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Zetterberg takes a realistic approach toward the upcoming season

From 97.1 the Ticket's Will Burtchfield:

Red Wings GM Ken Holland made headlines over the summer when he suggested his team isn’t an immediate Stanley Cup contender.

On Wednesday morning, just a day before the Wings’ season-opener, captain Henrik Zetterberg agreed.

“I think we gotta be realistic, too. We have a good team. We’re probably not one of the five top teams in the league going into the season but we’re going to be right there,” he told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. “Just gotta make the playoffs, and if you make the playoffs you have a chance of winning it all.”

Despite conceding that the Wings are facing longer odds than usual, Zetterberg pointed out the deck isn’t totally stacked against them.

“I think also if you have those five teams, then you have another 20 teams that are right there and you just gotta get hot at the right time. And if you look at it, it’s not for sure that one of those five teams is going to win it all. I think there’s other teams right behind them that are really good and can do some real damage,” he said.

Continued

Update: Here's the interview:

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WDFN’s Matt Sheppard: Wings fans should be angry at Holland’s lack of commitment to youth movement

WDFN's Matt Sheppard addresses the Red Wings' waiver losses in a thoughtful blog entry this morning, suggesting that it's not losing Teemu Pulkkinen or Martin Frk that Wings fans should be upset about:

What bothers me is the August quote from General Manger Ken Holland, who said the Red Wings were not legitimate contenders.

It bothers me because if he truly believes that then why go out and sign couple of veterans to one year deals?

It bothers me because we’ve been told about these younger players like Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet and yet the organization signs players to long-term deals that create a road block to prevent the youngsters from making the team.

That wouldn’t be an issue IF those veterans were good enough to, you know, actually make the Wings a Cup contender.

The Red Wings have 13 skaters signed through next season.

They have nine players signed through 2019 and most of those players are top six forwards.

If there is that much of a commitment, or some might say a hurdle, where are the younger players who supposedly have so much talent expected to play? I hear so many say the prospects aren’t going to be on the big league roster unless they take a top six spot-well there’s very little room to be a top six forward because Zetterberg, Abdelkader, Nyquist, and Nielsen are under contract long-term.

Sheppard continues...

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Morning news: the ‘opening night roster,’ predictions, power rankings and Tweets of note

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The NHL has announced the opening day rosters for each of the NHL's 30 teams, and here's the Wings' roster:

Detroit Red Wings

Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou, Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Luke Glendening, Mike Green, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Alexei Marchenko, Drew Miller, Petr Mrazek, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist, Steve Ott, Xavier Ouellet, Edward Pasquale, Riley Sheahan, Brendan Smith, Ryan Sproul, Tomas Tatar, Thomas Vanek, Henrik Zetterberg.

Injured: Johan Franzen, Tomas Jurco, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Nosek, Daniel Renouf, Vili Saarijarvi, Joe Vitale.

2. MLive's Ansar Khan and Brendan Savage made their NHL predictions for the upcoming season, with Khan suggesting that the Wings will make the playoffs and Savage suggesting that the Wings will miss the playoff cut;

3. The Wings are outside the playoffs in Sportsnet's Luke Fox's power rankings:

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Little Caesars Arena construction hasn’t met Detroit resident employment goals

Olympia Development of Michigan set ambitious goals for the number of Detroit-based contractors and workers that it would employ during the construction of the Red Wings' follow-on rink.

Some very wise analysts suggested that the company's promise that 51% of its workers would be Detroit residents was by far the most ambitious goal surrounding the construction of the facility--perhaps more ambitious than was feasible--and the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar and Christine Ferretti report that Olympia Development has yet to achieve its goal:

A recent report to city officials indicates that about 40 percent of the 750 workers at the Little Caesars Arena site are Detroiters, according to sources familiar with the data. There is some concern that percentage could go lower because of a shortage of skilled-trade workers such as electricians, according to a consultant involved in the arena workforce.

As part of the deal to allow $250 million in taxpayer-backed bonds to pay for construction of the arena, Olympia Development agreed to the 51 percent goal. It also agreed to award at least 30 percent of the construction contracts to Detroit businesses. The 30 percent goal is being met and surpassed, city officials said.

But the failure to meet the 51 percent workforce goal has resulted in contractors being fined, and that money has gone toward workforce training, according to the city officials and representatives for the Ilitch family, which owns Olympia Development. The number of contractors fined wasn’t provided Tuesday.

Continued

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‘Three Things’: ‘Meet the Wings’; on competition for jobs & questions going into the regular season

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Detroit News and MLive posted "Meet the Red Wings" galleries as part of their NHL preview packages, and Fox Sports Detroit posted pictures from their "gladiator shoot" close-ups;

2. If we are to believe coach Jeff Blashill, each and every one of the players featured in the aforementioned galleries are still fighting for their jobs. That's what Blashill told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

"We had a great, great preseason out of the (Luke) Glendening line (with Steve Ott and Drew Miller). They were great. Can they keep it up? If they keep it up, they’ll keep playing. If they falter, then somebody goes in those spots.

