The Malik Report
Red Wings Monday practice post: Franzen out, Glendening to be recalled and lots of ‘gnus and gnotes’
by George Malik on 10/28/13 at 12:16 PM ET
Updated 10x at 3:52 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice after a very disappointing weekend and very disappointing slate of 4 consecutive losses, with bad on-ice habits requiring work-it-out repair and the team's negative results requiring some 'splaining to do.
Practice kicked off with bad news from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Johan Franzen missing at practice. Waiting on an update. #RedWings
MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed:
Wings on ice for practice. Franzen not skating. Waiting for word on his status.
Ugh, per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
#RedWings calling up Luke Glendening to bring to Canada, as Johan Franzen will not play Wednesday.
#RedWings going to Canada with just six healthy defensemen, will call someone up if needed after Wed. game at Vancouver.
Update: Regarding the inevitable "Why Not Nyquist?" comments, Nyquist's cap hit is $950K, and Glendening's is $575K. The Wings have to clear cap space and roster space to accommodate Darren Helm's return, and as Franzen was playing center, the Wings need to both plug in a positional replacement and save as much cap space as they are able to save.
The waiver issue for Nyquist--he's no longer waiver exempt after 2 more NHL games played--is irrelevant here.
What's Franzen's status? Uh...Murky...Per Pleiness...
Wings GM Ken Holland says Johan Franzen out Wednesday. Hopes to return Friday. Luke Glendening being recalled from GR.
Franzen is out for Wednesday with injury. team hopes he's ready for Friday. Glendening recalled from Grand Rapids.
Update #1.5: Ugh again, per Pleiness:
Drew Miller just left practice.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose is also confirming the news:
Franzen won't play in Vancouver with undisclosed injury; Glenedening will make trip west.
Update #1.6: Triple ugh, per Khan:
Drew Miller left practice more than five minutes ago, so it's probably not an equipment issue.
Update #2: Per Khan...
Some new lines today: Datsyuk is with Tatar and Cleary, Zetterberg is with Alfredsson and Abdelkader.
Andersson is with Bertuzzi and Eaves; Weiss skating with Tootoo and Samuelsson, who might be subbing for Miller. Helm working in on top 6.
Defense pairs remain the same: Kronwall-Smith, Quincey-DeKeyser, Lashoff-Kindl
Weiss appears to have been demoted to fourth line. He's skating with Tootoo and Samuelsson.
Cleary up in top six. Skating with Datsyuk and Tatar.
Otherwise...The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned an article about Johan Franzen's shift to center, which has helped #93 play more engaged and enthusiastic hockey--pointing out that Franzen was a natural center until he joined the Wings:
"I was a centre for my whole time growing up in Sweden, and on and off, I’ve played it here, so I like it,” Franzen said.
It was that early work as a centre during his rookie NHL campaign of 2005-06, which also happened to be Mike Babcock’s first season as coach of the Red Wings that played a role in Babcock’s decision to move Franzen to the middle.
“The Mule came here as a checking centre and found out he could really score,” Babcock said, invoking Franzen’s well-known nickname.
Getting the Mule into gear can be a problem for the Wings, and that’s another reason why centre seemed like such a good fit for him, because it forces the sometimes mercurial Franzen to remain more active during the game.
“When the Mule skates, he’s a real dominant player for us,” Babcock said.
Franzen admitted that there’s much more to do when he plays in the middle of the ice than when he’s working along the wall as a winger.
“Depending on what type of game it is, you’re involved and you get more choices when you get the puck other than when you’re a winger and you get stuck at the boards,” Franzen said. “There are different kinds of responsibilities. You still play defence as a winger, too, but you do a little more work as a centre. You’re playing down low more, a little bit more involved.”
Franzen's played very well in my opinon. And Duff jinxed him!
