Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Tuesday practice post: Alfie Alfie Alfie, Ericsson hurt, Helm sore, Kronwall cleared

Updated 18x at 3:52 PM: Jonathan Ericsson's out for 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury, Kronwall's been cleared to play and Helm won't be available on Saturday.

It's going to be one of those days...Well, actually two for Red Wings fans who aren't thrilled with the whole "Daniel Alfredsson left Ottawa for the Detroit Red Wings ZOMG HOW, COULD HE?" narrative (which, technically speaking, was a situation we all knew would play out kind of messily when the Senators come to town tomorrow for a 7:30 PM game aired on both Fox Sports Detroit and TSN):

The Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno's already in place in Detroit, and I'm guessing that TSN, Sportsnet, NHL.com, the Globe and Mail, USA Today, Yahoo Sports and ESPN, Aftonbladet and Expressen, among others, will join the Red Wings and Senators' press corps for one of only two games scheduled for tomorrow night.

Does the Senators' recall of Mika Zibanejad count as news? Should I live-Tweet the Senators' practice? Yes and no, respectively.

In the "Miscellaneous Stuff" category, the Red Wings are promoting their "Try Hockey For Free" clinics and their "Fantasy Hockey Challenge," and Michgian Hockey posted photo galleries from last Friday's Grand Rapids Griffins home opener and yesterday night's Wings-Sharks game;

Regarding last night's 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose, do you really care to read the CP's Whyno's article about Logan Couture's impressive performance with Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman looking on? I'm guessing that you probably don't...

And I'm guessing that the "Gotta See It" praise for Antti Niemi's shootout save on Todd Bertuzzi may not yield the, "I've already *#$%@& seen it, I don't want to see that *#$%@& save again, doggamit" that this grumpy blogger's been uttering this morning, but you don't really feel like re-living that moment over and over again, do you?

In the pre-practice category, MLive's Brendan Savage penned a story about Xavier Ouellet's NHL debut...

Ouellet played a regular shift alongside Brendan Smith and his 17:15 of ice time included almost a minute while the Red Wings were short-handed against the team with the NHL's best record. Ouellet was appearing in just his sixth game as a pro.

"I felt pretty good and I think I had a pretty strong game so that's a good thing," said the 20-year-old Ouellet, Detroit's second-round pick (48th overall) in the 2011 NHL entry draft. "For sure a couple things to work on but overall I think I played pretty good The game is really fast and structured. That's a little adjustment (from the AHL). But that's pretty much it."

The most important thing Ouellet did was impress coach Mike Babcock and that will go a long way toward getting more playing time down the road regardless of what happens with the roster this week.

"I thought he was real good, I thought he was steady," Babcock said. "Just smart and knows how to play. I liked him through training camp. It's not a big surprise to me. He's smart, doesn't make lots of mistakes. As a young D, often it's not so much upside what you do it's how few mistakes you make. Conscientious, trustworthy, you get to play a lot. He did a good job.''

The highlight of the game for Ouellet might have been when he came face to face with 16-year-veteran Joe Thornton and promptly knocked the San Jose captain on his butt in the Red Wings zone. Ouellet was also pleased with the faith the Red Wings coaching staff showed in him when they put him on the ice during overtime.

"It means a lot," said Ouellet, last season's QMJHL Defenseman of the Year. "I think I played a strong game so that's their decision. I'm just there to do my best. It feels pretty good. I don't know really what to say. Just a good feeling to know the coaches trust you. I'm pretty proud of that."

And yes, as MLive's Pete Cunningham notes, a "Limited number of tickets" for the Winter Classic went on sale at 10 AM on Ticketmaster.com and Ticketmaster.ca. I'm guessing that they're all gone by now.

Somewhat ironically, USA Today's Kevin Allen posted a column about the NHL's "Elder Statesmen," and Alfredsson made his list:

Daniel Alfredsson, 40, Detroit Red Wings

He took a few games to get his bearings straight, but that’s understandable when you’ve played your entire career for another organization.

And now that he has adjusted, he has nine points in 10 games, making him the king of the elder generation.

Alfredsson is fitting in great. He’s playing the point on the power play, topped 20 minutes in Monday’s game and had one of the few great scoring chances in that defensive battle against the San Jose Sharks.

