The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/24/13 at 03:01 AM ET
I know that some of you had a spirited discussion regarding the Red Wings' high likelihood of starting the season utilizing players placed on long-term injured reserve to alleviate the team's $2.387 million (Capgeek-estimated) cap overage and its roster crunch (27 players on the roster, Wings need to get down to 23 by Monday), perhaps suggesting that Red Wings GM Ken Holland's acumen in trading players for a significant return has diminished, or wondering why the Wings are so very regularly beset by injuries...
But the pre-season trade marketplace isn't exactly booming at present, and as teams are still evaluating their own pools of talent, they've tended to address injury issues not involving fisticuffs or high sticks from within the organization.
It's not exactly surprising that Holland told the Free Press's Helene St. James that the Wings have to figure out whether their own roster--whose injured ranks included Daniel Alfredsson (groin), Patrick Eaves (knee), Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and Jordin Tootoo (shoulder)--is healthy enough to compete, never mind whether Eaves ($1.2 million), Gustavsson ($1.5 million) and Tootoo ($1.9 million) might the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time Darren Helm ($2.125 million) on the LTIR and allow the Wings to delay moving three forwards from their roster in what are certain to be salary-dumping trades.
Holland discussed the Wings' "holding pattern" status with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
“I think you have to wait a couple of weeks and see where he’s at,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Monday regarding Eaves’ status.
In order to be placed on long-term injured reserve, the player must miss a minimum 10 games and 24 days. Jordin Tootoo (bruised shoulder) will be sidelined for the remainder of the preseason according to Holland and appears likely not to be ready for the start of the regular season.
“We’re going to re-evaluate everybody late in the week, early next week or over the weekend, but certainly Eaves is going to be out for the start of the regular season,” Holland said. “Helm is out, he’s not even skating with the team. We’ll see how he feels in a few days. Tootoo is out at least another week, probably out for the start of the regular season, but I don’t know,” Holland added. “You have to give these things some days. You get bruised and 12 hours later you need an assessment.”
Players placed on short-term injured reserve (minimum seven days) provide no cap relief, but it does open up a roster spot.
The other player that appears heading to the long-term injured reserve list is backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who injured his groin in Saturdays’ 2-0 preseason loss to the Boston Bruins. Gustavsson, who had groin issues last season, has a salary-cap hit of $1.5 million. Petr Mrazek, who will backup Jimmy Howard, has a cap hit of $790,000.
“We have to put in our list on Monday so probably by Saturday I’ve got to know on three or four players,” Holland said. “Let these guys heal three or four days and then I’ll talk to our medical people, I’ll talk to the player and then we’ll start talking if they’re out for days or weeks.”
The other two injured players are Daniel Alfredsson (groin) and Jakub Kindl (hip flexor), who are both considered day-to-day.
And MLive's Ansar Khan...
"We’re going to re-evaluate everybody later in the week or early next week,'' Holland said. “We have to put in our list on (Sept. 30), so probably by Saturday I’ve got to know about three or four players. Let these guys heal three or four days and then I’ll talk to our medical people, I’ll talk to the player and then we’ll start talking if they’re out for days or weeks.''
The Red Wings have only two players who are exempt from waivers – forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
They could assign Nyquist to the Grand Rapids Griffins at the start of the season (he has a $950,000 cap hit) if they have no other options. Once Nyquist appears in two more NHL games, he will lose his exempt status and sending him to the AHL no longer will be an option.
It seems highly unlikely the club would send down DeKeyser, since he is an integral part of the defense and the move would leave them with only six defensemen.
When healthy, Eaves and Tootoo are candidates to be traded or waived. However, sending veterans to the AHL gives clubs only limited cap relief ($975,000), if they clear waivers. Even less comes off the cap for players who signed at age 35 or older, like Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi ($100,000).
Rosters must be set by 3 p.m. on Sept. 30. Detroit opens the regular season at home on Oct. 2 against the Buffalo Sabres.
