The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/03/13 at 01:22 PM ET
Updated 11x at 4:22 PM: No surprise here:
The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena before boarding a 2:30 PM EDT flight to Phoenix for tomorrow night's game against the Coyotes and Friday night's game in Colorado. Amongst today's practice news...
Continuing the narrative...
Can he play tomorrow?
After practice concluded...
All we can do is cross our fingers for Bertuzzi....
And now we're ready to post this puppy as the almighty Babs has spoken:
The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday reassigned defenseman Ryan Sproul (SPROHL) to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Sproul led all OHL defensemen and finished second on Sault Ste. Marie with 66 points (20-46—66) in 50 games. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound blueliner was recognized in the league’s Coaches’ Poll, topping the list for hardest shot and best offensive defenseman in his conference. In three seasons with the Greyhounds, Sproul notched 149 points (54-95—149) and 134 penalty minutes in 170 games. The 20-year-old was Detroit’s third choice (55th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Sproul joins the Griffins as the team prepares to wrap up its season-high seven-game road trip this weekend, visiting Abbotsford on Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. EDT. The team will return to Grand Rapids to begin a four-game homestand next Wednesday versus Chicago. Tickets are available at griffinshockey.com.
RYAN SPROUL * Defenseman
Height: 6'4" Weight: 200 Shoots: Right Born: 1/13/93 in Mississauga, Ontario
Drafted: Detroit's 3rd choice, 55th overall, in 2011 NHL Entry Draft
And as an FYI, from The Belarusian Telegraph Agency:
The second international tournament to commemorate former captain of the Belarusian national ice hockey team Ruslan Salei will take place at Chizhovka Arena in September. Chizhovka Arena will be one of the two venues of the 2014 IIHF World Championship, Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation Mr Yevgeny Vorsin told a press conference on 3 April, BelTA has learnt.
“We have plans to hold the Ruslan Salei memorial tournament at Chizhovka Arena in September to test the venue prior to the 2014 IIHF World Championship. We expect that the Belarusian Cup final will be held here, too. This tournament is set to be renamed the Salei Cup. The most important construction operations should be completed by July while the rest of time some minor details will be improved. So Chizhovka Arena will be commissioned in September. Besides, HC Yunost Minsk are expected to use this arena as their home venue. Prior to the 2014 IIHF World Championship some other tournaments will be held here, too,” Yevgeny Vorsin noted.
Mr Igor Karpenko, Deputy Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee, added that the construction works meet the schedule: “The inspections carried out by representatives of the International Ice Hockey Federation show that they do not have any major complaints.”
The IIHF World Championship will be held in Minsk, Belarus, on 9-25 May 2014.
Update #0.5: Aside from St. James' "no trades" talk above...
Update #4: Khan mit quotes:
Captain Henrik Zetterberg (groin) skated today and said he feels much better and expects to play Thursday at Phoenix (10 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).
"We had a couple of days of good treatment and the goal was coming in here today and feeling good,'' Zetterberg said. "That was achieved, and hopefully no setbacks at the (morning) skate.”
"(DeKeyser) practiced today like he was playing tomorrow,'' Babcock said. "I’ll talk about it with the coaches on the flight. When we put Danny in, it’ll be because we think he’s going to help us win. It’s not because we think we owe him a game or anything like that.''
Todd Bertuzzi (back, leg) continues to practice but said he is at least a week away from playing and he's still experiencing some pain and hasn't had much contact or gone full speed on the ice.
Mikael Samuelsson (upper body, day-to-day) skated at the start of practice but left the ice early.
"(Bertuzzi) and Sammy are in a spot when you don’t know when they’ll be available,'' Babcock said. "There was some contact today and Bert seemed to get through it.''
Update #6: Here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's practice post:
Forward Henrik Zetterberg (groin) skated Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, but Damien Brunner missed practice with an undisclosed injury.
“We think one of them is playing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice.
Zetterberg is quite optimistic he’ll play after missing the last two games.
“We had a couple of days of good treatment and the goal was coming in here today and feeling good,” Zetterberg said. “That was achieved and hopefully no setbacks at the (morning) skate.”
The defensive pairings could be the same as they were Monday or there could be changes with either Kyle Quincey (jaw) or rookie Danny DeKeyser getting inserted into the lineup.
“(DeKeyser) practiced today like he was playing,” Babcock said. “I’ll talk about it with the coaches in on the flight. When we put Danny in it’ll be because we think he’s going to help us win. It’s not because we think we owe him a game or anything like that. I think I’m going to put (Quincey) in against Colorado,” Babcock added. “I talked to him already. But I’ve got a long flight to figure that out for sure. I was going to play him back to back, but we’ll see.”
Quincey said he’s getting more used to wearing a cage, which he’ll have to wear the rest of the season.
“As a hockey player you always want to play,” Quincey said. “When you’re out of the lineup for two to three weeks you always want to get back in it. I’m good to go for sure one of these next two games. I’d play through anything, but the doctor’s know how bad the break was and how fragile I am so they’ll talk with the coaching staff and make a decision.”
Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm has been given the OK to push harder in his rehab from a back injury that has sidelined him for all but one game this season. But he will not accompany the team on its two-game trip to play the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.