Via RedWingsFeed, Expressen's Sebastien Matsson reports that Niklas Kronwall's brother Staffan won't be able to play in the Karjala Cup from November 7-10 as Staffan's nursing an injury, but Wings prospect Mattias Janmark will play for the Swedish national team in the abbreviated Euro Hockey Tour battle between Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic;
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The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a clip of "Triston Grant on the Street," or at least a teaser for a longer slate of the Griffins forward asking fans questions...
In more substantive news, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson posited this as part of his set of Hockey World articles:
When the Detroit Red Wings were looking to draft a junior goalie in 2008, their scouts were divided on Thomas McCollum and Braden Holtby. They took McCollum, a big shot in Guelph, late in Round 1 and took a pass on Holtby, who was playing in Saskatoon. Hindsight is 20-20, but that was a roundhouse swing and a miss. McCollum has played 15 NHL minutes and has been surpassed by Czech Petr Mrazek in their organizational depth chart. Not that the Caps were all that smart. They waited until Round 4 to get Holtby, with their fifth pick of the draft.
Tehnically speaking, the battle for the #1 goalie in the draft was split between McCollum, who's' on an AHL-only deal, and Leland Iriving, who was playing for Jokerit Helsinki after washing out of the Flames organization last summer....
DRW Prospects on Twitter notes that McCollum pitched back-to-back wins for the Griffins in Saturday and Sunday night wins, so he's not exactly chopped liver just yet:
#AHL: Griffins beat Chicago 3-2. McCollum 32/34 saves, goals by Pulkkinen, Järnkrok and Jurco. Box score: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011203 … #RedWings
#AHL: Griffins beat Iowa 3-2. McCollum 26/28 saves and goals by Paetsch, Glendening & Ferraro. Box score: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011217
DRW Prospects also found the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation's official release confirming that Janmark will play for Sweden at the Karjala cup.
Karjala = a brand of beer in Finland...And the Euro Hockey Tour serves as a slate of 4 mini-tournaments designed to provide both dress rehearsals and a little hype-making for the World Championship in May of 2014. Janmark took part in the Czech Hockey Games in late August, and the Swedish, Finnish, Russian and Czech leagues will pause play again during the Channel One Cup in Moscow from December 19-22--with that tournament preceding a "holiday" break for each and every European pro league for Christmas and New Year's holidays--and the Oddset Hockey Games between May 1-4 serve as the final warm-up for the Worlds.
The IIHF's 2014 World Championships are supposed to take place in Minsk, Belarus starting on Friday, May 9th, but there's a HUGE controversy as to whether the tournament should be held in Belarus, which is really a dictatorship under Alexander Lukashenko, and their human rights record is just awful.
EuroHockey.com is a fantastic English-language resource for all of your, "Well, what the hell is going on in Europe" needs
All I can say to Field of Schemes' Neil DeMause regarding his latest article about "Bankrupt Detroit" and the State of Michigan's sale of bonds to pay for 44% of its funding, dude, get a little more creative here. The horse you're beating is more yogurt than horse right now;
Speaking of controversial topics, the Toronto Star's Damien Cox has this to say about Steve Moore's $38 million civil suit against Todd Bertuzzi and other defendants:
We have a date. And, so we are told, this one's written in stone. Steve Moore will finally get his day in court in his $38 million lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 8, 2014, more than a decade after Bertuzzi's cowardly attack from behind on Moore ended the young Colorado forward's career.
The date is not set in stone. It's been pushed back as Bertuzzi's continued to play hockey, and given that the civil suit's trial is supposed to take 3 months and will involve testimony from the NHL, members of the Vancouver Canucks' ownership group, Marc Crawford, Brian Burke and others, I can't imagine the judge derailing Bertuzzi's 2014-2015 season in the process--and I fully believe that Bertuzzi's going to continue playing for at least another season:
Bertuzzi, of course, served a suspension but has played on, making about $24 million in salary since the attack despite his declining skills.
This will be a jury trial, assuming the Bertuzzi/Canucks camp doesn't settle beforehand, and two elements affected by the long delay will be most interesting.
First, the public's attitudes towards head shots and violence in hockey may have changed significantly since March, 2004. A jury of Bertuzzi's peers may view this somewhat differently next year than they might have back then.
