The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 3:23 PM: The Red Wings practiced ahead of tomorrow's match-up against Dion Phaneuf and the Ottawa Senators (boy, that sounds weird) on Tuesday afternoon, and there were no surprises (thankfully).
Coach Jeff Blashill told the beat writers that the Wings won't make any lineup changes tomorrow, which means that Petr Mrazek is starting and Andreas Athanasiou, who had to leave practice to have a broken skate fixed, will remain in the lineup; Niklas Kronwall is apparently skating on his own as well, and the only "bad news" came in the form of finding out that Mike Green is still "day to day" with a sore groin.
The Senators are coming into town on a two-game winning streak, having defeated Toronto 6-1 on Saturday and Tampa 5-1 on Monday and as the game's being televised on Sportsnet and TVA Sports as well as Fox Sports Detroit, there will be a gigantic media push in town to cover Phaneuf's Senators debut.
That's usually not a good thing for Team Trips in the National Spotlight, but the Wings need to capitalize upon games 3-5 of their 5-game home stand, so defeating whoever the hell dresses for the Senators is of primary importance.
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding Kronwall's status...
I'm late to the party on this one, and that's on purpose. I didn't want to talk about it, because it's kind of silly, but it's taken on a life of its own.
Several days ago, Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray found a video in which a 16-year-old Dylan Larkin engaged in the kind of basement shenanigans that a 16-year-old filming a video with his buddy is wont to do.
The video was taken down, but Deadspin's Samer Kalaf found a new copy of it today, and Kyle and others reported that fans brought signs to yesterday's game that made fun of Larkin calling himself "D-Boss" or misspelling "Snipe Show" to "SnipShow." I'm told that the players, who are always on the lookout for embarrassing material regarding their teammates, had good chuckles at Larkin's expense.
If you want to watch Dylan Larkin say things and do things that are completely innocent for a 16-year-old--or anybody hamming it up for what they think is a private YouTube video of shooting pucks in your basement--but that you can't un-see and un-hear, enjoy. Me, I did a lot of dumb things when I was 16, and I'm not going to judge "Larks" or "D-Boss" for being a little younger than he already is now.
So, with a serious stick-tap to Winging It in Motown and Kyle for finding this...I'm suggesting that you go down the rabbit hole at your own peril:
Updated 3x at 1:41 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice around noon on Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday's TSN game against...Dion Phaneuf's...Ottawa Senators, and just prior to practice, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose "dropped some knowledge":
At 23 years old, @pmrazek34 is the 6th youngest goalie, and the first since Osgood (1993-94) to win 20 games in a season for the #RedWings.
The youngest 20-game winners for the #RedWings: Lumley (18), Osgood (21), Sawchuk (21), Crozier (22), Cheveldae (22) and Mrazek (23).
The Wings received good news on the Abdelkader front, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
No hearing for #RedWings Abdelkader with NHL for hit on Barkov. Team believes he's in the clear.
And the Wings got to work, per the Free Press's George Sipple:
In the FYI department, per Crain's Detroit Business and CDB's Bill Shea, it appears that the Red Wings' follow-on rink will have a corporately-sponsored name:
I keep on hoping for the "Belle Tire."
Update: Here's more from Crain's Detroit Business's Shea:
Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reports the following:
There’s no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader following his big check on Florida’s Aleksander Barkov last night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.
The incident, which occurred early in the second period, left Barkov woozy and forced him from the game entirely. Abdelkader wasn’t penalized on the play — that, along with the hit itself, infuriated the Panthers and head coach Gerard Gallant.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald.
“I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way,” Gallant added, noting that Abdelkader “left his feet a little and got [Barkov] in the jaw.”
Barkov won't play tonight vs. Buffalo.
