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St. James: Kronwall, Smith to miss at least a week with lower-body injuries

Unfortunate injury news from the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Update: MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Smith about his injury:

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Red Wings-Kings game-day articles: AA returns; Coreau vs. Zatkoff; critiques and a Draper interview

Updated 7x at 5:55 PM: Of Red Wings and Kings-related note ahead of tonight's game between the Wings and Kings (10:30 PM EST on FSD/FS West/97.1 FM):

On the Red Wings' side of the ice, MLive's Ansar Khan updates the Wings' roster situation...

Jared Coreau will start in goal tonight for the Detroit Red Wings against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center (10:30, Fox Sports Detroit).

Petr Mrazek played well in Wednesday's 2-0 loss at Anaheim, but coach Jeff Blashill didn't want to start him on back-to-back nights.

Coreau will be making his fifth start, all on the road. He is 2-1-1, with a 3.43 goals-against average and .889 save percentage.

Andreas Athanasiou, a healthy scratch Wednesday, is back in the lineup, in place of Tomas Jurco.

Injuries to Brendan Smith (right knee) and Niklas Kronwall (lower body) will result in some changes on defense. Ryan Sproul is back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past four games and nine of the previous 13. Alexey Marchenko will return to action, after missing the past eight games and 16 of the previous 19 with a shoulder injury.

And Khan posted videos of Coreau discussing playing on the road and Brendan Smith addressing his knee injury:

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Crain’s Detroit Business’ Shea: Little Caesars Arena construction turns to the ice rink

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

Work began this week on what will eventually be the ice rink at Little Caesars Arena.

That's the highlight of the current phase of construction of the $635 million building that will be home to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons when it opens in September.

Detroit-based RBV Contracting is doing the ice rink work. The playing surface will sit about 40 feet below street level, and the basketball court will be erected over the ice while the teams share the venue during the concurrent seasons.

Temperatures are cold and snow flurries swirl around the arena site, but much of the arena bowl has been enclosed and temporary heaters are being used to keep the building above freezing, Olympia Development of Michigan said in a statement. Olympia is overseeing the arena project on behalf of Wings owner Mike and Marian Ilitch.

Work remains on schedule, Olympia said.

Shea continues...

And Olympia Development posted a press release:

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Grand Rapids Griffins’ Matt Lorito, Robbie Russo named to AHL All-Star Team

From the Grand Rapids Griffins, via a text release:

The American Hockey League announced on Thursday that Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Lorito and defenseman Robbie Russo have been selected to play for the Central Division All-Star Team at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to be held Jan. 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.

Each of the AHL’s four divisions will be represented by 12 players. Rosters were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

Lorito and Russo will join head coach Todd Nelson at the event, as Nelson earned the honor to coach the Central Division by virtue of Grand Rapids owning the division’s best record as of Dec. 31.

Lorito, 26, ranks among the league’s leaders with 22 assists (3rd) and 32 points (4th). The 5-foot-9, 171-pound winger has been an integral component in the Griffins’ vaunted league-leading power play attack, as his 18 power play points (4-14—18) and 14 power play assists both tie for third on the circuit. His 10 multi-point games are tops on the team.

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An Optional Skate In LA

via Ansar Khan tweets,

Injured #RedWings Abdelkader, Helm and Green skating along with both goalies, Marchenko (back tonight) and Jensen.

Jurco, Athanasiou and Sproul, who is back in due to Smith, Kronwall injuries, are skating as well for #RedWings

Both goalies are on the ice too.

added 3:01 pm, Red Wings tweets,

Coach Blashill confirmed Kronwall (lower body) and Smith (lower body) will not play tonight.

added 3:03pm,



added 3:11pm, via Khan tweet,

Jurco out tonight and Athanasiou back in

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More Wings trade talk, this time from Custance; again, it’s not, ‘Sell, sell, sell’

In our second ESPN Insider article of the day, ESPN's Craig Custance pens a list of "trade season previews" for each and every one of the Eastern Conference's 16 teams, including the Red Wings:

Detroit Red Wings

Deadline cap space (including LTIR relief): $1.7 million

2017 draft picks: Eight picks, including Toronto’s third-round pick acquired for Mike Babcock.

