Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Blackhawks pre-season wrap-up/overnight report: a disappointing weekend and lines in flux

It's highly unlikely that the Detroit Red Wings will practice today, and that's a good thing, because the Wings need to take a day off, rest, recharge and put this past weekend's poor exhibition performances behind them. On Saturday, the "B team" dropped a disinterested 2-0 decision to the Boston Bruins, and the Wings followed their egg-laying performance up with a scatterbrained 4-3 loss to Chicago.

Had the Wings played from minutes 10 to 50, they may have very well defeated the Blackhawks, but the team was out-scored 4-0 while their brains were in neutral, and despite a furious final-minutes-of-the-third comeback, middling goaltending and mistakes galore (led by Brendan Smith, who had a weekend to forget and then some) spelled the Wings' doom and have earned Detroit a 2-and-3 record over 5 games and no home wins with 3 games remaining in the exhibition season.

The Wings will need to get their games in order and fine-tune Jonas Gustavsson's injury timeline ("day to day" or "two weeks, minimum," depending on who's saying what) before their exhibition season concludes with games against Pittsburgh on Wednesday (on FSD+) and a set of back-to-backs against Toronto at the Joe on Friday and at the ACC on Saturday (the latter game will be televised on the CBC).

The Wings are, however, at least turning toward the home stretch of an exhibition season that the 2013 Wings desperately needed to work out their kinks...

And even though much of the Hawks' media traveled with the team, "sidebar stories" dominated their recaps, including this one from the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc, who focused on Brandon Saad's stint as a center instead...

Bryan Bickell was scheduled to play Sunday but was replaced at the last minute by Michael Kostka — who shifted from defense to wing.

"(Bickell) was on the trip," Quenneville said. "He had a wardrobe malfunction. We'll leave it at that."

When pressed for more on Bickell's situation, Quenneville said with a laugh: "Lower-wardrobe malfunction. He's fine."

The same can be said for the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus, who offered the following game-related observations...

  • Michal Rozsival (lower body) made his preseason debut and logged a team-high 25:43 of ice time.
  • Michael Kostka said Teemu Pulkkinen called to apologize the night of the hit. Pulkkinen was suspended for four preseason games.
  • Byron Froese scored twice, Michigan native Garret Ross scored and Joakim Nordstrom added a pretty steal-and-goal for the Hawks. Corey Crawford made 30 saves.
  • Quenneville singled out 6-7 defenseman Viktor Svedberg as a highlight.

And the same is true for Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Tracey Myers, who notes that the Hawks will be playing Wednesday's opponent--the Penguins--on Monday night:

Bryan Bickell was set to play today’s game against Detroit but was a late scratch due to a “wardrobe malfunction,” Quenneville said. When asked for specifics, Quenneville said “lower wardrobe malfunction.”

The issue got defenseman Mike Kostka back into the lineup, albeit as a forward. It was a surprise for Kostka, especially where he played; he said he last played forward “maybe when I was 7 or 8.” Still, it was a welcome return for Kostka, who sustained a stiff neck – he said he didn’t suffer a concussion – from that Teemu Pulkkinen hit last week. Kostka said the Wings forward called and apologized to him for the hit.

“It’s water under the bridge,” said Kostka, who will be back at his familiar defenseman spot tomorrow in Pittsburgh.


-- Defenseman Michal Rozsival played in his first preseason game of 2013-14 on Sunday. Rozsival played just under 26 minutes, recording two blocked shots and two hits.

-- Nikolai Khabibulin will start tomorrow night vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

-- Marian Hossa (upper body) is still not skating. Coach Joel Quenneville hopes Hossa can return to the ice on Wednesday.

-- Andrew Shaw skated back in Chicago. He’s unlikely to play tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.

-- The Blackhawks will make more roster cuts after tomorrow’s game.

The AP's recap was pretty damn spare, too...

Byron Froese scored his second goal 3:25 into the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks held on for a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in a preseason game Sunday.

Joakim Nordstrom and Garret Ross also scored for Chicago and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.

Tomas Tatar scored twice for Red Wings (2-3-0), Jonathan Ericsson added a goal and Gustav Nyquist had three assists. Jimmy Howard stopped 16 of 20 shots before being replaced by Jared Coreau early in the third period. Coreau made four saves.

