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The Malik Report

Questions For Khan

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers a few questions from the fans,

Q: Why does Blashill constantly shuffle his lines? There is no continuity. The Wings are among the oldest and smallest teams (minus Anthony Mantha) in the NHL. Their salary cap status is rated as the worst. Doesn’t all of this fall on the GM?

A: Holland is responsible for the roster and their cap status. Several players signed to big, long-term contracts -- including Abdelkader, Nyquist, Tatar, DeKeyser, Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard – haven’t performed as well as they did under their previous deals. Underperforming players with large cap hits and long term, some of whom have a no-trade clause – are difficult to move, limiting roster flexibility.

As for Blashill’s line-shuffling, ideally, it’s better to keep units intact so players can build chemistry. But many would argue adjustments need to be made when things aren’t going well. For the most part he’s kept pairs together – Henrik Zetterberg and Nyquist, Dylan Larkin and Tatar, Frans Nielsen and Helm.

Q: Justin Abdelkader, Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg play as the first power-play unit. They have a combined 49 years of NHL experience. Why are they so ineffective?

A: Lack of clean entries, inability to get the puck on net enough. The usual.

The power play has been effective since the latter part of 2016-17 up until the current cold stretch (0 for 14 the past five games). Would changing some parts between the two units help? Asked about it earlier this week, Blashill said he’s reluctant to do that, wanting to maintain consistency and familiarity on the units.

“You learn to think as one unit. I think that breeds tons of confidence,” he said. “I think the consistency of having people in similar spots really helps them. That’s feedback I’ve gotten from players over time.”...

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Notes On An Off-Day

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

There was a funny moment after the Senators victory when Larkin was asked about playing so well with Athanasiou (the two paired up for the OT winner, and for a goal last Friday that saw Larkin send the puck deep into the offensive zone, where Athanasiou pounced). “I just throw it now,” Larkin said of the puck. “He’s got speed and I have speed. Coming from our own zone, it’s tough to defend that.” Blashill pointed out that “AA trusts that Larks is going to get him the puck, and so he skates without the puck and goes to open areas. There’s times where I’ve urged AA to skate without the puck in those open areas and he hasn’t as much, he’s waited to get the puck. For whatever reason, he seems to really trust that Larkin is going to lay pucks into areas and he’s going to get them.” 

more topics...

added 1:12pm, Peter J. Wallner of Mlive takes a look at Dominic Turgeon, read below...

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Hot Wings

via Scott Cullen of TSN,

Andreas Athanasiou – The Red Wings forward scored both goals, including the winner six seconds into overtime, in a 2-1 win against Ottawa. He was all over the ice, with a game-high nine shot attempts (7 SOG) and when Athanasiou was on the ice, the Red Wings had 11 high-danger chances, compared to just one for the Senators. He has five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past seven games and has played at least 19 minutes in each of the past three games.

Red Wings G  Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 34 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa, giving him a .942 save percentage in his past seven games.

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Ken Holland On Jeff Blashill

from Will Burchfield of CBS Detroit,

“This is the best hockey league in the world,” said Holland. “It’s a fine-line league. Jeff’s in his third year and I think that he’s a much better coach today than he was when he first got here three years ago.”...

“It’s experience,” said Holland. “It’s being in the league on an everyday basis, traveling, playing teams, looking at the other team’s lineup, looking at your own lineup, evaluating your own players and seeing what the league is all about. It’s a process.”

“He’s a very good coach, a great teacher. His players get better under him,” Holland said. “I just think it’s the evolution of a young coach.”

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Videos- Wrapping Up The Wings Win Over The Senators

fom Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Andreas Athanasiou has shown flashes of excellence before, only to see his ice time subsequently reduced and, last season, scratched for a couple of games due to a perceived decline in competitiveness.

He's been dominant in two of the past three games and has earned significant ice time in all three, as well as coach Jeff Blashill's trust.

