Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Friday practice and gnus round-up post

Updated 7x with another Ken Holland interview at 6:05 PM: So I've been gone for a while, but I'm back. One does not take a three-month hiatus from covering a sport they love for an extended period of time without extenuating circumstances occurring, and all I can offer you is the plain old truth: a nasty virus abated in October, but was followed by a severe, severe (I would add about twenty more "severes" if it wasn't redundant) depressive episode, one that I'm still recovering from thanks to tons of support from family members, friends and mental health professionals...But it was and is an incredibly difficult period of time.

I'm not necessarily back to abnormal at present, nor am I really fully ready to return, but as the Red Wings are about to begin their 2013 campaign, I have a responsibility to the Kukla's Korner and TMR communities to fulfill in terms of providing Wings-related information, and I'm going to do my best to meet said responsibility.

Anyway, I'm starting off slow and starting off slowly but surely rebuilding my background information, and as today's news stories are something of a mish-mash with physicals set to take place tomorrow and camp to begin Sunday, let's get some basics down before embarking upon today's roundup of stories and sound:

  • Henrik Zetterberg will be named captain, which we all knew would happen, though he probably won't be unveiled as such until the Wings open the season in St. Louis on January 19th. We do know that Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall will wear the alternate/assistant captain's "A's," though we're not sure whether Valtteri Filppula will wear an "A" on a rotating basis as well;
  • Nicklas Lidstrom will not make a surprise return (duh);
  • Tomas Holmstrom will join Lidstrom as the last of the four-time Cup winners to hang up his skates, probably at some sort of press conference next week;
  • Pavel Datsyuk (who will return to the team after the KHL All-Star Game, which takes place on Sunday), Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Damien Brunner and Drew Miller of all people acquitted themselves very, very well while playing overseas during the lockout, Jakub Kindl played OK in the Czech Republic, Jonathan Ericsson took a curtain call with Vita Hasten, Cory Emmerton engaged in an injury-shortened campaign in Finland and Kyle Quincey's attempt to stay in shape was...unconventional;
  • Most of the Wings' players remained in Metro Detroit and skated in Troy;
  • Patrick Eaves (concussion) will start the year on the IR, but Mike Babcock has a relatively healthy roster otherwise, with the lines slated to be, per MLive's Ansar Khan, Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Brunner, Franzen-Filppula-Samuelsson (the frustration line!), Bertuzzi-Helm-Cleary and Miller-Abdelkader-Tootoo, with Emmerton and Mursak starting as reserves, barring injuries; on defense, it's Kronwall-Ericsson, Quincey-Smith, and either Kindl-White or Colaiacovo-White; and in goal, Jimmy Howard will start, Jonas Gustavsson will back him up, and the Wings will probably try to trade Joey MacDonald and his one-way contract when the season start;
  • Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and, to a lesser extent, Riley "Tinky Winky" Sheahan and Joakim Andersson have proven themselves to be "overripe" while playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins, who are playing extremely well under new head coach Jeff Blashill and not-so-surprising rookie goalie Petr Mrazek (Xavier Ouellet played for Canada at the World Junior Championships, too);
  • But the Red Wings' depth up front (only until the Wings make a trade deadline [whenever that may be] move for a defenseman...Right, Ken Holland? Right?) means that only Smith will start the season with the Wings, which isn't necessarily a bad thing given that Nyquist and Tatar are playing so very well at the AHL level, and will also be so very annoyed and/or motivated because they haven't received a call to join the big club;
  • The schedule will begin on January 19th in Dallas, will hold their home opener on the 22nd against Dalllas...
  • But will not retire Nicklas Lidstrom's #5 this season due to logistics, a lack of time to prepare for a proper tribute and and what would obviously be a mad scramble for tickets available on incredibly short notice;
  • The same might be said for the Winter Classic, which will roll over to January, 2014;
  • And while the new CBA is still being digested, according to Capgeek, even with Jimmy Howard and Valtteri Filppula to re-sign, once the CBA does take effect, the Wings are in good shape cap-wise this year and next year as well.


And in terms of today's stories...

Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's early update:

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo joined his new Detroit Red Wings teammates on the ice today at the Troy Sports Center.

Colaiacovo said his sprained shoulder is fine and he appears to be ready to play, or close.

Jakub Kinld and Jan Mursak are back from Europe. Daniel Cleary, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson are back from a high- intensity camp in Arizona.

