The Malik Report
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill spoke with the Canadian Press's Jonas Siegel regarding the outlook ahead of the trade deadline, and both GM's feel that the parity in the NHL = far fewer "sellers" than ever before:
"That's going to be the unknown," said Nill, whose Dallas squad sits comfortably in a playoff spot at the moment with 71 points. "There's probably 3-5 teams that are saying 'Hey we're probably out of it', but I think everybody else is saying 'You know what, we're in it.'"
Injuries and losing streaks in the ensuing weeks could quickly alter such conversations, he added. Detroit GM Ken Holland has never been a seller at the deadline. His Red Wings have made the playoffs in 24 consecutive seasons.
What he's hearing currently from rival general managers is "wait and see."
"They're saying 'I want to see what happens in the next month,'" said Holland. "If you're two points out of a playoff spot on the trade deadline it's hard to pull the plug and start letting players go."
Holland said the standings give general managers of a good idea of what they're going to try to do leading up to the deadline. But with more teams conceivably in the playoff race, it's harder to make definitive plans until days before the cutoff. It was at about this point last year — a few weeks before the deadline — that Holland dialled up then-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello inquiring about the availability of Marek Zidlicky, a right-shot defender on an expiring contract that the Red Wings coveted.
"Lou told me 'Ken, I want to see where my team goes,'" Holland recalled.
Siegel continues, and if you recall, Holland told the Wings' media corps that he's not going to be in the player rental market this year.
This comes from WXYZ, and while I'm grateful for the upgrades that the Red Wings have made to a building that won't be standing five years from now, you're going to have to color me skeptical on this one:
Uploading a photo to Facebook from the Joe Louis Arena may get a lot easier for some fans.
AT&T announced that the company added a new base station at the arena to give customers faster and more reliable service.
The 4G LTE technologies will make it easier to text, watch videos and post to social media inside the Joe, according to the company.
“AT&T’s investment at the Joe will keep Detroiters better connected than ever before,” said state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) in a press release. “Projects like these are an important part of Detroit’s recovery story and great news for everyone taking in a Wings game or an event downtown.”
Updated 8x at 2:36 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) delivered a thoroughly mixed bag of news. The beat writers reported that Petr Mrazek will start for Detroit; they also reported that Mike Green will miss tonight's game with a sore groin, and that Jakub Kindl will come into the lineup as a result.
The Miami Herald's George Richards also reported that Al Montoya will start for the Panthers this evening, and Richards noted that Little Caesars hockey grad Vincent Trocheck earned a nod from the NHL:
#FlaPanthers Vincent Trocheck named NHL third star of the week...3-3, 6 in three games.
Al Montoya confirmed for #FlaPanthers at #RedWings
#FlaPanthers D Erik Gudbranson is not on this road trip.
From the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov:
Update: Mike Green is out with a sore groin.
The Red Wings will attempt to snap a 5-game winless streak against the Florida Panthers this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM). Winning tonight's game is absolutely essential for the Wings to climb back into the Atlantic Division's playoff picture, and it could mean the difference between placing themselves within striking distance of the Panthers or ensuring that Florida wins the division.
The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:40 for the morning skate, per the Wings...
#RedWings morning skate. #LGRW https://vine.co/v/i1HPuHi2wVW
.@pmrazek34 first goalie off at morning skate. #RedWings #FLAvsDET
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They need to start racking up points at home and they have a good opportunity this week with four games.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Looking to cool off Panthers
The Red Wings face Atlantic Division-leading Florida for the second time in five days on Monday (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit Plus). The Panthers have won five of six from Detroit, including both meetings this season. They have gone 23-6-2 following an 8-9-4 start....
Florida's power play has converted in five consecutive games (8 for 22).
The Panthers, behind goaltender Roberto Luongo, lead the league in goals-against average (2.21).
2. Athanasiou here to stay?
Will Andreas Athanasiou remain in the lineup permanently? That depends on his performance.
