The Malik Report
Updated 7x at 1:38 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to claw into their clunky 5-6-and-6 home record when they battle the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (7 PM, FSD/Root/NHL Network U.S. with the usual Center Ice and GameCenter Live blackouts/97.1 FM), kicking off a slate of 6 pre-Christmas games to be played over the course of 10 pre-Christmas nights and 5 of 6 pre-Fa-Ra-Ra games at the now-endangered Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Tampa Bay on Thursday and found out that a) Jimmy Howard will miss at least 2 weeks with a sprained MCL and that b) Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg should return during or around the Wings' December 28th game in Florida; the Penguins defeated New Jersey 3-2 on Friday and have won four straight games, but they gave up 30 shots over the course of the 2nd and 3rd periods, nearly blowing a 3-0 lead.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose offered a morning skate quip related to the Wings' HBO 24/7 close-up this evening (the first episode leading up to the Wings-Leafs Winter Classic airs at 10 PM EST)...
One could very successfully argue that the Red Wings, who host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (7 PM EST, FSD/Root/NHL Network U.S. with the commensurate Center Ice/GCL blackout/97.1 FM) and hope to earn a measure of vengeance for their 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay when the Lightning (who play today! In New Jersey! Which will become ironic shortly!) come to town tomorrow afternoon (5 PM, FSD/etc. etc.)...
Face schedule that will either make the second half of the season bearable or yield the third, "scramble toward a playoff spot finish over the past four seasons. The Wings possess a 15-7-and-7 record overall, and they're going to play 6 games over their next 10 nights--after today and tomorrow's tilts, the team hosts the Ducks on Tuesday the 17th, the Flames on Thurdsay the 19th, they head to Toronto on Saturday the 21st and will return home to battle the Islanders on the 23rd--with five of the six games taking place at Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings have a 5-6-and-6 record.
The Wings will play the next 6 games without Jimmy Howard, who will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained left MCL, and they'll play the next 6 games Danny DeKeyser, Darren Helm and Henrik Zetterberg, who are all scheduled to return on or around the Wings' December 28th game against the Panthers. Ideally, everybody will return in time for the Winter Classic (the Wings' post-Christmas schedule involves playing the Panthers on the 28th and the Predators on the 30th, both on the road, before returning for Wednesday,
December January 1st's outdoor affair)...
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news: This "for the record" note doesn't usually lead off posts like these, but it must be noted that Anthony Mantha (of the QMJHL's Val-d'Or Foreurs) and Jake Paterson (of the OHL's Saginaw Spirit) are taking part in Team Canada's World Junior Selection Camp in Toronto this weekend, and they're not going to return to their respective teams until the second week of January.
The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran reported that Mantha is wearing #19 and playing on Canada's second line at present, and if we are to believe TSN's Jamie McLennan, Paterson's an underdog as compared to likely starting goalie Zach Fucale, but both players have been integral to their major junior teams' successes, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the Foreurs and Spirit without the QMJHL's leading scorer in Mantha and Curtis Joseph-like workhorse in terms of gobbling up 30+ pucks on a nightly basis in Paterson.
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins got back on their winning track on Friday, and they did so against something of a nemesis, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2. The Griffins' website recounts the game's events...
The Red Wings' "off day" involved bad news in terms of Jimmy Howard's knee, good news regarding the statuses of Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser, and significant charitable contributions in the literal and figurative senses by both members of the Wings team, front office and the team that is the Metro Detroit community at large, as DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson noted:
The sweet, familiar sound of The Salvation Army bells and holiday music filled the air Friday night while customers bustled in and out of Hiller’s Market in Northville.
But the line to give donations to the charity was unusually long, as coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland teamed up to ring bells for the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign.
“Salvation Army is obviously an organization that’s supported people in need and local community maybe 100 years or more,” Holland said. “A great organization, great people and we just felt that after the first year or two that it’s something we wanted to do year after year after year because it helps create awareness, there’s a lot of people in need especially in our community. It’s always nice to be able to get back.”
