The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/14/13 at 10:08 PM ET
Updated 2x at 10:24 PM: The Detroit Red Wings' second day of training camp produced:
1.The first nagging groin injury in the form of one Mikael Samuelsson being held out of practice;
2. News regarding Fox Sports Detroit's broadcast schedule (which begins with Tuesday night's Red vs. White game at 6 PM; the Wings also practice at 9:30 AM, and both events will be open to the public and free to attend), confirmation of Center Ice and Gamecenter Online's pricing ($49.99);
3. A scheduled press conference which may or may not involve naming Henrik Zetterberg captain;
4. And discussions regarding both Zetterberg's imminent captaincy and the Wings' need to win back fans by both the team and organization's collective and individual actions, on and off the ice.
This evening's news roundup will begin the Red vs. White game, which Pavel datsyuk may or may not participate in. Datsyuk returned to Detroit at 7:30 PM EST after completing an over-24-hour travel odyssey from Chelyabinsk, Russia...
Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Darren Helm (back) won't take part in the Red vs. White game, but whether Pavel Datsyuk does so is up to him, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted...
Is Pavel Datsyuk going to play in Tuesday’s scrimmage? Coach Mike Babcock said it will likely be Datsyuk’s decision.
Datsyuk is arriving Monday night from Russia, after spending the lockout playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Datsyuk played Saturday in the KHL All-Star Game.
“That’s Pavel decision and when he gets back, depending on how he is feeling,” Babcock said. “The fans would love to see him obviously. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
But MLive's Ansar Khan posted the rosters for the Red vs. White game...
Jan Mursak-Henrik Zetterberg-Damien Brunner
Drew Miller-Cory Emmerton-Jordin Tootoo,
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Jurco-Louis-Marc Aubry-Mitchell Callahan
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Nathan Paetsch-Brian Lashoff
Chad Billins-Brennan Evans
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Mike Knuble
Todd Bertuzzi-Justin Abdelkader-Daniel Cleary
Patrick Eaves-Luke Glendening-Landon Ferraro
Trevor Parkes-Jeff Hoggan
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl-Ian White
Adam Almquist-Carlo Colaiacovo
And Khan duly noted that the abbreviated nature of training camp--with no exhibition games--makes tomorrow night's game a very important barometer of player performances in game-like situations, and the Wings' players told Khan that it's going to help them get back into their familiar routine as well:
“It's going to be fun to get a little more game-like action,'' said Henrik Zetterberg, who will be named captain at a 4:45 p.m. press conference prior to the game. “It definitely will not be an exhibition game, but hopefully it will be better than practice.''
Players need to get into a game-day routine. They will have a morning skate at 9:30 a.m. (also open to the public).
“Just trying to get our bodies into that clock-type of situation,'' forward Daniel Cleary said. “I keep telling everybody (all teams) are in the same boat. It's the players that prepare the best, that focus the most and work the hardest that are going to come out of the gate well, and the key is to stay out of the (medical) room.''
“I hope that everyone feels good, that no one is getting injured,'' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “It's going to be a quick training camp before the games start. Injuries can come by easily.''
Goaltender Jimmy Howard said the scrimmage will benefit him and backup Jonas Gustavsson more than anybody. Neither played in Europe during the lockout.
“I think it’ll be good for all of us, especially Gus and I,'' Howard said. “Game action is probably the biggest thing we need right now. I’m going to treat this as a regular season game.''
Babcock will watch as assistant coaches Bill Peters and Tom Renney run the benches.
Tomorrow night's game is the last event to be held at Compwuare Arena. The scene will then shift to Joe Louis Arena, and the events will remain free, parking included, and open to the public.
The Wings won't skate on Wednesday--they'll likely work out off the ice, but will rest their groins and backs but they'll practice at 10:30 AM on Thursday, and have an intrasquad scrimmage between Wings players and only Wings players at 7 PM, and will practice one more time at 12 PM on Friday, and after that, they'll fly to St. Louis and prepare to open the season on Saturday night.
