The Malik Report
ESPN's Craig Custance has picked a "hinge player" for every Eastern Conference team, and his Insider-only entry spotlights a new Red Wing:
Detroit Red Wings: Mike Green
The Red Wings are paying him like a No. 1 defenseman one season after Barry Trotz and the Capitals decided Green was better suited down in the lineup. But he fills a big need in Detroit, a team that could use some creativity on the back end. Niklas Kronwall is the steady veteran who makes great decisions. Danny DeKeyser is the next really good Detroit defenseman whose skating and vision make him highly efficient in jump-starting the Red Wings' transition. The Red Wings just lacked that dynamic offensive playmaker until they added Green.
Health has always been an issue with Green, and we'll guess that won't change as he starts heading toward 30 years old. He doesn’t need to be a 70-point producer the way he was under Bruce Boudreau; if he puts up double-digit goals and 50-plus points, the Red Wings will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Updated 11x at 4:17 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:30 AM this morning, and MLive's Ansar Khan reported good news of a sort regarding Teemu Pulkkinen's upper-body injury:
Wings' Teemu Pulkkinen (upper body injury) skating today in gray non-contact jersey. Mike Green on ice for second day in row.
Looks like Pulkkinen only around for warmups. He left the ice before they started drills, the group that didn't play last night.
At least Pulkkinen's skating.
Meanwhile, in the land of fantasy hockey, NHL.com's Matt Cubeta is making "bold predictions" for each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams...
For the first time in years, there's an unknown behind the bench. Blashill replaces Babcock after piling up wins in the AHL, including a Calder Cup in 2013. The Red Wings believe they've got the next Jon Cooper and didn't interview anyone else for the head job. It was going to be either Babcock or Blashill, and Holland sees similarities between the two. "I think Blash believes that a lot of things Mike Babcock did were the way you want to see a team play," Holland said. There will be a learning curve, but those who played for Blashill swear by him and the veterans on the team sound like they were ready for a new voice. The other unknown is in goal, where Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek will battle for playing time. Howard lost the job to Mrazek down the stretch last season and in the playoffs. Mrazek earned the respect of teammates with his performance against the Lightning. "I feel like he doesn't care if it's the playoffs or it's street hockey," said Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar. "He just does his job and is enjoying it."
There's talent throughout the lineup and motivation to prove they weren't a product of Babcock's coaching last season. The goaltending competition is an area of concern, but this team is poised for a strong season if Howard or Mrazek seizes the opportunity. Second in the Atlantic Division
Which continues, video interview with Tomas Tatar included:
The second article, by Mike Brophy, discusses Tomas Tatar's desire to become an integral player, conversation about Ken Holland included...
"It all depends on how much playing time you get," Tatar said. "The first year I didn't get much time on the ice and same with the second year, but I built a trust with the coach and he put me out for certain moments. I still think we have certain leaders they turn to first and I am more than happy to watch how they do things. I am still learning from these players. I do want to have a bigger impact every year."
Tatar carefully considered when asked if he might one day replace Zetterberg and Datsyuk as the Red Wings' top producing forward.
"It is tough to say," he said. "Those guys to me are superstars. They have been in the League so long. I would love to one day be there, but so far I am happy those guys are still on the team so I can pick up more experience."
Holland said it is important to manage expectations of emerging players. Just because a player scores 29 goals one season, it does not mean he'll automatically improve to 39 or 40 the following year.
"Thirty goals is a lot of goals," Holland said. "If he can just continue to be a 30-goal scorer year after year after year, that's pretty hard to do in the NHL. When you go from 19 goals to 29, teams start paying a lot more attention to you. If you told me Tatar and Gustav Nyquist (27 goals last season) were going to score around 30 a year every year, I'd take that and run. It's hard to do."
And the third article is a position-by-postion discussion of the Red Wings' roster and coaching staff from Harris:
from Paul Harris at NHL.com.,
Here are three X-factors that will help determine whether Detroit can make the postseason and go on a run:
Mike Green's impact: The Red Wings have lacked an offensive defenseman with a right-handed shot the past few seasons.
