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Dylan Larkin to participate in ‘Eastisde Elite Hockey League’ All-Star Game July 23rd

From the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

If there was any time to have an all-star game for the Eastside Elite Hockey League it was this year. And that’s just what founder Steve Oleksy of the EEHL is going to do.

“We have a lot of high-end guys this year and I thought it’d be a unique way to draw some attention to the league as well as raise some funds for the Mount Clemens Hockey Club,” Oleksy said. “All the proceeds are going back to the kids in the organization.

“I think it was a win-win situation,” Oleksy continued. “Guys are really excited about it and it gives guys a little something extra to play for in the league.”

The game will take place Saturday [July 23rd] at 5:30 p.m. at Mount Clemens Ice Arena.

This is the eighth season Oleksy, who was a member of the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins this past season, has run the league.

...

Detroit Red Wing Dylan Larkin has also committed to play and a few others are trying to arrange their schedules to do so as well along with a couple of the Red Wing alumni players.

“Guys are really amped up and it’s kind of a cool feeling for me to be the guy to tell them they made the team,” Oleksy said. “They’re really taking is serious so how they have to play better to make it. It’s cool that they feel this way about it.”

Continued with information regarding attending the game...

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‘Three Things’: two photo galleries and a ‘Summer Street Hockey Tour’ reminder

Of relatively brief Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Khalil AlHajal posted 5 images showing the progress made upon construction of the Wings' practice rink at Little Casears Arena;

2. CBS Detroit reminds us that the Red Wings' state-wide "summer street hockey tour" will begin on Monday:

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Examining the Wings’ ‘roster reset’

From NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika:

The Detroit Red Wings have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons. No other NHL team comes close.

The problem is, they have lost in the first round three years in a row and four times in five years. They lost a cornerstone when Pavel Datsyuk decided to return to Russia. Two remaining core players are getting older: Captain Henrik Zetterberg turns 36 on Oct. 9; defenseman Niklas Kronwall turns 36 on Jan. 12.

The Red Wings are trying to rebuild on the fly as they play their final season at Joe Louis Arena and move to a new rink in 2017-18. They overhauled their coaching staff under Jeff Blashill and signed three free agents. But the roster is in flux.

The challenge: How do you replenish your top-end talent when you haven't drafted in the top 10 since 1991? Can younger players like Dylan Larkin replace older players like Datsyuk, as younger players like Datsyuk once replaced older players like Steve Yzerman?

Can the Red Wings continue to make the playoffs and contend for the Stanley Cup again?

Here is what the Red Wings look like today:

Continued...

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Discussing Jonathan Ericsson’s pluses and minuses

The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Jonathan Ericsson's ups and downs over this past season in a profile that speaks honestly about his capabilities as a mid-to-low-pair defenseman that the Wings have over-relied upon:

Looking back: The Wings took a flier on Ericsson when they selected him last in the 2002 draft, 291st overall. After having trouble his first few seasons with turnovers, Ericsson improved and became a decent partner for Niklas Kronwall, playing a steady, stay-at-home game and killing penalties. Last season, however, Ericsson was a top-four guy who too often played like a No. 6 D-man. It didn’t help that he was partnered a good deal with Kronwall, whose play was affected by a bad knee. Ericsson led the defense with 121 hits and 61 giveaways. He logged the second-most minutes among the penalty killers, at a 2:37 average per game, but ranked sixth among the team’s defensemen with 48 blocked shots.

Looking ahead: Ericsson turned 32 in March, so if he is fully healthy, he should be able to play better. Maybe new defense coach Doug Houda can find a way to get more out of Ericsson — every now and then when he really gets fired up, he shows how he can impact a game. Ericsson does not play with the physicality possible from someone who is 6 feet 4, 220 pounds, and he’s not offensively flashy by any means, but he’s capable of better skating and defense than what he turned in last season. It’s unfortunate if the long contract has made him comfortable.

St. James makes a solid point here: the Wings will probably get more out of Ericsson and Kronwall if the team "platoons" its 3 defensive pairs instead of over-relying upon one over the other.

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Khan speaks with Ryan Martin regarding Axel Holmstrom’s decision to stay in Sweden

As notd last night, Axel Holmstrom told Norran.se's Arvid Marklund that he's staying in Sweden for one more season, and MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin regarding Holmstrom's decisoin:

Holmstrom and the Detroit Red Wings agreed that it's in the 20-year-old forward's best interest to spend another season in Sweden rather than play for the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2016-17 as originally planned.

The decision was based on Holmstrom's torn ACL, which won't be healed until late September or early October. He will return to Skelleftea AIK for his third season with the Swedish Hockey League team.

