Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Sharks set-up and overnight report: on unbeaten Sharks, Helm, Kronwall, Janmark and Sens

The Detroit Red Wings took Sunday off, flying back to Detroit after dropping an incredibly disappointing 5-2 decision to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday evening.

This evening, the Wings kick off their final week at home before a Halloween-and-election-day-spanning trip through Western Canada, and they'll have their hands full--both on the ice and in terms of a crowded locker room full of story-hungry beat writers--as the team will wrap up a slate of 8 games played over the course of 14 nights when they battle the 9-0-and-1 San Jose Sharks this evening (7:30 PM, FSD/CSN Bay Area/97.1 FM), Daniel Alfredsson's former employer on Wednesday and the struggling New York Rangers on Saturday.

As I said on Sunday, the Red Wings have been living in the shadows of the Tigers since the throng of media types left the locker room after Detroit beat Buffalo 2-1 on October 2nd, and between hosting Phoenix, Philadelphia and Columbus, and playing 5 of their 9 games on the road, the Wings haven't had to worry too much about dealing with the glare of at least the hometown press in any of their games, though the two games in Boston must have been interesting.

Tonight, with the Tigers out of the playoffs, the 4-and-3 Lions having lost on Sunday, the college football weekend behind us and the Pistons still rebuilding, it's going to seem like Detroit's press corps has suddenly rediscovered hockey, and between the Sharks' small-but-super-intense press corps, the soap opera that's heading to Detroit to hype up a TSN-covered Red Wings-Senators game on Wednesday, the Rangers' morass of traveling writers and the fact that the 6-and-3 Red Wings could either be at .500 or off to a helluva start by the time the Wings leave for a 4-game road swing to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg between the 30th and November 4th...

Most of the team may not "read the papers," but the "papers" are about to attempt to get a much stronger "read" on the Wings during the team's longest home-stand of the month, and between the team's personnel issues and massive vacillations between playing either fantastic or terrible hockey, this week will indeed serve as something of a can-you-hack-it-under-the-bright-lights litmus test.

In terms of tonight's opponent, the Sharks are technically unbeaten despite dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Thanks to Saturday night's 6-3 win over Calgary, the team remains unbeaten in regulation and overtime, and they did what the Wings could not against Calgary, hanging tough when the Flames rallied from a 3-goal deficit to make it 4-3 in the 3rd period, as the AP's recap noted:

Joe Pavelski jumped into the team points lead after scoring twice and assisting on two other goals. Not that he was paying much attention. Pavelski scored two power-play goals, helping the San Jose Sharks remain unbeaten at home with a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

"There are three, four, five guys like that here," Pavelski said. "It's so early in the season for that."

Brent Burns, Scott Hannan, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who have won their first five at home.

"We have a great comfort level here," Sharks' captain Joe Thornton said. "We come out strong, heavy and jump on teams. We're aggressive from the drop of the puck."


Antti Niemi stopped 16 of 19 shots to record his 11th career win over the Flames, his most against any team. It was also his 100th as a Shark.


The Sharks were 3 of 9 on the power play and have scored 11 times over their last 36 chances.

"The power play was huge," Thornton said. "Especially in the third period, when they got two quick goals on us. It was good to respond."

As NHL.com's Eric Gilmore noted, the Sharks showed resilience when the Flames took away San Jose's breathing room...

[Mikael] Backlund scored a shorthanded goal at 1:33 of the third, knocking in a rebound after Niemi made a stick save on Lee Stempniak's shot. At 3:56, [Sean] Monahan hit a trailing [Jiri] Hudler with a cross-ice pass and Hudler scored from the right circle, cutting San Jose's lead to 4-3.

Pavelski gave the Sharks some breathing room at 9:38 with his second power-play goal of the game, redirecting Couture's shot from the point past Ramo. Couture said the goal came off a set play.

"Earlier in that shift off the faceoff Pavs was in the middle of the ice, and I found him for a high tip that he just put wide," Couture said. "We work on that on the power play almost every day, when the puck gets behind the net, out to the side and right back to the top. Pavs was in a great spot. I was just trying to get it there."

Couture scored an empty-netter from far beyond the blue line with 1:22 left to play for the Sharks, who have scored a League-high 39 goals.


[Brent] Burns' goal marked the fourth time in eight games that the Sharks have scored a goal in the first minute. Tyler Kennedy scored just nine seconds into the game against Dallas on Thursday. Tomas Hertl needed just 55 seconds to score against Ottawa last Saturday and 46 seconds to score against Phoenix on Oct. 5.

And Wing-killer Joe Pavelski's on a "scary good" roll, as the Mercury News's Curtis Pashelka noted:

On a line with Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto, Pavelski has a team-high 12 points this year, good enough for second in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby's 17 points. Marleau, who now has a point in each of the Sharks' first eight games, is tied for third in league scoring with 11 points.

"Pavs has been good all year, and that third line has been great all year," said Couture, who had a goal and an assist. "They're one of the reasons why we've been so successful. They contribute offensively and have done well defensively."

Along with going 3 for 9 with the man advantage, San Jose killed five of six penalties, including a hooking call on Scott Hannan after the Flames had cut the lead to 4-3, which included a short-handed goal by Mikael Backlund.

