Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Tuesday practice post in progress: Wings fly ahead to Vancouver; Alumni Showdown talk

Updated 14x at 9:07 PM: The Detroit Red Wings chose to make a slightly surprising decision on Monday. After laying their faults bare during Monday's practice.

The Wings flew to Vancouver on Monday afternoon, choosing to make the four-and-a-half-hour trip west ahead of a four-games-in-six-nights slate of Western Canadian games (Wednesday against Vancouver, Friday in Calgary, Saturday in Edmonton and Monday, November 4th in Winnipeg).

As such, the Vancouver Sun's Elliott Pap reports that at least three members of the organization watched the Vancouver Canucks rattle off their fourth straight win, a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals:

The Detroit Red Wings had a delegation at Monday’s game that included GM Ken Holland, head coach Mike Babcock and his chief assistant Tom Renney.

The Wings' roster is in flux--Johan Franzen's out for Wednesday's game and possibly longer with an "unspecified" injury, necessitating the recall of Luke Glendening; Jonathan Ericsson's out for 2-3 weeks with a dislocated shoulder; Patrick Eaves has been cleared to play, and he'll make his season debut on Wednesday; and Darren Helm may or may not return during the latter half of the Western Canadian swing, which would require the Wings to engage in a salary-dumping and roster-spot-clearing trade (Jordin Tootoo? Eaves?)...

So you might as well know that the Canucks aren't exactly a model of health, either, but they've still rattled off a 9-4-and-1 record:

Canuck head coach John Tortorella, right, would rather stick needles under his fingernails than talk about injuries but he made an exception on Monday. Here’s the Torts’ report: centre Jordan Schroeder requires surgery on his left ankle and will be out for two months. Jannik Hansen (upper body) and Dale Weise (lower) are gone three to four weeks and David Booth (lower) will be missing for one to two weeks.

The not-so-good-news is that the Canucks' top players are picking up the slack, and then some:

Ryan Kesler has goals in four straight games and Henrik Sedin has points in nine straight (three goals, eight assists).

Our media friends in Vancouver remain devoted to the Canucks' hype machine, so you may or may not choose to freak out about the following observation by the Vancouver Province's Tony Gallagher:

1. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were huddling with Barry in the bowels of Rogers Arena after Monday night’s win and you had best believe they weren’t discussing the weather. Just 33 years of age, they’re spring chickens compared to Alfredsson, but the former Ottawa Senators captain, who left there for Detroit, seems to be creeping into Barry’s pitch to Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis on behalf of the twins.

Gillis and Barry met again for a couple of hours Monday, trying to hammer out a contract extension for the twins, with Barry pounding the conditioning drum in his attempt to get the Sedins a longer term for a new contract. Not surprisingly, it’s in the better interests of the Canucks to keep the length of any new deal on the shorter side, and doubtless this is likely where the holdup in any announcement of the deal might be.

But who knows? Barry was having dinner with Mike Santorelli after the game and it’s possible he’s hanging around town for an announcement sometime. Or, just as likely, to visit with Alfredsson. And don’t be terribly surprised if Santorelli’s name was mentioned in that meeting with Gillis — although the Vancouver native, who’s been such a great addition to the team, wasn’t sure. “I don’t know if my name came up or not, that’s what I’m hoping to find out tonight,” he said, the team’s second-line centre working on a two-way deal for peanuts this season.

About the Sedins, Barry was definitive: “We’ve been through this all before with Alfie (Alfredsson) and their (Ottawa’s) concern about his age every time we did something. Conditioning counts for a lot at this age. They’re (the twins) loving it (the system) and they’ve always felt they should be playing more. They’re in great shape and will always be that way. They have never relied on speed that much but, if you look at Alfie, he has to a degree and he can still handle it.” When this thing finally gets done, the term is going to be at least as interesting as the monetary numbers.

The Calgary Herald's Aaron Vickers reports that news popped up regarding the Wings' Friday opponent as well, reporting that Flames captain Mark Giordano has a broken ankle, that Lee Stempniak has a broken foot and that Chris Breen...Well, you probably haven't heard of him, so he's out...

