Update (4:02 PM): … In a blog post this afternoon, Helene St. James reports that Johan Franzen left practice early because of a charley-horse and may not be ready to play tomorrow night in Dallas.
She also says Samuelsson did not practice, and she doesn’t think it’s likely he’ll be back in time to play against the Stars (seems like a pretty good assumption).
Lastly, she reports that Brad Norton returned to the ice for his first full practice since sustaining a shoulder injury last Wednesday in Anaheim, but has not been pulled off the injured reserve list yet. When he does come off the IR, the Wings will be over the roster limit and someone will have to be sent down to Grand Rapids. The most likely candidate is Filppula because he does not have to clear waivers, like Norton, Hudler, or Kopecky would have to do.
link via Slapshots. – Matt
… John Wawrow of the Detroit News has a piece on Danny Markov today in the Red Wings Notebook. He begins by describing Markov’s hit on Ethan Moreau in the Edmonton game on Saturday.
“Saturday’s open-ice collision with Edmonton’s Ethan Moreau, which dislodged Moreau from the puck and resulted in a breakaway goal by Pavel Datsyuk, was a snapshot of why the Wings wanted Markov.”
Only problem is, that hit was on Jarret Stoll. Maybe Wawrow links Moreau to the play because he dislocated his shoulder when pulling his arm back for a sucker punch on the Wings defenseman in revenge for the perfectly legal check on his teammate. Now, he’s out until for a few months because it turns out he needs surgery.
… Wawrow also provides a little update on Mikael Samuelsson’s shoulder injury. Sammy is, “not on the radar screen,” according to Babcock, since he has not practiced or skated since he sustained the injury on the 18th in Anaheim.
He’s been taken off The Hockey Recap’s injured players list, however, though I’m not sure what they’re basing that on, given the Babcock quote. Wawrow does say the Wings could be without Samuelsson, “for a few more days,” so that may be it.
… Helene St. James profiles Valtteri Filppula in today’s Freep Wings Corner. Filppula played on a line last night with Kris Draper and Henrik Zetterberg, and looked pretty decent. It was a show of confidence by Mike Babcock, who had him playing with Jiri Hudler and Tomas Kopecky on Saturday. You have to wonder how much longer Brad Norton is going to stay “injured,” with Babcock’s new favorite young player Valtteri taking his place temporarily.
… The Wings beat the Sharks 2-1 last night and looked pretty good while doing it. They outshot San Jose 39-24 and could have won by a wider margin had Evgeni Nabokov not been so strong. Still, it’s a little disconcerting that the team leader in goals is a defenseman (Mathieu Schneider) and not one of our skilled forwards.
Robert Lang has been pretty strong so far this season and will hopefully continue to be so.
Neither Pavel Datsyuk nor Henrik Zetterberg were particularly noticeable last night but I didn’t watch the game too closely. Helene St. James says they had their chances, even if they didn’t score, so maybe there’s nothing to worry about there.
The power play unit finally scored, which was good to see. They didn’t get that many opportunities to demonstrate their new PP strategy, though, and should have, which wasn’t a good thing. Both teams got away with too much last night.
One thing I like from this year’s Wings team is that they seem to be more physical. They were outhitting the Sharks last night, which is not something they usually do against anybody. They had noticeable intensity and will be well off if they keep that up.
Dominik Hasek looked weak on the lone Sharks goal but it was a defensive lapse more than anything else and he was strong for the rest of the game.
It was good to see them come home and get a win. Now it’s time to see if they’ll be able to build on it.
They play the Stars on Friday in Dallas before travelling to St. Louis to play the Blues on Saturday.