And we imagine he’s going to be pumped up for tomorrow night’s game against the Senators.

Now if only the Wings could get Stephen Weiss going.

As for practice itself...Here comes the insanity:

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports the following:

I know this is old news, but was unaware that Patrick Brown, son of former #RedWings F Doug Brown, was named captain at #BCEagles this year.

...

Niklas Kronwall had his team-high streak of 138 straight games stopped last week. Now, @justinabss has #RedWings current streak at 72 games.

...

#RedWings are on the ice here at The Joe sans Jonathan Ericsson. Xavier Ouellet is practicing with the team right now.

MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...

Ericsson is the only Red Wing not skating in practice today. Kronwall is skating and Ouellet still with the team.

...

Darren Helm was skating but left the ice just as they started drills.

And so it begins in earnest, with the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan having already posted a Daniel Alfredsson interview:

Come Wednesday, when he plays his old teammates for the first time in his new colours and new surroundings, Alfredsson acknowledges it’s going to feel strange, indeed.

“I’ve thought about it, no question,” Alfredsson told The Citizen in an exclusive interview in the Red Wings dressing room an hour after San Jose’s 1-0 shootout win over Detroit. “Probably in the last few days here, I’ve been thinking about it more and more. (Tuesday and Wednesday), there is going to be a lot of attention on me, and the game itself. To be honest, I’ve asked myself, ‘How am I going to feel?’ I have no idea. I think the hardest part is going to be leading up to the game. Once the puck is dropped, it’s such a fast game that you get caught up in it and you know what you’re going to do. The hardest part is going to be the hours leading up to it.”

...

Wednesday’s game will no doubt be full of odd emotions and strange feelings for players on both sides, but Alfredsson says the transition to his new dressing room, complete with recognition of the Red Wings 11 Stanley Cups and the tributes to countless Hall of Fame players, has been relatively seamless. He has one goal and eight assists in 10 games and is currently playing on a line with Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Considering that Senators coach Paul MacLean was a longtime assistant to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, there are similarities in the way the teams operate. There are also seven fellow Swedes on the Red Wings roster.

“Some of the guys here I knew from before, that’s the easy part for me,” Alfredsson said. “For me, the biggest difference is the attention is not on me. I do and I don’t (like that). I can focus more on myself. There’s not too many expectations after practice or after games, as there was in Ottawa. With all the ups and downs (during the season), I’m not the guy who’s accountable to the outside. At this point in my career, I can still bring and help out in the leadership when it’s needed, but Zetterberg, Kronwall and Datsyuk, they’ve been around some of the best players in the world and they’ve learned from the best.”

The biggest adjustment has been in the family situation, as Alfredsson, wife Bibbi, and their four sons — Hugo, Loui, Fenix and William — adapt to an entirely different living experience. When he’s asked if they’re settled, Alfredsson lets out a sigh of relief.

“We are … now,” he said, happy to have found a neighbourhood full of parks where he can toss a baseball or football around with his sons and where their dog, Bono, can run free. “We stayed for about a month at a hotel before we moved into the house. It has been two or three weeks now in the house. It’s a really good area, it’s great school for the kids (all but William are in school), but it’s … different. It’s not Kanata, where we’ve lived for so long. I knew it was going to be a challenge in terms of everything that’s involved with a big move with a big family, but it has probably been more work and a bigger challenge than I expected. Not just about finding the right place, but just getting to schools, getting American cellphones, credit cards, there are so many things and I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone. I’ve learned a lot.”

And he continues at length...

Update: The practice narrative continues, per the Wings...

Babs talks to the boys at practice after Kronwall led the stretch #RedWings http://pic.twitter.com/ReclI2oAK

And Khan...

No word yet on Ericsson's status. He's been dealing with a shoulder issue and is listed as an injured player by the NHL.

Mrs. Ericsson also had a baby on Monday.

HELL:

Wings skating with same lines: 40-13-8, 44-93-11, 21-90-71, 20-18-22, 37 extra, 17 (IR) also skating.

...

Holland said Ericsson out 2-3 weeks.

...

Holland didn't specify injury but it is a left shoulder injury.

Roose confirms:

Dare Helm was in the ice for the start of the #RedWings practice, he left the ice before drills began.

...

#RedWings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson will miss 2-3 weeks, Ken Holland said, with a shoulder injury.

