The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/27/11 at 02:34 PM ET
Updated 9x at 6:31 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the St. Louis Blues tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Versus/TSN2/WXYT), there’s bad news regarding Tomas Holmstrom’s groin injury, per MLive’s Ansar Khan’s Twitter account:
Just heard the Wings will recall Joakim Andersson (6-2, 206) from Grand Rapids.NHL debut tonight. He has 17 points (8 G, 9 A) in 29 games.
Andersson to play on 4th line wing with [A]bdelkader, [E]mmerton
Holmstrom out week to 10 days with groin strain.
Babcock said reason they called up Andersson was because of his size (6-2, 206). Blues are big, physical team.
Andersson will wear No. 63. He’ll be the first player in Wings history to wear a uniform number in the 60s.
Update: Here’s Khan’s morning skate report:
Forward Joakim Andersson will make his NHL debut tonight for the Detroit Red Wings against the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., FSD).
Andersson was recalled today from the Grand Rapids Griffins to replace Tomas Holmstrom, who’s out a week to 10 days with a strained groin.
Andersson has eight goals, nine assists, a plus-1 rating and 16 penalty minutes in 29 games with Grand Rapids. He is a center but will play the wing on a line with former Griffins Justin Abdelkader and Cory Emmerton.
Also, defenseman Mike Commodore will play in his third consecutive game in place of Jakub Kindl.
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirms...
The Wings recalled forward Joakim Andersson from Grand Rapids to replace Tomas Holmstrom in the lineup.
This will be Andersson’s NHL debut.
Holmstrom stuffered a groin injury in Monday’s 4-1 win in Nashville.
Andersson has eight goals and nine assists in 29 games with the Griffins and is a plus-1.
In 109 games in Grand Rapids, Andersson has 15 goals and 25 assists.
Andersson was drafted in the third round, 88th overall, by the Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
As does the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff...
#redwings F Tomas Holmstrom out 8-10 days with groin strain. F Joakim Andersson recalled from #AHL Grand Rapids.
Who points us toward audio interviews from the Predators’ website’s audio clips of Darren Helm…
And Wings coach Mike Babcock speaking about Detroit’s 4-1 win over Nashville:
Update #2: The Red Wings’ Twitter account reports that the Wings held an optional morning skate…
Mursak, Conner among those in today’s optional morning skate.
Joakim Andersson has been called up from @griffinshockey for tonight’s game and will play on a line with Abdelkader and Emmerton.
Anderson will fill-in for Tomas Holmstrom who will miss tonight’s game with a lower body injury.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose confirms Andersson’s call-up...
C Joakim Andersson will wear No. 63 tonight for the #RedWings and skate on the fourth line w/ Emmerton & Abby. http://twitpic.com/7zcjnt.
#RedWings coach Mike Babcock said this morning that forward Tomas Holmstrom (groin) will miss up to 10 days. @DetroitRedWings #NHL
Sad news to report, #RedWings legend Johnny Wilson has died at the age of 82. RIP, Johnny.
Update #3: Here’s Khan’s, well, updated update:
“He’s been here at a few camps and he’s working his way into to being an NHL pro,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s probably going to be third- or fourth-line center (eventually). He’s a big body, real good instincts. He’s got to play there (Grand Rapids) to get more pace in his game.’‘
Asked why they recalled Andersson, Babcock said, “He’s bigger than those guys (Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist). I don’t know if he can do it, but we like this type of player (for tonight). Sometimes you need some apples and sometimes you need oranges.’‘
Andersson will wear No. 63. He will be the first player in team history to wear a uniform number in the 60s, according to the media guide.
Also, defenseman Mike Commodore will play in his third consecutive game in place of Jakub Kindl. The Red Wings, who’ve won 10 in a row at Joe Louis Arena, will go with the same lineup as last night, with the exception of Andersson:
Losing Holmstrom’s pretty devastating to the Wings’ power play, but I’m really excited to see what Andersson can do. Over the next two or three years, Andersson, Nyquist and Tatar will become full-time players, and Andersson’s upside is that of the sort of defensively-minded center that Keith Primeau became in Carolina and Philadelphia.
