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The Malik Report

Pre-practice(?) articles and Bolts Tweets: Babcock on WDFN; Bolts take an optional

Amidst a note from the Free Press's Brian Manzullo stating that nobody's picking the Wings to win their series against Tampa Bay--including the CBC, CBS Sports' Bryan Altman (via RedWingsFeed) and Fox Sports' Craig Morgan--and quite the ramble about this playoff run possibly being Mike Babcock's "Last Waltz" with the Wings from Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun, Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot had a radio kibits with WDFN's Matt Sheppard, as did that Babcock guy:

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Gordie Howe’s health continues to slowly improve

The Associated Press posted an update on Gordie Howe's health, and given that he's 86 and battling dementia, things are going as well as we can possibly hope:

He can walk slowly and speak, though not loudly. His shortened gait is more the result of back pain than the stroke, Murray Howe said.

There's little doubt his spirits are high. At a recent session of occupational and physical therapy in Lubbock, Howe eyes twinkled and he smiled every now and then as he flirted with the two young women putting him through his paces. He even planted an innocent, light kiss on the cheek on his occupational therapist and twirled her once as if they were dancing.
Fat chance: 10 unbreakable NHL records

    Which marks will stand the test of time? How about The Great One's 2,857 career points? Or Chicago goalie Glenn Hall's streak in net? Check out the records that won't be touched.

''He is doing extremely well, very well for his age,'' said Nathalie Geddie, Howe's physical therapist, adding that he still has weakness on his right side. ''To think about how far he's come since he's had his stroke, he's made significant functional gains.''

Howe's hand-eye coordination remains sharp. When Murray Howe gently tossed worn, yellow tennis balls for Howe to hit with a PVC pipe that's normally used to work on his range of motion, he hit nearly every one of them.

''It's a pleasure to see him like this, as compared to how he was,'' Marty Howe said. ''Because how he was just sitting in the bed, laying down drooling, and that was what was going to be the rest of his life.''


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Griffins recall Paterson, Hirschfeld, Czarnowczan from Toledo

The Grand Rapids Griffins have seen Teemu Pulkkinen, Landon Ferraro and Alexey Marchenko head to Detroit and Petr Mrazek establish himself as the Wings' #1A goalie, so it's not surprising that the Griffins made 3 recalls from Toledo this morning:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday reassigned goaltender Jake Paterson from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins recalled forward Alden Hirschfeld and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan from the Walleye.

Detroit’s third choice (80th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paterson has split this season between the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit. In 24 games with Saginaw, Paterson accumulated a 12-11-1 record, a 3.48 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage before being traded to Kitchener, where he posted a 14-10-2 regular season record with a 2.37 GAA and a 0.929 save percentage. The 20-year-old also suited up for six playoff games with the Rangers, producing a 2-4 record and a 5.18 GAA, before being reassigned to Toledo.

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The overnight report: On the right goalie ‘for now,’ playoff previews and the Lightning

Maybe it's because I played goal--and I hate to pull out the, "Oh yeah, I played the game" cliche--but maybe it's because I played goal that I didn't really bat an eyelash at Mike Babcock's decision to start Petr Mrazek over Jimmy Howard for Game 1 of the Wings-Lightning series (at least).

Playing goal is a merciless business, and between my time in the net and time as a hockey fan, I can tell you that when your starter doesn't have his shit together, you're not going to play for long, and for whatever reason, no matter how hard coach Babcock's tried to give equitable footing to both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, Howard's looked "off" since returning from his groin injury...

And the kinds of goals that Howard and Petr Mrazek have given up can't both be chalked up to "rookie mistakes" or the technical sloppiness of youth.

So you don't start the guy who doesn't have his game in order. As the coach said on Monday, it's the playoffs, it's about who's going to play best for the team. The end, right?

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Evening news: A bit of pre-playoff potpourri

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The vote on the Red Wings' plans to demolish the Hotel Park Avenue and retain the Hotel Eddystone have been delayed for a week. The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, MLive, WXYZ, WDIV, MLive, the Metro Times and CBS Detroit/WWJ have more on this, but what you need to know is that the reason this issue is a sticking point is that Olympia development doesn't want to have to craft legal language around the issue, and in a push-back, the City of Detroit is trying to grab more say in how many Detroiters are hired for the project (the agreement with the City has 50% of the construction staffed by Detroit-based workers and firms), which could seriously delay the project;

2. In TV news, Fox Sports Detroit has confirmed that it will carry every game but Game 2 of the Wings-Bolts series locally (FTR: Game 2 will air on CNBC for those of you who will be relying on NBC Universal for your Wings coverage);

3. In "on the radio" news, Mickey Redmond discussed the Wings-Bolts series with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew Lane:

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Mike Babcock talks about goaltending, playoff match-up on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock gave a short interview to Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery on Monday, and he discussed his lineup decisions at some length while jam-packing a 6-and-a-half minute interview with content:

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Grand Rapids Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan earns AHL’s sportsmanship/dedication award

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League on Monday announced that Grand Rapids Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan has been named the 2014-15 winner of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

A native of Hope, B.C., Hoggan has continuously proven himself to be a leader both on and off the ice. In his third season with the Griffins and 13th as a professional despite being undrafted out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the 37-year-old Hoggan has banked 29 points (14-15—29), 39 PIM and a plus-22 rating this season. On Saturday, he scored the game-tying goal at San Antonio with just 49 seconds remaining, enabling an eventual overtime victory and preserving Grand Rapids’ one-point lead atop the Midwest Division.

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Red Wings bring back ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ campaign

Free advertising (and I like the idea, I'm glad they're sticking with it)...

... Several New Elements, Including Downloadable Playoff Emojis and a Meme Generator, Join List of Returning Fan Favorites in ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ Campaign …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings announced today the return of the ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ playoff campaign to encourage fans to connect and cheer on the Red Wings as the team embarks on its historic 24th straight playoff run.

Building off the success of last year’s ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ campaign, which garnered more than 20 million impressions through Red Wings social media, the multi-platform campaign returns to Detroit for the third year with a revamped look and even more ways for fans to “Join the Movement” and interact with each other and the team.

During Detroit’s journey through the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Red Wings fans can join the ‘Octopi Hockeytown’ movement by logging on to http://www.OctopiHockeytown.com power,ed by MotorCity Casino Hotel. The website serves as the online hub for fans to show their support for the team and partake in numerous digital campaigns and contests.

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Post-practice articles: Mrazek starts, Marchenko and Ferraro are ‘in,’ Abdelkader questionable

Updated 11x at 4:15 PM: The Red Wings' practice revealed that Petr Mrazek's starting in Game 1 of the Wings-Bolts series and that Justin Abdelkader is perhaps a "maybe" for a lineup that will include Alexey Marchenko and Landon Ferraro, but not Brendan Smith.

Outside Southeastern Michigan, the Red Wings' playoff viability remains in doubt, as suggested by ESPN's Scott Burnside's final set of power rankings for the season...

14. Detroit [record] 43-25-14 Last Week: 16 The Red Wings drifted into the playoffs for the 24th straight year. The feeling is that with no clear-cut starter in net and the durability of stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in question, they will drift out just as seamlessly.

But the Wings (and their fans) don't really give a crap about the latest rounds of doubters or forced conformity. Instead, it's the substantive news from Monday's practice that matters, as summarized by MLive's Ansar Khan...

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It’s Petr: Mrazek starts for Detroit against Tampa Bay

Updated 3x at 1:15 PM: I'm still posting post-practice Tweets, but you should not be surprised to read this:


Update #2:

Update #3:

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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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