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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Blues game-da updates: Tomas Holmstrom will miss a week; Wings call up Joakim Andersson

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.
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Andersson to play on 4th line wing with [A]bdelkader, [E]mmerton
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Holmstrom out week to 10 days with groin strain.
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Babcock said reason they called up Andersson was because of his size (6-2, 206). Blues are big, physical team.
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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…

Download file

Nicklas Lidstrom…

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Jimmy Howard…

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And Wings coach Mike Babcock speaking about Detroit’s 4-1 win over Nashville:

Download file

 

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.
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Joakim Andersson has been called up from @griffinshockey for tonight’s game and will play on a line with Abdelkader and Emmerton.
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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.
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#RedWings coach Mike Babcock said this morning that forward Tomas Holmstrom (groin) will miss up to 10 days. @DetroitRedWings #NHL

And Roose is confirming the passing of former Wing Johnny Wilson:

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:

Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Cleary-Helm-Miller
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Andersson

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Commodore
Kindl (scratched)

Howard (starting)
Conklin

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:

#predators Smithson, Fisher, Trotz, talk about loss to #redwings. bit.ly/uLoXoI bit.ly/uQO2Hb bit.ly/vPD5Iw.

 

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.

Via redWingsFeed, St. Louis broadcaster Kelly Chase reports that B.J. Crombeen will return from a shoulder injury tonight:

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?

Also: Via RedWingsFeed, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness spoke to Mike Commodorea about working his way back into the Wings’ lineup:

“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);

• The Fourth Period mentioned the Hemsky-to-Detroit trade rumor, and again, I’m just not buying it;

• 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.”
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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;

• And, regrettably, NHL.com reports that Jimmy Howard remains mired in fourth place and slipping in All-Star fan balloting. Nicklas Lidstrom’s 4th in voting for starting defensemen.


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.”
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ONIGHT’S LINEUP

Forward

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

Defensemen

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo

Kris Russell-Roman Polak

Goalie

Brian Elliott


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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Comments

bezukov's avatar

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.

George, harkening back to the “Commodore 64” controversy, I remember you expressing excitement over the prospect of a Red Wing wearing a number in the sixties.  So… how do you feel?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 12/27/11 at 02:48 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks, George.

Can’t wait to see Andersson playing tonight.  Heard plenty of good things about him.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 12/27/11 at 02:58 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Losing Holmstrom’s pretty devastating to the Wings’ power play, but I’m really excited to see what Andersson can do.

Exactly what I was thinking.  And the Wings will have to face power plays without Homer eventually.  Maybe it’s good that they have to start thinking about it.  Of course, I’ll miss Homer in the line up, and hope he heals well and gets back soon!

I thought Babcock’s comments about Commodore and Kindl were interesting.  But I would love to know his, and Ken Holland’s thoughts, about how they feel Ericsson is progressing.  I agree with you, George, that he’s become the whipping boy and isn’t as bad as many fans say he is, but I do think he’s been disappointing in the number of years it’s taking him to develop.  Most players on the Wings don’t get to develop in the NHL.  Ericsson seems to particularly lack passion, drive and the amount of physicality I’d like to see (like Stuart).

Anyway, looking forward to another 2 points tonight.

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/27/11 at 03:29 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by MsRedWinger from somewhere in the Cosmic Dust on 12/27/11 at 01:29 PM ET

It’s not that Ericsson is bad per se, just that he doesn’t bring enough to the table for $3.25m a year.  I mean, do you REALLY want to pay a 3rd pairing defenseman that much?  I still seriously think they’re giving him until the trade deadline to show something—ANYTHING—that justifies his current contract, and if he doesn’t, well…

He’s got skills, but his consistency level is what’s lacking; for every decent play he makes, there are 2 or 3 utterly jaw-droppingly poor plays to counter.  It looks like they’re trying to force him into a shut-down role, when he seems to want to be offensively-minded—why not just go with the veteran who makes literally 1/3 his salary and actually plays the gritty, bottom-pairing, stay-at-home, crease-clearing style the Wings seem to so desperately want instead?

