The Malik Report
Updated 3x with a Chris Osgood interview and Tomas Tatar revealing that he's heading to the World Championships at 3:50 PM: I'd been assuming all along that the Red Wings would just want to get their locker room clean-out done and over with, as they have in past seasons, so I've written three very lengthy and comprehensive entries attempting to frame the next steps as Red Wings fans prepare for the longest offseason in a long time.
I tried to channel a few slow days due to a stomach virus and no sleep last night into preparing for an onslaught of Wings news from the people whose opinions tend to determine the course of April, May, June, July and August in the Red Wings coach, GM and players...
But I've been out of the media loop in terms of the particulars of said clean-out day--I will explain this to you in more detail and perhaps ask for your support in a certain initiative to change the terms of engagement, but this is not the week to engage in such an endeavor--and a kind-hearted soul informed me that the Wings will in fact meet the media for the final formal time tomorrow at Joe Loius Arena, not today.
Amongst the prospect stuff that transpired between Stomach Virus, Commence! and today:
On Friday, in Major Junior hockey, Tyler Bertuzzi was held off the scoresheet, but his Guelph Storm defeated Erie 5-0 and advanced to the OHL Championship in 5 games. Bertuzzi (8 goals, 6 assists and 14 points in 13 playoff games played) will battle the North Bay Battalion for the OHL title starting on Thursday, May 1st;
Also on Friday, in the WHL, Michell Wheaton and Marek Tvrdon's Kelowna Rockets dropped a 7-3 decision to the Portland Winterhawks, and they were eliminated by the Portland Winterhawks in 5 games. Portland will battle the Edmonton Oil Kings for the WHL championship, and Wheaton, a 6'5" defenseman, registered 5 assists in 14 playoff games played, and Marek Tvrdon registered 5 goals, 8 assists and 13 points in 14 playoff games played.
My name is George Malik, and I regrettably have to take a sedative medication as part of my antidepressant-and-anxi-anxiety cocktail. Every once in a while, about once in every 90 days, my body informs me that the medication that usually puts me to sleep (and it's a medication whose brick-subtle tendencies I only put up with because it works quite well) informs me that it's simply not going to "take," and as a result, I don't sleep.
On top of battling that stomach bug and preparing for locker room clean-out day, not-so-subtle hints from the GM prior to his and Mike Babcock's end-of-season speeches included, I'm in just a lovely mood this morning.
So, a certain not-so-friendly voice has weighed in on the future of the Red Wings, and as this person seems to believe that the team has no viable prospects to "replace" the "aging core" players who plan on playing for a few more years at least in Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, the blogger who shall remain nameless but you all know by name issues the following conclusion as to the team's "future"--despite making some rather cogent points along the way:
Red Wings morning news: Holland drops a hint regarding defenseman shopping list; offseason structure
Ahead of today's locker room clean-out day, I tried to set the scene for what I believe is one of the most important days of the Red Wings' calendar year for a simple reason: love 'em or loathe 'em, the Detroit Red Wings' coach and general manager tend to be straight-shooters in the personnel department.
Mike Babcock's post-elimination comments to the media issued something of an in-house diagnosis of what the Wings can do to improve while availing themselves of the players and prospects already in the organization. As such, he talked about rest and recovery for Darren Helm, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, a resurgent 2014-2014 campaign for Johan Franzen and the possibility for improvement "on the back end" via Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alexei Marchenko and Mattias Backman competing for spots on the blueline as they are "ready" in his estimation.
I've been reading Wings fans worry like nobody's business about the status of Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, and with the Griffins in superb shape after taking 2 straight games over the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday--the Griffins only have to win one more game to advance as the AHL's first round is a best-of-5 series--and NHL.com's Alyssa Dombrowski profiling Blashill's Griffins a couple of days ago...
Nine Griffins graduated to make their NHL debuts with Detroit this season – Callahan and Sproul included – all while Grand Rapids remained a dominant force in the AHL’s Western Conference, posting 99 points (46-23-2-5) and reaching the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
It’s an impressive feat that earned Jeff Blashill the 2013-14 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach.
“We’re at a great understanding of what our job is [in Grand Rapids],” said Blashill, who served as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit in 2011-12 before heading across Michigan to take over the Griffins last season. “I believe that it’s two-fold: One is to win hockey games for the Griffins and try to win a Calder Cup; 1-A is to develop our players, to maximize their potential and ultimately try to develop future Red Wings to help them win a Stanley Cup.”
Blashill delivered a reassuring message to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
My apologies for the absence over the past 24 hours and change...I have sympathy for the Boston Bruins for the first and only time this year thanks to the fact that I've been battling a stomach bug over the last ten days, so in that respect, I understand why some of their players weren't at full strength.
I'll catch up over the next day or two--to the point that, should you want me to write a traditional wrap-up of Saturday's season-ending loss, I'm more than willing to put in the 5 hours of work--and the next week or so will still yield Wings articles on a daily basis, so fear not, we'll be talking about the Wings for a while yet.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings are in the process of determining whether Pavel Datsyuk needs surgery to remove possible dead tissue in his left knee, or whether a summer of rehabilitation will suffice.
Datsyuk dealt with the knee issue the second half of the season, missing 30-of-34 games following the Jan. 1 Winter Classic. Despite playing at less than 100 percent in the playoffs against Boston, Datsyuk was Detroit’s best player, scoring three of his team’s six goals in the five-game series.
“It has to be determined whether four months off and a commitment to the gym will give him the power and the quickness we’re used to,” general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s between the doctor and Pav. A lot depends on what Pav wants to do. He doesn’t seem to feel he has the power.”
Holland called it minor surgery, but said it takes three months to heal. So a decision likely needs to be made within a month.
The Detroit Red Wings lost a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, and the Wings will likely return to Joe Louis Arena to clean out their lockers on Monday, with some of the Wings (as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, Sheahan, Jurco and Ouellet) heading to Grand Rapids, and others (like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and perhaps Jonas Gustavsson) heading to Belarus to take part in the World Championships in May...
It is no secret that the Detroit Red Wings relied heavily on their Youth Corp to get the team into their 23rd straight post season; but where did they go?
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.