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The Malik Report

The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch for this week:

Roster move looming

Unless the Red Wings have an injury or two this week, they'll need to clear roster spots for Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury), who might return Tuesday, and Brendan Smith (knee), who could be back as early as Friday.

Drew Miller, who cleared waivers last week, likely will assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins when Larkin is activated. But what happens when Smith is ready?

The team will have nine active defensemen, none of whom are waiver-exempt. If they're unable to trade someone they'll need to waive a D-man, with one of Nick Jensen, Alexey Marchenko or Ryan Sproul the most likely candidates. It might be the player the Red Wings feel has the best chance to clear.

That might be Marchenko, who doesn't have the offensive potential of Sproul and doesn't skate as well as Jensen. Sproul, despite being scratched the past eight games and in 12 of 15, could be the most likely to be claimed if waived due to his size (6-4, 211) and heavy shot.

Despite his struggles and contract (three more years at a $4.25 million cap hit), there is no reason to believe the Red Wings would waive Jonathan Ericsson, who hasn't been scratched once.

four more things...

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FSD to air the 1980 All-Star Game on Monday night

If you're feeling hockey-starved in the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast area, FSD will provide for your needs on Monday evening. At 7 PM, FSD will air a rebroadcast of the 1980 All-Star Game, which was Gordie Howe's final bow at Joe Louis Arena; at 11 PM, FSD will air the AHL All-Star Game on tape delay (with Grand Rapids Griffins players Robbie Russo and Matt Lorito participating).

Fox Sports Detroit's "The 313's" Rachel Elliott discusses the standing ovation Gordie Howe received at the Joe back on February 5th, 1980:

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Krupa discusses the Red Wings’ status as ‘sellers’

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa believes that the Red Wings should sell, sell, sell as the trade deadline approaches, and Krupa elucidates an almost-everybody-is-on-the-table philosophy over the course of a lengthy article:

The Wings are in trouble. Seven points out of the playoffs with three games in hand on the Bruins, they have 11 games before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

Making up ground will be tough: Only one game is against a division or conference rival for the playoffs. Five are opponents in a class above, the Blue Jackets, Capitals and Penguins.

Management should consider it an opportunity to pursue a better future. And the real future is in the entry draft, not so much free agency and, even less so, trades. It certainly is not in the false promise of a marginally better team playing next October “in the first season of the new building.”

The fans will come. They are Red Wings fans, and it is the new home where, presumably, one day a Stanley Cup will be won. But they are vastly more interested in the shortest line to that point than winning in the new digs.

Given the progress of the five-season-old rebuild on the fly, that should define the interest of management, too. The argument “we are about winning,” is moot, when they are losing.

Krupa continues,again, suggesting that almost everyone should be available, and I'm afraid to suggest that the Red Wings won't be nearly as aggressive as anyone expects over the next couple of weeks.

I just won't believe that they're truly going to embrace a "rebuild on the fly" that involves actually trading players until Ken Holland's team actually does something that doesn't show over-loyalty to home-grown players, and so far...There's little evidence that the team will take another path.

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Frans Nielsen reflects upon his All-Star experience

Frans Nielsen and his Red Wings teammates will get back to work today ahead of the NHL's stretch drive. Nielsen had a wonderful time at the NHL's All-Star Game in Los Angeles this past weekend, as he told DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...

Frans Nielsen was not going to let a little thing like the Atlantic Division's 10-6 loss to the Metropolitan Division put a damper on his first All-Star experience. The Metropolitan Division went on to defeat the Pacific Division in the final, 4-3.

"It was fun," Nielsen said. "I think it's good, too. I think it's better than the 5-on-5, a little more pace out there, guys are trying to score. It's not just passing it around. It's back and forth, 2-on-1s, chances both ends. It was fun."

Nielsen got a chance to play again with his former New York Islanders teammate, Kyle Okposo, during the 3-on-3 format.

"I had a blast with him all weekend," Nielsen said. "It's been good to see him again and it was another great day. It was fun out there."

And Nielsen was rather gob-smacked by the entire All-Star experience:

"That's tough," Nielsen said. "I think I need a couple days to kind of soak it all in. It's been so much going on. Friday, meeting all these top 100 players here, it was huge. Even the skills competition, it's tough to point out one thing. I think I need a couple days to kind of think it all through. I've been like a little kid here for the last couple days."

Wakiji continues, speaking with John Tavares about Nielsen, Drew Doughty about Nicklas Lidstrom and Wayne Simmonds regarding his Sergei Fedorov fandom, and the Wings posted a Twitter video clip of Nielsen's post-game remarks as well:

Continue Reading »

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‘Two Things’: On moving Thomas Vanek and Coreau vs. Mrazek

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness wonders whether the Wings should trade Thomas Vanek for a 2nd round pick or whether the Wings should hold on to the 33-year-old forward...

With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away, the Detroit Red Wings could be facing a very difficult decision when it comes to either being buyers or sellers. And their biggest chip on the board to move or keep is Thomas Vanek.

