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Holland Holding On To Jeff Blashill

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

... if a team wants to avoid the usual re-treads, there could be another Jon Cooper or Dallas Eakins in the minors looking for his golden ticket to the NHL.

Jeff Blashill is not a name that most people might be familiar with. But that is starting to change. The 40-year-old, who won the Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, was recently named coach of the year after finishing in the top-3 in wins with a depleted roster that lost Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and several others top players to the Detroit Red Wings.

“Personally, I think he needs another year or two to get more of a base of experience,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told The Hockey News earlier this month. “But I think he’s an NHL coach in the making, there’s no doubt about that.”

With one more year remaining on his contract — Detroit’s Mike Babcock is also in his final year — Holland has said that he has no intention of allowing teams to talk to Blashill. Which is a smart thing, because his phone would be ringing off the hook by now.

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Wallner: Grand Rapids Griffins’ super line of Jurco, Sheahan and Callahan deliver

The Grand Rapids Griffins weren't able to sweep the Abbotsford Heat last night, but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Wednesday marked the debut of a new tline consisting of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Mitchell Callahan--and the trio played like three players battling for NHL employment should play:

The trio accounted for 10 of the Griffins’ 35 shots.

Coach Jeff Blashill was pleased with the quick transition of Sheahan and Jurco.

“I thought both of them played really well,” he said. “I thought they stopped on the puck, played hard, created chances. The puck went in on the power play and I thought a couple of other times it was just one side or the other (when it didn’t).”

With 2:33 left in the first period, all three were on the power play when Sheahan corralled the puck in traffic in front of the net and quckly flipped a pass to Jurco on the right side. He snapped a quick shot past goalie Joni Ortio.

Wallner continues, and Tomas Jurco sounds a little happier about being "stuck" in Grand Rapids than he did when he spoke with the Slovak media (Jurco would've preferred to be allowed to play in the World Championships):

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Off with his (bobble)head!

While Red Wings fans have been chatting up the team's potential onl and off-ice changes, as Paul noted, something of a bizarre situation's unfolding in Downtown Detroit. Somebody or some bodies apparently decided to decapitate a pair of Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" bobbleheads.

Per the Detroit News's Tony Briscoe:

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Red Wings overnight report: more talk of changes to come and some coaching controversy

Beware: An auto-play highlight clip lurks within: Ye Olde Stomach-slash-Sinus virus hit me again on Wednesday, so I apparently slept through some controversy.

With the vast majority of the Wings' locker room clean-out day comments having already been made, the Detroit News's John Niyo's column suggesting that Mike Babcock might "have an out," as an unrestricted free agent-coach-to-be.

On Wednesday afternoon, Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery spoke with Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika about Babcock and the Wings' offseason changes to come...

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Griffins lose Game 3 against Abbotsford, have 2 more chances to advance

Beware: auto-play highlight clips lurk within: The Grand Rapids Griffins began their home-ice defense of their Calder Cup Championship with a chance to sweep their best-of-five series with the Abbotsford Heat...But the series took a five-day break to allow the teams to travel from British Columbia to Western Michigan, and the layoff hurt the Griffins.

Grand Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to the Heat on Wednesday, and as such, the Griffins will have two more opportunities to win the series, on Friday and Saturday.

The Griffins' website recaps the game's events...

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Do You Want Jonas Gustavsson Back?

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

Were it merely a question of ability, then there would be no question that the Detroit Red Wings would want Jonas Gustavsson back in their net next season.

“Gus got half our wins this year,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Gustavsson, the team’s back-up goaltender, about to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires on July 1.

The concern with Gustavsson is whether he can stay healthy enough to be a reliable option behind No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard. He was out of the lineup on five separate occasions this season for a total of 23 games.

“It’s been a lot of injuries,” Gustavsson acknowledged. “You don’t want to have those for yourself and for your team.

continued

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Red Wings overnight report: four months of no hockey but lots of Red Wings news awaits ‘us fans.’

