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Datsyuk dishes on systems play killing creativity in the NHL

Pavel Datsyuk spoke with the media after Team Russia's practice at the UPMC center on Monday, and he discussed what he perceives to be a lack of creativity at the NHL level while speaking with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jason Mackey:

“There are not many creative players now,” Datsyuk said following Team Russia’s World Cup of Hockey practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Sunday. “It’s less and less every year. There’s lots of talent, but teams are playing more systems.”

Watch Datsyuk for two minutes, and it’s not hard to see what makes him so unique. Videos of Datsyuk swiping pucks from offensive players are all over YouTube. His artistry lifting sticks and instantly turning defense into offense earned him nicknames like “The King of Steals” and “Magic Man.”

Datsyuk won the Selke Trophy three consecutive years from 2007-10 as the NHL’s best defensive forward. He also won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship) four consecutive times from 2006-09 while averaging 29 goals and 88 points a season during a five-year stretch from 2005-10.

Not bad for an undersized player (5-foot-11, 184 pounds) who wasn’t drafted until the sixth round in 1998.

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‘After they play for the world, they play for you’ commercial is slick

This isn't Red Wings-related, but I believe that it merits an entry: the NHL has produced a Liev Schreiber-narrated commercial whose tag line is, "After they play for the world, they play for you," and the minute-long clip is very slickly produced:

The NHL did a great job of playing up the concept that our "local heroes" don't have to be from the cities they represent to represent the spirit of their cities, and I think this is the perfect way to sell "going back to NHL hockey" after the World Cup. Really slick stuff here.

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Mid-day news: Zetterberg addresses his knee issue; on the Wings’ cap situation & the ‘Hockeytown 5K’

Updated 2x at 12:49 PM: 1. The Red Wings engaged in a captain's practice at Joe Louis Arena this morning, and the captain addressed his knee issue in conversations with the media, as noted in video form by MLive's Ansar Khan:

2. TSN's Frank Seravalli provides some clarification regarding the Red Wings' salary cap situation...

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Custance: Larkin carving out a 4th line spot on Team North America

ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only entry discussing nine takeaways from Team North America's impressive weekend of World Cup exhibition wins, and he included an observation regarding Dylan Larkin's two-goal performance on Sunday:

Larkin opens some eyes: After observing practices all week with Team North America, it sure looked as though Dylan Larkin was going to be the odd man out for McLellan. The top six is jammed; the third line is a heavy line; and it might even be hard for Larkin to find time on the penalty kill, with Sean Couturier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Vincent Trocheck and McDavid getting a long look there.

But he did exactly what he had to do on Sunday to get the coach’s attention, which he no doubt did. He’ll be hard to pull out of the lineup after scoring twice.

When a player sits and then gets the call, the coach is looking to see whether he can make an impact on the game. Larkin did exactly that.

“Dylan’s speed was evident,” McLellan said. “I thought he played a good role where he was. ... We’ll have some work ahead of us as a staff before we play in Pittsburgh to determine what we’re going to do with our lines.”

Custance continues, and it's a little strange for Larkin to play on the 4th line, but if he does, it will be good for his development

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Svechnikov ready to turn pro

MLive's Brendan Savage penned a profile of Evgeny Svechnikov this morning, noting that Svechnikov will begin his pro career with the Grand Rapids Griffins this fall:

The way the Detroit Red Wings see it, Evgeny Svechnikov has accomplished all he can in junior hockey.

Svechnikov scored 32 goals in back-to-back seasons with Cape Breton of the QMJHL and didn't appear out of place during his pro debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins during the AHL playoffs last spring.

They think it's time for their 2015 first-round draft pick to play professionally full time.

Svechnikov agrees.

"I learned a lot in junior hockey," said Svechnikov, the 19th overall pick in the 2015 draft. "I had a good coach and I think I'm ready. "Done with junior hockey now. So excited. Have to be ready as much as I can.

"Of course it's very exciting. First season pro. We'll see. I'm not going to think a lot. Just day by day."

Savage continues...

