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Red Wings morning report: Wings-Pens-Hawks, defensive present and future, Howard and coverage gnus

The Red Wings' 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, but for a game in which the Red Wings were really just getting their feet under them, the team played very solidly. As noted in the quick take, Adam Almquist scored two goals and Pavel Datsyuk scored a beauty, and as NHL.com's highlights are still a mess in terms of embedding, we'll rely on the Wings' Twitter account for video this morning:

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi penned a spartan recap...

Tomas Vokoun, who starred for the Penguins last postseason, allowed four goals on 15 shots over two periods in a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins are winless (0-1-1) in the NHL exhibition season.

Approximately 10,000 fans attended, even though the Pirates and Steelers each also played Monday.

Center Brandon Sutter scored for the Penguins, who next play at Chicago on Thursday.

Vokoun replaced Marc-Andre Fleury midway through Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Fleury has been named the regular-season starter by coach Dan Bylsma.

As did the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari...

Defenseman Adam Almquist scored two power-play goals to lead Detroit to a 4-1 exhibition victory against the Penguins Monday night at Consol Energy Center.

It was the Penguins' second preseason defeat in two days.

Brandon Sutter scored the Penguins' goal, beating Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard from inside the right dot 65 seconds into the second period.

Tomas Tatar and Pavel Datsyuk also scored for Detroit.

Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 11 of 15 shots over the first two periods, and Eric Hartzell turned aside all four he faced in the third.

But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson did post some MP3's...

Below you can find audio of interviews conducted following the Penguins' 4-1 preseason loss to Detroit. Note that coach Dan Bylsma said cuts are coming before Tuesday's practices that will get the training camp roster down to two practice groups from three.

Dan Bylsma:


Sidney Crosby:


Olli Maatta:


Mike Babcock:


HIs blog recaps don't translate well to post-in-another-blog format, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh did a superb job of giving us an "in-game" experience...

-For Detroit, Brendan Smith and Adam Almquist were pretty strong. Smith was involved in a lot of aspects of the game. Almquist showed off an impressive shot.

-The Penguins had a 24-19 lead in shots.

-Crosby, Almquist, Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk each led the game with three shots.

-Letang led the game with 26:30 of ice time.

-Kyle Quincey led the Red Wings with 23:51.

-The Red Wings had a 28-27 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).

-Calle Jarnkrok, who has a glorious name by the way, was 10 for 16 (63 percent).

-Crosby was 11 for 19 (58 percent).

-Smith led the game with three blocked shots.

-Deryk Engelland, Martin, Craig Adams, Zolnierczyk, Orpik, Simon Despres, Uher and Letang each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

And the Pittsburgh Penguins' Michelle Crechiolo, who used to work for the Wings, provides highlights with the old embed code...

As well as a thoughtful recap--albeit a totally Penguins-centered one.

In the multimedia department, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review posted a photo gallery, as did the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, and the Red Wings' website posted a Wings-Penguins gallery and "late-breaking" celebrity and alumni game gallery.

Exhibition games tend not to yield trips for the beat writers to Pittsburgh, however, so we get one quip from NHL.com's recap...

The Detroit Red Wings' special teams were in midseason form, scoring twice and killing all five Pittsburgh Penguins power plays at Consol Energy Center en route to a 4-1 victory.

Rookie defenseman Adam Almquist scored both power-play goals in a 5:40 span of the second period, beating Tomas Vokoun with slap shots from the blue line. Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar also had goals for the Red Wings.

"I got a little bit lucky at first," Almquist said. "The puck was popping out to me and I could just go ahead a rip it off. Luckily it went in. The second one, I got a really good pass from Samuelsson, shot it and it went in. I got lucky there too."

Pittsburgh outshot Detroit 24-19 but failed to convert on three first-period power plays and lost for the second time in as many nights.

"We still made some mistakes. It's the preseason, you're going to do that," captain Sidney Crosby said. "But I think we got better. We've got some games here to get sharper."

An AP recap...

Adam Almquist scored two power-play goals in the second period and Tomas Tatar had a goal and assist to lead the Detroit Red Wings past the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Monday night in a preseason game.

Paval Datsyuk also scored for Detroit, netting a second-period, unassisted goal.

