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Red Wings-Penguins pre-season quick take: the Wings played Alm right

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Monday night, and the game was expertly live-Tweeted by one Ken Kal--though we'll be in the dark  thanks to a TV-and-radio-less game against Chicago on Tuesday (at 8 PM; Chicago scrimmaged on Monday night).

How did the Wings "look?" Via RedWingsFeed, the NHL did post non-embeddable highlights, and the Pens' beat writers will cover it, but here's what I thought:

For a first preseason game, they looked really good. Tomas Tatar registered the game's first goal (via Brendan Smith and Landon Ferraro) on a tap-in of a Ferraro wraparound pass, halfway through the first.

After Brandon Sutter tied things up by converting a 2-on-1 chance against Jimmy Howard early in the 2nd, the Wings got a couple of power plays. 6:16 in, Tatar and Smith fed the puck to Adam Almquist on the point, and he ripped a high, hard slapper through traffic and into the net, about five minutes later, he did the same, this time with Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson feeding the slightly-built Swedish defenseman on the left point...

And Pavel Datsyuk brought home the bacon by making a slick deke and backhand goal with 2:01 left in the 2nd.

Jimmy Howard was very solid in stopping 14 of 15 over 40 minutes of play, and Petr Mrazek was sharp in stopping 10 of 10 in the 3rd (the Wings were out-shot 24-19).

The Wings' power play, despite Almquist's goals, wasn't anything to write home about--despite going 2-for-5--because it blew 1:56 of 5 on 3 time thanks to the pass-to-the-point-itis that plagues the team, but the PK was good, killing 5 Penguins penalties.

The lines looked like this:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Abdelkader

Cleary-Andersson-Samuelsson

Mantha-Jarnkrok-Tootoo

Tatar-Glendening-Ferraro

On defense:

Quincey-Smith

DeKeyser-Kindl

Almquist-Evans

In goal:

Howard

Mrazek

The top line needs no explanation.  The second one? It was as much of a mess as you might expect Joakim Andersson to be without Gustav Nyquist by his side, and instead with a slightly rusty Daniel Cleary and a still-finding-his-form (whatever that may be) Mikael Samuelsson; the third one was really good because Mantha was aggressive and Jarkrok skated up and down the ice authoritatively, and the fourth was OK given that Glendening looks a little tired and Ferraro was up and down while showing flourishes of offensive flair--and forechecking aplomb--but Tatar was excellent.

The d-pairs were the d-pairs for the most part: Quincey gambled, Smith back-passed, DeKeyser leaned on his left foot while passing, Kindl was solid, Evans played like an AHL'er and Almquist was really good offensively and a work in progress given that he's like 5'10" and maybe 170 pounds after working like hell to put muscle on his bones.

In goal, Howard was fine and Mrazek was very, very Mrazek-like.

In terms of statistics:

Team-wise:

The Wings went 2-for-5 in 6:31 of PP time, including 1:56 of 5-on-3 time; the Penguins went 0-for-5 in 10:00 of PP time.

Howard stopped 13 of 14 for Detroit, and Mrazek stopped 10 of 10; Tomas Vokoun stopped 11 of 15, and Erik Hartzell stopped 4 of 4.

The 3 stars were picked by a media panel, and they were Tomas Tatar (3), Pavel Datsyuk (2) and Adam Almquist (1).

The Wings' goals: Tatar (1) from Ferraro (1) and Smith (1);

Almquist (1) from Smith (2) and Tatar (1), PPG;

Almquist (2) from Samuelsson (1) and Datsyuk (1), PPG.

Datsyuk (1), unassisted.

Shots: 24-19 Pittsburgh;

Blocked shots: 18-9 Pittsburgh;

Missed shots: 17-15 Pittsburgh (total attempts 52-50 Detroit);

Hits: 32-18 Pittsburgh;

Giveaways: 7-0 Pittsburgh;

Takeaways: 5-4 Pittsburgh;

Faceoffs 28-27 Detroit (51% won by Detroit).

Individual stats, TMR style:

Shots on goal: Samuelsson, Datsyuk and Almquist co-led the team with 3; Kindl, Abdelkader, Tatar, Tootoo, Quincey, Ferraro, Glendening, Evans, DeKeyser and Cleary had 1

Blocked attempts: Smith and Quincey fired 3 more attempts into Penguins players; Kindl and Tatar had 2 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Tootoo, Samuelsson, Mantha, Glendening, Jarnkrok and Cleary had single attempts blocked.

