The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings open their 2014-15 season tonight against the Boston Bruins (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/TVA Sports/NESN/97.1 FM).
The Bruins come into town having defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in their home opener Wednesday, and aside from not having David Krejci's services (Colin Campbell's not on the roster because he failed his physical), the Bruins are healthy; as you know by now, the Red Wings will probably scratch Daniel Cleary and Stephen Weiss and definitely play without Pavel Datsyuk as the team begins a busy October schedule (the Wings host Anaheim on Saturday, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Night; the Wings host Boston a week from Wednesday as well, and play 10 games over the course of 23 October nights)...
And Mike Babcock hopes to stop talking about his contract status, which the media will kindly do so for him and his general manager after Ken Holland makes the radio rounds today.
Two Red Wings prospects took part in games on Wednesday, but Major Junior and European pro leagues are into their second months of play, NCAA Division I hockey is just getting underway, Marek Tvrdon and Jared Coreau joined the Toledo Walleye ahead of a pair of back-to-back preseason tilts for the Wings' ECHL affiliate, and the Grand Rapids Griffins open their 14-15 season with a set of home-and-home games against Lake Erie on Friday (at home) and Saturday, so things are about to get particularly busy in the prospect department.
In Europe, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin (that's how SKA St. Petersburg is spelling Kadeykin) didn't take part in SKA St. Petersburg's 5-2 win over Medvescak Zagreb, but he scored a goal in SKA's previous game;
And on this side of the Atlantic, in the WHL, Marc McNulty registered an assist in the Prince George Cougars' 6-2 win over Lethbridge.
In the AHL, Griffins' demotions and the Wings' roster cuts have finally given Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill a sense of his team's opening-night roster, as he told WZZM 13's Katie L. Mundinger:
Edit/update: Three things became five (at 7:51 PM):
Here are three things of Red Wings, Griffins and Walleye-related note for your first-night-of-the-season enjoyment (and tomorrow night's opponent, the Boston Bruins, are taking on the Philadelphia Flyers on NBCSN presently);
1. At the NHL level, from TSN's Darren Dreger:
2. At the AHL and ECHL levels, from the Grand Rapids Griffins:
Updated w/ a superb article from Bill Roose at 4:17 PM: Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji's penned an article setting up the Red Wings' 2014-15 season through the eyes of the Wings' players, coach and GM...
"We're a group that's going to have to earn our way and earn our confidence," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't think anyone has got us pegged to win the President's Trophy, so we're going to have to grind."
The Wings are like many teams in that they are going to need good health and a little luck to advance deep into the playoffs.
"Probably 4-5 teams in the entire league that are the class of the league," Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "There's probably 20 teams that there's not a lot to choose from. We're in that group of 20."
Discussions about the steps the Wings' sophomores have to take...
Warning: There's a whole lot of Twitter embedding going on in this post post-jump:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery this afternoon, repeating some of the topics he discussed this morning and at the Wings' Wednesday morning practice, Bob Duff's commentary as opposed to his take on the GM-coach relationship, his take on the Wings' roster and his desire to remain with the Red Wings long-term (and Ken Holland is scheduled to speak with Dery tomorrow):
Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray and myself attempted to do a Twitter play-by-play of the interview...
The Red Wings are hosting Breast Cancer Awareness Night this Saturday, October 11th, and last week, WXYZ's Brad Galli noted that the fight against breast cancer is personal for Brendan Smith:
Today, DetroitRedWings.com's Alyssa Girardi discussed Smith's dedication to the cause...
Updated 12x at 3:25 PM:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock made the radio rounds this morning, and CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak reports that Babcock discussed the tiff regarding Xavier Ouellet's demotion on 97.1 FM's Stoney and Sara show:
“We go through this every single year at this time, so if it’s controversy today, it’d be 10 straight years,” Babcock said. “The bottom line is I’m a coach, so I’m an immediate gratification guy. I’ve got to win tomorrow. Ken Holland’s job is to look at the big picture. I think that’s why you balance each other out. But we’re real comfortable here. We’re both allowed to have an opinion. In the end, though, he makes that decision. That’s his call. In the end, I decide who goes on the ice during the game; that’s my call. So that’s just part of the process.
