The Malik Report
Red Wings-Predators game-day updates: 11 & 7 hope to snap 7-game home losing, 6-game winless streaks
by George Malik on 11/19/13 at 11:28 AM ET
Updated 11x at 3:48 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap a six-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak when they face off against the Nashville Predators this evening (7:30 PM, FSD Plus/FS Tennessee/1270 AM). The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the Wings' roster plans set out during yesterday's practice appear to be playing out as Mike Babcock expected them to play out.
DeKeyser and Weiss both on ice. No Alfredsson which means he's out tonight.
Plan Monday was to dress 7 defenseman and 11 forwards. Weiss doesn't appear to be ready to return. Smith appears to be seventh D-man.
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms:
DeKeyser and Weiss both skating today after leaving practice early yesterday. Alfredsson not skating.
Defense pairs are Kronwall-Ericsson, Quincey-DeKeyser, Lashoff-Kindl. Looks like Smith is the seventh D.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose had assumed as much earlier this morning...
#RedWings plan to use 11 forwards & 7 defensemen vs. @PredsNHL. Check out Detroit's line combos and D-pairings here: http://redwings.nhl.com/club/depthchart.htm?dcid=630&navid=DL|DET|home
Here are the official NHL Game Notes for tonight's #RedWings game vs. @PredsNHL at Joe Louis Arena: http://redwings.nhl.com/v2/ext/2013014%20Game%20Notes/1NSH1119.pdf
If you missed it, the Red Wings posted a press release regarding their presence at a fundraiser to benefit the family of Catholic Central player Matt Sorisho on Wednesday, and here's the text thereof:
RED WINGS PLAYERS AND ALUMNI TO APPEAR AT MATT SORISHO BENEFIT AT COMPUWARE ARENA ON WEDNESDAY
… Tickets Still Available for Fundraiser on Nov. 20 …
DETROIT– Detroit Red Wings players Danny DeKeyser, Jimmy Howard, Mikael Samuelsson and Stephen Weiss will be joined by head coach Mike Babcock along with alumni Ted Lindsay, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby at a benefit held on the covered ice at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich., on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 6 p.m.
This event will raise money for medical, home modification and mobility equipment expenses that Matt Sorisho, a senior at Detroit Catholic Central High School, faces after suffering a serious injury during a hockey tournament that left him with life-changing spinal cord injuries, which are estimated to be over $500,000 in the first year.
Tickets are still available to the event for $100 and can be purchased online by visiting http://bidpal.net/matt18. The event will feature a strolling dinner along with a large assortment of auction items, including packages donated by the Red Wings:
- Opportunity for two to attend the Winter Classic and the Red Wings practice at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 31
- Dinner at Andiamo with Ken Holland, Mike Babcock, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper and Ken Holland
- Two lower-bowl tickets to Nick Lidstrom Night on Mar. 6
- Four tickets to a Red Wings home game with a post-game locker room tour and meet and greet with Mike Babcock
- 2013-14 team-signed Winter Classic jersey
- Six players’ game-used, team-signed hockey sticks
WHO: Detroit Red Wings players Danny DeKeyser, Jimmy Howard, Mikael Samuelsson and Stephen Weiss; Head Coach Mike Babcock; and alumni Ted Lindsay, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby
WHERE: Compuware Arena, 14900 Beck Rd. Plymouth, MI 48170
WHEN: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Shifting focus back to tonight's game, the Red Wings' Game Day Blog posited a capsule game preview...
Wings Look to Break Out of Slump Against the Preds
For Nashville's entire history, one of its biggest rivals in the League was Detroit; but now that the Red Wings play in the Eastern Conference, those meetings will only come twice a year. The one-time rivals will meet Tuesday as Detroit tries to make a move in the Atlantic Division against a Predators team that is struggling to keep pace in the competitive Central.
Few venues in the NHL carry the gravitas and atmosphere one can find in Joe Louis Arena, but lately home hasn't been so sweet for the Red Wings. Detroit has lost its past seven games at The Joe, a remarkable total considering the Wings lost a grand total of 10 games there in their last full 82-game season.
"It's been tough here for us but it's not like something's miraculously going to happen for us to get out of this," Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. "It's going to take hard work and the right attitude."
Despite those home struggles, Detroit hasn't fallen too far off the pace in the log-jammed Atlantic. All of those extra points in overtime and shootout losses have kept the Red Wings within three points of the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning, meaning a run at not only a playoff spot, but the division title is far from a longshot with three quarters of the season still to play.
