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Red Wings Thursday practice post: most of Wings’ injured players better; Smith, DeKeyser dinged

Updated 6x at 4:17 PM:The Wings recalled Tomas Jurco and Luke Glendening and demoted Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen: The Red Wings received some good news at practice, as previously noted...

And they entertained visitors as well...

No Tootoo or Kindl as of yet...Never mind!

Ah, but what's a practice without worrisome news?

This is not surprising given the fact that Saturday's game will air on Hockey Night in Canada...

In case you were not already aware of the Red Wings' status as playing the Maple Leafs at the Joe tomorrow (7:30 PM, Leafs TV only) and at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday (7 PM, Hockey Night in Canada, NHL Network U.S.)...

Krupa pays attention. That's a good thing:

This Tweet from Mitchell Callahan was amusing...

And I haven't been able to figure out where he's going, but former Wing Mike Commodore Tweeted that he was heading to Russia and/or Asia.

As previously noted, the Free Press's Helene St. James wondered aloud why the Wings' exhibition season performances have been so...Crappy...

The most jarring stat that has emerged so far is how problematic it has been for the Wings to score. They have 16 goals — the same amount they've allowed. But eight of those goals came in one game, that night in Boston when Detroit brought Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Howard, and the Bruins iced much less caliber. Eight goals divided by five games equals a scoring average that's not going to make hay later this fall.

A strong finish this weekend would assuage some of these concerns as the regular season beckons within a week. And there have been some positives during the past 10 days: Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Bertuzzi have looked good as a line — not quite at the level of "two kids and a goat" (Brett Hull's moniker for his time with a very young Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux) — but solid. Petr Mrazek, who might have to serve as the backup goalie if Gustavsson is out for any length of time, has shown he's capable.

It is just preseason, of course, and so the games don't mean anything in the standings. But what happens within the games means something and, so far, the revelations haven't been very positive for the Wings.

While MLive's Brenan Savage discussed the learning curve that the Wings' younger players and prospects face, as well as the learning curve they faced against Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins last night:

"They're a couple of the best players in the world, so to get ice time against them in a game like that is huge for young guys," said Red Wings forward Stephen Weiss. "It gives them a little bit of an idea of what to expect at this level. When you have slight little breakdowns they are going to make you pay, and that's what they did to us tonight."

All things considered, is it any wonder the Penguins outshot the Red Wings 37-17, outhit them 23-18 and had two giveaways to Detroit's eight? Heck, in the first period Pittsburgh had four scoring chances to none for the Red Wings. When was the last time anyone remembers that happening to a Detroit team over a 20-minute span? Still, the Red Wings' youngsters who are heading back to the AHL can take a lot from the game, according to second-year defenseman Brendan Smith.

"Just for them to understand what the NHL is like," Smith said. "Obviously they're top two lines, those guys are great players. We pretty much played against their full team if not their full team. They can take that back (to the AHL) and see what it's like and they have to get better playing at that level. They can take that back, knowing the speed and strength at his level. I remember ... one of the first games I played was against Chicago and they had pretty much their full lineup. It gave me an eye opener of how good they are. I think it's a good thing for everybody to see."

Mrazek, who led Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup championship last spring, wasn't at his best but he also didn't get a lot of help as the Red Wings played without their top two forwards – Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg – as well as their No. 1 defensive pairing (Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson).

Mrazek allowed a pair of goals to Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh's second-leading scorer behind Crosby last season, and the Penguins jumped to a 3-0 lead less than four minutes into the second period.

"It wasn't an easy night," said Mrazek, who will open the season as Jimmy Howard's backup because of Jonas Gustavsson's groin injury but will likely end up back in Grand Rapids. "That was my first game I played whole game. I felt good before the game and during the game but tough night for us. I didn't look at their lineup (to see) that they're playing their best players. We played good players, too. You can't look at the lineup. We have to look at the goals and see what happened.''

And his article includes an interview with Petr Mrazek:

And if you're interested, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and Griffins coach Jeff Blashill made some football picks...

Back to practice:

*cringes*

Practice ended pretty early, and this is an "outside the room" observation:

What I learned about "embedded" crews: they're very serious and don't talk to anybody:

 

Um, uh...

I have bad news about the Wings' home opener against Buffalo next Wednesday: It will air on NBCSN and TSN2, not Fox Sports Detroit, so we won't see the player introductions :(

In the FYI department, Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon reports that EA Sports is predicting that the St. Louis Blues will defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Cup this season...

And if you missed the prospect news in the overnight report...

This much is good...

Ditto...

Double ditto...

He's from Toronto, you know...