Tatar opened the scoring 7:29 into the game and Froese answered 1:49 later. Nordstrom's tally came with 2:54 left in the first.

Ross and Froese scored less than a minute apart early in the third.

Tatar got his second goal, on the power play, with 7:02 left and Ericsson's goal came with 41 seconds to go.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's recap will serve as our "pivot point"...

The Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals just 56-seconds a part to chase Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard early in the third period and three rookies accounted for all of the scoring for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who defeated the Red Wings, 4-3, at Joe Louis Arena.

Howard, who made 16 saves in two-plus periods of Sunday's exhibition game, didn’t have much of a chance on any of the Blackhawks’ goals scored by forwards Garret Ross, Joakim Nordstrom and Byron Froese, who tallied twice.

Detroit scored first when Tomas Tatar took a centering pass from Gustav Nyquist (three assists) and squeezed a point-blank shot under Crawford’s left arm at 7:29 of the first period. However, the Blackhawks took a lead into the first intermission on unassisted goals by Ross and Nordstrom.

Tatar and Nyquist combined on a power-play goal late in the third period. Tatar, who leads the Wings with three goals in the preseason, re-directed Nyquist’s slap shot from the top of the right circle. Both young forwards are fighting for a spot on the Red Wings' roster, which must be set prior to opening night on Oct. 2.

“I thought Tatar has been really good and I thought Gus got better here as it's gone on, which is important," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Their job is to put as much pressure on the coach and general manager as they possibly can to be here. That's all you can ask a kid to do and they're doing that.''

The Red Wings made things interesting when they pulled goalie Jared Coreau for an extra attacker. The strategy worked when Jonathan Ericcson’s high-velocity shot beat goalie Corey Crawford with 21 seconds left in regulation.

Crawford stopped 30 shots in earning his second win in the preseason.

For the Red Wings, it was a "good news, bad news" scenario. The good news is that Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist look like players who will refuse to be sat or sent down (the Wings could demote Nyquist to Grand Rapids in order to alleviate their roster and cap crunches, but after he plays in 2 more NHL games, his waiver exemption expires), and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff took note of the play of the, "Favourite son of Red Wings fans on social media's" play...

“Everybody is talking about it, but you have to earn your spot,” said Tatar, who now has three goals in exhibition play. “Everybody knows there’s too many forwards here right now. Everybody’s got to play their best and grab the opportunity that you have right now. I’m not trying to really think about it. I’m trying to play my game and continue to get better every day. I feel great on the ice. I’m trying to earn my spot here.”

In two previous stints with Detroit, Tatar, 22, produced 5-3-8 numbers in 27 games. He is out of minor-league options and could not be sent down without first clearing waivers, an unlikely scenario.

“I’m actually excited about this season and I hope it’s going to end up well,” Tatar said. “At the end of the day it’s going to be on the coach and the management.”

Jonathan Ericsson also scored for the Wings, while Gustav Nyquist, part of a forward line with Tatar and Joakim Andersson that was such a success with Detroit’s AHL farm club in Grand Rapids, dished out three assists.

“We’ve been playing together for three years, so we can all talk together on the ice and on the bench,” Tatar said of their unit. “It’s been fun for me to play with those guys. We are really good friends, even off the ice.”

And the Red Wings' coach agreed that Tatar and Nyquist have impressed while speaking to MLive's Ansar Khan...

“I thought Tatar has been really good and I thought Gus got better here as it's gone on, which is important,'' Babcock said. “Their job is to put as much pressure on the coach and general manager as they possibly can to be here. That's all you can ask a kid to do and they're doing that.''

Despite his size (5-10, 186), Tatar doesn't shy away from the hard areas around the net. That's where he scored both of his goals against Corey Crawford. He opened the scoring by going top-shelf from close range at 7:29 of the first period. He tipped in a shot by Nyquist on the power play at 12:58 of the third to cut Chicago's lead to 4-2.

“I’m trying to play my game and continue to get better every day,'' Tatar said. “I’m trying to earn my spot here. At the end of the day it’s going to be on the coach and the management. I’m happy that my shots are ending up in the net. But today we lost, so at the end of the day it’s nothing.''


“One week left until we get down to the final roster; you want to put your best foot forward to make the team and earn as much ice time as possible,'' Nyquist said. “If you have a good game, or a couple of good games, you have to be an every-dayer to play here and we all know that, so that’s what we’re going to try to do in the last week.”

