, respectively, by the Red Wings. Smith has been one of the hottest Griffins of late, recording points in 12 of the team’s last 15 games. He leads all Grand Rapids defenseman and is tied for fifth overall on the club with 32 points (10-22—32) in 47 games. Janik is second in that department with 25 points (7-18—25), earning his first call-up to Detroit this season. He leads the Griffins with a plus-16 rating, which places him in a tie for third place among all AHL blueliners. Additionally, the Red Wings shuffled the crease on Monday by reassigning goaltender Jordan Pearce from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Griffins and Tom McCollum from the Griffins to the Walleye, while Grand Rapids released Dustin Carlson from his professional tryout.

And finally, for this update, anyway, from RedWingsFeed and We All Bleed Red on YouTube:

Update #7.5: This snuck in under the radar, via the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s notebook which will publish in a few hours:

Quick update from practice Thursday.

Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom made adjustments to his skate, but he still was unable to skate in practice. It’s unlikely he’ll play Friday against Minnesota.

“We sent him back here for tests today,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s still sore. We adjusted his skate so he could skate. So I don’t know. We’ll see tomorrow if he can skate.”

Defenseman Kyle Quincey practiced and looked good. He hopes to return against the Wild after missing Tuesday with a groin injury.

“I felt good today so if it keeps getting better I’m optimistic I can play Friday,” Quincey said. “I’m not a doctor, I’ll let them deal with the medical stuff. That was a tough practice and I felt good.

“Something was on the scan or whatever and they decided to play it safe,” Quincey added. “It’s up to them. I really don’t know how it happened. I went as hard as I could out there so that’s a good sign. I felt good. If it gets better tomorrow we should be good.”

Jimmy Howard will start in goal. He’s 0-2-1 since returning from a broken index finger.

“I thought I’ve played well in the three games, it’s just that sometimes this game can be cruel,” Howard said. “You feel like you deserve to win, you played good enough to win, but it doesn’t happen. Just find a way to keep plugging out there and we do a good job of finding the back of the net so it’s just a matter of time.”


Update #8: Here’s Jimmy Howard speaking to WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley:

Download file

Update #9: I’m not sure what the hell Hockey’s Future is doing in trying to straddle prospect talk and becoming a more mainstream news website, but they suggest that the Wings’ “greener” blueline means more opportunities for Janik, Kindl and Smith…

Detroit Red Wings: The trading of Mike Commodore and injuries to Nick Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson has made for a much different looking Red Wings blueline. Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik and Brendan Smiith were all in the lineup on Tuesday against Colmubus and will likely be in again when the team hosts Minnesota on Friday.

And Andrew Sykes argues that Henrik Zetterberg needs to play like an MVP for the team to capture the Central Division crown:

Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Detroit Red Wings

Without Pavel Datsyuk, who continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery, Zetterberg is without question the player head coach Mike Babcock will lean on to carry the load up front. Although the 31-year-old likely won’t reach the 80 points he put up last year, Zetterberg is often at his best towards the end of the season and then into the playoffs. With five points in his last two games, Zetterberg as expected is providing the offense needed in Datsyuk’s absence. Look for him to continue to elevate his game to a world-class level as Detroit pursues another Central Division title and more.

And you can make of this what you will, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James, talking to the Wings’ players about national reading month:

March being reading month, I asked a few Red Wings today what caught their interest when they were kids. Growing up in Sweden, Johan Franzen used to read “Bamse,” the comic book adventures of “the world’s strongest bear.”

“My friend would get the Mickey Mouse comic every week, and I would get Bamse, and we would read them and then exchange,” Franzen said.

Brad Stuart was a big fan of reading about Word War I, and counts among his favorites the classic by Erich Maria Remarque.

“All Quiet on the Western Front — I loved that book when I read it in grade school,” Stuart said. “I wrote a report on it. I was always interested in stuff about WWI, so when I read that book, I thought it was interesting.”

(Before anyone swoons at the thought of a grade schooler reading this masterpiece of Western literature: Stuart clarified that “we do things a little different in Canada. It’s like, 10th grade.”) Nowadays, Stuart is reading Dr. Seuss books to his young sons, as well as Margaret Wise Brown. “There’s one called ‘Goodnight Moon’ — they’re almost a little too old for that now, but they still love it.”

Howard is finding himself reading to his 4-month-old son the same books that intrigued him when he was little.

