The Malik Report
Prepare for a slightly fluffy entry: The Red Wings received Friday off, and they spent their break at Huntington Beach, as illustrated by the players' Instagram accounts:
Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan engaged in an extended and extensive interview with Ken Holland, reflecting upon the Red Wings' "first half" of the 2015-16 season, as well as the team's outlook going forward:
"A bit of a roller coaster ride, but I think it's a roller coaster league," general manager Ken Holland said. "The league is really close. Last year we had 100 points and 97 missed the playoffs. I don't see teams needing quite as many points this year because of parity; 94-95 possibly gets in."
The Red Wings, trying to extend their playoff streak to 25 seasons, are on pace for 98 points.
"We're relatively satisfied where we're at in the standings," Holland said. "There's areas we'd like to improve, but there's 29 other teams saying that. Everybody is going through the same things we're going through, other than Dallas (62 points) and Washington (63 points)."
Scoring was a major concern earlier in the season, when the Red Wings ranked last in the league in shots per game and shot differential. But their puck possession predictably improved when Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing 15 games following off-season ankle surgery.
"Two tough stretches; we went 1-5-1 after a 3-0 start, then lost four of five in regulation around Christmas," Holland said. "Other than those two stretches we've played pretty good. We're right in the hunt with everyone in our division."
Khan continues, and here's Holland's best quote about the youth movement:
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton received a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct for his actions in the closing seconds of the Red Wings' 2-1 win over the Sharks last night...
And Comcast Sportsnet California's Kevin Kurz reports that what some might find to be skullduggery or cheap shots, the Sharks see as "leadership":
Like most kids raised in the Mitten, there was never a question of Jim Harbaugh’s loyalties when it came to sports teams.
Growing up in Michigan meant you cheered for the hometown teams, and certainly, the Red Wings were no different.
Asked if he was a Wings’ fan growing up, Michigan’s football coach cracked a wide smile, then answered rhetorically, “Who wasn’t?”
All kidding aside, Harbaugh, who attended the Red Wings’ 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday, has adored the Original Six franchise for as far back as his memory permits.
“Absolutely loved the Wings, loved the uniform,” said Harbaugh, whose favorite all-time Wing remains Gordie Howe. “It’s been neat. I’ve had the chance to meet Steve Yzerman (in the past) and some of the guys, and (Dylan) Larkin tonight that was a neat experience. I mean, who wasn’t a Michigan kid that didn’t pull for the Red Wings?”
The Detroit News's David Goricki reports that University of Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson has been surprised by the incredibly fast development of Dylan Larkin:
The Wings' first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft has 14 goals and 28 points while leading the NHL with a plus-23 at the halfway point of the season.
“I’m surprised that he’s made it look that easy and he’s probably surprised too,” Berenson said. “He’s stepped right in, and maybe we put the NHL on too high of a pedestal, but how many 19-year-olds are doing that? Dylan was a good player here and he really took off after the World Junior Tournament. He came back and he led the team in scoring and that got his confidence going and he took off.”
So, why did Berenson try to talk Larkin out of leaving?
“Detroit, I know they want to sign these guys, but I thought he’d probably be delegated to the Grand Rapids team, but then he played so well in (training) camp. It’s just that they couldn’t guarantee he’d play in Detroit. I just tried to give him my perspective. I mean Detroit’s history has not been to put 19-year-old draft picks in the lineup.“Riley Sheahan played how many years in Grand Rapids? Nyquist led college hockey in scoring two years and he played two years in Grand Rapids. I wasn’t convinced he’d play with them, but I’m glad for Dylan. We’re not here to hold a kid back from playing in the NHL, but who would have thought he’d be doing what he’s doing and now playing in the All-Star Game?”
Berenson continues, discussing the next steps in Larkin's development and his status as a frequent visitor at Wolverines games...
From the Red Wings and Savvy Digital:
From the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
My understanding is that the Wings don't have to make a roster move until Quincey is ready on Sunday, Monday or Thursday, and they won't have to clear cap room until Teemu Pulkkinen returns.
The Red Wings' website posted post-game comments from the Wings' 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks after I went to bed at 4:30, so:
Here are the comments of Justin Abdelkader...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The San Jose Sharks had two glorious scoring chances from point-blank range in a span of 50 seconds during a tie game late in the third period Thursday.
Petr Mrazek was lucky on the first one, as Joonas Donskoi hit the goal post. But Mrazek made a spectacular save on the next one, robbing Joel Ward's backhand attempt.
Seconds later, Justin Abdelkader scored what proved to be the deciding goal as the Detroit Red Wings prevailed 2-1 at SAP Center for their third consecutive victory.
"It's a fine line between winning and losing and that was a huge save at a big moment," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "It's something I think he's done a good job of throughout his time.
"We shouldn't have to make that save. We made an error on a turnover we shouldn't have made so it's something we've got to continue to go to work and get better at, but you also got to win games while we're getting better and that was a big, big save and obviously the real difference in the game."
Below, watch the extended game highlights...
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.