The Malik Report
As has become predictable, a lack of practicing yielded actual good news on the injury front for the Red Wings ahead of tonight's Teemu Selanne Farewell Tour and/or Red Wings reunion with the Anaheim Ducks team Detroit bounced from the playoffs last spring (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1)--and, somewhat intriguingly, these teams will play their two "playoff rematches" within a month.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reported that Darren Helm (shoulder) is "ahead of schedule" and may return as early as this weekend against Toronto;
Ken Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) are both quite likely to return on or around December 28th, and Holland suggested that the concussed Johan Franzen and concussed Justin Abdelkader won't be back until the weekend at the earliest, but that they're both OK as they take their first few steps through the NHL's concussion protocol;
And while attending the ceremony dedicating the Wings' charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink, Jimmy Howard and his teammates told Fox Sports Detroit's Jon Paul Morosi that Howard will be back before the Winter Classic, too.
But there are some worrisome sets of numbers for Red Wings fans going into tonight's game: 0-2-3, 5-8-6 and 23-7-5.
Via RedWingsFeed, I didn't think that HBO would do this, but they've posted the first episode of 24/7, Road to the Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings on their YouTube channel:
The Red Wings recalled Riley Sheahan to essentially replace Johan Franzen for at least a "couple of games," with the Grand Rapids Griffins recalling Louis-Marc Aubry from Toledo as a result, and Ken Holland offered an intriguing take as to why he picked Sheahan in a conversation with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Sheahan, 22, has leapfrogged Cory Emmerton as far as call ups go.
“We’ve seen Emmerton for nine games, we know what he can do,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We haven’t really seen Riley Sheahan. He’s a first-round pick. He had a pretty good rookie year last year and had a good playoff in Grand Rapids. Let’s see what he can do.”
Sheahan, who was selected in the first round (21st overall) in the 2010 draft out of Notre Dame, has six goals and eight assists in 23 games with the Griffins. He’s played in two games over his career with Detroit, one in each of the past two seasons and has no points.
Both Sheahan and Landon Ferraro are no longer waiver-exempt next year, but the Wings are down two "unnatural" centers in Franzen and Abdelkader and two natural centers in Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm, so recalling a player who's focusing on defense this year makes sense.
Regarding Franzen, as MLive's Ansar Khan notes, we don't know whether he'll miss one game or more than one game because the Wings didn't practice on Monday, and the NHL's "concussion protocols" play out depending on how players react to physical activity:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled center Riley Sheahan from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
A native of St. Catherines, Ontario, Sheahan has skated in 23 games with the Griffins this season, recording 14 points (6-8-14) and 10 penalty minutes. He helped the Griffins to a Calder Cup in 2012-13, recording 36 points (16-20-36) in 72 regular-season games and tying for the AHL rookie lead in the playoffs with 16 points (3-13-16) in 24 games. Sheahan has also appeared in two career games with the Red Wings, recording four penalty minutes.
The 22-year-old forward was originally drafted by Detroit in the first round (21st overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He spent three seasons at the University of Notre Dame, registering 64 points (20-44-64) and 74 penalty minutes from 2009-12.
From the NHL:
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE® AND DETROIT RED WINGS® FOUNDATION SPEARHEAD RENOVATIONS AND UPGRADES TO CLARK PARK RECREATION CENTER AS PART OF 2014 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC® LEGACY INITIATIVE
NHL Winter Classic Legacy Donation Includes Zamboni® Ice Resurfacing Machine, Outdoor Rink Renovations and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Upgrades
DTE Energy, Johnson Control and York Among Legacy Initiative Supporters
NEW YORK (December 16, 2013) – The National Hockey League and Detroit Red Wings Foundation today unveiled its extensive renovations and upgrades to Detroit’s Clark Park Coalition recreation center as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Legacy Initiative.
Updated 6x at 2:28 PM: I actually managed to get some sleep (rare!) thanks to Paul holding down the fort (and the Wings won't practice today; they will, however, make a significant charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink at 3 PM, and again, the team practices outdoors at Comerica Park on Wednesday), but I've woken up to predictable news regarding the Red Wings' injury front from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
#RedWings G Jimmy Howard (knee) going on short-term IR, center to be named being called up for Tuesday vs. Anaheim.
