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The Malik Report

Toledo Walleye sign Mike McKee

The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Toledo Walleye have signed Wings prospect Mike McKee:

The Walleye signed Mike McKee, a 6-foot-5 and 250-pound defenseman, today.

McKee recently wrapped up a four-year college career at Western Michigan University. The 23-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont. had four points with two goals and two assists in 21 games as a senior.

In his career, McKee had six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 101 college games. He also had 194 penalty minutes.

The Walleye also released defenseman Tim Campbell and put forward Zach Nastasiuk on reserve. Campbell, who signed with the team on Feb. 28, had one point in five games. Nastasiuk, who has 34 points with 13 goals and 21 assists in 47 games, was injured on Sunday.

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Here comes Axel Holmstrom

Via "Son of Flying Pig" on Twitter, Expressen's Robin Lindgren is reporting that Red Wings prospect Axel Holmstrom is flying to the U.S. to join the Red Wings--or, presumably, the Grand Rapids Griffins, if only after the Wings' season ends--today as his SHL team, Skelleftea AIK, has been eliminated from the SHL playoffs. The Wings loaned Holmstrom to Skelleftea this past season, and Holmstrom battled a succession of knee injuries but posted 5 points in 10 playoff games.

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Griffins sign Tylor Spink to pro try-out

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday signed forward Tylor Spink to a professional tryout (PTO).

In his first full year as a professional, Spink, 24, has skated in 62 games with the Toledo Walleye and ties for the ECHL’s rookie scoring lead with 72 points (27-45—72). He adds a plus-22 rating, tied for sixth among the league’s first-year players, and 46 penalty minutes. Among all skaters, Spink ties for 11th in points and 10th in assists. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound winger has also logged four games in the AHL this season, appearing in one with Milwaukee and three with Albany.

Spink got his first taste of pro hockey action at the end of the 2015-16 season after concluding a four-year collegiate career at Colgate University. He tallied nine points (2-7—9) in seven regular season games with the Walleye before contributing seven points (2-5—7) in seven Kelly Cup Playoff contests. Spink made his AHL debut with the Toronto Marlies last season and skated in two games.

In four seasons (2012-16) as a Colgate Raider (ECAC), the Ottawa, Ontario, native registered 115 points (47-68—115) in 133 games and recorded three seasons with 30 or more points. He finished second on the team in scoring as a senior, banking a career-high 34 points (13-21—34) in 37 games. As a freshman, Spink was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team after leading the Raiders with 31 points (13-18—31).

The Central Division-leading and playoff-bound Griffins are on the road at Rockford tonight at 8 p.m. EDT.

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Did he say ‘yes?’

I'm a little late to this one, but, via People Magazine's Lindsay Kimble, a young lady flipped the proposal script on her boyfriend at Wednesday's Grand Rapids Griffins game:

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs morning skate Tweets and articles: Howard starts, Wings hope to play ‘spoiler’

The Detroit Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM), and the Red Wings will hope to play "spoilers" as the Leafs have a tenuous grip on the 3rd-place spot in the Atlantic Division.

MLive's Brendan Savage filed a set of game notes...

Continue Reading »

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Wallner profiles Griffins coach Todd Nelson

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned an article discussing Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson's successes over the past two years as the Griffins' coach:

With nine games remaining in the regular season, the Griffins enter Friday night's home game against Charlotte at 43-19-1-4 and three wins from equaling the franchise high for a 76-game season.

Blashill's teams won 46 games twice, in 2014 and 2015. Anything beyond three wins would give the Griffins their highest win total since 55 in the 80-game season in 2007. The AHL went to 76 games in 2011-12.

The Griffins, who on Sunday clinched their earliest playoff berth in six seasons, are built to succeed with an overstuffed lineup of veterans and a core of prospects who have improved.

The team has also won despite a large number of call ups to Detroit, out of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

Nelson, in the second year of a three-year contract, has been able to mold and then readjust throughout the season.

"We're held accountable to a standard but he's not a coach who yells, but will sit you down and let you know what's expected or needs improvement," said forward Mitch Callahan. "He's pretty personable. I think any guy, from rookie to veteran can easily have a conversation with him. And, he's a former player so he knows who to handle the dog days of the year."

Wallner continues...

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Shanny on ‘the Joe’

The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk, the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis and the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts all penned tributes to Joe Louis Arena as a beloved "dump" of a barn, but Shoalts wins the, "Joe Tribute of the Day" award for offering a good slate of comments from Maple Leafs president and former Red Wing Brendan Shanahan:

“All we cared about was the atmosphere on the ice,” he said. “There wasn’t a row of suites halfway up the stands, so it felt like the fans were on top of us. You could connect better with the fans. You could hear them better, especially in the days when the glass was lower.

“I remember scoring an empty-net goal to clinch a Colorado series. We’re celebrating and a fan reached over the glass to pat me on the head. He just slapped me right on the face.”

Shanahan said the rink itself had its quirks, especially the boards, which the Wings used to their advantage until other teams figured it out.

“Any time the puck was shot from the point and it missed the net, you knew the puck was coming back out in front of the net,” he said. “Some of our veteran defencemen that were used to that would sometimes shoot the puck wide, knowing there were a couple of forwards who would position themselves to take advantage of it coming off the boards.

“I think in the early days, people didn’t talk about it as much. There’s so much more scouting now. I felt we got between a half dozen and a dozen goals at home [per season] from those bounces.”

Shoalts continues with a few quips from Mike Babcock...

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Is the Red Wings’ ‘brand’ stale?

USA Today's Kevin Allen penned a, "Five-step plan to get the Red Wings back on track," and his fifth point has got me thinking, because there is an argument to be made that, if anything, the Red Wings' "brand" is stale:

Rebuild brand: Detroit used to be a destination city for free agents. Everyone wanted to play in Detroit because of their star power, their playoff success and their style of play.

That’s not the case anymore. The Red Wings are viewed as a franchise in need of an energy boost. They don’t have a stable full of top young prospects. They have grown stale.

Their new arena, which opens next season, will help. They need to hit home runs with most of their draft picks this summer and have their younger players progress. When they recruit, they need to be viewed as a team on the rise.

Allen continues, and I'm curious as to what you would do to reignote fans' passion for the Red Wings.

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Keys To The Game - Toronto Style

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,


No time for sentiment

This will be an emotional night for Leafs coach Mike Babcock, when he looks around Joe Louis Arena a final time with the 2008 Cup banner he had a hand in winning and a few older Leafs getting their last look at the place. But points against a beatable team take precedent.

A to Z

There is no Pavel Datsyuk to haunt the Leafs anymore, but Henrik Zetterberg can still hurt. The club’s leading scorer added his 48th assist on Thursday. He now has 900 NHL points.

Steady Freddy

Frederik Andersen skunked the Wings on 22 shots on Jan, 25 and was a 3-2 winner a few weeks ago. He had only one regulation loss in all of March. How long into April could he play?


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Video- 17 Anthony Mantha Goals

His year is over but his goals will live 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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