“I loved Dr. Seuss books, and anything that was written by Matt Christopher — it was a lot of sports books. When I was growing up, that’s pretty much the only books I enjoyed reading. My favorite was the Cat in the Hat one where he eats cake in the bathtub. I used to always ask my grandmother to read me that book, and if I could have cake in the bathtub. It’s amazing, now that I’m back reading them, I forgot how much of a tongue twister they are. I’ve stumbled on a couple of them.”

Update #10: The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak tossed off a bunch of free agent names with no context to try to drum up a little “free agent frenzy” interest;

• Both WDIV Local 4 and DetroitRedWings.com’s Zack Crawford chronicled Todd Bertuzzi’s visit to Greenfield Elementary School, and Bertuzzi made a surprising comment:

In addition to its focus on exercise and healthy living, the assembly also gave the students an opportunity to ask Bertuzzi questions about his career, his teammates and his favorite moments as a hockey player. More than a few students were curious about Bertuzzi’s spin-o-rama shootout goal against Phoenix on Jan. 19.

“Actually a lot of the guys have a tough time doing it,” Bertuzzi said when asked if the move is difficult to execute. “I think I practice it so much in practice, and even when I’m in the backyard with my son and he puts on the goalie equipment, I practice it on him just to see if it works on him and if I can bring it to the ice, so I do a lot of practicing of it.”

• In the injury department, MLive’s Ansar Khan provides an update on Jonathan Ericsson’s condition…

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson hopes to start skating soon, possibly Friday, to maintain his conditioning as best he can while recovering from a fractured left wrist.

“It’s all to get my legs working because I can’t do anything with the stick,’’ Ericsson said.

Another X-ray taken two days ago showed a few cracks around the wrist in addition to the initial chip fracture. He was told he could return in 4-5 weeks from the time of the injury, Feb. 25.

“I can’t rotate my arm at all. I can rotate my fingers fine, so I can try to keep my wrist in somewhat shape,’’ Ericsson said. “Other than that there’s not much more I can do. It’s better to have the left hand injured because I do everything with my right hand.’‘

As for how he was injured during the 4-3 loss to Colorado, Ericsson said, “(Teammate Brad Stuart) was attempting to clear the puck on the (penalty kill). It was kind of coming at my face, and that’s the reason I brought up my arm. When you put your hand like this (covering his face), it opens everything up.’‘

• The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness revealed that Brendan Smith is, to some extent, living his brother’s dream…

Brendan Smith made it known who he was voting for to win the Hobey Baker Award, younger brother Reilly.

Reilly is a junior forward at Miami University and leads the team with 26 goals and 12 assists.

“He wears red and white and actually grew-up loving the Red Wings which was funny, because as Toronto kids we all loved the Leafs and he was the only one in the family who loved the Wings,” Brendan Smith said. “He’s up for the Hobey Baker and I looked at it the other day and he didn’t have as many votes as I was hoping so I threw out a little Tweet to see if people would vote. It will be kind of cool to see some of the fans start throwing some votes out there and if they’ve watched him they would appreciate how he plays. He’s a very good player and I’m just trying to do show some brotherly love.”

Reilly was taken in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft, 69th pick overall, by the Dallas Stars.

“He’s a very good player and his team is starting to play very well lately,” Brendan Smith said. “I’m just trying to show some love for the little bro.”

• Not amusing, Red Wings’ YouTube channel:

• Oh fun, per the NHL Network:

• And we’ll get into this more in the overnight report. RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau addressed the Wings’ seemingly sudden lack of goaltending depth:

Outside of Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald, this season has not been kind to goaltenders in Detroit’s farm system. Ty Conklin, who was supposed to be the Wings back-up goalie, is now in Grand Rapids trying to find his game after putting up a dismal 3.40 goals against and .878 save percentage in just 11 NHL games. The 35 year-old veteran has already improved with the Griffins posting a 1.40 goals against and a .940 save percentage in three starts.

Detroit’s other prospects in the professional ranks include Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum. Pearce, who has battled injuries all season long, has been limited to just 17 AHL contests. The 6-foot-1, 201 pound netminder hasn’t played nearly as well as last season seeing his goals against jump from last season’s 2.89 to this year’s 3.53. Pearce, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, was even demoted to Toledo of the ECHL for two games after returning from injury.

