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The Malik Report

Wings Starting To Jell

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The power play has perked up considerably. Young players who were slumping the first month of the season are finding the net more consistently. Better health has provided more depth.

Offense was a concern for the Detroit Red Wings coming into the season. Lately, they've been quite productive.

They have scored 35 goals in their past 10 games (3.5 per game), after picking up 33 goals in their first 13 games (2.54 per game).

The Red Wings (13-5-5) face the surprising Vancouver Canucks (16-6-1) Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena in a clash of teams with three-game winning streaks (2 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

"Like any team, we were a work in progress at the beginning of the year," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "We were able to find some wins early, get some points on the board. I think we've got some people feeling better about themselves 20 games in."


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Practice post: Smith may return to Red Wings’ lineup vs. streaking Ryan Millers, I mean Canucks

Updated 3x at 3:30 PM: The Red Wings didn't get back to Metro Airport until 1 AM, but the play-every-other-day march is in full force until December 7th, so the Wings hit the ice at noon to prepare to build off last night's 5-4 shootout win over New Jersey when the Vancouver Canucks visit tomorrow for a 2 PM-starting affair.

The Canucks defeated Columbus 5-0 on Friday evening, and the 16-6-and-1 Ryan Miller-is-totally-Drew-Miller's-brother-ZOMGs, I mean Canucks--sorry, thought like MSM for a minute there--have won 3 straight, are 4-0-and-1 over their last 5 games and are 9-3-and-1 for November.

MLive's Ansar Khan reported that Babcock "put the band back together" at practice...

A couple of line changes at practice. Datsyuk and Zetterberg together again.

And Khan continued:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Devils wrap-up and a whole lot of talk about ‘depth’

The Red Wings flew back to Detroit on Friday night having committed a little Black Friday larceny in New Jersey, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 shootout decision from the New Jersey Devils.

The win was anything but elegant and anything but pretty for the vast majority of the time, but the Wings spent Wednesday's post-game media availabilities explaining that they are a team that remains very much so in progress and very much so far from the team that they want to be, so there are times that both fans and fans pretending to be bloggers on the internet kind of have to swallow their pride and accept the team's first 3-game winning streak of the year as beautiful, even if it came about by a bit of a "butterface" game.

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Good health news, bad legal news for Gordie Howe

This is very strange. I've got two bits of Gordie Howe news for you, and the first one did not appear online. Instead, the Waterbury, Connecticut Republican-American posted this and credited it to the Detroit Free Press and the Associated Press, and I'm assuming that it involves Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe speaking with the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Hockey legend Gordie Howe has shown minor improvements, even as he remains largely quiet and immobile.

His son, Mark Howe, told the Free Press on Thursday that Gordie Howe "isn't in so much pain any more. No walking or speech, but at least he's out of the bed."

Gordie Howe, 86, suffers from dementia, and has had a series of strokes since last summer, including a severe one on Oct. 26. That stroke left his right side paralyzed, and his sons, Mark, Marty and Murray, all rushed to the home of their sister, Cathy, in Lubbock, Texas, where Gordie Howe is staying.

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Prospect news: Griffins drop OT loss to Rochester; Walleye win wild affair; Paterson, Larkin shine

The Red Wings' AHL and ECHL affiliates had similar adventures in terms of offense chasing defense, but only one team was able to out-score the goals it gave up.

The Grand Rapids Griffins weren't that team. Grand Rapids surrendered 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads en route to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rochester Americans. The Griffins' website posited a game recap:

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Quick take, Red Wings-Devils: Wings salvage an ugly game with an elegantly ugly win

The Red Wings have had a tendency to fear the number three all year long, but they weren't shy in surrendering three first-period goals to the New Jersey Devils on Friday night, so the Wings appeared to be en route to delivering a Black Friday Turkey after emerging from the 1st period down 3-1, and the Wings surrendered the 4-1 goal all of 28 seconds into the 2nd...

But Fox Sports Detroit's cameras panned to a stoic Mike Babcock on the bench, saying, "Come on, let's go" to his next line, not Jimmy Howard, and the Wings and Petr Mrazek battled back from their 3-goal deficit to tie the New Jersey Devils 4-4 and ultimately emerge with an ugly-but-pretty 5-4 shootout win.

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Video- Ken Kal Previews The Wings/Devils Game Tonight

Ken Kal from the Prudential Center...


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Dreger: Alfredsson will retire as a Senator

I don't plan on covering the lead-up to Daniel Alfredsson's retirement in Ottawa in significant detail. He was a Red Wing for a year (though he still lives in Metro Detroit, and I really hope that the Red Wings beat the Sens to the hire-the-guy punch), this will most certainly Sens fans' "moment," so I don't want to step on toes, and mostly, the Red Wings play four times between today and next Thursday's official announcement in Ottawa--with the Wings hosting Dallas on that date--so I've got a day job to worry about as well.

If you are interested in the circumstances of Alfredsson's "discovery" by the Senators, however, TSN's Darren Dreger reveals said details in his latest Dreger Report, which states that Alfredsson really is going to retire "as a Senator":

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Game-day post, Red Wings vs. Devils: Mrazek starts, Devils dealing with ‘game-time decisions’

Updated 6x at 2:42 PM: This post actually takes 60-90 minutes of watching and waiting and at first (while looking all over the damn place for Wings stories), I was very relieved that there was a pretty solid assumption as to what the New Jersey Devils' lineup will look like against the Detroit Red Wings this evening (7 PM EST on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM), because the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti and the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere reported the same thing:

Optional morning skate for Devils today.

Ditto for NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale:

Devils have an optional skate this morning at The Rock in preparation for the Red Wings at 7pm ET.

But was it really optional? Of course not! Was the lineup that shook out of said skate consistent? Of course not!

Per Gulitti...

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Red Wings, USMC reserve to collect Toys for Tots during December 2nd & 4th games

From the Detroit Red Wings:

Red Wings team up with U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for annual Toys For Tots Collection

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings are hosting their annual Toys for Tots collection during two home games this week at Joe Louis Arena. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys (no stuffed animals) to home games on Tuesday, Dec. 2, against Florida at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 4, versus Dallas at 7:30 p.m.

Representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be on hand at each entrance of Joe Louis Arena to collect toys, which will then be distributed to needy children throughout Metro Detroit during the holidays. All monetary donations will be used to purchase additional toys.

The first 20 fans to make a monetary donation or donate a new toy will receive a hockey puck autographed by a member of the Red Wings.

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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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