The Malik Report
Four Red Wings players will be taking part in World Championship action today:
At 9:45 AM EDT, Tomas Tatar's Slovaks will battle France;
And at 1:45 PM, Jakub Kindl's Czechs will tangle with Canada.
This morning's crop of Red Wings news focuses on the Wings' prospects, however, and as noted a little bit earlier, those who are still playing include Anthony Mantha, whose Val-d'Or Foreurs will play in a winner-take-all Game 7 of the QMJHL's President's Cup championship tomorrow, and the Grand Rapids Griffins, who open a set of back-to-back games tomorrow night against a Texas Stars team who they trail 2 games to none.
Red Wings scoreboard-watching news: Mantha, Val-d’Or force Game 7; Griffins down 2-0; Worlds updates
I've been battling a bug of late, and this past weekend involved a significant amount of scoreboard-related Red Wings news, so let's catch up:
In the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha had an assist as his Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated Baie-Comeau 6-3 on Sunday, forcing a 7th and deciding agme in the QMJHL's championship series.
Mantha now has 23 goals, 12 assists and 35 points registered over the course of 35 games played. RDS posted a pair of highlight clips from the game, the Canadian Press posted an English-language recap and L'Echo Abitibien and the Abitibi Express posted French-language recaps.
Game 7 takes place on Tuesday in Baie-Comeau.
In the AHL, as Paul noted, the Grand Rapids Griffins are in trouble.
from the Grand Rapids Griffins,
Two-goal nights from Brendan Ranford and Justin Dowling and 30 saves by Cristopher Nilstorp propelled Texas to a 4-0 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at the Cedar Park Center, giving the Stars a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals.
The shutout was the first suffered by the Griffins in the postseason since the first game of their 2013 run to the Calder Cup, when Houston’s Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves in a 3-0 decision on April 26 before Grand Rapids took the best-of-five series by winning three of the next four contests.
After the AHL’s regular season champions held serve with a pair of home wins, the defending champs will now have as many as three straight chances to do the same. The Griffins will host Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday at Van Andel Arena, along with a potential Game 5 on Friday. All contests will start at 7 p.m.
continued and watch the video highlights below...
Today's going to be a busy day for the Red Wings' players and prospects still playing hockey. The World Championships continue with Gustav Nyquist's Swedes battling Denmark at 9:45 AM EDT; Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Team USA will battle Switzerland at 1:45 PM EDT (on NBCSN); Tomas Tatar's Slovaks, who's ticked off about his team blowing a 2-1 lead and losing 3-2 to the Czechs on Friday, will battle a Canadian team coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to France at 1:45 PM, too...
And over on this side of the pond, the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to rebound from Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Texas Stars as the teams' second-round series resumes in Austin, Texas tonight at 8 PM EDT.
Amidst the news of potential coaching changes in Detroit not involving Mike Babcock (though the Canadian media remains insistent that Babcock's the Maple Leafs' choice after Randy Carlyle's not retained next spring [???]) and Jimmy Howard's charitable endeavors, the Wings have snuck a fast one on us, posting 2 videos and 25 minutes' worth of footage emphasizing the Wings' youth movement.
Two days ago, the Wings posted an 11-minute video discussing Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan's return to Grand Rapids after strong rookie campaigns...
The Red Wings' pair of Major Junior Hockey-playing prospects experienced vastly different results on Friday night.
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi didn't register a point, but his Guelph Storm won the Ontario Hockey League's Robertson Cup via a 4-3 win over the North Bay Battalion--rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the game, no less--winning the series in 5 games.
Bertuzzi (who's registered 10 goals, 7 assists and 17 points in 18 games played) and his teammates will now take part in the Memorial Cup tournament, which takes place in London, Ontario starting on May 15th;
In the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha did his best to help his Val-d'Or Foreurs teammates, registering a game-tying goal and an assist (he now has 23 goals, 11 assists and 34 points in 22 games played), but Val-d'Or lost 6-5 to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, who now lead the QMJHL's President's Cup championship series 3 games to 2. Val-d'Or must win on Sunday to force a Game 7.
