The Malik Report
So you don't have to believe me, but I had a gut feeling that we wouldn't get to the start of the NHL season without something Swedish hitting the wires (to the point that I was peeking at Swedish hockey websites this morning), and my gut feeling was correct.
Via RedWingsFeed, Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom spoke with Henrik Zetterberg regarding the imminent NHL season, Zetterberg's status as a dad and of course the coaching change, and I needed a damn dictionary to roughly translate this one. I tried very hard to keep the colloquial stuff as basic as possible, and as close to a literal translation as possible, but there were times I had to gamble. So here goes:
Zetterberg: "His ideas concern us now"
Los Angeles. As captain, he's held the father's role for the Detroit Red Wings for three years.
Now Henrik Zetterberg is a real dad. When his wife Emma gave birth to the couple's first child, Love, in August, the hockey star's life changed.
"Yes, it's a little different now, and it's so neat now."
Now he's fully focused on the season's premiere on Friday night at home against Toronto. That same day, Zata will be 35 years old.
Much has changed for him before this season, both in private life and at work. The biggest event is of course the son Love Carl Zetterberg's birth.
"He was born on August 20th and it was a little fun with the name here in the U.S. in the beginning, but now people have gotten the way it's pronounced in Swedish," says Zata.
Updated 2x at 12:53 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
Jimmy Howard's spoken to the Detroit press regardindg his battle with Petr Mrazek for the starter's job in Motown, and his tone remains the same while speaking with the Bangor (Maine) Daily News's Larry Mahoney:
“I don’t think this preseason has been different than any other year,” said the 31-year-old Howard, who has a home on Green Lake in Dedham. “You’re always fighting for your position. There’s always a young guy who wants your job. It has been good. It has been healthy competition, and that’s good for the organization,” he said.
Howard posted a 3-0 record, a 2.00 GAA and a .942 save percentage during the preseason while the 23-year-old Mrazek was 2-0-1 with a 1.94 and a .942 save percentage.
“Things went well. I did everything in my power to give myself a chance to be the go-to guy. Now we’ll just have to see how everything shakes out,” Howard said.
The Grand Rapids Griffins are traveling a LONG way to begin their 2015-16 campaign, beginning the year with a game against the Bakersfield Condors on Friday and heading 232 miles south to San Diego for a game on Saturday.
The Wings' final roster machinations yielded the Griffins' first full practice on Tuesday, and both WOOD TV8 and Fox 17 reported from said practice, and it's very intriguing that Todd Nelson feels that he's got a leg up on the getting-to-know-the-team process because of the Griffins and Wings' roster continuity:
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa offered some of Ken Holland's comments from the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association's luncheon, and the Free Press's Mike Bruendell offers some quips from Holland that are quite telling:
“There’s no doubt there is a lot of energy around the locker room,” Holland, 59, said after the luncheon. “I would attribute it to new coach Jeff Blashill and to a team that had 100 points last season and lost out to Tampa Bay, who went to the Stanley Cup finals.
“No doubt, though, I can attribute it to the energy being brought in by Larkin, Bertuzzi and Athanasiou. Some of the veterans can sense they are pushing them. But, on the other hand, they sense that these young players are coming to help, and help make us better and help make us deeper.”
At the same time, Holland told Bruendell that Abdelkader, Helm, Nyquist, Tatar, DeKeyser, Smith and the Wings' "middle group" are the key to the Red Wings' success:
“That middle group of sorts — they are extremely important, not just in the short term, but in the long term,” Holland said. “We are lucky over time that they are going to carry the torch. With the addition of Mike Green and Brad Richards to support Hank and the other vets, it’s important that the group of players aged 24, 25 and 26 push for more responsibility on this team and more ice time — to force the coach to want to put you on the ice in a key situation.”
Bruendell continues, relating Holland's take on the new "boss of the team"...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Communication was often a one-way street with former coach Mike Babcock. Zetterberg anticipates more flexibility with Blashill.
"With the whole coaching staff, whether it's the power play, the PK or overall coaching I think it's going to be good communication," Zetterberg said. "Obviously, you will go through parts of the season when you won't agree, but that's hockey. As long as you're honest with each other and open with your thoughts."
Zetterberg has six years remaining on his contract but realizes this core, with the 37-year-old Datsyuk and 34-year-old Niklas Kronwall, doesn't have many more opportunities for a Stanley Cup run.
"We know our window is closing down even though we have a lot of years left," Zetterberg said. "You never know. You see young guys coming up and they're playing really well and eventually they'll take your job. It's a good thing for this organization, but you want to be part of it as long as you can. To be able to do that you have to take care of your body, work hard and perform."
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa attended the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' luncheon today, and in addition to posting a whole bunch of live Tweets from the event, Krupa penned a column regarding Ken Holland and Ryan Martin's comments at said event, including some surprising remarks regarding Dylan Larkin:
"That's the highest [draft pick] we've had since 1993," Holland said Tuesday at an annual lunch of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. "Probably if the draft was held today, he might go higher than 15th. He's certainly played himself into being a real top prospect for us."
Holland and Coach Jeff Blashill met Monday with the 19-year-old Larkin, of Waterford, who played last season for Michigan.