But the Windsor Star's Bob Duff duly noted that Gustav Nyquist plans on making it as hard as possible for the Red Wings' coaches and management to feel comfortable sending him down to Grand Rapids before his waiver exemption expires when he plays in 2 more NHL games (Danny DeKeyser can be sent down, too, but that's equally unlikely):
“I’ve looked at the whole camp like [a try-out],” said Nyquist, who collected three assists in Sunday’s 4-3 pre-season loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. “You want to put your best foot forward to make the team and earn as much ice time as possible. Camp is about showing the coaching staff what you have out there and how well you can play. You have to keep going. You can’t have one or two good games. You have to keep going and play all of the games well. They’re still watching. I mean, this last week is going to be big for a lot of us forwards. We’re still three too many (at forward), so we’re all going to try to work as hard as possible and show them that you want to be on this team.”
Nyquist clicked well in last spring’s playoffs on a line with Joakim Andersson and the departed Damien Brunner. This fall, he and Andersson have been teamed with both Tatar and Todd Bertuzzi in different games.
“We played a lot before down in Grand Rapids, most of last year, and the year before with Andy, so I’m comfortable playing with those guys,” Nyquist said of Tatar and Andersson. “We find each other well out there, I think. Andy and Bert had some opportunities (in Saturday’s loss to Boston), but couldn’t put the puck in the net.”
With a week left in pre-season play, Nyquist recognizes that it’s crunch time.
“We know we have too many forwards and we’re all trying to take a spot and make the roster for opening night,” he said.
Nyquist has been the Wings' most consistent forward not named Tomas Tatar (Duff happened to profile Tatar on Sunday) during the preseason, so he's making a strong case for himself.
Holland did clarify Jonas Gustavsson's status while speaking to Pleiness, stating that the team isn't sure that The Groin will miss 2 or 3 weeks...But that is what they're thinking, and as such, Petr Mrazek's likely to start the year as Jimmy Howard's back-up:
“We’re talking two to three weeks,” Holland said. “I don’t think we’re talking months. At the end of the day when this year is over I’d like to think Mrazek’s played 65 games.
“I’m kind of hoping that’s including playoffs,” Holland continued. “Last year he must have played 70 games. Even if he’s up here he’ll play a game or two. He’s (Mike Babcock) not going to play Howard 10 straight games. He’s a good goalie.”
The team didn’t think about adding another backup to the roster or having another goalie in the system back Howard up.
“He won the American League championship,” Holland said. “I don’t know how you do much better than him.”
We'll find out more regarding the respective statuses of the Wings' injured players after they practice today, but DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted that the team has a busy schedule ahead as the exhibition season winds down (and the team opens the regular season a week from Wednesday, when they host the Buffalo Sabres):
WEDNESDAY – vs. PITTSBURGH (1-2-1): Marc-Andre Fleury will be counted on to carry the load for the Penguins more than ever now that backup goalie Tomas Vokoun underwent surgery over the weekend to remove blood clots from his pelvis. Fleury has been mediocre at best recently, which is evident of his lackluster performance in the playoffs last spring. Detroit native Jeff Zatkoff has moved up the depth chart and will back up Fleury indefinitely as Vokoun’s return is still unknown.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Left winger Jussi Jokinen is making a push to start the season on the second-line alongside center Evgeni Malkin and right winger James Neal. With the uncertainty of Sidney Crosby’s health, the Penguins acquired the versatile forward from Carolina at last season’s trade deadline. A former 30-goal scorer, the Penguins gave the 30-year-old a one-year contract worth $2.1 million in hopes he can kick-start his career and become a valuable asset on Pittsburgh’s second power-play unit. Jokinen collected a natural hat trick in a preseason game last week.
Wednesday's game will air on Fox Sports Detroit Plus and the NHL Network U.S., and it starts at 7:30 PM.
Don't forget that Henrik Zetterberg's smoke detector charitable initiative is collecting said devices at both Wednesday and Friday's home games...
FRIDAY – vs. TORONTO (4-0-1): Not sure if the David Clarkston, Phil Kessel and Jonathan Bernier will be joining the Maple Leafs in Detroit. The three Leafs received misconduct penalties for their involvement in a third-period flash point that ignited a line brawl with the Sabres on Sunday night.
