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Red Wings overnight report: the Hockeytown Winter Festival begins today; Wings get back to work

The Red Wings will resume practicing today ahead of a pair of games in Florida on Saturday (7 PM on FSD) and in Nashville on Monday (8 PM on FSD Plus), with the team hoping to rebound from a difficult loss to the Islanders and hoping to welcome back at least some of Henrik Zetterberg (back), Darren Helm (shoulder), Jimmy Howard (knee), Justin Abdelkader (concussion) and/or Johan Franzen (concussion) prior to the Winter Classic...

But Downtown Detroit will be hopping with other hockey action today as the Hockeytown Winter Festival kicks off with a pair of Fox Sports Detroit/FSD Plus-aired Great Lakes Invitational Games (Michigan Tech vs. Michigan State at 3:30 and Michigan vs. Western Michigan at 7; Wings prospect Mike McKee plays defense for WMU) at Comerica Park.

MLive's Gus Burns posted the Hockeytown Winter Festival's schedule...

Dec. 27-28 GREAT LAKES INVITATIONAL
Dec. 27 3:30 p.m. - Michigan State vs. Michigan Tech
7:00 p.m. - Western Michigan vs. Michigan
Dec.28 3:30 p.m. - Consolation Game
7:00 p.m. - Championship Game
.
Dec. 29 ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE DOUBLEHEADER
1:30 p.m. - Windsor Spitfires vs. Saginaw Spirit
5:00 p.m. - London Knights vs. Plymouth Whalers
.
Dec. 30 AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
5:00 p.m. - Toronto Marlies vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
.
Dec. 31 2013 MAPLE LEAFS vs. RED WINGS ALUMNI SHOWDOWN™
1:00 p.m. - Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni
3:30 p.m. - Maple Leafs Alumni vs. Red Wings Alumni

And the Free Press's B.J. Hammerstein noted that the Wings hope to give fans some serious bang for their buck outside Comerica Park at the Coke Zero Fan Zone:

Jim Biewer, event and experiential manager for the Red Wings, said the majority of the Fan Zone attractions will be happening inside three large tents at the ballpark’s two main parking lots facing Woodward Avenue. There will be loads of live music, in-line skating, autograph sessions with hockey stars, beer, restaurants, an appearance by the Stanley Cup and more, he said.

“One of the main things people will be checking out is the synthetic ice rink,” Biewer said. “Yeah, fake ice. You could do a hockey stop on it and everything. This one is brand new, coming from Spain, and it’s never been skated on.”

Biewer said he’s excited to see people have fun with Snowzilla, the more than 25-foot-tall and 90-foot-long toboggan run.

“It’s really unique; it looks like Mt. Everest is in the city,” he said. “It’s the largest inflatable slide in the U.S., and it’s a bounce house, too. All in one.”

There will be nearly 30 local music acts playing on two stages (Molson and DRW) at the festival, including while the games are going on.

“This is for everyone. We programmed this to be full of fun from open to close,” he said.

Hammstein continues with details of the performers taking part in the event, and most of the NHL's trophies will make appearances--as will the Stanley Cup, which is scheduled to appear at the following times:

The Stanley Cup® will make appearances inside the Molson Hockey House during the below dates and times ONLY:

Monday, December 30th, 2:30-4:30pm
Tuesday, December 31st, 12:00-2:00pm

Following those two appearances the Stanley Cup® will move inside Comerica Park for the remainder of the day (Dec. 30 & 31).  There will be a $5 charge for all photo opportunities with the Stanley Cup®.  All proceeds from this photo opportunity go directly to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation.  Guests must provide their own camera.

The Stanley Cup® appearance is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

As for "Snowzilla"...

 

 

 

On Thursday evening, the Red Wings' Alums practiced at Comerica Park, as reported by WXYZ's Ronnie Dahl...


Over the next several days, hockey is taking over Comerica Park.

The baseball field has been replaced with an ice skating rink for this weekend's exciting events surrounding the NHL's Winter classic, including the Great Lakes Invitational college hockey tournament.

College hockey players will hit the ice Friday and Saturday.

But Thursday night, some of the game's biggest names dusted off their skates.

Former members of the Red Wings got in some practice time. The players are getting ready for the big Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown, which is scheduled for December 31st.

Former Red Wings player and current announcer Mickey Redmond said he's been getting in shape for the past year.

"We are going to kick some Maple Leaf rear end, how about that." was how Redmond described the alumni showdown.

