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Red Wings Monday practice post: Datsyuk in, Howard starting, Helm traveling, Z stays behind

Updated 6x at 3:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings got back to work at Joe Louis Arena after dropping a disappointing 2-1 decision to Florida on Saturday, and the Wings will need as many hands on deck as possible as the team will play eight games over the course of 14 nights, starting with tomorrow's rematch with the Panthers and Thursday's tilt in Tampa Bay, and continuing with back-to-backs against the Penguins and Bolts at home...

But the, "Good news, bad news" train regarding the Wings' injuries continued to roll along, as reported by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

Helm not at practice. He's missed last 2 games with a shoulder injury.

And MLive's Ansar Khan:

Helm (shoulder) not practicing today as Wings take the ice at JLA. Datsyuk, slated to return Tuesday, is skating.

Lines? Khan's got 'em:

Looks like Datsyuk is with Franzen and Bertuzzi: Weiss centering Alfredsson and Abdelkader.


Andersson skating with Nyquist and Tatar; Emmerton with Miller and Cleary/Samuelsson.

There was much rejoicing, per Pleiness:

Samuelsson appears to be the odd man out of the lineup Tuesday in Florida.

And now Khan...

Based on how they're skating it looks like Samuelsson is the extra forward tomorrow.


Top power play unit has Datsyuk with Franzen and Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Alfredsson at points.

The Wings posited a Tweet as well...

From practice: Pavel skated with Mule and Bert; Datsyuk is hoping to return tomorrow night #RedWings

And Sport-Express's Slava Malmud is in attendance, too:

In lovely Detroit, which I hear is in a bit of financial trouble. Don't worry, Detroit, Slava will only stay for 2 days #SlavasAmericaTour


At @DetroitRedWings practice. @hbo is filming. Wonder if Pavel fulfills their Quirky Russian Quota #SlavasAmericaTour http://twitter.com/SlavaMalamud/status/410099646187712513/photo/1

Well that's that then? Per St. James...

Pavel Datsyuk on playing Tuesday: I hope so.

This is news-worthy, per Khan...

Howard said he is starting tomorrow. Helm's equipment is packed for the trip.

Ditto for this from Pleiness...

Howard starting Tuesday in Florida. Says not happy with Babcock's decision not to play him Saturday but respects it.


Datsyuk confirms he's playing Tuesday in Florida.

This is why I wait for the coach's comments. Babcock may claim to not speak with the team's trainers or physicians, but he tends to know who's healthy enough to play and who's "not going."

Kulfan was there!

Datsyuk in tomorrow

Here we go, per Khan...

Babcock said Samuelsson will be scratched tomorrow. Zetterberg not on trip, not ready to start skating.

St. James...

With Pavel Datsyuk back Tuesday, Mike Babcock says Samuelsson will be out at Florida. Jimmy Howard will start, #redwings


Henrik Zetterberg (back) won't join #RedWings for Florida trip

And the Wings:

Jimmy Howard said he is starting tomorrow in Florida #RedWings

And in the FYI department, from the Griffins' public relations crew:



Several Griffins players will ring bells for the Salvation Army at two local Family Fare stores:

Byron Center Family Fare (2275 Health Dr. SW)
4-5:30 p.m.: David McIntyre and Riley Sheahan
5:30-7 p.m.: Petr Mrazek and Andrej Nestrasil

Kentwood Family Fare (6127 Kalamazoo Ave. SE)
4-5:30 p.m.: Landon Ferraro and Jeff Hoggan
5:30-7 p.m.: Mitch Callahan and Xavier Ouellet

Griff will make appearances at both locations, from 5-5:30 p.m. in Byron Center and 6-6:30 p.m. in Kentwood.

7-8 p.m. - Griff will attend the Make A Wish Holiday Party at the Amway World Headquarters auditorium in Ada.


6:30-7:30 p.m. - Griff will participate in the Grand Rapids Jaycees' Holiday Shopping Tour 2013 at Meijer in Cascade (5531 28th St. SE).

And in the promotional department...

You've seen the promos by now.


Update #0.5: Ah yes...

As I said in another post, I am simply hoping that Zetterberg and DeKeyser can skate in the Winter Classic itself. I don't want either player rushing back, but it would be good to see them on the ice at the Big House.

