The Malik Report
Updated 5x at 1:11 PM: It looks like the Red Wings have been kicked out of the Joe by a concert again...
#RedWings star Pavel Datsyuk skated earlier this morning under the watchful eye of Mike Kadar at @uniliggett. He looks better each day.
Mike Kadar = the Wings' strength and conditioning coach.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa also reported for duty...
From MLive's Brendan Savage:
The Red Wings are off to a 3-0 start, their best since 2011-12, and they've outhit their opponents in all three games.
They outhit the Toronto Maple Leafs 24-20 in the season opener, had a 37-19 advantage one night after in Carolina and then outhit the Tamp Bay Lighting 26-11 Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
For anyone who doesn't have a calculator handy, that adds up to an 87-50 edge.
None of the Red Wings has thrown his body around more than their leading goal scorer, Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader, who leads the team with four goals after getting a hat trick vs. Toronto, has 15 hits. He's followed by grinder Landon Ferraro with 10, defenseman Brendan Smith with nine and forward Luke Glendening with eight.
Abdelkader and Ferraro both had four hits in the opener to lead the Red Wings, Abdelkader and Smith had five against Carolina and Abdelkader registered six vs. Tampa Bay.
From the Portland Tribune's Jason Vondersmith:
Dominic [Turgeon], a center, has worked hard on his game, emphasizing defense in youth hockey rather than goals-assists-points, and it has paid off.
Drafted in the third round by Detroit in 2014, he signed with the Red Wings after last season. The Winterhawks — off a players’ vote — named him their 2015-16 captain in his fourth year with the major junior-level organization.
Dominic has been earning his stripes on his own merit and drawing rave reviews from people around him.
“It’s just his profesionalism, the way he carries himself on and off the ice. He makes people around him better,” [Portland Winterhawks coach Jamie] Kompon says. “He’s the consummate pro. He could step right into a pro dressing room and just fit right in. His habits, the way he prepares both on and off the ice, are second to none. When you see someone who carries themselves like that, and you’re a young player, you want to aspire to be like him.”
Says [agent Kurt] Overhardt: “I’ve gotten to know Dom the past couple years. Coming into the season, everyone knew he’d be the captain. Great leader. Great person.”
Says Keegan Iverson, a 19-year-old teammate and former billet housemate: “Dom’s a good leader in the locker room. He’s kind of a quiet guy, but all the guys like him. You can tell he’s a leader on and off the ice.”
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa waxes lyrical to praise Henrik Zetterberg's resurgent performance, and he most certainly captures the "Spirit of the Thing":
Attacking and defending with Justin Abdelkader, the burly offensive force beginning his seventh season, and the 19-year-old Dylan Larkin serving notice his time in the NHL has arrived, Zetterberg looks quick, powerful and, to opponents, dangerous.
The new top line for the Wings has combined for seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in three games.
Zetterberg’s seven points leads the team, as does his five assists. He also leads all Wings forwards in ice time per game, with 17 minutes 30 seconds.
He says he likes skating with the younger guys.
“Keeps me young,” he said, flashing a dry smile.
From a player who began looking old, perhaps, at times, to a guy who is re-establishing the sort of performance that allows him to regularly haul the team around on his back in the playoffs, Zetterberg is a force, once again, in the early going.
Krupa continues at extended length.
Otherwise...The Windsor Star's Bob Duff provides an update on Darren Helm's health...
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. In addition to addressing Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser's respective statuses, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness asked Wings coach Jeff Blashill to weigh in on the relative lack of scoring from Wings' non-Zetterberg-Abdelkader-or-Larkin-containing lines:
The Wings are still looking for the right combination on their second and third lines.
“I think chemistry is a thing that gets developed over time,” Blashill said. “So (Brad) Richards is new to the team. It’s going to take some time to develop some chemistry, just like the power play with Richards and Green.
“I’ve mixed around the lines a little bit, so I’ve haven’t given them lots of chances to have the chemistry either, so we’ll keep playing with that a little bit,” Blashill added. “But I thought (Riley) Sheahan was really good (Tuesday) as a whole, and I thought that line had some chances as well. The other thing I had a hard match with (Luke) Glendening on (Tyler) Johnson and when you do that the other lines get a little bit shorter for ice time. I wouldn’t do that every night. I’ll do that in certain specific situations.”
And regarding Helm and DeKeyser...
Dan Rosen of NHL.com answered some questions from the fans...
Is Dylan Larkin a dark-horse rookie of the year candidate?
Every rookie not named Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel is a dark-horse candidate for the Calder Trophy. Those two will dominate the discussion all season. However, Larkin is proving to be the real deal, and the Red Wings have the makings of a special line with Larkin, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Larkin obviously showed he can be effective at center too. He played well in between Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Tatar when they were put together in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Pulkkinen scored twice and the Red Wings rallied for a 4-3 win.
I still haven't seen Larkin in person, which is the best way to get a gauge of a player's true effectiveness, but everything I've seen from watching the Red Wings, highlights of Larkin, and from reading about him and talking to some people, there's no doubt he is a player who could and maybe should be in the discussion with McDavid and Eichel all season. Another in that category that I now have seen in person is Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers, who is impressive and clearly has an excellent shot, as demonstrated by the goal he scored on Henrik Lundqvist on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Updated 3x at 2:45 PM: The Red Wings issued a bit of mixed injury news during and after Wednesday's practice: Henrik Zetterberg and Mike Green took "maintenance days," Johan Franzen remained "unwell," but we were told that Danny DeKeyser and Darren Helm may return to the Wings as soon as Saturday's game vs. Montreal.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with DeKeyser regarding his rapid recovery from sprained ligaments in his left foot:
USA Today's Kevin Allen offers, "Five reasons the Detroit Red Wings have started fast after Mike Babcock." Among them:
1. Captain Henrik Zetterberg: At the end of last season, Detroit fans were wondering whether Zetterberg’s chronic back issues had robbed him of his offensive effectiveness. He looked worn down in the playoffs.
This season, he is refreshed enough to be leading the NHL in scoring with seven points in three games. He’s carrying the flag like he did when he was a younger man.
“Hank is our leader,” said Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist. “It’s great to see him healthy. It think his body feels as good as it has in a long time.”
2. The goalkeepers: Detroit goaltenders own a 1.33 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in the first three games.
Jimmy Howard has played two of the three, and his save percentage is .977. His performance has been noteworthy because the expectation was that Petr Mrazek was ready to be the team’s No. 1. Mrazek was the playoff goalie last season after Howard struggled late in the season.
“Obviously, confidence is always a big deal and he didn’t finish in the way he wanted to finish,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “But I also remember the first half of the year he was very good and was picked to be an All-Star. I think he is back to that form.”
From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Todd Nelson makes his home debut as coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday against San Antonio at Van Andel Arena on the same night Colton has his home opener in his second season of juniors with the Oklahoma Blazers of the Western States Hockey League.
It will be a fitting day for the father and son. They have shared far fewer times together than most, but the hockey connection also carries a tight bond as the years go by.
"It was tough and I feel bad for him because of all the places we moved," Nelson said of his son, who bounced across the country and overseas with his younger sister, Kyleigh, and mom, Josette.
Growing up, Colton reaped the benefits of skating with the teams his father coached, picking up tips and pointers from veterans. But there were also the moves. Colton listed them:
Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, back to Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Oklahoma City, Utah, back to Illinois and back to Oklahoma City. Plus there was time in Germany. He went to three different high schools.
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