The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/15/13 at 09:35 AM ET
Updated 9x at 12:17 PM: The Detroit Red Wings are preparing for tonight's Red vs. White scrimmage (6 PM on Fox Sports Detroit and WXYT 1270 AM; the scrimmage is free and open to the public, with free parking and concession stands open, and doors will open at 5, but general admission + 3,400-seat rink = arrive earlier than 5 PM if possible) via an early-morning skate at Compuware Arena today.
This post will attempt to cover its Tweet-by-Tweet news updates, starting with the following from WXYZ's Brad Galli, and two in-progress Tweets from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
The Free Press's George Sipple confirms...
As does MLive's Ansar Khan...
While Galli's sharing quips and quotes:
Pavel Datsyuk is finally here. The Red Wings star forward was on the ice for Tuesday's morning skate; he skated on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner. Datsyuk even led the team in stretching.
Datsyuk was scheduled to arrive from Russia Monday evening after competing in the Kontinental Hockey League all-star game last weekend. Datsyuk played in the KHL during the entire NHL lockout, which lasted nearly four months.
The Wings attempted to make Tuesday as much of a normal game-day routine as possible. Coach Mike Babcock ran the morning skate, as he would during the season, with a fast tempo.
With only six total days to prepare for Saturday's regular-season opener in St. Louis, players said Tuesday's 6 p.m. scrimmage at Compuware Arena — with members of the Grand Rapids Griffins — was very important.
"It will be good for us; the game action is probably the biggest thing we need," goalie Jimmy Howard said.
He's posted Red vs. White game rosters as well:
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Nathan Paetsch-Brian Lashoff
Chad Billins-Brennan Evans
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
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl-Ian White
Adam Almquist-Carlo Colaiacovo
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Mike Knuble
Todd Bertuzzi-Justin Abdelkader-Daniel Cleary
Patrick Eaves-Luke Glendening-Landon Ferraro
Trevor Parkes-Jeff Hoggan
Pavel Datsyuk has returned from Russia and joined his Detroit Red Wings teammates on the ice for the morning skate Tuesday at Compuware Arena.
Still waiting for word on whether he will participate in tonight's Red-White scrimmage. Datsyuk played in Sunday's KHL All-Star game in Russia.
Here are the lines they are skating with:
Also: Knuble, Eaves
Update #5: Here's Helene St. James' main morning skate update:
The Detroit Red Wings appear likely to have to start the season without forwards Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson.
Helm pulled a muscle in his back Thursday and has yet to hit the ice.
"Each day is getting a little bit better," he said. "Still, I don't really know when I will be on the ice. Just kind of day-by-day, play it by ear."
Asked whether he'd be ready for the opener Saturday at St. Louis, Helm said, "Probably not."
Samuelsson pulled a groin on day one of camp. He joked that an "ultrasound didn't really show anything. I'm not pregnant." He said he believes "it's a minor, minor thing."
Samuelsson sounded hopeful that he'll be ready for the start, but groin injuries rarely ever take less than 10 days to heal. And at 36, Samuelsson doesn't have youth on his side.
From the Wings' Facebook page:
"If you ask anybody in here, we feel really bad about what we did to the fans. We definitely need them, that’s what drives The Joe every time we play there, that’s what makes it so much fun.” -Jimmy Howard
Update #5.5: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's morning skate report:
Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm imagines he would have difficulty just bending over to tie to his skate due to his sore back, so he doesn't expect to play in Saturday's season opener at St. Louis.
“Probably pretty doubtful to play,'' Helm said Tuesday morning. “Still have to get on the ice first. That's probably a couple days away.''
Helm said the back is getting better, but he still hasn't been on the ice since Thursday. An MRI Sunday revealed no damage, but his back still is too sore to skate. And there's no need to take any chances.
“I've never had a back injury, I'm just kind of listening to what they (medical, training staff) are saying and trusting them,'' Helm said. “Just being really cautious with it and when it's ready it's ready. It's a short season. Obviously, I got to get back quickly, but I can't rush it and be out for another 3-4 weeks. Got to be smart with it.''
Helm said he can't lift anything or bend over too well.
Samuelsson is more optimistic about his status:
“It's minor, so I'll take today off and go from there,'' Samuelsson said.