The Red Wings (2-3) have three preseason games remaining. They must submit their season-opening 23-man roster on Sept. 30.

“Camp is about showing the coaching staff what you have and how well you can play,'' Nyquist said. “You can’t have one or two good games, you have to keep going and play all of the games. They’re still watching. This last week is going to be big for a lot of us forwards. We’re still three too many, so we’re all going to try to work as hard as possible and show them that you want to be on this team.”

But the coach hasn't been impressed by the balance of his roster's offensive output, nor their intensity:

“We haven't scored enough goals as a team,'' coach Mike Babcock said following Sunday's 4-3 exhibition loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. “We got to get harder at the net and heavier on the puck. We'll get to an NHL-size practice here this week and get serious about what we're doing. We weren't competitive enough tonight for my liking. We got to be better than that.''

Team-wide, as Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus noted, the Wings readily admitted that their start was decent and they finished strongly, but the middle did the Wings in:

“We played really good hockey in the third period,” Tatar said. “We gave up some freebies at the start, so I think that decided the game.”


Unlike Saturday night against Boston and their last meeting against Chicago, Detroit managed to find a bit of offense Sunday night. And early, too, as Tatar wired home a nifty feed in front of Crawford that Nyquist dished from behind the net to make it 1-0, 7:29 into the game.

However, just minutes later, the Red Wings failed to clear a loose puck in traffic right in front of Howard. That allowed Froese to score to tie things up at one. Late in the opening frame, defenseman Alexei Marchenko fumbled the puck at his own blue line on the breakout, allowing Joakim Nordstrom to walk in, pull a toe-drag move and beat Howard to put his Blackhawks up 2-1.

“You start on time, you get ahead and then you close out the game; that’s how hockey works,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Catchup hockey is losing hockey, let’s not kid ourselves, but we had a good push at the end. It was good to work on our 6-on-5. We had enough people in the game to work on that, so that was a positive for us.”

Babcock told the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa that not having the services of Jakub Kindl, Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Eaves, at times, Johan Franzen and, now, Jonas Gustavsson hasn't helped the team develop chemistry or roster continuity...

Asked to assess the team after five exhibition games, Babcock said, “I’ve had this fantasy every year I’m in that you’re going to get this thing rolling every year in training camp. ... But that’s not the way it works. I’d like everybody to be healthy. I’d like everybody to be playing and that’s not reality. But we’re going to get as many guys going at as high a level as we can.”

He credited Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg with fine play, so far, in the preseason and called Niklas Kronwall’s effort to date “excellent.”

The Red Wings certainly rallied in the last seven minutes of the game, playing valiantly. Babcock said he appreciated that. But games are at least 60 minutes long.

“What you do is you start on time, you get ahead and you close out the game,” he said. “That’s how hockey works. Catch-up hockey is losing hockey. So let’s not kid ourselves”

And while Babcock was happy with Jared Coreau's performance, he gave an accurate assessment of whether the Wings' gaffes were excusable to Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner:

“We had a good push at the end,” Babcock said. “I didn't like that we gifted so many goals. To me, it was uncalled for."

Jimmy Howard gave up four goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Jared Coreau (four saves) early in the third period.

"It was good Coreau got another opportunity," Babcock said. "That was a positive thing."

Why is this accurate? Because season ticket-holders have to purchase at least a couple of exhibition games at regular-season-game prices, and the Wings have delivered two stinkers to 2/3rds full rinks' worth of paying customers.

Their performances annoy me in particular for a very personal reason--yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of the exhibition game that made me a Wings fan, a spirited 4-3 OT win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 22nd, 1991, and especially given that regular season ticket demand has rebounded from the demise of the auto industry, I view these exhibition games as "gateway drugs" to some extent...And the Wings didn't really start playing like a team that's skating in front of paying and possibly interested fans until the 10-minute mark of the third period on Sunday evening.

Even the captain was less than impressed by his team's effort, as he told the Free Press's Perry A. Farrell (who also offered a period-by-period recap):

“I think we came out and had a good start,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “The first seven to 10 minutes we played good. Then they got the equalizer.”

Going forward, Farrell suggested that the Wings' offensive hopes might rest upon assembling a second scoring line...