Damien Brunner has not yet arrived from Switzerland .

Colaiacovo spoke to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

Carlo Colaiacovo was in town for the first time and said, “I want to make one thing clear, obviously the big hole is Nick Lidstrom not being and I need to let everyone know I’m not coming in here to be Nick Lidstrom, no one can come in here and replace Nick Lidstrom. He was one of the best players to every play this game. If there’s one thing I can bring to this team is a compliment of what they already have.

“A guy that can move the puck, play the power play, play in all types of situations,” he continued. “I’m pretty familiar with a lot of the guys on defense here. I’m pretty familiar with a lot of them and they can all pretty much do the same things that I do. If I can come and fit in and even help our young guys and be a good compliment in all situations because at the end of the day we just want to put the puck in our forward’s hands. They’ve got all the skill and are world class players. That’s what I’m ultimately going to try and do.”

The Wings will take physicals on Saturday and open training camp Sunday at Compuware with two sessions. They will stay at Compuware through Wednesday before going to Joe Louis Arena for Thursday and Friday.

They open the season a week from Saturday in St. Louis.

Their home opener is Jan. 22 against the Dallas Stars.

As well as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

Carlo Colaiacovo wants to make one thing clear to Red Wings fans.

If fans are looking at Colaiacovo as the replacement for Nicklas Lidstrom , it just isn't going to happen.

"I'm not coming to be Nicklas Lidstrom, nobody in the league can replace Nicklas Lidstrom," said Colaiacovo Friday, after the Red Wings completed a lengthy on-ice workout. "He's a future Hall of Famer, one of the best players to play in the league."

But if Red Wings fans are looking for a veteran defenseman who can fit what the Red Wings have right now on defense — and do a lot of things well — they'll be pleased with Colaiacovo, who signed a two-year contract worth $5 million Sept. 14, the day before the lockout began.

Colaiacovo is a complementary piece that can make any pairing much stronger.

"A guy who can carry the puck, play the power play, play in all situations, and I'm familiar with a lot of the guys on defense here," Colaiacovo said. "If I can come in and fit in and help our young guys and be a good complement in all situations, at the end of the day we want to get the puck in the hands of our forwards. They are all world class players."

And the Free Press's Helene St. James duly noted that Colaiacovo's boo boo was delivered by Damien Brunner:

The two newcomers to the Detroit Red Wings met during December's Spengler Cup. It turns out that Colaiacovo is coming into training camp this month with a sore shoulder, and it's all Brunner's fault.

"It was actually Brunner that pushed me from behind into the boards," Colaiacovo said, laughing. He joined a large contingent of teammates forced through one last informal skate today, as they await Saturday's ratification of the collective bargaining agreement and Sunday's start of training camp.


Coach Mike Babcock plans, at least for starters, to pair Colaiacovo with Ian White. The two have chemistry dating to when both were Maple Leafs.

Colaiacovo had a very favorable first impression of his new team today, and that was even as Pavel Datsyuk remains in Russia to play in this weekend's KHL All-Star Game and Henrik Zetterberg took a day off from skating.

"It's my first day with my new teammates, and I'm real happy to be here," Colaiacovo said. "I think the biggest thing I've noticed so far is how much skill we've got up front. Guys are putting the puck in the back of the net like it was their job. It's a real exciting feeling for me."

As for Brunner, Colaiacovo has no hard feelings. "It was one of those things," he said. "Obviously, not intentional. It was a tough break there at the end, little stupid play, but it is what it is, and I feel really good right now.

"I'm hoping to be ready for the start of the season. Each day, it's getting better and each week, it's getting better, stronger. At this point, I'd never thought I'd be feeling this good, so that's definitely something positive."

St. James also spoke to the gents about lighter matters--literally and figuratively...

Possibly giddy at the thought that, within days, they'll be at the world's shortest hockey training camp, followed by a 48-games-in-some-100-days schedule, the Detroit Red Wings had a little fun after their last informal skate in Troy today.

First was forward Johan Franzen, on the subject of how Henrik Zetterberg will be a different captain than[Nicklas]  Lidstrom.

"More team dinners," [Johan] Franzen said, laughing.

Asked to explain that one, Franzen conceded it was a ploy. "It's a way to get Z to buy us dinners."

