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Khan notes that the Red Wings expect to sort themselves out before the preseason ends

The Red Wings' performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins and their 0-and-3 record at home (as well as the fact that they've been out-scored 11-4 during those three games) have me worried, and the Free Press's Helene St. James noted that the Wings' preseason has been pretty bloody mediocre overall.

The Wings and their coach spent Thursday's practice suggesting that the team would "sort things out," and with a pair of new recalls in tow (Tomas Jurco and Luke Glendening), MLive's Ansar Khan noted that the Wings fully believe that they'll play much, much better in this weekend's home-and-home series against Toronto, with the team's offense kicking into gear once the players stop worrying so much about their positioning...

“Probably guys aren't focusing on it (scoring),'' [Johan] Franzen said. “Probably more focused on being where we should be on the ice, usually it's when you think too much and guys try to be in the right spot instead of just playing.''

Goaltender Jimmy Howard, who will start on Friday, is not worried.

“I think it'll all come together,'' [Jimmy] Howard said. “This team's got unbelievable leadership, great human beings inside this dressing room. Once Oct. 2 comes, we'll hit the ground running.''

And Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, who've admittedly had difficult preseasons, believe that they'll get their games in order, too:

“It's more about playing the right way, and once we do that I think we feel comfortable in our roles,'' Alfredsson said. “Come next week, we should not have to worry where we are all the time (on the ice). We watched enough video and practiced enough on it. We should have a good idea of how the system works.''

Weiss has had a rough preseason, with no points in four games.

“For me it’s been kind of tough because I’ve had new guys every night and working with that has been a bit of a challenge,'' Weiss said. “But hopefully we can get that line together and try to at least get one game in before we get going for real.''

And Johan Franzen told Khan that he's completely unconcerned by the Wings' 2-and-4 record--or his crappy personal outings:

“Me personally, I'd probably rather have a bad one, preseason, than a good one,'' Franzen said Thursday. “You don't want to go into the season and feel like things are going to go easy. I'd rather come in and feel it's real uphill. That's a better mindset to have. So I don't mind a rough start in the preseason.''

Khan continues with more from Franzen and Weiss's take on adjusting to his new linemates, and his article's worth your time.

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Comments

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Weird to hear that kind of mentality from Franzen. If he really was the kind of guy who welcomes a challenge, you’d think he’d have found ways to have a greater impact on a consistent basis.

I have to admit, I am slightly worried by the preseason. The biggest thing the Wings had to do this summer was put the right players on the roster…if both Alfredsson and Weiss turn out to not be the right players…that could do us in. It won’t help if Helm isn’t available…

And I still am not comfortable with the idea of Abdelkader with D and Z. If Franzen, Weiss, and Alfie don’t mesh, we’ll need a change.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 09/26/13 at 06:42 PM ET

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I literally couldn’t care less about the preseason, good or bad.  I’ve seen the Lions go 4-0 in a preseason and then go 0-16.

Honestly, I’m only slightly more concerned about the first two months of the year.  The team has (once again) turned over a boatload of it’s roster, especially in significant areas, and it’s going to take at least 45 days before the team even begins to resemble what it will eventually be, good or bad.

Detroit’s opening day roster last year had Brunner, Colaiacovo, Fil, Mursak, Tootoo and White on it.  5 of those guys are already gone and Tootoo’s got a plane ticket taped to his back that says ‘buy me’ on it.  Add in Eaves and Emmerton (or pick any other two forwards the Wings will have to dump to get to 23) and you’re talking about EIGHT players rotating out from last years team.

That’s a lot of change (despite the usual howling about Holland always bringing back the same team), and change on that scale takes weeks to adjust to, not 4 or 5 preseason games.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/26/13 at 07:10 PM ET

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George; thanks for all your hard work. I absolutely loved what you did for both the Prospects Camp and Tournament. Amazing work. I am really looking forward to this season. But I did have a question for you. Because you are a Wings’ blogger and follow them a lot, what do you think will happen with our roster? I know Helm will start the season on LTIR, but what about the other bubble players? Guys like Tootoo, Eaves, Emmerton, etc.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 09/26/13 at 11:27 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I actually agree, HiHD, that the Wings may have a rough start given the number of players the team’s really turned over since the beginning of last season. I think that many people forget how very different the roster looked on opening night against St. Louis.