"It scored us three, and it allowed us to get the lead; it changed the momentum of the game," McLellan said of the power play. "But we also gave up a short-handed goal that kind of gave them some momentum."

The Sharks will try to take that momentum with them as they begin a five-game trip Monday at Detroit. The trip continues through Boston, Montreal, Ottawa and Los Angeles.

Pavelski's not doing it alone, as Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area's Kevin Kurz noted:

And, although he was on the ice for the Flames’ shorthanded goal early in the third that helped get them back in the game, Pavelski continued to be a key contributor on the penalty kill. He finished with three minutes and 35 seconds of shorthanded ice time, the most among forwards, and had a breakaway in the second period that he didn’t convert on but drew a hooking penalty to even things up.

It was just another day at the office for the Wisconsin native, a sure Olympian in February, and who signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension in the offseason.

“We use that term greasy-type player, and what that means is, he battles,” head coach Todd McLellan said. “The three or four feet around him is always a battle. It’s never a soft issue at all. He competes in that area and gets to his next job. Just a competitive guy that has real good hockey sense.”

Pavelski’s performance overshadowed teammate Patrick Marleau’s two-point night, as Marleau continues to be the only player with at least a point in every game, and is now tied with four others for the league lead in goals (7). Pavelski and Marleau teamed up for two power play goals in the second, with each earning the primary assist on the other’s marker.


In a game filled with minor penalties, in which the teams combined for 15 power plays, the Sharks had a chance to put it away early in the third on Lance Bouma’s tripping infraction. Instead, Mikael Backlund directed in a big rebound of a Lee Stempniak shot at 1:33 for a shorthanded marker. Then, Jiri Hudler’s goal less than three minutes later brought the Flames back to within one, 4-3.

That part of the game was disappointing to McLellan. But the Sharks’ ability to regroup, and take advantage of yet another power play midway through the third, was encouraging.

“I’m disappointed that happened, but I’m happy with the way we responded after that,” McLellan said. “The next power play, they meant business.”

On Sunday, the Mercury News's David Pollak noted that the Sharks' rivalry with Detroit's taking a significant hit due to realignment, and he spoke with Sharks radio commentator and 1994 Wing-killer Jamie Baker about the decline thereof, as well as the promise of a Red Wings-Sharks Stanley Cup Final:

“Wouldn’t that be perfect – we meet them for the Stanley Cup this year,” Baker said. “That would make it the ultimate sendoff. We’ll root for that.”

Baker said that one thing that players won’t miss with Detroit in the East are those long plane rides in post-season. In the finals, sure, you expect to go cross-country. But California to Michigan is a stretch for early round play.

I also had a chance to talk with Ray Whitney about the Sharks-Detroit rivalry. Whitney was a Shark for those first two series, then later played for the Red Wings — though not against San Jose in the playoffs.

This was Whitney’s take on Detroit heading East from the vantage of his current team, the Dallas Stars.

“Whenever you lose one of the top teams in your conference, you lose a few losses, which is nice,” the 41-year-old said. “Although it’s nice to have Detroit in your building on a lot of nights, it’s nice to see them go to the other side and not have to deal with Pavel Datsyuk anymore. A lot of people in the West are happy about that.”

Baker, by the way, said the one thing he would miss was the chance to see Datsyuk. Then again, Jamie’s not out on the ice with him.

Pollak's main story for today involves the decline of the rivalry, and maybe this is me, but I won't miss playing the Sharks four times a year and every other frickin' spring (and he notes that the Wings make one trip to SAP Arena, on January 9th):

"That's the whole thing about Detroit and San Jose," said Jamie Baker, the Sharks radio analyst and former player who helped give birth to the rivalry. "For the last decade, they were the only two teams that have been in the playoffs every year. They were both in the West, so ultimately the Sharks have played Detroit more than anyone."


"Detroit has 29 rivals, and they have a very deep, loyal following around the country," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who was an assistant for the Red Wings before coming to San Jose in June 2008. "I don't know if they get too wound up against any individual team."

McLellan's hiring definitely improved San Jose's fortunes against the Red Wings. Before his arrival, the Sharks were 16-40-3 against Detroit with four ties; since the 2008-09 season, San Jose has held an 11-6-2 edge. In the playoffs, the Sharks have won both series between the teams since McLellan switched benches.

"San Jose has done a pretty good job since Todd got here of neutralizing Detroit's strengths," said defenseman Brad Stuart, who also knows the rivalry from both sides.

Stuart, 33, started his career with the Sharks and later spent four-plus seasons in Detroit before returning to San Jose in June 2012. Looking back, he said, Red Wings players did get up for games against the Sharks.

"And," he added, "you knew that San Jose ramped it up a level as well playing against Detroit."

Postseason memories are the strongest. In 2007, the Sharks came within 34 seconds of taking a 3-1 series lead only to see Detroit score late in Game 4 to force overtime. The Sharks blew the series. In 2011, San Jose took a 3-0 series lead, then watched Detroit come back to force a Game 7. San Jose won that one.

NHL.com's Eric Gilmore sets up tonight's game as follows...

Season series: This is the first of two games this season. The San Jose Sharks are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games against the Detroit Red Wings.


