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Now What?

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

To regain a competitive advantage, general manager Ken Holland and his staff will have to explore trades and think hard about how much it is worth giving up to get what the Wings need most: a defenseman who can anchor the top pairing.

“They don’t need a complete retool,” (Scotty) Bowman said. “Detroit has some pieces, they just need to spruce up in some areas. Draft picks this year are good to have, but draft picks are not impactful for two to four years.

“It’s a work in progress. A lot will depend on the off-season. If they can pick up a defenseman, but it’s not easy to find a defenseman these days. So many teams are short on defense. But they have  enough young guys that can be better than average.”

There are good building blocks on the team in Dylan Larkin (he has had a tough second year but has the smarts to figure out how to become an impact player), Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou have provided a huge lift down the stretch, giving them confidence that should carry over into next season. They are exactly what the Wings need: young players lifting some of the weight off the veterans, as Datsyuk and Zetterberg did a decade ago. Likewise, Tatar and Nyquist have surged down the stretch, as has Mrazek. Young defensemen such as Nick Jensen and Robbie Russo have gained valuable experience.


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Why The Streak Ended

from ESPN,

Why did the Detroit Red Wings' playoff streak end?

Craig Custance: Time finally caught up to the Red Wings. This was an amazing streak, one that we may not fully appreciate until years down the road, when time gives it the proper perspective. But with those playoff appearances and championships came contracts that rewarded previous accomplishments instead of future ones. With those successes came draft picks that were closer to the bottom of each round than the top. With those successes came a loyalty to players who management would have been better served letting go. Add in injuries, sophomore struggles from Dylan Larkin and a defense that needs serious work and the Red Wings are outside looking in. Still, it was an incredible run.

Pierre LeBrun: I think the right question is, how did it last for an incredible 25 years? My goodness, we'll never see that again in the NHL, especially not in a salary-cap era. But to answer the question, the streak finally ended because after 25 years of being at or near the bottom of the draft, the Red Wings finally paid the price for never being able to select top-five talent. There's only so many times you can beat the odds and draft really good players with the lower picks. The other reason is that great superstars such as Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan and the irreplaceable Lidstrom left and were replaced by good players, but not great ones. It's hard to replace greatness with good. It has all caught up now to the Wings, who deserve the chance to rejig things -- and GM Ken Holland will do just that.

more opinions...

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Detroit’s Playoff Streak Ends In Carolina

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

“We’ve been talking about this for the last few months, it’s a great streak,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg in a quiet Red Wings locker room. “Guys who’ve been part of it should be proud. Unfortunately it’s over. You just move on and look to the future.”

The Red Wings never gained any traction, never put together a long win streak, and it hurt them in the standings.

That’s probably the biggest reason,” said Zetterberg of the inconsistency. “We’ve been talking about it, when we’re playing well we’re a good team. Then the next game, it’s totally opposite.

“That’s something we have to improve on for next year.”


from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

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Cotsonika on ‘The Streak’

From NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika:

The streak is over. For the first time since 1989-90, the Detroit Red Wings have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And for everyone involved, it hurts.

The Red Wings set a standard of excellence while making the playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons. No one wanted to fail to live up to it. Some don't quite know how to handle it because they have never missed the playoffs before.

"Right now it's hard to talk about it," said captain Henrik Zetterberg, who had made the playoffs each season since breaking into the NHL with the Red Wings in 2002-03, "because you're a big reason why it's not continuing."

Zetterberg has been anything but a big reason for it. He has had an excellent season individually. But he's beating himself up anyway. He's the leader, and as he emphasized all season, it wasn't about making the playoffs for the sake of the streak. It was about competing for the Cup.

"It [stinks] that there's not going to be playoff hockey," said assistant general manager Kris Draper, who made the playoffs each season when he played for the Red Wings from 1993-94 through 2010-11. "I know when I was a player, March Madness, the Masters and Red Wings playoff hockey, that was the favorite, favorite time of year for me."

Cotsonika continues...

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‘The Streak’ is officially over

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Red Wings-Hurricanes quick take: Wings can’t make it 3-in-3

The Detroit Red Wings' playoff streak is more or less over, it will be over when the Bruins and Maple Leafs win their respective games, at least, and that was cemented by the Red Wings' 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

The Red Wings did their best to battle through a 3rd game in 3 nights and 4th in 5, but the Wings struggled at times in a battle against a team that's in an actual playoff battle, and Tomas Nosek's first NHL goal and Jimmy Howard's saves were what's worth remembering from a difficult affair.

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With Seven Games Left, Will Mantha And Athanasiou Hit The 20 Goal Mark?

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

In what bodes well for next season, young Detroit Red Wings Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou are finishing this one with flourish.

Mantha is coming off of a two-goal performance and Athanasiou off of another overtime goal as the Wings prepare to play the Carolina Hurricanes for a second straight night at PNC Arena (7, FS-Plus).

Both could hit 20-goal marks by the end of the season. Athanasiou is at 18 and Mantha 17. To see them provide a push from below is vital to the Wings returning to playoff race as soon as next season.

“It is extremely important,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We need some of these young players that are good players to be guys that we can win hockey games with. Our record is reflective of the group we have, and they are a big impact on it. They are playing important minutes.

“Ultimately, as we win games here, and they play big minutes, that means they not only are good players in the league but can help us win, and that is the most important thing. We want a winning group here.”


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Video- It’s Another Game Day Preview From Raleigh

Ken Kal does what he does...


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A New Start In Detroit

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

The dawn of a new era here in Hockeytown earlier this month was not celebrated with champagne and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, but rather with men sloshing around in greyish goo wearing hard hats, galoshes and smiles.

Just two weeks ago, a series of trucks took part in an all-day concrete pour for the rink floor of the under-construction Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. With their boots crusted in cement, crews meticulously encased the network of ice-cooling pipes in concrete in order to keep the future ice surface completely smooth.

While the actual ice will not be installed until early summer, seeing the foundation of the playing surface being laid would no doubt have made the likes of Gordie Howe and Mike Ilitch proud. It was, after all, a significant moment in the rich history of the Red Wings and the city of Detroit, one that signalled the much-needed arrival of a brighter future.

Truth be told, this proud franchise could use one, given the tumultuous 12 months it has endured.

There will come a day, after the cranes have hoisted their final beam, when hockey fans from Canada will cross the state-of-the-art Gordie Howe International Bridge en route to a Red Wings game at the Little Caesars Arena, aka The House That Ilitch Built.


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Detroit Recalls Ben Street

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today recalled center Ben Street from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins under emergency conditions.

Street has appeared in 60 games with the Griffins this season, ranking among team leaders with 25 goals (2nd), 29 assists (2nd), 54 points (1st), 10 power-play goals (2nd), two shorthanded goals (T1st) and 194 shots on goal (2nd). The 30-year-old also sits among AHL leaders in goals (T8th), points (T11th) and power-play goals (T9th). A 2014 AHL All-Star, Street has played 350 career AHL games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Abbotsford Heat, Lake Erie Monsters, San Antonio Rampage and Griffins, totaling 291 points (123-168-291), a plus-23 rating and 108 penalty minutes since 2010-11. Signed by Detroit as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016, Street has also picked up two assists in 29 NHL games between the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche since making his NHL debut in 2012-13.

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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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