The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/25/13 at 11:28 AM ET
Updated 16x at 6:20 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD Plus/NHL Network/WXYT AM), and not all is well, as Paul noted:
Though this part IS good:
Back to the skate...
Via RedWingsFeed, here they come...
In promotional news...
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh...
Here's the lineup:
29 MARC-ANDRE FLEURY – G
37 JEFF ZATKOFF – G
2 MATT NISKANEN – D
4 ROB SCUDERI – D
5 DERYK ENGELLAND – D
9 PASCAL DUPUIS – F
12 CHUCK KOBASEW – F
14 CHRIS KUNITZ – F
15 TANNER GLASS – F
16 BRANDON SUTTER – F
17 DUSTIN JEFFREY – F
18 JAMES NEAL – F
19 BEAU BENNETT – F
27 CRAIG ADAMS – F
36 JUSSI JOKINEN – F
41 ROBERT BORTUZZO – D
44 BROOKS ORPIK – D
58 KRIS LETANG – D
71 EVGENI MALKIN – F
87 SIDNEY CROSBY – F
There's just no point in testing a sore groin over the course of 3 games in 4 nights. None.
Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's game-day post:
Daniel Alfredsson (groin) still is not ready to play. He didn't skate today, after practicing on Tuesday. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson did not practice due to what coach Mike Babcock called a thigh contusion. Ericsson was working out off-ice and said it's nothing significant. He expects to play Friday against Toronto at the Joe.
Defenseman Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) skated but isn't ready to return. Jordin Tootoo (bruised shoulder) skated before practice but isn't expected to play any more preseason games.
Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall won't play tonight. Babcock said they'll play their final exhibition game on Friday. The team wraps up the preseason Saturday in Toronto.
“I want to watch guys compete; we go to make (roster) decisions,'' Babcock said. “We got three games left. Let's compete, let's do what we're supposed to do. Focus on our details and continue to get better as a team. We haven't scored any goals with the exception of one game (8-2 win at Boston on Thursday). We don't shoot the puck; we're averaging 23 shots a game. We got to shoot the puck, we got to get to the net. Looks to me we're playing pretty much the full Pittsburgh roster. That's really good for us.''
Babcock hoped to play a regular lineup in one of these final three preseason games, but knew it probably wouldn't happen.
“Obviously, that can't happen, plus we can't play guys three games in four nights; that doesn't make a lot of sense, unless you're a kid,'' Babcock said. “So we'll have to figure out a way to get a lot of Grand Rapids guys back for a couple of days.''
Update #5: DetroitRedWings.com's Roose makes it sound like Alfredsson won't return until the regular season begins:
Update #6: Here's the Free Press's Anthony Fenech's game-day update:
Babcock said Ericsson has a thigh contusion. When asked whether it was serious, Babcock said: "I don’t know. You get in there day-to-day — and I’ve been here a long time — they get in there, they have a hard time getting out."
Posed with the same question, Ericsson laughed it off and said, "It’s nothing serious."
Coming up from Grand Rapids tonight is forward Riley Sheahan and defenseman Xavier Ouellet. Sheahan will play on a line between Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi, Babcock said, while Ouellet will pair with Danny DeKeyser on defense.
Babcock said newcomer Stephen Weiss will play with Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader on the team’s second line.
Helm udpate: Forward Darren Helm skated with teammates for the first time this season and said he felt good.
"I feel a lot better," Helm said. "Good progress."
He is nursing back and groin injuries and said to "never say never" about playing this week. "But you can say very unlikely,” he added.
Update #7: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers a game-day update...
Coach Mike Babcock's dream of playing a lineup close to what he'd use in the regular season continues to be just that -- a dream.
The Red Wings will not have forward Daniel Alfredsson (groin) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (back contusion) for Wednesday night's exhibition game against Pittsburgh at Joe Louis Arena. Forward Riley Sheahan and defenseman Xavier Ouellet have been recalled from Grand Rapids to fill out the lineup.
Babcock will not play Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall against the Penguins -- they all took part in Wednesday’s morning skate -- but will play them Friday against Toronto, avoiding the need for the three veterans to play three games in four nights.
Forward Darren Helm, who was limited to one game last season because of back issues, took part in team drills during Wednesday's morning skate.
Helm missed training camp in Traverse City with a groin injury and is still bothered by the back but there is progress on both.
"I'd say I feel quite a bit better," said Helm, who likely won't start the regular season and hasn't been cleared for contact. "It's always nice to be out there, just to feel better about myself and have a better attitude and keep positive.”
Update #8: Per USA Today's Mike Brehm:
USA TODAY Sports' 12-member power rankings panel predicted the Detroit Red Wings, moving to the Eastern Conference and the reorganized Atlantic Division, would benefit greatly from realignment.
"A team that was one goal away from reaching the final four last spring will thrive minus the burden of West Coast travel," said Windsor (Ontario) Star columnist Bob Duff.
The Red Wings received three votes to win the Stanley Cup.
"They've got solid goaltending, a better-than-acknowledged defense and tons of depth up front," Detroit Free Press reporter Helene St. James said. "Plus, moving to the East, they'll be much more refreshed come playoff time. They took the 2013 champs (Chicago Blackhawks) to seven games, and that was without a healthy lineup. Daniel Alfredsson could well be the tipping point as the Wings surge back into elite waters."
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who were swept in the Eastern Conference final by the Boston Bruins, also got three title votes. Half the panel had them in the Stanley Cup Final.
Update #15: The Wings' Game Day Blog offers Ken Kal's Keys to the Game...
Be Competitive - The regular season starts in a week; work hard every shift.
Make a Good First Pass - The offense starts in your own end when the defenseman gets that first pass to the forwards. If this doesn't happen, it becomes a grindfest.
Play a Full 60 Minutes - Pittsburgh will be ready to play. The roster is almost all NHLers now, so it's time to put it all together.
And a morning skate update:
Jonathan Ericsson did not participate this morning (thigh contusion).
Babs said Jonathan Ericsson's injury isn't serious and
he expects him to play on Friday.
With roster decisions coming soon, coach Babcock says he wants to see the guys compete.
“We've got three games left. Let's compete, let's do what we're supposed to do. Focus on our details and continue to get better as a team.”
- Mike Babcock
Update #16: The Free Press's Anthony Fenech penned a Helm update...
“It gives me a better attitude, keeps me positive,” he said. “But I think my mental state has been pretty good the last couple of months knowing that I’ll get better at some point. Just a big long process that I have to deal with and I feel that’s coming to an end.”
How soon, he wouldn’t say. But when asked if he could play within the week, Helm said, “Never say never. But you can say very unlikely.” Helm, 26, is nursing back and groin injuries.
“I’m still working on the groin,” he said. “I wasn’t going 100% out there, I was going pretty good but it’s still something we have to monitor and keep an eye on.”
As far as his back, Helm said he didn’t really push it very hard, but that he did feel “quite a bit better” than the past couple of weeks.
Coach Mike Babcock called the news “obviously” encouraging and while there have been no talks about when Helm will start participating in contact drills, he thinks it’s probably around the corner. So after a year-plus of lost time — Helm played one game last season — today’s morning skate was a win.
“It’s always nice to be out there,” he said. “It’s just part of who I am.”
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