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The Fourth Period talks Wings and the expansion draft

The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta discussses the Red Wings' possible expansion draft strategy:

The first thing, beyond trade deadline thinking, Holland and his staff need to worry about is June's expansion draft. By all accounts, they're at risk of losing either goalie Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, or defenseman Danny DeKeyser or Jonathan Ericsson.

As things currently shape up, you'd have to imagine the Wings are protecting seven forwards, three defenseman and a goalie. That means Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Frans Nielsen (NMC), Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader are going to be protected, leaving two spots for two of Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening and Athanasiou -- Dylan Larkin is exempt.

On defense, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall are going to be protected, leaving one spot for DeKeyser or Ericsson (flip a coin), and either Howard or Mrazek in goal -- and based on performance this season, Howard may be sticking around.

The concern, I'd imagine, is losing DeKeyser or Ericsson, and that's who I'd look at if I'm Vegas GM George McPhee.

Pagnotta continues...

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Wallner: Griffins take in a yoga session to freshen up

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Grand Rapids Griffins have chosen to change things up with a hot yoga session to help time pass more constructively between games:

Members of the Grand Rapids Griffins, guys who make a living playing on ice, took a break Tuesday for something warmer.

The team, facing a week of practices before three away games in four days beginning Friday, left the rink and hit the mats for a morning of hot yoga.

It was a well-earned and welcome break for the Griffins, who lead the Western Conference with a .691 winning percentage. But, it wasn't a frivolous way to kill a day.

"You get so wound up, you get so tight playing, so it's mostly a way to help with flexibility," said Griffins captain Nathan Paetsch, who at 33 and in his 14th season, credits yoga will prolonging his career.

Wallner continues, and he posted a video of Paetsch discussing the benefits of Yoga:

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Red Wings-Blackhawks game-day articles: Hawks debate ASG selections as Wings get Abby, Green back

Updated 7x at 3:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face an incredibly stiff task in battling the Chicago Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), but the morning skate brought good news for the Wings: Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green will officially return for the Wings, who are starting Petr Mrazek opposite Corey Crawford tonight.

Our friends from Chicago spent their post-morning skate activities discussing their All-Star game representatives, as noted by the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc...

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Red Wings-Blackhawks morning skate Tweets and articles: Abdelkader, Green to return

The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to pull off a rare win in Chicago against the Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan noted how incredibly poor the Wings' record against Chicago has been over the past couple of years:

* The Blackhawks are 10-1-2 in their past 13 regular season games against the Red Wings, outscoring them 38-23. Chicago leads the Western Conference with 57 points.

As WGN is airing the game in Chicago, Bob Vorwald penned a list of notes regarding tonight's game:

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Frans Nielsen named to NHL All-Star Game Roster

According to the NHL's press release, the following Red Wings player will represent the team at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles:

F Frans Nielsen (DET)

MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...

As does the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Update: Michigan Hockey and the Red Wings confirm:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Blackhawks set-up—winning against Chicago would be ‘big’

The Detroit Red Wings' "Dads' Trip" consists of the final two games of their 7-game road trip, starting with tonight's affair against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and a win against the 26-12-and-5 Blackhawks would be monumental for the 17-18-and-5 Wings.

Detroit's practice on Monday revealed that Justin Abdelkader (knee) and Mike Green (upper-body) are highly lkely to return on either Tuesday or Thursday against Dallas, and both players would bolster a Wings lineup that's coming off a 6-3 loss to San Jose;

Our friends from Chicago chose not to practice the day after winning a 5-2 decision over the Nashville Predators, and the Hawks have won all 3 games of a 4-game home stand which concludes this evening.

As MLive's Ansar Khan noted, the Blackhawks have been ridiculously dominant against the Wings of late:

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Khan: Zetterberg addresses the Wings’ need to ‘get on a run’

After the Red Wings practiced in Taylor today, Henrik Zetterberg spoke with the media regarding the Wings' need to get "on a run," as MLive's Ansar Khan noted:

"We're getting down to crunch time, we all know that," Zetterberg said. "We know how many games we have left, we know how many points are left to (attain). We pretty much know many we got to win."

