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Finding The Right Fit For Andreas Athanasiou

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Fourth-line center or top-nine winger? Sounds like Andreas Athanasiou will be doing both, alternating between positions for the Detroit Red Wings....

Coach Jeff Blashill said the move was made for two reasons: To utilize Luke Glendening's checking ability on the match-up (third) line and to put Athanasiou at his natural position.

"Luke's an excellent match player, so getting him with (Frans) Nielsen and (Darren) Helm allowed him to be on that match line. And (Athanasiou) I think would tell you he'll play either one, but if he had his wish, he'd play center. He is one of those players when he gets the puck, he really skates. Some wingers learn to skate without the puck. He hasn't learned that as well. He's a guy who really wants to get going once he gets the puck. It's almost impossible (to do that) on the wing.

"I think having him at center allows us to use his best attributes, but we also got to fit him in the right way in the lineup. I think he'll play both in a lot of these games, just depending on how I juggle the lines to make sure that I'm getting the guys that are playing the best out there as much as possible."

read on

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The Topic Of The Day Is Detroit’s Power Play

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The emphasis allotted to special teams during training camp appears to be paying off for the penalty kill, which at 84.6% is sixth in the NHL. The power play has converted in four of the last five games but sits in the middle of the pack, at 18.9%.

Dylan Larkin’s unit gets primary credit for power play production, as it has accounted for the last four goals. Two of those goals have come from Martin Frk, however, and he will miss Wednesday’s game against Calgary, and likely a whole week, because of a sore groin. Frans Nielsen will take Frk’s spot on the Larkin unit.

The Henrik Zetterberg unit hasn’t converted since Oct. 20, and it was the one that got 1:49 on a 5-on-3 Oct. 28 at Florida and didn’t convert.

“It’s been a long time since they’ve converted but we’ve had no power plays hardly,” coach Jeff Blashill said after Tuesday’s practice at Little Caesars Arena. “You go through games and you don’t hardly get any power plays and then if you are the second group to go out, you’re getting 40 seconds each time.  They just haven’t had very much time.

 

read on plus some penalty kill talk too...

added 3:23pm, Dana Wakiji of the Wings' website on Luke Glendening and more topic...

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Tweets from practice: Frk has a lower-body injury; Helm ‘questionable’ for Wednesday

Updated 2x at 12:29 PM: Frk has a lower-body injury and Darren Helm is "questionable" for Wednesday:

The Red Wings hit the ice at Little Caesars Arena this morning, preparing for tomorrow night's game against the Calgary Flames, per DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...

With #RedWings Frk leaving practice early, Nielsen is working on PP unit with Larkin, Athanasiou, Mantha and Green.

...

#RedWings lines w:o Helm, Frk:
Mantha-Zetterberg-Nyquist
Tatar-Larkin-Athanasiou
Booth-Nielsen-Abdelkader
DeKeyser-Glendening-Wilson

The Free Press's Helene St. James...

Still no Helm at Wings practice today but am told he’s playing Wednesday.

And the Red Wings...

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Morning news: On Holland’s hot seat and a pair of Tweets of note

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Sportsnet's Sean "Down Goes Brown" McIndoe penned a list of four GM's "On Smoking Hot Seats," and McIndoe believes that Ken Holland is feeling heat today:

Ken Holland, Red Wings: Holland is tricky. Along with Poile, he’s the longest-serving GM in the league, with a tenure dating back to 1997. He’s won three Cups in that time, and pulled off the difficult feat of transitioning the Wings from the Yzerman era without missing a beat. He’s done a fantastic job.

But the one thing he hasn’t had to do in all of that time is rebuild, and that’s what the Red Wings need right now. It’s fair to ask whether Holland is the guy to do it. Right now, the Red Wings have lots of long-term cap headaches and not much in the way of blue-chip prospects. Granted, part of that was by design as the team tried to squeeze an extra few years of contending out of the Datsyuk/Zetterberg era, but there’s a strong case to be made for a fresh start top to bottom.

Holland says that's not going to happen.

