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Here’s Jimmy Howard’s 2015-16 mask

Michigan-based mask designer Ray Bishop has unveiled Jimmy Howard's 2015-16 mask, and it's a departure, even by Howard's standards, but it looks pretty cool...and pretty angry:

It looks like a "Lion in Winter" to me:

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Afternoon news: Tweets, prospect tournament rosters and Instagram posts

This afternoon's Red Wings-related news is mostly of the Tweet-or-promotional variety, so I'm unabashedly and unashamedly posting what I will politely call a "fluff entry" from a news perspective:

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It All Starts With The Organization

from Dana Wakiji of the Wings' website,

What makes it work for the Wings is once the players are in the organization, there's a system in place to support them, starting with Jiri Fischer, the Wings' director of player development, and going up through when those players reach the highest level.

"I think that’s where the organization has an impact," Holland said. "The role models, the importance of your minor-league coach and the importance of Fischer and the importance of having good minor-league veterans in Grand Rapids. I know (former assistant general manager) Jimmy Nill and now (assistant general manager) Ryan Martin have worked hard to have a leadership core in Grand Rapids that are good role models, then having the same type of leadership and role models in Detroit in Zetterberg and Datsyuk to try to maximize the potential."

While the Wings expect Zetterberg and Datsyuk to maintain their high level of play, now they need the youngsters to elevate theirs in order to reach the team's goals.

"So our goal is to try to quality for the playoffs, to go on a Stanley Cup playoff run," Holland said. "Ultimately, we want to win another Stanley Cup. At the same time, we're trying to build and develop these players."


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The Rise Of Joe Hicketts

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Mr. Hicketts wild ride began last summer, when he attended the Red Wings development camp as a free agent, hoping to get some experience and perhaps open a few eyes. He did that and a whole lot more.

Hicketts played so well at the development camp that he earned not only an invitation to play for the Red Wings in their annual prospects tournament but to attend training camp one week later with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk & Co.

Hicketts showed so much promise during that two-week stretch in September that the Red Wings rewarded him with an entry level contract.

And just in case all that wasn't enough, Hicketts suited up for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship after not getting invited to the evaluation camp the previous summer.

Unbelievable indeed.

"It was all that and more," said Hicketts, who is preparing to play for the Red Wings in next week's prospects tournament in Traverse City.

read on

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Morning news: Why the Wings might (and might not) win the Cup; on McNulty and Paetsch

Updated at 10:45 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Last week, USA Today's Kevin Allen had this to say in an article titled, "Why your favorite Eastern Conference team won't win the Stanley Cup"...

Detroit Red Wings: Early question marks. The Red Wings are a legitimate contender if everything went their way, but Pavel Datsyuk will start the season on the injured list and there’s uncertainty about Johan Franzen’s future.  Can Brad Richards carry the load early for Detroit? Is Petr Mrazek or Jimmy Howard the No. 1 goalie? Can the defense be elite level? Too many questions for Detroit to win it all. ​(KA)

And today, Allen and USA Today's hockey staff look toward the positive for the Eastern Conference's 16 teams, Detroit included:

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The Outlook For Drew Miller This Season

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2015-16 outlook: The Red Wings have gotten terrific value from Miller, who they claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay in 2009. He's been a checking line mainstay and one of their top penalty-killing forwards.

Despite his slight frame, Miller doesn't shy away from contact and is willing to sacrifice his body by blocking shots. Miller's output has declined since he posted career highs of 14 goals and 25 points in 2011-12, but offense is secondary to checking, penalty killing and providing energy.

While younger forwards Landon Ferraro, Joakim Andersson and Teemu Pulkkinen battle to earn spots in the lineup, Miller's defensive game and penalty killing ability should give him an edge.

Key question: Can Miller stave off competition from younger players to remain in the lineup?


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Evening news: Blashill talks ‘short strokes’; on Datsyuk, Cleary and promotional appearances

Updated 2x at 10:04 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

First, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill attended the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation's golf classic today, and he not only spoke to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his relationship-building with new Griffins coach Todd Nelson, but he also discussed his acclimation to his new job:

"Preparation wise, we're in a good spot," he said Monday at the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation golf tournament at Egypt Valley. "We've had a lot of different meetings with our coaching staff over the past three weeks. All of us have been in Detroit enough to meet and get together so I think we're in a good spot."

He did also note: "The excitement level is certainly rising here as we're finally getting close. August is, obviously, a long month."

Blashill discussed his very, very busy summer with Wallner before offering an intriguing simile for his formal introduction to the Red Wings' players:

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Rangers, Wild release prospect tournament rosters

The Red Wings have released their prospect tournament roster (try-outs included), and today, the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild released their tournament rosters:


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Wallner: Blashill, Griffins’ Todd Nelson talk hockey over Griffins Youth Foundation golf

Updated at 10:07 PM: From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson moved into an area home last week, is preparing for the NHL Prospects Tournament in less than two weeks and proclaimed "it's go-time" for the season ahead.

But first he traded conversation, and maybe a few divots, with a most interesting golf partner. Nelson was paired with Red Wings coach and former Griffins coach Jeff Blashill at Monday's Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club.

Nelson could have used the golf tips – he played for the first time this summer on Friday – but he expected more discussion on their co-existences as coaches and meshing of philosophies.

"We've already had dialogue with personnel, and we'll get into some of the practices and how he's going to play in Detroit and we want to mirror that," Nelson said.


Up first will be the NHL Prospects Tournament that begins Sept. 11 in Traverse City. Nelson, who was in Traverse City for the organization's development camp in early July, said it will be invaluable in evaluation talent as he leads the Red Wings' prospects.


Update: Wallner posted a video of Todd Nelson speaking at the golf tourney...

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Jeff Blashill appears on WDFN, gives 24-minute interview

WDFN's Art Regner spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill this morning, discussing the Red Wings' free agent signings, the team's goaltending and much, much more in a 24-minute interview. This is good stuff:

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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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