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Custance on the Wings’ non-rebuild renovations

Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Craig Custance wrote a superb and superbly lengthy column about the Red Wings' attempts to continue winning minus a full rebuild, and this is a column which you really should read in its entirety:

Detroit has opted not to go all-in on the youth movement, and if there's a franchise that has earned the benefit of the doubt, it's this one.

"The media wants a young game, they want the speed, they want the addiction," [Steve] Ott said, before being interrupted momentarily.

Don't blame it all on us, Steve.

"No, I think it's true," he continued. "Who is the model that built completely young and won everything? It hasn't happened. Why has that not happened? You tell me."

Because successful teams need a mix of youth and experience. It's early, but the Red Wings believe they have the right mix. They're winning with veterans and young guns, they have a kid in forward Anthony Mantha, who is banging on the door with six goals in five AHL games. They don't think Tyler Bertuzzi is too far behind him. Eventually Evgeny Svechnikov will be there, too.

There's a plan in place to keep the success going. No, the Red Wings are not interested in tearing it down. Just winning, as they've done for two and a half decades. Perhaps, in Detroit, they've earned the right to keep trying.

Custance continues at length...

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Pistons’ Tom Gores says team is ‘close’ to a deal to move to Little Caesars Arena

From the Free Press's Vincent Ellis comes this report regarding the Pistons' probable move to Detroit to share Little Caesars Arena with the Red Wings:

Running late because of construction along Lapeer Road, Gores sat at the Palace podium shortly before tip-off and got right to the point.

“I think if we’re going to do it, it’s going to be soon,” Gores said. “I’ve always been relatively transparent with you guys and we’re getting close, we’re getting close.

“At the same time, I always want to appreciate the Palace and this great arena. As I said before, we’re going to adorn it, but at the same time I have to be honest with you guys we’re getting close.”

When asked to clarify, he added: “Very close to a deal. We’ll see.”

He declined to discuss the remaining sticking points, but they are dwindling by the day. He said the plan would be to begin play downtown next season.

The Detroit News's Rod Beard confirms...

Gores declined further comment about where the talks stand.

“I don’t really want to get into the deal and want to respect the Ilitch family,” he said. “We’re very close in crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s.”

As does CBS Detroit's Will Burtchfield:

Continue Reading »

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More Fowler trade talk, this time from Khan

Among MLive's Ansar Khan's mailbag questions and answers:

Q: Trouba seems to be out of the Red Wings' price range, but what about (Cam) Fowler? He's the kind of puck-mover that would boost this D. – Chris

A: There was a belief that when the Ducks signed Hampus Lindholm, which they did Thursday, they would be forced to move Fowler for cap concerns. But now it appears they will have the cap space to keep Fowler, at least this season, and reports indicate he won't be traded anytime soon.

If the Ducks struggle to score, they might reconsider.

The Red Wings like Fowler but don't view him as a top-pair defenseman, so I don't think they'd pay a premium for him. Nyquist and Tomas Tatar are the Red Wings' most viable trading chips, among roster players, but they would be sacrificing offense to upgrade their defense.

I don't think the Red Wings will trade Mantha, the big, promising winger who's off to a good start with the Grand Rapids Griffins (six goals in five games). Plus, the Red Wings are close to the cap ($571,806 under per CapFriendly.com), so they must shed an equal amount of salary in any trade.

Khan continues...

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Kulfan: Wings’ win streak has blemishes

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan duly notes that the Red Wings will readily admit that their winning streak hasn't involved completely exemplary hockey, especially in the case of Thursday's shootout win over St. Louis:

“We’re getting closer and closer to that loss,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We’re getting a little overconfident, turning pucks over too much, and right now our goalies are saving us. They can’t do that all the time. We had a good stretch of four games where we played real solid. But now it’s easy to use that a little bit and get a little too confident. We have to get back to work.”

Goaltender Petr Mrazek was sensational Thursday, particularly early as the Red Wings were turning pucks over and playing rather sloppily for a team on a five-game win streak.

Mrazek and Jimmy Howard have been superb in the early going, and each has been largely responsible for a victory during the win streak (Howard’s was the 3-1 win against the New York Rangers).

“I don’t think we’ve been perfect but we found ways and when we didn’t play well, the goalies have stepped up,” said forward Frans Nielsen, whose shorthanded goal tied the game in regulation time Thursday. “We are still working. There’s still a lot of place for improvement. We just have to keep working on it.”

Kulfan's notebook continues...

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Walleye’s Matt Caito ‘grew up with hockey’ in Southern California

From the Toledo Walleye's Fish Tales blog:

Palm trees and sunny skies were the norm for Matt Caito growing up in Southern California, but so too were his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player.

“When you think of California, you definitely don’t think of hockey. You think of the beaches and the warm weather,” says Caito. “My friends were playing baseball, football and basketball. The closest rink was about 30 miniutes away. My mom is from Maine and my dad is from the Boston area, so they grew up with hockey and got me hooked on it as well.”

