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Jeff Lerg returns to Walleye

From the Toledo Walleye:

Goaltender Jeff Lerg, the Walleye single season wins leader, has agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2016-17 season.

Lerg appeared in 41 games last season for Toledo, posting 28 wins which ranked second among all ECHL goaltenders. He finished the year with a goals against average of 2.13 and .927 save percentage. The native of Livonia, Michigan appeared in 23 games in Denmark this year with a 2.95GAA and .903SVP.

Over his two seasons with the Walleye, Lerg owns Walleye records for appearances (86), wins (60), saves (2,298), shutouts (7), goals against average (2.25), save percentage (.923), and minutes played (5,089). In back to back years he was named to the All-ECHL second team.

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Crucial Games Ahead

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings are capable of rising in the standings, but it will take better performances from nearly everyone, including the coaching staff. Playing Riley Sheahan, who has yet to score a goal, in overtime in Boston while benching Anthony Mantha does not make sense. The power play must improve somehow. Its ineffectiveness easily has cost the Wings a handful of victories. Players have to start executing. The goaltending from Mrazek and Jared Coreau has to be better, too.

If the Wings can collect in the 10-point range over the next seven games, then maybe they decide to stand pat as the March 1 trade deadline approaches. If  the standings shows them no closer to the playoffs, it’s time to be sellers.


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Detroit’s Goaltending Situation

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The Red Wings are in a tough spot. They are trying to rebuild while being stuck with some cumbersome contracts, Jimmy Howard’s being one of them. Howard is signed through 2019 at $5,219,667 per season. Petr Mrazek, once designated the future ace, is in the first season of a two-year, $8 million contract. The undrafted Coreau has one season left on a two-year, $1.225 million deal before he reaches restricted status.

Considering Detroit’s cap problems, Coreau is a keeper, at least for next season. The question is whether the Wings make him their No. 1 and move not just one goalie but two.

The scenario the Wings would prefer would be for the Golden Knights to select Howard in the expansion draft. Whether that happens is unknown. Semyon Varlamov and Marc-Andre Fleury are two of the goalies at risk of being left unprotected. Vegas could also draft young goalies in expansion and use unrestricted free agency to pursue more experienced puck-stoppers such as Ben Bishop, Scott Darling, or Michal Neuvirth.

The uncertainty surrounding Howard could put Mrazek in play. The 24-year-old is having a down season: 10-12-5, 3.16 goals-against average, .894 save percentage after swiping Howard’s job the previous year. In 2015-16, Mrazek went 27-16-5 with a 2.33 GAA and .921 save percentage — all more in line with his body of work in Detroit and Grand Rapids. 

more and other hockey topics...

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Nicklas Lidstrom talks about joining the ‘NHL 100’

Nicklas Lidstrom reflected upon his inclusion on the NHL 100 list while speaking with the NHL Network's EJ Hradek:

Lidstrom mentions getting ready to take part in this photo:

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Wallner: Svechnikov making progress in his first pro season

The Grand Rapids Griffins lost 4-1 to the San Jose Barracuda on Friday, but Evgeny Svechnikov scored his 13th goal of the season in the loss, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner wondered aloud whether Svechnikov's close to his first NHL "cup of coffee"-call-up with the Red Wings:

"I don't want to put a timeline on it, but like I've said before he's progressing faster than other players I've had," [Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said. "We'll see what the rest of the season looks like, or early next year. He's still young and there's things he has to learn, but he's getting pretty close."

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Svechnikov has improved on in his puck management, especially maintaining control and his aggressiveness in the corners. And the maddening penalties have declined. He led the team early on in penalties, but he has two minors his past 10 games with 36 minutes in 41 games.

"I thought he played good (Friday)," Nelson said. "San Jose likes to play man on man in the D zone and you really saw Geno play to his strength where he was strong in the corners, winning puck battles and hanging onto the puck more than he ever has."

Svechnikov, with 13 goals and 23 points, is pleased with his progress.

"I try to learn," he said. "I think I learned a lot (early in the season) and coaches and guys tell me what to do and the right way, and about penalties and not reaching and stuff. But, at the same time, I have more confidence and I'm trying to shoot more and something good will happen."

Wallner continues...

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The overnight report: ‘Three themes’—Frans Nielsen, All-Star; current events; on the Wings’ future

Most overnight reports involve a set of topics that are quite disparate in nature, but this one involves variations on three themes:

1. First, Frans Nielsen will be taking part in the "passing" portion of the NHL's All-Star Skills Challenge Relay on Saturday night, and while one can argue whether Nielsen should be the Wings' All-Star selection, there's no doubt that Nielsen is taking this weekend's experience seriously, as he told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

“A real proud moment,” Nielsen said. “For sure one day, when I retire, it’ll be one of the highlights.”

[Nielsen's father] Frits will be in Los Angeles, along with Nielsen’s wife, son, father-in-law and sister-in-law. Essentially, whoever could make it over from Denmark or Sweden (his wife Moa’s side of the family).

“Unfortunately, my mom couldn’t make it. She couldn’t get off work,” Nielsen said. “But it’ll be quite a group there. It’ll be a long flight for a couple of days out there, but they’re excited about it, too. They wouldn’t miss it.”

Nielsen, 32, who’ll represent the Red Wings this weekend in Los Angeles, is legitimately humbled.

“It’s so hard to believe that you’re actually going," Nielsen said. "But, yes, I’m very excited, and to represent Detroit. Absolutely, it’s an honor. You watch these events since you were a kid. It’s going to be so exciting to be part of it. You get to represent an organization like this. Look at the list over the years (of Red Wings’ All-Stars) and there are some very good names.”

Kulfan continues, and here's hoping that Nielsen has an awesome time this weekend;

2. Regarding the current roster, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings should expect several injured players to return from their maladies after the All-Star break:

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NHL releases its ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ list, names of blue-ribbon panel members

From the NHL:


67 Legends (1967-Present) Join 33 Previously Announced Players (1917-1966)

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 27, 2017) – The National Hockey League unveiled today its complete list of 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian, revealing the names of 67 legends (1967-present) who join the previously announced group of 33 players (predominantly from the League’s first 50 years, 1917-1966). All 100 players were honored during THE NHL100 presented by GEICO at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The following is the complete list of legends who have been voted among the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian. All player names link to their NHL.com/100 biographies, which include original video vignettes featuring rare footage as well as interviews with teammates, opponents, coaches and general managers:

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Many former Wings grace the ‘NHL 100’s’ list

The Detroit Red Wings' alumni earned quite the number of nods on the "NHL 100's" list of the top "modern era" players.

Paul Coffey, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk all earned nods, as did one-time Wing Mike Modano:

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According to Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr, there’s great, and there’s Gordie

From USA Today's Kevin Allen:

The NHL is announcing its top 100 players in league history without ranking them. But Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux had no reluctance to say No. 9 is No. 1.

They agree that Gordie Howe is the best to ever play.

“We talk about this all of the time, and I think it’s what makes sports great and hockey wonderful,” Gretzky said Friday before the top 100 were announced. “But we are all pretty much in agreement that Gordie was pretty special.”

Howe, nicknamed "Mr. Hockey," died last June at the age of 88. He played 26 seasons in the NHL, and six more in the now-defunct World Hockey Association. He was a dominant scorer, second only to Wayne Gretzky in goals, and a monstrous physical force.

“We all had so much respect for what Gordie did and what he accomplished,” Gretzky said. “It’s not a bad thing to be named in the top 100 behind Gordie Howe.”


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A bit more about Daniel Cleary’s role with the Griffins

WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski spoke with Daniel Cleary regarding his new role with the Grand Rapids Griffins:

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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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