Could this brief stretch be a turning point in the blazing fast forward's career with the Detroit Red Wings? Could it be a sign of consistency that earns him a prominent role every game?

continued

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Playing on the wing on Larkin’s line for a third consecutive game, Athanasiou was again a major factor with a game-high seven shots and Larkin utilizing Athanasiou’s speed with flare passes into open ice.

“They both know how to utilize their speed, that’s the biggest thing,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Double-A trusts that Larks is going to get him the puck, so he skates without the puck into those open areas. For whatever reason, he seems to really trust Larkin is going to lay pucks into those areas and it was time after time tonight.”

It was the third consecutive victory for the Red Wings (16-16-7, 39 points), who continue to inch upward in the Eastern Conference standings.

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Below, post-game videos...

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Did the Red Wings ‘cheat’ on Athanasiou’s game-winning goal?

According to Sportsnet's Darren Millard, the Red Wings "cheated" on the faceoff that resulted in Andreas Athanasiou's game-winning goal in the Wings' 2-1 victory over Ottawa:

Here's the goal minus the jibber-jabber, via both Sportsnet and NHL.com:

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Red Wings-Senators quick take: AA in OT

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to earn their first three-game winning streak of the season as they faced the Ottawa Senators. The Wings' 3-game slate against Atlantic Division opponents would close out the Red Wings' home-heavy first half schedule.

The Red Wings took overtime to earn their first 3-game winning streak of the season, but Andreas Athanasiou scored the game's first goal and the game's final goal only 6 seconds into overtime, yielding a 2-1 OT victory for the Red Wings.

In between, Jimmy Howard was superb, stopping 33 of 34 shots against, and if not for an awful Frans Nielsen pass to Darren Helm in the slot--if not some Red Wings converting on their chances--it could've been a regulation win...

But points count the same in regulation-or-OT wins, and the Wings out-lasted a pesky Senators team through effort and determination if not execution.

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Tyler Bertuzzi Working Hard And Dylan Larkin Is Confident Again

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Don’t get him wrong, it’s great news to hear, a relief in some ways, but Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t going to change much of anything.

Getting told he’s staying with the Red Wings is a dream come true, but Bertuzzi is going to continue to take a workmanlike approach.

“Take it day by day and keep working hard,” Bertuzzi said after Wednesday’s morning skate....

Heading into Wednesday’s game, Bertuzzi had three assists in the four games since being recalled, with an even plus-minus rating while playing over 14 minutes per game. Bertuzzi, arguably, had his best game Sunday against Pittsburgh, getting two assists in over 16 minutes against the Stanley Cup champions.

“Bert goes to the net hard, gets pucks out on the wall, and he’s smart enough to play with real good players,” Blashill said. “He’s a good piece.”

read on

Below, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on Dylan Larkin...

added 1:58pm, Wings notes from Wakiji and Regner added below too...

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Execution Needed On The Power Play

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Coach Jeff Blashill cited a lack of execution, not a personnel issue.

"Our entries haven't been as good in the last four games as they had," Blashill said. "Entries and unforced errors. Those aren't necessarily systematic issues. The unforced errors, we at times enter the zone, we have complete control of the puck and we throw it away. We did that too much early last year.

"We were running about 80 percent success rate for a while, which would be above the league average by a good amount. We've dropped back down, so we got to get those entries back to the right spots where we're in the zone more."

The one personnel change made on the power-play unit two games ago saw Tyler Bertuzzi replace Anthony Mantha as the net-front presence on the second unit. Mantha returns to the lineup tonight and rotated with Bertuzzi on the power play during the skate.

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Detroit’s Morning Skate

via Ansar Khan tweets,

Jimmy Howard in starter’s net at #RedWings morning skate prior to game tonight vs. #Senators

lines at skate:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi
Tatar-Larkin-Athanasiou
Abdelkader-Nielsen-Helm
Frk-Booth-Mantha

defense pairs:
DeKeyser-Green
Ericsson-Daley
Kronwall-Jensen
Ouellet-Witkowski

added 10:49am, Khan...

power-play units:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall-Tatar
And
Athanasiou-Larkin-Bertuzzi and Mantha rotating net front, Frk-Green

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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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