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Prospect news: Holmstrom, Skelleftea lose; Griffins and Walleye news and notes

Of prospect-related note:

In playoff action, in the SHL, Axel Holmstrom played 5:56 in Skelleftea AIK's 4-3 OT loss to the Vaxjo Lakers. Vaxjo tied the SHL semifinal at 3 games apiece;

In regular season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins play the Iowa Wild tonight, and they're going to have an important observer on their team:

The Griffins also filed a game-day preview video (hello, Anthony Mantha!):

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Evening news: Videos, ‘unfinished business,’ more Datsyuk, Bolts and Wings remarks and more

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Free Press posted a video of Henrik Zetterberg addressing his friend Pavel Datsyuk's comments made over the past couple of days:

2. Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, Bob Wojnowski and Gregg Krupa engaged in a 7-minute roundtable preview of the Wings-Lightning series:

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TMR afternoon lines: Bolts want to get back to the Cup Final, but are wary of the Wings

The Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith, the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson and TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns filed practice reports on Monday, reporting that Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman all skated despite nagging injuries, and Tyler Johnson may or may not skate with the team tomorrow.

Burns also offers two quips which will serve as "afternoon lines":

Callahan said the Lightning have been looking forward to returning to the playoffs since the second they lost to Chicago in Game 6 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. “The first thing you think of (after losing in the Final) is you want to start again and you want to get back to where we are,” he said. “It’s a long 82-game schedule, and now we’ve gotten back to that point. Nothing’s going to be given to us."

Bishop expects Detroit to come out gunning for the Lightning after the Red Wings fell in seven hard-fought games in last year’s First Round playoff series. “They’re going to have a chip on their shoulders,” he said. “We eliminated them in the First Found, and they’re going to have that in the back of their minds, kind of like us and Montreal last year. We know they’re going to have a little bit extra motivation I think. We’ve just got to be ready for Game 1.”

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Savage: Jimmy Howard’s reclaimed his crease

MLive's Brendan Savage penned a long column about Jimmy Howard's resurgent play, discussing Howard's recovery from a serious mid-season slump with Howard himself, with Wings coach Jeff Blashill and with teammates Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg:

He blanked the New York Rangers for 60 minutes at Madison Square Garden before the Red Wings lost 1-0 in overtime and the victory drought ended in his next outing, when Howard made 39 saves in a 3-2 OT victory over Western Conference champion Dallas.

But according to Howard, his return to form actually began earlier.

"Everyone's going to point to the Rangers and the Dallas game," he said. "But I think there were a couple games I played even before that where I thought I played some good games but didn't get the results and didn't get the bounces and you end up losing in this league with that. It was just a work in progress.

"I never wavered confidence. If I did that, I wouldn't be in the NHL. It was just a thing of needing to get some puck luck and a couple bounces here and there to go my way and just try and get the ball rolling again.

"It was challenging. I just think it goes to show you can't throw in the towel. If you keep working hard, if you keep doing the little things and stay the course, good things can happen to you out there."

Savage continues...

Update: Here's more on Howard from the Free Press's George Sipple:

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THN’s Campbell: Datsyuk’s behavior is unacceptable

The Hockey News's Ken Campbell believes that Pavel Datsyuk is being "let off the hook" for what he believes is irresponsible behavior:

I will not be chewing on porcelain anytime soon and I will not back down. What Datsyuk is doing is risking putting the organization in one terrible bind. Because the contract was signed after Datsyuk turned 35, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could take it off the books. As thn.com pointed out last week, the Red Wings could try to move the contract to a team that needs the cap hit to get up to the salary floor. That team would then agree to terminate Datsyuk’s deal, which would allow him to play in the KHL. The two leagues have an agreement to respect each other’s contracts so terminating his NHL deal is the only way Datsyuk would be able to play in Russia next season.

Datsyuk’s agent, Daniel Milstein, said the Red Wings told him they would not trade Datsyuk’s contract, but the Red Wings haven’t uttered a word publicly about the Datsyuk situation. When asked by thn.com, Red Wings GM Ken Holland would not say what his plans are concerning Datsyuk and reiterated that he would only address the situation after the playoffs. Undoubtedly Holland has a plan here. We just don’t know what it is yet.

Which brings us back to Datsyuk, who apparently ‘earned’ the right to do this, essentially because he’s an all-round good guy and great teammate and has given the Red Wings 14 seasons of loyal service. But what about the organization that has paid him $73.6 million in career earnings to play for it and is fully willing to give him another $5.5 million next season? What about the organization that offered a declining and injury-prone 36-year-old a three-year contract worth $22.5 million. Why is the Red Wings fault for offering him a deal that’s one year too long, but Datsyuk bears none of the responsibility for accepting it, then possibly turning his back on it?

Campbell continues...

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Datsyuk’s teammates and coach weigh in on an in-flux situation

I've included a boatload of Pavel Datsyuk comment videos in the practice post, and if you want to hear Datsyuk's full presser (with the speakers cranked up to 11), WXYZ posted all 6:10 of Datsyuk's media availability...

But Datsyuk's teammates made some intriguing comments about #13 as well, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...

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Wings-Bolts TV sked: It appears that Games 1-4 will air on FSD

Yesterday, the NHL posted its Wings-Lightning schedule...

Date        TIME (ET)        #2 Tampa Bay vs. #3 Detroit        Networks              
Wednesday, April 13        7 p.m.                Detroit at Tampa Bay                NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Friday, April 15                7 p.m.                Detroit at Tampa Bay                CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 17                7 p.m.                Tampa Bay at Detroit                CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 19        7 p.m.                Tampa Bay at Detroit                NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 21        TBD                Detroit at Tampa Bay                 TBD
*Sunday, April 24        TBD                Tampa Bay at Detroit                TBD
*Tuesday, April 26        TBD                Detroit at Tampa Bay                TBD

It appears that the first four games of the Wings-Bolts series will air on Fox Sports Detroit. A report from the Detroit News and a report from WXYZ that Games 1-4 will be on FSD and that CNBC/NBCSN will be blacked out are enough of an indication that FSD will air said games, as is the fact that Games 1-4 will air on Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports in Tampa Bay.

Paul reports that there will be a one-hour playoff preview special from 6-7 PM on Wednesday.

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Articles from practice: Datsyuk talk dominates Monday’s discussion

Updated 9x at 3:13 PM: The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning practiced ahead of Wednesday night's Game 1 of their first-round series series, and the main discussion from the Red Wings' practice involved Pavel Datsyuk's status, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

“Everything is possible,” said Datsyuk. “It’s hard to make a 100-percent decision now. Now, I’m more focusing on the playoffs. I want to be fair with everybody, especially the fans.”

Datsyuk’s daughter, Elizabeth, is 13 and living in Russia.

“My oldest is at home (in Russia),” Datsyuk said Monday. “But I know this is the best league and the best organization and they always helped me and supported me. (But I want to) stay as long as possible in the organization.”

Captain Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuik’s closest friend on the team, said this situation reminds him of earlier situations with Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom, when speculation was rampant about when they’d be retiring.

“It’s like when all the guys that have been here for a long time move on,” Zetterberg said. “We went through it with Steve and Nick and now it looks like we’ll go through it with Pavel. I’m just glad I had a chance to play with him all these years and look forward to a last pow-wow.”

Kulfan continues, and ESPN's Craig Custance filed a report from the Datsyuk presser:

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Reminder: Griffins to collect ‘Water For Flint’ on Wednesday

ESPN 96.1 posted a very important reminder for Griffins fans:

From the Griffins:

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72 questions with Pavel Datsyuk: ‘My mind is not 100% made up’

So this happened:

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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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