Johan Franzen said he hoped to finally skate with new teammates Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on Wednesday when the Red Wings face Pittsburgh. The three could play together on the team’s second line, with Daniel Cleary being in the mix, if coach Mike Babcock sees potential in the line.

Injuries have kept the three from playing together. They didn’t play together in Sunday’s 4-3 exhibition loss to Chicago at Joe Louis Arena. All three were listed as scratches for the game.

Alfredsson, a winger, and Weiss, a center, were both acquired in July. Alfredsson had been slowed by a groin injury while Weiss played in Saturday’s exhibition loss to Boston. Franzen was back from a hip flexor on Saturday.

“It should be good, we need a few games before the season starts,” said Franzen of the possible lineup. “Get to know each other and get one or two games in. Hopefully, Wednesday we’ll get to play together and hopefully have a good one. I think it’s good for new guys to get used to the system we play.”

Getting Franzen, Weiss and Alfredsson going will definitely help, but if Brendan Smith keeps passing the puck sideways instead of forward every time he has an opportunity to clear the puck,


Highlights: NHL.com posted a highlight clip from the game:

Post-game: The Blackhawks' website posted interviews with Brandon Saad, Garrett Ross, Mike Kostka and coach Joel Quenneville.

Photos: The Red Wings' website posted a 9-image gallery;

The Detroit Free Press posted an 18-image gallery;

And the Detroit News embedded an 8-image gallery in Gregg Krupa's recap.


Shots 33-24 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Chicago 9-8 in the 1st, out-shot Chicago 11-8 in the 2nd and out-shot Chicago 13-8 in the 3rd.

Detroit's PP went 1-for-4 in 6:56 of PP time; the Hawks' power play went 0-for-3 in 6:00 of time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 16 of 20 shots; Jared Coreau stopped 4 of 4; Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 33.

The 3 stars were picked by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, and he picked Corey Crawford, Tomas Tatar and Byron Froese.

The Wings' goals: Tatar (1) from Nyquist (1);

Tatar (2) from Nyquist (2) and Almquist (2), PPG;

Ericsson (1) from Nyquist (3) and Emmerton (1).

Faceoffs 31-20 Detroit (Detroit won 61%);

Blocked shots 15-6 Chicago;

Missed shots 14-6 Detroit (total attempts 62-36 Detroit, with Detroit firing 33 shots ON Crawford and 29 wide or into Chicago players);

Hits 17-16 Detroit;

Giveaways 9-8 Detroit;

Takeaways 9-5 Detroit.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-7 (61%); Andersson went 9-and-6 (60%); Glendening went 6-and-3 (67%); Emmerton went 4-and-3 (57%); Tatar won his only faceoff; Nyquist lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Abdelkader led the team with 7 shots; Zetterberg had 6; Datsyuk had 5; Nyquist, Tatar, Emmerton and Samuelsson had 2; Smith, Sheahan, Paetsch, Ferraro, Ericsson, Almquist and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Both Smith and Ferraro fired 3 shots into Hawks players; Almquist and Kronwall had 2 attempts blocked; Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Ericsson fired 1 shot into Hawks players.

Missed shots: Zetterberg missed the net 3 times and had a total of 10 attempts; Samuelsson missed the net 2 times and had a total of 5 attempts; Tatar missed the net 2 times and had a total of 4 attempts; Abdelkader, Andersson, Paetsch, Emmerton, Glendening, Marchenko and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader and Ericsson had 3 hits; Paetsch and Aubry had 2; Smith, Nyquist, Emmerton, Ferraro, Marchenko, Almquist and Kronwall had 1.

Giveaways: Smith had 2 giveaways; Abdelkader, Andersson, Tatar, Emmerton, Ferraro, Aubry and Marchenko had giveaways.

Takeaways: Datsyuk was given 4 takeaways--preseason stat!--and Abdelkader, Andersson, Zetterberg, Ericsson and Almquist had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Paetsch blocked 2 shots; Emmerton, Glendening, Marchenko and Kronwall blocked 1.

Penalty minutes: Smith, Datsyuk and Kronwall took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: Ugly. The Wings finished at a collective -9. Smith, Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Zetterberg all finished at -2; Ferraro, Aubry, Samuelsson, Glendening, Marchenko and Kronwall finished at -1; Tatar finished at +1; Nyquist and Andersson finished at +2.