They got one in Green, 30 on July 1, when they signed him to a three-year contract reportedly worth $18 million.
"He's got elite skill," Blashill said. "It's one thing to be an offensive defenseman and have good offensive skill, he's got elite offensive skill. The right shot has been talked about lots over the years. I think more importantly than the right shot is the skill set he brings. It's going to be fun to watch."...
Pavel Datsyuk's return: Datsyuk can begin skating in early October, general manager Ken Holland said, after surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle on June 26.
Datsyuk met with his surgeon last week and was optimistic about the update he received.
"Great News! Had a good doctor visit," Datsyuk wrote on his verified Twitter account. "... See you soon back in Detroit."
The Red Wings expect the 37-year-old center to play by mid-November.
Though Datsyuk has been plagued by injuries as he has gotten older and doesn't generate quite as many highlight-reel plays as he once did, he remains one of the NHL's elite performers. He had 26 goals, 39 assists and a plus-12 rating in 63 games in 2014-15....
New coach: Though this is Blashill's first season as an NHL coach, he isn't completely new to the League. He was an assistant on Mike Babcock's coaching staff with Detroit in 2011-12....
more on each of the three factors...
The Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Monday evening, receiving strong performances from Jimmy Howard (31 saves), Xavier Ouellet (+3 in a team-leading 22:14) and Tomas Jurco (a goal and an assist) to assuage for a 4-3 OT loss to the same Bruins this past Saturday.
For the Bruins, Monday's affair was about ironing out kinks in the team's game and in Tuukka Rask's performance--as Rask made his first appearance--and BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj reveals that, had this been a regular season game, the 3-0 goal would have yielded a coach's challenge...
Very briefly: The Detroit Red Wings skated into Boston and, thanks to strong performances from Jimmy Howard, Xavier Ouellet and Drew Miller, the Wings assuaged a very middling loss on Saturday via a 3-0 win against the B's on Monday night.
The Wings opened the scoring 7:11 into the 2nd, when Drew Miller found the top shelf on Tuukka Rask (from Daniel Cleary and Joakim Andersson)...
3 minutes and 21 seconds later, Tomas Jurco gave the Wings some breathing room with a gorgeous deke-and-dangle at 10:34 (from Callahan and Ouellet, who was superb)...
The Red Wings battle the Boston Bruins this evening (7 PM EDT start), and while the back half of the home-and-home series isn't on TV or the radio in either market, http://www.DetroitRedWings.com will have Ken Kal doing a play-by-play of the game starting around 7 PM. According to NESN, the game will be streamed on http://www.BostonBruins.com as well, but only for fans in the "Boston market."
The Wings are dressing the following lineup, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
MLive's Peter Wallner penned a report from the first day of the Grand Rapids Griffins' training camp, speaking with coach Todd Nelson to glean the new coach's take on his tasks at hand:
Many on the roster were part of the developmental camp in Traverse City as well as early camp invitees of the Red Wings. Nelson said he will put in more of the system throughout the week, with the challenge to tweak it and adjust as players come down from Detroit and other head out to Toledo of the ECHL.
"We'll coach the same system as Detroit, at least to start off, and then see what personnel we have and what fits best," Nelson said. "They have different personnel then we have here. So something that might worth there might not work here and vice versa."
His goal, he added, is to "create a culture here that's conducive to success but also where you work hard and have fun with each other. I think you saw that out there and there were some tempers out there with some battle drills but you like to see that, too, with enthusiasm."
Updated 3x at 3:39 PM: The Red Wings are going with a youthful roster when they face the Boston Bruins this evening (7 PM; no TV, radio webcast on DetroitRedWings.com), utilizing Dylan Larkin as the team's first-line center against a relatively experienced Bruins team.
After practice, the media focused on Xavier Ouellet, who told the Free Press's Helene St. James that being reliable defensively may be the key to finally making the big club...
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