Saturday was a good start. Called up for the second time this season, Athanasiou centered a line with Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, provided an assist and posted a plus-2 rating while logging a team-low 9:48.
His speed and offensive upside make him an upgrade over Joakim Andersson. Athanasiou can also kill penalties.
When Niklas Kronwall comes off long-term injured reserve in another week or 10 days, the club must send either Andersson or Athanasiou back to Grand Rapids.
The Red Wings will attempt to defeat the Florida Panthers for the first time in 3 tries this evening (7:30 PM EST start on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM), and the Wings will do so with their memories fresh from last Thursday's 6-3 Panthers romp.
Put simply, this is a game that the Red Wings have to win if they are to get back into the thick of the Atlantic Division standings, never mind close their 8-point deficit on the Atlantic-leading Panthers. With today's game and a March 19th meeting left in the teams' season series, Detroit can considerably close the gulf between themselves and the Panthers, or Detroit can all but ensure that it will be playing for 2nd or 3rd in the division.
The Wings enter tonight's game having won at home for the first time in 7 tries on Saturday against the Islanders; Florida, which has won 5 straight games against the Wings and 5 straight games at the Joe, is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Much of the Panthers' story is likely to focus upon Little Caesars graduate and 22-year-old center Vincent Trocheck, who's become a valuable contributor, as the Sun-Sentinel's Alain Poupart notes:
Answer Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans.
The first question was regarding Jimmy Howard.
Mrazek is their No. 1 goalie – now and into the future. Even if Howard regains his mojo they're not going back to the rotation they used much of the first half of the season.
Mrazek, a restricted free agent, will get a sizable raise on his next contract. They can't have a back-up with a $5.3 million cap hit next season, and I'm sure Howard doesn't want to be a back-up. So the only option is to trade him after the season.
That's easier said than done when you have three years and nearly $16 million remaining and you've struggled like Howard has.
In order to move him, the Red Wings could retain a portion of his contract. But instead of paying somebody to take him perhaps a more likely scenario would be the Red Wings taking back somebody else's unwanted contract, though not with that large a cap hit.
And even then, the list of teams seeking a highly paid starting goalie who has been off his game can't be long. Calgary, Buffalo and Winnipeg might be on the short list of clubs looking for a No. 1.
more Q & A...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Russia has proven to be fertile soil for NHL scouts over the past 30 years, nurturing some of the most skilled and creative players in the game today. The pipeline of talent continues to flow, providing nearly 60 players over the past five NHL drafts, including 17 in 2015 alone. While not all of those selected will make the cut, here are a dozen who are worth watching.
Evgeny Svechnikov, wing, Detroit Red Wings
A multi-faceted winger blessed with a complete skill set, Svechnikov is on track to becoming a solid top-six winger for Detroit. Size (6'2", 205 pounds) and skating are his prime assets, making him tough for defenses to handle off the rush. He’ll probably be more of a playmaker at the NHL level, but he’s shown some finishing touch in the QMJHL, scoring 54 goals in 90 career games.
more Russian players listed...
The Red Wings and Islanders endured a strange scenario during Saturday's matinee game. My understanding of the situation was that one of the Wings' Zambonis picked up a bolt that helps hold the "Marsh Pegs" in place, gouging a rut in the ice, and it took about 35 minutes for Al Sobotka and the ice crew to fix the error:
MLive's Brendan Savage offers one last look at the situation, noting that Henrik Zetterberg and John Tavares had to sign off on the ice conditions before play resumed:
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “Gosh …every time I flick the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty probably [smiles], it’s embarrassing.”
Strangest Game: “Let’s see … a strangest game I thought was in the playoffs when Ovi had a hat trick and Crosby had a hat trick in the same game. So it was pretty strange. I mean that doesn’t happen very often.”
Favorite Uniforms: “Probably Red Wings, here, I would say, yeah.”
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