Tweets from practice: Wings ‘take an optional’ ahead of 3 games in 4 nights

From DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji and the Free Press’s Helene St. James comes news that the Wings are “holding an optional” today:

The Red Wings said, “Hello”…

Continue reading Tweets from practice: Wings ‘take an optional’ ahead of 3 games in 4 nights

The Athletic on Tatar’s ‘fit’ with Nashville

The Athletic’s Max Bultman penned an article discussing Tomas Tatar’s possible fit with the Nashville Predators. FYI:

Just based on their general comments on the Detroit winger, it’s an interesting thought experiment to picture him joining the defending Western Conference champions. Nashville has a need for scoring on the wing, has a GM with a history of being active at the trade deadline and team poised to win. The preference may be for a winger like the New York Rangers’ Rick Nash, who is a pure rental, but Tatar certainly made his case on Tuesday. And according to The Athletic’s Craig Custance, the price tag is going to be in the same ballpark, with the Red Wings looking for a first-round pick and “A” prospect to move Tatar.

“He’s a really talented player,” said Predators center Ryan Johansen. “Competes really hard on the puck. He actually reminds me quite a bit of (Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson), who has been my linemate for a couple years now. He’s kind of a relentless player, so he’s a guy you’ve always gotta be aware of on the ice and try and manage him as best as possible.”

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HSJ on the Wings’ trade candidates include Athanasiou

The Free Press’s Helene St. James penned an article discussing the Red Wings’ probable trade deadline candidates, and she included a surprising player:

Forward Andreas Athanasiou

2017-18 stats:11 goals, 15 assists for 26 points in 48 games.

Why he might be traded:​​​​​​​ Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Nashville saw Athanasiou score on a breakaway, battle down low to set up another goal, hit the net on another scoring chance. He’s a gifted skater with excellent hands. Inconsistency is a problem, though – he had just three assists in the 13 games prior to Tuesday, despite average 15 minutes 30 seconds per game. He’s got too elite of a skill set to go long stretches between standing out. If a really good offer materializes, either now or in the summer, such as for a high-end defense prospect, he could be ideal trade chip. Athanasiou is restricted at the end of the season, but he’s got arbitration rights this time around and the Wings have the right to pick a one- or two-year deal, so it won’t get ugly like last summer when he held out to start the season.

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More talk about Mrazek and the direction of the team

The Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo suggests that the Red Wings and their fans have “nothing to celebrate” about trading Petr Mrazek away for two conditional picks. If I may be blunt, I don’t believe that anyone was celebrating a deal that essentially got rid of a goaltender for a very middling return:

The glass half-full theory is at least the Red Wings’ vets are character players, who could help with the development of younger players such as recent first-round picks Svechnikov, quickly-improving defenseman Dennis Cholowski and power forward Michael Rasmussen.

If anybody tells you, this is ideal and inevitable, they are not being truthful.

Holland and the Red Wings made their own bed with many mistakes. It’s not as simple as it catching up to all teams in the parity-driven NHL.

Trades like the one of Mrazek are not something to celebrate. But being on the road to nowhere isn’t, either.

It’s about time the Red Wings pull their head out of the sand and understand the only path out is the rocky one.

If the Red Wings had kept going in the same direction, they were going to be flying off a cliff.

Caputo continues, examining the Wings’ possible draft targets and duly noting that the Wings’ goaltending prospects are not extraordinary (though all of Keith Petruzzelli, Filip Larsson, Joren van Pottelberghe, Matej Machovsky, Kaden Fulcher and Chase Perry are still developing).

As for the direction of the team, I know that some Wings fans feel that Detroit went off a cliff a long time ago. No matter where the Wings find themselves today, I definitely believe that they have to climb the standings via a couple years’ worth of affording their top prospects bigger roles on the team, even if that involves some pain as the youngsters learn how to play at the NHL level.

While we’re at it, USA Today’s Kevin Allen has filed a set of trade “rationales,” and Allen duly notes that the Red Wings were not going to qualify Mrazek–so it could be argued that the Wings maximized their return on a player Ken Holland readily admitted that the team would not re-sign:

Feb. 19: Red Wings trade Petr Mrazek to Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 and conditional third-round pick in 2019

Rationale: The Flyers are third in the Metropolitan Division, now with both of their goalies injured. They were desperate for an NHL-caliber netminder, and Mrazek, while inconsistent, has flashed high-end potential. Mrazek ($4 million) is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason; the Red Wings got something for an asset they might’ve lost for nothing.

TB Times’ Smith updates the Lightning’s pursuit of Mike Green: first-round pick no longer a requirement?

The Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith offers an update regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning’s pursuit of Mike Green. Smith believes that Green is most likely the next domino to fall in the trade deadline sweepstakes…

What would the price be? Well, Detroit GM Ken Holland told reporters in Detroit today that his priority is acquiring draft picks.

The Lightning has all of their picks for the next three seasons, and a deep prospect pool. Tampa Bay would likely pick late in the first round, though it’s not believed a first-rounder is a requirement in a Green deal.

That’s a particularly interesting revelation…The assumption “out there” is that the Wings are asking for a 1st round pick and a top prospect for Green, but there remains some scuttlebutt about the possibility that 2 2nd-round picks would get the 32-year-old Green and his expiring $6 million contract moving…

Green has a full no-trade clause but seemed intrigued by the Lightning when I spoke to him for our story last week examining whether he’d be a good fit.