PLAYER TO WATCH: A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, center David Bolland could play a more prominent role with the Maple Leafs than he did in Chicago. Depending on his line assignment – Bolland could be the Leafs’ second line center replacing Nazem Kadri – he could receive a boost in the statistical categories. Bolland produced back to back 37-point seasons before last year’s Stanley Cup run with the Blackhawks. However, Bolland missed both games against Buffalo over the weekend with a groin injury. He has also seen exhibition time on the third line with Jay McClement and Nikolai Kulemin.
At present, Friday's game (another 7:30 PM start) is listed as airing on Leafs TV only, but I'm sure we can find some quasi-legal streams thereof. It's just going to be a matter of holding our noses while Harry Neale and Joe Bowen ramble about God's Holy Army.
SATURDAY – at TORONTO (4-0-1): The Maple Leafs believe they have a goaltending tandem that can take them on a run playoff run this season. Reflecting on James Reimer's development over the past year and Toronto's acquisition of former Los Angeles Kings backup Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs’ future looks bright in the crease. The two goalies appear to be in a tight battle for playing time this season, but Reimer wasn’t surprised that the club went out and acquired a veteran to create competition between the pipes. “First and foremost we wear the same jersey, so you're a good guy, you're a good teammate and you look out for your teammates,” Reimer told TSN.ca. “Aside from that, both of us are going to want to be the starter and definitely I want to keep that and want to be the guy for our team and be the guy that wins us a Cup.”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Captain Dion Phaneuf has been a significant part of the Maple Leafs’ defense as a big-minute player for the last 3 ½ seasons. The eight-year veteran is entering the final year of his contract. He can become an unrestricted free agent in 2014. There will be plenty of outside interest in Phaneuf who has tremendous offensive instincts and a booming shot from the point. It also appears that Leafs general manager Dave Nonis is will to listen to offers for any player, including Phaneuf, though both sides seem committed to continuing a long-term relationship. “Obviously Dion is a core part of our team," Nonis told NHL.com. “He's fit well into Toronto and our group and there's no reason to think he won't be here for the long run.”
Hockey Night in Canada will be airing the game at 7 PM as a regular season warm-up, and the NHL Network U.S. will air the game as well. I know that many of you don't receive either network (and I'm one of those, "Will you people stop assuming that everyone gets the damn NHL Network! We don't all live in Comcast Country and not all of us can bolt satellite dishes to our abodes!" people, so I know how frustrating it can be when people shrug off, "It's on the NHL Network, dummy..." and ignore the need for quasi-legal streams), so I'll be looking around on Saturday as well.
In terms of stories not involving the salary cap, injuries or the schedule ahead, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned an off-day feature on Jimmy Howard, and it's good to hear that Howard doesn't feel that his job is secure despite having inked a big-dollar-figure contract extension last spring...
“Never,” Howard said. “You never allow yourself to be comfortable.”
The reason, in Howard’s mind, is simple.
“Once you get in that place, that’s when someone will get your job,” he said. “You have to continue pushing yourself. You can’t count on anyone else to do that. You have to do that yourself.”
And Howard tells Kulfan that he feels that living in the pre-Wings-had-a-goalie-coach-available-every-day era actually helped him find his form:
“It helped me out,” Howard said of his long stay in the minors. “I didn’t have (goaltending coach) Jim Bedard to rely on every single night like I do here. A lot of the things, I had to figure out myself on my own and I’m a lot smarter now being able to do that.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Howard's "compete level," as Babcock likes to say, is where it needs to be:
“That’s what we need him to be,” Babcock said. “We want to have a real good team and a real good run and he’s (Howard) a big part of that. Leadership-wise, it’s about doing it every day. I don’t think for Pavel (Datsyuk) or Z (Henrik Zetterberg) or Kroner (Kronwall) for a number of years it’s been about the money or the contract. It’s just about being the best you can be. That’s what makes them special. You have to be ultra competitive.”