And I'll grant you that the beat writers work their asses off, and I have all the respect in the world for them, but I see Red Bird III heading for Fort Lauderdale and know that it won't be back in Metro Detroit until Friday, and I think, "Well, it's not all hard work and no play." wink


Update #1: Big news regarding the Wings' #2 center from St. James...

Darren Helm (shoulder) will travel with #RedWings to Florida but doesn't expect to play for week to 10 days

And Khan...

Helm hopes to return in week, week and a half. Will go on Florida trip to skate.

And Kulfan's 2008 model phone!

Helm going on trip but does not sound like he is playing until next week


Update #2: In the literary corner, per the Novi Observer's Lonnie Huhman:

A new book visually captures the Original Six glory years of the Red Wings in a way rarely seen before, making it a great gift for any hockey fan.

It showcases vintage photographs from the sport's golden age and takes readers on a trip down memory lane during the years of 1942-1967 with an assortment of photos from some of the best players including, Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuck, Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel and other legends that forever changed the sport of hockey.

The Novi Public Library welcomes sports columnist Bob Duff and his new book, “Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings”, for an event on Saturday that will have him sharing photos and memories from his new book, answering some questions, and topping it off with a signing.

“It’s a bygone era that in a lot of ways was the glory years of the sport when there were only six teams loaded with a ton of talent going at it every game,” Duff said of the years his book covers.

As the sports columnist for the Windsor Star, Duff has covered the NHL since 1988 and is a contributor to The Hockey News and MSNBC.com. A big reason for the book is the photos, mostly unseen by fans, that he was able to use from the library of the now defunct Detroit Times.

“These are some unique photos in that they’ve never been seen before yet they capture the era really well,” he said.


Duff will share this greatest period of Red Wings hockey at the Novi Library from 1-3 pm on Saturday, Dec. 14. To reserve a spot, call (248) 349-0720; register online at novilibrary.org, or in person at 45255 W. Ten Mile Road.

Update #2.5: More from St. James:

Asked Darren Helm if decision to go to Florida even though he won't play has to do with location?: "The sun & heat definitely are a factor."


#RedWings Pavel Datsyuk on how he feels after out 7 games with concussion: "Out of shape, but OK." (Datsyuk out of shape > most NHL players)

Update #3: Here's St. James' practice post:

Pavel Datsyuk described himself as "super excited" to rejoin his Detroit Red Wings teammates. Datsyuk will be back for Tuesday's game at the Florida Panthers, his first since a concussion that sidelined him for seven games.

"I watch a few games on TV, you want to play," he said.

Datsyuk will be centering Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi. Franzen had an exceptionally good stretch while Datsyuk was gone, producing four goals among nine points. Coach Mike Babcock doesn't want to see any drop off from Franzen just because the team's most dynanic player is back.

"I thought Franzen was a star when Pav was out," Babcock said. "Leadership-wise, determination-wise, how he played. Now that's the bench mark. You don't go back to the other guy. You continue to be what you've been. He should be proud of how he played, and now we need him to keep playing like that."

The other lines, as of Monday's practice, had Stephen Weiss with Daniel Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader, and a potentially terrific third line with Joakim Andersson centering Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Cory Emmerton is remaining with the Wings for now, so he'll be on the fourth line between Drew Miller and Daniel Cleary, bumping Mikael Samuelsson from the lineup.


Henrik Zetterberg isn't going on the trip because the last thing anyone with back pain needs is to sit on a plane. Darren Helm is going - think of the appeal of the destination - even though he doesn't anticipate returning from a sprained left shoulder for at least a week, if not 10 days. He's hoping to start skating in a couple of days.

"I think there's a chance I can make it onto the ice, so I'll take that," Helm said. "The sun and heat definitely are a factor as well."


Update #4: Here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's practice post:

Jimmy Howard will be back between the pipes after sitting and watching the last two games.

“I was really surprised,” Howard said when asked if he was surprised he didn’t start Saturday night against Florida. “We’re all competitors in here, we all want to play, we all want to be out there. I understand (coach Mike Babcock’s) decision. I have to respect his decision, but at the same time I don’t have to like it. I just have to continue working hard and keep getting better every day.”