“They’re an incredible team,” Green told the Times. “They’ve got all the pieces.”

And Smith notes that the Lightning have other possible options in Jack Johnson and Ryan McDonagh…

Cup of Khan: Red Wings promise to be professional regarding possible trades

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, the Red Wings’ coach and players spoke with MLive’s Ansar Khan, with coach Blashill, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader stating that Detroit won’t stop trying to win games:

“My job is to coach and try to win hockey games,” Blashill said. “I’m a huge believer in controlling what you can control. I don’t control anything to do with (trades). All I control is our effort and how prepared we are and how hard we play.”

He doesn’t expect a letdown just because the front office is trying to dump contracts for futures.

“There better not be,” Blashill said. “Our goal is the same as it was at the beginning of the year, so regardless of what happens tomorrow, the next day, our job is to compete like crazy, work like crazy.

“As I said to the guys today, regardless of what happens, we got good enough players to win hockey games, so let’s go win. Let’s make sure we play with a chip on our shoulder that way.”

Said Zetterberg: “The guys in this locker room have not given up, so I don’t think I have to talk to anyone in here.”

Zetterberg made that comment with some anger in his voice, and Justin Abdelkader told Khan that the team’s got to maintain a professional demeanor:

Continue reading Cup of Khan: Red Wings promise to be professional regarding possible trades

McCollum takes over in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ crease

Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum spoke with WZZM 13 regarding his status as the Griffins’ starter after Jared Coreau was recalled to Detroit:

The Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner also took note of the Griffins’ change in goal:

With Coreau recalled, the Griffins on Tuesday brought up Matej Machovsky from ECHL’s Toledo Walleye for Wednesday’s home game against Chicago.

Veteran Tom McCollum, who has started 19 games (3.15 GAA, .900 save pct.), will return to No. 1 for the Griffins.

The 24-year-old Machovsky, 24, in his first professional season in North America, leads the ECHL in GAA with a 2.02 mark while also placing third with a 0.928 save percentage. He has an 11-9-1 record with two shutouts in 21 games with the Walleye and has won four of his last six outings.

The overnight report: Red Wings-Predators wrap-up; a bit more from Petr the Flyer

The Detroit Red Wings played an excellent final 40 minutes against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, but the Wings could not overcome 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, losing 3-2 to an inspired Predators team.

This may just be a personal thing, but the Red Wings’ players were rather grumpy with the media after the game, suggesting that they were not going to fold their tent simply because their general manager was selling assets, and I appreciate that kind of attitude.

The playoffs may be a remote possibility at best, but the Wings’ players owe it to themselves, their prospects, their coach and ultimately their fans to be professional and play to win, and I believe it’s essential for any team that wants to eventually get better to work their asses off to be better, even if they are a mediocre team this year.

On Tuesday night, the mediocre Red Wings spotted Nashville a pair of 1st-period goals, and Nashville’s ability to lean on Jusse Saros–in between scoring opportunistic markers–yielded a winning recipe, as noted by NashvillePredators.com’s Brooks Bratten and Thomas Willis:

Continue reading The overnight report: Red Wings-Predators wrap-up; a bit more from Petr the Flyer

Wings alums to ‘Pack the Yack’ on March 4th

In the FYI department, from the Southgate News-Herald’s Jim Kasuba:

Organizers of an annual charity hockey game must be doing something right because in its brief history fans continue to “Pack the Yack” and bring in much-needed funds for Blessings in a Backpack-Wyandotte.

The fifth annual Pack the Yack charity hockey game, featuring Detroit Red Wings Alumni players going up against Team Wyandotte, is slated for March 4 at Yack Arena, 3131 Third St.

Doors open at 2 p.m. and the puck drops at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance at the Yack Recreation Center; Community Choice Credit Union,1280 Biddle Ave.; and at the Wyandotte Public Schools Board of Education office, 639 Oak St.

Dana Browning, a Board of Education member and chairwoman of Blessings in a Backpack-Wyandotte, said the nonprofit group brought in $21,315 at last year’s event, and the goal is to top that amount in 2018.

The program donates food on a weekly basis to children who qualify for the Federal Free Lunch program at all of the school district’s elementary schools.

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TSN’s BarDown: Jonathan Ericsson tosses a puck toward fans, hits Doug Houda instead

This is embarrassing. Per TSN’s BarDown blog, Jonathan Ericsson gave Red Wings assistant coach Doug Houda the wrong kind of headache on Tuesday night:

There’s a chance the Detroit Red Wings miss out on the playoffs once again this season, which would mark the first time since 1981-1983 that the team failed to make the postseason back-to-back years.

It’s certainly been a season to forget for the Red Wings as they lost for the third time in their last four games on Tuesday night, and it’s been showing in more ways than just on the standings.

During Tuesday’s tilt with the Nashville Predators, defenceman Jonathan Ericsson tried to do something nice for a Red Wings fan sitting behind the team’s bench, only it ended up backfiring on him and assistant coach Doug Houda got the worst of it all.

Continue reading TSN’s BarDown: Jonathan Ericsson tosses a puck toward fans, hits Doug Houda instead