One more damn time, if you haven't seen the hit:
I had noticed that Nicklas Lidstrom was doing a couple of autograph sessions with Detroit City Sports, and I assumed that the late February dates coincided with Lidstrom's participation in the Stadium Series alumni game, but NHL.com's Janne Bengtsson reports that Lidstrom is coming to Metro Detroit on a business trip:
By the time the puck drops for the first game of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Team Sweden coach Rikard Grönborg will have his passport full of customs stamps from the United States and Canada.
Grönborg and his assistants, Peter Popovic and Johan Garpenlov, along with advisory board members Mats Sundin and Nicklas Lidstrom, will be well-traveled and well-equipped with knowledge about the players Sweden will face and the players that will represent Tre Kroner.
"We started out with a group of 40 players, and now we've trimmed it down to a group that'll form the backbone of the team," Grönborg said.
Grönborg, Garpenlov and Lidstrom will watch 19 NHL games in person during a two-week span in February, before naming the first 16 players to the Team Sweden roster.
The Swedish coaches and advisory board members, which also includes former Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson, has combined for 5,250 regular-season NHL games, and an additional 557 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is also a good reminder of the fact that World Cup teams will be naming the bulk of their rosters in early March.
NHL.com's Patrick Williams engaged in an intriguing conversation with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson, discussing the team's tremendously streaky play over the course of the 2015-16 season, and Nelson was both blunt and insightful in discussing the process by which he and the Griffins' coaches gained traction with the team:
"I think what it really came down to was that we're a whole new coaching staff, and these [players] have been together for two or three years," Nelson said. "So it was almost like we were the stepdads coming in."
That transition proved difficult. The Griffins, a Calder Cup favorite before the season, lost eight of their first nine games. Opponents outscored them 28-11. It was not until mid-November that the Griffins began to show signs of life.
"I think it just got to a point where the guys accepted us," Nelson said. "We found common ground. I had to tweak a few things that I did, and they had to tweak a few things. Just like anything, you have to earn trust and respect for guys to buy in.
"They didn't know a lot about me, and I didn't know a lot about the players, so in order to push the right buttons, I have to get to know the players. You have to communicate well and build that player-coach relationship. I really firmly believe that is where [coaching] is going. It's based on relationships with players.
"Being a good communicator is key. I think the biggest thing is earning their trust and earning their respect, but it's a two-way street."
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Free Press's Jeff Seidel summarized the "State of the Wings" as they enter the stretch drive with what's now a 2-and-0 record on their 5-game home stand:
This is a critical time of the season for the Wings and, over the last few games, the Wings have built some momentum. They have scored eight goals in their last two games, giving up only one.
“It’s not enough,” Datsyuk said. “We need more scoring.”
And some more wins at home.
2. MLive's Ansar Khan took note of Jeff Blashill's take on the Eurotwins reunion...
For Red Wings fans, Pavel Datsyuk's 2-goal performance, Henrik Zetterberg's pair of assists, Tomas Tatar's tip-in and Petr Mrazek's shutout--for his 20th win--are what were wonderful about the game, with Justin Abdelkader's fight with Derek MacKenzie serving as something of an afterthought.
For the Florida Panthers, Abdelkader's hit on Aleksander Barkov was the game's story in its entirety:
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov offers the Panthers' take on the hit--big time, suggesting that Abdelkader leaped at Barkov:
This week, the team of 16- and 17-year-olds play for the United States in a five-nation tournament against the best players their age from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
They start against Russia at 7 tonight in the former Compuware Arena, which the USA Hockey Foundation purchased two years ago and is renovating and expanding.
It is the first international tournament in the new home of the NTDP.
“These tournaments are great developmental tools,” said coach Don Granato, brother of Red Wings assistant Tony Granato and U.S. Olympian Cammi Granato, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. “And really that’s what this whole program is about: Developing the kids beyond here, and developing them in the hopes of winning a U-18 World Championship, which is what our older team is going for in April.
“It’s going to be experience gained for our players. Having to perform against Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland — in this case, in our own building — it’s thrusting those expectations and that pressure on the team. It’s very important.”
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.