A historical note...
On This Day in Red Wings' History...On November 19, 1976:
Detroit’s left wing Dan Maloney registers a hat trick as the Wings defeat the Cleveland Barons, 5-2
And Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:
Pepper their Goalie - Pekka Rinne, who always plays well against Detroit, is out with an injury. Give their goalie a good workout.
Tighten up Defensively - Limit scoring chances of Nashville, make them work, and trust your teammates.
Possess the Puck - Keep the play in the offensive zone. Force Nashville to chase the puck and take penalties.
As of yesterday, Marek Mazanec was slated to start tonight.
MLive's Khan also penned a game-day article discussing the progress made by Danny DeKeyser, echoing DetroitRedWings.com's Roose's comparisons made between the Wings' free agent signings and 4th overall draft pick Seth Jones:
DeKeyser has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past 10 games, after picking up just one point in his first 11 games.
“I think his confidence is getting better and better and he’s realizing what he’s capable of,’’ teammate Niklas Kronwall said. “He’s really good in our own zone, making that tape-to-tape pass, and now he’s joining the rush and being really effective whether it’s on the power play or just five-on-five creating chances. We need that from him.”
DeKeyser has nine points and a plus-5 rating, while averaging 21:46 in ice time.
“He’s got such a long reach, so it’s easy to label him (a defensive defenseman),’’ goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “But he makes a great first pass most times. It’s probably taken him some games to get used to jumping up in the play. We’re seeing that more out of him now. He’s reading the plays a lot easier.’’
Among rookie defensemen, DeKeyser ranks second in the NHL in points to Boston’s Torey Krug (12 points), second in plus-minus rating to Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm (plus-14) and second in average ice time to Nashville’s Seth Jones (24:04).
“I don’t think anyone ever considered Dan DeKeyser in the class with Jones, so that’s a compliment to him,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But DK is a guy who took a totally different route. I said to DK, ‘Why did you go to Trail?’ Because no one wanted him. He told me when he got to the U.S. Junior league he started as the third defenseman and ended as the sixth. ‘Why did you go to Western?’ It was the only place that wanted him. That’s been the story. (Whereas) Jones has been a star from the get-go. Now that DeKeyser has taken off so much he’s putting himself in a different class. So good for both of them.’’
Khan continues at some length.
It's time for post-practice Tweets, per Pleiness...
Zetterberg says his shootout order would be. Datsyuk, Alfredsson and Bertuzzi.
Babcock confirms he'll go with the lineup he mentioned yesterday, 11 forwards and 7 D. Weiss and Alfredsson not ready.
And the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Mike Babcock confirms 11 forwards and 7 defenseman for Red Wings vs Nashville
As I clicked on the "submit entry" button, the Tennessean's Josh Cooper revealed that hte Predators' morning skate was already underway:
Nystrom is skating this morning...
Lines this morning 57-11-25, 33-12-27, 13-7-15, 16-28-26
Mazanec is first goalie off
Update #0.25: For what it's worth, the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan's already cranking up the Sens-visit-Alfredsson-this-week drama machine...
Why are the Senators so inconsistent? Nobody can put a finger on it, of course, but theories abound. Among the latest -- the absence of former captain Daniel Alfredsson. The way he went about his job, Alfredsson was the poster boy for consistency. He worked hard every day, whether it be practice or a game. The old guy was also a calming influence in a very young dressing room.
So, Erik Karlsson was asked, could the team's dramatic ups and downs have anything to do with the fact No. 11 is now a Detroit Red Wing?
"Yeah, I think obviously when times are tough, you always miss the veteran guys," said Karlsson. "We lost him and we lost Gonch (defenceman Sergei Gonchar). It's different. But I think at the same time we're going to have to find a way. We're going to have to go through this period. I don't think any team hasn't been at where we're at right now. It's just a matter of if we're going to pull through or we're going to cave."
And the Detroit Sports Commission posted something of a "FAQ" page regarding the Winter Classic.