Howard is 6-8-6 this season with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

“To be honest I don’t think I played any different than I did against the (New York) Islanders than I did against Philadelphia,” Howard said. “It’s just that the puck went in. I’m not going to change anything else. I’ve been very successful and I’ve come a long way with my game. I’m not just all of a sudden going to reinvent the wheel.”


Helm has a sprain or strain to his left shoulder. He’ll need a week or week and a half of practices before he’s ready to play again.

“I’m optimistic I won’t be out that long,” Helm said. “I’ve made head way. The first couple of days were pretty bad. The last two have been pretty good. I’m hoping it continues in the same direction and I’ll get back sooner rather than later.”

Helm has been hot since returning to the lineup, with seven goals and three assists in 15 games.

“It’s not ideal,” Helm said. “It’s just the way it is. I’ve learned to deal with these a little bit better than I have in the past. It’s still never fun to be out, sitting watching. I want to play and that’s the bottom line.”

Update #5: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's practice report:

Datsyuk missed seven games due to a concussion suffered from an elbow to the chin from Ottawa’s Jared Cowen on Nov. 23. He will be skating on a line with Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi.

“Out of shape, but I feel OK,” Datsyuk said after practice today. “I watch a few games on TV. When you watch, you want to play, but (team) not let me play.”

Datsyuk leads the lead with 12 goals and his 23 points rank second to Henrik Zetterberg, who remains idled with a herniated disc and won’t make the trip to Florida and Tampa Bay (Thursday).

Asked if he can do everything he normally does, Datsyuk said, “Can do lots of stuff in practice but in games it’s different level. We’ll see tomorrow.’’

He’s happy to be playing with Franzen, who has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 13 games since returning from an injury.

“He scored almost every game; he play unbelievable, one of the best players,” Datsyuk said.

Datsyuk said of the team’s play in his absence, “Everybody played together and played hard. Sometimes it doesn’t go well. Sometimes have a few mistakes that cost us game.”


Update #6: Here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's practice post...

Forward Darren Helm (sprained shoulder) will make the trip with the Red Wings but likely won't play until early next week. Helm, who has missed the last two games, hopes to get on the ice for practice within the next few days.

"The first step is to get on the ice and see how it feels," Helm said. "I'm hoping in a couple of days it would it be nice to get on the ice there."

The range of motion has improved considerably, said Helm, over the last few days and he's been able to do some strengthening work. After all his recent injuries, Helm is taking this one in a little more stride.

"It's not ideal but that's the way it is," Helm said. "I've learned how to deal with these things better than in the past.”


Getting Datysuk into the lineup, the Red Wings hope, will ignite an offense that needs the scoring touch Datsyuk can provide.

"He's one of those unique players that it doesn't matter who he's playing with, their play elevates," said goalie Jimmy Howard, who also will return to the starting lineup.

It'll be interesting to see how Franzen reacts to playing with Datsyuk, and whether Franzen can continue his recent pace. Franzen has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last nine games, and has one of the best Red Wings on the ice during the absence of Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc).

"For Franzen, he was a star when Pav was out," coach Mike Babcock said. "Leadership-wise, determination-wise, how he played -- now that's the benchmark. You don't go back, you continue to what you've been and be proud of the way he played. We need him to keep playing like that."

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff suggests that Gustav Nyquist is a fine "waiver wire" pick-up for poolies...

Gustav Nyquist (owned in 13 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The fantasy world was waiting for Detroit to recall Nyquist, and ever since he arrived in Detroit on Nov. 21, the 24-year-old has been producing for the depleted Red Wings. In three games without Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Nyquist, who has center eligibility in Yahoo leagues, has played about 18 minutes a game. The Red Wings have four games scheduled this week and Nyquist, who has points in five of his 10 games, is a perfect filler for an injured scorer.

And St. James' practice video just hit the web. Pavel Pavel Pavel:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


WingedRider's avatar

Sorry Jimmy , you haven’t earned your Ice Time.  Bottom of the barrel stats for Goalies have to get better to play..

Hope it comes around soon!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/09/13 at 02:40 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

VERY good news on the Datsyuk front.

