The Malik Report
From MLive's Brendan Savage:
"Well, I talked to (coach Jeff Blashill) quite a few times," Mantha said Thursday before the Red Wings' game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. "He told that if I kept playing the way I was it could be (staying with the Red Wings) for the rest of the season. But it's not for sure yet, so I just need to prove to them that they need to keep me and that's how I need to focus and play my game."
Mantha played well in his first NHL game, Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
He had four shots on goal in 14:45 of ice time and hit the post in the third period when the Red Wings were trying to mount a comeback after a horrendous start saw them fall into a 2-0 first-period hole.
"I thought Anthony did a good job," said Blashill, who coached Mantha last season in Grand Rapids. "My biggest thing with him is if wins physical battles and stick battles he's going to be a really good player. And I thought he won physical battles and stick battles.
"Now, this is a relentless league so you gotta come back out tonight and do it again and then again and again and again. But I thought he did a real good job against Philly."
From the Washington Post's Neil Greenberg:
Hockeytown is in peril. The Detroit Red Wings are 34-25-11 with 79 points — eight points fewer than they had through 70 games last season — and one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, giving them a 36.6 percent chance at extending their playoff streak past 24 seasons in a row.
Part of the problem for Detroit is slow starts. The Wings have scored the fourth-fewest goals in the first period and have the sixth-lowest first-period goal differential (minus-10).
“We can’t give away goals,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the team’s loss to the Flyers on Tuesday. “We’ve got to make teams earn goals. We had real, real bad mistakes that were preventable. We’ve got to keep pucks out of net early and, when we get scored on, we can’t let the momentum get away from us. We haven’t done a good enough job of that.”
Defensive woes shouldn’t be a surprise. After being eliminated by the Nashville Predators during the 2012 playoffs, the Red Wings had to cope with the retirement of seven-time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. A year earlier Brian Rafalski, a gifted offensive blueliner, decided to hang up his skates. In the span of two summers the Red Wings lost two of the best defensemen the NHL has ever seen.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video. It's superb:
2. The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with the Wings' practice goalie for this morning, Bailey Seagraves:
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS TO COLLECT WATER FOR FLINT ON APRIL 13
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins, in partnership with Michigan Office Solutions (MOS) and Pepsi, will hold a Water for Flint collection drive at their game on Wednesday, April 13, asking fans to donate cases of water for our neighbors in need on the east side of the state.
Fans can donate water in any of four ways:
• Bring one or more cases to the Pepsi station on the Fulton Street plaza in front of Van Andel Arena from 5-7 p.m. on April 13. Please refer to the water donation guidelines listed here or detailed below;
• Purchase water from the Pepsi station at a cost of $5 per case;
• Make an online donation in any multiple of $5;
• Those not attending the April 13 game can also drop off water at the MOS corporate office (2859 Walkent Drive NW / M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) now through April 12.
For every case that is donated or purchased in person on April 13, Pepsi will provide a coupon redeemable for a free Pepsi fountain drink at that night’s Griffins game against the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Griffins, MOS and Pepsi are together donating 648 cases (nine pallets) of water to the effort, with Griffins players and coaches contributing 50 of those cases. With each case containing two dozen 16.9-oz. bottles, the combined efforts of these three partners alone will provide more than 2,050 gallons of water for Flint.
All water will be loaded onto an MOS truck as it is donated on April 13 then given to Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to Flint residents.
from Bill Roose of the Wings' website,
With their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, tonight’s game – in a building that hasn’t been very kind in recent years to the Wings – is extremely important if they are to reach the postseason for a 25th consecutive season.
“They’ve been crucial now for a while,” Howard said of the games. “We’ve been down a little bit with our starts as of late but we have to find a way to start on time. That’s starting here tonight (and) from here on out.”
Scoring has been an issue all season for the Wings, however, they have gone the past five games, and 11 of the last 14, without scoring in the first period.
“All you can do is go out and play great hockey,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s all you can do. Do we want to get the first goal? Absolutely. Would we like to get the second goal? Absolutely. But what you need to do is from the drop of the puck for 60 straight minutes is play great hockey.”
The Wings are 14-16-9 when scoring in the first period this season. But they’re 19-9-3 when they have scored in the opening period.
“It’s tough. It’s a tough league to come back against teams,” Justin Abdelkader said. “I think you see team’s records when they’re leading after the first, even the second period, it’s really good. So you try to get the lead, or at least try to play a strong game and a strong start to the game.
“Scoring is big but not allowing teams to get up a couple of goals on you is also big.”
more on the Wings...
Via WXYZ's Brad Galli, WXYZ posted some raw footage of the Red Wings' follow-on rink construction crew installing the first roof truss today:
The Red Wings will be starting Jimmy Howard in goal tonight as Petr Mrazek is sick, and the Blue Jackets' lineup is in flux as well ahead of tonight's game (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM).
NHL.com took note of the Wings' emergency recall of Jared Coreau...
Updated 7x at 1:52 PM: The Red Wings face a must-win situation as they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM), and for whatever reason, John Tortorella holds his game-day presser during the morning skate.
ColumbusBlueJackets.com's Rob Mixer reports that Oliver Bjorkstrand, Michael Chaput and John Ramage will be in the lineup...
From the Red Wings:
DETROIT RECALLS JARED COREAU
… Third-Year Pro Ranks Top-Three in AHL in Wins, Goals-Against Average, Save Percentage and Shutouts …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled goaltender Jared Coreau from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Coreau, 24, has won each of his last six starts, helping the Griffins to a 12-game winning streak overall, the second-best run in franchise history. Since his streak start on Feb. 23, Coreau has a 0.99 goals-against average, 0.967 save percentage, three shutouts and established a new Grand Rapids franchise record for saves in a shutout performance after stopping all 45 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Wolves on March 13. The third-year pro ranks as one of the AHL’s top goalies this season, currently sitting second with 29 wins, third with a 2.15 goals-against average and tied for second with a 0.931 save percentage and six shutouts. Coreau was also the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December after posting a 9-2-0 record, 1.92 goals-against average and 0.938 save percentage, part of his season-best 11-game winning streak that ran from Nov. 18 to Dec. 26. In 72 games with the Griffins since 2013-14, the Perth, Ontario native owns a 45-22-3 record, 2.28 goals-against average, 0.927 save percentage and nine shutouts.
A pair of radio-and-newspaper personalities weigh in on the Red Wings this morning, with the Oakland Press's/97.1 the Ticket's Pat Caputo pondering the fates of the Pistons and Wings...
In the bigger picture, three years down the road, what will these two franchises be?
The Red Wings will be in a sparkling new arena, but with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall aging, what will the product on the ice be like? There is potential star talent there – Dylan Larkin and Petr Mrazek are certainly promising. But what about filling out the rest of the roster?
Will Drummond even be with the Pistons? Will the decision to place so much into the hands of Jackson be considered a mistake or a brilliant move by Van Gundy?
Both franchises, with such proud not-so-distant pasts, are clearly on the bubble.
And that goes not only for this year, but the foreseeable future, as well.
Caputo continues, and the Free Press/97.1 the Ticket's Jamie Samuelssen suggests that the Red Wings need to stop worrying about sustaining their playoff streak and start enjoying playing hockey again:
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.