The Malik Report
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 8:36 in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 win over HV71. Ehn's slowly but surely earning a full-time role with Frolunda;
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -1 with 2 shots in the Flint Firebirds' 2-0 loss to Windsor;
And in the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 17 of 17 shots in the Wenatchee Wild's 3-0 win over Prince George.
The Detroit Red Wings face the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/TSN 5/RDS I/97.1 FM; tonight is Hockey Fights Cancer night at Joe Louis Arena) with the Red Wings hoping to snap a streak in which they've lost 5 of 6 games, and the Senators hoping to build upon the momentum generated by Wednesday's 5-4 shootout win over Calgary.
The Red Wings have found themselves offensively challenged of late, so they shifted lines during Thursday's practice--reuniting the Larkin-Zetterberg-Abdelkader and Tatar-Sheahan-Nyquist lines, shifting Darren Helm to center the "third line" with Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco, and returning Luke Glendening to his fourth-line center's role.
Our friends in Ottawa were more than happy to talk about topics that aggravated them after a short practice on Thursday, but the comments that drew the media's attention came from Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, who told the media that, after four overtimes that have ended in shootouts for the Senators, he feels that 3-on-3 OT is gimmicky. Sportsnet captured Karlsson's take:
From the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
He loves hockey. He still wants to play, and he is happy to do it in the AHL. Oh, sure, more NHL play remains a possibility. But there is other work to be done, by a tough-as-nails guy from the small, historic town of Carbonear, on Conception Bay in Newfoundland, who struggled long and hard to build an NHL career, though early disappointment and injury.
“I’m having a great time,” he said of his determination to return to the ice in the AHL.
“You know, listen, I just needed some time to think. I think I earned that right just to think anytime you’re told something — you’ve got to go somewhere different. So I took some time, talked to a bunch of people,” including two wise men of the game and former teammates, Chris Chelios, executive adviser to Wings general manager Ken Holland, and Kris Draper, Holland’s special assistant.
“Cheli was a big influence. Drapes was a big influence. Plus I know lots of guys down here,” Cleary said. “You know, I just love it. I love playing. I love the preparation. And yeah, I wasn’t ready. So, I took the two-mile ride down to join them.”
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
The Wings continue to stand in last place in the league in shots per game at 24.3.
The Philadelphia Flyers lead the league in that category with 34.9 shots per game.
"We need to spend more time in their zone, create some O zone time because we get into their zone and as soon as we get there, they chip the puck out," Tatar said. "We have to hold on to it, create some chaos down there. We have to spend more time in the O zone, we know that for sure, and from the O zone time we can get more shots, obviously."
One area the Wings have worked on is being harder on the puck once it's in the offensive zone.
"As we’ve gone through the nine games I think five of the nine we’ve had greater zone time than we’ve spent in our own end," Blashill said. "But we gotta create more off of it and we’ve got to make other teams continue to defend so that they’re tired by the time they get the puck out, but also create offense out of it. I think we can still do a better job of that."
Abdelkader said they have to be able to maintain their speed throughout the game.
"I think we’re maybe a little slow to pucks at times," Abdelkader said. "We have to be more physical, keep our shifts short so we can go at a high tempo. I think sometimes we get stuck out there a little too long."
Another part of that is face-offs. The Wings are currently 25th in the league with a 47.5 face-off winning percentage.
Updated at 2:25 PM: The Red Wings' practice on Thursday yielded the reuniting of the Larkin-Zetterberg-Abdelkader and Nyquist-Sheahan-Tatar lines, a bit of a surprise in that Jeff Blashill named Jimmy Howard his starter for Friday night's game vs. Ottawa, and a heavy emphasis on improving entries on the power play.
The Senators didn't reveal whether Craig Anderson or Andrew Hammond would start on Friday's game, but as Ottawa's coming off a 5-4 shootout win that snapped a 4-game winless streak, the Red Wings will have to match Ottawa's depseration if Detroit is to exit its stretch of losing 5-out-of-6.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with coach Blashill regarding the team's line shifting...
The Muskegon Chronicle's Mark Opfermann spoke with Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot regarding a variety of Red Wings and hockey-related topics:
Q. The Red Wings are off to a .500 start, how do you see the team right now?
A. I see them needing to grab hold of a little bit of an identity. I think it's time for some of the younger core guys that have been here a few years now, it's their team and they have to grab a bigger piece of that and establish that identity. They're going through a little bit of a transition phase, but part of that is who's going to establish that? (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Niklas) Kronwall are tremendous leaders, the organization is well established, but it's transition time and some of those younger guys have to step up and grab it and be the reason they're going to win.
Q. It's a contract year for Muskegon's Justin Abdelkader and he has to be considered one of those guys, right?
A. Yes. He's the perfect example for any player that has aspirations to play at a higher level. He's gotten better at something each and every year once he turned pro. He's worked his way into a position of prominence on that team and he wants to score. They need him to score now, but he's the type of player, if the puck is not going in the net, he's still doing a lot of things that help this team win hockey games.
Updated 6x at 12:38 PM with Howard starting Friday: This morning, the Red Wings got back to work ahead of Friday and Saturday's home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators (who defeated the Calgary Flames 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday), hoping to shake off what's become a 5-of-their-last-6-games losing/winless streak.
MLive's Ansar Khan first reported in...
Wings on ice for practice. Datsyuk skating again. Injured players Green, Quincey and Richards not skating.
With DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose following...
The #RedWings are on the ice this morning. Everyone who should be out here is practicing.
And the Wings posting a Vine video of practice:
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill appeared on the NHL on Sirius XM Radio this morning, speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson regarding the Wings' start, areas for improvement and more over the course of a 13-minute interview:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
We know that Dylan Larkin will remain with the Red Wings past the 10-game mark that will burn a year of his entry-level contract, but the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that Larkin hasn't necessarily been told to "get a place":
If Dylan Larkin plays Friday night at home against Ottawa it’ll be his 10th game of the season and his entry-level deal will kick in.
“I haven’t heard anything,” said Larkin, who’s not staying at a hotel any longer. “I just try and play, have fun every day. I don’t really get caught up in that stuff that much.”
Blashill brushed off the question.
“That would be a question for Kenny (Holland),” Blashill said. “For us, it’s does he help us win games and so far I think you’ve seen he’s helped us win games and that’s the way I continue to evaluate it. I believe that’s the same way Kenny would think but I’ll let Kenny speak for himself.”
Larkin was busy on Wednesday night, however:
from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshots,
Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Wednesday evening.
As part of a larger conversation on the Detroit Red Wings:
“They’ve got so many good young players. Dylan Larkin is going to be a star. I mean, Petr Mrazek has a chance to – and I say this, I’ve got to be careful how I say this – you see what Carey Price is doing for the Montreal Canadiens. I think there will be a point in time where Petr Mrazek might do the same sort of thing in terms of the athletic ability to dominate his position, when he gets older and more experienced, as what Price has been doing… but there hasn’t been enough consistency, and I think that’s something they’re working on.”
On Dylan Larkin, and how unusual it is to see the Red Wings put a player this young into the lineup:
“It gives you some idea of how good they think Larkin is. They won’t come out and say it publicly, but they think he’s got a chance to be a special player. Somebody who really has unbelievable leadership qualities.
“The unspoken thing in Detroit is that he might – and I say might because it’s too big a mantle to throw on anybody – but maybe he becomes Detroit’s Jonathan Toews.
Update: Here's the McKenzie interview:
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.