The Malik Report
Red Wings pre-Zetterberg announcement mashup: Datsyuk muses about Russian return, injury updates etc
Updated 2x at 4:36 PM: As you and I wait for official confirmation that the Red Wings have named Henrik Zetterberg their new captain, and we either make our way to Compuware Arena for tonight's 6 PM scrimmage (on Fox Sports Detroit and WXYT AM), I thought I might try to offer you some tide-you-over observations and comments regarding the news stories that got stuck in the practice post and were otherwise not mentioned:
- First, I don't know if you caught this, but the Wings' $9 ticket announcement also suggested that the only event open to the public on Thursday will be the Wings' 7 PM scrimmage at Joe Louis Arena. I don't know if they're still planning on opening the rink up for the 10:30 AM practice on Thursday, and I'll have to check that out;
- Second, he's not our "Happy Hudler" anymore, but it was very sad to hear that Jiri Hudler's father passed away. Hudler's dad had a liver transplant during the last lockout, so he'd been battling some severe health issues for an extended period of time.
- In the "sensational news" department, Pavel Datsyuk won't be taking part in today's scrimmage, but he did practice with the team this morning, and then he suggested to the media that he would consider ending his hockey career in Russia, as noted by the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings will once again afford fans the opportunity to attend a home game for the low price of just $9 a seat this season. These specially-priced tickets for all 2012-13 home games will go on sale this coming Saturday, January 19 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office only. Fans electing to take advantage of this offer will be able to purchase a maximum of four (4) tickets to a maximum of four (4) games while quantities last.
via a Calgary Flames release.
It is with deepest sympathies we advise that the father of Flames’ player Jiri Hudler, Jiri Hudler Sr., passed away Monday January 14, 2013, in the town of Olomouc, Czech Republic. Mr. Hudler was 50 years of age. Funeral services are being planned for Friday, January 18th in Olomouc, Czech Republic. More information on memorial services will be provided when available.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Jiri and his family, and as he grieves his loss our Flames family will be here to support him."
Calgary Flames General Manager, Jay Feaster
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill did not attend the Red Wings' summer prospect camp for a family-related reason, and that reason involved a serious medical issue with Blashill's young son Owen. Now that things have been resolved, Blashill's leading the Griffins slowly but surely toward their first playoff-bound season in ages, and Grand Rapids' Fox 17's Steve Amrose spoke to Blashill about an issue very literally close to Owen's heart.
Note video below is autoplay.
ESPN’s Custance offers five questions/issues whose answers will tell the Red Wings’ 2013 season tale
Updated with two more Wings previews at 12:26 PM: This slightly dippy blogger (early mornings =/= my favorite) stuck NHL.com's Red Wings preview in the overnight report, and this morning's chatter from Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson regarding their injuries, as well as one Pavel Datsyuk's future plans were jammed into the morning skate post, so let's try to change things up with ESPN's Craig Custance's Red Wings preview.
Custance believes that can and probably will remain a playoff team, but he suggests that the Wings face five critical question-mark issues whose answers will determine their 2013 season's fate.
Amongst those questions and/or suppositions:
1. Brendan Smith Needs To Be Ready: When it was clear Lidstrom wasn't coming back, at least there was a strong contingency plan. The Red Wings could make a run at college defensive prospect Justin Schultz and sell him on seizing Lidstrom's lost minutes. Then they would sign free agent Ryan Suter and bring up Smith. Lidstrom is irreplaceable, but that trio would have come pretty close. Instead, Schultz signed with Edmonton and Suter joined the Wild. That leaves Smith. More than ever, they need the longtime prospect not only to play but to contribute significantly. "What they've told me is they want me to be an impact player," Smith told ESPN The Magazine. "They don't want me to fly under the radar and just be another defenseman there. They want me to play minutes and produce. That's what I want."
Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji wrote an excellent article discussing the state of the Red Wings' defense, speaking to Wings coach Mike Babcock, new captain Henrik Zetterberg, youngsters Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl, would-be top pair defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and alternate captain Niklas Kronwall about the state of the team's somewhat thin defensive corps.
She found that Kronwall is taking something of a stand regarding those who suggest that the Wings' Lidstrom and Stuart-less blueline will serve as its Achilles' heel:
"I think in here we truly believe that we have the right pieces, and hopefully, that's something we'll show you here in the next few games," Kronwall said.
Babcock has never been one to focus on what the Wings don't have. He's thinking there's an opportunity available for anyone who wants to take it.
"Nick played 23-4-5 minutes and Stuie played 23-4-5 minutes, so there's a ton of ice time right there for somebody to grab hold of," Babcock said. "I think there's going to be huge growth, obviously, in Kronwall and (Jonathan) Ericsson. But Q (Kyle Quincey) is a guy who can really take a step for us. Whitey (Ian White) had a pretty good year last year. (Jakub) Kindl, (Carlo) Colaiacovo, (Brendan) Smith, what are they going to grab?"
