Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Should Henrik Zetterberg Hang Up His Skates?

from Jamie Samuelsen at the Detroit Free Press,

If you were able to advise Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, what would you tell him?

I’m not in the business of telling people when they should retire.

First of all, it’s none of my business. Secondly, I’d never want someone to tell me when I should retire.

Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t seem to be seeking advice on what his next move should be. Or more to the point, he’s not listening to voices as much as he’s trying to listen to his body. And by all accounts, his body is telling him that his hockey career is over.

Zetterberg has been dealing with back issues ever since the Olympics in 2014. He missed stretches of seasons. He lost effectiveness on the ice at times. It got to the point last year where the only time he played hockey was in the games themselves, never in practice. The question is not whether Zetterberg can play in the NHL anymore. Of course he can. The question is whether or not he can play like Henrik Zetterberg again and it sure seems like he can’t.

Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the Red Wings in 2012. At the time, he was still the best defenseman on the roster and still one of the best in the NHL.


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The Season Outlook For Nick Jensen

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: The Red Wings value Jensen's skating ability (for defense) and right-handed shot (for puck-moving). He beat out fellow young defensemen Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko, who are no longer with the organization, for a spot in the lineup and maintained it. Coach Jeff Blashill thought highly enough of Jensen to include him on the U.S. World Championship roster.

But Jensen isn't assured of a spot in the lineup. The Red Wings expect prospect Filip Hronek, coming off a strong rookie season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, to make the roster. Hronek will only stick around if he's playing regularly. If all of their defensemen are healthy, Hronek's best chance for a lineup spot is Jensen's.

The Red Wings must decide whether to re-sign Jensen or trade him by the deadline. With young defensemen like Joe Hicketts, Libor Sulak and Dennis Cholowski waiting in the wings, Jensen could be moved for a draft pick during the season.


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Video- All 58 Goals By The Wings In The 1997 Playoffs

Thanks to awood40 for the 26 minute video.


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Q & A With Jeff Blashill

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News with questions for Jeff Blashill,

Just returning from a family vacation, Blashill was refreshed and energized. Although the questions about Zetterberg’s availability make for a difficult unknown.

Question: Jeff, certainly there’s a lot of talk right now regarding Henrik Zetterberg. What’s the latest on him? Have you talked to Hank at all, and what do you expect at this point?

A: “As you know, Hank wasn’t able to practice for half the year. He was able to gut it out through those last two months where he wasn’t able to practice. There were nights I didn’t think he’d able to play and he did play.

“He’s had a hard summer and I don’t think his back is reacting great. Certainly we’ll know more in a month (at training camp), but as of today, there’s a lot of doubt as to whether his back will be healthy enough to play.”

Q: You’ve said several times you’ll divide the groups a little differently next month, correct?

A: “I’ve done camp differently at different years. It’s based on where your team is at, and last year I knew to a large degree the guys who were on the inside to make the team and the guys who were on the outside, and divided the teams that way. I felt it gave us a jump-start on practicing as a group.

“This year I would say there’s more competition for jobs. I’ve let it be known both privately and publicly, and I’m going to divide the teams accordingly so we’re going to have three, probably three, even teams and we’re going to compete for jobs.”


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Kris Draper On Filip Zadina And Michael Rasmussen

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“We had him very high on our list. Goal scoring is so important at the level we play at, and when you get a chance to add a goalscorer, you have to go with that. It was a no-brainer. We are very excited to add Filip Zadina to the Detroit Red Wings.

“How soon is he going to be a Red Wing? A lot is going to depend on Filip. I would say there are a lot of us that are hoping that he makes it really, really hard on us to make the decision. He obviously has the mindset he is coming to training camp to make the Detroit Red Wings. You have a highly skilled player, a determined player, a focused player and someone who is driven. He is going to get a lot of looks in preseason and in the end have to make a decision: one, what’s best for him in terms of long-term development, and No. 2, what’s best for the Detroit Red Wings.”

There’s also great excitement about 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen after he dominated the 2018 WHL playoffs with 14 goals and 17 assists in 14 games. He had multi-point performances in 10 games, and only went without a point in one game.

“We are expecting big things from Ras. At playoff time, when it’s the hardest to play and it’s the time you want your players and prospects to step up, he had an unreal year for Tri-City. He’s coming in and I think he has the mindset he’s going to make the Detroit Red Wings. We love that. We need that. We want him to do everything he can to make our hockey club."

more topics discussed by Draper...

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More Names Added To Stars & Stripes Showdown In Plymouth, MI

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Fourteen players have been added to the roster for the Stars & Stripes Showdown, a benefit hockey game featuring top American-born hockey stars that will take place Sunday, August 26, at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.

The group includes Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets), Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks), Nick Foligno(Columbus Blue Jackets), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), Matt Hunwick (Buffalo Sabres), Anders Lee(New York Islanders), Patrick Sieloff (Ottawa Senators) and Brady Skjei (New York Rangers).

