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Red Wings mid-day news: Griffins release preseason sked; ice buckets, Ericsson, Lambert & NHL 15

Very briefly, among today's Red Wings-related stories:

The Grand Rapids Griffins released their "preseason schedule," and it consists of exactly two games:

The Grand Rapids Griffins will tune up for the 2014-15 American Hockey League season by playing a pair of preseason games against the Lake Erie Monsters in Windsor, Ontario, and Fort Wayne, Ind., on the first weekend of October.

The first clash will take place on Friday, Oct. 3 at 7:05 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, home to the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires. The Midwest Division rivals will square off again on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, where the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets play. It will mark the Griffins' first appearance in Fort Wayne since March 3, 1999, when they earned a 4-2 win over the Komets, their International Hockey League rival from 1996-99. During those three seasons, Grand Rapids posted a 5-3-2 record in the Summit City and an overall mark of 11-7-3 versus the Komets.

Tickets for the Oct. 3 game in Windsor will go on sale Monday, Sept. 8 for $10 through wfcu-centre.com or by calling (866) 969-9328. Tickets for the following night’s contest in Fort Wayne will be available Friday, Sept. 5 for $8-$15 through http://www.ticketmaster.com/komets


The Griffins and Monsters split a pair of preseason games last year, with Grand Rapids taking a 3-2 shootout win at the Compuware Sports Arena in Plymouth, Mich., on Sept. 28 and Lake Erie answering with a 2-0 victory in Windsor one night later.

Group tickets for eight regular season home dates at Van Andel Arena, including the Oct. 10 season opener, are now on sale along with 2014-15 season ticket packages. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public in September. Fans can secure their full-season, select-season or group ticket packages by calling (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit http://www.griffinshockey.com for more information.



Also in Griffins-related news, via RedWingsFeed, Tom McCollum took part in the "ice bucket" challenge, and he certainly received a "bucket" full of ice water...

Petr Mrazek, too...


At the NHL level, MLive's Ansar Khan's latest "Red Wings outlook" profile examines Jonathan Ericsson--and Khan wonders aloud whether Ericsson's best-suited to be a top-pair defenseman or a second-pair player...

2013-14 in review: Missed a total of 39 games, including entire five-game playoff series vs. Boston, due to three separate injuries (10 games with shoulder subluxation, Oct. 21-Nov. 12; 10 games with broken ribs, Dec. 28-Jan. 20; 19 games with torn ligaments in finger, March 20-April 26). ... Averaged 21:14 in ice time, which ranked third on the team and was nearly identical to the previous season (21:19). ... Averaged 2:58 per game on the penalty kill, third on the club. ... Ranked second on the team with 1.9 hits per game. ... Played on Sweden's silver medal-winning Olympic team.

2014-15 outlook: Having the big defenseman for a full season should be a significant boost for a blue line that remains unchanged from 2013-14. Ericsson has developed good chemistry with Niklas Kronwall the past two seasons. Ericsson has improved steadily since his rough 2009-10 season, cutting down on turnovers and playing more sound positionally. He has posted a plus-35 rating in his past 251 games, after sporting a minus-22 rating in his first 74 NHL games. The penalty killing suffered slightly in his absence (80.6 percent without him, including the playoffs; 83.1 percent with him). He will never be the physical force many would like to see from someone his size but played the body more last season than in the past.

Key question: Should Ericsson continue being paired with Niklas Kronwall or would it be more beneficial for Brendan Smith to play alongside Kronwall?


Out-of-town news, the good: I'd like to thank SI's Allan Muir for mentioning me in his Top Line;

Out-of-town news, the bad: I'd like to give Ryan Lambert a solid middle finger for pulling the same shit for the second time this week (I hope he's changed his underwear given the way he seems to get his rocks off based upon lapping up negative reactions to his disdain for the Wings):

2. Paying old guys: Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson were both in the news this week for reasons that did not include the word “retirement” somehow.

