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The Malik Report

‘Two Things’: Praise for Larkin and a little Swedish Griffin talk

Among this evening's items of Red Wings-related note:

1. Among USA Today's Kevin Allen's "5 Things USA needs to do to be medal contender at World Championships" list:

5. Feed the young lions. At 18, Auston Matthews, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, leads the Americans with four points. Detroit Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin, 19, has looked dangerous every time he is on the ice. This is the future of America. Give them the baton, and let them run with it.

Larkin's looked like the team's best player thus far, and that's not an exaggeration by any stretch of the imagination. The U.S. plays next on Thursday against France at 9:15 AM EDT, and the game will air on NBCSN...

2. And the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a clip of Joakim Andersson trying but not succeeding in his attempts to teach his teammates Swedish:

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A bit more about the Wings’ hiring of Doug Houda and the remaining coaching search

The Red Wings hired Doug Houda as an assistant coach this afternoon, and this evening, a few more articles regarding the hiring popped up. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding his decision and Houda's likely role with the team...

“Doug was my first call and I’m real excited and thankful to add him to our staff,” Blashill said. “I think he’s going to be a great addition, very excited that we were able to secure him.”

Houda was the Red Wings’ second-round pick in the 1984 NHL draft. He began his 15-season NHL career a year later – making his debut with the Red Wings on Oct. 10, 1985. He played for six different clubs, including the Hartford Whalers, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Aside from his familiarity with the organization, Blashill said he was blown away by Houda’s coaching knowledge as it relates to the penalty kill and defensive-zone coverage.

“I thought his knowledge on penalty kill was very deep,” Blashill said. “He’s run the penalty kill for Boston for a number of years. He’s used different types of systems to success in different years, depending upon personnel. And then I also thought his work with individual defensemen was really good. Kind of the different system thoughts that he’ll bring with him from Boston. Overall he was very impressive in both his approach and in his knowledge as a coach.”

Roose continues at extended length, and Blashill also spoke in more coaching-philosophical terms with MLive's Ansar Khan...

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Khan: Red Wings likely to tab Jeff Salajko as next goaltending coach

From MLive's Ansar Khan:

The Detroit Red Wings will have a new goaltending coach for the first time in nearly two decades. They might fill the vacancy from within the organization.

"I would say right now Jeff Salajko, our goaltending coach in Grand Rapids, is certainly a leading candidate," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday. "I got a number of other good candidates that have contacted me. We're going to go through the process, first with Jeff and then we'll move forward if needed."

...

The Red Wings opted not to renew Jim Bedard's contract. He had been with the organization since 1997.

"Jim Bedard is a great person. He's had a great run here in Detroit," Blashill said. "He was somebody who I felt helped me through my first year in Detroit. I certainly owe him a lot of thanks. I think there's times where certain moves are needed and we just felt that this was the right time."

Khan continues...

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Griffins game-day preview video: GR-LEM Game 4

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a game preview video which sets up tonight's Game 4 of the Griffins-Lake Erie Monsters series:

Eric Tangradi and Bob Kaser set up the game.

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Roose: Red Wings name Doug Houda assistant coach

Updated 2x at 2:40 PM: From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

The Red Wings like Doug Houda so much they’re bringing him back to the organization for a third time.

The former NHL defenseman is returning to Hockeytown with a wealth of coaching knowledge as an assistant in the league spanning the past 10 seasons.

The Wings’ second-round pick in the 1984 NHL draft, Houda, who received a three-year contract, fills one of three job openings on the Wings’ coaching staff this offseason.

Head coach Jeff Blashill is still seeking a second bench assistant and a goaltending coach.

Houda, who turns 50 years old on June 3, replaces outgoing assistant Tony Granato, who returned to the University of Wisconsin, his college alma mater, to take over as the Badgers’ head coach. Granato had been in charge of the Wings’ defensemen and the penalty kill.

Houda was an assistant with Boston for the past 10 seasons, joining the Bruins in 2006 when Peter Chiarelli was named general manager and Dave Lewis was brought in as head coach. A year later, when Lewis was let go, new head coach Claude Julien retained Houda.

It is unclear what Houda’s role will be with the Red Wings.

Roose continues...

added 1:19pm, Detroit press release is below...

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‘Two things’: On Kyle Quincey and Sportsnet’s Johnston on WDFN

This story covers some familiar ground: MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article discussing Kyle Quincey's desire to remain with the Red Wings, wondering aloud whether the 30-year-old defensive defenseman will return to the team:

"If Kenny (general manager Holland) offers me something I'd love to come back," Quincey said. "We love it here. But if not, just see what happens."

Holland said he'll speak with people in the organization over the next couple of weeks and decide which, if any, of the club's unrestricted free agents (Quincey, Darren Helm, Drew Miller, Brad Richards) will be offered a contract.

