Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Detroit’s Grueling Schedule Continues Tomorrow

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings cap a taxing week Saturday with their fifth game in seven days.

After being swept in the season series by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, the Red Wings will try to avoid the same fate Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

They were hoping to recharge physically and mentally Friday during their day off and turn in a better performance than they did in a 5-3 loss to the Lightning, which won all five games between the clubs this season.

"It's lots of games," coach Jeff Blashill said. "I understand, but we can't allow that (performance) to be acceptable, so we're going to have to get some rest here and we're going to be better on Saturday. We have to find a way to get energy and be sharper come Saturday."

The Leafs won the first three meetings against the Red Wings, whose only point came in a 5-4 overtime loss Jan. 1 in the Centennial Classic at BMO Field.

Toronto has plenty to play for, battling for its first playoff berth since 2013 and just its second in 12 seasons. The Leafs are 9-2-1 in their past 12. They are in third place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of Boston, and are four points ahead of Tampa Bay in the wild-card chase.

continued

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Mike Babcock On The Recent Remarks From Chris Chelios

from Will Burchfield of CBS Detroit,

Last week, Chris Chelios claimed that Mike Babcock and his hardline coaching style deterred veteran free agents from signing with the Red Wings during Babcock’s tenure in Detroit.

Babcock, after initially deflecting a follow-up question, responded to Chelios’ comments on Friday.

“I could belabor this all day long if you want. I’m not going to. I think guys who played for us here — (Brian) Rafalski was a free agent, he was unbelievable, helped us win a Cup. I think Dominik Hasek was a free agent, he was fantastic. So I think we got lots (of free agents) to come,” Babcock told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket.

Babcock, now the head coach of the Maple Leafs, said there are a multitude of factors that influence a player’s decision in free agency.

“In the end you have to pay these guys, though, and some teams can pay more than you. And some guys’ wives are from certain areas. We got Rafalski to come here because he had been from Michigan,” Babcock said. “That’s reality.”...

“Cheli is a Hall of Fame player, had a great, great career. Always a consummate professional, worked real, real hard and got his name on the Cup (three times). I enjoyed being around his dad, enjoyed being around his boys, we had them on the ice a number of times,” Babcock said. “The way I look back at all this is just positive, so to comment on any of that stuff makes no sense for me.”

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On The Mantha Fight

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Witkowski initiated the fight with Mantha at 3:47 of the first period. Mantha got the worst of it as Witkowski landed several punches and took him down. It was payback for Mantha instigating a fight with the Lightning's Greg McKegg last Friday in Detroit.

"He's a tough kid, he sticks up for himself and it was unfortunate that his finger got tangled up there," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said....

"It's a loss, there's no question," Blashill said. "The last three games, I thought he was really starting to come and play better hockey. I like Anthony lots. I think he cares a ton, I think he wants to be a real good player and it's unfortunate that he's out."

Mantha has gotten into five fights this season, the most he's had at any level of hockey.

"He's a tough kid, plays hard, stands up for himself, which is great to see," Justin Abdelkader said. "Sometimes those are unfortunate things that can happen in fights. I thought he did a great job. I'm proud of him.

"He's done a terrific job this year, whether it's scoring, fighting, hitting."

Said Niklas Kronwall: "Mo is a big body. He's been playing really well. It was tough to lose him that early in the game and also moving forward."

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A bit more about the ‘retool on the fly’

The Hockey News's Ken Campbell spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the course of the organization, and Holland reiterated his belief that there's no point in tearing down the Big Red Machine for a full rebuild:

"Why would you want to be bad with no guarantees on the other side?” Holland said. “Why would anybody do that?”

Instead of slapping their palms against their heads, Red Wing fans should be encouraged to hear those kinds of words. There is more than one way to build a contender. The losing method is one. But there’s another way. By building a team with solid drafting and development of players, the way the Red Wings did it the first time. It’s a method they know and are good at, and the last thing you want to do when you’re moving into a new arena is tell your fans the first couple of years there are going to be miserable. “Maybe if we miss the playoffs five straight years, maybe that’s an appropriate conversation to have.”

The way Holland sees it, a lot went wrong with the Red Wings this season. They had some players, namely Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist, who weren’t as good this season as they were in the past. They went almost three months without scoring a power-play goal on the road. In November and December, they won three of 15 home games. And they were devastated by injuries to key players. When the Capitals were in Detroit in late February, Holland said he read a stat that said at that point in the season, the Capitals had lost 20 man-games to injury and the Red Wings had lost 343.

Nobody said this was going to be easy. The Red Wings are in a cap crunch, with seven players aged 30 or older who have two or more years left on their deals (eight if you include Johan Franzen, who is on the long-term injury list). The Red Wings will be dinged to the tune of $2.6 million next season for the Stephen Weiss buyout. And lest you think the Red Wings would even entertain the thought of moving Henrik Zetterberg, perish the thought immediately. “Zetterberg’s jersey is going in the rafters,” Holland said.

Campbell continues, and I can't blame Holland for suggesting that the Wings ought not to tear down completely...that would take 3-5 years of tearing down and another 3-5 years of building back up.

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Grand Rapids Griffins name Nathan Paetsch their ‘Man of the Year’

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:

NATHAN PAETSCH NAMED GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS'
2016-17 IOA/AMERICAN SPECIALTY AHL MAN OF THE YEAR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins are proud to announce that Nathan Paetsch has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Grand Rapids community during the 2016-17 season.

The 34-year-old captain of the Griffins has always been proactive in using his station in life for engaging and helping the younger generation. He visited Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital seven times this season and the Boys & Girls Clubs on a handful of occasions, while also reading to a local elementary school to promote March is Reading Month. Paetsch also continued a franchise tradition by teaming up with Flagstar Bank to donate season tickets to the local Boys & Girls Clubs and frequently invites the youth to visit the locker room after games.

Continue Reading »

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A bit about Blashill’s future from TSN’s McKenzie

Just an FYI: As Paul noted, TSN's Bob McKenzie addressed Jeff Blashill's future at the 1:40 mark of TSN's Insider Trading segment for Thursday, and McKenzie says that the team is "highly unlikely" to rid themselves of Jeff Blashill, explaining that the Red Wings still feel that Blashill is learning and growing as an investment in coaching for the future as opposed to starting all over again.

He suggests that the Wings will "retool" on the fly as well, with Zetterberg remaining and the Wings eying a Boston Bruins, Philadelpiha Flyers or Vancouver Canucks-style quick rebuild instead of going in the tank.

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Red Wings-Lightning quick take: punch-out

The Detroit Red Wings aimed to earn an incredibly rare win in Tampa Bay against the Nikita Kucherov-less Lightning on Thursday night.

The Wings fought hard--literally so, to the expense of Anthony Mantha's broken finger--but lost 5-3 to Tampa Bay, dropping the season series against the Bolts. Henrik Zetterberg did score his 900th career point in the game, but that was its only remarkable moment.

Continue Reading »

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Cailey Chelios interviews Chris Chelios

Via Cailey Chelios' Twitter account:

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Wings lose Mantha to broken finger per HSJ, Khan

Fighting for the sake of letting a player "even up" after an earlier scrap is kind of dumb, especially when you're a scoring forward going against an enforcer. The Wings lost Anthony Mantha to an upper-body injury in a fight with Luke Witkowski, and, well:

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Ken Holland appears on The Fan 590 regarding the end of the playoff streak

Sportsnet is replacing its audio clips with in-studio videos, and as Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to Prime Time Sports' Bob McCown and Damien Cox regarding the end of the playoff streak, here's the 9-minute interview in YouTube form:

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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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