Archive for September, 2007

Meech makes the team

The Wings have sent down Derek Meech’s only remaining competition for the 7th spot, Jonathan Ericsson. Jimmy Howard and Mattias Ritola were also sent down. The only question that remains is which of these four will stay with the Wings: Igor Grigorenko, Matt Ellis, Aaron Downey, and Mark Hartigen. As you know, I’m pulling for Ellis, and feel Grigorenko should at least start the season in the AHL. We should find out today.

Grigorenko and Grand Rapids

Update (9:52 PM): I caught the end of the Wings’ game with Toronto tonight and saw something that restored some of my faith in Grigorenko: his reaction to being bowled over by the Leafs’ Chad Kilger. First Igor slashed Kilger, then he went after Bryan Muir. Toronto’s Jay Harrison took exception to that, so Igor dropped his gloves and absorbed a few hard punches from a guy probably a foot taller than him.

The result? A two-minute interference penalty, a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, a fighting major, and two game misconducts for the kid. Now, it’s not cool that he lost his temper and would have put his team in a bad situation had the game not practically been over (with the slash). What is cool is that he has an edge and that he has enough of a temper to defend himself. So, kudos for the fight, Igor.

One more thought on the question of where he’ll start the season. Why would the Wings keep him in Detroit if he’s “just going to eat popcorn,” as Mickey Redmond put it so well tonight? The team seems to be satisfied with the 12 forwards pegged to be regulars, so any 13th or 14th forwards will be spectators more often than not. It will do Igor much more good to be playing regularly in the minors than to be sitting in the luxury box with Matt Ellis and Derek Meech every game night. Someone at the Wings’ front office needs to tell him that and to point out that Grand Rapids isn’t really that bad a city.

It looks like we’ll find out his fate tomorrow, as Bruce MacLeod reports that the final cuts will be announced then. – Matt

It looks like Igor Grigorenko might allow himself to be sent down to Grand Rapids to start the season, but only for 1-3 weeks. How generous of him. I love that Grigorenko wants to play in the NHL and wants to play for the Wings. I do. But I hate this attitude of his, where he’s trying to dictate the terms of his North American career to the team.

Is it just me or should he have to pay some dues over here before he takes a roster spot he clearly has not earned? He has not yet shown that his upside outweighs his ego and until he does, I don’t want to see him in the Winged Wheel and I won’t care if he went back to Russia. The Wings ought to send him down to Grand Rapids and if he doesn’t like it, good riddance.

Give me someone who puts forth the effort and doesn’t feel he’s entitled to a spot over Igor Grigorenko any day.

Cleary hurts ribs

Update (23. Sep, 11:00 AM): The Free Press, quoting Mike Babcock, reports that Cleary will not play until his pain “lets up.” Now the question is, how long will that be? – Matt

Update (1:15 PM): Bruce MacLeod now reports that Cleary is day-to-day and does not have broken ribs. His source is Mike Babcock, who isn’t going to tell the media the full extent of injuries, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. – Matt

Looks like the Wings may have their first big injury of the season, as Dan Cleary had to leave the game during the second period of the Wings’ 3-2 exhibition loss to Minnesota. Apparently, the injury was to his ribs and Cleary isn’t optimistic. He’ll be X-rayed and given a CAT scan Friday, but he told Bruce MacLeod, “It hurts pretty bad. Hate to say anything now, but it doesn’t feel good.” Cleary is a big part of the Wings’ offensive hopes, so let’s hope it’s nothing serious.

Babcock on Ellis

I was glad to this quote in a Helene St. James blog post today:

“The person no one ever talks about is Matty Ellis. His skating has improved 300 percent and he just works like a dog every single day and is a competitive guy and a big, strong guy. He’ll be in the mix, too.”

Grigorenko’s stock is falling somewhat, even given all the slack the Wings are allowing him, and if he doesn’t pick it up, people will be talking about Ellis and Aaron Downey competing for that last spot instead Downey and Igor.