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Red Wings-Coyotes game-day updates: Samuelsson in, Eaves back on the 26th, Wings wary of Yotes

Updated 11x at 3:10 PM: The Red Wings begin a difficult stretch of 5 games in 7 nights against an angry Phoenix Coyotes team this evening (7 PM EDT, FSD/FS Arizona/NHL Network/97.1 FM), and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reports that the Wings took to the ice early for their morning skate:

I mentioned Krupa's profile of Alfredsson in the overnight report, and it is indeed a fantastic article.

Oof, talk about two thirds full...

Tis the usual...

Khan also noted the Wings' power play issues (0 for 8) and the season re-set in an early-morning article...

“It’s almost like we’re starting the season over again with three (games) in four (days) and then four days without a game,’’ Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “But we’re looking forward to play again, and every time we play against Phoenix it’s good games.’’

This will be the Red Wings’ first game against a Western Conference opponent.

The Coyotes did not undergo many changes after missing the playoffs last season, finishing 10th in the conference, five points behind Detroit. Their most notable addition was playmaking center Mike Ribeiro, a player the Red Wings were interested in had they not landed Stephen Weiss. Ribeiro, who averaged slightly more than a point a game with Washington (49 points in 48 games) does not have a point in three games with Phoenix.

Coyotes longtime captain Shane Doan also is off to a slow start with no points. Goaltender Mike Smith has a 3.40 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

...

The Red Wings are 0-for-8 on the power play and, after going 7-for-7 on the penalty kill in their opener, have allowed three power-play goals in the past two games.

“It’s still early in the season, so you want to get the core things looked after,’’ Zetterberg said. “We want to have good structure, we want to do the right things and obviously the special teams as always have to be better,’’ Zetterberg said. “I think the first two games the PP was OK. We didn’t score any, but we created lots of chances. It was a little dip in Boston. We weren’t very good at all and we want to be better (Thursday).”

The Coyotes are 9-for-14 on the penalty kill.

“Obviously, they have good goaltending and they play a good system,’’ Zetterberg said. “You really can’t give them too much. They’re good when they get the odd-man rushes and you have to take care of the puck and play our system well and we will do fine.”

The Red Wings' tilt against Phoenix was mentioned in NHL.com's Brian Compton's "Daily Primer" (and Compton penned a profile of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, too):

Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit Red Wings - Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was none too pleased after what transpired Tuesday night, and rightfully so. In the second of its five-game road trip, Phoenix was blown out in a 6-1 loss to the New York Islanders. Mike Smith was pulled after the second period, having allowed five goals on 20 shots. Detroit came out of the gate with back-to-back victories before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Boston Bruins last Saturday. Henrik Zetterberg leads the way for the Red Wings with two goals and an assist.

Via RedWingsFeed, I posted a few pictures of Jimmy Howard's breast cancer awareness mask from Ray Bishop's Facebook page this morning, and InGoal Magazine spoke with Bishop about the mask...

Howard will wear the mask, along with some new pink-trimmed Vaughn equipment, as part of the Red Wings annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

Howard’s pink Vaughn equipment from the game is set to be auctioned off to benefit Detroit-area cancer organizations, and there’s bound to be plenty of interest. In addition to being for a great cause, with the Red Wings logos shaded subtly in white and grey behind the pink ribbons, it’s one of the best fundraising masks we’ve seen in a long time, if not ever. So kudos to Howard for the idea, and to Bishop for making it pop.

“Howie wanted the mask to have a large pink ribbon with a white background, so it could be seen and recognized from the stands easily,” Bishop told InGoal. “He was also looking for a way to incorporate the Wings logo – or elements of it – without them being the main focus of the design, so I sort of took it from there and ghosted in the Wings from the logo behind the large ribbon. I went with a pearl white base with sparkles and also ghosted in some smaller ribbons around the mask to sweeten things up a bit. I added the ribbon on the chin with the Old English “D” to further tie it in with the Red Wings, and to top things off we went with another pink ribbon on the back plate to bring it all home. All in all, I hope that it attracts a lot of attention on the ice this Saturday for their Cancer Awareness Game.”

