Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings mid-day news: pondering adding Redden, Helm/Samuelsson status updates, Mrazek the All-Star

Updated 7x with Griffins talk at 3:47 PM: Paul already posted this in KK hockey, but it's worth repeating for TMR readers: the New York Rangers have placed Wade Redden on waivers with the intention of buying his contract out, and as the Detroit Red Wings must avail themselves of all their options to attempt to bolster their defense, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings are at least considering signing the 35-year-old when the Rangers buy him out....

The Detroit Red Wings want to improve their defense and are looking at Wade Redden as a possible solution. The decision is being discussed internally, especially with assistant coach Tom Renney, who coached Redden in 2008-09 with the New York Rangers.

The Rangers made a big splash signing Redden to a six-year, $39-million deal in 2008, but things got so sour after two seasons that Redden spent 2010-11 and '11-12 in the minors. The Rangers have until Saturday's start of the 2013 season to buy out his contract, which would give Redden, 35, a shot at finding a new employer.

The Wings have some interest in him, but that's likely to be matched by the dozen or so other NHL teams that need help on defense. Redden's assets are his size -- 6-feet-2, 205 pounds -- and an offensive touch that saw him reach 50 points in 2005-06 and follow up with two straight 36-or-more-point seasons. In 994 games, dating to his '96-97 rookie year with the Ottawa Senators, Redden has 450 points. He was the second overall pick in the '95 draft, taken by the New York Islanders.

As St. James notes, the Wings were interested in Sami Salo after striking out on Ryan Suter--who's more injury-prone than the defenseman the Wings ended up signing in Carlo Colaiacovo--but Salo followed fellow Suter back-up plan Matt Carle to Tampa Bay. The Wings *do* have some tradeable depth on defense given that Jakub Kindl hasn't worked out, that Brian Lashoff is nearly NHL-ready and given that AHL'er Nathan Paetsch can be inked to a two-way contract in a hurry...

The Wings' defense went from very experienced to very young in the off-season, with Niklas Kronwall the only over-30 guy. A guy such as Redden might be a nice presence to have next to a rookie such as Brendan Smith, for example. That would then free up the possibility of pairing Kyle Quincey with Ian White and leave Colaiacovo in reserve.

There's plenty of financial flexibility to sign Redden, as the Wings are nearly $9 million below the salary cap. The questions for the Wings are: Will Redden improve the defense? He could, because he's a good passer and should help generate offense from the back end. He hasn't played in the NHL for two seasons, but the Wings have a way of bringing out the best in has-beens.

On the injury front, St. James is confirming that both Darren Helm (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) will miss some regular season games due to their injuries, increasing the chances of 40-year-old try-out Mike Knuble earning a spot on the roster (as Patrick Eaves is not ready for game action quite yet), even if the Kentwood, MI native has to accept a two-way deal...

"Each day is getting a little bit better," [Helm} said. "Still, I don't really know when I will be on the ice. Just kind of day-by-day, play it by ear."

Asked whether he'd be ready for the opener Saturday at St. Louis, Helm said, "Probably not."

Samuelsson pulled a groin on day one of camp. He joked that an "ultrasound didn't really show anything. I'm not pregnant." He said he believes "it's a minor, minor thing."

Samuelsson, 36, sounded hopeful he’ll be ready for the start, but groin injuries rarely take fewer than 10 days to heal. The Wings are hoping he’ll put his big shot — his big right-handed shot, no less, a rarity on the team — to good use on the second line and the power play.

Coach Mike Babcock considers Helm key to having all of his bottom-six forwards slotted correctly, but if Helm can’t go, Justin Abdelkader usually is called on to move up to center the third line.

Back injuries are notoriously unpredictable, and all Helm can really do is see how he feels each morning.

“I’ve never had a back injury, so I just kind of listen to what they say and trust in them, like I’ve done before,” he said. “I’m just being really cautious with it. It’s a short season. Obviously, I’ve got to get back quickly, but I can’t rush it and be back another three or four weeks.”

We can expect comments regarding said issues from Red Wings GM Ken Holland shortly, per Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji on Twitter...

And she offers a nifty tidbit regarding a top prospect:

Regarding the Grand Rapids Griffins, their PR department offers a weekly state-of-the-team press release...

