The Malik Report
Via RedWingsFeed, I wasn't kidding when I suggested that the World Championships are "going young" this year. Ahead of Team USA's World Championship-opening game against Belarus today (1:45 PM EDT on NBCSN; Tomas Tatar's Slovaks and Jakub Kindl's Czechs also battle at 1:45). USA Hockey's named Justin Abdelkader team captain...
Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State Univ.) was named captain of the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team here today. Team USA begins the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship tonight (May 9) against Belarus, the host nation, at Minsk Arena.
Additionally, Craig Smith (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/Univ. of Wisconsin) will serve as an alternate captain. The second alternate captain role will be shared by Colin McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn./New York Islanders/Providence College) and Tim Stapleton (La Grange, Ill./AK Bars Kazan/Univ. of Minnesota Duluth). McDonald will wear an ‘A’ when the U.S. wears its white jerseys, while Stapleton will don an ‘A’ when the U.S. wears its blue jerseys.
Red Wings overnight report: the ‘most unique’ World Championships; on Renney and Babcock; Sproul too
The World Championships begin today with a pair of games that might interest Red Wings fans--Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader's Americans will battle the host Belarussians at 1:45 PM EDT on NBCSN, and Tomas Tatar's Slovaks face Jakub Kindl's Slovaks at the same time--but this story isn't necessarily Red Wings-related.
If you've read any of the IIHF's profiles of the teams participating in the Worlds thus far, however, be it the Americans, Czechs, Slovaks, etc., you will find that the teams are very young. Thanks to a combination of a bit of Olympic fatigue for the usual participants, injuries, certain large contributors teams' still taking part in the playoffs (Anaheim and New York), and other factors (see: baby duty for Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jimmy Howard), the teams' NHL participants are at a bare minimum as compared to the normal amount of NHL-heavy rosters (though the Canadians are the tournament's only all-NHL-player-participant team)
Both the Grand Rapids Griffins and Texas Stars enjoyed five-plus day breaks after making quick work of their first-round series, and the general rule for those kinds of breaks is that the first game between said teams involves a stinker of a performance from one "too-well-rested" team.
On Thursday, the Griffins regrettably played that role, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Texas Stars in the first game of the teams' second-round series, and the scary part for the Griffins is this: Texas built its 5-2 lead in only 30 minutes and 2 seconds' worth of time.
It could've been worse, far worse, had Texas not let off the gas--though I'm sure the Griffins would argue that the team stepped up on defense, if only belatedly, and that its' second-half-of-the-game performance gave the team a solid foundation to build upon when the series resumes on Saturday in Austin.
The Grand Rapids Griffins begin their second-round series against the Texas Stars tonight at 8 PM EDT. If you want to weigh in on the action, here's an open post to suit your needs.
You can follow along via the Grand Rapids Griffins' Twitter and game-day Twitter accounts, the Texas Stars' Twitter account, or a box score that will be posted on AHL.com shortly; you can listen to the game on WOOD Radio, AHLLive.com (for a fee) will broadcast the game, and I'm sure there are...Other...means of keeping up with the action (which you may post in the comments section below).
The Griffins posted an infographic regarding the teams...
While Anthony Mantha's been scoring oodles of goals and catching Mike Babcock's eye as the Val-d'Or Foreurs battle the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL's championship series, a slightly less-heralded Wings prospect's racked up a point per game as his team's closed in on a Memorial Cup berth.
The Guelph Storm can wrap up the Ontario Hockey League's Robertson Trophy and a spot in the Memorial Cup on Friday, at home, as last night's 10-1 rout over the North Bay Battalion gave the team a 3-games-to-1 lead in the OHL's championship series.
The team didn't expect Tyler Bertuzzi to be available--period--as he missed the latter half of this past season battling recurring back and neck issues, but Bertuzzi returned just before the playoffs began, and he's posted 10 goals, 7 assists and 17 points over the course of 17 games.
