The Malik Report
Team Lindsay beat Team Howe 6-3 in the scrimmage at the Red Wings' summer development camp on Friday night, thanks to the strength of a hat trick by Dylan Sadowy.
I'll tell you more about the game in my write-up, but for now, here are some interviews to tide you over:
Focus on Frans Nielsen, hockey player: The man can skate, can pass, can deke, can read the play, can anticipate, and does not quit. He's gotten so much out of his slight size that he's been as much a joy to watch as a 32-year-old making roughly $3.5 million (but just $2.75 million cap hit) as he was as a 25-year-old making a jaw-droppingly modest $525,000.
The analytics age was in its prenatal phase then with already interesting indications in Nielsen's numbers, but I didn't tell Snow that Nielsen was my favorite for any specific stat-based reasons. Nor did I say it to subtly convey to the GM, "I know what you did there, locking him up on the cheap before he knew how good he can be, you sly dog."
I said it because it was true: Nielsen is the kind of player I'm prone to love.
The player who does "the little things" behind the play that go unnoticed unless you're really watching, the player who does virtually nothing flashy outside of the shootout move yet consistently has a positive impact on the game and his linemates. The underdog who makes good, the guy who presciently understands the modern game before so many old-school dinosaurs and yet humbly goes about his way. The most demonstrative Nielsen goal celebration you'll see is a quick elation two-arm raise followed by a look to his teammates that basically says, "Guys, isn't this FUN?!?"
I love hockey. That Dane loves hockey. And he plays it pretty damn well.
When the pressure was on, Tyler Bertuzzi rose to the occasion. Now he's hoping to continue the ascent.
In nine playoff games with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, Bertuzzi led the team with seven goals and his eight points were third behind Anthony Mantha's 11 and Ryan Sproul's nine.
"Some guys joke around with me that you shouldn't even play the season, you should just come play in the playoffs," Bertuzzi said. "For me, I love playoffs. It's a gritty game in the playoffs. It's a lot harder, it goes up a lot in the playoffs. Teams get better, a lot of guys get called down, it's a lot faster, it's bigger. Everything for me, I just feel like I need to step up my game, whether it's luck, I just like to work hard and working hard, that type of game, I think it helps me."
Griffins coach Todd Nelson said playoff hockey seems to fit the way Bertuzzi plays.
"It certainly has held true the past two years," Nelson said. "He had a good playoff for us two years ago, he had a good playoff this past season. The style of play that he plays, I think playoff hockey really suits him. Just like I said, try to have him play that hockey consistently if he does come to Grand Rapids. That’s what’s going to get him to the National Hockey League."
I am blessed to have received an offer to continue my hockey career at home with SKA in St. Petersburg. It was a difficult decision to retire from the Red Wings and NHL, but in my heart, I believe it is the best decision for me an my family.
“My decision was not an easy one. Your support of the Detroit Red Wings and of me personally has meant so much to me. I arrived a young man that few had heard of and I am leaving with so many offering their kind wishes, love and respect. I am so thankful. You have provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever graceful to the game of hockey, the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings and most importantly, to you, our fans.
“With the reality that I will no longer be a Red Wing or playing in the NHL, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to personally thank.
The Red Wings' prospects took part in a split set of morning skates this morning at Centre Ice Arena, with one "team" taking to the West Rink and one "team" taking to David's Rink for a 50-minute skate.
I tried to stick with the team I didn't get to see very much of yesterday--a team consisting of Dylan Sadowy, Mattias Elfstrom, Adam Marsh, Zach Nastasiuk, Luke Kirwan, Justin Brazeau, Matthew Santos, Chase Berger, Adam Marsh, Christoffer Ehn, Chase Pearson, Patrick Holway, Joe Hicktts, Patrick McCarron, Jordan Sambrook, Dennis Cholowski, Stephen Dhillion, Joren van Pottelberghe and Chase Perry.
The other team consisted of Kyle Criscuolo, Mike Borkowski, Givani Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov, Tyler Bertuzzi, Julius Vahatlo,Griffen Molino, Alex Globke, Zach Nastasiuk, David Pope, Jeff de Wit, Vili Saarijarvi, James de Haas, Dylan Coghlan, Dan Renouf, Filip Hronek, Alfons Malmstrom, COnnor Hicks, FIlip Larsson and Matej Machovsky.
From the Free Press's Helene St. James and Aaron Ward:
Update: Here's more from Helene St. James:
From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Jeff Hoggan, who served as captain of the Grand Rapids Griffins for four seasons and led the franchise to its only AHL title in 2013, has penned a letter of thanks to the city, fans and former teammates and staff with the team.
The 38-year-old veteran, who learned in June he would not be offered a contract, recently moved with his wife and three children from Grand Rapids and is living in Omaha, Nebraska.
Hoggan hopes to continue his AHL playing career if he can find the right fit.
The Red Wings' prospects took part in a morning skate ahead of tonight's 6 PM-starting scrimmage at the Wings' summer development camp, and here are the interviews I managed to snag this morning:
From MLive's Tom Mitsos:
The Detroit Red Wings signed a number of forwards on July 1, the first day of free agency. After missing on Steven Stamkos, the Red Wings attempted to address their scoring problem by signing Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek.
Vanek was the surprise of the day, as the 32-year-old left winger was bought out by the Minnesota Wild in June after recording a career-low 18 goals last season. The Red Wings didn't pay a premium to get Vanek (one year, $2.6 million), so it was a low-risk, high-reward deal.
The odds of seeing Vanek score 40 goals — like he did during the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons with Buffalo — are essentially nonexistent, but can Vanek be a solid secondary scoring option for the Red Wings?
iSport.cz's Miroslav Horak spoke with Petr Mrazek's agent, Robert Spalenka, regarding his client's possible arbitration hearing with the Red Wings, and it sounds like both sides want to avoid arbitration if at all possible. Here's a rough translation of the article:
It stretches, it stretches...The case of Petr Mrazek's new contract in Detroit is moving toward a phase where the two sides could stand before an arbitrator. Which side the player wants? "I believe that the agreement will come sooner or later," hopes the goalie's representative, Robert Spalenka.
When the NHL scene tells of arbitration, many hockey players get hives. Those who undergo it can tell the time. The traditional hearing has an independent arbitrator who determines the next pay rate of athletes, and it's frequently a searing experience.
Although both sides are meant to cooperate with the court, often it doesn't happen. The logical desire of the team to pay the player as little as possible, and thus hesitate to compliment their employee and challenge their benefits. It's a rough game that weaker individuals don't have the stomach for. The representatives of the players contrast highlights of the examples of the client as if they're almost heavenly. And honestly, it also occasionally helps to have foreign merits. The result is a binding verdict by an independent arbiter. Usually for one year.
Goaltender Petr Mrazek doesn't want to go to the roulette wheel. "Arbitration between the team and players always brings feelings and words that aren't needed. If it happens, I'd like to avoid it," bluntly says the player's agent, Robert Spalenka of Sport Invest company. And if it doesn't happen? "So arbitration takes place. It's part of the system and one of the things that brings the two parties to an agreement if they cannot agree among themselves," he says realistically.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.