The Malik Report
Updated at 2:02 PM: The Red Wings' prospects took part in an incredibly intense but incredibly short practice at Centre Ice Arena today, preparing for tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 PM).
Based upon Rob Mixer's Tweets, Sonny Milano won't play for Columbus, but the Blue Jackets' lines, d-pairs and goaltender's assignments are pretty much set; for Detroit, Jake Paterson starts, and from Jeff Blashill's comments, Hayden Hodgson and Darby Llewellyn will play on Dominic Turgeon's wings, Ty Stanton will replace Mitch Wheaton alongside Marc McNulty, and Jake Paterson will start, but the lines the Wings employed in last night's win over St. Louis will otherwise remain the same;
And it's worth noting that the Wings won't be practicing on Sunday (the better for Wings fans in Southeastern Michigan to enjoy HockeyFest at the Joe without worrying about missing anything?)--the only day in which the prospect tournament holds no games--so that the players may be better-prepared for Monday and Tuesday's games and the main camp. Given that the Wings' prospects will have played 4 games in 5 nights as of Monday evening, energy management is absolutely essential.
Updated 2x at 11:23 AM: The Red Wings' prospects earned their "result" in last night's 6-5 OT win over the St. Louis Blues, and as this tournament'sboth incredibly compact and incredibly results-oriented, I will readily admit that my suggestions that Anthony Mantha and Ryan Sproul's games weren't necessarily up to snuff despite statistical dominance...
Sometimes that's short-tournament hockey for you. Teams' "best players" get the job done on the scoresheet even if their games weren't remarkably aesthetically-pleasing, and given that the Wings' players were on different chapters of the same book as opposed to "not on the same page" last night, the fact that they'll have today's practice and tonight's game against
Minnesota Columbus (7:30 PM start at Centre Ice Arena) to iron out the kinks with a 1-and-0 record and a chance to all but eliminate Minnesota from the Howe Division (the Wings earned only 2 points for an OT win, too, so they need to close the gap on Columbus), well, that's all you can ask for.
This morning, the Traverse City Record-Eagle's Dennis Chase focuses on the expectations Mantha and Sproul face, and as Griffins coach Jef Blashill tells Chase, #39 and #48 can take advantage of a huge opportunity to set themselves up for front-line roles in GR and early call-ups to Detroit:
The Red Wings' prospects began the defense of their one and only tournament title against the St. Louis Blues on Friday evening, attempting to apply the lessons learned from a very short Thursday practice and forty-five minutes' worth of morning skate systems-learning and line-meshing.
This year's team is very, very different and much younger than last year's roster, try-outs included. Ryan Sproul, Zach Nastasiuk and Martin Frk wore the "A's" on Friday, though it's evident that Sproul's more or less the acting captain, and the Wings' iced the following lineup against a very big, very heavy and very aggressive Blues team.
I've already told you that the Wings won a wild and woolly one, defeating St. Louis 6-5 in OT, (the tournament continues on Saturday as the Wings skate at 11:30 AM and rhen battle the Blue Jackets at 7:30 PM), and DetroitRedWings.com's Dan Mannes captured the Wings' skate onto the ice...
Per Josh Rimer:
The Red Wings' prospects opened their defense of their one and only tournament title with a win--and a win in one of the strangest games I've ever seen any Wings team play.
The Wings defeated St. Louis 6-5 in overtime, with Joe Hicketts scoring at the 5:10 mark of an AHL-style 7-minute OT, which was preceded by a dry scrape, included "long changes," and had no whistles...
And Hicketts' would-be unassisted goal (actually set up by Martin Frk and Tomas Nosek) allowed the Wings to prevail despite the fact that the team surrendered a 3-1 lead (Anthony Mantha scored 2 of the Wings' 3 early goals) as the Blues scored 3 times in 5:09 of 2nd period action...
