The Malik Report
Red Wings morning news: Holland drops a hint regarding defenseman shopping list; offseason structure
Ahead of today's locker room clean-out day, I tried to set the scene for what I believe is one of the most important days of the Red Wings' calendar year for a simple reason: love 'em or loathe 'em, the Detroit Red Wings' coach and general manager tend to be straight-shooters in the personnel department.
Mike Babcock's post-elimination comments to the media issued something of an in-house diagnosis of what the Wings can do to improve while availing themselves of the players and prospects already in the organization. As such, he talked about rest and recovery for Darren Helm, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, a resurgent 2014-2014 campaign for Johan Franzen and the possibility for improvement "on the back end" via Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alexei Marchenko and Mattias Backman competing for spots on the blueline as they are "ready" in his estimation.
I've been reading Wings fans worry like nobody's business about the status of Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, and with the Griffins in superb shape after taking 2 straight games over the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday--the Griffins only have to win one more game to advance as the AHL's first round is a best-of-5 series--and NHL.com's Alyssa Dombrowski profiling Blashill's Griffins a couple of days ago...
Nine Griffins graduated to make their NHL debuts with Detroit this season – Callahan and Sproul included – all while Grand Rapids remained a dominant force in the AHL’s Western Conference, posting 99 points (46-23-2-5) and reaching the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
It’s an impressive feat that earned Jeff Blashill the 2013-14 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach.
“We’re at a great understanding of what our job is [in Grand Rapids],” said Blashill, who served as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit in 2011-12 before heading across Michigan to take over the Griffins last season. “I believe that it’s two-fold: One is to win hockey games for the Griffins and try to win a Calder Cup; 1-A is to develop our players, to maximize their potential and ultimately try to develop future Red Wings to help them win a Stanley Cup.”
Blashill delivered a reassuring message to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
My apologies for the absence over the past 24 hours and change...I have sympathy for the Boston Bruins for the first and only time this year thanks to the fact that I've been battling a stomach bug over the last ten days, so in that respect, I understand why some of their players weren't at full strength.
I'll catch up over the next day or two--to the point that, should you want me to write a traditional wrap-up of Saturday's season-ending loss, I'm more than willing to put in the 5 hours of work--and the next week or so will still yield Wings articles on a daily basis, so fear not, we'll be talking about the Wings for a while yet.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings are in the process of determining whether Pavel Datsyuk needs surgery to remove possible dead tissue in his left knee, or whether a summer of rehabilitation will suffice.
Datsyuk dealt with the knee issue the second half of the season, missing 30-of-34 games following the Jan. 1 Winter Classic. Despite playing at less than 100 percent in the playoffs against Boston, Datsyuk was Detroit’s best player, scoring three of his team’s six goals in the five-game series.
“It has to be determined whether four months off and a commitment to the gym will give him the power and the quickness we’re used to,” general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s between the doctor and Pav. A lot depends on what Pav wants to do. He doesn’t seem to feel he has the power.”
Holland called it minor surgery, but said it takes three months to heal. So a decision likely needs to be made within a month.
The Detroit Red Wings lost a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, and the Wings will likely return to Joe Louis Arena to clean out their lockers on Monday, with some of the Wings (as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, Sheahan, Jurco and Ouellet) heading to Grand Rapids, and others (like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and perhaps Jonas Gustavsson) heading to Belarus to take part in the World Championships in May...
It is no secret that the Detroit Red Wings relied heavily on their Youth Corp to get the team into their 23rd straight post season; but where did they go?
ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – The defending Calder Cup champions never played overtime during their 2013 playoff run, but they more than made up for it during Friday’s record-setting playoff opener in Abbotsford, as the Grand Rapids Griffins rode a historic 55-save performance by Petr Mrazek to a 2-1 double overtime win against the Heat.
Ryan Sproul ended the marathon at 19:26 of the fifth period when his long shot from the right boards deflected past Abbotsford netminder and fellow AHL All-Rookie Team member Joni Ortio, ending the third-longest game in franchise history and giving the Griffins the upper hand in their best-of-five conference quarterfinal series.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Babcock began his presser today by revealing that Jonas Gustavsson will start again in Game 5, because Jimmy Howard is weakened by the flu. After that, it was a Franzen fiesta. Babcock made a point of noting that Franzen is "a real good person, real good man and real good family man, tries to be a real good teammate."
Then came the good stuff.
"Sometimes he doesn't handle, probably, you people as well as he should to help himself — to me, if you just step right up and you just talk, it makes it easy. When you don't, things build, and I think that puts more pressure on yourself. I don't know why you'd do that, as a human being.
"It's no different than companies — you see this every day in business. You have a meeting, no one says anything. You walk out the door, you talk behind each other's back. If you just call each other out and have the hard meeting, then everyone would leave, and we'd get on with progress. Have the hard interview and get on with it. Make it easier on yourself. He's a man, he's got to deal with that himself."
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Wings coach Mike Babcock has pegged Jonas Gustavsson to start Game 5 in Boston, Saturday afternoon.
He expects Jimmy Howard, who didn’t practice, to be well enough to be the backup.
Henrik Zetterberg said he’ll play as well....
Daniel Alfredsson practiced and said he won’t know if he’ll play until after the pre-game skate in Boston, but he anticipate he’ll be ready.
Pavel Datsyuk was the only other regular that didn’t practice.
Besides picking Gustavsson to start, Babcock said he told the team he would post who’s playing in the locker room Saturday.
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.