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Practice Tweets: Wings take part in a ‘captain’s practice’ at the Joe

Updated at 11:03 PM: The Red Wings have opened Joe Louis Arena to the media this morning, and the Wings are on the ice:

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The overnight report: Marchenko’s ‘numbers’ and Abdelkader’s shenanigans

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose examines Alexey Marchenko's 2015-16 season "By the Numbers"...

It’s expected that Marchenko will be on the opening-night roster when the Red Wings begin the 2016-17 NHL season. But like most players, he has things he still needs to work on to become a highly-skilled contributor – and he knows it.

“Quickness, you know, and be responsible on the defensive end and make a good breakout pass, just don’t turn over the puck, don’t play in our own zone,” he said last season. “You rarely get scored on if you’re not playing in your own zone you know.”

66 | Games played with the Red Wings during 2015-16. Also skated in four games with the Griffins before he was recalled from AHL Grand Rapids. His previous career high for games played was in 2014-15 when he logged 51 games with the Red Wings’ minor-league club.

Roose continues...

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St. James, Osgood discuss the Red Wings’ two-goaltender system

The Free Press's Helene St. James has spoken with Chris Osgood regarding Riley Sheahan's development and the Red Wings' three unrestricted free agent signings, and this evening, St. James shares Osgood's take on the Wings' likely two-goaltender rotation of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard:

“For one thing, you need two goalies now,” Osgood said. “People underestimate that. It’s not like the old NHL where there’s 10 really good teams, 10 are mediocre, and 10 aren’t very good. Every game is difficult. Two, the schedule is going to be really tough this year because of the World Cup. You’re going to need two guys who can play a lot.”

Osgood, a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Wings who now serves as a studio analyst, replaced Dominik Hasek in the 2008 playoffs after Hasek played poorly in the first round. Similarly last season, it took both Mrazek and Howard, 32, to carry the Wings.

“They are dealing from a position of strength,” Osgood said. “They have two really good guys. Jimmy Howard made the All-Star team the year before. This year, Petr Mrazek was unbelievable for two months, then Jimmy Howard played great in the end. I think last year goaltending was one of the reasons they made the playoffs. I expect nothing less this year.”

St. James continues...

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Frans Nielsen hopes to inspire Denmark by playing at the World Cup

From NHL.com's Tim Campbell:

Hockey dreams are gaining momentum in smaller European countries, and Team Europe forward Frans Nielsen wore a broad smile on Friday knowing he has helped the trend, and the World Cup of Hockey 2016 is about to provide another big assist.

Nielsen, 32, was a pioneer of sorts in 2006 when he broke into the NHL with the New York Islanders after he was chosen in the third round (No. 87) of the 2002 NHL Draft, the first player from Denmark to be taken in the draft and appear in the League.

Ten years later, Nielsen said he sees the change in his home country, one of eight represented on Team Europe in this world best-on-best tournament.

"I think it's not only me but when I was a young kid, the Danish players looked up to those who played in Sweden and those leagues," Nielsen said Friday at Bell Centre, in preparation for Team Europe's pretournament game against Team North America on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports). "It's kind of what I followed. Nobody really believed Denmark would get an NHL player.

"But now, not only me but the other guys who go home in the summer, those hockey camps with kids, we notice that what everybody dreams about now is playing in the NHL. So the mindset has changed a lot with young kids and that's so great to see, and I think it helped that we've shown with hard work and dedication, it's possible. Kids' dreams have changed a lot since I was a kid."

Continued with more from Nielsen regarding signing with the Red Wings...

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Larkin stars in Team North America’s exhibition win over Team Europe

Team North America defeated Team Europe 7-4 in exhibition action at the World Cup of Hockey, and Dylan Larkin scored the 2-0 and 7-4 goals (the second was an empty-netter) for the North Americans.

Larkin finished at +1 with 3 shots and a hit in 13:10 of ice time;

For Team Europe, Thomas Vanek had an assist but finished at -1, taking 4 shots and blocking a shot in 14:12 played;

Tomas Tatar finished at -2 with a shot and a hit in 15:55 played;

And Frans Nielsen scored the 5-4 goal and had an assist on the 5-3 goal, finishing at +1 with 5 hits and 5 blocked shots and a 59% rating in the faceoff circle in 19:42 played.

I will post highlights as they become available.

Update: Here's Larkin's goal on Thomas Greiss...

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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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