The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/13/13 at 02:08 PM ET
Updated 5x at 2:50 PM: The Detroit Red Wings have officially begun training camp at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, and, for lack of a better term, the Wings' official Twitter account and the beat writers are Tweeting the hell out of it. Here's a selection of said Tweets, with stories from the first day to follow:
From the Wings...
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
Here are forward lines that #RedWings are using in Day 1 of camp: 39-40-24, 37-93-51, 44-8-11 and 22-20-17. Working in 25 and 29 (Knuble).
The Free Press's Helene St. James has penned an initial training camp entry...
Live from Compuware Arena in Plymouth: It's Detroit Red Wings training camp.
Nine months after they last gathered formally as a team to bid farewell to the 2011-12 season, the Wings opened up the 2013 season Sunday with their first day of training camp.
They welcomed some new faces: Forward Damien Brunner, fresh off a second straight stand-out season in his native Switzerland, and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, sore from a shoulder injury caused when he was hit by aforementioned Brunner during Spengler Cup play. Forward Jordin Tootoo and backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson also made their debuts, while Mikael Samuelsson began his second time around with the Wings.
They missed a few guys: Forward Pavel Datsyuk, who isn't due back until Monday because he stayed the weekend in his native Russia to play in the KHL's All-Star Game, and forward Darren Helm, whose back seized up last week and who may go for an MRI Monday.
The Wings called up prospect Brian Lashoff to have available for practices, because that way they have eight defensemen available, which makes practice pairings easier.
One notable not in camp: Gustav Nyquist. The Wings love this young forward, and he's part of their plans. But until they are sure he is going to have a spot in the lineup, they want him to stay in Grand Rapids and play a ton of minutes every game.
For the time being - that is, until an injury dictates otherwise, which always happens - plans are to give Brunner a shot at finding a role on the first line with Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The second line is drawn up to feature Valtteri Filppula centering Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson.
Helm is to pivot the third line between Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi, but with Helm hurting, Justin Abdelkader is moving up a spot. That enables the Wings to slide Cory Emmerton into the four-spot, between Tootoo and either Drew Miller or Jan Mursak. Patrick Eaves remains sidelined by a concussion.
Veteran Mike Knuble, 40, is also in camp, but he's got significant odds to overcome. At best, maybe the Wings keep him if there's an injury, especially if Knuble is willing to sign a two-way deal.
Nyquist's absence for now doesn't mean Mursak and Emmerton are ahead on the depth chart, it's simply that Nyquist can be sent back and forth to the minors without waivers, which Mursak and Emmerton can't. The Wings will make their final decisions on which forwards will be on the 23-man roster by 3 p.m. Friday.
She's reporting that Henrik Zetterberg will be named captain on Tuesday...
The Red Wings are starting their campaign to win back fans angered by the lockout by having a free Red and White Game on Tuesday.
They plan to use that opportunity to anoint Henrik Zetterberg as the new captain. The announcement will be made before the 6 p.m. start of the game.
Zetterberg, 32, takes over for Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired last May. It's a job the Wings have been grooming Zetterberg for since last decade, when they placed his locker next to then-captain Steve Yzerman.
The Wings didn't want to make the announcement last summer, and couldn't during the 113-day lockout that ended Jan. 5. They haven't been able to get together for formal practices until Sunday, the day after the collective bargaining agreement finally became official.
The Wings also wanted all of Zetterberg's teammates to be on hand for the announcement, and Pavel Datsyuk, who stayed in Russia for the weekend to take part in the KHL's All-Star Game, is due to fly back Monday and be back with his Detroit teammates Tuesday.
Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall will remain alternate captains.
And that Tomas Holmstrom will retire on Thursday...
In other big news, the retirement of Tomas Holmstrom will take place either Thursday or Friday. The Wings want to have the press conference at Joe Louis Arena, which has been rented through Tuesday by Ford Motor Company in to prepare for the North American International Auto Show.
DetroitRedWings.com's Roose has an explanation as to why Darren Helm's not on the ice...
@joshvanderwel bad back. Out for first few days of camp.
And MLive's Ansar Khan...
The Detroit Red Wings have taken the ice for at the Compuware Sports Arena for their abbreviated 2013 training camp.
The only players not skating, as expected, are Darren Helm (back, day to day) and Pavel Datsyuk, who is playing in the KHL All-Star game in Russia today and will join the Wings on the ice later this week.
Here are some line combinations they're skating with, before what looks like a half-full arena:
Eaves (concussion) is skating but hasn't been cleared to play. Mike Knuble, in camp on a tryout, also is on the ice.
On defense, it's Kronwall-Ericsson, Quincey-Smith, Kindl-White, Lashoff-Colaiacovo. Lashoff was recalled from Grand Rapids, temporarily, so they can have eight defensemen in camp.
And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan have filed initial camp reports:
The NHL season is officially under way for the Red Wings.
The team began on ice workouts Sunday at Compuware Arena before a loud, but not overly large, crowd.
The end zones in the larger rink in the 3,500 seat Compuware Arena were largely not filled, though the fans that did show up were enthusiastic about seeing the Wings returning.
Not on the ice for the Red Wings Sunday were Darren Helm (back) and Pavel Datsyuk (arriving from Russia Monday). Helm is day to day, and will be reexamined Monday. Carlo Colaiacovo (sore shoulder) was on the ice along with Patrick Eaves (concussion). Eaves will not take part in any contact drills.
…The Wings called up defenseman Brian Lashoff to take part in the training camp.
…Henrik Zetterberg, expected to be named team captain at some point this week, led the team in the stretches.
…Red Wings fans got their first glimpse at forward Damien Brunner, who arrived from Switzerland.
More to come. Embedding Tweets is actually a pain in the ass.
