The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/16/13 at 09:33 PM ET
The Red Wings recalled Riley Sheahan to essentially replace Johan Franzen for at least a "couple of games," with the Grand Rapids Griffins recalling Louis-Marc Aubry from Toledo as a result, and Ken Holland offered an intriguing take as to why he picked Sheahan in a conversation with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Sheahan, 22, has leapfrogged Cory Emmerton as far as call ups go.
“We’ve seen Emmerton for nine games, we know what he can do,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We haven’t really seen Riley Sheahan. He’s a first-round pick. He had a pretty good rookie year last year and had a good playoff in Grand Rapids. Let’s see what he can do.”
Sheahan, who was selected in the first round (21st overall) in the 2010 draft out of Notre Dame, has six goals and eight assists in 23 games with the Griffins. He’s played in two games over his career with Detroit, one in each of the past two seasons and has no points.
Both Sheahan and Landon Ferraro are no longer waiver-exempt next year, but the Wings are down two "unnatural" centers in Franzen and Abdelkader and two natural centers in Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm, so recalling a player who's focusing on defense this year makes sense.
Regarding Franzen, as MLive's Ansar Khan notes, we don't know whether he'll miss one game or more than one game because the Wings didn't practice on Monday, and the NHL's "concussion protocols" play out depending on how players react to physical activity:
The move was made because Johan Franzen is out for Tuesday's game against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena after taking a hit to the head from Tampa Bay's Radko Gudas Sunday in the Lightning's 3-0 victory.
Franzen is going through the NHL's concussion protocol, needing to pass a variety of tests before being cleared.
The Free Press's Helene St. James engaged in something of an injury round-up on Monday afternoon...
[Justin] Abdelkader left Saturday's 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh in a woozy state after getting hit in the jaw by Deryk Engelland, who faces a suspension for the illegal check to the head. General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that Abdelkader rode a stationary bike today, and if he feels well Tuesday, he will try to push through more activity. The Wings didn't practice today — standard procedure following back-to-back games.
Again, Engelland insisted he meant no harm on Monday.
[Darren] Helm is the guy closest to returning. He hasn't played since Dec. 4 because of a shoulder injury. If he's able to participate in Tuesday's morning skate, he could be ready by the weekend — Thursday against Calgary being a long shot. Abdelkader is the next closest to returning.
[Henrik] Zetterberg, [Danny] DeKeyser and [Jimmy] Howard are expected back during the post-Christmas trip to Florida and Nashville. The game after that is the big one: the Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Zetterberg has missed seven games with a herniated disc (and still leads the team in scoring), but he has started skating. DeKeyser has been gone since Nov. 19, when he suffered a separated left shoulder, but he has been skating for 10 days. Howard suffered a sprained left knee last week.
[Stephen] Weiss' status is the murkiest: He has a groin injury, and the team is sending his medical pictures to a specialist for a second opinion. It's hard to see him returning this month, because next week includes the Dec. 24-26 mandatory Christmas break, when teams shut down.
It turns out that Holland himself added more injury-related context to the mix in an interview with Pleiness:
“We need to make sure when they all come back that our team is totally healthy,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Monday. “We need them for the second half. Injuries are a part of it. Teams have injuries at this time of the year.”
Zetterberg: “He’s feeling better every day. He’s skating on his own. We’re still shooting for him on Dec. 28. I think we’re on track. Barring any setback I think we’ll have him back on Dec. 28.”
Franzen and Abdelkader: “They’re both under concussion protocol. Anytime you get a hit to the head and get taken off the ice and don’t return, basically now there’s a protocol. Abby rode the bike today, he felt pretty good. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Franzen was at the rink today. He’s probably a couple days behind. I would say at the very best we can hope for either of those guys is maybe Saturday in Toronto at the very earliest.”
Howard: “He worked out today and felt better. I’d say we’re very pleased with where he’s at. He’s definitely out ’til Christmas. We’ll know more later after this week, but we’re hoping he’s back shortly after the Christmas break.
Helm: “He skated a little bit on his own today and he’s going to skate a little bit with the team tomorrow. We’re hoping if all goes well he can play sometime this week before the Christmas break.”
DeKeyser: “He skated today. I know we’re still shooting for Dec. 28. I don’t think we’re going to play him before, but I’ll know more in the next couple of days. We may get him back earlier, but at the end of the day there’s no reason to rush anyone back. There’s half a season to go. We took Weiss out for a groin, thought he was healthy and now we don’t know if it’s the same issue that’s re-aggravated and it’s worse because we didn’t diagnosis it well.”
Weiss: “We’re not really sure where he’s at. He doesn’t appear to have any significant improvement over the course of the week which is a concern. We’re going to send his MRI to abdominal doctors to look at to see there’s something more than just a groin strain.”
And Holland also addressed both the team's status as having suffered more injuries to "core players"this season as opposed to the last, as well as his team's inability to score goals (as a result?), but I can't quote all of Pleiness's interview.
