The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Mike Green regarding his status as possible for tomorrow night's game against Toronto as he recovers from an "upper-body injury":
Blashill said a determination on Green for Friday's game would be made following the morning skate at ACC.
“I’d rather be (out) one more game than put yourself in a bad situation and be out for seven,” Green said. “I’ll hopefully be back in a day or two.”
Thursday was Green’s first full practice with the team since his Oct. 23 injury at Calgary, though he sounded much more hopeful for a return in Sunday’s matinee when the Red Wings will host the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena.
“That was a good test, kind of do a little battling,” he said. “Then you can really gage where you’re at as far as strength. That’s sort of where I’m at right now, making sure I’m strong enough to compete. Battling in the corners, battling in front and once I’m there I’ll be ready.”
Roose continues with a preview of Sunday's home game against Dallas...
2. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Kyle Quincey regarding what's sounding like highly probable ankle surgery:
The most "warm fuzzy"-incuding moment came here:
Otherwise, Kyle Quincey suggested that he's leaning toward having surgery on his left ankle, and the beat writers reported that Pavel Datsyuk isn't quite ready to travel with the team yet, but the Free Press's George Sipple had good news about Mike Green...
MLive's Ansar Khan has more about Kyle Quincey's ankle issues and the possibility that #27 may need surgery--and it sure sounds like Quincey is leaning toward surgery:
Quincey said he'll see the doctor next week to determine if he needs surgery on his right ankle. If so, he estimated he'll be out about six more weeks. He hasn't been on the ice since Oct. 23.
If you recall, Quincey had bone spurs removed from his left ankle this past summer.
"It's very, very frustrating," Quincey said Thursday, after practice at the Taylor Sportsplex. "I felt I got off to a pretty good start dealing with it. We had a couple pictures done and they didn't like what they saw."
Quincey was talking as if he'll have the surgery but said that hasn't been determined. He said doctors aren't certain it's the same issue he had last season with the other ankle.
This one began bothering him the first day of training camp.
"It's been going on for a while, playing through a lot of pain," Quincey said. "Kind of be excited to hopefully clean it out and feel better. I was hoping that after playing through it that it would get slowly better over the season, but with this injury that won't be the case; it's only going to get worse and worse."
Update: Quincey also addressed his situation while speaking with the Free Press's George Sipple:
he Western Hockey League, in association with the Canadian Hockey League, announced today that Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Point and Victoria Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts will serve as captains for Team WHL in the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series, which begins Monday in Kelowna.
In addition, the WHL announced that Red Deer Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury and Calgary Hitmen blueliner Travis Sanheim will serve as alternate captains for Team WHL.
Hicketts will captain Team WHL on Tuesday, November 10th when the series shifts to his hometown of Kamloops and the Sandman Centre. The Detroit Red Wings prospect sits second amongst all defencemen in scoring so far this season with 19 points (1g-18a) through 18 games. It will also be the second trip to the series for Hicketts who registered a goal and an assist during the WHL leg of the event last year. Like Point, Hicketts was also a key member of the Team Canada team that won gold last year.
Hicketts will serve as an alternate captain on Monday, while Point will wear an ‘A’ on Tuesday.
Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Craig Custance examines the differences between Mike Babcock's systems of play and Jeff Blashill's systems--as well as the new coach's approach to fostering relationships with his players:
An NHL scout who has seen the Red Wings on multiple occasions under Blashill has only seen changes in recent games, where defensemen have been more aggressive in attempts to maintain possession in the offensive zone.
“They’re activating their D more the last couple games,” he said.
That observation checked out with Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.
“It’s different than Babs’ style,” Smith said. “It’s that new style, with a little bit more skating, more activation on the D side. It’s been a work in progress and it’s continued to get better. ... The first thing is familiarity and getting used to the system, we all like it. We just have to get better with it.”
Along the way, the Red Wings have looked like a team in transition at times, caught in between two systems. It’s not just the defense activating, it’s a team that is evolving its philosophy through the neutral zone. There’s an effort to get the puck through the neutral zone with more speed, to be more of a north/south team and cut down on some of the elaborate routes to get there.
Prashanth Iyer at the Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown also did a fascinating, exhaustive, examination of the defensive zone breakouts under Blashill.
Custance continues in the Insider-only entry...
In the past, the Detroit Red Wings found long-term success in partial thanks to a scouting department that unearthed gems like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk past the draft’s first round. That trend has continued in recent years. Tomas Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009, burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 29-goal season while Gustav Nyquist, a fourth-round pick in 2008, posted consecutive seasons of 28 and 27 goals.
