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Custance: Wings’ injuries give Mantha opportunity to step up

Just before the Red Wings' beat writers announced the injury to Justin Abdelkader, ESPN's Craig Custance wrote an Insider-only column discussing whether the Red Wings could or should make a trade to bolster their defense, given that the defense-heavy Stars were in town on Tuesday.

After Custance found that the Wings and Stars haven't discussed a deal, he focused on the opportunities that the Wings' injuries have given Anthony Mantha:

The 22-year-old has five points in nine games, and has shown off an impressive shot in scoring three goals. His strong skating was on display during Thursday night’s 3-on-3 overtime session when he beautifully set up a Grade A scoring chance for Henrik Zetterberg, and then turned to hustle back to defend a Florida rush.

His line with Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar got the tough assignment of playing against Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr at even strength. That’s a big assignment for a rookie, taking on a Hall of Famer.

“He’s obviously a legend. Great Hall of Famer,” Mantha said when we chatted after the game. “Can’t give him any ice, he’s going to use it.”

But Mantha understands these injuries have created an opportunity for him. In Detroit, GM Ken Holland deliberately makes it a challenge for young players to work their way in. They have to earn it. Mantha is now getting that chance.

“I need to take my chance and keep going,” he said. “I just need to focus and do the details and keep learning and bring offense as it goes.”

For a player like Mantha, the key will be consistency. Coaches love veteran players because they know what they’re going to get on a nightly basis. One scout who got a viewing in on Mantha this week didn’t leave overwhelmed.

“Just ok,” he said in a text. “Didn’t think he was real consistent.”

Custance continues with his Friday column...

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Justin Abdelkader to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained MCL

Updated 4x at 1:20 PM: Crappy news regarding Justin Abdelkader from the Free Press's Helene St. James, MLive's Ansar Khan, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:

That's seven players injured: Abdelkader, Alexey Marchenko, Brendan Smith, Darren Helm, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jimmy Howard.

Continue Reading »

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Too Many Mistakes Cost The Wings In OT Loss To The Florida Panthers

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings made poor decisions with the puck, leading to excessive turnovers. They lacked discipline, resulting in too many penalties.

They salvaged a point, but their 2-1 overtime loss Thursday to the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena was a step backward in coach Jeff Blashill's eyes.

"They outplayed us in one area because we turned too many pucks over," Blashill said. "You can't win like that.

"I thought we were immature in our game in terms of (puck management), in terms of making sure we stay above people, in terms of short shifts, and I think at the end of the game we were immature in our game. We had the puck on our stick and we gave it away. We got to be better than that."


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Panthers wrap-up and prospect news

The Detroit Red Wings' 2-1 OT loss to the Florida Panthers was an incredibly frustrating one. The Wings couldn't keep their first-period momentum after losing Justin Abdelkader to a lower-body injury...

And Detroit just struggled with penalties (6 is too many), struggled with puck management and struggled with shot differential as per usual against a Panthers team that seems to have Detroit's number.

The Panthers were positively thrilled to give interim coach Tom Rowe his first win in a building that they hope to have bade farewell to, as they told the Miami Herald's George Richards:

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Red Wings-Panthers quick take: one damn point

The Detroit Red Wings faced off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, with the Wings hoping to earn their first win in 3 tries against the Panthers.

The Red Wings were able to earn a point against the Panthers, which is progress, but the Wings also lost a point against the Panthers, losing 2-1 in OT thanks to...

The wheels falling off after Justin Abdelkader got hurt. For whatever reason, the Wings never seemed to regain their dominance after Abdelkader left with a lower-body injury, and for whatever reason, the Wings' penalty-kills sapped enough energy from them that the half-a-dozen Panthers PP's didn't score but did damage nonetheless.

