The Malik Report
Red Wings prospect and Val-d'Or Foreurs forward Anthony Mantha's team was eliminated in the Memorial Cup semifinal last night, but Mantha won't go back to Val-d'Or, where the Foreurs will hold their QMJHL championship parade on Monday, empty-handed. At the CHL's Awards banquet in London, Ontario, Mantha was named the CHL's Player of the Year, the equivalent of the MVP across the WHL, OHL and QMJHL's respective Major Junior leagues:
Mantha registered 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 Memorial Cup games, but he also registered 57 goals, 63 assists and 120 points in 57 regular season games with Val-d'Or, and another 24 goals, 14 assists and 38 points in 24 playoff games as the Foreurs captured the QMJHL's President's Cup championship.
Update: Quoth Sportsnet:
Once the Finnish National Team gets a lead, they turn hockey into a New Jersey Devils-cira-the-late-90's trap-fest, and they took a 2-0 lead on Jakub Kindl's Czechs 8:57 into the 1st, a 2-0 lead at the game's halfway point, and from there on in, the Finns all but cruised to a 3-0 victory and a berth in tomrorow's Gold Medal game against Russia (2 PM EDT on TSN and probably later on NBCSN as they're tape-delaying everything).
Kindl's Czechs will play Gustav Nyquist's Swedes for Bronze tomorrow (9:30 AM EDT on NBC Live Extra and TSN2), and in a game which so frustrated Jaromir Jagr that he had a temper tantrum and/or throwing-stuff-fest in the penalty box, none of the Czechs were particularly good..
I asked Paul to post the IIHF's rule change proposal press relase in KK hockey so more eyeballs would see it (I don't believe that the IIHF's desire to reduce or eliminate the "cheater" portion of a goaltender's catch glove has a chance in hell of passing; the "cheater" has gotten much smaller, and the now-puck-or-two-width piece of plastic is more readily used to prevent the hand from turning over while catching a puck), but I think that this little World Championship spotlight fits right here on TMR.
IIHF hockey events present players to the media in a remarkably different manner from North American hockey leagues. Instead of allowing press access to locker rooms or holding player press conferences, the players have to run a gauntlet called the "Mixed Zone" while walking from the ice to their locker rooms, first speaking with broadcasters, TV outlets, radio and then print journalists as they navigate a maze of passageways along the way to their sanctuaries, and IIHF.com's Paul Romanuk takes us on a tour of the Mixed Zone in Belarus:
Gustav Nyquist and Sweden will play for a medal at the World Championships tomorrow, but it won't be gold. Instead, the undefeated Russians will battle the winner of today's Czech-Finland game (11:45 AM EDT on
NBCSN and TSN; on tape delay at 1 PM EDT on NBCSN) for gold tomorrow at 2 PM.
The Russians rallied from a very, very early 1-0 deficit to defeat Sweden 3-1.
The game got particularly nasty as the Russians really put the defensive hammer down on Sweden in the third period, with some really baffling penalties called, but Nyquist was smashed face-first into the boards during the 2nd period, and that was ignored, as was a very intentional shove-the-net-off-its-moorings play by Russia in the 3rd--so it appeared that Belarus Rules applied.
Last night, Anthony Mantha and the Val-d'Or Foreurs were eliminated from the Memorial Cup via a 4-3 triple OT loss to the Edmnton Oil Kings, and I did my best to offer some impressions of Mantha's play. This morning, I'm going to do an informal recap just prior to taking in Sweden's World Championship Semifinal against Russia.
In terms of raw stats, the 4-3 3OT loss left Mantha with middling Memorial Cup stats: 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 games, as well as a plus-minus rating of -2. The tournament probably involved heavier checking and a brighter spotlight than Mantha's ever faced during his Major Junior career, however, so Mantha's comment to the Blackburn News's Ryan Brandt's a superb summary of his tournament:
“I’m always going to remember what we did this year.” The Detroit Red Wings prospect said about his team that did what he called the unthinkable. “At the beginning of the year nobody would have imagined we would be here.”
Mantha scored over 80 goals this season.
