The Malik Report
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Here's how the Red Wings fared this week.
• ESPN.com: Third, up from ninth. What they're saying: "How much fun is this race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division? The Wings have won 12 of 16 and are tied with the Canadiens, a point back of the Lightning."
• FoxSports.com: Fifth, up from seventh. What they're saying: "Detroit won its sixth straight - all without goalie Jimmy Howard - to move into first place in the Atlantic Division. Will the Wings make a trade for a defenseman to bolster their playoff run?
• NHL.com: Fifth, up from eighth. What they're saying: "The Red Wings continue to be the masters of suffocating shot attempts. Detroit is allowing 3.2 fewer per 60 minutes than second-stingiest Tampa Bay. For an idea of how clustered the middle is in this area, that's about the difference between 6th and 19th."
• The Hockey News: Fourth, down from second. What they're saying: "Pavel Datsyuk went head-to-head against John Tavares Saturday and shut down one of the hottest scorers in the NHL in a 4-1 win. The only blemish on their record recently was a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Lightning. Coming up: A huge test for the Wings comes in February when they play nine of 11 on the road. They're just 12-8-3 away from Joe Louis Arena."
• CSN New England: Seventh, down from fourth. What they're saying: "Five wins in a row without Jimmy Howard going into the All-Star break confirms that Mike Babcock's crew are playoff-caliber at all the other spots on the roster. They could still use a right shot D, however."
more weekly rankings...
WDIV aired the following story regarding Mr. Hockey, and, well...It's pretty moving, and it's also an indication that Dr. Murray Howe wants the world to know that he's got his dad's genes (sleeveless scrubs in winter?). Great stuff from WDIV's Hank Winchester:
The transcript is available as well...
Doctors Roger and Maynard Howe, who have no relation to Gordie but are huge hockey fans, thought their adult stem cell treatment could bring Mr. Hockey back to life.
"One of our employees, Dave McGuigan who is our vice president, had worked originally for the Detroit Red Wings and so he knew the Howe family," said Dr. Roger Howe, of Stemedica. "So we approached Dave one day and asked him if he could reach out to the family and find out if they might be interested in having Gordie enrolled in an approved clinical trial where he could be treated for his stroke condition with Stemedica cells."
Murray said the family discussed it together.
"This is definitely something we should consider, you know, for our dad, really because at this point we have nothing to lose," he said.
It required flying an almost lifeless Gordie Howe from his daughter's house in Texas to San Diego. Then he had to travel to Mexico, where the clinical trial already was underway. Just hours after the stem cells were injected, Gordie showed a new sign of life.
"I said, 'Dad, you can't walk,' and he said, 'The hell I can't,'" said Murray.
The one thing that's utterly freaked me out while trying to get my legs back under me is the month of prospect stuff I missed. Part of me wants to go back and offer a digest of every single game that every single player participated in over the past month, but that's probably unrealistic.
As such, I'm going to try to give you some per-player context on an as-we-encounter them basis, and that begins with 3 games played today:
In the Champions Hockey League, Mattias Janmark registered a shot on goal and played on the 3rd line as the Frolunda Indians dropped the CHL final, surrendering a 2-0 lead and eventually dropping a 4-2 decision to Lulea, their SHL rival. These games are technically exhibition affairs, but bragging rights were on the line here.
Updated 2x at 9:53 PM: I have a 7:30 AM appointment with a snowplow and moving two cars so that plow can clear the 2-4 inches of snow that's going to fall in the condo complex's parking lot this evening, so I'm just going to go with an "early overnight report" tonight and amend it as necessary.
1. First, to answer a question I posited, WXYZ's Tom Leyden Tweeted that yes, Sergei Fedorov is going to be attending his induction into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on February 12th:
2. If you missed it, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun checked with his sources about Oliver Ekman-Larsson's availability during ESPN's weekly writers' chat, and he's not available, period, so shift your trade deadline speculation, Wings fans;
3. Regarding the present-day Red Wings and Tuesday's practice happenings, the Wings leave for Denver and a two-game Fathers' Trip (against the Avs on Thursday and Coyotes on Saturday), and I was quite surprised--pleasantly so--to hear and read Wings coach Mike Babcock get downright mushy about the trip's importance, as noted by CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak:
Murray Howe spoke with the NHL Live for 13 minutes on Monday night, discussing his father's condition and the stem cell treatment that's made a dramatic impact upon his father's quality of life; tonight, WDIV will air a special report about Gordie that will include footage of Howe at his daughter Kathy's home in Lubbock, TX at 11 PM this evening.
In the interim, the Free Press's George Sipple reports that Gordie is officially making the trip to Saskatoon to attend Friday's Kinsmen's Dinner with his immediate and extended family, as well as Wayne Gretzky:
Murray Howe told the Free Press in a telephone interview Tuesday he was heading back to Lubbock on Wednesday to help accompany his father, along with other family members, to Saskatoon for the public appearance.
Gordie Howe's younger brother, Vic, who played for the New York Rangers, died Saturday at age 85 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Murray Howe said Gordie would not be able to attend his brother's funeral, but would be with two sisters, Helen and Vi, while in Saskatoon and the family would gather there for a memorial service for their brother.
Although the event in Saskatoon had been planned for more than a year, the Howe family told organizers in August that Gordie probably wouldn't be able to attend because of declining health. They definitely didn't think he'd be able to attend following a series of strokes that he had in the months that followed.
