Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

A Reduced Role For Niklas Kronwall

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2016-17 outlook: The team's workhorse defenseman struggled through his worst season. Some of it was due to his age, but a knee issue that hounded him from the start of the season, requiring surgery in January, also contributed significantly. He was slower, not as offensively inclined and didn't step up to deliver the occasional crushing hit, not surprising considering his health and age.

It was determined after the season that another procedure wouldn't solve his knee issues, so he is relying on rest and training.

His role needs to be reduced. His ice time must be trimmed and he could use the occasional game off on back-to-back nights, especially considering he is playing for Sweden in the World Cup. He wasn't nearly as effective on the power play and needs to be moved to the second unit while Mike Green mans the point on the top unit.

It also wouldn't hurt to reduce his minutes on the penalty kill.

If Kronwall remains paired with Jonathan Ericsson, they're not likely to be matched up as often against top lines.

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Savage profiles Pat Holway

MLive's Brendan Savage penned a profile of Red Wings prospect and incoming University of Maine freshman Pat Holway:

Holway is doing while preparing for a fresh start at the University of Maine, where he had committed to play before being drafted by the Red Wings.

The Black Bears will be his fourth team in barely two years. Holway spent five seasons in the Boston Advantage junior program before going to the USHL to prep for college.

All of the changes have taught Holway how to adapt to new surroundings quickly but going from a top USHL team to a cellar dweller wasn't easy. Neither, for that matter, was adjusting to the USHL.

"At first it took me a little while," said Holway, who had one goal, seven assists, 67 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating in 44 games last season. "I played midgets so it wasn't as high competition. You do a little bit more with the puck so it took me a while to adjust, playing a very simple game, just moving the puck, staying up in the rush, keeping good gaps. Went well.

"It's definitely hard but I think going through the transition really would help me. USHL is a great league to get you ready for college. It's definitely the top league in America, maybe North America."

Savage continues...

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Discussing Xavier Ouellet’s pluses and minuses

The Free Press's Helene St. James examines Xavier Ouellet's pluses and minuses this evening:

Looking back: Ouellet was very highly thought of by former head coach Mike Babcock, who plugged in Ouellet over the more NHL-experienced Jakub Kindl for Game 5 of the series against Boston during the 2014 playoffs. Ouellet made 15 appearances in Detroit the following season (producing three points) but the emergence of Alexey Marchenko meant Ouellet spent most of 2015-16 with Grand Rapids, where he had 29 points in 61 games, followed by four points in nine playoff games.

Looking ahead: Ouellet can’t be sent to the minors any longer without being exposed on waivers (ditto defense prospects Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen). With Kyle Quincey gone, there’s room for one newcomer on defense in Detroit as it currently stands. Ouellet, 23, plays a very smart game, making efficient decisions with the puck to minimize chances against while quickly – and safely - getting the puck to the forwards. He should fit in nicely on the third pair, where he wouldn’t have to see the opponent’s best players, and he could serve spot duty on the penalty kill if needed.

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‘D-Mac’ takes part in the Red Wings’ Street Hockey Summer Tour

Both CBS Detroit and Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus spoke with Darren McCarty as he attended the Red Wings' Street Hockey Summer Tour's stop in Fraser, MI, and Kubus found McCarty eager to help the youngsters out:

The Detroit Red Wings’ Street Hockey Summer Tour made its latest stop at Meijer in Fraser, and a special guest made an appearance.

Four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty took time to serve as a guest coach at a fully-booked free clinic of 120 kids ages 7-12.

“It’s great, the middle of summer, you see a little Red Wing fever going,” McCarty said. “To see all the young kids and even the parents and grandparents just to be out here on a nice day, just to be able to do this and to come out and share whatever knowledge, but just to make sure these guys are having a good time, staying hydrated, obviously with Meijer, what they’ve done. They do so great in the community, so it’s always been the perfect marriage.”

Players participated in a one-hour clinic – which involved stickhandling, shooting and off-ice training drills – followed by a 30-minute street hockey game.

While the kids undoubtedly had their fun, McCarty also had some fun of his own teaching the young players the importance of hitting the net with their shots. If a player missed the net, he had to do push-ups off to the side before getting back in line.

“You miss the net, you’ve gotta do push-ups,” McCarty said with a smile. “Those are the rules. i didn’t invent it. Scotty (Bowman) must’ve invented that.”

Kubus continues, and he posted a photo gallery which accompanies the story.

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Wings At The Crossroads

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

Will the Wings doom themselves to mediocrity if they limp forward with a good-but-not great roster, or are they on the cusp of a turnaround, fuelled by improving youth and an injection of free-agent talent? The person best equipped to tackle the topic is, naturally, Ken Holland, Detroit’s GM since 1997. And he’s refreshingly candid about the state of his team.

“The philosophical question you’re asking me is, ‘Do we head in a direction where we make a determination that it’s all about five years from now? Or do we continue to try to be a playoff team?’” Holland said. “When you’ve got Mrazek, and you’ve got Larkin, and you’ve got Riley Sheahan, Justin Abdelkader, and you’ve got Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, and you’ve got DeKeyser, and you’ve got Nielsen… we’ve either got to have those people and we’re trying to win the division, we’re trying to qualify for the playoffs…or don’t sign Frans Nielsen. Don’t sign Thomas Vanek. Don’t bring in Ott. And just go with a bunch of kids. And let the chips fall where they may.