Almquist scored at 6:10 and 11:50 with shots from the point to put the Red Wings ahead 3-1.

Brandon Sutter netted the lone Pittsburgh goal at 1:05 of the second, to get the Penguins even at 1.

Tatar opened the scoring when he took a failed wraparound attempt and tucked the puck under the crossbar at 12:56 of the first.

Both starting goalies worked two periods. Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 15 shots for the Penguins. Detroit's Jimmy Howard made 13 saves.

MLive's Brendan Savage took the obvious angle in a recap from afar...

[Tomas] Tatar, one of the players on the proverbial bubble after the Red Wings re-signed Daniel Cleary last week, had a goal and assist Monday as the Red Wings opened the preseason with a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Although general manager Ken Holland said Tatar will "probably" open the season with the Red Wings, he could be one of the odd men out when Detroit has to trim three players from its roster before the Oct. 2 season opener against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.

If the Red Wings don't keep Tatar, 22, they'll have to expose him to waivers or attempt to trade him.

Ken Holland's made some boneheaded moves, but he's not dumb.

Tatar, the Red Wings' second-round pick (60th overall) in the 2009 NHL entry draft, had four goals and seven points in 18 games with Detroit last season and was the AHL playoff MVP after helping Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup.

Tatar opened the scoring against Pittsburgh midway through the first period and then assisted on the first of Adam Almquist's two-second period goals that helped give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead midway through the second.

And I'm paying SoundCloud 9 Euros a month for a reason, so here's Anderson's Babcock clip:

Several of the Wings' players also weighed in:

The Red Wings flew back to Traverse City this morning, and they'll practice in the Cherry Capital one more time before their "B Team" heads to Chicago to play the Blackhawks tonight.

That roster should look like this:






Defense (6 of 8):






Gustavsson (starting 2 periods)

Coreau (back-up)

The game takes place at 8 PM EDT, but there is no TV and just WGN Radio for Chicago, and Ken Kal stated that he won't be doing a Twitter play-by-play tonight as the rest of the Wings will head back to Detroit.

Thursday's game against Boston, in Boston, will air on Fox Sports Detroit, and then the Wings open their exhibition season's home slate with a non-televised rematch with Boston on Saturday the 21st and a televised rematch with Chicago on Sunday the 22nd.

The Blackhawks scrimmaged on Monday, and the biggest Wings-related news regarding that affair involved the Hawks' top prospect, Teuvo Teravainen:

Jonathan Toews is out with an "upper-body injury," and the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc confirmed that Toews won't play tonight...

Captain Jonathan Toews did not participate in Monday's scrimmage at the United Center but did skate beforehand as he recovers from a lower-body injury.

"(Toews) said he felt great," Quenneville said. "That was a good sign. No aggravation."

Toews will not play in Tuesday night's exhibition game against the Red Wings, but Quenneville said the center will see action during the preseason.

Before Monday's scrimmage, Toews addressed the large crowd at the UC, saying, "I can see you're ready for the season. So are we."

The Chicago Daily Herald's Tim Sassone set up tonight's game from a Hawks perspective...

Let the real competition begin. After four days of battling each other in training-camp scrimmages, the Blackhawks will open their six-game exhibition schedule Tuesday at the United Center against the Detroit Red Wings.

With only a handful of jobs open, these six games will decide who makes it and who doesn't.

"The (scrimmages) are what they are, but the true test starts when you play against other teams," defenseman Theo Peckham said. "Especially the (physical) style I play. You don't want to go out there hitting guys you sit in the locker room next to. There's never really that edge. Come preseason time there's another level you can get to."

Peckham, along with Adam Clendening, Ryan Stanton and Mike Kostka, make up the group of four players trying to crack the top seven on defense that appears all but set to everyone but coach Joel Quenneville.

And as you might imagine, the Hawks are going to be geared up for tonight, as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus...

The Blackhawks open the preseason Tuesday night against a familiar foe, the Detroit Red Wings. But after this one, and another exhibition in Detroit on Sunday, the two will go their separate ways as Detroit heads to the Eastern Conference. They’ll play just twice a year from now on.

“There’s been a great history, great tradition, great battles and great wars,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll lose that type of rival, but I still think in those two games we can recapture that, and it’ll still take a while before it loses its luster. [Especially] coming off an amazing playoff [series] with them. A couple of our best games of the year in the regular season were against Detroit, too.”