In terms of what’s going to happen roster-wise, Holland is nothing but consistent, and this time around…He’s been quiet for the first time in a long time regarding his roster plans. It’s very evident that the team’s going to do its best to maximize Gustavsson ($1.5 million), Eaves ($1.2 million) and Helm’s ($2.125 million) statuses as on the long-term injured reserve list, and Helm’s recovery will help tell the tale as to what the team does from there on out.

The team *does* need to move three bodies once everyone is healthy as they have 17 forwards and will carry 14. Most of the beat writers have assumed that Eaves will be moved and then Emmerton once Helm is healthy as Emmerton ($533K) can take faceoffs, but as Capgeek.com notes, the Wings are $2.387 million over the cap once everybody’s healthy, and as such, it’s my opinion that the team will try to move Jordin Tootoo and his $1.9 million salary as well.

If the team waives players to send them to the AHL…Things get complicated. Mikael Samuelsson has a no-trade clause, so the Wings may not be able to waive him, and they’d get little to no relief as he’s on an over-35 deal, and Capgeek has a waiver calculator for a reason.

My gut feeling is that the team will ride out the LTIR exemption for as long as they can and will then make moves once the season’s underway, but we could very well see a couple of players on waivers come Sunday.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/26/13 at 11:53 PM ET

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That’s one of the best things I’ve seen written about the early season, re:hihd. Absolutely agree. The season is 82 games and i wouldn’t be surprised to see the Wings take 20 of them to start rounding into their final form. That’s not even including all the current injuries.

Posted by teldar on 09/27/13 at 07:34 AM ET

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Mikael Samuelsson has a no-trade clause, so the Wings may not be able to waive him, and they’d get little to no relief as he’s on an over-35 deal, and Capgeek has a waiver calculator for a reason.

Some day you’ll post about possible Wings roster changes without jamming waiving or buying out Sammy in there somewhere.

If healthy, Sammy’s going to have ~18 goals and 45 points, which is fine for what he is paid given the term of his deal.  If he’s not healthy, what he’s paid is a moot point because it’ll be an LTIR number and the Wings are close enough to the cap they’ll be able to use most or all of that salary to replace him.  Not for nothing, but a good guess on Alfredsson is right around 22 g and 55 points, and that dude’s making 5.5.  4-6 more goals and 10-15 more points for 2.5 million dollars more?  Context and expectation.

Second, right now Detroit’s problem isn’t so much cap space as it is roster space.  Yes, they are 2.9 over the cap.  Eaves and Helm on IR to start the year provides 3.325 mil of ‘relief’.  Cap problem solved.  The actual ‘problem’ (and as I’ve said before I don’t think having too many competent players is really a problem), is what to do when Helm or Eaves comes back.  If they come back.

The answer to that is and always has been waiving Emmerton, waiving/dumping Eaves, and dumping Tootoo.  All those guys were regular healthy scratches last year on a team that wasn’t as deep, and I wouldn’t lose a minutes sleep over the odds they’d ever be more than that somewhere else and really stick it to Detroit.

I’m thinking if Detroit can’t make a bag of pucks for Tootoo trade by the first week of the season they’ll do a Tootoo for a bag of pucks and a stick trade shortly thereafter.  Something like Tootoo for Asham, who’d they’d waive down to GR.  Take some other teams crap forward who makes a mil, then waive him and eat the overage on the 925 cap.

The team Tootoo could really help is Minnesota.  A straight Tootoo/Konopka trade makes sense for them, and Konopka’s 925 salary is totally waive-able for Detroit.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/27/13 at 08:22 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

I literally couldn’t care less about the preseason, good or bad.  I’ve seen the Lions go 4-0 in a preseason and then go 0-16.

100% this - I’ve gone to the first three preseason games, and it mildly surprised me a few times hearing boos when we gave up a bad goal, or when people starting streaming out with ten minutes left in the third period.  If you’re here in the preseason more concerned with scoring and winning than seeing the young guys play and everyone else gel, IMO you have the wrong priorities and you’re getting stressed about the wrong things.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 09/27/13 at 08:48 AM ET

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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.