It looks like practice isn't too far off given that the Wings' Twitter account posted a picture of the team walking to practice at the Univeristy of British Columbia:

 

 

 

In the interim...

The Wings announced that Winter Classic Alumni Showdown tickets will go on sale this upcoming Monday at 10 AM, so MLive's Brendan Savage reviewed the players who are officially committed to either skating or showing up as ambassadors for the Wings and Maple Leafs' alumni teams:

The Red Wings' participants for the doubleheader will feature 12 members of the Hall of Fame. Here are the names of those who have committed to the event:

Forwards: Red Berenson, Doug Brown, Jimmy Carson, Dino Ciccarelli, Mathieu Dandenault, Alex Delvecchio, Dallas Drake, Kris Draper, Brent Fedyk, Tomas Holmstrom, Gordie Howe, Petr Klima, Joe Kocur, Slava Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Igor Larionov, Ted Lindsay, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Kevin Miller, John Ogrodnick, Dennis Polonich, Mickey Redmond, Brendan Shanahan, Garry Unger, Paul Ysebaert.

Defensemen: Chris Chelios, Steve Duchesne, Slava Fetisov, Jiri Fischer, Mark Howe, Vladimir Konstantinov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Larry Murphy, Brian Rafalski, Mathieu Schneider, Aaron Ward, Jason Woolley.

Goaltenders: Ken Holland, Manny Legace, Eddie Mio, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon.

Coaches: Scotty Bowman, Jacques Demers, Barry Smith

(Howe, Lindsay and Konstantinov will participate but will not be playing.)

41-year-old Slava Kozlov told Sports.ru that he wants to play, but he's not sure whether his current employer, Spartak Moscow, will allow him to leave during the KHL's Christmas-and-New-Year's break; 

Sergei Fedorov is in a similar situation as he's trying to make a playing comeback while serving as CSKA Moscow's GM--and current estimates suggest that Fedorov, who's practicing with CSKA's players, will attempt his comeback after the Karjala Cup (part of the Euro Hockey tour, a tournament in which Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic's national teams take part) concludes on November 10th;

And I hate to be a bummer-dealing machine, but I don't believe that Steve Yzerman's going to play in the event due to his knee issues. From everything I've read, he hasn't skated since his final game, and even his osteotomy didn't totally alleviate his status as skating with thigh-bone-on-calf-bones with each and every stride, so the concept of getting back on skates would be incredibly painful for him.

I know the prevailing theory involves, "Well, he's Tampa Bay's GM, and it might be impossible and/or improper," but declining the invite to play will be painful; actually playing would be absolutely agonizing.

In the delightful category of power rankings, USA Today's panel weighed in with their 12 votes, and they have the Wings listed as the 14th-best NHL team...

14  Detroit Red Wings [record] 6-2-2  [down] 3 [highest/lowest rankings] 6/14  Red Wings are shuffling their lines to try to deal with a surprising lack of offense.

In the contest category, via RedWingsFeed, WWJ is holding a contest for Wings tickets next Monday:

Monday, November 4th - Listen for your chance to win tickets to see the Detroit Red Wings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Joe Louis Arena on November 9th.  Tickets are still available at Detroitredwings.com or by calling: 313-396-7575.

Click here for a complete Detroit Red Wings 2013 schedule.

Contest date: November 4, 2013, 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Prize details: Three (3) winners will receive two (2) tickets to see the Detroit Wings  at the Joe Louis Arena on 11/9/13

Winner must be at least 18 years old
Click here for official contest rules

In Grand Rapids, the Griffins' Twitter account noted that "Experience Grand Rapids'" Kirsetin Morello penned a story about the Griffins' attempts to defend their Calder Cup championship:

Left wing, and team captain, Jeff Hoggan, was proud to be a part of a squad that demonstrated those characteristics. “Every day we came to the rink and worked hard,” says Hoggan. “The end result speaks for itself.”

