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Grand Rapids Griffins to hold annual Great Skate this weekend

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:

Grand Rapids Griffins players, sled dogs, ice sculptors, zoo animals, figure skaters, horse-drawn carriages, winter sport athletes, museums, libraries and local celebrities will all be part of the 2014 Great Skate Winterfest, which will run for 34 consecutive hours this Saturday, Jan. 18 and Sunday, Jan. 19 at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.

Everyone is invited to join this celebration of winter in our city and help the Griffins Youth Foundation provide opportunities for more than 350 kids – many of whom are underprivileged, underserved, at-risk, physically challenged or have other special needs – to participate in the great sport of hockey at no cost.

The fun begins at noon on Saturday with the sixth annual Winterfest, a day full of winter-inspired events, sports demonstrations and family activities, and concludes with the 12th annual Great Skate, a 24-hour skating marathon with Griffins players that runs from 10 p.m. on Saturday until 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the Great Skate Winterfest is free, although donations are encouraged and fees apply to skating ($2 per person) and carriage rides ($5 per person).

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Three Red Wings among ESPN’s top 50 NHL prospects

ESPN's Cory Pronman posited a list of his top 50 NHL prospects for this season in an Insider-only entry, and three Red Wings prospects made the cut (though they made the "middle"):

28. Tomas Jurco, RW, Detroit Red Wings
DOB: 12/28/92 | Age: 21
2013-14 stats (Grand Rapids, AHL):
32 GP, 13 G, 19 A, 32 P
Preseason ranking: unranked

Jurco has been great in his second AHL campaign, earning a brief call-up to the Wings earlier this season. He's a sensational puck handler who can make a ton of plays in the offensive end of the rink. Jurco needed time to adjust to the QMJHL level before he elevated his game, and after a bumpy first pro AHL season he looks to be turning the corner again.

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Wings Recall Emmerton Who Will Play Tonight

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled center Cory Emmerton from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Emmerton is slated to be in the lineup tonight as the Red Wings take on the New York Rangers on the road tonight at 7:00 p.m..

added 4:11pm,


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After Detroit’s Skate Today

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson might be ready to return to the lineup on Saturday, but defenseman Jonathan Ericsson isn’t likely to be back until next week.

Both said they felt good Thursday after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, as the Red Wings prepare to face the New York Rangers tonight (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit)....

“I’m starting to feel good now, should be a matter of maybe a day or two,” Gustavsson said. “I went full today, no issues so far. Maybe Saturday (vs. Los Angeles); we haven’t discussed everything but I think it would be ready to go.”

Ericsson, out since Dec. 23 with fractured ribs, was hoping to return Saturday, but it appears as if he’ll sit out at least a couple more games.

more including Helm skated today but still day-to-day...

added 1:34pm, Helene St. James view on the game at the Detroit Free Press, including video of Babcock talking about the Rangers...

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Those Working “Bastards”

from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News,

“They’re very strong on the puck, a very hard team as far as reloading, back-checking, pursuing the puck to get it back, and when they have it, they work like bastards to keep that puck,” Alain Vigneault said Thursday morning after his Rangers (24-21-3) prepared at the Garden for their 7 p.m. start. “I mean, it’s unreal how hard those guys work. And one thing, offensively, that I think they do as well – if not better – than any other team in the league, is that net presence. There’s always one guy on each line that seems like – he’s not – but it almost seems like he’s designated to stand in front of the goaltender and make it real hard on him, and that’s why they’ve been one of the best teams in the league for so long.”

Detroit will have to replicate those strengths, however, without several key contributors.

Young Slovakian forward Tomas Tatar sadly will be absent as he attends his father’s funeral. Meanwhile, the Red Wings also are expected to be without seven other regulars due to injury: Pavel “The Magic Man” Datsyuk (concussion, lower body) – ask ‘Siri’ who the Magic Man is – Daniel Alfredsson (groin, back); Johan Franzen (upper body; concussion); Darren Helm (groin, shoulder); Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder, ribs); Stephen Weiss (groin, hernia); and backup goalie Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson (groin, neck).

The Rangers, though, still have their work cut out for them to rebound from a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. They are still just 10-11-3 at the Garden, despite starting this four-game homestand 2-1-0.

more on tonight's game..

