Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Pulkkinen waived again

In the alumni department...

And regarding tomorrow night's Bruins-Wings game, Tuukka Rask is coming with the Bruins to Detroit...

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‘The Cauldron’s’ Miccoli makes one last trip to the Joe

From Sports Illustrated's Mike Miccoli:

The Red Wings scored three quick goals in the first period, including two that defenseman Mike Green fired from the point past Ottawa Senators’ starter Andrew Hammond. The home team was clearly feeding off of the energy from the sold-out 20,017 in attendance. After the game, Blashill would say that with the pomp and circumstance of opening night, the atmosphere felt more like a playoff game, but it never got that close in score.

The Senators did add a goal in the second period, but couldn’t contain the Red Wings in the third. With less than six minutes left in the game, Green scored on a wrist shot from the point for his first career hat trick. It was then where everything started to make sense at The Joe — the hokey, cliched, tacky things that make a hockey rink feel so damn familiar.

The press box is literally on top of the last row of the balcony, so when everyone is standing up, cheering, they’re right there with you. When Green scored his third of the night, the red goal sirens cornered on the scoreboard went off as if a kid just sank a skeeball in the 100 hole. It was just a moment where you thought that, yeah, everyone is really into this. They’re actually watching this hockey game. They care about this old, smelly building and are going to be bummed when it goes away. It was both exciting to see, but sad to think that the new arena with its big, fancy scoreboard, is going to create a different type of personification of Detroit.

Miccoli continues with his take on the Joe, the Little Caesars Arena and the city of Detroit from an outsider's perspective...

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Custance: Ken Holland’s sticking with the Wings’ present 2 goalie system

In his Friday Insider article, ESPN's Craig Custance spoke with Ken Holland regarding the Wings' netminding platoon of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Holland sounds like a GM who's going to keep both goaltenders for the foreseeable future:

“I haven’t really had any calls on anybody on anything right now,” Holland said. “It’s early in the year. We’re all trying to see what we’ve got.”

In saying that, Holland followed up with the explanation that he sees the two goalies in Detroit as part of the plan for success and not a surplus. He didn’t sound like a guy who wanted to mess with it too much.

“We were hoping, believing, the 1-2 punch we had in goal was going to be a strength. In the early going, it has been,” Holland said. “Touch wood, we’ve got both guys healthy. I think Jimmy is coming in understanding that Petr Mrazek is the No. 1 goaltender. He’s the backup. I think you have to practice different. You have a different mental outlook. ... He’s going to play this weekend. In sports, every night is new.”

To his credit, Howard’s goaltending has evolved at age 32. He’s not as aggressive as he was early in his career, and when asked for the reason for his early success this season, he responded with one word.

“Quiet,” he said, a reference to how he now plays. “That’s the big thing. Try not to be as aggressive as in the past. This game, it seems like it’s moving at an all-time fast pace.”

Custance continues, and he answers a question about the Wings' success using PDO and Corsi--which, as you might imagine, don't look very "sustainable" right now given that the Wings have an astonishingly good team save and shooting percentage, and their possession numbers are poor because they're being out-shot.

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Petr Mrazek’s Outstanding Game In Shootout Win Over St. Louis

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Petr Mrazek is quickly turning Scottrade Center into a personal showplace.

In five NHL seasons, Mrazek has played four games in the building and he has yet to taste defeat after backstopping Thursday's 2-1 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues.

He made his NHL debut in a 5-1 victory in 2013, recorded his third career shutout in 2014 and then nipped the Blues 3-2 in overtime two seasons ago.

So is it safe to say the Scottrade Center has become a special building for Mrazek?

"I wouldn't say it's special," he said. "My first (game was here), my 100th today. I'm happy both the games were wins."

Fair enough but it should also be pointed out that the latest victory over the Blues was also career win No. 50 for the 24-year-old netminder, who was playing his 100th NHL game.

continued

Watch the extended game highlights below...

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Prospect news: Ehn, Hronek register assists; Elfstrom hits the SHL

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom (ACL) remains absent from Skelleftea AIK's lineup, but the SAIK keeps winning. Skelleftea defeated Linkopings HC 4-1 on Thursday;

Christoffer Ehn registered an assist in 11:21 as the Frolunda Indians lost 2-1 to Karlskrona HK;

Per Red Wings Prospects on Twitter, Mattias Elfstrom has played for Malmo IF's Junior-20 team for the vast majority of the 15-16 season, but he played 5:12 in the Malmo Redhawks' 3-0 loss to Vaxjo on Thursday;

In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook missed the Erie Otters' 5-2 victory over Barrie;

And Filip Hronek registered an assist and 6 shots in the Saginaw Spirit's 5-3 loss to Niagara.

