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The Malik Report

The Post Game Talk After Detroit’s 3-0 Win Over New Jersey

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

Little in Petr Mrazek’s career suggested he would be down and out for long.

His second consecutive shutout, 3-0, over the Devils on Monday at the Prudential Center is more evidence that is the case. Mrazek stopped all 37 shots he faced....

The 21-year-old, diminutive Hicketts debuted and put big smiles on all of his new teammates' faces with a strong performance that may make it difficult for the Wings to put him back on I-96 towards Grand Rapids anytime soon.

“Lots of times for your kill to be good, your goalie’s got to be great,” said Jeff Blashill. “And he was.

“Certainly, on the penalty kill was where I thought we gave up the most chances. He was excellent on that.”

Asked if it might mean more playing time for Mrazek, after a clear decision to ride the hot goalie, Jimmy Howard, most of the first 45 games of the season, Blashill quickly answered, “Oh, without question.

more

Below, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, game highlights and dressing room interviews...

Petr Mrazek is making a case for more starts, and he’s increasing his value as an asset for the Detroit Red Wings.

There were numerous highlights among the Wings’ 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Prudential Center, but Mrazek gets the headline for making 37 saves to earn his second straight shutout and third of the season. It speaks to how much he’s struggled this season that after stopping 64 shots dating to the 4-0 victory at Chicago he’s still got a .909 save percentage and 3.14 goals-against average, but it does look like he has his swagger back.

“I am trying to get some confidence every game I played, every save I made,” Mrazek said. “I haven’t played lots of minutes this year, so every game I am trying to get confidence.

“Sometimes it’s tough for a goaltender when you don’t play a lot and then from nowhere you get in to play a game. But I try to be focused every game and every minute I am on the ice.”

continued

 

 

 

added 7:00am,

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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hockeyfreak13's avatar

Fun game to watch. I thought Tatar looked very determined in this one. Jensen also deserves some recognition for playing well. Hicketts is just plain fun. He is not afraid to make mistakes, which is what you want in a rookie. And of course Mrazek stole the show. Attitude issues or not, I don’t understand how you can let that much confidence and raw talent walk away.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 01/23/18 at 08:03 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Hicketts is just plain fun. He is not afraid to make mistakes, which is what you want in a rookie

Actually, I think what you want in a rookie is someone who doesn’t make the same mistake twice.  He got owned a few times in his own end, with bigger forwards just sealing him off the puck pretty easy.  He’ll never have enough muscle to change that formula if he thinks he’s going to battle the way bigger defensemen do.  Karlssson and Krug are instructive.  They are able to win those battles because they can either separate the puck with skating or stick work.

Posted by duhduhduh on 01/23/18 at 08:15 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

He got owned a few times in his own end, with bigger forwards just sealing him off the puck pretty easy

That is probably the weakest part of his game, but there’s not much he can do to change that. It’s a problem for all smallish defensemen. That’s why you pair them with a bigger guy: Hicketts with E or McIlrath, Krug with McQuaid, Enstrom with Byfuglien and so on. Let them win the puck in these situations and let Hicketts play to his strengths. He brings a lot of elements that this team has been sorely lacking.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 01/23/18 at 08:41 AM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

And of course Mrazek stole the show. Attitude issues or not, I don’t understand how you can let that much confidence and raw talent walk away.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 01/23/18 at 08:03 AM ET

Mrazek, he’s the keeper. The ups and downs he’s faced have heloped him mature, I don’t question his abilities or talent. The age differential between Mrazek and Howard makes this a no brainier. 

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 01/23/18 at 08:47 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I am with both of you on Hicketts.

He simply doesn’t have the size to play big in the NHL. He has to be smarter in other ways to really make himself stick up here. And yeah, if he had a d-partner that can actually clear the net front, that would help.


15+ minutes is not bad at all for a first game - considering I didn’t see him much in the third, I don’t think he was playing a bunch of garbage time minutes.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 08:50 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Considering petr himself likely won’t want to come back…

Time to give him 75 percent of the starts the next month and trade him. Would be nice to keep him, but he’s not going to want to stay.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 09:15 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

He will be an RFA so he should have more value for a team to pick him up. But if he stays… That could get interesting. What would an arbitrator give him?