This Week’s Games
Wed., Jan. 16 - GRIFFINS at Charlotte Checkers - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Thu., Jan. 17 - GRIFFINS at Charlotte Checkers - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / Sirius XM NHL Network Radio / AHLLive.com

Sat., Jan. 19 - GRIFFINS at Rockford IceHogs - 8:05 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Jan. 9 - GRIFFINS 6 at Rockford IceHogs 3 - 21-10-1-2, 45 pts. (1st, Midwest Division)

Fri., Jan. 11 - GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 5 - 21-11-1-2, 45 pts. (1st)

Sat., Jan. 12 - Peoria Rivermen 3 at GRIFFINS 2 OT - 21-11-2-2, 46 pts. (1st)

Halfway There: The Griffins will pass the midway point of their season this week, as Thursday’s contest in Charlotte marks the 38th game of the 76-game schedule. The team still sits atop the Midwest Division at 46 points (21-11-2-2), holding a six-point lead over a pair of teams tied at 40 points – Milwaukee (17-14-3-3) and Rockford (19-17-1-1). The Admirals and IceHogs are also facing pressure from below in the standings, as Chicago sits just one point back (17-12-3-2, 39 pts.) with games in hand, and Peoria is close behind at 38 points (17-17-2-2). Grand Rapids will finish a stretch of seven road games in a nine-day stretch (Jan. 5-19) this week, opening with back-to-back games against Charlotte on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. and facing off in Rockford on Saturday at 8:05 p.m. EST.

Detroit Detour: In addition to playing three regular season road games in four days, the Griffins’ week was made busier with a stop at the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp on Tuesday night. Many Griffins suited up for a Red vs. White scrimmage at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich., as Team Red defeated Team White 4-2 in front of a packed crowd. Four of the game’s six goals were scored by active Griffins players, while several Griffins alumni factored in as well. Trevor Parkes opened the scoring for Team White late in the first period, while Jeff Hoggan and Louis-Marc Aubry exchanged goals in the middle frame. Nathan Paetsch scored in the late stages of the third period to seal the victory for Team Red. Fans were treated to a shootout following the game, as Griffins alumnus Jimmy Howard stopped all five shots and Brendan Smith scored for Team White to help the squad to a 3-0 shootout decision.

Unfriendly Territory: Grand Rapids will make visits this week to a pair of arenas that have not been kind to the team in the past. Wednesday and Thursday will see the team match up against the Western Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers. The Griffins are 0-2 all time at Time Warner Cable Arena, in addition to sitting winless in five total meetings with the Checkers, including a 6-4 loss at Van Andel Arena in the teams’ first meeting on Oct. 26. Saturday’s game will lead the Griffins back to Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center for the third time in 11 days (Jan. 9-19). Grand Rapids is 3-8-2-2 all time in Rockford, as last Wednesday’s 6-3 win there snapped a five game losing streak in that building (since Jan. 2, 2010) and marked the second in 13 tries. The Griffins are 4-1-1-0 this season against the IceHogs, with the first four games of the eight-game season series coming at Van Andel Arena.

Week in Review: The Griffins took on the Rockford IceHogs in consecutive contests last week, taking a 6-3 victory on Wednesday before falling 5-2 on Friday. On Wednesday, Brent Raedeke and Riley Sheahan put the Griffins on the board early in the first period, but Rockford battled back with goals by Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith. Sheahan tallied his second of the night to put the visitors back in the lead late in the second period, and Tomas Tatar and Jeff Hoggan combined for goals 44 seconds apart in the third period to seal the victory for the Griffins. Landon Ferraro added a power play goal midway through the frame before Peter LeBlanc struck for Rockford to make the score 6-3. Grand Rapids got out to a quick start last night, as Gustav Nyquist tallied 27 seconds into the game, but a four-goal third period by Rockford proved too much to overcome, as the home team skated away with a 5-2 win. The following night at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins opened up a 2-0 lead over the Peoria Rivermen early in the second period with goals by Mitch Callahan and Ferraro, but the Rivermen fought back and tied the game before the end of the second period with goals by Adam Cracknell and Brett Sonne. After a scoreless third period, Sergey Andronov sent the Rivermen to their fifth straight win in Grand Rapids