Sharks [team scope]: Although the division-foe Anaheim Ducks have garnered most of the attention lately with six straight wins heading into Sunday, San Jose still maintained a three-point lead in the Pacific. The early dominance by the Sharks is due to a well-rounded offense that scores in bunches and a goalie, Antti Niemi, that is playing some of the best hockey of his career. The plus-23 goals for to goals against ratio is tops in the NHL and a 6-3 win Saturday at home against the Calgary Flames displayed the Sharks' winning offensive formula once again with goals from five different players, including three power-play scores to improve to 25 percent with the man advantage. Niemi wasn't challenged much and only made 16 saves Saturday, but his teammates gave him plenty of support.

"We just come out so strong and heavy," captain Joe Thornton told NHL.com following the victory. "We jump on teams quick and don't lay off. We have a great comfort level here. We're just ready to go. As soon as the puck drops we're ready to go."

Red Wings [team scope]: Detroit returns to the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena to begin a three-game homestand Monday as it tries to establish a three-game home winning streak. The Red Wings seek to erase the memory of a 5-2 loss at the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday in which they could not build upon an early 2-0 lead and gave up five unanswered goals, including a historic empty-netter by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith with less than a second left of game play. Coach Mike Babcock wasn't happy with the Red Wings' lackluster effort against the team from the Pacific.


Who's hot: Joe Pavelski has earned points in four straight games for the Sharks, including two goals and two assists Saturday against Calgary. … For Detroit, center Pavel Datsyuk is in the midst of a five-game point streak with four goals and five assists over that span.

Injury report: The Sharks won't have defenseman Dan Boyle, who is out indefinitely after suffering a neck injury following a hit from behind by the St. Louis Blues' Maxim Lapierre on Oct. 15. Forward Adam Burish had back surgery last week and is out indefinitely. Other long-term injuries for San Jose are forwards Raffi Torres (ACL surgery) and Martin Havlat (offseason groin surgery). … For the Red Wings, defenseman Niklas Kronwall is out indefinitely with a concussion. Forward Darren Helm (back) began a conditioning assignment over the weekend and forward Patrick Eaves (knee/ankle) could also be close to returning.

Gilmore had the Sharks icing the following lineup on Saturday...

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tyler Kennedy

Matthew Nieto - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels

James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Matt Pelech

Matt Irwin - Brad Stuart

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Injured: Dan Boyle (head), Adam Burish (back surgery) Martin Havlat (pelvic surgery), Raffi Torres (knee surgery).

And the AP's preview adds stats to the mix:

Detroit (6-3-0) had a four-game win streak snapped with Saturday's 5-2 loss at Phoenix. The shots finished even at 33 apiece after the Red Wings had been outshot in their previous six games.

"It's kind of been coming," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've been getting outshot, we've been getting outshot, we've been getting outshot. You give up too many chances, you get outshot pretty soon you'll lose so let's regroup and get back at it."

Getting back at it against a San Jose team that has totaled an NHL-best 39 goals and among the league leaders with 11 on the power play won't be easy. The Sharks (7-0-1) already have five skaters with at least 10 points, and matched a season high with three power-play goals in Saturday's 6-3 home win over Calgary.


Now the Sharks figure to be tested on this 10-day road swing after they went 2-0-1 against the Red Wings last season.

"I don't believe in carrying in momentum from game to game, I believe you have to re-establish it night in and night out," coach Todd McLellan said. "We're going into a building to start with that is a tough place to play and they're playing some good hockey right now. And we'll take that game first and we'll worry about the rest of it as we go."


While Detroit is allowing opponents to average an alarmingly high 32.7 shots, San Jose is second in the NHL in that department at 23.9. Antti Niemi has posted a 1.86 goals-against average while starting every game.

The Red Wings will be wary of Thornton, who has 18 points in a 13-game run in the regular season against them.

He's also a total jerk...Pun intended.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also penned a Wings-Sharks preview in his "Week Ahead in Hockeytown"...

MONDAY – vs. SAN JOSE (7-1-0): The only team without a loss in regulation, the Sharks come to town for the first and last time this season. The Sharks are the only team in NHL history to start back to back seasons with 6-0 records, or better. … They’re averaging league-highs for goals (4.88) and shots (40.2) per game, and have four players – Joe Pavelski (12), Patrick Marleau (11), Logan Couture (11) Joe Thornton (11), and rookie Tomas Hertl (10) in the top 10 in league scoring. The Sharks have out-scored their opponents 33-12, and are also among the league leaders in face-off wins, blocked shots and takeaways. … San Jose has had seven different players (Justin Braun, Hertl, Matthew Nieto, Matt Pelech, Brent Burns, Tommy Wingels, Marleau) record game-winning goals in each of its seven victories this season. … Marleau is among three players to register at least one point in each of his team’s game this season. Calgary’s Jiri Hudler and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby are the others.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Hertl was named the league’s First Star last week. The 19-year-old center led the NHL with five goals in three games, beginning the week by scoring four goals, capped by a highlight-reel, between-the-legs shot, in a 9-2 victory over the New York Rangers. Hertl is the fourth-youngest player all-time to score four goals in an NHL game and youngest to do so since March 20, 1988, when Los Angeles' Jimmy Carson tallied four times in a 9-7 win over Calgary. The Czech Republic, native then logged 16:37 of ice-time and three shots on goal in a 4-1 win over Vancouver and closed the week by scoring his league-leading seventh goal in a 3-2 victory over the Senators. The 17th overall pick by San Jose in the 2012 NHL draft, Hertl leads all rookies and is tied for second in the league with seven goals and three assists in eight games.