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 09:16 AM ET

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Let’s ignore the 10-1 Montreal game when the team quit and both goalies let in 5 each.

Mrazek had 10 other starts.

He’s 5-4-1 with a .918 SV%. He has 3 shutouts.

8 of his 11 starts have been on the road. He was given home games against teams like Tampa and Wash, often after sitting for weeks.

But it seems like I get attacked for defending the guy. Maybe after we give him away then Howard can go on a run…

Posted by fatsavage on 01/23/18 at 09:18 AM ET

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Attitude issues or not, I don’t understand how you can let that much confidence and raw talent walk away.

I would love to see Mrazek and the Wings come to an agreement where they sign him for two more seasons at half what he makes now. I don’t think this will happen, as I think the team seems to have moved on from him (wrong, IMO), but it would be what I would like to see.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/23/18 at 09:29 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Before the Wings hit the ice for their morning skate, if they do skate, who starts tonight in goal?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/23/18 at 09:30 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

who starts tonight in goal?

It should be Howie just due to the back to back, but if he doesn’t have a great game, you go back to Mrazek next time out.

As TK has noted above and Kermit has been fighting for most fervently all season, it’s past time to showcase him a bit more. Play this more like a 1A-1B than a 1-2 situation.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 09:42 AM ET

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If I was calling the shots I’d give Jimmy the start tonight and then go back to Mrazek against Chicago on Thursday. Don’t necessarily need to play him all 3 games in 4 days this week with the break coming up. I could see the argument for giving Jimmy the week off and letting Mrazek try to get into a groove too.

Posted by MZ2215 on 01/23/18 at 09:50 AM ET

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It should be Howie just due to the back to back, but if he doesn’t have a great game, you go back to Mrazek next time out.

I’m sure Howard will play tonight, but I think even if he has a great game, Mrazek should still get the start Thursday. Mrazek has earned another start this week. And I agree about the 1A-1B thing, of course. I have wanted that all season, but now it simply makes no sense not to do it.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/23/18 at 09:51 AM ET

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Maybe Mrazek figures he’s weeks away from escaping Kenny and Blashill. String together a few solid starts to make that dream a reality. Because the way we’ve used goaltenders this year is truly bizarre.

Early in the year Mrazek gets a shutout…and then Howard plays 10 of the next 11 games.

In December Mrazek comes in cold and stops 34 of 37 shots against the surging Islanders. He’s rewarded by watching Howard play the next 7 games.

At one point Howard had lost 9 of his last 10 starts. But even then, he got the nod the next game.

Mrazek shuts out Chicago on Jan.14. Maybe we can let him play the next game and keep it going? Nope, Howard plays Jan.16 and lets in 4 goals. OK. Go back to Mrazek right? Nope. Howard plays again versus Carolina, and loses again, letting in 3 more goals.

Truly bizarre.

Posted by fatsavage on 01/23/18 at 09:55 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I just don’t get the fascination with Hicketts.

He probably has a ceiling of a 3rd pairing guy who maybe could also be a PP puck-moving specialist…. and DET has oodles of those kind of guys right now, none of them impact guys.

Getting guys like Hicketts used to be the kind of “steals” Holland would do when the team was already good and it gave you an extra youngster to plug in there eventually.  When the team is not good… it’s just redundant.

Posted by Primis on 01/23/18 at 10:05 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Between the All Star Break and the Feb. 18 game against the Leafs, I’d start Petr 7 of those 10 games.  There is then a week between that Leafs game and the Trade Deadline; I would sit him that week and shop him.  Sit him out of the risk the injury or for him to devalue his trade value.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 10:13 AM ET

Avatar

I just don’t get the fascination with Hicketts.

Posted by Primis on 01/23/18 at 10:05 AM ET

My guess is most of the people posting about have never seen him play, until last night. So they are excited, thinking fresh blood can help us. Especially after seeing how well Bertuzzi has adapted.