The Red Wings are tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with the Buffalo Sabres. They are seven points out of the final playoff spot. And having three other teams to leap-frog makes it that much more difficult.

"You know you have to put a run together for weeks and games," Zetterberg said. "If you're not doing that, you're not going to move. Even if we're doing that and other teams are doing that, it's the same thing. It's hard to be behind and we're behind now."

Will Zetterberg need to deliver another fiery dressing room speech like the one documented in the EPIX special prior to the Centennial Classic?

"We'll see. It's nothing that I'm planning on doing," Zetterberg said. "When it's necessary, I do. We all know what we have to do. You can only talk and say that much. You got to out and play better."

Khan continues...

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Krupa: Blashill not the fall guy as Wings struggle

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa argues that Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill should not have to shoulder the vast majority of the blame for the Red Wings' underwhelming, under-performing 2016-17 campaign:

Their playoff chances are so narrow they must reap about 65 percent of the points available in the 42 games remaining to match their 93-points of last season, when they squeaked into the playoffs. It will require significant improvement. In the first 40 games, they garnered slightly less than half the points.

Amid the maelstrom, Blashill, 43, grapples in his second season with destructive trends dragging down the franchise. Players who won Stanley Cups are largely gone. Prized free agents have decide to play with other teams. Misjudgments on personnel have hampered “the rebuild on the fly.” A roster with a good supply of support players lacks top stars.

Blashill is not to blame.

But he should be gauged by whether players improve and play up to their potential. And, at about the halfway point of the season, those are big issues of concern.

Unless there is a marked improvement in the Red Wings performance by April, there is likely to be a harsh review of Blashill’s first two seasons. While the ultimate reckoning may be inappropriate, the team’s descent towards the bottom of the NHL standings increasingly will be attributed to him, despite developments plainly beyond his control.

Krupa continues at significant length, suggesting that Blashill's role as a teacher to the team's younger players may end up being the criteria upon which he is judged...

I'd suggest that the "blame" for this season is one of "thirds"--one third shouldered by player personnel, a third shouldered by the coaching staff, and a third shouldered by the management group--but that's just my theory.

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Prospect news: Saarijarvi discusses WJC experiences; Griffins prepare for Great Skate

Of disparate prospect-related note:

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's 3-1 win over Dynamo Riga;

In the OHL, the Mississauga News's Ian Colpits spoke with the Mississauga Steelheads' players regarding their World Junior Championship experiences, and Vili Saarijarvi put a "happy face" on a difficult situation for Finland:

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Articles from practice: Abdelkader, Green likely to return soon; getting ready for the Dads’ Trip

Updated 6x at 5:18 PM: As Paul reported, the Red Wings practiced at the Taylor Sportsplex before heading off to Chicago for tomorrow's game against the Blackhawks (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and based upon the team's practice lines, it appears that Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green will return tomorrow, as MLive's Ansar Khan reports:

Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green felt good in practice Monday for the Detroit Red Wings, but their status for Tuesday's game at Chicago (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit) will be determined following the morning skate, coach Jeff Blashill said.

Abdelkader, out since Dec. 1 with a sprained MCL, skated on a line with Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar. Green, out since Dec. 17 with an upper-body injury, was paired with Danny DeKeyser.

Abdelkader and Green both practiced on the power play.

"We'll make those lineup decisions tomorrow," Blashill said following practice at Taylor SportsPlex. "We wanted to get a practice in and make sure they we ready to go. They both I think felt good, but I'll wait for them to get evaluated by the trainers and we'll make that final decision."

Khan continues, discussing the injuries to Niklas Kronwall (lower-body), Brendan Smith (knee), Darren Helm (shoulder) and Tomas Tatar (shoulder), and Khan posted three videos:

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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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