The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/18/12 at 06:59 PM ET
Updated 2x at 6:36 PM with a little evening reading: As the Red Wings flew back to Detroit Sunday afternoon, choosing to remain in San Jose after Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks, they were all but literally on the limp thanks to injuries to Darren Helm (knee), Johan Franzen (back) and JoeyMacDonald (back) which will all require MRI’s on Monday.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the team wasn’t updating the status of anyone, Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and Jakub Kindl (oblique muscle strain) included, until Monday…
Wings’ Ken Holland said they will have no injury updates until Monday. Team is flying back home from San Jose today.
But with at least one of Helm or Franzen not playing on Monday, the Wings recalled a player who set the Grand Rapids Griffins’ record for rookie scoring Saturday night, registering his 56th, 57th (record-breaking) and 58th points, just in case:
The Detroit Red Wings on Sunday recalled left wing Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Nyquist had two goals and one assist in the Griffins’ 5-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday to become the franchise’s all-time rookie scoring leader. The Halmstad, Sweden, native is second among AHL rookies and tied for seventh in the league overall with 58 points (22-36—58) in 56 games.
The Griffins will travel southwest this week, kicking off a four-game road trip with a pair of games against San Antonio, Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms:
The Wings once again need Nyquist, who used the weekend to set the Griffins rookie scoring record, to offset injuries to the parent club. Darren Helm limped out of HP Pavilion after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss after an attempted hit on Dominic Moore in the third period led to a collision that injured Helm’s left leg. Johan Franzen missed the game entirely after coming down with back spasms during Friday’s practice.
Helm, Franzen and almost everyone else who is injured will be re-evaluated Monday. That includes captain and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise, out indefinitely), backup goaltender Joey MacDonald (back, out indefinitely), defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist, expected back in April) and defenseman Jakub Kindl (upper body, could return within a week).
Nyquist, 22, has three assists in eight games so far for Detroit. He’s smart, a good skater and excellent passer, and fits into their system well, be it as a role player or on a scoring line.
Update: In the “for further reading” category, from CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz:
Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard had this to say about Havlat’s overtime goal:
“It was a good play by Havlat to scoop it up there. There’s not much you can do [when] you’ve got two guys laying on you, but it’s part of the game. It was a pile out in front. They were able to get the loose puck and put it home.”
Howard was a bit tied up with Justin Braun and several other players, including some Red Wings, on the winning goal.
Detroit lost its fourth straight game and sixth of seven. They failed to win on their four-game trip, and were swept in California, dropping decisions to the Kings and Ducks before last night.
This was their best effort, though, according to Brad Stuart.
“Obviously [it was] not the start we wanted, but I thought we battled back hard, found a way to get back in the game and get it to overtime. We’ve got to find a way to win, but it’s a step in the right direction. We’ve got to continue to get better [and] have those types of efforts more consistently on the road coming down the stretch here.”
Head coach Mike Babcock said: “I thought our game tonight was a step in the right direction. Our two previous games we didn’t play hard enough, organized enough, or committed enough to have any kind of success.”
• Our friends from Nashville are a wee bit excited about their game against Anaheim tonight, says the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper...
Nashville’s last two games, they’ve squandered a golden opportunity — to catch the Detroit Red Wings in the standings. This has been muted to a degree amongst the players and the coaching staff until — unprompted — today Coach Barry Trotz brought up this fact. The Predators have 90 points to Detroit’s 92. The Predators have a game in hand.
“We have to win a hockey game, this is our game in hand tonight against the Detroit Red Wings,” he said.
Trotz then went on to discuss possible playoff scenarios with the Red Wings, before backtracking slightly.
“If we win it tonight, we’re tied with them and we’ve got one head-to-head (against them). If we can match their record from now until the end of the season and win head-to-head we’ll have home ice advantage. It looks like we’re going to play them in the playoffs. At the same time we don’t want to go into a little slide here where teams behind us can catch us.”
