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The Malik Report

Jimmy Howard “Felt A Tweak”

via Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

Jimmy Howard left the Grand Rapids Griffins game with just over 10 minutes to play Wednesday shortly after he made a sprawling stop.

The goalie signaled briefly to the bench as play continued then, after making a save, skated off hunched over and went straight to the locker room. He flexed his right leg at least once.


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A profile of Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Lorito

The Oakville (Ontario) Beaver's Herb Garbutt profiled Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Lorito:

When his contract [with Albany] expired this summer, he landed a two-way contract on the first day of free agency. That the deal was with the Detroit Red Wings, the team he grew up cheering for, was the icing on the cake.

“It wasn’t the deciding factor, more of a cool thing that it worked out that way,” he said. “My agent was in talks with a few teams and Detroit really wanted to get it done and came in with a nice contract.”

Lorito has rewarded the team’s faith in him. He was fourth in the AHL scoring race before being sidelined with a shoulder injury in early January. Despite missing three weeks, he still ranks second on the Grand Rapids Griffins with 35 points in 36 games and leads the team with 23 assists, many of which have contributed to a league-best powerplay.

While Lorito hasn’t got the call from the Wings yet, seeing the likes of former Wing and now team executive Kris Draper around the rink is enough to remind him how close he is.

Lorito knows there is still work to do to achieve his goal. Undersized at 5-foot-9 and 171 pounds, he has benefitted from a switch from centre to the wing.

“I have to keep working on getting stronger in one-on-one battles,” he said. “I’ve improved my defence from last year and I want to be one of those guys the coach can rely on whether we’re up a goal or down a goal.”


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Articles from practice: Wings discuss the tasks at hand ahead of a difficult schedule

The Red Wings practiced in Taylor ahead of Thursday's game against the Washington Capitals, and after practice, the team addressed the particularly challenging road trip ahead, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted:

[With] a three-game in four-day road trip against the top three teams in the NHL — Washington, Columbus, Minnesota — the Red Wings feel they’re capable of big things this weekend, and the rest of the schedule.

“We can go on a run here,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We know we can go on a run.”

What gives Blashill that kind of confidence for a team that has struggled to gain any sort of traction all season?

“We are learning, as a team, how for this team to be successful,” said Blashill, as the Red Wings have earned five of six points the last three games. “That is, we have to make sure we get the puck out of our end and get the puck into their end. We have to control both blue lines for this team to be successful.”

What makes this weekend, and the next week’s rugged stretch — against St. Louis, Washington and Pittsburgh — so important is, the days are getting close to the March 1 trade deadline.

Blashill insists that his job involves making Ken Holland's job difficult by playing the kind of hockey that will make the team's status as a "seller" much murkier:

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Tyson and Tylor Spink form a dynamic duo for the Walleye

The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe has profiled the Toledo Walleye's dynamic duo of Tyson and Tylor Spink:

The Spinks played for Toledo at the tail end of last season after graduating from Colgate University, where they finished one-two on the team in scoring.

Tylor averaged more than a point per game and Tyson just under a point per contest in the regular season and playoffs for Toledo last April.

Now they rank No. 2 and No. 3 among all ECHL rookies in scoring.

The brothers have always had aspirations of playing pro hockey.

“It’s pretty special to do it alongside my twin brother,” Tylor said. “We’ve been dreaming about it our whole lives. We’re trying to play at the highest level together. It’s been great.”

Monroe continues...

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TMR afternoon line: Focusing on ‘one game at a time’

From the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

[The Red Wings'] three-game road trip against the top teams in both conferences will certainly give the Wings a better perspective on what to do at the trade deadline on Feb. 28.

“I try to take … a singular day approach for sure and we’re focused on the (Washington) game,” [coach Jeff] Blashill said. “With that said, there’s no question our job as a hockey team is to make sure we’re in a position at the trade deadline where we’re not trading off assets, but the only way to do that is to win lots of games and put ourselves in the playoff picture. That’s our job as a hockey team. I won’t shy around that. But certainly from that it’s a singular game, one-game-at-a-time approach.”

The Wings, who play at Columbus and Minnesota this weekend, have 54 points through 53 games. Many feel they need to reach the mid-90s to extend their playoff streak to 26 consecutive seasons.

“I don’t know if it will be mid-90s this year, to be honest with you,” Blashill said. “I think in the past, 96 is a number we set but sometimes it’s 91, sometimes it’s 90. Every year has a life of its own. But you can’t get to 90 without getting two.

“We have to get two on Thursday night,” Blashill continued. “That’s just the reality of it. We have to play at optimal every night. At optimal you’re not (always) going to win. I thought we played darn near optimal (Tuesday) night and we lost a point. But we were in a real good spot. I thought they came out and very played well as well. It was two good teams. We’re going to have to continue to play at optimal as many nights as possible.”

Pleiness continues...

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Howard to stick with the Griffins for a while

From Bob Kaser, via DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:

Update: WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski spoke with Howard and Drew Miller:

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Checking in with Scotty Bowman on the 20th anniversary of his 1,000th win

NHL.com's Dave Stubbs checked in with Scotty Bowman on the 20th anniversary of his 1,000th career coaching win:

A template for countless coaches who have followed him at every level of hockey, Bowman got his 1,000th regular-season NHL victory 20 years ago on Feb. 8, 1997. And as he does with an encyclopedia of games, the 83-year-old remembers details of the milestone with stunning accuracy, any fact offered to him fleshed out with context and detail that begins with "And another thing …"

Better yet, most every anecdote he relates detours him to something unrelated that is dripping with history.

"That [1,000th win] came with Detroit in 1996-97, the year we finally won the Stanley Cup (in his fourth season with the Red Wings), Saturday in Pittsburgh, Mario Lemieux on a Penguins line with Ronnie Francis and Jaromir Jagr," Bowman said, and if he wasn't on a cellphone in his car you'd swear he was reading from notes.

"We matched up with Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan. I didn't play them all the time but I remember vividly that I did that day, our best three forwards against their best three. Yzerman and Lemieux moved to the wings. It was a hang of a game, [6-5], Shanahan scoring in overtime. Imagine, six Hall of Famers facing each other -- if you include Jagr, who'll be there."

Stubbs and Bowman continue...

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Red Wings reassign Sadowy, Heeter to Toledo Walleye

From the Grand Rapids Griffins...

In text form:

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Practice Tweets: Coreau may start Thursday; Nielsen, Kronwall make progress

The Red Wings hit the ice at the Taylor Sportsplex at noon for a full practice prior to Thursday night's game against the Washington Capitals, per MLive's Brendan Savage...

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Morning news: Two-touch in Taylor; on Dubinsky’s slash, ‘this date in history’ and Twitter notes

As the Red Wings prepare for practice at the Taylor Sportsplex...

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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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