Points: Nyquist had 3 assists; Tatar had 2 goals; Ericsson scored a goal; Emmerton and Almquist had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 23:36 played; Ericsson played 21:21; Smith played 20:47;

Abdelkader played 20:25; Andersson played 20:14; Zetterberg played 19:42;

Datsyuk played 19:26; Marchenko played 18:50; Tatar played 16:18;

Nyquist played 15:54; Almquist played 15:49; Paetsch played 15:04;

Samuelsson played 14:48; Glendening played 12:58; Emmerton played 12:27;

Sheahan played 10:31; Ferraro played 10:19; Aubry played 7:51.




Red Wings notebooks: Again, the status of the Wings' injured players depends on who's doing the talking. MLive's Ansar Khan offered conservative assessments of the Wings' injuries...

Jordin Tootoo might miss the final three preseason games due to a bruised shoulder, but Holland said he is expected to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 2.

Holland said the club won't know the extent of goaltender Jonas Gustavsson's groin injury for a couple of days.

Daniel Alfredsson (groin) and Kindl (hip flexor) are day-to-day.

Darren Helm (groin) has skated the past few days but is not close to be cleared to play.

While DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose made it sound like Gustavsson has already been ruled out of some regular season play:

Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson is likely to miss the next two weeks after injuring his groin while trying to make a save during the second period of Saturday’s 2-0 to the Bruins. Gustavsson is considered to be day to day and his status for the first week of the season is unknown.

Forward Daniel Alfredsson (groin) and defenseman Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) are day to day, and will not dress for Sunday's home game against Chicago. Forwards Patrick Eaves (MCL, ankle sprain) and Helm (lower back, groin) are out indefinitely.

Roose also noted that Babcock's been less than impressed by the "next wave":

Rookie center Riley Sheahan is among 15 young players still vying for jobs in Detroit that, by all probability, don’t exist, coach Mike Babcock said.nAt the start of training camp, Babcock called Sheahan the team’s sixth center, behind Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson and Cory Emmerton. While Helm (lower back, groin) won’t be ready at the start of the season, Sheahan hasn’t done enough to sneak into the group of top four centermen.

“No one of that (rookie) crew distinguished themselves that you’re saying, ‘Oh, we have to get rid of a veteran’ so they can play. Does that make any sense?” Babcock said. “That’s what has to happen. In the end we can talk about it all you want. You come in here and take someone’s job. That’s the NHL, you have to come in here and take someone’s job. We’re not giving them away. That hasn’t happened.”

Instead, Babcock offered the following to MLive's Khan:

Babcock talked about what he's liked through five preseason games.

“I think Pav (Datsyuk) and Z (Henrik Zetterberg) have been good; I think (Niklas) Kronwall has been excellent,'' Babcock said. “I've liked (Danny) DeKeyser. (Jakub) Kindl's out right now, we could use him back. We got to get our seven D together and get going. (Adam) Almquist has made a real impression, so has (Ryan) Sproul and (Xavier) Ouellet. Those three guys for me are my biggest ... if I look at the kids, that's where my excitement lies with this group.''

Roose did note that the Andersson-Nyquist combination's played strongly regardless of whether Tatar or a visibly more focused and offensively consistent Todd Bertuzzi's played on the line, to the point that Bertuzzi may be the one starting the regular season with "Gus" and "Andy":

Nyquist, Bertuzzi and center Joakim Andersson have brought must-needed energy in the exhibition season to the third line that once featured – at one time or another – center Darren Helm and forward Damien Brunner.

The Red Wings like the way Nyquist and Andersson played together in the playoffs last spring, so finding a winger to complement their speed and play-making ability is paramount. So far, Bertuzzi seems to be the answer.

“Todd's a great player, he's so strong on the puck,” Nyquist said. “Feels like he moves the opposing players where he wants to, stays on the puck and makes a lot of space for me. He can hold off the defender and the give it to me. I enjoy playing with him. He's a great player and a heavy body. It's fun.”

Despite being shutout for the second time in the preseason, the third line played very well in a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Together, the Andersson line accounted for a third of the Wings’ 18 shots on goal and five of Detroit’s nine takeaways.

“Even if we get chances we still got to score. That's what counts,” Nyquist said. “I don't think we got on them as hard as we should have (Saturday) at home. When we beat them (8-2) away we knew they were going to come out hard. They didn't like that obviously. We got to be more ready and spend more time in their zone and grind them down a little bit. That's our game.”

