The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Red Wings posted their Game-Day Preview video ahead of tonight's game against the Islanders. Ken Kal sets up the game with coach Jeff Blashill, Anthony Mantha, Justin Abdelkader
2. Fox Sports Detroit's "The 313's" Rachel Elliott discusses the Red Wings' strong weekend worth of hockey...via Mickey Redmond:
Updated 2x at 1:27 PM: The Red Wings' morning skate and game day news cycle ahead of tonight's game against the Islanders (7:30 PM on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM) offered few surprises or scoops, but Brendan Smith did address the possibility that he might be traded, as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James in text and video form...
“I only know Red Wings hockey and I like it,” Smith said after the morning skate. “That’s all I can say. I’ve loved every moment here, good and bad. They have made me a better player. I would like to continue to stay on the Wing path, but there is a business, and you never know what happens.”
The Wings have five defensemen under contract for next season, and Nick Jensen and Xavier Ouellet are restricted free agents this summer. Smith might not be back anyways, so trading him now to a team looking to go on a playoff run (Pittsburgh, for example, needs help on defense with two significant injuries) could yield a good return.
Smith says he will think about it as little as possible. He plans to be in Fort Lauderdale during the break, fitting in beach time around visiting his brother Reilly, who plays for the Florida Panthers. Smith said his brother, who has been traded twice, “has given me some good insight” into what it is like. “But really,” Smith said, “I am hoping to stick around and see how everything goes.
“I won't really think about it too much. If something happens, my agent will let me know, or I will see it on social media. It’s all speculation.”
St. James continues with Jeff Blashill's takes, and here's her video of Smith's comments:
Updated 3x at 1:32 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face the New York Islanders this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM), and the Wings' morning skate revealed few surprises (including Jimmy Howard not being quite ready to head down to Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint), as the Free Press's Helene St. James noted:
The Wings have a bit of swagger after a weekend that saw them topple the two best teams in the East in Washington and Pittsburgh. Petr Mrazek has been hot his last four starts, earning save percentages of .923, .944, .964 and .949, respectively.
Mrazek will likely start against Thomas Greiss as the Islanders open a 9-game road trip...
Mike Green was back with Danny DeKeyser at the morning skate after missing two games because of illness. Niklas Kronwall is with Xavier Ouellet and Brendan Smith with Nick Jensen.
Up front, Henrik Zetterberg is with Tomas Tatar and Anthony Mantha (they’ve contributed goals in two straight games), and Frans Nielsen is with Andreas Athanasiou and Thomas Vanek (who just scored his 15th goal of the season). Darren Helm is with Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader, and Riley Sheahan with Steve Ott and Luke Glendening.
The Islanders took to the ice for their morning skate after the Wings, per the Islanders...
The Red Wings are asking fans to vote for their favorite moment at Joe Louis Arena:
The Detroit Red Wings face the New York Islanders this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM) with the Red Wings hoping to earn a pre-"Bye Week" win and the Islanders hoping to start a 9-game road trip on a positive note.
The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena for their morning skate just after 10:30 AM, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
Of prospect-related note:
In the OHL, Filip Hronek had a goal and 3 assists on 6 shots as his Saginaw Spirit won 6-5 over the Sarnia Sting;
Givani Smith took 4 shots and a penalty in the Guelph Storm's 5-1 loss to Flint;
Jordan Sambrook finished at +1 with 2 shots in the Erie Otters' 4-3 win over Oshawa;
And in the ECHL, it's good to be the Toledo Walleye: their record is so good that the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the ECHL-leading Toledo Walleye are going to start selling playoff tickets on Friday, February 24th.
The Detroit Red Wings will wrap up a slate of 3 games in 4 nights when they face the New York Islanders on Tuesday evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM).
The Red Wings will be looking to earn their third straight win on Tuesday, while the Islanders, who defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-4 on Sunday, will be looking to open a massive 9-game road trip with their second straight win.
The Islanders have alternated wins and losses over the past 6 games, splitting a Saturday-Sunday set of games against New Jersey, but they're still 10-4-and-2 under Doug Weight's tenure as interim head coach.
