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Wings enter home-and-home with Chicago on an optimistic note

The Red Wings won't play a true home-and-home series with the Chicago Blackhawks as the Hawks battle the Boston Bruins on Thursday, but Wednesday and Sunday's games against the Hawks (with the former airing on NBCSN) will certainly serve as "measuring stick" games for Detroit.

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned something of a "state of the Wings" article as a lead-up to Wednesday's game:

After that 3-2 overtime victory in Dallas (today is a scheduled day off), Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said he believes the Wings have "a chance to do special things. I like our mix. Now we've got to prove it every day. I can like us as much as I want, but we've got to prove it every day. But I do like our mix, I do like our group."

Pavel Datsyuk delivered the game-winning goal in Dallas, proving again what a difference he's made since regaining his form. Since Jan. 22, the Wings have 49 goals in 17 games, an average of 2.88 that would put them in the top five in the NHL in scoring average.

The Wings expect Petr Mrazek to be able to play Wednesday after being held out Monday because of a tender groin, but if he can't go, Jimmy Howard just showed for a second straight game that he's regained his confidence after a tough two-month stretch. That didn't escape the attention of his teammates.

"It's very important for us, last 20 games, we need points to make playoffs," Datsyuk said. "More important, Jimmy play well and whole team play together."

St. James continues...

Update: Among MLive's Ansar Khan's Wings notes:

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On Osgood and Shanahan, (Michigan Sports) Hall-of-Famers

Via RedWingsFeed, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose asked Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby to weigh in on yesterday night's announcement that Chris Osgood and Brendan Shanahan will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame later this year:

Kirk Maltby said Osgood really showed his mettle in the 1998 Stanley Cup run.

"They were like, ‘Can Ozzie win the big games? Can he take a team to the finals and win?'" Maltby recalled. "We came in here (Dallas) that second year and we went into overtime and (Jamie) Langenbrunner shot a puck from the red line and scored on him. They won the game and next game I think he shut them out. So Ozzie had the ability to let a bad goal roll off his back and forget about it, whether it was a game-winning one or whatever. That’s what allowed him, other than his talent, to be such a great goaltender."

Shanahan became a huge part of the Wings ending the 42-year Stanley Cup drought when the Wings acquired him in a trade.

Maltby remembered the Wings had a game the day of the trade.

"We got him and were waiting for him to get dressed for warmup and the clock was ticking down," Maltby said. "He was ready for game one and ready to go. I sat beside him in the dressing room, our stalls were beside each other, so, I remember his first game. He was obviously embraced by us, his teammates in the organization but obviously the fans as well right from the get go. We traded Keith Primeau and Paul Coffey, a Hall of Famer, so it wasn’t like we didn’t take a risk in bringing a guy in and losing those two guys who were obviously great hockey players in their own right. But like I said, he came in, fit in right away, and was another big piece for us."

Roose continues at extended length

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If you’re going to Wednesday’s game…The Hockeytown Cafe will be closed

FYI:

Here's the Red Wings' press release regarding the situation:

HOCKEYTOWN CAFE CLOSED FOR GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, MARCH 2 & 3

(DETROIT – March 1, 2016) Hockeytown Cafe will be closed Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3 due to the Republican presidential debate. Regular business will resume Friday, March 4 at 4 p.m.

The Republican National Committee and Fox News Channel will host the GOP debate at the Fox Theatre on Thursday, March 3.

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Blackhawks credit 2013 series against Wings for championship runs; Howard talks Wings-Hawks

This may make your stomach turn. It certainly made mine a little queasy, but the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus still delivered a very good read:

Of course, the luxury of hindsight and the embarrassment of riches since make it easier to open up about now. But back then, three long years and seemingly a lifetime ago, when the top-seeded Hawks trailed the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, the fear and pressure and frustration and rage were almost all-consuming. Lips were tight off the ice. Grips were tighter on it.

But the Hawks overcame a meltdown from their captain in Game 4 and won Game 5 at home, 4-1. They overcame a third-period deficit to win Game 6 in Detroit. And then they overcame Hjalmarsson’s no-goal to win, in Toews’ memorable words, “3-1 in overtime.” It was the turning point in the season. And it was the defining moment in the modern history of the franchise.

Hyperbole? Hardly. The Hawks had lost in the first round each of the previous two seasons following their 2010 Stanley Cup run. Coach Joel Quenneville was on the hot seat. General manager Stan Bowman, too. A third straight early exit could have cost one of them his job. The core could have been re-worked, if not dismantled. The Hawks easily could have become the Pittsburgh Penguins — one-Cup wonders, a nucleus of two megastars surrounded by ever-changing teammates, coaches, and management. Instead, their remarkable rally helped forge them into the unflappable, seemingly unkillable team they’ve become.