And carrots such as the roster spot on the Olympic team and a Stanley Cup provide Howard with a little extra motivation.
“I’m never going to take anything for granted,” Howard said. “You need to continue to work just as hard, if not harder, as the season before to keep getting better.”
As noted on Monday, the Red Wings were ranked as the 13th-best franchise in sports, but my sabbatical (still feel a little zombie-ish, but much better) included a slate of "power rankings" in which ESPN attempted to divine NHL teams' "future" prospects, and, as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, the Wings ranked highly in Craig Custance's "Future Power Rankings," finishing second behind the Chicago Blackhawks (and this article lurks behind a paywall):
2. Detroit Red Wings: Perhaps it's the Scotty Bowman influence on both teams, but the Wings earned scores close to that of the Blackhawks. The Detroit front office has lost key hockey minds in Steve Yzerman and Jim Nill, but the panel has faith that the duo of coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland will keep this franchise among the league's elite. Mike Ilitch has long been considered one of the league's best owners, always willing to spend what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. The Red Wings also have expanded the role of capologist Ryan Martin and are developing guys such as Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby in front-office roles.
Like Chicago, the Red Wings have done a good job drafting without the benefit of lottery picks, with Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith and Joakim Andersson playing key roles during Detroit's playoff run last spring. In the coming seasons, Babcock will have to make room for Tomas Tatar, Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen. The signing of Danny DeKeyser was a boost to a defense that needed a young standout.
The salary cap and aging stars are a concern for the Red Wings. The duo of Pavel Datsyuk (35) and Henrik Zetterberg (32) are among the game's best, but will come with a cap hit of almost $14 million in 2015-16, when both will be well beyond their prime. The Johan Franzen contract, while not crippling at nearly $4 million per season, will be a burden sooner than later as his play continues to decline.
The Wings received a 7.43-out-of-10 score from ESPN's 5-member panel, with a 7-out-of-10 ranking in terms of their present roster, an 8.17-out-of-10 ranking for their prospects, a 5.17-out-of-10 ranking for their cap situation and conract management, and a 9.5-out-of-10 for their ownership and coaching.
And no, there was no update regarding the "ownership transfer" Darren Dreger mentioned as taking place at Monday's Board of Governors meeting. All I can tell you about that issue is that it simply makes sense for the Wings to slowly but surely transition the team to Christopher Ilitch's control given that Mr. I is 84 and given that he's slid out of the public eye of late. I'm sure he's hearty and hale, but with a new rink project on the horizon, the Wings are planning for the future, and I think it makes lots of sense to ensure that the team's in good hands over the long haul.
Anyway, while we're dealing with lists, rankings and the inevitable avalanche of "season previews," TSN announced that it's going to name its Top 50 players on Wednesday at 8 PM (Pavel Datsyuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Pavel Datsyuk?)...
The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger's scroll-over-and-read preview of the Wings reads as follows...
(I had to print my screen and then screen-capture this bad boy because you lose text as soon as your cursor scrolls away from team logos)
Given that Stanley Cup of Chowder issued a hate-filled Red Wings "preview" basically suggesting that Detroit is a hellhole, invalidating the Red Wings' status as a good team, that Niklas Kronwall's hits are cheap (From a team with Brad Marchand on the roster? Really?) and that the Red Wings were "beating up on the West" but are in fact "f**kers" whose fans are tinfoil-hat-wearers?
Yeah, I'm all for posting "inflammatory" articles from ESPN, but Stanley Cup of Chowder, I hope your glass of clam juice is spoiled. You're not going to be featured on TMR. You're going to be shunned. Now excuse me whlie I make a new tinfoil hat.
In rankings of a different kind--and different kinds in the literal sense of the term, the Hockey News's Darryl Dobbs suggests that Jakub Kindl is a "late-round gem" for fantasy hockey poolies...
Jakub Kindl, Detroit - Kindl has developed slowly in Detroit's system, but really, who hasn't? The Red Wings like to take their time with their prospects and more often than not the team has been rewarded for that. Kindl's ice time increased steadily last season and he could surprise with 35 or even 40 points.
