The Malik Report
Updated significantly at 1:38 AM: What a strange tournament. For Anthony Mantha and the Val-d'or Foreurs, the Memorial Cup's about learning how to deal with a spotlight that playing in Northern Quebec has never exposed the team to, and for Mantha in particular, getting the snot checked out of him as the OHL and WHL's best teams chase him up and down the ice.
For Mantha, a goal and an assist in 3 games is fantastic, as is the fact that they'll play the Edmonton Oil Kings in Friday's semifinal;
For Tyler Bertuzzi, however, the tournament's a very different animal. He's been able to piss off the Oil Kings, the Foreurs, and tonight, Bertuzzi and his Guelph Storm played against a very, very familiar foe in the host London Knights--and the shift disturber was downright dominant in terms of scoring (2 goals, the 3-1 marker and the 4-2 goal) and driving a team full of players whose buttons he could push and fans he could aggravate batty.
Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm got some fine revenge on their frequent OHL rivals, sending the host London Knights--the team Guelph defeated in the second round of the OHL playoffs--to the offseason via a 7-2 thrashing on Wednesday, and now Guelph will wait to play in Sunday's final.
Amongst Bertuzi's exploits:
Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm are currently battling the London Knights at the Memorial Cup, Jimmy Howard's about to take over Vaughn Hockey's Twitter account, and the Wings posted a superb video chronicling the first game between Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs and Bertuzzi's Storm (which took place on Monday) earlier today....
And in light of the Grand Rapids Griffins' locker-room clean-out day, the Red Wings seem to have chosen today to wrap up what is now a seven-installment series chronicling the Griffins' attempt to defend their Calder Cup.
The Wings' latest video wraps up the series, and while its focus is Mitch Callahan, the seven-minute video includes comments from Tom McCollum, Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro as well:
Henrik Zetterberg appeared on WJR's Mitch Albom show on Tuesday night, discussing the Henrik Zetterberg Foundation (which raised $8,800 for Detroit schools), the establishment of a charitable initiative called "Club 40" (and its partnership with Albom's charity, SAY Detroit), his recovery from back surgery and the Wings' short playoff run. Zetterberg spoke with Albom for 19 minutes, and he was very glib and comfortable (the cliche machine was dialed back significantly). Enjoy:
(Soundcloud is having some issues, so if you can't see the player, the download link is here).
Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' locker room clean-out day wasn't exactly covered by oodles of media outlets, but Fox 17's Steve Amorose still snagged some particularly interesting tidbits regarding coach Jeff Blashill's future, the Wings' back-up situation and Mitch Callahan's desire to remain a member of the organization even if he has to return to the AHL:
Stopped by Griffins locker clean out today. Key takeaways: 1) Blashill plans on being back in GR next year, emphasized his contract status
2) Petr Mrazek was as diplomatic as can be, but says he feels he has nothing left to prove in AHL and is ready for NHL challenge.
3) Mitch Callahan is an RFA. About making Red Wings next year, he called it an outside chance.
3 cont.,) Callahan says he'd be happy to return to GR and continue to develop as a player. He also got wires removed yesterday from mouth.
(I don't think the Wings will have a hard time agreeing with Mrazek)
In another prospect-related vein, the Red Wings posted a seven-minute video chronicling Val-d'Or Foreurs forward Anthony Mantha and Guelph Storm forward Tyler Bertuzzi's Memorial Cup experiences-in-progress (Guelph plays London tonight at 7 PM EDT, and the game will air on Sportsnet and the NHL Network):
When Brian Rafalski retired from the Detroit Red Wings in 2011, leaving $6 million in salary on the table, he stated that a religious calling played a large role in his decision-making process. Rafalski made a short comeback with the ECHL's Florida Everblades this past season.
The Fort Myers (Florida) News-Press's Craig Handel reports that Rafalski, who now coaches youth hockey near Naples, Florida, shared some of the reasons that he's hung up his skates for good while speaking at the News-Press's All-Stars Banquet:
“Much of what marketing and media show fans is exclusively the good,” the Sanibel resident said. “Much of the bad is glossed over and ignored. Image takes precedence. Then we’re shocked when athletes make mistakes in their public and professional lives.”
Rafalski starred in the NHL despite being a 5-foot-10 defenseman who didn’t make the pros until age 26. He had to play a year in Sweden.
