The Malik Report
Updated 7x at 12:53 AM on Sunday: As it turns out, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen had it down pat. The Red Wings just released their 2013 regular season schedule (per Stephen Brooks on Twitter, the Wings' "calendar view" has national TV info up already) and, as the Free Press's Helene St. James duly noted, this is a 48-games-in-99-nights marathon.
I can assure you that the enormous number of back-to-back games, the fast-and-furious level of injuries, personnel moves, the ups and downs of huge wins and devastating losses combined with no emotional recovery time and the intensity of competition will be just as mentally and emotionally exhausting for fans as it is for players and the media, and the mad dash for 8 playoff spots will probably go down to the season's final days for the vast majority of the league's teams, Detroit included, even if the Wings do a fantastic job of bolstering the lineup at or slightly before the April 3rd trade deadline.
In any case, here's the schedule, which includes 11 sets of back-to-back games, an away-and-still-away pair of games against the Ducks, five "West Coast Swings" and a pair of four-game road trips in late March and the middle of April:
Updated at 10:14 PM: Good evening. How was your afternoon? Did you enjoy the weather if you live in Michigan? Or watch football? I tried to wait out the ridiculously appropriate delays in the passage of the "Memorandum of Understanding," the NHLPA's ratification of the CBA (I think that many of those abstentions were de-facto "no" votes), and then I took a nap.
A couple hours and two panic attacks later, it appears that the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's news regarding tomorrow's training camp session t Compuware Arena slated to start at
1:45 PM make that 12 PM with doors open at 11 M, parking free and concessions stands open are as certain as can be, it remains incredibly likely that DetroitHockeynet.'s Clark Rasmussen's 2012-2013 schedule is as right as rain, Pavel Datsyuk was himself at the KHL's All-Star Skills Competition, and the Wings have invited Mike Knuble to camp*...
And the Free Press's Helene St. James reports today's most important piece of information: while Darren Helm is banged-up, everybody passed their physicals. Given what happened with Greg Johnson a couple of years ago, that's great news.
Here's St. James' status report regarding the Wings' collective health and the fact that Pavel Datsyuk has to take a physical when he comes back to Detroit on Monday:
Updated 2x w/ lots of analysis at 9:55 PM: MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings have decided to give 40-year-old Mike Knuble a thank-you for helping out the Grand Rapids Griffins...and they're giving him a chance to finish his career with the team he wanted to finish his career playing for:
Veteran forward Mike Knuble, 40, will be attending Detroit Red Wings training camp on a tryout.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound right wing had six goals and 12 assists in 72 games for the Washington Capitals last season.
He is longshot to earn a spot on a crowded roster that includes 14 healthy forwards, plus Patrick Eaves, who will start the season on injured reserve due to a concussion. The Red Wings also have a few apparently NHL-ready forwards with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
But Knuble believes he still has some hockey left in him.
Good for him, and I hope he makes the roster!
Update: Okey dokey, here are some thoughts about the invite:
Updated with a Jordin Tootoo profile at 3:42 PM: As TSN's Bob McKenzie suggested a little earlier this morning, once the NHL and NHLPA reach their "memorandum of understanding" (perhaps better defined as a North Korea-vs-South Korea-style "detente" as opposed to a peace treaty) today, there's no doubt that player personnel moves will be coming down the pipe in fast and furious fashion, but until the NHLPA doulbe, triple and quadruple-checks its votes...
We're kind of at a standstill in terms of finding out about the NHL's 2013 season schedule--or, on this blog, as the 2013 schedule as it applies to the Red Wings--and the Wings' plans regarding training camp, as outlined by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, will remain "tentative" and "preliminary."
In the interim, here are a few stories to tide the news-ravenous Wings fan over, starting with an update regarding the Grand Rapids Griffins' Great Skate:
The KHL's All-Star Game skills competition took place today in Chelyabinsk, and if you're interested, a little birdie sent Paul and I a video of the shootout event--with Red WIngs forward Pavel Datsyuk showing up around the 7:45 mark...
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers news regarding the Red Wings' training camp plans, and updates will follow Kulfan's report:
Nothing announced officially from the Red Wings yet, that will come later today, but details regarding the team's Compuware Arena have emerged.