Hoggan credits [Griffins coach Jeff Blashill] with being able to get the most from his players. “He puts the player in a situation where his strengths will be shown,” says Hoggan. He says Bashill’s passion for the game, and coaching, is evident in every practice and that he’s earned respect from players because he leads by example.

Excited hockey fans hope to see Blashill lead the team in another winning season. The Griffins are well-positioned to deliver.

“We have a really good crop of young talented players and guys that we believe are going to have bright futures in the NHL. They’re going to be exciting players for fans to watch for us and in the future for the Red Wings,” says Blashill. Hoggan adds that they have solid young defensemen and goaltending in addition to other strengths.

As they kick off the 2013-14 season, the team is focused on continual improvement and qualifying for the playoffs. “Once you get in the playoffs, you’ve got a chance to win the Calder Cup whether you finish the first seed or the eighth seed,” says Blashill. “You want to get better throughout the course of the year.”

Playing at Van Andel is an advantage, says Hoggan. “It’s electric. The fans get behind us, the national anthem plays, and from the get-go it’s a good vibe.”

Blashill agrees. “We play in the best city in the AHL,” he says. “A huge part of our success throughout the season, the playoffs, and culminating in the finals, was the fans. It’s a heck of an experience to be at Van Andel when it’s sold out! We hope that we continue to have that type of support and it can help lead us to lots of victories.”

Of historical note:

Update: Via Dobber Hockey's Brendan Ross, the QMJHL announced that Wings prospect Anthony Mantha will play for the QMJHL's team in 2 "Super Series" games against a team of Russian prospects on November 18th and November 20th.

Update #1.5: Yup, the Wings are about to get to work, per their Twitter account:

#RedWings newest call up, Luke Glendening, tapes up his 'Luke Skywalker' stick before practice #RedWings http://pic.twitter.com/lhVTH4nU1v

...

We just kicked off practice here at University of British Columbia #RedWings http://pic.twitter.com/yHnP3dioF3

Update #1.6: Good news from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Franzen only player not skating

Update #2: The Red Wings confirm...

All players are on the ice here in BC, minus Mule and Ericsson #RedWings

...

#RedWings lines at practice: Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi; Cleary-Weiss-Alfie; Tatar-Andersson-Abdelkader; Miller-Glendening-Eaves

As does the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Red Wings warming up for practice in Vancouver. http://pic.twitter.com/YpDd3lJXaZ

...

#RedWings practice lines: Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi; Cleary-Weiss-Alfredsson; Tatar-Andersson-Abdelkader; Miller-Glendening-Eaves

The forward lines are back to "normal." Good.

Neither F Johan Franzen nor D Jonathan Ericsson with #RedWings for Vancouver part of trip.

This is...different...

Update #2.5: From ESPN's Craig Custance's chat:

Dan (FL): What's Wrong with the Wings? Is it the Young D?

Craig Custance: Whoa, sorry for the rapid fire questions. Button stuck. To answer Dan's question about the Wings D, that can be an issue with scoring. Hard to score when you spend too much time in your own zone and the Red Wings are allowing an uncharacteristic 32.4 shots against per game. Smith and DeKeyser can definitely be better in that regard. Up front, the Red Wings need Stephen Weiss to be better. He's been invisible at too many of the games I've seen live.

Update #2.6: From St. James:

Grey line at #redwings practice: Tootoo-Helm-Samuelsson

Update #2.75: From the Wings:

Helm is skating in grey, along with Sammy and Tootoo; looks like they might be the scratches for tomorrow #RedWings

Update #2.8: Long practice, per the Wings:

Bertuzzi sets a pick on Glendening for his buddy Pavel as the #RedWings work on faceoffs during… http://instagram.com/p/gD-Eh4R43_/

Update #2.9: From TSN's Farhan Lalji:

Babcock puts Datsyuk & Zetterberg back together today. Ry an Ginger together for #canucks. Looks like we will see top line vs top line Wed

Update #3: More from Lalji:

Babcock asked how he will handle the #canucks top line with Kesler in the mix: "we'll see who's handling who" #RedWings @NHLonTSN

And the Wings:

Daniel Alfredsson breaks in during practice the #redwings morning skate today in Vancouver. #Alfie @… http://instagram.com/p/gEDm4Jx4wK/

Babcock and the Wings' players addressed the media after Monday's practice, as noted by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

“Have you ever heard that joke, if you can’t win at home you’ve got to go on the road and if can’t win on the road you’ve got to find somewhere else to play,” Babcock said after practice.

