The Malik Report
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Start the countdown clock on Darren Helm’s return to the Detroit Red Wings lineup —and the likelihood Jordin Tootoo won’t be a Wing much longer.
General manager Ken Holland received as uplifting a text as possible today from Helm, reporting that all was well after two games in the minors and a nine-hour bus journey.
That’s putting Helm on a brick-paved path to playing Saturday, when the Wings host the New York Rangers. The Wings host the San Jose Sharks
tonight(Monday) at Joe Louis Arena, but since Helm was put on Long-Term Injured Reserve to start the season, he has to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days. Helm will return from the minors to rejoin practices as he prepares for what will be only his second NHL game in 2013.
“He told me he’s looking forward to being in the lineup next weekend,” Holland said. “This is a major step, it’s great news.”
added 6:07pm, Ansar Khan of Mlive on Helm returning
The Detroit Red Wings' team plane took a little looping flight from Phoenix's main airport, Sky Harbor, to a facility a little closer to Glendale and the Coyotes' rink on Saturday night, preparing to pick the Red Wings up as the team stayed in its hotel beds on Saturday evening (to eliminate the "heavy road trip legs" excuse).
The Red Wings team's trajectory was similar, racing out to a 2-0 lead before giving up 5 straight goals, including a goal scored by Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, in a 5-2 loss to Phoenix on Saturday evening--in a scenario reminiscent of the Wings' dropped leads en route to a 4-2 loss to Phoenix 11 days ago.
In between the losses, Detroit won 4 games, but Phoenix seems to have Detroit's number, and it must be said that this penalty shot save by Jimmy Howard could have been the game's defining moment...
Red Wings Saturday prospect news: Griffins lose, Walleye win, Athanasiou, Nastasiuk have good nights
The Red Wings' prospects didn't have the same difficulties that the parent club displayed on Saturday, but Darren Helm's 2-game stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins (who dropped a 3-2 decision to Milwaukee on Friday night) didn't go that well, either.
Ten days after the Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 lead to the Phoenix Coyotes, the Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 lead to the Phoenix Coyotes and lost 5-2 to a predatory, hungry team receiving significant help from Smith.
Which Smith? Both of them. Mike Smith flopped to the ice as Brian Lashoff slid what should have been a 3-0 goal past him early in the second period, seemingly suffering a bad groin injury, but he popped back up after a commercial break, and after Smith flopped, the Wings never seemed to recover their killer instinct--and Smith of course scored an empty-netter..
And Brendan Smith's play yielded a Shane Doan penalty shot which Jimmy Howard stopped and poor coverage yielding three of the four goals Howard did not stop--though Howard had NO chance on ANY of the goals that were scored against him by the predatory Coyotes--as well as Mike Smith's historic empty-netter.
I've tried to keep the news regarding Niklas Kronwall's recovery from the concussion induced by Cody McLeod in the Red Wings-Coyotes game-day entry, but this video from the Free Press's Helene St. James merits its own entry as it encompasses Kronwall's media availability this "morning":
The Detroit Red Wings are very proud of the fact that they were the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions back in 1998, but the Chicago Blackhawks' status as having won 2 Cups in 3 years may be as close as one gets to a repeat in this day and age.
Former Wings coach and current Blackhawks advisor Scotty Bowman discussed difficulties of winning repeat Cups with the CBC's Tim Wharnsby, and Bowman believes that there are more than salary cap-related reasons as to why no team has been able to replicate the Wings' successes:
"You can't keep your team together," Bowman said. "The Los Angeles Kings managed to do it. But they still didn't win. When you win, you have players you have to re-sign. Most of those players deserve a raise. You can't keep everybody. If you lose a couple key players the cupboard gets bare."
But, Bowman says, it doesn't stop there.
"Teams are stronger," he said. "At least, there are more teams capable of winning. It just seems that teams have more younger players who make an immediate impact. There is more emphasis than ever on developing players and they make a bigger impact quicker than ever."
One could very well argue that the NHL took a full decade to recover from nine seasons and 9 teams' worth of 1990's expansion. I certainly believe that it took until 2008 or 2009 for the NHL to be able to boast that more of its 16 playoff-qualifying teams than not were capable of making a long playoff push.
Updated 7x at 4:33 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight (9 PM, FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM), and as Paul noted, the Wings' beat writers reported that Niklas Kronwall won't be available tonight:
It appears that the NHL's decided that Cody McLeod shouldn't have to wait until Tuesday to visit with Brendan Shanahan:
Update: From the Wings' morning skate:
Kronwall talks with media says he has to go through process but is optimistic he can return very soon— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) October 19, 2013
I've added more Kronwall news in the Wings-Coyotes game thread. He reports no post-concussive symptoms and hopes to return soon.
This post will be updated as need be...
The Red Wings find themselves in a situation very different than the one they were in prior to dropping a 4-2 loss to Phoenix ten days ago.
Ahead of tonight's rematch (9 PM EDT, FSD/FS Arizona/97.1 FM, and this is Detroit's only regular season to Jobbing.com Arena), Detroit's won 4 straight games, and while the Wings are highly unlikely to have the services of Niklas Kronwall tonight as he may or may not have a "mild concussion"...
Even as a team that's been out-shot by a silly margin over Jonas Gustavsson's three straight wins, Jimmy Howard will step back into the Wings' crease tonight in front of a team that's a world away from the one that was coming off a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins and then a four-day break that resulted in an absolutely crappy performance against a Coyotes team desperate for its first win.
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