JuniorHockey.com's Alex Muscat notes that, aside from Andreas Athanasiou's 2-goals-and-an-assist performance in the Barrie Colts' season-opener, two other Red Wings prospects had fantastic starts to their Major Junior hockey seasons...
Jake Paterson, Goalie, Saginaw Spirit: On Friday, Paterson stopped 52 out of 55 shots in a 4-2 loss at the "Aud" to the host Kitchener Rangers. The Detroit Red Wings' netminding prospect, who faced 41 shots through the first 40 minutes, is among the top goalies in the OHL and is a candidate to represent Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championships this December. Paterson was selected by the Red Wings in the third round, 80th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.
That's superb given that Athanasiou was the one who lit up Paterson this past Thursday...
Anthony Mantha, Left Wing, Val-d'Or Foreurs: After returning from the Detroit Red Wings' training camp, Mantha lit the lamp three times for the hat trick as he led the host Foreurs past the visiting Gatineau Olympiques 5-0 this past Friday. Mantha, who was last year's only 50-goal scorer in the "Q", was the 20th overall pick by the Red Wings in the first round of this past June's NHL Draft.
In the prospect department in an equally dedicated and list-style vein, Hockey's Future's Adam Schnepp penned a feature article about the Red Wings' top prospects...
Top Pro Prospect: Calle Jarnkrok, C, Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Most top prospects develop some sort of descriptive label to go with their game: the player with the cannon of a shot, the player with slick hands, the player with pinpoint accuracy. Calle Jarnkrok breaks the mold a bit because he does not have one exemplary talent. Instead, the Swedish centerman has a well-rounded array of skills that make him one of Detroit's most valuable assets.
Jarnkrok began the process of adapting his game to the smaller North American ice surface at the end of the 2012-13 season with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. While his nine game stint was nothing to write home about, it provided the foundation for an both an impressive Prospects Camp and Training Camp. Jarnkrok subtly excels, with excellent passing, shooting, and a high hockey IQ that allows him to generate offense by thinking ahead of the game. He also has greatly improved his skills in the faceoff circle, cementing his role as a true center. Jarnkrok will need a bit of time to continue fine-tuning his game at the AHL level, but Detroit believes that they have a player in the vein of Henrik Zetterberg on their hands due to Jarnkrok's aforementioned offensive talents as well as his tenacity in puck retrieval and ability to hang onto the puck in the offensive zone.
And while Schnepp praises Marek Tvrdon, Anthony Mantha, Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou (among others--Schnepp's article is more than worth your time), I'd be remiss to not mention these oft-overlooked prospects:
Top Amateur Prospect: Ben Marshall, D, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA)
Ben Marshall has always been viewed as something of a hybrid defenseman, a player whose appearance is closer to that of a small, skilled forward than a hulking, punishing defenseman. The 2013-14 season will go a long way toward determining whether Marshall will always be a hybrid-type player or whether he can anchor a team's blue line.
Marshall will be one of Minnesota's top four defensemen and should see ample playing time at even strength and on the powerplay, allowing him an opportunity to showcase his offensive abilities. Marshall will need to show that he has continued the defensive improvement he began to display at the end of the 2012-13 season, though he will have plenty of time to do this; Marshall is entering just his junior year at the University of Minnesota.
Offensive Breakout: David Pope, LW, West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL)
Read any of the scouting reports on David Pope and they all scream one particular praise; the shot, the shot, the shot. Pope has many areas of his game that need improvement but his shot is already seen by some as being NHL caliber. Add additional offseason training provided by the Red Wings' Prospect Camp to a player whose skill set was already enough to be nearly a point-per-game player in the BCHL (Pope had 18 points in 20 games with the Westside Warriors in 2011-12 and 39 points in 42 games in 2012-13) and you have a player who should be ready for a breakout campaign. After spending one final season in the BCHL with West Kelowna, Pope will further develop his talent and fill out his 6'2 frame at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2014-15.