A sore lower back limited the 38-year-old Bertuzzi to seven regular-season games last year. Fully recovered now, the veteran forward welcomes the chance to rejuvenate himself while contributing any way he can.

“It's fun playing with them. They're two kids that are high energy, they're not afraid to hold onto the puck and make plays,” Bertuzzi said. “I thought we did a few things pretty good offensively, but they're opportunistic kids. They can jump into holes. I think Nyquist's speed is underrated. He's a fast kid and can break loose a handful of times.

The Detroit Free Press's Perry A. Farrell did speak to Darren Helm about his status, with Helm confirming for the first time that his back is feeling decently...

“It’s more of my groin right now,” said the veteran center after participating in a Sunday morning skate with teammates. "Today was the first time I was actually out there with a few guys. We were just doing some goalie drills, so it was nice to be out there with some of the guys. I’ve skated a few times by myself; off to the side doing laps and doing boring stuff. I’m feeling better and headed in the right direction.”

Helm said there is no timetable for his return.

“It’s going to be a while,” he said. “It’s a process. With my back I’ve learned to take it very slowly and don’t put any dates on anything, and just kind of take it a day at a time. I’m not getting too excited. I’m just trying to stay even keel and get this thing back and healthy as quick as I can. I think I’ve kind of grown into error on the side of caution. Before I was able to push through some injuries, but with the last injury I had it has made me more cautious.”

And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa confirmed the news:

Helm practicing Sunday morning was a welcome sight for the Wings.

“That was the first time I was actually out there with a few guys,” he said. “We were just doing some goalies drills. It was nice to handle the puck a little bit and be out there with the guys. I’ve skated a few times by myself, just kind of doing laps and boring stuff.”

While he said he is feeling better and headed in the right direction, Helm added that the process will continue and he has learned from the saga of his back injury to take it as it comes.

“I kind of learned just to take it very slowly, not put any dates on anything and just kind of take it a day at a time,” said the speedy third line center. “I’m not getting too excited, just trying to stay even keel and get this thing back and healthy as quickly as I can.”

Helm said his back is better and his attention is on fully rehabilitating the groin.

Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner both filled in injury news and suggested that the Wings demoted a few more players on Sunday night:

Red Wing GM Ken Holland told reporters on Sunday that forward Jordan Tootoo is day to day with an injured shoulder. Tootoo hurt his shoulder during Detroit’s 8-2 preseason win in Boston last Wednesday.

• After Sunday’s the game, the Wings trimmed their roster by sending several players to Grand Rapids. Detroit hasn’t officially released the player’s names, but it was a move that was expected.

With this being the final week of the preseason, the Wings wanted to get down to a more manageable roster so they could have what Babcock calls, “an NHL practice.”

The Free Press's Perry A. Farrell also noted that Henrik Zetterberg's impressed with the amount of space behind the slightly shallower nets:

“There is a lot more space back there. It makes it easier for us to handle the puck and make plays.’’ Zetterberg on the NHL taking eight inches off the back of the net.

Also of Red Wings-related note: Again, the Grand Rapids Griffins will open training camp in Grand Rapids, MI on Monday, and the Griffins report that all sessions will be open to the public:

The schedule of practices is as follows (subject to change), with all sessions free and open to the public:

  •     Monday, Sept. 23: 10:30 a.m.-Noon;
  •     Tuesday, Sept 24: 10:30-11:20 a.m. and 11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (Power play practice);
  •     Wednesday, Sept. 25: 10:15-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-Noon (Penalty kill practice);
  •     Thursday, Sept: 26: 10:15-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-Noon (Specialty teams practice);
  •     Friday, Sept. 27: 10:15-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-Noon (Scrimmage).

The Griffins will conclude camp with a pair of neutral-site preseason games against the Lake Erie Monsters next weekend. Grand Rapids will first battle the Monsters on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich., before squaring off again on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 7:05 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.

The 2013 Calder Cup champions will commence the AHL’s regular season and begin defense of their title on Fri. Oct. 4 in Rochester, the first of three straight road games to start the season. The Griffins will then raise their championship banner prior to hosting the Milwaukee Admirals on Fri., Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.

