The Malik Report
The Grand Rapids Griffins wrap up the second of two exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters tonight in Fort Wayne, IN (according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Justin A. Cohn, the Monsters are the Fort Wayne Komets' AHL affiliate), and they'll play that game skating uphill.
While there's no box score (welcome to the AHL preseason), the Griffins' website posited a recap of the Griffins' Friday night tilt against Lake Erie, which took place in Windsor, ON, and it sounds like the 5-2 loss was only enjoyable to Monsters/Avs fans:
If I believed in mailing it in, I would mail this quick take in, I'd mail the recap in and I'd go to bed instead of staying up to set up tomorrow afternoon's, "I will have to watch an illegal stream because I don't have the NHL Network" exhibition finale against Boston (5:30 PM EDT on the NHL Network)...
Because the Wings sure as shit mailed in their performance--if anyone other than Gustavsson, Franzen and Jensen showed up--during the course of an absolutely terrible 5-1 performance against the Maple Leafs.
It had no fire, no energy, no nothing! It was not green!
Well, okay, maybe Wings fans turned a little green watching everyone from Henrik Zetterberg on down display little to no effort in this one...
During the Red Wings' prospect tournament, a Toledo Walleye season ticket-holder told me that new Walleye coach Derek Lalonde had stated that the Walleye planned on carrying one of Jake Paterson OR Jared Coreau on the roster, with Jeff Lerg serving as the back-up and Paterson possibly going back to Major Junior hockey--or Coreau going to play in the CHL--if one of the two didn't win the starting job.
I was stunned, because I'd been told that both Paterson and Coreau would battle for the starting job in Toledo, but between the Wings' decision to bring Tom McCollum back into the AHL fold and the Walleye's decision to sign Lerg, the "math" certainly made sense.
According to the Saginaw News's Cory Butzin, the send-Paterson-back-to-Juniors plan has come to pass the Wings have assigned Paterson to the OHL's Saginaw Spirit to play as a 20-year-old "overager":
The Saginaw Spirit received a big boost on the defensive end of the ice Friday, Oct. 3 when the Detroit Red Wings returned goaltender Jake Paterson to the Ontario Hockey League, according to Spirit General Manager Jim Paliafito.
Paterson was the victim of a roster spot crunch due to his eligibility for one more season in major juniors.
Butzin continues, and explains that the Spirit may not keep Paterson:
Ahead of flying to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs tonight (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet/97.1 FM) and then on to Boston to play the Bruins tomorrow (5:30 PM EDT on the NHL Network U.S.), the Red Wings made some smart--and necessary--roster moves:
Miele is recovering from a sports hernia...And here's the Wings' press release:
Updated 9x at 4:08 PM: The Red Wings close out the exhibition season against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/Sportsnet/97.1 FM) and the Boston Bruins tomorrow (5:30 PM EDT on the NHL Network), and as it's still preseason hockey, the Wings practiced at the Joe prior to flying to Toronto.
MLive's Ansar Khan took note of the practice lines:
Wings on ice for practice, presumably the group that's playing in Toronto tonight. Lines to follow:
Lines: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Franzen, Pulkkinen-Andersson-Abdelkader, Weiss-Nosek-Cleary, Miller-Glendening-Ferraro.
Defense Kronwall-DeKeyser, Smith-Marchenko, Ouellet-Jensen. Babcock said previously that Gustavsson will start tonight. Mrazek back-up.
Datsyuk skating again in a gray non-contact jersey. Not taking part in drills.
As did the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
At the beginning of this month, I was asked to try out a sample of Buttendz, a rubberized grip for the top hand/butt-end portion of one's hockey stick.
When I spoke with the product's designer, Rob LaLonde, I found out that the product was designed for top-hand-dominant players, and that made me all the more interested in trying it out. I am something of an oddity in the hockey world as someone who uses his dominant left hand to push a left-shooting hockey stick, and I've always had a love-hate relationship with the butt end of my stick as my grip strength and hand/arm strength aren't nearly as strong in my right hand.
I do just about everything with my left hand, and so I can have a real hard time getting the proper grip on my hockey stick. I've tried at least ten different tape jobs to get things feeling right, and I use a lot of tape to tape up the butt end of my stick, so finding a lighter alternative to half a roll's worth of tape intrigued me.