Babcock made some very intriguing comments about what he expects to see tomorrow while speaking to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
“We’re going to skate in the morning and practice at night, so we’re doing it right, body clock-wise and we understand what it takes,” Babcock said. “I get a chance to watch them play, so that’s a good thing. I’m not going to be on the bench, so it’s not going to help me that way, but the other coaches will, so they’ll get a chance to be around the players and I think that’s a positive thing for them.”
As for Datsyuk’s availability in the scrimmage, Babcock said, “That’s a Pavel decision and when he gets back, depending on how he’s feeling he doesn’t have to get off the plane and do anything. The fans would love to see him, obviously. So we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Because the Red Wings enter the shortened season not as deep as they’d like to be on the blue line, Babcock hopes to see someone seize some of the ice-time that’s availability the departure of both Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart to this year’s roster.
“Each year, your younger people if they don’t take huge steps you can’t continue,” Babcock said. “We’ve been real fortunate that way. We’ve had great progress. We think (Brendan) Smith can take a chunk. We think (Jonathan) Ericsson can take a big chunk. We think (Niklas) Kronwall the same thing. (Kyle) Quincey when he arrived last year he came at a time when we all got hurt, but his groin and back weren’t as good. He looks great right now. He’s skating real well and we need him to take a chunk.”
As for defensive depth in Grand Rapids, Babcock singled-out one individual.
“Nathan Paetsch is an American League contract, but we can always look after that,” Babcock said. “He’s played a lot of games in the NHL. We’re not as considered with that right there. In this league you’re going to go through bodies and we understand all of that. There’s a big opportunity right here for (Ian) White and (Carlo) Colaiacovo and Smith and (Jakub) Kindl and these guys to grab a huge chunk.”
The 29-year-old Paetsch has played in 167 games with Buffalo and Columbus. His best NHL season came in 2006-07 when he produced two goals and 22 assists with a plus-10 rating with the Sabres. This season, Paetsch has 17 points, is a plus-3 and has stayed out of the penalty box, collecting just three minor penalties in 31 games.
Babcock also offered the following to Khan regarding the Red Wings' forward depth...
“I think the guys who’ve played (during the lockout) have to be way ahead of the guys who haven’t,'' Babcock said. “But, if you have really been diligent, and really are prepared it’s going to show; If you haven’t been, that’s going to show, too.
“We have four guys in Grand Rapids, forwards, that are dying to be Red Wings, in (Gustav) Nyquist, (Tomas) Tatar, (Joakim) Andersson and (Riley) Sheahan. They think they’re ready to be on the team, so they’re ready to go if (others) are not ready to go.”
And Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji that the Wings' depth in Grand Rapids, at least up front, will allow them to be cautious regarding those ever-pesky groin injuries:
The Red Wings have had their fair share of injuries the last few years so with the compressed season about to start Saturday, they're not going to take any chances. Mikael Samuelsson joined Darren Helm on the sidelines Monday due to a tender groin.
"I had nothing to do with that," coach Mike Babcock said of keeping Samuelsson off-ice. "Groins I hear all of the time are day-to-day and then 10 days later the guy comes back. So, we’ll see what happens."
Helm has been off the ice since tweaking his back last week in off-ice workouts. The earliest he's likely to get back on his skates looks like Thursday.
Meanwhile, Babcock is focused on the players who are practicing at the moment.
"The practice isn’t set up the same as Day 1. It’s less tempo than Day 1," Babcock said. "But I thought we got work done, and then (Tuesday) we have the Red-White game for us and the following day will have more tempo again. We’ll be ready to go."
Again, the Wings believe having a scrimmage to look forward to will reestablish some pace to their games, and Howard and Gustavsson most certainly need the work:
"I think it’ll be good for all of us, especially Gus and I, game action is probably the biggest thing we need right now," Howard said. "I’m going to treat this as a regular season game (Tuesday) night."
The Wings will follow a similar schedule Thursday when they return to Joe Louis Arena, skating in the morning and at night, only without a game.
