The Malik Report
Updated 9x at 2:59 PM: The Red Wings battle the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight (7 PM EDT on FSD Plus, TSN4) and tomorrow (NHL Network U.S., Sportsnet One), and the Wings found out today that their young lineup will be missing Danny DeKeyser for the next 3-4 weeks due to an ankle sprain. After the morning skate, Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media, per DetroitRedWings.com:
MLive's Ansar Khan published the Wings' lineup for this evening...
Per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Tom McCollum has cleared waivers, as did everyone else who was on waivers yesterday:
The Wings have to be roster-compliant and cap-compliant by Tuesday (via DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji)...
And the Wings usually waive players and make cuts on Saturday or Sunday--usually Sunday--but I wouldn't be surprised if they waited until Monday to make their final cuts.
Updated 2x at 12:07 PM: Bad news on Danny DeKeyser:
MLive's Ansar Khan weighs in on the possibilities with DeKeyser out for most of October:
From ESPN's Paul Lukas' "Uni Watch" preview of the Atlantic Division:
It's a well-established rite of fall: Alarmed Red Wings fans write to Uni Watch, saying, "The Red Wings have changed their nameplate font!" Relax, people -- they do this every preseason. The familiar vertically arched typography will return once the regular season starts:
Now that the arched letters are cut out by computers, it's easier to make them than ever before, but it's become tradition to use the block letters as they're probably easier to sew on 70 game and practice jerseys, and as the arched-letter back has become something of a, "You gotta earn this" sign of prestige.
From TSN's Darren Dreger:
Has anyone seen or heard from Stephen Weiss?
Sources says Weiss declined a number of professional tryout offers and remains an unrestricted free agent thanks to the Red Wings decision to buy out the final three years of the $15 million remaining on his contract.
Updated 11x at 12:33 PM: The Toronto Maple Leafs took to the ice before the Red Wings ahead of tonight and tomorrow's set of home-and-home exhibition games (7:30 PM on FSD Plus and TSN4 tonight; 7 PM on the NHL Network U.S. and Sportnset One tomrorow in Toronto), and the Leafs, unlike the Wings, skated with their non-game-day group first...
As TSN's Jonas Siegel also noted:
Neither William Nylander nor Connor Brown playing tonight in Detroit. Babcock called them the team's best forwards on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, there was good news from MLive's Ansar Khan...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Sports Illustrated's Sam Page offers a Red Wings preview which concludes with the following observations:
Detroit’s postseason streak is one of the most impressive active runs in sports, and there’s no reason why the Red Wings shouldn’t extend it this season. Detroit improved from 2013-14 to 2014-15, despite poor goaltending, and the Wings are arguably better personnel-wise this season. But don’t underestimate the impact Babcock’s departure could have on the franchise. At times over the last few years, it felt like his genius was the only thing keeping this veteran club in contention. Blashill has achieved success at every level, from college to the AHL, but if the Wings experience the injury problems of 2013-14 or the goaltending issues of last season, he could face a steep uphill climb toward a 25th consecutive postseason appearance.
2. And MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with the Wings about Mike Babcock's legacy:
"I think that was the biggest difference when he came in, just every day practicing and before games, the level of preparation," Zetterberg said. "You knew the game plan before every game, you knew the players. That was a step up from what I was used to.
"He spent a lot of time at the rink but I don't think the off switch was off when he left the rink, so I think he puts a lot of his time on hockey."
Said Franzen: "No one (prepares) better than him. He's really prepared and never stops thinking about hockey. I don't know if that's good or bad. He was really professional and really got down to business and was really prepared for everything."
The Red Wings begin a home-and-home set of games against the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus and TSN4 on Friday; 7 PM in Toronto on Saturday, on the NHL Network U.S.* and Sportsnet One), and it might be better that some of the Babcock-returns-to-Detroit hype will be gotten out of the way before the regular-season opener on October 9th...
And it's probably a good thing that the Leafs open their season next Wednesday in Montreal, or next week would entirely consist of Toronto's 24-7 sports talk radio talking about the Babcock-back-to-Detroit scenario (it may do that anyway).
For the Red Wings fans who've moved on, the injuries to Danny DeKeyser (leg), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Mike Green (groin), Teemu Pulkkinen (upper-body) and Darren Helm (shoulder) are far more concerning, but for those who feel a little weird about Babcock coming back to Detroit wearing blue, the coach did address his reunion with the Toronto Star's Mark Zwolinski:
Ahead of tomorrow and Saturday's home-and-home series between the Red Wings and Mike Babcock's Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby has posited something of a "character sketch" of the Red Wings from an outside-Detroit perspective...
[N]ow that he has taken Babcock’s office, [Jeff Blashill] the 41-year-old Michigan native been dealt a new hand. He can’t turn the clock back on veterans Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Both remain productive, although Zetterberg hit a wall offensively in the final weeks of last season, while Datsyuk was slowed by injury.
Having lost Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom to retirement a couple of years earlier, youngsters such as Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist stepped up under Babcock and a couple of intriguing free agents have arrived in Brad Richards and Mike Green. But defenceman Jakub Kindl, for example, had a harder time trying to win favour with Babcock and his coaching staff. He sat for long stretches.
“When you look around it’s not just me,” Kindl told the Detroit News this week. “We’re all on the same page, new coaching staff, he (Blashill) has a new plan and vision. I’m hoping I have a bigger chance and I’m just enjoying as much as I can. I’ve been here long enough, I know what position I’m in, but it’s a fresh start.”
Blashill also inherits something of a goaltending controversy as Jimmy Howard seeks to win back ground from young Petr Mrazek, who was the starter in the opening-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay. Howard tore a groin muscle that gave Mrazek his chance, but spent summer with renewed dedication to easing the strain on his 31-year-old legs.
And as Hornby continues, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness asked several Wings, including Blashill, to discuss their time with Babcock and the strangeness that is lining up against the former coach tomorrow, Saturday and during the Wings' home opener next Friday (and take note: the Leafs open their season next Wednesday in Montreal, so it won't be all Detroit-Toronto for the next week, just most of it):
The theme of today's prospect news remains "Did not play."
In Russia's KHL, Alexander Kadeikin continues to sit in the stands. He didn't play in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-2 loss to Jokerit;
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo didn't participate in TPS Turku's 5-0 loss to SaiPa;
And in Sweden's Allsvenskan, Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 and won 1 of 11 faceoffs in BIK Karlskoga's 3-1 win over IK Pantern.
About The Malik Report
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.