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Mike Babcock On The Streak

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Red Wings’ streak of making the playoffs 25 consecutive seasons is likely to end.

And former coach Mike Babcock, now guiding a potential yearly playoff team in Toronto, isn’t shocked.

“Nobody understands, they’re not living it every day,” Babcock said after Tuesday’s morning skate, of the difficulty continuing such a streak. “Just think about what they’ve been able to do. But what happens is you want to go from that to a bunch of young kids and get going again, and it doesn’t happen and that’s the problem.

“Ken Holland, Mr. Ilitch and all those people have done an unbelievable job over a period of time maxing out their resources.”

When Babcock arrived in 2005, he heard speculation the organization was about to slip in the standings because of retirements and free agents leaving.

“And in the next 10 years they proceeded to make the playoffs every year, the only team to do that,” Babcock said. “But there’s a point in time when it catches up to you.”


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The Morning Skate At The ACC And Some Leafs Talk

via tweets from Brendan Savage and Dana Wakiji,

Mrazek in the starters net


more coming as needed...




Leafs talk below...

Continue Reading »

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The Goalie Picture In Detroit

from sean McIndoe of Sportsnet,

Goaltending is critical. It can also be frustratingly hard to find, let alone to lock up for the long term. If you’ve got a good one, you’d better find a way to hold onto him, because stability at the position can make or break a franchise’s Stanley Cup dreams.

So today, let’s go through all 30 NHL teams and ask a simple question: From worst to best, how good should everyone feel about their goaltending situation, not just right now but for the next five years?...

21. Detroit Red Wings

Heading into the season, it looked like the Red Wings were Petr Mrazek's team. But the youngster struggled, and veteran Jimmy Howard was enjoying one of the best of his career before he got hurt. Now the Red Wings have nearly $10-million worth of cap hit tied up in the position, and they're not sure who the long-term starter is. That's a better problem to have than not having any NHL-calibre goalies at all, but maybe not by much.

all the other teams...

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Robbie Russo Makes His NHL Debut Tonight

Both George and I have not been feeling well, I am improving while I have yet to hear from George this morning.

A bit late but here is Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News on Robbie Russo yesterday,

“It’s really exciting,” said Russo of reaching the NHL. “Practice was fun today, we were moving. I’m just happy to be here.

“I’ve been working hard to get here and hopefully it pays off and I can do well up here.”

Coach Jeff Blashill has known Russo since the defenseman was 15, and Blashill was recruiting for Miami (Ohio).

Blashill feels Russo can be a contributor to the Red Wings — as long as Russo moves his feet.

“I would say he’s a smart, puck-moving type of player,” Blashill said. “He doesn’t panic, he can handle pressure on the forecheck. He’s been a real big plus-minus guy in Grand Rapids.

“He’s got to make sure he does a good job of moving his feet. He does have good feet, he just has to move them. If he moves them real well, he’ll do a good job.

“He always has had great poise with the puck, real calm under pressure. He just has to make sure that he closes on people fast. If he closes on people fast, he will do a real good job.

“Until he gets an opportunity in the NHL, you are not sure. It was felt within the organization he deserved a shot.”


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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

Russo debut; another call-up on D needed?

Robbie Russo, the top defense prospect for the Grand Rapids Griffins, will make his NHL debut Tuesday due to Ryan Sproul's injury (sprained knee, will have MRI Tuesday).

The right-shooting Russo has seven goals and 31 points this season and 12 goals, 70 points and a plus-54 rating in 127 games over two seasons.

The Red Wings have only six healthy defensemen, forcing them to play Niklas Kronwall on back-to-back nights again on Wednesday, unless they use one of their four post-trade deadline recalls on another D-man. Other possibilities include recently acquired Dylan McIlrath as well as Brian Lashoff, Joe Hicketts, Nathan Paetsch and Dan Renouf.