The Red Wings have salary-cap concerns – especially if they're not able to move Pavel Datsyuk's $7.5 million cap hit, if he returns to Russia. They also have three defensemen in Grand Rapids (Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen) who lose their waiver-exempt status next season and could be lost for nothing if the Red Wings attempted to send any of them to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

"Two years ago I didn't know anything until July 1," Quincey said. "I'm assuming it's probably going to be the same thing."

The Red Wings signed Quincey to a two-year, $8.5 million contract on the first day of free agency in 2014.

Quincey would surely attract interest if he explores the market, which is particularly thin on defense. The Colorado Avalanche might have interest. Quincey lives in Colorado in the off-season.

Khan continues, and if you're interested, WDFN's Matt Sheppard spoke with Sportsnet's Chris Johnston this morning, discussing the NHL playoffs, the Penguins-Capitals game tonight, and the Red Wings' offseason changes:

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Griffins face an 3-games-to-none deficit against Lake Erie

The Grand Rapids Griffins face a 3-games-to-none deficit against the Lake Erie Monsters as the teams clash in Game 4 this evening (7 PM EDT on The AHL Live/ESPN 96.1 FM), and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the Griffins' players and coach about climbing out of the hole they've dug for themselves:

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson may have mentioned the 2014 Los Angeles Kings or the 2013 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a few times the past two days.

Those teams were the latest from a small hockey group who have overcome 3-0 deficits to win a seven-game playoff series.

The Griffins need to embrace them because that's what they face in Game 4 at 7 tonight at Van Andel Arena in the Central Division Finals against Lake Erie.

"Their defense is making us scrape and claw for every piece of ice we get," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said. "But we got to stick with it and make it difficult. Like I said, if we can come out on Tuesday and play similar to what we did (Sunday), I feel comfortable with that.

Wallner continues...

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Red Wings at the World Championship: Jurco takes 6 shots in loss to Germany

One Red Wings player took part in the World Championship today, and Tomas Jurco posted 6 shots and a -2 in 17:39 of ice time as Slovakia lost 5-1 to Germany.

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Krupa: Blashill looks for better-defined roles on next year’s team

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill about the necessary changes that the team needs to make during a summer vacation that came far too early for the coaches, management and players.

Blashill told Krupa that he's eschewing rest and relaxation for reassessments and trying to get better, and the pair cover many topics over the course of a lengthy article. R&R?

“That, for me, happens in the summer,” Blashill said, as he worked in his office a few yards down a hallway from the empty Wings dressing room. When you end out and other teams are playing, you should still be working.”

He must help hire three assistants, watch the playoffs, identify possible trade and free-agent acquisitions, conduct exhaustive reviews of each player on his roster, travel to see his former club, Grand Rapids, in the American Hockey League playoffs, and review planning for next season.

Blashill is clear about some central elements of his focus. The changes that can be achieved in the coming months should result in a lineup in which players are more enthused about their specific roles, with the intention that improved performance will follow and result in less shuffling of forward lines and defensive pairs, like the nearly constant, mostly unsuccessful search for improvement that marked the past season.

“I would like to have a much better feel for what our lines are going to be,” he said. “And part of that, and part of what we’ve talked about as a group, is constructing a roster where guys are excited about their roles. Guys that are third-line players are excited to be third-line players. Guys who are fourth-line players are excited to be that.

“And you have the right guys getting the right minutes in the top six.

“This year, we just had probably too many similar players that I don’t think we ever found the best combinations for.”

Blashill and Krupa continue, and the coach addresses the "beefs with ice time" that several players discussed during locker room clean-out day.

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Wings’ admission that coaching mix didn’t work out helps restore credibility

I saw Jeff Blashill last night, heading toward the Grand Rapids Griffins' locker room after last night's 2-1 loss, and I gave him a nod as he walked through the media and said, "Hey, guys."

Despite the fact that the bloom is most certainly off the rose regarding open fan hostility toward the Red Wings' coach, none the cameras or sound recorders or cell phones stopped working when Blashill walked by, nor did Blashill appear to have horns, a tail, or donkey ears.

I'm kidding about that stuff, of course, but I understand the frustration with the Red Wings' head coach, and I'm gonna be honest: the best damn thing I've heard or will hear this offseason is the fact that Pat Ferschweiler and Tony Granato won't return to flank Blashill's shoulders behind the Wings' bench, with the Wings looking for more experienced NHL assistant coaches instead.

When you've been around an NHL team, even for a little while, you realize that the coaching staff is very much so a team, and that the assistants have massive responsibilities in terms of running the offense, defense, special teams, and in the summer and fall, working with prospects.

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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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