He's in sixth place in team scoring, and his neck issues probably mean that pursuing a career as a fighter/instigator would be foolhardy, but the Guelph Mercury's Tony Saxon reports that Bertuzzi's still doing his best to annoy his opponents (and their fans), all while re-casting himself as a scorer who happens to be a pest instead of a pest-and-or-undersized fighter who can occasionally produce offensively:
From Sarah Lindenau of the Left Wing Lock:
The Detroit Red Wings have finalized dates for the 2014 Red Wings Development Camp. The camp, currently slated for July 4th through the 8th at Centre I.C.E. Arena in Traverse City, MI, will showcase the organizations top prospects and 2014 NHL entry draft selections. The development camp is an educational and training camp for Detroit’s prospects and is the only time to see many of the organizations college and European prospects. The past three development camps have included 13 players who made their NHL debuts for Detroit over the last two seasons: Adam Almquist, Mitch Callahan, Danny DeKeyser, Landon Ferraro, Luke Glendening, Tomas Jurco, Brian Lashoff, Alexey Marchenko, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, Xavier Ouellet, Teemu Pulkkinen and Ryan Sproul.
Daily practice sessions will begin on July 4th with an intrasquad scrimmage currently scheduled for July 5th. Ticket prices for the 2014 development camp are $5 per day and will be available at the door. More information on the camp including a detailed schedule and roster will be posted when it is available.
Lindenau continues with news about Centre Ice's prospect tournament and training camp ticket sale.
Here's the Wings' press release (mosty the same):
Updated 4x at 5:12 PM: As noted in the overnight report, the Red Wings' players at the World Championships will get underway tomorrow with the U.S. (and Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader) battling Belarus at 1:45 PM EDT (on NBCSN) and Tomas Tatar's Slovaks facing off against Jakub Kindl's Slovaks at 1:45 as well.
MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland regarding DeKeyser, Abdelkader, Tatar, Kindl and Gustav Nyquist's participation in the Worlds and Holland suggested that the youngsters should benefit from the experience--even though the tournament's a little less star-studded than usual thanks to a combination of Olympic-year fatigue and contributing teams "going long" in the NHL playoffs = this year's tournament is more about young players establishing themselves than it is about star power:
The World Championships begin on Friday, and it appears that at least one of the rinks in Minsk, Belarus is up to Sochi standards in terms of game-readiness, per SVT's Marie Lehmann:
Danny DeKeyser, Justin Abdelkader and Team USA will battle Belarus at 1:45 PM EDT (Minsk time = 7 hours ahead of EDT), and the battle between Tomas Tatar's Slovaks and Jakub Kindl's Czechs starts at the same time. NBCSN will air the Americans' preliminary round games, but one will need to utilize...alternate means...to watch the rest.
The Red Wings' pair of prospects playing in Major Junior Hockey championship series both played well--for the second night in a row--but they experienced very different results (and this is another one of those, "I will post more stories as they become available" entries):
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored a goal, added an assist and finished at +2 as his Guelph Storm routed the Brampton Battalion 10-1, taking a 3-games-to-1 lead in the Robertson Cup Final. Bertuzzi's registered 10 goals, 7 assists and 17 points in 17 playoff games played, and his Storm can wrap up the OHL title on Friday in Guelph.
I would normally not make this an entry in itself, but I scrolled through this the first time thinking, "Meh, yeah, whatever," and Paul brought to my attention the fact that, despite our conspicuously empty seats during the regular season, the QMI News Agency/Toronto Sun deemed the Detroit Red Wings fans' to be among the "Top 10 fan bases in North American sports":
DETROIT RED WINGS: Detroit is a sports town with four major league teams: Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and, of course, the Red Wings. The Red Wings are the most popular team in Detroit, however, and hold the key to the city’s heart. This team has the biggest fan base out of them all, as well as a highly respected and decorated coach, Mike Babcock. Not to mention some really great history involving an octopus and a sea of red in the stands. In 2011, the Red Wings celebrated their 25 millionth fan to enter the Joe Louis Arena.
Cue the fans signing a popular Journey song slightly oblivious of a geographical error:
I know that our mainstream media outlets don't give the Wings the kind of bandwidth they do every move the Lions make or don't make, but Wings fans are fiercely protective of their team, and Wings fans' fervent passion for their team is certainly the reason bloggers like me have steady jobs.
Add in a tradition of excellence, to the point that the Wings' coach, GM and players expressed their dissatisfaction with their "playoff drought" in not making the Conference Finals on a regular basis during locker room clean-out day, and add in a dash of "Detroit vs. Everybody" paranoia, and you've got a plucky bunch of would-be sports underdogs supporting a team that won't stay down during its "transition" phase.
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.