And I'm no fan of power rankings, but Sportsnet's Luke Fox posted a set of 'em. Here's what he has to say about the Wings:

8 Detroit Red Wings: Taking two of three games against their new opponents in the East, Detroit (now with even more Swedes!) is looking like a solid middle-of-the-pack playoff team.

Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov comeback fan:

Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids...

And if you were unaware of the fact that the Coyotes will be playing Saturday's opponent tomorrow night...

This is big news:

This is not:

This is "medium"-sized news:

Via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted Babcock's morning skate presser:

Update #0.5:

Update #1: MLive's Ansar Khan reports that Jonas Gustavsson's feeling better:

Gustavsson, who pulled his groin in his lone preseason appearance on Sept. 21, has been practicing as the third goalie for the past several days, pushing himself 100 percent, he said, without any pain

“I’ve been feeling good the last 5-6 days, so progress has been great; it’s just a matter of days before I’m in the lineup,’’ Gustavsson said. “I feel like I’m going 100 percent. It’s just a matter of getting your timing back. It’s just a matter of getting a few practices in before I’m ready to go.’’

Once Gustavsson, who is on short-term injured reserve, is cleared, Petr Mrazek can be reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Mrazek has not appeared in any games.

Eaves has skated with the team the past two days. He suffered a sprained left medial collateral ligament and sprained left ankle during a collision in practice on Sept. 19.

“It’s getting better every day,’’ Eaves said. “I have a little bit (of pain), but I got some time here to get rid of that and be back and be ready.’’

Being on long-term IR, must sit out a minimum of 10 games. He said he will be available for the Oct. 26 game against the New York Rangers, which is the Red Wings’ 12th game.

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed again, NHL.com posted two quick quips of a conversation NHL.com's Kathryn Tappen had with Jimmy Howard, first about Daniel Alfredsson...

And then a question about the Winter Classic alumni games:

Update #2.25: Awkward:

Update #3.3:

Update #4: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with the Wings about the season reset:

“You can’t do much about it, so you have to,” Detroit right-winger Daniel Alfredsson said of learning to adjust to the schedule. “I find it’s been like this for most of my career – a few games early on and then there seems to be a break. It seems like October is always a fairly slow month before you really get going.”

Kyle Quincey isn't so sure:

“We had a long, hard training camp,” Quincey said. “Playing Boston (Saturday in the second game) of back-to-backs like that, a really good team, we were really drained (and lost 4-1). Could this break have come at a better time in the season? Maybe, but we could use it right now, so hopefully, it’s to our benefit.”

That’s the key, insist the Wings, to take advantage of this opportunity to correct what’s ailed the club through a 2-1 start, such as a power-play unit that’s failed to score in eight opportunities so far.

“I think it’s a good situation,” Alfredsson said. “We played three games, now we had time to work on the things we needed to work on. It gives us a chance to evaluate and get some practice time.”

Besides improving the power play, Detroit coach Mike Babcock feels the team needs to play a more physical brand of hockey against the Coyotes.

“I just think the grind part of our game, being heavy in both zones, being harder a lot on the ice,” Babcock said. “You can’t work on it as hard in practice just because you can’t wear each other out. We feel we’ve played light in our first three games and we’ve got to play way heavier.”

Babcock also thinks his team will benefit from the rest facing a Phoenix club that’s two games into a five-game road trip.

“We’ve had a chance to work on our game here and give our guys an opportunity to get fresh,” Babcock said. “We need to get started on time tonight and play a good game. We’ve got to improve as a team.”

 

Update #5: The Free Press's Helene St. James confirms the lineup and adds some quips from Babcock...

The Wings have been off since Saturday, which has afforded an opportunity to have two good, long practices, where the emphasis has been on the right way to play.

"We feel we've played light the first three games," coach Mike Babcock said after today’s morning skate. "We've got to be way heavier."

The Coyotes, coached by Dave Tippett, ride in on a two-game losing streak during which they've surrendered 10 goals and scored just twice. But the Wings can't take them for granted, of course.

"They've got a real mobile back end," Babcock said, citing Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, David Rundblad and David Schlemko, who anchor a defense that can really move the puck. Mike Smith is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound behemoth in goal, and up front, Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker highlight an offense that has more potential than shown so far.