Two games are scheduled, 1pm and 3:30pm.  An internet check shows tickets are still available.

Video included...

The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News posted photo galleries of the event, and the Detroit News's Terry Foster spoke with several of the alums about the tilts against Toronto that will take place on Monday at 1 and 3:30 PM (both games will air on Fox Sports Detroit, the CBC and NBCSN):

[Eddie] Mio will play in the “B” game at 1 p.m. The “A” features Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom, among others, and starts at 4:15 p.m. The Maple Leafs will counter with Mats Sundin, Tie Domi and Wendel Clark.

The reunion gives the former players a chance to rekindle old flames and battles. The series between the Original Six rival is 276-276-93, but the Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cups while the Red Wings own 11. But the alumni game isn’t about the bitter rivalry. It’s about exchanging stories and competing one more time. And it’s about fun.

“I want you to look at the guys on the ice,” said former Red Wings forward Joe Kocur, president of the Red Wings Alumni Association. “All you are going to see are teeth. Guys are going to be looking around at the crowd and the atmosphere and they are going to be smiling and soaking it all in.”

For Mio, the festivities are a chance to reunite with former Adirondack Red Wings goaltender and current Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. Mio spent time in Adirondack during a rehab assignment in 1983-84, and played three seasons in Detroit.

“I am going to be nervous as heck,” Mio said. “Even if I am playing an alumni game and I know we are going to win 10-1, I am nervous. But I am going to play 12 minutes and am going to poke fun and we are going to have as much fun as possible, tapping guys and being silly.”

While the games and practices are difficult for some former players — some raised their sticks, signaling for a breather during a recent get-together — other like Kris Draper and Ciccarelli showed some speed and skill.

“We want to do well,” former Red Wings defenseman Larry Murphy said. “We are here to have fun, but we want to do something constructive. It makes the time out there easier.”

Foster continues and offers both teams' rosters.

As of the middle of the night on Friday, there's still no word as to whether Sergei Fedorov will join the festivities as CSKA Moscow's GM or as an active player. CSKA's supposed to play against Rochester today in the Spengler Cup, but his status as part of CSKA's roster may or may not be a publicity stunt.

 

 

 

Sunday's OHL games won't be televised, but the Detroit News's David Goricki both spoke with Plymouth Whalers forward Carter Sandlak and posted the schedule for Sunday's tilts and listed some "players to watch":

OHL doubleheader

Saginaw vs. Windsor

Faceoff: 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Comerica Park

Outlook: The teams began a three-game series Dec. 20, which ends with Sunday’s game.

London vs. Plymouth

Faceoff: 5 p.m. Sunday, Comerica Park

Outlook: The teams played in the West finals last season, with London winning en route to the OHL title.
 

 

 

 

The Grand Rapids Griffins will take to Comerica's ice on Monday to battle the Toronto Marlies (at 5 PM on FSD and the CBC), and Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch spoke with the Detroit News's David Goricki in a context-setting article (the Griffins lost to Milwaukee on Thursday, they play in Rockford tonight, and they battle the Marlies on both Monday at Comerica and on New Year's Eve at Van Andel Arena) which notes that Paetsch played in the inaugural Winter Classic as a Sabre...

Paetsch, a former second-round pick of the Capitals in 2001, helped Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup last season. And his steady play on defense has the Griffins contending again. Grand Rapids has won 19 of its last 22 games.

“We have a lot of depth,” said Paetsch, 30. “Sure, we’ve lost some top-end skilled players (to the Red Wings), but we replaced them with AHL-level players and they’ve done the job. We’ve had great goaltending from Petr Mrazek (now with Red Wings) and Tom McCollum.”

The key, however, is Griffins coach Jeff Blashill.

After beginning his coaching career in college, he made his mark as an assistant for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock before taking over in Grand Rapids.

“He’s created a winning atmosphere,” Paetsch said. “He has a good system, gets his point across and players want to play for him. ... I’m sure he will be an NHL coach before long.”

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted that Luke Glendening and Petr Mrazek don't know whether they're going to take part in the AHL game or the Winter Classic itself:

Luke Glendening will be playing outdoors at some point the next few days. Question is, will it be at Michigan Stadium or Comerica Park?

“Either way, it’ll be fun,” the Red Wings forward said.

With the Red Wings expecting several forwards to be ready to play over the next few days, there’s a chance Glendening will be sent to Grand Rapids.

Glendening's played in three outdoor games, including the "Big Chill at the Big House"...