However, those weren’t his biggest obstacles or trials and tribulations. Without going into specifics, Rafalski talked about being the prodigal son who drifted and indulged in things he should have avoided.
“I failed as a husband and father,” he said. “If I continued on this course, I’d lose my family.”
In sharing why he’d admit his mistakes in front of a room full of strangers, he said, “That’s life – if we’re honest with ourselves. It’s not through joy I do that. It’s very humbling. It’s not something I enjoy but it’s something that’s part of my life and will affect how my life will be in the future.”
Handel continues, and wherever Rafalski's calling takes him, I hope he's found a happier and more fulfilling path.
I've been spending most of my time recapping Memorial Cup games and World Championship games, so this overnight report's a little light, but it's not due to a lack of effort on the Foreurs-Oil Kings recap or any of the Worlds news.
As Paul posted on Tuesday evening, the World Championships' quarterfinals schedule was finalized after Tomas Tatar's Slovaks bowed out of the tournament, Justin Abdelkader scored 2 goals for the U.S. and (I missed this one) Jakub Kindl had an assist in the Czechs' 5-4 OT win over France.
On Thursday, Abdelkader's and Danny DeKeyser's Americans will play Kindl's Czechs at 9 AM EDT (USA Hockey's website reports that NBCSN will air the game on tape delay at 9:30 AM).
The winner of the U.S.-CZE game will play the winner of Thursday's Canada-Finland game in Saturday's semifinal 1, which takes place at 7:45AM;
Also on Thursday, Gustav Nyquist's Swedes will play Belarus at 2 PM (and yes, the Swedish press is already freaking out thanks to flashbacks of Belarus beating Sweden at the 2002 Olympics).
Updated substantially at 2:28 AM: Anthony Mantha had only an assist as his Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-3 in a double-overtime decision at the Memorial Cup, but his linemate, Anthony Richard, scored the game-winner, and the fact that Mantha's getting the snot checked out of him by new opponents is essential for his growth as a player (he has 1 goal, 2 assists and is a -1 in 3 games).
The win assures that the Foreurs won't have to play Thursday's tiebreaker--instead, they'll await the winner of Thursday's Edmonton-London tilt, and whichever team's playing back-to-backs will battle Val-d'Or on Friday, and whichever team wins Friday's game will advance to play Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm in Sunday's championship game.
Guelph will wrap up its round-robin play against the London Knights on Wednesday evening,
but that game doesn't really count for much of anything as London will have to play in Thursay's tiebreaker--and it turns out that the game means something as a London win = London plays Edmonton on Thursday, and a London loss = the hosts are eliminated.
However, Guelph will get three days off to wait for the winner of Friday's game no matter what happens.
First and foremost, the Oilers' website posted a superb highlight clip:
George asked me to post the starting times for the IIHF World Championship Quarter Finals Games.
The games are this Thursday, May 22nd and listed in ET time.
via the IIHF,
Quarter-Finals on 22 May 2014
At Minsk Arena:
Russia vs. France 10:00am ET
Sweden vs. Belarus 2:00pm ET
At Chizhovka Arena:
USA vs. Czech Republic 9:00am ET
Canada vs. Finland 1:00pm ET
The Henrik Zetterberg foundation recently attempted to donate $10,000 to Detroit schools via a Twitter campaign, and they got 88% ($8,800) of the way toward their goal. As such...
After Justin Abdelakder scored 2 goals in the Americans' win over Germany, Tomas Tatar matched Abdelkader's total, scoring the 1-0 and 4-2 goals en route to Slovakia's 4-3 win over Denmark (today's remaining Wings activity: Jakub Kindl's Czechs vs. France @ 1:45 PM EDT, and Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs vs. Edmonton @ 7 PM, on the NHL Network and Sportsnet)...
But the game was painful to watch at times, because neither Slovakia and Denmark made the World Championship's quarterfinals, and as such, the teams didn't "engage" until the last minute of the 3rd period.
For the Slovaks, losing their quarterfinal spot to France is a particularly stinging loss, and instead of playing for a medal, Tatar, whose most exuberant celebration involved a mid-level fist pump on his second goal, his Medal Round activities most likely include heading back to Metro Detroit to pack up his apartment before taking a few weeks off (back to Sunny Beach in Bulgaria?) before engaging in off-season training in Trencin, Slovakia.
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.