Hits: Ferraro led the team with 5 hits; Abdelkader had 3; Kindl, Quincey and Evans had 2; Smith, Tootoo, Glendening and Jarnkrok had 1.

Giveaways: None listed. That's BS.

Takeaways: Abdelkader, Tatar, Samuelsson and Zetterberg were credited with takeaways.

Blocked opponent shots: Smith blocked 3 shots; DeKeyser blocked 2; Abdelkader, Andersson, Quincey and Evans blocked 1.

Faceoffs: Jarnkrok went 10-and-6 (63%); Datsyuk went 8-and-4 (67%); Andersson went 5-and-7 (42%); Glendening went 3-and-5 (38%); Ferraro, Samuelsson, Zetterberg and Cleary lost single faceoffs.

Plus-minus: The team finished at a collective +5. DeKeyser, Cleary and Andersson were -1; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Tatar, Ferraro, Zetterberg, Glendening and Evans were +1; Almquist was +2.

Points: Almquist had 2 goals; Smith had 2 assists; Datsyuk and Tatar both had a goal and an assist for 2 points apiece; Ferraro and Samuelsson had assists.

Ice time: Quincey led the team with 23:51 played; Smith played 22:32; DeKeyser played 19:23;

Datsyuk played 17:59; Evans played 17:54; Cleary played 17:36;

Zetterberg played 17:30; Kindl played 17:00; Andersson played 16:24;

Abdelkader played 16:21; Glendening played 16:16; Almquist played 14:55;

Jarnkrok played 13:25; Mantha played 12:32; Samuelsson played 12:09;

Tatar played 11:55; Ferraro played 11:51; Tootoo played 10:27.

 

No TV + end of training camp coverage = I will probably sleep through the Hawks game, and while I'll try to post a recap, it will not be detailed. I'm going to take Wednesday off period as I'm exhausted as hell, and coverage of the Wings-Bruins game on Thursday will be SUPER LIMITED because I will be driving home--but that game will air on Fox Sports Detroit!

 

Update: Here's the AP's 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.

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Comments

gowings's avatar

Thank you for the update. That was quick!

Posted by gowings from MTL on 09/16/13 at 10:07 PM ET

gowings's avatar

oh, and you need some rest….I don’t know how you managed all that info right after the game…but now…it’s sleep time for you!!!!

Posted by gowings from MTL on 09/16/13 at 10:09 PM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Almquist on the ice for all 4 goals for and no goals against.  Congrats kid on a hell of a game! 

I haven’t been this optimistic about a Red Wings season since Hossa came over.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 09/16/13 at 10:35 PM ET

DocF's avatar

And the best thing about this game is that everyone seems to have survived with knees intact.  Playing Pittsburgh, that is a good thing.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/16/13 at 11:06 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Did Babcock lose a bet and have to ice that 2nd line to pay up?  I’m…. not sure of the thought process that went behind it.  You can’t even EA it like it was playmaker with a sniper and a physical guy…. yeesh.

Posted by Primis on 09/16/13 at 11:10 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

If Almqvist looks this good in 2 or 3 more exhibition games I wouldn’t think twice about keeping him with the big club and including Queasy in a trade for whatever we need to score more on the power play.

Hopefully, Alfredsson will have some success against Chicago tomorrow night.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 09/16/13 at 11:18 PM ET

Avatar

Almqvist is too small and weak to make the pros.  Sadly, he’s tiny and plays like it.  Ouellet and Sproul are going to lap him so may be best to package him in a trade so you get something for that asset.  I like the kid, just don’t see much of a future here in Detroit for him.

Posted by bababooey on 09/16/13 at 11:34 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

well babafooey .. according to Elete Prospects, Almqvist is 5’ 11”

heres the link for his stats ... http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=10378

just ask Brian Rafalski how important it is to be tall.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 09/17/13 at 12:35 AM ET

Avatar

Posted by WingnutBP on 09/16/13 at 11:52 PM ET

$10 says that link won’t work tomorrow evening, USAgoals.tv always lists streams before they actually have them so when they inevitably cannot get a stream for a game they just shut down the link. It drove me crazy when I was trying to watch Griffins games this last season.

just ask Brian Rafalski how important it is to be tall.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 09/17/13 at 12:35 AM ET

Rafi could skate though, Almqvist lacks size/strength and skating ability if he had one or the other he’d make a good 3rd pairing/2nd PP guy and if he had both he’d be a top pairing guy.
I’m a big fan of his but I don’t see a future for him in Detroit with his waiver exemption running out soon I can’t see the wings holding on to him long enough for him to improve his skating and bulk up. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter much with Sproul, Ouellet, Backman, and Marchenko all looking very promising.
FWIW I believe he will eventually improve his skating enough to become a 3rd pairing guy who is dynamite on the PP.