But Howe has made a drastic recovery, to the point that family members told the organizers "if there's an extra chair for him, he thinks he can make it."
Sipple continues at extended length, discussing the treatment Gordie underwent and allowing Murray to give us an update on Mr. Hockey's general functioning:
Updated 2x at 4:29 PM: The Red Wings practiced in earnest today, after taking something of a pre-Toast of Hockeytown "Snow Day" on Monday; while Henrik Zetterberg's "maintenance day" is a little worrisome, the Wings' beat writers were far more intrigued by the possibility that Jimmy Howard may return to the lineup on or around the team's February 11th game in Pittsburgh.
With Jonas Gustavsson heading to Toronto to start the Griffins-Marlies matinee tomorrow, it appears that Howard will accompany Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum on the Fathers' Trip (the Wings leave tomorrow for games against the 28-18-and-11 Avalanche on Thursday and bottom-dwelling Coyotes on Saturday), and Howard told the Free Press's George Sipple that his limited practice work hasn't resulted in any setbacks:
This morning, ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only article discussing the Red Wings' possible trade deadline moves, and this afternoon, he suggests that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg's status as in their mid-30's = the Wings may in fact make a big trade to ensure that numbers 13 and 40 have the best possible chances of winning a championship:
"My job for the next month is talk on the phone with the 29 other managers," Holland told ESPN.com.
Available: The kind of impact players the Red Wings are looking to add aren't easy to find. The trade deadline is filled with depth defensemen and wingers who might help fill out a lineup, but the targets Detroit will pursue actually have to supplant a talented player currently in the lineup. One example is Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he fills a need on defense as a right-handed shot and as a player who can earn regular time in Detroit's top four. The Red Wings prefer defensemen who can produce offensively, which makes Franson (29 points in 49 games) more appealing than righty defenseman Jeff Petry with the Edmonton Oilers. If the Florida Panthers drop out of the playoff hunt, defenseman Brian Campbell would be nice fit, even if he's another left-handed shot. The Washington Capitals' Mike Green would fill a lot of needs for the Red Wings.
Finances: The Red Wings are one of the few contending teams with cap flexibility, a credit to Holland for not spending foolishly after he missed out on targets this summer like Matt Niskanen and Anton Stralman. Before shutting down, CapGeek.com estimated that the Red Wings could take on about $8 million in salary at the deadline.
Custance continues, discussing Ken Holland's belief that the team can afford to mortgage prospects, but only for a moderate-to-significant upgrade...
Update: From ESPN's weekly writers' chat:
Updated 5x at 1:48 PM: The Red Wings will probably hop on Red Bird III to prepare for their Fathers' Trip in Denver, where they play the Avs on Thursday, and Phoenix, where they play the Coyotes on Saturday, after today's practice, and despite all the trade talk circulating around the team...
Tthe present roster must build upon a fantastic 9-and-3 January record to remain atop the Atlantic Division while playing 3 and 6-game road trips and only 2 home games this month (February 14th vs. Winnipeg and February 16th vs. Montreal).
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reported that Jimmy Howard's slow recovery continues on a steady path...
Jimmy Howard still on the ice at practice. Rotating in a bit the McCollum at one end of the ice. Not real intense workout for goalies yet.
As did MLive's Ansar Khan:
Consider this a "tangentially Red Wings-related post": I don't know if Sergei Fedorov's going to be able to attend his induction into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on February 12th because Sergei's day job, working as CSKA Moscow's general manager, involves keeping his team at the top of the Western Conference as the regular season winds down.
That being said, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame has landed a sponsor for the induction ceremony, as the Free Press's Tom Walsh notes...
The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Association has signed on as presenting sponsor of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame's Feb. 12 induction event at the Sound Board in Detroit's MotorCity Casino Hotel, giving the Hall a boost with a series of 30-second television ads that began airing Monday and will run through next Wednesday on local network and cable TV channels.
This year's inductees include retiring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, a Kalamazoo native, along with Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo and Detroit Red Wings great Sergei Fedorov.
"This is a very proud sports town, so it seemed like a natural for us, with Chevy a big sponsor of Belle Isle Grand Prix and other sporting events," said Paul Stanford, president of the Chevy dealers group. "And the fact that Derek Jeter is coming in for the event is huge."
And that's very important, because Michigan' Sports Hall of Fame doesn't have a home:
The Red Wings took part in the Toast of Hockeytown last night, and despite your and my preoccupation with trade talk, the Wings are focused on getting ready for Thursday's game against the Colorado Avalanche and Saturday's game against Phoenix, as part of the "Fathers' Trip"...
And as the Wings are going to "pay" for the 4-day break they're enjoying and next week's 3-day break between the Yotes game and their tilt in Pittsburgh (oh boy, a Rivalry Night game!) by playing on a a nearly-every-other-night basis between February 14th and the end of the regular season, the Wings' leaky penalty-killing and so-so goals-against average = the team needs to maximize its practice time over the next two weeks to do as much "educating" so that their younger players don't keep "learning" by surrendering goals.
I'd normally wait until practice begins to post something, but an interesting interview popped up, and it was followed by an interesting trade-related article, so here are both items--as well as a bunch of catch-up stuff:
1. Prior to today's practice, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader spoke with WDFN's Matt Sheppard about his season thus far (11 goals + 16 assists = 27 points in 43 games) and some cross-sport talk, all over the course of an 18-minute interview:
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.