Second, the Bertuzzi/Canucks camp certainly can't argue that Moore's injuries weren't career threatening or that serious. He never played again and still suffers from symptoms relating to the incident.
I hope this goes to trial. I want to see the grotesque side of hockey vigilante justice laid out in public for all to see.
But I'm guessing it won't. Like the NFL did with concussions, I'd bet Bertuzzi and Canucks, after delaying for so long, will ultimately cut a deal.
There was little call for Kaleta to be punished when he hit Jack Johnson. It went almost unnoticed. Same for New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner, who got a two-game suspension last week.
Normally, Twitter blows up when this stuff happens, but there was almost zero reaction in those cases. Shanahan and his lieutenants are watching closely.
Niklas Kronwall told a Swedish reporter he was partially at fault for a hit he received from Cody McLeod, but the Colorado Avalanche forward still got five games.
"I agreed with Kronwall," said one GM who supported the suspension, "but how many stretchers did we have last week? We have to get that hit out of the game."
It should be pointed out that Shanahan -- no wuss as a player -- has made at least three "accidental collision" rulings this year, so he's not turning into a total softie, but this is an indication of where the league wants to go, ie. as much protection of the head as possible.
The NHLPA believes very strongly that even an unpopular player like Kaleta deserves a full defence. The lockout may be over, but hard feelings remain and people on both sides still want whatever victory is possible over the other.
Sport-Express reports that CSKA Moscow didn't dress Sergei Fedorov for today's game against SKA St. Petersburg. The popular theory right now is that Fedorov won't make his official on-ice return until after the Karjala Cup takes place so that he receives a full month's worth of practices to get into game shape;
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun presents this week's first set of power rankings...
14. Detroit [record] 6-4-2 Last Week: 10 Ooof, a four-game slide has fans with long faces in Hockeytown, USA. Stephen Weiss with only two goals and no assists in 12 games.
And Winging it in Motown's SlapshotGoal penned a superb article about this past weekend's showdown between Jake Paterson's Saginaw Spirit and Andreas Athanasiou's Barrie Colts:
I was sitting just to [Paterson's] left for 2 periods, so I got to watch him up close. I was again struck by just how calm and patient Paterson is. There's no panic and no scrambling in his game at all, and the Colts forwards were unable to fake him out, or get him to over commit, because he calmly waits for the puck to come to him and then stops it. Some goalies move around a lot in the crease as they're adjusting position and getting ready for the shot, but Paterson just seems almost stone cold in his reactions, but he's makes the saves (and some impressive ones at that). He doesn't drop too soon and need to recover, and his almost robotic demeanor in the crease gives opposing forwards almost no indication of what he's going to do. His calm demeanor was even more apparent in contrast to the Colts goalie who seemed to scramble a lot and just couldn't seem to hold on to the puck; giving up rebounds and lose pucks like they were candy at Halloween.
The Colts were trying to get traffic in front of Paterson all night, but Jake didn't seem to mind at all. He has an uncanny ability to see right through people; at least that what it looks like. He is somehow able to see or anticipate the pucks even through heavy traffic. It's very impressive.
The Spirit defense is improving, and I noticed them blocking numerous shots (a couple that clearly stung). Paterson is getting more support, and facing fewer shots (he only saw 26 in this game) which takes a little of the pressure off of him. Jake Paterson is the big draw for the Spirit, and he's done a bulk of the heavy lifting for the team, both so far this season and last season, it will be interesting to see what he can do when he has more support from his team.
Andreas Athanasiou was a little disappointing...
During the 1st period, a good chunk of the time the Colts were in the offensive zone, Athanasiou was on the ice, so it surprised me how little ice time he got. The OHL doesn't keep track of ice time stats so I don't have exact numbers, but it was less than I had expected. He played on both the power play and penalty kill, and he was on the ice moving in front of Paterson when the Colts scored their power play goal.
