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Plymouth Says Goodbye To OHL And Hello USA National Development Program

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

... it will probably result in hockey fans there getting to see hockey that’s just as good with players who have a far better NHL future than those playing major junior. That’s because USA Hockey already has an agreement in place to purchase Compuware Arena in Plymouth and intends to move its National Team Development program there. With USA Hockey having its under-17 and under-18 teams playing out of Plymouth, fans there will get to see some of the best players in the United States play against top teams in the USHL and Division I U.S. college teams....

By moving to Plymouth, USA Hockey gets out of the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, which seats only about 1,000 people and does not have the amenities the program needs. By moving to Plymouth, it gets a bigger rink which it will own and will have proximity to a major airport in Detroit and the wherewithal to host more international events. (A spokesman for USA Hockey said the due diligence is being done on the purchase of the rink and it should be done in four-to-six weeks.)

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Petr Mrazek As The #1 Goalie For The Wings

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,

The 22-year-old with just 21 games of NHL experience is ready for the challenge but doesn’t intend on changing much of his routine.

“It’s just a game and you have to be ready for every game you play if it’s once a week or three games in a row,” Mrazek said. “Just be ready and I do the same thing if I don’t play or if I play.”

The onus may be on Mrazek’s teammates to change some things, or at least tighten up. Detroit is solidly in third place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points through 43 games, but much of that is thanks to Howard, who had a 2.11 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

In Howard’s absence, the Red Wings have to adjust to Mrazek.

“I think little things that we can do: We can talk to him more, we can kind of figure out our systems,” Smith said. “He’s a goalie that is aggressive and is very confident and challenges, and we love that out of him. We’re really happy to play in front of him.”

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The Move To Flint From Plymouth Is Official For The Whalers

from Dave Bartkowiak Jr. of ClickOnDetroit,

Peter Karmanos has announced the sale of the Plymouth Whalers to a new owner who will relocate the team to Flint.

The Whalers will begin play in Flint in the fall of 2015. The Ontario Hockey League still has to approve the team's sale and move to another city.

"It's a bitter-sweet moment. The best thing about this is that the OHL franchise stays in the States, pending board approval. Flint is an ideal location for an Ontario Hockey League team," Karmanos said Wednesday during a news conference.

Karmanos pointed to rival teams in Saginaw and Sarnia, Ontario, for reasons why moving to Flint is ideal. He was joined by Whalers Governor and Carolina Hurricanes Assistant GM/Director of Hockey Operations Mike Vellucci, who was coach and GM of the Whalers for years.

"Karmanos has signed a purchase agreement to sell the team to Rolf Nilsen," said Vellucci. "Rolf's intention is to transfer the team to his new building, Perani Arena & Event Center in Flint, Michigan, for the 15-16 season."

continued

Press release is below...

Continue Reading »

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Ranking The Detroit Red Wings

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Here's how the Red Wings stack up this week.

• USA Today: 10th, down from seventh last week. What they're saying: "Jimmy Howards groin muscle injury gives goalie Petr Mrazek a chance in the spotlight."

• ESPN.com: 11th, same as last week. What they're saying: "Oh, boy, the loss of Jimmy Howard could be have a big impact. Let's see how the Red Wings respond."

• NHL.com: Ninth, up from 10th. What they're saying; "Not only do the Red Wings lead the League in fewest shot attempts allowed per 60 minutes at even strength (45.0), they have been even better at suppressing them since Dec. 1 (42.8). They've also upped their output at the other end slightly."

• CBSSports.com: 11th, up from 12th. What they're saying. "This is the part of the rankings where it gets tricky. The Red Wings await news about Jimmy Howard's groin injury. If he's out an extended period of time, the Wings could be in a world of trouble."

even more rankings...

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Mike Babcock Suggested Petr Mrazek Talk With Dominik Hasek

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

The Sabres not only retired the No. 39 Dominik Hasek wore during nine seasons in Buffalo, but Mrazek got to meet his childhood idol and fellow Czech Republic native on the ice after the pregame ceremony before going out and recording his sixth victory of the season.

It's a day the 22-year-old netminder will never forget.

"It's nice when you meet the legend and the goalie who did so much stuff for country and for himself," Mrazek said. "He won everything he could. I just say congratulations to him for what he did. I think if I were to meet him now, we would talk a little bit more.

