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The Malik Report

Evening news: A Game-Day Preview video; Cup champs back in town; on Smith and Jensen

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video, which includes Jared Coreau, Brendan Smith and Jeff Blashill:

2. The Red Wings are celebrating their 1997 Stanley Cup Championship tonight:

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Wallner: Busy Griffins resume tough schedule after holiday break

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Grand Rapids Griffins will resume an incredibly busy schedule tomorrow, after a well-deserved holiday break:

The Griffins returned to practice Tuesday after a Christmas break that began with a 3-0 win last Wednesday against first-place Milwaukee. They jump back into a busy schedule that has three games in four days beginning Wednesday in Cleveland.

It has already been a busy month for the Griffins, with nine games in 19 days leading up to the break.

The Griffins have won six of seven to put them percentage points ahead of Milwaukee (.696 to .661) atop the Central Division. They play again in Cleveland on Friday before returning to Van Andel Arena for a 6 p.m. game New Year's Eve against Rockford.

"As a coach, you're always worried because, going into the break we've been playing well and you don't want to mess with that," Nelson said. "But mentally, for them to go into the break with a winning streak, you feel good about that. And it (the season) is such a grind so anytime you can get anyway for a few days is a good thing."

Wallner continues...

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Red Wings-Sabres game-day articles: Smith returns as Wings face O’Reilly-less Sabres

Updated 7x at 2:24 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to win their last home game until January 14th as they host the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/MSG B/97.1 FM; the game will start at 7:56 as the Wings are honoring the 1997 Stanley Cup champs tonight).

The Red Wings and Sabres' morning skates revealed that Brendan Smith will return to Detroit's lineup, with Petr Mrazek starting; the Sabres will play without Ryan O'Reilly (appendectomy) this evening, and Robin Lehner will start opposite Mrazek.

After the morning skate, MLive's Ansar Khan posted a pair of videos of Nick Jensen addressing the pace of the NHL game and Brendan Smith discussing his return to the lineup:

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Griffins’ Tangradi, Street celebrate holidays as first-time dads

From Fox 17's Evan Beach:

The Grand Rapids Griffins have two new fathers on the team this year.  Eric Tangradi and his wife Caitlyn welcomed their baby girl on October 26.  On the 29th Tangradi was sidelined for 12 games due to an upper body injury.

“You know it’s definitely unfortunate to get hurt anytime in hockey," said Tangradi.  "But, for it to be two days after the birth of my first child I definitely think it was definitely God’s plan for me to be home for a little bit, spend some quality time with the family and yeah, it couldn’t have worked out any better."

Leading scorer for the Griffins, Ben Street, and his wife Jessica, welcomed their daughter, in the first week of December and Ben was happy to have a teammate that could relate.

“Yeah it was really cool to have the Tangradi's that were due right around us," said Street.  "I actually played with Eric a few years ago and our wives know each other, so when the pregnancies were announced and we figured out, wow those due dates are pretty close together, we could sorta share stories and lean on each other a little bit.”

Beach continues, and a video accompanies the story:

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Red Wings-Sabres morning skate Tweets and articles: Smith to return, Mrazek to start + catch-up

The Detroit Red Wings face the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG B/97.1 FM; tonight the Wings will honor the 1997 Stanley Cup champs), and the Red Wings will attempt to win their last home game until January 14th while facing a Sabres team that's struggling more than the Wings are struggling.

The Buffalo News's Mike Harrington set up tonight's game via a superb article filed this morning:

The Sabres, who have slid into the division basement by going 0-2-2 in their last four games, are scheduled to fly to Detroit Tuesday morning and head right to the rink for their 11:30 a.m. morning skate. It will be their second-last game at Joe Louis, which closes after this season. Buffalo plays its final game there on March 20.

The Red Wings have not been giving the NHL's oldest arena a fine sendoff in its 37th and final season. They are just 7-9-3 at home this year, compared to 8-6-1 on the road. Detroit is 15-15-4 overall and coming off Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Florida that got the Wings back to even through 34 games.

"We seem to have a good game and then not be very good,” Detroit forward and former Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek said after that victory. “It’s good to have a pretty good game, two points, take a few days off mentally and then we’ve got to put a run together. We all know that.”