“Yeah, I talked to another doctor,” Helm said at Joe Louis Arena today. “He’s kind of confirmed what a few other doctors have said. There’s nothing really structurally wrong with it. I can kind of start pushing things and progress and try to push through that pain that I’m having. I’m not going to have any big problems with it. Obviously, if I go too hard too fast, things will get a little messy. If I keep a steady pace and be smart about it, I shouldn’t have any problems.”
Helm said not being able to play has been hard.
“There’s a lot of good things that are happening right now,” Helm said. “Just gotta be happy with that.”
Helm said he has been skating on his own for about a week. Today was the first time he was able to take shots with the goalies before the team practiced. Helm said he’ll continue to skate by himself this week. Helm already had one setback early in the season.
“We don’t know if it was from pushing it too hard or travel or both,” Helm said. "We’re still going forward. That’s the most important thing.”
Helm is optimistic he could be back before the end of the regular season.
“Hoping to just get back when I get back,” he said. “Hopefully, when I do, there’s some games left where I can play.”
Update #8: St. James on Bertuzzi:
Todd Bertuzzi cracked jokes and laughed at practice -- can a comeback be far away?
For the first time in two months, he appears to be on the horizon.
Bertuzzi hasn't played for the Detroit Red Wings since limping out of St. Louis Feb. 7, hampered by nerve pain that extended from his back down through his right leg. But he has joined practices this week, and he's in contact drills. Most encouraging, maybe, is that he's scheduled to be on this afternoon's flight to Phoenix -- and someone in pain wouldn't sit on a plane for five hours if there were risk of aggravating anything.
Bertuzzi won't play Thursday at Phoenix nor Friday at Colorado, but every day he's on the ice delights teammates, who've missed him.
"He tried to take my spot in front of the net," fellow forward Johan Franzen said, laughing. "I told him to beat it."
Bertuzzi said he's hopeful that he'll feel even better within a week.
Bertuzzi and forward Mikael Samuelsson (upper body) both are practicing, but coach Mike Babcock isn't counting on either until they're cleared. "Him and Sammy are in a spot where we don't really know when they're going to be available," Babcock said. "Some contact today. They seemed to get through it."
Update #9: St. James posted a video about Bertuzzi:
Update #10: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a practice health update:
“We don’t know if he’s going to play (Thursday),” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Brunner. “He’s day to day.” We think one of them (Zetterberg or Brunner) is playing.”
Babcock is also considering giving recent college free-agent addition Danny DeKeyser his first NHL start against the Coyotes.
“He practiced today like he was playing tomorrow,” Babcock said. “I’ll talk about it with the coaches in on the flight. When we put Danny in it’ll be because we think he’s going to help us win. It’s not because we think we owe him a game or anything like that.”
Defenceman Kyle Quincey (fractured cheekbone) practiced Wednesday wearing a full cage and Babcock indicated he expected Quincey to return to action Friday when the Wings are in Colorado to face the Avalanche.
“I’m good to go for sure one of these next two games,” Quincey said. “I’d play through anything, but the doctor’s know how bad the break was and how fragile I am, so they’ll talk with the coaching staff and make a decision. As a hockey player you always want to play. When you’re out of the lineup 2-3 weeks you always want to get back in it. It’s kind of a combination of the doctor, myself and Babs having a good comfort zone. I’m happy with the progress today. Things are getting better and better and I hope it keeps getting better and better every day.”
On the long-term injury front, things aren’t as promising. Forward Todd Bertuzzi (back) skated throughout the practice but didn’t feel like he was anywhere near ready to play.
“It’s slowly getting there,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s not where I want it to be right now, so I’ll just keep going until it gets there. It’s positive that I can stay out there, but as far as taking off fast with any speed and all that, it’s still not even close yet. Hopefully within the week something changes.”
Forward Mikael Samuelsson, out with upper-body bruising, also isn’t close to a return. “(Bertuzzi) and Sammy are in a spot when you don’t know when they’ll be available,” Babcock said. “There was some contact today and Bert seemed to get through it.”
Centre Darren Helm, also out with a back ailment, won’t be making the trip with the club.
“I’ve been skating quite a bit and working out and every day doing more things to progress it and it’s not getting any worse,” Helm said. “So I look at that as a good sign.”
Update #11: Jimmy Howard had an interesting conversation with 97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger...
It’s always good to get a chance to catch up with the Wings number one goalie as the playoffs coming close. Howard talked for about 5 minutes on an array of topics from the trade deadline to why he would not want his kid to be a goalie and then there is his taste in baseball teams. Below are some of the more interesting comments from the net minder.
A lot of people will bring up the fact that the Kings as an 8th seed last season won the cup, do Wings players actively think about that? “Now a day’s you just got to get in, everyone is so good you just got to get in the playoffs and then anything can happen.”
Howard on his bizarre pregame routine: “I have no idea where that started; I probably had a good game or a shut out doing it and the next thing you know it snowballed to what it is now I guess.”
Howard on if he would let his kid play goalie? “No, I have James tune into the PGA channel all the time, the golf channel, this is what you are going to do! I remember there was times when my Mom, she couldn’t watch the game, shed have to sit in the lobby area if we were in the playoffs. That was in college, I think since then my parents have gotten really good at just watching the game.”
Watch the entire Howard video to find out more about his pregame rituals, his reasons why the Wings can win it all and how much he relishes those late game must win situations. Oh and wait until the end where he bashes the Yanks. You won’t want to miss that.
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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.