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‘Three Things’: On Libor Sulak, famous sporting nicknames and Tweets of note

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff took note of ken Holland's comments regarding the signing of defenseman Libor Sulak:

For sure it’s a roll of the dice, but the way Ken Holland looks at it, what have they got to lose?

That’s the attitude with which the Detroit Red Wings are approaching their recent addition of free-agent defenseman Libor Sulak. The Wings signed the 6-3, 207-pound Czech defender to a two-year entry-level contract, and see him as a late bloomer with the potential to perhaps develop into an NHL defenseman.

“I was at the world championship,” Red Wings general manager Holland said. “(Detroit scout) Jiri Fischer . . . he was involved with the Czech team and there was a number of two or three players that we were looking at on that team. Some signed with other teams.”

A left-hand shot, Sulak played last season with Orli Znojmo, a Czech team that performs in Eishockey Liga, Austria’s top pro division. He finished fourth on the team in scoring with 10-18-28 numbers and led the club with a plus-19 rating. Sulak scored a team-best three goals in the playoffs, leading to his debut with the Czech Republic national team at the recently-completed world championships in France and Germany, where he collected one assist in two games.

“He’s 23 years of age,” Holland said. “He’s a real good skater.”

Duff continues...

2. If you're interested, MLive's Brendan Savage did a fine job of summarizing a wide swath of Detroit sports nicknames, including many members of the Red Wings;

3. And on Twitter:

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MLive’s Wallner scouts the Griffins and stickhandles with Tangradi

Thanks to the AHL's unbalanced schedule, the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch will meet for the first time this season during Friday's Calder Cup Final.

As such, both teams are working overtime to familiarize themselves with unknown foes, and the same is true to some extent with the Griffins and Crunch's fan bases...

So the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the Syracuse Post-Standard's Brent Axe regarding the Griffins, and Wallner's Griffins "scouting report" is an intriguing read for Griffins fans as well:

What, if anything, is the same about Grand Rapids from the 2013 Calder Cup team? Completely new group, save three holdover skaters in winger Mitch Callahan and defensemen Nathan Paetsch and Brian Lashoff. Todd Nelson, in his second season as coach, has navigated the challenges of replacing Jeff Blashill and made his own mark.

The Griffins, like the Crunch, have been great at home in these playoffs. What kind of atmosphere should the Crunch expect in Games 1 and 2? It will be electric. The Griffins are 7-0 in the postseason and averaging 7,500 for 10,800-seat Van Andel Arena. The minute the horn sounded to end the Western Conference Finals, the Griffins PA announcer started  touting tickets sales for the finals and there were lines. Griffins officials on Wednesday said it will close to a sellout.

What is the view from Grand Rapids on this Crunch team? With such limited exposure to the other conference, it's tough. A Griffins assistant coach has been breaking down film on them since the conference finals. The general view is the teams share similarities with speed up front and size on the blueline.

Also of Griffins-related note: Wallner posted an article regarding Eric Tangradi's pre-game stickhandling routine:

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Keep Mrazek And Chris Osgood On The Goalie Tandem In Pittsburgh

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

What complicates things for Holland this summer isn’t just that Mrazek was so dreadful, though. It’s that while Mrazek was struggling Howard played well, albeit in limited time. In between stints on the injured list, Howard started 24 games and turned in a 10-11-1 record while posting a .927 SP, 2.10 GAA and one shutout. It was far and away the best performance of any of the three Red Wings goaltenders. In fact, of goaltenders to play at least two dozen contests, Howard’s SP mark was second-best in the league, behind only potential Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, while the veteran netminder’s GAA ranked fourth behind Bobrovsky, Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer.

So, you can see where the trouble lies for Holland. 

However, despite Mrazek’s poor season and a year in which Howard turned back the clock, Holland shouldn’t be looking to change his course of action. The speculative plan heading into the past season was to let Howard walk and hold on to Mrazek, and that’s exactly what Holland should be looking to do as he heads towards one of the most important off-seasons of his tenure as Red Wings GM.

The reasons why it’s Howard and not Mrazek that should be on the move are twofold. First, there’s the ever-present salary cap impact that has to be taken into account. As Detroit heads into the summer, Holland has roughly $5.9 million to work with, according to CapFriendly. And while that’s a good chunk of change, it’s not near enough to improve a roster that’s in need of some serious improving, especially on the backend.


from Ben Arledge of ESPN,

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Griffins post video of Dylan McIlrath discussing Games 4 and 5 of San Jose series

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a 4-minute video in which Dylan McIlrath discusses Games 4 and 5 of the Griffins-Barracuda series, as well as his status as having "found a home" in Grand Rapids:

Meanwhile, in the locker room...

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Kulfan speaks with Ken Holland regarding the draft combine

The Red Wings' entire amateur scouting staff took in last Wednesday's Griffins-Barracuda game, and it was an intimidating sight to see thirteen men in suits take in the game from a suite.

This week, seventeen and eighteen-year-old kids who have completed their hockey-playing seasons will conduct interviews with over a dozen such accumulations of haberdashery at the draft combine in Buffalo, and for each and every team, the interviews represent opportunities to discover whether a player is a "fit" for an organizational worldview--and vice versa.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the interview process as the Wings prepare to make 11 picks at the draft in Chicago:

“We get to know them, what they think, what’s important to them,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We get to know them a little better, and they get to understand us.”

