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The Malik Report

Evening news: on scraps, the PK, fantasy hockey and a District Detroit tour

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Los Angeles Times' Helene Elliott notes that the Red Wings lead the NHL in a surprising category:

-The Detroit Red Wings aren’t letting their 25-season playoff streak end without a fight.

Or without taking major fighting penalties. The Red Wings, known more for finesse than fisticuffs, were assessed a league-leading five fighting majors in their first six games this season. They had eight all of last season and generally rank at the bottom of the NHL in that category. They’ve also won four straight games since losing their first two.

2. MLive's Ansar Khan points out that the Red Wings' penalty-killing unit has struggled:

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On Jonathan Ericsson’s resurgent play

As the Free Press's Helene St. James notes, Jonathan Ericsson of all people has played particularly strongly of late, and that's good for the Red Wings:

Ericsson said he felt he needed to “come back and prove I can still play and be a lot better player than I left last season.”

He was a big part of Saturday’s penalty kill success against San Jose, and showed how effective he can be when his hustle led to a pass to Gustav Nyquist that became a goal.

“It’s something that I’m trying to work on, to move my feet more and not get standing still, making passes,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson is playing with hip impingement, but said “I improved a lot during the off-season with that, mobility wise, strength wise. It’s always going to be there, but it’s not a big issue.”

Better mobility has translated to better puck management.

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Articles from practice: Abdelkader still absent; Kronwall making slow progress

Updated 4x at 2:08 PM: The Detroit Red Wings practiced on Monday ahead of a slate of 4 games in 6 nights, and the Red Wings did so without the services of Justin Abdelkader, who remains iffy for tomorrow's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-and-or-mid-body injury.

MLive's Ansar Khan filed a set of notes from practice...

Abdelkader day-to-day: Forward Justin Abdelkader, who missed Saturday's 3-0 win over San Jose, didn't practice Monday and remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Blashill hasn't ruled him out for Tuesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

The Kronwall plan: Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (knee) didn't practice with the team Monday and it doesn't sound like he'll be ready to play this week.

"He's on a plan where he's a couple days on and a day off kind of approach," Blashill said. "Today, he skated with (strength coach) Mike Kadar, who kind of bridges the gap between the athletic trainers to when they can skate with us as a team.

"Obviously, Kronner has done some stuff with us as a team and he'll keep doing that. He's got to come where he can go full with us three days in a row before he's going to have an opportunity to play."

Jurco update: Tomas Jurco, who had off-season back surgery, has skated a little on his own

"I wouldn't expect him before the second week of November that he'd be ready to play," Blashill said.

Khan continues, dicussing Mike Green's status as the NHL's Third Star of the Week...

In the prospect department:

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Walleye’s anthem painting raises $1,500 for charity

The Toleo Walleye finally posted a video of Joe Everson of "Joe's Studio" signing the national anthem while painting a scene from Iwo Jima this past weekend...

And the painting went to a good cause:

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Mike Green named NHL’s Third Star of the Week

From the NHL:


NEW YORK (Oct. 24, 2016) – Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 23.



Green registered 3-2—5 to lead the Red Wings (4-2-0, 8 points) to a perfect 4-0-0 week. He notched his first career hat trick – and the first by a Detroit defenseman since Dec. 15, 2010 (Nicklas Lidstrom) – in the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena, a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Oct. 17. Green then collected one assist in both a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers Oct. 19 and a 5-3 triumph over the Nashville Predators Oct. 21 before being held off the scoresheet in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks Oct. 22. The 31-year-old Calgary native has 123-279—402 in 655 career NHL outings, including 3-4—7 in six appearances this season.

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Wyshynski weighs in on the Wings’ signing of Thomas Vanek

Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski wrote an article taking note of Thomas Vanek's strong start as a member of the Red Wings:

"When we traded the Datsyuk cap space to Arizona at the draft, getting a center was a priority, if we could. We felt that Frans Nielsen was … if not the No. 1 centerman on the free agent market, he was right there. His cap number was $5.25 million. We still had some cap space available,” said [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland on NHL Network Radio last week.

He stayed in contact with [Vanek's agent, Steve] Bartlett after the buyout, sensing that Vanek could bring something to the Wings they lacked. “We struggled to score last year. We struggled to score on the power play,” he said. “Thomas had been bought out in Minnesota. We talked to a number of people. We thought on a one-year deal, it was a good gamble. We felt like we’d have a motivated athlete.”