"Until Axel suffered his injury, that was certainly his expectation, to have a good year in Sweden and then set himself up to come into training camp in '16-17 and compete for a spot in Detroit and then play in Grand Rapids mostly likely," Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said. "When he suffered the injury I think because of the long recovery process he doesn't feel he's in a position to start his career in North America the way he would like to. He would prefer when he starts his North American career that he's 100 percent and ready to go.

"Everybody agreed that for his development another year in Sweden would be the most beneficial thing since he's most likely not going to be ready to start the year and play games. When he is healthy he'll start in Sweden and the hope and expectation would be at the end of the (Swedish) League season he'd come to Grand Rapids and play some games and sort of set himself up for the '17-18 season."

Khan continues, reporting that Holmstrom's ACL issue will prevent him from taking part in the fall prospect tournament....

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Morning news: On the Eastside Elite Hockey League ASG, a Bertuzzi charity game and Wheaton the X-Man

Of brief Red Wings-related note:

1. Penguins forward Stephen Oleksy's Eastside Elite Hockey League will hold an All-Star Game in Mount Clemens on July 23rd, and Dylan Larkin will take part in the game. Oleksy spoke with Fox 2 regarding his summer league and the events which will take place at the All-Star Game:

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‘Roughly Translated’: Axel Holmstrom to stay in Sweden for the upcoming season

At the Red Wings' summer development camp, Axel Holmstrom was on the fence as to whether he'd continue rehabbing his torn ACL as a member of Skelleftea AIK or whether he'd join the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. Holmstrom's made up his mind, telling Norran's Arvid Marklund that he'll stay in the SHL for one more season:

Axel Holmstrom has made his decisoin: He'll play here his next season

The NHL adventure will have to wait for the 20-year-old native of Arvidsjaur: "It should be fun to chase the SHL gold one last time."

After a week at the Detroit Red Wings' development camp, Axel Holmstrom determined his path for the upcoming season.

"I will spend this year with Skelleftea," he announces cheerfully.

How does it feel now that the decision's made?

"Above all, it's nice to finally know where I'll be next season. I and Detroit agreed on the decision when it was listed as an option, it seemed most logical considering my injury and my opportunities for good assistance and to come back strong," says Axel, who looks forward to the upcoming season in the SHL.

"It should be awesome fun to chase the championship for the last time in Skelleftea.

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Wings prospect Filip Hronek needs to rectify his language issue

The Red Wings signed Filip Hronek to a 3-year entry-level contract today, and as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff notes, the Wings at least appear to have signed Hronek in no small part to encourage him to play in North America this fall as Hronek's junior rights belong to the OHL's Saginaw Spirit.

At the present moment, Hronek speaks maybe 50 words of English, and he needed fellow development camper Matej Machovsky to translate for him when he spoke with the media. Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer wants Hronek to rectify his language issue:

“It’s limiting how he can communicate with coaches,” Fischer said. “It’s limited how he can get established within the group. He needs to learn English and if he wants to be part of the team environment, he needs to do that. He knows that. So he’s leaving knowing his strength will need to significantly improve, to play the style he likes to play, which is aggressive with his feet and aggressive in battles, generating turnovers and stopping the offense of the opposition and making really good outlet passes.

“In his development I really like what he brings off the ice. I really like his demeanor off the ice. Learning English is going to be a key. There’s going to be lots of people that try to help him out, starting from Ken Holland to (Wings coach) Jeff Blashill and the rest of the staff and he needs to understand what people are trying to tell him.”

Selected by Saginaw of the OHL in the recent CHL import draft, Hronek has yet to decide whether he will play in North America next season but such a move would certainly force him to pick up the pace of his English studies.

The Wings see much promise in the 6,' 170-ish pound Hronek, who was a quick study in terms of adjusting to the North American-sized ice rink at the Wings' development camp in Traverse City:

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Wings encourage fans to share ‘Gordie Stories’

From the Red Wings' Twitter account:

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Wings’ offseason earns a ‘solid C’ grade from ESPN’s Custance

ESPN's Craig Custance issued offseason grades for each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams in an Insider-only entry, and his grade for the Wings is a little more positive than the one the fan base has issued:

Detroit Red Wings: C

Notable additions: Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott

Notable subtractions: Pavel Datsyuk

Analysis: It was a deft move by GM Ken Holland to move Pavel Datsyuk's contract in a market where few had cap space, even picking up a second-round draft pick in the process. That gave the Red Wings flexibility to spend in free agency, and now the debate begins as to whether they spent wisely.

Detroit's biggest need is addressing a defense that needs more speed and mobility. The problem was that the two free agents most capable of doing that were Alex Goligoski and Keith Yandle, two defensemen swept off the market before the Red Wings had the available cap space or a Steven Stamkos decision. That limited what Detroit could do on defense in free agency, so Holland instead spent money at forward.

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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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