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Red Wings Thursday practice post in progress: Franzen to return, but Helm’s not quite ready

Updated 7x at 6:43 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to build upon their 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks when they tangle with the Calgary Flames on Friday night (9:30 PM EDT, FSD Plus/Sportsnet West/97.1 FM), and the Wings certainly discussed their win as something of a bedrock-worthy stepping stone after the game.

With Johan Franzen ready to return from his "unspecified injury," the Wings demoted Luke Glendening, and we'll find out whether Darren Helm is good to go over the course of the next two days--which might necessitate placing Jonathan Ericsson on the LTIR to make room and cap space until the team's able to move Jordin Tootoo and/or Patrick Eaves.

The Flames also hope to rebound from a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, and the Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak reports that the Wings will face a familiar face in the Flames' net:

#flames Mikael Backlund back in lineup vs Wings. Hartley says Joey MacDonald will be in goal

According to 97.1 FM's Ken Kal, the Wings didn't skate at the Saddledome today (thanks to a...uh...Dixie Chicks concert?)

At the new Canadian Olympic training facility for Red Wings practice. Outstanding place.


Nice win last night in Vancouver. Liked the way the team performed. Held the Canucks to 20 shots after they posted 40 on Wash. Good effort

Here we go, per the Wings...

The #RedWings just came on for practice at the new Canadian Olympic training facility, being joined by the Mule

If you're interested in some supplementary reading, MSU Spartans' Neil Koepke penned an article about MSU senior defenseman Dean Chelios...

Jake Chelios' three assists in last Saturday's 3-1 victory over Boston University were almost as many as he had all last season. Two more assists and he'll equal his output of five assists in 2002-13.

But the Michigan State senior defenseman, while happy about the offensive surge, is more focused on lifting his game defensively to the highest level possible in his final season as a Spartan.

"Coming into this season, I wanted to focus on the defensive side of my game, and thinking more like a defenseman,'' said Chelios, a forward for all of his early career until switching to defense for part of his freshman season. "This is my third full year as a defenseman.''

Despite his attention to the defensive part of his position, Chelios admitted he enjoyed the feeling of being on the ice for goal celebrations and his role in a dramatic come-from-behind, confidence-building victory.

Chelios' three-point game was his most productive as a Spartan. He has three points in four games and shares the team scoring lead with Greg Wolfe (3 goals) and fellow defenseman Rhett Holland (0-3).

"You kind of lose that feeling of what it's like to be on the ice for a goal and to celebrate,'' Chelios said. "I kind of got carried away when we got those three goals at the end. But it's a great feeling, especially when things have been tough lately.''

The Wings got to work around 1:05 PM, as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James...

As expected with Johan Franzen returning Friday at Calgary, #RedWings send Luke Glendening back to minors


RedcWingscPractice underway at Calgary. http://pic.twitter.com/el2Gd4TheU


Johan Franzen centering Daniels Cleary and Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss on 3rd line


Weiss with Tatar and Abdelkader, Andersson with Miller and Eaves at Ref Wings practice


Todd Bertuzzi, inking away after Red Wings practice http://pic.twitter.com/9H4TVV5qyM

Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

Franzen on the ice


Franzen at center between clearly and alfie

MLive's Ansar Khan...

Wings on ice for practice in Calgary. Franzen joins team. Everybody on the trip is skating.


Franzen is back at center with Alfredsson and Cleary. Datsyuk remains with ZEtterberg and Bertuzzi.


Weiss is with Tatar and Abdelkader. Andersson is with Miller and Eaves. Helm, Tootoo and Samuelsson in gray indicating scratches next game.


Defense pairs the same: Kronwall-DeKeyser, Quincey-Smith, Lashoff-Kindl.

And the Wings:

Looks like everyone's on the ice today minus Big E; Helm, Tootoo, & Sammy all wearing grey so they'll likely be scratches tomorrow #RedWings


Mule's centering the second line alongside Alfie and Cleary; Weiss centering third of Abby and Tatar. #RedWings

Ah, yes, Star Wars Night takes place in Toledo on Saturday, per the Walleye:

#XWing inspired Walleye T-shirts at the @SwampShop. #StarWars Night is this Saturday! http://instagram.com/p/gJNh7nCtQb/  http://ht.ly/qngHD


Get your picture taken with the Holy Grail of hockey this Saturday! #stanleycup http://ht.ly/qmiu0

And in the charitable news department, per RedWingsFeed and DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson:

Yzerman, Lidstrom, Osgood, Konstantinov, Datsyuk, Shanahan – just a few names of the many Red Wings that have skated at Joe Louis Arena.