Rough and Tumble: While Rockford is among the AHL leaders in penalty minutes (currently ranking second with an average of 24.92 per game), Grand Rapids sits in the middle of the pack in that category. However, games between the IceHogs and Griffins have not been friendly this season, as last Wednesday’s contest surpassed triple-digits (111) in penalty minute numbers. After Friday night’s game, the two clubs have combined for 413 penalty minutes over the last four meetings (Dec. 9 and 31, Jan. 9 and 11). The Griffins have averaged 50 penalty minutes per game in those contests, and their average for the season would fall from 13th in the league (17.36) to the fourth-lowest (13.06) if those games were excluded. Additionally, Triston Grant took 34 penalty minutes on Wednesday, which set one franchise record and tied another. Grant matched the single-game record for penalty minutes in one game (set by Kyle Quincey on March 26, 2008 vs. Lake Erie) and surpassed the record for most penalty minutes in one period, as his 34 minutes were more than the previous record of 29, set on four different occasions. The most recent occurrence was by Kris Newbury, who logged 29 penalty minutes on Dec. 12, 2009 in the second period of a game against the Milwaukee Admirals.

Motor City Bound: The Red Wings on Sunday recalled defensemen Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith from the Griffins. Lashoff, 22, is in his third professional season and shows 35 points (11-24—35) in 160 games with Grand Rapids. Originally signed by Detroit as a free agent in September 2008, Lashoff has six points (2-4—6) and six penalty minutes in 35 games with the team this season. Smith, 23, has recorded 86 points (27-59—86) in 152 contests with the Griffins from 2010-13, including 20 points (5-15—20) in 32 games this season. A first round pick (27th overall) by Detroit in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Smith made his NHL debut last season and notched seven points (1-6—7) in 14 games with the Red Wings.

Gaining Ground: While the Midwest Division still ranks among the tightest in the league – the eight points that separate first from fifth makes it the only division in the league separated by single digits – the Griffins have begun to pull away after recording points in six of their last seven (4-1-1-1) and 10 of their last 12 contests (8-2-1-1). Grand Rapids leads Milwaukee and Rockford by six points, marking the largest division lead in the Western Conference and third largest in the AHL. Only Springfield’s eight point lead over Bridgeport and Portland’s seven-point cushion over Worcester in the Atlantic Division is longer. Additionally, the Griffins show a 12-5-2-1 record against Midwest Division opponents, which is the fourth-best intra-division winning percentage (0.675) in the league. They trail only Syracuse (13-5-0-0, 0.722), Abbotsford (10-4-0-2, 0.688) and Binghamton (12-5-1-1, 0.684).

Helping Hand: Veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch currently holds the team’s longest point streak at four games, racking up five points (0-5—5) since Jan. 6. The LeRoy, Saskatchewan native ties for the longest assist streak of any Griffin this season, matching four-game runs by Francis Pare (Nov. 9-23), Joakim Andersson (Nov. 7-16) and Chad Billins (Oct. 19-28). Paetsch, who ranks fourth on the team with 15 assists, also holds the third-longest assist streak in the AHL, trailing Manchester’s Linden Vey (eight games) and Syracuse’s Alex Killorn (five games).

Elite Eight: Second-year right wing Gustav Nyquist has been heating up of late, notching points in eight straight games from Dec. 28-Jan. 11. The Halmstad, Sweden, native recorded 11 points (4-7—11) in that span, giving him the Griffins’ longest point streak of the season after beating out a seven-game streak by Francis Pare from Nov. 7-25. Nyquist is currently tied for sixth in the AHL in scoring with 36 points (13-23—36) in 36 games, sitting just two points out of fourth place.

Road Warriors: The Griffins concluded a four-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to Rockford on Friday, bringing their record on the trip to 2-1-0-1. Despite the two losses, the team still owns the fourth-best road record in the AHL, holding a 10-4-0-1 mark after playing a league-low 15 road games. Three teams own a better road winning percentage than Grand Rapids (0.700): Syracuse (16-3-0-2, 0.810), Charlotte (14-4-2-2, 0.727) and Springfield (12-4-2-0, 0.722. The Griffins can make up ground, playing three road games in four nights – two against the Checkers on Wednesday and Thursday, and one against Rockford on Saturday.

