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Svechnikov finding his stride in Traverse City

NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale spotlighted the Russian-born players taking part in the Red Wings' prospect tournament, including Wings prospect Evgeny Svechnikov:

Svechnikov, 19, who is making his second straight appearance in Traverse City, is a lot more comfortable this year. He has one goal [one assist], a plus-1 rating and [9] shots on goal in [three] games.

"It was one of the hardest summers for me, training-wise," Svechnikov said. "I feel ready for the Traverse City tournament and for training camp."

Svechnikov (6-2, 199) likely will start the season with Grand Rapids, the Red Wings' AHL affiliate. He played in two AHL playoff games last season, after he had 32 goals and 79 points in 50 games with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"I think I took a lot being in Grand Rapids for those two games," he said. "Watching and playing was a good step for me. I watched how they played and how the players moved the puck and themselves so quickly. Positioning is so important and I'm trying to work on that [in Traverse City]."

Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who is playing on the top line with Svechnikov in Traverse City, had plenty of praise.

"He has one of the hardest shots I've ever seen," Bertuzzi said. "He's physical, strong and works hard, and that's what you want in a linemate."

Morreale continues...

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Berenter on the Red Wings’ ‘championship ticket’ and Tyler Bertuzzi’s evolution

DetroitRedWings.com's Joshua Berenter penned a pair of articles today, discussing the Red Wings' win over the St. Louis Blues last night...

“We had to win outright in regulation to get to the finals, and the players all knew that so they were sacrificing their bodies,” [coach Todd] Nelson said. “It was really good to see. The guys paid the price tonight and we got the win.”

Nelson said he was impressed with his team’s ability to respond after suffering the 5-0 shutout against Chicago on Saturday.

“I thought our guys played solid for 60 minutes,” Nelson said. “I thought our compete level was there, I thought we executed a lot better, I thought we played our system better. Each and every one of these players gave everything they had tonight, and as a coach, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

The Red Wings, who lost in last year’s final to Columbus, will face the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday’s championship game at 7 p.m. The Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars with a combined score of 14-8 on their way to the tournament final, and Nelson said his team will have their hands full with the Hurricanes.

“They’re a very solid club,” Nelson said. “We’ll be playing for the championship. It’s a one-game stint and anything can happen. But if our guys play like we did (against St. Louis), we’ll have a good opportunity to win.”

And Berenter wrote an article profiling Tyler Bertuzzi, no longer merely a scrappy player:

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Practice Tweets: Pulkkinen ahead of schedule in rehab from shoulder surgery

Updated 6x at 2:54 PM: Of note from the Red Wings' "big club's" practice at Joe Louis Arena:

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Audio from the morning skate at the final day of the Red Wings’ prospect tournament ‘16

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects battle the Carolina Hurricanes' prospects for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup tonight in Traverse City (7 PM EDT on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com), and the Wings took an "optional" practice this morning...

As in every uninjured player (Jeff De Wit has a hip flexor issue and Adam Marsh is injured, so Luke Kirwan will draw into the lineup tonight) took part in the relaxed practice, with 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 3 goalies going through a set of drills that were relaxed in pace but not in execution.

There was a palpable level of excitement on the ice as the Wings' prospects know what's at stake this evening, and there was a bit of goofing around here and there, but for the most part, the players' excitement yielde a businesslike demeanor.

As I'm writing this, Justin Brazeau is still shooting on Stephen Dhillon some 28 minutes after practice was supposed to end...

And after the main practice ended, I spoke with the following players:

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On Abdelkader’s big opportunity

From NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

Maybe Justin Abdelkader is Team USA's solution to unleashing Patrick Kane on Team Canada, to heating up the best player in the NHL last season so he can make his mark on the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in a must-win game.

Team USA has to defeat Team Canada on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports) in order to stay in contention for a chance to advance into the semifinals. A loss of any kind would eliminate Team USA and send Team Canada and Team Europe into the semifinals.

So Team USA needs Kane to be a threat, a difference maker, as he typically is for the Chicago Blackhawks. Team USA coach John Tortorella appears ready to give Abdelkader a chance to help him do it.

Abdelkader has been skating on a line with Kane and center Derek Stepan in practice. That's a second line for Team USA, depending on how you want to view its depth chart. Abdelkader was in a bottom-six role, primarily on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and David Backes, for Team USA's 3-0 loss to Team Europe on Saturday.

