The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings’ 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday night requires quantification via another one of those “simple equations”: Wings going 0-4-and-1 in last 5 games and/or 3-8-and-2 since February 19th + Nashville and Chicago playing on Tuesday night = Detroit could head into New York to play the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers on Wednesday 4 points and 2 regulation or overtime wins behind their likely first-round opponent, the Nashhville Predators, and only 2 points ahead of their Central Division pursuers in the Chicago Blackhawks.
As such, the Red Wings must, must, must win the vast majority of their 9 remaining games to earn at least home-ice advantage in the first round, regardless of the absences of Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle, could return as early as Friday), Johan Franzen (back spasms, “day-to-day”), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist, out at least 3 more weeks), Jakub Kindl (strained oblique muscle, out one more week), Darren Helm (sprained left knee, out 4-6 weeks) and/or Joey MacDonald (back issues, will need clarification regarding MRI on Tuesday)...
A certain blogger’s internet connection is about to conk out for the third or fourth time tonight, so I’ll simply say this: the Detroit Red Wings’ 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals represented the team at its best and worst, and a game the Wings could have easily won—had they not committed four grevious errors in the defensive zone that were all but de-facto assists on the Capitals’ goals.
Jimmy Howard was sterling at times, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Brendan Smith, Danny Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and more than a handful of other Wings players played their hearts out, the Wings power play finally got going and in a game where slew-foots apparently don’t count, the Wings almost won in spite of themselves…Until, perhaps predictably, they were given a late power play and managed to bungle it and then surrender an empty-netter while scrambling to…scramble.
Have we seen the worst of the Wings? What were tonight’s positives and bright points for you? Do you think that the Wings can salvage home ice against Nashville? Talk amongst yourselves…
Updated at 7:19 with, “Oh, hell with it” Wings pre-game news: Red Wings back-up goaltender Joey MacDonald had an MRI today thanks to both back spasms and “shooting pains” down his legs starting during last Wednesday’s game in Anaheim, but the Red Wings released no information regarding his status during the morning skate (and that particular post will continue to be updated till near game time due to late-breaking gnus), nor did the Wings update MacDonald’s status when Wings GM Ken Holland revealed that Darren Helm will be out until the start of the playoffs with a 2nd degree sprain of his left MCL. This evening, MLive’s Ansar Khan explains why the team is in a holding pattern regarding MacDonald:
Wings goalie Joey MacDonald will see a back specialist tomorrow for a better read on the MRI he had today, GM Ken Holland said.
If MacDonald has suffered some sort of disc herniation, remember that the Wings won’t be able to recall Ty Conklin until after the regular season ends to avoid exposing him to re-entry waivers…
And Holland did engage in a radio interview with The Fan 590’s Bob McCown, but he wasn’t allowed much of a word in about his team as McCown challenged Holland’s take on “hybrid icing” and other rule changes proposed during the GM’s meetings:
Updated 4x at 3:18 PM; Time to press the, “Oh s#*t!” button regarding Red Wings forward Darren Helm’s knee injury, per MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Helm out 4-6 weeks with 2nd degree mcl sprain. Holland tells M-Live
The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms:
Holland tells Free Press that Darren Helm has second degree MCL sprain, will miss 4-6 weeks
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness is confirming as well, and 4 weeks from today = April 16th.
Update: St. James is confirming via text:
New headline: if you missed it, Darren Helm will be out for 4 to 6 weeks with a second-degree MCL sprain.
Updated 8x at 6:33 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Washington Capitals this evening (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Washington/97.1 FM),the Wings sent a pretty strong indication that either Johan Franzen nor Darren Helm will play for a good chunk of time shuffling Andrej Nestrasil from the Walleye to the Griffins, giving the Griffins some insurance given that they’re embarking on a 4-game road trip to Texas and Oklahoma today…
But there’s good news from the morning skate, which will be dissected (sort of) shortly via a long series of Twitter updates from the Wings’ beat writers. Long story short, Johan Franzen (back) won’t play tonight and may miss another game or two with his back spasms, and Darren Helm (sprained knee? Charley horse?) and Joey MacDonald’s (shooting pains from back down to leg) respective statuses are to be determined after their MRI results come in, but Nicklas Lidstrom took part in the entire morning skate—and will try to skate in a full practice tomorrow—as noted by the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness...
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.”
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.