Jonathan Toews, who skated but didn’t play in Monday night’s scrimmage, will not play as he continues to nurse his lower-body injury. But Quenneville did say that Toews “definitely” will see some preseason games, reiterating that the injury is not serious.

Quenneville said Teuvo Teravainen will again skate in Toews’ spot on the top line, between Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane.

And Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Nina Falcone:

Those loud cheers [from Monday night's scrimmage] will expand into Tuesday as the Blackhawks host the Red Wings. While it will be just a preseason matchup, the Blackhawks will have a little extra something to keep the adrenaline going as they face off against their longtime rival for the first time since their dramatic playoff series and since Detroit's joined the Eastern Conference.

"I think the intensity will kick up a little bit, I know there was some physical play out there today but I know there will be a lot more tomorrow," Sharp said. "(We expect) some bigger hits, some battles down low, stuff that'll get us ramped up toward Oct. 1."

NHL.com did post a box score and game summary of last night's Wings-Penguins game, and the same will be true for tonight, so we'll at least have some stats to look at.




The Wings' beat writers will head back to Detroit today, so they're going to have more from today's practice. MLive's Ansar Khan focuses on the fine defensive pair of Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul this morning...

“We were commenting, (coach) Mike Babcock and I, how pleased we are with those two guys,'' general manager Ken Holland said. “They've been good prospects almost from the time we drafted them. They continue to improve and do the things you always hope will happen. One's a right shot, one's a left shot, they make a great pair. Both turned 20, going into their first year of pro. Both are going to be in Grand Rapids. We hope they're going to be a big part of our future.''

Sproul and Ouellet will make their NHL preseason debut Tuesday in Chicago (8 p.m., no TV). Naturally, they'll be paired together.

“Can't wait to play that game,'' Ouellet said. “It's another step towards where I want to go.''

Each will begin his pro career this season with the Griffins. One or both might get a chance to play some games with the Red Wings at some point, since injuries are inevitable and there are no defensemen with NHL experience in Grand Rapids. Sproul, the righty, and Ouellet, the lefty, have been impressive in training camp.

“They’re really calm with the puck, they don’t rush to make plays,'' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “They don’t want to just put it on the glass and out, they want to make the play. They keep their heads up at all times and make good first passes.''


“On the ice and off the ice we're pretty good together, and I like playing with him for sure,'' Sproul said. “I think we're pretty similar. He does have a bit more of a defensive (game) than I do. It helps me to play with him. If I can learn from him and do certain things and he can learn from me then we're definitely going to be good together.''

Said Ouellet: “I think we're two different players, that's why we're pretty good together. He likes to go up with the puck and skate around. He has a pretty hard shot. I'm a little more defensive. Together, we're doing a good job.''

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned an article about the post-Lidstrom Red Wings defense, wondering whether Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Jakub Kindl, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff have what it takes to propel the Wings deep into the playoffs sans outside assistance, especially given the fact that Brad Stuart, Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom's departures were never addressed via free agency...

“Any time you lose guys like that in a short amount of time, it’s not the easiest thing to do,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “But as a unit and a team we found a way to get through it.”

By the end of last season, players like Danny DeKeyser (Western Michigan), Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff earned valuable experience, and veterans like Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Kyle Quincey stabilized the defense.

“We had our struggles last year,” said Kronwall, who has emerged as the elder statesmen at age 32. “We had some games where things didn’t go so well. It wasn’t very pretty at all. But as the year went on we figured out how we had to play and everyone chipped in. We got better and better and that’s a big key.”

A big reason for their success was the ability of Kindl, Smith, DeKeyser and Lashoff contributing as much as they did, playing important minutes in the process. But they’ll need to keep improving.

"Can they do it again?” coach Mike Babcock said. “If they don’t, we’re not as good, so I don’t know the answer to that. We need them all if we are to advance, if we’re going to be a good team.” They’re all a year older, a year more experienced and should be a year better. Those are four key guys for us (DeKeyser, Lashoff, Smith, Kindl).”