The Wings’ road trip begins Wednesday night in Vancouver and concludes Monday in Winnipeg. They’re winless in their last four games, going 0-2-2, scoring just five goals over that stretch.

“It’s a huge trip for us,” Daniel Cleary said. “We’ve got to get back to playing the way we’re supposed to play and capable of playing.”

Detroit began the season 6-2-0.

“I think sometimes you simplify your game on the road,” Cleary said. “You play a strong game, good defensively, just play a smart game. That’s what we need to do. We need to get a lot better defensively. Once we do that, grind out some low scoring games then the offense will come.”

...

“Right now home hasn’t been treating us that well,” Jimmy Howard said. “Hopefully, getting out of here, getting on the road, doing some dinners together with the guys will help put these past few games behind us.”

The Wings are 3-2-0 on the road this season.

“We’re going to enjoy it, play some good hockey and get some wins,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Everything that happens just happens and you have to deal with it. There’s no big panic button that is pushed, but we know we got to play better. The only thing we can do is to go out and play good hockey. It doesn’t matter what we say, it doesn’t matter how many meetings we have, it doesn’t matter what we’re telling the other guys to do, everyone has to look at themselves and go in and do a better job,” Zetterberg continued. “If we do that we’ll come together and play better hockey as a team.”

And RedWingsFeed found that EJ Hradek and the NHL Network are already previewing Wednesday's games:

Update #4: The Canucks apparently held practice at the same location...

#Canucks are on the ice at UBC, a mix of white, blue, grey, green and red jerseys going to work. pic.twitter.com/IiY48gmIvx

...

Torts about to speak post-practice at UBC...

...

"We have to be careful and not say getting chances is good enough. We have to finish our chances and score" - Torts on #Canucks PP

...

"He's a bit of a throwback. He's old school, he gets a little crazy; 3rd period last night was like a rodeo for him" - Torts on Bieksa

The Vancouver Province's Jim Jamieson was there...

#Canucks all present at prac at UBC. Based on jersey colour, top 2 lines same. Bottom6: 15-13-9; 29-46. No line rushes yet.

...

#Canucks missing number on last line: 6 centring 46-29.

...

#Canucks As well Richardson between Welsh-Kassian on 3rd line.

And the Vancouver Sun's Elliott Pap translated that into English:

Nux lines at practice Tuesday: twins-Kesler; Higgins-Santo-Burrows; Welsh-Richardson-Kassian; Sestito-Archibald-Weber. #Canucks

Update #5: MLive's Brendan Savage found more sets of power rankings, including this from SI's Allan Muir:

14 Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 5

Last week's stumble turned into a full-fledged face plant this week. They've now dropped four straight after being embarrassed by the Senators and the hapless Rangers at home. The problem is clear: the normally sure-handed Wings have been tagged with 116 turnovers in 12 games, third most in the league. (Last week: 0-1-1)

Update #6: The Wings added some post-practice quotes...

"We have to play better...but we've been working on (things) in practice, in video, and hopefully we can play better tomorrow." -Zetterberg

...

"We need to get better as a team...We can be way better as a team than we have been, but I don't think we're that far away..." -Mike Babcock

...

Patrick Eaves will be in the lineup tomorrow; "Patty knows how to play, he can shoot the puck, & he's a good penalty killer." - Mike Babcock

And the Free Press's Helene St. James filed a practice report:

The Wings are trying to end a spot of darkness that’s seen them roll four games without a victory, with the next challenge coming Wednesday at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks just beat Washington on Monday night to reach a four-game winning streak – what the Wings had before they got tripped up by their own inefficiencies.

