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The Malik Report

Mr. Hockey continues to improve as ‘last public appearance’ draws near

Gordie Howe, his sons Mark, Marty and Murray, his daughter Kathy and the extended Howe family--Wayne Gretzky included--will be attending a combination dinner to raise funds for the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon and something of an impromptu family reunion on February 6th. The event was billed as Howe's final public appearance, but Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave reports that Dr. Murray Howe believes that his father's post-stem cell replacement progress may yield more public appearances.

In any case, Howe is more like himself than he's been in a significant period of time, and that's what matters:

The 86-year-old hockey legend is now stick-handling beanbag pucks around his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas. He can throw and catch a football with either hand (like he could before a serious stroke on Oct. 26 robbed him of mobility along most of the right side of his body).

He can form short sentences, respond accurately to basic questions and tell "little three-minute stories," son Murray Howe said. Recently, Gordie pushed a shopping cart around the grocery store. And on another day, he and Murray walked about a half-mile at a local mall -- stopping several times for short breaks.

And best of all, Gordie Howe absolutely knows who he is as well as his role in the hockey universe. Ask him about "Mr. Hockey," Murray said, and Gordie points to himself.

So the Saskatoon appearance, once thought to be impossible because of his poor health, is definitely on. Howe will travel from Lubbock to Saskatoon in a private jet and sit among other VIPs for the 55th Annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner before a sold-out crowd.

Gave continues at extended length, and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff has more...

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Practice post: Jurco iffy for Tuesday tilt, Howard traveling w/ team; Panthers need 4-point game

Updated 2x at 7:47 PM: The Red WIngs took part in a less-than-revelatory afternoon practice in Taylor prior to flying to Miami to take on the Panthers (Tuesday @ 7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus) and Lightning (Thursday @ 7:30 PM EST on FSD).

Ahead of a trio of "trap games" (Saturday's home tilt against the Islanders included) and a very early 4 PM-scheduled flight for the Wings, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and the Free Press's George Sipple added some intriguing twists to the mix.

Sipple revealed that Jimmy Howard's going to travel with the Wings...

Jimmy Howard said he skated for 15 minutes today and will go on trip.


Howard said he hasn't watched replay of injury.


Sounds like Jimmy Howard is still a couple weeks away from playing.

And that Tomas Jurco may or may not supplant Daniel Cleary from the Pulkkinen-and-Franzen-less lineup:

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Practice Tweets: Wings get back to work minus Howard

Updated 2x at 2:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings got back on the ice a little late, but they did return to work on Monday afternoon--ahead of a week of "trap games," starting with tomorrow night's tilt against the Kryptonite, I mean Florida Panthers (7:30 PM on FSD Plus)--and I'd gather that they're practicing in Taylor because the Joe was used for the auto show.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the Wings' goaltending situation remains the same for the present moment...

No sign of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard on the ice at Taylor SportsPlex. It's Mrazek, McCollum and Gustavsson.

Xavier Ouellet on the ice. That most likely means Kindl still isn't ready to play and Ouellet will be in the lineup Tuesday in Florida.

(I'm just glad that Ouellet's sore wrist has healed faster than Kindl's elbow)

Tomas Jurco on ice. In White.

White jersey = bottom-couple lines jerseys, red = top lines jerseys, black = defensemen, goalies, gray = no-contact.

And this, we've talked about:

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A rare speculatory post: Are concussions catching up to Johan Franzen?

So Wings fans are having a discussion on Twitter, and I suppose it's worth discussing here as well.

You know I don't like speculation--I'd rather discuss facts and educated guesses, and issue an honest, "I don't know" when we delve into the land of speculation, but now is as good a time as any to have this conversation.

Mike Richards is on waivers with a nearly immovable contract, and in a month, we might be calling what's happening with Richards (Kings tried to trade him, could find no takers) the "treatment" given to a waived, AHL-bound Jakub Kindl...

The 29-year-old Richards has "comparables" in terms of duration of contract and inconsistencies in one Johan Franzen, who's signed through the 2019-20 season (per SporTrac), and at 35, has increasingly missed time due to concussion-related issues over the past 3 years.