A lot of the load is going to fall on Kronwall, who turned 32 on Jan. 12. He's now the grizzled veteran on the blue line.
"Of course, now with Nick being gone and Stuie being gone, obviously, it's going to be maybe a little more responsibility," Kronwall said. "But at the same time, I have to try to go out there and play my game, not try to over exaggerate anything or try to do too much because that's how you end up in trouble."
Continued, and the article's worth your time.
Updated 9x at 12:17 PM: The Detroit Red Wings are preparing for tonight's Red vs. White scrimmage (6 PM on Fox Sports Detroit and WXYT 1270 AM; the scrimmage is free and open to the public, with free parking and concession stands open, and doors will open at 5, but general admission + 3,400-seat rink = arrive earlier than 5 PM if possible) via an early-morning skate at Compuware Arena today.
This post will attempt to cover its Tweet-by-Tweet news updates, starting with the following from WXYZ's Brad Galli, and two in-progress Tweets from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
The Free Press's George Sipple confirms...
This morning, 97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger wonders aloud whether free access to training camp and a 36-hour window of tickets available for purchase minus Tickemaster fees, starting on Thursday, will give Red Wings fans enough reasons to forgive the NHL's lockout trespasses and "stick with" the team. He asked several Wings players about their thoughts on the uphill battle that is healing the damage done to their relationsihp with Detroit die-hard hockey fans, and here are their thoughts on the subject:
Dan Cleary- “I don’t know, probably not! We’ve upset a lot of fans, we’ve extremely P.O’ed the fickle fan and we really annoyed the huge fan. Our job as players is to put a good product on the ice, sign an extra autograph, more autographs if you can, whatever… I don’t know! With the shortened season it’s going to be hard to do a lot of appearances. All I know is that our team will work hard represent the jersey proudly and our fans will come back and support us.”
Jimmy Howard felt for the fans during the lockout-“Whenever you get a chance to sign an autograph for someone or take a photo you definitely should. They have been stuck in the middle here throughout the whole lockout process and if you ask anybody in here we feel really bad about what we did to the fans. We definitely need them, that’s what drives the Joe every time we play there, that’s what makes it so much fun.”
Updated with NHL.com's Red Wings preview at 3:54 AM: The Detroit Red Wings will begin their last day of training camp held at Compuware Arena this morning bright and early, taking to the ice at 9:30 AM for a 45-minute-long practice before heading home for a game-day nap and returning to the rink (again, the event is open to the public, admission is free and parking is free) for a 6 PM Red vs. White scrimmage between members of the Red Wings and Griffins' organizations (which will air on Fox Sports Detroit and WXYT, and if you are going, plan on showing up closer to 4 than when the doors open at 5, because general admission in a 3,400-seat rink means first come, best seat).
The format allows the Wings to both begin to re-acclimate their bodies to a "morning skate and game" format while also allowing the players to finally compete against each other--and the prospects who want to take some of their jobs sooner, and some of their jobs later--before enjoying a welcome respite from on-ice work to rest those groins on Wednesday.
Tomorrow, the Wings will work out off the ice at Joe Louis Arena, but they're going to press the "repeat Tuesday's schedule" button at the Joe on Thursday (again, public admission, free parking, concessions stands open, the whole shebang) for a 10 AM practice and a 7 PM scrimmage (this time an intrasquad one, because the Griffins have game in Charlotte to fly to) and on Friday, the Wings will hold a 12 PM practice and fly to St. Louis to begin the season on Saturday night.
Is a 48-game season a ‘sprint?’ Yes, but it’s also an attention-to-detail-oriented demolition derby!
Scotty Bowman now works as a senior advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks, but the man who won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings pushed the team to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance under his tenure during the abbreviated 1994-1995 season.
So Scotty definitely knew what he was talking about when the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel asked Bowman to discuss the nature of the 48-game NHL season to come, and Scotty seems to agree with his former colleagues in Detroit--Wings GM Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock--in suggesting that teams are not facing a "sprint" to the playoffs, but, instead, a full-contact demolition derby of 48 games over the course of all of 99 nights.
Injuries, call-ups, trades, fatigue and short shifts, oh my? Damn straight:
“The teams that have guys playing on their farm teams who can come up and play on the fourth line at the N.H.L. level will have an advantage,” Bowman said. His club was spared injury problems in ’95, and he says he expects teams to use four offensive lines as often as possible rather than three, to keep the forwards fresh.
In 1995, Bowman made sure his Red Wings took quicker shifts by drilling them on one of the game’s subtleties, changing on the fly.
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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.