Less so on the Z front, but not unexpected.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/09/13 at 02:55 PM ET


Okay, these posts would be shorter and more readable without having to see “howard not starting” from 500 different sources.

Posted by fromdowntown on 12/09/13 at 02:58 PM ET


Okay, these posts would be shorter and more readable without having to see “howard not starting” from 500 different sources.

or Howard starting. whatever. Point remains.

Posted by fromdowntown on 12/09/13 at 02:59 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We’ve all but done away with embedded Tweets to reduce the bandwidth demands and “blocked site” issues…Some people want to read every source confirm and some people don’t.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/09/13 at 03:04 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I am in Canada and only get Canadian Team news, so any Wings news is GREAT.  I do pick and choose some of the sources in the Blog!

Keep it coming , LOL!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/09/13 at 03:09 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...a potentially terrific third line with Joakim Andersson centering Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.

Things could get very exciting on Tuesday. On the other hand…

Cory Emmerton is remaining with the Wings for now, so he’ll be on the fourth line between Drew Miller and Daniel Cleary…

...that’s a bummer for Miller.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/09/13 at 03:42 PM ET


... And Bert is back on the first unit.  He can’t keep up with Pav and Mule (when Mule decides to skate).

Posted by Uncle Rico on 12/09/13 at 03:48 PM ET


And I’ll grant you that the beat writers work their asses off, and I have all the respect in the world for them, but I see Red Bird III heading for Fort Lauderdale and know that it won’t be back in Metro Detroit until Friday, and I think, “Well, it’s not all hard work and no play.”

What does Red Bird III have to do with the beat writers?  They don’t ride on it; they fly commercial.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/09/13 at 04:14 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

that’s a bummer for Miller.

I agree, Miller deservea A LOT better than Cleary/Emmerton. Then Babs decides to put Quincey/Smith with that line. Chaos results

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/09/13 at 04:16 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

On Waivers NYI, The 29-year-old Bouchard signed a one-year, $2 million contract in the offseason and has scored just four goals and five assists in 29 games this season.

Better than Cleary, just saying

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/09/13 at 04:28 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

They are still going to Florida, JKM. Nice to know that you’re going over my writing with a fine-toothed comb to find reasons to critique me again. Now my life is fulfilled and I am truly back to work. raspberry

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/09/13 at 04:35 PM ET


Welcome back GM.  Pavel in, Sammy out - I’ll take it.

Posted by maltby18 on 12/09/13 at 05:29 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Datsyuk out of shape > most NHL players

Love it

As for the the Big outdoor game…..I don’t think Z will be there :(

Posted by gowings from MTL on 12/09/13 at 05:39 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

Datsyuk comes back which is fantastic.

Our best player in his absence, Nyquist, gets demoted to the 3rd line, breaking up what was our 2nd best line by demoting Drew Miller, who always brings it, to the 4th line.

Todd Bertuzzi will continue to play on Datsyuk’s wing. Bertuzzi didn’t have a point in the last 6 games before he got hurt, and he has 0 in his 2 games back. He can’t skate, he isn’t physical (I don’t care how big or imposing you want to call him), and he doesn’t produce any offense at all. What is his purpose in the lineup, let alone on the top line?

And quite possibly the worst player in the NHL this year, Dan Cleary, plays on.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 12/09/13 at 05:58 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Speaking of the outdoor game, I am worried about Pav, to be honest.

When he played in the WC in Chicago he used the wind to give him an extra step on other players. What type of wind exists in Ann Arbor? Can it blow a hockey player around the rink?

Hopefully Pee Air is on top of this and reports on the issue soon.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/09/13 at 06:02 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

I also believe that Nyquist has everything to do with Franzen’s resurgence and improved play. Kid skates hard, is very, very good with the puck and is a huge playmaker. He forces Mule to keep up and he gets rewarded for it. 11 of Franzen’s 20 points have come in the 9 games since Nyquist has been called up. I don’t see the sense in breaking them up so Todd Bertuzzi can float around while they watch Pav skate with the puck.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 12/09/13 at 06:05 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And quite possibly the worst player in the NHL this year, Dan Cleary, plays on.

He’s not even the worst player on the Red Wings.

Bertuzzi didn’t have a point in the last 6 games before he got hurt, and he has 0 in his 2 games back.

