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The Malik Report

Ken Holland On Re-Signing Marek Zidlicky And Erik Cole

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Marek Zidlicky has fit in so well with the Detroit Red Wings since being acquired on March 2 that it wouldn't be a surprise to see general manager Ken Holland try to re-sign the veteran defenseman before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Zidlicky has seven points on three goals and four assists in seven games with the Red Wings.

"There's no doubt certainly it's a possibility," Holland said Tuesday from the general managers' meetings. "Now the player has to weigh in."

Holland indicated the possibility exists for the Red Wings to try to re-sign forward Erik Cole, who they also acquired on March 2, but Zidlicky in particularly has filled a big hole as a right-handed shooting defenseman who could quarterback Detroit's power play.


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Practice Tweets: Khan reports Helm healthy during a ‘semi-optional’; Murph on The Fan 590

Updated 6x at 12:18 PM: The Red Wings returned to practice at Joe Louis Arena this morning--sort of--ahead of those big games against the Panthers and Bolts on Thursday and Friday, as MLive's Ansar Khan reported:

Semi-optional practice today as the older players have day off. Helm among those skating.

In his "5 Things to Watch," Khan also noted the following about Thursday and Friday's opponents:

The Panthers are 5-3-0 against the Red Wings since the start of the 2013-14 season, including a 3-0 record in shootouts. It will be Detroit's first game against Florida since it acquired future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr (goal, four assists in seven games).


Tampa Bay is 6-1-0 against the Red Wings since the start of 2013-14, including a 3-0 record in overtime/shootouts.

This always makes me cringe, even though I know the logos are all of a quarter inch below the ice surface:

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Talkin’ about Wings follow-on rink bonds

This isn't something I want to cover, but cover it I must: President Obama has proposed enacting legislation that would end the use of tax-exempt bonds for stadium projects--something that would get traction in congress despite the fact that it's part of the president's budget--but the State has already sold the $350 million in bonds that will be used to pay for 56% of the Wings' follow-on rink, so the Free Press's John Gallagher reports that the bonds won't be affected by any legislation designed to nix 'em:

Michigan officials say the tax-exempt bonds that are paying for Detroit's new arena project, the future home of the Ilitch family's Detroit Red Wings, are too far along in in the pipeline to be affected by the Obama proposal.

"There would be no impact on the Red Wings arena project from this proposal. The arena project bonds have already been sold," said Mark Morante, senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and fund manager for the Michigan Strategic Fund, the state entity that issued the arena bonds.

"The funds at issue are now pledged to bonds and are subject to statutory lien at the (Detroit Downtown Development Authority) and MSF level," he added.

If attempts were made to apply such a ban retroactively, the state could possibly go to court over what Morante called "the broad constitutional issue of impairment of contracts."

Gallagher continues, and my understanding of the proposal (I've been paying attention) is that the fact that the State sold the bonds = the current budget proposal wouldn't affect them because they weren't sold by the City of Detroit, and the fact that they're already in circulation would also make it very hard for any future legislation to nix their use because they're already sold.

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

- Perhaps it's no coincidence the Red Wings' slide started with the first full game Darren Helm missed due to an oblique strain. He is expected to return Thursday against Florida.

The team has missed Helm's speed and tenacity as well as his secondary scoring (13 goals, 29 points in 61 games). He had developed chemistry with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar, doing the heavy lifting for the line by retrieving pucks and going to the net.

- The Red Wings will face a team that is barely alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race in Florida. The Panthers are six points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot, with just 13 games remaining.

Florida has gone 3-1-1 with Dan Ellis in goal, after Roberto Luongo (shoulder) and Al Montoya (groin) were injured in the same game (March 3 vs. Toronto).

The Panthers are 5-3-0 against the Red Wings since the start of the 2013-14 season, including a 3-0 record in shootouts. It will be Detroit's first game against Florida since it acquired future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr (goal, four assists in seven games).

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said on Sunday he hadn't decided if he'll start Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek in Florida. Chances are, whoever doesn't play will start the next night in Tampa Bay.

- Friday's game in Tampa Bay could be a preview of the first round of the playoffs, and it could help determine which club gets home-ice advantage.


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The overnight report: On the Floridian challengers, OT talk, Pulkkinen, training and prospects

I've been ill, doing what I could blog-wise. That's no secret, but the last couple of weeks were trade deadline-y and then antidepressant rebound-y. I'm hoping that The Malik Report gets back to comfortably abnormal this week, starting with today's practice at 11.

The most interesting things I read today came from Paul's blog and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, as well as DetroitRedWings.com's Craig Peterson. First, I read Peterson's "A Look Ahead in Hockeytown," I looked at the standings prior to Tampa Bay's 4-2 win over Montreal, and thought, "Yup, by the end of the week, we might know where the Wings will stand in the Atlantic." Right now, the division looks like this:

So the Wings are currently worried about the fact that the Boston Bruins are only 5 points behind Detroit with a game in hand, but the Wings at least have 2 more wins and 2 more Regulation-or-OT-Wins (ROWs) than the B's, who come to Joe Louis Arena for one final "four-point game" on April 2nd.

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Friedman: NHL may be able to impose higher cap on NHLPA sans inflator vote

This is not the most exciting story you'll read this month, but it will matter if you want your favorite team to re-sign favorite player X who happens to be a restricted or unrestricted free agent this summer (for this blog's usual readers, players such as Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and a bunch of prospects fall into the "restricted" category, and Daniel Cleary, Jonas Gustavsson, Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky will be unrestricted free agents).

