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The Malik Report

Red Wings announce dates for 2015 prospect tournament

From the Red Wings (and The Left Wing Lock is confirming the news and the Blackhawks' addition to the tournament field):


… Blackhawks Added to Eight-Team Pool for Annual Tournament at Centre ICE Arena …

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the Red Wings will host their annual NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from Sept. 11-15, 2015. The Chicago Blackhawks have been added to the eight-team tournament this fall, joining the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Red Wings.

This marks the 17th season that Traverse City will host the tournament, boasting nearly 500 players who have skated in at least one NHL game. Twenty-four players who participated in the tournament in September 2014 have made at least one appearance in the NHL this season, while 16 prospects from the Red Wings’ last three tournament rosters have played in at least one NHL game, including current roster players Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, Alexey Marchenko, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Brendan Smith. The Columbus Blue Jackets were tournament champions in 2014, winning the title for the third time in their history.

The tournament divides the eight-team field into two four-team divisions. Teams will play each team in their division during the round robin before a crossover on the final day of the tournament, capped off with the first-place finishers in each division meeting for the championship on Tuesday, Sept. 15. A complete tournament schedule and rosters for each team will be released at a later date.

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*If* Babcock bolts, FSD’s Gave believes that Blashill, Granato or McLellan would replace him

So yesterday evening, Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave suggested that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock might find the allure of coaching for a higher profile team and/or earning a whole lot more money for both himself and the sake of "setting the bar" higher for NHL coaches than what the Wings might be willing to offer. Today, Gave wonders which coach might replace Babcock if he bolts (which I don't believe he'll do to begin with). The simplest and easiest replacement is already in the organization:

As sand in the hour-glass empties and Mike Babcock's contract as coach of the Red Wings expires, speculation about his future is growing. But what of the Wings' future if he decides to take more money than Detroit is willing to offer him? What then? Who will replace the best coach in the NHL behind the Wings' bench?

Babcock himself offered more than a hint when he was asked about the work Jeff Blashill was doing in Grand Rapids, coaching Detroit's top farm club.

"He's done a real nice job for us," said Babcock, who found Blashill and brought him into the organization as an assistant four years ago. "He's developed a lot of nice players, and I'm sure he's going to get an opportunity in the National Hockey League some day."

Some day could come sooner rather than later if Babcock bolts. The Wings say privately they think there's an 80 percent chance that he stays in Detroit with a new contract as the league's highest-paid coach. Others around the league, however, figure it's 50-50 at best, arguing that he Babcock won't be able to resist the temptation of a lot more money from a team like Toronto, not to mention how his rising stock would skyrocket if he managed to win there.

But as much as the Wings like to boast that they have the best coach in the NHL and in the American Hockey League, would they really turn over the keys to the coaching kingdom in Detroit to someone whose NHL credentials include one season behind the bench as an assistant?

Would they entrust the job to someone of such limited experience with the window of opportunity closing in the Datsyuk-Zetterberg era?

Yes, yes they would, without hesitation, but Gave continues and discusses the possibility of, say, Tony Granato or Todd McLellan becoming the next head coach assuming that Babcock leaves, and Gave also receives strong Blashill endorsements from GM Ken Holland...

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Practice Tweets/articles: Datsyuk ‘not making trip’ to Florida/Tampa due to ‘lower-body injury’

Updated 6x at 1:20 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena ahead of tomorrow and Friday's tilts against Florida (who lost a 3-2 decision to Montreal on Tuesday) and Tampa Bay (who won't have played since Monday's 4-2 win over those same Canadiens), respectively, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness' first Tweet = rut roh material:

The lone forward missing from practice is Pavel Datsyuk. Waiting word on if it's an injury or just extended time off....
Riley Sheahan up in Red. Waiting for the team to skate lines.

Ditto for MLive's Ansar Khan...

Datsyuk not skating today, after taking day off yesterday with a few others. No word yet on reason or his status for tomorrow.

So we waited...For AN HOUR...As the winners of the Panthers' emergency goalie contest took the ice in Fort Lauderdale...

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District Detroit project holding job fairs to recruit/train construction personnel

Both WWJ and WXYZ are reporting that the District Detroit project and Olympia Development of Michigan is about to hold a set of six job fairs to recruit people interested in either working on the arena project and/or engaging in job training programs to eventually work on the rink and economic development projects:

Detroiters in search of a job may be able to score one in the highly anticipated new Red Wings arena district.

As construction on the arena is expected to begin soon, six job fairs are being held for Detroiters within the next 60 days.

One of them starts Wednesday. It will be held at Wayne County Community College Eastern District campus on Detroit's east side.

The fairs will help fill spots at the arena and the surrounding sports and entertainment district. Those who attend the fairs will be able to register with Detroit Employment Solutions for construction jobs, learn about training and financial aid programs, get assistance with GED preparation and testing, and connect with community resources that can offer help with childcare and legal assistance.


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The overnight report: On the last big break, Tuesday’s practice, GM’s meetings, prospects & Babtalk

The Red Wings' "semi-optional" practice on Tuesday allowed the team's players to host some special guests, as WXYZ's Brad Galli noted (video via RedWingsFeed, photo gallery from the Detroit News)...

But the Red Wings also play on an every-other-day-or-more-regularly basis from Thursday and Friday's games in Florida and Tampa until the end of the season on April 11th, so those final 14 games are only going to take three-and-a-half-weeks to play.

