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Savage: Gretzky considered being traded to Detroit before heading to Los Angeles

From MLive's Brendan Savage:

It was 28 years ago this week that "The Great One" nearly joined the Detroit Red Wings.

It was on Aug. 9, 1988 that Wayne Gretzky was involved in one of the biggest trades in NHL history, a deal which sent him from the Edmonton Oilers – who had just won the Stanley Cup – to the Los Angeles Kings.

But the Red Wings were actually in the mix for Gretzky, albeit very briefly. Three teams were possible destinations for Gretzky – the Red Wings, Kings and Philadelphia Flyers, whose owner Ed Snider was good friends with Gretzky.

It's no secret Gretzky grew up idolizing Red Wings legend Gordie Howe – he was one of the people who carried the body of "Mr. Hockey" into Joe Louis Arena after Howe's death in June – but it was ultimately Gretzky's father Walter who nixed a possible deal with the Red Wings.

"I grew up a Gordie Howe fan and loved Gordie Howe and the Red Wings," Gretzky told NHL Network. "I really felt 24 hours beforehand that I was going to end up a Detroit Red Wing. Both Janet (Jones, Gretzky's wife) and I thought that was the perfect place to go because A, it was a great hockey city, B, because of Gordie and everything that goes with that.

"And it was really my dad that stepped in and said, 'You know, there's only one Gordie Howe. Detroit's Detroit. They've done everything. You should go to L.A. and put a new mark on life down there, and do something so unique and so different.' And he was the one that stepped in and said, 'You should go play in Los Angeles.' I remember sitting with Janet and I was like, 'Okay. That's where we're gonna go.'"


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Swedish-language news: Kronwall’s charity game, Franzen’s gym design and Zetterberg on the World Cup

Of Swedish language-based Red Wings-related note:

1. Niklas Kronwall and a set of NHL stars are holding a charity game to benefit Kronwall's childhood team, Jarfalla HC, on Friday, and Swedish journalist Marie Hallman reports that Johny Oduya, Patric Hornqvist, Rickard Rakell, Erik Gustafsson, William Nylander, Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom are among the pros taking part in the game. Admission is free but all proceeds will benefit the Jarfalla team;

2. Kronwall spoke with NHL.com/sv's Janne Bengtsson about his hopes to raise a significant chunk of funds for his youth team after holding a week-long hockey camp for 140 kids, and Kronwall also says that he's "building power" in his knees as his off-season training wraps up;

3. Vetlanda-Posten's Julia Brandberg reports that a new gym partially designed by Johan Franzen is opening up at Sapa Arena in Vetlanda. Franzen's been inspired by NHL workouts to build a training area designed to improve explosiveness and speed, though Brandberg reports that Franzen can't take part in the training due to the lingering effects from his concussions. Franzen states that he's not sure whether he'll return home to Sweden as of yet;

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Puck Daddy, WiiM discuss ‘weird’ Red Wings happenings

Yahoo Sports' Puck Daddy blog has been issuing lists of weird NHL happenings on a team-by-team basis, and Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray picked a set of events which include one of my favorite "weird" moments:

2. Dominik Hasek sent Marian Gaborik into liftoff

Anyone who watches hockey can recall this glorious moment. If you can’t, don’t worry. Let’s relive it:

This is perhaps one of my most favorite moments as a Red Wings fan. I remember half-ass watching the game because it was a blowout, I was staring at my homework and brought my attention back to the broadcast when Ken Daniels screamed at the top of his lungs in reaction to Hasek sending Gaborik into the stratosphere.

Hasek was one of – if not the most – exciting goalie to watch because of his unconventional style, and ability to make ridiculously acrobatic saves on nothing more than pure instinct. Hasek claimed to have been going for a pokecheck on this play, which is hilarious seeing that he trucked towards Gaborik like he was shot out of a cannon.

Hasek received a two-minute minor for tripping, while Minnesota brass called for a match-penalty for intent to injure. Hasek preserved his shutout in a 5-0 win. Luckily for Gaborik, he didn’t land on his head.

McIlmurray continues...

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Dan Milstein discusses Pavel Datsyuk’s decision to return home and much more

From @GoldStarHockey's blog: an interview with Dan Milstein:

DAN: Major decisions are difficult. But they come with the territory. For everything we choose - we leave something behind. I’m often asked if I think Pavel should have stayed in Detroit another year. I have no problem telling you that I wish he had, and that I advised him to do so-–very vocally--on multiple occasions. I told him I felt it was the right thing to do , and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had gone either way up until the last meeting we had with Ken Holland, but in the end, it was Pavel’s decision. He has a fierce love for the game, but he is also a husband and father--he didn’t feel he could give his all another year, and that is ultimately an unselfish character decision all about the love of the game, and one the fans and I will have to respect.


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Grand Rapids Griffins will hold one preseason game

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins will gear up for the 2016-17 American Hockey League campaign by playing one preseason game, on the road against the Chicago Wolves on Friday, Oct. 7.

Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. EDT at the West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door.

The two Central Division and former International Hockey League rivals squared off eight times during the 2015-16 regular season. Grand Rapids earned points in seven matchups (6-1-1-0), including a 3-1 record in games at Chicago. The Griffins are coming off their fourth straight Calder Cup Playoff appearance, while the Wolves failed to qualify for the postseason for only the fifth time in the franchise’s 22-year history.

Grand Rapids and Chicago last faced off in the preseason prior to the 2006-07 campaign, resulting in a 3-2 victory for the Wolves at the West Meadows Ice Arena.

The Griffins will begin the home portion of their 2016-17 season with Opening Night presented by Huntington Bank on Friday, Oct. 14 at Van Andel Arena. Additional home dates confirmed by the American Hockey League include Dec. 31, Jan. 7, Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25.

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Morning news: On customer service, a Swedish-language APB, a Chelios signing & on Saarijarvi’s trade

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Red Wings posted a press release stating that their season-ticket department has earned top honors as the best customer service department in the NHL;

2. Arena Digest's Jeff Goldberg duly noted that the topping-off of Little Caesars Arena's roof last week brings Joe Louis Arena one step closer to its "final act";

3. I'm putting out a Swedish APB as Henrik Zetterberg engaged in a lengthy conversation with HockeySverige.se's Ronnie Ronnqvist, and as I'm going to be out of the office for a good chunk of the day, I could use all the help I can get translating this article. According to Expressen's Fredrik Camp and Henrik Sjoberg, Zetterberg has been named captain of the Swedish World Cup team;

4. In public appearance notes, the Chicago Daily Herald's Amy E. Williams reports that Chris Chelios will be signing autographs at the Geneva Collins Mall in Geneva, Illinois on August 27th;

5. And finally, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Vili Saarijarvi's request to be traded from the OHL's Flint Firebirds to the Mississauga Steelheads:

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Three Michigan-born Pittsburgh Penguins will have their ‘days with the Cup’ this weekend

From WXYZ's Brad Galli:

The Stanley Cup is heading back to Michigan. Three Pittsburgh Penguins are carrying it home.

Ian Cole, Bryan Rust, and Kevin Porter will celebrate their days with the Cup this weekend in Southeast Michigan.

Cole will get his turn first, taking the trophy to the Ann Arbor Cube Ice Arena on Friday, August 12. He'll appear there from 2-4 PM.

Fans are encouraged to join the first native Ann Arbor hockey player to win the Cup for autographs and photos.

Rust's day with the Stanley Cup is Saturday, and he's choosing not to hold a public party.

Sunday, Porter will be with the Cup at Kellogg Park in Plymouth from 10 AM-12 PM.

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Toledo Walleye name Andy Delmore assistant coach

From the Toledo Walleye:

Former NHL defenseman named new Assistant Coach

Head Coach Dan Watson announced today that former NHL Defenseman Andy Delmore has been added to the Toledo Walleye coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Watson and Delmore reunite after playing a season together in 1996-97 when both were blue-liners for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. The coaching resume for Delmore starting in 2013 when he was an assistant coach for the Sting over back to back seasons. This past season he was on the staff as an assistant with the University of Windsor, helping to coach the Lancers to a 17-16-1 record.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Andy to the Toledo Walleye staff,” said Head Coach Dan Watson. “He is a very hard worker with a great attention to detail. As a former NHL Player, Andy will bring his great knowledge to the Walleye.”

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Khan discusses Riley Sheahan’s 16-17 outlook

MLive's Ansar Khan discusses Riley Sheahan's 2016-17 season outlook this morning:

2016-17 outlook: After struggling most of the season, including a poor stretch in January and February, Sheahan began utilizing his big frame. He made a concerted effort to go to the net and stay there and it paid off with better production. He's not going to be a physical force but he played the body more the final quarter of the season.

He is important because of his size, something the club lacks, and versatility. He can provide a net-front presence on the second power-play unit and he kills penalties. He is a reliable defender and has some offensive upside.
Consistency has been an issue the past two seasons. He has experienced too many long stretches of ineffectiveness.

He'll probably start the season as the third-line center but can play the wing in a bottom-six capacity.

Key question: Is Sheahan better utilized as the third-line center or on the wing?

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The Outlook For Petr Mrazek

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking ahead: The Wings have Mrazek pegged as their goaltender of the future, but the sides differed enough in their evaluation of Mrazek’s value that the Wings filed for arbitration (a settlement was reached on the day of the hearing). There are concerns about Mrazek’s durability and consistency, to which the Wings hope he delivers reassuring answers next season. Goaltending coach Jeff Salajko was promoted from Grand Rapids to the Detroit job, reflecting Salajko’s history with Mrazek dating to the start of the 2013-14 season. Mrazek lacks for neither confidence nor skill, and just needs to keep developing and show better consistency and durability.


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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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