"We're trying to get into a game routine, the morning skate and have a game in the evening," Danny Cleary said. "And even with the practice on Thursday. Just trying to get our bodies into that clock type of situation. I keep telling everybody, listen, we're all in the same boat here. It's the players that prepare the best, that focus the most and work the hardest are going to come out of the gate well and the key is to stay out of the training room."
There was some good news son the injury front. As the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted, Patrick Eaves has finally been cleared for contact...
“I feel good,” said Eaves, who has yet to be cleared for game action. “I haven’t had any headaches since camp started so things are going well. I’m just trying to get better every day and just to get used to playing every day,” Eaves continued. “I’m just trying to get back up to speed. I feel good out there.”
Eaves did take part in special teams drills, working on a penalty-killing unit with Jordin Tootoo.
“It was good, just to get back to that speed again,” Eaves said. “I haven’t been in those situations for a while so it was good. It’s been a good learning experience and a test of patience,” Eaves continued. “I still haven’t fully been cleared yet. I’m just hoping to continue to get better every day.”
And there will be a personnel "move" of a very different kind in front of the opposition net this season, as Babcock told Pleiness:
Johan Franzen has been anointed to replace Tomas Holmstrom on Detroit’s first power play unit.
“Mule has been waiting to be out on the first unit since he got here,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after day two of training camp at Compuware Arena in Plymouth. “He thinks he should be. We think he should be too. So it’s a natural fit.”
Holmstrom, who will have his retirement officially announced at a press conference Thursday or Friday at Joe Louis Arena, spent 15 seasons providing that service with the Wings.
Detroit is also dealing with the retirement of the power play’s quarterback, Nicklas Lidstrom.
“Homer was a star at what he did,” Babcock said. “He was the best in the National Hockey League in my opinion. And Nick Lidstrom was the best defenseman, so you’re not getting Homer and you’re not getting Nick. But Mule, net-front, is as good as anybody. Now I’m telling you, Kronner is a hell of a player, but I’m not trying to tell you that he’s Nick Lidstrom. So I don’t know what we do about that.”
Given that we're going to spend the majority of the remainder of this entry talking about Henrik Zetterberg's would-be captain's status, WXYZ's Brad Galli fired off one of the most insightful Tweets of, well, of the year while discussing "The Mule's' importance...
Especially given that Galli posited a particularly intriguing take on what Zetterberg becoming the team's captain means for the team in his practice report:
"Z's gonna be definitely more vocal for us," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "He's been a leader for us now for years and I think he's gonna transition very easily."
Zetterberg's forthcoming captaincy is just one part of a much larger, changing dynamic facing the Red Wings this season. Gone are the days of the team refuting criticism for being "too old." This year, success will be measured by how the young players step up.
More will be expected from forwards Cory Emmerton, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, and Jan Mursak. On the back end, Brendan Smith immediately steps in as a factor.
"They've always been like a veteran club. I think it's funny going from Grand Rapids where I'm an older guy and I'm one of the babies here," Smith explains. "It's cool seeing guys that are so young stepping up and being so good."
Emmerton knows what it means to be given the blessing from management to carry a roster spot and succeed. It's not a token of confidence readily handed out in Detroit, but the landscape of a salary cap NHL has forced every team's hand. He also points out the players in place aren't here by accident.
"Detroit just doesn't bring guys here 'just because.' You have to be ready and they make sure you're ready. The guys here, it's a testament to them," he pointed out.
The Wings' veterans most certainly support the team's choice of Zetterberg as captain, as the Free Press's Helene St. James--who confirms that Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall will be the alternates--noted:
The Detroit Red Wings have called a press conference for Tuesday afternoon, when at long last they'll anoint Henrik Zetterberg the new captain.
The announcement will come shortly before doors open at 5 p.m. for the evening's Red and White game at Compuware Arena.
"I think it's a great choice," Daniel Cleary said. "He would be a unanimous vote in here."
Zetterberg, 32, said Sunday he would "be really honored" to take over after Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired in May.
