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The Malik Report

“The Kids Have Played Well”

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“Sometimes when you put kids in and they aren’t ready it turns out to be bad for the team and you start to lose your confidence as an athlete and you have to go backwards to regain that confidence,” general manager Ken Holland said. “Fortunately, the kids have played well. That’s not a concern for me.”

Said center Darren Helm: "The young guys add a big element to the team -- excitement, energy -- gets everybody going. They’re going to be important guys in the playoffs."

This is the youngest team the Red Wings have taken into the playoffs in a long time. Youth brings fresh legs and speed. That will be important against the big, physical, veteran-laden Bruins.

“All those kids just love to play hockey, they’re just having fun,” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen said. “They want the puck, they’re skating good and they’re strong on the puck.

“I think they’re ready for the playoffs. They’ve been playing great for us. It’s going to be fun to see what they can bring.”

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The Playoff Hits

23 minutes and 23 seconds of hits, all playoff hits.

23, that number keeps coming up.

Watch the video below, presented by awood40 again...

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Around The Wings World

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“It was a lot of specialty teams today, that was our plan,” Babcock said. “We knew coming in we were going to grind yesterday and do a lot of team stuff and then the heavy lifting yesterday, the specialty teams today, and we’ll have a little more tempo and special teams tomorrow.”

He’s glad the series starts later the other seven first-round matchups.

“We needed the time, we need to freshen up some people,” Babcock said. “We had ground hard to get in. When (the Bruins) were in here (April 2) they gave guys days off and we couldn’t give anybody days off.

“The other thing about it is when you’re the lower seed, the more detailed you can be, the better off you can be. And so preparation time has been great for us. Ideally it will be an equalizer and give us an opportunity to really compete.”

more

from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,

 Jonathan Ericsson will skate on his own Thursday for the first time since having successful surgery to stabilize his fractured finger and repair a partially torn tendon on March 19.

“We’ll see how that goes,” Ericsson said. “It’s been almost four weeks now.”

He still won’t be able to handle the puck due to the splint on his left hand.

“I think it’s too early to tell,” Ericsson said when asked if he could return sometime in the first round of the playoffs. 

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Dana Wakiji with some tweets,

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A New Look At Detroit’s Practice Today

via Ansar Khan tweet,

Lines juggled: Nyquist-Datsyuk-Abdelkader, Franzen-Helm-Alfredsson, Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco, Miller-Glendening-Legwand.

added 11:33am, via Chuck Pleiness tweet,

PP units: Franzen, Datsyuk, Legwand, Nyquist and Kronwall. Sheahan, Alfredsson, Tatar, Jurco and DeKeyser.

added 12:25pm, via Bill Roose tweet,

Jonathan Ericsson says tendon isn't healing as fast as the bone in his finger.

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From The Boston Point Of View

from Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston,

Bruins in six. This is should be an interesting and entertaining series. Of all the first-round matchups in the Stanley Cup playoffs, this one could be the most difficult to win. Boston’s reward for winning the Presidents’ Trophy will be one pesky opponent. Still, the Bruins will prevail based on their overall game.

more

from Matt Kalman of the Boston Herald,

Aside from harnessing their emotions, the Bruins also must find a way to counter Detroit’s speed and skill. Their game plan didn’t work out all that well in the regular season, as the Red Wings won three of the four meetings. Two of Detroit’s wins, however, were by one goal.

“We’ve played some fast teams before,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And again, we can look at the record whichever way we want and see us 1-3. I look at the games we played against them, and there was one, the first one in Detroit, that we didn’t play very well. The other three we could’ve won the two that we had the lead. I don’t think it’s going to be that big of an issue as much as we may be an issue for them. Teams have strengths and it’s how you counter those things.

“I think our team can certainly skate. I don’t think we’re a slow team. Whether people underrate our skating or not, I don’t know. But we’ve shown that we can skate with these guys and certainly close a gap quick on those guys, too. And that’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to make sure you don’t give those guys too much room because they’ll make plays and they’ll take the ice that you give them.”

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CSNNE with a 1 1/2 minute video breaking down the series...

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How Will The Wings Handle The Physical Play From The Bruins?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post makes his first round predictions...

Bruins over Red Wings in 6: Boston was extended to Game 7 in the first round last year before the miracle rally to overcome a third-period 4-1 deficit and defeat the Maple Leafs in overtime a year after losing a first-round Game 7 OT to an inferior Capitals team, so the first round may be the best time to get Boston.

The Red Wings, though still without Henrik Zetterberg, should be as healthy as they have been all season. It will be fascinating to see how playoff neophytes Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco respond to the Bruins’ relentless physical work.

read on for the other first round matchups...

I do believe it will be interesting to see how the Wings handle the physical play of the Bruins.  If they handle it well, it could very well be a turning point in the series, one that has yet to begin.

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The Model Franchise

from Chad Finn of Boston.com,

Maybe the rules of superstition suggest we should wait for the Bruins' first-round playoff series with the long-admired Detroit Red Wings to be complete before making such a declaration.. But it's the truth now, and it should be acknowledged now.

The Bruins, not the Red Wings, have become the model franchise in the NHL. And the exclamation point on that sentence will be provided by this series, which starts Friday night at TD Garden.

Make no mistake, the Wings are worthy of the respect Bruins fans are affording them. Much of that is due to their remarkable success over the last quarter-century, give or take a season or two....

No, it won't be easy. The Wings did win three of four matchups this year, including one of Boston's rare clunkers, a 6-1 Detroit win on November 27 in which Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi didn't even play.

The Bruins' lone win was by a 4-1 score in the second game of the season; it was so long ago that Jordan Caron was one of the three stars.

And it won't be easy because they are the Wings. Accomplished, respected, skilled and decorated. They wear that sweater with pride. They have a lot going for them. still.

Just not as much as the Bruins, their successor as hockey's model franchise.
 

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Jeff Blashill Named AHL Coach Of The Year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League’s outstanding coach for the 2013-14 season, as voted by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

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Zetterberg Shooting For Round 2, Still A Way To Go

 

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The Enduring Detroit Red Wings

from Katie Baker of Grantland,

So, what were you up to in 1991? Me, I can’t be entirely sure, but it definitely involved some combination of gymnastics, slap bracelets, and watching Nickelodeon-produced PSAs about acid rain. If it helps trigger your memory: The Soviet Union was dissolving that year, Super Nintendo came to the U.S., and the ribbon was being cut on California’s first Starbucks. The Silence of the Lambs and “Losing My Religion” were released, and Emma Roberts and Mike Trout were born. And the Detroit Red Wings, one season removed from a pitiful fifth-place division finish, ended their year in the Norris’s third spot to qualify for the NHL playoffs.

That was 23 years ago, and Detroit hasn’t missed the postseason since.

Think about that: There are people, an entire generation of people, who have been born and have grown up and had their hearts broken by high school soul mates and gone off to college and graduated and are now tentatively finding their way through the world. And these people have never known what it’s like to see their favorite hockey team miss the playoffs.

continued and a recommended read...

added 12:25pm, Also, Sean McIndoe of Grantland,

It seems like an odd thing to say about a franchise that came of age with Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, and Alex Delvecchio, and later went on to 23 straight playoff appearances and four Stanley Cups, but my favorite Red Wings team of all time was the 1988-89 edition.

That was the year a 23-year-old Steve Yzerman made the leap from very good player to unquestioned superstar, posting a remarkable 65 goals and 155 points, both Red Wing records. This was in the middle of the Gretzky/Lemieux era, so Yzerman didn’t even make a postseason all-star team, but his fellow players named him best player in the league.

read on

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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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