The Malik Report
The Red Wings hope to regain their footing and put Wednesday's loss to Pittsburgh behind them as the Wings play their only 2 home games of February tonight against Winnipeg (7 PM EST on FSD/CITY TV/97.1 FM) and Monday against Montreal.
The Jets are coming into town having dropped a 3-1 loss to Nashville on Thursday, but that game snapped both a 2-game winning streak and a 4-game unbeaten streak (2-0-and-2) for a Jets team that's in a furious battle for either 3rd place in the Central Division or one of 2 Western Conference Wild Card spots.
I normally begin these set-ups by surveying the opponent, but as the 31-13-and-9 Wings sit 3 points behind both the 34-17-and-6 Lightning (with 4 games in hand on Tampa Bay) and the 35-15-and-4 Canadiens' 74 points (with 1 game in hand on Montreal), it's essential to emphasize that the Wings have exactly zero sympathy for the Jets' plight.
The Wings told CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak that the Bolts and Habs' steady winning = the Wings feel pressure to win every night, too:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' Purple Game went well charitably-speaking but didn't go so well in the results department. Grand Rapids rallied from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits as Teemu Pulkkinen scored 2 more goals, but the Griffins lost Mitch Callahan en route to a 5-4 OT loss to San Antonio.
The Griffins' website filed a recap...
From the Red Wings:
RED WINGS FAN DAY AT THE JOE SET FOR MARCH 5
… Fun-Filled, Free Event Presented in Partnership with Coke Zero and Kroger …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings have teamed up with Coke Zero and Kroger to present the 2015 edition of Coke Zero Fan Day at Joe Louis Arena, scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 5 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
In order to obtain tickets to this fun-filled, free event, citizens of Hockeytown must attend an upcoming Detroit Red Wings Experience Day, presented by Coke Zero, which gives fans a chance to test their skills at various interactive hockey games and take photos with player cut-outs. Red Wings Alumni Association members Larry Murphy and Darren McCarty will be in attendance to sign autographs at upcoming Detroit Red Wings Experience Days.
This year’s Coke Zero Fan Day provides a behind-the-scenes look at Joe Louis Arena with several unique photo opportunities for fans, such as a chance to take a photo with Nick Lidstrom’s recently-retired jersey banner and Al Sobotka’s famed Zamboni. Locker room tours will also be available to fans in attendance.
Per Babcock, Jimmy Howard starting Saturday, Petr Mrazek backing up
Asked Ken Holland about goaltending situation, was told no decision today for Red Wings
MLive's Ansar Khan...
Babcock said Mrazek will back-up Howard tomorrow vs. Jets. They'll take it day by day after that, so no decision yet on if he'll go to GR.
Holland said no decision today on what they'll do about their backup goalie.
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
NHL.com posted a very clever video regarding a certain #13 and Friday the 13th superstitions:
(We won't tell NHL.com that Datsyuk is in fact quite superstitious)
Update #1 right on top @ 12:19 PM: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Per Babcock, Jimmy Howard starting Saturday, Petr Mrazek backing up
The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena today, hoping to rebound from Wednesday night's loss to Pittsburgh knowing that an aggravated Jets team (Winnipeg lost 3-1 to Nashville last night) will want to steal two home points from the Wings tomorrow.
Detroit's only home games of the month--Saturday vs. Winnipeg and Monday vs. Montreal--take place this weekend(ish), and as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes, the Wings have a personnel decision to make:
#RedWings are on the ice for practice this morning. All 3 goalies are skating. Holland said he'll likely make a decision today on Mrazek.
It looks like the lines have reverted back to their most recently familiar forms, despite coach Babcock's decision to reunite Datsyuk and Zetterberg, the Tatar-Sheahan-Nyquist line and the Miller-Glendening-Andersson line for the 3rd period of the Wings' loss on Wednesday:
#RedWings lines in practice today: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader; Tatar-Datsyuk-Helm; Jurco-Sheahan-Glendening; and Miller-Andersson-Weiss
While we're waiting for more Tweets (or I am, at least), this didn't make the pre-practice news entry, but this mailbag answer from ESPN's Craig Custance (insider-only) may answer a question that those who believe the Wings need to add a top-six-or-nine forward might be asking...
Updated with a superb Luke Glendening interview at 10:52 AM: Amongst this morning's pre-practice articles of note:
Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins forward Anthony Mantha and Griffins coach Jeff Blashill about Mantha's slow progress developing into a pro hockey player, and Mantha readily admits that missing two months with a broken right leg placed him behind the learning curve:
In 36 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mantha has eight goals and 10 assists.