The Red Wings' coach, GM, team president and several players were at Detroit's Clark Park to make a significant donation to the outdoor rink as part of the Winter Classic's hosting-team-and-NHL's duty to make a "Legacy Donation" to the community, and WDIV posted a video from the event:
WDIV's Jamie Edmonds noted that the mainstream media folks weren't the only ones in tow:
DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson also penned an article about the donation:
The NHL and Red Wings Foundation, with additional support from DTE Energy, Johnson Controls, and York, funded and spearheaded the donation of resources and materials to Clark Park’s outdoor rink. The effort is part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Legacy Initiative, an ongoing philanthropic endeavor in which the NHL, the local NHL team and NHL partners support a community organization in the host city as a legacy of an NHL event.
The enhancements to Clark Park include the donation of a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine to replace the facility’s aging 35-year-old machine; lighting upgrades at the rink and parking lot for improved energy efficiency; an upgraded rink refrigeration system; snow removal equipment for its ice hockey and skating programs; a new ice surface and rink boards; new bicycle racks provided by Disenos Ornamental Iron; and sustainability facelifts to its recycling program provided by CleanRiver and NHL Green.
"The Red Wings Foundation is thrilled to be a part of a meaningful initiative like this that gives youth in our community a great place to play hockey, stay healthy and active, and build values like teamwork, respect and integrity," said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings and chairman of Ilitch Charities, an affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. "It's particularly special to us because Clark Park is just a couple of miles from the Wings' home ice and our players and coaching staff enjoy visiting and engaging with youth hockey players here."
Coach Mike Babcock, defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser and goalie Jimmy Howard were on hand for the announcement, and were thrilled to be part of the effort to give back to the local community and encourage Detroit youth to participate in the game of hockey.
“I think it’s great for the community,” Howard said. “The community does such a great job with supporting us that I think it’s great that us and the Red Wings Foundation are giving back.”
DeKeyser added: “I’ve played around here my whole life and been here so I kind of know what some of the people here have been through. It gives the kids a great spot to come on the weekends or after school and hang out and play some hockey and hopefully grow up into something bigger than that.”
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi was at the event, and he offered injury news which more or less confirms Holland's timelines:
Monday afternoon brought one encouraging bulletin, less than 24 hours after the team’s fifth consecutive defeat: Jimmy Howard, their No. 1 goaltender, pronounced himself ahead of schedule in recovering from a knee sprain initially expected to sideline him for two to four weeks.
The four-week timetable would have pushed Howard’s return to Jan. 9 in San Jose – a week after the highly anticipated showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. But Howard was very upbeat during an appearance at the dedication of a new outdoor rink at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit. (The Red Wings and NHL led funding for the project.)
While he didn’t skate as an instructor for the youth clinic that followed the ceremony – teammates Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser did – Howard said he’s been feeling “really good” lately. He added: “I’m actually ahead of schedule right now, a little bit. I’m just going to keep doing treatment and keep working and get back out there as soon as possible.”
When asked if he has his mind set on returning Jan. 1 before a potential world-record crowd in Ann Arbor, Howard replied, “I’m hoping I’ll be back in there before Jan. 1.”
Howard is 6-8-7 with a 2.65 goals-against average this season. (The Red Wings are 9-3-2 in games started by backups Jonas Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek.) Howard has additional motivation to return before Jan. 1; he’s under consideration for the US Olympic roster, which will be announced that day following the Winter Classic.
“He’s already saying how much better it feels, how he’s just doing better every day,” said DeKeyser, who’s been out for nearly a month with his own injury, a separated left shoulder. “Hopefully we’ll get him back for (the Winter Classic). We’ve got goalies that are capable, as well, but we’d love to have Jimmy there.”
What's Morosi doing in Detroit? His Twitter page reveals the answer:
For the record, the NHL posted the following press release regarding Winter Classic-related programming...
NEW YORK / TORONTO (Dec. 16, 2013) – NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Social’s programming plans for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 will include special content provided by hockey fans.
NHL Network™ will begin its 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® live coverage on Dec. 18 with the Red Wings’ outdoor team practice at Comerica Park as part of the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ in downtown Detroit. Exclusive live coverage will resume on Dec. 30 starting at 5:00 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen and EJ Hradek.
On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, NHL Network’s four hours of live coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET with the Red Wings’ and Maple Leafs’ team practices at The Big House®, immediately following the live broadcast of the USA vs. Canada 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship game. Reporter Dave Strader will provide live updates from the Molson Hockey House inside the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ on both days.
On New Year’s Day, NHL Network’s game day live coverage will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET and continue through the 1:00 p.m. ET start of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. The live NHL Winter Classic Post-Game Show will air immediately following the game.
NHL Network’s live coverage will include the most up-to-date weather forecasts from The Weather Channel.
NHL Network’s talent team will feature hosts Hradek and Tappen; reporters Strader and Heidi Androl; and analysts Billy Jaffe, Mike Johnson, Paul Maurice, Barry Melrose, Greg Millen, Darren Pang and Kevin Weekes.