In just a few weeks, Hockeytown fans will have an opportunity to stand where they’ve lifted the Stanley Cup and raised banners into the rafters at the 14th annual Toast of Hockeytown, presented by ITC Holdings Corp.

For one night, the ice at Joe Louis Arena will be blanketed in carpet, as guests at Toast of Hockeytown will have the opportunity to rub elbows with the entire Red Wings team. The event will feature over 80 wines, specialty tequilas and vodkas, and food stations from some of Detroit’s finest restaurants in an elegant fall-themed atmosphere.

“What’s really special about this event is that the entire Red Wings team is there and it’s taking place on the covered ice surface of Joe Louis Arena, which you can’t always get in,” said Lynsie DeLoss Estes, director of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. “It’s not a common thing that you can come down and walk on the ice and hang out with the entire team. It’s a really good opportunity for Red Wings of the past and present to mingle with their fans.”

Toast of Hockeytown will welcome returning food vendors Iridescence, Melting Pot of Troy, Just Baked and chefs from Olympia Entertainment for the evening’s festivities. Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shop will make specialty pumpkin donuts to contribute to the event’s fall theme, and guests will also be able to enjoy spiked warm cider and live entertainment throughout the night.

The most popular events of Toast of Hockeytown are the live and silent auctions, which give guests opportunities to bid on an assortment of unique and exclusive items. The silent auction will feature more than 70 items, including a complete game-used gear set from goalie Jimmy Howard; a Winter Classic jersey autographed by the Red Wings team; a paradise package to the Cayman Islands; and several different trips to beautiful Traverse City.

The live auction will feature the ultimate road trip on Red Bird III to a Red Wings road game and an once-in-a-lifetime celebration with Nicklas Lidstrom. The Lidstrom package will include a meet-and-greet with the Red Wings’ legend after Detroit’s practice on March 5; an autographed stick and skates from Lidstrom’s final season; and two tickets to Lidstrom Night at The Joe on March 6.

All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities with a mission to fund and grow the sport of hockey. The foundation contributes to various organizations throughout Detroit that focus on youth hockey and education.

I would generally wait until Mike Babcock spoke to post this entry as an open one, but I have to ferry the mom to her course at Washtenaw Community College, and that means leaving the office...So I apologize for offering an incomplete entry. I will update this post as I am able to do so.


Update #1: Per Khan...

Babcock said Franzen in for Glendening, who was sent down, is the only change for tomorrow at Calgary.


@Mariia19 Helm will make his season debut Saturday at Edmonton.

Update #2: CalgaryFlames.com's Aaron Vickers penned an off-day update, discussing the Flames' loss to Toronto...

A day after falling 4-2 despite outshooting the Toronto Maple Leafs 43-22, coach Bob Hartley liked everything about the performance of his Calgary Flames - except the result. Hartley’s Flames thoroughly outplayed the Leafs through 60 minutes, but couldn’t come away with two points on Wednesday.

“This game sometimes is a little unfair,” Hartley said. “I felt that we deserved much better last night but we didn’t get rewarded. That’s the only part that I’m not satisfied about was the reward.”

The Flames tested Toronto starter Jonathan Bernier 15 times in the opening 20 minutes, threw another 20 his way during the middle frame and another eight in the third period but could only beat him twice.

“I liked everyone in our game last night, everybody did their job,” Hartley said. “Bernier did his job for the Leafs and tomorrow’s another day.”

And Joey MacDonald's Red Wings reunion:

Joey MacDonald will make his first start in four games when the Flames welcome the Red Wings to Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

“I think that Mac gave us a real good run early on,” Hartley said. “Karri (Ramo) gave us a good run. Now lets hope that Mac will give us the same kind of run he gave us.”

MacDonald spent parts of three seasons with Detroit before Calgary claimed the 33-year-old off waivers last February. He’s looking forward to facing his former team.

“I spent a lot of time in Detroit, a lot of guys I played with for a long time,” MacDonald said. “It’s going to be an exciting time to get back in there and do what we do. You spent that much time with the team and a lot of guys over there spent a lot of time with, it kinda boosts your energy a little bit and try to put yourself up to the game a little more, put a little more pressure on because you want to do well against your former team.”

Update #2.5: Mattias Janmark registered an assist and played 21:21 in AIK Stockholm's 3-1 win over Farjestads BK on Thursday.