The Griffins have already graduated five players to the NHL since October, four of whom were part of the 2013 Calder Cup–winning roster: defenseman Danny DeKeyser (10/2/13 DET vs. BUF), center Luke Glendening (10/12/13 DET vs. PHI), defenseman Xavier Ouellet (10/21/13 DET vs. SJ), defenseman Adam Almquist (11/4/13 DET at WPG) and defenseman Chad Billins (11/5/13 CGY vs. MIN). While Ouellet never saw ice time with the Griffins until this year, he served as a “black ace” during the first three rounds of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Billins, who is a Port Huron, Mich., native and former Ferris State Bulldog, signed a contract with the Calgary Flames earlier this summer, and DeKeyser has garnered a full-time roster spot with the Wings. Of this season’s NHL graduates, Almquist is the only active member of the Griffins roster to produce a point for their parent club, despite both Glendening and Ouellet appearing in more games.
For someone who only made his North American debut late in the 2011-12 season, Almquist has already seen many of his dreams come to fruition. Most recently, the 5-foot-11, 173-pound defenseman made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 4 and subsequently tallied his first NHL goal on Nov. 7 versus the Dallas Stars.
“It was a dream come true. It’s a goal I’ve had since I was a young kid,” said Almquist about his promotion to the Wings. “It was a big moment, and it was a lot of fun to enter Joe Louis Arena.”
Still, Almquist treated his first game at the Joe as just other day at the rink, channeling his nerves and excitement into productivity.
“I tried to treat it like just another game. Obviously it was a bit different, but I always play under pressure. I actually think it’s more pressure back home when I play there. There’s always pressure in any game,” said Almquist. “Of course there were a little bit of nerves, too. It was my first NHL game and it was a little bit new, but I think I was fine.”
Cross continues at some length...
Update #1: MLive's Ansar Khan is first "out of the gate" in terms of posting a game-day article, discussing the Wings' 11-forwards-and-seven-defensemen rotation...
Coach Mike Babcock said dressing one less forward is not a problem in this circumstance.
“When they’re back-to-back nights it’s difficult on the second night because you tend to overplay some guys you want to use,’’ Babcock said. “Like the other night (Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss at the New York Islanders), because we went to overtime, I had (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk at 24 (minutes) and that’s fine for that night when we have a day off the next day. When you’re going back the next night it’s not as good as you’d like it to be.’’
He added, “What you do is get a rhythm going. You still roll four lines, you just put a guy through. If I’ve got them two lines apart, I’ll role (Johan) Franzen through one time, (Darren) Helm through another and (Tomas) Tatar through another. You get more ice time so that’s a positive.’’
The seventh defenseman, however, might not get off the bench much.
“I actually think in lots of ways, it doesn’t help the D because you can’t get enough ice time for seven D; you’re better off playing six,’’ Babcock said.
Here are the Red Wings lines and defense pairings:
Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen-Darren Helm-Tomas Tatar
Daniel Cleary-Joakim Andersson-Mikael Samuelsson
Drew Miller-Justin Abdelkader-(rotate in forward)
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey-Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff-Jakub Kindl
Brendan Smith (seventh defenseman)
Jimmy Howard (starting)
And Khan reports the following:
Before the game, the Red Wings will honor Chris Chelios for his recent induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They will give away 22,000 posters, show his induction speech on the scoreboard from 6:43 to 6:58 and have artifacts from his career on display from the Hockey Hall of Fame on the concourse.
Chelios will take part in the ceremonial puck drop.
The club will honor fellow Hall of Fame inductee Brendan Shanahan Thursday before the Carolina game.
Update #2: Here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's game-day article, which offers injury updates....
Alfredsson, who didn’t skate with the team Tuesday, will miss his third straight game due to injury, while Weiss will miss his fifth straight. Weiss does appear to be close to returning. He did practice Monday and today.
“It’s just a matter of getting a couple more in to get the conditioning back and hopefully I’ll be ready to go,” Weiss said. “I don’t think Thursday, but hopefully sometime this weekend, maybe Saturday or Sunday. I would like to play today, but it’s not my call. Anytime you miss 10 days without skating you need a few practices,” Weiss continued. “We knew it was going to be a couple weeks and it hasn’t been that yet so we’re still trying to make sure when I do come back it’s not for the short term.”
Weiss missed most of last season with the Florida Panthers with a wrist injury.
“Sitting is the worst,” Weiss said. “(Groin) injuries are the worst because you start feeling better and you want to push it and you can go back to square one so quickly so you have to be patient and that’s not one of my fortes.”
As well as the Wings' status as winless in seven at home, during their last 6 overall and winless in 4 shootouts:
“Last game we started with (Henrik) Zetterberg and I don’t know if he’s shot in a shootout yet this year,” Babcock said. “What we do, it’s really complicated, is call the video coach and we ask for the stats and give us the best guys and we put them out there. One game Mule had scored two goals so we put Mule out there,” Babcock added. “So to change it up we put Z in there. I think change up is good, but I think we should just win in regulation.”