The Red Wings have more than a few issued to rectify as they prepare to battle the Sharks, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan (who lists the post-lockout years in which the Wings finished among the teams allowing the fewest shots in the league)...

The Red Wings have allowed 30 or more shots in six consecutive games. That is their longest stretch since Jan. 2-16, 2010, when they yielded at least 30 shots in seven games in a row. This is why coach Mike Babcock wasn’t shocked by his team’s inability to protect a two-goal lead Saturday in Phoenix, when the Red Wings allowed five goals in the final 21 minutes in a 5-2 loss at Jobing.com Arena.

“It’s kind of been coming,’’ Babcock said. “We’ve been getting outshot and outshot. You give up too many chances, you get outshot and pretty soon you’re going to lose.’’

The loss snapped the Red Wings’ four-game winning streak. The team is 6-3-0 despite having allowed 32.7 shots per game, a sharp increase from last season (27.5). It’s an indication that they’re not possessing the puck as much as they typically do.

“When you’re giving up that many shots, you don’t have the puck as much as you’d like,” Daniel Alfredsson said. “That’s where we can get better. We did that early on and had puck possession, and that makes it tough for the other team..”

Said goaltender Jimmy Howard: “We got to take care of the puck. It comes back to not being stubborn in the neutral zone and getting pucks deep. You got to make their (defense) turn relentlessly.’’

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is due back from his mild concussion on Wednesday, said the team is allowing too many quality chances.

“That’s something we still got to do a lot better job of,’’ Kronwall said. “We’ve had great goaltending all through the year so far, but if we keep giving up chances they’re eventually going to score.’’

And the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Babcock faulted how the Wings played late in the game, saying, “You can’t be stubborn. You’ve got to play the game north-south. We paid for it.”

The Wings were frustrated with what happened on the winning goal. A linesman got in the way of Henrik Zetterberg’s chip shot, and the Coyotes took advantage of the puck staying in their zone, as Martin Hanzal scored to make it 3-2.

“All of a sudden, they had a breakaway,” Zetterberg said. “Sometimes you try to make the right play and it doesn’t work. That’s the way it is.”

I probably don't need to tell you that the biggest "break" that went Phoenix's way happened when Mike Smith collapsed like he was shot when Brian Lashoff scored what should have been the 3-0 goal, with the refs negating the goal and the play blunting the Wings' attack.

Such are the breaks. There were still 13 minutes left in a one-goal game. But then Mike Ribeiro scored his second goal of the night at 13:14, and the Wings were staring at a loss. Antoine Vermette had scored on an odd-man rush when he beat Jimmy Howard glove-side in the last minute of the second period, jump-starting a productive third period for the Coyotes.

“We start the game so good, and play solid,” Alfredsson said. “They get some momentum with that late goal, and they did a really good job coming through the neutral zone. Once they have the lead, they do a good job clogging up the neutral zone and making it hard to get in.”

Alfredsson spent Saturday’s game with Datsyuk and Zetterberg, but that isn’t likely to continue because so much firepower on one line reduces the impact of the other lines. Bertuzzi — who made a slick move to steal the puck and then strode to the slot on his goal — will probably be back on the top line, and Alfredsson back on the third line.

Babcock and Howard told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that the Wings indulged in some particularly poor habits...

“It seemed like we got a little bit selfish (in the second period),” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “We weren’t getting pucks deep in on them, we were turning it over. Next thing you know, they got the one (goal) going into the third (period).”

Allowing too many shots on net was troubling coach Mike Babcock even during the winning streak. Babcock felt the Red Wings have been trying to do too much when they had possession of the puck.

“I don’t think it’s our play without the puck as much as our play with the puck,” Babcock said. “We don’t care of the puck enough. We’re hoping to get something done on every shift. (But) lots of shifts in hockey are 50-50. We have to be more patient with the puck so we can be better defensively.”

It was more of the same against the Coyotes — and it cost the Red Wings.

“We turned the puck over too much and didn’t play enough in their zone,” Babcock said. “We can’t be stubborn, we have to play the game to our self and we have to go straight ahead. We paid for it (taking too many chances). The play at the end of the second (period) got them going but we should have been able to regroup in here and get after them. But we never did that.”

And the Wings spoiled Jimmy Howard's return (he stopped 28 of 32 shots and was at fault for none of the goals he surrendered), as well as that of Brendan Smith, who finished at -3:

“I felt good, that’s the frustrating part,” Howard said.

Smith replaced Niklas Kronwall (concussion) after being a healthy scratch the last four games. Smith had a minus-3 rating Saturday — and is now a team-worst minus-7.

“I’m not going to comment on any individual,” Babcock said. “I know he’s had some time off and came (Saturday) to try to play hard.”

Heading back to the "spotlight" theme, NHL.com's "Daily Primer" hit the wires at 3 AM, and while it reminds us that the Penguins-Avs tilt will air on NBCSN and receive a little more attention tonight, the Wings-Sharks game is one of only three on the schedule:

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings -- San Jose is also looking to start a new winning streak. The Sharks won their first six games of the season before dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. San Jose responded Saturday with a 6-3 win against the Calgary Flames behind a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) by Joe Pavelski. The Sharks have outscored their opponents 39-16 through eight games. Detroit, now a member of the Eastern Conference, is off to a 6-3-0 start. The Red Wings are beginning a three-game homestand after losing to the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 on Saturday.