Update: Here's more from Roose...
A few Tweets from the AP's Larry Lage...
A pair of Tweets from the Whalers...
A few from Michigan Hockey Now...
Five from WXYZ's Brad Galli...
Two from Jennifer Hammond...
A quintet from John Keating...
And one from one weird Russian dude named Pavel...
And a neat session-ender from Lage:
And Helene St. James offers good news regarding Darren Helm's back:
Darren Helm says MRI negative
Update #4: More Tweets from Michigan Hockey Now...
And here's a selection of Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji's Tweets. Most will be inline:
#RedWings @KenKalDRW is speaking to the fans at Compuware now.
Unlike #RedWings Bertuzzi, the players are sure to hear coach Babcock during drills today.
OK. I'll say it. I miss #RedWings Nick Lidstrom. I hope life in Sweden is treating him and his family well.
Some #RedWings fans already starting the "Let's go, Red Wings" chants. During stretching!
#RedWings coach Babcock has the players gathered for instructions on the next drill
Top #RedWings defense pair Kronwall and Ericsson out together
#RedWings Datsyuk not here, should be back in USA tomorrow. No Helm on ice because of whatever injury he suffered working out.
I've heard from some #RedWings fans that they're worried about the team's 21-season playoff streak. What do you think will happen?
Kind of fun seeing Mike Knuble in a #RedWings sweater again.
#RedWings gathering again, probably before they head to the room for a break during resurfacing. And they're off.
#RedWings fans cheer as players leave the ice at Compuware and Zamboni comes on. Part 2 coming in about 15 minutes.
#RedWings fans with brief "Let's go, Red Wings" chant as the players file back on the ice at Compuware for part 2 of practice.
#RedWings Filppula, coming off that knee injury he suffered in Finland, appears to be skating well.
Everybody wish #RedWings Niklas Kronwall a happy belated birthday. He turned 32 yesterday.
Here's one from the Wings...
Ted Kulfan's confirming that Helm is OK...
Brad Galli presents us with our first Babcockian bluster of the 2013 season...
And then there's this:
Update #5: from Wakiji:
#RedWings Babcock: We're ecstatic to be back, to have the opportunity to play. I told the guys this morning I really missed them.
#RedWings Babcock: We're just thankful the fans have stuck with us. It's unbelievable that our season ticket base, they're all still there.
#RedWings Babcock: It's going to be competitive within our division, within our conference & really competitive within our team.
#RedWings Babcock: We got great news today though. The MRI shows nothing. So that's all I was worried about. (Helm'll) be back right away.
Mike Babcock had contact with players during lockout: "I called them and wished them 'Merry Christmas.' That was the human thing to do."
To say Datsyuk and Zetterberg aren’t respected would be inaccurate. As recently as last season, in a poll of NHL players by The Hockey News, Datsyuk was named as the second-best player in the NHL behind only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. Zetterberg was 20th. The results of the poll were released in March. If the poll were taken now, after the Red Wings’ ouster in the first-round of the playoffs in five games by Nashville last spring, it’s doubtful either player would be ranked nearly as high. Suter was 34th on the list, Parise 29th.
The dynamic we’ve become accustomed to with the Red Wings has been so different than in other NHL towns. We always thought Sergei Fedorov was just a kid - even when he moved into his 30s - because of Yzerman. Ditto for Datsyuk and Zetterberg because of Lidstrom. But Datsyuk is 34, and only has one year remaining on his contract beyond this year. Zetterberg is 32, although signed into the 1220s.
Both carry the calling card as great two-way forwards. As such, they have often been hailed for their selflessness, and little fire has been put at their feet to score goals, because lack of offensive production has not been much a problem traditionally for the Red Wings.
It hasn’t mattered much Datsyuk has never scored more than 32 goals in a season, and only has only reached the 30-goal mark three times. It did last year in the playoffs when the well went dry against the Predators. There is nothing on a sheet of ice Datsyuk is not capable of performing. He ranks among the most skilled all-around players ever. That includes a dynamite shot. He needs to make more use of it to score goals this season.
Zetterberg does have a 43-goal season under his belt, but he hasn’t scored more than 24 in any of the last three seasons.
In 2011-12, when there was a full NHL schedule of games, Datysuk and Zetterberg each scored 22 goals. In the five games vs. Nashville, they combined for three goals.
The Red Wings still ranked sixth in the NHL in goals scored, but when their big guns needed to score in the playoffs, they misfired. The Red Wings can make improvement if that changes this season.
With Lidstrom gone, Zetterberg and Datysuk are playing for their legacies in Detroit. Oh, they will always be fondly remembered, but whether they will be immortalized like the true greats of Red Wings’ hockey depends on what they do now that it is their time.
And WWJ found that some Wings fans are ready to forgive and forget after a third and completely unnecessary lockout:
The Detroit Red Wings are back on the ice for the first time since the NHL lockout Sunday — holding an open practice for the fans at Compuware Arena.
Tim Vaneckoute of Grosse Pointe enjoyed the practice — not too upset over the lockout.
“I think hockey fans are hockey fans, and yeah, I was a little disappointed about it but the reality is – hockey is hockey and if you like the game you’ll find a game no matter where it is,” said Vaneckoute.
Glenn Scalia of Livonia says he’s a long time fan of the Wings and although he’s disappointed by the lockout, he’ll still go to games.
“I think they’ll be very competitive – they’ll be a little bit of a changeover – just enough veterans scattered in the line-up – they should still do pretty well,” said Scalia.
The Wings’ practices are open to the public all week for free. A game against the Grand Rapids Griffins will be held Tuesday night at Compuware Arena.
The Red Wings are offering discounts on merchandise and concessions early on in the abbreviated season and no fees on ticket purchases.
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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.