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were back on a line together, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be grouped with Todd Bertuzzi against the Canucks. Stephen Weiss was back to centering the second line, with wingers Daniel Cleary and Daniel Alfredsson. Johan Franzen didn’t travel to Vancouver because of an injury, so Patrick Eaves will play his first game Wednesday.

One lucky line, and a defensive pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser, will be tasked with containing the Canucks’ super line of brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Livonia’s Ryan Kesler.

In whatever incarnation the Wings skate, the emphasis is the same: Better puck management.

“When teams are shooting 40 shots on your goalie every night,” Zetterberg said today after practice at UBC, “we have to play better in our own end, tighten it up a little more. We’ve been working on it. Hopefully, we can play better tomorrow.”

The Wings had won four in a row before the past week’s problems. “We scored more goals when we won, and we played better defense when we won,” Zetterberg said.

Darren Helm, Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson all wore grey non-game jerseys for practice. Helm said he feels ready to play after being sidelined most recently by a sore groin, and is shooting for either of the games this weekend, and then, hopes the Winnipeg native, Monday at the Jets.

Update #7: The Free Press's St. James also posted a video of Babcock's remarks:

Update #8: The Vancouver Canucks' Twitter account reports that the players are engaging in a charity event, which explains why their press corps has been a little slow on the up-take. As such, the Hockey News's Ken Campbell offers an intriguing take on John Tortorella's riding of his superstars:

There appears to be real concern that if Tortorella keeps this up, Ryan Kesler and the Sedin twins will be burned out before the playoffs even start. Take Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals for example. It was a close game, another come from behind victory for the Canucks and Tortorella kept throwing Kesler and the Sedins over the boards. Kesler played a total of 23:53, Henrik played 23:15 and Daniel played 23:13. That’s more than any player on either team, including defensemen, played in the game.

To put their ice time into perspective, there were 10 teams in action Monday night for a total of 180 players. Of those 180, only six, all defensemen, logged more ice time than Kesler and the Sedins did. And it worked to perfection. Kesler scored the tying goal assisted by Daniel, who also scored the game-winner, assisted by his twin brother. The three were the best players on the ice, which is why they swept the three stars of the game.

As was mentioned, Tortorella has never been shy about deploying his top players and challenging them to give him more. But is he playing them too much? In a year that is compressed because of the Olympics – a tournament in which all three will play pivotal roles – is Tortorella risking grinding them down and exposing them to injuries? Possibly, considering the fact Tortorella’s style isn’t exactly an easy one to play. It puts a premium on individual sacrifice and shot blocking. And the fact the three are not only playing a lot of minutes, but they’re playing hard minutes, it will be an interesting development to monitor as the season goes on.

As far as the rest of the league is concerned, Kesler, Henrik and Daniel are 1-2-3 in total ice time among forwards and 2-3-4 in average ice time per game, behind only Sidney Crosby. And their minutes are up, way up, compared to last season. Kesler is playing 22:38, which is about five minutes per game more than he averaged last season when injury limited him to just 17 games. Henrik is at 22:28, which is three-plus minutes more than he averaged under Vigneault and Daniel checks in at 22:14, which is 3:13 more than he played per game in 2012-13.

 

Update #9: The Globe and Mail's David Ebner penned an off-day article about Roberto Luongo:

Roberto Luongo may have exorcised his October curse. The 34-year-old goaltender has mostly struggled during Octobers in his time with the Canucks, but in the 2013 edition of the ghoulish month, Luongo has put up fairly solid numbers – and produced his best win-loss record for the month of his Vancouver tenure.

After a win on Monday against the visiting Washington Capitals, with Luongo stopping Alex Ovechkin on a penalty shot one minute in, the goalie is 7-3-1 this October. It is, with one October match remaining Wednesday against Detroit, his best record for the month – one loss better than the 7-4-1 he posted in 2006.

“We’ve got one more game left, so let’s not jinx it,” Luongo said with a laugh after the Caps game. (Indeed: Luongo yielded 13 goals in two games to the Red Wings last year.)

