The Malik Report
Updated 2x with some big Alfredsson news at 7:13 PM:
Over the past two days, it's been absolutely impossible to figure out where Joe Hicketts has been. The Wings plain old wouldn't say where he was, and so ahead of tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 PM on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 FM; I wouldn't freak out about the lineup as the Hawks were going to stack it for their home opener and 2 games in 2 nights = Babcock wants to see as many different players as he can), I'm as stunned as anybody to find that Victoria's The Zone 91-3 found Hicketts back in Victoria, BC, back with his WHL's Royals and more than willing to talk about his starring roles in the prospect tournament and main camp--as well as the fact that he may or may not be offered a contract by the Wings:
via Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
For all the high-end skill on their roster, Detroit comes up shy in the team toughness department and while a goon isn't the right answer, a little sandpaper would go a long way. And the solution to that deficiency might be found in the Wings' own division: Boston's Adam McQuaid.
The 27-year-old vet is coming off an injury-plagued season, but he seems to check all the boxes for the Wings: reasonable cap hit ($1.566 million), good size (6'-5", 209 pounds), a right-handed shot and a heavy, physical presence. And yes, he's willing and able to drop the gloves when needed. Hockeyfights.com had him with a 5-1-1 mark in seven bouts—that's exactly as many as the 30th ranked Wings combined for last season.
Boston would probably prefer to send McQuaid further afield, but if the Wings ante up the best pick or a prospect in return, this could benefit both sides.
I just don't see Boston trading within their own division, how about you?
This is quite impressive. According to MLive's David Muller, the Red Wings will break ground on their new rink's construction on Thursday, but the party won't stop there:
At the corner of Sibley and Woodward on Thursday the owners of the Detroit Red Wings are hosting a block party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., complete with family-friendly events and Detroit Red Wings Experience games.
The celebration comes the same day Ilitch Holdings is to officially break ground on a $650 million Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district development. The ceremonial dirt-throwing happens at 1:30 p.m. with Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan, City Council president pro-tem George Cushingberry, Jr. and Ilitch Holdings president and CEO Chris Ilitch all on hand to mark the occasion.
Later, beginning Saturday, Sept. 27, a synthetic ice rink will be set up at the future site of the new arena. It will be free and open to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends through Sunday, Oct. 5. Skates will be provided.
Construction of the 20,000-seat arena and accompanying, 45-block entertainment district is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2017 NHL season. The 45-block entertainment district area, roughly bordered by Charlotte Street to the north, Grand River to the west, Grand Circus Park to the south and Woodward Avenue to east, is comparable in size to Georgetown in Washington, D.C., Back Bay in Boston and Greenwich Village in New York City. It will include mixed-use development.
Updated 6x at 2:15 PM: By now you know the Wings' lineup for tonight's game against Chicago (8:30 PM on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 in Chicago), and you probably know that Pavel Datsyuk expects to miss a week (barring MRI results) due to what appears to be a very minor shoulder injury.
The Wings engaged in a very brief morning skate here at Centre Ice Arena, there was a practice for non-game-day players (Ryan Sproul didn't practice, probably due to precautionary reasons, and Darren Helm was sporting a fine shiner and a broken nose), and as I'm writing this, the Wings are very literally packing up and leaving town.
The team will apparently have an "off day" on Wednesday and resume skating on Thursday ahead of the non-televised home exhibition opener vs. Boston, and due to the mass exodus, the blog folks (Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish, Winging It in Motown's SlapShotgoal and myself) were able to squeeze all of two interviews in--and we got a VERY short presser from Mike Babcock as he already spoke to the MSM by the time he got to us.
Anyway, here's Datsyuk rather unhappily discussing his injury, cracking a joke telling us that we should've asked how the boards felt, and basically making a whole lot of sense about taking a week off to rest what appears to be a very minor injury in September:
via George Malik tweets,
Datsyuk says MRI today or tomorrow, feels ok, figures he will miss a week or hopes so.