"They've got a good-looking team," Babcock said. "The last two games haven't gone the way they wanted. I've coached against Tippett a long time, and he does a real good job. They're not going to be playing like that for very long."

As well as something of a scouting report from Chris Osgood:

Update #5.25:

Update #6: Here are Ken Kal's "Keys to the Game":

Power Play - Score with a man advantage. The Wings are 0/8 this year on the PP; get set up and have sustained pressure in O-Zone.

Get Shots through to Goalie - Lots of shots were blocked in the first few games; Detroit has to get shots on Mike Smith and generate more opportunities to score.

Stay Out of the Box - Boston scored twice on the PP last game. The Wings need to stay disciplined and stay away off the PK.

Update #7: Fox Sports Arizona's Craig Morgan spoke with David Moss, Radim Vrbata and Kyle Chipchura:

 

Update #8: The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa took note of Eaves' status...

"I'll be ready when I have to come off injured reserve, for sure," said Eaves, who participated in Thursday's morning skate. "I feel good. It's getting better every day. It's fun to be back out there with the guys."

Eaves was injured during a practice drill late in the exhibition season. During a net-front drill, Eaves found himself pinned under two defensemen behind him who were battling in front of the goalie. Eaves got his leg trapped and rolled under another player's leg and couldn't free himself, similar to the way an offensive lineman in football might be injured.

"Pretty much the same thing," Eaves said. "I was just standing in front of the net to tip a puck and two guys were battling behind me. One guy landed on my leg. I didn't even see him, I just felt him when my leg was pinned behind him. I couldn't get him off me. I felt it (the sprain) right away. It was bad luck there."

Eaves said some discomfort still exists but he's confident he'll be 100 percent healthy in the next two weeks.

With Jordin Tootoo (bruised shoulder) cleared to play and Darren Helm (back) showing progress but not yet cleared to play, the Red Wings will soon confront the issue of having too many forwards.

Counting Eaves and Tootoo, that'll give the Red Wings 15 forwards (Helm remains a question mark for now) -- one over what the Red Wings would like to keep.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted that the Wings are wary of a "trap" game...

“The last two games haven’t gone the way they wanted,” Babcock said. “I’ve coached against Tipper (Phoenix coach Dave Tippett) for a long time and he does a real good job and they’re not going to be playing like that for long.”

This week’s hiatus is the first of three four-day breaks the Red Wings will have prior to the league’s shutdown for the Winter Olympics in February. Will the layoff help or hurt the Red Wings?

“Well, I don’t know if rust is a concern,” Babcock said. “Our big thing is take advantage when they give you rest. Obviously, we would have liked not to play back to back. … We’ve had a chance to work on our game here and give our guys an opportunity to get fresh. We need to get started on time tonight and play a good game. We’ve got to improve as a team.”

For a veteran like Daniel Alfredsson, the schedule in an Olympic year is nothing new, and the Wings still need to use is as a positive.

“I think it’s a good situation. We played three games, now we had time to work on the things we needed to work on,” Alfredsson said. “It gives us a chance to evaluate and get some practice time. We know this year there’s the Olympic break for most of the guys. It’s always been like this. October is slow, November and December get a little busier and then it’s really hectic in January and February and March. You kind of know how to deal with everything. I think it’s very important to look at the positive side of it. We’re not the only team that’s going through this. Everybody is in the same boat, so make the most of it.”

As for tonight’s game, aside from right wing Radim Vrbata who recorded a hat trick in a 4-1 season-opening win over the New York Rangers, the Wings are in for a challenge against the Coyotes’ young lineup.

“Obviously, a real mobile back end, I mean, (Oliver) Ekman-Larsson I think is a real good player,” Babcock said. “(Keith) Yandle can really skate. (David) Rundblad looks like he’s going to be a player. (David) Schlemko they can move the puck on the back. (Mike) Smith can really move the puck and is a huge goaltender when he’s dialed in. Solid down the middle suddenly with (Martin) Hanzal, (Mike) Ribeiro and (Antoine) Vermette, should be real solid. They’ve got a real good looking team.”

And here's the Wings' game-day preview video:

Update #9: The Coyotes' game notes have Paul Devorski and Rob Martell reffing the game, and Ryan Galloway and Greg Devorski working the lines...