Vanek is tied for the team lead with 12 goals and second on the team in assists (19) and points (31).

He signed a one-year deal worth $2.6 million this offseason after a disappointing two years in Minnesota where he was bought out of the final year of his contract.

“They put me in a position of letting me play,” Vanek said of his time with Detroit. “On the power play being closer to the net, where in the past they wanted me in different spots, those are my strengths since the day I played here, since day one, being around the net, but at the same time letting me kind of do my own thing. I think when I do that, I can make my linemates better. So far it’s been a good fit.”

Pleiness continues;

2. And in the fantasy hockey department, Sportsnet's Steve Laidlaw, Ian Gooding and Darryl Dobbs suggest that the Jared Coreau bandwagon is overrated, despite Petr Mrazek's struggles, over the course of "20 Fantasy Thoughts":

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The Best Of Anthony Still To Come

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

General manager Ken Holland thinks Mantha used his time in Grand Rapids wisely to hone his game for the NHL.

"In junior he was better than a lot of players," Holland said. "He's 6-foot-5, on a good team and he's better than a lot of players. And when you get to the National Hockey League, it's a hard league to be better than a lot of players. You got to start to play the pro game and I think he's worked really hard.

"I think Anthony Mantha adjusted. He came up to the American Hockey League the first year, he made the adjustments, he worked on the things that he needed to work at.

"I'm not sure he'll see the American League again."...

Holland doesn't think Red Wings fans will see the best that Mantha has to offer for another few years.

"His best days are going to come when he's 25, 26, 27, 28," Holland said. "There's still a lot of opportunity for growth in his game. Once you play 100 games, 150 games, you're in the league a couple of years. I don't think he's even played 50 games in the NHL.

"Give him another 100 games, another season-and-a-half, then they start to feel comfortable. They know the league. "

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Dylan Larkin addresses McDavid’s lap at the All-Star Skills Competition

Connor McDavid's 13.310 second full-rink lap of the rink during the NHL's Fastest Skater competition did not best Dylan Larkin's 13.172-second lap from last season, but the fact that McDavid had to start from a full stop at the red line had Oilers fans pissed off--and McDavid irked--because Larkin's lap was recorded from a moving start at the blueline:

So Larkin himself addressed what is almost always a moving target at the NHL's Skills Competition--the ever-changing rules of engagement from year to year--and Larkin did so quite gracefully:

The ways in which the NHL measures its events really do change almost every year at the All-Star Game's Skills Competition, and it's not Larkin's fault that the league's methodology is inconsistent.

Kudos to Larkin for being a gracious winner.

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McCollum returns to Grand Rapids as a back-up

via a Grand Rapids Griffins tweet,

Welcome back to the Van

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with McCollum regarding his status as the Heat's backup goaltender:

Continue Reading »

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Even more about Frans Nielsen, All-Star

Updated 2x at 1:25 PM: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with Red Wings All-Star Game representative Frans Nielsen regarding his reunion with former Islanders teammates John Tavares and Kyle Okposo at the All-Star Game...

"It was awesome," Nielsen said at All-Star Media Day. "We've gone through so much together over the years in New York. I'm really excited to be here together with them. We went to the show together and we went out and had dinner and just caught up on old times and what's going on today. It's two of my best friends so it's so fun that we get to experience this together."

The three players immediately started texting each other when they found out they were all heading to the All-Star Game and would have a chance to catch up.

"Fransy, when I found out that he made the team also, it was great," Okposo said. "Right when we got in yesterday, him and I, we went and just grabbed a drink together, just kind of talked. It was just so much fun that we could share in this experience together and just be with each other again."

Wakiji continues, and Newsday's Steve Zipay spoke with the trio regarding Islanders-related topics;

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Nielsen regarding the familial aspects of his All-Star trip...

Continue Reading »

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Cotsonika: NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list includes 9 of the 02 Championship Wings team

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika spoke with the Red Wings' representatives of the "NHL's 100 Greatest Players" yesterday in Los Angeles; the players included 9 members of the Wings' 2002 Stanley Cup Championship team:

At times Friday, it was hard to tell whether this was the unveiling of the 100 Greatest NHL Players  presented by Molson Canadian or a reunion of the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Dominik Hasek walked down the hall together at Microsoft Theater as they once did at Joe Louis Arena. Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Brendan Shanahan lined up together to go on stage at the "The NHL100 presented by GEICO" as they once did to go on the ice. Chris Chelios talked about how happy he was to see Hasek and one of his favorite teammates of all time: Sergei Fedorov.

"You're trying to keep in touch," Chelios said, "but we're all over the globe."

Nine of them were together here. Nine. Chelios. Fedorov. Hasek. Hull. Lidstrom. Robitaille. Shanahan. Pavel Datsyuk. Steve Yzerman.

Nine percent of the 100 on one team. No other team in NHL history had as many, not even the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s, though they had as many as eight.

"I think it's incredible," Hull said with a smile, "but it's not surprising because I got to play with them and they were incredible."

Cotsonika 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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