“It's not a big deal, but still first practice, you don't want to start like this,'' Samuelsson said. “But, at the same time, I will be ready for Saturday if the coach wants me.''
Update #6: From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
The Free Press's Helene St. James has also spoken to Datsyuk...
Pavel Datsyuk came off the ice with a big smile that said it all: "It's awesome to be back."
Datsyuk joined his Detroit Red Wings teammates on day three of a very short training camp, after spending the weekend in Russia.
"I'm sorry I'm a little bit late," he said, smiling.
Datsyuk was with the group that took part in a morning-skate simulation today at Compuware Arena, site of the evening's Red and White Game. Doors open one hour before the 6 p.m. start, and admission is free. Considering Datsyuk's body clock is nine hours ahead -- he's just back from Moscow -- he won't play tonight, coach Mike Babcock said.
"It's just good to have him here," Babcock said. "He was going to play in the All-Star Game and did. We'll give him a day off today and a day off tomorrow, and then he should be back on, body clockwise, and ready to go."
Datsyuk was allowed by the team to show up late for camp, which began Sunday, so that he could stay in Russia and play in the KHL All-Star Game during the weekend.
"We're excited to have him back," teammate Henrik Zetterberg said. "He had a lot of fun over in Russia, so he will bring that joy with him and it will pump up this team."
Update #7: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers a lengthier conversation with Datsyuk:
Datsyuk played in the KHL during the entire NHL lockout, which lasted nearly four months. There was no doubt the experience of playing in front of family and friends, and his legions of Russian fans, was special for Datsyuk.
"Home is always good," Datsyuk said. "I didn't play in Russia for a long time. Lots of friends; it's always good to go home."
The decision to play in the all-star game and delay his arrival in Detroit and the NHL was something Datsyuk felt was needed.
"They (fans) were thrilled from the first game with the NHL players and cheering for us," Datsyuk said. "It was logical to finish half the season there, and close the door."
Datsyuk wouldn't close the door on finishing his playing career in Russia.
"It's kind of my dream, to (go) back and enjoy with Russian friends," Datsyuk said. "They (cheered) for me at the beginning. You never know how your career will go."
Datsyuk is an unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 season but it's doubtful he would return to Russia until after signing one more contract with the Wings. Datsyuk arrived just in time Tuesday to take part in the ceremony, prior to the scrimmage, to name Henrik Zetterberg captain.
"They hit the target; it's the right decision," Datsyuk said. "He's a leader in and out of the locker room. His jersey (will be hanging) in Joe Louis Arena."
Update #8: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's article about Datsyuk:
“Home (Russia) always good. It's long time don't play in Russia (since 2004-05). Lots of Russian friends. Always welcome home; it's nice, positive. You never know next time to play in front of Russian fans.''
Datsyuk, whose arrival was delayed by his decision to play in Sunday's KHL All-Star game, won't play in tonight's Red and White scrimmage at Compuware Arena. Wednesday is a day off for the team. Datsyuk will be back on the ice for practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
Having excelled for CSKA Moscow, the NHL star will be in midseason form for the season opener Saturday at St. Louis. Datsyuk skated on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner.
He praised the organization's decision to name Zetterberg captain (the official announcement will come today at a 4:45 p.m. Press conference).
“He deserves it; he's a leader in locker room,'' Datsyuk said. “I believe when he retires his jersey will be in Joe Louis Arena (rafters) or maybe new arena, who knows. I'm happy 100 percent. Exactly right decision.''
Datsyuk's contract expires after the 2013-14 season. And he has hinted that he might finish his career in Russia.
“It's my kind of dream to come back and enjoy it with Russian fans because they pull for me in the beginning,'' he said. “You never know how career go.''
The Red Wings start the season Saturday in St. Louis, and they are likely to do so without forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Darren Helm.
Samuelsson has a groin pull and Helm has a strained muscle in his back.
Helm said he was "pretty doubtful" for Saturday's game; he did not skate again Tuesday, and there is no clear indication as to when he will skate.
Samuelsson was more enthusiastic and optimistic about his health, but coach Mike Babcock has been cautious about putting Samuelsson on the ice because of the nature of groin injuries.
"You want to be out there, obviously; you'd don't want to start like this," Samuelsson said. "I'll be ready if the coach wants me in."
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