The Malik Report
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner explains why enforcer Triston Grant hasn't taken to the ice with his former team:
Grant, 31, played two seasons with the Griffins – including the Calder Cup Trophy season of 2013 – before spending last season in Milwaukee. He came back and signed a one-year contract July 6, but about a week later suffered an upper-body injury in an off-the-ice incident.
That has him in a neck brace and watching the Griffins practices. Grant, who did not want to discuss specifics of the injury, hopes to resume skating in about three weeks.
"I'm hoping late November, early December," he said. "I really expect to hope to miss no more than 20 games or so - not the best situation but injuries are part of the game."
The hard-working 6-foot-1, 221-pound left wing was a fan favorite during his two seasons with the Griffins when he combined for 10 goals and 299 penalty minutes.
Last season in Milwaukee he enjoyed his most productive scoring output with 13 goals and 26 points, along with 123 penalty minutes, in 73 games.
Of note from ESPN today:
In an Insider-only column, ESPN's Craig Custance ranked NHL goalies into tiers based on general managers' comments, and Jimmy Howard brings up the rear in the 2nd tier:
20. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings (2.86 average rating)
Last year: No. 14 (2.33 average rating)
AAV: $5.29 million
Howard dropped out of the middle of the pack, but remains in the second tier despite losing his starting job down the stretch and in the playoffs to Petr Mrazek.
If there was a comment that captured the consensus on Howard, it’s this one from a GM: “I like him better than a lot of people.”
Updated 9x at 12:23 PM: The Red Wings take on the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (7 PM EDT; audio on DetroitRedWings.com), and the Penguins have good news on the video front...
As well as tonight's tentative lineups:
The Red Wings battle the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening (7 PM EDT; audio on DetroitRedWings.com, ROOT Sports), and if Tuesday's practice stories were any indication, Jakub Kindl's going to receive another chance to impress his new coach.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff also spoke with Kindl for an article published on Hockeybuzz, and Kindl was blunt about his lot in life last season:
“I always tried to stay confident, even when I wasn't playing in the past, but again, it's not easy,” Kindl said. “So I know how to deal with those things. But again, I'm even more comfortable this year and coming to the rink even more relaxed than I did in the past and enjoying myself.”
Frustration did set in at times for Kindl and he especially pointed to a March 24 game against Arizona when he produced a goal and an assist, and then was a healthy scratch for the next nine games until the final game of the regular season against Carolina.
“Yeah, I don’t know, you tell me, how often it happens a guy puts up two points or had a good game and the next thing you know he sits for 10 games?” Kindl asked. “But that’s in the past. I don’t want to have that in my mind. I’m just excited for this new chance.”
Coach Blashill's willing to give Kindl an honest chance:
“I think every year is different for every player, in both ways,” Blashill said. “Sometimes when it hasn’t gone as well there’s a chance to have a good year and vice versa. You can never rest on your laurels in this league because somebody is always chasing you from behind. I think Kindl has good ability, he needs to continue to execute at a high level. He has so far.”
Duff continues, and:
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...
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.