Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On second thought

A week and a half ago, I wrote that I thought at that point in time Aaron Downey and Brent Sopel would make the Red Wings' roster and that Igor Grigorenko was heading back to Russia. Did I mention already that was a week and a half ago?
After six of Detroit's nine preseason games (that is way too many), I see things differently.
Downey hasn't done enough to open eyes. Last year's Brad Norton experiment is still being looked at as a failure and the team won't keep an enforcer. Look for three fighting majors for Detroit during the regular-season ... in two of them, a Swedish Red Wing won't even get his gloves off.
If Downey's not in, then Grigorenko is. The Red Wings will take their chances that they can get a second chance at bringing in Matt Ellis. They can't do that with Grigs. He's shown skill and hockey sense. The team thinks that Grigs will learn as he goes and they'll protect their investment by keeping him in Detroit. At least at the start of the season.
I never understood the thought that the roster would be solved by sending Grigs to Grand Rapids. Then my question is: "What's the roster going to look like in one month?" because it's the same decision all over again ... keep Grigs or lose him to Russia. If Ellis stays and Grigs goes to GR, then in one month, Grigs will be with the Wings and Ellis in GR (unless there's an injury).
Jassen Cullimore is off the roster and Sopel might be next. He was OK in his tryout, but he made some turnovers and that's what the team was keying on in their assessment of him. Perhaps the Wings will keep Derek Meech, who showed that he can play at an NHL level, as a seventh defenseman and protect its investment in him.
Another thought I never understood was that if the team kept Sopel, it would trade one of its six defensemen because Sopel would bump him ... and keep Meech as well. It might happen, but trades aren't easy in a salary-cap world. If Sopel is kept, the Wings have shown they won't hesitate to bump Andreas Lilja or Brett Lebda down to the seventh D slot.
Standard disclaimer ... all of this is conjecture and is subject to change at a moment's notice. But you already knew that, didn't you.


Anonymous aTTicA said...

The one advantage i could see by leaving ellis on the wings roster and sending grigs down, is grigs will get in shape/acclimate much faster playing 20 min/night in GR for a month than he will riding the pine in detroit. Barring injury, right now, i dont see anyone bench worthy on our roster(top 12 forwards). They have all had real solid performances thus far. I cant see babs benching anyone in favor of him in his current condition, and therefore i wonder how hes going to acclimate and improve his conditioning without getting into a game.

September 27, 2007 at 6:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Holland had stated that Grigorenko wasn't willing to play in the NHL when he could make good money in Russia, so I don't think there will be a Grigorenko in Grand Rapids. Either he'll start with the Wings or back to Russia.

September 28, 2007 at 12:13 AM 

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