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Prospect news: Griffins lose Purple Game, Callahan; Bertuzzi paces Guelph, McNulty assists Blazers

The Grand Rapids Griffins' Purple Game went well charitably-speaking but didn't go so well in the results department. Grand Rapids rallied from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits as Teemu Pulkkinen scored 2 more goals, but the Griffins lost Mitch Callahan en route to a 5-4 OT loss to San Antonio.

The Griffins' website filed a recap...

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Red Wings to hold ‘Fan Day at the Joe’ on Thursday, March 5th

From the Red Wings:

… Fun-Filled, Free Event Presented in Partnership with Coke Zero and Kroger …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings have teamed up with Coke Zero and Kroger to present the 2015 edition of Coke Zero Fan Day at Joe Louis Arena, scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 5 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

In order to obtain tickets to this fun-filled, free event, citizens of Hockeytown must attend an upcoming Detroit Red Wings Experience Day, presented by Coke Zero, which gives fans a chance to test their skills at various interactive hockey games and take photos with player cut-outs. Red Wings Alumni Association members Larry Murphy and Darren McCarty will be in attendance to sign autographs at upcoming Detroit Red Wings Experience Days.

This year’s Coke Zero Fan Day provides a behind-the-scenes look at Joe Louis Arena with several unique photo opportunities for fans, such as a chance to take a photo with Nick Lidstrom’s recently-retired jersey banner and Al Sobotka’s famed Zamboni. Locker room tours will also be available to fans in attendance.

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St. James, Khan, Kulfan: Red Wings will stick with 3-goalie rotation…for now.

Updated 7x, quite significantly, at 4:45 PM: Some interesting news popped up at the end of the Red Wings' practice on Friday, per the Free Press's Helene St. James...

Per Babcock, Jimmy Howard starting Saturday, Petr Mrazek backing up


Asked Ken Holland about goaltending situation, was told no decision today for Red Wings

MLive's Ansar Khan...

Babcock said Mrazek will back-up Howard tomorrow vs. Jets. They'll take it day by day after that, so no decision yet on if he'll go to GR.


Holland said no decision today on what they'll do about their backup goalie.

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

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NHL video: Datsyuk and Friday the 13th

NHL.com posted a very clever video regarding a certain #13 and Friday the 13th superstitions:

(We won't tell NHL.com that Datsyuk is in fact quite superstitious)

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Practice Tweets: Wings revert to ‘usual lines’; Mrazek still practicing w/ team

Update #1 right on top @ 12:19 PM: From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Per Babcock, Jimmy Howard starting Saturday, Petr Mrazek backing up

The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena today, hoping to rebound from Wednesday night's loss to Pittsburgh knowing that an aggravated Jets team (Winnipeg lost 3-1 to Nashville last night) will want to steal two home points from the Wings tomorrow.

Detroit's only home games of the month--Saturday vs. Winnipeg and Monday vs. Montreal--take place this weekend(ish), and as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes, the Wings have a personnel decision to make:

#RedWings are on the ice for practice this morning. All 3 goalies are skating. Holland said he'll likely make a decision today on Mrazek.

It looks like the lines have reverted back to their most recently familiar forms, despite coach Babcock's decision to reunite Datsyuk and Zetterberg, the Tatar-Sheahan-Nyquist line and the Miller-Glendening-Andersson line for the 3rd period of the Wings' loss on Wednesday:

#RedWings lines in practice today:  Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader;  Tatar-Datsyuk-Helm; Jurco-Sheahan-Glendening; and Miller-Andersson-Weiss

While we're waiting for more Tweets (or I am, at least), this didn't make the pre-practice news entry, but this mailbag answer from ESPN's Craig Custance (insider-only) may answer a question that those who believe the Wings need to add a top-six-or-nine forward might be asking...

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Pre-practice post: on Mantha, ‘Asking Ansar,’ Fedorov’s MSHOF speech and ‘news from other blogs’

Updated with a superb Luke Glendening interview at 10:52 AM: Amongst this morning's pre-practice articles of note:

Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins forward Anthony Mantha and Griffins coach Jeff Blashill about Mantha's slow progress developing into a pro hockey player, and Mantha readily admits that missing two months with a broken right leg placed him behind the learning curve:

In 36 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mantha has eight goals and 10 assists.

“I think its been hard. Especially starting late on everyone, but I’m getting there now and its going up hill,” Mantha said of the adjustment. “The guys are way better over here. They’re stronger; they’re harder on the puck. The goalies are also really good over here.”

Despite his early season struggles, Griffins’ coach Jeff Blashill has no doubt about Mantha’s future in the game.

“He’s got special skill for a guy his size. He can do things that other guys just can’t do,” said Blashill. “He’s going to be a great player; I truly believe that and its just going to be a matter of time. When you care as much as he cares, as soon as he learns the daily attention to detail and the daily work ethic it takes, with his skill set, he’s going to be a special player.”

Mahibian continues, and his article's superb...

At the NHL level, MLive's Ansar Khan answered questions in his "Ask Ansar" mailbag feature...

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The overnight report: Sergei Fedorov inducted into Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and…notes…

Sergei Fedorov was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, and he got downright (and appropriately) sentimental about coming back to Metro Detroit, as the Detroit News's Angelique S. Changelis and Tony Paul noted:

Fedorov landed in Detroit on Wednesday after an 18-hour flight from his native Russia, where he currently is coaching. He said he suddenly was struck with nervousness about his induction.