And Jimmy Howard looked good last night, but the Free Press's Helene St. James did ask him whether he thought the NHL's revamped nets, which are shallower around back to faciliate wraparounds and have "more square" top-shelf corners, would vex him:

“I really don’t think there’s going to be much of a difference,” Howard said Monday. “I don’t have the foggiest clue how these shallower nets are going to work.”

Howard skated at Centre Ice Arena on Monday, before being part of the group slated to travel to Pittsburgh for the Wings’ 4-1 win. He was in high spirits after a 45-minute practice, joking that someone left him off the goalie’s newswire because he didn’t get the memo about stricter equipment either — not that it made any difference to Howard. Backup Jonas Gustavsson, however, lost 2 inches off each leg pad, he said.


Howard doubts either change will impact scoring. “I really don’t see much of a change just because of the way everyone plays defense nowadays. Everyone packs in tight. They keep trying to find ways to boost scoring, but goalies nowadays tend to figure it out.”

Pavel Datsyuk noted: “If you good forward, you need be in front of net, not behind net.”

Jim Bedard, the team’s goaltending coach, said Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek, both Europeans, won’t notice much difference because “they’re used to a lot more room behind the net.” As for Howard, his post-to-post mobility “is extremely good in tight,” Bedard said. “It’s not by accident he’s as good as he is.”

Howard’s focus during the exhibition season is “getting in game shape, getting my eyes focused. These scrimmages have been really good to get guys moving in front of you and help you following the puck and all that.”

Traverse City's 9&10 News posted a video about Anthony Mantha, too:





Otherwise, the Red Wings' website states that the Toast of Hockeytown will take place on November 13th...

14th Annual Toast of Hockeytown

Wednesday, November 13 from 6 - 9 p.m.
Tickets on sale soon.

Call Lynsie DeLoss Estes at 313.396.7539 for sponsorship opportunities.

Each year, the Red Wings Foundation hosts a wine tasting benefit on the covered ice surface of Joe Louis Arena. The exclusive event offers fans the chance to mingle with the entire Red Wings team, alumni and other local celebrities, while listening to great music and enjoying delectable foods and desserts. The event features over 70 different wines from Italy, Spain, France, California and Michigan.

Click here to read about the 13th Annual Toast of Hockeytown.

Click here to watch 2011 highlights video.



At the other end of the spectrum, Mike Ilitch tied for the 157th-richest person in the U.S. in Forbes' annual list of billionaires...



And I've got to be blunt about my coverage over the next three days: I am very honestly running on fumes after somewhere between 160 and 180 hours of work over the past 13 days, so I am going to lay low for the next couple.

I will go to practice today, I'll post audio and some game-day stories...And I will try to post a recap of the Wings-Hawks game...

But I'm taking Wednesday off--and chose to stay here in Traverse City--to plain old sleep, and on Thursday, I'm not going to cover the Wings-Bruins game because I need to focus on making 230-mile trek to South Lyon after sixteen days away. I will try to come back either Friday or Saturday, and I know the timing sucks, and that the lack of coverage may be a little jarring, but...

I don't want to burn myself out completely before the regular season begins, and believe me, I am so burnt out mentally, physically and emotionally right now that I can hear myself sizzling and crackling.

My depression and anxiety have been OK, and I am hoping to get down to the Joe on a semi-regular basis (A game a week? Two? I'm not sure, because when I go home, I do have a part-time job in helping the little old ladies I live with) this season, but I hope you understand that after trying my damnedest to earn your readership and sponsorship over the past two weeks, I'm going to need a wee bit of time to recover.

It's been an honor and a privilege to do this for you, and I hope to do it again, but I am mush right now, and I'm gonna need to regroup.


Update: Joakim Andersson praised Almquist and Calle Jarnkrok while speaking with Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom. Brain too fried to translate properly:

- Adam made two crappy looking cases. He has gruesomely good hockey sense and besides good shot, he can also beat great passing, says teammate Joakim Andersson to SportExpressen.se.

Almqvist's two hits came in the space of just under six minutes in the middle of the second period and meant 2-1 and 3-1.

Both goals set in the net after sharp slap shot.

- Especially the second goal was really, really neat, where Adam placed the puck at the far post, praises Joakim Andersson.
Järnkrok debut

Almqvist just like so many other of the Red Wings Swedes brought up in Farm Team Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.

