The Malik Report
by Paul on 01/18/13 at 02:56 PM ET
Updated 6x at 3:35 PM: via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mike Knuble signed a 25-game pro tryout contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins. That means he'll play for the Griffins but can sign with any NHL team that comes calling.
Todd Bertuzzi (groin, sick) will not play in Saturday's season opener at St. Louis but the club hopes he'll be ready for the second game, Monday in Columbus.
Darren Helm (back) expects to miss the first three games. Jakub Kindl (groin) won't play Saturday.
Brian Lashoff was reassigned to Grand Rapids.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms...
As does the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
Update #2: This is odd...
Here's St. James' roster update:
Darren Helm is out with a back injury and will miss at least three games. Todd Bertuzzi suffered a groin injury Thursday but is also sick, coach Mike Babcock said, and won't make the trip to St. Louis. If he feels better, Bertuzzi might join them for Monday's game at Columbus.
The Wings have plenty of forwards available, with Patrick Eaves, Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak among the depth.
As reported earlier by the Free Press, Mike Knuble won't make the 23-man roster due this afternoon. He'll be signed to a professional tryout contract and go to Grand Rapids, where he'll be free to sign with any NHL team interested.
Defenseman Jakub Kindl is sidelined by a groin injury, but he wasn't going to play anyway because Carlo Colaiacovo is ready to go, healed from a sore shoulder.
The Wings' 23-man roster will look like this: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson, Daniel Cleary, Bertuzzi, Jordin Tootoo, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Emmerton, Mursak and Eaves (Helm won't count on IR).
On defense, it's Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo and Kindl.
The goaltenders are Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson.
Update #2.5: Here's the Wings' release regarding sending Lashoff down:
RED WINGS REASSIGN BRIAN LASHOFF TO GRAND RAPIDS
… Defenseman has Recorded 2G-4A-6P in 35 AHL Appearances this Season …
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that defensemen Brian Lashoff has been reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. Lashoff, 22, has registered 2G-4A-6P-8PIM and a +5 rating in 35 appearances with the Griffins this season.
Detroit’s 2012-13 season-opener is scheduled to be played tomorrow night (8:00 p.m. ET) versus the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center (FOX Sports Detroit & 97.1 The Ticket). The Red Wings’ first home game is set to take place on Tuesday, January 22, when Jaromir Jagr and the Dallas Stars pay a visit to Hockeytown for a 7:30 p.m. showdown at The Joe. Tickets to this match and all 24 of Detroit’s home games are currently available for purchase at the JLA Box Office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at DetroitRedWings.com. As part of the team’s ‘Thanks For Sticking With Us’ initiative, all transactions made until midnight tonight will be fee-free.
Update #3: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness offers a story about Mike Knuble, who believes that signing a pro try-out with Grand Rapids will serve his interests well...
“It is (the best option),” Knuble said. “I was pretty realistic. I didn’t think I had any crazy illusions of something happening here this week. It gives me the chance to play and get back in the frame of playing again. And you get your name out there that you’re active.”
Knuble, who was drafted by the Wings in the fourth round in 1991, had six goals and 12 assists in 72 games last season with the Washington Capitals. The lockout really hurt a player like Knuble, who began skating with the Griffins from their first day of training camp.
“I don’t want to be one of those statistics, but reality is last lockout I was very proactive, but I was at a different point of my career,” Knuble said. “You get to certain points you got to weigh the pluses and minuses all the time of what you’re doing with your time and how it affects people around you. For me to stay at home this year had been the best thing for all of us.
“Obviously your main goal is to play in the NHL,” Knuble added. “Another goal of mine was to play in Europe, which I did, and another goal of mine would be to play in my hometown.”
Knuble has 274 goals and 266 assists in 1,040 NHL games over 16 seasons with Detroit, the New York Rangers, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.
“It’s a wild year, it’s going to be a crazy year and it’s extremely unpredictable,” Knuble said. “Guys are going to be dropping. They’re going to find young guys can’t handle the grind, they’re not ready. You stay with it, two weeks in, you should see how this whole year is going to shape out. Teams are in trouble already.”
And Pleiness also updates the statuses of some of those "dropped" players, the back injury-plagued Darren Helm:
“I’m feeling good, since it happened each day it keeps getting better and better,” Helm said Friday morning. “I’m going to go on the road with the guys on this trip and hopefully get a skate in. I don’t think I’ll be playing Saturday, Monday or Tuesday.”
Helm hasn’t skated since Jan. 10.
“I can touch my toes,” said Helm, who was placed on short-term injured reserve retroactive to the injury occurring. “My motion is pretty much close to back. It’s still a little stiff or sore when I come up, not too bad. The next step, we went fairly hard today and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Helm, who said this is his first back injury, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late. On March 17, he missed the final 10 regular season games with a sprained MCL. Then, in his first game back, the playoff opener against Nashville, he had tendons in his forearm sliced by a skate. He was also hit by a puck on Nov. 2 during an informal skate in Troy, breaking an orbital bone.
“I want to play,” Helm said. “I’m pretty upset this happened at this time, after a lockout, it’s a short season, missing games is frustrating.”
