The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The shift in reliance from older to younger players must be accelerated next season when Henrik Zetterberg turns 36, Niklas Kronwall will be 35 and Pavel Datsyuk, in all likelihood, will be playing in Russia.
"We're going to continue to try to move some young people onto our team and some of the young people we're going to try to move up in responsibility with more ice time," general manager Ken Holland said.
"Do we have any young players who can take the team over? I'm not sure. ... They've got to grow into it."
Holland acknowledged the need to lighten the veterans' load.
Zetterberg, who averaged 19:39 in ice time, for the second year in a row faded significantly in the second half and didn't produce in the playoffs. Kronwall, who struggled through his worst season, had his ice time trimmed to 22:01 (from 23:50), but it was still the highest on the team.
"Some of our key players are a little older, they're not quite the players they were 4-5 years ago," Holland said. "They're still really good players. If we can support them better, they still got lots to give. But if we don't support them better and we're expecting the older guys to carry the franchise around, they're not going to do that."
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader during locker room clean-out day, and Abdelkader clarified his reason for not fighting Brian Boyle...
“I was tied up with (Ryan) Suter in front of the net,” Abdelkader said. “I was kind of grabbing his jersey, and all of a sudden my finger dislocated. I took my glove off and my finger was kind of pointing sideways. I had to go back in the room, and it didn’t really pop back into place right away. Kind of had to put some numbing into it, and then I went out and played.”
The finger was sore the rest of the season.
“We were freezing it before games, just because it was so sore,” Abdelkader said. “Rest of the season and playoffs, I had to keep those fingers taped. So I had to stitch my gloves together and put some extra protection in the gloves to protect that finger. Yeah, it wasn’t great. Guys at this time of year are going to be battling injuries and different things.”
Abdelkader also told Sipple that he suffered a "tweaked" knee in the Wings' final regular-season loss in Boston, and he discussed some of his production goals going forward:
Of mostly Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Per the Associated Press, the horse with Gustav Nyquist's name will have its day in the sun this upcoming weekend:
A year after American Pharoah thrilled the sports world by winning horse racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years, here comes Nyquist.
The colt named for Detroit Red Wings player Gustav Nyquist is looking like a worthy successor to a sport eager to retain the new fans it gained during American Pharoah’s sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Nyquist was last year’s 2-year-old champion, capping his season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Now he is expected to be the favorite for the 142nd Kentucky Derby next Saturday. The colt brings a 7-0 career record into Churchill Downs.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Coaches must do better at maximizing players' abilities by putting them in the best positions to succeed. Too many players regressed. Statistically, few were more productive than in 2014-15. Blashill took some responsibility for that.
"One thing that we want to do is help our guys get better," Blashill said. "That doesn't always mean production-wise. Sometimes it has to do with minutes; there's only so many to go around, and that can affect a lot of things including production. But part of what we want do is help our guys get better and making sure that we get better as a team through the course of the year."
Blashill might have relied too heavily on veterans Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Brad Richards. Zetterberg and Kronwall, in particular, need their ice time reduced.
Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar combined for 18 fewer goals. They also averaged 1:29 and 1:52 less ice time, respectively.
Andreas Athanasiou provided a spark with his speed and maximized his ice time when promoted permanently on Feb. 5 but averaged only 9:01 because Blashill felt he wasn't ready for more minutes.
Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples answers a pretty significant question in the wake of Marquette's Lakeview Arena winning this year's Hockeyville, U.S.A. title--why aren't the Red Wings playing in the exhibition game awarded to the rink?
When the puck drops on Oct. 4, it will be the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres squaring off in front of what will surely be a crowded Lakeview Arena.
It was assumed that the hometown team would participate in the preseason game, after a rink in Pennsylvania had the opportunity to host the Pittsburgh Penguins for the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA in 2015.
According to the NHL, the Red Wings are unavailable for the game due to a scheduling conflict.
“The Red Wings have already scheduled the maximum number of preseason games permissible under our CBA,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement provided to MiHockey after we inquired about the matter. “The team had no ability to play an additional game.”
MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN WINS TITLE OF KRAFT HOCKEYVILLE TM USA 2016
Community Wins $150,000 in Arena Upgrades and Will Host Nationally Televised NHL® Pre-Season Game between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes
CHICAGO – April 30, 2016 – Marquette, Mich. has been named Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA 2016, the most passionate hockey community in America. In partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), the Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA contest has awarded $150,000 in upgrades to Lakeview Arena, which will also host the Oct. 4 NHL® Pre-Season game broadcast on NBCSN between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
Marquette is rich in hockey heritage and Lakeview Arena stands as a pillar of the community, stimulating the local economy since it opened in 1973. Lakeview Arena’s semi-pro Marquette Iron Rangers signed the first female professional hockey player in North American history, Karen Koch. Lakeview Arena will prioritize energy efficiency updates with the grand prize money in addition to other arena upgrades to ensure future generations of Marquette players are able to enjoy skating at Lakeview Arena for years to come.
“We’ve seen amazing participation across the country in Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA’s second year,” said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “This year’s contest led to millions of votes from passionate hockey fans, and we’re so proud America has chosen the spirited, well-deserving community of Marquette as Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA 2016.”