Milestone Man: Tomas Tatar continues to pile up milestones in his fourth season with the Griffins. With a goal and an assist in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Rockford, Tatar passed former teammate Jamie Tardif and now ranks third in franchise history with 79 goals, trailing only Francis Pare (91) and Michel Picard (158). Additionally, Tatar’s assist marked his 100th as a Griffin, becoming just the seventh player in franchise history to reach the triple-digit marker. The two points moved him into a tie with Jiri Hudler for sixth place in franchise history in points, sitting at 179. The only players to have recorded more points in a Griffins uniform are Picard (380), Travis Richards (238), Pare (213), Kip Miller (208) and Derek King (203). The milestones came exactly one week after Tatar skated in his 300th professional game and notched his 200th professional point, both on Jan. 4 versus Oklahoma City.

More Milestones: Gustav Nyquist skated in his 100th game as a Griffin on Saturday versus Peoria and is two points away from 100 with Grand Rapids…Nathan Paetsch is one game shy of 500 as a pro…Joakim Andersson’s next goal will be his 50th as a pro…Adam Almquist and Landon Ferraro are each three points shy of 50 as pros…Triston Grant is nine penalty minutes away from 1,400 as a pro…Tom McCollum will pass Pokey Reddick in wins with his next victory (currently at 35) to claim seventh place in franchise history. He’s also three games shy of being the fourth goalie in franchise history to 100 games played…Louis-Marc Aubry is five games away from 100 as a Griffin.

Walleye Watch: The Toledo Walleye struggled on a road trip last week, spending the week in Florida but dropping three straight games to the Florida Everblades on Wednesday (4-1 L), Friday (3-2 L) and Sunday (4-3 L). The team now ranks third in the ECHL’s North Division at 42 points (19-16-0-4). Willie Coetzee leads the team with 34 points (14-20—34) in 37 games, while Jordan Pearce leads the team’s goalies in goals against average, save percentage and wins. Pearce ranks among the ECHL’s top netminders with a 2.64 GAA (13th), a 0.903 save percentage (T18th), 10 wins (T18th) and two shutouts (T4th). Toledo will conclude a five-game road trip this week with stops in Fort Wayne on Friday at 8 p.m. and Evansville on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. EST.

And in the multimedia department, via RedWingsFeed, the NHL added to yesterday's slate of multimedia offerings (see: interviews with Ken Holland, Mike Babcock, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg, a clip of the Zetterberg captaincy press conference, a clip of Holland speaking after said presser, a post-lockout Red WIngs season preview, Larry Murphy's state of the Wings comments andTodd Bertuzzi's Red vs. White game shootout goal) with a conversation Jimmy Howard had with NHL Tonight...

 

And 97.1 the Ticket's ever-industrious Jeff Riger posted clips of (and quotes from) the Zetterberg presser...

 

As well as Ken Holland's immediately-after-the-presser take:
 


Expect updates to follow in due time.

Update #0.5: From Wakiji:

 

Update #0.6:


Update #1: MLive's Ansar Khan's confirming that the Wings are pondering adding Redden as a low-cost bolstering of their defense...

The New York Rangers placed the 36-year-old defenseman on waivers today, with the purpose of buying out the final two seasons of his six-year, $39 million contract, which has a salary-cap hit of $6.5 million. He will not be claimed at that price. He will clear waivers at noon Thursday and be bought out by Saturday. At that point, any team can sign him to a much cheaper contract.

Redden, 35, is among several defensemen the Red Wings have discussed internally. He is not the top-pair defenseman the Red Wings have been seeking since they lost out on free agent Ryan Suter (who signed with Minnesota) last summer, but he would provide depth.

However, if the Red Wings were to sign Redden or anyone else they would need to trim a player, since they are at the 23-man roster limit, not including forward Patrick Eaves, who might start the season on injured reserve as he continues working his way back from a concussion.

After signing that huge deal in 2008, Redden (6-2, 205) played just two seasons for the Rangers before the club soured on him. He spent the past two seasons with the AHL Connecticut Whale.

Redden, the No. 2 overall pick with the New York Islanders in 1995, is a good puck-mover but his offensive game, as well as his overall play, has been in decline for several seasons. He is not a physical player, either.

The Sports Forecaster describes Redden as follows...