The Wings then tied things up in the 3rd period, gave up a crappy 5-4 go-ahead goal with 4:35 left in the game, they had to kill off a dreadful penalty to Mattias Backman called with only 3:34 left in the game, and yet the Wings managed to tie things up as Tyler Bertuzzi found Ryan Sproul skating onto the ice as Jared Coreau exited it with 51 seconds remaining...
And OT yielded this:
DETROIT – Little Caesars Amateur Hockey today announced the appointment of former NHL goaltender Darren Eliot as its new Director of Minor Hockey Operations. In his new role, Eliot will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Little Caesars AAA hockey program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL), along with serving as the organization’s representative to USA Hockey, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) and the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL).
Updated with the Wings' official "Game Day Preview" video at 3:44 PM, and FYI:
Also: SI's Allan Muir's correct in stating that the Sabres are the favorites tow in, too...But they were the favorites to win last year!
Also Also: Sorry for short "assessments"...Had an anxiety attack as rink filled up. It happens.
Also Also Also: The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau posted a photo gallery from this morning's skate.
The Wings' prospects--consisting of a deliberately "green" roster and healthy number of try-outs--begin their defense of the team's one and only prospect tournament title as they begin a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights against the Blues this evening (7:30 PM at Centre Ice Arena; the Wings play Columbus on Saturday and Minnesota on Monday, with Sunday's schedule consisting of practices but no games).
Updated 2x at 2:36 PM: The boss and I are assuming that the Red Wings' NHL'ers didn't practice today due to the Zetterberg Foundation's charitable event in Troy, MI, this evening, and I have no idea whether the Wings will practice tomorrow given that the ice will have to be covered for HockeyFest at the Joe on Sunday, but the lack of skating in Detroit didn't yield any slow-down in Wings-related news.
As Paul noted, the Wings posted an interview with Kyle Quincey, and this afternoon,
Stanley Cup of Chowder can take a long walk off a short pier, I mean Fox Sports Detroit's Andrea Nelson posted an interview with Stephen Weiss, who explained why he needed a second surgery to remove scar tissue from his...core muscle?
"I had a lot of nerve entrapments that were pinching on scar tissue and every time I moved my leg it was like having a root canal on your groin," Weiss said. "It was no fun."
The Red Wings' prospects engaged in a particularly spirited pregame skate ahead of tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM, no TV :( :( :() mostly focusing on puck-retrieval, penalty-killing, breakouts and the kind of "stuff" you'd expect from a game-day skate.
I got to watch the Dallas Stars practice beforehand and was happy to get an "accidental check" from Jim Nill, who held court with some of the Wings' scouts during the Stars' practice, but he was out of the rink by the time the Wings skated as they're not in the Wings' division and won't see Detroit until, well, Tuesday's potential-championship-deciding games.
The practice included a total of 8 "coaches" on the ice in Jeff Blashill, new Griffins assistant coaches Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, Chris Chelios as a defensive mentor and Mike Knuble as something of a consultant, as well as Jim Bedard and his assistant/OSU goalie coach Jeff Salajko.
It was VERY interesting to watch the Griffins' new coaches get their feet wet as Blashill put everyone through an incredibly, incredibly fast-paced "morning skate"...
from Craig Peterson at the Wings' website,
The Red Wings’ lack of a high-profile free agent signing in the offseason has been highly discussed in the weeks following July 1, but the absence of a big move could be a move in itself.
“I think it’s a big positive,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said. “We have a structure and a system that we know inside and out, and game one … we know each other, we know exactly what to expect. We know the system, so we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Quincey, who said it was an easy decision to re-sign with the Wings – for two seasons worth $8.5 million – during the offseason, was one of two players to appear in all 82 regular-season games last year. Forward Drew Miller was the other.
“I’ve had a couple rough seasons with injuries and battling through them,” Quincey said. “It’s part of the game and it’s going to happen. I’m fortunate to play all 82 games. I never thought it was possible. Hopefully it keeps going and hopefully we finally get a year with very, very low injuries.”
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.