He's good with puck and had several good scoring opportunities that either just missed the net, or Paterson got in front of. What bothered me was how he played when he didn't have the puck. Without the puck he mostly stayed to the outside and either called for the puck, or waited for his teammates to try to get it to him. He was much more aggressive during the Prospects Tournament so I know he's capable of going in and fighting to get the puck himself. I don't know why he played the way he did, but it was disappointing to see.
The Spirit scored early 3rd period goals only 6 seconds apart, and after that Athanasiou's ice time seemed to decrease noticeably. He also tried to get way too fancy and was not very effective. Mid way through the 3rd period when the Spirit had a 4-1 lead, Athanasiou looked like he didn't really care and just wanted the game to be over.
Update #9: The Windsor Star's Dave Waddell, penning a column for Michigan Hockey, weighs in on the team's struggles:
Stats don’t always tell the full story – though they go a good way to do so here – but there are more troubling signs on display. Detroit has generally played inconsistent, passionless and frankly not very intelligent hockey for the most part this month. There’s been no tempo in the Wings’ game, but there have been a litany of errors on the most basic concepts of the game.
Bad pinches by defensemen, poor first passes out of their zone, no speed through the neutral zone, too many turnovers in every area of the ice and tendency to get too cute with goals evaporating faster than the patience of the Wings’ faithful. It all adds up to a team that’s mentally unfocused and unsure of who it is at this stage.
Perhaps no players typify these problems, though they’re hardly alone in this issue, than newcomers Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson. In Alfredsson’s case, his 10-point production through 12 games has been more impressive than his play at times. He still looks a player adjusting to his new surroundings, unsure especially in his own end.
Stephen Weiss has struggled since arriving in Detroit for the 2012-13 season. (Photo by Jen Hefner/MiHockey) The former Florida Panther center has two goals and is minus-5. He looks lost too often and has even found duty centering the third line while Babcock has toyed with using another early underachiever, Johan Franzen, at the pivot position.
What also needs to happen is general manager Ken Holland clearing out some bodies up front. The Wings badly miss the energy a healthy Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist would bring. Helm should be back in a matter of days, but Nyquist is trapped in Grand Rapids by salary cap issues until Holland can sort his way out of this financial maze.
Instead of calling up Nyquist, the team has opted for Grand Rapids native Luke Glendening on two occasions (today being the most recent). Yet Glendening doesn’t pack the offensive punch that Nyquist does, as he is viewed as more of a defensive-minded center.
If the Wings continue to struggle to score goals as they have, four in the last four games, the Wings are going to have seriously consider eating some salary to gain enough space to finally ice their best team and not the one out there due to financial constraints.
Update #10: Here's the Detroit Free Press's George Sipple's practice update:
Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen is out with an undisclosed injury for Wednesday’s game at the Vancouver Canucks, and forward Luke Glendening (Michigan) has been recalled from Grand Rapids of the AHL. Asked about his lineup, coach Mike Babcock said: “I’ve got a flight today and tomorrow, and by then, I’ll know.”
Babcock did confirm that forward Patrick Eaves has been cleared to play and will be in the lineup against the Canucks. Babcock said he has not yet considered the possibility of forward Darren Helm returning. Eaves has been out all season with a sprained knee and ankle injury. Helm has been out all season with groin soreness.
“They tell me he can play,” Babcock said, “it didn’t look like he was playing, to me, today.”
Note: Count Babcock as someone who was ready to call it a loss for the Detroit Lions after the Dallas Cowboys took a 27-17 lead with a touchdown less than a minute after the Lions scored in the fourth quarter on Sunday. The Lions came back to win the game, 31-30.
“C’mon, let’s go the fridge and get a beer and write this baby off, and the next thing you know, what a play, what a series,” Babcock said.
The Wings are going through a tough stretch, but they haven’t had any outburst like Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on the sidelines in Sunday’s game.
Asked whether he has any Bryants on his team, Babcock said: “You know what, we don’t know what we’ve got on this team yet. We’ve gotta find it.”
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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.