Articles from practice: Wings’ priority still winning games; Mantha to wear a “bubble”; Green skates, Abby and Tats do not; Kronwall gets a cane

Updated 3x at 4:51 PM: The Detroit Red Wings welcomed Mike Green back to practice on Friday, but the team skated without Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader (maintenance) ahead of back-to-back games against Carolina and the New York Rangers.

After practice, both coach Jeff Blashill and goaltender Jared Coreau spoke to the media regarding the team’s main priority–winning games, as Blashill told, and Coreau told MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Anthony Mantha also discussed his status as “having to wear a bubble” because his cheekbone may be broken:

Mantha spoke with MLive’s Ansar Khan regarding the “bubble”:

“Their D tried to clear the puck out and it caught me right in the face,” Mantha said. “They think there’s a fracture, but we’re getting a second opinion.”

Said coach Jeff Blashill: “That’s my understanding. (Tests) revealed a small fracture. He’ll get the CT scan, which is a better image but similar to Justin Abdelkader, who was able to play with it as long as he had a full shield on. Anthony Mantha would be in the same boat.”


Khan also noted that Mike Green practiced and “felt good,” he took note of Abdelkader and Tatar’s maintenance days, and among the balance of his notes:

Goaltending plans: Blashill didn’t reveal his goaltending plans for the weekend but acknowledged Jimmy Howard plays well at Madison Square Garden, where the Red Wings will face the New York Rangers on Sunday. Howard might start both games.

“I certainly believe Jared Coreau is a good goalie,” Blashill said. “Jimmy Howard is a proven very good NHL goalie. I’m going to put the lineup out there that gives us the best chance to win right now. We got life in us, we got fight in us, so I’m not looking at it from a standpoint of (Coreau’s) personal development. I’m looking at it as who do I put out there to give us the best chance to win.”

Levity at Kronwall’s expense: Niklas Kronwall, 37, came off the ice following practice and found a four-pronged cane hanging in his locker stall. He immediately identified Tatar as the prankster.

“Wow, I’m surprised it took so long,” Blashill said. “I think the levity’s good. This is a highly competitive environment, it’s a highly pressurized environment. We want to win bad, games like last night are extraordinarily frustrating, we’ve had a number of those here in the last couple weeks. But every day in the NHL is a great day and that’s the reality of it, so today’s a new day, let’s enjoy the time we’re here.”



Update: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan posted an article about Jared Coreau:

“At the start of the year, I’ll admit it, I was a little down not making the team,” said Coreau, who was promoted to the NHL earlier in the week when Petr Mrazek was traded to Philadelphia. “It’s natural. I’m a competitor and felt like I had lost, you could say.

“But you have to suck it up and come ready to play. You work for it all summer, you work countless hours, days, weeks and months, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But you have to keep working and at the end of the day, no one is going to be mad at you for not succeeding but they might be bad at you for not succeeding and then giving up. I would be mad at myself.”

Coreau spent part of last season with the Red Wings (5-4-3, 3.46 GAA, .887 SVS) when Jimmy Howard injured his knee, but starred in the spring when he helped lead Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup championship.

Coreau felt he’d done enough to land an NHL job, but with Howard and Mrazek both on the Red Wings’ roster, there wasn’t any room for a third goalie. Coreau cleared waivers, and found himself back with the Griffins, where he and the team didn’t get off to rousing starts.

“I was one game below .500, 7-8-2, at one point so I said to myself, ‘You have to get it going’,” said Coreau, 25, who has been part of the Red Wings’ organization since 2013. “If the opportunity does come, I want the Red Wings to believe in me that I do have the ability to play at this level, so I have to prove it in the AHL. That brought more intensity in the game and it paid off.”

Coreau was 20-10-4, with a 2.47 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in Grand Rapids this season.

Continued, with this from coach Blashill:

“We’re trying to win hockey games, here, right now,” Blashill said. “I certainly have belief in Jared Coreau as a good goalie. Jimmy Howard is a proven, very good NHL goalie. I’m going to put the lineup out there that gives us our best chance to win right now.

“We have life in us, fight in us. I’m not looking at it from a standpoint of anybody’s personal development. I’m looking at it as who do I put out there that gives us the best chance to win. I’m fully aware that Jimmy plays great at Madison Square Garden. I’m also aware Carolina is a team that we have to track down to make the playoffs. I’ll make those decisions, but those things will factor into it.”

Update #2: Among’s Dana Wakiji’s notes:

Defenseman Mike Green practiced with the team Friday and is considered a game-time decision for Saturday.

“He skated today. He felt good, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Blashill said.

Green is the team’s fourth-leading scorer with six goals among his 29 points.

Green has been the subject of many trade rumors as his contract expires at the end of this season. If he does end up leaving, Green will have left a mark on some of the young players on the Wings.

“Mike’s work ethic and his will to win has rubbed off on any young players that’s been in this locker room,” Blashill said. “He’s been excellent. His competitiveness has been excellent. I’m not sure that everybody totally understood. Maybe the perception wasn’t quite that. Reality is he comes to work, comes to compete every day. I’ve been real impressed. So that rubs off on everybody in the locker room.

“I also think when you’re trying to get your D to jump in the play, get your D to be part of the offense, it’s great to have an example of it. And he’s been a great example of how you push the puck up the ice, how you join the play, how you try to push for offense, in what is today’s kind of NHL defenseman. So, I think he’s been a good example of that as well.”

Wakiji continues at length

Update #3: The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a video of Mantha and Blashill’s remarks

And St. James posted a practice report:

The Wings had a full practice that included defenseman Mike Green, who has missed four games because of a sore neck. Coach Jeff Blashill said Green will be a game-time decision and. Blashill said the fact Green is the team’s top trade asset ahead of Monday’s deadline will not factor into whether or not Green plays.

Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader took maintenance days, but both are expected to be available against the Canes. It’s a hectic stretch for the Wings — Saturday marks their ninth game in 16 days, and they play again Sunday.

 The fact Sunday’s game is at the New York Rangers may influence Blashill’s decisions on who starts in net Saturday. Jimmy Howard, a native of upstate New York, excels at Madison Square Garden (2-3-2, 1.58 goals-against average and  0.950 save percentage career numbers at MSG; 6-3-3, 1.73 GAA, 0.950 SV percentage overall vs. Rangers).
Does that mean Jared Coreau, called up in the wake of the Petr Mrazek trade, could start against the Canes? It doesn’t sound like it.
“We’ll make those decisions tomorrow,” Blashill said. “But certainly we’re thinking about past the weekend.
“We’re trying to win hockey games. I certainly have belief that Jared Coreau is a good goalie. Jimmy Howard is a proven very good NHL goalie. I’m going to put the lineup out there that gives us the best chance to win right now. We got life in us, we got fight in us. I’m fully aware Jimmy plays great at Madison Square Garden. I’m also aware that Carolina is a team that we have to track down in order to make the playoffs.”

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.