We're mere days from the start of fall and within three weeks of the puck dropping on the 2015-16 NHL season. The Centre Ice arena has been buzzing all weekend with Red Wings' training camp and we're just days away from the first preseason games going down. With that in mind, let's take a look at the week ahead:
Monday - Camp Cuts and the Red & White Game
With camp coming to an end with the Red & White Game on Monday at noon (sorry, not televised), we'll see a number of things go down. For one, the three squads the Wings have been skating will be culled down to two. Second, we're going to start seeing professional try-outs released and we're going to start seeing players returned to their juniors squads (or we'll see a continuation of this, since cuts will happen on Sunday too). Griffins players will stick around with the club for at least another week, as Grand Rapids' training camp doesn't get underway until the 28th.
Tuesday - Red Wings @ Blackhawks (8:30pm at the United Center)
The first of eight preseason games for the Wings and the first of four games this week kick off with a visit to Chicago. This is almost certainly going to be a split-squad game for the Wings, as they'll send half the roster to Chicago and keep the other half at home in preparation for Wednesday's game in Detroit against the same opponent. There's no Detroit area or national feed for this game, but if you're in Chicago, you'll be able to watch on WGN.
This will also be one of the games that the Red Wings will play 3-on-3 after regulation regardless of whether the score is tied.
Wednesday - Red Wings vs. Blackhawks (7:30pm at the Joe Louis Arena)
Your very first opportunity to watch a Red Wings game on television this season happens on hump day as both FSD and Comcast Sports Net Plus in Chicago will be broadcasting the team rematch from the previous night. Fortunately, if early preseason strategy holds, this is going to be the better game to watch for Red Wings fans. Teams at this stage tend to hold their better players out on the road. No idea yet what the squad will look like, but I do expect it to be better than the traveling squad on Tuesday.
Thursday - Red Wings vs. Penguins (7:00pm at the Joe Louis Arena)
No rest for the kids fighting for spots on the roster as the Wings will play their third consecutive preseason game on Thursday, this time welcoming the Penguins to Detroit. This game will be Pittsburgh's third game in four nights, but that squad doesn't have anything going on for Wednesday or Friday. I'm predicting we get the hungry-for-a-roster-spot Penguins squad in this one, as the Pittsburgh has home games bracketing this one. FSD will have this game as well, but there won't be a Pittsburgh feed.
Again, this is another of the forced 3-on-3 OT games, so they'll play extra time regardless of the score.
Friday - Free Day!
Take a break, you've earned it.
Saturday - Red Wings vs. Bruins (7:00pm at the Joe Louis Arena)
The Wings welcome the Bruins on Saturday for a home-and-break-and-home preseason series against the B's (as Detroit will head to Boston on Monday). There's no television coverage for this one just yet, so we may be stuck listening to this one. Boston plays just six preseason games and apparently they have some sort of aversion to odd dates, since their entire preseason schedule literally has them playing every other day.
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We'll keep you posted on roster moves as the week goes along. We'll also have a new episode of WIIM Radio coming this week, so stay tuned to WIIM!