McCollum hasn’t performed much better, splitting time between Toledo and Grand Rapids. The 30th overall selection in the 2008 NHL entry draft has three professional seasons under his belt and has yet to establish himself as an AHL goaltender let alone show signs he can play in the NHL. This season McCollum has posted a decent 2.68 goals against and a .905 save percentage in 13 games with Toledo. His numbers in Grand Rapids aren’t nearly as respectable including a 3.59 goals against and a .883 save percentage in 15 AHL starts. While numbers don’t tell the full story on McCollum’s play, the Wings had hoped this would be the season that 22 year-old would rebound and secure a full-time AHL spot.

Detroit does have a lone bright spot outside of its professional system in Petr Mrazek. The 20 year-old goaltender is wrapping his third and final season with the Ottawa 67′s of the Ontario Hockey League. In 45 games this season he’s posted an impressive 2.89 goals against and a .913 save percentage. Mrazek, who was selected 141st overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft by Detroit, was also the star of the 2012 World Junior Championship. The Vitkovice, Czech Republic native was named the tournament’s top goaltender after backstopping the Czechs to a fifth place finish which included a 52 save performance against the highly touted Americans.

With Mrazek turning pro next season, Detroit will only have three goaltenders under contract heading into the off season – Mrazek, Howard, and MacDonald. Ty Conklin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, while both Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum will become restricted free agents. Pearce, who has put off medical school to pursue professional hockey, may be on the outside looking in next season. The 26 year-old needed a big season to show that he could take his game to the next level. While he has played well enough to earn an AHL roster spot, Pearce is also four years older than McCollum and hasn’t shown he has NHL potential.

Despite his less than stellar play this season, McCollum is expected to re-sign and compete with Mrazek for AHL duty next season. A lot has been invested in developing McCollum, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Red Wings ink him for at least one more season to in the hopes that he can finally turn the corner. Even if McCollum is re-signed for next year, the Wings will still need to sign at least one additional professional netminder. The scouting staff will take a long hard look at the free agent market as well as potential college and junior undrafted free agents to fill the gap. While the Red Wings like the long term potential of Mrazek and still hold out some hope for McCollum, neither is ready for NHL duty even on a temporary basis. McCollum’s struggles this season could mean that another veteran goalie will be inked as an insurance policy in the event that injuries occur and to also provide competition for AHL starts.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

Good to see Conks doing well in GR; this should bode well for the Wings during the playoffs.

Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing Nick sit out Friday’s game.  I would definitely rather have him completely healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs; same with Pav.  Even if it does end of taking three weeks (or a bit longer) for him to come back, at least he will be healthy and rested when it really counts.

Posted by Karen W. from Cleveland, OH on 03/01/12 at 01:53 PM ET

Avatar

He also said he felt good about his team and that he thinks they could make a deep run into the playoffs. #RedWings #Holland

Awesome quote. Would anyone really expect him to say something different?

Posted by RyanVM on 03/01/12 at 02:21 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I also hope Nick and Pav don’t rush their returns.  Yes, points are huge, but being healthy for the playoffs is more important.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/01/12 at 03:29 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I also hope Nick and Pav don’t rush their returns.  Yes, points are huge, but being healthy for the playoffs is more important.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Michigan, but now in Florida on 03/01/12 at 01:29 PM ET

+5.  +13. 

[BTW, are we the only fanbase that understands how to use numbersin that manner?  LOL]

Babs:  We had that long, long stretch of 19 games where 14 of them were on the road…

Holyfuch.  And we did do pretty damn well points-wise but we also discovered a whole lotta things that caused us to be so edgy on Trade Deadline Day.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/01/12 at 04:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Youtube user, weallbleedred, posted a vid of Uncle Mike having a chuckle at the hit counter on the scoreboard.  FSD Feed.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/01/12 at 04:37 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom made adjustments to his skate, but he still was unable to skate in practice. It’s unlikely he’ll play Friday against Minnesota.

“We sent him back here for tests today,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s still sore. We adjusted his skate so he could skate. So I don’t know. We’ll see tomorrow if he can skate.”

Defenseman Kyle Quincey practiced and looked good. He hopes to return against the Wild after missing Tuesday with a groin injury.

Well, that was sort of expected.  So if we’re gonna stress, at least we knew this was gonna happen.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/01/12 at 07:28 PM ET

christpuncher's avatar

We printed those “Kronwalled” T’s at my place o’ biz earlier in the week! Nice!

Posted by christpuncher from Detroit, MI on 03/01/12 at 08:58 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.