The Malik Report
Given that the Red Wings have signed defensemen Nick Jensen and will be bringing Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet into the organization next fall, I'm not sure where Alexei Marchenko will fit on a Grand Rapids Griffins' blueline that will include Adam Almquist, Max Nicastro, probably Chad Billins and possibly an AHL veteran or two [edit/update: and, lest I forget, definitely Richard Nedomlel], but the Wings believe that Mattias Backman (who the team signed recently but will allow him to remain with Linkopings HC of the Swedish Eliteserien) and Marchenko, who played for CSKA Moscow, are two of their brightest defensive prospects, and as such, the Wings signed Marchenko today, and they plan on bringing him over to North America to turn pro next season:
RED WINGS SIGN DEFENSEMAN ALEXEI MARCHENKO TO A THREE-YEAR ENTRY LEVEL DEAL
... 2011 Seventh-Round Draft Pick Played Last Four Seasons in Russia …
Detroit, MI... The Detroit Red Wings today announced that defenseman Alexei Marchenko has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the club. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
Marchenko, 21, was Detroit’s seventh-round selection (205th overall) in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The Moscow, Russia, native has spent parts of the past four seasons with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, including the 2012-13 season as a teammate of Red Wings forward and assistant captain Pavel Datsyuk (31GP, 11G-25A-36P for CSKA) and under the tutelage of former Red Wings great and current CSKA general manager, Sergei Fedorov. In 82 career KHL games, the 6-2, 183-lb. blue liner has posted 11 points (4G-7A-11P), 12 PIM and a -9 rating.
Updated 2x with a weird trade-in-retrospect-rumor at 2:53 PM: A little over twelve hours removed from the Red Wings' Game 7 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, two themes dominate this afternoon's Red Wings talk:
1. As Paul noted, Wings coach Mike Babcock very bluntly stated to MLive's Ansar Khan that the team needs to improve its roster--with most of those in the know suggesting that the Wings will look at their cap situation and attempt to sign big goal-scoring forward and/or a #3/4 puck-moving defenseman, though doing so may involve both a) letting some UFA's-to-be walk or trading their rights, b) continuing to embrace the youth movement, bumps and mistakes included, c) utilizing the team's 2 cap compliance buy-outs and d) possibly trading some of the players who proved that they've got serviceable skills to make room for the Anderssons, Nyquists, Tatars, DeKeysers, Lashoffs, the probable returns of Helm and Bertuzzi and the team's UFA targets;
Update: The Griffins received Jordan Pearce as well: The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Red Wings forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson are heading to Oklahoma City, OK to help the Grand Rapids Griffins battle the Oklahoma City Barons (who they trail 2 games to 1 in the AHL's Western Conference Final):
Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, who were with the Red Wings much of the season and played in Wednesday’s 2-1 season-ending loss to the Blackhawks, will join the Griffins in Oklahoma City tonight, according to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, and available to play Friday.
The Griffins could use them. They have struggled offensively the past two games, including Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat that gave the Barons a 2-1 series lead. They have 43 shots the past two games and have been outshot eight consecutive periods.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
“I thought our guys played hard and really competed,'' Babcock said. “I’ve said life is about maximizing what you got and I thought our group did that.''
Young players like Gustav Nyquist, Damien Brunner, Joakim Andersson and Jakub Kindl experienced tremendous growth during the season and in the playoffs. Babcock believes the future is bright.
The Red Wings are moving to the Eastern Conference next season, as the NHL realigns. They will join a division with Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
“I’d like to see a healthy (Danny) DeKeyser, a healthy (Darren) Helm if he’s playing again, and we could be a way better team,'' Babcock said. “We need to be better if we want to be in this position consistently and not just by working, but by being good enough to be in this position. We have some work to do to as a group this summer.''
The Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate has out-lasted its parent club, but it had a rough outing on Wednesday night, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL's Western Conference Final. The Griffins now trail their series 2 games to 1 with back-to-back games scheduled for Friday and Saturday in OKC.
The Griffins' website provides a superb recap:
Red Bird III ferried the Detroit Red Wings back to Metro Airport for the final time of the 2013 season early on Thursday morning, a few hours after the Red Wings dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the teams' second-round series...
And as I write these while most of you are nuzzled up in bed, writing the wrap-up I've dreaded knowing I'd have to pen sooner or later, half of me is incredibly proud of the Wings team I follow, and half of me is still at a rolling boil given that the "objective" media types are still insisting that the hockey gods "owed" the Blackhawks an OT and series-winner after Stephen Walkom's call negated a Niklas Hjalmarsson goal.
In fact, much of the multimedia I sorted through includes so much vociferous insistence that a referee was incompetent and that the result of a hockey game was rightfully rendered that I'm wondering if the Blackhawks season-ticket sale department should be given a directory of the PHWPA and broadcasters to cold call this summer.
ESPN's Craig Custance explains the situation as the Blackhawks saw it...
BEWARE: An auto-play clip from Fox 2 lurks within!
We'll start with highlights, and NHL.com's highlights are narrated by the NBC schmucks:
TSN posted a 4:09 highlight clip; Sportsnet posted a 2:53 highlight clip; ESPN--with eight frickin' minutes of Barry Melrose and John Buccigross (Melrose LIKED the Walkom call); NBC posted a 2:08 highlight clip; and Comcast Sportsnet Chicago
Via We All Bleed Red on YouTube, Jimmy Howard went over to Niklas Kronwall and gave him a hug after the Blackhawks scored the series-winning goal for a reason:
To chants of "Detroit Sucks," the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks shook hands after Game 7 concluded.
I don't want to take away from the quick take as the place I hope you feel safest to vent regarding the Red Wings' Game 7 loss...
But I'm very angry. Very angry with the media that I've tried to respect while serving as a complimentary voice to objectivity.
I feel like Sarah *#$%@& Palin on Fox News, a tinfoil-hat wearing nut-job for saying this to some extent...But I feel that it must be said from a subjective Red Wings fan who pretends to be a professional blogger.
The "objective" hockey media's take as to who "deserved" to win Game 7 is utterly disgusting. The Walkom call, they've decided, wasn't "fair" (any more or less "fair" than any other of the utterly amazingly stupid calls) amidst a series of "great non-calls" that would theoretically be penalties if there was any sort of consistency in refereeing...
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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.