The Malik Report
Updated 6x at 2:15 PM: By now you know the Wings' lineup for tonight's game against Chicago (8:30 PM on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 in Chicago), and you probably know that Pavel Datsyuk expects to miss a week (barring MRI results) due to what appears to be a very minor shoulder injury.
The Wings engaged in a very brief morning skate here at Centre Ice Arena, there was a practice for non-game-day players (Ryan Sproul didn't practice, probably due to precautionary reasons, and Darren Helm was sporting a fine shiner and a broken nose), and as I'm writing this, the Wings are very literally packing up and leaving town.
The team will apparently have an "off day" on Wednesday and resume skating on Thursday ahead of the non-televised home exhibition opener vs. Boston, and due to the mass exodus, the blog folks (Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish, Winging It in Motown's SlapShotgoal and myself) were able to squeeze all of two interviews in--and we got a VERY short presser from Mike Babcock as he already spoke to the MSM by the time he got to us.
Anyway, here's Datsyuk rather unhappily discussing his injury, cracking a joke telling us that we should've asked how the boards felt, and basically making a whole lot of sense about taking a week off to rest what appears to be a very minor injury in September:
via George Malik tweets,
Datsyuk says MRI today or tomorrow, feels ok, figures he will miss a week or hopes so.
I think Datsyuk's let it take a week to heal theory is wise. Don't push a tweak in September.
added 12:11pm, Video of Datysuk talking about injury, via Helene St. James.
from Jordan Heath-Rawlings of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: Can the kids grow up quickly enough to keep Mike Babcock around? The best coach in the business is in the final year of his contract, and while he’s said all the right things about staying (and GM Ken Holland has echoed him), if the team can’t improve on last season’s just-scraping-into-the-playoffs effort, he might go somewhere that offers him a better chance at a Cup. That said, there’s a lot of talent here, and if there’s a man to get the most of it, it’s Babcock.
2014-15 prediction: A slow start turns into a rolling finish as the Grand Rapids kids infiltrate the lineup even further and the Wings start simply outskating opponents with one of the league’s youngest lineups. They run through the first two rounds in six games each and find themselves tied 2-2 in the third period of Game 7 against the Penguins with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
If Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg can have some semblance of health.
If Jimmy Howard inserts himself into the Vezina conversation.
If Gustav Nyquist (28 goals in 57 games) truly is an elite NHL scorer and Tomas Tatar can take the next step.
If Mike Babcock, who carries 415 wins and two Stanley Cups into this season, re-signs either before the season or, if he doesn’t, doesn’t become as a sideshow during the campaign.
If Anthony Mantha really is a beast and can bounce back from a fractured right tibia suffered in rookie camp.
If 2013 free agent addition Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) can make some kind of contribution.
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are the Red Wings' line combinations and defense pairings:
Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist
Justin Abdelkader-Stephen Weiss-Kevin Porter
Teemu Pulkkinen-Luke Glendening-Mitch Callahan
Andrej Nestrasil-Tomas Nosek-Landon Ferraro
Danny DeKeyser-Jakub Kindl
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff-Aaron Rome
Jonas Gustavsson (first two periods)
Petr Mrazek (third period)
Game is at 8:30pm ET and no local TV. Game is on CSN+ in Chicago.
A minor injury update below...
The Red Wings will take to the ice at Centre Ice Arena for one last time this morning (pre-game skate from 10:30-11:15 AM; non-game-day-player skate from 11:30-12:15 [or later?]) ahead of tonight's exhibition game in Chicago (8:30 PM EDT on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 FM in Chicago, "alternate means" for the rest of us; sorry for listing the start as 8 PM earlier).
Hopefully we'll find out good news regarding Pavel Datsyuk, who suffered some sort of shoulder injury in the Wings' 2-1 exhibition win over Pittsburgh last night.
The other "intrigue" (if you can call it that) involves the status of Wings camp try-out Joe Hicketts and whether the Wings have signed him to an entry-level contract (he's apparently got to be either signed by the time the NHL season begins or he goes back into the draft next June). He didn't practice with the team yesterday, and the Victoria Times-Colonist's Cleve Dheensaw reports that the Victoria Cougars expect the 18-year-old back in the WHL either way:
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Red Wings didn't make any splashes this offseason, but Holland's optimism for a 24th consecutive trip to the playoffs stems from what his team did last season despite the injuries.
"If you look at our '13-14 season, for the most part we got a half a season out of [Darren] Helm, a half a season out of [Jonathan] Ericsson, a half a season out of [Johan] Franzen, a half a season out of [Pavel] Datsyuk, a half a season out of [Henrik] Zetterberg and less than a half a season out of [Stephen] Weiss," Holland said.
"Certainly I understand injuries are a part of the program, and we've been hit hard here the last two years, but we qualified for the playoffs both years where 19 teams have missed the playoffs at least once in the last two years. It's not like we've knocked it out of the park, but we've played our way in."
The Red Wings played their way in last season on the backs of players coach Mike Babcock still calls "kids" even though they're between 22 and 25 years old.
Gustav Nyquist, who is 25, scored 28 goals in 57 games, including 12 goals on 30 shots in a 10-game span from March 16-April 2.
"It felt like everything was going in at the time," Nyquist said.
Good game! Did you watch?
And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari...
Datsyuk, who drew an assist on Tatar's goal, did not finish the game. He went to the dressing room under his own power late in the third period after taking a big hit from Rob Scuderi.
A Red Wings spokesman said Datsyuk had a shoulder injury and will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Darren Helm also emerged from the game with a black eye and gauzed-up nostril due to a high stick, and somehow, Ryan Sproul wasn't injured in this hit from Robert Bortuzzo, as posted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh (and there was no penalty on the play):
Update #3: Oh, swell:
It was NOT pretty--and Wings fans will worry like nobody's business until we find out whether Pavel Datsyuk left the game after Rob Scuderi shoved him into the glass near the bench because he was just done for the night or because he was "banged-up"--but the Red Wings defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 to capture their first exhibition game.
Just like Darren Helm and his blackened left eye and gauze-tipped right nostril, the Wings got a little bruised by the Penguins, and the Robert Bortuzzo hit on Ryan Sproul, face-first into the boards/glass, was just downright dirty, but Sproul was OK)...
Detroit will fly back to Traverse City for one final morning skate and practice (10:30-11:15 morning skate, 11:30-12:15 [or 45?] practice); the "B Team" will head to Chicago to play the Blackhawks (8 PM EDT on CSN CH+, Gustavsson Starts, Mrazek finishes the 3rd), while the rest of the team will are pack up after the skate to head back to Detroit, where they will open their preseason hosting Chicago on Thursday).
This is not the kind of update I'd like to be posting amidst a 1-1 tie between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins in the teams' first preseason game...
But then, WHEW!
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.