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Wings lose Abdelkader to a lower-body injury

On a seemingly innocent play, the Red Wings lost Justin Abdelkader to a lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers:

The Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the latest injury:

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Griffins install LED lighting system

From the Grand Rapids Griffins, who recalled Matt Caito from Toledo today:


The Grand Rapids Griffins’ fans and players are benefiting from a dramatic improvement this season to Van Andel Arena.

During the offseason, Van Andel Arena replaced its original metal-halide lighting system, which was installed when the arena opened in 1996, with the state-of-the-art LED lighting system from Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting -- the same company whose fixtures illuminated Super Bowl XLIX and the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.

“We’ve seen firsthand how Eaton’s Ephesus sports LED lighting system can improve visibility for both players and fans,” said Tim Gortsema, president of the Griffins. “The implementation of this industry-leading system by Van Andel Arena is consistent with our goal to provide a world-class experience for our players and fans.”

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Evening news: Game-Day Previews; on Mantha and Ekblad, back-ups and John Scott…Ott?

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video:

2. WXYZ's Brad Galli spoke with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha:

Continue Reading »

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Jeff Blashill Showing Confidence In Anthony Mantha

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Detroit Red Wings rookie has contributed three goals in his last five outings heading into tonight's game against the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena (7:30, FSD), maximizing being on the top line and the power-play corps. Whereas last season, he saw his NHL stint end after 10 games, Mantha this season is thriving as he has gained the trust of coach Jeff Blashill.

“He’s given me a bigger role this year,” Mantha said. “He gave me a little chance last year, but this year, I took it. I made sure to play well. I just need to keep going that way.”

Mantha hasn’t been told that he has made the Wings for good, but he’s living with teammates Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening instead of in a hotel. Mantha’s playing time -- he has been above 18 minutes a few games and averages in the 16-minute range -- reflects his role on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar and Mantha’s ability to use his 6-foot-5, 221-pound body to be a net-front presence....

“He had gotten much bigger and much stronger, and it showed with real strength on the puck and on his skates and allowed him to use that big frame to be a puck-protection type guy,” Blashill said. “I felt like, let’s give him the best opportunity to be successful. Since he's been in that spot with Z, he’s done a real good job.

“Now, it’s an every-day league, so he’s got to keep doing it. There’s no room for error in this league.”


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Wings’ Cup odds take a hit, unsurprisingly…

According to Bovada.lv, the Red Wings' chances of winning the Stanley Cup have dropped pretty dramatically--unsurprisingly so:

Odds to win the 2017 Stanley Cup:

11/1/16             Current Odds (12/1/16)

Chicago Blackhawks                             10/1                  9/1

New York Rangers                                 16/1                  10/1

Pittsburgh Penguins                              9/1                    10/1

Washington Capitals                              10/1                  10/1    

Edmonton Oilers                                   10/1                  12/1

Montreal Canadiens                               10/1                  12/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                             10/1                  12/1    

St. Louis Blues                                      12/1                  14/1

San Jose Sharks                                   14/1                  14/1

Anaheim Ducks                                     25/1                  16/1

Minnesota Wild                                     18/1                  20/1

Nashville Predators                               25/1                  22/1

Dallas Stars                                         20/1                  25/1

Los Angeles Kings                                25/1                  25/1

Boston Bruins                                       40/1                  28/1

Columbus Blue Jackets                         66/1                  28/1    

Ottawa Senators                                    40/1                  28/1

Florida Panthers                                    22/1                  33/1

New Jersey Devils                                 33/1                  33/1

Winnipeg Jets                                       40/1                  33/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             66/1                  40/1

Calgary Flames                                     40/1                  50/1

Detroit Red Wings                                 25/1                  50/1

Philadelphia Flyers                                40/1                  50/1

Carolina Hurricanes                                100/1                66/1

Colorado Avalanche                              40/1                  66/1

Buffalo Sabres                                      66/1                  75/1

New York Islanders                                40/1                  100/1

Vancouver Canucks                               50/1                  100/1

Arizona Coyotes                                    100/1                150/1

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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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