The Malik Report
As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Washington Capitals tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/CSN Washington/97.1 FM), they face simple equations which add up to tremendous difficulty in attempting to salvage their season:
1. With 10 games remaining on their schedule and 3 weeks left in the regular season, the Red Wings can’t worry about catching the St. Louis Blues anymore: the Nashville Predators’ 3-1 victory over Anaheim gives the Predators 92 points, the same as the Red Wings, and with 10 games remaining on their schedule, one more regulation or overtime win (38 to Detroit’s 37), so the Predators currently have home-ice advantage in an almost inevitable first-round playoff series which will probably include Alexander Radulov in Nashville’s lineup;
2. The Red Wings have gone 0-3-and-1 in their last four games, 2-5-and-1 in March (having lost 7 of their past 8 games) and possess a 3-7-and-2 record since February 21st. As such, the Chicago Blackhawks, who defeated tonight’s opponent on Sunday evening, sit only 4 points back of Detroit and Nashville;
Updated 2x at 6:36 PM with a little evening reading: As the Red Wings flew back to Detroit Sunday afternoon, choosing to remain in San Jose after Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks, they were all but literally on the limp thanks to injuries to Darren Helm (knee), Johan Franzen (back) and JoeyMacDonald (back) which will all require MRI’s on Monday.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan that the team wasn’t updating the status of anyone, Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and Jakub Kindl (oblique muscle strain) included, until Monday…
Wings’ Ken Holland said they will have no injury updates until Monday. Team is flying back home from San Jose today.
But with at least one of Helm or Franzen not playing on Monday, the Wings recalled a player who set the Grand Rapids Griffins’ record for rookie scoring Saturday night, registering his 56th, 57th (record-breaking) and 58th points, just in case:
The Red Wings chose not to incur a fine for flying out of San Jose at a late hour, but given the toll going 0-2-and-1 on their West Coast road trip took upon their chances of harboring any hopes of avoiding a first-round match-up against the Nashville Predators, who the Wings lead by two points in the Central Division standings thanks to a favor from the Los Angeles Kings, and given that Darren Helm (left knee), Joey MacDonald (back spasms, possible disc issue), Nicklas Lidstrom (bone bruise on his left ankle) and Johan Franzen (back spasms) will form a long line at an MRI machine at the Detroit Medical Center instead of a line to do drills at the Wings’ practice on Monday morning…
You’d think that the Wings, whose distressing 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks was nothing more than an exclamation point upon a road trip which included losses to LA and Anaheim, would want to get out of dodge as fast as possible. The Wings have gone 3-8-and-2 since defeating the same Sharks on February 17th, and given the revolving door that’s been placed in front of the trainer’s room…
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James and MLive’s Ansar Khan report that Helm will have an MRI on what is either a left knee injury or a Charley horse on Monday: The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks may have been best summarized by the game’s final play: Off a dump-in by Niklas Kronwall which neither Justin Abdelkader nor Danny Cleary could retrieve, Dominic Moore charged up the middle of the ice, gave-and-went with Douglas Murray and skated into the Wings’ zone.
When Moore—who knocked Darren Helm (“lower-body injury,” will be reassessed on Monday) out of the game with an inadvertent knee-in-knee checkstopped with 3 Wings surrounding him about ten feet in front of the hash marks, instead of closing in on Moore, Kronwall and Ian White just stood and sort of watched Moore kick the puck to his stick, and passed the puck to Martin Havlat, who fired a hard shot from the right wing side on Jimmy Howard.
Red Wings fans have more or less figured out that the reason Brad Stuart’s family hasn’t moved to Detroit with him involves his step-daughter’s custody issues. Mrs. Stuart’s daughter from her previous marriage is 17 and, as far as those familiar with California law can surmise, the Stuarts would have to give up custody of said daughter, depending on the legalities involved, if Mrs. Stuart were to move out of either the State of California or just plain old move out of Ciera’s school district. That’s why Stuart has spent the last four years away from his wife, step-daughter and two young sons, and it’s why Stuart seems to be on the fence about re-signing with the Wings. The San Jose Mercury News’s David Pollak spoke to Stuart about his family situation while wondering aloud whether Stuart will return to the Sharks this summer:
One last thing from the Red Wing side of things — or at least something that starts there and could end up on the Sharks side of things. Brad Stuart let it be known several weeks ago that it was very unlikely he’d be back in Detroit next season after his contract expires. That’s because his wife and their three children have stayed in their Los Gatos home the last three seasons and that’s too much distance. I talked with him today and nothing’s changed on that front.
“It’s always going to be important,” he said of the need to play closer to the Bay Area. “It’s obviously something we’ve discussed, not just recently but for the last few years.”
The Red Wings didn’t win the Stanley Cup during the spring of 1996, but their playoff runs to the Cup Finals in 95 and their three-round run into the brick wall that was the Colorado Avalanche after they’d defeated the St. Louis Blues gave the Wings both the resolve,determination, playoff experience and especially the personnel changes necessary to capture the Cup in 1997, and the CBC’s “It Happened on Hockey Night” series revisits one of the best goals in Red Wings history today:
Many thanks to Paul for the link.
Updated 6x at 5:40 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the San Jose Sharks tonight (10:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/ NBC Sports Network airing the Sharks’ feed/97.1 FM), the Red Wings’ website provides good news and bad news from a very late morning skate:
From DRW PR: The Red Wings are 19-13-1 all-time on St. Patrick’s Day.
Wings are on the ice for their morning skate in San Jose. Johan Franzen (back) is not out there at the moment.
Here is your look in at today’s morning skate at HP Pavilion. http://twitvid.com/ISXDK
According to Mike Babcock, Pavel Datsyuk will play tonight. Johan Franzen will not
Given that the Detroit Red Wings have amassed a 3-7-and-1 record since defeating tonight’s opponent, the San Jose Sharks (10:30 PM EDT, FSD, probably without a pre-game due to the CCHA final between WMU and Michigan at 7:30 PM/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM) way back on February 17th, it would seem appropriate for Detroit to bookend its worst stretch of hockey this season by finishing up the last game of their last West Coast swing of the regular season by putting a Pavel Datsyuk-sized dent in the Sharks’ playoff hopes.
But that’s where the problem regarding tonight’s game lies.
Updated 6x at 5:56 PM: Good news-bad news from the Red Wings’ practice on Friday in San Jose, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James on Twitter:
Datsyuk says he’s playing against Sharks
In locker room after practice, Cleary asks, “Where’s Mule?” Kronwall supplies his answer “food court”
Babcock said Franzen has back spasms, doesn’t know status for tomorrow
Here’s the entirety of St. James’ Twitter quips...
Every indication suggests that as soon as Nicklas Lidstrom is able to return from the bone bruise troubling his left ankle, he’ll be back on the Wings’ blueline, maybe as soon as next Wednesday or Friday…But the Wings’ struggles without Lidstrom have the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek suggesting that the Red Wings would be in serious trouble should Lidstrom retire after this season*:
There isn’t panic in the Motor City exactly, but with the news that team captain Nicklas Lidstrom has gone home to have his injured ankle (diagnosed as a deep bone bruise re-evaluated), there has to be concern at the very least. The Red Wings were wiped out in both Los Angeles and Anaheim on the first two games of a short California road trip that wraps up Saturday in San Jose. The good news is centre Pavel Datsyuk is supposed to return for that game, which should give the slumbering offence a boost. The bad news is that without Lidstrom, the defence looks a little thread-bare.
Oh, there’s panic in the Motor City, and the fact that Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson are sidelined as well are highly “underrated” in terms of hobbling the Wings’ defensive corps…
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