"We told him he made the team basically by what he has done since we drafted him," Holland said.
Since the draft, Larkin has been Big Ten Rookie of the Year and among the leading scorers in the nation. He represented the United States in the world junior championship and world championships, where he fared well in a checking role against a line, for Russia, of Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin.
"He followed it up with a great preseason," Holland said. "He's going to start Friday night. And I told him and I told Blash, too, we are going to monitor. He's really important to us. All of these young players are really important to us.
"I've tried to be as patient as I can with younger players," added Holland, recalling his years as a minor-league goalie when he saw too many players called up too early, ruining some careers, and the success Scotty Bowman had with late-career acquisitions like Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov and Larry Murphy. But, certainly, with Dylan Larkin, his maturity level is beyond his years."
Krupa continues with comments from Holland regarding the team's free agent additions, its goaltending and the team's overall goals...
The Red Wings were willing to trade Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman and a mid-round pick to the Dallas Stars for Erik Cole and a 3rd round pick (which became Vili Saarijarvi), and while Backman remained in Sweden this year, Janmark has become another "one who got away" as he's made the Stars' roster. The Dallas News's Mike Heika has more:
The Stars on Monday assigned Curtis McKenzie to the AHL and told Mattias Janmark he would be starting the season in the NHL.
It was the completion of an unlikely journey for the 22-year-old forward from Sweden. Janmark was acquired by the Stars from Detroit in the Erik Cole trade last spring, so he was unfamiliar with the organization. He has a contract with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League and figured he was going back there this year.
Instead, he was the Stars' best player at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, tallying six points in five games, and then played in six of seven preseason games, scoring two goals. Janmark was aided by the fact that young winger Brett Ritchie is out until December with a wrist injury, but he definitely earned his spot, beating out several strong players, including McKenzie, Remi Elie, Radek Faksa and Devin Shore.
"It's a great story," said Stars general manager Jim Nill. "We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds. It's a great example of what you can do if you just play hard."
Heika continues, and sometimes trades bite you in the butt...In this case, we'll have to see how Janmark develops as compared to Saarijarvi over the long haul to figure out who "won the trade."
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Ryan Martin appeared at a Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon at the Hockeytown Cafe today, and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa live-Tweeted the event:
ken holland and ryan martin at annual luncheon of detroit sports broadcasters' association, upstairs, hockeytown cafe.
live tweets, here.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan asked Pierre McGuire, Eddie Olczyk and Mike Emrick about Dylan Larkin's status as having made the Wings' NHL roster--as well as Jeff Blashill's qualifications--and the gentlemen replied as follows:
“I’m a big Dylan Larkin fan,” McGuire said. “Have been for a long time. What stood out to me was his speed, his two-step acceleration was as good or better than anybody’s in the (world junior) tournament, and Connor McDavid (No. 1 overall pick) was playing for Canada and Jack Eichel (No. 2 pick) was the captain of the American team and those are two of the leading candidates to be Rooke of the Year. Most people have to go through Grand Rapids before they get an opportunity to play in Detroit. Dylan Larkin is beyond that. He’s going to be a phenomenal player in Detroit for a very long period of time and has a legitimate chance to rival both McDavid and Eichel to be Rookie of the Year in the NHL.”
Larkin, a Waterford native who starred at Michigan his only collegiate season, was told Monday he made the Red Wings roster.
Olczyk saw Larkin play in the Big Ten — Olczyk’s son plays at Penn State — and was impressed with his hockey IQ. But he cautioned fans about expectations and the huge leap from college to the pros.
“Just his smarts will allow to be a very, very impactful player in this league,” Olczyk said. “But there is always that growing — those growing pains that come with any player let alone a kid coming out of university hockey and getting to the NHL. The pro game is much more structured than the college game (but) he has the intelligence, he has that hockey IQ. He has that ability to be able to know that sometime’s it’s okay to live to fight another day. For me, this is one guy that’s got a chance. The Red Wings haven’t had many high draft picks, so to speak. But this is one guy that certainly seems the potential to be one of those guys and they’re going to rely on for a long, long time on both ends of the ice.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Who has emerged as the No. 1 goalie?
Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek both excelled in the preseason, with virtually no separation. Howard was 3-0-0, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. Mrazek was 2-0-1, with 1.99 GAA and .939 save percentage.
It looks like this will be a good, on-going competition, and that will benefit the club. With six sets of back-to-back games the first two months of the season, both figure to see their share of action.
Howard, based on his veteran status, might start the season opener Friday vs. Toronto and Mrazek the next night in Carolina, where he ended 2014-15 with a shutout. Blashill said each will start a game this week.
How will the lines look?
Blashill seems set with his top two lines – he indicated Larkin will skate with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader and it appears Brad Richards will center Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
Riley Sheahan will center the third line with Johan Franzen. Luke Glendening also played on that line most of the preseason. But Glendening could also play center or wing on the fourth line while a more skilled offensive player, like Tomas Jurco or Teemu Pulkkinen, is placed on the third line.
The only thing that's certain about the fourth line is that it will feature Drew Miller, their top penalty-killing forward. If Glendening isn't on the third line, he'll be on the fourth. Joakim Andersson could play center or the wing on this line. Landon Ferraro is in the mix as well.
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.