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Anthony Mantha, Luke Witkowski to sign autographs at SE MI Meijer locations

Here's an FYI from the Red Wings:

... Mantha to Appear at First “Red Wings Day at Meijer” on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Madison Heights …

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings players Anthony Mantha and Luke Witkowski are set to appear individually at six Meijer locations throughout the Metro Detroit area, signing free autographs and interacting with the fans of Hockeytown during this season’s “Red Wings Days at Meijer.”

Mantha will make the first appearance of the campaign on Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Madison Heights (1005 13 Mile Rd.), while Witkowski will appear at the Meijer in Shelby Township (15055 Hall Rd.) on Monday, Jan. 29. The Red Wings players will each make two additional stops this season in Southgate, Auburn Hills, Royal Oak and Detroit. All events will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., with player signings to occur from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. The season-long schedule can be found below.

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Prospect news: Griffins defeat Monsters; Walleye beat Fort Wayne; Pope posts 5 points for UNO

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, Ben Street and Eric Tangradi had a goal and an assist apiece, Filip Hronek and Dominic Turgeon scored goals and Jared Coreau stopped 18 of 20 shots in the Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 victory over Lake Erie. The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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Jimmy Howard Had Knee Stiffness

from Dana Wakiji of the Wings' website,

Howard and fellow goaltender Petr Mrazek were on the ice at PPG Paints Arena working with goaltending coach Jeff Salajko before practice started late Friday afternoon.

Howard missed the team's last game Sunday, Jan. 7, against the Tampa Bay Lightning before their bye because of a lower-body injury he suffered in a win over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 5.

"It was on the first goal (late in the second period)," Howard said. "During the game I felt it but I felt like I could still go. Then the next morning I woke up and there was stiffness in the knee. I tried skating for about 20, 25 minutes and didn't feel like it was smart to push it. With the break it's responded and that's what we wanted it to do."...

Howard said he felt at the time that he would not be out very long.

"I knew it was going to be nothing major," Howard said. "It was just better to be smart and miss one game then try to do something stupid and wind up out for a longer period of time."

more and other topics too includig Martin Frk reaching out to Dan Girardi...

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Wings Need Wins

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

“We’re doing a lot of things to be successful,” said coach Jeff Blashill, who added he hears positive reinforcement from coaches and players around the NHL. “We have to stay on it and understand we’ll be in lots of (close) games and we have to find a way to win them.

“We have to keep doing it right. We need points, we need wins, but we need to keep doing it right. Just play as complete as we can and find a way to win.”

The Red Wings entered play Friday seven points behind Carolina for the second and final wild-card spot — and having played two less games than the Hurricanes.

Four teams separate the Red Wings and the Hurricanes, which adds another substantial hurdle.

But the Red Wings feel the obstacles are manageable — they also play 23 of the 41 remaining games on the road — as long as they continue the positive momentum from the home stand.


Below, and also at the Detroit News, watch Bob Wojnowski, Ted Kulfan and Gregg Krupa talk Wings (not sure if this video has been posted by George earlier).

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Wings Practicing In Pittsburgh

Some news from the Penguins side, Matt Murray is in Ontario dealing with a family matter.  No word if he will return for the game tomorrow.

Remember, 1:00pm ET puck drop tomorrow, on FoxSports Detroit and NHL Network.


added 4:32pm, Wakiji tweet,

PP units:
Tatar-Zetterberg-Nyquist-Abdelkader (net front)-Kronwall:
Frk-Larkin-Athanasiou-Mantha (net front)-Green

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Questions For Khan

Ansar Khan of Mlive with a few answers to questions...

Q: It seems that all of our young forwards are up for new contracts at the same time. Any problems getting them all signed? Will there be enough cap space or will they need to dump salaries? Can you envision any scenario where they might have to move (Martin) Frk or, I hope not, AA (Andreas Athanasiou) because of money problems? 

A: I don't think we'll see any stalemates that extend into the season, like we did withAthanasiou, which was a rare case. And since Athanasiou is arbitration eligible this summer, if he files, that will assure him of having a contract with the Red Wings by mid-July to early-August, depending on the hearing date. If he doesn't file, the club can file, which again would assure that he'll be in the fold well before training camp.

Frk also is arbitration eligible. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi are not eligible for arbitration. Perhaps negotiations will extend into late August or even early September with Larkin or Mantha, but I would be surprised if they're not done by camp.