Landon Ferraro is joining them:

In the prospect department: In the OHL, Wings try-out Barclay Goodrow scored 2 goals in the North Bay Battalion's 4-3 win over Ottawa;

In the WHL, Marc McNulty registered 2 assists in the Prince George Cougars' 2-1 win over Tri-City, and he was named the game's second star;

And in the BCHL, on Satuday, David Pope was held off the scoresheet as his West Kelowna Warriors defeated Salmon Arm 4-2.


Also of Red Wings-related note: Oh, hey, by the way, did you know that Danny DeKeyser's still technically  "rookie,"  and as such, he's still eligible for the Calder Trophy? Because he is indeed a "rookie" (the threshhold is 25 games played), so both DeKeyser and Torey Krug earned nods as Calder contenders from USA Today's Kevin Allen:

-Defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings): It will be difficult for DeKeyser, 23, to get strong rookie of the year consideration, because he puts most of his effort into his defensive game.

But it will be hard to find many rookies with a bigger impact. He's a superb skater, and he might play 20 minutes a game. He played 11 regular-season games and two playoff games before breaking his thumb. He was a model of composure.

This has nothing to do with anything, per se, but it's nice to know that the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa reports that Brian Lashoff's brother Matt is back in North America after playing a pair of seasons in Switzerland, having caught on with the Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs...

The Free Press's Zlati Meyer offers a pretty dang significant historical note...

Pro hockey came to Detroit on Sept. 25, 1926, in the form of the Detroit Cougars.

Seventy-three people, including Edsel Ford, retail giant S.S. Kresge and newspaper publisher William Scripps, paid $200,000 for the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars, the 1925 Stanley Cup winners. The franchise owners kept the team name, thinking it was a nice complement to baseball’s Tigers.

The Detroit Cougars played at the Border Cities Arena in Windsor while Olympia Stadium was under construction. They lost their first game — against the Boston Bruins, 2-0, on Nov. 18.

That would be the Windsor Arena, which is going to go the way of the dodo soon...

After the 1929-30 season, a renaming contest was held for the team, which wasn’t playing well. Falcons beat out Trojans, Wanderers and Magnetos, but the new moniker didn’t help the team’s performance or its finances.

Chicago millionaire James Norris bought the Falcons and on Oct. 5, 1932, renamed the team the Red Wings, adding a winged tire logo to highlight the Motor City connection. He got the idea from a hockey team he used to play for, the Montreal Winged Wheelers, which won the first Stanley Cup in 1893.

The Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 1936.

Bonus Swedish: Via RedWingsFeed, Gustav Nyquist praised Joakim Nordstrom's goal while having a little chat with Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom:

Chicago managed to earn a 4-1 lead before the Red Wings woke up. And it was the line of Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar that led the offense. Nyquist registered assists on all three goals. Tatar scored two of them and the last one was scored by Jonathan Ericsson.

"It was fun to play together again," said Nyquist, [speaking about] last year's successful line in the AHL playoffs, which helped Grand Rapids win a championship.

And Adam Almquist continues to impress on Detroit's defense, registering a new assist last night.

"Adam's had a really good camp and has been sick on the power play. There's tough competition for spots on the blueline, but he's really shown that he can play," says Gustav.


And as you can imagine, me being gone for two weeks = a significant amount of my schedule for this week involves ferrying the little old ladies I live with to appointments, and today, the week begins with a lovely four-hour span of time spent in Livonia to get that foot-long-and-increasing souvenir of my drive up to Traverse City (from scenic Flint, land of rocks on I-75) that is a crack on my windshield addressed.

I'll work on a catch-up post if the Wings do in fact have the day off (I have the links bookmarked and separated on a source-by-source basis already), but I'm still feeling a wee bit wobbly, so the boss has recommended that I simply move forward. I will definitely keep a lid on the energy levels given that I've still got some lingering physical and mental burnout/brain fry going on (a certain Left Wing Lock blogger suggested that she was just getting back to "normal" a week after she left training camp, so I'm guessing that I should feel super normal by...Oh, Friday).

Blah blah blah, TMI from TMR, I know. Did you expect anything different? I can't deny that I am the good exhausted and the good sore from having enjoyed the hell out of my trip up to Traverse City, and that I'm still humbled by and grateful for your support and readership. So the aches and pains and dippy brain are more than worth it.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Hootinani's avatar

No one of that (rookie) crew distinguished themselves that you’re saying, ‘Oh, we have to get rid of a veteran’ so they can play..