The fascination is so over-the-top that my very serious concerns about his size and skating were dismissed as being a hater. Hey other small guys can make it. Yup, they can. But they tend to be elite skaters, which Hicketts is not. Then came accusations that maybe it was ME who had never seen him play. Hmm, OK. Now after one game we already witnessed a couple of incidents in which opponents got position on him and he couldn’t do anything about it. I’ll bet a few people gulped, realizing that maybe FS knew what he was talking about afterall? My favourite is people now saying, “Well, maybe Hicketts just needs to add some more muscle”. HAHA. He’s not 18. He’s almost 22 years old. He’s listed at 5’8, 177…although many have questioned whether that 5’8 is an exaggeration. Maybe he’s 5’6 or 5’7. Even still, let’s say he 5’8. How much more muscle do you think a 5’8 midget can add. He’s 177. He’s not going to hit the gym and get up to 195 pounds. Even if he can get up to 180 or 185 pounds…what does that accomplish? He’ll still get manhandled by 210 pound forwards. More muscle won’t add more inches to his reach. More muscle won’t make him a better skater. Sorry folks. I love his effort. I hope I’m wrong. But this is not an NHL defenseman.

Posted by fatsavage on 01/23/18 at 10:24 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by Primis on 01/23/18 at 10:05 AM ET

Right - this was indeed a hot topic yesterday and it unfortunately seemed to get pretty heated. I think it’s better not to be so dismissive of the opinions of others or mocking them, just IMO.

Hicketts may just be another guy, and I think that is still an OK find considering he wasnt drafted at all. He isn’t what we need right now, but it’s better to have him and hopefully he blossoms somehow vs. an expensive vet. But we don’t know if he doesn’t play; I think that is where most of the optimism comes from. At least we didn’t call up Lashoff again! smile

I personally like the heart and soul guys that play hard like he does. Does he project long term? I don’t know. He just doesn’t seem to have the strength to keep up. Hit the gym, dude.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 10:32 AM ET

Avatar

Time to give him 75 percent of the starts the next month and trade him. Would be nice to keep him, but he’s not going to want to stay.

Why not? If KH and Blashill are gone and Howard is traded, why wouldn’t he want to stay?

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 10:33 AM ET

Avatar

The age differential between Mrazek and Howard makes this a no brainier. 

To me it’s a no brainer as well, but some forumists just hate Mrazek and cannot see the big picture objectively. Oh, and our “leader” Abby probably does not like him either for not staying after practice last season.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 10:37 AM ET

Avatar

I liked Hicketts, he looked comfortable from the first shift, which is not easy for a rookie dman. The skating is just fine, the shot looks good, the passing is good. He obviously cannot handle bigger opponents defensively though.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 10:39 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 10:13 AM ET

I don’t see, nor would I advocate giving Mrazek more than 50% of the starts through the deadline.

I believe Mrazek will get traded, and even if he plays world on fire in net you don’t ride him because you disrespect Howard in the process, who will be left in the ashes after the fire sale.

On the other possibility thought, for the first time last night, I heard Ozzie and others on the broadcast talking about his work at practice, that’s not a narrative that has come out of the organization all season.  I personally thought his opportunity to bounce back in his career was next year, maybe its coming now, and if so, is the relationship salvageable? I don’t think so, I still think the Wings mind is made up, but if not, the Wings do own his rights and another year to mend fences if they desire, which they can only do if Howard is traded, which does not happen if he is relegated to the pine.

Frankly, it may come down to whomever yields the Wings the best return, either way, because only one of them will be here next year taking up $4-$5mln in cap space, that’s a given.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 01/23/18 at 10:53 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Frankly, it may come down to whomever yields the Wings the best return, either way, because only one of them will be here next year taking up $4-$5mln in cap space, that’s a given.

Literally the bottom line.  One of them has to go.  I really don’t care who: whichever brings the biggest return.  Tho I an curious what affect it would have on Mrazek to be the undisputed #1, with no Jimmy to look back at.  I mean, we all know goaltenders are all nuts.  Maybe this is what he needs, that allows him to embrace the responsibility of showing up every putting.

Posted by duhduhduh on 01/23/18 at 11:05 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

The fascination is so over-the-top that my very serious concerns about his size and skating were dismissed as being a hater

Arguing that your concerns might be a little exaggerated is dismissing you?

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 01/23/18 at 11:18 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

I liked Hicketts, he looked comfortable from the first shift, which is not easy for a rookie dman.