Kindl needs to be playing beside Commodore so he can stretch his puck-carrying muscles.  What would be better than a big, gritty, shut-down guy paired with a big, offensively-skilled guy on your bottom pair?

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 03:51 PM ET

Avatar

I agree with you RedMenace….but with 6 pts and a +12 (yep…I had to look twice) who can we get in return? Who needs a young kid like Ericsson in his line up for that amount of money by the trade deadline?


Go Wings

Posted by Nathalie from MTL on 12/27/11 at 04:37 PM ET

Avatar

Let’s hope Andersson makes the most of his 6 minutes of ice time tonight.

As for Ericsson, yes he IS bad. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at the start of the season…but he looks as bad, if not worse, as he did last season. I can’t even recall how many times Howard or another teammate has bailed him out after a dipsh*t pass in his own zone to the opposing team. He’s constantly being beaten by the opposition’s forwards which leads to him clutching and grabbing all the time…but god forbid he use his size to actually hit someone. Worthless.

-end rant-

Posted by godblender on 12/27/11 at 05:40 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by Nathalie from MTL on 12/27/11 at 02:37 PM ET

Eh, I think the +12 is a little misleading—though the stats don’t really show it (they’re somewhat skewed in his favor, and since I’m too dumb to make sense of Corsi stuff, it is what it is), his propensity for giant head-gas expulsions and the fact that he’s not really stepping up his game to match his contract is what’s more incriminating to me.  Honestly, he might be a good 2nd pair guy on another team, but I think he needs to be utilized in a more offensive role—and I don’t think that’s something he’ll get with the Wings.

If the Wings were to trade him, it’d probably be in a package for a bona fide, top-6 winger, but who’s to say who’ll need what by the time the trade deadline rolls around?  I really hate to speculate, because A) I suck at it, and 2) it’s a complete crap shoot at this point.  smile

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 05:43 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Kindl needs to be playing beside Commodore so he can stretch his puck-carrying muscles.  What would be better than a big, gritty, shut-down guy paired with a big, offensively-skilled guy on your bottom pair?

Posted by RedMenace from the darkest recesses on 12/27/11 at 01:51 PM ET

Totally agree.  I love Ian White and if they could move Ericsson - a big “if” - I wouldn’t mind seeing him go.  Babcock seems pleased with Commodore so far.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/27/11 at 05:54 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Yuck. Game is on Versucks.  That sucks.  Yuck.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/27/11 at 05:55 PM ET

Avatar

...for every decent play he makes, there are 2 or 3 utterly jaw-droppingly poor plays to counter…

Posted by RedMenace from the darkest recesses on 12/27/11 at 01:51 PM ET

Red, I’m sorry but that comment pretty much invalidates any take you have on Ericsson.  Yes, he needs to be more consistent.  And yes, he’s not worth 3.25 mil right now.  But to make the exaggerated claim of 1 decent play per 2 or 3 horrible plays is just ignorant.  You’re not alone unfortunately, as that kind of sentiment is a rampant plague in the ranks of Wings fans.  It’s become a bad joke that just won’t go away.  In a recent game Kindl threw the puck behind the net when he had a clear lane up the boards and no one was covering him.  Ericsson, who had a forechecker on him the second the pass got to him lost the puck.  Both message boards I was on at the time were littered with “ERRORSON!!!”, and “E52, at it again”.  No accountability for Kindl on a pass that never should have been made.  Any puck that’s within 20 feet of Ericsson that ends up on an opponent’s stick is somehow his fault.  It’s just gotten absurd, and having been a Wings’ fan for 25 years I thought we as a fanbase were better than that.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 12/27/11 at 06:02 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by Valek on 12/27/11 at 04:02 PM ET

At least I’m with you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/27/11 at 06:10 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

He’s constantly being beaten by the opposition’s forwards which leads to him clutching and grabbing all the time…but god forbid he use his size to actually hit someone. Worthless.

