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Wallner checks in on Evgeny Svechnikov

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner checks in with Evegeny Svechnikov this morning:

Evgeny Svechnikov, an enticing first pick last season because of his offensive skills, has spent the first third of the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins learning to play better without the puck. Svechnikov, the Detroit Red Wings' first pick (19th overall) in the 2015 draft, has four goals and eight points as the Griffins prepare for game No. 25 today in Chicago.

The offensive numbers are not what Svechnikov is used to considering his output in juniors. He had 32 goals and 79 points in 50 games last season with Cape Breton in QMJHL and nearly the same stats the year before (32-46-78) with the same team.

Of late, the offensive displays with the Griffins have become more frequent (two goals his past four games) as the right winger has tightened his all-around game.

"I'm not going to lie - everyone wants to score and I want to, too. But it's not easy to score in this league," Svechnikov said. "I just have to find a way to shoot every chance while I learn more. I know with me, I have a good shot, but it's hard to find a way to shoot. It's different. I feel different. I feel like I have more time to shoot but I don't. I'm still learning."

Wallner continues, discussing Svechnikov's AHL learning curve...

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‘Three Things,’ charitable version: honoring law enforcement; on the Salvation Army drive, etc.

Of charitable Red Wings-related note:

1. The Red Wings will be honoring law enforcement officers this evening, as noted by the Associated Press:

The Detroit Red Wings are honoring law enforcers, especially five Michigan officers killed in the line of duty this year.

The Red Wings play the Los Angeles King at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday. The team says the opening ceremony will be dedicated to the fallen officers — three from Detroit and two from Berrien County in southwestern Michigan.

They are Wayne State University Officer Collin Rose, Detroit Sgt. Ken Steil, Detroit Officer Myron Jarrett and Berrien County courthouse officers Ron Kienzle and Joe Zangaro.

Kienzle and Zangaro were killed in a shootout with a man who tried to escape from the courthouse.

The Red Wings say more than 1,100 police officers and their families will attend the game.

2. The Wings will be raising funds for the Salvation Army tomorrow at various Metro Detroit Kroger locations, and the team posted a short video discussing the annual event:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Kings set-up

The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to begin the long climb toward salvaging their season when they host the Los Angeles Kings this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS West/97.1 FM).

The Red Wings shuffled their lines in practice on Wednesday, and spoke afterward regarding the urgency of turning around their 0-2-and-1 home stand as the team's 13-13-and-4 record is pretty dang mediocre.

Our friends from Los Angeles won't be coming to town in a charitable mood, however; the 14-12-and-2 Kings aren't exactly running away with the Pacific Division, and Los Angeles opened a 9-game road trip with a 6-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Los Angeles has lost 3 of its past 4 games, and Kings GM Dean Lombardi spent Wednesday explaining why the Kings won't sacrifice the team's future to find a replacement for Jonathan Quick, who may not be back from his groin injury until mid-February...

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Prospect news: Walleye defeat Utah

Of prospect-related note: In the ECHL, Tylor Spink and Tyler Sikura registered a goal and an assist apiece and Cal Heeter stopped 17 shots en route to the Toledo Walleye's 5-3 victory over the Utah Grizzlies.

The Walleye's website posted a recap:

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A metric of blame

The, "When things go wrong, question the coach's competence" crowd will like this one, and I give CBS Detroit's Will Burtchfield credit for using plain old stats as well as advanced metrics to point out that the Red Wings were only dominant in Tuesday's game against Phoenix in the 3rd period, after Arizona had built up its lead...But assuming that the coach's post-game comments reveal each and every one of the metrics through which the coaching staff views the game is a little dangerous, too.

Blashill is wont to measure his team’s performance by scoring chances. That’s fine – useful, even – so long as context is considered in conjunction. But in a vacuum, such statistics can lead to dangerously comfortable conclusions.

“We came out tonight and the chances will say we should’ve won – we didn’t,” Blashill said after Tuesday night’s defeat.

Did the chances say that, though? Or did they say that the Coyotes scaled back their forecheck and defended in a shell in the third period, causing the numbers to swing wildly in the Wings’ favor? It’s a key distinction, one that separates a strong showing from a favorable circumstance.