"Other guys – I thought (Riley) Sheahan had a great preseason. I thought (Gustav) Nyquist had a great preseason. I’ve told our guys we’re going to be merit based on playing time and I’ve told our guys we’re constantly every shift trying out for ice time. That will continue.

“Does somebody go down (to AHL Grand Rapids and do well)? Does Mantha go down, does Bert (Tyler Bertuzzi) go down and play great down there and demand to be up? We’ll see.”

To be fair to the coach, the Miller-Glendening-Ott line really was very, very good during the exhibition season. Now they and the rest of the Wings' superb exhibition performers really do need to "keep it up," if not elevate their play as the regular season rapidly approaches.

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Prospect news: Champions Hockey League action

Of prospect-related note:

In the Champions Hockey League, Julius Vahatalo didn't register a point in TPS Turku's 5-4 shootout loss to IFK Helsinki, eliminating TPS from the "round of 32";

Christoffer Ehn didn't register a point in the Frolunda Indians' 5-0 win over Yunost Minsk, allowing Frolunda to advance to the "round of 16";

Joren Van Pottelberghe didn't play in HC Davos' 3-2 win over Linkopings HC, but Linkopings HC advanced to the round of 16 on aggregate goals;

And Axel Holmstrom didn't play in Skelleftea AIK's 4-2 win over JYP Jyvaskyla, allowing Skelleftea to advance to the "round of 16";

In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh's Val-d'Or Foreurs lost 5-2 to the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

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Why the Wild picked up Teemu Pulkkinen

This is a little painful to read, but we might as well examine it: MinnesotaWild.com's Dan Myers spoke with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher as to why the team picked Teemu Pulkkinen off waivers from the Red Wings:

An hour into practice, the club announced that it had claimed forward Teemu Pulkkinen off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings. A native of Vantaa, Finland, Pulkkinen has high offensive upside and is still just 24 years old.

"He's played a top-six role at every level," said Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher. "It remains to be seen whether he can do it at the NHL level, but that's the opportunity we'd like to give him, and we'd certainly like to see if he can do it."

Pulkkinen has played in 70 career NHL games, scoring 11 goals and nine assists while posting a plus-7 in those games. He had six goals and 12 points in 36 games last season but was hindered by a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for the bulk of the season.

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A billion-dollar rink

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

Interest payments on the bonds issued to pay for Little Caesars Arena will push the project's final cost to nearly $1 billion.

The current cost estimate for the future home of the Detroit Red Wings is $627.5 million, but that doesn't reflect interest payments on $450 million worth of 30-year bonds floated in 2014 to finance construction.

The estimated $336.5 million in interest payments, plus additional spending on the arena beyond the bonds, would bring the total cost to $991 million by 2045. The DDA outlined the expected interest costs to Crain's on Tuesday.

Continued

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TMR evening line: center ice is ‘kind of owning a line,’ says Dylan Larkin

From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's profile of Dylan Larkin:

“It’s a whole new challenge, it’s kind of owning a line,” Larkin said. “A guy like Henrik Zetterberg, he controls that line. If Z isn’t on that night, it’s going to be tough for the other players. So I have to work on faceoffs and work on little details that will make me a better player all the way around, in the defensive zone.

“It’s a challenge but I want to keep building.”

Kulfan continues at length...

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All Eyes On Ken Holland

from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,

Holland is under fire. And he should be. He’s entering his 20th season as the Wings’ general manager. Even if he achieves nothing else during his tenure, Holland’s headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame. There’s no ignoring the Stanley Cups, the shrewd European drafting and the brilliant trade-deadline acquisitions. But Holland never has entered a season with this much skepticism.

“The frustration’s understandable,” he said Monday. “Everyone wants to go back to when we were consistently in the running for the Stanley Cup. We want that, too. Nobody’s happy here that we haven’t fared well in the playoffs. But we’re confident in how we’re trying to retool our roster: getting younger while still trying to field a team that can give us the best opportunity to win.”

What’s changed is that Holland seems more receptive to shuttling in prospects from the minor league Grand Rapids Griffins if it’s apparent early in the season that there isn’t much separation between what he’s getting from the older, higher-paid veterans down on the depth chart and what they might get from youngsters such as Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi or 19-year-old Evgeny Svechnikov, among others.

The Wings can afford a couple of down seasons because there’s interest in the Joe Louis Arena farewell this season and the introduction of Little Caesars Arena in 2017. But they have to be truly committed to giving the youngsters every opportunity to grow and flourish, even if that results in The Streak ending.

That’s on Holland. But it’s on ownership, as well.

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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.

 

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