The Grand Rapids Griffins opened their training camp on Monday, aided by the Wings' additional roster cuts, and while this article's a repeat, Fox 17's Steve Amorose's Griffins sked ahead article reminds us that the Griffins will play exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters at Plymouth's Compuware Arena on Saturday and at Windsor's WFCU Centre on Sunday:
Head coach Jeff Blashill, along with assistant coaches Jim Paek and Spiros Anastas and Red Wings liaisons Chris Chelios, oversaw 22 skaters and two goaltenders through drills at Griff’s IceHouse Monday morning. During the Griffins first practice, the Detroit Red Wings announced that eight more players including forwards Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan, and Landon Ferraro would be joining the Griffins on Tuesday.
Forward Teemu Pulkkinen was on the ice in Grand Rapids today with the Griffins, but will have to return to Detroit on Wednesday to fulfill the final game requirement of his four-game NHL preseason suspension.
The Griffins will be holding a week-long training camp at Griff’s IceHouse in Grand Rapids and every session is open to the public. The Griffins camp schedule for the rest of the week is:
- Tuesday, Sept. 24 – Practices from 10:30-11:20 a.m and 11:35 a.m.-12-15 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 25 – Practices from 10:15-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-Noon
- Thursday, Sept. 26 – Practices from 10:15-11:05 a.m. and 11:20 a.m.-Noon
- Friday, Sept. 27 – Practice from 10:15-11:05 a.m. and a Scrimmage from 11:20-Noon
The Griffins will take on the Lake Erie Monsters in a pair of preseason games. The first game is on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich., with the second game set for the following night at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.
The Griffins AHL season opener is Friday, Oct. 4 in Rochester and the home opener (Championship Banner Night) is Friday, Oct. 18 against the Milwaukee Admirals.
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt?
In more serious matters, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen took note of the Griffins' number changes. The Griffins tend not to like their players wearing high numbers, so Clark reports that the Griffins are recycling jersey numbers:
Defenseman Ryan Sproul gives up the #2 he had been wearing (having inherited it from Cody Lampl and Carlo Colaiacovo) to Joe Hartman, switching to the #7 vacated by Brendan Smith's ascension to the Detroit roster full-time. Fellow blueliner Xavier Ouellet switches from #37 to #16 while Richard Nedomlel goes from #41 to #45, a rare case of a Griffin wearing a high number.
That's VERY rare.
With Ouellet taking #16, Marek Tvrdon drops to the #13 previously assigned to Gustav Nyquist, who seems poised to make the jump to the Red Wings.
Teemu Pulkkinen switches from #26 to the #6 that was briefly assigned to Andreas Athanasiou, with #26 going to free-agent signing David McIntyre. Calle Jarnkrok drops from the #25 he shared with Mike Knuble last year (and was originally assigned to Damien Brunner) to the #12 vacated by Brent Raedeke's departure. Kevin Lynch picks up the #25 from Jarnkrok.
Newcomer Alden Hirschfeld takes Francis Pare's old #9. Similarly, Martin Frk picks up Tomas Tatar's #27, Dane Walters gets Brian Lashoff's #32, Travis Novak will wear Jan Mursak's #39 and Alexey Marchenko gets the #3 that was shared by Erik Spady, Mark Mitera and Brett Skinner.
I really hope that Dane Walters earns an AHL contract. He was nothing but a gentleman during the summer development camp, and the Western Michigan University captain is a Luke Glendening-style grinder of the first order.
Goalie Jared Coreau gets his usual #31, meaning that he joins Landon Ferraro (#29) and Petr Mrazek (#34) as the only Griffins assigned the same number in Grand Rapids as they are in Detroit.
Joakim Andersson's old #18, Chad Billins' #14 and Danny DeKeyser's #55 were not assigned for camp.
I'm going to put this indelicately: Sometimes the Swedish media is so tabloid-esque and sensational in nature that it baffles me. You and I kind of knew that the Red Wings' roster crunch meant that Calle Jarnkrok would start the season in Grand Rapids...