Cap space isn't an issue. Mike Green and Petr Mrazek will come off the books, creating $10 million to ink those young forwards plus backup goalie Jared Coreau. And don't forget that whatever these players sign for, you're only adding the raise to the cap, not the full amount (for instance, if Athanasiou signs for $3 million a year, they'd be adding only $1.62 million to the cap, since he's at $1.38 million currently).

Also, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in December that the cap is projected to rise to between $78 million and $82 million, up from $75 million.

more Q & A and I can't believe some people think being named an All-Star increases the trade value of a player....

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The Only Playoff Hope For The Wings - “A Huge, Huge Run”

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News with the truth.

The Red Wings will have to go on a huge, huge run, something like Ottawa’s 20-1-2 stretch three years ago, and that is so unlikely.

Kulfan responds to a few questions so read on...

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A Simple Question- Will Ken Holland Be Detroit’s GM Next Season?

Helene St. James answers a few more questions from the fans.

The first question is Will Ken Holland be the GM next season?

HSJ: I anticipate Holland will have a role with the team, either as general manager or advisor. President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Chris Ilitch, gave Holland a vote of confidence at the end of last season. Within the organization, there is very much the understanding that the team is overdue to struggle — when the Wings drafted Michael Rasmussen at ninth overall last year, it was the highest the Wings had drafted since 1991. Teams that have won the Stanley Cup since 2009 all have had at least a second-overall pick on the roster....

What it will come down to is whether Chris Ilitch sees the Wings as being in good shape to regain competitiveness as quickly as possible. 

more plus a couple additional questions...

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‘Three Things’: On Mike Green, Dennis Cholowski and more mid-season grades

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Hockeybuzz's Bob Duff duly noted that Mike Green may be the Red Wings' disposable All-Star as he may be traded at or before the trade deadline:

Green is also experienced enough to understand the realities of the game. He’s in the last year of his deal with the Wings and would prove invaluable to a contender as a rental player, meaning he will be highly sought after at the NHL trade deadline. The Wings should be able to command a high price for his services.

“Yeah, I’ve been in the league for a while,” Green said. “I understand. I’m day-to-day. I don’t think about it. The chips will fall where they fall.”

Until that day comes, Green intends to focus on how he can help the Wings while he’s still here.

“We have the ability to be fast and when we play fast, I think we create a lot of confusion for the other team,” Green said. “Not only that, I think we have some skill players up front that can create a lot of offense, as long as we sustain pressure in the O-zone and we don’t sit back on our heels and let the other team come to us.”

Duff continues; I'm happy for Green being picked, but I was very surprised that Dylan Larkin didn't get the ASG nod;

2. After the WHL's Prince George Cougars traded Dennis Cholowski to the Portland Winterhawks, the Cougars' front office spoke incredibly highly of Cholowski's leadership and play, as noted by the Prince George Citizen:

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Reality Hits And Detroit’s Playoff Chances

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Ken Holland knows it, and although he hates the r-words, he acknowledges the reality. The Wings have played better of late, but at the midseason break they’re 17-17-7, six points out of a wildcard spot, still an arduous climb to the playoffs.

Change came when they missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, and more change is coming. And the uncertainty is, Holland either will lead it, or be part of it. His contract expires after this season, and while Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, expressed “100 percent confidence” in Holland last spring, there’s been no talk of a new deal.

Holland wants to make this clear — he’s fine with that. He’s not campaigning for anything. If his time is almost up, he understands it. He’s been the GM here for 21 years, and in some ways, the Wings’ slide was inevitable. But he still has supreme confidence, and if you spend any time talking with him, his passion churns as strongly as ever.

“I’m enjoying the challenge, I have a ton of energy,” Holland said. “I also know it’s gonna take time, lots of time, maybe more time than some people are prepared for. I understand the fans’ frustration, I got it. When you’ve lived the things we’ve lived, the playoff runs, how exhilarating it is, it’s frustrating to not win as much. But at the same time, the system is designed for competitive balance.”


from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings gained 41 points in 41 games the first half of the season. That's a good pace if you're a scorer, not if you're a team seeking a playoff berth.

How much better must they be in the second half to reach the postseason? Based on recent history, the Red Wings need to gain at least 52 points in the final 41 games to qualify. That would get them to 93 points, the total accumulated by the final playoff team in the Eastern Conference in 2014 and 2016, which coincidentally, was the Red Wings.


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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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