“People on the outside can make what they want of it,” Babcock continued. “This is what we go through each and every year. He’s got a business to run, and that’s what he’s doing, and I’ve got a team to coach, and I want the guys that are ready to go right away. We always get through this. [Gustav] Nyquist never started on our team last year. We’ve been going through this, like I said, for 10 years.”
Dunkak's summary continues, noting that Babcock also wants to remain in Detroit long-term:
Warning, warning, prepare for use of the strikethrough script for sarcasm's sake!
The Detroit Red Wings took part in a community relations tour, practiced and then the team's management decided to keep Andrej Nestrasil on the roster but demote Xavier Ouellet and Petr Mrazek--for the moment, anyway...
And the good news is that
Mike Babcock was at least pretty pissed off about demoting Ouellet, I mean Bernie Smilovitz is JUST starting to panic about Babcock's contract, I mean the Wings may in fact be trying to move Kindl before you get that cool new octopus tattoo, I mean before Breast Cancer Awareness Night on October 11th (seriously, take note of that one) sooner than later.
The Red Wings don't begin their regular-season campaign until they face off against the David Krejci-less Boston Bruins on Thursday (7:30 PM on FSD/97.1 FM/TVA Sports/NESN; Boston opens their season at home vs. Philadelphia this evening), and as the season previews continue to roll in and the Detroit sports media slowly shifts their focus from the Tigers' playoff run to the Wings (see Smilovitz note above), Ken Holland did indeed address the coaching situation and more at the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association's luncheon on Tuesday.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa was there as Holland offered the official 14-15 season outlook:
The majority of the Red Wings prospects in action on Tuesday were both taking part in games to determine "playoff spots" and they were taking part in the exhibition tournament known as the Champions League.
The good news is:
Julius Vahatalo didn't register a point, but TPS Turku defeated Linkopings HC 2-1 and will advance to the "playoff round," and Mattias Janmark didn't register a point but his Frolunda Indians defeated Villach SV 7-1, ensuring that TPS and Frolunda will play in the Champions League playoffs;
And the bad news(?) is that Axel Holmstrom didn't register a point as Skelleftea AIK lost 5-3 to IFK Helsinki, eliminating Skelleftea from the tournament.
In actual games that count news:
Kudos to the Red Wings' Community Relations department, because they've taken the Wings' annual corporate partner thank-you event and harnessed it for charitable purposes in the Hockeytown Thanks campaign. The Wings' Facebook page illustrates that the Wings visited Bottomless Toy Chest, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, the Lincoln King Academy and Alternatives For Girls (the Detroit News also posted a photo gallery from said events), and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose got up early with the Wings to thank both the team's corporate partners and give back to the community:
As the father of two boys under 3 years old, goalie Jimmy Howard was a perfect choice to represent the Red Wings in front of 22 very attentive kindergarten students Tuesday morning.
Howard was one of five Red Wings who descended on Lincoln King Academy of Cornerstone Schools where they read to kindergartners and first-grade students as part of the team’s third annual Hockeytown Thanks campaign.
The players, along with representatives from Flagstar Bank, were assigned a classroom where they read the “ABC’s of Detroit Red Wings Hockey” to the students, and afterwards, the players answered questions from the inquisitive groups.
“The questions are definitely the best with what they come up with and what they’re thinking, what’s going through their minds,” Howard said. “I get the same exact questions when I’m at home, so I was well prepared for today.”
The exchanges with the Red Wings’ goalie and the curious youngsters were delightful and predictably innocent. At one point, Howard was asked what it felt like to get hit with a puck. “It hurts,” he said with a laugh. “I wish I could wear more padding.
Roose continues at length...
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.