Almquist has out played Smith at both ends of the ice by leaps and bounds.  If he had Smith’s size, making the switch would be a no-brainer.  Unfortunately, he has probably the smallest frame of any player in the organization.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/23/13 at 08:36 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Almquist has out played Smith at both ends of the ice by leaps and bounds.  If he had Smith’s size, making the switch would be a no-brainer.  Unfortunately, he has probably the smallest frame of any player in the organization.

Posted by Hootinani on 09/23/13 at 08:36 AM ET

I have a few problems with that.

First of all, SSS—small sample size. Brendan Smith has plenty of development ahead of him, no doubt there, but he has proven he can play at the NHL at a decent level over a meaningful sample of important games, while Almquist has proven almost nothing. I hate to throw old adages out there, but the pre-season is not the regular season. It is pretty typical we see young guys like Smith, especially D-men, hit a wall right where Smith was at at the end of last season. We’ve seen it with guys like Ericsson and Kindl in very recent memory, and even going back, it happened to Kronwall and Fischer.

Second of all, Smith has a contract and it isn’t so much about him being out of options as it is about him having the physical tools and being at a point where they have to push him and let him sink or swim. They’ve invested too much in him in terms of time and coaching. Almquist needs to gain muscle anyhow and simply by being on the North American ice one more year in GR can learn a lot more about positioning, gap control, etc.

Third of all, the ever-present problem of pre-season hockey, spring training baseball, and pre-season football… we don’t know the details of what specific players are being tutored on.

The common refrain in spring training baseball is that a veteran or proven pitcher might have a few bad innings because he’s simply working on improving arm action on one of his weaker pitches, or is added a cutter to his toolbox, etc. Would it surprise anyone if the coaches have given Brendan Smith very specific instructions of detailed things they want him to work on, and told him, focus on that even if something else temporarily suffers because the pre-season results are irrelevant?

Furthermore, you have the unbalanced competition (as evidenced by the two games with the Bs), and you have veterans that have been through this shit enough where they don’t care to go anywhere near full speed for most of the games (as evidenced by the most recent Hawks game).

All of this isn’t to knock on Almquist. When you look at how he came on strong for the Griffs last year, combined with his obvious unteachable talent/physical skill (I mean, jeezus, that shot), it sure looks like the Wings may have found yet another project player that is developing slowly but surely right up the org. chart into a prominent role in the near future.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/23/13 at 09:53 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

but he has proven he can play at the NHL at a decent level over a meaningful sample of important games

I completely understand where you are coming from, except for this statement.  I don’t think he has proven anything, and he continues to produce more of the same.  Now the light may come on for him at some point, much like all the players you have listed, but up to this point he’s shown nothing on the defensive end.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/23/13 at 10:16 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Brendan Smith has plenty of development ahead of him, no doubt there, but he has proven he can play at the NHL at a decent level over a meaningful sample of important games

No, he hasn’t. Brendan Smith was an unmitigated disaster last year, and his pre-season so far has done nothing to ease my fears about him. In my opinion, I don’t think there’s another prospect in the organization with more bust potential than him.

He’s not only been a terrible defensive defenseman, he hasn’t even shown me upside in the things he’s supposed to be good at.

It is pretty typical we see young guys like Smith, especially D-men, hit a wall right where Smith was at at the end of last season.

The entire season was his wall. It’s not like he was playing well for a stretch at the beginning of the season and then started playing poorly. He was bad all year. Besides, it as a 48-game season. Should a 23-year-old be hitting a wall halfway through a standard schedule?

I haven’t completely given up on the guy but, damn, he’s been bad. I haven’t seen anything in his game to be hopeful about.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 09/23/13 at 10:46 AM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

He’s not only been a terrible defensive defenseman, he hasn’t even shown me upside in the things he’s supposed to be good at.

All true. Sad but true. He hasn’t convinced me of anything that leads me to believe all the hype surrounding his signing. His time with the club last year should have helped him mature as a player. Not to mention the way Babcock has gone out on a limb in his defence of Smitty not playing defence. Yea I know, it’s still the pre-season, but, last night he looked not good.(boy, we are quick to judge, eh)

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 09/23/13 at 01:27 PM 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.