That comes across slightly more honestly if it says Bertuzzi didn’t have a point in the last 6 games before he sat with an injury. It’s possible that him being hurt somewhere in there contributed to that.

But I’ll agree that he hasn’t contributed enough to the team in the two games back, although I did like how much trouble he caused at the net-front, it’s all for naught if it doesn’t actually produce points.

He’s also behind only Datsyuk and Franzen for power play goals scored on the season, so it’s not like he produces NO offense… just that he doesn’t produce enough.  That which he does produce he tends to do with Datsyuk on the ice (and it’s easy to say that Datsyuk can turn anybody into a 20-goal scorer, except when you remember that’s what Babcock tried to do with Abdelkader and Cleary on his Wing and it didn’t work).

I don’t know.  I’ve really liked what Miller has brought in the last few games and it sucks to see him relegated down to the fourth line with Cleary and Emmerton.  I think it would be cool if Bertuzzi and Miller switched places just to see what Drew could do up there, but I also worry about moving him too far up the depth chart because he’s the team’s biggest minute-munching PK forward and giving him more 5-on-5 minutes makes it harder to give him as much 4-on-5 time if need be.

I like the idea of the Griffins top line playing as the #3 for the Wings.  They should brutalize opponents’ third lines and put pressure on the Weiss/Alfreddson/Abdelkader line to perform.  Whichever one is doing better will become the team’s de-facto 2nd line on the road when opposing coaches get to decide the matchups they want to throw out against our guys.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/09/13 at 06:24 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I liked the way that Nyquist’s speed allowed Franzen to lurk as a winger, but if Franzen and Bertuzzi are on the same line, Bert will go to the front of the net and Franzen will continue to lurk in the weeds, so that works for me.

In terms of the wind? Hell, Michigan Stadium’s on the top of a hill and points north-south while the winds tend to blow west to east. It gets all sorts of swirly and weird in there.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/09/13 at 07:12 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

JJ, I agree that Bert was probably playing through pain before he sat out. We’re also in agreement that he doesn’t produce enough offense. He just isn’t that effective of a hockey player anymore - there are better options than him as a top winger playing next to Pavel Datsyuk. Him being 3rd on the team in powerplay goals is a nice stat but I think it’s safe to say that over a full season, if you put Tatar/Nyquist in his spot they would be far more productive on the powerplay. It isn’t like he’s wreaking havoc out there on the man advantage. If I recall correctly 2 of his 3 PPGs were within the same week on wraparounds during broken plays.

Miller has shown he can play in any position he’s been put on. He looked really good playing on a talented 3rd line with skilled players and running the PK. Now he’s losing out on 5-on-5 time.

I also agree that The Griffin Line is a wonderful line, I just don’t like the idea of Nyquist getting less ice time or really any of the three getting less ice time. As far as forwards, especially with Z and Helm out, Tatar and Nyquist are our most dangerous after Pav and Franzen and they’ve been playing like it. I’d hate to see them losing out on ice time still when they’ve worked and produced enough to deserve those minutes.

Also, worse player than Cleary? I’m going to guess you’re thinking Quincey? I’ll edit my stance to: Quite possibly the worst forward in the NHL. Cleary has been so useless for Detroit all year. He can’t skate. He can’t stickhandle. He definitely can’t do both at the same time. It’s really tough to watch. This is how he looked last regular season- in the playoffs he really played at a different level, it was definitely surprising but made you think he still had something left in the tank. Now I’m thinking he’s just done and the playoffs were his last hurrah. 

Lastly, am I going to be sitting here all season waiting for Weiss to become the player I thought he was?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 12/09/13 at 07:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Also, worse player than Cleary? I’m going to guess you’re thinking Quincey?

I was actually thinking Samuelsson, who makes almost twice what Cleary makes and has half the scoring pace. Cleary is at least decent defensively and can play the PK.  Sammy had a few good-looking games this week, but overall he’s a train-wreck.

Although, There’s probably about 50 or so forwards worse than Cleary in the NHL.

Lastly, am I going to be sitting here all season waiting for Weiss to become the player I thought he was?

Hopefully not.


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/09/13 at 07:48 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.