I worked my tail off attempting to relate the stories and Tweets and videos and smoke signals posited during the Red Wings' locker room clean-out-day at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, and in terms of me being snarky, I'd describe the deveopments as follows:

  1. Daniel Alfredsson said he had to talk to the wife and decide whether he's willing to put in another summer's worth of training before committing to returning or retiring, and Ottawa and Ontario snerked, giggled and made self-sanctimonious comments;
  2. Stephen Weiss let us all know that the last 8 months have really sucked, and some Wings fans' groins twinged in sympathy;
  3. Jimmy Howard confirmed that he had a very bad case of the stomach flu prior to and during Game 4, and at least thirty people made poopy jokes;
  4. Pavel Datsyuk said that he needs to have more tests and an MRI on his knee before deciding whether to have surgery, Henrik Zetterberg said that the numbness in his foot, a side effect of his back surgery, will go away in time, and somewhere, an orthopedist got their wings;
  5. Mike Babcock said that he's not worried about the fact that he's got one year remaining on his contract, and Detroit's sports columnists fangirled with THE INTRIGUE;
  6. And Ken Holland told us that he won't buy out Johan Franzen, and at least one Wings fan kicked a puppy in disgust.

Otherwise--quite happily for this 26-time-post-updater and still-busy blogger (see: Griffins, 5 World Championship participants, "Tony" Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi battling for the QMJHL and OHL's championships, respectively)--the Wings' players, coach and GM were "on message." 

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Red Wings prospect news: Mantha, Val-d’Or to battle for QMJHL title; Callahan to return to Griffins

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins can sweep the Abbotsford Heat out of the first round of the AHL playoffs on Wednesday, but further from the State of MIchigan, a pair of Red Wings prospects are going to be battling for league championships in short order.

On Thursday, Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm will open the Ontario Hockey League's championship series against the North Bay Battalion, and on Tuesday evening, something of an underdog story unfolded involving a not-so-underdog prospect in Anthony Mantha:

Mantha didn't register a point as his Val-d'Or Foreurs pulled off a stunning upset, defeating the Halifax Mooseheads 3-2 and ousting the defending Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions (and Memorial Cup champs) in a 7-game knock-down, drag-out fight between Mantha's Foreurs and Jonathan Drouin's supercharged Mooseheads.

Val-d'Or will play the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for the Q title starting on Friday, and Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager posited a rare English-language recap of the Foreurs' Game 7 win:

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Team USA officially announces Abdelkader, DeKeyser as participating in World Championships

MLive'sAnsar Khan reported that Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Gustav Nyquist (Sweden) and Justin Abdelkader (USA) will take part in the World Championships, but Khan stated that Danny DeKeyser was iffy on participation. USA Hockey issued a press release stating that DeKeyser's made up his mind:

Forward Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State Univ.) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Clay Township, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Western Michigan Univ.) have been added to the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team that will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.

Previously, Abdelkader skated for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. He had a goal and three assists in eight games. Also, he earned a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Leksand and Mora, Sweden, where he had two assists in seven games.

DeKeyser will be making his U.S. National Team debut, though he attended the 2013 U.S. Men's National Team Orientation Camp that assisted the preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Team USA's roster now has 13 forwards, eight defensemen and one goaltender. The maximum roster size is 25.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Nyquist told Expressen's Pontus Weinemo that he won't play in the Worlds' tune-up, the Oddset Hockey Games, but he does expect playing in the World Championship to be "damn fun."

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Khan reveals Red Wings’ World Championship participants

If you missed this in the Red Wings locker room clean-out day post, MLive's Ansar Khan revealed which Red Wings players will be taking part in the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus starting on May 9th:

Jakub Kindl will represent the Czech Republic; Tomas Tatar will represent Slovakia; there was talk that Gustav Nyquist would be joined by Joakim Andersson and Jonas Gustavsson on Sweden's roster, but I guess that's petered out; Danny DeKeyser will represent Team USA.

Tomas Jurco's a little peeved about not being allowed to leave the Griffins to play for Slovakia, too, but them's the breaks.

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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.

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