It has been this ability to find new and fresh talent that has kept the Red Wings’ playoff streak alive and helped them to stave off the ugly rebuilding process that many franchises have gone through. The 2015-16 season should see a few new faces make contributions, though it may still be a year or two before the Red Wings see some of their bigger prospects become full-time players.
Left wing has a quality mix of size and talent across the board as well as a high-end prospect that could serve the Red Wings top-six well for years. Evgeny Svechnikov is the big name of the group, a 6’2 power forward with the hands to become a serious goal-scoring threat in the NHL. He had a standout season with Cape Breton in 2014-15, his first in North America. Svechnikov is the kind of big, physical body that teams across the league clamor for, and the Red Wings hope to make him a key contributor for years to come.
Keeping with the power forward theme, the Red Wings have a quartet of prospects that all fit that mold in one way or another. Andreas Athanasiou has the highest upside, a scoring machine in junior who has shown that he can continue to light the lamp at the professional level. He plays with enough edge that he should be able to at least get a long look in Detroit, if not become an effective third-line winger with elite speed.
Updated 3x at 11:55 AM: Green close, no starter named until Friday, Quincey may have surgery.
The Red Wings got back to work after a day off on Wednesday, practicing at the Taylor Sportsplex this morning, as the Free Press's George Sipple noted:
#Wings practice at Taylor Sportsplex http://vine.co/v/eL1EETVO9t1
MLive's Ansar Khan also reported in...
Same lines for #redwings at practice:
Datsyuk working in on top line. Jurco working in with bottom six. Richards (back) not skating.
Defense the same:
Green alternating with Marchenko.
Quincey (ankle) not skating.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported in as well...
"We're a 1-5 team and we don't compete (in Toronto)," [Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said as a statement, not a question. "I think, I'm hoping, that's rock bottom. We have to get ourselves out of this. We've done some soul searching and the guys have responded well this week."
Said veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch: "We just have to get back to basics, play a little simpler and a little harder and we'll have success. I think we've really taken the right approach this week and you'll see something Friday."
To this point of the season, however, the effort hasn't been enough to win, Paetsch said.
"I don't think we've worked hard enough in games and I don't think we've executed well enough," he said. "Sometimes you are thinking too hard rather than playing hard. Then you get a few losses ... and the schedule has been such where you wait a week, wait another week. It's dwelling on the losses."
From ESPN's Joe McDonald:
"He's one of the best I ever had," said Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman. "He was a great player. Sergei could do it all. He was one of the players you would want on the ice in the last minute."
Bowman compared Fedorov's ability to that of Hall of Famers Dit Clapper and Red Kelly."When he first came up, he was noted for unusually strong defensive play for a European player," Bowman said. "He didn't show the offense right away. He was such a great skater. He was an amazing player. He had a heck of a shot, too. He was a wonderful player to have on a team. He could do it all."
The Red Wings' defensive core was riddled with injuries one season, so Bowman decided to put Fedorov back on defense."He was the best defenseman in the league for a six-week period," Bowman said.
Continued, with comments from Wayne Gretzky and Chris Chelios...
According to the Free Press's Malowe Alter and MLive's Brendan Savage, the odds-makers still view Dylan Larkin as a Calder Trophy long shot. The Free Press's Helene St. James duly notes that Larkin is slowly but surely learning the NHL game as he goes...
The Detroit Red Wings took Wednesday off because they don't play until Friday at Toronto. A two-game winning streak has been spun for the first time since opening week, with Larkin netting the game-winning goal in each game. He has four goals and five assists in 12 games, and a best-among-rookies plus-10 rating.
"He has done a very good job. That is undeniable," coach Jeff Blashill said after Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over Atlantic Division rival Tampa Bay. "His impact on games has been very good. Does he have to get better at stuff? Absolutely. Our job as coaches is to continue to hold him accountable as he is having success, just like we hold everybody else accountable, and we will do that."
One reason Blashill moved Larkin from center back to wing was Larkin's struggles on face-offs. Blashill also said Larkin needs to get better at management of games and realizing when to forego a potential scoring chance if there is a greater chance of a giving up a scoring chance against.
The bottom line is, mistakes or weaknesses are forgiven as the points pile up. At 19, Larkin is tied for second on the team in goals and scoring. His most recent goal was a short wrist shot goaltender Ben Bishop undoubtedly rued, but one that didn't surprise teammate Jimmy Howard.
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.