The Malik Report
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan asked Pierre McGuire, Eddie Olczyk and Mike Emrick about Dylan Larkin's status as having made the Wings' NHL roster--as well as Jeff Blashill's qualifications--and the gentlemen replied as follows:
“I’m a big Dylan Larkin fan,” McGuire said. “Have been for a long time. What stood out to me was his speed, his two-step acceleration was as good or better than anybody’s in the (world junior) tournament, and Connor McDavid (No. 1 overall pick) was playing for Canada and Jack Eichel (No. 2 pick) was the captain of the American team and those are two of the leading candidates to be Rooke of the Year. Most people have to go through Grand Rapids before they get an opportunity to play in Detroit. Dylan Larkin is beyond that. He’s going to be a phenomenal player in Detroit for a very long period of time and has a legitimate chance to rival both McDavid and Eichel to be Rookie of the Year in the NHL.”
Larkin, a Waterford native who starred at Michigan his only collegiate season, was told Monday he made the Red Wings roster.
Olczyk saw Larkin play in the Big Ten — Olczyk’s son plays at Penn State — and was impressed with his hockey IQ. But he cautioned fans about expectations and the huge leap from college to the pros.
“Just his smarts will allow to be a very, very impactful player in this league,” Olczyk said. “But there is always that growing — those growing pains that come with any player let alone a kid coming out of university hockey and getting to the NHL. The pro game is much more structured than the college game (but) he has the intelligence, he has that hockey IQ. He has that ability to be able to know that sometime’s it’s okay to live to fight another day. For me, this is one guy that’s got a chance. The Red Wings haven’t had many high draft picks, so to speak. But this is one guy that certainly seems the potential to be one of those guys and they’re going to rely on for a long, long time on both ends of the ice.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five things to watch this week:
Who has emerged as the No. 1 goalie?
Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek both excelled in the preseason, with virtually no separation. Howard was 3-0-0, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. Mrazek was 2-0-1, with 1.99 GAA and .939 save percentage.
It looks like this will be a good, on-going competition, and that will benefit the club. With six sets of back-to-back games the first two months of the season, both figure to see their share of action.
Howard, based on his veteran status, might start the season opener Friday vs. Toronto and Mrazek the next night in Carolina, where he ended 2014-15 with a shutout. Blashill said each will start a game this week.
How will the lines look?
Blashill seems set with his top two lines – he indicated Larkin will skate with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader and it appears Brad Richards will center Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
Riley Sheahan will center the third line with Johan Franzen. Luke Glendening also played on that line most of the preseason. But Glendening could also play center or wing on the fourth line while a more skilled offensive player, like Tomas Jurco or Teemu Pulkkinen, is placed on the third line.
The only thing that's certain about the fourth line is that it will feature Drew Miller, their top penalty-killing forward. If Glendening isn't on the third line, he'll be on the fourth. Joakim Andersson could play center or the wing on this line. Landon Ferraro is in the mix as well.
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Watching Larkin live at Detroit’s Traverse City prospects tournament, it was clear to me that the young center has the chance to be a special NHLer. He thinks the game at a high level and when his team needed a lift, that famed motor that Holland mentioned went into overdrive.
The fact he is still 19 opens up a realm of possibilities around Larkin – not only in terms of what he’ll do locally this season, but also internationally. Perhaps lost in the Red Wings roster news is the fact that Larkin is still eligible to play for Team USA’s world junior entry this winter in Finland. He was one of America’s best players last season in Montreal, though the U.S. fell flat against Russia in the quarterfinal, leading to a disappointing finish.
For Larkin’s new boss, the equation is simple:
“If Dylan’s in the NHL and he’s playing regularly and is important for us, he will not be available,” Holland said. “If he’s in the American League, we’ll make him available.”
In the meantime, Larkin will be getting used to a world in which Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are no longer guys he sees through a TV screen.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi about their preseason experiences with the Red Wings, and while the trio won't start the season on the same line...
Coach Todd Nelson said Athanasiou and Mantha, who both spent last year with the Griffins, will open on a line with veteran Mitch Callahan. Bertuzzi, who shined in the playoffs after a late-season arrival, will be paired with Andy Miele and Mark Zengerle.
"I saw that Double-A and Mantha had good chemistry in Traverse City and we'll start the season with that (line) and see how it goes," Nelson said. "Mantha, he has good size and he has deceptive speed and Double-A skates extremely well. And you add in Callahan and he has grit. On paper at least, that line looks pretty strong."
Wallner's conversation with the trio yielded self-assured comments from Athanasiou:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. MLive's Ian Thibodeau penned an article regarding the construction of the Wings' follow-on rink...
The models and renderings are nice, but the site of the future Detroit Events Center is currently a massive, impressive hole in the earth waiting to be filled.
Things are going according to plan, Sean Hollister, senior construction manager at Barton Malow Hunt and White, said. The 40-foot-deep hole has been dug, earth moved, and crews are working on the concrete walls, rotating clockwise around the spot where the new ice pad will go.