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Prospect news: WJC underway; Kadeikin, Vahatalo, Ehn register assists

Of prospect-related note:

At the World Junior Championship, Filip Hronek took 1 shot in 25:07 as the Czech Republic defeated Vili Saarijarvi and Finland 2-1. Saarijarvi played 20:52 and took 1 shot for Finland;

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin had an assist and a 7-and-1 faceoff record in 14:41 of ice time as Lokomotiv Yaroslavl beat CSKA Moscow 3-2 in a shootout;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo registered an assist in 8:07 played as TPS Turku won 4-1 over IFK Helsinki;

And in the SHL, Christoffer Ehn had an assist and 3 shots in 14:12 of ice time as the Frolunda Indians won 2-1 over Karlskrona HK;

And Axel Holmstrom's Skelleftea AIK lost 3-2 in a shootout to Orebro.

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Ken Holland Today

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

They have 48 games remaining, but because these teams play each other many times and there are a multitude of three-point games, the standings typically don't change much at this point of the season.

"I'm hoping going into the Christmas break, it's a time to get flushed, get away from the game a little bit," general manager Ken Holland said Monday. "I understand that starting tomorrow ... you don't have 48 games. In the next 20-25 games, we need to play our way back into it because as the year goes along every organization has got to make decisions.

"Obviously, the trade deadline dictates decisions - buy, sell or stand pat. So, it's not like you can wait until the last 10 or 15 games and all the sudden you're going to put something together. We all understand the next 20-25 games are going to be really critical in determining how this season plays out for us."

At 15-15-4, the Red Wings are on pace for 82 points. They slipped into the playoffs last year with 93 points. It likely will take that many or more to make it. That means they need to put together some runs.

"You're going to have to be in the 90s to qualify for the playoffs; we're going to have to play well above .500," Holland said. "We're going to have to hit the ground running tomorrow."

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A Health Update On The Wings

via Ansar Khan tweets,

Brendan Smith (sprained knee) might return in the next game or two.

Helm (shoulder), Green (upper body), Abdelkader (knee) and Marchenko (shoulder) won't be back this week, Ken Holland said.

added 2:22pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Defenseman Brendan Smith is one exception. He's been out since Nov. 26 with a sprained right MCL but might return for Tuesday's game against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

"He looks good, feels good," Holland said. "If not (Tuesday), then we'll talk about Thursday (at Ottawa)."

Holland said forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Mike Green won't be back this week.

Helm suffered a dislocated left shoulder on Nov. 15 but has been skating for several days.

"The doctors want to make sure we err on side of caution," Holland said. "If he re-injures it again, it won't be good. We'll be very conservative with Darren Helm, so the injury gets all the time it needs to heal."

Abdelkader, out since Dec. 1 with a sprained right MCL, needs several full practices before returning.

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings dipped further in the standings from Thanksgiving to Christmas, diminishing their playoff hopes even more.

They are seven points behind the Boston Bruins, who occupy the third and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. A wild-card berth is even further out of reach -- Detroit trails Philadelphia and Washington by 11 points.

The Red Wings must start chipping away at the deficit. It won't be easy, with seven consecutive road games following Tuesday's match-up with Buffalo at Joe Louis Arena....

Here are five things to watch for this week:

Historically bad power play?

The Red Wings are last in the NHL on the power play, with a success rate of 11.9 percent. In the salary cap era (since 2005-06), only two teams have finished a season with a worse number - Chicago in 2007-08 (11.3 percent) and Florida in 2013-14 (10 percent).

Bad entries, an inability to set-up once they're in the zone, failure to get enough pucks on net, lack of net presence - you name it, they've struggled with it. Gustav Nyquist (two assists) and Tomas Tatar (one assist) have combined for no goals and three points on the power play, which is astounding. They have only three goals and 11 points from the blue line on the power play.

Detroit is 1 for 37 in 11 games this month (2.7 percent) and 6 for 77 in the past 24 games (7.8 percent).

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‘Two Things,’ Christmas Eve version

Two more things, Christmas Eve version:

1. The Red Wings posted a Christmas Eve video chronicling the Red Wings Foundation's contributions to the community during the 2016-17 season thus far...

2. And this is my version of "Merry Christmas" (and Happy Hanukkah) to you. I know the "holiday season" can be very difficult for many of you, but I hope that whatever your traditions are--or whatever you find yourself adopting as your holiday traditions and/or coping mechanisms--you survive the day and maybe even enjoy it.

To me, the, "Chinese Restaurant" scene from A Christmas Story is the sweetest scene in the movie because the family is adapting to the challenges that Christmas can bring, and the restaurant staff...Is trying their best to be festive, even though the execution of Deck the Halls may be a little off.

Merry Christmas and fa ra ra to you, from me and my family. And Paul, too cheeky

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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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