The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note: The theme of the day is "Did Not Play."
In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in SKA St. Petersburg's 4-1 loss to Dynamo Riga;
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo didn't play in TPS Turku's 4-0 win over KalPa;
And in the Swedish SHL, Christoffer Ehn didn't register a point in BIK Karlskoga's 3-2 win over Vasteras IK, so, per DRW Prospects on Twitter:
NHL.com offered a note that reminds me that things get buried in the practice thread from time to time, and this stuff is in fact worth its own topic. The Wings received updates on the respective statuses of Teemu Pulkkinen (upper-body injury), Mike Green (groin) and Darren Helm (separated shoulder/concussion), and the news, from MLive's Ansar Khan, is mixed:
Defenseman Mike Green (groin) stated for the second day in a row Tuesday. Blashill is hoping to play him on Friday.
"Put a full practice in today, which was good, feel pretty much 100 percent," Green said.
Teemu Pulkkinen skated briefly wearing a gray non-contact jersey, so he's not ready to return on Wednesday.
Blashill said he's hoping Darren Helm (concussion, separated shoulder since Sept. 18) can start skating by the end of the week.
"Hopefully get him in position where he can go full next week," Blashill said. "Helmer will not get a game before the regular season. He'll skate at best by the end of the week and then have a good week of practice. What I want for Helmer to be able to play is to have a couple of good practices under his belt. He's a player I think can do that."
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"I think both have played really, really well, which is what my thought process was going in," Blashill said. "We have two guys that both have proven at different times to be elite and both can be elite.
"We'll keep watching them and either create separation or as it has been so far, both played really well."
To the team's benefit, this is no ugly Dominik Hasek-Curtis Joseph scenario from a decade ago, when Joseph refused to speak to Hasek. Neither Howard nor Mrazek have that kind of personality.
"Him and I are good friends, we get along great, and we want the best for both each other," Howard said. "It's just one of those friendly competitions, pushing each other because it's only going to make our team better."...
Things always can change, but as it stands now, it would seem Howard has earned the right to open the 2015-16 season when the Wings host Toronto on Oct. 9. Should Mrazek be the man, Howard likely would appear Oct. 10 at Carolina. There are four sets of back-to-backs between opening night and Halloween, with more to come in November. Neither Howard nor Mrazek will lack for playing time.
Update: St. James posted a video of Howard's comments...
This comes from the Hockey News and Red Wings writer Keith Gave:
After reading in a Toronto newspaper that the Red Wings planned to honor former coach Mike Babcock when he brings his Toronto Maple Leafs to Joe Louis Arena to open a new hockey season, I asked Detroit GM Ken Holland for some details.
He offered none because, officially, there is no such plan. Yet.
“I said we’re thinking about doing something,” Holland said before the Wings opened their preseason recently against Chicago.
Good. As long as this idea is in the developing stage, maybe the Wings will consider this suggestion: Don’t.
Seriously, isn’t stroking that immense ego behind the Leafs bench Toronto’s challenge now? How many more words of honest appreciation for a job fairly well done the past 10 years are needed? Holland has said it repeatedly for the past year while he tried to sign Babcock to a contract extension. So have Babcock’s players in Detroit, though clearly it nearly made some of them nearly gag in mid-sentence.
The Detroit-Toronto rivalry is one of the longest and most colorful rivalries in the NHL, and it’s been dormant far too long. So some of us, perhaps naively, figured Babcock’s defection to the Leafs might be kickstart the intensity level, especially since the teams meet more regularly as adversaries in the Eastern Conference.
That’s why it was so galling to see Babcock – the brand new coach of the Leafs – holding his tearful farewell news conference inside the Red Wings’ dressing room. If that’s not unprecedented, it’s certainly blasphemous to anyone who respects and appreciates the passion, and occasional vitriol, that has punctuated this rivalry over the decades.
Continued, and if I may be blunt, the concept that Babcock doesn't deserve to receive a stick-tap from the franchise he helmed for 10 years for the "sake of the rivalry" is making a Himalaya out of a molehill.
ESPN's Craig Custance has picked a "hinge player" for every Eastern Conference team, and his Insider-only entry spotlights a new Red Wing:
Detroit Red Wings: Mike Green
The Red Wings are paying him like a No. 1 defenseman one season after Barry Trotz and the Capitals decided Green was better suited down in the lineup. But he fills a big need in Detroit, a team that could use some creativity on the back end. Niklas Kronwall is the steady veteran who makes great decisions. Danny DeKeyser is the next really good Detroit defenseman whose skating and vision make him highly efficient in jump-starting the Red Wings' transition. The Red Wings just lacked that dynamic offensive playmaker until they added Green.
