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Red Wings-Lightning game-day quickie: Gustavsson starts, Abdelkader to return vs. Bolts

The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning aren't holdig game-day skates ahead of today's kind-of-sort-of matinee game (5 PM EDT on FSD, Sun Sports ,97.1 FM), but we know that Jonas Gustavsson will start today, per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

And it's going to be interesting to see which player might sit to accommodate the return of a player the Free Press's Helene St. James reports will rejoin the lineup this afternoon:

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Red Wings morning ramble: on the youth movement and ‘going forward’

I'm not up to full speed yet (had a bit of setback), but I really adored this quip from a certain coach who, you and I have been told, both wanted Daniel Cleary back and did indeed tell the media that the "veterans" would win roster battles by default when some five-and-a-half months ago--made after the Wings' 4-2 win over Toronto, to the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan, and said almost in passing after discussing Darren Helm's hat trick (scoresheet here for Curly Fries):

“You look at [David] Bolland for them,” Babcock said. “Bolland is not close to the player he normally is. You miss the whole year, you come back, you are not quite the player. Whether it is conditioning, timing, just feeling good ... Helmer had a big night. It helps his confidence and it helps us. Can (Helm) get his game back? I am sure. I don’t know how long it is going to take.

“Injuries are a part of hockey. We have been devastated this year, no question about it. But we found all these kids, and we are better for it going ahead, and that is a positive thing. We have had a lot of fun doing it.”

If you want to read Helm's teammates' take on his game, MLive's Ansar Khan provides for your needs...

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: Helm, Howard and Wings earn their must-win win


It took the Red Wings a full period to pull their heads out of their asses--after dropping 3 straight games--but the boys in red, the boys of the terrible power play and self-defeating tendencies and baffling drop pass syndrome--managed to both rid themselves of some bad habits, put the Maple Leafs out of the playoff hunt and at least keep pace with those Gosh-Dang-*#$%@& Blue Jackets in the Wild Card race, eventually defeating Toronto 4-2 thanks to a hat trick by Darren Helm, a superb 26-save performance by Jimmy Howard and Brendan Smith, and display of grit between the ears that I truly thought had left the team sometime after the trade deadline.

The Wings now have to go home and try to beat Valtteri Filppula's speedy Bolts, who defeated Buffalo 4-3 on Dominik Hasek jersey retirement night, and the Wings still have to win the majority of their 8 games remaining to hope to both keep pace with Columbus (which owns the regulation or OT win tiebreaker with 33 to Detroit's 29) and stay ahead of Washington (80 points and 25 ROWs to the Wings' 29) in the Wild Card Race...

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Wings Are Planning On A Fast Start

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings are focused on getting off to a good start - something they failed to do Thursday against Montreal - and on playing tighter defensively after allowing nine goals the last two games.

“You can’t give up as many goals as we’ve been giving up and have success,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We’ve got to be better on the back end, better in net, and obviously more efficient up front.”

Helm has been moved up to the top line because Legwand has struggled the past stretch; the hope is Helm can use his speed to help his talented wingers. “We just want him to play simple hockey, take care of the puck, and get on the forecheck,” Babcock said. “The guys he’s playing with are different type of players that he normally plays with, but the reality is, he’s just got to do his job.”

Smith, a native of the area who estimated he’d have a dozen people at the game, laughed when asked after the morning skate how dangerous the Leafs might be.

“Extremely dangerous,” he said. “It’s like that wounded bear that you can’t put down for the last little bit, and they have a lot of extra power. You’ve got to make sure that you come out hard, because right now, it’s kind of do-or-die for them. It’s going to be a very difficult game.

“Everything I hear on the radio, it’s ruthless. It’ll be interesting to see what the atmosphere is like, and it’s going to be fun. It’s such a big game.”


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I Wonder Who The Chinese Hockey Fans Will Be Rooting For Tonight?

And at this point in time, the only news coming out of Toronto after the Wings skated today.  Via Khan,

Abdelkader (leg laceration) said he feels much better and there's a chance he could play tomorrow vs. Tampa Bay.

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Video- “The Winged Wheel Isn’t Flat”

Jim Hughson of Hockey Night in Canada on the Detroit Red Wings.


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Hey Keep It Down

from Mike Martindale of the Detroit News,

Two of the Detroit Red Wings’ most popular and talented players could face eviction because of complaints by neighbors in their condominum complex about their noisy late-night activities.

The Main Street Lofts Condominium Association have filed a lawsuit in Oakland Circuit Court seeking an injunction against Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar requiring them to comply with the association's rules or "vacate the premises."

Helm, 27, is on the record as co-owner of the condo but is believed to have moved out. Tatar, 23, is his tenant and resides in the third-floor unit.


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Datsyuk Skates Again…

Datsyuk skated before practice today.

I will update this post with any news from the Wings's morning practice which is about to begin.

added 11:59am, via Bill Roose tweet,

Datsyuk has returned to the ice and it appears that he'll practice for the first time with the full #RedWings squad here at JLA.

added 12:11pm, via Khan,

Wings lines at practice: Franzen-Helm-Nyquist, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Legwand-Alfredsson, Miller-Glendening-Bertuzzi.

Khan adds defense remains the same.

added 12:14pm, from Pleiness,

Datsyuk working in with the top lines, while Abdelkader rotating in with the bottom two lines.

added 1:09pm, via Khan,

Babcock confirms Howard starting tomorrow. No lineup changes. They have no extra healthy players. Datsyuk not ready to play.

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Red Wings-Canadiens quick take: self-inflicted wounds blow the Wings’ game in hand

The Red Wings did their damnedest to lose to the Montreal Canadiens, and while the game-winning goal in the Wings' 5-4 loss was both offsides by a foot and deflected...

Jimmy Howard and Niklas Kronwall (-3) will receive most of the blame for a game in which very few of their teammates not named Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan or Tomas Jurco showed up (though Daniel Alfredsson, sporting the stitched-together-glove-fingers of a broken digit on his right hand, attempted to aid the cause), where the defense was spotty at best, the Wings' power play was a mess, even when Babcock attempted to shuffle the lines to kick-start the offense, the players couldn't or wouldn't buy in...

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Video- Babcock After Practice

And the Wings too...


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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.



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