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The Malik Report

It’s Jimmy Or Bust Tonight

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

So with the Red Wings facing one of their biggest games of the season — out of the playoff picture and in need of a victory — Howard gets the call.

“I have a lot of belief in his character and the work he put in,” said Blashill of Howard, who won his last start, Monday’s 3-2 win over Buffalo.

Howard relieved Mrazek in the first period of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Montreal with Howard allowing two third-period goals that resulted in Montreal’s comeback victory.

Blashill appreciated the approach Howard took when he wasn’t playing.

“Whether he was struggling or the team was struggling in front of him, he went to work and made sure he earned confidence by putting the work in,” Blashill said. “Earned confidence comes from you’ve done the work to succeed and have the skill set to succeed.

“Nobody has wavered on the skill set side and he’s put the work in. He was ready when got his opportunities.”

Blashill wouldn’t go into who is starting Saturday in Toronto, but sounded as if Mrazek would be ready if Blashill decided to go that way.

more on the Wings including Blashill's logic for moving Mantha to the 4th line...

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The Morning Skate

via Ansar Khan tweets,

RedWings on ice for morning skate. Howard is in the starter's net, as expected.

lines same as yesterday:
Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Larkin
Helm-Datsyuk-Richards
Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar
Athanasiou-Glendening-Mantha

Will add to the post as needed.

added 10:41am, Khan...

Same pairs on defense:
DeKeyser-Quincey
Kronwall-Marchenko
Ericsson-Green
Smith it appears will be scratched again.

Power-play units:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Larkin, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
And
Tatar-Datsyuk-Mantha (net front), Richards-Green

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Questions For Khan

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers a few questions...

Q: With Mrazek coming off it for a while now, will this change their off-season plans on what they'll do with Howard and how much they'll sign (Mrazek) for? Any chance they'll look to trade Mrazek, who would be easier to deal and would fetch more?

A: I imagine it throws a monkey wrench into their plans. I expected they would sign Mrazek, a restricted free agent, to a long-term deal (4-5 years) for more than $4 million a season and look to trade Howard.

Now, I think they ink Mrazek to a two-year bridge deal for less and hang onto Howard just in case. Moving Howard this summer would have been difficult anyway since he has three years remaining at a $5.3 million cap hit and there will be few teams in the market for a starting goalie.

The Red Wings probably would have needed to retain a chunk of his salary or take back a contract they ordinary wouldn't want.

Unless something changes over the next week and, if they make it, in the playoffs, I think Howard and Mrazek will be at training camp in September, competing for the starting job.

I doubt they would look to trade Mrazek based on a bad four-to-six week stretch after spending several years developing him. He's young, extremely talented and just needs more experience.

Q: With the defense struggling, why not call-up Robbie Russo? He's been tearing it up in G.R.

A: It's a big leap from the AHL to the NHL, especially for a young defenseman.

Russo has had a terrific year in Grand Rapids (five goals, 32 assists and a plus-45 rating in 62 games). It would be a tough spot putting a rookie defenseman with one year of pro experience into the lineup for a team battling for a playoff spot.

more

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Starting In Goal Tonight

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

It is Petr Mrazek’s turn to do the extra, remedial work.

Jimmy Howard already was seated on the stool in front of his stall Thursday, stripping off his jersey and gear, when Mrazek walked in.

Just ahead of the goaltending coach Jim Bedard, with whom he had drilled hard for extra time on the ice, Mrazek glanced over his shoulder, smiled and said, “I was in position.”

With an even bigger smile, Bedard was all about easy-going encouragement.

“Good job, buddy!” he said.

Practice was over. Now, who starts tonight?

With five games left, is Howard the only fully confident, capable goaltender for the Red Wings?

The margin for error is minuscule.

continued

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Why The Brad Richards/Anthony Mantha Switch?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Mantha skated with Luke Glendening and Andreas Athanasiou in practice Thursday while Richards was bumped up to the line with Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm.

"Just looking at different line combinations," Blashill said. "The one thing that Richie has done, he's been through lots in his career, including as recently as last year (won Stanley Cup with Chicago), when the game's in the third period, he certainly knows how to chip pucks out, chip pucks in and still make plays when the plays are there to be made."

But Blashill said it's not just Richards' defensive awareness that would prompt the switch.

"First of all, he's got lots of points in this league, he's been a good offensive player for a long time," Blashill said. "If anybody watched the (Cup) finals last year, I don't know if you remember that slap pass he made that kind of guaranteed a win for Chicago, so he's got lots of offense in him.

"I think, (he) has been through lots of experiences when the pressure's on. ... Just like in the playoffs there's lots of pressure, he keeps a cool head and makes, I think, good decisions. We'll see."

more on the Wings...

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Jeff Blashill On His Defensemen

via Dana Wakiji tweets,

Blashill on defense decisions: There's lots that go into those decisions, a lot of which I won't talk about.

 Blashill on defense decisions: But I think there's tons in terms of resume, history, execution on a game-to-game basis.

Blashill on defense decisions: Everybody's got their opinions on who should play and who shouldn't.

Blashill on D decisions: We've got 7 NHL-caliber defensmen. I also know that the 6 that play have to play at a high level.

Blashill on defense decisions: And if we're going to win here tomorrow, they got to play at a high level, whichever six we choose.

added 1:34pm, from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Continue Reading »

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Today’s Practice At The Joe

via Ansar Khan tweets,

RedWings on ice for practice. Everyone is skating.

One change in lines during practice as Mantha and Richards swap places.

lines in practice:
Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Larkin
Helm-Datsyuk-Richards
Nyquist-sheahan-Tatar
Athanasiou-Glendening-Mantha

Jurco and Pulkkinen still practicing as extras.

added 11:25am, via Khan,

Defense pairs for #RedWings in practice:
DeKeyser-Quincey
Kronwall-Marchenko
Ericsson-Green
Smith

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Who’s Between The Pipes On Friday?

from Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily,

As the Detroit Red Wings battle to extend their consecutive seasons of making the playoffs to 25, it appears they’re in search of a No. 1 goaltender.

Petr Mrazek was pulled in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Montreal after allowing two goals in the first period. It was the fifth time in the last 14 games he’s been replaced by Jimmy Howard during a game.

“I’m just focused on Friday night,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said when asked to comment on his goaltending situation. “We need a big performance from whoever plays on Friday night.”

The month of March has not been kind to Mrazek. In 10 appearances he’s allowed 28 goals and has an .888 save percentage.

“I’ve been with him a long time and repeatedly he’s done a good job of coming back from tough situations and playing real well,” Blashill said. “He’s got the skills and he puts the work in with (goalie coach) Jimmy Bedard.”

continued

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Tony Granato To Wisconsin Is Official

Press conference today in the early afternoon.

 

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Video- You Are Probaby Right Chris Osgood

 

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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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