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Red Wings-Penguins preseason game-day updates: Ericsson, Alfredsson out; Sheahan, Ouellet recalled

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

Position Players
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


Back in Detroit...




And Petr Mrazek will start tonight.

So Alfredsson's groin is still bothering him, Jakub Kindl's hip flexor is still sore and Ericsson has a minor boo boo.

Update #1.5:

Update #2: The Macomb Daily's Pleiness has already filed a Helm article:

“I feel a lot better, pretty good,” Helm said afterwards. “Today was the first time I’ve skated with the team. Feels pretty good to get out there, I felt good, so good progress. Still working on the groin, I still wasn’t going 100 percent out there,” Helm continued. “I was going pretty good, but it’s something that I still need to monitor, keep an eye on and just keep rehabbing and getting better.”

Helm says it’s the best he’s felt in a couple of weeks. He has yet to be cleared for contact due to his back, but he feels that could come soon.

“I think it’s probably around the corner,” Helm said. “I haven’t had a real test yet. You know how I work now, there’s no date. I’ll be ready when I’m ready.”

Asked if there’s a chance he could play in one of the two final preseason games this weekend Helm said, “Never say never, but I would say very unlikely.”


“He’s missed two years of playoffs and one full season,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday. “It is what it is.”

Update #2.5: Via RedWingsFeed, NBC Sports' Jason Brough suggests that Stephen Weiss is the Red Wings' player most "under pressure" to succeed:

The Wings picked up Weiss in free agency and gave him $24.5 million over five years. They did this despite the fact the 30-year-old played just 17 games last season for the Florida Panthers, scoring only once with three assists. (A wrist injury that required surgery caused him to miss 26 games.)

Weiss has, however, produced throughout most of his NHL career, registering 394 points in 654 games, all with the Panthers, who drafted him fourth overall in 2011.

Ideally, his addition was to allow Wings head coach Mike Babcock to play superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together on the team’s top line, with Weiss holding down the No. 2 center spot.

“I look to run the offense,” Weiss said, per the Macomb Daily. “Whether that’s driving the middle and kicking it out and going to the net or being the shooter or whatever. We have to score some goals and help out the top guys that way. Whether that’s 5-on-5 or power play, we have to find a way to be productive offensively.”

To whom much is given, much is expected. And we’re not just talking about the money here. In Detroit, Weiss will be given the opportunity to skate with wingers like Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, two players who’ve shown over their careers that they can put the puck in the net. If they don’t do that with Weiss, the blame could easily turn to the guy who’s tasked with setting them up.

Also remember, he’s in Detroit now; not sleepy Sunrise, Florida. Which is to say, however he’s playing, he will hear about it. From fans. From media. The entire league watches what’s going on in Hockeytown.

“I’m looking forward to the pressure of playing in that type of market,” Weiss said upon signing. “It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but I’m hungry to be a part of that type of situation again. I think my game will thrive.”

Meanwhile, Valtteri Filppula is drawing some pretty rave reviews in Tampa Bay.

Update #3: Here's Pleiness on Alfredsson and Ericsson:

“Every year I have this fantasy that this game and the on Friday night was supposed to be a full roster,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “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. So we’ll have to figure out a way to get a lot of Grand Rapids guys back for a couple of days.”

So the lines will be Stephen Weiss centering Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader; Riley Sheahan centering Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary; Joakim Andersson centering Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar; Cory Emmerton will center Drew Miller and Mikael Samuelsson.

The defensemen pairings will be Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith; Danny DeKeyser and Ouellet; Brian Lashoff and Adam Almquist.

Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall will all return Friday.

“I want to watch guys compete,” Babcock said. “We’ve got to make decisions. 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. We haven’t scored any goals with the exception of one game. 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.”

There's just no point in testing a sore groin over the course of 3 games in 4 nights. None.

Update #4:

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 #5.25: Yep:

Update #5.5:

Update #5.6: Oh hey, the Free Press's Evil Drew Sharp's chat included Mike Valenti...

Do you laugh at a town that gave itself it's own nickname of "HOCKEYTOWN" when half of the fans could not even pronounce the last name of their all star Defenseman? I think the Wings are in store for another uneventful season. Your thoughts on this season?
by Lou

Lou -- Same as last year, I'm really looking forward to this regular season for the Wings. What they went through a year ago should help this team. Injuries to Helm and Eaves means they don't have to immediately make any serious roster decisions to crop the number of forwards. But the two guys I'm really interested in watching are Brendan Smith's improvement from last year's spotlight struggles and whether DeKeyser can build upon his excellent start.

Sure, "Lou."

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 #9:

Update #10: Per the Prince Albert Daily Herald's David Leaderhouse:

They have been familiar faces at the rink for more than 40 years, but on Friday they will be at centre ice as Doug Winterton and Jim Bristowe will be introduced as two of the newest inductees onto the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour.