Cleary continued while speaking to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
"Great choice, he'd get the unanimous vote in here," forward Daniel Cleary said. "The big thing with Hank is he's so unselfish, such a personable guy, and he's a star. He's a go talent on the ice and very respectful off the ice."
Zetterberg might be a more vocal than Lidstrom, but there are many similarities.
"They are the hardest working guys and they show up every night," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "They're the best players on the ice. They don't cheat, they do all the right things."
Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji canvassed the Wings' locker room for reactions to the imminent news, speaking to Zetterberg about his status, too...
Zetterberg, 32, learned from both Yzerman and Lidstrom as he ascended from seventh-round draft choice in 1999 to star status in the NHL.
"Just the way (Yzerman) handled himself on and off the ice, how he prepared for every practice and every game, how much time he spent in the weight room, just led by example," Zetterberg said. "When Nick was the captain as well, he did the same thing. Those are the things that I want to try to do now and I'm really looking forward to it."
"I think Hank's been groomed to be our captain for many, many years now," Niklas Kronwall said. "Ever since he got in here, he sat beside Stevie and learned a lot from him. Hank, he's been a captain for many years even though he hasn't had the 'C.' Of course we had Nick but Hank is just as good a leader and he brings it every night. That's what you want from your leader."
"Z’s definitely going to be more vocal than Nick," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "Nick spoke when he needed to and led by example. Z is more vocal throughout the room."
Cleary said that while Yzerman, Lidstrom and Zetterberg all have different personalities, they do share some qualities.
"I think as a captain, all you look for is you look for the players to respect you and you lead by example, by working hard and by being an honest player and treating people with respect," Cleary said. "That's what Stevie did, that's what Nick did and I know Hank will."
On the ice, Zetterberg has led the team in scoring the past three seasons, with Pavel Datsyuk tying him in 2009-10. For Zetterberg, that's not what he considers most important in terms of being a captain."Just to have a good feeling in the locker room," Zetterberg said. "Have a good group of guys that kind of come together and perform good hockey. You need to speak at the right moment and know when to shut up at the right moment. It's not just one guy who's got to do it, everyone has to do it together."
And the Associated Press's Larry Lage spoke to Zetterberg and his teammates about the leadership change--as well as some Lidstrom guy...
Zetterberg will open up only a little bit about how much he learned from his former captains -- Yzerman and Lidstrom -- but makes it clear that a "rah-rah" approach isn't suddenly going to become his style when there's a 'C' on his red sweater.
"I will pick my spots to speak up," Zetterberg said Tuesday after practicing at Compuware Arena. "The good thing with this team is we've always had a lot of leaders and we still do. It isn't just the captain that leads around here. I don't think I'll need to do a lot more than I did before, so it'll be an easy transition."
The 32-year-old Zetterberg has been an alternate captain for the team and could've been one again this season if Lidstrom took Red Wings general manager Ken Holland up on an offer. Holland asked Lidstrom if he wanted to postpone his retirement because the 42-year-old Swede would have to play just 48 games during the lockout-shortened regular season. Lidstrom's reply? Thanks, but no thanks.
"I told him I'm happily retired and enjoying my time with the family," Lidstrom wrote in an email to The Associated Press this week.
So yes, the Wings did ask Lidstrom if he was interested in un-retiring...
But this Red Wings team is about transitioning from past to present and future, as Lage suggests...
Zetterberg, though, is determined to have more team success as a part of his legacy as Detroit's on-ice leader. He wants the Red Wings to extend the longest post-season streak in North American major professional sports to 22 straight seasons this year and hopes to help them win their fifth Stanley Cup since 1997 before his career is over.
"Nobody ever wants the team to not be as good on their watch -- believe me," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
And Babcock issued an absolute gem of a comment to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness regarding their captain-and-coach relationship:
“He and I have a relationship where he doesn’t mind getting mad at me and I don’t mind getting mad at him,” Babcock said. “I don’t have any problem with that. He doesn’t mind telling me what defense the team needs to do, which I think is very important.