After all Holland has done in Detroit, he’s earned the right to have a say in how it ends. Some Detroit fans have been frustrated in recent years as guys like Yzerman and Nill have left the organization to take GM jobs elsewhere, but the time hadn’t come to make a change yet. That day may be coming sooner rather than later.

2. And, of Twitter-related note, from the Red Wings:

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NHL Portraits Don’t Get Any Better Than These Two

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An Afternoon Practice For The Detroit Red Wings

via Ansar Khan tweets,

Justin Abdelkader (fractured cheekbone) practicing today with protective face shield.

Danny DeKeyser (sprained ankle) returns to practice.

Darren Helm and Trevor Daley not practicing today.

added 3:28pm, Khan...

lines at practice:
Mantha-Zetterberg-Nyquist
Abdelkader-Larkin-Tatar
Glendening-Nielsen-Booth (for Helm)
Wilson-Athanasiou-Frk

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Three home games this week provide good opportunity

The Detroit Red Wings (8-8-2) have been hovering around .500 the past couple of weeks. Now they need to make a move up the standings, with a favorable upcoming schedule. They play 12 of their next 14 games at home, including three this week.

Here are five things to watch this week:

Zetterberg slumping offensively

Henrik Zetterberg has gone 11 games without a goal and has just two assists in the past 10 games. He had gotten off to a strong start with four goals and nine points in the first eight games. The Red Wings rank 26th in the NHL in goals per game at 2.61.

Power plays have been scarce

The Red Wings look to have adjusted to the league’s crackdown on slashing, but so have opponents. Detroit had no power plays in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Columbus and has had only 10 in the past six games (12 for opponents). The Red Wings have cut down on penalties but rank too high in number of minors (eighth at 68) and times shorthanded (seventh at 65).

read on

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The Improving Detroit Red Wings

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

They took Sunday off, a chance to rest up and recover after spending seven of the previous nine games on the road; overall, the Wings already have been on three trips lasting at least three games each. They’ve got five points over the last four games, the latest stemming from Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Columbus.

The Wings next play Wednesday when they host the Calgary Flames. The teams met last week in Calgary, where the Wings showed good structure but a couple poor decisions led to entirely too easy goals for the Flames.

In both the Calgary and Columbus games, the Wings fell behind early but showed good resilience in how steadfast they were with their attacks. This is what Henrik Zetterberg had to say after the Columbus game when I asked him about the performances dating to the past week: “We had a few mental errors here and there, but if you look at the big picture, we did a lot of good things,” he said. “We battled a lot. We won a lot of 50-50 battles and if you keep doing that, you will play good in this league.”

It was a stark contrast from the Oct 26 game in Tampa Bay, when Zetterberg said the Wings weren’t good enough to win. They’re figuring out how to be good enough — and that’s playing a simple, patient game.

“We are doing a lot of good things out there,” Jimmy Howard said. “Now we just have to stick to it. Even though we haven’t had it go our way the last couple of games, just continue to build on it and then hopefully the wins starts to string together.”

read on

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Videos- Recap Of Detroit’s 2-1 Shootout Loss To The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"We wanted to make sure we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot," Blashill said. "We did with the first goal, so that's something we got to keep working on, but I thought overall we had some real good pushes. We were clearly the better team in the second period. I thought early in the third we were really good until we scored and then they pushed hard but they're a good team, they're going to push, too. It kind of went back and forth. I thought from a process standpoint it was a continued step in the right direction."

more on the game...

via the Wings YouTube channel,

Henrik Zetterberg, Andreas Athanasiou, Jimmy Howard and Jeff Blashill speak following Saturday's shootout loss to the Blue Jackets in Detroit.

Watch below along with the game highlights...

added 9:52am, John Tortorella post-game added below too....

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Quick Recap - Wings/Blue Jackets

Final score: 2-1 in favor of Columbus in a shootout.

Both Howard and Bobrovsky were great in goal tonight and the OT was fun to watch.

The game came down to whoever gets to 2 goals first and it was the Blue Jackets who did in the 9th round of the shootout.

Regulation goals are below along with the 2 on 0 in OT and I will have a full recap in the morning.  

In the meantime, feel free to discuss.

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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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