The Malik Report
Updated 4x at 5:33 PM: from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Jimmy Howard went out to lunch with new Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, which shed some light on how Blashill is different than the man he succeeded, Mike Babcock.
"With Mike," Howard said today, after an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena, "it was a lot of 'A' conversations. It wasn't really 'A-B.' So it was weird actually sitting down and actually having a discussion with Blash. But it was great, at the same time, to be able to bounce things off of him.
"Both are very demanding. It's going to be great. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Having fun will be a nice change for Howard, who spent the first part of the calendar year having anything but that. Howard's 2014-15 season has been dissected and analyzed since January, when he suffered a groin injury an hour after being named to the NHL All-Star Game. He never recovered his first-half form, eventually losing the starting job to Petr Mrazek.
Howard spent the summer, as he always does, training physically -- and letting go mentally. "I learned from it," he said, "and am just getting ready for this year now. I pretty much just used it as motivation throughout the summer, to get back out there and play. Everything was going great up to the point of the injury, and then it was just tough to get back out there and continue to play the way I was before."
Axel Holmstrom's currenlty plying his trade for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish SHL, but he told MLive's Brendan Savage that he's looking forward to beginning his North American career after this season:
"I want to come over to Grand Rapids and just try to feel at home and feel like I know everybody and how it works," said Holmstrom, who signed a three-year, entry level-contract this summer. "Hopefully ... right after I finish my Swedish season. I want to take the next step, of course. I want to be good the whole season and just take a bigger role in the team I play with. Hopefully, I can take a few more steps and keep getting better."
Holmstrom's final junior season is off to a solid start. He's already played four games for Skelleftea AIK of Sweden's Champions League and has one goal, one assist and a plus-2 rating.
That's on the heels of a 2014-15 season that saw him record 10 goals and 10 assists in 44 regular-season games before finishing with a flurry in the playoffs, when he had seven goals and 11 assists in 15 games.
"I got good confidence," said Holmstrom, 19. "I went into the playoffs pretty good and I got pretty much self-confidence from that. I had a good team, good teammates. We had a lot of self-confidence in the whole group. The effort was to shoot more and I scored more goals from that."
Updated 2x at 12:23 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice a little later than usual this morning, but DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose took roll call...
(That's Kindl and Tangradi)
MLive's Brendan Savage made the beat writer roll call...
ECHL officials to officiate at NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City
The ECHL announced on Tuesday that 14 ECHL on-ice officials, along with Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst and ECHL Officiating Development Coach Mike Pearce, will work the 2015 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. from Sept. 11-15.
Debuting in 1988 with four teams, the NHL Prospects Tournament has expanded to now include eight clubs – Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Teams are divided into two divisions for a three-day round robin tournament, then ranked by their win-loss records for final placement in seventh, fifth, third and Championship games on the final day.
During a steamy morning in Southeastern Michigan...
According to NHL.com's Eric Goodman, Johan Franzen might be a savvy "veteran pick-up" for your fantasy hockey league...
Johan Franzen, LW/RW, Detroit Red Wings
Franzen didn’t return last season after he sustained a concussion Jan. 6 against the Edmonton Oilers, but the 35-year-old has participated in informal skates with teammates the past couple weeks. He said Sept. 2 that he is feeling good and hopes to be in the lineup when the Red Wings open their season Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would be a good start for Franzen, who played 33 games last season and 54 in 2013-14. If you are in a deep league, buying low with Franzen could end up reaping huge rewards. It is rare that you’ll find a player with 25-goal potential in the final round of any draft, so if you’ve already built a quality team, you might as well take a chance on Franzen, who has scored 27 or more goals, including 10-plus on the power play, each of the past four seasons he’s played 71 or more games. He would also provide coverage in assists, plus-minus and SOG.
Also on Twitter...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: It was another strong season for DeKeyser, his second full season in the league. He and Kyle Quincey formed what former coach Mike Babcock called the team's best and most reliable pairing.
Now DeKeyser must get accustomed to a different kind of partner in the offensive-minded Mike Green. It seems like a natural fit to pair these two. DeKeyser definitely will need to be on higher alert, since Green likes to take chances. DeKeyser should be up to the task; he has tremendous hockey sense, moves the puck quickly and doesn't make many mistakes.