Unless you have bulls balls, that is.

Posted by duhduhduh on 01/23/18 at 11:21 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

To me it’s a no brainer as well, but some forumists just hate Mrazek and cannot see the big picture objectively.

I think this is worth addressing, because I don’t think (most) people “hate” Mrazek. 

I’ve wanted BOTH goalies to succeed, and had fully anticipated Mrazek being our #1 eventually.  However, given his performance regression and attitude problems, everything changed.  And with that, I made up my mind that, in the case of choosing one or the other, I preferred Howard for this team. 

Having to choose “Either/Or” for this position is a little unique and I think it all started with the expansion draft where a decision was going to be made.  Otherwise, there’s not a decision between which is on the roster, just a matter of who is going to be starting more games. 

Have things changed again this year with Mrazek’s work ethic and attitude?  We don’t really know, just like we didn’t really know there was a problem last year (aside from his decrease in performance).  If he can prove he can perform well, and if the team feels that he is a good team mate and good for the franchise, I would fully support Petr in the “Either/Or” decision.  But we aren’t there yet.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 11:27 AM ET

Avatar

I would never understand why would anybody want to trade a 25 year old still with potential to be #1 and keep 35 years old injury prone goalie who is having a good season (before he gets injured again). To make that choice Mrazek has to be absolutely terrible teammate creating havoc in the lockeroom and I do not think he is not anywhere close to that. He did not stay after practice to face the shots from Abby last year? OK, not good, but that’s not something you use an excuse to just get rid of Mrazek. He did not work hard and showed attitude last year? Again, not good if true, but for the first 2-3 years everything was good and all of a sudden last year attitude problems. Maybe it’s not all Mrazek fault? Bottom line we do not know.
Objectively Mrazek has not been good last season and the end of the previous season, but this year he has been good, especially lately. It could be a big mistake to trade him now and keep Howard. The risk associated with trading Howard and Mrazek not filling #1 goaltender duties is much lower imo.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 11:36 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 11:27 AM ET

100% Agreed, and like I said early, talk about development of good work and practice habits has only recently started, and let’s be honest, the trade deadline is coming up, is that a sales pitch or is that reality? Folks in the room know and decisions will be made accordingly.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 01/23/18 at 11:41 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Right - this was indeed a hot topic yesterday and it unfortunately seemed to get pretty heated. I think it’s better not to be so dismissive of the opinions of others or mocking them, just IMO.

*snip*

I personally like the heart and soul guys that play hard like he does. Does he project long term? I don’t know. He just doesn’t seem to have the strength to keep up. Hit the gym, dude.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 10:32 AM ET

If this was discussed a ton yesterday, sorry.  I and 2 others came down with the flu hard yesterday so I didn’t bother reading much of anything.

It’s nothing personal with him.  I get it’s a big opportunity for him.

I just wish we were hopeful for someone with more upside, and therefore a better future.  I can’t get excited about seeing him, myself, because I don’t think he’s a part of the eventual solution.  And at this point, that’s honestly all I care about.

Mabe DET can feature him here a bit and convince someone to trade for him?

Posted by Primis on 01/23/18 at 11:50 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

talk about development of good work and practice habits has only recently started, and let’s be honest, the trade deadline is coming up, is that a sales pitch or is that reality?

Yep, I was thinking that too.  I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a string of redemption articles coming out of the Detroit media in the next month.  Which is going to sort of suck because it’s going to be a tease for all of us.

But I still stand by my thinking that they will heavily shop Howard.  And I think it would be wise.  But I just wonder how horrible Petr was (is?) in the locker room for them to want him out. 

OR maybe they realize his ceiling has been reached.  Two shutouts in a row is honestly fantastic.  But let’s string a few games together and see where he’s at.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 11:53 AM ET

Avatar

The reports of his improved work ethic haven’t just started though. After Mrazek shutout Edmonton on November 5, Blashill spoke about how he changed his summer training to be better, how hard he had been working on and off the ice starting in camp, and how his work ethic and attention to detail had been excellent. That was two and a half months ago, at the start of the season. This isn’t really a new development.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/23/18 at 12:11 PM ET

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Murray and Tre,

The only places I see Mrazek going is either too a team that is rebuilding and looking to take a chance on a goalie who has yet to prove himself or to a playoff bound team who needs a #2 to light a fire under their #1. Both shouldn’t fetch much in return for Peter.