Secondly, [Todd] Bertuzzi generally is easy to pick out -- even from far away -- on the ice, because even at 11 o'clock in the morning he has a 5 o'clock shadow. So his clean-shaven face drew an inquiry about whether he had a big day ahead.

Bertuzzi quipped, "It was weigh-ins."

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke to CHL veteran Kyle Quincey about his time on the bus...

The 27-year-old Quincey knows a thing or two about trades. He’s bounced around to three different teams – and back again to the Wings – in seven NHL seasons. The Wings’ fourth-round draft pick in 2003, also hooked up with another team during the lockout. But this time, playing for the Denver Cuttroats of the Central Hockey League was for the purpose of staying in shape and being ready for when NHL players were ordered back to work.

Quincey, who has an off-season home in Colorado, said he joined the Denver club as a favor to some friends within the organization. He also skated occasionally with a few Avalanche players, who stayed in the Denver area during the work stoppage.

“My really good buddy, Derek Armstrong, is the coach there and it was an expansion team and I was really good friends with the assistant coach (Brent Cullaton) and knew a lot of guys on the team,” said Quincey, who produced two goals and 11 points in 12 CHL games. “At that time I wasn’t really doing much so I figured I’d give it a whirl, help them out and stay in shape.”

But now, if some published reports are accurate, the abbreviated 48-game season will be crammed into a 103 days with the regular-season finale set for April 27, and the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning on May 1. Clearly, the majority of NHL players haven’t played so many games in such a short period. But Quincey said that isn’t his focus heading into next week’s training camp.

“I’ve never been through it,” he said. “Our job is to just stay in shape and be ready to go when they give us the nod. We’ve been doing this 4-5 months going back to almost June.”

However, the extended wait has given the Kitchener, Ontario, native a new founds respect for the game.

“Playing in the Central League and waiting you really figure out how much you love this game,” Quincey said. “I’m eager to go. I’m fired up. I can’t wait.”

And in the multimedia department, Ken Holland spoke to WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning...

As annotated by MLive's Josh Slaghter...

"Our defense is probably going to be a little bit by committee," Holland told WDFN's Matt Shepard on Friday morning. "There's no more Nick Lidstrom's in the entire National Hockey League. Nick Lidstrom's gone, we've got to figure out a way to win. That's what other teams have been doing for years and years and years. We've had the luxury (of having Lidstrom). Those days are gone."

Holland noted Niklas Kronwall, 31, will be the Red Wings' only regular defenseman over the age of 28. Detroit hopes guys such as Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White, and Brendan Smith is ready for a regular NHL role.

"Other than Brendan Smith, they're all established pros," Holland said. "Five years ago we were too old, now people are wondering if we're too young. It's hard to find that right balance. Some people are getting some responsibility they haven't had before. There's no doubt we have a lot of question marks, but other teams have question marks."

The Red Wings hope their youth on defense comes in handy in what will amount to a "sprint" of a season, Holland says. With just 48 games — and no exhibition games — the battle for postseason positioning could be as tight as ever. Some have wondered if Detroit's playoff streak of 21 consecutive seasons could be in jeopardy.

"I think we be as good as anybody in the West, but the margin is very, very thin," Holland said. "It's going to be a real tight race. It doesn't matter if you're the first seed or the eighth seed. Just get in. There might be some players that are rusty, but teams are going to play hard and they're going to compete and it's going to be a playoff-type intensity on a night to night basis."

And 97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger spoke to several players--Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith and Johan Franzen--about dealing with the dual departures of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart...

Does Niklas Kronwall feel more pressure on the blue line following the departure of Nick Lidstrom and Brad Stuart?


“You try not to think too much about it. I think it all comes down to hard work and just doing what you do. Obviously I’m one of those guys that take it upon myself to have a little more responsibility but at the same time there are 6 other guys on the blue line that need to do the same thing. We all have to do this together; it is not about one guy. If this is going to go anywhere we have to do this together.”

Brendan Smith will be counted on as one of the guys to replace the irreplaceable Lidstrom and Stuart.

“You can’t replace Lidstrom, nobody in the NHL can” said Smith. “We are just going to do what we can to try to get there and it’s definitely going to be motivation. We don’t want to be hearing that you have lost Nick, you lost Stuart and this is the reason. I think we have a good D core.”

And as 97.1 the Ticket's code can be a little wacky, here's Franzen's interview, which you will probably be able to see...