NHL.com, the ultimate online destination for hockey fans, will house its complete coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on the microsite NHL.com/WinterClassic, including:
• A dedicated webcam at The Big House®, plus regular updates to time-lapse footage of outdoor rink construction;
• Full written, video and photo coverage of key moments of the rink build, from the truck arrival to the ice-making process to the painting of the logos and lines;
• Comprehensive coverage of the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, including the 2013 Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs Alumni Showdown™ on New Year’s Eve;
• Features on Red Wings and Maple Leafs players;
• Recaps of the all-access reality series 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic;
• Full coverage of the Red Wings’ and Maple Leafs’ practices at The Big House®; and
• Video of all press conferences and events, including analysis, interviews, highlights and key moments.
Starting today through Jan. 5, NHL.com’s microsite, NHL.com/MyGoal, will accept fan #MyGoalNHL submissions of videos and photos.
While there’s no mystery in how hockey fans will spend their New Year’s Day, the NHL hopes to uncover hockey fans’ plans and goals for the new year. NHL Network has launched #MyGoalNHL, a digital marketing campaign inviting hockey fans to share their goals for their favorite hockey teams and players as well as themselves. Through Jan. 5, fans can post videos or photos on NHL.com (www.NHL.com/MyGoal) or via social platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #MyGoalNHL.
Fans who use the hashtag #MyGoalNHL or submit through NHL.com/MyGoal will be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a trip for two to the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. For complete details and how to enter, please see official rules at nhl.com/mygoal.
Select #MyGoalNHL submissions also will be featured throughout NHL Network’s coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Select #MyGoalNHL submissions also will be featured throughout NHL Network’s coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.
Fans who will be in Michigan are encouraged to visit NHL Network’s activation areas at the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Spectator Plaza to record their #MyGoalNHL videos in person.
The NHL Social™ team will be on the ground for the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, including the Spectator Plaza fan festival, providing exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage on Twitter, Vine, Facebook and Instagram. From an Instagram Countdown to field-level coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Twitter, fans will receive instant updates of the historic outdoor game.
Fans can join the conversation by using the official 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic hashtag #WinterClassic. Follow the NHL on Twitter (@NHL) and Instagram (Instagram.com/NHL) for live, behind-the-scenes updates.
And Forbes' ticketing expert, Jesse Lawrence, says that Winter Classic tickets are "cheap"...By comparison to previous Winter Classics (and he conveniently ignores the fact that most people who wanted to avoid the secondary ticket market had to buy at least 20-game season ticket packages to access tickets):
Given the popularity of the event, it has also consistently been one of the most expensive games across the NHL. Over the last three years, the average price of the Winter Classic tickets have been $406, which is 240% more expensive than the average price for NHL tickets over that same period.
Excitement for this year’s Winter Classic is as high as any year, and arguably higher given that it’s the first year the home team plays in ‘HockeyTown.’ It’s also the first time that a team from HockeyCountry, aka, Canada is in the game. Despite all that, the price is the lowest it’s been in three years and likely the lowest ever. At an average price on the secondary market of $264, the game is 55% less than the last game in 2012 and 48% less than the 2011 game. What’s driving down price this year, however, is not demand but supply. This years game is being played in the largest non-motor sports venue in America, also known as the Big House. Home to the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan Stadium seats 109,000, almost 37,000 more than the next largest winter classic venue–Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium; and 70,000 seats larger than the smallest Winter Classic venue–Fenway Park.
Otherwise, Fox 2 posted an interview that Woody Woodriffe conducted with Darren McCarty during Sunday's Wings game...
And while I wasn't aware of it, "The media" were invited to skate on Comerica Park's ice today, so the Free Press's sports director, Gene Myers, posted three videos from the "open" skate...
The public skates begin tomorrow, and the Wings will practice at Comerica on Wednesday at 12 PM, and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports that the surface...Needsd some TLC:
And finally, Sportsnet's Jordan Heath-Rawlings penned an opinion piece which focuses on one Pavel Datsdyuk:
There is a difference between hockey, played competently and well, and Pavel Datsyuk, painting with metal, rubber and a composite brush—the beauty of the game writ in sticks and pucks, splashed on the evening’s highlight reels. He is hockey’s foremost artist—his game calls your attention to the intricate hidden within the everyday. It offers a glimpse into the spontaneous joy of creation and imbues the viewer with the sense that, more than the other 11 men on the ice, he sees what is really happening. It is like watching a spider spin a web: The longer you watch, the more you realize every move has a purpose. To observe Datsyuk’s work, divorced from the rest of the game, is to appreciate what Jonathan Swift called true vision—”the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
You don’t see it every second, because hockey is too chaotic for that. But you glimpse it in moments—a puck dancing forward and backward, mesmerizing enough to make Logan Couture fall to the ice without a hand laid on him; a crossover worthy of Chris Paul, executed on skates. A puck carelessly backhanded across the ice, its purpose only clear when it lands on the tape of its target without breaking his stride. A foray up the ice, directly into a snarl of four Predators, and somehow out the other side with the puck still on his stick. It seems, so often, that he is making it up as he goes. Among the Red Wings, his puck tricks in practice are legendary. There is no off switch. “True art,” said Albert Einstein, “is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.”
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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.