If you are not already aware of the situation, the salary cap may not rise this summer because the combination of a declining Canadian dollar's value vs. the U.S. buck and an NHLPA membership tired of eating escrow withholdings of anywhere from 10-20% of their paycheck (with some but not all of that money returned) = the NHLPA may not vote to exercise its right to increase the cap by 5%.

A flat cap of $68 million is obviously going to be a slight pain in the ass for teams looking to re-sign players or sign free agents this summer as so very many of the league's teams nuzzle the salary cap these days

According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox, the NHL has discovered that it may be able to raise the "upper limit" even if the NHLPA does not wish to do so:

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All Alexey Marchenko

from Alessandro Seren Rosso of The Hockey Writers,

In this translated interview, originally appearing on Russian portal sports.ru, Red Wings defenseman Alexey Marchenko talked current season, playing with Pavel Datsyuk, crossing the ocean, and becoming an NHL player.

- Someone says that playing in the NHL is simplier than playing in the AHL. Do you agree?

– It’s simplier, but both leagues have their difficulties. In the NHL the game is smarter and faster. You have less time to take a decision, you need to play the puck faster, and so on. But your team mates are tactically more prepared. They know where to go, and this is a huge advantage. But the AHL is a good league too. There you can get used to the more physical game, because every time you play under pressure. They teach you to play faster, and in the NHL you have to play even faster.

- They say that Datsyuk is always the first player to approach Russian rookies in Detroit, giving his phone number and telling to call whenever is needed.

– It’s like that. He always calls you to invite you to dinner or simply for a greet. We are always together in away trips. Once we get back, he usually sends me a text asking to hang out together. During the games he always talks to me, he says what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. He’s not one of the guys who tells you that if something went wrong it doesn’t matter and that you’re doing great anyway. He can tell you that you played bad. But if he tells you that you played well, then you really played well.

much more

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Dylan Larkin Named Freshman Of The Year And Joins First Team All-Big Ten

from the Big Ten,

The Big Ten Conference announced the hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Monday as selected by the conference's coaches and a media panel. Michigan State's Jake Hildebrand was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year. For the second consecutive season, Minnesota's Mike Reilly was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward, while Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky was selected as the Coach of the Year. Michigan's Dylan Larkin collected Freshman of the Year laurels, while teammate Zach Hyman was named the Big Ten Scoring Champion after leading all players in points during conference play....

Larkin helped guide a Michigan offense that led the Big Ten in scoring in conference play en route to Freshman of the Year accolades. The unanimous selection ranked in the top 10 of numerous conference categories, including second with 32 points, tied for second with 21 assists, tied for fourth with 11 goals and third with 10 power-play points. His 32 points were 16 more than any other freshman in conference contests.

Hyman was tabbed the Big Ten Scoring Champion after pacing all players with 33 points in conference play. Hyman tallied 12 goals and 21 assists in 20 Big Ten contests. The award was added prior to the 2014-15 season.

Hyman, Larkin, Hildebrand and Reilly were joined on the All-Big Ten first team by Michigan's Zach Werenski and Penn State's Casey Bailey. Hyman, Hildebrand and Reilly were each unanimous first-team selections.

read on

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Afternoon news: on Mrazek and Marek

Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news:

The Free Press's Helene St. James addressed the elephant in the room:

The Detroit Red Wings don't play again until the end of the week, when they then will do so twice in 48 hours. In such situations, the vast majority of the time a team uses one goaltender one night and another the next. So there we have it: Odds are Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek will each play again very soon. But in what order?

That's the intrigue rendered after weekend games that saw Howard in net during the 7-2 loss Saturday at Philadelphia and Mrazek in net during the 5-1 victory Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Coach Mike Babcock deferred when asked who'd start Thursday at Florida, saying he wanted to think it over. The Wings took Monday off, but resume practice Tuesday as they prep for a hectic final few weeks.

Babcock made it very clear he didn't fault Howard for the Philly disaster. Babcock also made it clear how highly he thinks of Mrazek's mental toughness, saying after Sunday's game that, "he just thinks that he's going to win and has that capability. We needed a win and we didn't help Howie out (Saturday) and we helped Pete out early and Pete was good."

St. James continues, and the other "elephant" isn't nearly as controversial, per TSN's Scott Cullen's fantasy hockey "heroes"...

Marek Zidlicky – The veteran, and newly-acquired, Red Wings defenceman paced the attack with a goal and two assists in Sunday’s 5-1 win at Pittsburgh. Since coming over from New Jersey, Zidlicky has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in seven games, with five of those points coming on the power play. While the ice has been tilted in his favour, with 75.0% offensive zone starts in Detroit, Zidlicky has put up strong possession numbers (59.9 SAT%, +6.3% Rel. SAT%) in seven games with the Wings.

And MLive's Ansar Khan...

Continue Reading »

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Welcome The Flint Firebirds To The OHL

from Aaron McMann of Mlive,

With an aging Perani Arena serving as the background for a city clamoring for better days, ownership behind Flint's new Ontario Hockey League team extended the first olive branch.

In a swiftly-called news conference Monday, one that was tentatively scheduled for later in the week, IMS Hockey Corp. unveiled "Flint Firebirds" as the name for the hockey team that will call Flint home beginning in the fall.

A firebird, team officials say, represents freedom, oftentimes the result of a difficult journey, and offers significance to residents of Flint and Genesee County.

continued with a picture of their logo...

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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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