The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/04/13 at 11:22 AM ET
Updated 6x at 2:21 PM: Amongst today's Red Wings-related stories, before I pack the car and head up to Traverse City, anyway:
18-plus is a crowd:
Prepare to exhale, Wings fans:
Well, 25 signed players - #13, #14, #22, #23, #27 = 20 players? Yep, that makes sense.
Cue the post-practice updates:
Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov reported that Datsyuk's Yekaterinburg condo was burglarized 8 days ago, and Datsyuk lost $45,000 in the robbery.
The Red Wings Camps' Twitter account's clarified the status of the Rangers' broadcasting of prospect tournament games (the Wings and Rangers do not tangle during round-robin games), and the news is...Not super:
And the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau's heading up to camp tomorrow:
The Wings threw a monkey wrench at both of us, so I wasn't able to attend the Wings' prospects Wednesday practice (it wasn't announced until last Thursday), but it appears that it wasn't open to the public (FTR I am SUPER pissed off about the last-minute change):
Really, had I known prior to last Thursday, I totally would have budgeted another day to go up and see today's practice :(
“Just walking in this morning, seeing the pictures and all the history here is something you don’t have in Florida, so right away it hits you,'' Weiss said. “To think in a month or so to be suiting up in regular season games will be something special.''
The club's new second-line center said he couldn't sleep the night before and was up early. Entering a new environment after 11 seasons in Florida made him nervous as Todd Bertuzzi, his former Panthers teammate for part of the 2006-07 season, picked him up at his hotel and drove him to the rink.
But Weiss received a warm welcome and felt right at home. He even has a dressing room stall next to captain Henrik Zetterberg, for now.
“It’s a pretty neat spot to be sitting right away besides Z,'' Weiss said. “I’ll try to soak as much info from him as well as the other guys. I’m here to learn a lot. I’m really excited.''
Coaches aren't allowed to work with players on the ice until training camp (Sept. 12), but Weiss got a feel for the drills his new club runs.
“Just getting the feet wet and getting to know the guys is important,'' Weiss said. “Get on the ice and see what some tendencies are and just get comfortable. It was a good first day and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week.''
And the Macomb Dally's Chuck Pleiness touching upon the same topic:
“I’m just trying to get used to the new drills, I haven’t seen those before,” Weiss said. “Just getting the feet wet and getting to know the guys is important. Get to some tendencies and just get comfortable.”
Weiss, who normally trains in Toronto with Gary Roberts and a number of other players, said he was nervous for his first day on the ice with teammates.
“It kind of felt like game day,” Weiss said. “I was up early. I couldn’t sleep last night. I was nervous about meeting all the guys. You don’t get that much anymore. I’ve been in the same spot for so long. It’s kind of ground hog day over and over again, going to camp. Getting those juices going was neat and something I haven’t felt in a while.”
Former Panther teammate Todd Bertuzzi picked Weiss at his hotel for practice.
“I didn’t know where I was going, I still don’t know,” smiled Weiss, who was also teammates with Mikael Samuelsson. “The little things like that help, when you know a couple of guys that can do things like that to make the transition easier. All the guys have been great. I feel very welcome already. It’s been awesome.
“You kind of picture yourself maybe getting a chance to play here one day, but to honest I would have liked to have stayed in Florida, turned that place around and be a playoff team every year, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Weiss continued. “To have a chance to sign with an organization like this is above and beyond of what I could have every dreamed of.”
Otherwise, as noted last night, Fox Sports Detroit will air 2 of the Wings' exhibition games and the CBC will air a third, and as SB Nation's Steve Lepore notes, those games will also air on the NHL Network:
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned an article previewing a new division rival in the Montreal Canadiens...
Though they didn’t have a single player finish among the NHL’s top 20 scorers, the Canadiens managed to tie for fourth in the league with 3.04 goals per game, and grabbed the No. 2 berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They had the most balanced offense in the league with eight different players registering at double-digit goals. No other team in the NHL had that many players with 10-plus goals.
However, the Canadiens struggled to keep the puck out of their own net late in the season and into the five-game playoff series against Ottawa. The Canadiens jumped out of the gate with a 20-5-5 record, allowing 2.5 goals in first two months of the season. But they really bottomed out in April, surrendered almost 3.1 goals in the final 14 games of the regular season.
In the off-season they acquired some toughness in George Parros from Florida. The 33-year-old fourth line winger, who will drop the gloves with anybody, is playing for his fifth team in eight NHL seasons. The Canadiens also signed Daniel Briere to a two-year contract after the Flyers cut ties with the Quebec native, who once amassed 95 points in a season.