The $532.5 million arena will be finished by the 2017 NHL season, Hollister said. So will the retail and office spaces lining the south and east edges of the bowl, coined buildings A, B and C, the piazza park area, a parking garage, and an underground loading bay.
"All of this needs to be done by the 2017 season," Hollister said, referencing the bustling bowl beneath him.
And he continues...
2. The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Toledo Walleye's training camp is underway:
The AP's Larry Lage posited a Red Wings season preview, and Lage is a Michigan-based journalist, and he wrote a pretty damn thorough preview:
THE NEW GUY: The 41-year-old Blashill led the Griffins for three seasons and helped them win their first AHL title in 2013 after being a Babcock assistant for one season. He also led the Indiana Ice to a United States Hockey League championship in 2009. Blashill was born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., but he isn't in awe of leading a storied franchise in a banner-filled arena. "Not now," he said. "Maybe a little bit in the summer. Maybe the press conference. Now, it's just working. It's my job."
Blashill has gotten rave reviews from the Red Wings. "He's a calm guy who knows what he wants," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "It has been fairly easy to adjust to him because he sees the game similar to Babs." And when Blashill speaks, it is like listening to Babcock. "Yeah, they sound similar," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "But they have a different approach in terms of communication. I think he's going to be great with the younger guys because he coached a lot of them in Grand Rapids."
CLOSING TIME: The Red Wings have failed to advance past the second round since coming one win short of repeating as Stanley Cup champions in 2009. Detroit is coming off a first-round exit against Tampa Bay after losing a 3-2 series lead to the team that went on to win the Eastern Conference. In the second round of the 2013 playoffs, the Red Wings blew a 3-1 series lead to Chicago. "That tells us we're close," Abdelkader said. "If we can get some breaks by staying healthy, I like our chances."
Edit: And this is apparently supposed to be part of the preview:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
Via RedWingsFeed, Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples spoke with Dylan Larkin regarding making the Wings' roster, and to suggest that he's "over the moon" is an understatement:
"Blash called me in, and Ken Holland told me,” Larkin told MiHockey today. “It was just us three in the room, and I couldn’t help but crack a smile.”
The USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and University of Michigan alum certainly impressed during the 2015 preseason; Larkin recorded three goals and an assist in five appearances.
“Incredible,” Larkin said, when asked how he was feeling just hours after the announcement. “It keeps…after scoring a goal against Pittsburgh at The Joe, I got a lot of texts, and today, a lot of texts and tweets and everything, it’s been pretty crazy. It’s been a dream come true. Just to be able to call my mom and tell her, it was one of the best feelings of my life.”
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
DETROIT ASSIGNS THREE, GRIFFINS TRIM ROSTER
10/05/2015 2:45 PM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Monday assigned forwards Mitch Callahan and Andy Miele and defenseman Brian Lashoff to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins assigned forwards Alden Hirschfeld and Dominic Zombo and defensemen Derek Docken and Steve Spinell to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, while releasing forwards Kurt Etchegary, Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Evan Rankin, Josh Shalla, Tyler Sikura and Austin Wuthrich and defensemen Ralfs Freibergs, Jared Nightingale and Andrew Prochno from their tryouts.
The Griffins will drop the puck on their regular season this Friday against the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena at 10 p.m. EDT, before squaring off against the San Diego Gulls the following night at Valley View Casino Center at 10:05 p.m. EDT. Next weekend, Grand Rapids will kick off the home portion of its schedule with back-to-back games against the San Antonio Rampage on Oct. 16-17 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.
As the Grand Rapids Press's Peter Wallner notes, the Griffins lost a player due to a suspension as well:
From the Red Wings:
DETROIT SENDS THREE TO GRAND RAPIDS
… Kindl Placed on IR; Active Roster Reduced to 23…
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forwards Mitch Callahan and Andy Miele and defenseman Brian Lashoff to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Additionally the Red Wings placed defenseman Jakub Kindl on seven-day injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 29.
The Red Wings’ active roster currently stands at 23 players: 15 forwards, six defenseman and two goaltenders, with additional five players on injured reserve.
ESPN's Craig Custance ranks all 30 NHL teams by the quality of their forward lineup, and I'm pleasantly surprised to say that the Red Wings finished in the top third of Custance's list:
8. Detroit Red Wings
Forward cap charge: $38.3 million, 53.3 percent of the cap payroll
Pavel Datsyuk's injury could mean playing time in the top six for talented rookie Dylan Larkin to start the season, and this forward group has the potential to get better as the season progresses. Larkin has had a big training camp and is forcing the Red Wings' hand a bit, but the best path may still be time in the AHL, followed by a productive IIHF World Junior Championship tournament, and then permanent playing time in the NHL in the second half. This group has veteran stars Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, along with young talent in Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan. Sheahan, in particular, is better than people realize. Luke Glendening is the perfect fourth-line center.
Sportsnet's John Shannon issued "one nice thought" for each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams...
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.