And a Malik update below...

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Time Now On The Side Of The Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Three days off before facing the New York Rangers Thursday at Madison Square Garden might help them adjust after flying back home from Anaheim following Sunday’s game.

Regardless, they’re relieved they don’t have to go further west than St. Paul, Minn., the rest of the season.

“I was really tired (Tuesday); it was tough getting home at 5:30 in the morning,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “But, thankfully, both our West Coast swings are over and we’ll primarily be in the Eastern Time Zone. I’ll be nice from here on out.”

Of their remaining 36 games, 33 are in the Eastern Time Zone.

“It is a big difference, no doubt,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

more on the Wings...

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Datsyuk Thought He Would Miss One Game

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Whatever lower-body issue is troubling Datsyuk – it was supposed to be a “day-to-day” injury -- will now have caused him to miss five consecutive games.

“(I wasn’t) expecting this way,” said Datsyuk after Wednesday’s practice, of which he was not a participant. “I thought I’d miss one game and come back. But it’s not feeling great. I just have to fight through.”

Datsyuk isn’t likely to even make the trip to New York to play the Rangers. He wasn’t sure about his availability for Saturday’s home game against the Kings.

“(Take a) couple of days (off) and we’ll see when the team comes back,” Datsyuk said.

more on the Wings...

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Good And Bad News For The Wings

from Pat Caputo of Heritage.com,

The good news for the Red Wings: They have 10 players selected to compete in Sochi, along with Mike Babcock, who is sitting on the hot seat as Canada’s Olympic coach.

The bad news: The Red Wings have 10 players selected to compete in Sochi.

It is the ultimate good-news, bad-news tale for an NHL squad. It can’t be a bad team if there are 10 players represented at the Olympics, but while most of the league is resting for a playoff push, the majority of Red Wings will be playing. And then, upon return, the Red Wings will be asked to ratchet up their collective game to make the playoffs for the 23rd straight season, which is anything but a given at this stage.

Oh, then there is the matter of the schedule leading to the Olympics. It’s very difficult, and could provide the key to the Red Wings’ season.

The Red Wings have road trips to the New York Rangers and Philadelphia (both teams have gotten hot), and Washington and Tampa Bay before the Olympics.

The Red Wings’ home games figure to be as or more difficult than the road trips – vs. Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, Montreal and Vancouver. There are no lay ups in there, except for perhaps a road trip to Florida. It is the Red Wings’ last game before the Olympic break.


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Detroit’s Morning Practice

Khan tweets,

No Datsyuk or Alfredsson at practice today. Franzen and Helm skating but really taking part in line rushes.

Lines they started with: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader, Jurco-Sheahan-Bertuzzi, Miller-Andersson-Samuelsson, Cleary-Glendening-Eaves.

More updates coming...

added 10:53am, More from Khan,

All three goalies are alternating in nets. Mrazek, Howard and Gustavsson going from end to end.

Defense pairs the same as yesterday: Kronwall-Smith, Quincey-DeKeyser, Lashoff-Kindl, Ericsson also skating but not playing tomorrow.

added 11:50am, Khan...

Howard said he is good to go and was told he will start tomorrow at Rangers.

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The Youngsters In Detroit

Dan Rosen of NHL.com takes a look at some of the younger players on the Detroit Red Wings,

Joakim Andersson is one of three players (Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey) who have played in all 46 games for the Red Wings this season. Tomas Tatar is sixth on the team with 19 points. Danny DeKeyser is a top-four defenseman playing 21 minutes per game. Gustav Nyquist has 10 points in 21 games since being recalled from Grand Rapids. Brian Lashoff is playing nearly 15 minutes per game as a third-pair defenseman.

Babcock is particularly high on forwards Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Tomas Jurco.

"Let's be straightforward," Babcock said. "In the cap world sometimes guys on your minor-league team don't get to play on your [NHL] team even when they're ready. Riley Sheahan is right there. Jurco is right there. Glendening is there for sure.

"Sheahan has four points in six games. He's a big man and knows how to play. Jurco can flat-out skate and he knows how to play. Glendenning wears on people, he plays hard and we like him."

more plus other NHL topics...

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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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