(General managing...He's CSKA Moscow's general manager)

"I had a few extra beats of my heart when I land in Detroit, because I'm coming for a special, honorable occasion like this," Fedorov said. "I'm very honored. It's close to my heart. I feel like I just got back home from a long trip."

Fedorov and Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple regarding the "thawing" relationship between Fedorov and his former employer; it certainly sounds like between the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown and Fedorov's visits to the Wings' press box last spring, the vast majority of the animosity remaining from Fedorov's decision to leave the Wings in 2003 appears to have finally dissipated:

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Red Wings will hold charity poker tournament on trade deadline Tuesday

This is ironic in the traditional sense thereof: The Red Wings posted a press release on their Red Wings Foundation website, announcing the date of the team's charity poker tournament, and it turns out that the Wings are going to play Texas Hold'Em poker on trade deadline day:

Only 108 fans will have the chance to go head-to-head with a Red Wings player in a game of Texas Hold’Em on Monday, March 2, at the MotorCity Casino Hotel Charity Poker Tournament benefiting the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. Fans can reserve a seat in the tournament by making a $400 donation to the Foundation.

The evening will begin at MotorCity Casino Hotel with participants enjoying a strolling dinner reception with Red Wings players in Sound Board at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Texas Hold’Em tournament in the Poker Room starting promptly at 6:30 p.m. Participants in the tournament can purchase up to two additional dinner seats for a $100 donation apiece.

All poker players walk away a winner with a parting gift and an overnight room compliments of MotorCity Casino Hotel. The top 10 finishers will be awarded prizes, including the grand prize trip for two on Red Bird III during the 2015-16 preseason. The second-place finisher will receive a suite for a Red Wings home game during the 2015-16 regular season. Third place will receive four tickets to an upcoming home game and fourth through tenth place will receive an autographed, game-used hockey stick.

Fans can reserve a room and seat in the charity poker tournament by visiting http://www.DetroitRedWings.com/Poker or by calling 313-471-7579.

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Prospect news: Axel Holmstrom, Janmark star in SHL play

As noted in the off-day post, Mike McKee and Teemu Pulkkinen received profiles because McKee's rounding into a sound defensive forward at Western Michigan Univeristy and Pulkkinen's playing downright dominant hockey in the AHL, respectively...

And of the three Wings prospects who played hockey today, two of them had superb outings.

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored game-tying 3-3 and 4-4 goals in Skelleftea AIK's 5-4 loss to Lulea (click on the link for highlights), and Holmstrom's 2 goals, +1 and 33% faceoff winning percentage came in 15:05 of 4th line play;

Mattias Janmark also scored the game-tying goal and registered an assist in the Frolunda Indians' 4-3 shootout loss to Djurgardens IF (again, link --> highlights), and Janmark took 4 shots, finished at +1 and played 19:31 on Frolunda's 1st line;

And back over on this side of the pond, in the OHL, Jake Paterson faced a 40-shot barrage and stopped 36 of them in the Kitchener Rangers' 4-1 loss to Windsor.

FTR: Julius Vahatalo is playing in the Finnish J20 league, and he registered an assist in TPS Turku's 4-2 loss to Tappara yesterday.

Update: Fox 17's Steve Amorose filed a report dicussing Jared Coreau's status given that Petr Mrazek's demotion to Grand Rapids may send Coreau to the ECHL despite a superb sophomore campain with the Griffins:

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Club teams help Detroit earn its ‘Hockeytown’ moniker, churn out NCAA athletes & NHL’ers

"Hockey season" will last for at least two more months in the NHL, but in developmental hockey leagues, we're already in "championship season," and as such, Crain's Detroit Business's Bryan Gurvey wrote a wonderful article explaining why Detroit can now back up its "Hockeytown" moniker.

While Metro Detroit may not have the high school hockey tradition Minnesota can boast (though we're catching up), our "club" hockey programs are unparalleled, and between Detroit Honeybaked, Belle Tire, Compuware, Little Caesars, the U.S. National Team Development Program and the region's 4 OHL franchises (Flint, Saginaw, Sarnia and Windsor), Southeastern Michigan and Southwestern Ontario is something of a professional hockey player factory...

And, as Gurvey notes, it's the "club" teams that lead the way:

HoneyBaked Ham Co. sells glazed, spiral-cut hams at 425 shops nationwide. Little Caesars is one of the world’s largest pizza chains. Compuware Corp. is a business software firm with thousands of customers. Together they’ve produced more than 50 players for the National Hockey League.

Only in ice hockey — and almost exclusively in Detroit — do large companies lend their brands and hundreds of thousands of dollars to individual teams that shape grade-schoolers into college and big-league prospects.

Some youth soccer teams wear sponsors’ logos, and companies such as Nike Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. subsidize soccer, lacrosse, and basketball camps and tournaments. But those arrangements are a far cry from the Motor City’s year-round, vertically integrated hockey machine.

Along with retailer Belle Tire Inc. and auto dealer Victory Honda, Little Caesars, Compuware and HoneyBaked are known in the hockey world less for what they sell than how teams wearing their colors rank among the best in North America.

Frank Provenzano, former assistant general manager for two NHL teams, skated against some of Detroit’s corporate squads when he was growing up in Canada. “I didn’t even know what Compuware was,” he says. “I still don’t. I just know they put out great hockey teams.”


[edit: The best part of this article is that whether Darren Eliot's talking about the club system or others weigh in, this article describes the way things work "warts and all," and I haven't read an article both this supportive toward AND critical of the Detroit hockey machine in a long time /end edit].

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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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