ASSETS: Has excellent passing skills. Plays with ice water in his veins and never gets rattled. Is extremely durable and owns an accurate point shot. Is a solid puck mover.

FLAWS: Has regressed in his overall game with time. Tends to lack passion when he plays. Also lacks a physical game and doesn't initiate contact with any frequency.

CAREER POTENTIAL: Fading veteran puck-moving defenseman.

And MLive's Brendan Savage offers some initial Wings chances-of-winning-the-Stanley Cup betting odds:

Bovada.lv puts the Red Wings at 20-1 to win the Stanley Cup and 9-1 to win the Western Conference during the lockout-shortened season that begins Saturday night in St. Louis.

The favorite to win the Stanley Cup is the New York Rangers at 15-2 followed by the team Red Wings fans love to hate, the Pittsburgh Penguins at 17-2. The Vancovuer Canucks are 10-1 followed by the Boston Bruins and defending champion Los Angeles Kings at 12-1.

In the Western Conference, Vancovuer is the favorite to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals at 9-2. The Chicago Blackhawks are next at 13-2 and the Red Wings are sixth at 9-1.

Update #1.5: Here's a different view of Bertuzzi's goal from HockeyWebcaster on YouTube:

 

 

Update #2:  I can only roll my eyes at this "biggest question" going into the season as answered by ESPN's Scott Burnside:

What team will disappoint the most? Folks have been predicting the decline of the Detroit Red Wings since the last lockout and all they've done is make the playoffs every season, win a Cup and go to another final over that period. That said, last spring's disappointing first-round loss to Nashville, coupled with the retirement of captain Nicklas Lidstrom and four-time Cup winner Tomas Holmstrom, and the defection of defenseman Brad Stuart to San Jose, suggests that this 48-game sprint will be very tough on the Red Wings. Tough enough that they miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990? Quite possibly. But if there's any solace, the Red Wings won't be the only playoff regular to feel the sting this spring.

And here are more Twitter gems from Wakiji:

Update #2.5: Friends of TMR Courtney Fathers and Sara Schropp posted massive photo galleries from last night's Red vs. White game.

Update #3: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms the Wings' interest in Redden...

he Wings’ pursuit of a defenseman to help fill the void left by Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (trade) could lead them to giving a good look at Wade Redden. Redden was placed on waivers by the New York Rangers today and if he clears at noon Thursday he could be bought out Saturday of his final two years of his six-year, $39 million contract.

The Wings may have interest in Redden, 35, at a much more reduced price.

Redden never caught on with the Rangers and was placed on waivers only after two seasons in New York. After clearing waivers, he was assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack where be became the highest-paid player in the history of the American Hockey League

Redden, who was the second overall pick by the New York Islander in 1995, is among several defensemen the Red Wings have discussed internally.

The Wings tried to make a big splash in the offseason after losing Lidstrom and Stuart, going after the top free agent defenseman on the market, Ryan Suter. Then, they reached out to restricted free agent Shea Weber, who decided to sign an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers, which was later matched by the Nashville Predators.

The Wings were left with signing Carlo Colaiacovo.

However, Detroit is already at the 23-man roster limit and that doesn’t include Patrick Eaves, who has yet to be cleared for games from a concussion and could start the season on short- or long-term injured reserve.


And I really don't know what to think about this news. Yes, Redden is a puck-moving defenseman who is not particularly physical, but can still skate well and head-man the rush in a puck possession-style game, he's obviously champing at the bit to prove himself, and he'd come very, very cheaply...

But Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have indicated that the team wants to see what it's got by actually giving Jonathan Ericsson top-pair ice time, giving Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith big roles, finding out whether Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White can recapture their chemistry as rookies with Toronto sans mistakes or errors in judgment, and the team most certainly wants to know whether Jakub Kindl is an NHL defenseman or not, and if you bring Redden into the fold, some of those big questions go unanswered--until playoff time. That worries the hell out of me.

Should the Wings just see what they've got, maybe sign Nathan Paetsch to a 2-way deal, see what Brian Lashoff can do as a call-up and then wait until the trade deadline, when the Wings may be healthy enough to parlay some of their depth forwards and mid-tier prospects into a real impact defenseman, like the possibly-still-estranged Islander that is Lubomir Visnovsky?