“I think its been hard. Especially starting late on everyone, but I’m getting there now and its going up hill,” Mantha said of the adjustment. “The guys are way better over here. They’re stronger; they’re harder on the puck. The goalies are also really good over here.”
Despite his early season struggles, Griffins’ coach Jeff Blashill has no doubt about Mantha’s future in the game.
“He’s got special skill for a guy his size. He can do things that other guys just can’t do,” said Blashill. “He’s going to be a great player; I truly believe that and its just going to be a matter of time. When you care as much as he cares, as soon as he learns the daily attention to detail and the daily work ethic it takes, with his skill set, he’s going to be a special player.”
Mahibian continues, and his article's superb...
At the NHL level, MLive's Ansar Khan answered questions in his "Ask Ansar" mailbag feature...
Sergei Fedorov was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, and he got downright (and appropriately) sentimental about coming back to Metro Detroit, as the Detroit News's Angelique S. Changelis and Tony Paul noted:
Fedorov landed in Detroit on Wednesday after an 18-hour flight from his native Russia, where he currently is coaching. He said he suddenly was struck with nervousness about his induction.
(General managing...He's CSKA Moscow's general manager)
"I had a few extra beats of my heart when I land in Detroit, because I'm coming for a special, honorable occasion like this," Fedorov said. "I'm very honored. It's close to my heart. I feel like I just got back home from a long trip."
Fedorov and Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple regarding the "thawing" relationship between Fedorov and his former employer; it certainly sounds like between the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown and Fedorov's visits to the Wings' press box last spring, the vast majority of the animosity remaining from Fedorov's decision to leave the Wings in 2003 appears to have finally dissipated:
This is ironic in the traditional sense thereof: The Red Wings posted a press release on their Red Wings Foundation website, announcing the date of the team's charity poker tournament, and it turns out that the Wings are going to play Texas Hold'Em poker on trade deadline day:
Only 108 fans will have the chance to go head-to-head with a Red Wings player in a game of Texas Hold’Em on Monday, March 2, at the MotorCity Casino Hotel Charity Poker Tournament benefiting the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. Fans can reserve a seat in the tournament by making a $400 donation to the Foundation.
The evening will begin at MotorCity Casino Hotel with participants enjoying a strolling dinner reception with Red Wings players in Sound Board at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Texas Hold’Em tournament in the Poker Room starting promptly at 6:30 p.m. Participants in the tournament can purchase up to two additional dinner seats for a $100 donation apiece.
All poker players walk away a winner with a parting gift and an overnight room compliments of MotorCity Casino Hotel. The top 10 finishers will be awarded prizes, including the grand prize trip for two on Red Bird III during the 2015-16 preseason. The second-place finisher will receive a suite for a Red Wings home game during the 2015-16 regular season. Third place will receive four tickets to an upcoming home game and fourth through tenth place will receive an autographed, game-used hockey stick.
Fans can reserve a room and seat in the charity poker tournament by visiting http://www.DetroitRedWings.com/Poker or by calling 313-471-7579.
As noted in the off-day post, Mike McKee and Teemu Pulkkinen received profiles because McKee's rounding into a sound defensive forward at Western Michigan Univeristy and Pulkkinen's playing downright dominant hockey in the AHL, respectively...
And of the three Wings prospects who played hockey today, two of them had superb outings.
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored game-tying 3-3 and 4-4 goals in Skelleftea AIK's 5-4 loss to Lulea (click on the link for highlights), and Holmstrom's 2 goals, +1 and 33% faceoff winning percentage came in 15:05 of 4th line play;
Mattias Janmark also scored the game-tying goal and registered an assist in the Frolunda Indians' 4-3 shootout loss to Djurgardens IF (again, link --> highlights), and Janmark took 4 shots, finished at +1 and played 19:31 on Frolunda's 1st line;
And back over on this side of the pond, in the OHL, Jake Paterson faced a 40-shot barrage and stopped 36 of them in the Kitchener Rangers' 4-1 loss to Windsor.
FTR: Julius Vahatalo is playing in the Finnish J20 league, and he registered an assist in TPS Turku's 4-2 loss to Tappara yesterday.
Update: Fox 17's Steve Amorose filed a report dicussing Jared Coreau's status given that Petr Mrazek's demotion to Grand Rapids may send Coreau to the ECHL despite a superb sophomore campain with the Griffins:
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.