Archive for August, 2007

Some new jersey numbers

George Malik points out that the Wings’ official site has an updated number for Tomas Kopecky and free agent signing Dallas Drake. Kopecky gave up #28 to Brian Rafalski and will take #82 this season. Dallas Drake can’t wear his St. Louis number, 10, here in Detroit, as it hangs in the rafters with Alex Delvecchio’s name on it. And he can’t wear the number he wore on his first time in the Winged Wheel, 28. So, it looks like he’s picked #17, most recently worn by Kyle Calder, as well as, more famously, Brett Hull and, more nostalgically, by Doug Brown.

Babcock on lines and pairings

Helene St. James has a brief interview with Mike Babcock in which he discusses defensive pairings and forward lines, among other things. It’s typical Babcock, all excitement about competition for the 7th defensive spot and having a banger like Dallas Drake threaten to move up in the depth chart.

It does look like, for now at least, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will be split up, as he has them slated to play with Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Holmstrom, respectively, with Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen filling in the other spots. Valtteri Filpulla is penciled in with Kris Draper and Dan Cleary at the moment. Babcock sees Tomas Kopecky, Kirk Maltby and Drake making up the fourth line. As he points out, Igor Grigorenko would throw all of that off, if he makes the team, but that’s a good problem to have.

The defensive pairings as he has them now are pretty obvious: Nick Lidstrom with Brian Rafalski, Andreas Lilja with Niklas Kronwall, and Chris Chelios with Brett Lebda.

Personally, I’d be surprised if this is quite the look we’ll see when the puck drops in October, as Babcock will have plenty of time to tinker and will undoubtedly come up with different combinations.

Behold the new Red Wings jerseys

Update (15. Aug, 9:10 PM): The Free Press has some more details on the jerseys, including the news that the “C” and “A’s” will be on the right rather than the left this season. Apparently, the multiple panels of the new design dictated the move. You can see what it’ll look like in one of the pictures accompanying the article.

Another change:

The bottom: Instead of a square cut, it’s rounded, and the back flap is a little longer than the front, like a polo shirt. So instead of a solid white stripe around the bottom, it’s more like two half-moons, front and back.

More effort to streamline the whole thing, I guess, though it could imply that the idea of tucking the jerseys in hasn’t totally died. Just wait for that NHL Fan Faceoff survey question (and answer “NO!” if given the option).

The letter change will be a little weird at first, but it’s not a terrible change. Overall, I’m pleased with the route the Wings took on this. Definitely more sober than some teams. - Matt

This is no message board mock-up, folks. It’s the real thing.

wings2008.jpg

That’s just a picture of the replica version, not the authentic one, but there isn’t any real difference between the two as far as coloring is concerned. The material on the authentics will obviously be different, though. It’s a relief to see that there are hardly any changes to the overall look. I can definitely live with the new collar.

Pre-order yours by calling (313) 396-7583 or by printing off this PDF file and faxing it to the Wings at (313) 396-7010. It’s $130 for a blank jersey and $155 for a customized version.

(via Snapshots, who got it from DetroitHockey.net’s Misconduct blog)

Leafs still pursuing Bowman

Update (05. Aug, 9:15 AM): Good news: Scotty Bowman has informed TSN that he has not heard from the Leafs recently, has not been given a new offer, and is not interested in taking a position in Toronto. I suppose it’s possible that this could be a Bowman smokescreen, but I’m going to take what he said at face value. (via Snapshots) - Matt

Back in June, Scotty Bowman turned down an offer from the Leafs when he was told he would not be given the kind of control needed to make big changes in the front office. Apparently, the Leafs have since reconsidered that stance, as a Globe and Mail source indicated that they are now offering him housecleaning powers. So, Bowman is apparently “leaning toward” taking a job in Toronto as a senior adviser.

This is obviously not good news for the Wings, who have used Bowman as their own senior adviser since his retirement from coaching in 2002. Bowman is a key member of the team’s braintrust and his departure would be a heavy blow. We can only hope that he sticks around, but the draw to work for the Leafs has to be powerful, especially now that it sounds like they’d actually let him make changes. (via Mirtle)

Zetterberg’s back troubles continue

Update (03. Aug, 7:05 AM): Ansar Khan reports that the Wings are not worried at the moment, as Hank’s last flare up was apparently 2-3 weeks ago.  According to Ken Holland, “As of (last) Friday, he was feeling good.” Khans says that the team has not been in contact with Hank over the past week, so that raises questions about the Aftonbladet report. As Holland told Khan, Zetterberg surely would have told the team if there was a problem. Since he hasn’t, perhaps there isn’t anything to worry about. - Matt

According to Aftonbladet, Henrik Zetterberg has withdrawn from two charity hockey games in Sweden. Apparently, he has experienced some back pain and was asked by the Wings not to play for three weeks. I have to say this is a bit worrisome given that we are well in to the off-season and I would therefore think such injuries would be largely healed, not to mention the fact that the Wings saw fit to ask Hank to step down from what wouldn’t have been strenuous games. At the very least, the order was a precautionary measure, as the team cannot afford to lose Zetterberg. As far as his back is concerned, there isn’t such a thing as being too careful. (via Snapshots)

Free Agency Update

Update (02. Aug, 6:25 PM): IwoCPO takes a look at the same Khan piece and points out the real reason Markov likely won’t be back. It’s not so much about the money as it is about the fact that the Wings have six defensemen already signed. Derek Meech is, as Iwo says, likely more of a lock for the 7th spot than Holland lets on.

So, unless the team is looking to make a trade, the defense will consist of Nick Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, Chris Chelios, Brett Lebda, and Andreas Lilja, plus Meech, assuming he signs.

Danny is a good defenseman, but I’d prefer to see the Wings let him go rather than re-sign him and subsequently be forced to trade away someone like Lebda, who is already well on his way to being one of the Wings’ top four. Markov isn’t worth the loss of one of the Wings’ young D-men. - Matt

Ansar Khan has an update on negotiations with Danny Markov and Derek Meech, as well as on the search for a top six forward. Nothing groundbreaking. Basically, it looks like Markov won’t be back; Meech will have to earn the 7th defensive spot or risk being sent down through waivers; and there is no one on the market that is exceptionally interesting to the Wings, so it’s possible they’ll go into camp with the forward corps as is.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired of the off-season. October cannot come fast enough.