The Malik Report
Ken Kal back at it...
Update: The Lightning posted a game-day preview as well:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mike Green's average of shots per game has declined each of the past four seasons. Last year he averaged less than two shots per game (1.68) for the first time since his first full season in 2006-07.
"We've really stressed to him that his drive in his play is his shots, so let's make sure he's attacking, he's shooting the puck," coach Jeff Blashill said before Thursday's season opener at Tampa Bay. "We'll judge him on shots per 60 (minutes), that'll be a measurable we'll look at a lot to see how he's playing.
"We want him skating forward as much as he can up the ice and then skate forwards to defend coming back towards his own net."
Having Green more involved offensively is one of the ways the team can boost its goal total. A better power play – Green is manning the point on the first unit – could help the skilled, right-shooting defenseman's production. He had seven goals and 35 points last season.
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
"You can't replace a guy like Datsyuk but if you're going to try, they did a heck of a job in doing it with Nielsen," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I think he's one of the most underrated players in this league. He was outstanding in the World Cup. They've got some veterans back. (Drew) Miller's back, he missed the whole year. They've got a little bit of a spark in there with Ott in the lineup. Missing Kronwall, I'm sure they'd rather have him in the lineup but they've got some new guys there. They've changed a little bit at forward, they've thrown a sniper in there in Vanek. So they changed their team a little bit so it's going to definitely be a different look."
Wings coach Jeff Blashill said the team is trying to forge a bit of a new identity.
"For years here in Detroit it's been a little bit of a slow, methodical approach up the ice," Blashill said. "We're transitioning to a faster approach up the ice, making sure we're getting relentless pressure, utilizing our speed, beating people up the ice."
Lightning star Steven Stamkos still believes the Wings have a winning formula.
"They brought in some veteran players that know how to win," Stamkos said. "That's kind of been the Detroit Red Wings for a long time. They have guys that have that experience. They have a couple younger faces in there we don't know a lot about, but they're a team that makes it tough to play against. We've seen them in consecutive years in the playoffs and in the regular season a bunch. We know what to expect. We know it's going to be a tough test and we're going to treat it that way."
more and other Detroit topics too...
The Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen argues that the Red Wings need to "change their philosophy":
You may have heard this, but the Red Wings are closing out Joe Louis Arena this season. The team could stink next year, and fans still will flock to brand-new Little Caesars Arena. It’s the following season and the season after that when the Red Wings need to contend to draw fans. A good way to ensure that happening is to make sure that today's young players are veteran contributors in two years.
I don’t believe in tanking. I don’t believe in a total direction change for this team. The Red Wings have been a great franchise for decades. They’ve been a good franchise for the past few years. In order to get back to great again, Holland needs to draft and develop better than he has recently. I think he has carte blanche to do it.
Fans support a winner. But fans also want to see a team moving toward winning. The Wings have been spinning their wheels for the past few years. Most are willing to take a step back with the understanding that it gives them a better chance to take two steps forward.
Updated 8x at 2 PM: The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning held morning skates ahead of tonight's game (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Sun/97.1 FM), and there were no surprises: Ben Bishop will face off vs. Petr Mrazek in the teams' respective creases, and the teams' lineups will resemble those iced during Tuesday and Wednesday's practices.
TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns Tweeted out the Bolts' lineup...
#Bolts morning skate lines:
#Bolts morning skate d-pairings:
Coburn-Nesterov (first time through; Koekkoek mixing in later)
Ben Bishop is your first #Bolts goalie off the ice and will be tonight's starter vs. Detroit.
And MLive's Ansar Khan did the same for the Wings:
From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe...
A leader on a team chock full of leaders, Walleye defenseman Jared Nightingale has been chosen once again to wear the ‘C.’
Nightingale, a veteran of 635 pro hockey games, was named Toledo’s captain on Wednesday. Nightingale had served as the Walleye's captain the past two seasons.
“Anytime you are recognized by your peers, it’s an honor,” Nightingale said. “Every year is different. But with all successful hockey teams, especially in the NHL, there is a collective agreement where all the guys buy in. Everyone brings their own qualities to the team, and there are quite a few leaders on this team.”
Walleye coach Dan Watson said you can never have too many leaders.
“We have five or six guys that could be a captain on this team — at least,” Watson said. “They all have different leadership qualities to be captains. Those guys are willing to do what it takes and sacrifice to win. They’ve done it before. The young guys need guys to look up to.”
And the ECHL:
In alumni news, former Red Wings goaltender Tom McCollum will have to find another AHL employer as he was released from his try-out with the AHL's Ontario Reign. McCollum's one of the game's "good guys," and he'll find a landing spot soon:
The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Sun/97.1 FM), and the Wings are hoping to buck a particularly unpleasant trend, as noted by Ken Kal:
MLive's Ansar Khan also took note of the trends in Detroit's performances against Tampa Bay of late:
With the Red Wings' opening-day LTIR space maxed out, the team has returned Edward Pasquale to Grand Rapids:
PASQUALE ASSIGNED TO GRAND RAPIDS
… Red Wings Begin 2016-17 Regular Season Tonight in Tampa Bay …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned goaltender Edward Pasquale to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Red Wings open their 92nd season tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit/97.1 The Ticket). Detroit will also take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. before hosting the Ottawa Senators for the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"It's a really close league," general manager Ken Holland said. "I think there's going to be a photo finish for the playoffs again.
"It's a league where you can't get dramatically better ... we got to get marginally better. There's a whole lot of things we got to get marginally better in."...
They acquired two-way center Frans Nielsen, who they hope will replace Datsyuk, to some extent, and right-shooting winger Thomas Vanek, a one-time prolific scorer coming off a bad season in Minnesota who's seeking redemption and believes he still can score 20 goals.
They're counting on skilled wingers Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist to rebound after combining for 18 fewer goals than they scored the previous season (56). They're hoping 20-year-old Dylan Larkin, who led the team with 23 goals as a rookie, makes a smooth transition to center. They have their fingers crossed that Zetterberg, who notched a team-high 50 points, isn't worn down by injury and will be just as productive with fewer minutes and more rest.
"I believe we're going to be better offensively. I believe it's going to be collectively," coach Jeff Blashill, entering his second season, said. "I think some of the guys talked about having down years, whether it be Tatar or Nyquist, they also had down minutes. Their minutes are going to go back higher. And some guys who get less minutes still have to be able to produce."
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.