Colorado Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins -- The pride of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, is set to go head-to-head at Consol Energy Center. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown in the summer of 2009, is set to face rookie center Nathan MacKinnon, who idolized Crosby growing up and was the No. 1 selection at the 2013 NHL Draft. The game will be televised nationally in both the United States and Canada.

The Wings-Senators game is one of only TWO on Wednesday, however (the other is one of those "NBCSN Rivalry Night" games between two unlikely rivals on Boston and Buffalo), and Saturday's game will air on the NHL Network, so the NHL's going to be watching Detroit pretty closely this week.

Tonight, it's about handing an "undefeated" team its first loss, and rebounding from a second difficult game against Phoenix.




In terms of personnel, Paul noted that Sunday's big news involved the status of one Darren Helm, who informed Ken Holland that he was doing fine after helping the Griffins...well, take one point out of a possible four.

Still, as the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests, Helm's return is realtively imminent, and that means the Wings will have to clear some salary cap space:

General manager Ken Holland received as uplifting a text as possible today from Helm, reporting that all was well after two games in the minors and a nine-hour bus journey.

That’s putting Helm on a brick-paved path to playing Saturday, when the Wings host the New York Rangers. The Wings host the San Jose Sharks Monday at Joe Louis Arena, but since Helm was put on Long-Term Injured Reserve to start the season, he has to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days. Helm will return from the minors to rejoin practices as he prepares for what will be only his second NHL game in 2013.

“He told me he’s looking forward to being in the lineup next weekend,” Holland said. “This is a major step, it’s great news.”

A variety of injuries beset Helm starting in the spring of 2012, to the point he’s played one game the past 18 months, on Jan. 25. So when Helm does return, he won’t be the speedy, dangerous Helm of two seasons ago, which is why he’ll start out centering the fourth line and killing penalties while the team waits for him to regain his timing.

Patrick Eaves, sidelined by a sprained knee, will be ready to come off LTIR at the same time. Returning Luke Glendening to the minors will clear some room, but another forward will have to go as well to make salary cap room and roster room for both Helm and Eaves.

Tootoo is the most vulnerable, and if the team can’t trade him for a pick, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tootoo exposed on waivers later this week.

If Tootoo's waived, Capgeek estimates that the Wings, who have no cap space and $1,915,422 on the LTIR, would clear about $925,000 of Tootoo's $1.9 million cap hit off their roster per the "Wade Redden Rule" (cap hit - [minimum salary + $375K]), and demoting Luke Glendening's $575K cap hit gets the team close enough to freed salary that cap the cap calculus should work.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirmed Helm's status...

Helm, who has been sidelined with numerous injuries over that time, also texted that his conditioning and timing on the ice still has a ways to go. All this means is Helm is still on course to make his season debut Saturday night at home against the New York Rangers.

Helm, who will be back on the ice in Detroit Monday, had no points and four shots on goal in those two games.

While all this is great news for Helm and the Wings, it does leave a few question marks regarding their roster. With Helm coming off long-term injured reserve and Patrick Eaves (sprained left knee and ankle) also set to be activated by Saturday as well, Detroit must clear two roster spots and some salary-cap space.

Both players can’t come off long-term IR, which requires a minimum 24-day stay, until Thursday.

Fourth-line center Luke Glendening will be one of the moves as he will head back to Grand Rapids. The other in all likelihood will be Jordin Tootoo, who the Wings tried to deal this offseason.

If they’re unable to deal the gritty forward and unclaimed if waived the Wings would get just $925,000 in cap relief due to the new collective bargaining agreement that punishes teams for trying to bury veterans with a high salary-cap number in the minors.

And as Pleiness suggests, the Wings could very well move Eaves as his $1.2 million salary is affordable.

Down the line, you and I both know that the Wings can neither accommodate Helm and Eaves nor eventually bring Gustav Nyquist back up until the team addresses the sticky wicket that is Mikael Samuelsson, his $3 million cap hit and his no-trade clause (i.e. he can be traded, but he has a choice as to where he goes and where he does not go), with the Wings definitely needing to eat at least $1 million and perhaps as much as 2/3rds of Samuelsson's salary in trade to move him.

MLive's Ansar Khan also confirmed the good news...

Holland said he received a text message from Helm on Sunday reporting good news.

“He said the back felt great, conditioning and timing have a little ways to go,’’ Holland said. “From a health standpoint, everything is well and he’s looking forward to being in the lineup this weekend.’’

Right wing Patrick Eaves (sprained knee and ankle) also will be activated off of long-term injured reserve by Saturday, forcing the Red Wings to clear two roster spots and some salary-cap space.

And bad news:

Waiving right wing Mikael Samuelsson is not viable option because the club would receive only $100,000 in cap relief if he went unclaimed. That’s because he was 35 when he signed his two-year deal on July 1, 2012.

Helm will join the Red Wings for Monday's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena and will continue practicing with the club this week. Helm and Eaves aren't eligible to come off long-term IR until Thursday, since it requires a minimum 24-day stay.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also confirmed the Helm news, but I'm not going to repeat something four times. That's too much, even for me.