“It was a unique experience for sure,” Glendening said of The Big Chill. “To play in front of 100,000 at The Big House. It was certainly special and something I won’t ever forget.”

And Mrazek's quite proud of the "snowman" pads he'll be wearing on either Monday or Wednesday:

Mrazek will be wearing unique holiday season goaltender pads — a snowman is on both red pads beneath a flurry of snowflakes.

“It’s fun,” Mrazek said. “Some of the guys liked it and said it would be a cool idea.”

 

 

 

As for the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, NHL.com's Corey Masisak posted an article about the work being done at Michigan Stadium....

The crew responsible for building an ice rink inside Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic is back in business after a short holiday reprieve.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his staff were back at the Big House on Thursday morning and back at work on the rink inside the stadium by the early afternoon after a couple of days of leave for everyone to enjoy Christmas with their families.

Craig's crew first had to clean a few of inches of snow off the ice surface that has fallen here since they stopped working. The snow will be stored and used in the areas of the field around the rink on game day.

The plan for the rest of the day was to edge the outside of the ice surface after the cleanup was complete, and then flood the rink with hot water. If everything goes according to plan, Craig's crew will be able to starting painting the surface on Friday.

"We're definitely on schedule," Craig said. "The weather hasn't been a hindrance at all. Today was basically scheduled as a clean-up day."

NHL.com posted a Winter Classic rink time lapse...

And they have a live webcam up and running...

And Masisak posted a second article about Craig and crew's busy day at the rink:

"[Today] went well. As a matter of fact, with the wind dying down, I am tempted to paint [the ice] white tonight," Craig said. "Today was a travel day for the guys and a lot of them started at 6 a.m., so I'd much rather have them fresh for tomorrow. I'm not ready to make them all put in a 12-hour day to paint. It takes a while to mix it up and make sure everyone is doing the right thing at the right time."

Craig had sent his entire 11-man crew home for a two- or three-day break for the holidays. They reconvened Thursday morning in Ann Arbor. The first task on the playing surface was to clean off a few inches of fresh snow that had fallen since the last day everyone was here.

Six guys with large shovels worked in unison to clear all of the snow off the surface, which will be stored and used on the parts of the University of Michigan football field that won't be covered by one of the two rinks for game day Jan. 1.

After all the snow was cleared, the crew edged the ice along the boards and after clearing some more snow, Craig was on the ice with a hose flooding the surface with hot water as dusk turned into night.

"We're at the thickness that I want to be," Craig said. "Now, it is just a matter of getting the white down and getting it sealed up and then getting our lines and logos in and then getting a half inch of ice over top of it."

Craig said the ice was about one-and-a-half inches thick before the late afternoon flooding, which would add one-eighth of an inch. The hot water will bond together with the ice already in place better than cold water would, he explained.

I will suggest that you can watch E.J. Hradek's "Plus-Minus" comments made on the NHL Network and in print on your own as I would delicately desrcribe the predictive content as "fluffernutter," but Pro Hockey Talk's Cam Tucker noted that Masisak has posted a 360-degree panorama of the rink, and it's pretty dang cool.

The forecast for Wednesday as of this morning involves clear skies and a high of 15-19 degrees--with a low around zero on New Year's Eve.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with the Wings' players about their childhood memories of skating outside...

“It was fun,” said Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who grew up in Macomb. “You had to bundle up because it was cold. But it was fun.”

Those times and the memories associated with them have been rekindled with the Maple Leafs and Red Wings preparing for a big-time pond hockey game — the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium.

“It’s the way a lot of us started,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of playing pond hockey.

And even players from Europe experienced those moments — youth teams there still play games and practice outdoors, in sometimes frigid conditions.

Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who grew up in Danderyd, Sweden, said his hometown had only an outdoor rink, and he didn’t play on a team that played indoors until his late teens.

“I grew up on outdoor rinks,” Gustavsson said.

Kulfan continues, but I have to say that I really think that the Detroit News's John Niyo's article takes the cake in terms of context-setting because it both addresses the Wings' "hopes and dreams," as it were...

“Anytime you get to play outdoors,” said Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary, “it brings back a lot of memories.”

Memories of pond hockey, throwing sticks to pick teams for games of shinny. Afternoon games that lasted well past dark, and anxious nights waiting for the backyard rink to properly freeze.

“It’s always fun to be outside,” said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, recalling his childhood memories of that big sledding hill behind Wapoos Bay in Leaf Rapids, Manitoba. “We had a great little rink back there that was fantastic. Obviously this isn’t that, but it’s pretty special.”