Posted by Pulsar93 on 09/17/13 at 01:10 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

yeah, Sproul & Ouellet are the next wave.  wasn’t paying much attention to Almqvists skating.  every time I noticed him he was shooting.  i’ll hafta pay more attention next game.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 09/17/13 at 01:26 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

And Tatar gets 11 minutes of ice time on the 4th line in a pre-season game… playing with 2 Griffins… Ugh.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 09/17/13 at 02:26 AM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

thanks George!

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/17/13 at 04:29 AM ET

Avatar

just ask Brian Rafalski how important it is to be tall

This would be the same Brian Rafalski who played 11 seasons and had to retire out of a huge deal because his body was obliterated?

It’s sort of important.

It’s not, you know, the most important thing… it’s not like being tall is some kind of Iron Man suit, but nowadays if you’re shorter than other players this means your head sits at shoulder level to the biggest, meanest hitters on the ice.

Which is bad.  Also, Almquist is really slight in addition to being short.  Physics sucks.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/17/13 at 05:22 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

A defenseman retiring at age 37 because of knee problems isn’t that big a deal.

Considering the average number of NHL games played is 247 (the median is 91), I’d say that it wasn’t terribly important for Brian Rafalski and his 998 career NHL games.

I mean… other than it cost him years on the front end of his career because shorter guys have to constantly prove to NHL minds that they can overcome the disability of not being 6’2”.  This is why Ian White is on a professional try-out and Douglas Murray already has a contract.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/17/13 at 07:57 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Woo! Almqvist!  Been pulling for this kid since I saw him play in Stockholm in the 2010 SEL finals - even if what you all say is true, and there’s no room for a skilled but skinny 5’11” D-man in this organization, I hope he gets his chance somewhere!

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 09/17/13 at 08:49 AM ET

Avatar

A defenseman retiring at age 37 because of knee problems isn’t that big a deal.

No, but a defenseman retiring from knee problems at 37 who played exactly 2 full seasons in his whole career?  More so.

Considering the average number of NHL games played is 247 (the median is 91), I’d say that it wasn’t terribly important for Brian Rafalski and his 998 career NHL games.

Here you conflate skill with durability.  People tend to play 247 games or less not because they are injury prone, but because they suck.  Relatively.

I mean… other than it cost him years on the front end of his career because shorter guys have to constantly prove to NHL minds that they can overcome the disability of not being 6’2”.

Do you think that kind of thought just happens in a vacuum though?  I sure don’t.  It happens because over time a whole bunch of different people come to a similar conclusion.  The reason people prefer a larger person over a smaller person is physics.  Of course smaller people can succeed, and even occasionally thrive, amongst larger peers.  They have to do that by being superior players in many/most/all other facets.

Especially on defense, where players are more able to be targeted for contact.

The physics part comes into it here.  If you’re 190-200 lbs and someone your size is hitting you, it hurts.  If they’re 30+ lbs heavier, it hurts a lot.  If they are 30+ lbs lighter, it hurts less.  This is why there are weight classes in the fighting sports.  Size matters.

Sure, a supremely skilled fighter can defeat a larger man (Mayweather Canelo, for example), but those are exceptions rather than rules.  In different ways that’s true in the other sports.

This is why Ian White is on a professional try-out and Douglas Murray already has a contract.

But how can that be?  Ian White’s the same size as Brian Rafalski.  Surely being the same size must naturally result in having the same career, no?

On the other hand, if there were some other things at play in addition to size, well, that might explain the discrepancy. 

This is why, by the way, the NHL isn’t full of a bunch of 5’10” plug defensemen.  Because there are a bunch of 6’2” plug defensemen.  When there isn’t a difference in skill, the difference in size means everything.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/17/13 at 12:36 PM ET

Avatar

No, but a defenseman retiring from knee problems at 37 who played exactly 2 full seasons in his whole career? 

