The Wings begin their eight-game preseason schedule in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Detroit opens the regular-season against the Anaheim Ducks on October 8 at Joe Louis Arena.
After three days of training, the Red Wings are ready to get into the preseason where a few questions will be answered: Who will be the seventh defenseman and what will the fourth offensive line look like?
For coach Mike Babcock, he’ll be look at something different once Tuesday’s intra-squad scrimmage gets under way.
“You want to see them implement the things that we’ve been doing,” Babcock said. “But in saying all of that, our guys, and the guys battling for jobs, that starts (Sept. 22). Everyday you’re trying to show good things, but we’ve liked their progression in camp; we’ve kind of gotten through some details in our game on our power-play, penalty-kill and in our structure. Now we’re going to watch them play and we’ll tweak the way they play as we move ahead here. But officially we’re getting going here on the 22nd.”
The Red Wings brought 63 players to Traverse City. And 44 will see some ice-time in Tuesday’s Red & White Game.
The White Team might have the advantage, as they have two lines that are established Red Wings’ lines, though Babcock called the Johan Franzen
-Valtteri Filppula-Todd Bertuzzi line a “work in progress, to say the least.”
“Who’s going to shoot it? Who’s going to pass it? Who’s going to make the plays? Who’s going to forecheck?” Babcock said. “That’s the thing that they have to work on. They’ll work out some chemistry. Mule and Fil have always had chemistry, I’m not concerned.”
The White Team also role out another veteran scoring line of Jiri Hudler
, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary. The veteran defensive pairings will be Brad Stuart
-Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson
The rest of the White Team will consist of goalies Jimmy Howard
and Joey MacDonald
, forwards Francis Pare
, Cory Emmerton
, Jan Mursak
, Ilari Filppula, Jamie Johnson
, Aaron Downey, Brent Raedeke
, and defensemen Jakub Kindl
, Logan Pyett
and Travis Ehrhardt
The Red Team will be led by the Wings’ top scoring line centered by Pavel Datsyuk
, who will be flanked by Henrik Zetterberg
and Tomas Holmstrom
. While the Wings are still looking to solidify a fourth line, the trio that the team will take into the regular-season could likely be spread over two lines Tuesday – Mattias Ritola, Justin Abdelkader
, Drew Miller
, Darren Helm
and Patrick Eaves
The Red Team will also feature the new defensive pairing of Niklas Kronwall
and Nicklas Lidstrom
Rounding out the Red Team’s roster are goalies Chris Osgood and Thomas McCollum
, forwards Jordan Owens, Tomas Tatar
, Joakim Andersson
, Kirk Maltby, Jamie Tardif
, and defensemen Doug Janik, Brendan Smith
, Brian Lashoff
, Derek Meech, and Greg Amadio.
Regardless of how Tuesday’s scrimmage goes, the Wings are quite satisfied with the depth and strength of their line-up.
“We like our team,” Babcock said. “We have a ton of players in the prime of their career. We like our kids that are coming. We think our back-end is real solid, and the depth of the scoring up frontOSGOOD STARTS PRESEASON:
Babcock indicated Monday that Osgood will work two-periods of Wednesday’s preseason opener at Pittsburgh.
“Anytime that you coming off a year that you weren’t in love with the way you played, it’s great to get off to a good start. He’ll start the game in Pittsburgh … and then he’ll probably play in three of the last seven.”