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The Malik Report

Holland on the Wings’ energetic youth and leadership from the ‘middle’

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa offered some of Ken Holland's comments from the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association's luncheon, and the Free Press's Mike Bruendell offers some quips from Holland that are quite telling:

“There’s no doubt there is a lot of energy around the locker room,” Holland, 59, said after the luncheon. “I would attribute it to new coach Jeff Blashill and to a team that had 100 points last season and lost out to Tampa Bay, who went to the Stanley Cup finals.

“No doubt, though, I can attribute it to the energy being brought in by Larkin, Bertuzzi and Athanasiou. Some of the veterans can sense they are pushing them. But, on the other hand, they sense that these young players are coming to help, and help make us better and help make us deeper.”

At the same time, Holland told Bruendell that Abdelkader, Helm, Nyquist, Tatar, DeKeyser, Smith and the Wings' "middle group" are the key to the Red Wings' success:

“That middle group of sorts — they are extremely important, not just in the short term, but in the long term,” Holland said. “We are lucky over time that they are going to carry the torch. With the addition of Mike Green and Brad Richards to support Hank and the other vets, it’s important that the group of players aged 24, 25 and 26 push for more responsibility on this team and more ice time — to force the coach to want to put you on the ice in a key situation.”

Bruendell continues, relating Holland's take on the new "boss of the team"...

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Communication Is Key Says Henrik Zetterberg

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Communication was often a one-way street with former coach Mike Babcock. Zetterberg anticipates more flexibility with Blashill.

"With the whole coaching staff, whether it's the power play, the PK or overall coaching I think it's going to be good communication," Zetterberg said. "Obviously, you will go through parts of the season when you won't agree, but that's hockey. As long as you're honest with each other and open with your thoughts."

Zetterberg has six years remaining on his contract but realizes this core, with the 37-year-old Datsyuk and 34-year-old Niklas Kronwall, doesn't have many more opportunities for a Stanley Cup run.

"We know our window is closing down even though we have a lot of years left," Zetterberg said. "You never know. You see young guys coming up and they're playing really well and eventually they'll take your job. It's a good thing for this organization, but you want to be part of it as long as you can. To be able to do that you have to take care of your body, work hard and perform."


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Krupa: Holland praises Larkin’s maturity and more from DSBA luncheon

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa attended the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' luncheon today, and in addition to posting a whole bunch of live Tweets from the event, Krupa penned a column regarding Ken Holland and Ryan Martin's comments at said event, including some surprising remarks regarding Dylan Larkin:

"That's the highest [draft pick] we've had since 1993," Holland said Tuesday at an annual lunch of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. "Probably if the draft was held today, he might go higher than 15th. He's certainly played himself into being a real top prospect for us."

Holland and Coach Jeff Blashill met Monday with the 19-year-old Larkin, of Waterford, who played last season for Michigan.

"We told him he made the team basically by what he has done since we drafted him," Holland said.

Since the draft, Larkin has been Big Ten Rookie of the Year and among the leading scorers in the nation. He represented the United States in the world junior championship and world championships, where he fared well in a checking role against a line, for Russia, of Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin.

"He followed it up with a great preseason," Holland said. "He's going to start Friday night. And I told him and I told Blash, too, we are going to monitor. He's really important to us. All of these young players are really important to us.

"I've tried to be as patient as I can with younger players," added Holland, recalling his years as a minor-league goalie when he saw too many players called up too early, ruining some careers, and the success Scotty Bowman had with late-career acquisitions like Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov and Larry Murphy. But, certainly, with Dylan Larkin, his maturity level is beyond his years."

Krupa continues with comments from Holland regarding the team's free agent additions, its goaltending and the team's overall goals...

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Is Mattias Janmark ‘one that got away?’

The Red Wings were willing to trade Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman and a mid-round pick to the Dallas Stars for Erik Cole and a 3rd round pick (which became Vili Saarijarvi), and while Backman remained in Sweden this year, Janmark has become another "one who got away" as he's made the Stars' roster. The Dallas News's Mike Heika has more:

The Stars on Monday assigned Curtis McKenzie to the AHL and told Mattias Janmark he would be starting the season in the NHL.

It was the completion of an unlikely journey for the 22-year-old forward from Sweden. Janmark was acquired by the Stars from Detroit in the Erik Cole trade last spring, so he was unfamiliar with the organization. He has a contract with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League and figured he was going back there this year.

Instead, he was the Stars' best player at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, tallying six points in five games, and then played in six of seven preseason games, scoring two goals. Janmark was aided by the fact that young winger Brett Ritchie is out until December with a wrist injury, but he definitely earned his spot, beating out several strong players, including McKenzie, Remi Elie, Radek Faksa and Devin Shore.

"It's a great story," said Stars general manager Jim Nill. "We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds. It's a great example of what you can do if you just play hard."

Heika continues, and sometimes trades bite you in the butt...In this case, we'll have to see how Janmark develops as compared to Saarijarvi over the long haul to figure out who "won the trade."

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Krupa Tweets from the DSBA luncheon; on home openers and power rankings

Red Wings GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Ryan Martin appeared at a Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon at the Hockeytown Cafe today, and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa live-Tweeted the event:

ken holland and ryan martin at annual luncheon of detroit sports broadcasters' association, upstairs, hockeytown cafe.

live tweets, here.

