The Malik Report
The Red Wings afternoon post-practice news post will still be updated for the next hour or two (as the Red Wings' beat writers file their practice reports), but, via RedWingsFeed, the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek leads off his weekly notebook with an intriguing conversation held with one Red Wings gM Ken Holland about his team's attempts to sustain its 21-year playoff-qualifying streak without Nicklas Lidstrom:
“We’re not going to replace him,” said Holland, “so what do we do? Obviously we used to have a superstar on defence. In his prime, he’d play close to half the game. When you weren’t sure, you threw Nick on the ice. Now, I think Nik Kronwall is a really, really good defenceman. There’s no doubt he’s the face of our defence. It’s Nik Kronwall and then it’s a committee.”
The Red Wings have been a model of consistency during Holland’s entire 16-year tenure as GM. He likes to talk about a story, written by a well-known Toronto reporter at the end of the last lockout, predicting the Red Wings’ best days were behind them – and that in the new salary-cap era, where they couldn’t simply outspend the opposition, they would fall back into the pack. Holland said in an interview this week he still keeps that article on his desk as a daily reminder of the fickleness of pro sports and its ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ nature.
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...
Updated 3x at 12:57 PM: the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Mike Knuble "won't make the team": Fox Sports Detroit's streaming webpage will offer a live feed of the Red Wings' final practice before the truncated 2013 season begins on Saturday, with the Wings slated to hit the ice around 12 PM and skate for approximately an hour.
As we wait for practice to begin, here's a roundup of this morning's news stores, which focus upon the topic of the day in the intersection of the Wings' health concerns, including groin injuries nagging Jakub Kindl and Todd Bertuzzi, as well as a back injury that's bothering Darren Helm, with the roster crunch the Wings find themselves facing as they've got 27 players on the roster, but need to get down to 23 by this afternoon.
The fact that Patrick Eaves has been cleared to play, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, complicates the Wings' roster equation:
Updated at 4:06 AM with an excellent article about Niklas Kronwall, and give the Swiss Pavel Datsyuk Q and A a gander, too: At the end of an incredibly busy day at Joe Louis Arena, after the Detroit Red Wings had suffered a Jakub Kindl groin injury setback during their morning practice, chose to pass on Wade Redden, informally announced that Tomas Holmstrom will officially retire on Tuesday, announced the naming of three AHL and one ECHL prospects to their respective league's All-Star Games during an afternoon news cycle, and may or may not have lost Todd Bertuzzi's services for Saturday's opener in St. Louis as he chose to rest his sore groin after skating through half of Thursday night's practice...
And again, Friday's 12 PM practice will be free and open to the public, with free parking in the Riverfront Lot, and will be streamed on Fox Sports Detroit's website...
Wings coach Mike Babcock addressed the press a world away from his, "We're just so grateful to be here" mood when training camp started on Sunday, practically hissing and growling at the press after having read that ESPN's chosen Saturday's opponent as this year's Cup pick. After lecturing the press about the 10-day groin injury rule, MLive's Ansar Khan caught a classic Babcockian summary of what the team's attempted to achieve in going from zero to 48-games-in-99 nights over the course of a week:
Updated 3x at 9:55 w/ Babs gabba and pictures from practice: Oh joy, here the groins come again. The Red Wings will start the season without Jakub Kindl (groin), Darren Helm (back) and most certainly Joey MacDonald (back), and Mikael Samuelsson has just recovered from a groin injury. As it turns out, groin injuries are apparently contagious, though Todd Bertuzzi apparently only skipped the latter half Jam the Joe practice with a sore groin (more to come in the evening update post) for precautionary reasons:
Now that the lockout’s over, the people who really make their living from hockey commerce are ‘back’
The #hockeyisback hashtag is a little condescending given that every hockey league save the NHL has been in action since last September or October, but the lockout's greatest casualties in terms of collateral damage were not owners, players or teams.
The fans bore the brunt of trying to stick with their favorite teams through over half a year's worth of collective bargaining Kabuki theatre, and those who truly could not afford to pay the bills without NHL games being played--those who work at rinks in broadcasting, as ushers, concessions workers, security, janitors, you name it, and the folks who own and work at restaurants, bars, hotels, parking garages and merchandise shops--very literally either did not work ,were laid off, orweren't able to pay the bills due to significant downturns in business.
I think the Griffins are just showing off now! After posting a wonderful video chronicling Landon Ferraro's participation in the Red vs. White game, the Grand Rapids Griffins take us aboard Red Bird III:
Update: While we're at videos chronicling the next generation of Red Wings, Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji and Art Regner interviewed director of player development Jiri Fischer this morning, and here's the video. FoxSportsDetroit.com will stream tomorrow's 12 PM practice (again, open to the public, free parking, free admission) as well, and will hold some interviews afterward:
After losing Budd Lynch last fall, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports that the Red Wings' organization will say its final farewells to another beloved member of their organization:
Windsor’s Joe Ducharme was a cult hero to hockey fight tape junkies.
Back in the mid-1980s when working with video was something new to NHL teams, Ducharme served as video coordinator for the Detroit Red Wings, making him the only person with access to VHS footage of Joe Kocur and Windsor’s Bob Probert when the Bruise Brothers were the heavyweight champions of hockey.
Ducharme, who died Sunday at the age of 90, worked for the Red Wings from 1970-2004 and during his work as video coordinator for the club received Stanley Cup rings from the team for his work with Detroit’s championship squads in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 2001-02, and the father of six children suggested that was one ring for each of his three sons.
Early evening Red Wings news: AHL and ECHL All-Stars, tales of injuries, woe and multimedia stuffins
Updated 6x at 8:29 PM:
Revised starting "blurb": Awesome, per the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
Also part of the update: You can check out the AHL's ASG rosters here. It takes place on January 7th and 8th in Providence, Rhode Island, and the NHL Network and Fox Sports Detroit usually air the game...
The Detroit Red Wings will take to the ice at Joe Louis Arena tonight at 7 PM for a one-hour practice that will precede an open skate for fans from 8-10 PM, and we're probably going to get a second round of injury news to follow this morning's slate of bump-and-bruise updates; we'll also hear more about the team's decision to not pursue Wade Redden and Tomas Holmstrom's retirement presser on Tuesday.
Tomorrow, Fox Sports Detroit will stream Friday's 12 PM practice on their website (that practice is free and open to the public as well), and $9 tickets go on sale this Saturday at the JLA box office.
In terms of this afternoon/evening's pre-second-skate news...
Updated 2x at 5:56 PM: The timing fits, per the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Beloved net-front expert Tomas Holmstrom has told the Red Wings he's done playing in the NHL after 15 seasons, and naturally for a guy who helped them win four Stanley Cups, the Wings want to give Holmstrom a proper farewell.
That's been a bit tricky, what with a rushed training camp which started at Compuware because Joe Louis Arena was occupied by Ford Motor Company, and the possibility that Mike and Marian Ilitch want to be on hand for the event.
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