The Malik Report
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
"Because of some of the numbers he put up in junior hockey (81 goals in 81 games last season), there were some unrealistic expectations," general manager Ken Holland said. "Then he got hurt and when he returned, guys were two months into the season. He's getting better all the time. You see flashes of all the things he can do.
"But it's a hard league. It's professional hockey. He's learning what it takes to be successful."...
Holland said the Red Wings' woes in the shootout this season could just be a normal cycle of things.
The Red Wings are 1-6 in shootouts and have lost three of them in the last week, the latest Tuesday's 1-0 setback to Columbus.
"Several years ago we were winning them more often than losing," Holland said. "It's about getting on a roll. You get on a roll, you don't think about it.
"You lose some of them, like we have, and suddenly people are talking about it, asking questions. We just have to work our way out of it, win some of them and get on a roll."
Scott Lewis of Sportsnet with the news,
NHL legend Gordie Howe is reportedly walking on his own and is scheduled to make his final public appearance on Feb. 6, 2015 in Saskatoon.
A representative of Sports for Saskatoon Media Croup, John Fraser, tweeted Wednesday that Howe’s son Marty confirms that his father is “walking under his own power” and is “expected” to make an appearance at a Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner on Feb. 6.
added 5:52pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"He's back in the ballgame," son Mark told M-Live on Wednesday. "Where it will lead to we don't know, but he's miles ahead of where he was weeks ago.
"In the last week he's been getting stronger, better. We're pretty encouraged by it."
If the former Detroit Red Wings great continues to progress, there's a chance he might travel to his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on Feb. 6 for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner in his honor. Wayne Gretzky is scheduled as the keynote speaker.
"A week ago I would have said there's no way in the world (Gordie could be there)," Mark Howe said. "If he continues to improve, we'll have to wait and see."
Updated 5x at 3:37 PM: I'm going to start off this mid-day post with Tweets instead of articles:
So we're talking about Mike Babcock's contract this morning, and it's the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa doing the talking, suggesting that Babcock headed the Toronto media off at the pass last Thursday, by basically laying out the terms of continuing his employment in Detroit:
After saying he and Holland agreed "not to do this" during the season, he did it — he discussed his contract. But the very next thing he said was, "Our team's going good. Our team's playing good. I like the way they're playing. ...
"I'm happy here. I like the general manager. They treat me good. I don't know what else I can tell you."
Those were his words. His intention? To make clear that if the team keeps playing well and if they can get a couple of other key pieces while guys like Tomas Jurco and Anthony Mantha mature, why would he go anywhere?
He is satisfied and enjoying the gig, he said. The implication, heavy in the air, is that when he is not, he might be gone. Then he explained succinctly what satisfies him.
After Christmas, the Wings' prospects will be very busy at the World Junior Championships, at NCAA post-Christmas tournaments and the like, but the SHL's already begun its Christmas break, most NCAA Division I teams have finally let their hockey players go home for the semester break, and...Okay, in post-Soviet KHL, team has no break, even for Russian Christmas.
But Tuesday was quite slow, so this is a spare entry, minus an edit, anyway:
If there is any good news regarding the Red Wings' 1-0 shootout loss to Columbus, it is this:
The Wings' 1 point earned allows them to remain 1 point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic (with Toronto having won its 7th straight, a 6-2 win over Anaheim) and remain tied with Montreal (lost 4-1 to Carolina) and stay only a point behind Tampa Bay (beat Philly 4-1), even though the Wings' win-loss-and-ROW-record is comparatively shitty.
The Wings have lost 4 straight games, going 0-1-and-3 of late, but the team's treading water, even if it's slowly being dragged away from shore by the tide.
The Wings are also 1-and-6 in shootouts, Ken Daniels said that Henrik Zetterberg's gone 20 games without a goal, and he's not the only Wings player trying to pass the puck into the opposition net, but Niklas Kronwall had 5 shots, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm had 4 shots, and...
The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 1-0 shootout decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but if ever there was a game that I'd describe as "not the goalie's fault--when a goalie surrendered 2 shootout goals on 3 shots against--it's tonight.
The Red Wings did their damnedest to make a difficult game even harder while fighting an inabilty to score at any period of time, and on a night when Sergei Bobrovsky was superb, the Blue Jackets were their trappy best and the refereeing was dreadful in terms of the amount of hooking, holding, clutching, grabbing, mashing and smashing on any and all sides of the puck, the WIngs tried to out-pass, out-drop-pass, out-deke-at-the-line and out-outside-shot a Blue Jackets team that did its best to defend a Howard who was marginally better-protected than the under-siege Petr Mrazek who faced 40 shots on Saturday.
This was an ugly game from a team that's on a four-game winless streak (0-1-and-3), and while the shootout was the bugaboo that decided the game's result, the effort from minutes 1-65 is what doomed the Wings to their fate.
Of late-afternoon Red Wings-related note ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and pursuant to the morning skate news cycle:
Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day preview, which features Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson, as well as a certain Mike Babcock's take on tonight's opponent:
The Red Wings will welcome Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser back into their lineup this evening, and Tomas Tatar's going to play after battling some sort of illness this past weekend, Johan Franzen's out with a non-mump illness.
Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner noted the state of the latter players, as well as the fact that Xavier Ouellet's playing ahead of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff...
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
“Abby is a different threat,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “He can be a strong guy, power forward, hit and get pucks and get them to Pavel. That’s what you’ve seen in the past. He’s actually meshed with the top scorers like Pavel and Z very well because of his role. You need guys to complement each other. Look at video games, who complements each other, you need to have a power forward with a goal-scorer, a playmaker with a goal-scorer. That’s what Abby does with those goes.”
Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice, DeKeyser’s smooth passing touch gives Detroit a seamless transition on break outs of their own zone.
“DK moves the puck very well on the back end,” Smith said. “Coach talks about that seven-second rule, where you want to get out of your own end in seven seconds. If you don’t you end up playing the shift in your end. He’s very good. That’s maybe his best aspect. His first pass is one of the best. For him to do that, it’s good to have him back."
more on the Wings and Blue Jackets...
Updated 5x at 1:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a stiff task in ending their 0-1-and-2 streak against a Columbus Blue Jackets team that's a) won 6 straight games and b) has a 7-2-and-1 record against Detroit of late when the teams tangle this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and the Wings' morning skate brought news from the beat writers that:
1. Xavier Ouellet would remain in the Wings' lineup at Jakub Kindl's expense;
2. Stephen Weiss would be placed on short-term IR (until Saturday) to make room for Ouellet;
3. Daniel Cleary would draw back into the lineup to replace Johan Franzen, who is ill;
4. Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser would return from their respective injuries.
In article form: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a 6 AM-posted article in which the Wings discussed playing the Blue Jackets...
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