Given his importance to the team at present, Khan offered better and more substantial news on the injury front regarding Niklas Kronwall:

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall should be ready to return for Wednesday's game against the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena, barring any setbacks, general manager Ken Holland said.

Holland said Kronwall will miss his second game in a row Monday at home vs. the San Jose Sharks due to the mild concussion he suffered in Thursday's 4-2 victory at Colorado, when a hit from behind from Cody McLeod drove his head into the glass.

Kronwall had appeared in 168 consecutive games, regular season and playoffs, before sitting out Saturday at Phoenix.

He could be back on the ice Monday for the morning skate.

McLeod will visit with Sheriff Shanny today in New York.



In the prospect department, as Paul noted, one of the Wings' brightest prospects had a big night on Sunday, continuing his offensive roll.

In Sweden, Hampus Melen didn't register a point in Tingsryds IF's 6-0 loss to Orebo;

In the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon wasn't suspended for getting in a last-five-minutes-of-the-game fight on Saturday, and he made up for it in a big way on Sunday, scoring 2 goals and taking 5 shots in the Victoriaville Tigres' 8-6 loss to Sherbrooke;

And Anthony Mantha got back on track, registering 2 goals and 2 assists in the Val-d'Or Foreurs' 7-3 win over Cape Breton.

Mantha was named the game's first start, and while he only scored 5 points over the course of 3 games this past weekend, the Canadian Press took note of his achievements...

Anthony Mantha scored two goals and added two assists as the Val'd-Or Foreurs crushed the host Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 7-3 on Sunday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play.

Mantha, a prospect of the Detroit Red Wings, leads the QMJHL in scoring with 18 goals and 33 points in 12 contests.

As did Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager:

Honorable mention: Anthony Mantha, Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)

Mantha keeps pace with Mitch Holmberg for the CHL scoring lead, chipping in with two goals and two assists as the Val-d’Or Foreurs dismantled the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 7-3.

Mantha’s points put him at 33 on the season in 12 games, enough to overcome Holmberg, who sits at 32 points in 13. Connor Brown leads the OHL in scoring with 29 points. Mantha’s two goals puts him at 18, two up on Holmberg.

The Detroit first rounder had the assists on Louick Marcotte’s winner at 1:18 of the second period on the man advantage. Nicolas Aubé-Kubel added a goal and two assists for the winners, who improved to 8-6-0-0. Pierre-Maxime Poudrier had a goal and an assist.

In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi registered an assist and took no penalties in the Guelph Storm's 7-3 loss to Ottawa;

And in the BCHL, David Pope must be injured, because he didn't play in the West Kelowna Warriors' 4-1 win over Salmon Arm, and he didn't play on Friday, either.

This didn't happen on Sunday, but it's worth noting, per DRW Prospects on Twitter...

And I didn't have the box score of Western Michigan University's 3-3 tie with the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday because the game started at MIDNIGHT EDT and was still rolling when I posted Saturday's prospect round-up at 2 AM, so it's good to know that Mike McKee wasn't benched for taking 2-5-10-and a game misconduct when WMU lost to the University of Alaska Anchorage on Friday:

In Swedish, my Google search engine monkeys found a Mattias Janmark video, highlighting his past two years with AIK Stockholm...

And Janmark spoke with Svenska Dagbladet's Anders Lindblad about his season "so far." What follows is roughly-translated Swedish:

Points king Mattias Janmark has the NHL in his sights

Mattias Jamark continues to succeed with AIK. The only question is how long he'll remain in Sweden. Last summer, he was drafted by Detroit in the 3rd round--unusually early for an over-aged player.

"I'm aiming for the NHL. If I do well enough for AIK and work hard I might get there," he says.

AIK was believed to be a heavy underdog this season. But instead it's tied with Farjestad and HV71, currently just out of the playoff pack.

"In addition to Skelleftea at the top, it's been so tight that it might as well be [the same] from fourth to tenth. It's about registering points regularly. If we can get more, we're still a ways away from 100%. We haven't been consistent in our game. It involves a number of things that haven't worked and instead failed regularly," says Mattias Janmark.

He got his big break last season for AIK. His success also earned him a spot with the Tre Kronor. The 21-year-old continued to impress this fall: he's fourth overall in scoring with 16 points (10 goals and 6 assists).

"I'm absolutely pleased with my points thus far, though my game's been a bit up and down. It's as if it's become the target, even though my game's not running like clockwork. Sometimes you feel like you're a scoring threat whenever you're on the ice, and it feels good that I'm creating some chances in every game."

The line of Janmark, Bjorn Melin and Teemu Ramstedt is carrying AIK and has accounted for 39 points. Janmark's enjoying the confidence placed in him and playing time, and he says that he absolutely does not feel any extra pressure on himself personally after last year's breakthrough season of 31 points (14 goals and 17 assists).

"It's fun to play so much, I try to give 100% on every shift and I try to do my best."

Janmark was drafted in the 3rd round this past summer by Detroit, unusually early for an over-aged player. But it's not entirely surprising given his scoring abilities.

"I'm aiming for the NHL, that's the ultimate goal in my career. But for now I'm with AIK and that's all I think about. If I do well enough I'll get one step closer to the NHL," says Janmark.

He also felt good playing for the Tre Kronor.