So they handed him a $2.6 million “show me” contract for one season.

The results, so far, have met expectations and perhaps exceeded them.

Wyshynski continues, and here's the interview he quotes from, a Ken Holland interview on Sirius XM's NHL Network Radio from last Friday:

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Practice Tweets: Abdelkader still absent

Updated 5x at 1:07 PM: Abdelkader is "day-to-day":

The Red Wings hit the ice at 11 AM this morning, preparing for a four-games-in-six-nights stretch which begins tomorrow night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reported in from practice...

wings on ice @JoeLouisArena


#RedWings tied for 2d in points in east, MON 9 TB 8 DET 8 NYR 8


sked this wk, @DetroitRedWings

tue CAR
thu at STL
sat  BOS
sun FLA

As did MLive's Ansar Khan...

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This Week With The Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

Larkin looking to break through

After six games, nobody expected Dylan Larkin to have more fights (one) than goals (none). But Larkin is second on the team with 17 shots and is playing hard and generating chances. The transition to center, with added defensive responsibility, was difficult. He has moved back to the wing the past two games.

Others also are looking to break through; one line (Gustav Nyquist-Darren Helm-Thomas Vanek) is supplying most of the offense. Henrik Zetterberg, back at center the past two games, has no goals, three assists and just seven shots. Tomas Tatar has one goal and one assist but has created chances and leads the team with 18 shots.

Sproul's impact

Rookie defenseman Ryan Sproul made a strong impression in his first two games, contributing offensively (two assists, seven shots) and playing well defensively.

The defense played well enough over the weekend that there likely won't be a change for Tuesday (Xavier Ouellet was the lone healthy scratch). Can Sproul secure a regular spot in the lineup, even when Niklas Kronwall returns from his knee issue? The 6-4 Sproul's big right shot is an asset, especially on the power play.


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The overnight report: On Sproul stepping up, the Canes, fantasy hockey and anthem-painting

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. As the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa notes via story-within-a-story format, Ryan Sproul has almost seamlessly fit into the Red Wings' lineup since stepping in at both even strength and on the power play Friday evening, and that's good news for the Red Wings:

It was a big play, because it increased the Red Wings lead over the Sharks to two. But if it heralds how Ryan Sproul plays, the impact could be far more significant. Amid a difficult second period Saturday, when the opposition set upon Jimmy Howard, Sproul made a lightening-quick recovery from a tight spot for a defenseman.

Having rushed the net, shot on goal and failed to score, he was deep in the zone when Sharks forward Matt Nieto gained control of the rebound and suddenly was on his way, with teammates. In a blink, so was Sproul.

From behind, he gained on Nieto and crashed his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame into him. The puck was loose. Sproul’s quick stick attended to both the puck and an instantaneous, highly receivable pass to Gustav Nyquist, who scored his second goal of the night.

The 23-year-old defenseman had his second point in the NHL, assists in consecutive games and Nyquist’s appreciation.

“Yeah, real nice,” Nyquist said. “Obviously he was in deep there and he was coming back and he made a good play with his stick, and a nice little drop pass to me.”

Krupa continues, and he, MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James all penned off-day notebooks. The Wings will return to practice this morning, preparing for another stretch of 4 games played over the course of 6 nights this upcoming week.

2. Tuesday's opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes, will be wrapping up a 6-game road trip, and the Raleigh News & Observer's Chip Alexander reports that the Canes will be playing desperate after dropping a 6-3 decision to the Flyers on Saturday:

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Prospect news: Givani Smith 1+1; Tip-a-Griffin event takes place Tuesday

Of prospect-related note:

In the Swedish J20 league, Mattias Elfstrom was held off the scoresheet in the Malmo Redhawks' 3-2 loss to Frolunda;

In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh's Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated Halifax 4-2;

In the OHL, Givani Smith scored a goal and added an assist in the Guelph Storm's 5-4 OT loss to Oshawa. You can watch highlights of the game here (Smith scores the 3-0 goal). Smith now has 5 goals, 6 assists and 11 points registered over the course of 10 games played;

And in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins' "Tip-a-Griffin" event takes place at Ucello's locations across Grand Rapids on Tuesday, October 25th:

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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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