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The Saarijarvi ‘barometer’

Interesting stuff from the Free Press's George Sipple:

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Wallner: Eric Tangradi’s happy about remaining a Griffin for two more years

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins forward Eric Tangradi regarding his decision to re-sign with the Wings for 2 more years:

"I've had a career where I've been traveling around the last few years and haven't really felt like I was an important piece of an organization," said Tangradi, 27. "So to get that and that length of a couple years shows that they believe in me. It was something I couldn't turn down. How this city in Grand Rapids and the Detroit organization is run, it's someplace I wanted to be a part of, somewhere my wife wanted to be, so it was a no-brainer for us. It's definitely nice to have an organization that believes in you."

The two-way contract calls for an NHL salary of $650,000 and AHL salary of $300,000.

[Griffins coach Todd] Nelson considers Tangradi a key component to the team. Not only does he offer leadership with his personality, he provide much-needed presence on the ice.

"He brings a heavier game for us up front," Nelson said. "Nice skillset where he can score goals and provide offense along with an element of grit and passion and complements the rest of the team. It's a good fit. You take him out and we're not very big."

Wallner continues...

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Roose: Mantha’s grandfather, mother weigh in Anthony’s success

From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Andre Pronovost’s fondest Motor City hockey memory occurred nearly 60 years ago. That is until Thursday when his grandson scored his first career goal as an NHL rookie.

Anthony Mantha’s first goal – on the power play at 17:27 of the second period – gave the Red Wings a four-goal cushion against Montreal, the club that his grandfather won four consecutive Stanley Cups with, from 1957 to 1960.

Mantha’s goal eventually stood as the game winner after the Canadiens made a third-period surge that fell short in the Wings’ 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Tears welled in Pronovost’s eyes as he tried to capture his grandson’s on-ice goal celebration on a mobile device from his seat in Section 115.

“Every time when he had good years like in juniors when he scored all those goals and last year in Grand Rapids when I’m there he gets points,” Pronovost said, “and I can get emotional every time.”

Continued...

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Griffins coach Todd Nelson discusses Anthony Mantha’s call-up, first goal

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson has played a large role in Anthony Mantha's development, and Nelson spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner regarding Mantha's first NHL goal:

"You know, you feel proud when you see a kid go up there and get his first goal like that," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said Friday. "Mo earned that call up. It wasn't one of those where, 'Oh, we'll see how he does a couple games.'"

Nelson also weighed in regarding Mantha's call-up in general and his potential going forward:

"You watch him out there, he adds size to them and you definitely notice it when he's on the ice," Nelson said. "He's not overly physical but his size, his reach, he helps their forward group."

It was unfair, Nelson said, to reap so high of expectations so early on Mantha.

"Everybody develops differently," he said "It took him some time and some growing pains, but that gave him a chance to mature and that's what the American Hockey League is all about – develop players into men as professionals.

"He's a great story. He had a tough year last year and this year he played himself into a spot in Detroit."

Wallner continues...

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Practice Tweets: Kronwall is absent for ‘maintenance’

Updated at 1:26 PM: Kronwall "took a maintenance day":

The Red Wings were unable to practice at Joe Louis Arena the morning after their 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens due to a comedy show, so the Wings headed to the University Liggett School for their Friday skate (ahead of tomorrow's 2 PM-start game against the Penguins), as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted:

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose confirmed...

The #RedWings are on the ice for a Good Friday practice in Grosse Pointe Woods. @ University… http://instagram.com/p/BDYceC1Go7S/

...

Some of the #RedWings watching one-on-one drills at practice today. #lgrw @ University Liggett… http://instagram.com/p/BDYgSp9Go18/

This is not necessarily a surprise after a -3 performance, per MLive's Ansar Khan (let's just say that Kronwall's knee at less than 100%)...

#RedWings on ice for practice. Niklas Kronwall only player not skating. No word yet on his status for tomorrow.

Khan continued...