"Of course I want to play more for the national team. It's an honor and an acknowledgment that you've done well."

AIK has taken almost every point--11 of 12--against the two newcomers to the league, Orebo and Leksand, so far. Not surprisingly, according to Janmark.

"We've dared to play things out more in those games. Against other teams, like Skelleftea and Lulea, we might have given them too much respect. But it's something we're working on. We want to steal points from the top teams, too. But it's obviously important to win against two teams that we want to have behind us in the standings when the season is over."

Last Friday Janmark scored a goal again, but AIK had no chance in an away game against Lulea (losing 5-2 in Norrbotten). Earlier last week, it was necessary to post points at Hovet when Leksand allowed two and then tied the game 3-3 in the 3rd period. AIK took the extra point when winning in a shootout.

"We've been good at closing games when we've had the lead. Maybe it's about confidence. But it seems that we're on the right track overall, and that we have much more to get from our team."

What's surprised you so far this season?

"That HV71 is last and that Orebo has done so well. But it will surely change quite a bit. Any team can be between 4th and 12th, it seems. Much of the season remains and the only important thing is where you are after 55 games," answers AIK's top scorer.




Also of Red Wings-related note: The Senators' press corps is already playing up Wednesday's game, and the Alfredsson-divorce-reunion stories will continue to percolate as the Senators, who dropped a 3-1 decision to Edmonton on Saturday, won't play another game until they visit the Joe on Wednesday.

Ottawa possesses a middling 3-3-and-2 record, and the Ottawa Sun's Aedan Helmer asked Chris Neil about the team's looming battle against #11:

“They’re a good team,” said Chris Neil, who admitted it will be strange seeing his former captain wearing the winged wheel in Detroit, where Alfredsson has been scoring at a point-a-game clip.

“It’ll be a little weird, obviously to see him on a another team, but I think that’s behind us. It’s no different than any other game, we’ve got to go in and work hard. Obviously if we’re not ready to go they’re a good team and they’re going to make you pay, so we can’t be taking as many penalties as we have been. That’s something we have to clamp down on in this locker room.”

Neil, whose first goal of the season accounted for all of the Senators’ offence in Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to the Oilers, said the team can take a lesson from their recent western road swing in the style of hockey they’ll need to compete with their new Atlantic Division neighbours.

“Coming from that western swing, teams like San Jose and Anaheim, they get second and third chances at the net and that’s something we as a team have to get better at,” said Neil.

“We said between periods (Saturday) it wasn’t going to be a pretty one that goes in, and that was a prime example of a dirty goal, going to the net and you get rewarded. We just didn’t do enough of that... We just have to get more traffic there and we’ll get more dirty goals.”

The Ottawa Citizen's James Gordon played up the tilt as well:


Will the students become the teacher, or does the old master still have some lessons to impart? Yes, it’s finally here: The Ottawa Senators vs. Daniel Alfredsson. The kids vs. the (erstwhile) captain. This game would be intriguing even without that significant subplot. The Wings play an uptempo, puck possession style, one the Senators’ own game is derived from (Paul MacLean was an assistant in the Motor City for six years, after all). They are also division rivals now, and both squads are expected to challenge for the Atlantic crown. Detroit is currently leading the way with a 6-3-0 record, but the loss of defenceman Niklas Kronwall, who was stretchered off the ice last week after getting hit from behind in Colorado, will certainly hurt.

Get ready to hear a full week's worth of, "Are the Senators really a better team than the Red Wings because they have Bobby Ryan and the Wings are OLD?" because it's coming.



Otherwise...MLive's Brendan Savage duly noted that the Hockey News deemed Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to be among the "Top 10: Most Loved NHL'ers," MLive readers believe that Claude Lemieux is the biggest "villain" in recent history;




Scotty Bowman was asked by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo to compare Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin to Nicklas Lidstrom, so he did just that:

“He doesn’t have a gap,” Scotty Bowman said. “He’s such a good skater, if you notice he’s always up. He doesn’t back up at all and that’s the way the good ones are. Like Lidstrom, there’s no room.”

Bowman’s Brodin-Lidstrom comparisons didn’t stop there.

“Lidstrom, when he first started, he played the right side like Brodin,” Bowman said (Lidstrom was, and Brodin is, a left-shot defenseman). “We didn’t have any right-siders, and then eventually we moved Nick over. It’s not a tough thing for a good defenseman, and it’s good training for Brodin, taking pucks off the boards.”

Bowman says it’s amazing Sweden is developing so many good defensemen. He believes Brodin, Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson are the three best young defensemen in the game today, and brings up Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson, Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall and Vancouver’s Alex Edler as other examples.

“Karlsson is probably more dynamic than Brodin and Ekman-Larsson,” Bowman said. “He plays more freelance, but he’s probably not as solid defensively because he’s such a good attacker. But Brodin seems to know when to move up, and in his own zone, he’s solid.”

Ah yes, lest we forget, the Senators are "better" than the Wings because they have Erik Karlsson and a "better" goalie in Craig Anderson. That's more of what we're going to hear.

Bowman understands why the Wild wants Brodin playing with Ryan Suter, “and Suter is such a good left D,” Bowman said.