Game plan: For as hard as GM Ken Holland has worked to keep winning in Detroit and extend the franchise’s incredible playoff streak, he’s also a realist. If the Red Wings continue to struggle, the expectation is that they would be sellers at the deadline, to help bring more young talent into the organization in a year they might also have a lottery pick. That wouldn’t be the worst thing for this franchise. They have rental options like Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott, Drew Miller and Brendan Smith who would have value, especially if there are limited sellers.

Before it gets to that point, the expectation from his colleagues is that Holland would make a trade right now if it helped address the teams needs on defense.

Custance continues (subscription only), and if you missed it, TSN's Darren Dreger appeared on NBCSN last night, stating that the Red Wings would "stay the course," and perhaps engage in a slight sell-off at most:

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‘Rocky Tribute Night’ just another reason to watch the dominant Walleye

So the Toledo Walleye are wearing the following jersey on Friday vs. Brampton...

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A little bit of ‘aww’ as Matt Ford ‘snows’ a young fan

Posted for the sake of "cute": the Grand Rapids Griffins caught forward Matt Ford playfully "pranking" a young fan with a snow shower on the Griffins' bench:

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St. James: Wings likely to go with Coreau vs. Kings

The Detroit Red Wings take on the Los Angeles Kings this evening (10:30 PM EST ON FSD/FS West/97.1 FM), and as they're probably not going to hold a morning skate because they're playing back-to-back games, the Free Press's Helene St. James penned a morning skate-less morning skate report:

The Detroit Red Wings appear to be going with Jared Coreau in goal as they seek to rebound from their latest outing.

The Wings take on the L.A. Kings tonight at Staples Center (10:30, FSD), a night after good goaltending by Petr Mrazek went to waste in a 2-0 loss at Anaheim.

Given how well Mrazek played, that he didn’t have a heavy workload (the Ducks put 24 shots on him) and that there is no late travel involved in busing from Anaheim to L.A., Mrazek arguably could have started again. But the decision already had been made to go with Coreau.

“It is back-to-back, I am sure Jared will play,” Mrazek said after the loss.

St. James continues, noting that Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith aren't expected to play tonight, with Alexey Marchenko (shoulder) and Ryan Sproul (healthy scratch) expected to take their place...

Update: And, for Los Angeles:

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ESPN’s Vollman weighs in on the Wings sustaining their ‘streak’

ESPN's Rob Vollman penned an Insider-only entry discussing, "How the Red Wings keep their playoff streak alive," and Vollman argues that the Red Wings need to turn their power play around, receive better goaltending, and that the Wings need to upgrade their blueline for the "streak" to survive:

Since [Nicklas] Lidstrom retired in 2012, every other defensemen has been moved up the depth chart beyond the roles in which they are most successful.

While he may be a capable top-pairing option with someone like Lidstrom as a partner, Danny DeKeyser has struggled as a No. 1 defenseman.

Jonathan Ericsson, who is now 32 years old, and Niklas Kronwall, who is struggling with bad knees and is turning 36 on Jan. 12, may no longer suitable for top-four duty at all.

Alexey Marchenko was solid in a top-four role in his rookie 2015-16 season, at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and so far this season, but is now struggling with a shoulder injury.

Mike Green should be commended for his fine play since donning a Red Wings jersey, but he has historically proven to be far more effective in a secondary, scoring-focused role, below the competition horizon and on the right side of the horizontal axis. Plus, he is currently out with a lower-body injury.

Obviously, an elite defenseman like Lidstrom would solve Detroit's blue-line problems, but even if such a rare player should become available, the combined $20 million invested in DeKeyser, Ericsson, Kronwall and Green would make it nearly impossible to fit him under the cap (let alone finding the assets to acquire him). As for acquiring a depth defenseman, the Red Wings are already well-positioned with Brendan Smith, Brian Lashoff, and rookies Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Nicklas Jensen.

There's really no obvious solution to this problem, other than to avoid making the same contract decisions in the future. The Red Wings have the organizational strength to rebuild their blue line in the long term, but extending the playoff streak this year will require one or more players to take a big step forward.

Vollman continues (subscription only)...

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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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