The Malik Report
From the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
The decline of the Red Wings defense took some time and was prompted by various causes: retirements, injuries, failed draft choices, free agents who chose to play elsewhere, a disadvantageous trade market, some lagging development and the ill-timed departure of Pavel Datsyuk.
It also is likely to take time to fix.
Seeking improvement in two key areas, managing the puck and eliminating odd-man rushes, coach Jeff Blashill said he had a message for the Wings on Friday.
“I told the team this morning if we don’t improve in them we won’t be a good enough hockey team,” he said. “If we improve in them, we’ll get a chance to be a real good hockey team.”
Frustrating is that the only solution reasonably expected as of this October is the same as last October: Any improvement likely must come from within.
Someone from the current corps of defensemen grabbing a critical role by authoring a more consistently fine performance would help. But that was the hope last season, too.
From Red Wings Productions and Ken Kal...
Update: WXYZ's Brad Galli interviewed PK Subban as well:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The focus for the Wings is playing with better structure after failing to do so for most of three of the first four games.
“Everyone needs to be on the same page,” Danny DeKeyser said. “We went over it today – limit turnovers, things like that. Not give the other offense easy chances to score.”
Blashill said he told the players this morning that if there isn’t improvement on puck managenet and on not giving up easy, out-numbered rushes against, “we won’t be a good enough hockey team. If we improve, we’ll get a chance to be a really good hockey team.”
Ott is with Luke Glendening and Drew Miller, reforming a line that was excellent during exhibition season. The trio played the first game (at Tampa Bay) but then Ott was scratched until today.
“They had real good chemistry in exhibition,” Blashill said. “They weren't bad against Tampa. They weren't great. It just gave me a chance to get AA in there a little bit. But I think that line can have good chemistry.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins, via RedWingsFeed, here's a game-day preview video ahead of tonight's game against Rockford, starring Bob Kaser:
Updated 8x at 2:28 PM: The Red Wings' morning skate revealed new lines and two changes to the lineup in Steve Ott and Ryan Sproul playing ahead of Andreas Athanasiou and Xavier Ouellet, respectively, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
Looks like some line changes for #RedWings
Looks like Sproul might be in. He skated with Smith and is practicing on second PP unit. #RedWings
#RedWings power play units:
Tatar-Nielsen-Zetterberg, Vanek, Green
Nyquist-Larkin-Sheahan, Abdelkader, Sproul
Athanasiou is skating but looked like Ott was back with Glendening and Miller. #RedWings
On defense, is was DeKeyser-Green, Smith-Sproul, and I think Ericsson-Ouellet, maybe Marchenko. Kronwall also skating.
Will be Sproul's 2nd NHL game. Debut 4-13-14, season finale at STL, 18:25 (3:25 PP), 3 shots, 2 hits, 2 blocks, no pts in 3-0 win #RedWings
And Khan was first out of the chute with a text article regarding tonight's changes:
FYI from WXYZ's Brad Galli:
Here are the questions that Mike Green answered during his "Twitterview":
In his Friday Insider-only mailbag, ESPN's Craig Custance answers a question regarding the possibility that Jacob Trouba might be traded to Detroit:
Living in Detroit, I hear Trouba’s name a lot and he’s exactly what this team needs. I just don’t see a fit from the Jets’ perspective. For this trade to happen, Winnipeg would have to change its asking price fairly dramatically, because there’s not a comparable left-shot defenseman in Detroit that would make sense.
As much as the Red Wings would love Trouba, I don’t see a match.
Cam Fowler is more realistic and may even be the preference for some in the organization. Detroit has top-six forwards who might tempt the Anaheim Ducks. The challenge is money. If the Ducks are trading Fowler, they’re doing it to clear cap space, and it doesn’t help the cause if Detroit builds a deal around, say, Tomas Tatar ($2.75 million cap hit) or Gustav Nyquist ($4.75 million).
They could help the cause by taking back a salary like Clayton Stoner's ($3.25 million this season and next) but now you’re talking about over $7 million in salary heading to Detroit with Fowler factored in. The Red Wings are currently up against the salary cap.
Like most teams right now, they’d have to look at a deal that is dollar-in and dollar-out, something that doesn’t necessarily benefit the Ducks. Now, if the Wings can find a taker for Jimmy Howard at full price ...
Update: TSN's Pierre LeBrun addressed the Trouba situaiton as well:
Updated 5x at 11:48 AM: Sproul is in, Athanasiou out:
The Detroit Red Wings face a Nashville Predators team determined to snap a two-game losing streak this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Tennesee/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM). The Wings are opening a back-to-back slate of games against the Predators and Sharks, and Nashville's coming off two days of practicing.
The Wings hit the ice at the Joe at 10:30 AM, as noted by the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...
from the Detroit Free Press,
Drew Sharp, a Detroit Free Press columnist since 1999, died this morning at his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 56.
Sharp, a Detroit native, joined the Free Press in 1983 and covered high school, college and pro beats before becoming a columnist. He formerly was the beat writer for Michigan State and the Detroit Pistons. He was a 1978 graduate of Detroit Catholic Central and 1982 graduate of the University of Michigan.
In January 1999, at the age of 38, Sharp was promoted to a full time columnist to replace the retiring Charlie Vincent.
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.