The pair of long-time volunteers will join former player Brad McCrimmon in receiving the hockey club’s highest honour. McCrimmon, unfortunately, tragically lost his life in a plane crash two years ago while coaching a team in Russia, but his family, including Brandon Wheat Kings coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon will be present to accept the award on his behalf.

Update #11: The Penguins' website posted a game-day update...

One of the questions going into training camp was who would play left wing on Evgeni Malkin and James Neal’s line. Coach Dan Bylsma singled out Beau Bennett and Jussi Jokinen as candidates to fill that spot, and both of them had opportunities there in the preseason games -- and both did well alongside the longtime linemates.

But in Bennett and Jokinen’s first preseason game together tonight in Detroit, it looks like Bylsma wants another look at the Finnish forward on that line tonight as he was with Malkin and Neal during morning skate rushes. Bennett played left wing on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew.

We'd say Jokinen had a halfway decent audition there in his first look there on Saturday, scoring a hat trick against Columbus. But he said while he sees it as another chance to prove that he deserves to be the regular on that line, the focus is on the team playing a solid game.

“Obviously that’s my goal, to play on that line during the regular season,” he said. “But I think the biggest thing tonight for our team is going to be to just look for that solid 60-minute effort. We need to have our best game in the preseason so we can feel confident going into the regular season.”

Bennett, who played a couple of preseason games there and a handful of regular-season ones in 2012-13, says his mindset doesn’t change whether he’s skating with the second or third line.

“I think I’ve just got to be responsible, regardless,” he said. “Being a good F3 and being a good net-front on either line will go a long way. And I think on either line, there are great offensive players. They can carry the play, I’ve just got to get to the net and try to create some chances that way.”

If you missed it....

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson posted Dan Bylsma's game-day comments:

Update #12: MLive's Brendan Savage filed an article about Darren Helm's status:

“I feel a lot better, pretty good,'' Helm said.

Helm had been skated on his own or with a few teammates the past several days. He hasn't completely recovered from the groin pull he sustained on Sept. 6 and said he wasn't skating at 100 percent.

“I was going pretty good, but it’s something that I still need to monitor, keep an eye on and just keep rehabbing and getting better,'' Helm said.

The bigger issue continues to be his ailing back.

“I don’t know about my back,'' Helm said. “I haven’t really pushed it that hard. I felt pretty good in the skate today and the last few skates. The groin feels pretty good, so I’d say I’m quite a bit better than a few weeks ago.''

He hasn't been cleared for contact but said “I think it’s probably around the corner. I haven’t had a real test yet,'' he said.

Update #13: Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings posted a promotional video for the Toast of Hockeytown:

Update #14:

Pulkkinen can serve the last game of his suspension now.

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.”





Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

No Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Alfredsson, or Ericsson tonight? This isn’t going to go well.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 09/25/13 at 11:34 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Can we just get this out of the way now before the game?

Damn you Kenny Holland!#!

Posted by Down River Dan on 09/25/13 at 12:59 PM ET


Anderson v Malkin should end well.

Posted by Probie4Prez on 09/25/13 at 01:06 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Love seeing Andy/Tats/Gus as second line. Hope they get a ton of min against good players tonight. Should be a good test for them. Babs has been shifting those guys around here and there but seems to always come back to the three of them together. They sure have good chemistry. I think George called it that no matter who’s sent down, who’s traded/waived, and what happens to Helmer, you just get this sense that by playoff time our third line will be Andy/Tats/Gus. They seem to just make each other better.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 09/25/13 at 01:12 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Can we just get this out of the way now before the game?
Damn you Kenny Holland!#!
Posted by Down River Dan on 09/25/13 at 12:59 PM ET

He does deserve credit for getting Pav’s signature on a new deal. Though I, for one, would not have blamed KH if Pav had decided to go to the KHL to be near his daughter.

Helm practicing drills with the team is not good for KH’s cap woes.

PS: I’m not on twitter but isn’t the pound sign hashtag supposed to go in front of the word or phrase? wink

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 09/25/13 at 01:56 PM ET

Crater's avatar

No Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Alfredsson, or Ericsson tonight? This isn’t going to go well.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 09/25/13 at 11:34 AM ET

It’s cool. Tatar will score plenty for em all.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 09/25/13 at 01:57 PM ET

w2j2's avatar


I think those lines are listed in the wrong order…


There.  That is better.

cool smile

Posted by w2j2 on 09/25/13 at 02:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Looking forward to the Nike/Mr.Andersson/Tots line getting some heavy duty minutes against some really good players.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 09/25/13 at 02:26 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Looking forward to the Nike/Mr.Andersson/Tots line getting some heavy duty minutes against some really good players.

trick might be not letting Malkin pick your pocket in neutral ice.

Posted by MoreShoot on 09/25/13 at 02:47 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The trick will be getting outta there without any major injuries.  That IR list is starting to get lengthy, and PITT isn’t the most gentlemanly bunch.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/25/13 at 03:49 PM ET


updated 15 X for stupid exhibition game and you wonder why you have breakdowns?

Posted by jkm2011 on 09/25/13 at 06:06 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

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