Continued, and while Nelson reports that Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith, Jonas Gustavsson and Stephen Weiss were also ringing bells for the campaign, you might not be surprised to find out that the coach and GM always "win" the "competition."
As Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea was essentially live-tweeting the meeting between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's Downtown Development Authority and Ilitch Holdings today, one Tweet stood out:
This isn't surprising--it's long been assumed that Joe Louis Arena would be of no use to the City given that the follow-on rink replaces it, and given the possiblities of expanding Cobo Arena's footprint and/or some incredibly valuable waterfront property that just happens to be cripplingly separated from the rest of the city by Cobo, the end of the M-10 freeway and the industrial largesse that dominates the west-of-Cobo riverfront.
So the Joe will make the ultimate sacrifice to help repay part of he "economic development" pay-back for the follow-on rink's public funding, and WXYZ reports that the city won't have to pay to tear it down:
There was quite a bit of hype and chatter regarding Detroit's Downtown Development Authority's meeting with Olympia Entertianment/Ilitch Holdings this afternoon, with presumptions regarding its outcome and insistence of a "big announcement" being made, but Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea reports that this is just another step in the process of expanding Downtown Detroit's footprint by 40 acres to make the Foxtown and Cass Corridor areas--the geographic area in which the $450 million rink and $200 million in economic development will take shape--eligible for dedicated economic development-related funds collected by the DDA in the form of property taxes from downtown businesses.
So we'll hear a significant amount of public wrangling and will see some breathless reports on the evening newscasts after today's meeting takes place, but it's not going to serve as a be-all-end-all determinant of the literal and figurative shapes and forms of the agreement between the DDA and the Ilitches, nor the rink's construction:
As Shea's reported, that concession agreement has to be hashed out in a Detroit-resident-and-contractor-friendly manner to ensure that the City Council will vote to expand the DDA's footprint. Again, the Ilitches won't own the rink: the DDA and its parent entity, the "quasi-governmental" Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, will lease the facility to the Ilitches.
I think Red Wings fans need to hear this after enduring so very much bad news regarding the Red Wings' injuries, as punctuated by Jimmy Howard's status as on the IR and out for 2-4 weeks with a sprained left knee:
On the heels of discouraging news regarding Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (out 2-4 weeks with a sprained left MCL) and as we wait to find out the extent of Stephen Weiss's groin issues on this Salvation Army kettle bell-ringing Friday, and we wait to find out whether today's meeting between the Downtown Development Authority and Olympia Entertainment will provide a "big announcement"...
MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article that falls into the "tailings regarding the Red Wings' 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday" category (I'm the blogger, I can make these things up if I want to! ), noting that while Wings fans may be frustrated as all *#$%@& get out by the team's 9 OT or shootout losses, the Red Wings' coach is still accentuating the positive:
Updated 8x at 3:43 PM: Crappy news regarding Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan and MLive's Ansar Khan...
And it appears that the Wings are preparing to play without Stephen Weiss for an extended period of time:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms Howard's injury, and now we're waiting to find out how bad Stephen Weiss's groin issues are--the fact that the team's recalled Eaves suggests that he's going to be out for at least a couple of weeks...
For better or worse, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will be making their HBO 24/7 debut tomorrow night at 10 PM EST (there are alternate showings over the following week, and the program will air on Sportsnet on Sunday evening), and while I don't plan on dissecting the program (the Wings happen to be playing tomorrow night, on Saturday the 21st and on Saturday the 28th, so writing up "recaps" of both the games and super-detailed breakdowns of the programs...Other people do the latter, I do the former), I'm certainly going to be as "glued to the screen" as most of you will be tomorrow evening.
As the Wings possess a 2-2-and-2 December record and have witnessed the return of Pavel Datsyuk from a concussion and the losses of Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard and Stephen Weiss to injuries, whatever narrative HBO concocts for tomorrow's hour-long program will probably seem a little too familiar to Wings fans, and DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson spoke with several of the team's "protagonists" (as it were) about living under HBOs' prying eyes:
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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.