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On the hubbub about Justin Abdelkader playing alongside Kane and Stepan

Justin Abdelkader will be playing alongside Patrick Kane and Derek Stepan when the U.S. battles Canada on Tuesday, and the news has pundits in a tizzy. Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski spoke with John Tortorella and Abdelkader regarding #89's promotion...

The thought is that Abdelkader, who scored 19 goals in 82 games for the Detroit Red Wings last season, has earned the lofty spot in the lineup, skating with Kane and Derek Stepan.

“I just think Abby needs to be moved up in our lineup. Where he was in a third- or fourth-line role, I think he’s going to get a little more ice time,” said Tortorella. “I just think Abby has given us some forechecking. As held onto the puck more than some other guys. He just deserves to play more.”

Lest anyone think that using a “fourth liner” like Abdelkader on a skill line will hinder the skill of someone like Kane, The Red Wings forward is quick to mention that he’s lined up with skills players throughout his tenure in Detroit.

“I’ve played with some good players in Detroit and it’s similar to him. You want the puck on his stick. But you can’t just think you’re going to throw pucks all the time at him. It’s the right opportunities. I think we’re a better team when Patrick Kane has the puck on his stick, that’s for sure,” he said. “Wherever [Tortorella] uses me, wherever he puts me, I’ll be ready. I’m not going to change anything with my game. That’s how I play. I feel like my game I can play anywhere in the lineup and contribute. I’ll be ready for whatever comes.”

And Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien played "Devil's Advocate" regarding the personnel move (via RedWingsFeed):

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The two sides of Petr Mrazek

Within a minute of play, Petr Mrazek went from heroic to pedestrian and back, via @myregularface on Twitter:

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Kulfan speaks with Jeff Blashill regarding the Wings’ ‘depleted’ training camp roster

Updated 2x at 5:15 PM: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding several training camp-related topics, including the fact that the Wings aren't going to be at full strength due to the World Cup of Hockey (see: Justin Abdelkader, Alexey Marchenko, Petr Mrazek, Tomas Tatar, Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek) and injuries (Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen)...

“We knew we’d be missing a significant number of players,” said Blashill with the Red Wings having seven players in Toronto and another four with injuries. “That part doesn’t change. We have a few extra injuries to deal with, but we had already set the structure to be a little bit different.”

Among Kulfan and Blashill's points of emphasis:

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Niklas Kronwall discusses his troublesome left knee

Updated 2x at 5:20 PM: As noted earlier this afternoon, the Free Press's Helene St. James and the Wings' beat writers spoke with Niklas Kronwall regarding his troublesome left knee, and St. James offered a text update as well...

Niklas Kronwall milled about in the Detroit Red Wings’ locker room today, unable to partake in an informal skate because of lingering pain in his left knee that has become a part of his daily life.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be pain-free, but hopefully, I’ll be able to be out there in a position where it doesn't bite as much,” Kronwall said. Similar to what he said at the end of last season, there's no real surgical option.

“The surgery that was talked about was something that probably wouldn't be the best idea if I wanted to play again,” he said.

...

Kronwall doesn't know when he might be ready to practice, much less play. All the coaching staff can do is wait for his signal.

“I think once he pulled out of the World Cup, our goal wasn't necessarily to have him ready for Day One of training camp,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It was have him Nik Kronwall ready to play and be a big impact in our first game. It takes build-up to get there.”

St. James continues, and she posted a video of Kronwall's comments...

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Impressions from the Red Wings’ Monday practice at the prospect tournament ‘16

The Red Wings' prospects took part in a spirited practice ahead of tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues (7 PM EDT on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com), mostly focusing on breakouts and the power play two days after being shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wings hit the ice at 11:30, and the likely scratches lingered on the ice until almost 1 PM, working on shooting drills and plain old enjoying themselves, which was good to see.

Coach Todd Nelson's drills were to-the-point today, emphasizing quickness and better structure, and the players were very receptive to the instruction they received from Nelson and Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coaches Bruce Ramsay, Ben Simon and Mike Knuble.

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Expect To See More Of Justin Abdelkader Tomorrow Night Against Canada

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St. James: Kronwall might not be ready to start the season

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

added 1:45pm,

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Audio from Monday’s practice at the Red Wings’ prospect tournament ‘16

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects battle the St. Louis Blues' prospects tonight at 7 PM EDT (on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com), and the Wings engaged in a spirited and brisk practice this morning.

It looks like Mathew Caito will get into the lineup tonight, replacing Dylan Coghlan, but the lineup looks to be remain otherwise intact from the team that lost to Chicago on Saturday.

After practice, Givani Smith was descended upon by the Hockey News, DetroitRedWings.com's Joshua Berenter, the Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook and myself. Smith answered some general questions before I was able to ask him how his comfort level is at the tournament (thus far he's been a bit subdued in terms of his instigating nature), what he thinks about tonight's game against the Blues and what he's learning here:

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From Detroit’s Informal Skate Today

Ansar Khan tweets,

Teemu Pulkkinen joins #RedWings for informal skate. Not cleared for contact but looks ahead of schedule (shoulder).

Ryan Sproul has joined #RedWings for informal skate at Joe Louis Arena. Expected to sign one-year deal this week.

 

Update:

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A bit more about Shawn Horcoff’s role with the Red Wings

From DetroitRedWings.com's Jousha Berenter, via RedWingsFeed:

Shawn Horcoff has dedicated his life to the game of hockey as an NHL player for 15 seasons. But now, Horcoff’s focus has changed as he shifts into the Detroit Red Wings’ front office.

Just before the Red Wings’ first game in the 2016 NHL Prospect Tournament, the organization announced that Horcoff was hired as the new director of player development, succeeding Jiri Fischer, who is transitioning to a new role in player evaluation.

Horcoff played 1,008 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and most recently, the Anaheim Ducks. The Trail, British Columbia native spent most of his career in Edmonton, helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006 and serving as team captain from 2010-13.

Although he never played in Detroit, Horcoff has Michigan ties, playing collegiately at Michigan State University from 1996-00. Horcoff helped lead the Spartans to CCHA championships in 1998 and 2000, and finished his college career by winning the CCHA Player of the Year and Best Defensive Forward Award in 1999-00.

The hiring was a welcomed early birthday present for Horcoff, who turned 38 on Saturday. The Wings’ new director of player development has lived in Birmingham, Mich., for almost 10 years, and said because of his familiarity with the organization, moving into his new role has been an easy transition.

“The pro team are all pretty close friends,” Horcoff said Saturday at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City. “I know them pretty well. I know Kenny from being around and I’m pretty close with (Kris) Draper. I’ve played against him, obviously, and we trained together. I’m really familiar with the organization. And the nice thing is we already live here, so it’s easy for my family. For me, it was a perfect situation.”

 

 

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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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