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Blues wrap-up—shootout squeakers still count for two points

The Red Wings' 2-1 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues wasn't a thing of beauty, but it was the Wings' 6th win in a row, and it was a hard-earned win in which Detroit struggled in the first period, found its legs in the second and third period, and played the Blues to what was probably a deserved straight draw...

But hockey doesn't do ties any more, and the Wings had a better performance from the net on out in the skills competition that is the shootout, and Detroit ended things via shootout goals from Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg, while Petr Mrazek was excellent in both regulation, overtime and shootout time, stopping 7 of 8 Blues shooters.

Zetterberg may have ended the game...

But the Wings wouldn't have gotten to a shootout without Petr Mrazek's sensational netminding. Mrazek stopped 31 of 32 shots over the game's first 65 minutes, and he stopped 7 of 8 shootout shooters as well:

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Red Wings-Blues quick take: Shootout win for Mrazek and the Wings

The Detroit Red Wings headed into Thursday night's game against the St. Louis Blues hoping to extend their winning streak to 6 games, battling a Blues team that had lost 3 of their 4 previous games.

In Steve Ott's 800th game and Justin Abdelkader's return to the lineup, Petr Mrazek was the hero, stopping 31 of 32 Blues shots (and a boatload of attempts against--60 to be precise to 46 Wings shot attempts)...

And Henrik Zetterberg struck for the shootout-winning goal in a game that the Red Wings climbed into and climbed out of after a difficult 1st period start, scratching and clawing their way to two points in what was sometimes ugly and eventually beautiful fashion.

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Evening news: On Fowler, the Pistons and Frans Nielsen

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. From the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson:

The Wings badly need a defenceman and have their sights set on Ducks’ Cam Fowler, who played junior in Windsor. The Ducks, as we all know,, have crushing salary cap issues and only D Simon Despres long-term injury status is helping them now. They’re doing everything to try and keep Fowler. If they can, they’ll probably go four D and four F in expansion draft (Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa with his no-move clause, and Fowler) and four forwards (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silferberg). Ideally, they’d much rather move Clayton Stoner but nobody’s biting on his $3.25 mil for this year and next.

...

If Hall of Famer-in-waiting Pavel Datsyuk hadn’t gone back to Moscow to play in the KHL, he would have had a reduced role with the Wings. His knees are very bad — that was his problem at the World Cup — and he doesn’t move anywhere like he used to.

2. In Wings-Pistons news, from the Associated Press:

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No Thomas Vanek Tonight

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Custance checks in with Holland and Blashill regarding increased goal-scoring

ESPN's Craig Custance spoke with MSG analyst and former NHL goalie Steve Valiquette regarding the up-tick in goal-scoring in the NHL this season, and Custance checked in with Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill to add a GM and coach's takes on the situation. Holland believes that the proliferation of younger players in the league has something to do with the scoring splurge:

“All the youth in the league, they don’t check like veterans. They’re hockey players. They’re okay exchanging chances. It’s adding to more scoring chances,” Holland said. “When you get the coaches an opportunity here to coach and implement systems, by the end of the year, scoring is going to come down and they’re going to check better.”

Teams also tend to give their young players the early opportunity as the season opens, and if that doesn’t work out, they turn to veterans. That especially seems to be the case this season as the salary cap continued to stagnate.

The Coyotes have gone young this season, and are allowing a league-high 4.33 goals per game. Right behind them are three other teams that are breaking in talented but inexperienced young players in Toronto (4.17), Carolina (4.0) and Winnipeg (3.67).

“There’s immaturity in young guys' games at times,” Blashill said. “With guys that have been around, they know how to play, they know how to keep leads, they know how to keep the puck moving in the right direction.”

The league is also trending toward more speed. Everyone saw how successful the Pittsburgh Penguins were last season and want to keep pace. Speed, pressure and aggressive forechecking can lead to goals on both ends of the ice.

“There’s more pressure on O-zone play,” Blashill said. “It creates turnovers on offense, it also creates you putting yourself in spots where people get behind you. That creates more offense as well.”

Custance continues in his Insider-only entry, and Blashill isn't sure whether the trend of increased scoring will continue...

“Let it even out over time,” Blashill said. “I understand that’s the world we live in, we want instantaneous reports on stuff but I think the reality is this will even itself out. I try not to look at statistics early.”

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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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