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‘Two Things’: Larkin’s advanced stats and a ‘driving’ interview with Ouellet

Two items of Red Wings-related note popped up just before noon:

1. MLive's Tom Mitsos examines Dylan Larkin's rookie pro season via advanced stats:

It doesn't take an in-depth look at advanced analytics to see Dylan Larkin is having a good rookie season for the Detroit Red Wings.

The 19-year-old has 21 goals and 22 assists in 71 games, just one season after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year at Michigan (15 goals, 32 assists). He also had a quick stint in Grand Rapids during the AHL playoffs, where he had three goals and two assists in six games with the Griffins.

The goals, assists and points are well-documented, but what about the rest of his game?

Let's take a look at some of Larkin's five on five stats and where they rank on the Red Wings. All stats are taken from Corsica.hockey and War-on-ice and include the 23 players who have played at least 200 minutes at five on five for the Red Wings.

Mitsos continues...

2. And Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet gave an intriguing interview to the Grand Rapids Griffins' YouTube channel while driving around downtown GR:

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‘Expertly translated’: Igor Larionov speaks with Championat regarding the Wings’ playoff push

Yesterday I asked if there was anyone out there who'd be willing to help translate a Russian interview that Igor Larionov gave to Championat's Maxim Zamyatin, and George Maslennikov delivered in a big way. Here's a translation of an interview in which Larionov discusses the Wings' playoff streak:

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Morning news: On a ‘greasy’ win, Mantha, statistical notes, a Cup in Toledo and more

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Petr Mrazek summarized the Red Wings' feelings about their 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Reuters' recap of said game:

"They found a way how to come back to the game, but in the end it doesn't matter," said Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek, who made 26 saves. "You got two points, and nobody's going to ask you in a couple days how you won the game."

2. The Free Press's Drew Sharp spoke with Anthony Mantha about scoring his first goal after experiencing an up-and-down two years with the Grand Rapids Griffins...

“The best experience you can get is disappointment,” Mantha said regarding his prior struggles. “Last year was probably the best thing for me. I had to build my confidence back up and just focus my attention on the next shift and not get too far ahead of myself. I started working more on the little things.”

3. In the FYI department, from TSN's Scott Cullen:

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Vili Saarijarvi Headed To Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings have reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi (VIH-lee SAH-ree-YAHR-vee) to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. 

Detroit’s second choice (73rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Saarijarvi played in 59 games this season for the Firebirds. The 5-foot-10, 163-pound blueliner ranked third on the team in points (12-31—43), fifth in goals (12) and second in assists (31). Among OHL defensemen, Saarijarvi tied for ninth in points, tied for 16th in assists, tied for seventh in goals, tied for the lead with eight power play goals and ranked second in shots (219). Saarijarvi was named the OHL’s defenseman of the month for October after picking up 11 points (2-9—11) and a plus-nine rating in 11 games.  

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All Aboard On The Stress Train

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Not much has come easy for the Detroit Red Wings this season.

• Who can forget the six losses in seven games after they opened the season with three straight victories?

• Or goaltender Jimmy Howard's nearly three-month battle to simply win a game?

• And the Red Wings' problems scoring goals – especially on the power play – that have been an issue virtually all season?

All are still fresh in the minds of everyone who follows the Red Wings closely.

So perhaps it was fitting that the Red Wings opened perhaps their most important homestand of the campaign with a game that mirrored their season....

Two years ago, they didn't secure a playoff berth until game No. 80 and the previous season – when the players were locked out until January – they won their final four games to squeak into the postseason.

So the pressure they'll face in their final eight games is nothing new to many Red Wings.

"They're all playoff games so me," said defenseman Brendan Smith, who had two assists. "I mean, we were in this two years ago where we pretty much had to win eight or nine of the 10 (remaining games) and so we've seen it.

"I actually think we're in a better position than we were then, so we know it's up to us and I've talked other people about it. It's in our hands, so the better we play, the more points we can get, we'll secure a playoff spot."

more on last night's game...

Watch the extended game highlights below...

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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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