I think Datsyuk's let it take a week to heal theory is wise. Don't push a tweak in September.
added 12:11pm, Video of Datysuk talking about injury, via Helene St. James.
from Jordan Heath-Rawlings of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: Can the kids grow up quickly enough to keep Mike Babcock around? The best coach in the business is in the final year of his contract, and while he’s said all the right things about staying (and GM Ken Holland has echoed him), if the team can’t improve on last season’s just-scraping-into-the-playoffs effort, he might go somewhere that offers him a better chance at a Cup. That said, there’s a lot of talent here, and if there’s a man to get the most of it, it’s Babcock.
2014-15 prediction: A slow start turns into a rolling finish as the Grand Rapids kids infiltrate the lineup even further and the Wings start simply outskating opponents with one of the league’s youngest lineups. They run through the first two rounds in six games each and find themselves tied 2-2 in the third period of Game 7 against the Penguins with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
If Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg can have some semblance of health.
If Jimmy Howard inserts himself into the Vezina conversation.
If Gustav Nyquist (28 goals in 57 games) truly is an elite NHL scorer and Tomas Tatar can take the next step.
If Mike Babcock, who carries 415 wins and two Stanley Cups into this season, re-signs either before the season or, if he doesn’t, doesn’t become as a sideshow during the campaign.
If Anthony Mantha really is a beast and can bounce back from a fractured right tibia suffered in rookie camp.
If 2013 free agent addition Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) can make some kind of contribution.
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are the Red Wings' line combinations and defense pairings:
Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist
Justin Abdelkader-Stephen Weiss-Kevin Porter
Teemu Pulkkinen-Luke Glendening-Mitch Callahan
Andrej Nestrasil-Tomas Nosek-Landon Ferraro
Danny DeKeyser-Jakub Kindl
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff-Aaron Rome
Jonas Gustavsson (first two periods)
Petr Mrazek (third period)
Game is at 8:30pm ET and no local TV. Game is on CSN+ in Chicago.
A minor injury update below...
The Red Wings will take to the ice at Centre Ice Arena for one last time this morning (pre-game skate from 10:30-11:15 AM; non-game-day-player skate from 11:30-12:15 [or later?]) ahead of tonight's exhibition game in Chicago (8:30 PM EDT on CSN CH+ or The Game 88.7 FM in Chicago, "alternate means" for the rest of us; sorry for listing the start as 8 PM earlier).
Hopefully we'll find out good news regarding Pavel Datsyuk, who suffered some sort of shoulder injury in the Wings' 2-1 exhibition win over Pittsburgh last night.
The other "intrigue" (if you can call it that) involves the status of Wings camp try-out Joe Hicketts and whether the Wings have signed him to an entry-level contract (he's apparently got to be either signed by the time the NHL season begins or he goes back into the draft next June). He didn't practice with the team yesterday, and the Victoria Times-Colonist's Cleve Dheensaw reports that the Victoria Cougars expect the 18-year-old back in the WHL either way:
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Red Wings didn't make any splashes this offseason, but Holland's optimism for a 24th consecutive trip to the playoffs stems from what his team did last season despite the injuries.
"If you look at our '13-14 season, for the most part we got a half a season out of [Darren] Helm, a half a season out of [Jonathan] Ericsson, a half a season out of [Johan] Franzen, a half a season out of [Pavel] Datsyuk, a half a season out of [Henrik] Zetterberg and less than a half a season out of [Stephen] Weiss," Holland said.
"Certainly I understand injuries are a part of the program, and we've been hit hard here the last two years, but we qualified for the playoffs both years where 19 teams have missed the playoffs at least once in the last two years. It's not like we've knocked it out of the park, but we've played our way in."
The Red Wings played their way in last season on the backs of players coach Mike Babcock still calls "kids" even though they're between 22 and 25 years old.
Gustav Nyquist, who is 25, scored 28 goals in 57 games, including 12 goals on 30 shots in a 10-game span from March 16-April 2.
"It felt like everything was going in at the time," Nyquist said.
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.