After taking part in an optional practice on Monday (with several injured players in tow) Newsday's Arthur Staple duly noted that the 27-21-10 Islanders, who are battling for a Wild Card spot, have been awful on the road:
DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with Mike Green, Thomas Vanek and Jimmy Howard regarding the Wings' winning weekend and its effects on team morale:
In all honesty, the Wings' success this past weekend in beating Washington and Pittsburgh, didn't 'shock the Hockey World,' but it did provide the Wings with a confidence boost, which was needed as Detroit goes down the home stretch of their schedule.
"It's huge," defenseman Mike Green said. "More importantly, we're really playing good hockey. If we can continue that after the break here and finishing with the game tomorrow night, we'll go on a run, we'll create some points and we'll put ourselves in a good position. Right now we're playing good and we need to continue."
After Tuesday, the Wings will have their five-day break and return to action February 28 at Vancouver.
"I think there's a sense of confidence that's risen in the last little bit," Green said. "I think really details and guys are really competing. I think one of the biggest things in sitting out the last two games was our forecheck and staying above guys. We're a really playing a patient game and it's cause for some chaos and confusion in the other team's zone and we've gotten a lot of chances. If we continue that we'll be good."
Forward Thomas Vanek echoed Green, but he knows that two games is not the elixir that magically catapults the Wings squarely into the playoffs.
"It certainly feels good," Vanek said. "Like I said before, the big picture is not pretty so I think the message is just play game-by-game. This group has a lot of character, so that's good, so there's nothing to worry about on that side. We're going to come out and play hard and try and win games."
And as for the playoff streak?
"It does mean a lot to all of us in here," Howard said. "We've seen the guys before us, the efforts that they put into to make this organization what it is today. A lot of hard work and hours away from the rink too. It does mean a lot but at the same time I think everyone isn't like, 'The streak, streak!' Right now it's just going out there playing one game at a time and giving ourselves a chance."
From USA Hockey:
VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System to Hold "Welcome Home Celebration" at USA Hockey Arena
Awareness event held at USA Hockey Arena during NTDP game is free for Service Members and Veterans
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - The Veteran Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System will hold its annual "Welcome Home Celebration" event at USA Hockey Arena on Friday, March 3. The event is for active military members, Veterans and their families and is part of USA Hockey's Stars and Stripes Weekend.
All service members and Veterans who RSVP by Friday, Feb. 24, will receive free tickets to the U.S. National Under-18 Team's game against the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League.
The event is held annually to promote awareness of the VA Healthcare information and community resources that are available to Veterans and their families. More than 20 VA resources and services will be represented at the event.
"VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Transition & Care Management program is excited to be hosting our annual welcome home event with USA hockey," said transition and care management program manager Deb Hinson. "We are looking forward to a fun filled evening celebrating our recently returning combat Veterans, military service members, Veterans of all eras, and their unsung heroes who have supported them along the way, their families & friends. We wanted to focus our attention this year not only to celebrate our Veterans but to also celebrate their families who support them daily in countless ways."
The free game tickets, parking, food and beverages being offered to military families are courtesy of local community sponsors.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Steve Yzerman as a part of a series of articles discussing "Joe Louis Arena Memories," and this one is a doozy:
"To finally win it in '97 after what we went through in getting close made it pretty special and even more special with this team.""It was pretty exciting each year that we went," Yzerman said recently. "We had pretty good teams getting into the early '90s and really good teams in '93, '94 and '95 and '96, as we were close, made the yearning and desire to win stronger.
The Red Wings eliminated St. Louis, Anaheim and Colorado on the way to the finals during Yzerman's 14th season.
"The first game or two of each series, we all looked around and said, 'We could beat this team, we think we're a better team than our opponent,' " Yzerman said. "Going into Colorado in the semifinals, we lost Game 1. We played a great game, but there was a sense by a lot of people outside our locker room of, 'Here we go again, they're not going to get over Colorado.'
"We felt we played great, we're just going to keep doing our thing here, and we were able to win that series. Going into the final against the Flyers, the perception was the bigger, stronger Flyers were just going to be too much for us to handle and by the end of Game 1 we felt we could compete with these guys and just keep doing what we're doing and we'd come out on top."
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.