...

"I've always wanted to play in one,'' said Todd Bertuzzi, who at 38 was worried he might not get the chance when the lockout canceled this game a year ago.

For others, the postponement gave them a chance they’d otherwise have missed.

Like Tomas Tatar, a 23-year-old rookie, who happily smeared the eye black on last week as the Red Wings took their practice outdoors last week at Comerica Park, getting accustomed to the elements Tatar says he grew up playing street hockey in his native Slovakia. (“When I got home from school that was the first thing to do,” he said.) And when it was winter, somebody would flood a nearby field and let Mother Nature do the rest, “so we were always skating.”

And he spoke with NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins about the fact that the NHL is holding SIX of these events:

“Every club, every market, every football stadium, every baseball stadium has called to say, ‘We’d love to host one of these things,’ ” Collins said. “So I know that the interest is there.”

But he adds “this year was a very special, unique year,” and the league hasn’t yet committed to anything beyond a Winter Classic hosted by the Capitals next season.

“They’re profitable,” Collins said. “But the real reason to do it is because you’re elevating the game, creating some of that national interest in a game. It’s the spectacle.”

It's a spectacle, and, as the Detroit News's John Katzenstein notes, it's about setting a world record...

When the puck drops on the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day in Ann Arbor, organizers anticipate more than 107,000 people in attendance for the Red Wings game against the Maple Leafs. That would break the stadium’s current record.

Last month officials from the NHL and the Red Wings said the event was sold out besides some single tickets.

An official adjudicator from Guinness will be in attendance to oversee the ticket counting process and potentially announce a new preliminary world record during the game, Guinness spokeswoman Sara Wilcox said. After the game, Guinness will work to verify the record, which could take weeks.

On Dec. 11, 2010, “The Big Chill at the Big House” officially drew a world-record 104,173 people. The announced attendance was 113,411, but Guinness only counted attendees whose tickets were scanned. Freezing temperatures forced stadium workers to tear some tickets, which led to the discrepancy, athletic department spokesman David Ablauf said.

Michigan beat Michigan State, 5-0, in that game at Michigan Stadium and crushed the previous hockey attendance record of 77,803 set in May 2010 at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship at Veltins-Arena in Germany.

To set a Guinness World Record, all anyone has to do is send an application to the company’s website and provide what it considers sufficient evidence, Wilcox said. Guinness has about 40,000 world records and about 10 percent of those make the book each year. Collectors receive about 1,000 applications per week.

Update: MLive's Ryan Stanton posted oodles of parking info for those of you attending the main event.

 

 

 

And in all honesty, the bottom line is that all of this is about making money, about the NHL making money, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs making money, about restaurants, bars, hotels, concert venues, memorabilia-sellers and even car rental companies and casinos making money.

There's nothing wrong with the fact that these events are truly for-profit endeavors, that they're in fact artificial in a world where kids grow up skating inside most of the time and that, in fact, the NHL's going to milk this stuff for all it's worth and then some, to the point that some Winter Classic or Stadium Series ticket-holders who're selling their tix at the last minute are finding that they're going to have to take losses because of market saturation.

The money part isn't a bad thing, especially in Southeastern Michigan, and the Free Press's Zlati Meyer bluntly addressed the monetary aspects of the Hockeytown Winter Festival and Winter Classic itself (and the Free Press re-posted George Sipple's article about parking in Ann Arbor):

The 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival, which runs through Tuesday, is attracting thousands of fans to downtown Detroit, thanks to a temporarily frozen-over Comerica Park.

And with that white ice comes green cash.

The Winter Festival is expected to translate into $50 million to $60 million in direct spending, according to the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 2014 NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day likely will bring $15 million to Ann Arbor

“Visitors are spending on meals, attractions, transportation and lodging. There’s some shopping thrown in,” said spokeswoman Renee Monforton, who said attendees are coming from within a 5-hour’s drive. “When they come here, they go to places like the Motown Museum, the Henry Ford, the DIA. ... People stay for multiple days and stay for ancillary events.”

Plenty of hockey fans will be arriving from closer distances — yet still spending money.

The festival began Dec. 18 with high school hockey games at the frozen-over Comerica Park and ends with the Red Wings alumni games. On the roster, along with crowd-favorite Steve Yzerman, was open-skate sessions; Great Lakes Invitational, Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League games, and the Coke Zero Fan Zone, featuring interactive hockey exhibits, the Snowzilla mobile toboggan slide and a synthetic-ice skating area.