Though I'm not so sure about the Kronwall interview:


And, as an addendum, I'm not going to comment too much regarding the City of Detroit's almost  convenient discovery that the Red Wings may or may not owe the city back-taxes on their broadcasts that were never collected since Coleman Young's administration, or the property taxes that the team may or may not owe the city given that the Wings have been staying at Joe Louis Arena under a gentlemen's agreement since their lease expired--and yes, I do agree that if the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation plans on diverting $16 million of its already-collected funds toward Olympia Entertainment's proposed $650 million arena project, the Wings should get on the right side of their tax bills... But it should be noted that both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have noted that the facility the Ilitches surrendered to the city when the lease expired, one Cobo Hall, has not become a place where a quarter billion dollars went to die, and has instead been renovated and is going to become more and more of a centerpiece for the Auto Show and conventions in years to come, and in the kind of quid-pro-quo relationship the Wings have with the City of Detroit, leverage is leverage.


Update: Gah, per MLive's Ansar Khan...

Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm will miss the start of training camp Sunday after getting hurt while working out.

“He tweaked something working out,'' general manager Ken Holland said. “Doctors told him to take a few days off and they'll look at it on Monday. We'll see if he needs tests after that.''

Holland wouldn't reveal what was tweaked. Helm hasn't skated the past two days in Troy with his teammates.

Holland said Damien Brunner is flying into town today and will be ready for the start of camp. Pavel Datsyuk is still scheduled to arrive in town on Monday after playing in the KHL all-star game Sunday in Russia. Holland said they'll talk to Datsyuk before determining when he should join camp.

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

Forward Darren Helm “tweaked” something while working out.

“We’re giving it some rest, will look at it on Monday,” Wings general Ken Holland said. “Doctors told him to take a few days off. We’ll see if he needs tests after that.”

Helm hasn’t skated for the last two days.

Forward Damien Brunner also has yet to make an appearance during these informal workouts since a deal in principal was struck between owners and players last Sunday. Holland said Brunner is flying in today and is good to go.

As for Pavel Datsyuk, Holland didn’t know when he would arrive. Datsyuk was scheduled to play in Sunday’s KHL All-Star game.

“We’ll talk to Pav and see what he’s thinking,” Holland said. “The expectation is that he’s traveling to Detroit on Monday, we’ll see him on Tuesday.”

Datsyuk will need to pass a a physical before taking the ice.



Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed, and not Pavel Datsyuk (yes, it really is either him or his marketing team who speaks better English than he does), DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also penned a profile of Jonas "the Monster" Gustavsson, who spent the lockout acclimating to his new surroundings...

“I came here in September and I stayed here ever since,” the 6-foot-3 goaltender said. “I went back to Toronto for a couple of days, that’s it. Other than that I was here the whole time and that was good for me.”

Quickly, Gustavsson became acclimated to the region and instantly made friends with new teammates, though not knowing when, or if, they would play together this season. During his time in Detroit, Gustavsson has been a regular among the players who have steadily participated in informal skating sessions at Troy Sports Center.

He returned to Detroit on Thursday after spending a few days in Arizona, where a large group of NHL players, including fellow Red Wings Daniel Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard, gathered for high-intensity workouts leading up to team training camps, which could begin on Sunday.

“We felt like that was the best way to prepare,” said Gustavsson, of the Arizona workouts. “They had some more guys out there, so that’s why I decided to go; try to find different ways to get ready. Hopefully, that was a good decision. But I thought we had a pretty good camp there, we had some good skates and some good workouts.”

For as informal as many of the workouts have been in Troy over the last four months, the extended period with his Red Wings’ teammates has provided a bond leading into the abbreviated season, Gustavsson said.

“Of course it helps, but the good thing is that I get the chance to know most of the guys, spending the time here,” he said. “We did whatever we could to get ready for when it starts and when it does I’m sure we’re going to take advantage of being together as much as we could.”

Fox Sports Detroit posted a preview of its latest episode of Wingspan, which will air tonight at 7 and, um, well, click the link for the other air times:


And this comes from the...erm...Examiner's...Joseph Karbousky:

One of the best things about Detroiters and Michiganders is they never forget their roots. Next weekend is a prime example of that as Michigan native, University of Michigan graduate and current Kansas City Royals second baseman Chris Getz will join former Detroit Red Wings star Darren McCarty in a charity event to help raise money for Most Holy Trinity School.