Sigh:

Update #0.5: Good:

Update #0.75:

For the record, and I'll try to get this up eventually, HockeySverige's Uffe Bodin spoke with Wings prospect Mattias Janmark, who's scored 5 goals and registered an assist over the course of his first 5 games with AIK Stockholm. Janmark understands why he wasn't drafted until he was 20, and he's driven to succeed and eventually make a push for an NHL job:

Even before the season started was the Stocksundstorps bred striker proof that he was on the right track. After being ratad in two straight NHL drafter read Janmarks name up by the Detroit Red Wings in New Jersey in late June.

- Of course it was very fun, but the truth is that I was not good enough to be selected in the previous drafter says Mattias Janmark.

- Although I did a pretty good season last year J20-handed is not really, but it was nothing I was thinking then. I did get the chance to come up in the first team instead and appear on a little bigger stage and successfully continue to evolve.

The most remarkable thing is that he was drafted as early as the third round, which is not is unusual for an over-aged players.

- No, it does not, but he is no ordinary player, either, said Detroit scout Hakan Andersson hockeysverige.se in connection with the draft pick.

- He's actually only 20 years old and has gone into the AIK, played really well and made a lot of points in a mediocre team. I was sniffing at him already last year and had him on the list, but decided against him, which was wrong in hindsight. We are happy to have him.

"It will be fun to work with Håkan"

Janmark had talked with Andersson a couple of times before the draft pick in 2012, but was a bit taken by surprise when Detroit instead picked him now, a year later.

- Last year I had little hope of being drafted in the seventh round, maybe. But this year, I heard nothing from Hakan, so he walked in silence a little. It came a bit as a shock when I heard that they had picked me, he says.

- But a blast to be elected in the third round, it shows well somewhere that they believe in me. It will be fun to work with especially Hakan and try to take a seat (in Detroit) within a few years.

You were in Detroit at camp this summer, how was it?

- They have an incredibly large organization where you notice that everything is a bit more professional than here at home. You go over to a rookie camp and I do not know how many people are working around it in order to be happy. it is very professional.

What did you take with you from there?

- Many briefings and lessons about what it takes to get to the NHL in five years or whatever it may be. This is true enough to realize how much work you have to put down and what one must go through to get across. It was good to get some tips, but then you get well go their own way.

How long it will take for Mattias Janmark to become NHL players, he does not speculate

- We'll see how it goes this season. You do not know how it will go, if you go on any damage or anything, he says.

- I try to work hard here at home, if it then takes me a year or five years is not so important. Obviously I am aiming to go over and I think I'll feel when the time comes. And I think that I will get great help from family, AIK and Hakan. I think it will be fine.

Looking at how Mattias Janmark has started the season, it's hard to believe otherwise. "It will be fine."

 

Update #1: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness filed a report about the Wings' injuries...

Justin Abdelkader appears ready to go despite needing stiches after a tussle late in the 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“I should be fine, I just got cut open during the fight,” said Abdelkader, who got two stiches on his left index finger. “Holding the stick can be tough, it’s on my bottom hand. Trainers did a good job of patching it up, protecting it.”

Defensemen Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) and Jonathan Ericsson (groin) also appear ready to return.

“I will be playing for sure,” Kindl said. “We decided I needed a couple of more skates before getting into the game so it was a smart decision, so I’ll be playing tomorrow.”

Defenseman Brendan Smith fell awkwardly into the boards after being hit by Gustav Nyquist and left the ice early. He said he would available for Friday.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser didn’t skate after “bumping his knee” in the loss to the Penguins.

“His foot got caught in a rut against (Sidney) Crosby and fell down,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s when he bumped his knee. I don’t think it’s very serious, but once again it’s this time of the year.”

He filed a report about the Wings' second line of Daniel Alfredsson (groin), Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen...

“I would love to play a couple more,” Alfredsson said. “But it is what it is and you got to be smart, especially now when you have the time but I’m hoping to play Friday and get a game in here before we start for real.”

Franzen missed some time with a hip flexor.

“We’re looking to get just get the first one,” Weiss said. “It is what it is this time of the year, guys go down with stuff and they work other guys into the lineup and kind of work with what you’ve got. For me it’s been kind of tough cause I’ve had new guys every night and working with that has been a bit of a challenge, but hopefully tomorrow we can that line together and try to at least get one game in before we get going for real here,” Weiss added.