Back in Ottawa, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has already posted a story about the Wings' wooing of Alfredsson, which began on July 3rd with a call to Alfredsson's agent, J.P. Barry:

"Was I surprised (he left)? Yeah, I was. Anytime you've got a player who has accomplished what Alfie has accomplished and he's been in one spot his entire career ..." said Holland. "After talking to Alfie, and J.P. Barry was up front with me, he told me Alfie was entertaining thoughts of leaving, but he might stay in Ottawa. (Barry and Alfredsson) had conversations about moving and if he did there were two teams at the head of the class, and we were one of them (with Boston).

"We had a really good conversation. I've been at the game a long time. Did I think we had a really good shot after the call? Yeah. Did I think there was a real chance? Quite often I hear that a guy who has been in one spot for a long time is thinking about leaving and then you get off the phone and they say, 'I'm not sure about leaving.'

"Certainly, my feeling, when I got off the call was that Alfie was seriously going through the mental gymnastics to make a decision. We made our presentation and his questions were about family: Places to live, his boys playing hockey. He wasn't just asking about what line he would be on ... I just felt we were a legitimate landing spot for him."

Holland said the Wings didn't do a hard sell by having Swedish players such as Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Ericsson and former great Nicklas Lidstrom pick up the phone.

"I didn't call any of our Swedish players to get them to call Alfie," said Holland. "Out of respect to Alfie, and out of respect to the Red Wings, my feeling is with a 40-year-old they've got to want to come to you. If you've got to sell somebody on coming to you I'm not sure if it's in their best interests, or your best interests. Sometimes they wake up in the middle of November and say, 'What did I do?' My feeling in this go-around was: Given Alfie's age, what he's meant to the City of Ottawa, the franchise and what he stands for, we did our sales pitch.

"If Daniel Alfredsson wanted to be in a Red Wing uniform, I wanted it to happen not because I had the entire organization lobbying away, I wanted him to be a Red Wing because that's what he felt he wanted to do with his career. He needed to go through what he needed to go through to make that decision, not be bombarded with phone calls."

Update #2: More practice stuff, from Helene St. James...

Ken Holland tells Free Press #RedWings D Jonathan Ericsson out 2-3 weeks with injury. Missed Monday's game to be with newborn baby girl.

...

#RedWings D NIklas Kronwall skating second straight day, expected to be cleared for Wed. vs. OTT, puts Wings at 6 reg D, plus Xavier Ouellet

...

#RedWings D Jonathan Ericsson out 2-3 weeks with shoulder injury. Got hurt in PHX, had MRI late Monday after attending birth of baby girl.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness also confirms...

Jonathan Ericsson out 2-3 weeks according to GM Ken Holland. Injury unknown.

...

Ouelette's stay in Detroit appears may be an extended one with Ericsson injury.

...

Jonathan Ericsson out 2-3 weeks according to GM Ken Holland with a shoulder injury.

Let's all be stunned at this from DetroitRedWings.com's Roose:

Lots of Canadian media here at Joe Louis Arena for Daniel Alfredsson's first game against his former @Senators teammates.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's also confirming Ericsson's status:

Ericsson out 2 to 3 weeks per ken holland

...

Many Canadian media today at practice to do stories on Alfredsson playing vs. Ottawa

Cue the Red Wings' official account, which follows doofy "club policies":

#RedWings are skating without Jonathan Ericsson at practice, who may miss a couple weeks with an upper-body injury.

Ken Holland reveals injury specifics. "Upper-body." Ken Holland reveals contract details. "In accordance with club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed." "Club policy" needs to be overhauled.

From Pleiness, not what we want to hear:

Darren Helm has left practice early. No word yet if he's suffered a setback.

Update #2.5: Good, per Khan....

Kronwall said he's waiting for results if the concussion tests he had this morning but he expects to be cleared for tomorrow.

And Pleiness:

Let's all be shocked at this news from the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan:

MacLean won't name his starting goalie vs Detroit. #sens

Update #2.75: More video from Pleiness...

And this from Kulfan:

Kronwall says he is ready to go

The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan has practice updates from Ottawa:

MacLean says Zibanejad is here because Pageau has a "minor" injury. "Wanted to make sure we weren't shorthanded," going into Detroit he said
...