Update #3: Well-played, Puck Daddy's Harrison Mooney. Good Datsyuk costume.


Update #3.5: MLive's Ansar Khan's already posted a quote-free practice report:

Coach Mike Babcock said Franzen-for-Glendening is the only lineup change for Friday. Here are the lines and defense pairs they skated with on Thursday:

Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi

Danny Cleary-Johan Franzen-Daniel Alfredsson

Tomas Tatar-Stephen Weiss-Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller-Joakim Andersson-Patrick Eaves

Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson and Darren Helm wore gray jerseys, indicating they won't play the next game. Helm is expected to make his season debut Saturday in Edmonton.

Niklas Kronwall-Danny DeKeyser

Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff-Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson.

Update #4: Here's the Free Press's Helene St. James, discussing the return of Franzen...

Franzen is back in the lineup for Friday's game at Calgary after missing Wednesday's victory in Vancouver because of what he said was an upper-body injury. Franzen spent Thursday's practice at the Canada Olympic Village centering Daniel Cleary and Daniel Alfredsson. With Franzen back to work, the Wings returned Luke Glendening to the minors.

It should be a welcome addition to insert someone of Franzen's size (6-feet-3, 220-odd pounds) and skill, but the fact is, Franzen has two goals after 12 games, and both of them come from the victory in Colorado two weeks ago. Franzen tops 17 minutes on average per game, and is out on every power play.

Franzen doesn't consider his lack of offense a problem, saying, "I feel really effective, actually," Franzen said. "I've had two good chances, and I scored on both of them. So it feels pretty good, actually."

Asked if he needs to generate more, Franzen deflected, saying, "we need to generate more."

The Wings haven't scored much - they beat Vancouver, 2-1, and average 2.25 goals per game. Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Alfredsson together account for 17 of the team's 29 goals.

Zetterberg said Franzen is due. "I think he is doing a lot of good things, except scoring. He creates a lot of chances. He hasn't been with us this week - he came in this morning, he looked pretty fired up. Could be a Mule game tomorrow."

St. James posted a Franzen video, too:

Update #5:

And kudos to the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa for saying this out loud:

someday wings' young defensemen will learn to run the offense. these things take time for 23, 24 and 24 yr olds. better, last night, though.


Update #6: The Calgary Sun posted a clip of Bob Hartley's off-day presser...

And CalgaryFlames.com's Aaron Vickers reports that former Blue Jacket Kris Russell is attempting to step into the void left by injured captain Mark Giordano:

Kris Russell has taken it upon himself to get offensive. With Mark Giordano’s broken ankle -- an injury expected to keep the Calgary Flames captain on the injured reserve for six to eight weeks -- the 5-foot-10 defenceman has come up big with the added responsibility of leading the Flames blue line in the offensive end. The Caroline, AB product has four points in his past four games while seeing his ice time and responsibility rise in Giordano’s absence.

“I’m starting to play good minutes and simplify my game,” Russell said. “There are things I can clean up but I think I’ve been doing pretty well so far. I just have to keep getting better, keep working hard at it and make sure I keep going.”

Paired with Dennis Wideman, Russell has seen plenty of ice. Against the Phoenix Coyotes -- Calgary’s first game without Giordano -- Russell played 25:02. That number grew as high as 29:13 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

That added ice comes with increasing confidence from head coach Bob Hartley.

“Russ has been unbelievable for us,” Hartley said. “He’s the toughest 166-pounder that I’ve ever coached. He’s in the offence. Defensively he’s very strong. He’s pleasant to work with -- very good team guy. He’s a very big addition for us.”

Russell, acquired from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a 2014 fifth round pick in July and promptly inked a one-year, $1.5 million pact with the Flames, was added to provide some offensive punch to Calgary’s blue line. He's done just that.

Coming into the season, Russell compiled 23 goals and 72 assists in 364 career NHL games between the Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. With five assists and six points in 12 games this season, he’s scoring at an even more impressive clip since joining Calgary. That production, said Russell, has come with his success a direct pucks towards the goal.

“I’m just trying to get pucks on net, create stuff from the blue line,” said Russell, who starred in junior with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL and grew up a Flames fan. “As soon as you get pucks through as a defenceman, you’re going to get opportunities.


Update #7: MLive's Ansar Khan took note of Zetterberg's take on Franzen's return:

"It could be a Mule game tomorrow,’’ Zetterberg said.