Update #3.5: The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff posted a tangentially Wings-related article in discussing former Windsor Spitfire Ryan Ellis’s debut against the Wings last night…
And he tossed off some Predators post-game talk via his Twitter account:
Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, TSN has posted a game preview as the game will air on TSN2, Nick Barnowski took a look at the Wings’ World Junior Championship-playing prospects’ performances on Monday, and the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema just posted an interview with Andersson, who didn’t find out he’d be recalled until this morning:
“Fun news that [Griffins coach] Curt [Fraser] told me this morning,” Andersson said with a big smile on his face. “I’m real excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun to get up there.”
Andersson is fifth on the team in scoring with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) to go with a plus-1 rating and 16 penalty minutes in 29 games. He started the season a little slow with seven assists in the first 14 games, but has emerged as one of the Griffins’ top threats ever since he had two goals in a Nov. 18 loss to San Antonio.
“I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while,” Fraser said. “Andy has earned this opportunity. He’s been our most consistent player for a long time. You look at what he does for us, killing 5-on-3s, playing in last minutes, scoring big goals when we did them and our team is in trouble. When our team hits a rough patch, he stands out every night because he knows we need him. I hope he does great when he plays tonight.”
Andersson has become a bigger offensive contributor this year after spending much of last season as a defensive specialist and penalty killer. In 79 games, he had seven goals and 15 assists. He’s enjoyed increased playing time this season, along with a regular role on the power play, but wasn’t sure if that would result in a recall.
“Of course I hope for it because that’s where I really want to play, of course, in the NHL,” Andersson said. “But I didn’t know, I just kept playing hard. It’s been great to play, like, 20 minutes a game. I feel like I got a lot better these past 30 games. It’s a dream come true, obviously, to play in the NHL with the Red Wings. It’s huge.”
Andersson, who will wear No. 63, hopes to mesh well with his fellow Swedes in Detroit. But he said there’s one area that won’t be an issue: nerves.
“No, not really,” he said.” I like this. It’s fun.”
Update #5: Here’s the Free Press’s Carlos Monarrez’s morning skate report:
Holmstrom suffered his injury in Monday night’s 4-1 win at Nashville and did not play the third period. Coach Mike Babcock said today that Holmstrom is expected to miss “a week or 10 days.”
Anderson, 22, will make his NHL debut tonight. In 29 games with Grand Rapids, he has eight goals and 17 points. At 6-feet-2 and 206 pounds, Anderson will add a big-body presence to the Wings’ checking line, where he will play on the wing mostly on the fourth line centered by Justin Abdelkader.
“He’s just been here at a couple camps,” Babcock said. “He’s working his way to becoming an NHL pro. He’s probably going to be (an NHL) third- or fourth-line center. He’s a big body, has real good instincts. He needs to play more there (in Grand Rapids) to get more pace in his game. We’re putting him on the fourth line. We’ll see what he does tonight and we’ll evaluate the situation.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon just posted a game preview from the Blues’ perspective, too:
THE STORYLINE: The torrid Blues came out of the Christmas break with a 5-3 victory over Dallas. Now they face a major challenge with two games in the Motor City in a span of five days. The Red Wings have won 10 consecutive games at Joe Louis Arena, outscoring opponents 51-15 during that streak. The Blues play in Detroit tonight and again on Saturday, with a home game against Nashville Friday night wedged in between. Expect playoff-caliber intensity from these Western Conference rivals.
SCOUTING THE RED WINGS: Power-play specialist Tomas Holmstrom left Monday night’s game at Nashville with a groin strain, so will be shorthanded for this game. On the plus side, Valtteri Filppula scored twice against the Predators to snap a six-game goal-scoring slump. He and playmaker Henrik Zetterberg clicked. “That line was particularly good, and Zetterberg had a particularly good game,” coach Mike Babcock told Detroit reporters. “Now we need to get Mule (Johan Franzen) and Bert (Todd Bertuzzi) going again. You need guys going.” The Red Wings offense is led by Pavel Datsyuk, who has 15 points and a plus-9 rating during 12 December games.
SCOUTING THE BLUES: Power forward Chris Stewart has finally come to life. After putting just four shots on goal during a span of six games, Stewart put 18 shots on goal in his last three games. He scored three times in those games after scoring just once since Nov. 8. With key forwards Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka and B.J. Crombeen all injured, Stewart’s revival has been timely.
