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It’s An Optional Day

Ansar Khan tweets,

Blashill said he believes everyone who played last night is available for Game 2 but will know more tomorrow.

Henrik Zetterberg said his hand is fine after being slashed last night and Blashill said he is expected to play tomorrow.


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Grand Rapids Griffins playoff tickets go on sale Saturday

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Tickets for the Grand Rapids Griffins’ first two home games during the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will go on sale to the public this Saturday, April 16 at 10 a.m.

Grand Rapids’ opponent and dates for the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals will be announced no later than Saturday night, when the Griffins complete their 20th regular season by hosting the Bakersfield Condors for the first time ever. Game time is 7 p.m.

Currently sitting in third place in the Central Division, the Griffins could finish anywhere from second to fourth and face any of three opponents – the Lake Erie Monsters, Milwaukee Admirals or Rockford IceHogs – in the opening round. Milwaukee (101 points) has already clinched the division title, while Lake Erie (93), Grand Rapids (90) and Rockford (90) are separated by only three points with a pair of games remaining for each team and the Griffins owning the tiebreaker over both rivals.

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Sharp: It’s Howard’s crease

From the Free Press's Drew Sharp:

Blaming the goalie has become the reflex when doubt circles a team’s Stanley Cup playoff chances. Yes, goaltending is part of any series win. But don’t ignore the chronic defensive passivity in front of him. Don’t ignore the lack of scoring from young veterans such as Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.

Howard deserves the Game 2 start Friday.

Singling him out would let others off the hook, and that’s not the message first-year head coach Jeff Blashill should send approaching a critical game. That would suggest panic. That would suggest desperation. And that would tell Tampa Bay that the Red Wings already think the series is over, after just one game.

“It was a hard-fought game with a lot of back and forth,” Howard said following the Wings’ 3-2 loss Wednesday night. “That’s playoff hockey. That’s how it’s going to be. You’ve got to stick around and keep it close.”

Howard wasn’t spectacular. He was solid. He must elevate his play going forward, but that makes him no different than at least a half-dozen others. Considering the overall mediocrity of the Wings’ goaltending situation, there is no panacea sitting on the bench. Petr Mrazek might still be the goalie who finishes this series against the Lightning, but his late-season struggles make him an extension of the same question: Can the Wings come remotely close to matching up against the Lightning’s potential Vezina Trophy finalist, Ben Bishop?


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Up on the roof (with Al the Octopus)

At Joe Louis Arena, WXYZ posted some raw video of workers placing Al the Octopus on Joe Louis Arena's roof in preparation for Games 3 and 4 of the Red WIngs-Lightning series:

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Can The Wings Pick Up Their Physical Play?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"This is turning into a great rivalry between both teams," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. "It's a lot of fun. This is what you want to be a part of."

Abdelkader was in the middle of several scums, as you'd expect from one of the club's few physical players. One of his three penalties was for roughing.

"Throughout the course of the playoffs you want to make sure you're finishing checks, you're playing hard, because everyone has bumps and bruises this time of year and playing through different things," Abdelkader said. "When you get a chance to finish your checks, try not to run too much out of position but play hard and that's what I tried doing."

Jonathan Drouin drew a cross-checking penalty on Dylan Larkin at 6:34 of the second period. Minutes later, Larkin was cross-checked in the back by Alex Killorn, triggering a small meele. Braydon Coburn knocked down Larkin and soon Danny DeKeyser and Mike Richards came to the rookie's defense.

"I didn't see Killorn coming and then he hit me pretty good," Larkin said. "Then of course to get stuck with the big guy (Coburn), so you know, I didn't really know what was going on when I got up but just think it's part of the game now and we have to be there to answer the bell."


added 7:53am, Below, watch the Sportsnet crew discuss the play of Drouin.

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Wings announce playoff promotions

The Red Wings issued this press release after the Wings-Bolts game began, so I'm catching up with a little PR fun:

Red Wings celebrate 25 straight seasons of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs
“Playoff Central” website, viewing parties, social media campaigns, Beard-A-Thon, decor throughout The Joe and much more highlight celebration of longest active playoff streak in professional sports

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings announced today the details surrounding the celebration of the 25th consecutive season that the team has qualified for the Stanley Cup® Playoffs. The Red Wings streak of 25-straight playoff appearances (1990-91 – present) is the longest active streak in all of North American major professional sports and is tied for the third longest of its kind in NHL history.

With social media campaigns, viewing parties, contests and exclusive merchandise, Red Wings fans can connect and be a part of the celebration as the team embarks on its historic 25th straight playoff run with the goal of claiming the organization’s 12th Stanley Cup® Championship.

“We’re excited to announce the details associated with the celebration of this amazing playoff streak,” said Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “The social and digital elements of this campaign will allow Red Wings fans from around the globe to connect with each other and create a community to interact and cheer on the team.”


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Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 wrap-up: Wings need to find consistent form to defeat the Bolts

The Detroit Red Wings earned a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the teams' first-round series by being just a little bit "less good" than the Lightning, who bit down hard on the Wings after their disallowed goal at 6:55 of the 3rd and never let go, scoring the gamer on an Alex Killorn deflection and preventing the Wings from tying the game by making half-a-dozen key defensive plays as the Wings attempted to best Ben Bishop.

Detroit will have to find a more disciplined way to answer Tampa Bay's physicality, too; while Justin Abdelkader and the Red Wings certainly answered every attempt the Bolts made to physically intimidate them, the Wings simply can't be taking penalties due to physical play, and if the Wings do, they've got to be taking Lightning players to the penalty box with them.

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Prospect news: Griffins lose to Lake Erie as slide to playoffs continues

The Grand Rapids Griffins are having a difficult time closing their season in winning fashion.

The Griffins rallied from a 2-1 deficit but lost 5-3 to the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday, and as the Griffins website's recap notes, Grand Rapids lost a particularly crucial game in terms of playoff seeding:

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 1 quick take: close loss in a mean, nasty game

The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off for a rematch of the teams' 2014-15 playoff series on Wednesday evening, with both teams believing that little feeling-out process would yield an aggressive, intense and high-tempo series in which offense grinds against incredibly tight defense and two evenly-matched teams battled for a hard-fought victory.

It wasn't hard-fought as much as it was opportunistic and downright dirty. The Lightning got very lucky and were very, very, very opportunistic in their goal-scoring abilities as they prevailed 3-2 despite an incredible effort from the Red Wings, and a command performance from Justin Abdelkader in the physical department--but not enough in the goal-scoring department, where the WIngs had to work far too hard for their goals, whereas the Bolts got theirs far too easily.

It was dirty, chippy, mean and nasty, and the Wings didn't come out on top, but they sure proved that they could skate with the Bolts. They've got to play sharper and more urgent hockey, and they need to do this:

Let Bishop flop. Attack him.

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Prospect news: Holmstrom absent as Skelleftea advances to SHL final; Perry named Wild MVP

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom was out of action in Skelleftea AIK's 3-2 OT win over the Vaxjo Lakers. Skelleftea advances to the SHL final against Christoffer Ehn's Frolunda Indians after defeating Vaxjo in 7 games;

And in the BCHL, Chase Perry was named the Wenatchee Wild's MVP:

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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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