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Red Wings Tuesday practice post: Bertuzzi making progress, defense in flux

Updated 6x at 5:15 PM: The Detroit Red Wings took to the ice for a short practice at Joe Louis Arena prior to packing their gear into bags and heading to Metro Airport to fly out to Calgary, where they'll begin a two-game road trip against the Flames and Canucks on Wednesday (and Saturday, respectively), all before returning home to Detroit to play a slate of

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the usual injury list suspects skated...and didn't skate...both prior and during practice:

So it's good news-bad news, as usual:

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There may be hope on the Pavel Datsyuk front

As Paul noted, the CBC's Elliotte Friedman posited his weekly "30 Thoughts" column this afternoon, and one of his "thoughts" should put Red Wings fans at some ease:

Pavel Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, was in Toronto visiting client Mikhail Grabovski. We talked about rumours Datsyuk will play the last year of his contract next season, then go back to Russia. Greenstin said he'd just been in Detroit and talked with Ken Holland. He wouldn't go too deeply into those conservations, but it did sound like they discussed the possibility of an extension. (Datsyuk cannot sign anything until July 5.) He added that if Datsyuk stays, it will be with the Red Wings. "Playing with one team is very important to him."

Continued, of course, at length, and as usual, his thoughts are worth your time...

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Red Wings finally make Jimmy Howard’s contract extension official

Updated 10x at 4:09 PM: Almost a week after the news broke, the Detroit Red Wings officially announced that they've signed Jimmy Howard to a 6-year contract extension:

Capgeek's got the contract pegged down as a $31.8 million deal with a $5.3 million-per-season cap hit.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL Network announced the deal, too...

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Red Wings pre-practice chatter: on Jarnkrok and a ‘deadline’ of a different sort

The Red Wings will hit the ice for practice at Joe Louis Arena shortly, then pack up their gear and head to Calgary for a must-win-game against the Flames, and after regrouping with an "off day" on Thursday, the team will prepare for a rather vicious 5-games-in-8-nights slate that's highly likely to determine whether the Wings make the playoffs.

This morning, MLive's Ansar Khan penned an "empty-the-notebook" article that is more than worth reading, and it's about the Wings prospect that most excites me in Calle Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok registered 3 assists in 9 games played for the Grand Rapids Griffins before the Wings had to return him to Sweden so that he could play in the World Championships, and all reports and pictures indicated that the super-skinny prospect is still a bit short of 170 pounds (he's a lanky 5'11"), but his skill level is just absolutely top-flight in terms of skating, playmaking, defensive savvy and plain old generating offense while not doing so at the expense of his defensive game.

When Jarnkrok (and Tomas Jurco) visited the Red Wings last Thursday, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and Khan interviewed Jarnkrok, and here's what he had to say to Khan about the lessons learned during his "grand tour":

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Red Wings overnight report: on the playoff push, DeKeyser expectations and Franzen

I felt guilty writing the Lashoff entry because of what was going on at the time, and I really don't feel like writing this morning...But the world continues to rotate and the hockey world reacted appropriately to what happened in Boston on Monday. All I cay say, the Red Wings and their prospects already said, reminding us all that, in the greater scheme of things, we follow a kid's game played by professional athletes, and in the end, we're all on the same team:

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St. James: Red Wings pull a u-turn regarding demoting Brian Lashoff

Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings have in fact decided to keep Brian Lashoff on the team's roster as they know their four on-paper demotions to Grand Rapids (of Lashoff, Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist) mean that the team cannot recall any demoted players unless there is a "roster emergency" (i..e. the team believes that it cannot dress 12 forwards, 6 defensemen or 2 goalies) from the trade deadline until the Grand Rapids Griffins' playoff run ends.

As such, Wings GM Ken Holland told St. James that the Wings simply can't afford to essentially lose Lashoff for the remainder of the regular season and any potential playoff run:

“It was just a misunderstanding with Mike Babcock,” general manager Ken Holland said Monday. “I agree with him that we’d rather have Lashoff playing in the minors than not playing in Detroit, but the rules don’t allow it. We don’t want to not be able to recall him unless we have three injuries.”

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Red Wings mid-day news: on DeKeyser, Filppula, Brunner and a happy but now illegal anniversary

Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:

The Wings didn't practice after completing a slate of 3 games in 4 nights with a win against Nashville, and it has yet to officially sign Jimmy Howard (the deal's "done in principle") or officially assign Brian Lashoff to Grand Rapids (though his name no longer appears on the team's active roster list), but those moves are coming.

As MLive's Ansar Khan notes, the Winsg' decision to assign Lashoff to Grand Rapids despite his strong play overall (he has dipped a bit of late) involves both the team's desire to give its veterans one last chance to assist and/or save their jobs (see: Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo, and to a lesser extent, Kyle Quincey) and the emergence of the recently-signed Danny DeKeyser as a defenseman who's simply playing too well to sit:

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The Last Time The Wings Missed The Playoffs

from The Farm Club,

  1. The Simpsons aired their first episode on Fox.
  2. Home Alone was the top movie of 1990.
  3. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips was the Billboard Hot 100 #1 song and Janet Jackson had the year’s top album.
  4. Beverly Hills 90210 and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air made their premieres.
  5. Seinfeld and Law and Order hit the screen for the first time.

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It’s Been A Struggle For The Wings

from Damien Cox of the the Spin at the Toronto Star,

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have had to shoulder more of the burden than ever before. Detroit's dearth of high-end young talent after years of drafting either poorly or out of range of the best kids has finally began to impact its lineup. Injuries have hurt. Damien Brunner got hot and then he cooled. Jonas Gustavsson hasn't been the answer as a backup. Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler are missed.

Johan Franzen has nine goals. Val Filpulla, theoretically in a contract drive, has fallen off the face of the earth offensively. Kids like Cory Emmerton, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyqvist and Riley Sheahan haven't made an impact.

Detroit beat everyone to the punch on collegiate defencemen Danny DeKeyser, and now have to hope he'll have a greater impact than most NCAA free agents do. That's a card the Maple Leafs played frequently when they were desperate for talent - Tyler Bozak, Ben Scrivens, Brayden Irwin, Christian Hanson etc. - and its a hit-and-miss proposition.

The Wings aren't awful by any means, but they've lost more than they've won and have scored fewer than they've allowed.

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Red Wings-Predators wrap-up and overnight report: Wings finally take a ‘must-win game’

The Detroit Red Wings' 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators broke a 2-game "winless" (read: shootout losing) streak and at least temporarily placed the Wings back into 8th place in the Western Conference. The Wings now have 20-15-and-7 Wings now have 47 points, two more than Dallas (Dallas still has a game in hand and 19 regulation-or-OT wins to the Wings' 18 ROWs) and Columbus (14 ROWs), and four more than Phoenix (15 ROWs). The Wings are also tied with the Minnesota Wild in terms of points, but as the Wild have played 41 games to the Wings' 42, they hold that tiebreaker (though they are tied in ROWs with 18)...

And, somewhat surprisingly, the Wings have now only given up 1 more goal than they've scored, in no small part because the Wings were able to regain a significant amount of confidence in their ability to actually play hockey after essentially losing three straight games (see 1-0 vs. St Louis a week ago, then 3-2 shootout losses to San Jose and Chicago) and dropping 4 of their previous 5 games (the Wings are still 2-1-and-2 over the past 5 and 3-2-and-2 for April) by beating up on an incredibly injury-depleted Nashville Predators team.

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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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