Reason Senators are struggling defensively, according to MacLean, is troubles with faceoffs, turnovers and penalties #sens

Update #2.8: Can I go with, "Yadda Yadda Yadda" per Sportsnet's Chris Johnston?

Daniel Alfredsson says Erik Karlsson is one of the reasons he's still playing in the NHL.

...

Daniel Alfredsson on Erik Karlsson: "He has a great personality and is fun to be around. He made me feel younger."

Update #3: MLive's Brendan Savage posited a slate of power rankings, and the list includes this from Fox Sports' Eric Stephens:

5 . Red Wings [record] 6-3 -1  [up] 1 [highest/lowest] 5/6 
GOOD NEWS: Newcomers Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson have settled into the team’s offensive flow.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Jimmy Howard suffered an early hand injury.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite that minor setback, these guys are having lots of fun after moving to the Eastern Conference.

Update #4: Urgh, per Khan:

Asked whether Helm had a setback, Babcock said "I don't know."

...

Babcock said he'll use the same lineup tomorrow with the exception of Kronwall being inserted assuming he is cleared.

No surprise here, per Roose...

Mike Babcock said the #RedWings will go with the same lineup vs. @Senators as they did Monday, unless Kronwall is cleared to return.

And Kulfan:

Same lineup save for kronwall going in helm not skating last two days

??? Stephen Whyno ???:

Alfredsson addressed reporters for 15 minutes. Still adjusting to role with #RedWings, called start "so-so."

...

Alfredsson said his kids wear Wings stuff, Sens, Bruins, etc. ... Leafs? "You've gotta draw the line somewhere," he joked.

Update #4: From ESPN's Craig Custance's chat:

J. (Denver): Craig, What do you make of this hole that Ken Holland has dug himself? As a wings fan, I think the media should be much more critical of his roster management over the last 12 months. I cannot believe that Nyquist is still in GR. To make matters worse, we could see a slew of waived vets stealing AHL roster spots. Not a great formula for developing prospects, eh?

Craig Custance: J - I understand why fans are anxious to see Nyquist but I think the roster jam up in Detroit will work itself out. And do we really think the Red Wings season or Nyquist's development is going to be irreversibly damaged because he didn't play NHL games this October? He'll be on the team when it matters. You're not going to see a lot of criticism for Holland because his track record is so strong. Especially when it comes to developing talent. He gets the benefit of the doubt here.

...

Roger (Hockeytown, USA): Craig; A few thoughts on the Detroit Red Wings. Last night vs the Sharks, the Wings were missing their top-2 defenseman, yet they held the #1 offense in the NHL to zero goals (shootout victories don't count). Xavier Ouellet, one of Detroit's rookies that is slated for the AHL this season, played outstanding hockey in his first NHL game. Do you think Detroit has one of the deepest D prospect pools in the league? Also, what is your Cup prediction this year?

Craig Custance: Roger - IN the Sharks defense, they were playing without their best defenseman (Dan Boyle) and a difference-making forward in Brent Burns. I was at that game, there wasn't a lot of room to operate out there. Two teams that play each other tight. Both have a legitimate shot at making a run this spring. My Cup prediction was Kings over the Senators. Sticking with it!

Update #5: Wow, per Roose...

#RedWings D-man Jonathan Ericsson confirmed that his new baby daughter, Liv, is named in honor of his late friend and teammate Stefan Liv.

And St. James:

Jonathan Ericsson named daughter Liv, spurred by friendship with Stefan Liv, who died two years ago in plane crash. #RedWings

And Kulfan:

ericsson got choked up talking about Stefan Liv and the friendship they had

Update #6: Fox Sports Detroit's Art Renger reports that Jonathan Ericsson's shoulder is dislocated:

As for Darren Helm, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika reports that it's his groin again:

Helm has a sore groin, but it's not the same groin that kept him out in camp. Wings want to be sure he's ready.

Update #7: The CP's Stephen Whyno posted a teaser for a longer Alfredsson interview:

Daniel Alfredsson was used to being captain of the Ottawa Senators.

It was a role that fit for 14 seasons, but not anymore. Now he's just a player for the Detroit Red Wings, absent a letter on his jersey and the responsibility that comes with it.

