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Starting In Goal Tonight

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

It is Petr Mrazek’s turn to do the extra, remedial work.

Jimmy Howard already was seated on the stool in front of his stall Thursday, stripping off his jersey and gear, when Mrazek walked in.

Just ahead of the goaltending coach Jim Bedard, with whom he had drilled hard for extra time on the ice, Mrazek glanced over his shoulder, smiled and said, “I was in position.”

With an even bigger smile, Bedard was all about easy-going encouragement.

“Good job, buddy!” he said.

Practice was over. Now, who starts tonight?

With five games left, is Howard the only fully confident, capable goaltender for the Red Wings?

The margin for error is minuscule.


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Why The Brad Richards/Anthony Mantha Switch?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Mantha skated with Luke Glendening and Andreas Athanasiou in practice Thursday while Richards was bumped up to the line with Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm.

"Just looking at different line combinations," Blashill said. "The one thing that Richie has done, he's been through lots in his career, including as recently as last year (won Stanley Cup with Chicago), when the game's in the third period, he certainly knows how to chip pucks out, chip pucks in and still make plays when the plays are there to be made."

But Blashill said it's not just Richards' defensive awareness that would prompt the switch.

"First of all, he's got lots of points in this league, he's been a good offensive player for a long time," Blashill said. "If anybody watched the (Cup) finals last year, I don't know if you remember that slap pass he made that kind of guaranteed a win for Chicago, so he's got lots of offense in him.

"I think, (he) has been through lots of experiences when the pressure's on. ... Just like in the playoffs there's lots of pressure, he keeps a cool head and makes, I think, good decisions. We'll see."

more on the Wings...

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Jeff Blashill On His Defensemen

via Dana Wakiji tweets,

Blashill on defense decisions: There's lots that go into those decisions, a lot of which I won't talk about.

 Blashill on defense decisions: But I think there's tons in terms of resume, history, execution on a game-to-game basis.

Blashill on defense decisions: Everybody's got their opinions on who should play and who shouldn't.

Blashill on D decisions: We've got 7 NHL-caliber defensmen. I also know that the 6 that play have to play at a high level.

Blashill on defense decisions: And if we're going to win here tomorrow, they got to play at a high level, whichever six we choose.

added 1:34pm, from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Continue Reading »

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Today’s Practice At The Joe

via Ansar Khan tweets,

RedWings on ice for practice. Everyone is skating.

One change in lines during practice as Mantha and Richards swap places.

lines in practice:

Jurco and Pulkkinen still practicing as extras.

added 11:25am, via Khan,

Defense pairs for #RedWings in practice:

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Who’s Between The Pipes On Friday?

from Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily,

As the Detroit Red Wings battle to extend their consecutive seasons of making the playoffs to 25, it appears they’re in search of a No. 1 goaltender.

Petr Mrazek was pulled in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Montreal after allowing two goals in the first period. It was the fifth time in the last 14 games he’s been replaced by Jimmy Howard during a game.

“I’m just focused on Friday night,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said when asked to comment on his goaltending situation. “We need a big performance from whoever plays on Friday night.”

The month of March has not been kind to Mrazek. In 10 appearances he’s allowed 28 goals and has an .888 save percentage.

“I’ve been with him a long time and repeatedly he’s done a good job of coming back from tough situations and playing real well,” Blashill said. “He’s got the skills and he puts the work in with (goalie coach) Jimmy Bedard.”


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Tony Granato To Wisconsin Is Official

Press conference today in the early afternoon.


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Video- You Are Probaby Right Chris Osgood


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This Loss Hurts

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

This defeat wasn’t as ugly as Saturday’s for the Red Wings, but in a way, it might hurt more.

The Red Wings fell behind, rallied on the strength of three second-period, power-play goals, then lost the lead and game in the third period as Montreal defeat the Red Wings, 4-3.

This was a golden opportunity for the Red Wings to move into the playoff picture. Boston lost 2-1 in New Jersey, giving the Red Wings an opportunity to vault past them into third place in the Atlantic Division.

Instead, the Bruins remain a point ahead of the Red Wings (88-87) with both teams having five games remaining.


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Ken Holland discusses playoff streak, Blashill’s first year with Sportsnet

Sportsnet's Eric Engels conducted a Q and A with Ken Holland, and this sure doesn't sound like a GM who's going to go make massive changes simply because his team might not make the playoffs:

SN: On a personal level, are you driven to avoid the narrative — fair or unfair — that if your team misses the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, it’ll be because Babcock is no longer coach?

KH: I’ve been in the business so long. I’m aware what’s out there from a media standpoint. I’m a little older and I’m aware about what’s on Twitter and Instagram and all these things.

I guess my message would be — I don’t know that you can pause to think about those things. Unless somebody’s asking me, I don’t go around on an everyday basis thinking, ‘what if we miss the playoffs?’
Bottom line, I certainly want to make the playoffs for a 25th straight year. It’s great for our franchise, it’s a tremendous accomplishment, but I don’t really look at all 25 years together. I don’t think making the playoffs in 1997-98 has anything to do with this year. I think you look at it each individual year and then the years start to add up.

Certainly if we miss the playoffs, we’re all going to be incredibly disappointed because, when the year started, that was one of our team’s goals. I think any time you don’t reach your goals you’re disappointed.

Engels continues...

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Red Wings-Canadiens quick take: essential loss, despite their best efforts

The Red Wings plain old desperately needed to defeat the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. With the Wings' margin for error at perhaps 1 to 2 losses, and games against playoff-desperate Minnesota and the equally spoiler-happy Leafs in hte offing, blowing Tuesday's game would make Detroit's road to the playoffs all that much more difficult.

Blowing Tuesday's game--in no small part thanks to Petr Mrazek's struggles in the net, and in no small part thanks to a 3rd period's worth of exhaustion--yields an incredibly difficult climb as the Wings play 5 more hard games against Minnesota, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and New York, with 4 of 5 in back-to-back situations.

The Wings rallied and took a 3-2 lead because their power play was damn good and because Pavel Datsyuk (2 assists), Mike Green (1 goal), Zetterberg, Marchenko, Kronwall (for once), Mantha, Nyquist (for once), Sheahan and a cast of characters great and small tried to will and work their way to a hard-fought win, but when you start the game down 2-0, and you're playing 4-in-6...

Your margin for error is razor-thin, and Detroit could not out-score its mistakes. They did an admirable job, but they didn't get at least a necessary point out of an essential 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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