Sunday practice stories on Monday morning

The Red Wings practiced on Sunday prior to flying out to San Jose for tonight’s game (10:30 PM on FSD/NBCSN Bay Area/97.1 FM), and here are some of the storylines from said practice:

1. According to Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff, Frans Nielsen skated with the team on Sunday, and Nielsen is hoping to return sometime during the Wings’ upcoming 4-game road trip:

“I don’t anticipate him ready tomorrow (at the San Jose Sharks),” Wings coach Jeff Blashill told “I anticipate him being ready for Thursday (at the Los Angeles Kings), but we’ll see. I think it’s good that he seems to be progressing fast here.”

Nielsen is also feeling confident that the end of his idling is near. He was able to skate with the team on Sunday and hopes to ramp up his on-ice participation during Monday’s morning skate.

“I had a hard workout yesterday and this was the first day on the ice, so I had three really good days now,” Nielsen said. “It’s going in the right direction. I’m not sure what the next step is. There’s still a few more steps before I can play.”

“It’s just a matter of passing all those protocols now. So I think hopefully tomorrow I can do some battle drills and get pushed a little bit, and see how I react to that. I’m feeling pretty good.”

This is the first concussion Nielsen has suffered in his career and it’s been a journey of discovery for him.

“I’ve never really had any issues before,” Nielsen said. “We played it a little safe to really make sure there was nothing. I haven’t really had any of the symptoms. I had a little bit of a headache. I wasn’t sensitive to lights. Right after, I just felt a little around my head, but not dizzy. I remember everything, no memory losses. I didn’t have any of those red flags. So I’ve kind of been OK, we think, but we played it safe.”

Nielsen spoke about the collision with David Backes as well, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted:

Nielsen wasn’t feeling as good after being hit by Backes, who nailed Nielsen near the boards, high, with Nielsen’s head absorbing much of the impact. Backes was given a three-game suspension by the NHL for the hit.

“It didn’t look good” said Nielsen of the collision. “But he plays a physical game and I have no reason to believe he tried to hit my head like that. He plays a hard game and unfortunately he caught me the way he did. It happens sometimes.”

Kulfan also discussed the Red Wings’ road trip (games in San Jose tonight, Los Angeles on Thursday, Anaheim on Friday and Colorado on Sunday)…

The Red Wings began this road stretch Friday in Columbus, but returned home, took a day off, then practiced Sunday before heading to the airport.

This has been a rugged part of the schedule – everyone knew it would be when the schedule first came out – and with the playoffs unlikely, it can make the travel more of a grind.

“Nobody is going to be perfect, that’s the reality,” Blashill said. “Our job is to push for perfection and when you’re pushing for it you have that understanding that you’ll probably never going to reach it but you get to that highest level along the way. Our guys have done a good job of that. We have real good leadership in here and young guys who want to get better and keep working.”

Playing against teams who are all in the playoff hunt, and desperately need wins, should make for intense games.

“It’s great that we’re going to play against some teams that are in a mode where there’s a high level of urgency,” Blashill said. “They need to get points, we need to get points, so let’s make sure to go out there and make sure our urgency level is high.”

And Kulfan posted a video of Nielsen’s remarks:’s Arthur J. Regner spoke with Niklas Kronwall regarding the state of his wonky knee…

KRONWALL FEELS GOOD, SAYS PLAY NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Over the past few seasons Kronwall has dealt with a wonky left knee, which is a chronic condition.

Heading into this season, there was speculation the veteran defenseman may face retirement based on his condition.

After missing training camp and the Wings’ first three games of the regular season, Kronwall has played in every game this year.

“To be honest with you I haven’t really thought too much about that,” Kronwall said. “To me, it’s all about trying to play better. I haven’t been good enough. Of course, at the end of the day, I might look back and say it was fun that I got to play, but right now, when you’re in it, I (must) make the most of it, and I (must) be better than I have.”

In 65 games, Kronwall has three goals and 16 assists. He is minus-16 and is averaging 18:29 of ice time per game.

Despite being disappointed in his season, Kronwall was asked if he has thought about returning next year to finish out the final year of his contract since his knee has held up well this year.

“No,” he said flatly. “Right now, all our focus is on what can we do right now? I feel we’ll make the most of it this year and we’ll take it from there.”

And the Red Wings posted videos of Nielsen and Mike Green’s practice day remarks:

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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.