"It's Dom's number on the puck so I'd like to keep it. It's nice to have these memories. I have every puck from junior championship or from the Calder Cup Finals. So I rescue every puck I can. It's nice to keep.

"I have it for the rest of my life."...

The idea to go up and shake hands with Hasek didn't wasn't Mrazek's but instead came from coach Mike Babcock, who coached "The Dominator" in Detroit during the final two seasons of his legendary 16-year NHL career.

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The Return Of Tom McCollum

from Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News,

There’s no need to soften the blow. Those first few years of professional hockey were a struggle for Sanborn native Tom McCollum. The numbers weren’t good for the goaltender. He kept shuffling between the American Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League. His one NHL appearance was forgettable.

Frankly, it wasn’t looking good for the former first-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings.

But when things got bad, he kept working, went back to basics and found the stepping stones back to success.

Re-signed by Detroit over the summer, McCollum has put together a solid season for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Injuries necessitated his call-up by the Red Wings for Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres in First Niagara Center. But every opportunity is part of the adventure of a pro hockey career. Especially when that career got off to a rocky start and doubts about future opportunities loomed large.

continued

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Duff: Plymouth Whalers will announce move to Flint today

This is more than a little disappointing to those of us who knew that there was a gem of a franchise playing in the Detroit's Western suburbs, but once USA Hockey snagged Compuware Arena, Peter Karmanos made no bones about the fact that he was willing to move his Plymouth Whalers due to their ever-flagging attendance, and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports that OHL fans will now have to go to Windsor, Sarnia, Saginaw--or Flint--to get their fix:

The Plymouth Whalers are expected to announce the sale of their franchise to IMS USA and the relocation of the Ontario Hockey League franchise to Flint, Mich., at a press conference slated for Wednesday at 11 a.m.

IMS USA, a Florida-based group, took ownership of Flint’s Perani Arena Dec. 31 with the announced goal of bringing a major tenant to the building for the start of the 2015-16 season.

“We are in high-level negotiations with the OHL at this time,” IMS USA president Costa Papista said. “Our goal is to bring the very highest calibre of hockey to Flint and Genesee County in time for the 2015-16 season.”

...

Perani Arena seats 4,021 for hockey, with standing room for an additional 400.

“I want to bring in top-level hockey to the area,” IMIS USA technical director Rolf Nilsen said. “It’s a good thing for hockey fans and a good thing for Flint and Genesee County.”

Duff continues, and I received an email stating that Karmanos will be at the presser, so...

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Quick take, Red Wings vs. Sabres: Mrazek’s Wings steal the show on Hasek jersey retirement night

It wasn't elegant, it wasn't perfect, and Detroit didn't exactly run rampshod over the Buffalo Sabres, but the Wings' 3-1 win was a bit unconventional--with Kyle Quincey posting a 2-assist night, the Stephen Weiss-Darren Helm-Teemu Pulkkinen line playing most consistently overall, and Petr Mrazek making the saves he had to--and as such, the Wings were able to take 2 points from Buffalo on Dominik Hasek's jersey retirement night.

Hey, he won the Cups in Detroit, and while this slightly injury-depleted Wings are a particularly young and slightly jittery team, getting back on track in the point-earning department was essential as the Wings' six-game road trip slowly comes to a close, and Detroit earned the points they needed to while not making the game too "interesting" in terms of energy-depletingly underestimating the Sabres' pluck on a night when there some actual pride on the line.

Continue Reading »

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Not Much News On The Wings Today

 

Media reports also state no lineup changes expected from the Wings.

So not much news today.

added 12:31pm,

 

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Petr Mrazek Will Get His Chance To Meet His Hero

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Tuesday's start against Buffalo will be special for Mrazek, a native of the Czech Republic, who'll start opposite fellow Czech Michal Neuvirth on the evening former Sabres and Red Wings Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek, another Czech, will have his No. 39 retired by the Sabres.

"That was my hero growing up," Mrazek said. "It'll be special for everyone in here who played with him.

"I never met Dom. It's going to be my first time (meeting Hasek). He was special. He played with a definite style. When we were younger and playing on the streets or playing outside for fun, we were either Hasek or Jaromir Jagr (another Czech legend)."

more on Mrazek...

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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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