If Blashill truly believes the Wings were on the right side of that line, he’s hanging his hat on an awfully flimsy hook. Worse, he’s guiding the Wings onto thinner and thiner ice.

Burtchfield continues, and his dissenting opinion is worth its salt, but it's...

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Articles from practice: Red Wings discuss season-salvaging plans

The Red Wings changed up their lines during Wednesday's practice, hoping to earn their way to a better result against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, and after practice, the players and coach spoke with the media regarding the need to score goals to afford themselves room for mistakes.

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji took note of the Wings' comments...

"If you score, you're allowed to make a mistake," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "If you don't score, you can't make any mistakes. There's no room for error. So right now, without scoring, there is zero room for error. But you can't necessarily make it go in the net. What you can do is make chances happen. I think we've made chances happen on a fairly decent to good basis and we got to continue to do that and continue to stay with it and most importantly not let frustration affect our performance.

"That to me is the biggest thing going into tomorrow, all the sudden now if you allow frustration to creep in you don't play well. We can't allow frustration to creep in, we got to stay with it and be ultra-determined."

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Kulfan speaks with Ken Holland regarding the Wings’ struggles

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the team's struggles, and Holland was blunt regarding the Wings' loss to Arizona on Tuesday:

“Certainly it was a disappointing loss,” said Holland of the 4-1 embarrassing defeat to the struggling Arizona Coyotes, one of the weaker teams in the NHL “It wasn’t good enough. We expected a lot better start. We know we have to be better. I expect us to be better (Thursday against Los Angeles). It wasn’t good enough.”

Overall, Holland expects the team to rebound, or is at least hoping that they will...

“We know we have to get playing,” Holland said. “With 30 points in 30 games, it’s not where we had hoped or expected to be. We know the importance of these next 20 games, or so, in the schedule. You want to play into a position where you’re (in the playoff chase)….These are important games.”

And in terms of possible trades? Well, Kulfan offers this:

Trades have been few and far between in the NHL this season, as most teams are handcuffed by the salary cap and contracts.

Teams are looking for top prospects or draft picks, in return, something Holland doesn’t want to deal. Though the trade deadline still two months away, Holland has been in contract with other GM’s.

“You’re always thinking about how to upgrade or change your team for the better,” Holland said. “I’ve had conversations with other managers. A lot of teams are strapped by salary cap. As the weeks get closer to the trade deadline, you’ll see more people working the phones.”

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Red Wings visit Children’s Hospital

The Red Wings visited Children's Hospital today...

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Wings Need To Find Their Game In A Hurry

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Thirty games into the season, in the midst of a long home stand, the Wings are floundering. They aren't scoring, so they aren't winning. In their last game, they looked like they weren’t even trying for the first 14 minutes. Their captain called it embarrassing. They have one point and two goals to show for the last three games. Now comes a revelation game Thursday, when they host the Los Angeles Kings (7:30, FSD). If the Wings don’t play well start to finish, if they don’t execute, it will be indefensible.

“We know the clocks are ticking,” forward Tomas Tatar said after today's practice. “You can't let any more games slip away. We just have to calm down. We know how to play.

“Our fans deserve better.”

Forward Frans Nielsen, one of the most introspective voices in the room, admitted to frustration because “we feel we are creating enough chances to score more goals. We’ve just talked enough about it now. Now it’s time to go out and do it. Just find a way.”

read on

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Who’s My Linemate Today?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar said it's not easy when lines are being shuffled this much but it's needed when players aren't producing.

"We have to change something," Tatar said. "We played together for a few games and didn't change, but when you score two or three goals the last few games it's just not enough, so we had to change something to try and generate some more offense."...

As much as Blashill and players want the lines to remain together to form chemistry, they feel changes are needed when the combinations aren't clicking. The Red Wings have scored just two goals in the past three games and rank 27th in the NHL at 2.23 goals per game.

"There's definitely a fine line (between keeping them together and shuffling)," Blashill said. "We've kept a decent amount of guys together ... at times in pairs. Tats and Z have played a number of games together. Nielsen, Larks and Glenny have played a number of games together. Nyquist and Vanek have played a number of games together.

"But when you don't get the results ... it's hard because from a chances standpoint, we are getting some chances, but as it goes and goes and we're not scoring, you got to say, 'Is there a better combination to score a little more without giving much more up?' That's what we're looking for."

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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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