#RedWings F Justin Abdelkader (blow to head, undergoing concussion protocol) biked today, might be ready come the weekend.
#RedWings F Darren Helm (shoulder) expected to join morning skate Tuesday, if goes well, could be ready Thursday/weekend
from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,
"I'm trying to get his body. I don't know if he (was) trying to poke the puck or jump around or something, but as his head comes up, I catch it (with) a shoulder in his head," Engelland said Monday. "I don't know if he's trying to jump around. But I'm expecting him to finish his check, and I've kind of gotta protect myself instead of turning away and getting hit and heading head-first into the boards."
That said, Abdelkader didn't appear to be attempting to throw a check, the two were several feet from the boards and Engelland appeared to shrug his shoulder upward. At minimum, he didn't nearly attempt to avoid contact, which is enough to earn a suspension on its own merit.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he also believed Engelland's contact to be unintentional and was surprised that it merited an in-person hearing. He also noted that Engelland indeed caught Abdelkader in the chin with his shoulder, and that his suspension in December 2011 will play a role in the upcoming decision.
"Justin's leaning into the play, and I think Deryk's intention is to go stick-on-puck," Bylsma said.
added 12:18pm, I have added the video below in case you want to review the hit.
The Hockeytown Winter Festival officially begins today at Comerica Park, with teams of disabled American and Canadian veterans set to break in the rink at 8:30 AM, open skates scheduled for Tuesday the 17th, Friday the 20th and Tuesday the 24th, an incredibly rare open practice scheduled for 12 PM on Wednesday the 18th at CoPa, and the Red Wings' acting owner, coach and several players set to spend their "off day" revealing a significant charitable donation to Detroit's Clark Park rink...
But Red Wings fans are feeling much less than "festive," even after having seen Petr Mrazek's Winter Classic pads (via Puck Daddy and Kathryn Jean, a.k.a. Ms. Conduct):
The Red Wings are both holding open skates at Comerica Park as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, though you have to buy tickets to take part, and they're holding an open practice on Wednesday at 12 PM, which is a pretty big deal as the team's held all of half-a-dozen free-and-or-charitable practices open to the non-season-ticket-holding public over the past half dozen years.
The Wings just posted an infographic regarding both the open skates and the open practice, and here it is, stating that the doors open at 11 and that parking at the Comerica garage will be $6.
I know that this news comes on very short notice, that we're talking about a weekday during the holiday season and that the high will be all of 32 degrees on Wednesday, but I would strongly urge you to take advantage of something that is probably not going to happen again for a long time and to skip work and/or school if you are at all able to fill the damn stands.
For the vast majority of Wings fans who were either unable to snag Winter Classic tickets or plain old couldn't afford them or their season-ticket-package price of additional admission, here's a chance to see the guys on outdoor ice for $6 frickin' bucks and the price of gas down to the ballpark:
Update: Alums on ice! From right to left, Igor Larionov, Joe Kocur, Kris Draper, Dino Ciccarelli, Larry Murphy and Kirk Maltby, with Osgood being Osgood:
Former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman did his best managerial job on Sunday while speaking with the media, not working on making his Tampa Bay Lightning team a better one. As We All Bleed Red's Sanjay Sharda noted, Yzerman spoke with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating for a short interview aired during the second intermission of Sunday's game, and Yzerman stated the following:
1. He felt that it was absolutely necessary to ensure that he would not be occupied with his duties for the Lightning or Team Canada before committing to the game;
2. He really, really, really wants fans to understand that he hopes to get on the ice once or twice before the game, and that he hasn't skated at all over the last four of five years, so those who are absolutely giddy about seeing Steve Yzerman skate for the Red Wings again will be satisfied, but those who expect Yzerman to keep up with the Kris Drapers and fellow members of the Wings' alumni training campers--who Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji reported skated at Comerica Park on Sunday night--you're going to be sorely disappointed:
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.