“He doesn’t mind standing up for the guys and telling you want he thinks,” Babcock continued. “And I think that’s so important for us. The other thing is nobody ever wants the team to not be as good on their watch, believe me.”
That's a good thing.
In the multimedia department:
Videos: The Red Wings' website posted videos of Henrik Zetterberg speaking to the media--and I would highly suggest that you listen to Zetterberg's comments about rebuilding bridges with lockout-spurned fans...
As well as Danny Cleary speaking to the media...
The Red Wings also held Twitter and Facebook-based Q and A's with Jordin Tootoo...
And Justin Abdelakder...
WXYZ's Brad Galli filed a practice report:
As did Fox 2's Jennifer Hammond, regarding both Zetterberg's captaincy...
And try-out Mike Knuble:
Twitter: Jordin Tootoo fired off a pair of Tweets this evening...
And finally, we fans are the real bottom line, and it is indeed going to take some time and sustained effort by the Red Wings' organization and players to rebuild and repair their relationships with those of us who are so proud to follow our Wings and invest our time, energy, effort, emotions and especially our discretionary income in doing so, but I couldn't help but laugh at these quips issued to WWJ's Sandra McNeil:
Red Wings fans who’ve spent three months without hockey are getting a free fix this week. The Wings are holding their training camp and it’s open to the public. Frank Baker and his wife attended Monday’s camp at Compuware Arena. He says they’re training camp veterans.
“We’ve been up to Traverse City about 10-11 years now and since they are in our backyard this time so it’s nice to be able to come without driving four and a half hours to Traverse City,” said Baker.
Baker says he’s missed watching the Wings this season during the lockout … it’s a family tradition.
WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that hundreds of fans like Russel Poacher turned out to get a look.
“I’ve been going to watch the Whalers games here at Compuware to make due but that it’s not the same,” said Poacher.
“We had to watch the Lions — not real proud of that,” said Don Paul of Canton.
I'm not proud to hear that, either.
Update: WOOD TV in Grand Rapids posted a report from today's practice, with Larry Figurski interviewing Mike Knuble after the skate...
And MLive's Ansar Khan offers more regarding Henrik Zetterberg's soon-to-be status as the Wings' captain:
“He's a guy from the northern part of our country (Sweden); they're usually really quiet,'' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “Hank's probably a little more verbal than Nick was as a captain. But Hank was one of the captains as well the previous years here. I don't think he's going to change that much. No question he's going to be a great leader for us..''
Zetterberg said the most important part of being a captain is having a good feel of the mood in the dressing room.
“You need to speak at the right moment and know when to shut up at the right moment,'' he said. “It's not just one guy who's got to do it, everyone has to do it together.''
Forward Daniel Cleary called it a “great choice.''
“He would be a unanimous vote in here,'' Cleary said. “The biggest thing is that he's so unselfish, he's such a personable guy and he's a star. Great talent on the ice, but he's very respectful off the ice. He's vocal when he needs to be. (Yzerman and Lidstrom) weren't huge rah-rah type players like (Kris Draper, an alternate captain) was. So you have different personalities, but certainly they're well-respected.''
“What makes them leaders is they're the hardest-working guys and they show up every night,'' defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Best players on the ice every time. Never cheat, always doing the right thing. That's why they are the captains. If you know that your leader is working hard, then everyday else is going to follow and do the same."
Babcock said Zetterberg is like a coach on the ice; he has a real good read of the game.
“You’ve been around winning, you learn what winning is about and that’s your best people being your best people and leading in the weight room and leading in the nutrition department,'' Babcock said. “He’s seen it all.''
Update #2: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers more on Zetterberg's change of status in a blog entry that's very informal in tone...
The Red Wings have announced a 4:45 p.m. press conference with the entire team present along with members of the front office and coach Mike Babcock.
Hmmm, whatever it could be.Oh yes, the annoucement of Henrik Zetterberg as captain, replacing Nicklas Lidstrom.
Zetterberg will make a great captain. He’ll do well following Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman, before Lidstrom.
Now if we can get the retirement of Tomas Holmstrom officially done, let’s get to actually playing hockey.
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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.