Detroit has scored just one goal in 12 shootout attempts (8.3 percent) this season, while opponents have scored on five of 10 shots.
“We’ve got points in nine out of 10 games and that’s the way I look at it,” Babcock said. “We’re right there knocking on the door so let’s make sure we get points tonight.”
“We don’t score,” Zetterberg said. “It’s pretty simple in shootouts, you either score or don’t score and we haven’t scored lately. It’s not much to it, they either go in and you score or you don’t,” Zetterberg continued. “Maybe we should work on it a little bit more if that’s the case, but I don’t think there’s much to it, either the goalie makes a save or the player scores. But we’ve been on the wrong side of that.”
Pleiness continues at length in terms of his conversation with Zetterberg.
Update #3: The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Wings about their home-ice losing streak...
"It's been a weird, weird stretch here," forward Justin Abdelkader said after today’s morning skate. "I think we've been playing some good hockey. Unfortunately, it seems like when it's at the end of games, and if we're up or we give up a late goal and go into overtime, whether it's overtime or shoot-out, we haven't been able to pull it out. But I think we are doing a lot of good things and, hopefully, we can build off that."
The Wings will be using seven defensemen and 11 forwards, coach Mike Babcock said, because forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss remain sidelined by sore groins. That's going to lead to some forwards getting heavier minutes, but that shouldn't be an issue, seeing as the team hasn't played since Saturday.
"What you do is you just get a rhythm going," Babcock said. "You play lines two apart; you can still roll four lines. You just roll one guy through. If I’ve got them two lines apart, I’ll roll (Johan) Franzen through one time, (Darren) Helm through another and (Tomas) Tatar through another. You get more ice time, so that’s a positive."
The Wings haven't won since Nov. 2 at Edmonton and haven't won at home since Oct. 15 against Columbus. In the past six games, they've lost once in regulation, twice in overtime and three straight times in a shoot-out. Pavel Datsyuk hasn't succeeded, Todd Bertuzzi hasn't succeeded, Henrik Zetterberg hasn't succeeded. Franzen didn't succeed when he was used in the shoot-out that came after his two goals in regulation on Friday.
All that said, if there's a shoot-out tonight, Babcock has his options ready.
"We call the video coach and say give us the stats, who's the best guy, then we put them out there," Babcock said.
Babcock finished with this thought: "I think we should just win in regulation."
And she posted a video of Henrik Zetterberg discussing the shootout:
Update #3.5: ESPN's Pierre LeBrun picked an obvious suspect in offering a list of 5 players who "need to get better":
Stephen Weiss, Detroit Red Wings. So far, the decision to replace Valtteri Filppula with Weiss as the No. 2 center has not looked great. While Filppula has flourished in Tampa, Weiss has struggled to find his stride in Detroit with only three points in 17 games in the opening quarter. I still think he'll come around but it's been a slow start for sure.
ESPN's Sean Allen also added a "from a fantasy hockey perspective" note about Tomas Tatar:
• Johan Franzen has looked great since returning to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings. You won't find Franzen available in many leagues, but Tomas Tatar has two assists since joining Franzen's line. Tatar is likely bumped by the return of Daniel Alfredsson in a week, but maybe not. He is a talented young player looking for a chance to shed his AHL label.
Update #3.75: You may listen to WDFN's Matt Sheppard's interview with David Legwand on your own.
Update #4: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan focused on the Wings' comments about shootouts...
"We don't score, it's pretty simple," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "In a shootout you score or don't score. We haven't been scoring."
Zetterberg understands fans enjoy the shootout, and doesn't necessarily want to see it go away. But the idea of extending overtime to give teams a better chance to decide the outcome within the game, rather than a skills competition, is appealing.
"It's great for the fans, they love it," said Zetterberg of the shootout. "It's fun when you win and not so fun when you lose. I don't mind a different option, go with overtime a little longer. That would be exciting, too."
Zetterberg said players still enjoy the aspect of going one-on-oneagainst the goalie in a shootout — something not possible very often — but the proposed wrinkle for overtime is also exciting.
"You don't play three-on-three often, either," Zetterberg said.
And Niklas Kronwall had this to say about Chris Chelios:
"He really was a freak of nature," Kronwall said. "The thing is, he lived and breathed hockey every day. To be able to stay at that level for so long, obviously there aren't many guys who can do that."