In terms of recaps, we'll start with Bertuzzi's Storm. The Canadian Press posted a Battalion-Storm recap...
The Red Wings' players taking part in the World Championships experienced thoroughly mixed results on Friday.
Tomas Tatar had an assist, a shot and played 17:21 in Slovakia's 3-2 OT loss to Jakub Kindl and the Czech Republic. Tatar looked superb in all situations, including the penalty-kill, but the Slovaks fell victim to poor goaltending as Jaromir Jagr tied the game with just over 3 minutes in regulation, and Jan Laco gave up an absolute stinker in overtime.
According to the Free Press's Helene St. James, TSN's Darren Dreger's Tweet suggesting that Tom Renney is in fact a hot coaching commodity may be true, and instead of the, "Babcock must want to make a change by leaving Detroit" line holding water, perhaps Jeff Blashill might rejoin Babcock to add a "new voice" instead. Why?
Well, here's St. James bit of news:
The Detroit Red Wings have granted permission for NHL clubs to talk to assistant coaches Tom Renney and Bill Peters.
General manager Ken Holland said Friday he's received "a couple of calls" from colleagues looking to hire head coaches, but would not name the teams. NHL clubs with head coaching vacancies number Carolina, Florida, Vancouver and Washington.
Renney has a year left on his associate coach contract with the Wings, while Peters, an assistant, has two months left on his contract.
St. James continues, and I wouldn't be totally surprised if both Renney and Peters exit.
Per the Free Press's George Sipple, the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella organization which governs the QMJHL, OHL and WHL, announced its three-league-wide finalists for CHL awards today. The winners will be named on Saturday, May 24th at the Memorial Cup in London, Ontario, and Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha was nominated for two awards--Top Scorer and Player of the Year:
Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs hope to break a 2-games-to-2 tie with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar when the QMJHL's championship series resumes in Baie-Comeau tonight at 7, and Mantha's stellar regular-season stats (57 goals, 63 assists and 120 points in 57 games played) have been backed up by a superb playoff performance (22 goals, 10 assists and 32 points in 21 games played).
The Red Wings' other prospect still playing Major Junior Hockey, Guelph Storm forward Tyler Bertuzzi, may lift the OHL's Robertson Cup this evening as Guelph leads the North Bay Battlion 3-games-to-1, with Game 5 scheduled to take place in Guelph at 7:30 this evening.
The Red Wings' non-Datsyukian players continue to make hay in TSN's Play of the Year showdown. Tomas Tatar, Jonas Gustavsson and Gustav Nyquist have all made appearances, and now things get serious as the quarterfinals begin:
Now fans may vote as to whether this utterly remarkable goal by Nyquist, a breakaway-and-then-second-effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning...
Is more aesthetically pleasing than San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl's between-the-legs goal against Martin Biron--Hertl's 4th goal of that particular evening:
The Red Wings' World Championship journeys kick off today in Minsk, Belarus, with Team USA captain Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Danny DeKeyser battling Belarus at 1:45 PM EDT (on NBCSN; as Paul noted, NBCSN will air all of Team USA's round robin games) and Tomas Tatar's Slovaks battling Jakub Kindl's Czechs at the same time (viewable by...alternate means; Gustav Nyquist's Swedes begin their Worlds schedule at 9:45 AM on Saturday, vs. Denmark), and Tatar...
For better or worse, Tomas has never feared making bombastic statements, and he's going to have to work very hard to back up what he said to MLive's Ansar Khan about the evolution of his game over the past NHL season:
“I was hoping to get to this point by a certain point in my season,” Tatar said. “I am on the team, but I would like to be better, so I will have to work and prove myself every year. I want to be at a level where Z (Henrik Zetterberg) and those guys are. I would like to see my role grow in this locker room. It would be nice to be one of those guys.”
Tatar, 23, had 19 goals and 39 points in 73 games. He flashed good one-on-one moves in open ice. More importantly, he showed good hands from in tight, not hesitant to get on the inside despite his size (5-11, 186).
Khan continues, noting that Tatar isn't exactly a defensive dynamo, as does Tatar:
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