That's something Alfredsson is still getting used to 10 games into the season. The day before facing his former team for the first time, the 40-year-old right-winger made it clear that he didn't mind the burden of being the captain but couldn't say it didn't feel like that at times.

On the Red Wings, Alfredsson can defer to captain Henrik Zetterberg and other veterans like Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen. That has allowed him to focus on individual preparation for games and to worry about his own play instead of serving as a team spokesman.

Alfredsson, who has one goal and eight assists in his first 10 games for Detroit, called his start "so-so." He has played in various spots in the lineup and is expected to again be with Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi for Wednesday's game against Ottawa.

With the Senators, Alfredsson was the de facto first-line right-winger. Not being in that spot is also something he's adjusting to.

Update #8: SI's Allan Muir added a slate of power rankings to the mix:

5 Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 9


Yeah, they've lost two straight, including Saturday night in Phoenix where they blew a two-goal lead, but a pair of hard-fought games against the league's top two teams gave a good indication of where the Wings are at. Their defense allowed just 27 shots to the Sharks on Monday -- that's a downward trend that needs to continue. (Last week: 2-1-1)

Update #9: St. James confirms Helm's status...

#RedWings F Darren Helm bothered by sore groin, return delayed. Won't be ready Saturday.

Khan offers roster updates...

Wings GM Ken Holland said Darren Helm has a sore groin and is going for tests today to see if there's a tear. He won't be ready for Saturday

...

Holland said they think it's just nagging injury with Helm (it's the other groin, not the one he hurt in Sept), but they want to be careful

...

Holland said Kronwall has been cleared to play and Ouellet was reassigned to Grand Rapids.

...

Eaves is ready to return on Saturday but Holland said no roster moves need to be made until Helm comes off IR.

As does the Macomb Daily's Pleiness:

Darren Helm (groin) has suffered another setback in his comeback. Wings GM Ken Holland doesn't think it's serious. He won't play Saturday.

...

Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet heading back to Grand Rapids.

Update #10: Interesting:

Update #11: More on Ericsson from Khan:

Jonathan Ericsson is on short-term IR (seven days) with shoulder subluxation. That clears roster spot but doesn't give cap relief.

Update #12: The Macomb Daily's Pleiness penned an article about Helm:

“He felt it Friday in Grand Rapids and played Saturday,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He told me Sunday it won’t be an issue. It bothered him in practice Monday and he felt it again today, so the trainers told him to get off the ice.”

Helm had to leave practice early Tuesday because of it. Helm will have an MRI later this afternoon to see if there’s a tear.

It’s not the same groin that gave him issues last month.

“It’s precautionary,” Holland said. “It appears he won’t be ready to go Saturday. If he can’t practice he can’t play Saturday. We believe it’s just a nagging groin injury.”

Helm, who played back-to-back nights with the Griffins, has played just one game over the last 18 months with the Wings.

“He’s had a tough go the last 18 months,” Holland said. “We need to make sure it’s nagging and not a tear.”

Update #13: MLive's Ansar Khan confirms:

"It bothered him in practice Monday and he felt it again today, so the trainers told him to get off the ice,'' general manager Ken Holland said. "We're sending him for pictures later this afternoon to see if there is a tear. We don't think so (there is a tear). It's precautionary.''

The club was planning on activating Helm from long-term injured reserve later this week and having him make his season debut Saturday against the New York Rangers. Now they're hoping he can return at some point during the four-game Western Canada trip that starts Oct. 30 in Vancouver.

"It appears he won't be ready to go Saturday; if he can't practice he can't play Saturday,'' Holland said. "We believe it's a nagging groin injury.''

It's not the same groin he hurt prior to training camp.

Holland said no roster moves need to be made until Helm comes off IR, even with right wing Patrick Eaves (sprained knee, ankle) is ready to come off long-term IR last this week. He'll be available for Saturday.

"If Helm's not ready, we don't have to do anything,'' Holland said.

He added, "(Helm) has had a tough go the last 18 months. We made to make sure it's nagging and not a tear.''

Update #14: The Free Press's Helene St. James told Ericsson's baby story:

Ericsson was at Joe Louis Arena today to get treatment for a left shoulder injured Saturday. He was to have an MRI exam immediately upon arriving in Detroit on Sunday afternoon, but then his wife, Evalina, called to let him know he was needed.