So what does Kronwall remember most about Chelios?
"His passion for the game," Kronwall said. "Just how much he truly loved hockey."
Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating posited a pair of Tweets, and I'm going to embed one of them as he took a spiffy panoramic photo:
W/Wings on FSD+ tonite,Ozzie, Darren&I hosting all p.m. at JLA. Smith back,Wings w/11 forwards. Cheli honored. DET needs home win. RWLive@7
Update #5: Via RedWingsFeed, RedWingsCentral notes that the Wings' prospects find themselves on a very crowded Grand Rapids Griffins roster now that Gustav Nyquist, Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves have all been assigned to the AHL:
While the moves probably won’t hurt top-line talents such as Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco, they will most assuredly take ice time from players lower on the depth chart, including top-10 prospects Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro as well as sniper Teemu Pulkkinen and Tootoo-type grinder Mitchell Callahan. Perhaps the biggest impact is on fringe AHLers such as Martin Frk, Marek Tvrdon and Andrej Nestrasil, who will barely get a sniff in Grand Rapids as long as four NHLers are in town.
“Every player brings different things to the table, so we try to do our best to put them in a position to be successful,” Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill told MLive.com, regarding how he approaches fitting players into the lineup.
It’s not all bad news: the reassignments give the Red Wings tremendous depth if injuries strike and create heavy competition among prospects to earn their ice time with not just their talent but hard work. As the old adage goes, the cream always rises to the top.
RWC's report continues...
The Griffins are sitting on top of the Midwest Division and are back at home tomorrow against the Milwaukee Admirals at 7:00 p.m. Don't miss out as the Griffins try for the third straight #AmwayWinningWednesday victory! Get tickets now: http://griffinshockey.com/buytickets
And in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi registered a goal in the Guelph Storm's "School Day" matinee win over the Mississauga Steeleheads. Guelph won 9-3.
“We’ve done that before,” Trotz said, “But that just means you’re going to see more of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Actually I was hoping they were going to have 12 forwards.”
The Wings’ lines will be centered by Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson and Justin Abdelkader. The initial plan is to double-shift wingers to get them into the flow of the game, but that also means the Wings will use seven defensemen, which causes different problems, [Red Wings coach Mike] Babcock said.
The Wings went with 11 forwards last Friday against Washington, but recalled Luke Glendening for their road game against the New York Islanders the next night. In Friday’s situation, Babcock didn’t have a choice when Alfredsson was a last minute scratch. Though Zetterberg and Datsyuk didn’t figure in the scoring against the Capitals, they both logged more than 24 minutes.
“When they’re back-to-back nights it’s difficult on the second night because you tend to overplay some guys you want to use,” Babcock said. “Like the other night what I did I ended up because we went to overtime, I had Zetterberg and Datsyuk at 24 (minutes) and that’s fine for that night when we have a day off the next day. When you’re going back the next night it’s not as good as you’d like it to be.”
Both Datsyuk (17:01) and Zetterberg (16:43) are in the top 10 among league forwards in average even-strength ice time, at No. 7 and No. 10, respectively. The Euro Twins are also on a bit of an offensive roll in the last eight games. In that time, Zetterberg has produced four goals and 11 points, while Datsyuk has registered six goals and 10 points.
“They play a full 200-foot game and Zetterberg does it in just a relentless fashion, Datsyuk does it in a relentless fashion, but he’s got those sick moves where you just don’t know what he’s gonna do,” Trotz said. “As an opposing coach I’ve been in here a lot of times and more than a couple of times I’ve seen Pavel Datsyuk pull some moves and even on the bench you’re like, I am not going down to me defenseman and saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to do this’ because not too many people can stop that move.”
The Tennessean's Josh Cooper's penned his game-day article, too:
[W}ith the NHL’s new alignment plan, Nashville plays the Red Wings just once here this season. Detroit will play in Nashville once. Under the old alignment the two were in the same division — the Central Division. Now Detroit is in the Eastern Conference and in the Atlantic Division.
“It’s weird that this is going to be the only time we’re in Detroit this season,” forward Colin Wilson said. “We’re used to coming here three to four times per year, and it’s a little different, but it’s a team we know really well. So it feels like they’re still in our division almost.”
When Nashville used to play Detroit, getting a win — and two points — was paramount. Divisional points are key, and the Predators needed them to move up in the standings on the Wings. That doesn’t mean this game isn’t important — it just doesn’t have that same type of element.
