The Malik Report
from Aaron McMann of Mlive,
The second line of Tomas Tatar, Gus Nyquist and Riley Sheahan is beginning to heat for the Detroit Red Wings....
"They're good players. They just got to turn into good pros now," Babcock said. "They got to learn to work every single day and do it right all the time. If they do that and they stay hungry and they're really driven they become really good players."
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
The difference is "huge," Mike Babcock said before the Red Wings' 5-2 defeat of the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
"They're not getting forechecks on you and wearing on your D, because (Mrazek) can play the puck," Babcock said. "It's a real skill set. It's part of his game that we give up less chances with Mrazek in net, because of the way he plays the puck."
Mrazek, who stopped 34 of 36 shots, said the skill is a result of liking to do it, inspiration and training.
"I always like to move the puck, play it behind the net and if it's transferred," he said. "When I stop it, and it's a transfer play, I'm trying to get the game faster, so we are not spending so much time in our zone."
The Detroit Red Wings returned home from their six-game road trip and prepared to battle the NHL's highest-scoring team, and Saturday's game had, "The Preds might pounce all over a road-weary Wings team" written all over it.
That didn't happen, because the Wings, from Petr Mrazek on out, played steady, strong, and consistent hockey, and in what was at some points a chess match and other times a track meet, Detroit pounced upon their offensive chances while diminishing the Predators' attempts to score, all en route to a 5-2 victory that should set up a strong weekend's worth of point-earning by the Wings (Buffalo visits on Sunday).
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"They've got a great back end, even without (the injured Ryan) Ellis in lineup; they can defend and they can really move the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I think they've got the best goalie in the league and they have enough scoring up front that it keeps you in trouble.
"They're quicker than most teams because of their back end. They can just flat-out get the puck going in a hurry. They built a good back end there, really good players and they make it hard on you."
Shea Weber (6-4, 233) continues to be the anchor of the defense.
"He's a freak of nature," Babcock said. "You're not supposed to be that big and that good and that fast and that hard and that committed. He's a special, special player. He's a special human being actually. He's a great man.
"He sets the tone there, but Seth Jones is no slouch. (Mattias) Ekholm is no slouch. (Roman) Josi's no slouch. You add Ellis into the mix and there's not many teams that have left and right (shots) on the back that can attack the net like they can. They're good and so they play faster than they actually are."
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Lines at the skate:
First power play:
Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Nyquist, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
Tatar-Weiss-Pulkkinen, Sheahan (net front), DeKeyser
Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan provides a set of injury updates, and he reports that none of the Wings' injured players will return before Detroit's final 3 pre-All-Star Break games (Saturday vs. Nashville, Sunday vs. Buffalo and Tuesday vs. Minnesota) have taken place (i.e. no returns till after the All-Star Break). Among Khan's updates from Ken Holland:
Tomas Jurco: He left after the second period in Edmonton on Jan. 6 due to lower back pain.
"He saw a back specialist who prescribed some medication and it appears the medication is working," Holland said. "He's getting better every day. He should be back after the All-Star break."
Johan Franzen: He was injured on a blindside hit from Edmonton's Rob Klinkhammer on Jan. 6. Franzen finished the game but began feeling ill afterward. He is working out off-ice.
"Has had the odd headache, has good days and bad days," Holland said. "Until he's on the ice practicing for three, four, five days in a row, there's no time frame. We're waiting for him to get on the ice."
Jimmy Howard: Suffered a slightly torn groin muscle last Saturday in Washington and is estimated to be out another 2-3 weeks. He is working out off-ice. The club hopes he can return sometime between Jan. 31-Feb. 7, but there is no way of pinpointing a precise date with this type of injury.
"Don't think he'll play on the Florida trip (Jan. 28-30)," Holland said. "With groin injuries there is no black and white. We try to be conservative. We'll see how he feels once we regroup after the All-Star break."
Khan continues with news about Gustavsson and Kindl as well:
In his weekly mailbag feature, Ansar Khan has a question for you...
Q: It seems as though the Wings are reluctant to make splash when it comes to trading for what they need. I respect (general manager) Ken Holland's asset management and his unwillingness to trade away assets the Wings have drafted and developed, but isn't trading for those final pieces (without selling the farm or the future, of course) a part of building a team that can make a legit run at the Cup?
A: Is it possible to attain "those final pieces" at the trade deadline without dealing a significant part of the future?
Last year they paid what appeared to be a heavy price for rental center David Legwand (good center prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a second-round pick).
If the Red Wings feel they're in good position at the March 2 trade deadline to make a serious playoff run or even compete for the Stanley Cup I'm sure Holland will be aggressive in pursuing that final piece (right-handed shooting defenseman).
But I don't see them dealing a top prospect (like Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Xavier Ouellet or Ryan Sproul) or a good young roster player (Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan) for someone who you don't know for sure will get them over the top, especially for a rental.
Would a package including a roster player like Jakub Kindl or Joakim Andersson, a mid-level prospect and a second-round pick land them someone like Edmonton's Jeff Petry, who's unrestricted in July and certain to be moved?
more Q & A...
The Wings are not practicing today so a good time to look at the rest of the month...
Three home games before the All-Star break then on the road again for a tour of Florida.
At this point in time there are no Wings in the All-Star game but that could change if an injury occurs to a current NHL All-Star.
Let's just hope the Wings look at the game on Saturday as an important one and do not relax just because they are home.
Gregg Krupa of the Detorit News with a greaty story on University of Michigan head hockey coach Red Berenson,
Red Berenson sat in the north stands of Yost Ice Arena several rows below his office, sipping from a cup of hot coffee, surveying the Wolverines and his assistants on the ice.
It was a light practice. His young squad of mostly underclassmen upset ninth-ranked Minnesota twice in the raucous old fieldhouse the previous weekend, and the victors had emerged a bit battered.
As brilliant winter sunshine streamed through the soaring cathedral windows, the coach, who had joined only three others with 800 career victories after the second defeat of the Gophers, appreciated the moment.
"I like that, with all our recruiting efforts, all of our planning and work off the ice, when you come to the rink, you get to play," said Berenson, Michigan's coach for 31 seasons.
"This is the time of day that's best for them," he said of the players, circling in a team skate.
"And it's the best time of the day for the coaches.
"There's a lot of busy work that goes on. But this is the fun part, the practices and the games."
Sometimes it is a nice change of pace to watch how the 'other' side calls a game winning goal.
John Kelly and Darren Pang with the call on Pavel Datsyuk's OT goal.
Below, watch Ken Hitchcock post-game...
The Detroit Red Wings came into their final game of their 6-game swing against the Mighty St. Louis Blues expecting heavy checking and hard play from their opponent, and they got everything they could handle and more but a viciously hard-checking and downright grabby team (hey, the rules allow the Barret Jackmans of the world to pin you to the boards or the Jay Bouwmeesters to kick your legs out from underneath you, or the Kyle Quinceys to hog-tie you, frankly, JUST DON'T DIVE).
As a result, the Wings and Blues played 30-something minutes of paint-drying-numbingly boring hockey, but when the Wings' offensive vacuum tubes warmed up, they began to steamroll St. Louis through the latter stages of the 2nd period, when they got stopped up by a legit but too predictably painful "incidental contact" call, the Wings flagged, and the Blues earned a point as a result, but the result belonged to the team that didn't quit (until the team that did bitched about it, anyway), emerging with a Magic Man-authored 3-2 OT win whose contributions came from both familiar and surprising faces.
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