The Malik Report
Updated 8x at 2:36 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) delivered a thoroughly mixed bag of news. The beat writers reported that Petr Mrazek will start for Detroit; they also reported that Mike Green will miss tonight's game with a sore groin, and that Jakub Kindl will come into the lineup as a result.
The Miami Herald's George Richards also reported that Al Montoya will start for the Panthers this evening, and Richards noted that Little Caesars hockey grad Vincent Trocheck earned a nod from the NHL:
#FlaPanthers Vincent Trocheck named NHL third star of the week...3-3, 6 in three games.
Al Montoya confirmed for #FlaPanthers at #RedWings
#FlaPanthers D Erik Gudbranson is not on this road trip.
From the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov:
Update: Mike Green is out with a sore groin.
The Red Wings will attempt to snap a 5-game winless streak against the Florida Panthers this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM). Winning tonight's game is absolutely essential for the Wings to climb back into the Atlantic Division's playoff picture, and it could mean the difference between placing themselves within striking distance of the Panthers or ensuring that Florida wins the division.
The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:40 for the morning skate, per the Wings...
#RedWings morning skate. #LGRW https://vine.co/v/i1HPuHi2wVW
.@pmrazek34 first goalie off at morning skate. #RedWings #FLAvsDET
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They need to start racking up points at home and they have a good opportunity this week with four games.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Looking to cool off Panthers
The Red Wings face Atlantic Division-leading Florida for the second time in five days on Monday (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit Plus). The Panthers have won five of six from Detroit, including both meetings this season. They have gone 23-6-2 following an 8-9-4 start....
Florida's power play has converted in five consecutive games (8 for 22).
The Panthers, behind goaltender Roberto Luongo, lead the league in goals-against average (2.21).
2. Athanasiou here to stay?
Will Andreas Athanasiou remain in the lineup permanently? That depends on his performance.
Saturday was a good start. Called up for the second time this season, Athanasiou centered a line with Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, provided an assist and posted a plus-2 rating while logging a team-low 9:48.
His speed and offensive upside make him an upgrade over Joakim Andersson. Athanasiou can also kill penalties.
When Niklas Kronwall comes off long-term injured reserve in another week or 10 days, the club must send either Andersson or Athanasiou back to Grand Rapids.
The Red Wings will attempt to defeat the Florida Panthers for the first time in 3 tries this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM), and the Wings will do so with their memories fresh from last Thursday's 6-3 Panthers romp.
Put simply, this is a game that the Red Wings have to win if they are to get back into the thick of the Atlantic Division standings, never mind close their 8-point deficit on the Atlantic-leading Panthers. With today's game and a March 19th meeting left in the teams' season series, Detroit can considerably close the gulf between themselves and the Panthers, or Detroit can all but ensure that it will be playing for 2nd or 3rd in the division.
The Wings enter tonight's game having won at home for the first time in 7 tries on Saturday against the Islanders; Florida, which has won 5 straight games against the Wings and 5 straight games at the Joe, is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Much of the Panthers' story is likely to focus upon Little Caesars graduate and 22-year-old center Vincent Trocheck, who's become a valuable contributor, as the Sun-Sentinel's Alain Poupart notes:
Answer Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans.
The first question was regarding Jimmy Howard.
Mrazek is their No. 1 goalie – now and into the future. Even if Howard regains his mojo they're not going back to the rotation they used much of the first half of the season.
Mrazek, a restricted free agent, will get a sizable raise on his next contract. They can't have a back-up with a $5.3 million cap hit next season, and I'm sure Howard doesn't want to be a back-up. So the only option is to trade him after the season.
That's easier said than done when you have three years and nearly $16 million remaining and you've struggled like Howard has.
In order to move him, the Red Wings could retain a portion of his contract. But instead of paying somebody to take him perhaps a more likely scenario would be the Red Wings taking back somebody else's unwanted contract, though not with that large a cap hit.
And even then, the list of teams seeking a highly paid starting goalie who has been off his game can't be long. Calgary, Buffalo and Winnipeg might be on the short list of clubs looking for a No. 1.
more Q & A...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Russia has proven to be fertile soil for NHL scouts over the past 30 years, nurturing some of the most skilled and creative players in the game today. The pipeline of talent continues to flow, providing nearly 60 players over the past five NHL drafts, including 17 in 2015 alone. While not all of those selected will make the cut, here are a dozen who are worth watching.
Evgeny Svechnikov, wing, Detroit Red Wings
A multi-faceted winger blessed with a complete skill set, Svechnikov is on track to becoming a solid top-six winger for Detroit. Size (6'2", 205 pounds) and skating are his prime assets, making him tough for defenses to handle off the rush. He’ll probably be more of a playmaker at the NHL level, but he’s shown some finishing touch in the QMJHL, scoring 54 goals in 90 career games.
more Russian players listed...
The Red Wings and Islanders endured a strange scenario during Saturday's matinee game. My understanding of the situation was that one of the Wings' Zambonis picked up a bolt that helps hold the "Marsh Pegs" in place, gouging a rut in the ice, and it took about 35 minutes for Al Sobotka and the ice crew to fix the error:
MLive's Brendan Savage offers one last look at the situation, noting that Henrik Zetterberg and John Tavares had to sign off on the ice conditions before play resumed:
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Gosh …every time I flick the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty probably [smiles], it’s embarrassing.”
Strangest Game: “Let’s see … a strangest game I thought was in the playoffs when Ovi had a hat trick and Crosby had a hat trick in the same game. So it was pretty strange. I mean that doesn’t happen very often.”
Favorite Uniforms: “Probably Red Wings, here, I would say, yeah.”
FTR: Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray found this video last night....
Update: And it's been removed by the uploader!
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
"I don't think Larkin is carrying our guys," Blashill said. "I think he's a good piece of the puzzle. He's like (Andreas Athanasiou). He can self-generate, which is rare in the league, but when you have that kind of speed, and then he's got some pretty good deception to him. I thought the goal he scored he looked off the pass and then shot it.
"But I don't think by any stretch he's carrying us. For us to be successful we're going to have to be a great team. I think starting at the top with our leadership we have the opportunity to do that and that's what we're going to have to be."
Larkin has been the Red Wings' most consistent offensive threat all season after reporting to training camp with his likely destination being Detroit's top farm team in Grand Rapids of the AHL.
He's had at least one point in 31 of the 51 games he's played, leads the Red Wings with 18 goals and 37 points, and shares the NHL lead with a plus-25 rating.
Of the 20 games in which Larkin failed to register a point, the Red Wings have lost 16 in regulation, overtime or a shootout.
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.