Meyer continues and speaks with both a Facebook pal of mine and a local bartender and memorabilia seller about the uptick in business before issuing an honest bottom line:

And after a tough year in the national spotlight, Detroit is gearing up for some good PR, as downtown becomes a winter sports fan dreamscape.

“Sports ... when they have a big occasion, brings dollars to Detroit. It makes Detroit feel better. There’s a long road to go with the bankruptcy, for sure, but it’s a step forward,” [Gameday Detroit manager Steve] Zaccardelli said.

“When they create a new hockey rink and a new retail area ... it’ll be a boon to the area. Downtown first has to get itself solid, and then it will radiate out to where the neighborhoods are and make them solid, make sure there are enough streetlights and police and fire on shift.”

That is the hope. Get people downtown, show the rest of the world that we can host major events, get some of that money into local businesses' pockets and reinforce the concept that Downtown Detroit is somewhere that you can go and enjoy yourself, and that Ann Arbor should be more than a "hidden gem."

But this is about making money, no doubt about it, and again, that's not a bad thing. It's just the truth.

 

 

 

The Red Wings themselves won't be pondering the socioeconomic or sociocultural aspects of the Hockeytown Winter Festival or Winter Classic when they resume practicing today.

As noted on Thurdsay afternoon, the 17-13-and-9 Wings were booed off the ice after their 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders, and the Wings' status as heading on the road for Saturday's game in Florida and Monday's game in Nashville won't do a thing to put a dent in the team's 6-10-and-6 home record.

The Wings won't have Jonathan Ericsson's services for 3-5 weeks as he suffered a pair of broken ribs on Monday, but the team does hope to get Henrik Zetterberg (back), Darren Helm (shoulder), Justin Abdelkader (concussion), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Jimmy Howard (knee) back in the lineup prior to next Wednesday's outdoor affair.

Zetterberg, Helm and Abdelkader may return on Saturday, and Franzen and Howard hope to return by Wednesday at the latest...And as you already know, Stephen Weiss is out until March after having sports hernia surgery.

As the Free Press's Helene St. James notes, the Wings are still without their leading scorer over three weeks after Zetterberg listened to his back and probably avoided surgery by stopping playing due to a slightly herniated disc (most herniations heal on their own), and the fact that Zetterberg's still the team's leading scorer emphasizes the Wings' problems in terms of putting pucks in the net:

Zetterberg hasn’t played since Dec. 1, when he gutted it out at Ottawa through what turned out to be a small herniated disc. He paced his teammates with 30 points in 28 games at that time, and even after missing nearly a month he’s still atop the team leaderboard.

Pavel Datsyuk is right behind with 29 points, but that took 32 games to reach. Daniel Alfredsson is third, with 28 points in 34 games.

Both Datsyuk (concussion) and Alfredsson (groin) have missed time due to injuries of their own.

Playing without their captain has been hard for the Wings. They’ve won three times during the 11 games Zetterberg has missed, going 3-6-2. They averaged 2.8 goals per game with Zetterberg contributing, 1.9 without him.

It takes most players a couple of games to regain top form after missing substantial time, but top-flight players like Zetterberg can make an immediate impact. For starters, Zetterberg’s availability makes it possible to form two legitimate scoring lines, with Alfredsson playing next to either Zetterberg or Datsyuk.

It’ll help to get Helm back, too, because he’ll make the Wings a faster team. Abdelkader is also a good skater, and the Wings haven’t been a good skating team as they’ve slogged through December.

There isn’t a team that goes through an 82-game season without injuries, and sustaining itself through such a stretch is a part of what separates contenders from castoffs. The Wings were, at one point, without eight regulars, but they have missed no one more than Zetterberg.

Ain't that the truth.

The Red Wings will also bring Jakub Kindl back into the lineup without Franzen--the team plans on going with six defensemen for the present moment--and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted that Kindl's been scratched of late because Mike Babcock wasn't happy with Kindl's defensive play:

“We just want him to compete hard defensively, be good defensively and not let people behind him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Kindl’s benching lasted all of two games because of a long-term injury Jonathan Ericsson suffered and he’ll be back along the blue line Saturday when Detroit plays at Florida.

Brian Lashoff may not bring as much to the table offensively, but he's been more reliable:

“Well he’s just a simple player,” Babcock said of Lashoff. “He’s got to be real good in his own zone. He can’t be in the chances against highlights, just can’t be in them, and if he’s not in them then we’re happy because he’s not going to do much for you offensively.”