LINEUP INTRIGUE: With Oshie out for at least one more game with a sore wrist, Rivermen captain Adam Cracknell figures to play again. The depth forward scored Monday night in his first game up the Peoria. Big Evgeny Grachev also figures to play a big role after scoring the first NHL goal of his career during the victory over Dallas. With Jamie Langenbrunner sick, ruffian Ryan Reaves played against the Stars despite a minor rib injury. Coach Ken Hitchcock has continued shuffling lines due to the injuries, giving Matt D’Agostini a look at center during this process.
BJ Crombeen will be in the lineup tonight after suffering a broken shoulder in exhibition.Welcome back Beener the STL BLUES just got better
Update #5: A duck, really?
“It hasn’t been easy,” Commodore said after the morning skate. “As far as being in Detroit, I’ve said it before, I enjoy coming to the rink, I enjoy the guys and I like being around here. As far as game wise, I’ve had to be patient and it’s been kind of tough. I’m not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination,” Commodore added. “I’ve played two games, a third one tonight. Three in a row, it’s been awhile. It’s a good feeling, but at the same time I want to keep it going and see what happens.”
Commodore signed a one-year deal with $1 million this offseason with the intention of competing for the sixth defensive position. However, he suffered a sprained MCL in the preseason, forcing him to miss the first eight games of the regular season. Then, once he got healthy he couldn’t find his way back into the lineup, playing just three games over the last 25 prior to this stretch.
“Starting the season on the IR isn’t a good thing,” Commodore said. “It’s just been bad luck. I’m looking forward to the New Year, hoping 2012 will change things around for me a bit.”
Commodore, like he has done in four of the five games he’s played, replaced Jakub Kindl in the lineup.
“It’s the same in all sport and life, Mike wasn’t getting a chance,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He worked hard, kept his mouth shut and competed everyday. Someone gave him an opportunity and he’s grabbed it. Now he has to hang onto it. They decide. A lot of times they say the coach decided it. No, the coach watches and they decide. He’s just got to keep doing what he does,” Babcock added. “He’s a totally different player than the other guy. He’s big, he’s strong and smart. He’s not gifted with the puck or anything like that, he just has to play to his skill set and he’ll be fine.”
As for Kindl, “He’s got to do his work, but that’s not the way it works, someone else has to slip up, that’s the way it works,” Babcock said.
• Also, per the Wings’ Facebook page:
1. Today marks Joe Louis Arena’s 32nd birthday, and who did the Wings host in their first game at the Joe? The St. Louis Blues;
2. The Wings have teamed up with Coca Cola to help raise money for the World Wildlife Federation.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon posted a Wings-Blues preview as the game will air on the NBC Sports Networ…I mean Versus (for the next five days);
• Wings broadcaster Larry Murphy spoke to the Saginaw News’s Kyle Bouton prior to an appearance at Wednesday’s Saginaw Spirit game:
“I like the challenge of broadcasting,” Murphy said. “It’s more work than I thought it would be. I’m happy to do it. Preparation is such a big part of doing that job. Television, you have to be on your toes. I like that part of it, just like when I was a player, you have to make pretty quick decisions.”
Having won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s, Murphy repeated the feat later in the same decade, with Detroit in 1996-97 and 1997-98. He made the bold transition to come to Detroit, leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs, his hometown team, for another shot at winning it all.
“When I got traded to Detroit, I was in Toronto and I had a no-trade clause, but it took me about five seconds to waive that just for an opportunity,” Murphy said. “I knew when I came to Detroit what the possibilities were. Detroit’s philosophy just fit perfect with how I felt the game should be played.”
He has a unique perspective of the game having played at a high-level for so long and now analyzing it from his perch in the press box. He saw change in his two decades of playing and continues to see it today.
“It’s evolved,” Murphy said. “I played 21 years and even from the beginning of my career to the end of my career, the game had changed. Even when I retired in 2001 and mean, look at the game today, it’s even faster than it was when I retired. It just continues to get quicker and quicker. As we are finding out, it’s exciting hockey, but now we’ve got concussion issues that seem to be prevalent now in the league.”
Murphy knows he was fortunate to play for some of the best NHL teams in the 1990s. He sees a lot of similarities between the Cup-winning teams of then and the current Detroit Red Wings squad.
“I won the four Cups, I won two with Pittsburgh and two with Detroit and all four teams were very similar,” he said. “There’s one consistent thread and with the Wings, it’s the same way they play the game today. It’s just a puck control team that went out and carried the play. The skill was a huge part of it, the ability to skate, the ability to shoot. There was tremendous talent and a tremendous amount of depth on the team.”
