The Malik Report
New Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill has high expectations of his squad and feel that they haven’t been playing to their potential.
The Red Wings and Oilers engaged in morning skates ahead of tonight's McDavid-vs-Larkin match-up (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM), and there were no lineup surprises for either team, with Max Talbot squaring off against Petr Mrazek in the nets and the Red Wings utilizing the lineup they've employed in practice for the past two days (i.e. Ferraro in, Jurco out).
On the Oilers' side of the ice, Edmonton's 630 CHED's Reid Wilkins took note of the Oilers' line machinations:
Defenceman Andrew Ference will play just his second game of the season Wednesday night as the Edmonton Oilers host the Detroit Red Wings.
Ference has been a healthy scratch the last four games but will replace the injured Griffin Reinhart against Detroit.
“You just skate hard when you’re not in and work on stuff after morning skates and practice,” said Ference. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary. You just put in the work and get ready when you’re ready to go.”
“I think if you peeled the onion back a little bit, it’s hurting him,” said McLellan of Ference’s lack of game action. McLellan added that Ference is handling the situation “very professionally.”
I appeared on TSN 1260 in Edmonton today...
Updated 2x at 2:07 PM: The Detroit Red Wings begin their Western Canadian road swing in Edmonton this evening (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet One/97.1 FM), and while the Red Wings' record in Western Canada over the past few years has been nothing less than stellar, the Wings face a decent amount of pressure to up their record to 4-and-2 instead of dropping to 3-and-3 so very early in the season.
This isn't game-related, but it's a pretty neat factoid:
This, we already knew...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. ESPN is ranking the top 100 NHL players, and Niklas Kronwall was named to the first batch of rankings:
87. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings
Age: 34 | Experience: 11 years
Position ranking: 18th among defensemen
2014 ranking: 16th among defensemen
2. MLive's Brendan Savage took note of the Red Wings' particularly good record in Western Canada:
From the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
Dylan Larkin’s path to the NHL was direct and short, and coaches and programs in Michigan provided a way.
Among the Red Wings scoring leaders with six points, five games into his first season, Larkin, 19, is also helping defy a general policy of the franchise, one that has served it well: Patient, sustained development of young talent in Grand Rapids and Toledo. Larkin is the first teenager in the Wings’ lineup since Jiri Hudler in the 2003-04 season.
Playing mostly on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, his speed and skill are apparent. Larkin has been among the Wings’ better players in each game during their 3-2 start.
He is likely to have few, if any, bus trips with the Griffins to American Hockey League games.
Asked which of his previous coaches helped accomplish such a quick ascent to the NHL, he was quick and direct, as he stood in front of his dressing stall at Joe Louis Arena.
“There was quite a few,” said Larkin, who grew up in Waterford and whose father, Kevin, is a Toronto native who played collegiate soccer at Southern Indiana. “I played with my uncle Paul growing up, with the Lakeland Hawks, and it kind of grew my passion for the game. And I went over to Belle Tire, and played for Joe Smaza. He just kept telling me where I thought I could be. And I’d say another one was Doug Brown,” Larkin said, of the former Wings player. “I played with his son Christopher, and he was like a parent coach, and he taught me a lot about hockey. And he was a great guy.”
The Red Wings are kicking off a 3-game Western Canadian road swing tonight in Edmonton (9:30 PM EDT on FSD/Sportsnet 1/97.1 FM), and the McDavid vs. Larkin angle of the game's being played up by both the print media and Sportsnet:
The Wings are intrigued by seeing McDavid up close and personal, but Wings coach Jeff Blashill chose to view Larkin, McDavid, Eichel et. al. from a collective point of view while speaking with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Of prospect-related note:
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo scored a goal and won 50% of his faceoffs in 13:20 of ice time in TPS Turku's 4-2 win over Ilves;
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom had an assist and won 50% of his faceoffs in 17:39 of ice time in Skelleftea AIK's 4-3 OT loss to Vaxjo;
Christoffer Ehn had an assist and won 50% of his faceoffs in 11:16 of ice time in the Frolunda Indians' 7-1 win over Linkopings HC;
In the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov scored a goal on 4 shots, won 7 of 13 faceoffs and finished at -2 in the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' 3-1 loss to Halifax;
And the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their weekly press release:
LeBrun: Gallagher goal review serves as a lesson in coach’s challenge/on-ice official rule shake-out
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Brendan Gallagher goal in Montreal was actually deemed a non-goal on the ice, but overturned by the NHL's situation room in Toronto, and as a result...
I can only ascertain that Wings head coach Jeff Blashill didn’t ask for a coach's challenge because the refs told him it was a good goal and there wasn’t any point in further reviewing it.
Because the Detroit Red Wings certainly should have invoked a coach's challenge based on goalie interference -- and for the life of me I can’t imagine the goal would have stood based on the threshold established for goalie interference, as Mrazek had zero chance to make a save on that play.
Certainly the Wings have been in dialogue with the league in the past few days clearing up what happened.
According to an NHL referee who requested anonymity, NHL on-ice officials received a memo in the aftermath of all this from director of officiating Stephen Walkom reminding them that when it comes to goalie interference, calls on goals or no-goals should only be overturned either by the on-ice officials huddling on the ice and changing the call or by a coach's challenge. Read between the lines: Not from Hockey Ops in Toronto.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
One thing Blashill wasn't pleased with during the first five games was the power play.
So with that in mind, he devoted a good chunk of Tuesday's short practice at Taylor SportsPlex to special teams with an extra emphasis on the power play.
During a 3-2 start, the Red Wings have scored twice during 13 power-play opportunities for a 15.4-percent success rate. They're 1-for-12 since Justin Abdelkader scored on their first power play of the season in a 4-0 victory over Toronto.
"I think we need to be a little more dangerous," said Abdelakder, who leads the Red Wings with four goals. "Better zone time, execution off faceoffs, winning faceoffs, trying to keep the puck in their zone as much as possible. It can't be just one and done.
"We got the talent here to get it done. We just gotta go out and execute. I think we'll be fine. It's still early. It's one of those things where specialty teams are so important that your power play and penalty kill you see in these last games are going to be crucial."
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.