The Malik Report
Updated at 8:46 PM: Here's the Free Press's Helene St. James' confirmation...
The Detroit Red Wings have caught a big break on the injury front, as starting goaltender Jimmy Howard has been cleared to play.
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that "all tests have shown nothing," and that Howard will be available to play Thursday when the Wings host Columbus.
The Free Press's Helene St. James broke the news that Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson's out for at least two weeks with a broken left index finger, and now we'll turn things over to MLIve's Ansar Khan, who reports that Wings GM Ken Holland doesn't believe that Jimmy Howard's injury is one worth losing sleep over (the team seems to believe that Howard's decision to take himself out for precautionary reasons when experiencing "blurry vision" during last night's loss to Nashville was a wise one), and Khan offers other injury updates as well:
"[Howard] had a great morning skate (Tuesday), felt good all afternoon, had a good warmup,'' Holland said. "Then, in the game, he felt blurry. When you have that you have to go through all the tests.''
Howard left at 11:22 of the first period in the 4-3 overtime loss at Nashville.
Also from Khan:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the Fan 590's Hockeycentral at Noon crew on Wednesday, addressing everything from Mikael Samuelsson and Jimmy Howard's statuses (out for 2 weeks and "iffy," respectively) to his team's performance in their first post-Nicklas Lidstrom season, the injury parade that's beset the Wings, Pavel Datsyuk's dekes and dangles and his take on improving the Wings down the line:
The interview's over 12 minutes long, and Holland speaks quickly, so expect to need to re-listen to it.
Update: Sportsnet posted the most important part of Holland's commentary, at least as it applies to possible personnel moves:
I spent a significant chunk of last night's recap wondering whether Valtteri Filppula's playing his way out of town given his status as an unrestricted free agent-to-be, the salary cap going down this summer while several of the Wings' top prospects are coming off their entry-level deals, given the NHL-readiness of players like Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar, and especially given that the struggling Filppula could be parlayed into part of a package for a much-needed top-pair defenseman.
Today, the Free Press's Helene St. James calls Filppula out , suggesting that he may have been the non-Jakub Kindl-centered target of Wings coach Mike Babcock's suggestion that several players didn't show up prepared to play, and she wonders where FIlppula's future lies with the Wings, and whether he can salvage his career in Detroit before it's too late:
Updated 7x at 1:39 PM: Not good not good, from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Ugh. The Red Wings lost Mikael Samuelsson to a possibly broken left hand before yesterday night's loss to Nashville, and Jimmy Howard had to leave the game due to "blurry vision, yielding a boatload of worry for Red Wings fans. At this point, we'd all just like to learn what's going on with said players, but, via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Brendan Savage reports that Wings GM Ken Holland has no timeline in terms of finding out what ails both players:
"I don't even know when they're going to see the doctor. Some point in time today," Holland said. "The way it usually happens is if there's anything significant that happens, they usually call me. If it's not significant, I usually hear tomorrow morning. I don't know when I'm going to know."
Holland said if he hasn't heard anything by this afternoon he'll reach out to trainer Piet Van Zant to get an update. Samuelsson said after the game in Nashville that his hand was painful, more so when he moved it than when he did not.
"The hand ... with Mike Samuelsson, whatever it is today it is tomorrow," Holland said.
Two more Red Wings-related stories popped up this morning, and they might as well be squeezed into this entry. RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest took note of Landon Ferraro's resurgent play with the Grand Rapids Griffins in his weekly prospect report (which is big news given that the injuries Ferraro suffered as a junor-aged player reduced his status to something of an afterthought in many scouts' eyes)...
Via Michigan Hockey, I'm not sure whether this qualifies as "news," but the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran reports that the 2014 Winter Classic will indeed reprise of the 2013-scheduled events both before and during the main attraction, a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI:
It’s all still very hush-hush, but the Maple Leafs and Red Wings will indeed play next January in the NHL’s next instalment of the Winter Classic.
This year’s game, scheduled for New Year’s Day, was cancelled due to the lockout. It was expected to draw 110,000 fans.
But the Star has learned that the NHL is closing in on final talks with officials at the University of Michigan for use of its football stadium, and with the Detroit Tigers for use of Comerica Park in what would be a weeklong festival of hockey capped of by the NHL game.
“My guess is we will officially announce plans in early spring,” a source told the Star.
Two Red Wings alumni-ish notes: Cheli’s Chili’s in Dearborn is closing, and McCarty’s writing a book
Of Red Wings-related note in the, "These stories didn't fit into the recap, they involve Wings alumni and their business interests, and hell, they're important" category:
This isn't good news if you've enjoyed going to Cheli's Chili's Dearborn location to watch Wings games. The Detroit Free Press's Silva Rector reports that the Dearborn branch is closing today, and closing for good:
Cheli’s Chili Bar in Dearborn, owned by former Detroit Red Wings star Chris Chelios, will close at the end of business Wednesday, an employee confirmed today. The well-known sports bar — a fixture at the corner of Michigan and Oakwood in west Dearborn for 10 years — had been for sale “for a while,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified. The bar and restaurant has about 25 employees, who were notified of the closing Saturday.
Najib Rizk — the owner of Le Cigar cocktail and cigar bar at 22263 Michigan — is buying the property in a sale scheduled for closing Wednesday, according to his brother, Mohammed Rizk. He could not say what his brother’s plans were for the building, and Najib Rizk was not available for comment.
Red Wings-Predators wrap-up: was this a belief-builder or just another case of not gettin’ ‘er done?
The Detroit Red Wings may very well look back on Tuesday night's 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville, a game which they trailed 2-0, started without Mikael Samuelsson (broken hand?), finished without Jimmy Howard (Blurry vision? Concussion?) and nearly finished without Niklas Kronwal (hit from behind) and Cory Emmerton (blocked a shot with his face), and almost lost 3-2 until Pavel Datsyuk decided that the team was going to earn a point, and that was that...
And say that the team's fourth "loss" in a row (the Wings are 0-2-and-2 since having defeated the Los Angeles Kings on February 10th) was in fact a game that taught the Wings how to believe in themselves again, how to play with poise, jam, moxie, effort, attention to detail and the plain old kind of puck possesison play that's supposed to be the reason this team can transcend its personnel issues and continue to at least make the playoffs on a year-by-year basis.
I didn't like it. To me, rallying from a 2-0 deficit (and laughable penalty disparity) to tie the game at 2-2, surrender another go-ahead goal 1:21 after your team's tied it, and then to not build off of Datsyuk's beating-six-players effort, and instead, give up a bizarre overtime goal that was, depending on your point of view, either a case of two Wings defenders checking each other or Andrei Kostitsyn delivering moer than "subtle" interference...
Updated w/ injury news, again, at 11:32 PM: The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Nashville Predators, despite Pavel Datsyuk's brilliance and some incredible efforts by Henrik Zetterberg, Danny Cleary of all people, Jordin Tootoo and even Jonathan Ericsson, but I'm left angry after this one.
Despite the Wings rallying from a 2-0 deficit, a late scratch for Mikael Samuelsson (broken hand?), an injury to Jimmy Howard (upper body?) and nearly losing Niklas Kronwall (chest or something thanks to a dirty hit from behind) and Cory Emmerton (blocked shot with his face)...The Red Wings' will, skill, and during an 11-Wings-shots-to-4 Preds shots third period that actually looked like Red Wings hockey being played for the first time since the team's win against Edmonton...
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