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Prospect news: Griffins lose in a shootout; Saarijarvi warms up

Of prospect-related note: In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Iowa Wild despite two goals and an assist from Martin Frk, a goal and two assists from Matt Lorito and a 25-save performance from Eddie Pasquale.

The Griffins' website filed a recap:

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Wallner: With pair of recalls on the way, Griffins try to stay the course

According to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, the Red Wings will recall one forward and one defenseman from the Grand Rapids Griffins tomorrow morning.

While the Wings begin a 3-game road trip in Pittsburgh on Saturday, the team's AHL affiliate heads to Rockford, IL in a state of flux minus Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jared Coreau, as well as the soon-to-be pair of players that the Wings recall:

While the Red Wings have struggled, the Griffins have held up. They are 5-2-0-2 since Nov. 11 and remain second in the Central Division. Offensively, they lead the league in shots (36) and ninth in scoring (3.22).

Even though it is the nature of the AHL, the unusual amount of injuries in Detroit has been a challenge.

"Coming out of the gate there were injuries (in Detroit) so we've been behind the eight ball all year," said coach Todd Nelson. "You just try and make it fit. But some of the injuries up there are going to be awhile ... so we have to try and keep our head above water before guys get coming back."

Forward Eric Tangradi, last year's second leading scorer for the Griffins, will be back for Saturday's game at Rockford. He has been out three weeks with a broken finger.

But forward Ben Street and his wife have a baby due any day, so the team is preparing for his temporary absence.

"We're plugging away," Nelson said. "The guys are giving me an honest effort day in and day out. We're playing our system well. We may not have as much firepower as four weeks ago, but we're getting contributions from everyone."

Wallner continues...

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Justin Abdelkader to present ‘Red Wings For Reading’

From the Detroit Red Wings:

Abdelkader once again presents Red Wings For Reading
Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader teams up with MESP for the fourth year of the Red Wings for Reading program

Once again this season, Red Wings alternate captain Justin Abdelkader has teamed up with Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) to present the Red Wings for Reading program, which encourages Michigan elementary school students to read for fun outside the classroom.

"Education has always been important in my family," Abdelkader said. "As a recent college graduate, I want to do my part to encourage reading among Michigan's elementary students. My dad was an educator and my sister is a teacher in Muskegon. I know how important it is and the impact we can have as professional athletes on younger kids."

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Epix previews the ‘Road to the Outdoor Classics’ series

Via the Free Press's James Jahnke, EPIX has posted a "teaser" video for its "Road to the Outdoor Classics" series (plural), in which Jeff Blashill and Mike Babcock discuss the atmosphere surrounding playing in an outdoor game:

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Custance: Wings’ injuries give Mantha opportunity to step up

Just before the Red Wings' beat writers announced the injury to Justin Abdelkader, ESPN's Craig Custance wrote an Insider-only column discussing whether the Red Wings could or should make a trade to bolster their defense, given that the defense-heavy Stars were in town on Tuesday.

After Custance found that the Wings and Stars haven't discussed a deal, he focused on the opportunities that the Wings' injuries have given Anthony Mantha:

The 22-year-old has five points in nine games, and has shown off an impressive shot in scoring three goals. His strong skating was on display during Thursday night’s 3-on-3 overtime session when he beautifully set up a Grade A scoring chance for Henrik Zetterberg, and then turned to hustle back to defend a Florida rush.

His line with Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar got the tough assignment of playing against Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr at even strength. That’s a big assignment for a rookie, taking on a Hall of Famer.

“He’s obviously a legend. Great Hall of Famer,” Mantha said when we chatted after the game. “Can’t give him any ice, he’s going to use it.”

But Mantha understands these injuries have created an opportunity for him. In Detroit, GM Ken Holland deliberately makes it a challenge for young players to work their way in. They have to earn it. Mantha is now getting that chance.

“I need to take my chance and keep going,” he said. “I just need to focus and do the details and keep learning and bring offense as it goes.”

For a player like Mantha, the key will be consistency. Coaches love veteran players because they know what they’re going to get on a nightly basis. One scout who got a viewing in on Mantha this week didn’t leave overwhelmed.

“Just ok,” he said in a text. “Didn’t think he was real consistent.”

Custance continues with his Friday column...

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Justin Abdelkader to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained MCL

Updated 4x at 1:20 PM: Crappy news regarding Justin Abdelkader from the Free Press's Helene St. James, MLive's Ansar Khan, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:

That's seven players injured: Abdelkader, Alexey Marchenko, Brendan Smith, Darren Helm, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jimmy Howard.

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Too Many Mistakes Cost The Wings In OT Loss To The Florida Panthers

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings made poor decisions with the puck, leading to excessive turnovers. They lacked discipline, resulting in too many penalties.

They salvaged a point, but their 2-1 overtime loss Thursday to the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena was a step backward in coach Jeff Blashill's eyes.

"They outplayed us in one area because we turned too many pucks over," Blashill said. "You can't win like that.

"I thought we were immature in our game in terms of (puck management), in terms of making sure we stay above people, in terms of short shifts, and I think at the end of the game we were immature in our game. We had the puck on our stick and we gave it away. We got to be better than that."


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Panthers wrap-up and prospect news

The Detroit Red Wings' 2-1 OT loss to the Florida Panthers was an incredibly frustrating one. The Wings couldn't keep their first-period momentum after losing Justin Abdelkader to a lower-body injury...

And Detroit just struggled with penalties (6 is too many), struggled with puck management and struggled with shot differential as per usual against a Panthers team that seems to have Detroit's number.

The Panthers were positively thrilled to give interim coach Tom Rowe his first win in a building that they hope to have bade farewell to, as they told the Miami Herald's George Richards:

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Red Wings-Panthers quick take: one damn point

The Detroit Red Wings faced off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, with the Wings hoping to earn their first win in 3 tries against the Panthers.

The Red Wings were able to earn a point against the Panthers, which is progress, but the Wings also lost a point against the Panthers, losing 2-1 in OT thanks to...

The wheels falling off after Justin Abdelkader got hurt. For whatever reason, the Wings never seemed to regain their dominance after Abdelkader left with a lower-body injury, and for whatever reason, the Wings' penalty-kills sapped enough energy from them that the half-a-dozen Panthers PP's didn't score but did damage nonetheless.

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Wings lose Abdelkader to a lower-body injury

On a seemingly innocent play, the Red Wings lost Justin Abdelkader to a lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers:

The Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the latest injury:

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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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