The historic school is located in Detroit’s Cork Town area and the event is being put on to help raise some much needed money.

Recently Art Getz, Vic and Paul Venegas, along with a few others formed an athletic board to raise money for the students of Most Holy Trinity.

The first endeavor is being dubbed “Championship Day”, an auction to be hosted by Chris Getz and Darren McCarty being held next Sunday afternoon, Jan. 20, 2013 at Nemo’s Bar and Grill.

If you are a sports fan and want to help a great cause, this is a perfect opportunity for you to do so.

Update #3: Ken Holland spoke to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness about spending the first three days of their five-day training camp at Compuware Arena in Plymouth (i.e. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday)...

"We wanted a place with big locker rooms, wanted a gym in the building or nearby,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We plan to open it to the public. Compuware made the most sense.”

Detroit will fly out after Friday’s practice for the season opener in St. Louis. The Wings plan on having 24-27 guys at training camp, depending on health.

“We’re all in the same boat,” Holland said. “We had some players that played in the AHL or Europe. My expectation is that games might be a little rusty early, but they’re going to be great in intensity. I don’t think seeds matter that much. You just want to get in.”

Holland said the team will practice hard all week, but missing out on preseason games could hurt.

“We need scrimmages and preseason games for timing and for coaches to find out their line combinations and defense pairings,” Holland said. “Games will be intensity, playoff-style games.”

Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji noted that Jonas Gustavsson comes highly recommended by his now-not-so-new teammates...

"Jonas is a great guy," [Jimmy] Howard said. "He's a great goalie as well. I think we're going to push each other to get better. He works hard every single time he's out here so that's how he pushes me."

Some of the Swedish players know Gustavsson already from playing on the Swedish national team with him.

"He's a really good guy, fun to be around and he brings really solid, steady goaltending," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Another great addition to our club."

Added Johan Franzen: "Great guy, first of all. Good competitor. He's shown some good form lately. He's going to be out there and fight every day. He wants to be in the net. We're always looking for a good guy to have besides Howie."

Both goaltenders said they benefited from the minicamp out in Arizona. Danny Cleary and Kronwall also attended it.

"It was good. The practices were really high-tempo," Howard said. "There were a  lot of guys so we were able to scrimmage, split everyone up. It was good in that aspect."

With many Wings still arriving back in town, Gustavsson said the fact that there was a large group in Arizona made it appealing.

"We felt like that was the best way to prepare," Gustavsson said. "Hopefully, that was a good decision. But I thought we had a pretty good camp there, we had some good skates and some good workouts."

MLive's Ansar Khan reminded us that Helm has endured his share of boo boos...

[Holland] wouldn't reveal details on the injury. Helm skated Wednesday at the Troy Sports Center but has stayed off the ice the past two days.

Helm has experienced a rough stretch of injuries over the past 13 months. He needed stitches in his lip after being hit with a puck during pregame warmups in Nashville on Dec. 26.

He missed the final 10 regular season games after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament on March 17, when he delivered a hit on San Jose's Dominic Moore but got the worst of the exchange.

Then, in his first game back, he had tendons in his forearm sliced by Alexander Radulov's skate blade in the playoff opener against Nashville, ending his season.

The bad luck continued during the lockout, when Helm was hit by a deflected puck Nov. 2 during an informal practice at the Troy Sports Center and suffered a broken orbital bone, which did not require surgery.

Holland said Helm is the only player expected to be unavailable for the start of camp due to injury.

This is also a bit of a captain obvious comment from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

And in the out-of-town news department, Sportsnet's Luke Fox suggests that one might want to pick up Damien Brunner in their fantasy hockey pool given that he's slated to skate alongside Datsyuk and Zetterberg...

Outscoring all in his native Swiss A league -- including such stars as Logan Couture, John Tavares, Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin – Brunner flew to North America with a 1.73 points-per-game average and an undeniable chemistry with Zetterberg, which the two Wings/wings developed as teammates on EV Zug.

Granted, Brunner is familiar with the Swiss style of play and will now be without all the comforts of home.

Still, the 187-pounder is a gritty, Swiss-born (not an oxymoron) forward whose penalty minutes have crept up. He signed a one-year $925,000 deal with the Wings the day 2012’s free agency opened and looks to be a bargain.

In four seasons with EV Zug, he has improved in every one. But nothing like this season.