• According to the Muskegon Chronicle’s Ron Rop and Dave Alexander, the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks are holding various contests to give fans opportunities to win tickets to a Red Wings Alumni game on February 11th;
Update #6: Also of Wings and Blues-related note, part 2:
• KMOV’s Scott Bierman reports that Blues captain David Backes will play in his 400th NHL game tonight;
• As NHL.com notes, Cam Ward joined the Chris Osgood club when he was credited with a goal last night;
• I don’t need to tell you which Wings-related topic made SI’s Michael Farber’s list of the top 10 hockey stories of 2011;
• Jakub Kindl spoke to MLive’s ansar Khan about being scratched for the third straight game…
Kindl: “I know I didn’t play my best the last couple games but other than that I thought I was pretty solid in the other 30 games I played.
• And yes, as the Wings’ Twitter account notes, Mickey Redmond has nothing to fear about the fact that Wings fans still love him, still need him and will still care for him now that he’s 64.
Update #6.5: Red Wings WJC-playing prospects Marek Tvrdon and Tomas Jurco received mentions in IIHF.com’s Joeri Loonen’s Team Slovakia profile…
On defence five of the seven defencemen play in the tougher CHL whereas up front Slovakia is hoping for a break-out tournament of Detroit Red Wings prospects Tomas Jurco and Marek Tvrdon. Much like three years when Tomas Tatar carried the team’s offence to another level, both Jurco and Tvrdon are having career seasons and will have every reason to continue to impress the Detroit scouting staff.
• And Mattias Backman earned a very, very brief mention in Hockeysfuture’s David Thicke’s Team Sweden preview.
Update #7: We can only hope that Nicklas Lidstrom will keep the New Year’s Resolution NHL.com’s EJ Hradek proposes for #5:
Wings D Nicklas Lidstrom: Start planning on continuing your wonderful career into the 2012-13 season
The 41-year-old Wings icon just keeps on keeping on. After winning his seventh Norris Trophy last year, Lidstrom’s numbers are better this season. In 35 games, the soft-spoken Swede has 7 goals and 22 points, placing him again in the top 10 scorers among defensemen. Averaging nearly 24 minutes per game, he has a sensational plus-17 rating.
I don’t know if he can grab his eighth Norris (only Bobby Orr has that many), but he clearly stands among the best blue liners in the game today. When you’re playing that good, why skate away?
• According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, via Twitter, the Blues will get B.J. Crombeen back in the lineup at the expense of Ryan Reaves;
• The White Lake Beacon is confirming the Red Wings Alumni Association’s game in Muskgeon on February 12th, and Kris Draper will be taking part in the game;
• And finally, for now, anyway, Sportsline’s Adam Gretz posited a slate of power rankings:
9 Red Wings [last week] 4: When it comes to scoring goals, Johan Franzen is as hot-and-cold as any player in the league. When he’s riding a hot streak, he can carry a team offensively. Right now, he’s on one of his cold streaks, with just one goal in his past eight games.
The Wings need the Mule to get back in gear, big time.
Update #8: The Blues’ updates are late-breaking: The Blues’ website confirmed that B.J. Crombeen will return to St. Louis’s lineup today, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford filed the following game-day update:
Crombeen suffered a broken shoulder in the final game of the preseason. He has been practicing with the team for a few weeks and on Monday he shed his no-contact jersey.
“I’m definitely excited to get back playing ... it’s been a long time,” Crombeen said. “It’s been pretty exciting to watch the guys and how well they’re playing. Obviously coming in here, you just want to keep your head down and work hard and do anything to help. I can never really change my game. I need to be a physical, hard-to-play-against guy, try to help out on the penalty kill ... stand up for teammates. I can’t try to change the way I play no matter how the team is doing.”
Alex Steen-David Backes-Chris Stewart
Evgeny Grachev-Patrik Berglund-David Perron
Chris Porter-Jason Arnott-Matt D’Agostini
Adam Cracknell-Scott Nichol-B.J. Crombeen
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Kris Russell-Roman Polak
Update #9: Here’s Ken Kal’s game-day preview, featuring Mike Commodore and Ken Holland:
• MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Mike Babcock divulged the identity of the person who beaned Darren Helm:
Babcock on Helm: “He probably didn’t like that Howie shot the puck off his face in warmups, but that’s one teammate giving you some love.’‘
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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.