As you know by now, I take hockey equipment very seriously, so:
Per preseason protocol, even after the team's cuts/demotions on Thursday, Red Wings still technically have two "teams," and given Babcock's comments about the jobs available on defense, the Red Wings' sought-after coach and his charges will practice in two groups in Detroit today, and then fly to Toronto ahead of tonight's game against the Maple Leafs (7:30 PM EDT on FSD, Sportsnet and 97.1 FM, Jonas Gustavsson starts) and tomorrow's exhibition finale against Boston (5:30 PM EDT on the NHL Network, Petr Mrazek starts).
The Wings hope to rebound (to some extent) from a flat effort vs. Pittsburgh on Wednesday, they'd obviously love to get Darren Helm (groin), Jonathan Ericsson (hip flexor) and Tomas Tatar (per concussion protocol, not available tonight) into the lineup, and the team's assessment as to whether Mitch Callahan, Landon Ferraro, Nick Jensen, Alexey Marchenko or Xavier Ouellet are ready for NHL duty will continue.
The Wings may or may not make more cuts after each game given that the Grand Rapids Griffins play a pair of exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters (tonight in Windsor, ON and tomorrow in Fort Wayne, IN), but I'm guessing that they'll hedge toward Tuesday's 23-man-roster-and-cap-compliant deadline instead.
Toronto's in a very different situation:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland discusses Babcock’s status & more on The Fan 590; Krupa believes Babs stays
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on Sportsnet's Prime Time Sports show on Thursday evening, speaking with Bob McCown and John Shannon. Holland's appearance was perhaps all but mandatory given that the Wings wrap up their exhibition season in Toronto on Friday night (7:30 PM on FSD, Sportsnet and 97.1 FM) and Boston on Saturday (5:30 PM on the NHL Network U.S.):
Holland discusses the preseason for a short while--pointing out that most of the "jobs" to be won by Wings players were won by Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist over the course of the previous year, and saying that the Wings "might have a job or two open" (cough on defense cough)--before addressing Mike Babcock's contract situation, saying simply that he won't talk about it.
Updated 2x at 5:12 PM: Throughout last night's quick take, overnight report, today's practice post and even the "cuts post"--and long before that, frankly--the hottest preseason topic regarding the Red Wings' roster has involved the team's defense.
Today, the team sent Ryan Sproul and Mattias Backman down, reminding us that Sproul is still both a year removed from the OHL and a bit of an adventure in his own zone, and reflecting the fact that, despite his immaculate positioning (a fine foil to Sproul's bombastic rushes and one-man-showmaking), Backman can be pushed around and needs to both get stronger and get more accustomed to North American-sized rinks...
But Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko and the surprising (to those of you who haven't attended the past six summer development camps) Nick Jensen remain on the Wings' 39-man roster, and the vast majority of what TMR readers, Wings fans on Twitter/Facebook and just about everywhere else have been discussing involve how the team might extricate itself from the unpleasant situation that is Jakub Kindl (and the 3 years remaining on his contract, with a $2.4 million cap hit for every season) and/or Brian Lashoff (two years remaining at a Capgeek-estimated $725,000) starting the year as the team's third pairing on defense.
The Free Press's Helene St. James addresses this issue head-on this afternoon, noting that today's post-practice media availability yielded blunt praise for Ouellet, Marchenko and Jensen from one Mike Babcock...
Updated with a take from GR at 4:38 PM: I placed the Red Wings' cuts "inline" with afternoon news--and it should be noted that the waiving of Louis-Marc Aubry and Tom McCollum don't fare into the equation (and Kevin Porter [groin], Andy Miele [sports hernia] and Anthony Mantha [broken leg] remain with the team due to injuries which prohibit them from being sent down)--but here's the Wings' official release regarding said cuts:
DETROIT TRIMS ROSTER TO 39
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forwards Andreas Athanasiou, Colin Campbell and Martin Frk and defensemen Mattias Backman, Richard Nedomlel and Ryan Sproul to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Additionally, the Red Wings assigned defenseman Joe Hicketts to the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals and released forwards Shane Berschbach, Alden Hirschfeld and Mark Zengerle from their tryouts.
(Technically speaking, Hicketts' reassignment and the releases of Berschbach, Hirschfeld and Zengerle happened last weekend, but they were made official today)
Detroit’s roster currently stands at 39 players. The Red Wings will wrap-up their preseason slate with back-to-back road games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit) and against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (NHL Network).
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.