Pregame: Red Wings @ Blackhawks – 9/17

Coming off a 4-1 win in Pittsburgh last night, the Red Wings move on to face the Blackhawks in Chicago tonight.

The red team gets the nod this time around, with the lineup looking as follows:

Todd BertuzziStephen WeissDaniel Alfredsson
Gustav NyquistRiley SheahanTomas Jurco
Teemu PulkkinenAndreas AthanasiouMitch Callahan
Drew MillerCory EmmertonPatrick Eaves

Niklas KronwallJonathan Ericsson
Nathan PaetschBrian Lashoff
Xavier Oulette – Ryan Sproul

Jonas Gutstavsson will start in goal and Jared Coreau will play the third period.

Game time is 8:00 PM. It will not be televised in either market and won’t be on the radio in Detroit but WGN will carry it in Chicago and stream the feed.

Griffins 2012-13 Jersey Number Changes

With twenty-two players having been sent to Grand Rapids by the Red Wings in advance of the expected NHL lockout, the Griffins web site has updated the team’s roster with all the new player jersey numbers. Here’s a look at the changes we’ll see for the 2012-13 season.

Incoming netminder Petr Mrazek picks up the #34 worn last season by Ty Conklin during his AHL demotion, making him one of two Griffins wearing the same number as they are assigned by the Red Wings.

Nathan Paetsch takes the #4 vacated by Travis Ehrhardt. Adam Almquist switches from the #6 he got at the end of last season to the #5 that had been worn by Riley Sheahan, who takes the #19 from outgoing Mike Thomas.

Luke Glendening gets Jamie Johnson‘s old #10. Chad Billins claims the #14 last worn by Chris Minard after having shared #23 with Ryan Sproul last year, with #23 going to Triston Grant.

Fabian Brunnstrom‘s #17 goes to Max Nicastro and Chris Conner‘s #25 goes to Damien Brunner.

Tomas Jurco claims #28 from Alan Quine, making him the second Griffin with the same number he’s currently assigned with the Red Wings, pending Carlo Colaiacovo‘s number selection. Colaiacovo wore #28 with the St. Louis Blues and could request it in Detroit.

Finally, Brennan Evans will wear the #44 of the deceased Bryan Rufenach.

2012 Red Wings Number Changes

It’s looking like some of the jersey numbers we saw at the Red Wings’ summer development camp weren’t as meaningless as was originally suggested.

Rather than wearing the #25 assigned to him last season, Brian Lashoff wore the #23 vacated by Brad Stuart.  Additionally, Martin Frk wore the #48 that Cory Emmerton wore last campaign.

Today, Bill Roose Tweeted that Emmerton would be switching to #25.  This means, of course, that #48 is available for Frk to keep and that Lashoff’s switch would be required.

Assuming the development camp numbers are all accurate, the following changes have taken place:

Louis-Marc Aubry – from #53 to #32
Mitch Callahan – from #65 to #42
Willie Coetzee – from #70 to #45
Landon Ferraro – from #57 to #41
Gleason Fournier – from #67 to #46
Richard Nedomlel – from #73 to #3
Xavier Ouellet – from #61 to #54
Alan Quine – from #74 to #59
Marek Tvrdon – from #71 to #60

Additionally, Trevor Parkes switched from #60 to #37, which is now taken by Mikael Samuelsson.  Ryan Sproul went from #62 to #22, which now belongs to Jordin Tootoo.

If the Red Wings have a training camp this season, we’ll see if any of the development camp numbers stick around.

On the Misguided Idea of Playing the Kids

In the aftermath of free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise having spurned an offer from the Red Wings to sign with the Minnesota Wild (and shortly thereafter, supposed Wings’ Plan B Matt Carle signing with Steve Yzerman‘s Tampa Bay Lightning), we’re hearing a lot about how Detroit should rebuild from within rather than signing free agents to replace their summer losses.

Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland himself has pushed that line of thinking.  I’ve already touched on his line of “There’s also got to be an opportunity for some of our kids and the guys we’ve just signed to play.”

That’s an idea that’s been espoused for some time by many fans.  With the constant idea that the Wings are too old and slow, there’s always a call to “just play the kids” and we’re seeing that again now.

There’s a problem with that idea this time around, though.

I’m not against playing the kids.  I want to see what Gustav Nyquist could do in a top-six role and I want to know whether or not Tomas Tatar is ready.  With Detroit’s current lineup, though, Nyquist and Tatar are going to start the season in Grand Rapids.

There are simply too many forwards on the Wings’ roster right now.  Up front is not where the kids will be given a chance.

Unless injuries happen, we’re not going to see Riley Sheahan ir Joakim Andersson.

It’s Detroit’s blueline that has holes.  Decimated by the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, the Wings’ defense is where there’s room for someone to step up and take a bigger role.  The problem?  The Wings have no defensive prospects to do that.

Brendan Smith will make the full-time jump to the big club next year but that was virtually a given at the end of last season.  Aside from him, there are no NHL-ready defensemen in the Red Wings’ system.

Gleason Fournier?  Spent most of last year (his first in the pros) in the ECHL.  Ryan Sproul?  Has yet to play a pro game.  Same for Xavier Ouellet.  Adam Almqvist has played all of three AHL games.  Max Nicastro will make his pro debut this season.  Travis Ehrhardt is an unrestricted free agent on his way out of the organization, as is Logan Pyett.  Brian Lashoff is entering his third pro season but I’ve heard exactly no one say he’s ready.

So there are no kids for the Wings to rely on here.  It’s a bigger role for Smith or Kyle Quincey or Jonathan Ericsson or Jakub Kindl.  Or all of them.  As of right now, two of those four will be in the Red Wings’ top four.

A trade could always happen that shakes things up.  As things are right now, however, “just play the kids” is not a solution to the Wings’ problems.