Zetterberg (a mellow 32 points in 23 games with Zug) and Brunner already mesh well. So when trying to get Datsyuk (36 points in 31 KHL games) to fit in well with a hot duo is your big hurdle, you have no hurdle.

Detroit is not the only Original Six club looking to unveil a front-line attack that will make defencemen dizzy.

And Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski suggests that one Red Wing simply cannot "fail" this season:

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: Howard felt the NHL lockout was “mentally draining,” and he hasn’t even played a game yet behind a defense that’s sans Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. Howard won 35 games last season, the third straight season in which he’s won 35 or more. His 2.12 GAA was the best of his career. But Howard’s an unrestricted free agent after the season – a season in which he’ll have to be stronger than ever to compensate for the Wings’ changes on D.

Update #4: Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji posted a significant number of Tweets regarding quotes from the Wings today, but she was also doing so while penning a second "off-day" story. You've already read her story discussing the 48-game grind with Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson about the difficulties involved,and here's another about Carlo Colaiacovo...

"I had opportunities to go elsewhere, but the first team on my list was always Detroit," Colaiacovo said. "You know what kind of team they are and the way they play with puck possession. They’re a team full of world-class players. I saw it as a good fit for myself after coming off the kind of year I had last year."

Colaiacovo had two goals and 17 assists and was plus-7 in 64 games with the Blues in 2011-12. His best statistical season also came with the Blues, in 2009-10, when he had seven goals and 25 assists and was plus-8 in 67 games. When Colaiacovo is completely healthy, it might make sense to pair him with Ian White, who played with Colaiacovo in Toronto.

"He'll fit in well," White said. "He's a quick player, he's a puck-mover, likes to jump into the play. I got the opportunity to play with him over a couple years in Toronto, so we were pairs for a little bit of that time, too, so I got a little bit of chemistry with him."

Colaiacovo said he'd be happy to play again with White -- or with any of the Wings' other defensemen.

"It really doesn’t matter who I play with. I can play with Smitty (Brendan Smith). You look at with how I played with a young guy like (Alex) Pietrangelo last year. I consider myself a veteran guy that can help out the young guys, whether it’s with Qunce (Kyle Quincey), (Jonathan) Ericsson or Kronny (Niklas Kronwall) or Jakub (Kindl).

"At the end of the day, this is a team that competes to win the Cup every year. I’m just excited to be a part of that, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help out in that cause."

And, amongst her Tweets...

Hell, Twitter is crapping out on me, so here are the rest:

#RedWings Smith: You can't replace them but we can do what we think is the best we can do and go out and play tough.


#RedWings Smith on AHL in lockout: The level of competition was so much higher and I really enjoyed it. It was so much fun, great hockey.


#RedWings Smith: When they had power plays, it was quite tough to play against because they're NHL-ready.


#RedWings Smith: The competition was definitely higher and I think that helped my progression to get here.


#RedWings Smith:I felt like Tatar, Nyquist & Andersson dominated (NHL guys playing in AHL in lockout). These guys are definitely NHL-ready.


#RedWings Smith: (Nyquist, Andersson, Tatar are) arguably the best line in the AHL right now. I was pretty impressed watching them.


#RedWings Franzen: Missing some big keys from last year's team is something we got to deal with. Everyone's got to step up a little bit.


#RedWings Franzen on biggest difference between Lidstrom & Z as captain: "More team dinners."


The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also took note of Helm's injury status in text form:

The Red Wings will open training camp Sunday but likely won't have Darren Helm on the ice. Helm hasn't skated the last couple of days with his teammates in Troy and will likely stay off the ice until Monday, according to general manager Ken Holland.

Holland wouldn't reveal the nature of the injury — which Helm aggravated while working out — and said doctors will re-examine Helm Monday.

Helm missed the final 14 games last season after suffering a sprained knee, then sustained a forearm injury in Game 1 of the playoffs against Nashville.

Pavel Datsyuk will not be on the ice Sunday, either, staying in Russia for the Kontinental Hockey League all-star game. Datsyuk will return to the Detroit area Monday.

The lone Red Wings player not accounted for during informal workouts this week is forward Damien Brunner, who'll be in town by Sunday's first workout.

Update #5: Fox 2's Jennifer Hammond filed a practice report this afternoon...