Leafs, Bruins battling for playoff spot

The Red Wings play back-to-back in Toronto (7 p.m. Tuesday, Fox Sports Detroit) and Boston (8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC Sports Network). They are among several teams competing for either third-place in the Atlantic Division or the final wild-card spot in the East.

read on

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Robbie Russo Will Be On His Way To Detroit

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One Detroit Line Is Working Well Together

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The line of Darren Helm centering Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader was effective throughout the three-game western Canada swing, with Helm and Larkin both scoring Saturday in the 4-3 loss to Edmonton.

Helm also scored Friday in Calgary, and his speed along with Larkin’s created problems for opponents all weekend.

Abdelkader scored the winning power-play goal in Tuesday’s overtime in Vancouver.

“I liked that line, they’re doing a good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said.

All three are good skaters, like to get involved on the forecheck, and appear to have good chemistry on the ice.

“We’re working hard and we’re hunting pucks in the offensive zone,” said Larkin, who ended a 15-game goal-scoring drought. “You play with a guy like Helmer, he’s real fast, quick and he’s going to be there first on the forecheck, the same with Justin.

read on

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It Used To Be Different

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

It was like they played Hockey Night in Canada in some kind of alternate universe on Saturday night. A place you’ve been a thousand times before, but yet a unique scenario at the same time.

The Detroit Red Wings, playing out the string in early March, stumbling through Alberta against a couple of red-hot, playoff contenders in Calgary and Edmonton. The Oilers, toying with a Red Wings club that hung around and hung around. The red team staying just close enough to keep the blue team trying; the blue team able to keep a safe margin, seemingly getting that next goal every time the red team restored a one-goal margin.

For most of a quarter century Detroit—who last missed the playoffs in the spring of 1990—25 post-season tournaments ago—has always been in a robotic points collection mode by March 2. The trade deadline has passed, they’ve usually beefed up with some high-priced talent, and grabbing four points in a province inhabited by sellers was simply second nature.

From about 1995 to 2009, Detroit laid Alberta lower than a $25 barrel of oil. But if sport is one thing it is cyclical, and here in 2017, the Red Wings are finally destined to miss the playoffs. After a 3-2 overtime loss Friday in Calgary, Detroit was beaten 4-3 in Edmonton on Saturday, outshot 38-25 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.


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Detroit’s Young Players Need More Compete

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A Detroit Red Wings team destined to miss the playoffs would at least gain some solace knowing its younger players are growing and poised to take another step next season.

But coach Jeff Blashill didn't like what he saw from some of his younger players in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

"We had some guys going, we had some guys dig in," Blashill said. "We have young guys that are in big spots here that got to learn to play every single night. It's not good enough to play once every three games or have flashes of success, you got to compete like crazy if you want to win in this league.

"We got young guys who are going to have to learn these lessons. We got to be way better come Tuesday in Toronto."


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Constant Z

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson sang the praises of Henrik Zetterberg this evening, and he wasn't alone:

Zetterberg, four times an Olympian, winning gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy, wasn’t made available to the media before the Oilers game, but young Edmonton defenceman Oscar Klefbom has long been a fan from when he was a schoolboy back in Sweden. He sang his praises, a capella.

“(Nick) Lidstrom, (Nik) Kronwall and Zetterberg. Lidstrom got all the credit but Zetterberg is so smart. Obviously today he’s slower and he’s a lot older but I can’t see him as an old man on the ice. In his mind, he’s still fast. He’s always in the right spots. He doesn’t have to skate that much,” said Klefbom. “When they had (Pavel) Datsyuk and Zetterberg together on that Detroit team, it was not fun to play them. They controlled the pace of the game, they’d slow it down, then make a nice stretch pass. Or hold onto the puck to get it to somebody coming with speed. Yeah, it’s a gift they have.”

Kronwall, also 36, has the A on his jersey but bows to Zetterberg with the C.

“I don’t know if people realize how impressive he is,” said Kronwall. “We’re around him every day, but it really is remarkable. Not just what he does on the ice but what he brings off the ice. His leadership and his determination is second to none. Like I said, what he’s doing now … I don’t know if he gets enough credit.”


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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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