Offensively, Montreal returns a solid top line that accumulated 43 goals between Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. Plekanec is one of the best centermen in the league, winning nearly 51 percent of his face-offs last season, and Pacioretty is a dangerous sniper, finishing seventh in the league with 163 shots, just 10 behind the Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg.
The Canadiens also have a couple of rising stars in center Alex Galchenyuk and right wing Brendan Gallagher. The third overall draft pick in 2012, Galchenyuk was among six Canadiens to appear in all 48 games last season. He also led Montreal with a plus-14 rating while netting nine goals and a respectful 27 points. Meanwhile, Gallagher was a Calder Trophy finalist, who played juniors with Red Wings prospect Marek Tvrdon in Vancouver. Gallagher’s 15 goals tied him for the team lead with Pacioretty.
Clearly, if there’s a question about the Canadiens entering the upcoming season is might be with the goaltender. Veteran Carey Price finished 29th among NHL goalies with a 2.59 goals-against average, a category that he has lost traction in over the last three seasons. His .905 save percentage was worst, finishing tied for 34th in the league.
A positive on the defense is that Montreal has the luxury of returning the 2013 Norris Trophy winner in P.K. Subban, the first Montreal player to win the award as the NHL’s best defenseman since Chris Chelios won his first prize in 1989. The Canadiens need Andrei Markov to bounce back from a so-so season, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt for newcomer Douglas Murray to make an impact with his stay-at-home style.
And finally, remember the whole Jordin Tootoo-back-to-Nashville scenario, and how unrealistic that is given that the Predators have 14 forwards signed--including two scrappers--and actually may need to shed salary?
Well, this morning, On the Forecheck's
Dirk Hoag Jeremy Sargent seems to believe that the Red Wings could trade Tootoo and Jonathan Ericsson--the team's #2 defenseman--to Nashville for David Legwand.
Quite frankly, that's nuts. The Red Wings are short on proven NHL defensemen in Kronwall, Ericsson, Kyle Quincey and the still-in-progress Jakub Kindl, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff--and the Wings have SIXTEEN forwards signed at present.
Why the fark would the Wings give up someone who's proven that he can play 23-25 minutes (even though they're sometimes scary minutes) alongside Niklas Kronwall, as well as Tootoo, for a 33-year-old center who's historically posted 40-50 points per season?
The Wings already have that Weiss guy in the fold, and you don't create a hole on your roster to over-plug another, especially given that Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson, Weiss, Cory Emmerton, and in a pinch, Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen can all play the center position, with Calle Jarnkrok very close to being ready for NHL duty.
Worse, Legwand's cap hit is $4.5 million this year, and he's an unrestricted free agent thereafter. With Tootoo's cap hit at $1.9 million and Ericsson's at Ericsson at $3.25 million (all figures from Capgeek) the Wings would cut all of $650,000 off their cap figure--which is currently their overage, or thereabouts.
This is just silly.
This trade makes a ton of sense from a Nashville perspective, but it makes none for the Wings,
Update: For what it's worth, NHL.com's Pete Jensen ranks Red Wings forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader as the...32nd and 40th-best right wingers available to fantasy hockey poolies;
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness offers numerical news...
It looks like forward Joakim Andersson will have a new jersey number this season. Next to Andersson’s nameplate in the Wings’ locker room is No. 18, and not No. 63 that he wore last season.
“It looks like it,” Andersson said when asked if he was switching numbers. “They haven’t talked about it with me, but I had the No. 18 in Grand Rapids and in Sweden as well, so it looks like they’ve chanced it.”
Defenseman Ian White was the last Wing to wear No. 18. Prior to that it was Kirk Maltby.
“I like 18.”
And yes, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen called this one:
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff now weighs in...
“Well, I’ll be able to skate and do most of the drills, but I haven’t really tested it the whole physical aspect of it,” Helm said after returning to practice Wednesday with a number of his teammates during an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m just taking the most cliché line of the year, taking it one day at a time. I haven’t really focused on any kind of time line or how it feels today or yesterday. I’m just kind of going every day and working hard and trying to get ready to play.
“I’m skating pretty good,” Helm added. “I feel I’ve been skating pretty good these last couple of weeks. It is something to look forward to since things are going so well going into camp. It’s good knowing that I’ve been skating so hard for this long. There is that certain optimism going into camp.”
Physicals are next Wednesday in Traverse City with the first practice and scrimmages set for Thursday.