Babcock would love to dress an “NHL lineup” for Friday’s home preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“When you play eight exhibition games, your lineup is spread out big time,” Babcock said. “You have to just to keep guys alive. Obviously we dressed a pretty good lineup there in Boston, that happened because a few guys got dinged and we had to move a few guys around. Since that time I’ve had full intention to … Pittsburgh came here with an NHL team and wanted to play an NHL team. And they got here, maybe they got something out of it, but they would have got way more out of it had they played against an NHL team.

“I don’t know what to do about that,” Babcock continued. “We can play two less exhibition games and we can have more guys in the lineup or we can continue to do what we’ve done and that’s the way it is.”

And Pleiness also took note of the HBO 24/7 crew's presence:

“I really liked (the show), it was pretty cool,” Brendan Smith said. “What I’ve told people is it’s interesting to see some of these tough guys or goons or chippy kind of players and then they’re kind of soft hearted sweethearts back home with their families. It’s cool to see other people’s sides and what they’re like on different teams and how they hold themselves, so it’s a pretty cool experience and it’ll be cool for people to see what our team is like.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t a big fan, but he’ll do his part.

“I just know my kids, I remember a few years back, thought it was awesome,” Babcock said. “To be honest with you I can go without it totally, but doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m just hoping someone else is first star.”

Babcock recalled players tending to shy away during the taping of Nicklas Lidstrom 360.

“No one would go near him,” Babcock said. “I assume since these guys are around here for so long you become immune to it a little bit. Obviously, just like in your own life do you want everything on TV or YouTube, or is there anything you do that you don’t want it to be (broadcast). It’s the same for these guys. That’s part of promoting the sport so they feel it’s a good thing for the sport.”

Update #2: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's practice report:

Forward Justin Abdelkader practiced today, one day after needing just two stitches to close a cut in his left index finger, sustained during a fight with Pittsburgh's Robert Bortuzzo late in Wednesday's game.

“Nothing big. I should be fine,'' Abdelkader said. “Holding the stick can be tough, it's on my bottom hand. Trainers did a good job of patching it up, protecting it.''

Right wing Daniel Alfredsson (groin) returned to practice after staying off the ice on Wednesday.

“It's pretty good,'' Alfredsson said. “I felt pretty good after the practice (Tuesday) but wasn't really as good the next day as I was hoping, so precautionary. Good skate today. Skate tomorrow morning and go from there, but I'm hopeful of playing tomorrow.''

..

Defenseman Brendan Smith left practice a little early favoring his left leg following a collision with Gustav Nyquist, but said he'll be available for Friday.

“Went into the boards a little bit, but nothing crazy, so I'm OK,'' Smith said.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (groin) skated today after staying off the ice for a day. His status will be determined in the morning.

Update #2.25:

Update #3: SI's Brian Cazenueve penned a set of Eastern Conference power rankings, and man oh man, is this story OLD AND BUSTED:

4 Detroit Red Wings
Last Season: 7th in Western Conference

The Red Wings needed to infuse their veteran roster with youthful enthusiasm as they relocated to the East. So whom did they add? Forty-year-old forward Daniel Alfredsson. Detroit also added Stephen Weiss, who joins two-way forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and that's enough for the Wings to make another run for the aged.

One defenseman over 30. Ten of 17 forwards 30 or younger. Both goalies under 30.

Update #3.5: The Hockey News's Adam Proteau also weighed in on the Wings' status while ranking each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams:

4. Detroit. For me, there’s not much difference between the Senators, Red Wings and Rangers in that they all have some strengths necessary for a deep playoff run – as well as the potential to finish second or third in their division thanks to at least one question mark. The Wings have an imposing top-six forward group, but they’re awfully old and their defense as currently constructed hasn’t proven they’re completely over Nicklas Lidstrom. Remember, Detroit finished seventh in the West last season and could’ve missed the playoffs in an 82-game season; they’re in an easier conference now, but that doesn’t mean they’re assured a spot at the top.

Yes, awfully old. Terriibly terribly old.

Update #3.75: Hockey Prospectus' Ryan Wagman ranks Jimmy Howard as the NHL's 6th-best goalie in an Insider-only article:

6. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

2013-14 projection: 58 games | .914 save percentage | 12.3 GVT

The proud recipient of a new six-year contract with an annual cap hit of more than $5 million, Howard is still expected to do more to earn his salary than most of the nine goalies making bigger bucks. Although not young at 29 years old, the former Maine Black Bear has gradually improved his production every campaign since a slight sophomore slump three seasons ago.

Among the front-runners for one of the three coveted spots on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, Howard is justifiably praised for his consistency. Over the past two seasons, his rate numbers have been nearly identical, although his GVT was held back by below-average production in shootouts. Considering his past successes in the skills competition, we should expect that to be a short-season blip and for Howard to put together another fine season in net for the Red Wings.