DeKeyser faded a bit in the playoffs for the second year in a row, something that should improve with experience. He could add more weight to his relatively slight frame. If he's going to continue to see power-play time he should improve his shot.
Key question: Does DeKeyser have a bigger offensive upside?
“He's been coaching probably more than half of the guys in here so I think it will be an easy transition,” Zetterberg said. “Obviously he coached under Mike, too, and he's been in the Red Wings system for a while so I don't think it will that big a difference for us.
“I think he has a lot of knowledge. Obviously when he was here last time he was really fresh. I think the time he spent in Grand Rapids was really good. He did a tremendous job down there with the kids and you’ve been seeing the product of him, when you see players like Gus (Nyquist) and (Tomas) Tatar and (Riley) Sheahan and (Luke) Glendening, there’s so many guys that went through playing for him and won the Calder Cup with him, so we’re excited and just want to get it going.”
Zetterberg is of the belief that the change will do the Wings good.
“There’s a lot of guys in here who’ve been through the same stuff for many years,” Zetterberg said. “I think now with the new additions of (defenseman Mike) Green and (center Brad) Richards, and the new coach, it’s given us a little fresh start. Obviously it’s going to be a different voice behind the bench and sometimes you need that.”
This article from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness posits an "emptying the notebook" article in which Mike Green discusses playing with Danny DeKeyser and making the jump from Washington to Detroit:
“Great guy, great skater, moves the puck well,” Green said of DeKeyser. “Obviously playing against him, I know sort of just by watching him. I haven’t paid too close attention to his tendencies, but I’m sure I’ll get to learn him real quick here. I’m really excited to play with him. Great player, outstanding,” Green continued. “I’ve kept an eye on him. I’ve actually watched a little bit of tape online, just clips of him. I’m excited.”
Green doesn’t see it taking long to mesh his style of play with that of DeKeyser.
“It really depends,” said Green, who was given the stall next to Niklas Kronwall. “I’ve had partners where it’s taken us a little bit longer, but mostly with the sort of newcomers or young guys, it takes a little bit longer. But Danny’s an experienced guy and I’m sure we’ll connect right away and be able to sort of be cohesive out there in a short period of time.”
Green, who had a career high 31 goals in the 2008-09 season, slipped down the Capitals’ depth chart, falling to a third pairing, after they signed Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik for the 2014-15 season. He averaged just over 19 minutes of ice time, which was the lowest since his first full season in the league, and scored just 10 goals and had 35 assists in 72 games.
“Really just getting back out and competing,” Green said when asked what he’s looking forward to the most with the Wings. “That’s the fun part of the game. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against or what, just that competition. That’s what I’m really looking forward to, just a different style of play. Detroit plays a very puck-possession game and has some incredible players that can make some plays so I’m excited to play with these guys.”
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Via RedWingsFeed, WXYZ posted a video in which Henrik Zetterberg discussed Mike Babcock's departure...
2. From the Red Wings and Fox Sports Detroit, this is pretty dang cool:
from Mike Brophy at NHL.com,
"That is one of the reasons I decided to sign and leave college," Larkin said. "There is a new coach and there seems to be some older players who might be on their way out. I think it is a great opportunity for me to learn from them. Growing up in Detroit you hear so much about those guys. I have watched Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk my whole life, so to be in the same room as them would be an incredible experience."
With many of the core players on the Red Wings inching toward the end of their careers, the organization is hoping some skilled young blood can come in and make an impact. Datsyuk is 37 years old while Johan Franzen and newcomer Brad Richards are 35, and Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are 34.
Larkin, who grew up in Waterford, Michigan, was a big fan of the Red Wings as a kid.
"As long as I can remember, Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been on the team," he said, "so it has been pretty cool to be at Joe Louis Arena and Zetterberg has been out there a few times [at workouts]. It has been awesome skating with my hockey idol."...
Now he has his sights set on making the Red Wings.
"I'm pretty nervous," Larkin said. "I was told to come and compete and perform. It's hard to have a mindset when you don't know what to expect in terms of the workload there and the schedule. You just try to prepare by training properly and getting your sleep."
[Edit/upate: SI's Allan Muir also weighed in on Larkin's comments...
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.