The Malik Report
from chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Quick update from Wings practice as they prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Stephen Weiss appears ready to return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury.
“I’m ready to play,” Weiss said after practice Monday. “Now we’ll just see if coach puts me in, but yeah I’m ready to go.
“I’m real excited,” Weiss added. “Obviously, you don’t want to miss this many games but that’s the way it goes sometimes with injuries. It’s tough to watch these last few at home and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting one in before (the break).”
continued including some Jimmy Howard talk...
Also from Pleiness, Babcock on the Buffalo Sabres...
According to the media at Detroit's practice today...
Mrazek looks like the starter tomorrow night, Howard and McCollum in one net while Mrazek is in the other.
Following practice, a family skate is planned so it looks like it will be a slow news day.
Howard left practice early, so Mrazek it is.
added 12:31pm, Ted Kulfan tweet,
Weiss looks close to being ready the way he is skating and shooting
added 12:51pm, Weiss says he is ready to go...
I've tended to have pretty good luck with KK's blog software, but at 5:25 AM, after writing for 90 minutes, my blog software just ate my Overnight Report.
So this is the second try, and I'm going to be *#$%@& blunt.
In prospect news, in game action:
In World Junior Championship exhibition play, Dylan Larkin didn't register a point but played on the 2nd line for the 2nd game in Team USA's 5-2 win over Germany;
Joe Hicketts had 2 assists in Team Canada's 5-2 win over Sweden, and Axel Holmstrom and Christoffer Ehn played for Sweden but were held off the scoresheet. You can watch highlights of the game via TSN's game recap, and you'll see Holmstrom deliver a hard hit on Connor McDavid that the consensus #1 overall pick for 2015 called a "cheap shot."
The Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan noted that Hicketts and his defensive partner, Jeremy Morin, embody the "long and the short of it":
The Red Wings played very well despite dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to the Colorado Avalanche, and as the Wings drop to 0-1-and-5 in their past 6 games, I think the most frustrating part of the loss involves Calvin Pickard's game-stealing heroics:
As the Wings prepare to host the banged-up Sabres on Tuesday and then play 8 of 9 games on the road, all I can tell you is that the majority of the Red Wings' roster has seen exactly what Pickard brought to the table before, and they've seen Pickard bail out the Lake Erie Monsters on a regular, repeated basis while playing against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings played their best game since their run-and-gun loss to Toronto a week-and-a-half ago, attempting to out-grind a viciously gritty Avalanche team that both received wonderful goaltending from Calvin Pickard and hooked, held, hacked, whacked and smacked the Wings' Swedes out of scoring chances (Darren Helm, too), but the refs decided that this was going to be a quick game...
And it wasn't, it was painful to watch for two periods, painfully slow despite the Wings' attempts at deliberate play, and after the Wings finally released the goal-scoring hounds via Pavel Datsyuk's goal--among 7 shots and 10 total attempts, as well as as 16-and-9 faceoff record, 2 takeaways and 22:27 played--Petr Mrazek, who was equally valiant in stopping 22 of 23 harder-than-they-looked shots, stopped 6 of 9 shootout shooters...
But the Colorado Avalanche mucked, ground, hooked, held and rope-a-doped off Pickard to a 2-1 shootout win that feels tremendously un-earned from a Wings perspective.
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Babcock said two lineup changes: Kindl in on defense and Cleary in for Andersson.
This will be Cleary's 10th game, triggering a $1 million bonus. Can be applied to next season's cap if needed.
Holland said tests on Jimmy Howard (groin) revealed no significant damage. Still day to day. Hasn't been ruled out for Tuesday's game.
The Red Wings insisted that they did "the right things" for the most part during Friday's 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders, and after Mike Babcock changed the team's lines up during Saturday's practice, the team made similar remarks about its increasing offensive chances and decreasing defensive gaffes.
They weren't wrong. The Wings did display more solid offensive flourishes (albeit mostly un-screened, single-shot attempts from the outside), and more importantly, Petr Mrazek didn't face the same kind of siege he did during last weekend's game against Toronto. The Wings didn't let the Isles run the table like the Blue Jackets did by turning every damn puck over, either, though the team's problems in the faceoff circle is a big concern.
Going into today's game against the Colorado Avalanche (6 PM EST on FSD/Altitude/97.1 FM) and Tuesday's game against Buffalo, the Wings face a puzzling opponent, and a dangerous one: Colorado's 5-1 win over Buffalo on Saturday may have snapped a 2-game losing streak amidst a month in which the Avs have lost 6 of 8 games, but interim starter Calvin Pickard is quite the spoiler (ask Grand Rapids Griffins fans), and there's no doubt that Patrick Roy will make sure to get the most out of his team when facing his old nemesis.
As ColoradoAvalanche.com's Rob Knabenbauer reported, the Avs also received a pair of roster reinforcements on Saturday...
The Grand Rapids Griffins have lost 1st line center Andreas Athanasiou's services for the next 7 weeks, Mattias Backman's gone back to Sweden, both Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum are in Detroit and Xavier Ouellet's days with the Griffins are numbered, but a team that struggled so very mightily for the first month-and-a-half of the season is still finding its stride.
Grand Rapids built upon Friday's 7-1 win over Toronto by taking a tightly-fought 4-3 shootout decision from the Lake Erie Monsters, and new 1st-line winger Landon Ferraro scored a goal (Tomas Nosek, the 1st line's center, had an assist), Teemu Pulkkinen posted yet another marker (as well as the shootout winner), Anthony Mantha got into his first professional fight and Jared Coreau stopped both 34 of 37 shots and 4 of 5 shootout shooters to extend his record to 6-and-0.
The Griffins' website posited a game recap...
This is not Red Wings-related, but I feel it's worth both an entry and the KK bandwidth to posit this set of observations:
As I continue reading stories about the KHL's mighty financial struggles as the Russian ruble loses 40% of its value, stories of players and coaches not getting paid in said rubles (more than usual: the KHL relies upon sponsorships to pay player salaries, and when sponsorships fall through, in true Soviet and post-Soviet fashion, employees are expected to continue to show up for work and eventually either get partially paid or sue for back wages, and this usually happens to 2-4 KHL teams per year), and I've read Dmitry Chesnokov's explanation of the situation (as well as commentary from Russian media outlets)...
Some media types and NHL fans are getting super excited about the prospect of, say, an Ilya Kovalchuk or Alexander Radulov bolting to the NHL.
Updated 4x at 4:42 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings' Saturday practice was rather uneventful.
The Wings made their recall of Tom McCollum official as Jimmy Howard's "lower-body injury" will keep him out for the weekend, MLive's Ansar Khan reported that Stephen Weiss will remain on the IR as he's not ready to return from his shoulder injury, and regarding Howard's future status...
The Wings welcome the Avs to town tomorrow (6 PM EST on FSD), and the Avalanche are playing Tuesday's opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, this evening.
The Free Press's Helene St. James either posted a light moment at practice or a metaphor for the Wings' 5-game losing streak, too:
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