The Malik Report
From the Free Press's Helene St. James, writing for USA Today:
The Detroit Red Wings, as their general manager put it, are not massively broken. Still, some change was vital.
There is a new head coach in place for the first time in a decade, and the lineup is bolstered by two newcomers the Red Wings hope can overturn a stretch of short playoff runs.
The Red Wings have an impressive 24-season playoff streak going, and they are the only NHL team that has made the playoffs every spring since the 2005 institution of a salary cap. Those are remarkable, historic achievements, but the past four springs have been sullied by only winning one series. That is something Jeff Blashill, who succeeded Mike Babcock behind the bench, wants to see change.
“I know the NHL is extremely close and it’s extremely hard to get to the top of the mountain, but I believe we are in the mix of teams to get there,” Blashill says. “I’m focused on what we have to do to make sure we are one of the eight teams in the conference that makes the playoffs. That’s because your ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and in order to do that, you have to first make the playoffs. So our focus from Day 1 will be what are those things it’s going to take to make sure that we earn the points we need to be one of the teams competing for the Stanley Cup.”
Updated 3x at 1:44 PM: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Johan Franzen demanded to know where his fence is.
His joke was that he needed something to keep away all the people interested in his health, especially in regards to his head. Franzen is scheduled to play tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins in an exhibition match at Joe Louis Arena. It will be Franzen's first game since a blindside hit Jan. 6 at Edmonton left him with his fourth head injury.
"It's going to be fun," Franzen said. "I've been training all summer for this moment, pretty much. This is the first time I get a chance to see where I am at with some real bumps and real hits out there.
Franzen is on a line with fellow big body Riley Sheahan at center, and speedy Luke Glendening on the right wing. It is a third line with the potential to wreak havoc on opponents, who will have used their best defenders on the top two lines.
Franzen sounds like a man hungry to be the impact player he was a few years back. He had produced seven goals among 22 points in 33 games last season before the injury.
"I'm not going to be afraid to go into corners and throwing hits," he said. "That's the last thing I think about right now.
"Hopefully, I will have a healthy season. Just, stay healthy, and have fun. I really missed it. Hopefully my head can handle it."
From the Red Wings:
The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forward Evgeny Svechnikov to the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, reducing the team’s preseason roster to 56 players: 33 forwards, 18 defenseman and five goaltenders.
The Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit/97.1 The Ticket), wrapping up a set of three games in three days. Detroit will also play preseason home games against Boston on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and next Friday (Oct. 2) against Toronto at 7:30 p.m.
Update: From DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:
This press release is at least intriguing:
Red Wings Partner With DeskSite To Launch New High-Def Video App
... Free HD Video Platform Delivers Exclusive Red Wings Content to Desktops, Laptops and Tablets …
DETROIT, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Detroit Red Wings today announced the launch of the Red Wings DeskSite, a free and new interactive video app that proactively delivers premium, high-definition video content to the fans of HockeyTown.
DeskSite is a next-generation digital media company that brings entertainment brands closer to their fans, fans closer to their favorite entertainment brands, and advertisers closer to their desired audience.
The Red Wings DeskSite is a personalized HD video content library constructed to support fans' growing consumption of online video by providing instant access to every Red Wings video produced. Exclusively modeled for the "Big Screen" and effectively acting as a DVR for the Internet, the Red Wings DeskSite serves as a digital fan hub for HD video, web content and social conversations around the team.
No. 16 — Detroit Red Wings
Despite the longest playoff streak in the league (now at 24 years and counting), the Red Wings have fallen out of the league’s top tier in recent years. They haven’t won a Cup since 2008, haven’t finished higher than third in their division since 2011, and haven’t won a playoff round since 2013. That’s hardly a disaster — plenty of teams would happily take Detroit’s last few years and call it a resounding success — but it’s not what a generation of fans has grown used to from the Wings.
It’s tempting to say the downward trend will continue. Pavel Datsyuk is 37, Henrik Zetterberg turns 35 on opening night, and Niklas Kronwall is 34. Mix in Johan Franzen (still battling back from a concussion) and free-agent acquisition Brad Richards, and the Wings look like an old team. And even with Mike Green on the blue line, they may not be remarkably better than the squad that made an early exit last year.
But, of course, these are the Red Wings, so reinforcements are on the way. The prospect cupboard is well-stocked, and they own one of the better young goalies in the league in Petr Mrazek. Mike Babcock’s departure made headlines, but Jeff Blashill’s fresh voice may be an improvement at this point. And it’s worth remembering that last year’s first-round exit was one game away from being a first-round upset of the powerhouse Lightning. For Ken Holland and an organization that knows plenty about winning, that should all add up to a team that can climb back into contention, if not to the very top tier.
Odds of a Cup in five years: 17 percent
Updated 10x at 1:48 PM: The Red Wings face the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (7:30 PM on FSD and ROOT Sports), and the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh reports that the Penguins will ice the following lineup...
From WXYZ's Brad Galli:
Pavel Datsyuk is hoping for a green light.
General manager Ken Holland said the injured Red Wings forward will see the doctor who performed the offseason surgery on Thursday.
Datsyuk has been out with an ankle injury, and the team has not made it clear when he'll return.
The Red Wings are hoping the doctor gives Datsyuk the go-ahead to skate at tomorrow's check-up, Holland told FSD during the team's preseason broadcast.
Kevin Allen previews Detroit's season...
Key question: How much will LW-C Johan Franzen contribute? He has been cleared to return after a concussion limited him to 33 games last season. Franzen, 35, had 22 points last season and has been a 30-goal scorer.
Forecast: With the talented Tampa Bay Lightning rightfully earning all of the attention, no one seems to have noticed that the Red Wings have developed into a threat to win the Stanley Cup. They will challenge the Lightning for the division title but end up in second.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Hockey returned to Joe Louis Arena Wednesday, but so did Mr. Hockey.
And considering this was a relatively meaningless exhibition game, word of Gordie Howe being in the building was much bigger news.
The Red Wings won the game, 4-1 over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (who essentially dressed their minor league team for the game).
Tomas Tatar had three goals and linemate Brad Richards made an impressive debut assisting on all three goals.
But it was news of Howe that brought smiles to many people.
from Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press,
The puck drops just after 7:30pm ET from the Joe and the game can be viewed on NHLN,CSN-CH+ or FS-D. Radio broadcast with Ken Kal and Paul Woods here.
Feel free to add your comments as the game plays out.
Also George arrived home safely today and I suggested he wind down for a few days.
So if no recap late tonight, I will catch up in the morning.
Wings roster is below, Blackhawks is not but basically the 'B' team.
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.