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The Malik Report

Time For Xavier Ouellet To Prove Himself On The NHL Level

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

Instead of allowing himself to get caught up in the numbers game, during the 2015-16 hockey season, Ouellet put the emphasis on honing his skills on the ice.

“Last year I think I tried and focus more on hockey and less on all these decisions,” Ouellet said. “I think it helped me. I had a good season in Grand Rapids. I think I played good the five games I played (in Detroit).

“I’m just focused on my game more.”

A game that for Ouellet should finally find its focus placed entirely at hockey’s highest level.

Out of minor-league options, the 6-1, 200-pound Ouellet, 23, would be required to clear waivers in order to be assigned to AHL Grand Rapids and that’s a risk the Wings aren’t about to take.

His time is now and it’s time to find out what he can provide to the club on a regular basis.

In small sample sizes, the Wings certainly like what they’ve seen from Ouellet.

more

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Prepared For The Prospect Tournament

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Most hockey fans are focused on the World Cup of Hockey, which begins this weekend in Toronto.

But there’s another tournament that could be interesting — the eight-team prospects tournament that begins Friday in Traverse City.

“In terms of the competition, it’s of the highest caliber these young players will face,” said Ryan Martin, assistant general manager for the Red Wings.

How good could this tournament be?

More than 500 participants who have played in the tournament have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL, including the 24 who skated for the Red Wings last season.

The Red Wings roster is highlighted by five recent first- or second-round picks — forwards Evgeny Svechnikov (2015, first), Tyler Bertuzzi (2013, second), Zach Nastasiuk (2013, second), Givani Smith (2016, second) and defenseman Filip Hronek (2016, second).

continued

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Savage profiles Joe Hicketts

The Red Wings' prospect tournament begins on Friday at Traverse City's Centre ICE Arena, and Joe Hicketts will play a pivotal role for the Wings' prospect team as a senior defender. MLive's Brendan Savage penned a profile of Hicketts, and he also posted a 12-image gallery of players to watch during the tournament:

In 2014-15, Hicketts has 12 goals, 52 assists and a plus-17 rating in 62 games.

Last season, he had eight goals, 53 assists, 44 penalty minutes and a plus-38 rating in 59 games. In the playoffs, he had a goal and six assists in six games.

He ended the season in Grand Rapids, practicing with the Griffins.

"It was good, learned a lot of things," he said. "Obviously met Nellie last year. To see how Nellie [Todd Nelson] runs practices at the American League level was another thing that I can kind of put in the memory bank and use to learn from moving forward."

Hicketts doesn't anticipate feeling any pressure now that he's going to be turning pro rather than returning to junior hockey.

"I think if anything it could be exciting," he said. "I think it's going to be something where the last couple years I figured I was going back to juniors so now it's excitement to trying to push for jobs at the next level, whether that's the National League or the American League. It's something that you look forward to, getting up there every day and competing with the best players in the world."

Savage continues, duly noting that Hicketts, like many prospects, is setting his sights on making the Wings roster, though he knows that proposition is unlikely. Players aim as high as they possibly can when beginning their pro campaigns.

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Evening news: Walleye unveil modified jersey; Fischer working for Czechs; multi-sport talk

Of disparate Red Wings and hockey-related note this evening:

1. The Toledo Walleye unveiled a modified (new) jersey earlier this evening:

Continue Reading »

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Red Wings at the World Cup (exhibition): Tatar, Vanek score for Europe; Marchenko OK for Russia

In Team Europe's 6-2 win over Sweden, Tomas Tatar scored the 2-0 goal, slickly taking a set of passes from Mark Streit and Marian Gaborik and finding the back of the net on Henrik Lundqvist's glove side...

He also had an assist on Anze Kopitar's 6-2 empty-netter, finishing what must have been an 80-to-90-second shift battling as the Swedes pulled Jacob Markstrom. Tatar had a shot, a blocked shot, took a penalty and played 13:43;

Thomas Vanek scored the 4-1 goal, a breakaway thanks to a giveaway by Anton Stralman. Vanek's never going to be a speedster by any stretch of the imagination, but he seems to find the right place on the ice. He finished at +1 with 3 shots and a takeaway in 12:19:

Continue Reading »

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Red Wings at the World Cup (exhibition): Mrazek strong for Czechs, Larkin assists TNA

The Czechs are going to have quite the pickle in picking their starter for Saturday's World Cup opener against the Americans as Petr Mrazek was stout over the second half of Team Czech Republic's 3-2 win over Team North America.

Mrazek stopped 17 of 19 shots over the course of half-a-game's worth of play--he had no chance on Shane Gostisbehere's one-timer from Dylan Larkin, and a bad bounce off a Czech defenseman = he could only get his toe on Auston Matthews' shot--while Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 earlier in the game. Mrazek was absolutely stout late in the game with Team North America pushing hard, especially on the power play.

And for Team North America, Larkin played on a line with Mark Scheifele and Nathan MacKinnon, and he registered a fantastic assist, a shot and a hit in only 10:34 played.

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WHL’s Vancouver Giants to honor Gordie Howe, retire #9

From the Langley Times' Gary Ahjua:

Mr. Hockey will be honoured at the Vancouver Giants regular season opener at the Langley Events Centre. The Giants — set to play their first season at the LEC — will wear special uniforms to pay tribute to Howe in the game against the Everett Silvertips on Sept. 23.

Howe passed away in June at age 88.

The teams will also play with a special No. 9 game puck and the Howe family will be on hand for a pre-game ceremony. Every fan in attendance will also receive a commemorative pin.

Howe was one of the original owners of the Giants when the franchise joined the Western Hockey League in 2001.

“Gordie was a big part of the franchise from the start,” said Vancouver majority owner Ron Toigo. “Along with Pat (Quinn), he gave us instant credibility in the hockey world. He was like family to us (and) we will never forget what he meant to the Giants, and to be sure no one ever does, we will honour him as we did Pat by retiring number 9 on opening night with the Howe family.”

Continued

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Red Wings will stream prospect tournament games

FYI:

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TMR afternoon line: Confidence is key for Jonathan Ericsson

Jonathan Ericsson mostly discussed the status of his hip impingement wtih the media yesterday, but he also made a very telling comment about his play during the past season, as DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted:

"At the end I didn’t feel real confident,” Ericsson said. “What the factors are I’m not sure. I didn’t feel real confident with the puck. It’s something I want to start feeling better. I felt better going into last year with confidence and stuff. Just over the years you lose it sometimes and it’s hard to get it back. You have to get into a good roll with playing and feeling good about everything and that’s a big part in how everyone is playing, I think.”

Wakiji continues...

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Nick Lidstrom helping shape, inspiring Team Sweden’s defense at the World Cup

From Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt:

The accidental architect of the world’s most dynamic blue line stands near a blown-up banner of the Swedish national team logo, sipping coffee from the paper cup in his hand.

It’s been more than four years since Nicklas Lidstrom retired from playing hockey, but he still wears the blue and yellow of Tre Kronor. Along with countrymen Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin, his official title for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey reads SENIOR ADVISOR, though it might as well be IN-PERSON INSPIRATION. When Sweden unloaded here Sunday evening for practice, a particularly meaningful picture was hung inside an auxiliary dressing room: It shows Lidstrom, Alfredsson, and Sundin smiling after beating Finland at the 2006 Torino Olympics, gold medals dangling from their necks.

“They obviously set their mark on the history of the sport,” Swedish defenseman Anton Stralman says. “Look at the music industry—all the bands that come up are influenced by other bands and make them special. I think it’s the exact same thing in hockey.”

Continued

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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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