"Her water broke 30 or 40 minutes before we landed in Detroit," Ericsson said. "Just made it home and brought her to the hospital."

The Ericssons named their daughter Liv, a traditional Swedish first name but also in honor of their close friend Stefan Liv, who died in a plane crash two years ago in Russia.

"We liked the name," Ericsson said, "but also, it has a little history with our very good friend, Stefan Liv. It's kind of in honor of him. He was a good friend, a guy I really respected a lot."

Ericsson might get to spend some down time with his family, as he could end up staying in Detroit when the Wings depart next week for a four-game swing through western Canada. Ericsson isn't yet certain whether he'll need surgery. For now, all he can do is rehab.

He was injured on a seemingly innocent sequence during the third period.

"The play ended in front of our our net, the whistle blew, but I kind of bumped into someone. I was relaxed with my arm, that's why it happened. It felt bad, right away, but then after the game, it felt a lot better. But then the next day, it was a lot worse again."

Update #15: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also tells Ericsson's baby story...

After Liv was born — 7 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches long — Ericsson had the MRI.

"Right now, it's rehab, that's the first and only step," said Ericsson, noting surgery hasn't been discussed as an option.

He updates Niklas Kronwall's status...

Kronwall resumed skating Monday and didn't hold back at all during Tuesday's practice.

"I feel fine," said Kronwall, who passed earlier tests and is waiting for one final exam result. "The only issue is the timing. Even when you've been off for a few days, it takes a little bit to get back into the swing of things. But I feel fine."

And he reports that Patrick Eaves will play on Saturday:

Forwards Darren Helm (back, groin) and Patrick Eaves (knee, ankle sprain) are eligible to come off the long-term injured list for Saturday's game against the New York Rangers. But only Eaves looks like he'll be ready.

"I'll be ready to go," said Eaves, who has been practicing regularly. "I feel real good. That's all I have circled (Saturday) on the calendar."

Update #16: the Macomb Daily's Pleiness took note of Ouellet's...Well, take on his performance...

“I think it went good,” Ouellet said of his first game. “I was really excited that’s for sure, but I tried to keep it inside. I think I managed that pretty good.

“I just played my game,” Ouellet continued. “I felt as a player I was ready. I think I managed my game well and did good.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland said Patrick Eaves (sprained knee and ankle) will be ready to go Saturday against the New York Rangers.

The Wings don’t have to make any other roster move with Eaves coming back because Darren Helm (groin) will remain on long-term injured reserve.

As well as the Ericsson injury/baby story:

Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson went from being on a brief maternity leave to being on the shelf for up to three weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

The injury, which medically is called a subluxation, occurred during the third period of Saturday’s loss in Phoenix.

“It felt bad right away, but then after the game it felt a lot better, but then the next day it was a lot worse again,” Ericsson said. “(It was) pretty much the same (Monday).

“The play kind of ended in front of our net and the whistle blew, but I kind of bumped into someone,” Ericsson added. “I was relaxed with my arm, so that’s how it happened.”

Ericsson, who will be placed on short-term injured reserve, said surgery has been ruled out for now.

“For right now it’s just rehab, that’s the first step, the only step right now,” Ericsson said. “We’ll see if that works out.”

The Free Press's St. James posted an Ericsson video, too:

As for Helm, per St. James...

"He hurt his groin Friday night in Grand Rapids," general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today. "His groin bothered him but not enough to not play Saturday. We exchanged texts on Sunday; he thought he was fine.

"He went on the ice Monday, came off, felt more pain. Obviously, he won't be ready to go Saturday."

Helm has played once in the past 18 months. A few days before training camp was to start last January, he hurt his back doing squats. He made repeated attempts at a comeback — skating on his own, then practicing — but never made it into a game past Jan. 25.

He began this season with nagging back pain, hurt his groin during informal skates in Detroit, began the season on long-term injured reserve —and that's where he remains.

Update #17: MLive's Ansar Khan also took note of Ericsson's status:

The 6-foot-4, 221-pound Ericsson plays on their top pairing as well as the penalty kill. His partner, Niklas Kronwall, will return Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena after missing two games with a mild concussion.

“It’ll be a little bit different, but anytime somebody goes down it’s always an opportunity for another guy,’’ Kronwall said. “We have great younger guys who can step into the lineup and do a really good job. They showed it last year and I think they’ve shown it so far this year also.”

