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Wallner speaks with Martin Frk about rejoining the Griffins

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins forward Martin Frk regarding rejoining the Wings' organization:

The 23-year-old played well in camp with the Red Wings but was a victim of numbers and was placed on waivers Oct. 9. He was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes, but played in just two games with no points and a minus-three rating with 8:20 in ice time. He was a healthy scratch in six games.

"Yeah, it has been a crazy one month for me," said Frk, whose girlfriend as well as his apartment are in Grand Rapids. "I'm excited to be back."

Last season with the Griffins, Frk scored 27 goals – sixth most in the AHL - and had 44 points as he emerged as a scoring threat with a booming shot after two-plus pedestrian seasons.

"It's always better to keep working on being a good defensive player," Frk said. "I know I can do good offensively, but I want to make sure that I don't have too many minuses out there."

[Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said the organization had been monitoring Frk in Carolina and well as that of another former player with a big shot in Teemu Pulkkinen with Minnesota.

"He (Frk) wasn't playing a lot and we were just wondering when he was going to get sent back as well as Pulky," Nelson said, noting the deciding factor was Frk's more flexible two-way contract.

Wallner continues, video of Frk's remarks included...

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Red Wings-Flyers game-day articles: Mrazek vs. Neuvirth and game-day notes

Updated 10x at 2:57 PM: The Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers held their morning skates ahead of tonight's NBCSN Rivalry Night game (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; the Wings haven't won in Philly since 1997, over a span of 11 regular-season games), and after the Red Wings' skate, Wings coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the team's lineup to MLive's Ansar Khan...

#RedWings Blashill confirms Mrazek starting and Ouellet in for Sproul again.

And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:

#RedWings Blashill confirmed Mrazek in goal and Ouellet playing again.

Khan Tweeted out the Wings' lineup during the morning skate:

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Red Wings-Flyers morning skate Tweets and articles: Neuvirth vs. Mrazek

The Detroit Red Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers this evening (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), with the Wings attempting to snap an 11-game winless streak in Philadelphia, as MLive's Tim Martin notes:

• The Red Wings won't stop hearing about their losing streak in Philadelphia -- now at 11 games -- until they end it. Detroit's most recent victory in Philly was in Game 2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. They haven't won there in the regular season since Jan. 25, 1997.

The Associated Press also sets up tonight's game...

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USA Hockey to hold Try Hockey For Free Day on November 12th

From USA Hockey:

Registration Open for Try Hockey For Free Day
Rinks nationwide to host first-timers as part of Come Play Hockey Month

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Children all across the United States who have never before tried hockey will have a chance to skate, shoot and score on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, as USA Hockey hosts Try Hockey For Free Day as part of the sixth annual Come Play Hockey Month.

Parents and guardians can find the Try Hockey location closest to them and register children between the ages of 4 and 9 years old to participate by visiting http://TryHockeyForFree.com Nearl.y 500 sites throughout the U.S. will host a Try Hockey For Free event on Nov. 12. Forty-nine of the nation's 50 states will be represented, led by Wisconsin with 62 host sites.

USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free Days, with the support of the National Hockey League and NHL member clubs, among others, are designed to provide a national platform for introducing children to the sport, free of charge. Total Hockey and Liberty Mutual Insurance are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free Days.

Host sites will provide limited equipment for children to borrow during Try Hockey events and no experience is needed to attend.

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Cotsonika discusses the Red Wings’ puck possession issues

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika wrote an article discussing the Red Wings' puck possession stats as they apply to the team's early-season ups and downs, as well as a discussion of what the Wings can do to shake off their recent struggles. The first step to snapping their two-game losing streak involves minimizing turnovers during the Wings' break-out:

"The one thing in today's NHL is -- you go watch any games -- there's more turnovers than there was a number of years ago because everyone's forechecking so hard, so we're going to have moments of that," [Jeff] Blashill said. "But we've got to have great support. We've got to get the puck out of our end if we have to. We've got to make hard plays and get it out."

Once they do that, they need to make simpler plays through the middle of the ice, more north-south, less east-west. Blashill tells his players to put pucks behind their opponents when sealed off.

"I don't mean put it behind so the other team can get it," Blashill said. "I mean put it behind so we can pressure the other team as much as possible."

In other words, don't dump it deep blindly. Chip it to space and skate. Make your opponents turn. Be relentless. Win battles. Play fast.

"We turn it over a lot the last few games," forward Tomas Tatar said. "We have to get rid of that, put the puck behind and create chaos. That's how the hockey is nowadays. You've got to dump it to get the puck in the zone, and you have to battle to create your own chances right there."

Cotsonika continues...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Flyers set-up—11 is enough

The Detroit Red Wings will batttle the Philadelphia Flyers tonight (8 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and for the Red Wings, tonight's game represents the first of two games the Wings will play in Philly over the next 7 days.

While the 4-5-and-1 Flyers have gone 1-3-and-1 over their past 5 games (with their most recent game being a 4-3 victory over Carolina on Sunday), and their goals-against average is 29th in the league, the Flyers also possess the NHL's 3rd-most potent offense...and they've won 11 straight games over the Red Wings in Philadelphia, going all the way back to 1997.