He co-won the Calder Dup there in the spring.

Now fight the 22-year-old talent back from Jönköping for a spot in the Red Wings.

- Adam has all the chances to take a seat. Not many players have the hands, says Joakim.

Calle Järnkrok also made his debut in Detroit last night.

- This was the first time I saw him play and he was really impressed with a smart and mature gaming center, where he distributed the puck to his kedjekamrater.

Järnkrok were matched with Jordin Tootoo and 19-year-old talent Anthony Mantha, who was Detroit's försaval In this year's NHL draft (No. 20).

Self-educated Jocke chain with Mikael Samuelsson (one assist) and Dan Cleary.

- It went alright. There is huge competition for places in the team now, there are so many good players on anything here.

Update #2: Ditto for Damien Brunner's chat with Sport.ch:

In the fourth-smallest state in the United States Brunner is now struggling for a continuation of his NHL career started in Detroit. When asked why he had to leave because the Red Wings, but the striker evaded.

'' Detroit is a first class organization, I can not say anything bad about it. I am very happy that they gave me a chance to prove myself in the NHL. I had a good first year, decisions were made and now is a new challenge.''

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


BrendonTO's avatar

-Calle Jarnkrok, who has a glorious name by the way, was 10 for 16 (63 percent).

-Crosby was 11 for 19 (58 percent).

Looking good.

Posted by BrendonTO on 09/17/13 at 07:28 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

George, this is totally unrelated to hockey, but you really need to stop opening and closing your posts with this unnecessary level of humility, and especially quit it with the outright apologies! You have nothing to apologize for!

First of all, we are getting the content you provide for free.

Second of all, you’re doing a great job. Everyone doesn’t just need rest sometimes—we all need it regularly. Keep doing what you’re doing, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and don’t feel like you are doing anything other than a stellar job giving your readership great insight, notes, and simply put, the best one-stop-shopping for Wings news anywhere in the media.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/17/13 at 08:04 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

‘’ Detroit is a first class organization, I can not say anything bad about it. I am very happy that they gave me a chance to prove myself in the NHL. I had a good first year, decisions were made and now is a new challenge.’‘

Translation:  My agent talked me into going for the money and now I’m reduced to begging for scraps from second rate organizations.

Great game last night.  Thanks to all the folks who provided updated links to feeds last night so I could check it out.  Much appreciated.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/17/13 at 08:30 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Pittsburgh killing that 5 on 3 was a thing of beauty for them. Other than that, the game was totally dominated by Detroit. I like that they’re not racking up meaningless shots and going for more quality opportunities. In fact, I only noticed Sammuelson shooting three feet over the goal one time.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 09/17/13 at 09:18 AM ET

lilja4ever's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/17/13 at 09:04 AM ET

Totally agree. We all have the right to individual integrity and rest. It’s nobody’s business when, for how long or where work is done, the result is what matters and it’s great. Nobody has the right to demand that anyone go out of their comfort zone or risk their health in providing labor. We understand that you’re in part challenging yourself but you have nothing to prove to your readership, sponsors or anyone else.

As always - thanks for all the great work!

Posted by lilja4ever on 09/17/13 at 09:20 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Khan tweets Franzen is a no-go tonight (hip flexor).  Jurco skates in his place with Weiss and Alfie.  Interested to see how he handles it.

Posted by MoreShoot on 09/17/13 at 09:21 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

whoops.  Khan(!) corrects himself: Bert promoted, not Jurco.  Drat.

Posted by MoreShoot on 09/17/13 at 09:24 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

whoops.  Khan(!) corrects himself: Bert promoted, not Jurco.  Drat.
Posted by MoreShoot on 09/17/13 at 10:24 AM ET

Maybe give Tatar a look on that 2nd line then?  Don’t wanna wear him out in the preseason, but I’d sure like to see him play an entire game on a scoring line.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/17/13 at 10:26 AM ET

The Meal's avatar

George, you’d better get some (preseason) R&R!  We’re all going to be tapping our feets waiting your fine work once the season starts.

Posted by The Meal from Longmont, CO on 09/17/13 at 10:30 AM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/17/13 at 09:04 AM ET

+19 excaim

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 09/17/13 at 11:44 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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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