It all started with Detroit, their most hated rival, their most heated series.

Continued...

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Jimmy Howard regarding playing the Blackhawks on Wednesday:

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Afternoon news: A double-A double-take, trade grades, power rankings and a charitable donut

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Griffins posted a video of Andreas Athanasiou's second goal last night and it's uncanny similarity to a goal that Athanasiou scored against the Charlotte Checkers last year (and Winging It in Motown spotted this first):

2. According to MLive's Brendan Savage, the Red Wings earned a "B" trade grade from Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski despite not making a trade on Monday:

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Wings may be active on the trade front this summer

Among ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's suggestions as to which teams will make summertime trade moves to finish up some loose ends left open at the trade deadline:

Detroit Red Wings

Few teams can live on forever with two No. 1 goalies, especially when it comes time for both to be paid like No. 1 goalies. That's tough in a salary-cap system.

Petr Mrazek is an RFA this summer, and it's time for him to make real money. The question is: do the Red Wings sign him to a long-term deal now, or do they do a bridge deal?

The answer to that question might impact the future of fellow netminder Jimmy Howard. If Mrazek gets an economic bridge deal, maybe the Wings can live on for another year or two with their talented 1-2 punch in goal. If Mrazek gets a more expensive long-term deal, no question the Red Wings have to trade Howard, who has three more years on his deal at a $5.29-million cap hit.

And perhaps Howard is traded no matter what, if for no other reason than he needs a chance to be a No. 1 somewhere else. The Calgary Flames will be among the teams looking for a No. 1 goalie this summer. That's a place to start.

The Red Wings need to re-sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Alexey Marchenko, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen, as well as a host of RFA prospects;

Kyle Quincey, Darren Helm and Brad Richards will be unrestricted free agents, and with Ryan Sproul, Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet, Marchenko and Tomas Nosek out of waiver options (per Ken Holland), the Wings may have to swallow hard and parlay some of those defensive assets into some help up front lest the Wings lose their young defensemen for nothing.

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Nicklas Lidstrom addresses Team Sweden job, Dylan Larkin’s rookie year in ‘5 Questions’ feature

Former Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been helping Team Sweden's management pick their first 16 World Cup roster players, and on Saturday, he spoke with NHL.com's Dan Rosen regarding his current obligations as a possible stepping stone toward managerial work...

Has your involvement with selecting this team made you feel that being a part of Swedish Ice Hockey going forward is a future career path for you?

"I'm enjoying it and someone asked me that question before, and I said I'll go to training camp, I'll go to the tournament and I'll evaluate afterwards to see what I think about it. But so far it's been a lot of fun, especially sitting down with the group of guys and throwing different names around, different lineups and different combinations. I've enjoyed that. That's been fun. Even coming over here and watching the players from upstairs and getting to see their tendencies, I really enjoy that. This is a first step for me, being a part of something like this, where you're part of building a team and getting a chance to learn about the process. We'll see where this will take me, if it will be something I will continue to do or if I just go back to youth hockey again and be part of that. It's still up in the air."

And Lidstrom weighed in on the Wings as well:

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Red Wings-Stars tailings: post-game comments and articles about Howard and Athanasiou

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Red Wings' YouTube channel posted post-game videos of comments made by Jimmy Howard...

Andreas Athanasiou...

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Wings In Transition

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

... one of the teams Florida could play in the first round is the Detroit Red Wings, who made no moves at the deadline. It wasn't that GM Ken Holland swung and missed. He wasn't in the batter's box.

After years of being the guy who sent assets out the door every year, his team is in transition. Stars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are nearing the twilight of their primes, and he has a group of young players who have to show they can accept the torch, just as Datsyuk and Zetterberg took the torch from Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and the Russian Five many years ago.

Fans may not like the static approach to the deadline, but the Wings beat Dallas in overtime Monday for their third straight win and have a shot at the Atlantic Division crown. All without making a splash at the deadline.

Now, can they make a dent in the playoffs against teams that did load up? That's the interesting question.

more from the ESPN crew on the trade deadline for some of the other NHL teams...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Stars wrap-up: Athanasiou, Howard deliver a big win

The Detroit Red Wings' 3-2 OT win over the Dallas Stars was as exciting as it was essential for the now-3rd-in-the-Atlantic-Division Red Wings, and it delivered in terms of entertainment factor as well as bang for the Wings' point-earning buck.

Andreas Athanasiou scored two beautiful goals...

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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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