Each team gets up to 20 minutes with a list of players they wish to interview.

Holland estimates the organization talks to about 10-12 players each day – they began talking to some players Monday and last through Friday – and will take about 10 or 12 prospects who could be around the Red Wings’ No. 9 overall pick for dinner.

Overall, the Red Wings are likely to interview 60-70 prospects by the end of the week.

With the extra picks in June, especially in the third round, this week’s combine is a good opportunity to sift through candidates.

“You want to gather as much information as you can,” Holland said. “You want to know about them, their families. You want to see how they react in these types of situations.”

Kulfan continues, adding a little expansion draft trade talk to the mix.

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AHL releases details of Calder Cup Final onlie, radio broadcasts

From the AHL, via the Grand Rapids Griffins:

Watch the Calder Cup Finals free on AHL Live

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced broadcast information for the 2017 Calder Cup Finals between the Western Conference champion Grand Rapids Griffins, top development team of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, and the Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch, top development team of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

As a thanks to the AHL’s loyal and dedicated fans, the American Hockey League and NeuLion, Inc., are making video streaming of all seven games of the 2017 Calder Cup Finals available for viewing at no charge from AHL Live via desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet.

To watch free, simply visit ahllive.com from any desktop computer, log in with your AHL Live account (or create a new one), select the Finals All-Access Pass and enter the promo code FINALS17 to access all of the action of the AHL’s championship series featuring the calls of the Griffins’ Bob Kaser and the Crunch’s Dan D’Uva. You can watch on your desktop or laptop through ahllive.com, or download the official AHL Live app from iTunes or Google Play to watch on your mobile device or tablet.

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On the Walleye’s busy offseason to come

The Toledo Walleye will face significant roster turnover this summer, and ahead of a a very busy offseason, DetroitRedWings.com's Art Regner spoke with Walleye coach Dan Watson about his team's future:

While Watson knows he can count on the Wings to send him players such as Paterson and Nastasiuk, he'll spend this summer looking for several quality players to fill out his roster, depending on how many of the Walleye UFA's decide to leave Toledo. It's a bittersweet task for Watson.

"This is probably the toughest part of the season. Now we're in the recruiting phase where we're trying to identify players who can best fit our needs," he said. "I was a player in the ECHL, I understand the ECHL. Our job as a coach and as a staff is to help these guys get to the highest level possible, make the most money possible and to develop them to be the best person possible.

"If these guys get opportunities to get to the American League, I am very happy for them, I'm thrilled for them because that means we did our job. They did their job of putting in the hard work every day so it's actually satisfying to see these guys move on.

"Selfishly I'd love to have these guys back in the lineup, but at the same time we are the Double-A level. We'd love to move these guys up to the Triple-A level.

"Now it's our job to find guys to come in and whether it's to replicate or duplicate the job of the guys we're missing or fill another role. That's the tough part of this league is losing guys, but then the beauty of it is you're bringing in guys to help develop again."

Regner continues at extended length, and this is a very "good read"...

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‘Three Things,’ Griffins version: video from practice; St. James speaks with Frk, and Tweets of note

Of Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this evening:

1. WOOD TV8 reported from the Grand Rapids Griffins practice at Van Andel Arena today...

2. The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Martin Frk and Griffins coach Todd Nelson regarding Frk's status as a prolific power play specialist in Grand Rapids:

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2001-2002 Red Wings named 10th-best NHL team in fan vote

This was mentioned in passing during NBCSN's pre-game last night, and it's a bit puzzling from a Red Wings fan's perspective: as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, the star-studded 2001-2002 Detroit Red Wings were named the NHL's 10th-best All-Time Team as voted upon by fans:

The 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings, who won the club's third Stanley Cup of the modern era, have been named the 10th-best team in NHL history in voting by fans.

NHL.com is selecting the 10 greatest teams in league history and the 2001-02 Red Wings finished behind of the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers, who finished ninth, and the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens, who were eighth.

The top seven teams have yet to be announced.

So sayeth NHL.com's Wayne Coffey:

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Jeff Lerg leaves Walleye for Europe (again)

If you missed it on Twitter last night, the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reported that Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg has decided to head back to Europe after playing the latter half of the 2016-17 season as the Walleye's back-up goaltender:

Lerg signed a contract today to play for a team based in France. The 31-year-old will play next season for the Gap Rapaces.

Lerg, a native of Livonia, Mich., has played in two and a half seasons for the Walleye. He helped transform the Walleye into a championship-caliber organization in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Lerg appeared in 92 regular-season games and 30 playoff games for Toledo.

Lerg has played in the United States, Italy, Denmark, and France in his seven seasons as a pro.

Last summer, Lerg signed with a club based in Denmark and played in 23 games for Rungsted. He was 13-7-3 and had a 2.59 goals-against average.

But at the end of January, Lerg decided to return to the Walleye organization. Lerg said he had unfinished business in Toledo. He also said he had an up and down experience in Europe.

Monroe continues...

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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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