The Red Wings have six healthy defensemen after reassigning rookie Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins Tuesday.

Danny DeKeyser might be paired with Kronwall in Ericsson’s absence. That would leave Jakub Kindl-Brian Lashoff and Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith as the other pairings.

Coach Mike Babcock was pleased with his young defense’s play in Monday’s 1-0 shootout loss to the league-leading San Jose Sharks.

“I thought Lash and Kindl played real strong for us; DeKeyser and Quincey have been good for a while and DeKeyser continues to get better,’’ Babcock said. “Ouellet looked real comfortable and I thought Smitty was strong, which was mistake-free.’’

The Wings also officially demoted Ouellet:

RED WINGS RETURN OUELLET TO GRAND RAPIDS
… First-Year Pro Made NHL Debut with Detroit on Monday Against San Jose…

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Ouellet, 20, made his NHL debut with the Red Wings on Monday during the team’s 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose. He recorded one shot on goal, one hit and logged 17:15 of ice time against the Sharks. The Bayonne, France, native has also appeared in five AHL games with Grand Rapids this season, recording two assists and a plus-one rating. Detroit’s second choice (48th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet tallied 41 points (10-31-41) in 50 games with the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada last season and was named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team for the second consecutive season. He totaled 160 points (41-119-160) and 177 penalty minutes in 223 career QMJHL games.

Update #18: Good news for Tatar fans from Helene St. James...

#RedWings F Tomas Tatar in lineup for Wed. game against Ottawa, as expected. Had good night against SJ, with Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary

And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose has penned his practice update:

It’s definitely been a whirl wind 48 hours, or so, for Ericsson, who had to hustle home to get his fiancé to the hospital Sunday evening.

“Yeah, timing was awesome. Evelina’s water broke 30 or 40 minutes before we landed in Detroit,” he said. “Just made it home to bring her to the hospital and then, yeah, everything is just history from there.”

Liv Ericsson came into the world at 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches at 11 a.m. Monday. Ericsson was overcome with emotion Tuesday as he spoke about his new baby girl and how he and Evelina came up with the name.

“We liked the name, but also it has some history with our very good friend, Stefan Liv,” he said. “It’s kind of in honor of him.”

Liv was a goalie, whom the Red Wings drafted in 2000, two years before they selected Ericsson with the final pick in the 2002 draft. Ericsson and Liv were Grand Rapids teammates in 2006-07. Liv tragically died when the plane carrying his KHL team crashed in Russia on Sept. 7, 2011.

“He was a good friend and a guy that I really respected a lot,” Ericsson said. “We really liked the name, and then, when it has the meaning too, it even felt better. It just came natural.”

As for Helm, the third-line center injured a groin muscle while on a rehabilitation assignment with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Helm told general manager Ken Holland that he was hurt during Friday’s home-opener at Van Andel Arena Helm returned to Detroit on Monday following his two AHL games over the weekend. He was on the ice for Monday’s morning skate and Tuesday’s practice, but each day he left early.

“We’re sending him for pictures later this afternoon to see if there is a tear,” Holland said. “It’s precautionary. It appears he won’t be ready to go Saturday. If he can’t practice he can’t play Saturday. We believe it’s a nagging groin injury. It’s the opposite groin to the one he had in September.’’

The Ottawa Citizen's Wane Scanlan also penned this gem:

So, are Daniel Alfredsson’s four boys now wearing Red Wings’ red and white colours everywhere they go?  Well, not exactly.

“They wear everything,” said Alfredsson. “They wear (Senators) stuff and Pittsburgh and (New York) Rangers and Nashville and Boston. Wade (Redden) was in Boston and with the Rangers, there’s a Nashville jersey (because of Mike Fisher) and Columbus (current home of Nick Foligno). I don’t know if any of them have one team they follow. I know Loui, our second, his favourite team is whoever won the Stanley Cup last, because they’re the best. They all have Wings jerseys and when they go to games, they wear the Wings. But if they like the logo, they wear it”.

Any Maple Leafs stuff? “No,” said Alfredsson. “You have to draw the line somewhere.”

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The fact they already know Helm isn’t going to be able to play four days from now tells me it’s not good.

Posted by Diggler from Marquette, MI on 10/22/13 at 03:31 PM 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.