I don't have the answer to that question, but I'm glad that the Wings have so many smart hockey minds in Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Mark Howe and the pro scouts, and having someone who coached Redden though his ups and downs in New York on the staff in Tom Renney gives the team the opportunity to make a very reasoned decision.

As Pleiness suggests, the Wings already have a roster glut, too, and adding Redden would almost require them to subtract a depth forward and/or not sign Mike Knuble and/or get rid of a defenseman, and I'm not sure that that's how one wants to roll at the beginning of a 48-games-in-99-nights demolition derby.

 

Update #4: Detroithockey.net's Clark Rasmussen made a great point on Twitter: during a 48-game season, there simply may be no "sellers" at the trade deadline on April 3rd, and that is an important issue for the Wings to consider...

And yay, promotions!

1. The Red Wings and Meltdown from WRIF are promoting an "Unlock the Joe" promotion:

Unlock the Joe: Join Meltdown for your shot to "Unlock the Joe"! Meltdown will have trivia, games, and contests going all night. Plus everyone can register to win a pair of tickets to the Red Wings Home Opener and a key that could "Unlock the Joe".

    Thursday, January 17, at 5th Avenue Royal Oak from 10 p.m. to Midnight
    Friday, January 18, location TBD from 10 p.m. to Midnight
    Saturday, January 19 at Joe Kool's in Troy from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    Tuesday, January 22 at Cobo Joes from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  (LAST CHANCE TO WIN)

Listen to win: Keep it locked on the RIFF all week for your chance to call in and win tickets to check out the Detroit Red Wings take to the ice for the home opener!

Plus you'll also receive a key that could "Unlock the Joe" allowing you to win the grand prize...

Grand Prize: If your key "Unlocks the Joe" you'll win a six game ticket package for any six games of your choosing.

It's brought to you by Miller Lite…The Official Domestic Beer of the Red Wings and 101 WRIF, Everything that Rocks!

Ken Kal Tweeted the following:

Inside Hockeytown show tonight from 9-11pm @971theticketxyt Join Pat Caputo & me for Wings talk & a chance to win tix to the home opener!

And the Griffins have a "popcorn promotion" that you can check out here.

 

 

Update #5: Here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's take on Redden:

Much of the speculation today is to whether the Red Wings would have interest in defenseman Wade Redden.He’s 35, and will be bought out of a six-year, $39 million contract by Saturday, after he clears waivers Thursday.

For the right price (inexpensive, cheap), certainly there would be interest. Redden has size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), experience, and can move the puck.

But Redden’s play declined dramatically in his time in New York, forcing the Rangers to stow him in the minor leagues the last couple seasons. That would send off some alarms.

I get the sense the Red Wings would like to see what they have, first. They’re certainly not going to get into a bidding war for Redden.

And, with flexibility under the salary cap, come trade deadline they have a broader and better pool to choose from.

 

Update #6: Ian White spoke to WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning...

 

 

As did Kris Draper...

 

 

 

For the record, Nicklas Lidstrom told Hockeysverige.se's Ronnie Ronnqvist that yes, the Wings called him and asked him if he'd like to return for a 48-game season, but Lidstrom says very happy in Sweden, and feels that he made the right decision to retire when he did;

 

As is perhaps typical, one Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner is trying to convince the Red Wings to acquire Zach Bogosian from the Winnipeg Jets again...

 

 

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has just filed an off-day article discussing associate coach Tom Renney's desire to resurrect the Red Wings' moribund power play, even accounting for Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom's retirements:

"We’ve got people capable of filling those holes,” said Wings assistant coach Tom Renney, who has been put in charge of the power play by coach Mike Babcock. “As much as Nick is a Hall of Famer I don’t think you dwell on that. I think you look at who’s here and what they have to offer and play off those strengths. From first looks I think we have what we need to have an effective power play.”

Last year’s power play conversion rate was the Wings’ worst since the 2006-07 season when it was just 17.1 percent.

“The bottom line is whatever we do on the power play five guys have to be connected both mentally and through their level of skill,” Renney said. “From what I see we have both.”

The Wings have had much success on the power play the four seasons prior to last, ranking in the top five in three of those seasons and ninth in one. Renney resurrected the power play in Edmonton in his second season behind the bench.