Normally at this point in a roadtrip — the final game and the second part of a back-to-back there’s lots of talk about ‘emptying the tanks’ to a degree. But this is the first of three back-to-back games for the rest of the month. So it’s more about keeping a even-keel than anything else.
“The trip is getting long,” defenseman Ryan Suter said.
• And it should come as little surprise that DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose found that Shawn Burr’s former teammates from his tenure with the San Jose Sharks are worried about their friend:
“We had heard the story that he had gone in for check-up because he didn’t feel very good,” said Mike Ricci, who played two seasons with Burr in San Jose. “They did some tests and helicoptered him right away. We knew that wasn’t good.”
But the last Ricci knew was that Burr had successfully fought off the disease, so when he heard Saturday that Burr relapsed, the news stung like an uppercut.
“This is just terrible news,” said Ricci, in his third year as Sharks’ development coach. “We had heard that he had been doing better. In the hockey world, especially when players come through here, you hope that they do well with whatever they do after they leave. I know the organization is upset. It sucks I tell you, it sucks. Sure it happens, but Bursy’s a great guy, great with the kids that would come around the rink and joke with them. Obviously not to the same extend that he did in the locker room, but he had that same personality.”
Ricci is quite familiar with cancer and what it does to patients. He was a 19-year-old rookie playing for Philadelphia when cancer took the life of his father, Mario, after a long fight.
“It’s such a horrible disease,” Ricci said. “I’ve been through enough hospital wards and seen the cancer patients who battle every day, and I’m sure Bursy is doing the same. In fact, I know he is.”
Sunday, the day after he hosted a charity hockey classic in suburban Detroit to find a bone marrow match and raise money for the Shawn Burr Foundation, Burr returned to the hospital where he will start a new round of chemotherapy on Monday with hopes of knocking out the cancer cells while he waits for a donor. AML is a fast developing cancer that attacks the blood cell-producing bone marrow.
Patrick Marleau was a rookie when Burr was traded from Tampa Bay to the Sharks prior to the 1997-98 season. More than a decade later, the Sharks’ All-Star center still has vivid memories of life with Bursy.
“We always had fun around the rink with him and that was one of the things that you can learn from a veteran guy when you’re a kid,” Marleau said. “But you have to continue that, otherwise it becomes a job and becomes taxing and you’re not fully into it. But if you can do something that you love and can continue doing until a veteran age into your 30s like he was, that’s great. And that’s what he taught me.”
Update #1.5: For the record, former Wings defenseman and Red Deer Rebels coach Jesse Wallin will coach Team Canada’s under-18 team, with former Wing Todd Gill assisting his cause:
Jesse Wallin, the head coach and GM of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has been named the head coach of Canada’s under-18 hockey team. Wallin, 34, won a gold medal as an assistant coach with the under-18 team in 2008. As a player he won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and a gold with Canada at the 1997 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Gordie Dwyer of the QMJHL’s P.E.I. Rocket and Todd Gill of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs were named assistant coaches.
Canada is a two-time gold medallist at the world championship, winning in 2003 and 2008. It finished fourth last year in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.
The under-18 world championship will be held April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.
• And in prospect news, Western Michigan University and prominent free agent defenseman Danny Dekeyser defeated the University of Michigan to capture the CCHA title at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night, but NHL.com and USCHO.com report that both teams will play in the NCAA playoffs, as will Red Wings prospect Ben Marshall and the University of Minnesota, and I’m happy to report for other collegiate hockey fans in Michigan that Ferris State University and Michigan State University have made the tournament, but Wings prospect Riley Sheahanand Notre Dame missed the cut, as did Nick Jensen and St. Cloud State University.
The various regional quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on March 23rd, 24th and 25th. Almost every game will be televised on ESPNU or regional ESPN outlets, and every game will be streamed on ESPN3.com.
Update #2: If you’re a betting person, the Red Wings are ranked as Covers.com’s fifth-most-likely team to win the Stanley Cup, behind the Penguins, Canucks, Rangers and Blues.
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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.