Posted by godblender on 12/27/11 at 03:40 PM ET

While he does have the 2nd most hits of the defense (and 3rd on the team), he also has the distinction of have the most penalty minutes on the entire roster (with only 1 fighting major).

Sometimes I wonder what exactly counts as a “hit,” because I know Ericsson definitely doesn’t dish out 6’4, 220lb “freight train” hits.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 06:12 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by Valek on 12/27/11 at 04:02 PM ET

Of course it was hyperbole.  If I kept track of that kind of statistic, I’d have to (continue) to question my own sanity. 

The fact remains, however, that he generally makes multiple bad decisions on a nightly basis.  Do his positives outweigh his negatives NOW?  No.  Might they in the future?  Sure, but how long is it going to take?  He played 3 seasons in the A, and this is his 3rd with the big club, and he’s still making rookie mistakes.  Kindl has shown to himself to be just below, if not equal to, Ericsson’s level this season, and that doesn’t really bode well for Big E moving forward.

Again, I don’t think he’s necessarily bad, but he’s certainly not worth his contract RIGHT NOW.  Do I want him to succeed?  Hell yeah, I’d love a big, hard-nosed defenseman who can also lug the puck occasionally.  Do I think he’s going to find his niche in Detroit?  Not really, no.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 06:25 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

... I’d have to (continue) to question…

Yeesh, my brain is still on “Holiday Vacation” mode…

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 06:28 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Ericsson’s positives outweigh his negatives this season.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/27/11 at 06:31 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Ericsson’s positives outweigh his negatives this season.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/27/11 at 04:31 PM ET

Granted, he has been more consistent this year.  Do you think he’s worth $3.25m this season?  I’m pretty sure that’s all anyone’s really concerned with…

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 12/27/11 at 06:43 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Oh hell no, he hasn’t been worth $3.25M

Still too many mistakes. Still too many penalties (although he consistently gets jobbed more than any other player on the Wings with calls), still not enough offensive creation. To defend him is not to ignore his mistakes; it’s just to take them in their proper context.

I will say that he’s closer to being worth the $3.25M he’s actually being paid than the $1.75M people said was worth no more than during his contract negotiations.  Small comfort to those actually signing his checks, I’m sure.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/27/11 at 06:49 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I’ve actually been alright with Ericsson the past month.  He’s really settled down some.  He does take bonehead penalties at times, I think Berts are more ill timed though.. or in the Ozone…  Also a lot of those penalties are borderline calls anyways.  A lot of th eholding calls are when he’s doing the nick lidstrom and poking his stick around the player.  Big E just doesn’t get a lot of benefits of the doubt.  He does have some work to do though and he definitely needs to consistantly use his size, throw it around some.

Kindl, who’ve I’ve been high on since last year, has been particularly aggrivating.  I feel he’s gotten a little big for his britches, getting a little too fancy a little too often and his fundamentals are lacking.  I know HE thinks he played good for 30 games, but really he’s been average after a good start with lulls here and there.  I’m much more pleased with Commadore out there, and I HATED THAT SIGNING… but I’m digging it, I was wrong.  We have a strong enough locker room to keep his shenanigans in check and he seems to have a good level of motivation with a veteran presence enough to focus and control it.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 12/27/11 at 06:53 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

So we like Commodore.  So then the question becomes, who benefits more from playing with him - Kindl or Ericsson?  Obviously the Wings have a lot invested in Ericsson, but I don’t see any fire in the kid.  At least Kindl always seems to be trying and, I would argue, looked better than Ericsson for long stretches this season.  I thought Kindl played really well when he was paired with Stuart.  Maybe being paired with Ericsson was not good for him.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/27/11 at 07:50 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.