The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: It was another strong season for DeKeyser, his second full season in the league. He and Kyle Quincey formed what former coach Mike Babcock called the team's best and most reliable pairing.
Now DeKeyser must get accustomed to a different kind of partner in the offensive-minded Mike Green. It seems like a natural fit to pair these two. DeKeyser definitely will need to be on higher alert, since Green likes to take chances. DeKeyser should be up to the task; he has tremendous hockey sense, moves the puck quickly and doesn't make many mistakes.
DeKeyser faded a bit in the playoffs for the second year in a row, something that should improve with experience. He could add more weight to his relatively slight frame. If he's going to continue to see power-play time he should improve his shot.
Key question: Does DeKeyser have a bigger offensive upside?
“He's been coaching probably more than half of the guys in here so I think it will be an easy transition,” Zetterberg said. “Obviously he coached under Mike, too, and he's been in the Red Wings system for a while so I don't think it will that big a difference for us.
“I think he has a lot of knowledge. Obviously when he was here last time he was really fresh. I think the time he spent in Grand Rapids was really good. He did a tremendous job down there with the kids and you’ve been seeing the product of him, when you see players like Gus (Nyquist) and (Tomas) Tatar and (Riley) Sheahan and (Luke) Glendening, there’s so many guys that went through playing for him and won the Calder Cup with him, so we’re excited and just want to get it going.”
Zetterberg is of the belief that the change will do the Wings good.
“There’s a lot of guys in here who’ve been through the same stuff for many years,” Zetterberg said. “I think now with the new additions of (defenseman Mike) Green and (center Brad) Richards, and the new coach, it’s given us a little fresh start. Obviously it’s going to be a different voice behind the bench and sometimes you need that.”
This article from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness posits an "emptying the notebook" article in which Mike Green discusses playing with Danny DeKeyser and making the jump from Washington to Detroit:
“Great guy, great skater, moves the puck well,” Green said of DeKeyser. “Obviously playing against him, I know sort of just by watching him. I haven’t paid too close attention to his tendencies, but I’m sure I’ll get to learn him real quick here. I’m really excited to play with him. Great player, outstanding,” Green continued. “I’ve kept an eye on him. I’ve actually watched a little bit of tape online, just clips of him. I’m excited.”
Green doesn’t see it taking long to mesh his style of play with that of DeKeyser.
“It really depends,” said Green, who was given the stall next to Niklas Kronwall. “I’ve had partners where it’s taken us a little bit longer, but mostly with the sort of newcomers or young guys, it takes a little bit longer. But Danny’s an experienced guy and I’m sure we’ll connect right away and be able to sort of be cohesive out there in a short period of time.”
Green, who had a career high 31 goals in the 2008-09 season, slipped down the Capitals’ depth chart, falling to a third pairing, after they signed Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik for the 2014-15 season. He averaged just over 19 minutes of ice time, which was the lowest since his first full season in the league, and scored just 10 goals and had 35 assists in 72 games.
“Really just getting back out and competing,” Green said when asked what he’s looking forward to the most with the Wings. “That’s the fun part of the game. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against or what, just that competition. That’s what I’m really looking forward to, just a different style of play. Detroit plays a very puck-possession game and has some incredible players that can make some plays so I’m excited to play with these guys.”
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Via RedWingsFeed, WXYZ posted a video in which Henrik Zetterberg discussed Mike Babcock's departure...
2. From the Red Wings and Fox Sports Detroit, this is pretty dang cool:
from Mike Brophy at NHL.com,
"That is one of the reasons I decided to sign and leave college," Larkin said. "There is a new coach and there seems to be some older players who might be on their way out. I think it is a great opportunity for me to learn from them. Growing up in Detroit you hear so much about those guys. I have watched Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk my whole life, so to be in the same room as them would be an incredible experience."
With many of the core players on the Red Wings inching toward the end of their careers, the organization is hoping some skilled young blood can come in and make an impact. Datsyuk is 37 years old while Johan Franzen and newcomer Brad Richards are 35, and Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are 34.
Larkin, who grew up in Waterford, Michigan, was a big fan of the Red Wings as a kid.
"As long as I can remember, Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been on the team," he said, "so it has been pretty cool to be at Joe Louis Arena and Zetterberg has been out there a few times [at workouts]. It has been awesome skating with my hockey idol."...
Now he has his sights set on making the Red Wings.
"I'm pretty nervous," Larkin said. "I was told to come and compete and perform. It's hard to have a mindset when you don't know what to expect in terms of the workload there and the schedule. You just try to prepare by training properly and getting your sleep."
[Edit/upate: SI's Allan Muir also weighed in on Larkin's comments...
We've heard Henrik Zetterberg suggest that the Red Wings' players knew that Mike Babcock was leaving Detroit after his tenth season coaching the team, and now Babcock's suggesting that he also wanted to make a change in an interview with the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger:
“From a personal level, any time you’ve been in a place for 10 years and the kids have gone to elementary and high school in that spot, it’s a big change,” he said. “Now there’s been a mass exodus from that spot. The kids all left. We still have a residence in Michigan and we’re going to keep it but we sold our home.