To see the full list of participating players and coaches, click here.

Continue Reading »

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Young Athletes In Detroit

No. 10 Michael Rasmussen,

Red Wings (age 19)The Red Wings were criticized a bit when they made Rasmussen the No. 9 overall selection in the 2017 draft. It resembled a pick made through old-fashioned hockey scouting lenses (which overvalue size and, at times, character), especially since the team desperately needs speed and elite skill. Detroit passed on players with more high-end skill to grab the 6-foot-6 center, but he’s making the Red Wings look smart since being selected. He didn’t look out of place in training camp last year, then had a big season in the WHL with 31 goals in 47 games. He’s likely going to start this season in Detroit, and reviews now for this pick are much kinder. “I think it was a great pick,” said an Eastern Conference amateur scout. “When you go back and look at comparables to years past, there wasn’t a lot of 6-foot-6 centers who had a really good career in the NHL.

That's Craig Custance on Razsmussen in Max Bultman's Top 25 Under 25 athletes in Detroit sports scene.

There is more (paid subscription) from Custance on Rasmussen plus Dylan Larkin is at #1, Zadina at #4, Mantha at #5, Athanasiou comes in at #15, Hronek #17, Veleno at #22 and Cholowski is #25.

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The Season Outlook For Frans Nielsen

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: After playing on the third line last season, Nielsen likely will center the second line if Henrik Zetterberg doesn't play. His ice time should increase slightly, and he'll probably get more power-play minutes, which should lead to more production.

Nielsen fills many roles. He can play on scoring line or a checking role. He can play on the second power-play unit and the top penalty-killing unit. He is a go-to guy on the shootout as the NHL's all-time leader in that specialty.

Quotable: "I've stuck with the same couple of (shootout) moves, just doing stuff I'm comfortable with. For the most part I've kind of made up my mind before I even go in. In the beginning, probably for a couple of years, I went backhand every single time and they started figuring that out, so I had to start shooting." - Nielsen.


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Jimmy Howard,  Jonathan Bernier, Then Who?

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Wings chose not to re-sign Jared Coreau and Tom McCollum, two veteran minor leaguers who didn’t progress toward the NHL.  Coreau had brief opportunities at the NHL level the last two years, and failed to impress.

Replacing that tandem in Grand Rapids will be Harry Sateri (signed out of the Florida organization) and Patrik Rybar (European free agent).

Where there’s hope is in the past several drafts, and a group of goaltenders who could offer promise in the future.

Jesper Eliasson (2018 3rd round) and Victor Brattstrom (2018 6th round) were selections in June with plenty of upside.

Brattstrom, 20, (6-foot-5, 198-pounds) was rated higher in several mock drafts, and had a .919 save percentage playing Swedish junior last season.

“They’re great workers,” said Hakan Andersson, the Wings’ director of European scouting, of Brattstrom and Eliasson. “We’re hoping we have two good goalie prospects.”


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If Henrik Zetterberg Cannot Play

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

If Zetterberg is unfit to play in 2018-19, though, don’t expect a formal retirement announcement. Due to the nature of his contract — he signed a 12-year, $73-million pact in January 2009, the type of back-diving, cap-circumventing deal to which the NHL put an end — the next step for Zetterberg should he decide to hang up his skates would be a trip to the long-term injured reserve. By placing him on LTIR, the Red Wings wouldn’t be saddled with the full amount of his $6.08-million cap hit. And Zetterberg, for what it’s worth, wouldn’t exactly lose out on the high-paying years of his deal. After earning $7 million last season, his salary dips to $3.35 million in 2018-19 before paying out $1 million in each of the next two campaigns.

And while a Zetterberg-less Red Wings would mean the end of an era, the changing of the tides may be what’s best for the organization in the long haul. It’s no secret Detroit, after a long spell of success, are mired in a two-season drought and entrenched in a transitional period as the old guard passes the torch to a new wave. And in that sense, it was somewhat fitting that Holland copped to the continued uncertainty about Zetterberg and the potential for life without one of the franchise’s modern fixtures on the same day the team announced and celebrated the signing of Dylan Larkin to a five-year, $30.5-million pact....

And while Larkin’s role would potentially stand to increase the most on a Zetterberg-less Red Wings, with added on- and off-ice responsibility as arguably the new face of the franchise, he would be far from the only one who could benefit from the roster refresh that could truly be spurred on by Zetterberg’s injury-related departure. Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, both of whom were handed two-year contracts this summer, would almost certainly be among those to see increased playing time if Detroit were to hand the reins over to their younger talent. Both have seemingly untapped offensive upside, and on a goal-starved team, having one or both breakout with greater ice time would give promise for a brighter future for the Red Wings.


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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com


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