“We always have good games against Detroit. It’s always a battle. They’re close games. Guys are getting up for it,” captain Shea Weber said. “It’s a huge two points and we need to get things rolling on the right track.”
Interestingly, Nashville used to regard Detroit as its measuring stick. So the Predators tried to adopt a lot of the Red Wings attributes in order to try to beat them in the division.
“The Red Wings were the gold standard when we started and still are a high standard to this day,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We tried to emulate some of the things they did, and because they were so good in our early years, they made us a lot better.”
Cooper also posted a Tweet stating that Trotz wouldn't admit that Marek Mazanec will start:
Trotz also said Ekholm will be out tonight. DId not divulge starter... but I'd assume it's Mazanec since he was first off
As for the lines he posted...
Lines this morning 57-11-25, 33-12-27, 13-7-15, 16-28-26
They translate to:
Gabriel Bourque-David Legwand-Viktor Stalberg
Colin Wilson-Mike Fisher-Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling-Matt Cullen-Craig Smith
Rich Clune-Paul Gaustad-Matt Hendricks
And the Predators used the following defensemen on Sunday, per NHL.com's John Manasso:
Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Seth Jones - Kevin Klein
Victor Bartley - Ryan Ellis
Update #7: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog posted a slate of notes and quotes from the Wings' morning skate:
"I don’t think there’s one guy in the room that doesn’t think they have to get better. Howie’s one of the top goalies in the world. If you think he’s not trying to get better. Z’s one of the best players in the world, who’s trying to get better. Kronner is one of the best players in the world trying to get better. Pav is trying to get better. That’s what they do. That’s why they’re here." - Mike Babcock
Brendan Smith will return to the lineup.
"I want to be able to help defensively, give more legs, more speed on the back end, move the puck to the forwards a little quicker. Hopefully, maybe help out offensively, too." - Brendan Smith
"We were rolling along, winning, Smitty got hurt, and we didn't win. Now you can say, 'Oh, Big E was out and Mule was out.' But it just goes to show you: Your back end has got to be able to move the puck for you. Smitty can move the puck." - Mike BabcockCoach Babcock says he plans on using 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.
Daniel Alfredsson will be out tonight with a groin injury.
Stephen Weiss is out with a groin injury of his own, but hopes to return this weekend.
"It’s just a matter of getting a couple more in to get the conditioning back and hopefully I’ll be ready to go. I don’t think Thursday, but hopefully sometime this weekend, maybe Saturday or Sunday." - Stephen Weiss
Jimmy Howard will be between the pipes.
Update #8: The Tennessean's Josh Cooper penned a second game-day blog entry discussing the Predators' roster machinations for tonight's game:
Forward Eric Nystrom skated this morning at Joe Louis Arena, but was ruled out by the Predators with an “upper body” injury for tonight’s game at Detroit. Nystrom took a punch behind his ear last week against the New York Islanders.
“When you get knocked there, it affects your balance a little bit,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s fine. He’s a tough kid, it won’t affect him.”
Mazanec first goalie off ice: Trotz would not divulge his starter for Tuesday’s game, but rookie Marek Mazanec with the first goaltender off the ice at morning skate. This would mean Mazanec will likely get his third straight start.
Same lineup as win: Trotz also said he will go with the same lineup as Nashville’s 7-2 Saturday win over the Chicago Blackhawks. That means defenseman Mattias Ekholm will likely be out of the lineup.
The Hockey News offered a blurb regarding tonight's game, too:
Red Wings looking to end home struggles on Hall of Fame night
Yes, you’re reading this correctly Wings fans. The boys from Hockeytown have lost seven in a row at Joe Louis Arena, an interesting total since the last full NHL season saw the Wings only end up on the losing end of the home box score 10 times. There’s no need to worry just yet – six of those seven losses happened in extra time, so Detroit is still managing to keep up in a tight Atlantic Division. If there was a night to end this string of losses at the Joe, tonight would be it. Not only are the Wings honoring Chris Chelios’ and Brendan Shanahan’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but they have their former Western Conference rivals, the Nashville Predators, in town tonight.
Update #9: For the record, ESPN's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun suggest that Danny DeKeyser and Flames rookie Sean Monahan are the 2nd and 3rd-best rookies not named Seth Jones.
Update #10: The Tennessean posted a clip of Stu Grimson and Josh Cooper setting up tonight's game and the Predators' road trip:
Update #11: Here's the Red Wings website's game-day preview:
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