The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 4-2 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters in the second half of the teams' back-to-back preseason games, probably giving Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde a fairer view of would-be Walleye players than showing Todd Richards what he can expect from his Grand Rapids Griffins. Grand Rapids opens the 2014-15 season next Friday in Bakersfield, CA:
The Red Wings' kids played very strongly over the course of the team's 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, closing out the preseason with a 6-0-and-2 record, but the Wings wouldn't have escaped the Air Canada Centre with the win had Petr Mrazek not been making saves like this all night long:
Andreas Athanasiou (1 goal and 1 assist), Tyler Bertuzzi (1 assist) and Anthony Mantha (1 goal, 1 assist, 1 fight, if you can call it a fight) had a helluva game, too, with Mantha scoring what was eventually the game-winner:
The Detroit Red Wings dressed a green lineup, the Detroit Red Wings were out-shot 29-15 and out-attempted 72-27, Detroit was out-territorially-played and Detroit had a lovely performance from Petr Mrazek, Detroit blocked 25 shots and Andreas Athanasiou had a MONSTER game as Athanasiou registered a goal an an assist, Anthony Mantha registered a goal and an assist and Mrazek stopped 28 of 29 en route to a 2-1 win over the Leafs, sweeping the preseason series.
Now the Wings will take Sunday off, most likely, and then prepare for Friday's home opener against Toronto and a month in which Detroit plays 7 times in 23 nights.
Mostly, a very, very young Red Wings roster played rope-a-dope hockey that worked against a veteran-laden Leafs team, and mostly, the Wings' younger players served notice that they are far, far closer to NHL-ready status than anybody expected prior to the preseason.
The Red Wings are going with a very young lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM EDT on the NHL Network U.S./Sportnset One), wrapping up the regular season against a veteran-heavy Maple Leaf lineup.
The respective teams practiced in Detroit and Toronto this morning, and Detroit flew in to Toronto around 3:30 PM for the game. According to MLive's Ansar Khan, the Wings will dress the following lineup...
Of pre-game Red Wings-related note:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a column discussing Dylan Larkin's immediate future with the Wings...
Larkin is up against a numbers crunch. Darren Helm appears on track to return next weekend. So then the forward group would number Helm, Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Brad Richards, Tomas Tatar, Johan Franzen, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Jurco. Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro both need waivers to be sent down, and the Wings do not want to risk losing either. That is 14 forwards right there. Andy Miele and Mitch Callahan also need waivers.
From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
With the way the schedule shapes up, with six back-to-back sets of games before Thanksgiving and a relatively busy schedule beginning the later part of October, both [Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek] will get a good share of playing time. There's no need to anoint one a No. 1 goalie. For Blashill, it has been good to see both goalies play as well as they have during this exhibition season.
"Over the long term of the (training) camp, both guys have been real good," Blashill said. "Every single day, whether it's been games, or practices, or small games we've played (during practice). So it's like I've said -- it's better to have real good players at very every position, and goaltending is included in that, especially with the schedule we have to start the season."
Howard is 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .942 save percentage during the preseason, while Mrazek (who was scheduled to start Saturday night in Toronto) is 1-0-1 with a 2.38 GAA and .929 SVS.
"We're going to need both guys no matter what the situation is," said Howard, talking about the competition between the two. "Petr and I are good friends. We get along great. We want the best for each other. It's one of those friendly competitions where we'll be pushing each other and it's only going to make our team better."
Kulfan continues, speaking with Dylan Larkin regarding his chances of making the roster and Teemu Pulkkinen about returning from a rib injury...
added 3:25pm, Dana Wakiji on Teemu Pilkkinen and more...
Per TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Updated 13x at 2:14 PM: The Detroit Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM on the NHL Network U.S./Sportsnet One/audio on DetroitRedWings.com), with the Wings hoping to build upon last night's 4-2 win, and the Maple Leafs attempting to build their system of play by emulating Detroit's on an in-person basis.
The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena first, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
Pulkkinen looks ready to play tonight in Wings' preseason finale at Toronto.
Helm was skating earlier in gray non-contact jersey but has left the ice as the game day group prepares.
It looks like the Wings are taking an incredibly young roster to Toronto, too:
Not skating lines yet but tonight's F's: Glendening Jurco Ferraro Pulkkinen Mantha Athanasiou Nosek Bertuzzi Cleary Callahan Miele Andersson
Tonight's defensemen are Quincey Ouellet Jensen Sproul Lashoff Russo
DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji Tweeted from the morning skate as well:
One of the subplots of last night's 4-2 Red Wings win over the Toronto Maple Leafs involved Dylan Larkin's attempt to make the team, and as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, Larkin feels that he gave his best effort:
"I think I just tried to do everything they asked me to do and played my hardest," Larkin said after a 4-2 preseason victory over Toronto. "I think I did that pretty well. They threw me in different roles to see how I responded and tonight was probably the toughest one, playing on the wing.
"I never played on the wing but you know it's something, with a forward group like this, you're gonna have to do. So, all in all, a good preseason, a lot of fun."
"I played against the best, pretty much the top four or five players in the league and I think not saying right now, but I can be that kind of player," said Larkin, 19. "You guys are watching. You guys know. You have your own opinion and I have my own opinion. I think I did a pretty good job.
"I understand that it's a process and there's different factors, but everyone in here would be lying if they said that wanted to spend some time down (in Grand Rapids) or they didn't want to be here. I want to be here. I think I did a good job."
And also of Red Wings-related note this morning:
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
Chicago waived winger Bryan Bickell Friday due to salary cap considerations. Considering the Wings remain in need of a physical forward presence — especially with the lingering concerns over Johan Franzen's long-range productivity due to concussions — should they go after Bickell?
But this serves as an example of the changing organizational philosophy with Babcock gone and Jeff Blashill here.
Babcock might have gone into Ken Holland's office and demanded that the Wings aggressively pursue Bickell, a tough veteran with plenty of championship experience. But the Wings are more interested in giving their young players ample growth opportunities. And they think it might be easier to stir that development with a more soothing voice like Blashill as opposed to Babcock's often strident tone.
more from Sharp, the article's headline is Strange to see Babcock now...
via Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
Bryan Bickell has been the subject of trade speculation for some time now. He’s struggled with consistency following a tremendous 2013 postseason.
And on Friday, the Blackhawks placed their veteran forward on waivers.
Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that Bickell was placed on waivers at 11 a.m. Bickell has two years remaining on his current contract, which carries a $4 million cap hit per season. If he is not claimed by 11 a.m. Saturday, Bickell will likely go to the Rockford IceHogs; that would give the Blackhawks approximately $950,000 of cap space and the remaining $3.05 million would be buried salary, according to generalfanager.com.
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.