The Coyotes' website posted audio clips of Radim Vrbata and Kyle Chipchura speaking to Craig Morgan...

Both Morgan and the Arizona Republic's Sarah McLellan believe that Chris Summers has been waived to make room for Rostislav Klesla's return...

And here's the thrust of Kathryn Tappen's conversation with Jimmy Howard:

Update #9.5: Good news about Gustavsson per St. James:

The Wings will need Gustavsson to be ready on Tuesday if that's possible.

Update #10: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness took note of Gustavsson and Eaves' health issues...

“I’ve been skating for five or six days now and I’ve been feeling great,” Gustavsson said. “Now I feel like I’m going 100 percent, so it’s just a matter of days before I’m in the lineup.”

Gustavsson suffered his groin injury in a preseason game on Sept. 21 in a preseason game against the Boston Bruins. It was his only appearance in the preseason.

“It’s just a matter of getting your timing back,” Gustavsson said. “It’s just a matter of getting a few practices in before I’m ready to go.”

Gustavsson, who is on short-term injured reserve, has been sharing time in goal with Petr Mrazek at practice.

“The last few days on the ice I haven’t felt any soreness and I’ve been pushing it 100 percent,” Gustavsson said.

And he noted the phrase of the day from coach Babcock in "playing heavy":

“I don’t know if rust is a concern,” Babcock said. “Our big thing is take advantage when they give you rest. Obviously, we would have liked not to play back-to-back, to practice day and then play and have a day off and a practice day. That’s just not how the schedule works. We’ve had a chance to work on our game here and give our guys an opportunity to get fresh. We need to get started on time tonight and play a good game. We’ve got to improve as a team.”

During the practice time between games the Wings worked on the grind part of the game.

“Being heavy in both zones,” Babcock said. “You can’t work on it as hard in practice just because you can’t wear each other out, where we’ve been able to do that, which is real important for our team. We feel we’ve played light in our first three games and got to play way heavier.”

 

Update #11: Neat stat:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

Helmer, come back soon!!!! Babcock said it would take him at least half a season to be his “old self” because he’s missed so much time. Will he though? Back problems are as serious as they come. I really hope for his sake and ours that he ultimately returns to full health. And imagine how much deeper we become with Helmer back. Him on the 3rd and Andy on the 4th. That is great depth, plus all the youngsters we can call up at a moments notice.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/10/13 at 11:52 AM ET

The Meal's avatar

I work at a place which blocks twitter (and therefor embedded tweets).  If TMR articles are going to continue to post these items as article contents, I’m going to have to gracefully bow out from using this site as my primary source for all news Red Wings.

Has the ship already sailed on the idea of simply reposting tweets as text within an article, or is it time to have that discussion?

Thank you.

Posted by The Meal on 10/10/13 at 12:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’ll forward your concerns to Paul. I don’t know what to do there.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/10/13 at 12:35 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

So the Wings are having scoring goals and PP. So Samuelsson and Cleary get PP.

So put Samuelsson on the Point, good for many shorthanded opportunities.

Sit Tatar who has an athletes body, can skate like a hockey player and is a Goal Scorer.

At least Sammy gets to sit 3rd periods!

Go away Sammy so I can pick on Cleary’s remains.

Babcock remains unpredictable!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 10/10/13 at 12:36 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We will try to address the Twitter issue.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/10/13 at 12:42 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

My work also blocks the twitter embeds, but the text content of the tweet does get through.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 10/10/13 at 01:00 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

On the brighter side, George.  Do not catch the garter, LOL.  Enjoy the wedding incognito, Beardless.  Pics Please!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 10/10/13 at 01:07 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We have issues with Twitter ourselves. We feel conflicted about the load times and the blocking and the fact that there are so many mobile users whose batteries we might be draining, but the hockey world runs on Twitter, too.

It’s tough. We talk about Twitter very regularly, and we’re always lukewarm at best toward it. I don’t know if we’ll change, but at least know that we’re very frustrated with the same issues that drive you nuts.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/10/13 at 01:09 PM ET

Avatar

Not a fan of the twitter overload either.  Just my $.02

Posted by loojay on 10/10/13 at 01:11 PM ET

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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.