The Malik Report
Amongst the pre-practice articles of Wings-related note:
ESPN's Scott Burnisde weighed in on the Wings' suddenly perlious grip upon a playoff spot in ESPN's daily "Pucks Central" survey of the previous night's games...
@ESPN_Burnside: Forget the suddenly fearsome Bruins. Maybe the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers should be setting their sights on the reeling Red Wings in their desperate bids to crack the top eight in the Eastern Conference. Both the Sens and the Panthers were winners Thursday -- Ottawa nipping the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 and Florida crushing the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 -- but the interesting dynamic was Boston's 3-2 come-from-behind win (do they win any other way these days?) over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, the fourth straight win for the B's. The win moves the Bruins into a tie with Detroit at 93 points, although Detroit has a game in hand. The Sens are three points back of both Boston and Detroit with five games to go. Florida's situation is bleaker, six back with four to play. If you're Ottawa, you have to be hoping Detroit continues to go sideways in their remaining games, which include dates with playoff-bound the playoff-bound Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens, although they do have two softies (on paper at, least) against Carolina. The Wings have one win in their last six games and play three of five on the road to close out the season, while the Senators are also on the road for three of their last five. Stay tuned, folks.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman proffered a trade rumor among three Wings-related "thoughts"...
Well here we are:
Detroit's 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday has yielded an absolute mess in the standings.
The Wings, who play the Wild in Minnesota on Saturday, the Capitals on Sunday, Carolina on Tuesday the 7th, in Montreal on Thursday the 9th and in Carolina on Saturday the 11th, need to make hay despite the thunder and rain.
With a game in hand on Boston and 4 Regulation-or-Overtime Wins on the Senators, the Red Wings absolutely must win the majority of their 5 remaining games to plain old make the playoffs, and they're going to "need some help" from Boston and Ottawa's opponents to finish 3rd in the Atlantic.
At least one Michigan pro hockey team is getting the job done. Per the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS CLINCH BERTH IN 2015 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday, while idle, clinched a berth in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, courtesy of Hamilton’s 2-4 regulation loss versus Chicago and Adirondack’s 4-5 regulation loss at San Antonio.
By clinching, Jeff Blashill became the first coach in franchise history to qualify for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons – Bruce Cassidy, Danton Cole and Greg Ireland each made back-to-back playoff appearances. Furthering his accolades, Blashill also recently became the first coach in franchise history to lead the Griffins to three 90-point seasons with Wednesday’s 6-1 rout of the Rockford IceHogs.
The theory going into this game is that it was the, "Game of the year." Games of the year obviously occur in the playoffs, not the regular season, but the Red Wings' playoff fate may have been determined by tonight's game, so let's say it was the "game of the regular season." Maybe.
Prior to the game, the theory among the fatalistic bunch that is the Red Wings fan base was that the Bruins were pretty dang likely to tie the Wings for 3rd in the Atlantic this evening, and then that the Wings were going to continue sliding in April to the point that a Wild Card spot was the most likely outcome, if Wings fans were lucky.
Hell, I was getting nervous about FSD jinxing "the streak" by focusing on it during the pregame (the game's "bigness" may also have had something to do with being on FSD, NBCSN, Sportsnet 360, TVA Sports and NESN), and now I'm really nervous, because Boston defeated Detroit 3-2--via an EPIC third-period collapse--and now the teams are tied in points.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
McCOLLUM NAMED GRIFFINS’ 2014-15 IOA/AMERICAN SPECIALTY AHL MAN OF THE YEAR
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins are proud to announce that Tom McCollum has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Grand Rapids community during the 2014-15 season.
This season, McCollum helped found the TLC Club (Tommy and Lando Care Club), which provides Griffins season tickets to the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids in order to help spread the fervor for hockey throughout West Michigan. On his own accord, he also conducted a free one-hour clinic in February for more than a dozen 4th-to-12th grade goalies from the Griffins Youth Foundation, with help from teammate Jared Coreau. After the on-ice session, they held a 30-minute Q&A with the goalies and their parents. McCollum is just the second two-time IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year nominee in the Griffins’ 19 seasons, joining current Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.
via the Boston Bruins,
With the Eastern Conference playoff race heating up, the Bruins are set for a tough matchup against the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Update: And here's the Red Wings' game day preview:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will thank the fans of Hockeytown by hosting its annual ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.when the Red Wings take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the final regular season home game of the 2014-15 campaign.
Fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena for Tuesday’s game, along with those following the Red Wings social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) and fans who subscribe to the team’s text alerts, will be eligible to win exciting giveaways, prizes and unique Red Wings experiences. In addition, FOX Sports Detroit, which has exclusive broadcast rights to Tuesday’s game, will also be issuing prizes to lucky fans during the game through its Twitter account.
"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":
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.