“I think we had the right sticks, not necessarily the personnel, but we did have some pretty good ponies,” Renney recalled of his time behind the Oilers bench. “Speaking of pedigree, they were very hungry to score on the power play for starters. I think we really made the net the focal point,” Renney added. “You can over pass the puck on the power play to the point where you have diminishing returns. Our objective was to get it to the net as quickly as we could, create chaos at the net and really come in hard for rebounds.”

Renney’s first year with the Oilers the power play ranked 27th and then jumped to third overall his second season.

“What I find interesting is how your skill can take over when you start taking that approach,” Renney said. “Then you’ve got guys that can do some pretty significant things when they do start attacking the net.”

Renney continues at significant length, so give the rest of Pleiness's article a read.

 

Update #7: Glad to see this hit the web. The Grand Rapids Griffins are a different team without Brendan Smith and, for now anyway, Brian Lashoff, and Peter J. Wallner continues our "talk to the coaches day" theme by asking Griffins coach Jeff Blashill how the team willa ddress the permanent loss of Smith to Detroit and Lashoff's at least temporary departure--especially given that the Griffins have an incredibly difficult schedule ahead, playing back-to-back games in Charlotte tonight and tomorrow, and then heading to Rockford for a game on Saturday. Add in last night's scrimmage, and that's four games over the course of five nights:

“Smitty and Lash are two outstanding defensemen, and that’s a fact,” said Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill. “We have felt all year that Gleason Fournier and Max Nicastro are guys we feel can be very good defensemen in the American Hockey League. They just haven’t had a chance to prove that. So it’s a great chance for them.”

Fournier and Nicastro have bounced between Grand Rapids and Toledo of the ECHL. This year, Nicastro has played in seven games (one goal, one assist) and Fournier has played in five games (one assist). The two will play together on the third unit. They are the biggest blue-line combo with Nicastro at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and Fournier at 6-foot, 190 pounds.

“They are a left and a right shot,” Blashill said. “We think that puts a puck mover and a bigger, strong body with each pairing.”

The others are Nathan Paetsch (6-0, 195) and Adam Almquist (5-11, 173) and Brennan Evans (6-4, 230) and Chad Billins (5-10, 182).

“It’s just a matter of redefining chemistry and who matches up best as you move along,” Blashill said. “And I think, ultimately, there are lots of times when you get down to five guys available, so it doesn’t hurt to mix and match.”

“Obviously, it will change some guys’ role who will have increased ice time and we’ll need those guys to step up and fill those holes,” said Paetsch, who was paired with Smith most of the season. “Those are two really good players (Smith and Lashoff), so we need others to step in and fill role.”

Paetsch, an alternate captain, becomes the most experienced defenseman. The 29-year-old, in his first year with the Griffins, is a 10-year pro with 167 games in the NHL, mostly with Buffalo from 2005-06 to 09-10.

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Comments

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

If we do sign Redden, I hope he doesn’t expect to be able to wear #6.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 01/16/13 at 02:10 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

hmmmm ... take a chance and see if Kindl has actually grown a pair and can play somewhat physical NHL hockey or sign Redden and all of his experience ?

It’ll probably come down to what Renny has to say about their experience together in NY, but I’d pay more attention to his play in Ottawa.  Rangers to Redden is what Toronto was to Larry Murphy and look what we got out of Murph.

Not saying we’ll get that many seasons out of Redden but, if we can get 2 or 3 seasons out of him in a 3/4 slot, thats better than Kindl at this point.

Yeah, we’d have to nuke a forward to make room for Redden so it may come down to who they think will have a bigger impact .... Redden or Emmerton.

My armchair GM decision would be to sign Redden.

We have a somewhat long list of forwards waiting for their turn in the bigs that are much better than Emmerton, and if you follow the old-time rule of ‘you can never have too much defence’, it shouldn’t be that hard of a decision.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 01/16/13 at 04:56 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Emmerton, 4th rounder for Bogosian smile

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/16/13 at 07:09 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Re: Redden - pass.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/17/13 at 12:05 AM ET

wedge56's avatar

I’m not too interested in Redden at this point.  If we can’t add a youngish surefire top two/three d-man then let our young guys play and see what they bring.

Posted by wedge56 on 01/17/13 at 12:49 AM 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.