And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff tried to make the "beginning of the post-Lidstrom era" sting as much as possible:

“It’s going to be a lot different,” [Ian] White said of a season without Lidstrom, his defence partner for much of the 2011-12 campaign. “Playing with arguably the best defenseman of all-time, it was quite a thrill.”

Playing without him will prove to be quite another matter.

Throughout NHL history, overcoming the loss of generational defencemen has proven to be an almost insurmountable task for teams. Boston waited 39 years for another Stanley Cup minus Bobby Orr. Even the powerful Montreal Canadiens of the six-team era endured three years without a Stanley Cup final appearance after Doug Harvey left town. Before you to ask a New York Islanders fan about how things have gone for the team without Denis Potvin, you might want to cover your kids’ ears.

Lidstrom’s steady, heady play made up so many miscues on the ice, but he performed with such a fluid smoothness that sadly, only his absence will truly display his value to the franchise.

“There’s opportunity for others,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said, trying to remain positive. “Kronwall will do that and Ericsson will do that. We think Smith has a chance.We didn’t think things went as good for Quincey when he got here (from Tampa Bay in a trade late last season). You get traded for a first pick, you come here and the team loses every night and you start putting pressure on yourself.We need him to do a good job for us.”

Babcock, for one, believes that the Wings, as they have in past seasons when legends left, will find the path to adapt.

“We have a great storied franchise and we’ve just found a way year after year to win and we’re going to continue to do that,” Babcock said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do it. We’re just going to do it.”

Update #7: Here's Ken Holland appearing on WBBL's Huge Show. Sixteen minutes thereof:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



am i the only one who is shocked Nyquist isnt gonna be on the team at the start of the season??

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 01/11/13 at 05:15 PM ET

eyesris's avatar

Great to have you back sir! Now I can remove some other blogs from my RSS feed and go back to relying on you for everything news related smile

Posted by eyesris from Asheville, NC on 01/11/13 at 05:16 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Forward Darren Helm “tweaked” something while working out.

Here it comes…

Get ready for the cavalcade of groin injuries.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/11/13 at 05:19 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

does anyone know what’s happening with NHL Gamecenter yet?

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 01/11/13 at 05:30 PM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Excellent stuff George. Thanks and take care of yourself.

Posted by joedaiceman on 01/11/13 at 05:31 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m sorry about not being here. I feel very badly about it, and I’m not gonna bash anybody over the head with depression stuff, but I do have to be honest. Shit hit the fan. :/

And nobody seems to know what’s up with Gamecenter Live or Online. I am also curious as I subscribe to it.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/11/13 at 05:32 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

I like Holywhackamole’s attitude.  Sometimes when new guys join the club they talk about they, they, they, when referring to the new team.

He was all about the wes, we’ves, and ours.  I like it.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 01/11/13 at 05:47 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

glad to see you george, and thanks for the info overload. Always appreciated smile

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/11/13 at 06:13 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Glad you are back George! smile

Loved how you termed the” Franzen-Filppula-Samuelsson (the frustration line!)”

I could not have put it better myself. No need for explanations LOL

Posted by gowings from MTL on 01/11/13 at 06:49 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

I wish that line was Flip-Franzen-Sammy.  I thought we learned last year that the Finnish Flipper was better on the wing.  Also, I suffer Dom the delusion that a move back to center will trick Mule into playing hard.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/11/13 at 07:07 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

My iPhone typing sucks, or From equalling Dom is one helluva odd Freudian slip.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/11/13 at 07:08 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Is there really an ‘elite defensive corp’s in the NHL anymore?  I would say no.  I would say to the Wings group, respectfully, screw Nick, we have our own identity. Actually they don’t have a choice, so might as well suit up and play.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/11/13 at 07:35 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Carlo Colaiacovo was in town for the first time and said, “I want to make one thing clear, obviously the big hole is Nick Lidstrom not being and I need to let everyone know I’m not coming in here to be Nick Lidstrom

I don’t think even one person ever considered that….....

Posted by RWBill on 01/11/13 at 09:13 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Glad you are back George!

Loved how you termed the” Franzen-Filppula-Samuelsson (the frustration line!)”

I could not have put it better myself. No need for explanations LOL

Posted by gowings from MTL on 01/11/13 at 05:49 PM ET

im sure i’ll be yelling at the tv ” Awwww for f***s sake”! which could also be construed as the F.F.S. line

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/11/13 at 09:53 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.