Selanne might sign a $5 million deal to play for a Finnish team in the KHL, which allow him to only play home games because travel sucks, especially in the KHL. This isn't a bad idea in a garbage league with a team looking for some pop both on the ice and at the box office. Not bad at all.

Alfredsson might re-up with Detroit with the Red Wings carrying the understanding that he wouldn't play every night. Two out of every three games or something like that, maybe. Definitely not any back-to-backs. And for that, he'd probably get an incentive-rich deal with a relatively low base salary so as not to upset the cap-ple cart. (They have nearly $5.3 million to spend, says Capgeek, but between Alfredsson and Danny DeKeyser's new deal, they're probably going to come close to that mark.)

Alfredsson will probably play in the vast majority of the Wings' games if he's healthy...

It's shrewd, inso far as Alfredsson can still help a team that needs help, even at his age. But here's the problem: The Red Wings already have a billion forwards.

No shit, Sherlock.

Not counting Alfredsson, the number of right wings on the roster is already fairly high (five if you count Anthony Mantha, who seems likely to make the team), and 13 of their forwards are on one-way deals. Thirteen! That doesn't include Alfredsson, and Tomas Jurco, who's the only one not on a two-way. It's crazy.

Mantha's not likely to make the team. The Wings, historically speaking, stick with their non-waiver-exempt guys first, which would suggest that Mitch Callahan and Landon Ferraro have a better chance to earn a fourth-line spot than Mantha does of cracking the top six--and if he doesn't crack the top six, he's not going to be in Detroit...

Granted, Alfredsson won't play every night — a fun and new way for Ken Holland to keep potential NHLers from being full-time contributors — but nonetheless, they'd carrying 15 NHL forwards and seven D. Plus two goalies is 24 roster players.


So who do you send down? Jurco's your only option, unless you find something to do with Danny Cleary and Drew Miller. Which you should.

Or how about Joakim Andersson, who's all but lost his job, just like Cleary?

Again, Lambert presents cogent points, and he certainly presents them in a well-written manner, but that doesn't excuse the fact that he's choosing to conveniently ignore the realities the Wings' coaches and management have laid out for the general public in the media to issue the usual, "You guys suck ha ha paying old guys who won't contribute" (um, Alfredsson had 49 points, and it's going to take a full month of regular skating for Alfredsson and the Wings' trainers, coaches and front office to come to a decision regarding the state of his back).

In Lambert's case, the best way to engage him is to not engage him at all. He's like WOPR and global thermonuclear war--the only way to win the game is not to play.



In foreign-language news, Mikael Samuelsson's starting his 2014-2015 campaign with Djurgardens IF of the SHL, and as I'm about to head out the door, here's some raw Google-translated Swedish from his interview with Expressen's Mattias Ek:

On August 28, it was thought that he would connect to Djurgården. That's when Samuelson's contract takes effect, according to Djurgården's Sports Director Charles Berglund.

- From the beginning, it was written so. The idea was that I would come to the park in late August, just because I wanted to come home in peace and quiet and get my children into school and help with the bit, before I did anything for the club. That was what I said early, says Samuelsson.

"I have not track at all"

But the plans have changed for the better for Djurgården.

- Yes, now it has changed. The closer you get, the more hungry you become. Now it's probably time to be with the team. I've talked with the family and it's totally okay that I go in and are with so that it will in time, says Samuelsson, who intend to run in time with Djurgarden on Monday.

Thus does he become available for play in Djurgården's premiere game in the Champions Hockey League at home against the Swiss Fribourg-Gottéron August 21st.

- Yes, exactly. There is a chapter that I did not have an eye on at all. Do you know how many games there are in a season? wonder a curious prospective Djurgården Forward.

For Djurgården waiting to start with six group matches in the Champions Hockey League.



And finally, via Paul, Joe Louis Arena made a "cameo" in the NHL 15's latest promotional video...

