The Malik Report
"Good news, everyone":
Updated 11x at 2:23 PM: The Red Wings face an incredibly stiff challenge in besting the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/NESN/NBCSN/TVA Sports/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM), and the morning skate did not deliver good news regarding Riley Sheahan (has to pass a baseline neurological test before being cleared to play), Tomas Jurco (out with an upper-body injury), Pavel Datsyuk (still out with an ankle injury) or Erik Cole (still out with an upper-body injury), though it appears that Drew Miller (facial laceration) and Joakim Andersson (Mrs.-to-be had a baby girl) will play tonight.
As TPL Hockey on Twitter has noted, unless Sheahan does not pass his baseline neurological test, the Wings still have enough healthy bodies on defense (7) that the Wings can't make an emergency recall from Grand Rapids as adding Jakub Kindl to the lineup = 11 forwards + 7 defensemen + 2 goalies = 20 players, but the Wings' lines were a bit odd during the morning skate, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported...
#RedWings lines at morning skate: Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Nyquist Helm-Sheahan-Tatar Cleary-Weiss-Pulkkinen Miller-Glendening-Jurco
And MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Pavel Datsyuk regarding his ankle issue:
In the "a little different" category, Wood TV8 posted a clip of the Grand Rapids Griffins' trainers discussing the fact that the Griffins are using helmets that the University of Virginia determined are not particularly protective...
According to the Orangeville Banner's Chris Halladay, Orangeville, Ontario may earn a "Day With Henrik Zetterberg"...
Updated 6x at 11:34 AM: It's an understatement to suggest that tonight's game between the Red Wings and Boston Bruins (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/NESN/NBCSN/TVA Sports/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM;; Steve Kozari and Francois St. Laurent are scheduled to ref the game) could determine the course of the Red Wings' post-season. If the Bruins win, there's a real possibility that Detroit will end up as a "wild card" team; if Detroit wins, their chances of taking the 3rd Atlantic Division playoff spot remain strong.
The Red Wings hit the ice just after 10:30 for their morning skate, as MLive's Ansar Khan reported...
Wings filing onto ice. Players that didn't skate yesterday are practicing: Datsyuk, Zetterberg. Helm. Sheahan, Miller also skating.
Cole and Andersson are not skating.
Datsyuk not skating in line rushes, not a good sign.
And the Bruins said, "Hello":
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
The Wings and Senators have six games left for a possible 12 points.
The Red Wings would accomplish a lot by earning six of the possible 12 points. It almost certainly would eliminate the Senators and deliver the Wings to the playoffs.
The Senators would need all 12 points available to pass the Red Wings.
Because the Wings command a five-win gap over the Senators in the first tiebreaker, regulations and overtime wins (ROW), the Senators almost certainly must avoid a tie with the Red Wings. (The shootout was eliminated as a factor in breaking a tie because the skills competition was deemed ill-suited for determining playoff position in the NHL.)
If the Red Wings earn four of 12 points, the Senators almost certainly would require 10 of 12 points to pass them.
Even if the Wings got only two of the last 12 points available, the Senators most likely would require eight of their possible 12 to eliminate them.
While the math is much stronger for the Bruins overtaking the Red Wings, if only Boston does it, Detroit is still a wild card.
The Wings lead the Bruins by two points. The Bruins have five games left for a possible 10 points.
Again, if Red Wings garner six of the possible 12 points, the Bruins would need four wins in their last five games to tie.
In the land of (mostly) playoff prospect news:
In the Swedish SHL, Axel Holmstrom registered 2 assists in 16:38 played, including an assist on the series-winner, as Skelleftea AIK defeated Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday (click the link for highlights), taking a 3-0 series lead in the SHL semifinal series;
Back over on this side of the pond, in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist to Zach Nastasiuk's goal as Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm defeated Nastasiuk's Owen Sound Attack 2-1 on Tuesday, and neither player scored in Guelph's 3-2 win on Wednesday. Guelph leads the best-of-seven series 3-1;
Jake Paterson is, like Nastasiuk, a game away from being assigned to Grand Rapids. He gave up 10 goals on 33 shots as his Kitchener Rangers were shelled 10-6 by London on Tuesday, yielding a 3-0 series lead for the Knights;
Hello. George here. I've been without internet service for the better part of the last two days (thanks, WOW), so my apologies for the service interrputions, and many thanks to Paul for keeping TMR going.
This note from the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren slipped under the radar yesterday, and I'd hoped to post it earlier today, but it's still worth noting because it's a wonderful summary of the reasons why the Red Wings' coach is the man he was raised to be--mostly by his father, Mike Sr., who passed away on Sunday at 78 years of age:
“The last time I visited him was March 3,” the Red Wings coach said before Tuesday’s game against the Senators. “I always make notes in my phone and there was a note there that said it would be the last time I see to my Dad.”
Babcock says he talked to his father every day following morning skates and now “I’ve got to find somebody else to call.”
At the same time, Babcock says his father is in a better place.
“I’m a guy of faith anyway and since I lost my mom, I pray differently. The same thing is going to happen for Dad. It was time for him to leave. He was struggling. To be honest, as sad as it is, it’s a great, great thing.”
Babcock says his father would not want him to stop working.
“In my family, you’re expected to do your job,” he said. “There are expectations. My Dad would expect me to be doing this and do it to the best of my ability and that’s how you honour him.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Boston, which trailed Detroit by 12 points on March 4, suddenly is two points behind. And while the Red Wings need only stay ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who are five points back, to secure a playoff berth, finishing the season on an upswing and beating a nemesis team would provide a confidence boost.
"It doesn't matter how much we look back we have to look forward," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Try to get energized and get back to playing the way we want to be playing. March has been a bit of a struggle for us. We have to find our legs again. Focus on the things we need to do and do them right."
The Bruins have won three in a row against the Red Wings after Detroit won the season open at home. Including last year's playoff series, Boston has won seven of its past eight against the Red Wings.
"They're a team that plays hard," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. "We know the positions in the standings. We know how important a game it is for us. It'll be fun, a good test."
FYI, George's ISP is having issues again so you have me until he returns.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Zetterberg and Helm took maintenance days. They're good to go tomorrow.
Wings will know tomorrow the status of Datsyuk, Sheahan, Cole and Miller.
added 2:02pm, St. James has more from Miller...
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Drew Miller (facial lacerations) practice today with full face shield.
Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Helm and Cole not skating today. Sheahan is practicing.
Update: George here, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Miller is skating...
Here's DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's note regarding who's in charge...
In Babcock's absence (attending dad's funeral today), assistant coaches Granato, Hiller, Bedard are running #RedWings practice at The Joe.
And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa confirms that there are players taking a maintenance day:
from Michael Niziolek of Mlive,
Coach Mike Babcock wasn't in the mood to take a negative tone about his team following a 2-1 shootout loss to Ottawa Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The coach cut off a line of questioning about whether he was happy with his team's intensity at the start of the game.
"You guys when you're asking me these questions want to be negative more than me," Babcock said, before walking off. "I don't want to do that, so this is what I thought: I thought our team competed real hard. I thought they had more hands on deck than us and I thought they played faster than us. You guys have a good night."
Babcock used most of his postgame remarks to heap praise on a 33-save performance from Petr Mrazeck, a performance that earned the second-year goaltender a vote of confidence as Detroit's starter going forward.
The Red Wings lack of shots, and inability to clear Ottawa out of their zone was less of a concern to the coach than a decreasing number of healthy bodies.
Watch Babcock's post-gme comments below...
About The Malik Report
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.