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Good luck, Tom McCollum

In alumni news, former Red Wings goaltender Tom McCollum will have to find another AHL employer as he was released from his try-out with the AHL's Ontario Reign. McCollum's one of the game's "good guys," and he'll find a landing spot soon:

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Red Wings-Lightning morning skate Tweets: Bishop vs. Mrazek; Bolts talk up Wings a bit

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Sun/97.1 FM), and the Wings are hoping to buck a particularly unpleasant trend, as noted by Ken Kal:

MLive's Ansar Khan also took note of the trends in Detroit's performances against Tampa Bay of late:

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Wings assign Pasquale to Grand Rapids

With the Red Wings' opening-day LTIR space maxed out, the team has returned Edward Pasquale to Grand Rapids:

PASQUALE ASSIGNED TO GRAND RAPIDS
… Red Wings Begin 2016-17 Regular Season Tonight in Tampa Bay …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned goaltender Edward Pasquale to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Red Wings open their 92nd season tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit/97.1 The Ticket). Detroit will also take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. before hosting the Ottawa Senators for the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

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The Season Starts Tonight For The Detroit Red Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"It's a really close league," general manager Ken Holland said. "I think there's going to be a photo finish for the playoffs again.

"It's a league where you can't get dramatically better ... we got to get marginally better. There's a whole lot of things we got to get marginally better in."...

They acquired two-way center Frans Nielsen, who they hope will replace Datsyuk, to some extent, and right-shooting winger Thomas Vanek, a one-time prolific scorer coming off a bad season in Minnesota who's seeking redemption and believes he still can score 20 goals.

They're counting on skilled wingers Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist to rebound after combining for 18 fewer goals than they scored the previous season (56). They're hoping 20-year-old Dylan Larkin, who led the team with 23 goals as a rookie, makes a smooth transition to center. They have their fingers crossed that Zetterberg, who notched a team-high 50 points, isn't worn down by injury and will be just as productive with fewer minutes and more rest.

"I believe we're going to be better offensively. I believe it's going to be collectively," coach Jeff Blashill, entering his second season, said. "I think some of the guys talked about having down years, whether it be Tatar or Nyquist, they also had down minutes. Their minutes are going to go back higher. And some guys who get less minutes still have to be able to produce."

more

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning set-up + Wings season preview articles

The Detroit Red Wings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Sun/97.1 FM) with playoff memories fresh in the minds of both teams.

For the Lightning, Wednesday's practice involved welcoming Nikita Kucherov back to the mix, and their press corps previewed the Bolts' 2016-17 campaign by discussing Steve Yzerman's salary cap machinations to "keep the band together," and in the Tampa Bay Times Tom Jones' case, suggesting that this is the year the Lightning must capture the Stanley Cup:

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Nathan Paetsch discusses his role as the Griffins’ new captain

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins captain Nathan Paetsch regarding his new job, replacing the departed Jeff Hoggan as the Griffins' captain:

"It a huge honor," Paetsch said. "Obviously, it's difficult losing Hogie as a teammate and friend. He was somebody I leaned on heavily and so it was tough to see him go. So it's something I take huge pride in to follow in his footsteps and become the captain of the Griffins."

...

Coach Todd Nelson said it was a coach's decision to name Paetsch.

"This year, with the way the locker room shakes out, that he's the guy," Nelson said. "He's been an assistant captain for years here, has experience and he gets what it takes to play here. And he knows how to play here because he won a championship here (in 2013). He commands respect and he knows the system."

Three assistant captains were also named in Brian Lashoff and newcomers Matt Ford and Ben Street.
Paetsch said the new role won't change how he plays or his presence off the ice.

"I know there might be a few more media requirements from you guys but I will stay the same," Paetsch said. "It wouldn't make sense to do that and seem counter-productive. We have had a great leadership group here in the past, we have a great number of veterans here now, so I'm just going to keep working to help make us better however I can."

Wallner continues...

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Prospect news: Elfstrom scores first pro goal; Smith plays well in blowout loss

Of prospect-related note:

In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Mattias Elfstrom scored a goal in IK Pantern's 4-0 win over IK Oskarshamn. As Red Wings prospects on Twitter notes, this was a momentous goal for Elfstrom:

In the Swedish J20 league, Alfons Malmstrom had an assist in Orebro HK's 4-0 win over Karlskrona HK;

In the OHL,  Jordan Sambrook had a shot on net in the Erie Otters' 7-2 win over Sarnia;

Givani Smith scored a goal and somehow finished at +1 in the Guelph Storm's 11-3 loss to Vili Saarijarvi's Mississauga Steelheads. You can watch highlights from the game here.

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Detroit’s Gameplan By Jeff Blashill

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"It's trying to not allow the other team to set up their system," Blashill said. "Getting out of your zone before the other team can do a good job forechecking you, getting the puck up the ice in the neutral zone before the other team can get a neutral-zone forecheck, attacking the net offensively before their layers of help defensively can be there.

"It also is trying to beat people up the ice as much as we can. In order to do that you have to make sure you manage the puck in your zone and the neutral zone. How can we best break the puck out to make sure we give our guys away from the puck the freedom to beat people up the ice?"

He said they need a mentality of out-working, out-competing and out-detailing teams.

"It takes extraordinary effort," Blashill said. "Relentless pressure is through your puck-pursuit and angling."

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Wallner speaks with Anthony Mantha regarding starting the season in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Wings prospect Anthony Mantha regarding his demotion to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins:

"I think I had a pretty good camp," Mantha said Wednesday after practice with the Grand Rapids Griffins. "They wanted me to put some weight on, and that's what I did. I worked hard in the gym, on the ice and just did everything I could do to try and earn a spot. I'm not far off from the reality and I just have to keep working."

...

Mantha, who has bulked up to 205 pounds from 190 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame, got his first taste of the NHL last season when he played in 10 games and scored twice with the Red Wings. He also had 21 goals and 45 points in 60 games with the Griffins, a big improvement from 2014-15 when he had 15 goals in 62 games and struggled from a late start because of a preseason leg fracture.

After he was told the news Monday night, Mantha said it wasn't worth dwelling on the disappointment. He said he drove to Grand Rapids, got a hotel and was at practice Tuesday even as the announcement came across.

"For sure it's hard getting cut, getting sent down to the minors," he said. "But I just need to come down here with a good mentality and work hard and try to make my way back up."

Wallner continues, sharing wise words from Griffins coach Todd Nelson....

Update: Wallner posted a quick clip of Mantha's comments:

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Articles from practice: Wings gearing up for season opener; Smith on the PP

Updated 6x at 3:13 PM: The Red Wings engaged in one final pre-season practice at Joe Louis Arena today, preparing for tomorrow night's 2016-17 campaign opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning. MLive's Ansar Khan Tweeted out the Wings' lines...

#Redwings lines at practice:
    Tatar-Nielsen-Zetterberg
    Abdelkader-Larkin-Sheahan
    Nyquist-Helm-Vanek
    Ott-Glendening-Miller
    Athanasiou (extra)

    ...

    #RedWings defense pairs at practice:
    DeKeyser-Marchenko
    Smith-Green
    Ericsson-Ouellet
    Sproul (extra)
    Kronwall is not skating.

And after practice, the Wings discussed the challenges inherent in playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as noted by the Free Press's Helene St. James:

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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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