Todd Bertuzzi will miss the opener because of an illness according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.
“Todd’s not making the trip, he’s sick,” Babcock said. “They’re going to give him an IV or something and he probably join us tomorrow or the next day. If not he’ll join us in Columbus.”
The Free Press's Helene St. James confirms--with a picture of Helm touching his toes!
He can touch his toes, something he couldn't do earlier in the week. And he will accompany his teammates to St. Louis and Columbus, where they play Saturday and Monday, respectively, so that he can practice when ready.
"It's either sit on the plane or sit at home," he said.
Helm pulled a muscle Jan. 10, but an MRI was negative, so healing has come down to rest and rehabilitation. Helm hasn't yet skated, but "my range of motion is pretty much close to back. I'm still a little bit sore, but it's not too bad. Any kind of weights, it's still a little aggravating. But we went pretty hard today, so next step is to see how it feels tomorrow, and maybe skate."
Helm is slated to center the Wings' third line, between Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi. Two-thirds of that line is out, as Bertuzzi is sick and has a sore groin.
"He's pretty upset about getting hurt," Helm said. "He wants to play. I want to play. We're both pretty upset about how this happened. Missing games, it's frustrating."
And in the Twitter department, from the Wings...
Update #4: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's updated Knuble story:
“I was in on the [Griffins'] Christmas gag gifts, had the players over for pizza, watched the World Series,'' he said. “For me, to stay at home this year has been the best thing for all of us (his family). Obviously, your main goal is to play in the NHL. Another goal of mine was to play in Europe, which I did, and another goal of mine would be to play in my hometown.''
Knuble hopes his stint with the Griffins will catch the eye of an NHL club.
“I didn't think I had any crazy illusions of something happening here this week,'' Knuble said. “It (camp) gives me the chance to play and get back in the frame of playing again. And you get your name out there that you're active.''
After 25 games, the tryout can be renewed, or Knuble said, “you can call it quits if it's not working out.''
He appreciated the opportunity the Red Wings, his first NHL team, provided.
“It’s been a good experience to get to know these guys, skating again in a competitive environment, try and be active and get on board for a season,'' Knuble said. “It was a good week. Fun week. Fast paced. The coaches have been very fair to me. It was a stressful week on the body. Everyone’s playing, but playing casually when you turn it up a notch you’ll see how your body feels after 5-6 days. I feel pretty good.''
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff both offered a significant number of Twitter updates...
Duff posted a YouTube interview with Damien Brunner...
As well as Carlo Colaiacovo...
And he spoke to the Wings' defenders about beginning the post-Lidstrom era:
“There’s no one in here that’s going to be able to take his place,” Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson said of seven-time Norris Trophy winner Lidstrom. “All of us together have to take another step in our game, try to contribute the best way we can to fill the spots we missed. Stewie was a huge player in the penalty kill. We’ve got some new guys and myself, too, we have to take another step. On the power play, Lidstrom’s going to be missed, so Kronner (Niklas Kronwall) has to take another step.”
Opportunity is knocking for some of Detroit’s younger defenceman who’ve been waiting in the wings, and they’ll need to prove their up to the challenge.
“There’s going to be a lot more minutes,” said Brendan Smith, Detroit’s top pick in the 2007 NHL entry draft. “(Lidstrom) played in all positions – power-play, penalty kill, even strength, four on four. Whatever it was, he dominated. We’ve just got to come in and play well as a unit and that will take care of itself there. You can’t replace a guy like Nick Lidstrom. Nobody in the NHL can.”
Fourth-year Wing Jakub Kindl (groin) will miss Saturday’s opener, but he recognizes that after a couple of seasons as the extra defenceman, this is his best chance to date to establish himself as a regular presence on the back end.
“We all know there’s only one Nick,” Kindl said. “Who knows when another one like him will come along? We all wish he could still sit next to us in the locker room. We all wish he was still on the ice next to us as a leader. But yeah, it’s an opportunity for everybody, a huge opportunity for all the D on this squad.”
Minus their superstar, the Detroit defencemen believe they must accomplish more as a collective.
“We’ve just got to go out as a D corps and do the best we can do and be productive in that sense,” Smith said.
The Griffins are, of course, confirming Lashoff's return...
And, via RedWingsFeed, the Wings' website has posted clips of Patrick Eaves speaking to the media after practice...
Pavel Datsyuk talking about his new linemate, Damien Brunner...
Mike Knuble addressing his status...
And Mike Babcock issuing his post-practice remarks:
I'm headed to the Blues press's websites now. They've signed Wade Redden.
Update #5: Okey dokey, regarding the Blues, first, from Andy Strickland...
From the Blues themselves...
And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford:
Also: Red Bird III is airborne...and here were the practice lines:
Update #6: MLive's Ansar Khan captured "Grumpy Babs" at his best while noting that Helm and Bertuzzi will miss the first couple of games...
“[Bertuzzi]’s sick,'' Babcock said. “They’re going to give him an IV or something and he'll probably join us tomorrow or the next day. If not, he’ll join us in Columbus (the second game on Monday).''