Health has always been an issue with Green, and we'll guess that won't change as he starts heading toward 30 years old. He doesn’t need to be a 70-point producer the way he was under Bruce Boudreau; if he puts up double-digit goals and 50-plus points, the Red Wings will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Updated 11x at 4:17 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:30 AM this morning, and MLive's Ansar Khan reported good news of a sort regarding Teemu Pulkkinen's upper-body injury:
Wings' Teemu Pulkkinen (upper body injury) skating today in gray non-contact jersey. Mike Green on ice for second day in row.
Looks like Pulkkinen only around for warmups. He left the ice before they started drills, the group that didn't play last night.
At least Pulkkinen's skating.
Meanwhile, in the land of fantasy hockey, NHL.com's Matt Cubeta is making "bold predictions" for each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams...
For the first time in years, there's an unknown behind the bench. Blashill replaces Babcock after piling up wins in the AHL, including a Calder Cup in 2013. The Red Wings believe they've got the next Jon Cooper and didn't interview anyone else for the head job. It was going to be either Babcock or Blashill, and Holland sees similarities between the two. "I think Blash believes that a lot of things Mike Babcock did were the way you want to see a team play," Holland said. There will be a learning curve, but those who played for Blashill swear by him and the veterans on the team sound like they were ready for a new voice. The other unknown is in goal, where Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek will battle for playing time. Howard lost the job to Mrazek down the stretch last season and in the playoffs. Mrazek earned the respect of teammates with his performance against the Lightning. "I feel like he doesn't care if it's the playoffs or it's street hockey," said Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar. "He just does his job and is enjoying it."
There's talent throughout the lineup and motivation to prove they weren't a product of Babcock's coaching last season. The goaltending competition is an area of concern, but this team is poised for a strong season if Howard or Mrazek seizes the opportunity. Second in the Atlantic Division
Which continues, video interview with Tomas Tatar included:
The second article, by Mike Brophy, discusses Tomas Tatar's desire to become an integral player, conversation about Ken Holland included...
"It all depends on how much playing time you get," Tatar said. "The first year I didn't get much time on the ice and same with the second year, but I built a trust with the coach and he put me out for certain moments. I still think we have certain leaders they turn to first and I am more than happy to watch how they do things. I am still learning from these players. I do want to have a bigger impact every year."
Tatar carefully considered when asked if he might one day replace Zetterberg and Datsyuk as the Red Wings' top producing forward.
"It is tough to say," he said. "Those guys to me are superstars. They have been in the League so long. I would love to one day be there, but so far I am happy those guys are still on the team so I can pick up more experience."
Holland said it is important to manage expectations of emerging players. Just because a player scores 29 goals one season, it does not mean he'll automatically improve to 39 or 40 the following year.
"Thirty goals is a lot of goals," Holland said. "If he can just continue to be a 30-goal scorer year after year after year, that's pretty hard to do in the NHL. When you go from 19 goals to 29, teams start paying a lot more attention to you. If you told me Tatar and Gustav Nyquist (27 goals last season) were going to score around 30 a year every year, I'd take that and run. It's hard to do."
And the third article is a position-by-postion discussion of the Red Wings' roster and coaching staff from Harris:
from Paul Harris at NHL.com.,
Here are three X-factors that will help determine whether Detroit can make the postseason and go on a run:
Mike Green's impact: The Red Wings have lacked an offensive defenseman with a right-handed shot the past few seasons.
They got one in Green, 30 on July 1, when they signed him to a three-year contract reportedly worth $18 million.
"He's got elite skill," Blashill said. "It's one thing to be an offensive defenseman and have good offensive skill, he's got elite offensive skill. The right shot has been talked about lots over the years. I think more importantly than the right shot is the skill set he brings. It's going to be fun to watch."...
Pavel Datsyuk's return: Datsyuk can begin skating in early October, general manager Ken Holland said, after surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle on June 26.
Datsyuk met with his surgeon last week and was optimistic about the update he received.
"Great News! Had a good doctor visit," Datsyuk wrote on his verified Twitter account. "... See you soon back in Detroit."
The Red Wings expect the 37-year-old center to play by mid-November.
Though Datsyuk has been plagued by injuries as he has gotten older and doesn't generate quite as many highlight-reel plays as he once did, he remains one of the NHL's elite performers. He had 26 goals, 39 assists and a plus-12 rating in 63 games in 2014-15....
New coach: Though this is Blashill's first season as an NHL coach, he isn't completely new to the League. He was an assistant on Mike Babcock's coaching staff with Detroit in 2011-12....
more on each of the three factors...
The Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Monday evening, receiving strong performances from Jimmy Howard (31 saves), Xavier Ouellet (+3 in a team-leading 22:14) and Tomas Jurco (a goal and an assist) to assuage for a 4-3 OT loss to the same Bruins this past Saturday.
For the Bruins, Monday's affair was about ironing out kinks in the team's game and in Tuukka Rask's performance--as Rask made his first appearance--and BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj reveals that, had this been a regular season game, the 3-0 goal would have yielded a coach's challenge...
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.