“I haven’t even thought about (scrimmaging),” said Helm, who didn’t skate on Tuesday. “It’s going really slow. Today I got bumped a couple of times. A couple weeks ago I got bumped a couple of times and it felt good. I think it’s just a gradual thing. It’s just going to have to come down to comfort between myself, the trainers and the staff that they’ll measure me against.”
Asked if he was pain free he said, “Fairly.” Helm did say he’s unable to lift like he has been able to in the past and that’s a level he needs to come close to before returning to the ice.
“I’m still a bit away from (squats),” Helm said. “That’s one thing I do want to overcome before I start playing again. I want to be able to do the stuff I used to do, maybe not to the extreme that I used to do, but I still want to be able to do some fairly heavy lifting. I’m not at that point yet.”
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Andersson as well:
[T]he 24-year-old forward is hoping to get quicker during his second NHL season.
“Skating-wise, I've taken small baby steps every year since I was 12,'' the 6-foot-2, 206-pound Andersson said. “I've been told I have to work on that. I'm getting better at that. Getting better at reading the game and being good defensively and trying to get better on faceoffs and all the small things I need to do.''
Andersson will switch uniform numbers, from No. 63 to No. 18, which was worn the past two years by defenseman Ian White, who wasn't re-signed, and before that, Kirk Maltby.
“It looks like (he'll change numbers),'' Andersson said. “They haven’t talked about it with me, but I had the No. 18 in Grand Rapids and in Sweden as well, so it looks like they’ve changed it.”
Andersson won only 46.4 percent of his faceoffs (81-of-173) during the regular season (38 games), but improved to 55.9 percent (99-of-177) during the playoffs (14 games).
“It took me a while to get used to this league, faceoff-wise,'' Andersson said. “I don't know why it was different than the American League because I did pretty good in the American League. When I got up here I was struggling at the start but then I figured it out.''
He credited much of the improvement to a lot of work he and Cory Emmerton did after practice with assistant coach Tom Renney.
“I got a first taste of the league last year and I’m more confident now that I know what it’s all about,'' Andersson said. “I know that I can play against the players in this league.”
Update #6: "Thanks, Obama?" Per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
What with a half-dozen or so Swedes employed by the Detroit Red Wings, the news of President Barack Obama's visit to Stockholm was a hot topic today.
"The security that comes around the president is something that we don't see in Sweden," Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I think with the whole thing, with Air Force One landing and with all the security and Secret Service in Stockholm — it's a different city now. You can't walk around, you can't do stuff. But I think it's pretty cool to see."
Obama ended up in Stockholm after canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow prior to the Group of 20 summit.
"It's a great thrill for Sweden to host him," forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "I've been reading all about it. It's a big deal, especially because the U.S. is in the spotlight surrounding the whole world regarding Syria and what's going to happen there. I was reading the papers online, and they were welding together all the manholes in the ground just to make sure no one can get in. You don't see that in Sweden often. We're honored to have him. It's a big deal."
Stockholmer Niklas Kronwall said his mom lives near where Air Force One landed this morning. "It's great for us," Kronwall said. "Hopefully, it opens the world's eyes a little bit to Sweden for a few days —and they see a very beautiful country."
Via RedWingsFeed, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned an article about Stephen Weiss, who talked about everything from his number choice to spending part of his formative years as a Plymouth Whaler...
"There’s not a ton of options here for a guy who wore nine,” Weiss explained after an informal workout with his new teammates Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. “I figured the closest thing to it was to put a zero at the end, so we’ll go with that.”
It’s just one of many alterations the former Plymouth Whalers centre has undergone since joining the Wings as an unrestricted free agent this summer following a decade with the Florida Panthers.
“It was a little bit weird during the summer,” Weiss said. “It doesn’t really hit you until I guess Monday night, when we got into town. Knowing I was here in the city and would be coming to the rink the next day, I was nervous, almost like it was the first day of the season. I had some butterflies coming to the rink, but that’s all out of the way now. I’m just happy to be here and to continue to get to know some of the guys and all the people around this organization. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Weiss admitted that during his tenure with the Whalers, he’d often dream about what it would be like to one day don the winged wheel.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Weiss said as he sat in the Detroit dressing room in the stall next to captain Henrik Zetterberg. “Ten years later, being back here is awesome. I used to come to Wings games when I was with the Whalers. You’d always wonder what it would be like to play here someday, so to do it is pretty special.”
Duff also posted a video interview with Weiss...
Duff posted a video of the Wings practicing as well...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James posted an auto-play video in which Darren Helm speaks and Henrik Zetterberg speaks about Helm.
And Landon Ferraro arrived safely in Grand Rapids:
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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.