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The Red Wings’ ‘Western Canadian’ road trip video chronicle concludes with ‘Calgary’

The Red Wings have posted the fourth and final installment of Dan Mannes and Kyle Gajewski's videos chronicling the team's Western Canadian road trip, and as so many of you have stated, while these videos are of brief duration, they're sure as hell better than anything from the 24/7 experiment. Far, far, far superior quality and quantity here:

Off to Vancouver!

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The District Detroit’s about more than a rink

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of all publications examined the Wings' rink-and-entertainment district "from afar," and the Journal-Sentinel's Don Walker penned the article to serve as a compare-and-contrast situation to the Milwaukee Bucks' push for a new, partially publicly-subsidized arena.

This part, we haven't talked about, and yes, it's worth posting on a hockey blog:

Once the housing and other development is built, will people come?

Robert Gibbs, president of Gibbs Planning Group, an urban retail planning consulting firm in suburban Birmingham, Mich., says there is a strong market in the downtown area for entertainment, restaurants and what he calls community service retail outlets like Target.

"Within five miles of the project, there are 300,000 people," he said. "A lot of people who live in that area have to drive to the suburbs for shopping," Gibbs said.

"There is no doubt Detroit is on a roll," added [Olympia Development's Steve] Marquardt. "The city and district are well positioned for growth in the years to come. People will be drawn to the district because they have high interest in the area."

"In general, it's a desert there for certain services," said Castaneda-Lopez.

Walker continues, and while the rink is most likely to be the one part of the project built by the summer of 2017--mostly because the surrounding economic development will probably be delayed due to City, County and State finaggling--but it's that surrounding development and the realization of the "neighborhoods" promised when Comerica Park was built that will tell us whether the $650 million investment is really worth it.

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Hello out there, we’re back on the air

Today is both a practice day for the Wings and the first day "back at work" for me in three-and-a-half weeks. I know that some of you aren't thrilled when I talk about my health, but I weathered one of the worst depressive episodes I've had in a couple of years (and don't worry, you can scroll on down to actual hockey talk).

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This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week

1. Florida sliding out of playoff contention

The New York Rangers, Washington and Boston have distanced themselves from Florida in recent weeks. The Panthers (20-14-10) are winless in four (0-3-1) and are seven points behind the Capitals and Bruins for the final wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Panthers have won both meetings this season from the Red Wings (4-3 and 3-2 in a shootout, both at Joe Louis Arena). Florida is 5-2-0 vs. Detroit since the start of last season, winning three times in a shootout.

Florida has difficulty scoring, with only two players in double figures in goals - Nick Bjugstad (15) and Jimmy Hayes (13).

2. Division lead on the line in Tampa Bay?

Thursday's game at Tampa Bay could be for the Atlantic Division lead, at least temporarily.

Tampa Bay (30-14-4) has won three in a row and is 10-3-0 in its past 13, but leads the Red Wings by only one point.

read on

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Gave: Wings don’t expect Howard or Gustavsson to return until early February

The Red Wings' situation in goal isn't particularly complicated over the short haul. According to Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave, Jimmy Howard (groin) and Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) are at least a week or two out, so Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum will continue to take the reins for the next week or two...

"With Gustavsson, the plan right now is for him to practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then we'll sit down on Thursday and have a conversation about what to do," [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland said, acknowledging that if Gustavsson is cleared to play there's a good chance he'll get a game or two with Grand Rapids before returning to the Detroit roster.

"With Howard, we're hoping he's to a point where he could do some off-ice work with our trainers," Holland said. "He just had five days off for the All-Star break. If he didn't go to Florida, he'd be looking at 9-10 days by himself. I would think he'd come with us so we can slowly start ramping him up."

And as such, Jared Coreau and Pat Nagle will tend the net in Grand Rapids. That works for now, as Gave notes...

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Red Wings TV posts parts 2 and 3 of Western Canadian chronicle

The Red Wings posted an "opener" of a behind-the-scenes set of videos that will chronicle their Western Canadian road trip on Friday...

Yesterday, they posted a behind-the-scenes clip of the team's visit to Vancouver...

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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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