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The Malik Report

Red Wings afternoon news: on the Worlds, the Griffins, Blashill, Babcock and Niskanen

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:

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Red Wings overnight report: preparing for the Worlds, Griffins-Stars, more Babs and new old news

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.

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Red Wings playoff prospect news: Bertuzzi’s Storm win a barn-burner; Mantha scores 2 in loss

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.

The Storm's website and the Canadian Press have already posted recaps, the OHL has posted a highlight clip, and Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager posited a recap:

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QMI agency names Red Wings fans one of North America’s ten best fan bases

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.

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Grand Rapids Griffins posit exhaustive Griffins-Stars playoff preview

The Grand Rapids Griffins will open their second-round playoff series against the Texas Stars tomorrow, and the Griffins' PR department sets the stage with a massive series preview:

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Red Wings’ Jonas Gustavsson battling Marc-Andre Fleury in latest TSN Play of the Year Showdown

Via RedWingsFeed, it's time to get votin.' TSN's latest Play of the Year Showdown features Jonas Gustavsson's behind-the-back glove save on New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique...

Battling against a Marc-Anrdre Fleury glove save on Erik Karlsson that was--and it pains me to say this--equally remarkable. It's gonna be a photo finish here, and I'm going with Gustavsson because I'm biased, and Ken Daniels makes the call.

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Red Wings mid-day news: 13 more minutes of Babcock; Samuelsson and arena and Mantha fun

Via the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa, it appears that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock made the radio rounds, this time speaking with Calgary's The Fan 960's "Boomer and Rhett," and he was emphatic about his contract status and the rampant speculation about him jumping to Toronto (and he expanded upon last night's comments to RDS about one Anthony Mantha). You can listen to the interview here...

And here are "Boomer and Rhett's" Tweets:

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Free Press snags quite the Tomas Holmstrom moment

All credit goes to the Free Press's James Jahnke for this one: Tomas Holmstrom's moving back to Sweden this summer (frown), the current Novi resident's become a spokesman for the Swedish mobile phone company T3, though the "Tomas Holmstrom Barbecue" looks more like what opposing teams' defensemen did to Holmstrom than what he did to goaltenders:

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Red Wings morning mishmash: on Tootoo, Babcock and business

A few stories popped up this morning that didn't quite make the overnight report, but a sleepless blogger (stomach virus or getting adjusted to Belarus time ahead of the World Championships' start tomorrow Friday, you pick one) found it rather intriguing that, while Mike Babcock both discussed his coaching future and the Red Wings' player personnel decisions to come, he's suggested that the Wings owe Jordin Tootoo the privilege of NHL employment.

Ahead of the Grand Rapids Griffins' second-round series against the Texas Stars, which begins with a pair of games in Austin, Texas on Thursday and Saturday, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the Wings' resident good soldier (or as Capgeek calls him, the Wings' "Buried Player") about his season spent mostly riding buses.

Wallner reports that Tootoo's battling an, "Upper-body injury" (let's just say that by AHL standards, that's a transparent diagnosis), but Tootoo hopes to get back into the lineup to prove that he's still an NHL player that happened to be a salary cap casualty, and not the other way around:

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Red Wings overnight report: on prospects, ‘firsts,’ a non-rumor-rumor and an Adams Bummer

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't able to enjoy certain sports radio talk show hosts' quests to engineer a divorce between coach and team; instead, the Jack Adams Award finalist was in Val-d'Or, Quebec, watching Anthonty Mantha score 2 goals and add an assist as his Val-d'Or Foreurs took a 2-1 lead in the QMJHL's championship series and conducting an English-language interview with RDS after the game.

Babcock expressed concern about Mantha's ability to transition from the pace of "kids' hockey" to the professional game, and he readily stated that he believes Mantha will start next season with the Grand Rapids Griffins...

But he also stated the obvious regarding Mantha's 6'5" frame, saying: "You know, we've never had anybody with that kind of size that scores like that, does that make his track quicker? I don't know the answer to that question. It's just a matter of time, so we'll see what happens."

In light of the fact that the Grand Rapids Griffins will kick off their second-round playoff series against the Texas Stars on Thursday, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Griffins coach Jeff Blashill about shepherding the next wave of Wings prospects and dealing with the parent club's call-ups:

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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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