Update #4: NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Update #5: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan filed his practice report:

Mike Babcock said DeKeyser "bumped his knee" in a play Wednesday against Pittsburgh.

"I don't think it's very serious, but we'll see," Babcock said.

Smith said he was just fine after he was driven into the end boards during a drill, remained on the ice for a moment and then flexed his leg considerably, before returning immediately to the drill.

"They're all, ‘We'll see,’” Babcock said about their playing status. "If we were playing a regular-season game, I assume they're playing. But we'll see what happens."

Babcock and the several of the players spoke about a stretch of poorly-played games, since the Red Wings trounced the Bruins 8-2 one week ago. None were overly concerned, and most chalked it up to the general preseason experience and the fact that lineups can be so uneven, from game to game.

"When you play eight exhibition games, your lineup is spread out, big time," Babcock said. "You have to just try to keep guys alive. And, obviously, we dressed a pretty good lineup that night in Boston. It's just that that happened while a few guys got dinged, so we had to move guys around.

"PIttsburgh came here with an NHL team and they wanted to play an NHL team -- and maybe they got something out of it -- but they would have got a lot more out of it, if they played an NHL team," he said, referring to the two lineups the Penguins and Red Wings skated, Wednesday, in an ugly 5-1 loss. "And, so, I don't know what to do about that. We could play two less exhibition games and we can have more guys in the lineup, or we can do what we've done. And that's the way it is."

Update #6: FYI:

The Wings are confirming in text form:

RED WINGS SWAP PAIR WITH GRIFFINS

Detroit, MI... The Detroit Red Wings today recalled center Luke Glendening and right wing Tomas Jurco from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned center Riley Sheahan and right wing Teemu Pulkkinen to the Griffins. The team’s roster currently stands at 32 players.

The Red Wings will conclude the preseason this weekend with a home-and-home set against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Detroit on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and in Toronto on Saturday at 7 p.m.

 

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Comments

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Anybody see the play when Dekeyser got hurt?

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 09/26/13 at 12:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I didn’t see it. “Sore knee” is better than “sprained knee.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/26/13 at 12:43 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

My best guess is that DD hurt his knee on that play where he clipped Crosby’s skate and went down while trying to track Crosby down on Dupuis’ goal.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 09/26/13 at 12:52 PM ET

IMOrthodox13's avatar

I’m stoked to see that Mantha has picked up right where he left off in the Q -
3 Games 4 Goals 4 Assists 8 pts +2
It’s a shame that they changed the rules so you have to be 20 to play in the AHL. That’s where Mantha belongs.

Posted by IMOrthodox13 on 09/26/13 at 01:19 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I wish we could transplant Almquist’s brain into Smiths body.  BS is a turnover machine.

Posted by MoreShoot on 09/26/13 at 01:41 PM ET

Avatar

Agree CiHH. That was the first thing i thought of. He played more after that, I believe, so hopefully he’s ok.

Posted by teldar on 09/26/13 at 01:46 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

CiHH nailed it. That’s where DeKeyser bumped his knee.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/26/13 at 01:48 PM ET

Avatar

Maybe we will get lucky and the game will be on both NBCSN and FSD.  That does occasionally happen.  Has it been marked as an NBCSN exclusive?

Posted by wingsnut25 from Cheboygan, MI on 09/26/13 at 03:05 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Wings have recalled center Luke Glendening and right wing Tomas Jurco from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned center Riley Sheahan and right wing Teemu Pulkkinen to the Griffins.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/26/13 at 04:06 PM ET

The Hurricane's avatar

BREAKING: Brendan Smith sent down to the Kavik, Alaska WolfDogs for conditioning. Hoping to gain some skill and spine and learn how to pass a freaking puck to anyone OTHER than the first person he sees. Kavik coach Sue Aikens is quoted as ‘optimistic’ that, with the engaging climate of Kavik, Smith can “find an exit strategy for his rectally inserted cranium.’

In other news, Darren Helm’s agent was seen at a local Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, 6 vodka tonics and 37 Blazen chicken drummies into a typical Thursday night saying ‘He’s really close to returning to play…just wait a few days….he’s struggling with his universal phase detractor.
Here is a press conference further explaining Helm’s injuries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXW0bx_Ooq4#t=32

Posted by The Hurricane on 09/27/13 at 02:13 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Posted by The Hurricane on 09/27/13 at 02:13 AM ET

Awesome! Bsome! Csome! Great stuff, thanks!

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 09/27/13 at 02:52 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.