The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa suggests that Red Wings GM Ken Holland's suggestion that his team won't be contending for the Stanley Cup next season was a refreshing bit of honesty for the GM of a team that's "too old" and relies on Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk for far too much of the team's key minutes:
With Datsyuk all but committed to spending 2016-17 in Russia, the Wings will find it tougher to extend their streak next season, to say nothing of chasing the Cup. Not only will the Wings lose one of their best players, they will have to carry Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit toward their number, just like the Bruins had to do with Tim Thomas in 2012-13.
It’s dead money Holland can’t afford to have. He’ll have a tough time dealing [Jimmy] Howard without retaining some of his salary. He’s invested $6 million annually for two years in Mike Green, an inflationary number for a complementary defenseman. Mrazek will be due a raise.
This doesn’t leave Holland much cap space to swing a deal, which would be his best route of accelerating his rebuild. Otherwise, Holland is facing the traditional route of replenishing his roster: drafting and developing.
It’s what the Wings did when they hit on Dylan Larkin with the No. 15 pick in 2014. They have other homegrown players who should assume bigger roles next year, such as Andreas Athanasiou (fourth round, 2012), Anthony Mantha (first round, 2013), and Tomas Jurco (second round, 2011).
But the trouble facing the Wings is how they haven’t uncovered the star power in the draft that they once did with Datsyuk (sixth round) and Zetterberg (seventh). They believe they have a top-line wing in Larkin and a No. 1 in Mrazek. But Holland isn’t sure about anyone else.
“You need stars,” Holland said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to draft and develop. Nobody’s giving you their stars. If you don’t have stars, you need lots of good players.”
Shinzawa continues with his Saturday notebook, and he adds the following:
I trust the play inside Little Caesars Arena, the name of the Wings’ future rink, will be better than the product of its namesake sponsor.
George's tip: pay the extra $1.20 for double cheese. My mom and aunt like Little Caesars pizza, so we have it once or twice a month, and going with double cheese transforms the stuff from bargain-basement pizza to actually yummy fare. Regardless of whether you're buying the $5 round pie or the $8 deep dish stuff, the extra buck twenty is totally worth it.
You already know that I'm a proponent of the draft-develop-and-promote-the-damn-kids recipe, and I'm certainly hoping that Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Xavier Ouellet are on the Wings' roster next year. The Wings still need to find that prospect that is their extra cheese, however, and I don't know if that's Tyler Bertuzzi, Evgeny Svechnikov in a year or two or someone else...
Two things of Red Wings-related note this afteroon:
While it would appear almost a certainty that Pavel Datsyuk has played his last NHL game in Detroit, according to an NHL source, the Wings are doing their due diligence on forward Alexander Radulov.
Selected 15th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL entry draft, Radulov has spent the last four seasons with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental League, the team managed by former Wings center Sergei Fedorov.
There’s no question of Radulov’s ability. He scored 26 goals for the Predators in 2007-08 and was a 20-goal scorer for CSKA the past two seasons.
It’s his attitude that the Wings are concerned about. Radulov, 29, has a history of bad behaviour and the Wings, who have spoken Radulov’s agent, are talking to his friends and former teammates to get a handle on whether he’d be a problem in the dressing room or a bad influence on the club’s younger players.
Those close to him insist Radulov has changed his ways. He’s now a father and has settled down into family life.
2. I missed this one from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, and it's an intriguing "thought":
17. Wonder if Thomas Greiss’ tremendous play is closing a Jimmy Howard possibility. Islanders GM Garth Snow is said to be a fan, and those Maine Black Bears stick together.
Howard would fit in well as the Islanders' starter, but yes, Thomas Greiss has been a revelation playing ahead of Halak in the Islanders' crease;
3. I don't know how much detail you're looking for in terms of Joakim "Bacon" Andersson going back to Sweden. He's probably being paid more than the Red Wings can offer to head to Orebro for two seasons, and MLive's Ansar Khan, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, Expressen and Aftonbladet are all confirming.
Orebro's website's press release is most telling, because it sounds like Andersson made his decision to leave for Sweden sometime in the middle of the NHL season, which means that the Wings knew about this move ahead of time:
From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Andreas Athanasiou, who missed the Grand Rapids Griffins' opening-round series due to a family matter, was assigned to the team by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Athanasiou, who practiced with the team Saturday, will be available for the Central Division finals when the Griffins take on Lake Erie beginning Thursday.
"He gives us depth up the middle, something we were lacking a little, and we get a guy coming off NHL experience," said coach Todd Nelson. "And he had that last year (in the AHL). So, he worked out today and we'll see how fast he can get back at it."
Nelson said Athanasiou had not skated during the time off. He skated with Triston Grant and Zach Nastasiuk.
Athanasiou appeared in the five playoff games for the Red Wings before they were eliminated from the playoff by the Tampa Bay Lightning in April 21.
He was originally expected to join the AHL squad afterward, but instead went home near Toronto to tend to a family matter.
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned center Andreas Athanasiou to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Athanasiou, 21, skated in 37 games with the Red Wings during the 2015-16 campaign, notching 14 points, five penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. The second-year pro made his NHL debut with Detroit on Nov. 8 vs. Dallas and notched his first goal in his second NHL game on Nov. 10 vs. Washington, in what turned out to be the game’s only goal. Athanasiou also made his NHL postseason debut during the Red Wings’ first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning and recorded his first playoff goal in Game 3. The London, Ontario, native also appeared in 26 games for the Griffins this season, recording 16 points (8-8-16). In 83 AHL games over the past two seasons, he has logged 51 points (25-26-51), adding 10 points (5-5-10) in 22 career AHL playoff games.
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.