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The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Maple Leafs wrap-up

The Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs was both much closer than it appeared and exactly as close as the final score indicated, and that's particularly frustrating for the 4-and-3 Red Wings and their fans.

The Wings have lost two straight games, and they've lost two straight games because of mistakes characteristic of last year's misery, as well as plain old inattentiveness to detail, and there have just been some weird happenings, from a pair of goals on both Jimmy Howard and then Petr Mrazek's blocker and glove sides (respectively) to that strange goalie interference challenge that coach Blashill made that seemed to at least temporarily sap the wind out of the Wings' sails.

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Christopher Ilitch sits down with Sportnset’s Simpson to discuss Little Caesars Arena

I've had a weird summer and weirder fall, so I got to see the finished Little Caesars Arena and still-in-progress District Detroit for the first time before yesterday night's Queens of the Stone Age concert at the Fox, and it looks beautiful...but unfinished as the Cass Corridor is still very literally under development.

Before tonight's Wings-Leafs game, Sportnset's Christine Simpson spoke with Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch about the beautiful rink, the District in development and his parents' legacy:

Keep it going, Chris. So far, so gorgeous, and as Gary Bettman suggested, once the "full thing" gets finished, it's going to be spectacular.

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: not again!

The Detroit Red Wings hoped to avoid what has seemed like an inevitable result against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Make it 9-2-and-1, and moslty because the Red Wings didn't get any goaltending (or very little) en route to a 6-3 loss to the Leafs. Detroit rallied from a 2-0 and 4-1 deficits to make it 4-3 halfway through the second period, but Morgan Rielly's power play goal--and the bizarrely-timed Blashill challenge that followed--seemed to pop the Wings' balloon and suck the momentum out of them, and from the start of the 3rd period on (despite the Wings' 15-8 shot advantage in the 3rd period, and despite Nick Jensen's 3-assist performance), it looked like the Leafs' game.

Detroit out-shot Toronto 33-26 and out-attempted Toronto a massive 56-38, but Detroit went 24-and-36 in the faceoff circle, their starts, line changes and over-willingness to chase the Leafs around the ice just made the Wings over-reliant on a Jimmy Howard who was horrible and a Petr Mrazek who had some great moments and had some crappy ones.

Now the Wings are 4-and-3, the Wings will battle the Caps on Friday and Canucks on Sunday, and then head on the road for a week, and it'd be really nice to see the Wings string 3 periods together.

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It’s Griffins press release time

Here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

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Evening news: On the Hip, Larkin and the Wings measuring up, multimedia, containing Toronto and AA

Updated 2x at 6:45 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this early evening:

1. FYI:

2. The Red Wings joined the chorus of Tragically Hip fans who are mourning the death of Gord Downie, as noted by TSN's Kristen Shilton...

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Ken Holland talks about the Wings’ start, Athanasiou on The Fan 590

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with The Fan 590's HockeyCentral at Noon crew on Wednesday, addressing the Red Wings' resurgent start as a team effort, his decision to eschew the "rebuilding" process, and the Andreas Athanasiou situation (nothing has changed), all over the course of an 11-and-a-half-minute interview:

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HSJ: Babs on Z

Updated with Cotsonika at 12:50 PM: The Free Press's Helene St. James asked Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to weigh in on Henrik Zetterberg this morning:

“He is an elite competitor to say the least,” Babcock said after the morning skate at Air Canada Centre. “He is an elite player and his brain is so good and his puck protection skills are so good, his stick is so good. But above and beyond all those things are his competitiveness. That’s why he keeps playing.”

Babcock has shown Leafs superstar Auston Matthews clips of how good Zetterberg is at protecting the puck, but it isn’t just Zetterberg who shows up in the Leafs video room. Babcock had a slew of Hockey Hall of Fame and future Hockey Hall of Fame players available during his Detroit days, including Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Dominik Hasek, Chris Chelios, and Pavel Datsyuk. 

“You learn a lot from those guys,” Babcock said. “They do things and then suddenly you want to take what they do and teach everybody what it is. Next thing you know they are off to the races.”

St. James posted a video of Babcock's remarks:

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HSJ: Athanasiou spielt noch nicht

The Free Press's Helene St. James provides an Andreas Athanasiou update:

While the Detroit Red Wings went to work in Toronto, restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou is still searching for work overseas.

His agent, Darren Ferris, told the Free Press on Wednesday morning that Athanasiou is still in Switzerland, where he has been for more than 10 days. Ferris did not respond when asked if Athanasiou has an offer from a Swiss-league team.

The Red Wings made offers to Athanasiou for one year at $1.25 million and two years at $1.9 million per season during the summer. Back in August, Ferris said Athanasiou had an offer from a KHL team (which turned out to be AK Bars, for one year in the $2.5 million range).

...

Athanasiou has no leverage in this situation. The Red Wings aren’t going to budge even if they lose 10 games in a row. In the meantime, Athanasiou is losing $10,000 a day for every day he does not sign the two-year, $3.8 million offer.

The Red Wings have received some calls on Athanasiou from other NHL teams, but they aren’t going to trade him for anything less than a blue-chip prospect/high draft pick.

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Metro Times discusses the ‘downfall of the Wings’

The Detroit Metro Times' Tom Perkins posted a long article titled The Rise, Fall and Stalled Rebuild of Ken Holland's Red Wings this morning. Perkins leans hard on the contributions of Winging It in Motown's J.J. From Kansas, fan base nemesis Ryan Lambert and more writers, and he mostly pins the blame for the Wings' struggles where they sit, at Ken Holland's feet:

A growing portion of the fan base feels the Red Wings are indeed "mismanaged into oblivion," and there's no coherent or effective plan going forward. That's leaving some to fear that the organization is entering what could be the opposite of its past success — a protracted run in mediocrity.

The blame for the team's position mostly falls on general manager Ken Holland. Once considered to be the league's best GM, Holland, who took the helm in 1997, is now viewed by some as an obstacle to the franchise's rebuild.

That's the result of a litany of perceived missteps. Fair or not, he receives criticism for the Wings' salary cap management, poor drafting, poor player development, over-reliance on older veterans, overvaluation of its players, and focus on getting bigger while the most successful NHL teams are trending younger and faster.

The worst of the fallout from management's decision to sell off draft picks at the trade deadline to sustain the playoff streak during the last five years is what we see today — a dearth of young talent. And that's frustrating to a fanbase tired of a mediocre hockey team stumbling into the playoffs just to be bounced in the first round. They're ready for a full rebuild.

Perkins continues at length, and it's a little long-winded, but his article's a good read.

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs morning skate Tweets and articles: McIlhinney vs. Howard(?)

Updated 7x at 1:58 PM: The Detroit Red Wings (4-2-and-0) face a red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs team this evening (5-and-1; tonight's game airs on Fox Sports Detroit Plus/Sportsnet One/TVA Sports/WWJ), and as far as Leaf Land is concerned, Toronto's 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals last night is how the playoff series between the teams should have ended.

The Leafs are going to play Curtis McIlhinney opposite whoever the Wings start this evening, and, as the National Post's Michael Traikos noted, coach Babcock wasn't completely satisfied with last night's win:

As much as Babcock was glad to leave with two points, he wasn’t fully satisfied.

“I would have liked to have seen us spend more time in the offensive zone,” Babcock said. “There’s no sense being on your heels. You might as well be on your toes and go after them.

“The last two games offensively we have not been as good and so we have to have a look at that and find a way to generate more offence. I think we can and we will have a look at it and get ready for the Red Wings.”

Babcock did speak with the media this morning, as noted by TSN's Kristen Shilton...

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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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