The Malik Report
From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
What shocked me the most when I first set out to write the 50 Greatest Red Wings was that no one had been bold or foolish enough to previously undertake this endeavour. As with any list, the contents are always open to debate. These are my rankings. They don’t have to be yours. Here’s a rundown of my top five Red Wings of all-time and why I slotted them where I did.
#2 surprised the heck out of me:
2. Nicklas Lidstrom: No. 2 with a bullet aimed directly at me by some among the Red Wings faithful who see no one else in this spot other than Steve Yzerman. Well, here’s why I slotted Lidstrom ahead of Yzerman in a close call. The seven-time Norris Trophy winner was considered the best defenceman of his generation and if you were ranking the 50 greatest defencemen, Lidstrom would be near the top of the heap. Yzerman was never considered the best centre during his NHL days, playing in the shadows of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. To put an end to the debate, it was Yzerman who called Lidstrom the best player he ever played with. Case closed.
Updated 3x at 3:29 PM: The Red Wings conducted a short practice on Friday, reuniting the Eurotwins ahead of Saturday's game with Nashville and bringing Joakim Andersson and Tomas Jurco back into the lineup due to Drew Miller and Teemu Pulkkinen's injuries.
We begin this "practice article" post with a few more Tweets, from the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Petr Mrazek starting Saturday.
And MLive's Ansar Khan:
Blashill said Mrazek starting and same defense tomorrow. So Kindl remains out.
Khan posted a video of Blashill's off-day comments regarding Pulkkinen and Miller's injuries...
I've read some very strange takes today, and while I believe that the sky is the limit for Dylan Larkin, I think that the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy is putting the cart before the horse here, suggesting that Dylan Larkin is "the next Jonathan Toews":
[T]he big question is whether Larkin can follow the same career path. Toews spent two years at the University of North Dakota before bursting on the scene with Chicago in 2007-08. He didn’t win the Calder Trophy – it went to Hawks teammate Patrick Kane instead – but Toews was named to an All-Rookie Team that also included Carey Price and Nicklas Backstrom.
Larkin played one year of college at Michigan and his numbers were practically identical to what Toews did as a sophomore in Grand Forks (he entered UND a year early). It’s still too early to call this year’s Calder race, but Chicago’s Artem Panarin is in the driver’s seat. Arizona’s Max Domi is another strong candidate, but Larkin is right up there too.
Toews put up about .84 points per game as a 19-year-old rookie, while Larkin’s pace is slightly less than that at .73. But Toews’ squad wasn’t a playoff team just yet, while this year’s Red Wings are in a good spot: Larkin’s crew sits second on the Atlantic Division right now and as we’ve already established, the kid has been a driver for success.
Naturally, Larkin must sustain his current success to even be in the same conversation as Toews and he is only 26 games into his NHL career. But I’ve seen the fire and I’ve seen what he can accomplish. We’ve already had the office conversation about whether Larkin, who was picked 15th overall in 2014, should have gone first overall that year (Aaron Ekblad is the apple to his orange, since Ekblad is already a very good defenseman for Florida).
With Zetterberg and Datysuk still playing major roles in Detroit, the Red Wings once again have a great succession plan in place. Because we are just seeing the beginning of what Dylan Larkin can mean to Detroit and the NHL as a whole.
Here's a play-by-play of Tomas Tatar's "Twitterview" via the Red Wings' Twitter account:
The Red Wings hit the ice to prepare for Saturday's opponent, the Nashville Predators, just after noon on Friday...
Amidst the news that Drew Miller and Teemu Pulkkinen will be out for 6-8 weeks apiece with a broken jaw and dislocated shoulder, respectively, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirmed:
Miller broken jaw and Pulkkinen shoulder dislocation
Miller and Pulkkinen both out about 6 weeks....
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirmed as well:
Per Wings GM Ken Holland: Miller out fractured jaw. Surgery Saturday. Out 6 weeks. Pulkkinen dislocated shoulder. Sidelined 6-8 weeks.
As a result, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
Here are the hits:
‘Three Things’: Extended Wings-Yotes highlights, praise for the Winged Wheel and cracking ‘Super 16’
Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. AWood40 posted an extended highlight clip from last night's 5-1 win over Arizona:
2. The Wings' uniform was picked as the 6th-best "sweater" in the Hockey News's "Top 50 Jersey" rankings:
[W]hat if I told you that Datsyuk is in fact probably buoying this recent run of success in Detroit to an almost unbelievable extent?
Let's start with the very, very basic numbers. Without Datsyuk in their first 15 games, the Red Wings went 8-6-1, with two of those wins in overtime. That's a pace for just 92.3 points, which isn't getting the job done, and stoked fears that the Detroit playoff streak was coming to an end. With Datsyuk in their next 10 games, the Red Wings went 5-2-3, with all but one of their wins coming outside regulation, but it was still a pace for 106.6 points.
That put them at 13-8-4 as a club, and a pace for 98.4 points. Which sounds like just about what most people probably should have expected coming into the season.
More numbers: The Wings overall goal differential through 15 games was a poor minus-2 (34 for, 36 against). Since Datsyuk's return, it's still minus-2 (26 for, 28 against). And while that's still not ideal, it shows the Wings have increased their scoring even as the goaltending struggled.
But on a more granular level, it's clear that the team is both quickly adapting to new coach Jeff Blashill's system — which is slightly different from that of Mike Babcock, but apparently different enough that things weren't coming to them easily — and benefiting significantly from the return of their still-No. 1 center.
The Red Wings have posted a reminder regarding the Salvation Army Kettle Bell-Ringing competition this evening...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard liked what he saw nearly 200 feet away at the other end of the ice Thursday.
His teammates peppered the opposing goaltenders with shots, which enabled them to equal a season-high goal total.
A team that was starved for scoring and struggled to get shots on goal has come alive. The Red Wings defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-1 at Joe Louis Arena and have gained points in nine consecutive games (6-0-3).
The Red Wings outshot the Coyotes 44-27. They have scored nine goals and amassed 90 shots in their past two games.
"Early in the season we were having a little bit of an issue clicking offensively and getting shots on net," Howard said. "The last couple of games we've gone 40-plus, making other goalies work. When you're getting those opportunities, more often than not you're going to find the back of the net. That's going to lead to W's for us."
added 7:57am, Extended game highlights are 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.