“Now we’re living in Yorkville. We got ourselves a condo. I’ve never lived in a condo in my life. Don’t know anything about it. Don’t know if I’m going to like it or not. Toronto’s obviously a big city. It’s vibrant. People love hockey. That part has been exciting.”
Babcock said his wife Maureen will join him full-time in Toronto in about a month. Right now she is “in and out.” Babcock has made no secret of the fact that Maureen had a significant say in his final landing spot once he’d made up his mind to leave.
“In the end, my wife and my kids would have stayed in Detroit. They love it there. I was the guy who wanted to try something new.”
Babcock tells Zeisberger that it "would have been easier" to stay in Detroit, and he tells Zeisberger that he knows that playing against the Red Wings on October 9th will be very emotional, but he understands that things have changed:
During Babcock’s successful run in Detroit - one that included 10 consecutive playoff appearances and a Stanley Cup in 2008 - his best player arguably was the gifted Pavel Datsyuk. And while the two men remain close, friend has become foe now that Babcock is in Toronto.
“Pavel made it very clear to me he’s going to be very good when it comes to playing against Toronto,” Babcock said. “I don’t blame him.”
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
“I think he has a lot of knowledge,” Zetterberg said of Blashill. “When he was here last time he was really fresh. I think the time he spent in Grand Rapids was really good. He did a tremendous job down there with the kids and you’ve been seeing the product of him, when you see players like come up like Gus (Nyquist) and (Tomas) Tatar and (Riley) Sheahan and (Luke) Glendening. There are so many guys that went through playing for him and won the Calder Cup with him, so we’re excited and just want to get it going.”
The Wings also added through free agency defenseman Mike Green, a right-handed, power-play specialist, and another veteran presence in Brad Richards, who has his name on the Stanley Cup twice the last of which came last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Green is a right-handed shot, plays a lot on the power play, plays a lot of minutes and did a real good job in Washington,” Zetterberg said. “It’s kind of the defenseman we didn’t have, so it’s a nice addition for us. Also, Richards has been around for a long time, knows what it takes to go all the way and win and it’s going to be nice to have a veteran presence in the locker room.
“There are a lot of guys in here who’ve been through the same stuff for many years,” Zetterberg continued. “I think now with the new additions of Green and Richards, and the new coach, it’s given us a little fresh start. Obviously it’s going to be a different voice behind the bench and sometimes you need that.”
more from Zetterberg on Babcock and his new baby...
Former Red Wing and current Ottawa Senators scout Dennis Polonich gave an interview to the Hockey News's Mark Malinowski for a "getting to know you" article, and it's a solid read:
Greatest Sports Moment(s): “Obviously scoring my first NHL goal – Vaclav Nedomansky and Mickey Redmond assisted. I had two in my fifth game against the Colorado Rockies (Billy McKenzie was the goalie). Scoring a playoff goal against Ken Dryden. And being named captain of the Detroit Red Wings in ’76-77.”
Most Painful Moment: “I had two that stand out – Obviously, when I got hit across the face in ’78 by Wilf Paiement – it was a defining moment in my career, it changed the way I played. And when I was told by Jimmy Devellano that they weren’t going to sign me and my career with the Red Wings was done.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Oh boy, we had some of them on our team. Bryan ‘Bugsy’ Watson, Walt McKechnie, Dennis Hextall, we had a lot of fun. Playing against – Randy Carlyle – we had some comments back and forth. I used to get under the skin of the Broad Street Bullies, Andre ‘Moose’ Dupont, Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, we’d banter back and forth quite a bit.”
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Wings prospect Chase Pearson regarding his winding path toward the pro game, which involves playing for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms for one more season before heading to the University of Maine:
Once he gets to college, Pearson isn't sure how long he'll stay there. His ultimate goal is to follow his dad into the NHL and if pro hockey calls before he's finished with college, it will be hard to say no.
"It depends," he said. "Obviously, a degree would be nice but if Detroit thinks I'm ready to come play, my dream is to play in the NHL. So I would leave early and then finish my schooling. It was awesome being drafted by such a prestigious organization. Original Six. Established. It was an honor for me. Detroit is a great city and hopefully I'll be there soon."
2. Also in prospect news, Axel Holmstrom registered an assist in Skelleftea AIK's 5-2 win over Bili Tygri Liberec yesterday, earning Skelleftea a top-in-its-group ranking in the Champions Hockey League;
[Edit: Alexander Kadeikin also played 13:23 in SKA St. Petersburg's 4-3 loss to Metallurg NK today /end edit]
3. And the Free Press's Brian Mazullo had a little fun with Claude Lemieux's confirmation that he'll play in the Wings-Avs alumni game preceding next February's Stadium Series game:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Looking ahead: It’s already expected that Datsyuk’s off-season surgery will sideline him till November, but the arrival of veteran center Brad Richards, plus the possibility that prospect Dylan Larkin makes a case to be in Detroit, should lighten Zetterberg’s load this October.
It should be a priority to keep Zetterberg from being worn down — he’s such a tremendous two-way player, but he’ll celebrate his 35th birthday the night of the season opener (Oct. 9) and he’s got a lot of miles on him. The Wings need Zetterberg — his production and his leadership — to be successful in the playoffs, so the more the younger generation can step up and lighten his burden, especially during the regular season, the better all around.
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.