The Malik Report
Beware, Red Wings fans: an auto-play clip lurks within this entry!
Ahead of tomorrow and Saturday's pair of home tilts in which the Grand Rapids Griffins will host the Texas Stars, Hockey's Future's Tony Androckitis' notes about the Griffins' scoring leaders are worth repeating...
The defending 2013 Calder Cup champions are off and running in 2013-14 and wasted no time showing that last year wasn’t a fluke. The Grand Rapids Griffins opened the season with an 8-1 win over Rochester and lead the Midwest Division by six points with a record of 13-4-1-1.
Leading the way for the Griffins has been second-year forward Tomas Jurco. The Detroit Red Wings’ second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft is fifth in the AHL in scoring with 22 points (10G-12A) in 19 games played and is already approaching his offensive production from his 74-game rookie season where he tallied 28 points (14G-14A). Jurco is not enduring “the sophomore slump” and started the season on a four-game points streak. He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down just yet ,either, recording points in five of his last seven games (5G-3A), including his first professional career hat trick in a 5-3 win over Rockford on November 15th.
On the backend, rookie defenseman Ryan Sproul leads the Griffins offensive attack with five goals and eight assists on the season after coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons as a defender for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. His five goals leads all rookie defensemen while his 13 points have him third in the AHL among rookie defenders. The 2012-13 CHL Defenseman of the Year hasn’t appeared in his first NHL game just yet, but it’s only a matter of time for the offensive defenseman to be given an NHL look.
Grand Rapids' Fox 17 duly noted that Jurco's leading the way for GR:
Various luminaries and political types from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the State of Michigan, City of Detroit, the State and U.S. legislature, the province of Ontario and City of Toronto will be making their presence known at the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but I can only shake my head at this report from the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington, who reports that the worst mayor since Kwame Kilpatrick is sure to do his best to steal the spotlight:
There are 107,000 hockey fans expected at the New Year’s Day outdoor NHL Winter Classic in Michigan and Mayor Rob Ford says he plans to be one of them.
“Definitely,” the mayor said of the much anticipated Jan. 1 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. “I don’t have the plans worked out yet but I want to go.”
The Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins' players took to Twitter to wish all their fans a happy "American Thanksgiving" On Thursday:
Bertuzzi did skate today, Datsyuk did not.
Also, the lines this morning where the same from last night's game.
added 1:58pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive (on Datsyuk)
According to Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels, the Red Wings will be practicing at Joe Louis Arena sometime today despite having defeated the Boston Bruins 6-1 on Wednesday--with the team slated to fly out to Long Island for its mid-afternoon games against the Islanders on Friday and Daniel Alfredsson's former employers on Sunday--so the Wings won't have much of a Thanksgiving.
TMR is going into "low and slow-cook" mode today, however, so I'm going to leave you with a superb quote from Jonas Gustavsson, snagged by MLive's Brendan Savage, which I certainly hope is true for the Wings going forward...
NESN posted quite the pre-game video of one Red Wings executive and Hockey Hall of Famer informing Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley that, at least in one respect, Wednesday night's 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins was worthy of the NBCSN "Rivalry Night" tag even prior to puck drop--because one does not get in the way of a former hard-charging defenseman and his perch in Joe Louis Arena's cramped, one-row press box:
I adore Chris Chelios as a former Red Wings player, as an executive and as a salt-of-the-earth person, but I can certainly tell you that if you have been identified as a member of the media, and he doesn't know you, he doesn't trust you, or he simply has somewhere to go, he'll do just what he did to Edwards and Brickley--walk right past you and look right through you.
Or sometimes it's the other way around, and I've come pretty close to taking a Chelios check more than once because the man all but literally runs the gauntlet of digital sound recorders when he spots them and those that hold them looking for a "quote."
The Detroit Red Wings have won two of their past three games--and their second of three meetings with the Boston Bruins, taking Wednesday's game by a 6-1 tally (the Wings lost 4-1 on October 5th, but won 3-1 on October 13th, with both games taking place in Boston; the teams won't meet again until April)--but the team won't be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors for long.
According to Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels, the Wings will be practicing later today at Joe Louis Arena, despite today's status as "American Thanksgiving" and they'll fly to Long Island this evening ahead of Friday's 4 PM game against the Islanders and Sunday's Alfredsson-Senators reunion.
The Wings don't exactly have a Toledo Walleye-style bag skate on tap, but they're definitely not going to be enjoying their holiday or the lack thereof.
The Free Press's Helene St. James also reported that Wings coach Mike Babcock had revealed his goaltending rotation for this upcoming weekend...
One of the biggest reasons that Darren McCarty's "book tour" through Southeastern Michigan's noteworthy is because he doesn't live here any more. McCarty moved to Florida after his last bout of legal issues about a year-and-a-half ago.
In a Metropolitan area where every hockey fan wants to buy one of the Red Wings' greatest folk heroes a drink--and that folk hero happens to be an alcoholic--it was hard for McCarty to stay sober both during his first and second stints with the Red Wings, as well as his post-hockey stay here, and the smartest thing I would argue Mrs. McCarty #3 has ever done was to decide to relocate to Florida for safety, sobriety and sanity's sake.
McCarty's memoir, My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star, which was co-written by USA Today's Kevin Allen, will come out on December 1st, and ahead of the publishing date, McCarty spoke with the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa about his memoir...
“There were some messages I wanted to get out that were important to me,” McCarty said Wednesday. “You’re going to cry. You’re going to laugh. There are some great stories. But, I want you to understand, it’s for a young kid to be prepared for what he may face, if he makes it in anything. When there’s fame in anything, this is what you are going to come up against. If I can prevent some kid from going through this — like one kid — than my story was worth it. And for addicts? We have something in common. I hope people can relate.”
And Krupa's review of McCarty's memoir is bluntly honest, too:
Despite Daniel Alfredsson's 2 shots and 5 total shot attempts, I'll readily admit that #11 in red and white looked like he was already preparing for Sunday's reunion affair in Ottawa.
Perhaps his distraction involved the facts that a) his wife and four sons are going to Ottawa for the weekend, and b) Alfredsson and his teammates aren't having much of an "American Thanksgiving" as Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels reported that the team's going to practice on Thursday and take a late afternoon flight to Long Island ahead of Friday's 4 PM tilt against the Isles.
We already know that Sunday's game is going to give Alfredsson and Senators fans some closure, but he and his Red Wings teammates will be skating into a media maelstrom on Saturday and Sunday (the game starts at 5 PM on Sunday afternoon), the Ottawa media machine's already cranked up the hype machine, and the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren reports that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk helped spin the wheel by stating the following on Ottawa's Team 1200 radio station:
Updated 3x at 2:48 AM on Thursday: In Detroit, all went well for the Red Wings, who defeated Boston 61, but the Wings' ECHL affiliate, the Toledo Walleye, were absolutely routed as well, dropping a 7-0 decision to the South Carolina Stingrays..
In which Jared Coreau gave up 4 goals on 21 shots and Hannu Toivonen gave up 3 on 10, Martin Frk finished at -3, Trevor Parkes finished at -2 despite taking 5 of the Walleye's 30 shots, Louis-Marc Aubry finished at -2 with 4 shots, Nick Jensen finished at -2 with 2 shots, and Max Nicastro and Marek Tvrdon finished at -1 with 1 shot apiece...
And the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that Walleye coach Nick Vitucci chose to send one hell of a message after the game (and the Walleye host South Carolina on Friday as well). Please note the timestamp on Monroe's Tweets:
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