Coming from a Sammy lover who has never, ever, ever played a single full season? Not on full season.

People tend to play 247 games or less not because they are injury prone, but because they suck.  Relatively.

Prove it. Out of the 10,000s of players with NHL experience, name 200 players who suffered career ending injuries.

The reason people prefer a larger person over a smaller person is physics.

this is incorrect. a smaller person of the same weight will have a lower center of gravity and be much harder to knock off the puck than a tall person with a higher center of gravity. If you are talking about inertia, they both will be equal. If you are talking about mass, they are equal. If you are talking about quantum mechanics then I don’t think that applies to Hockey but I could be wrong because it does apply to cats.

Size matters

Uhmm, that’s what he is saying.

a supremely skilled fighter can defeat a larger man…but those are exceptions rather than rules.

Or maybe the rules of the sport favor a heavier person. But if you look into bar fights you might find an opposite trend.

Surely being the same size must naturally result in having the same career, no?

That’s not what JJ is saying.

On the other hand, if there were some other things at play in addition to size, well, that might explain the discrepancy. 

And Sammy’s on the Red Wing roster too. Why could that be? It’s certainly not because he’s played full seasons of Hockey.

the difference in size means everything

Tell that to Martin St. Louis who, by the way, has played in 7 full seasons over the same career span as Sammy. I guess there are exceptions to everything. big surprise

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 09/17/13 at 02:01 PM ET

Avatar

Coming from a Sammy lover who has never, ever, ever played a single full season? Not on full season.

I think you think you’re making a point.  I’m not sure what you think that point actually is, and I’m certain I have no idea.

Are you attempting to say that since I think a guy with an injury history is a bit better than other people do I have a different opinion on injury histories?

Prove it.

Oh good grief.  Do you actually believe that most people who have short careers have short careers because of injury?  Really?  You’re either a goof, or you’re trolling.

a smaller person of the same weight will have a lower center of gravity and be much harder to knock off the puck than a tall person with a higher center of gravity.

You are being disingenuous.  I am taking about size, as in height and weight simultaneously.  Generally speaking someone who is 5’10” will weigh less than someone who is 6’2”.

Uhmm, that’s what he is saying.

No.  What he is saying is that it matters but it should not.  The second part is the important piece.  I’m saying it matters and it should.

Or maybe the rules of the sport favor a heavier person.

 

Well, yes.  That’s sort of the point here, is it not?

That’s not what JJ is saying.

I know that.  I am illustrating the hole in his logic by presenting his example through the lens of his rationale.  Which then falls apart.

He is attempting to draw a straight line between White and Murray as though no other factors exist besides the relative size of the players.  By pointing out a similarly sized player to White I am illustrating how silly that supposition is.

And Sammy’s on the Red Wing roster too. Why could that be? It’s certainly not because he’s played full seasons of Hockey.

I agree.  Again, I think you think you’re trying to make some kind of point here, I just don’t know what it is. 

Finally:

Me:“When there isn’t a difference in skill, the difference in size means everything.

Your ‘edit’:

“the difference in size means everything”

And then your response to it:

Tell that to Martin St. Louis who, by the way, has played in 7 full seasons over the same career span as Sammy. I guess there are exceptions to everything.

That was certainly an interesting point at which to quote my comment, no?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/17/13 at 02:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

What he is saying is that it matters but it should not.

yeah that’s not what I was saying.  You were pretty fired up with disagreeing with me on the finer points that you kind of missed that I was agreeing with you on the main point.

Yes, size makes a difference.  There are times when it should not because NHL GMs and coaches are kind programmed a certain way. You always think a big defenseman can just develop the skill to make up for his shortcomings where a skilled defenseman can never make up the size difference.

The thing is that Brian Rafalski is an excellent example of a smallish defenseman proving he belongs (by being exceptionally better than bigger D-men) and the Ian White to Douglas Murray comparison is to showcase that Ian White is a much better defenseman than Douglas Murray, but he’s not good enough to overcome the foolish belief that Murray has more value because he’s a hulking player.  If Ian White were the same size as Douglas Murray with the same skillset he has now, he’d likely be getting paid much more than Murray.

That’s pretty much what Almquist has to overcome.  He not only has to be better than a 6’5” D-man, but he has to be MUCH better than one.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/17/13 at 03:31 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.