The Red Wings will take the ice Sunday from noon to 1:45 p.m. at the NHL rink with doors opening at 11 a.m.
Monday they'll skate from noon to 1:45 p.m. at the NHL rink with doors opening at 11 a.m., followed by a intra-squad scrimmage Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., again at the NHL rink, with doors opening at 5 p.m. (with three 20-minute periods during the scrimmage).
In the words of my father, I feel like an "old fart" for saying this, but a month short of my 35th birthday, I'll let those of you who are too young to remember the 1994-95 season know the best and worst parts of a truncated 48-game schedule:
The best part is that it is a seemingly endless 3-month run of games, games, more games, injuries galore thanks to the condensed schedule and a rush of personnel moves between the ratification of the CBA and the trade deadline, all with a heavy dose of a full playoff run from May to the end of June heaped on top.
The worst part is that there's no recovery time from the ups, downs, injuries, personnel moves or anything else, so neither player nor fan can keep up with all that's going on, nor can they really emotionally digest it. It's great short attention span theatre, but it's also surprisingly emotionally draining, because it's like three months spent in the hockey fan mosh pit.
On Friday (and before we begin, don't forget about the Grand Rapids Griffins' "Great Skate" event tonight!) we learned that:
This isn't usually TMR stuff, but I'm gonna be blunt here: while I am very, very happy that there is going to be some sort of 2012-2013 NHL season, and I'm grateful for the fact that I'm going to be able to see my Red Wings play in January instead of waiting until September...
I'm still pissed off about the just-ended lockout. Really, really pissed off. I'm starting to replace my, "Hopeful but not optimistic" line about the CBA with, "It will take time to heal" when my friends and family members ask me what I think about the lockout ending (or, far too annoyingly often, being asked about the fact that the "strike is over"). I'm not among the number of NHL fans that jumped up and down and cheered because--as Michael Caples, put it, NHL hockey is finally joining the 2012-2013 season party.
Around 5:30 AM EDT last Sunday, I didn't check Twitter on my phone, hop out of bed and cheer. Instead, I railed against the utter, complete ridiculousness and needlessness of the proceedings, the ego wars, the Kabuki theatre, and as you might expect, my belief that the owners and Chairman have some 'splaining to do in the form of ensuring that we have witnessed our last "work stoppage" (at least of Bettman's reign, if not in terms of "last in league history").
So I'm all with Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller here, as quoted by the Associated Press:
The condensed 2013 schedule for the Detroit Red Wings will see them play on consecutive days twelve times, with those 24 games counting for fully half of their 48-game slate.
Of the twelve times, four sets are in the same city. The Red Wings host the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings on February 9 and 10, the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks on February 23 and 24, the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche on March 31 and April 1, and the Kings and Predators on April 24 and 25.
They also play four times with less than 24 hours between games.
You can view the full schedule here.
Red Wings fans have known, one way or another, how they and their team would tearfully bid farewell to a certain Swedish net-crashing forward and move on without him for some time now, but while we're over half a year removed from Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement press conference, Wings fans and their team still don't seem to know how the team will perform without #5 on the ice.
To some extent, Lidstrom's absence may be cushioned as thickly as Tomas Holmstrom's soon-to-be-retired hockey pants by the utter insanity of a 48-game season mashed into three short months.
We certainly know that the Wings' organizational decision involved swinging and missing on Ryan Suter, and then simply waiting for CBA negotiations and the perhaps inevitable lockout to play out, only adding Carlo Colaiacovo as a low-risk, last-minute addition, and the Wings are indeed in very good position in terms of cap room to spend and depth forwards to spare, but given Ken Holland's tendencies, I think that it's equally likely that the performances of the current members of the Red Wings' blueline will determine how Holland, Jim Nill and the team's braintrust choose to bolster their reserves much closer to April 3rd than January 19th.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff has witnessed what's transpired when certain teams whose systems of play were built upon foundations of defenseman-led puck possession including once-in-a-generation players, and he isn't overly thrilled with the prospects of a team whose top defensive pair consists of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson...
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.