In addition to discussing his goaltenders' statuses (Mrazek goes Thursday, Howard starts Friday), Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press's Carlos Monarrez that his team needed the mental break:

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Hopefully Henrik Zetterberg’s Message Worked

from Bill Roose of the Wings' website,

Most of the Red Wings returned to practice Tuesday after an off day following a bounce-back game in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

A players’ only meeting initiated by captain Henrik Zetterberg seemed to spark Detroit’s 5-1 win over the Penguins just hours after the Wings were embarrassed in a 7-2 throttling by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.

“Hank said ‘Enough’s enough. We’ve got to come out with better efforts out there,’ ” Wings forward Gustav Nyquist said. “Several games in a row we didn’t come out with an effort at all in the first (period) and ended up playing catch-up hockey for the last I don’t know how many games. I think that was the big message. Just come out and play hard for each other, for your teammates and we’ll be successful.”

Coach Mike Babcock hopes Zetterberg’s message has a lasting affect.

“Let’s be honest, we’ve sucked for a bit here and so it was important to get back and playing right and doing the things that we do to be successful,” Babcock said. “That’s more a mental thing than a physical thing.”

continue and more topics too...

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Ken Holland On Re-Signing Marek Zidlicky And Erik Cole

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Marek Zidlicky has fit in so well with the Detroit Red Wings since being acquired on March 2 that it wouldn't be a surprise to see general manager Ken Holland try to re-sign the veteran defenseman before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Zidlicky has seven points on three goals and four assists in seven games with the Red Wings.

"There's no doubt certainly it's a possibility," Holland said Tuesday from the general managers' meetings. "Now the player has to weigh in."

Holland indicated the possibility exists for the Red Wings to try to re-sign forward Erik Cole, who they also acquired on March 2, but Zidlicky in particularly has filled a big hole as a right-handed shooting defenseman who could quarterback Detroit's power play.


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Practice Tweets: Khan reports Helm healthy during a ‘semi-optional’; Murph on The Fan 590

Updated 6x at 12:18 PM: The Red Wings returned to practice at Joe Louis Arena this morning--sort of--ahead of those big games against the Panthers and Bolts on Thursday and Friday, as MLive's Ansar Khan reported:

Semi-optional practice today as the older players have day off. Helm among those skating.

In his "5 Things to Watch," Khan also noted the following about Thursday and Friday's opponents:

The Panthers are 5-3-0 against the Red Wings since the start of the 2013-14 season, including a 3-0 record in shootouts. It will be Detroit's first game against Florida since it acquired future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr (goal, four assists in seven games).


Tampa Bay is 6-1-0 against the Red Wings since the start of 2013-14, including a 3-0 record in overtime/shootouts.

This always makes me cringe, even though I know the logos are all of a quarter inch below the ice surface:

Continue Reading »

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Talkin’ about Wings follow-on rink bonds

This isn't something I want to cover, but cover it I must: President Obama has proposed enacting legislation that would end the use of tax-exempt bonds for stadium projects--something that would get traction in congress despite the fact that it's part of the president's budget--but the State has already sold the $350 million in bonds that will be used to pay for 56% of the Wings' follow-on rink, so the Free Press's John Gallagher reports that the bonds won't be affected by any legislation designed to nix 'em:

Michigan officials say the tax-exempt bonds that are paying for Detroit's new arena project, the future home of the Ilitch family's Detroit Red Wings, are too far along in in the pipeline to be affected by the Obama proposal.

"There would be no impact on the Red Wings arena project from this proposal. The arena project bonds have already been sold," said Mark Morante, senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and fund manager for the Michigan Strategic Fund, the state entity that issued the arena bonds.

"The funds at issue are now pledged to bonds and are subject to statutory lien at the (Detroit Downtown Development Authority) and MSF level," he added.

If attempts were made to apply such a ban retroactively, the state could possibly go to court over what Morante called "the broad constitutional issue of impairment of contracts."

Gallagher continues, and my understanding of the proposal (I've been paying attention) is that the fact that the State sold the bonds = the current budget proposal wouldn't affect them because they weren't sold by the City of Detroit, and the fact that they're already in circulation would also make it very hard for any future legislation to nix their use because they're already sold.

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

- Perhaps it's no coincidence the Red Wings' slide started with the first full game Darren Helm missed due to an oblique strain. He is expected to return Thursday against Florida.

The team has missed Helm's speed and tenacity as well as his secondary scoring (13 goals, 29 points in 61 games). He had developed chemistry with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar, doing the heavy lifting for the line by retrieving pucks and going to the net.

- The Red Wings will face a team that is barely alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race in Florida. The Panthers are six points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot, with just 13 games remaining.

Florida has gone 3-1-1 with Dan Ellis in goal, after Roberto Luongo (shoulder) and Al Montoya (groin) were injured in the same game (March 3 vs. Toronto).

The Panthers are 5-3-0 against the Red Wings since the start of the 2013-14 season, including a 3-0 record in shootouts. It will be Detroit's first game against Florida since it acquired future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr (goal, four assists in seven games).

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said on Sunday he hadn't decided if he'll start Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek in Florida. Chances are, whoever doesn't play will start the next night in Tampa Bay.

- Friday's game in Tampa Bay could be a preview of the first round of the playoffs, and it could help determine which club gets home-ice advantage.


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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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