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St. James: Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard might return ‘early,’ Cleary may have knee issues addressed

Here’s a middle-of-the-night update worth sharing: According to the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James, Red Wings GM Ken Holland stated on Tuesday evening that Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard—who the press continues to incorrectly report as either having a broken pinky or as being out for 4-6 weeks—could start practicing with the team after he visits a hand specialist today, but the team might lose Danny Cleary’s services when he sees an orthopedist to address the buildup of fluid in his left knee, depending on the treatment he receives:

Goalie Jimmy Howard will visit a hand specialist today, general manager Ken Holland said. Howard suffered a small fracture to his right index finger Thursday at Vancouver when he was hit by a puck, but the injury never was considered serious, and Holland didn’t rule out Howard returning by Friday (vs. Ducks) or Sunday (vs. Flyers).

“If the doctor tells him today he can practice, and he can get his equipment worked out, we think he’ll be ready to play very soon,” Holland said.

For Howard, it’s all about pain tolerance: he can’t re-injure his index finger, which yes, will take 4-6 weeks to heal, but as soon as he can deal with the “thud” of pucks hitting his goal stick and the vibrations and reverberations involved when he shoots pucks, and as soon as he gets a few practices in, he will be able to play (which means that the Wings don’t necessarily have to panic on the trade front).

And Danny Cleary? Well, St. James reports that if his left knee’s drained and he gets an OK from his doctor, he could play tonight against Edmonton, but he could also miss a week if he needs cortisone and/or Synvisc injections to battle arthritis. As Cleary’s also had to deal with some particularly gruesome groin injuries, he needs to have that knee drained as quickly as possible lest it starts to pull upon his groin muscles:

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Thursday is Winter Classic announcement day

Update #3 at 9:27 PM: ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that there will be two pressers:

Sounding like 2 Winter Classic announcements on Thursday. Morning in Detroit and afternoon in Ann Arbor. Plus GLI and OHL games at Comerica.

Update #2: The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that next Monday and Wednesday are alternate announcement dates in case U of M doesn’t sign off on the event on Wednesday:  Via RedWingsFeed, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL will announce that the Wings are hosting the 2013 Winter Classic in short order:

Just a reminder, 2013 NHL Winter Classic (TOR vs. DET at U of Michigan Big House) will be made official at Thursday news conference(s).

Update: The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa reports that there’s a reason Thursday is the day (did somebody say alcohol-selling license?):

Plans by the NHL to play the 2013 Winter Classic in Michigan Stadium, where it almost certainly would draw the largest crowd ever to watch an NHL game, are proceeding, with the University of Michigan Board of Regents scheduling a special meeting at 10 a.m., Wednesday to approve the use.

“The public meeting is regarding authorization to enter into a facility-use lease for the NHL Winter Classic,” the University News Service said in a release.

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Red Wings travel day news: waiting on the fickle finger of fate

Updated 2x with home-ice talk, injury news and a charitable note at 5:35 PM: The Detroit Red Wings returned to Metro Detroit a little earlier this afternoon to get some rest and prepare to play the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow, and “tomorrow” is the operative word regarding goaltender Jimmy Howard’s status being reevaluated by the team’s doctors, per the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...

Looks like Jimmy Howard won’t be seeing hand specialist until tomorrow.

Quick update: MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms via Twitter:

Wings’ GM Ken Holland said no updates on Jimmy Howard (finger) or Danny Cleary (knee), as neither saw the doctor today.

A pair of pundits weighed in on Detroit’s goaltending already, and the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned Howard’s broken finger as a major reason why the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues have reason to hope that they can catch Detroit in the Central Division (via his “30 Thoughts” column)...

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Two takes on the Red Wings’ goaltending situation

In the wake of the Red Wings’ 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and 5-4 loss to tomorrow’s opponent, the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-less Oilers, a pair of pundits are weighing in as to what the Red Wings might want to do given Jimmy Howard’s status as on the shelf until he can handle the pain of taking shots while playing with a broken index finger grasping his goal stick.

The Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo, via 97.1 the Ticket and fRedWingsFeed, prescribes an, “Everybody panic!” route, suggesting taht the Red Wings must trade for Evgeni Nabokov...

