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Red Wings-Kings set-up: a quietly crucial game (plus GM’s meetings talk)

Updated 4x at 11:57 AM: The Detroit Red Wings remain without the services of Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom, and probably Todd Bertuzzi, as they face off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/Fox Sports West/97.1 FM—and if you’re in LA, the Wings are holding a meet-up at Los Angeles’s Coney Dog restaurant), and they’re heading into a stretch of back-to-backs against Los Angeles and Anaheim (the Ducks dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Colorado on Monday) and a barometer game against the playoff-desperate Sharks on Saturday…

Really, really, really needing to avoid allowing the Kings to exact their revenge for a 4-3 loss last Friday at the Joe if the Wings harbor any hopes of catching the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. While the 11th-place Kings hope to close their two-point gap on the Sharks for the 8th and final playoff spot, the Wings sit 6 points behind St. Louis in the Central Division standings, and, thanks to a Predators win on Monday, the Wings now sit only 2 points ahead of the team that took them out on Saturday.

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Bertuzzi, Datsyuk, Lidstrom remain sidelined for Red Wings (and evening gnus)

Updated 4x at 8:05 PM: Many thanks to Paul for the updates. Back from the doc, mom checked out okay, had a few freckles removed by the doc but continues to remain skin cancer free.

Anyway, from the Red Wings’ practice in Los Angeles, we’re finding out mediocre news on the injury front. MLive’sAnsar Khan reported that Nicklas Lidstrom at least skated with his teammates for the first time since suffering a bone bruise to his left ankle on February 25th versus Colorado, but Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Todd Bertuzzi (groin) remain out, as Khan notes:

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Pavel Datsyuk (coming off arthroscopic knee surgery), Nicklas Lidstrom (deep bone bruise in ankle), Todd Bertuzzi (strained groin) and Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle) are out for Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). Babcock said he thinks Bertuzzi will be ready for Wednesday’s game in Anaheim (10 p.m., FSD).

So goaltender Jimmy Howard is the only player who will return to the lineup Tuesday.

At least we know that Kindl’s “upper-body injury” isn’t related to his head now, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James offers more deails about Lidstrom and Datsyuk:

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Practice Update From LA

Paul here for George who is out running some errands.

The beat writers report Lidstrom spent about 5 minutes on the ice, then skated off and talked with both the trainers and Babcock.

Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, Kindl and Howard are all practicing, at least so far.

added 6:24pm, per the beat writers from Babcock- Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Kindl and Bertuzzi are out for Tuesday and Wednesday, although Bertuzzi may try to play on Wednesday.

Lidstrom says he is progressing but could only take a few rounds around the rink.

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Red Wings mid-day news: Nyquist recalled, power rankings and a sad day for Fox Sports Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings will practice in Los Angeles while I’m out of the office, regrettably (parent to skin cancer 6-month check-up > remaining at home office), so here’s a skim smattering of Red Wings-related news to tide you over:

• While we’ll wait until after practice today to receive news regarding the respective statuses of the soon-to-be-returning Jimmy Howard (groin) and Todd Bertuzzi (groin), as well as updates on Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise in his ankle), the Wings officially recalled Gustav Nyquist from the Grand Rapids Griffins in case Bertuzzi’s not good to go tomorrow night.

Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press’s Helene St. James offers an assessment of the Wings’ injury situation while noting that the Wings won’t practice until 5:30 PM EDT, which means that real injury updates won’t start rolling in until 6 PM Detroit time:

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Red Wings overnight report: relentelssly optimistic

The injury-depleted Detroit Red Wings have slipped to fourth place in the Western Conference thanks to dropping three of their past four games, and coming off a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, the Wings doubly re-set their body clocks—losing one hour when first returning from Nashville’s Central Time Zone, losing another thanks to “spring forward,” and three more via a Sunday evening flight to Los Angeles which deposited the team in California—for a three-game road swing which starts with a rematch against last Friday’s opponent in the revenge-minded Los Angeles Kings—at what would be the equivalent of 12:27 AM EST.

When the Wings’ players gather on the ice at the Kings’ practice facility later today, probably after Red Wings GM Ken Holland, who will spend Monday morning at the GM’s meetings, is on the golf course in Palm Beach, Gustav Nyquist will rejoin a cast of characters who haven’t even tried to skate since Friday in Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise), and one who did in Jimmy Howard (groin).