“Brodin is so young and will only get better. He’s going to get stronger. Lidstrom wasn’t that strong when he first started. Lidstrom was never a big, strong guy, but he built up to be stronger. What I love about Brodin is he passes the puck so well. If you chart the game, most passes are on the stick, not in the feet or behind. [Suter and Brodin] is a nice tandem. Now [the Wild] just need to get another tandem. But it takes time.”




If you're interested in a debate of a different kind, the Eastern Michigan University's school newspaper, the Eastern Echo, offers "Pro" and "Con" arguments for and against public investment in the Red Wings' follow-on rink...




Regarding the Red Wings' current rink, WWJ Newsradio 950 is holding a contest whose prize consists of tickets to Saturday's Wings-Rangers game:

Monday, October 21st - Listen for your chance to win tickets to see the Detroit Red Wings take on the New York Rangers at the Joe Louis Arena on October 26th.  Tickets are still available at Detroitredwings.com or by calling: 313-396-7575.

Click here for a complete Detroit Red Wings 2013 schedule.

Contest date: October 26, 2013, 8:00a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Prize details: Three (3) winners will receive two (2) tickets to see the Detroit Wings  at the Joe Louis Arena on 10/26/13
Winner must be at least 18 years old
Click here for official contest rules



Does this count as alumni news? My search engine monkeys found "Kingsenberg" on LetsgoKings.com revealing what the Los Angeles Kings' commemorative Larry Murphy bobblehead will look like, and the Wings will honor Murphy on December 7th (he is also going to play in the Winter Classic Alumni game, so he's still in Metro Detroit)...



And I'm no trade-rumor-monger, but the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's suggestion that the Florida Panthers may move their star players yielded this from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, whose Hockey World column spans three blog entries:

If the Florida Panthers are moving veterans to cut payroll, and they consider Shawn Matthias a veteran of sorts, the Edmonton Oilers might be all over that. They’ve tried to get the six-foot-four, 220-pound centre before and were rebuffed.

The Wings would probably love to bring Matthias, who they traded to Florida for Todd Bertuzzi, back into the fold, too, but the Panthers see the 25-year-old as Stephen Weiss's successor and a future team captain, so I'd gather that the price is too high for anyone who's not willing to throw a boatload of assets at Dave Tallon. That'd be foolhardy to begin with for a team like Edmonton, and it'd be even more expensive for the Wings given that Detroit and Florida are now division rivals.



Update: I forgot to add Tweets:


It's going to be very cold this week in Metro Detroit. It'll be 60 today, but the highs will be in the 40's until the weekend.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



The Wings just need to find anywhere Sammy would be willing to go that will take him and send as much money as they have to for it to get done.  Even if they only get a 7th round pick back they need to lose that contract.  Since Holland and Babcock insisted on bringing Cleary back into the fold, Sammy’s contract has become a 3 million ton anchor.

If Sammy’s not getting 15 minutes a game on one of the top 2 lines and playing with skilled forwards he’s not worth having around as he’s fairly useless in a 3rd and especially 4th line roll.  Don’t even get me started on his supposed “specialty” on the PP point.

Yes I know, it’s not Holland’s fault because he would have waived Samuelsson in the offseason but couldn’t because of the injury.  Well it is Holland’s fault because he signed Sammuelsson to a ridiculous contract to begin with than brought Cleary back into an already full house while he and Babcock kept going about how the roster will work itself out through preseason and the first several games with injuries and what not.  Well…..that never happened.  Instead, the roster issues that haven’t worked themselves out have put the Wings in a position where they probably haven’t been able to ice the best team possible through 9 regular season games and that’s just stupid when playoff berths these days are often times decided by 2 points or less.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 10/21/13 at 07:59 AM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

The Guelph Storm actually won the game against Ottawa 7-3, not the other way around.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 10/21/13 at 09:06 AM ET


You are right, Valek. The Samuelsson deal was a head scratcher at the time and has now become an issue that did NOT “work itself out.” How many guys do we have on our 3rd and 4th lines making millions? When Samuelsson was signed, I don’t remember anyone who thought that was a good move .

I know Tatar is apparently not thought of very highly by the Wings but I would love to see 15 games with Tatar on a line with Andersson and Nyquist. I want to see if they really are that good together. I’d love to see Helm with Cleary and Bertuzzi on the 4th line and the Andersson/Tatar/Nyquist line 3rd. They could roll those two as 3A and 3B. That leaves Sammy, Tootoo and Eaves as non-factors.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 10/21/13 at 09:56 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Mantha, a prospect of the Detroit Red Wings, leads the QMJHL in scoring with 18 goals and 33 points in 12 contests.

Spectacular.  He’ll be in GR by the end of the season.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/21/13 at 11:35 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

The Wings just need to find anywhere Sammy would be willing to go that will take him and send as much money as they have to for it to get done.  Even if they only get a 7th round pick back they need to lose that contract.

Honestly, I don’t get it.  TO MAKE A TRADE, YOU NEED A TRADE PARTNER.  What team (Philly excepted, of course) is going to want to give ANYTHING for Sammy?  Forget getting anything for him - what team is going to WANT Sammy?  The cap hit is just too freakin’ high, especially with the lowered cap this season. 

Even just to get rid of him for $1, or whatever, that would be fantastic to get his salary off the books.  But Nobody wants, nor has room for, his salary on their books.  It’s just not an option.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/21/13 at 11:39 AM 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.


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