And his prospect tournament and training camp performances indicated that even having worked with CSKA Moscow's bandy coach to bulk up this past summer still yielded a supremely talented but super-skinny prospect whose adjustments to North American-sized ice and the pace of AHL/NHL hockey--as well as the bulk of the players who will try to run him over--will take some time.
When he was demoted, Arbetarbladet's Bengt Persson wondered aloud whether the Wings would loan Jarnkrok to Brynas IF of the SHL again, and then Arbertarbladet chose to ask Jarnkrok's agent if his client would "Flyttar Hem."
The answer is "Nej" (and what follows is roughly translated)...
"The competition for spots was simply too fierce. Detroit has a very large team and there are some players who are ahead of Calle. Signing Daniel Cleary didn't make things easier," explains Calle Jarnkrok's agent, Christian Sjogren.
Calle played two games with Detroit and was scoreless in both.
"I think Calle played okay. The coaches were pleased with what they saw and that's the important thing."
Moving home to Brynas is not an issue at present. The former Brynas IF star will start the season in Grand Rapids.
"It's not an issue right now, and we haven't discussed that possibility. The idea's always been that he'll play in the AHL, and if he does well there, he'll probably get a chance in the AHL," says Sjogren.
Calle Jarnkrok spent 9 games in the AHL with Grand Rapids at the end of last season, before returning to Sweden for the World championships. Then Grand Rapids won the AHL championship.
Detroit's chief European scout, Hakan Andersson, has watched Jarnkrok play.
"I've spoken to him and he's happy with Calle. Calle's problem is that he still needs to get stronger," says Sjogren.
And HockeySverige's Ronnie Ronnkvist had to quash what was apparently a growing suggestion among the Swedish Interwebs that Jarnkrok would obviously head back to his hometown team in Gavle by speaking with Brynas IF's general manager:
Now that Calle Jarnkrok's been sent to the AHL, many Brynas fans hope that he'll come home to Gavle and play with Brynas IF, but according to the team's sports director, Michael Sundlov, that's not accurate.
"No, we don't see any possibility of bringing him home. I talked to Calle before he left, and he stated that he's absolutely going to focus on fighting [for a job] over there first and foremost. I don't see any chance for us to bring Calle home now," says Sundlov to HockeySverige.se.
Jarnkrok's no Hat Trick Dick Axelsson. He's not going home--and it wouldn't benefit his development at all to continue playing in Sweden right now. He's not quite as wiry as former Wings prospect Daniel Larsson, who former Griffins coach Curt Fraser very accurately described as "skinny as a rake," but Jarnkrok's about 5'11" and 175 pounds (which is way heavier than he used to be), and I'm starting to believe that he's never going to "fill out"...
So he has to learn how to make due with what he's got, and how to push, shove, and he needs to be more assertive...
But he's still the Wings' best "pro prospect" by a significant margin in my opinion. I haven't seen a player so very complete in every aspect of his game playing for the Wings since, well...Since, as Schnepp says, Zetterberg.
And finally, if you didn't witness Chris Osgood's debut on Fox Sports Detroit, We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted a snippet of Osgood's commentary:
The Saginaw Spirit is poised to hit a gameday milestone.
With 11 full seasons in the Ontario Hockey League under their belt, the Spirit are poised to cross the 1.5 million attendance barrier early in the 2013-14 season.
To date, the Spirit have sold 1,490,390 tickets, which averages out to 3,985 fans at each home game. The Spirit's 12th season has started; the home opener is Wednesday, Sept. 25.
“We’re very grateful to our fans,” said Spirit President Craig Goslin. “We have great fans, and this year we’re looking forward to what could be a record-breaking, history-making season on and off the ice.”
The Spirit, owned by businessman Dick Garber, are 250,000 fans away from topping the old Saginaw Gears for most attendance by a sports franchise in Saginaw County history.
“It proves Dick Garber is committed to the community, and we’re committed to winning,” Goslin said. “We want to win a championship, but first Dick and I needed to get good people. And we have good people with Greg Gilbert and Jim Paliafito. We just have to give them the resources to be successful.”
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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.