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Red Wings-Coyotes wrap-up and overnight report: not meeting justifiably high expectations

The Detroit Red Wings chose to remain in Phoenix after dropping a 3-1 loss to a potential playoff opponent, sitting a little less pretty in the Western Conference standings (three points ahead of the Canucks and four ahead ofthe Nashville Predators), and at least by judging from the comments made in the quick take and Mark Spector’s Nicklas Lidstrom story, we’re going to get a little philosophical prior to jumping into the Coyotes and Wings’ press’s takes on the game, so that means a necessary jump cut for the uninterested to opt out of:

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Red Wings-Coyotes quick take: taking the hard road = less than special loss

The Detroit Red Wings tend to suffer a few injuries during February and subsequently go into an early-month slump (usually at the same time that the Nashville Predators, who the Wings play on Friday, make their customary division title push), but man, in their -3-1 loss to Phoenix…

Did the Wings’ special teams ever stink, and did the Wings ever engage in a game where trying too hard to protect your goaltender in fact makes the game tremendously harder on your defense and goalie than it should be, giving Phoenix a much-needed win as they push for a playoff berth and try to send a message to a potential playoff opponent.

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Marty Howe talks about his dad’s status on The Fan 590

Given all the confusion regarding the state of Gordie Howe’s cognitive capacities over the past few weeks, the Red Wings legend’s son, Marty, spoke to The Fan 590’s Bob McCown and John Shannon regarding his father’s issues in terms of short-term memory loss and plain old effects of aging and playing professional sports in the days of, “You’re feeling foggy? Get back out there!”

Give the interview a listen. It’s worth hearing simply because Marty, Murray and Mark have taken care of their father and dealt with his slightly diminished cognitive capacities under an incredibly bright and sometimes harsh media spotlight with the same kind of quiet dignity that their father displayed while taking care of Colleen…And raising his sons and daughter Cathy, too:

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Talking about the post-Nicklas Lidstrom Red Wings

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector penned an intriguing column regarding the Red Wings’ future as Nicklas Lidstrom approaches the end of his career, talking about the team’s desire to remain elite even when Lidstrom eventually hangs ‘em up with Wings GM Ken Holland:

“I’m big on defencemen, and I think Nick has been the best at his position,” begins general manager Ken Holland. “We’ve had the most valuable player, in my opinion, in the last two decades,”

Under Holland, the best GM in the business, the Red Wings can survive anything. He’ll likely lose legendary low-post artist Tomas Holmstrom to retirement this summer, and power forward Todd Bertuzzi doesn’t have many years left. But Holland will have over $17 million in expiring contracts after this season, to go along with the $5 million in cap space he currently has.

“We’ve got some kids coming …” Holland said. “We’re like everyone else. You’ve got to find players through the draft, or find veterans (as free agents). I’m big on the Original 6. Hopefully the history and the tradition of the Detroit Red Wings is kind of intriguing to some players down the road. Like it was to Dominik Hasek, like it was with Marian Hossa. That can turn the wheel for you.”

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Red Wings-Coyotes game-day updates: MacDonald to start, Stuart ‘probable’

Updated 9x at 7;24 PM: Stuart’s out: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (8 PM EST, NBC Sports/TSN2/WXYT), MLive’s Ansar Khan reports via his Twitter account that gentleman who earned a start between the pipes will indeed tend the net for the Wings, and the Wings might have a problem on defense:

Brad Stuart only player not skating for wings at morning skate in phoenix. update shortly
...
Here are lines for wings at skate: 93-13-44, 51-40-26, 20-43-11, 48-8-96 (39): 5-18, 55-52, 4-22; 29-31
...
Ken Holland said Brad Stuart has flu but is probable for tonight.
...
Danny Cleary left Wings skate early. Been bothered by fluid in knee lately. will update shortly
...
Babcock said [MacDonald] starting and [Cleary] will play. its his 800th game

The Free Preess’s Helene St. James confirms...

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Red Wings-Coyotes set-up and overnight report: MacDonald or Conklin will face desperate Yotes team

The Detroit Red Wings head into what is, by Michigan standards, an “early” road game against Phoenix tonight (8 PM EST, NBC Sports/TSN2/WXYT) with something of a self-manufactured goaltending controversy and a particularly lackluster defensive performance in a 5-4 shootout loss against Edmonton to recover from…

And the Wings will attempt to right their ship and go 4-for-5 on a road trip which technically started before the All-Star break against a team which is wrapping up a six-game home stand in exactly the same place they were when the Red Wings took Phoenix out via a 3-2 shootout decision to kick off said home stand: the Coyotes sit in 12th place but only 4 points out of the 8th place, having gone 2-2-and-1 over the past five games. They’ve traded wins and losses throughout the streak, but defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Saturday, and it’s there that we start thanks to an astute observation made by the AP’s recap of said game:

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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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