A Red Wings team looking to snap a 2-game losing streak need to get its game in order against an opponent that's equally hungry to find some consistency.

With a 6-and-4 record, the Red Wings have started fairly well, but they're well aware of the Flyers' "hex," as Henrik Zetterberg told MLive's Ansar Khan:

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Krupa: Red Wings place heavy emphasis on ‘fast hockey’

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a lengthy article about the Red Wings and rest of the NHL's "pursuit of speed," and Wings coach Jeff Blashill told Krupa that the team is attempting to instill "play fast" as a team-wide mentality:

It is about the way they play otherwise, too, and their pursuit of turning the disappointment of last season into greater success, even as the roster continues to transform.

To play with pace requires playing clean, starting with the puck, possessing it, and getting it back quickly when possession fails. Pace proceeds from efficiency and control.

The Red Wings require more of all three, as they demonstrated against the Bruins and Panthers last weekend when sloppy, uninspired play produced less pace, ended a six-game winning streak and started a losing streak now at two. But putting the pedal to metal more often and forcefully is clearly part of the program, and the purpose is more than merely generating speed.

“We thought that a strength of ours certainly could be our speed,” coach Jeff Blashill said before the two losses. “We’ve talked more about playing fast. But playing fast has way more to do with than just your team speed. It has to do with the mentality that every time you can, you want to beat people up the ice, the mentality that every time there’s a transition opportunity you’ve got to beat them up the ice.

“It also means you’ve got to do a real good job of getting back in your own zone and breaking the puck out better. I think we’re making strides in that area, certainly compared to last year.

"I think it’s both: It’s about our speed, but it’s also about our mentality of playing fast. We looked at it over the summer, and that is part of the reason that we wanted to make sure to get Darren Helm re-signed.”

Krupa continues at length, and as per usual, his article's worth your time...

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Wakiji: Wings take issue with possession metrics

The Red Wings addressed their puck possession issues--or the perceived lack thereof--after today's practice, as noted by DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:

It's not whether you possess the puck, it's where you are and what you do with it that counts. The Wings may be ranked 28th in Corsi for percentage 5-on-5 at 46 percent, but that's not the main concern for Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"Somehow puck possession has been measured by shots," Blashill said. "We outshot (the Florida Panthers) on Sunday by a bunch but they had way better scoring chances, so I'll continue to measure our game by scoring chances. Puck possession, the way we measure it, is by O-zone time. How much O-zone time vs. how much D-zone time. We have to get better in that area. We've spent more time in our D-zone than in our O-zone. So we got to get better at having more O-zone time."

The Wings are fifth in the league with 286 shots but they have allowed the most shots against at 323. The Washington Capitals have allowed the fewest shots at 199.

"Going into the last game, we'd been outshot in seven of the nine games, we'd out-chanced the team in five of the nine games, so sometimes shots are from the outside," Blashill said. "We just looked at something where it showed up in one of our systems, it tracks five-percent chances, it showed up as a five-percent chance. We saw the video, it showed the puck being shot from above the tops of the circles, outside … the (shot) tracker had it from the hash mark."

Blashill said five-percent chances are considered among the best scoring chances. The Wings track their own shots and chances, not relying on the league stats.

Wakiji continues, and I find it particularly interesting when the Wings share their internal metrics with us, even if we only get a glimpse thereof.

Anyway, in Wakiji's article, Frans Nielsen, Tomas Tatar and Brendan Smith all give different answers as to why the Wings are being out-shot--turnovers, faceoffs and penalties taken--and they're all correct. There are reasons (plural) for the Wings' puck possession issues, and they can be corrected.

Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James took note of Nielsen and Tatar's remarks regarding puck possession:

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Jimmy Howard engages in a Q and A with Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper

Yahoo Sports' Josh Cooper engaged in a Q and A with Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard:

Q: How has this year been going for you? You’ve had quite the hot start.

HOWARD: It’s sort of revamping the way I play and to be less aggressive and sit back a little bit more, which is allowing me not only see plays develop but also watch how the puck’s coming off a guy’s stick and giving myself that extra split second to react to a shot rather than just being out of the net and hoping it hits you.

How was this decision made to play less aggressive?

To be honest with you it came from our coach, Jeff Blashill for both Petr and I to be a little less aggressive in the net so it allows us to make second and third saves when necessary.

How does one train to be less aggressive?

I’m still training, still training myself. I still find myself in there sometimes being a little bit too aggressive but really, really I’m focusing in on it in practice, especially when we’re doing our drills where guys are just coming in and firing it from the middle – not getting frustrated with myself when pucks are going in during practice, but constantly forcing myself to be a little bit less aggressive and really working to pushing into shots.

Cooper continues...

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Prospect news: Ehn scores in CHL; Griffins post weekly release

Of prospect-related note:

In the Champions Hockey League, Christoffer Ehn scored the 5-1 goal in the Frolunda Indians' 6-1 win over Eisbaren Berlin. Frolunda can advance to the "round of 8" if they beat Berlin on November 8th.

And in the AHL, here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

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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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