Caito was born in 1993 in Coto de Caza, California, at a time when Wayne Gretzky had been traded to the LA Kings, and hockey was taking off in “non-traditional” hockey markets such as SoCal.      

One of Caito’s favorite players growing up was Paul Kariya, who was the first superstar for the then Anaheim Mighty Ducks. “I still remember being at the playoff game when he got hit by Scott Stevens and came back to score a goal. I’ve always been a fan of him because of his work ethic and attention to detail. I still have a Paul Kariya jersey hanging up in my room, always will.”

Caito says he’s not surprised to see so many pro players coming out of the new hockey hot spots. “Now, guys are coming out of places like California and Arizona. It’s great hockey out there now.”


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Afternoon news: On the Wings’ goaltending, Nielsen, Ott, stats and Givani Smith

Updated with a Griffins game-day preview: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James duly notes that the Red Wings are benefitting from excellent goaltending of late...

They take a six-game winning streak into another set of back-to-back games this weekend, a roll  earned not the least on the backs of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. Eight games into the season, Mrazek is at 4-2 with a .925 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average, his only losses dating to the first two games of the season. Howard is 2-0 with a .984 save percentage and .50 goals-against average.

Friday ended up being a day off, but early Indications are Howard will start Saturday when the Wings host Boston, and Mrazek Sunday when the Wings host Florida. Howard singlehandedly carried teammates to victory earlier this month at Madison Square Garden, and shut out San Jose last weekend in the second game of a back-to-back. Mrazek most recently held teammates in the game Thursday at St. Louis until Frans Nielsen scored, and then made seven saves on eight shootout shots faced.

“The goaltending saves us,” Henrik Zetterberg said after the 2-1 victory over the Blues. “It doesn’t matter who we put in net, both are playing really well.”

St. James continues, and she discusses Frans Nielsen's slow but steady acclimation to his new team:

Continue Reading »

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FSD: Meet Grandma Larkin

Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit posted a clip of Dylan Larkin's grandmother being interviewed by Trevor Thompson during the Wings' 4-2 win over Carolina, in which Larkin scored 2 goals of the 3 his grandma requested:

Grandma Larkin came down from Toronto to see Dylan play, and the pair had lunch prior to Tuesday's game.

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WWJ: Pistons exec Arn Tellum, Wings exec Tom Wilson confirm Pistons negotiations to move downtown

From WWJ Newsradio 950:

Key executives are finally responding to the persistent rumors about a Detroit Pistons move from Auburn Hills to downtown Detroit.

Arn Tellum, vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment, says they’re “deep in discussions” with Olympia Entertainment about moving into Little Caesars Arena alongside the Detroit Red Wings.

“We’re deep in discussions and hopeful,” he told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas on Friday. “It’s all positive, it’s all positive…I think it would be fantastic for the city if we can accomplish this. I think it would electrify this city.”

Olympia Entertainment President and CEO Tom Wilson echoed that optimism.

“The beautiful thing right now is the story, with or without another team, is just the resurrection of this city — how it’s coming back and the speed with which it’s coming back and how much people are embracing this around the country,” Wilson said.

“And so this would just be another piece to the puzzle, so we’re optimistic, but we’re gonna wait and see how it all plays out…let’s just cross our fingers.”


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Pulkkinen waived again

In the alumni department...

And regarding tomorrow night's Bruins-Wings game, Tuukka Rask is coming with the Bruins to Detroit...

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‘The Cauldron’s’ Miccoli makes one last trip to the Joe

From Sports Illustrated's Mike Miccoli:

The Red Wings scored three quick goals in the first period, including two that defenseman Mike Green fired from the point past Ottawa Senators’ starter Andrew Hammond. The home team was clearly feeding off of the energy from the sold-out 20,017 in attendance. After the game, Blashill would say that with the pomp and circumstance of opening night, the atmosphere felt more like a playoff game, but it never got that close in score.

The Senators did add a goal in the second period, but couldn’t contain the Red Wings in the third. With less than six minutes left in the game, Green scored on a wrist shot from the point for his first career hat trick. It was then where everything started to make sense at The Joe — the hokey, cliched, tacky things that make a hockey rink feel so damn familiar.

The press box is literally on top of the last row of the balcony, so when everyone is standing up, cheering, they’re right there with you. When Green scored his third of the night, the red goal sirens cornered on the scoreboard went off as if a kid just sank a skeeball in the 100 hole. It was just a moment where you thought that, yeah, everyone is really into this. They’re actually watching this hockey game. They care about this old, smelly building and are going to be bummed when it goes away. It was both exciting to see, but sad to think that the new arena with its big, fancy scoreboard, is going to create a different type of personification of Detroit.

Miccoli continues with his take on the Joe, the Little Caesars Arena and the city of Detroit from an outsider's perspective...

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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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