The Malik Report
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins extended their winning streak to three games and climbed above the 0.500 mark for the first time this season on Wednesday, claiming a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in their 12th annual matinee game at Van Andel Arena.
Rookie netminder Petr Mrazek made 24 saves to backstop the Griffins (5-4-1-1) to their first home win and improve his personal record to 3-0, marking the third-best debut ever for a Grand Rapids goalie. Only Ty Conklin (2011-12) and Mathieu Chouinard (2000-01) enjoyed better starts (5-0) in a Griffins uniform than Mrazek, who currently ranks third in the AHL in both goals against average (1.30) and save percentage (0.954).
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Red Wings forward Darren Helm could be looking at more surgery after getting injured during Friday's player-run practice in Troy.
A source familiar with the situation said Helm suffered a fractured cheekbone. He is to see a specialist today to determine whether the break will heal on its own, or if an operation is required. Helm was injured when he was hit by a puck deflected by defenseman Ian White.
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
The place to feel sorry for is downtown Detroit.
It could use some good financial times.
This was to be a different Winter Classic, bigger and maybe better than the previous outdoor games in Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
The Red Wings had planned a two-week Winter Classic festival for downtown Motor City leading up to the main event on New Year's Day. There was to be nine games played over five days at Comerica Park, the home of the World Series finalist Detroit Tigers, located 70 kilometres from Michigan Stadium....
With only two Detroit Lions games at nearby Ford Field in late December, downtown Detroit establishments like the Hockeytown Cafe, Fishbones, Detroiter, Jacoby's, Old Shillelagh, Sweetwater Tavern, Foran's, Town Pump Tavern and Pappy's won't be able to cash in without the Winter Classic festival.
Lev Prague bought the KHL rights to Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar as an investment in the future rather than with short-term plans in mind, Lev general manager Normunds Sejejs told R-Sport on Thursday.
With nine games for the Red Wings since signing in 2009, Tatar has previously hinted he will look to Europe if he fails to break into the Detroit roster.
Lev traded its first-round draft picks for the next two seasons to SKA St. Petersburg last week in return for Tatar’s rights and goaltender Jakub Stepanek.
KHL rules on lockout signings prevent a team having more than three NHLers on the roster and Lev has reached the limit, meaning Tatar cannot move yet.
“We can’t use him right now. Maybe we buy the rights for the future,” Sejejs said.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at TSN,
The experiment is off to a rousing start.
When the Detroit Red Wings signed free-agent forward Damien Brunner over the summer, they did so with the idea of playing him alongside Henrik Zetterberg. The NHL lockout put a hold on those plans -- at least until Zetterberg contacted his new teammate a couple weeks back and inquired about joining him in Switzerland with EV Zug.
They've been inseparable ever since.
"Detroit said they were going to put (Brunner) on a line with Zetterberg, so I got to do it first," Zug coach Doug Shedden said Wednesday in an interview. "I texted (Red Wings GM) Kenny Holland and said: `It works."'
Has it ever.
Zetterberg is playing like a man possessed with seven goals and 11 points in just five league games -- four of them victories for Zug to go along with a shootout loss -- while Brunner sits on top of the Swiss scoring table. The third member of the line, former Edmonton Oilers forward Linus Omark, is also among the league leaders in points.
continued which includes a look at other NHL players too...
I'm about a week from returning from my uber-virus, but given that the Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival will be canceled today or tomorrow, I need to state the obivous:
Let there be no mistake. When the NHL cancels the Winter Classic and, as the Free Press's Helene St. James has noted, pulls its rink from Comerica Park, it will have declared nuclear war upon not only the NHLPA, but also its most fervent fans--and business partners.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Detroit is dying a little without Datsyuk right now, and Datsyuk is dying a little without Detroit. Asked if he missed Detroit, he did not hesitate.
"Yes," he said. "A lot."
What about it?
"Hockey," Datsyuk said. "Fans. Locker room. People. It's tough a little bit. After over 10 years, you kind of change atmosphere, it's a little bit different."
Datsyuk has played for the Red Wings and lived in the Detroit area since 2001 – except, of course, for the '04-05 NHL lockout, which he spent with Dynamo Moscow. He has won a lot of games. He has made a lot of friends. He has made Detroit his adopted home.
He said he is not following lockout news.
"Remember, Russia is closed country," he cracked. "Nobody knows what's going on."
"No," he continued. "Too expensive in Russia."
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
“While the game may be Jan. 1, I knew that (a decision on the Winter Classic) was coming sooner than people thought,” sports marketer Brian Cooper said Monday. “Say you’re a bank and you’re going to bring down your top 150 wealth management clients and they’re going to block off New Year’s Day — you have to give that a lot of advance, especially if it’s New Year’s Day.”
Cooper, the president and CEO of S&E Sponsorship Group, represents a number of corporate clients who do business with the NHL.
He views the pending cancellation of the Winter Classic as a significant moment in the league’s ongoing labour dispute. The game at Michigan’s “Big House” was one he thought had a tremendous amount of potential because of the inclusion of the Maple Leafs, the first Canadian team to participate.
“This is the first year that it really affects Canada,” said Cooper. “There was going to be a lot of in-market (sponsorship) activations, there were going to be a lot of hosting opportunities, there were going to be consumer promotions. ...
“This was a big date.”
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
With news arriving Friday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had announced the cancellation of all regular-season games through the end of November, members of the locked-out Detroit Red Wings made no effort to hide their distaste for the leader of their league.
“To me, it seems like everything Gary Bettman does is in spite,” Detroit defenceman Ian White said. “It seems like what he does is meant to send a message, or for leverage. It’s always some sort of tactic with him. It doesn’t surprise me.”
Wings centre Darren Helm views the move as a power play by the NHL leaders, a scare tactic if you will. “For them to cancel games right now into November, I don’t quite understand why they’re doing that,” Helm said. It just sounds like it’s a play on their part to get us a little worried, scared about what’s happening....
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