"I think [Abdelkader] needs to be moved up in our lineup," Tortorella said. "Where he was in that maybe third-, fourth-line role, I think he's going to get a little more ice time [against Team Canada]."


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‘Three Things’: On Tyler Bertuzzi, the prospect tournament and the ‘battle for spots on defense’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. In the prospect department, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale penned an article about Tyler Bertuzzi's maturation as a player:

"My game has switched a little bit," Bertuzzi said. "When I first played in the Ontario Hockey League (for Guelph) I used to be more of a fighter and agitator. But I've developed more skill and hockey sense. I still want to be a grinder and take the body, but my game is more with the puck now."

Bertuzzi, who had 12 goals, 30 points and 133 penalty minutes in 71 games in Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League last season, might be given an opportunity with the Red Wings this season if he is able to display a more complete game. He was selected in the second round (No. 58) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

"I think you need to be an overall player, you can't just be one way," he said. "You've got to have bits and pieces of a lot of different things. I'm coming into training camp this year with one goal and that's to make the NHL. I will do whatever it takes."

Morreale continues...

2. Winging It in Motown's SlapshotGoal wrote a recap of the Wings prospects' 2-1 win over St. Louis:

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‘Two Things’ on Givani Smith and Kronwall’s ‘new routine’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook spoke with Givani Smith regarding his status as an instigating, aggravating forward...

"I just go in there and play the way I play," Smith said. "Play hard, play physical and crash the net."

Practices don't always allow Smith's talents as an agitator to show up, so the NHL Prospect Tournament's games have been a welcome outlet.

"That's how I play the game," Smith said. "I like to finish checks and play a mean role."

That doesn't completely stop him from applying the role during practice.

"You can always finish your checks," Smith said. "It makes you better and makes your teammates better."

Cook continues, noting that Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin compares Smith to Justin Abdelkader...

"He did a good job of balancing offensive skill with an element of toughness," Martin said. "We don't have a ton of that in our organization. Just his physical stature alone. He's a big, strong young man and can hold onto the puck down low."

2. And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Niklas Kronwall regarding his "new normal" routine as far as his left knee is concerned:

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Impressions from the Red Wings’ win over St. Louis at the prospect tournament ‘16

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects advanced to Tuesday's championship game by defeating the St. Louis Blues 2-1, and the Wings will battle the Carolina Hurricanes for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup on Tuesday at 7 PM EDT (on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com).

The Red Wings' players and coach addressed the media after the game, and coach Todd Nelson said that Tuesday's 11 AM practice might tell the tale for a couple of banged-up players. Joe Hicketts also spoke with the media, as Red Wings TV noted:

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Preparations at work for Gordie and Collen Howe’s interrment in Saskatoon

From the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix's Kevin Mitchell:

They drilled Gordie Howe’s hole Monday morning.

It’s 4 1/2 inches wide, eight inches deep, set into the concrete base in front of his statue at SaskTel Centre. On Sunday, Gordie Howe and wife Colleen will be placed lovingly into that hole, their ashes mingled in a singled urn, protected by a small, specially-made stainless-steel vault, all of it sealed over, epoxied, and covered with a plaque.

Shaun Templer drilled that hole. It’s something you roll around in your head, pick apart for its bigger meaning, but in a nutshell, here it is: He created Gordie and Colleen Howe’s resting place, cored it out of concrete, left them a place all their own.

Templer, who works for Neskor Cutting and Coring, first heard about his potential role in the project last week from the contractor who’s donating his time to make this happen. That contractor — Rick Leier of Rely-Ex Contracting — told Templer that he could use some help with one particular aspect of the preparation for Sunday’s interment.

Templer took the idea to his boss, along with a humble request.

“I was overwhelmed,” the big, bearded 32-year-old hockey fan recalled Monday. “I said to my boss ‘please — let me be one of the guys to go and do the work.’ It’s an extreme honour.”


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Red Wings at the World Cup: Marchenko’s Russians out-last Larkin, TNA

At the World Cup of Hockey, the Russians stayed alive by defeating Team North America 4-3.

Alexey Marchenko finished with a shot, a hit and a blocked shot in 18:30 of ice time for Russia, earning lots of minutes in the 3rd period, especially as Russia killed off an important penalty; Dylan Larkin had a rough night, finishing at -2 with 1 shot in only 5:33. He got benched.

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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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