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Don’t expect the status to remain anything but quo at the GM’s meetings, says Wings’ Ken Holland

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to MLive’s Ansar Khan before flying to the hockey hotbed of Boca Raton, Florida to attend the NHL’s general managers’ meetings at the economically-priced The Breakers Resort (Don Cherry booked all the hotels in Saskatoon), and while the talk of reintroducing the red line, getting rid of the “trapezoid,” introducing “hybrid icing” and otherwise slowing down the game to “make it safer “(as I noted earlier today, it’s not as if the referees haven’t been told to totally ignore obstruction and interference or anything), and while perhaps the most self-critical and open-to-change fans in all of sports and the media types that border on change-because-we-have-to-engage in-self-loathing-of-the-game-we’re paid-to-cover-because-it-sucks-to go-to-games-for-free…

The Red Wings GM does not believe that there is a sufficient appetite for any changes to be made to the game’s rulebook or soon-to-be-renegotiated CBA to expect 20 of the 30 GM’s who will attend tomorrow’s meetings to agree on even implement the most subtle of tweaks, his and coach Mike Babcock’s disagreements about the red line’s reintroduction included:

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Mike Commodore’s finding his game in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Times’ Damian Cristodero reports that Mike Commodore is trying to do his best to salvage his opportunity to continue his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

“I know I can still play,” said Commodore, 32, acquired at the February trade deadline. “Can I do everything I once could? Maybe not. But I’m not old. I feel like I still have something left in the tank.”

In six games with the Lightning he is plus-2 with an average 14:46 of ice time and turns on the penalty kill and late in games to protect leads. At 6 feet 4, 227 pounds, he adds a physical presence and has the bona fides from winning the 2006 Stanley Cup with Carolina.

“He keeps it simple and keeps his composure under pressure,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “He’s been a really good addition for us.”

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More clutching and grabbing does not yield a ‘safer’ game

I wrote this as a response to an article Paul posted, but I feel so passionatly pissed off about the issue that I’m gonna use my soapbox to say what I feel about the ridiculous levels of obstruction and otherwise uncalled infractions that the NHL has clearly told its referees to ignore in advance of a set of GM’s meetings on Monday and Tuesday where the gentlemen in charge of the game want to reintroduce the red line to supposedly reintroduce creativity, back the trap up twenty feet and prevent concussions:

It seems rather obvious to me that the NHL’s already tossed out a mandate to, “Slow down the game to make it safer” via allowing everything but horizontal stick fouls and the, “If he falls, it’s a call” penalties, but the refs are letting far more than the grabs, gropes, wrestling, football tackling and the kinds of moving and stationary picks that literally prevent players from getting to the puck or separate puck carriers from scoring chances by any means—we’re seeing just as much, if not more players lining their opponents up for vicious collisions via you-stop-him-I’ll-rail-him plays (see: Mike Green) and some absolutely ridiculous hacks and whacks to hands, wrists and ankles, dangerous trips, slew-foots, kneeing, butt-ending, boarding, etc., all of that crap is being let go to “protect” the players.

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Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard will return on Tuesday; Nyquist sent down temporarily

Updated 2 with a conversation with Ken Holland from the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness at 3 PM: Excellent Red Wings news from the Free Press’s Helene St. James: the Wings will at least have Jimmy Howard back between the pipes on Tuesday:

Wings send Nyquist and Pearce back to Grand Rapids, good indication Howard and Bertuzzi will return Tuesday at LA
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Holland tells Free Press: Howard is ready to go Tuesday at LA, Nyquist will play tonight for GR, rejoin Wings Monday in LA in case needed.
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No practice today for #RedWings. Lidstrom and Datsyuk still expected back during California trip

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms, but reports that Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom’s respective statuses remain somewhat uncertain:

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Red Wings-Predators wrap-up and overnight report: losing ‘time’ on the road

The Detroit Red Wings flew back to Detroit on Saturday night for an abbreviated night of sleep in their own beds before embarking upon their last West Coast swing of the season starting Sunday night, and the Wings did so losing more than two hours in the exchange (due to heading back to the Eastern Time Zone and then losing another hour due to Daylight Savings Time): the Wings limped out of Nashville only four instead of eight points ahead of the Predators, and now trail the Blues by 4 points in the Central Division standings, thanks to a 3-2 loss to Nashville which represented a failed attempt to “lurk in the weeds,” as the Wings did in their comeback victory against the Kings on Friday night, against a far superior opponent.

So the Wings will head into Los Angeles for a rematch with said Kings on Tuesday, tangle with the spoiler-happy Ducks on Wednesday and then face what they can only hope is a potential first-round opponent in the San Jose Sharks next Saturday, because if the Red Wings don’t stop losing (Detroit’s lost 3 of its past 4 games), they’ll end up playing against the Predators in April, and may very well have to start the series in Nashville at this rate.

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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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