The Malik Report
This strikes me as very, very odd, but "On Frozen Blog" reports that there may be more to the Red Wings' decision to scratch Todd Bertuzzi than we know:
I don't believe that the Wings want to "shop" their nuclear deterrent--he's just had a rough couple of games since the Winter Classic and needs a kick in the pants.
Update: Well who the hell knows:
I don't believe it. Not for a second. The boss and I tried to get on top of this one and it turned out to be bologna.
The Montreal Canadiens website posted a preview on tonight's game,
“They’re a team that has their own unique style. I have a lot of respect for them; that’s a team that made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons and that’s not easy to do,” explained Therrien, who was at the helm of the Penguins squad that lost to Detroit in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. “That shows what a great job their management and coaching staff is doing over there. It’s an accomplishment to make the playoffs the way the league is now and they’ve managed to consistently earn their spot. They’re strong on the puck and they’re a fast team. The game tonight will be an important one for us and it won’t be an easy one.”
Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front after the morning skate today,
“He’s playing tonight so that’s good for us, good to have him back,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We just have to keep him healthy.”
Alfredsson has missed the last six games with lower-back inflammation.
“It feels great I mean it’s always frustrating to be out and now be able to skate like I have and have no issues it feels great actually,” Alfredsson said after practice. “You work yourself in, definitely keep it simple and short shifts to get into it. You can skate as much as you want in practice but it’s a different pace in game, more physical as well so trying not to get caught out there too long is definitely going to help.”...
“He’s a smart player, knows how to play,” Babcock said. “Helmer’s line struggled last game, so this gives him a chance.”
Alfredsson replaces Todd Bertuzzi in the lineup.
“Why don’t we just talk about the guys that are playing,” Babcock said when asked what he needs to see more out of Bertuzzi.
Howard on the ice in full geat, working with Bedard, Andersson on the ice after 8 days and Weiss is skating too.
Alfredsson wearing a red jersey, may be playing tonight.
added 10:31am, Khan says...
Howard is facing shots, which obviously is a good sign since he said on Tuesday his knee would be re-assessed in a week.
added 10:41am, More Khan,
Based on how they're skating it looks like Alfredsson is back tonight, on line with Helm and Cleary.
Other lines at the skate: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Miller-Glendening-Eaves.
Based on how they're skating it looks like Bertuzzi might be scratched. Datsyuk and Franzen are skating but not ready to play.
added 11:05am, MSM report Kindl still skating, looks to be out again.
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Today was a very optional skate with just a handful of guys taking part.
“We play every second day obviously and so we talked about this quite a few games ago, this is how we’re going to handle ourselves right through until we have a day off coming up,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Just make sure everyone’s ready to go. I didn’t come in here and evaluate yet. If you’re 23 and under and you weren’t on the ice I probably said something but the bottom line is we’ve got to be ready to play tomorrow.”///
Of the injured players, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk took part in the practice.
Babcock won’t know if any of them will be ready to play Friday, but it appears highly unlikely.
“I don’t know he hasn’t done any negotiating with me,” Babcock said when asked about Alfredsson’s status. “I haven’t heard anything about it so we’ll see.
“We’ll talk to tomorrow after we skate,” Babcock continued. “It’s like anything, once you skate and you come back the next day sometimes that’s a little bit different so there’s no sense me making decisions I don’t need to make.”
more on the Wings...
Montreal beat writer Marc Antoine Godin for La Presse tweeted (translated).
Optional training of the Red Wings this afternoon. The injured Daniel Alfredsson, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen are on the ice.
added 12:59pm, Chuck Pleiness tweets,
Alfredsson says he's going to talk to trainers and coaches if he's ready for Friday. Says feels good after a few hard skates.
added 1:09pm, Beat writers report Gustavsson will start again tomorrow night.
added 1:26pm, via Pleiness,
Franzen said today is the first day he hasn't felt foggy since suffering a concussion. Seems very encouraged.
Between having been in attendance for Darren Helm's uncomfortable exchanges with the media last summer and fall, addressing his inability to train during the offseason when he wasn't squirming, and having heard so many NHL'ers insist that offseason training is the fitness foundation that helps them avoid injuries...
I've kind of assumed that Helm was going to bounce from minor injury to minor injury this season, and that Red Wings fans will see the "real Darren Helm" on a much more regular basis next season.
Helm was a difference-maker in the positive sense over the course of the Red Wings' 5-4 shootout win over Chicago despite finishing at -3 on the evening, and the Hockey News's Rory Boylen believes that Helm might have been a Masterton Trophy candidate if his "perseverance and dedication to hockey" wasn't being rewarded with an injury-plagued return to action:
Did my best to offer a quick take regarding the rest of the Red Wings' 5-4 shootout win.
I'm not sure words are adequate to describe how much the Red Wings' 5-4 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks means to the team, to their playoff hopes, to the players' confidence and especially to the seppuku-inclined fan base.
I'm not sure if it will mean much if the Wings don't build upon this game by defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, and the Habs got smacked 5-1 by Pittsburgh.
This game had all the thrills, chills and especially self-inflicted spills of a classic Red Wings-Blackhawks afair (please see the Cleary-Helm-Bertuzzi line ending up at -3 and Smith having an assist on the 2-1 goal and an assist on the Hawks' game-tying goal, and the Wings' 24-and-44 faceoff record for that matter), it had the "dirty" plays and dives and truculence of a playoff affair...
The Red Wings' coach speaks the truth regarding tonight's "Rivalry Night" game between the Wings and Blackhawks (on NBCSN and TSN2 at 8 PM EST), as noted by 97.1 the Ticket's Ashley Dunkak:
The Red Wings, who have been battered with injuries, are 21-18-10 with 52 points in the standings. The Blackhawks are 32-8-11 with 75 points.
“I don’t think we’re holding up our end of the bargain,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Rivalry is when two teams really get after one another. I thought we did last year in the playoffs. We haven’t been a good enough team this year to consider this a rivalry-type game, and yet the past is what the past is. We’ve had a good run with them.
“We used to be where they are,” Babcock reflected, “and now they’re where we were.”
Instead, as both Jimmy Howard and Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji after Tuesday's practice, the Wings are looking up at their immediate rivals--the other teams battling for a "wild card" spot in the Eastern Conference standings:
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