It doesn’t hurt that two key figures from the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team watched Luongo’s strong play – and will again see him Wednesday. Wings head coach Mike Babcock, who will coach Team Canada, and Wings general manager Ken Holland, who is a Team Canada executive, took in Monday night’s match from the media box at Rogers Arena.

Luongo won the starting job on Team Canada for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and hopes to recapture the role for Sochi, Russia, facing competition from Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks) and Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), as well as Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes) and Braden Holtby (Capitals).

Luongo’s futile Octobers have been hard to explain, particularly by the goaltender himself. A factor, certainly, has been the generally slow starts of the team as a whole. But the difference in Luongo’s play has been striking.

In figures parsed by The Globe and Mail, his save percentage is telling. In six Octobers with the Canucks before this season, his October save-percentage was 0.906, the result of a journeyman. The figure for November through April jumps to a strong 0.921. It bleeds heavily into wins and losses. In Octobers, before 2013, Luongo has gone 28-27-4 for the Canucks, whereas he is otherwise 205-94-40 in the regular season.

This year, he has a save percentage of 0.908, fractionally better than his average, and a goals-against average of 2.50, better than his 2.74 in previous Octobers. On both stats, this is his third-best October out of seven in Vancouver, behind his 2006-07 year, when he was stellar from the start, and 2009-10, when he played well but started 6-6.

Update #10: Let's all be stunned that ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside don't believe that Jimmy Howard's Team USA's 3rd goalie as of this week.

 

Update #11: TSN's Scott Cullen adds the following fantasy hockey notes about the Wings:

Detroit has been forced to juggle their lines, trying to elicit offensive production from those not named Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk or Daniel Alfredsson.

One of the beneficiaries has been winger Tomas Tatar, who joined a line with Zetterberg and Johan Franzen. While Tatar doesn't have any points in four games this season. The 22-year-old hasn't been sent to the AHL because he requires waivers and would never clear after he scored 39 goals and 70 points in 85 (regular season plus playoff) games last season.

Tatar played a career-high 15:11 for the Wings against the Rangers Saturday, more than he had played in his previous 30 NHL games, and he's been solid enough in his limited playing time this year. There's offensive upside with Tatar, but he'll have to get some consistent playing time before it's fair to place expectations on him.

By splitting up Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, the Wings left Datsyuk to play with Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi. With those forwards comprising the top two lines, the obvious player to fall out is Stephen Weiss, a free agent signing in the summer who has been having a really hard time in his first dozen games with the Wings, scoring two goals and posting a minus-5 rating.

 

Update #12: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff, via RedWingsFeed, notes that Patrick Eaves will play on Wednesday:

Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves, son of Wisconsin coach and former Windsorite Mike Eaves, is expected to make his debut Wednesday when the Wings travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks.  Eaves has been out all season with a strained MCL, but was eligible to come off the injured list as of Saturday.

Johan Franzen will sit out with an undisclosed injury and according to Wings coach Mike Babcock, due to Detroit’s rash of struggling forwards, opportunity is knocking for Eaves to make a big splash.

“He’s smart and he shoots the puck, and because we don’t shoot the puck I need someone to shoot the puck and I need someone smart,” Babcock said. “If he’s looking at the bigger picture and if he’s looking for a larger chunk of cheese, there’s lots out there because lots of guys have left it out there for him.”

 

Update #13: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a practice report:

Vancouver (9-4-1), riding a four-game winning streak, will be the toughest test. John Tortorella, in his first year behind the Canucks bench after coaching the New York Rangers for four-plus seasons, has formed a super-line with the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler. Henrik Sedin leads the league with 14 assists and is tied for second with 17 points. Daniel Sedin has 14 points. Kesler leads the club with eight goals.

“They’re so smart out there,’’ defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of the Sedins. “Once you have one under control the other one is flying around somewhere and all of a sudden he gets the puck. We have to keep track of both of them and obviously the third guy they’ve got playing with them. (Kesler) has always been a really good player and he seems to have that edge back.’’
Said Howard: “The Sedins, and whoever they play with are always a good line. They get in, they get on the cycle, they generate a lot of chances.’’