And at Gamescom in Germany, the game's "realism" was discussed as well:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



I think Lambert is probably right, Jurco will be starting the year in GR.

I’m all for bringing back Alfredsson, but they’re not going to want Jurco in Detroit if he isn’t going to be playing every night and, as you said yourself, they tend to send down the waiver exempt guys over the non-waiver exempt guys.

I also think that Alfredsson not playing every night will be the perfect excuse for them to keep Cleary around.  “We just think that it benefits us having Danny’s leadership in the locker room, and with him and Alfie splitting time we’ll be able to get the best out of both of them.”

And I guess we can all stop pretending that Mantha will be given any chance to make the team.

Posted by Garth on 08/13/14 at 11:51 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Olympia has also agreed to improve accessibility in restrooms

EVERYBODY needs greater accessibility to restrooms at JLA!

Posted by RWBill on 08/13/14 at 11:57 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Regarding the Joe Louis Arena lawsuit, the handicapped folks are standing up—no pun intended—for all of us. Ti love that rink but it’s hardly “accessible” for anyone.

Regarding “Tony” Mantha, the team has been very blunt about his chances of making the team:unless he steals a job from one of the top six forwards, he will start the season in Grand Rapids. He’s not going to be in Detroit to Olay on the fourth line for 5 minutes a night and he’s not going to be in Detroit to sit on the press box. He DOES face very long odds in terms of making the team because Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Nyquist, Sheahan,  Tatar, Weiss, Abdelkader and other players were in the “top six mix” long before tge team chose to retain Cleary and contemplate bringing Alfredsson back should his back hold up.

In this case and the previous one, Lambert is ignoring the larger picture in order to instill panic and angst about the smaller one. That’s what he does, and while his bullet is is incredibly well-written, it’s still bullshit.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/13/14 at 12:10 PM ET


I understand what you’re saying about Mantha, but even if he and Jurco prove that they belong on the team (and in the top six) there’s almost no way that Mantha will actually get the job, and there’s a very good chance that Jurco would be “Nyquisted” simply because he’s exempt.

I mean really, even if Mantha comes out of the pre-season as a definite top six player, because of Detroit’s roster crunch does anyone really believe that he’ll be on the first or second line instead of, say, Abdelkader?

In this case and the previous one, Lambert is ignoring the larger picture in order to instill panic and angst about the smaller one.

I’m not sure he is.  I’m all for bringing back last season’s leading scorer if he can play, but if he’s only going to be able to play 2/3 of the season at best then maybe it’s time to cut ties and actually embrace the youth movement that they keep pretending that they’re embracing.

Speaking of the smaller picture, bringing back Alfredsson in hopes that he’ll play 50-60 games really stinks of the “just keep the streak alive” mentality that has led to Detroit being a team that makes the playoffs each year rather than a team that’s a legitimate Cup contender every year.

If they know that Alfredsson isn’t going to be able to play a full season then they shouldn’t be signing him at all.

In my opinion.

Posted by Garth on 08/13/14 at 12:22 PM ET


I understand what you’re saying about Mantha, but even if he and Jurco prove that they belong on the team (and in the top six) there’s almost no way that Mantha will actually get the job, and there’s a very good chance that Jurco would be “Nyquisted” simply because he’s exempt.

Posted by Garth on 08/13/14 at 01:22 PM ET

What always makes me laugh about the “steal a job” and “tie goes to the veteran” logic is that it is based on subjectivity slanted heavily in the favor of the veteran from the start. What exactly is a “tie” in performance between, say, an Abdelkader and a Mantha, exactly? How do they measure the performance of Mantha compared to the performance of Abdelkader to determine whether someone stole a job? What’s been proven is that the eyeball test is used and it apparently heavily slants in favor of veterans (how else to explain Samuelsson and Emmerton starting ahead of some of the guys in GR who ended up taking the team to the playoffs?).

Posted by VitoLambruski on 08/13/14 at 12:31 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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