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Alden Hirschfeld’s comeback hits high gear

The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that Alden Hirschfeld is well on his way back from a seizure that required brain surgery to correct this past March:

Just five months after undergoing brain surgery, Alden Hirschfeld believes he’s back and better than ever.

The 28-year-old forward had his pro hockey career put on hold after he suffered an unexpected seizure during a game on Jan. 8. On March 14, the Sylvania native had surgery to remove a tangle of arteries and veins in his brain that had caused the seizure.

Just five months later, Hirschfeld is back skating full-tilt. Hirschfeld's remarkable recovery hit a new high point when he received clearance from his doctors to resume all contact late last week.

“I'm back to playing regularly, skating with contact,” he said. “It's awesome. I've been waiting a long time for this. It's finally here. Post-surgery, I'm super healthy. Now it's just great to still be able to play and move on.”

Hirschfeld, who has played three seasons for the Toledo Walleye, is champing at the bit to put an exclamation point on an amazing journey.

“I'm hungry and excited,” Hirschfeld said. “If the season started tomorrow, I'd be ready to go.”

Monroe continues...

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Kulfan ponders 10 Wings ‘issues’

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan has penned a list of 10 issues facing the Red Wings with training camp "approaching," and among them:

2. Is the defense — or can the defense be — improved?: The search for a top-four defenseman to strengthen the unit resulted in no trades or free agent signings.

So the only real change was letting free agent Kyle Quincey walk — Quincey has yet to sign with another team — and Xavier Ouellet (out of minor league options) likely replacing Quincey.

The Red Wings will need to improve from within. Defensemen Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green all had sub-par seasons and need to rebound. Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko must continue to improve and take on greater roles.

This unit still has the look of a question mark, and a trade could happen early in the season. But improvement must likely come individually.

Kulfan continues...

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AWood40 posts a set of 2002 Wings-Avs highlights

AWood40 on YouTube offers quite a gem this evening, posting 54 minutes' worth of highlights from the 2002 Red Wings-Avalanche series:

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Beat writers tour 3D-printed Little Caesars Arena in miniature, share the big details

The Free Press's Helene St. James, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples and Stefan Kubus (among others) got a tour of the Ilitches' 3D-printed model of Little Caesars Arena and its surrounding development. They came away impressed, as St. James notes...

During a special preview of Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday, held at nearby Comerica Park, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment Tom Wilson led a group of media members on a tour highlighting LCA, which is scheduled to open for the 2017-18 season. Situated in the budding Detroit District, the inside of the arena was inspired by Montreal’s Bell Centre, considered one of the most intimidating arenas in the NHL because of the lack of outside light.

“That became the model,” Wilson said. “It’s very steep — I mean, people are right on top of you. The difference is in Canada, there’s no leg room, and they don’t have ADA restrictions. So, we had to take all that into account, and even with that, this building is tighter than Montreal.”

New seats are 21 inches wide, compared to 17-18 at Joe Louis Arena.

“The lower level has 9,000 seats for hockey, 11,000 for basketball,” Wilson said. “The Joe has 6,000 in the lower level. So, as an average fan, my view is going to be much better — 3,000 more people are going to be closer to the action. And then the suites, we brought down to about 24 rows up, and there’s two levels of them.”

St. James continues, and Duff picks it up from there:

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Mid-day Tweets of note

Of Twitter-related Red Wings note:

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Examining Holland’s Q and A from a ‘feels’ standpoint

Okay, so: Ken Holland engaged in a Q and A with NHL.com's Dan Rosen this morning, and he didn't exactly kick off the session with a huge vote of confidence in his team:

"I don't know that there are more than five or six legitimate Stanley Cup contenders; we're probably not in that group," Holland said. "After that five or six, there are 20 teams without much difference between them. We're in that group of 20. Certainly there are lots of questions about our team."

The biggest one can't be answered until April: Will the Red Wings make the Stanley Cup Playoffs again, or is this the year the streak comes to an end?

Detroit has made the playoffs for 25 straight seasons but squeezed in last season because it had 39 regulation/overtime wins compared to the Boston Bruins' 38. Holland doesn't know if the margin will change much this season, especially without forward Pavel Datsyuk, who has returned to his native Russia.

"We're going to be in a race," Holland said. "We think we're going to be in that photo finish with a whole bunch of other teams."

Part of me really wants Holland to say as little as possible if he's going to short-sell his team; part of me feels that at least he's being honest regarding his expectations, and in a sort of ass-backwards way, his comments strike me as refreshing...

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The Season Outlook For Andreas Athanasiou

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2016-17 outlook: Athanasiou's blazing speed is a tremendous asset. It puts defensemen on their heels, especially in one-on-one situations, leading to scoring opportunities.

His ice time was limited, particularly in the third period, for reasons coach Jeff Blashill declined to specify. But Athanasiou maximized his ice time by making an impact. He led the team in shooting percentage and needs to get more pucks on net (which will come with more minutes). He is a secondary option on the penalty kill.

Athanasiou proved he deserves to be in the lineup, but the Red Wings, with a crowded roster, still have the option of sending him to Grand Rapids without waivers.

Key question: Will Athanasiou get more ice time this season?


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Ken Holland believes Wings have room to grow in Q and A with NHL.com

NHL.com's Dan Rosen engaged in a Q and A with Red Wings GM Ken Holland, and Holland is both very honest about his team's expectations and very hopeful about the growth of his roster players:

"We're going to be in a race," Holland said. "We think we're going to be in that photo finish with a whole bunch of other teams."

Don't let Holland's honesty fool you into thinking his belief is wavering. His expectations are still high and his belief remains strong.

Holland said he thinks the Red Wings have a group of players between 20 and 27 years old, all with room to grow.

"Can one or two of them do it?" Holland said.

Chief among them are Dylan Larkin (20), Anthony Mantha (21), Andreas Athanasiou (22), Riley Sheahan (24), Alexey Marchenko (24), Petr Mrazek (24), Tomas Tatar (25), Gustav Nyquist (26) and Danny DeKeyser (26).

"As we sit today, we don't have a superstar in his prime," Holland said. "We have lots of good players. I think we have lots of really good players. How far can they grow? I don't know. Pavel Datsyuk came over and scored 11 goals and 12 goals in his first two seasons in the NHL. I don't think we have any Pavel Datsyuks, but it's an example that people can grow."

Rosen continues at length...

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Red Wings TV takes you flying with Abdelkader, Larkin and the Breitling Jet Team

Great work here by Red Wings TV as Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin take flight with the Breitling Jet Team:

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Caples: MSU’s pro camp gets underway

Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples checks in from Michigan State University's pro camp in East Lansing, MI:

Near the end of every August, they return to Munn Ice Arena. Former Spartans (and some of their friends) arrive in East Lansing ready for the transition from summer training to team training camps, and with the help of Tom Newton, they start finding their stride once again.

The annual MSU Pro Camp – run by Newton, MSU’s longtime assistant coach – gives players the chance to knock the proverbial rust off their skates as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“Driving in that first time is always a pleasure,” said 25-year-old Jake Chelios, a Bloomfield Hills native and Spartan defenseman from 2010-14 now pushing for a spot with the Carolina Hurricanes. “I don’t skate during the summer, so this is kind of my kicking-off point. It’s great to see all the guys you played with or played against throughout the year and you talk to the throughout the year but you don’t really get to see them or hang out, so this week’s important for that, as well as the hockey part.”

Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller are attending the camp as well:

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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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