I truly believe the strategy this season was to play the heck out of Jimmy in hopes he shows he’s still got “it” and move him as a starter to a bubble team in need of a starter. He’s got only one more year on his contract which is a low risk. Maybe Detroit even eats half his salary. I could live with that. A #1 should get the team better prospect(s) or pick(s) then a back up. It then signals to Mrazek that he’s the #1 guy.

I would wager KH has already laid out the path for Peter that looks something like this: This season is lost, we are playing Jimmy really hard to make him look appetizing to another team, our goal is to move him first and make you the future #1 of the team (and resign him before the season ends for at least 2 years at his current contract), or if no one want’s Jimmy we move you for peanuts and you get a new start somewhere else (no guarantee you are a #1).

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/23/18 at 12:12 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by Primis on 01/23/18 at 11:50 AM ET

No need to apologize. I understand your viewpoint.

Here’s to returned health and Cholowski being a top pairing guy (maybe just a dream).

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 12:12 PM ET

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OR maybe they realize his ceiling has been reached. 

Even if that’s the case, keeping 35 year old instead makes no sense to me. We are not going to be competitive in the next 3 years. Howard will be gone by then. Mrazek maybe not. The reason to keep Howard could be loyalty and I am actually big on that thing, but if Detroit is in the business of winning, they have to make hard choices.

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 12:14 PM ET

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OR maybe they realize his ceiling has been reached.  Two shutouts in a row is honestly fantastic.  But let’s string a few games together and see where he’s at.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 11:53 AM ET

I gotta agree. The team knows players better than we do. FS has, lately, been spouting about how fans have given too high praise for some of the recent players on the wings. really only on D has that been right - the Wings seem to be better at drafting forwards then Dmen. Just look at who’s done well in recent trades and who hasn’t. I’m looking at the Dallas trade that involved both a forward and a Dman. And look at how well they recent call ups have faired (Jensen and XO).

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/23/18 at 12:16 PM ET

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The reports of his improved work ethic haven’t just started though

And again Mrazek has been with the big team for how many full seasons now, 4?
First 2 years and this year no attitude issues and working hard and last year attitude issues and being lazy?

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 12:17 PM ET

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And again Mrazek has been with the big team for how many full seasons now, 4?
First 2 years and this year no attitude issues and working hard and last year attitude issues and being lazy?

I think the issues between Mrazek and the Wings started in the summer of 2016 w/his contract negotiations. I think that spilled over to the start of the 2016-17 season, and everything went to hell between him and the team. I believe we didn’t hear anything about attitude issues prior to last season b/c there really weren’t any.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 01/23/18 at 12:22 PM ET

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I think the issues between Mrazek and the Wings started in the summer of 2016 w/his contract negotiations.

Good point, I am sure those negotiations played a factor. KH does not forget these things. Not everybody on our team deserves to be overpaid and overtermed (i.e. I am sure Abby’s negotiations were smooth and easy).

Posted by VPalmer on 01/23/18 at 12:26 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Even if that’s the case, keeping 35 year old instead makes no sense to me

To be fair, he’s 33 going on 34 this Spring. 

Maybe the team also has decided they aren’t going to be contenders for 5-6 years.  Jimmy is not going to be getting a raise if they re-sign him, considering his age and upside (he’ll be 35 at that point). 

If they keep Mrazek instead, maybe they already know he’s going to be stubborn in negotiations and require $6+++ the next 5 years.  If the Wings are planning to be in a re-build for 5-6 years, is there a benefit to the ups and downs of Mrazek vs. a steady Howard? 

Just another scenario.  There’s a lot of ways they could be playing this.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 12:48 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/18 at 12:48 PM ET

I can see this, and if the organization is thinking this, they sure won’t act like it or say it because dropping ticket sales is dropping merch sales and dropping concession sales which all comes down to $$$$$$.

There must be a real fear of turning into Buffalo or Arizona/Phoenix/Glendale/JustMoveToSeattleAlready

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/23/18 at 12:58 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.