Kindl finished with the second best plus-minus (plus-15) on the team a year ago, second only to Pavel Datsyuk (plus-21) on the team. He also had four goals and nine assists in 41 games.

This year his offensive numbers are good (one goal, nine assists), but he has the third worst plus-minus rating (minus-10). Just Kyle Quincey (minus-13) and Todd Bertuzzi (minus-11) are worse.

“When you look at a guy like (Brendan) Smith or you look at a guy like Kindl, they’re guys that have a chance to do more offensively but they can’t be in all the chances against,” Babcock said. “When you start getting in on all the chances against and your numbers go down there all the time you’re not playing much.”

We should not expect Mikael Samuelsson to return to the lineup--the Wings have recalled Luke Glendening, Patrick Eaves, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and even Jordin Tootoo instead of playing Samuelsson--and Pleiness noted that the Wings' resident $3 million scratch isn't happy about his status, either:

After playing 13 games in a row, Mikael Samuelsson has found himself watching in street clothes in six of the last eight games.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Samuelsson said. “It’s out of my hands. I’m disappointed I can’t be in the lineup.”

Samuelsson, who’s played in 21 games this season, has one goal and three assists. He’s also a minus-5.

“Score more,” Samuelsson said when asked what he needs to do to get back in the lineup. “It all goes hand-in-hand. It’s a matter of ice time, it’s a matter of confidence right now. That’s what I need most of all.”

Ken Holland was blunt in his assessment of Samuelsson's impact, or perhaps the lack thereof:

"When you’re 35 and you’re sort of in the lineup, out of the lineup and when you do play, you don’t play a lot of minutes, the natural thing to happen is you lose your confidence and start to play a game that isn’t how you got here in the first place,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a guy we brought back because he plays puck possession and we thought he could play the right point on the power play and chip in 15-20 goals. Last year he was hurt (basically) the entire year. In the meantime we signed Daniel Alfredsson, (Stephen) Weiss and (Tomas) Tatar is an NHL. We’re deeper, we have more NHL forward that last year so there’s more competition.”

 

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note: The Detroit Free Press has the Wings listed as one of its "Team of the Year" nominees, and MLive's Ansar Khan answered more reader questions in a second "Ask Ansar" column, and this time around, he tackled the hot topic that is possible trade talk:

Q. With the Red Wings looking deep with talent and skill up front, on paper, do you anticipate Holland making a significant trade by March 5 to bring in a D-man with great veteran leadership and experience to help with a strong playoff run this year?--Wings fan4life

A. He’ll try to acquire a defenseman. The top potential rental is San Jose’s Dan Boyle. He’s a highly-skilled right-handed shooter who would be ideal for the Red Wings. But I doubt the Sharks will move him because it would basically wreck whatever Stanley Cup hopes they have.

Other possible blue line rentals include Marek Zidlicky of New Jersey, Henrik Tallinder of Buffalo, Kris Russell of Calgary, Tom Gilbert of Florida and Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders. It’s a thin and unimpressive group. I believe the Red Wings had some interest in Zidlicky when he was a free agent last summer.

Q. What impact top-six forwards do you see the Wings looking at (if any). Do you think Jurco will remain up and what do think they will do with Quincey? -- Corey

A. Quincey likely is trade bait. With Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen due back soon, they’ll need to trim three forwards to maintain 14 on their roster. The non-waiver options for being sent down are Patrick Eaves, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Tomas Jurco. I could see them keeping Jurco around for at least a few more games when those healthy players return to see how he performs surrounded by more talent.

Regarding top-six forwards who might be moved this season, Tomas Vanek of the Islanders might be the best available rental (player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season).

One player I think could be a good fit in Detroit is Devin Setoguchi of Winnipeg. He’s fast, has good offensive instincts and has a right-handed shot. He scored some big goals against the Red Wings when he played for San Jose but hasn’t maximized his potential.

Other rental forwards who might be moved include Matt Moulson (Islanders), Dany Heatley (Minnesota), Mike Cammalleri (Calgary), Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey) and Ales Hemsky (Edmonton).

Buffalo’s Drew Stafford and Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann are a couple of players with one year remaining on their contracts who might be dealt.

Khan continues at length, addressing oodles of topics.

 

 

This entry took me...Three hours to write. Bleh. The three-day break was wonderful, but it's back to work for me today, and back on antibiotics so that I can attend the Griffins-Marlies game and Alumni Showdown as well (I got credentialed yay!).

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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.