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The Malik Report

Do You Consider Ken Holland To Be On The Hot Seat?

from Sean McIndoe at The Hockey News,

This year's Red Wings aren't expected to be all that good; they have a shot at extending their playoff streak, sure, but nobody is calling them Cup contenders. Several key players are nearing the end of the line, and while the team has some decent young talent ready to play bigger roles, there's not enough there for a full-scale youth movement. The franchise no longer seems to be the destination it once was for big-name talent, and there's a realistic chance that they'll head into a new arena next year with the worst team they've had in decades.

Is all of that Holland's fault? Hardly, although he hasn't helped matters by continually throwing big contracts at questionable veteran free agents every summer. But at some point you wonder if the Red Wings don't decide that it's time for a change in direction, much as they did a year ago when they walked away from Mike Babcock after he'd spent 10 years behind their bench.

All that said, the idea of Holland actually being fired still seems far-fetched. But could there be pressure for him to step aside, perhaps into a more senior or advisory role, while allowing the organization to transition to some new blood? For the first time in nearly two decades, a change could start to make sense.

more plus four more GMs mentioned in the hot seat talk...

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St. James speaks with Blashill regarding Mantha

The Free Press's Helene St. James asked Jeff Blashill about Anthony Mantha's hat trick last night while playing for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins:

Update: Here's more from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan in text form:

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Red Wings-Rangers game-day articles: Klein returns for NYR; Howard excited to start

Updated 8x at 2:52 PM: The Red Wings will battle the New York Rangers this evening (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and after the teams' morning skates--an optional one on the Rangers' behalf--NewYorkRangers.com's Matt Calmia updated the Rangers lineup's status:

Kevin Klein will indeed make his season debut for the Rangers tonight when it hosts the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.

Klein, who missed the first three games with back spasms, took part in a quick morning skate and is ready to play.

"I am," Klein said when asked if he's anxious to join his teammates. "You go through preseason and you play the preseason games and you're excited to get in there and now I haven't played a game for two weeks. I'm really excited every year, opening up - I didn't get the home opener with the boys. I missed that. This is mine. I'm happy."

...

With Klein returning to the lineup and McDonagh available, head coach Alain Vigneault said McDonagh would remain paired with Nick Holden, while Klein will be partnered with Marc Staal. Brady Skjei and Adam Clendening will round out the defense.

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in net.

Both Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) and Dan Girardi (groin strain) will miss tonight's game.

On the Rangers' side of the ice, the Rangers' website posted pre-game clips of Kevin Klein...

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Griffins post Mantha’s hat trick video and player intros from their home opener

Via RedWingsFeed, the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a clip of play-by-play announcer Bob Kaser calling Anthony Mantha's hat trick (goals 3, 4 and 5 on the 3-game season) against Iowa last night...

And the Griffins posted their pre-home opener "open" and player introductions. This is also a slick video:

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Red Wings-Rangers morning skate Tweets: Rangers take an optional; prospect talk; Wings’ lineup same

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the New York Rangers for an "NBCSN Rivalry Night Game" tonight at 8 PM EDT (on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM). The Wings will be aiming for their second win of the season and their first at Madison Square Garden in six tries; the Rangers will look to keep the good times rolling after defeating the Sharks 7-4 on Monday.

The Rangers hit the ice first at MSG, per Newsday's Steve Zipay...

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Could’a would’a should’a with Marian Hossa

ESPN's Craig Custance penned an article that may belong in KK Hockey or may fit here at TMR--an article regarding Marian Hossa's winding journey through the NHL to the Chicago Blackhawks. According to Custance, the Red Wings did make Hossa a fair contract offer in the summer of 2009...

After the loss in the finals, Holland met with Red Wings owners Mike Illitch to see if he had the stomach for one more lifetime contract to join Zetterberg and Johan Franzen's long-term deals. Ilitch signed off on the idea and in June, the Red Wings offered Hossa a 12-year contract worth around $4.5 million per season.

Hossa declined.

"He wanted the ability to look around. I said, 'You know what? You gave me a hell of a deal, I have to return the favor,'" Holland said.

He gave Hossa and Winter permission to start talking to other teams.

What if Hossa agrees to that deal? Do the Red Wings win another Cup before Lidstrom retires, or even after?

For Hossa, it was on to the next challenge.

And as Custance continues, he explains that Hossa nearly signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning...

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Detroit’s Top Line Early In The Season

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Three players with much to prove have joined together to form a potent combination for the Detroit Red Wings three games into the season.

Darren Helm's line, with Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist, has been the team's most dangerous unit. That line has been great; game in and game out, they've been our best line even," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Vanek is real strong on the puck. He's won a lot of puck battles. If he does that, he's going to be real successful. Helm's got tons of energy and Nyquie has been real good as well."...

Helm has three goals and four points, Vanek has two goals and five points and Nyquist has three assists.

"I don't know what's clicking," Vanek said. "Each guy brings a little something else. I think Helmer is good on faceoffs, he works hard and obviously (in Monday's 5-1 victory over Ottawa) we saw he can shoot the puck as well. Then I think Nyquie and I can make plays from our off-sides and we can read off each other well. So far it's working good."

read on

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Cotsonika profiles Thomas Vanek and discusses his quest for redemption

As part of their "NBCSN Rivalry Night" coverage, NHL.com posted three articles regarding tonight's Red Wings-Rangers game (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).

In the first article, NHL.com's Kevin Weekes examines "pluses and minuses" for both teams; in the second, NHL.com's John Kreiser offers 5 reasons to watch tonight's game; and the third article, from NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, profiles Thomas Vanek, who's trying to find redemption with the Red Wings:

"I wanted Thomas Vanek on this team," [Wings coach Jeff] Blashill said. "He brings an elite offensive ability that's hard to get when you don't draft high. … I just said that I thought the things that he was good at were things that we could really use, and if he worked, if he paid attention to detail, if he played defense, it was going to work out great."

Vanek remained confident in himself. He appreciated those who showed confidence in him and liked the Red Wings' history of cerebral, skilled hockey.

"I still know I can score and make plays in this league," Vanek said. "[When] I know I can't do that, then it's time to retire. I felt good the last two years, but sometimes … It wasn't the right fit for some reason in Minnesota. I think the role I was in wasn't the one I was used to. I'm not faulting them. I had my downs too, and I'll take my share of blame. …

"I talked to several teams at the beginning of the summer. The few I talked to all expressed that they still believed in me, and I think just hearing that motivates you as an athlete. At the end of the day, I just picked Detroit because I liked the way they played in the past, the way they play the game."

Cotsonika continues, explaining why Blashill targeted Vanek...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Rangers set-up

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the New York Rangers this evening (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) aiming to win for the first time in six games at Madison Square Garden--and the Wings will be under the spotlight as there are all of 2 NHL games on the schedule this evening.

The 1-and-2 Wings will be facing a 2-and-1 Rangers team that's coming off a 7-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

NewYorkRangers.com's Matt Calamia sets up tonight's game from the Rangers' perspective:

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Prospect news: Mantha scorees hat trick vs. Iowa; Walleye beat Cincinnati; Ehn scores a goal

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits thanks to an Anthony Mantha hat trick, but Kyle Criscuolo snapped a 3-3 tie with just under 4 minutes remaining to earn the Griffins a 4-3 victory over the Iowa Wild. The Wild's website posted a recap and a highlight clip:

Update: Here's the Griffins website's recap:

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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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