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McGuire, Olczyk, Emrick weigh in on Larkin, Blashill

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan asked Pierre McGuire, Eddie Olczyk and Mike Emrick about Dylan Larkin's status as having made the Wings' NHL roster--as well as Jeff Blashill's qualifications--and the gentlemen replied as follows:

“I’m a big Dylan Larkin fan,” McGuire said. “Have been for a long time. What stood out to me was his speed, his two-step acceleration was as good or better than anybody’s in the (world junior) tournament, and Connor McDavid (No. 1 overall pick) was playing for Canada and Jack Eichel (No. 2 pick) was the captain of the American team and those are two of the leading candidates to be Rooke of the Year. Most people have to go through Grand Rapids before they get an opportunity to play in Detroit. Dylan Larkin is beyond that. He’s going to be a phenomenal player in Detroit for a very long period of time and has a legitimate chance to rival both McDavid and Eichel to be Rookie of the Year in the NHL.”

Larkin, a Waterford native who starred at Michigan his only collegiate season, was told Monday he made the Red Wings roster.

Olczyk saw Larkin play in the Big Ten — Olczyk’s son plays at Penn State — and was impressed with his hockey IQ. But he cautioned fans about expectations and the huge leap from college to the pros.

“Just his smarts will allow to be a very, very impactful player in this league,” Olczyk said. “But there is always that growing — those growing pains that come with any player let alone a kid coming out of university hockey and getting to the NHL. The pro game is much more structured than the college game (but) he has the intelligence, he has that hockey IQ. He has that ability to be able to know that sometime’s it’s okay to live to fight another day. For me, this is one guy that’s got a chance. The Red Wings haven’t had many high draft picks, so to speak. But this is one guy that certainly seems the potential to be one of those guys and they’re going to rely on for a long, long time on both ends of the ice.”

Kulfan continues...

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What To Look For This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

Who has emerged as the No. 1 goalie?

Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek both excelled in the preseason, with virtually no separation. Howard was 3-0-0, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. Mrazek was 2-0-1, with 1.99 GAA and .939 save percentage.

It looks like this will be a good, on-going competition, and that will benefit the club. With six sets of back-to-back games the first two months of the season, both figure to see their share of action.

Howard, based on his veteran status, might start the season opener Friday vs. Toronto and Mrazek the next night in Carolina, where he ended 2014-15 with a shutout. Blashill said each will start a game this week.

How will the lines look?

Blashill seems set with his top two lines – he indicated Larkin will skate with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader and it appears Brad Richards will center Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.

Riley Sheahan will center the third line with Johan Franzen. Luke Glendening also played on that line most of the preseason. But Glendening could also play center or wing on the fourth line while a more skilled offensive player, like Tomas Jurco or Teemu Pulkkinen, is placed on the third line.

The only thing that's certain about the fourth line is that it will feature Drew Miller, their top penalty-killing forward. If Glendening isn't on the third line, he'll be on the fourth. Joakim Andersson could play center or the wing on this line. Landon Ferraro is in the mix as well.


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Dylan Larkin Could Be A Special NHL Player

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,

Watching Larkin live at Detroit’s Traverse City prospects tournament, it was clear to me that the young center has the chance to be a special NHLer. He thinks the game at a high level and when his team needed a lift, that famed motor that Holland mentioned went into overdrive.

The fact he is still 19 opens up a realm of possibilities around Larkin – not only in terms of what he’ll do locally this season, but also internationally. Perhaps lost in the Red Wings roster news is the fact that Larkin is still eligible to play for Team USA’s world junior entry this winter in Finland. He was one of America’s best players last season in Montreal, though the U.S. fell flat against Russia in the quarterfinal, leading to a disappointing finish.

For Larkin’s new boss, the equation is simple:

“If Dylan’s in the NHL and he’s playing regularly and is important for us, he will not be available,” Holland said. “If he’s in the American League, we’ll make him available.”

In the meantime, Larkin will be getting used to a world in which Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are no longer guys he sees through a TV screen.


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Wallner: Athanasiou, Mantha and Bertuzzi reflect on their preseason performances

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi about their preseason experiences with the Red Wings, and while the trio won't start the season on the same line...

Coach Todd Nelson said Athanasiou and Mantha, who both spent last year with the Griffins, will open on a line with veteran Mitch Callahan. Bertuzzi, who shined in the playoffs after a late-season arrival, will be paired with Andy Miele and Mark Zengerle.

"I saw that Double-A and Mantha had good chemistry in Traverse City and we'll start the season with that (line) and see how it goes," Nelson said. "Mantha, he has good size and he has deceptive speed and Double-A skates extremely well. And you add in Callahan and he has grit. On paper at least, that line looks pretty strong."

Wallner's conversation with the trio yielded self-assured comments from Athanasiou:

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Morning news: On the ‘Detroit Events Center,’ Walleye training camp and a ‘rookie to watch’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Ian Thibodeau penned an article regarding the construction of the Wings' follow-on rink...

The models and renderings are nice, but the site of the future Detroit Events Center is currently a massive, impressive hole in the earth waiting to be filled.

Things are going according to plan, Sean Hollister, senior construction manager at Barton Malow Hunt and White, said. The 40-foot-deep hole has been dug, earth moved, and crews are working on the concrete walls, rotating clockwise around the spot where the new ice pad will go.

The $532.5 million arena will be finished by the 2017 NHL season, Hollister said. So will the retail and office spaces lining the south and east edges of the bowl, coined buildings A, B and C, the piazza park area, a parking garage, and an underground loading bay.

"All of this needs to be done by the 2017 season," Hollister said, referencing the bustling bowl beneath him.

And he continues...

2. The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Toledo Walleye's training camp is underway:

Continue Reading »

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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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