Babcock said they have Patrick Eaves, cleared after missing nearly 14 months with a concussion, and Jan Mursak available to take Bertuzzi's spot. Cory Emmerton will fill in for Helm, but on the fourth line.
“Good thing about it is I don’t have to tell you (who will play) because I don’t know and I still haven’t decided,'' Babcock said.
Daniel Cleary is the other winger on the line with Helm and Bertuzzi. Helm, who was placed on short-term injured reserve (seven days) retroactive to the start of training camp, said he expects to miss the first three games. He is hoping to be ready on Jan. 25 against Minnesota at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’m feeling good,'' Helm said. “Since it happened each day it keeps getting better and better. I’m going to go on the road with the guys on this trip and hopefully get a skate in.''
Just being able to touch his toes again is a positive step for a player who hasn't skated in eight days.
“My motion is pretty much close to back,'' Helm said. “It’s still a little stiff or sore when I come up, not too bad. It’s still kind of aggravating a bit. The next step, we went fairly hard today (in the weight room and on the Elliptical) and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.''
The AP's R.B. Fallstrom penned an article about Saturday night's opponent, which witnessed 5,000 fans visit them during their trainign camp opener...
“Pretty awesome,” said forward David Backes, the team captain. “I’ve never seen anything like it for a practice. It’s always an uncertainty when you wipe 30 games off the schedule and you hear a lot of banter about people not coming back or asking for refunds. There’s still a passion and people still care.”
For now, there are no hard feelings. As [Ken] Hitchcock noted, results will keep ‘em coming.
“I just feel confident that if we play good hockey, we’re going to pack the building,” Hitchcock said. “I think that’s totally up to us. If we play like we’re capable and we give an effort that the fans expect here, then I think the people come in droves.”
The Blues had 109 points last season, tied for second-best overall in the NHL and one of the best showings in franchise history. A roster that lacks star power but is well-balanced with two No. 1-caliber goalies is virtually unchanged, providing continuity. Brian Elliott had a breakout season, making the All-Star team in a job share with Jaroslav Halak that produced a league-leading 15 shutouts and the Jennings Trophy. The stingy duo compensated for a grinding offense that ranked in the bottom third of the league but figures to get a boost with a full season from forward David Perron, who had 42 points in 57 games after recovering from a concussion, and 21-year-old rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who’ll be on the second line with speedy Andy McDonald and Alex Steen.
Holding it all together is the NHL coach of the year. The 61-year-old Hitchcock has a team ready to be pushed after the Blues got dumped in a second-round sweep by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings last May.
“Obviously, you want to remember what it felt like for them to end your season when there was so much promise and so many people behind you,” forward T.J. Oshie said. “We’ve just got to build on that, remember how they beat us, why they beat us.”
Forward Chris Stewart prepared for a rebound season after a meager 30-point output by shedding 15-20 pounds. Hitchcock was struck by the fitness level of veteran forwards Scott Nichol, 38, and Jamie Langenbrunner, 37, joking that “somebody must have given them new legs for Christmas.”
The Blues hit the ground running, like the rest of the NHL, with six games in the first nine days. Opening night presents an immediate test with the Central-rival Detroit Red Wings at home on Saturday night. There’ll be no shortage of adrenaline while they reconnect on the ice.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, I don’t think,” Oshie said. “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exciting.”
And the AP's Larry Lage found that, to some extent, anyway, the Wings are indeed espousing my suggested, "We don't give a f*** about what other people think of us" mentality:
“Either we are too old or we have no defense,” Henrik Zetterberg said of the chatter about the team. “The important thing is what we believe in here.”
The Red Wings aren’t cocky about their chances this season going into the opener Saturday night at St. Louis. They, more than anyone, know how valuable Lidstrom was for the team and how good the Western Conference has become.
“The mindset of how we’re going to play will not change that much, but then again, No. 5 is not going to be out there so we don’t really know how it’s going to turn out,” Zetterberg said. “It’s nothing wrong to say that. We just have to be honest about it. We have to take it as a challenge.”
It’s not like Detroit is running on fumes. Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are two of the world’s best players and the two goaltenders, Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson, would be welcome on most rosters. Howard said it would be wrong to “write us off so soon.”
The championship window the franchise has had, winning four Stanley Cups since 1997, including one four years ago, seemed to get slammed shut last summer. Lidstrom retired, Stuart made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign, Hudler left as a free agent and the team struck out after making offers to sign Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
Desperate to stay among the NHL’s best, Detroit offered 42-year-old Lidstrom a chance to play in this 48-game season. Lidstrom turned down the opportunity because he’s happy with his family in Sweden.
Zetterberg is now the captain and coach Mike Babcock is confident the team is in good hands with its new, on-ice leader who learned from Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. Babcock has said, more than once, that the 32-year-old forward will be very motivated to make sure the team is still good on his watch.
“He’s seen it all,” Babcock said. “He’s like a coach on the ice.”
Zetterberg isn’t making predictions, but he likes Detroit’s chances in the Western Conference and perhaps beyond.
“There’s a few big pieces that have left the team, but most of the core guys are still here and we made some additions to the team,” Zetterberg said.
You can continue reading Lage's article, and it's worth your time.
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