The Red Wings haven’t been generating much offense. They have scored only three goals in their past 241 minutes and 45 seconds, the equivalent of slightly more than four full games. They have gotten production from only three forwards (Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each have 12 points and Daniel Alfredsson has 10).

Johan Franzen, their leading goal-scorer over the past six seasons, won’t play Wednesday due to an injury. He hasn’t skated since Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers but general manager Ken Holland said they hope he’ll be ready for Friday.

“It’s tough when you don’t produce, but in the same way, me and Pav enjoy that pressure,’’ Zetterberg said. “In a lot of ways, playing on a team like this, playing for an organization like this, you always have pressure, that’s why when playoffs come around, we enjoy it even more, the pressure is even higher. I would hate playing on a team or in a city where you don’t get those questions, where you don’t get that that pressure, you just go out and play and no one cares about it.’’

Zetterberg, as usual, is keeping calm through adversity.

“We all know we’re not perfect, sometimes we’ll have a little slump, we won’t be able to score,’’ he said. “In the end we’re going to be fine. We are a good team and we will play like a good team.’’


Update #14: The ever-charming John Tortorella engaged in an off-day presser, per the Canucks...


And here's the Vancouver Province's Steve Ewen's take on the match-up of the Sedins vs. the Eurotwins:

Detroit bench boss Mike Babcock had split up Datsyuk and Zetterberg for a time in a bid to get the sagging Red Wings back on track. Babcock had them together, with Todd Bertuzzi, at practice on Tuesday at UBC, although Babcock did offer up the caveat, “We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings,” when asked about his forward units.

The Sedins and Zetterberg and Datsyuk have played against each other in limited doses in the past, in large part because former Canuck coach Alain Vigneault wanted a line centred by Kesler to match up with team’s top unit.

“Obviously, Kesler is a good player, a good skater ... he works hard on the ice,” said Zetterberg. “That’s a good line. I don’t know if we will play against them or one of the other lines. That’s a fun matchup. Every time you play against the Sedins, it’s fun. They’re good players. It’s fun to watch them. It’s fun to play on the same team with them.”

He’s done it all. Zetterberg, like the twins, is a 33-year-old Swede. They go back years, along with Kronwall, a 32-year-old from that country. They were all part of the gold-medal winners at Turin 2006.

Kronwall insisted Tuesday, with a smile, that doesn’t give him an added advantage when he has to step out on the ice versus the Sedins. “It doesn’t help,” he said. “They seem to find each other out there on the ice no matter what.”

Further adding to the storyline here is that Detroit (6-4-2) is winless in four games (0-2-2). Babcock is tying it to poor defensive play. The Red Wings dropped a 6-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators last Wednesday and fell 5-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 19.

“There’s too much room,” he said. “We’re giving up too many shots. We’re not as tight as we should be defensively. We haven’t executed. Any time you don’t execute in your own zone, you spend too much time in your own zone. To me, that’s a key area of concern. I don’t think we’re that far away, but that ... isn’t good enough in our league.”

Kronwall added: “Everybody has to get a few percentage points better, and we’ll become better as a team.”

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Comments

Figaro's avatar

And I hate to be a bummer-dealing machine, but I don’t believe that Steve Yzerman’s going to play in the event due to his knee issues. From everything I’ve read, he hasn’t skated since his final game, and even his osteotomy didn’t totally alleviate his status as skating with thigh-bone-on-calf-bones with each and every stride, so the concept of getting back on skates would be incredibly painful for him.

I never doubt The Captain.  He’ll be there.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 10/29/13 at 03:26 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Babcock puts Datsyuk & Zetterberg back together today.

Can’t wait until they have a good night and everyone praises Babcock for putting them back together.  *roll eyes*

Posted by Primis on 10/29/13 at 03:50 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I still think Stevie Y will join the Alumni game…but as an Assistant Coach.  And that’s completely cool with me.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/29/13 at 05:53 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

It’s such a bummer that Terrible Ted won’t be taking a shift. I would have paid scalper prices to see him play even for 45 seconds.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/30/13 at 10:41 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.