According to the L'Echo Abitibien's Alex Drouin, the Foreurs will finally hold their QMJHL championship parade on Monday at 3 PM, and while the Foreurs didn't win a second title, the Canadian Press's Donna Spencer reports that they did earn their opponents' respect:
For those of you who are up at what us night owls call "bedtime":
Gustav Nyquist and Sweden will battle Russia in the World Championships' Quarterfinals today at 7:45 AM EDT. NBCSN's Live Extra website will stream the game in the U.S., and TSN will air the game in Canada;
And Jakub Kindl's Czechs will battle Finland in the other Quarterfinal at 11:45 AM EDT.
That game will air on NBCSN and TSN. Edit/update: that game will air on tape delay at 1 PM on NBCSN, but will be shown live on TSN.
The winners of today's games will face off against each other in the Gold Medal game on Sunday (2 PM EDT start on NBCSN and TSN); the teams who are unable to prevail today will battle each other in the Bronze Medal game on Sunday (9:30 AM EDT start on NBCSN's Live Extra website and TSN2).
I'm assuming that the IIHF will also announce Justin Abdelkader's suspension today; his hit on Vladimir Sobotka will probably yield at least 2 or 3 games' worth of sitting on the bench should Team USA pick him to play in another international tournament. iSport.cz's Zdenek Janda at least has good news about Sobotka's condition:
The Val-d'Or Foreurs tried to pull a rabbit out of the hat for the umpteenth time on Friday night, and if you continue to go to that kind of well, you eventually run out of rabbits.
The Foreurs allowed the Edmonton Oil Kings to rally from a 1-0 deficit to take a 3-1 lead halfway through the game, and between a preponderance of penalties, Anthony Mantha not quite being able to dent the back of the net despite a boatload of power play, late-game and OT chances (he played for the game's last 2-and-a-half minutes, assisting on the game-tying goal, and played 2+-minute shifts in OT) and just a very evident lack of physical and mental energy on the Foreurs' part...
The Oil Kings were able to prove that "chasing hockey is losing hockey," prevailing and advancing to Sunday's Memorial Cup final vs. Guelph via a 4-3 TRIPLE overtime decision.
With no NHL game on the schedule for this evening, I'm guessing that more Red Wings fans than not will tune in to watch Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs battle the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Memorial Cup (7 PM EDT on Sportsnet in Canada, TVA Sports in Quebec, the NHL Network in the U.S., and for people like me, who receive "none of the above" on our cable systems will find it via...other means...).
The winner of tonight's game will advance to battle Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm in Sunday's final (4 PM on the aforementioned networks), and as noted today, Bertuzzi did not practice today, but he's expected to rebound from the knee-on-knee hit he absorbed in Wednesday's game against London and play in Sunday's game.
If you wish to discuss tonight's affair, here's an "open post" to provide for your needs.
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha will be in the spotlight tonight as the Val-d'Or Foreurs' Memorial Cup semifinal game against the Edmonton Oil Kings (at 7 PM EDT, on Sportsnet and the NHL Network) is the only hockey game taking place this evening.
Val-d’Or’s biggest offensive weapon is slumping, by his standards. Five of the eight times he was held without a goal in back-to-back games this season, he bounced back with a multi-goal game. He will need a hat trick to return to his goal per game pace after two goalless games.
“If I get a hat trick, the chances that we win could be great,” he said Thursday.
Emmerton, who appeared in 139 games over four years with Detroit, has reportedly signed on with Sochinskiye Leopardy — one of the new KHL expansion clubs that will begin play this season in the Winter Olympic host city of Sochi (see here and here for reports of Emmerton’s deal).
The 41st overall pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Emmerton has his best campaign with the Wings in 2011-12, appearing in 71 games while scoring a career-high six goals and 10 points. Just 23 at the time, Emmerton looked as though he’d be a regular contributor for the Wings — especially after he played in all 48 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — but slowly lost his grip on regular minutes last year and spent most of this season with AHL Grand Rapids (where he played well, scoring 46 points in 53 games).
The Red Wings can retain Emmerton's rights by tendering him a qualifying offer, but if they decline to do so, they can simply allow Emmerton to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan weighs in:
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.