The Detroit Red Wings could use one of those. They’ve had only one “Mule game’’ this season, when Franzen scored a pair of power-play goals in a 4-2 victory at Colorado Oct. 17. Those are Franzen’s only goals in 12 games (he has three assists). The Red Wings are struggling to score (averaging 2.23 goals per game, 23rd in the NHL) and need more production from the big forward. He has scored between 27 and 34 goals in his past four full seasons.

Despite the lack of production, Franzen believes he’s playing well.

“I feel really effective, actually,’’ he said. “I had two good chances and scored on both of them this year, so it feels pretty good, actually.’’


Babcock said of Franzen, “Sometimes things don’t go the way you want at the start. Mule has the ability to be a real good player in the league and you got to bring it out of yourself each and every night if you’re going to be successful. Goal-scorers got to shoot the puck.’’

Zetterberg also offers the following assessment of Franzen as a center:

“He’s more involved in the game, he gets more pucks,’’ Zetterberg said. “He always wants to have the puck and it’s easier to have that as the center than a winger. In the games he’s played as the center I think he’s had the best games.’’

Franzen still is seeking his first even-strength goal.

“I think he missed us, actually,’’ Zetterberg said. “He looked happy to be back here again. Obviously, had a long day already, but he’s going to be fired up tomorrow.’’

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Soupsnake's avatar

Dude your headline made me think Helm had another setback. not cool! haha I’m pretty pumped to see him lace up the skates on Saturday.

Posted by Soupsnake from Canton, Mi on 10/31/13 at 04:18 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Saturday smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/31/13 at 04:23 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Franzen to return, but Helm’s not quite ready

Why rush it now?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/31/13 at 04:41 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi

Danny Cleary-Johan Franzen-Daniel Alfredsson

Tomas Tatar-Stephen Weiss-Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller-Joakim Andersson-Patrick Eaves

I really like our centers.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 10/31/13 at 04:53 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I actually like Franzen at center. He can’t float all damn game long…

And I believe that Weiss is finally getting comfortable. He looked solid against Vancouver, and if he hadn’t gone to the net and taken 2 defensemen with him, Alfredsson wouldn’t have scored the 1-1 goal. He’s testing even my patience, but he’s coming along.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/31/13 at 04:55 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Posted by SYF from minding the gap on 10/31/13 at 05:53 PM ET

love it!

Posted by gowings from MTL on 10/31/13 at 05:37 PM ET


Wow, Franzen has had 2 chances and scored on both of them!

Those quotes are disturbing. He isn’t thinking about it in the right way at all.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 10/31/13 at 06:23 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Agree regarding Franzen as a center.  He plays much harder and with obvious interest in the whole game.  I also would like to try trading places and sticking him of defense for a game or two and putting Smith on a wing.  It might be worth trying.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 10/31/13 at 08:29 PM ET


Is Franzen trolling us with that quote?! He can’t possibly think he’s been doing well. Dude has zero effort 95% of the time. It’s the most frustrating thing I endure as a Wings fan, including watching Smith and Quincey turn over the puck every game.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/31/13 at 09:32 PM ET


Franzen at centre is probably pretty good for Franzen (though I don’t know how many points hes gotten as a centre) but for the Wings as a team?  I doubt it.  For one thing, we don’t f*cking need another centre, we need a scoring winger.  The Wings just invested $25M in a second line centre who is now being replaced by the lazy winger.  Weiss played well on Wednesday, an integral part of the play that resulted in Alfredsson’s goal, and now he’s being moved a-f*cking-gain.  Is anyone really wondering why the new guy who is learning a new system and has played on a different line combination seemingly every single game this season is having a slow start?

And they’re pushing Weiss down to the third line for tonight so that Franzen can centre the second line, but what happens on Saturday if Helm comes back?  I’m assuming Weiss goes back to the second line and Franzen goes back to the wing, right?  So how about they stop coddling the guy who has scored 30ish goals a bunch of times as a winger and make him play the wing or sit out a few games?

Posted by Garth on 11/01/13 at 08:05 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

So how about they stop coddling the guy who has scored 30ish goals a bunch of times as a winger and make him play the wing or sit out a few games?

Agreed!  It’s amazing when you hear the players and even coach talk about how Franzen plays better angry or how they hope he has a good game that night.  They know he coasts and have resigned themselves to that fact.  He’s not consistently “grabbing his piece of the cheese”  so why is he consistently playing?  I think an important message would be sent if he were benched for coasting.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 11/01/13 at 09:02 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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