 

“If you’re going to do a massive rebuild – get a core of players that you think can carry your team for a decade – you’ve got to miss the playoffs five, six, seven years in a row. That’s what Pittsburgh did. That’s what Florida did. That’s what Chicago did. You can just go team after team. You don’t miss one year, and all of a sudden, ‘Boy, we’re back.’ ”

Holland has a point. Even if we accept the Wings are just as likely to miss the playoffs as they are to make them in 2016-17, this franchise is nowhere near rock bottom.

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Shanahan dishes on the Russian 5, Wings-Avs stories in ‘Players’ Tribune’ article

From Brendan Shanahan in the Players' Tribune:

I recently watched the movie Red Army, which is a depiction of the Soviet hockey system through Slava Fetisov’s perspective as narrator. As someone who was on the relevant Detroit Red Wings team that won the Cup with the Russian Five, did you watch this movie and/or what are your thoughts about Detroit’s role in making the NHL a global game? — Ryan

I feel like the push to make hockey a global game occurred well before Detroit. Slava is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. He’s a good friend. And when I think about him, and really the immersion of Russian hockey into the mainstream, I think about our time together earlier in our careers when we both played in New Jersey. So, to me at least, what was significant about watching the Russian Five play and succeed was seeing the vision Slava had when he first came over to North America finally come to fruition. They really represented a different interpretation of the sport. The idea of cycling back with the puck, rather than just going north. They utilized every inch of the ice in a way that had never been considered before.

Continue Reading »

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WiiM’s McIlmurray examines the Red Wings’ wavier situation

Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray penned a thoughtful article regarding the Red Wings' many waiver-eligible players:

Since we’ve hit the “slow” part of the offseason, there’s plenty of time to speculate and analyze this Red Wings roster from top-to-bottom. I had recently woken up in a cold sweat thinking about waiver-eligible players, so here we are. The Red Wings have a crop of young players that will need to have a spot in the NHL, or the team will risk them being exposed to waivers. As we all know, we’ve lost players like Andrej Nestrasil and Landon Ferraro to teams with nothing to show for it. The difference this time around is that the kids who are waiver-eligible have more upside than the aforementioned players. It’s been a rough offseason so far, so let’s break this hellscape of a roster down some more as we inch closer to training camp.

Players who are waiver-eligible

  • Nick Jensen
  • Xavier Ouellet
  • Ryan Sproul
  • Martin Frk
  • Eric Tangradi
  • Jared Coreau

Now that we’ve established which players are waiver eligible, we’re going to break down best and worst case scenarios for the team going into the 2016-2017 regular season.

McIlmurray continues...

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NTDP, University of Michigan earn praise as ‘hockey hotbeds’

ESPN's Tal Pinchevsky penned a list of "hockey hotbeds" as illustrated by the World Cup of Hockey's roster players, and both the U.S. National Team Development Program in Plymouth and the University of Michigan earned praise:

United States National Team Development Program: If the OHL has historically been the main channel for NHL talent, the USNTDP is the new model. Team USA's 23-man roster includes eight players developed in the program. And its reputation continued to grow after nine USNTDP players were taken in the first round of the 2016 draft, including three of the top seven picks. The North America squad, which features the best players age 23 and under, has eight USNTDP grads of its own, including top talents Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin and 2016 top pick Auston Matthews.

University of Michigan: With five Wolverines headed to the World Cup, Michigan distinguished itself among Division I teams, edging out Minnesota and Wisconsin, which each boast four alums in the tournament. Michigan, which has won nine NCAA championships, has built quite a program under longtime coach Red Berenson. However, Minnesota -- which will have four former players who represent three different countries in the World Cup -- has shifted the recruiting model by attracting both local and international talent.

Pinchevsky continues...

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Gustav Nyquist Must Rebound From An Off Year

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings had high hopes for Nyquist after he scored a team-high 55 goals in his first two seasons combined. They locked him up to a four-year, $19 million contract and expected him to be a "go-to guy."

Instead, Nyquist regressed, particularly struggling from late December through the playoffs, and had his ice time trimmed.

He has the skating ability, creativity and finishing touch to be a 30-goal scorer. He needs to be more assertive and shoot more. He shouldn't rank so low (seventh) on the team in shots and is trending in the wrong direction – from 2.68 per game in 2013-14, to 2.38 in 2014-15 to 1.96 last season.

More than one-third of his career goals (27-of-76) have come on the power play, which was ineffective most of the season.

Nyquist's playoff performance continues to be troublesome, but rebounding in the regular season is his first order of business.

Nyquist remains a viable trading chip for a team seeking a top-three defenseman.

more on the outlook for Nyquist...

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TMR late night line: nice choice in teams, Daniel Radcliffe

I'll bite on this one because it was good to see Red Wings hats in London, Ontario, where the Tragically Hip played on Monday night. WXYZ's Brad Galli notes that a certain famous face is a Red Wings fan by osmosis:

Actor Daniel Radcliffe answered questions at a Times Talk on Monday night, promoting his new movie Imperium.

When a Michigan native in the crowd told the actor he was from Michigan, Radcliffe responded with excitement.

'Go Red Wings!' he said.

Radcliffe's girlfriend, actress Erin Darke, is a Michigan native. The couple spent last New Year's Eve in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.

As always, the invitation is open to Radcliffe and Darke: we're happy to talk about movies and Red Wings hockey anytime at WXYZ Detroit.

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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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