The Malik Report
Beware: auto-play highlight clips lurk within: The Grand Rapids Griffins began their home-ice defense of their Calder Cup Championship with a chance to sweep their best-of-five series with the Abbotsford Heat...But the series took a five-day break to allow the teams to travel from British Columbia to Western Michigan, and the layoff hurt the Griffins.
Grand Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to the Heat on Wednesday, and as such, the Griffins will have two more opportunities to win the series, on Friday and Saturday.
The Griffins' website recaps the game's events...
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Were it merely a question of ability, then there would be no question that the Detroit Red Wings would want Jonas Gustavsson back in their net next season.
“Gus got half our wins this year,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Gustavsson, the team’s back-up goaltender, about to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expires on July 1.
The concern with Gustavsson is whether he can stay healthy enough to be a reliable option behind No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard. He was out of the lineup on five separate occasions this season for a total of 23 games.
“It’s been a lot of injuries,” Gustavsson acknowledged. “You don’t want to have those for yourself and for your team.
I worked my tail off attempting to relate the stories and Tweets and videos and smoke signals posited during the Red Wings' locker room clean-out-day at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, and in terms of me being snarky, I'd describe the deveopments as follows:
- Daniel Alfredsson said he had to talk to the wife and decide whether he's willing to put in another summer's worth of training before committing to returning or retiring, and Ottawa and Ontario snerked, giggled and made self-sanctimonious comments;
- Stephen Weiss let us all know that the last 8 months have really sucked, and some Wings fans' groins twinged in sympathy;
- Jimmy Howard confirmed that he had a very bad case of the stomach flu prior to and during Game 4, and at least thirty people made poopy jokes;
- Pavel Datsyuk said that he needs to have more tests and an MRI on his knee before deciding whether to have surgery, Henrik Zetterberg said that the numbness in his foot, a side effect of his back surgery, will go away in time, and somewhere, an orthopedist got their wings;
- Mike Babcock said that he's not worried about the fact that he's got one year remaining on his contract, and Detroit's sports columnists fangirled with THE INTRIGUE;
- And Ken Holland told us that he won't buy out Johan Franzen, and at least one Wings fan kicked a puppy in disgust.
Otherwise--quite happily for this 26-time-post-updater and still-busy blogger (see: Griffins, 5 World Championship participants, "Tony" Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi battling for the QMJHL and OHL's championships, respectively)--the Wings' players, coach and GM were "on message."
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins can sweep the Abbotsford Heat out of the first round of the AHL playoffs on Wednesday, but further from the State of MIchigan, a pair of Red Wings prospects are going to be battling for league championships in short order.
On Thursday, Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm will open the Ontario Hockey League's championship series against the North Bay Battalion, and on Tuesday evening, something of an underdog story unfolded involving a not-so-underdog prospect in Anthony Mantha:
Mantha didn't register a point as his Val-d'Or Foreurs pulled off a stunning upset, defeating the Halifax Mooseheads 3-2 and ousting the defending Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions (and Memorial Cup champs) in a 7-game knock-down, drag-out fight between Mantha's Foreurs and Jonathan Drouin's supercharged Mooseheads.
MLive'sAnsar Khan reported that Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Gustav Nyquist (Sweden) and Justin Abdelkader (USA) will take part in the World Championships, but Khan stated that Danny DeKeyser was iffy on participation. USA Hockey issued a press release stating that DeKeyser's made up his mind:
Forward Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State Univ.) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Clay Township, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Western Michigan Univ.) have been added to the 2014 U.S. Men's National Team that will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.
Previously, Abdelkader skated for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2012 IIHF Men's World Championship in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. He had a goal and three assists in eight games. Also, he earned a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Leksand and Mora, Sweden, where he had two assists in seven games.
DeKeyser will be making his U.S. National Team debut, though he attended the 2013 U.S. Men's National Team Orientation Camp that assisted the preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Team USA's roster now has 13 forwards, eight defensemen and one goaltender. The maximum roster size is 25.
Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Nyquist told Expressen's Pontus Weinemo that he won't play in the Worlds' tune-up, the Oddset Hockey Games, but he does expect playing in the World Championship to be "damn fun."
If you missed this in the Red Wings locker room clean-out day post, MLive's Ansar Khan revealed which Red Wings players will be taking part in the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus starting on May 9th:
Jakub Kindl will represent the Czech Republic; Tomas Tatar will represent Slovakia; there was talk that Gustav Nyquist would be joined by Joakim Andersson and Jonas Gustavsson on Sweden's roster, but I guess that's petered out; Danny DeKeyser will represent Team USA.
Tomas Jurco's a little peeved about not being allowed to leave the Griffins to play for Slovakia, too, but them's the breaks.
Updated 26x at 5:20 PM: The Red Wings embark upon their offseason "game plan" in earnest today. After the team took its annual picture at Joe Louis Arena, the players cleaned out their lockers and the coach and GM spoke with the media.
The event has to be surreal: for the players, this is usually the last time that they'll lace up skates until August (unless, like Tomas Tatar and probably Gustav Nyquist, they're taking part in the World Championships), and it's the last time that some players will ever wear a Wings uniform, but the players dress in the locker room and head out to risers sitting at the center of an empty rink, and they take what is essentially a class picture.
Afterwards, the players peel off their full uniforms, skates and gloves, with some of their gear being stuffed into bags for use during the offseason and some of their gear and definitely their playoff jerseys being dumped into bins to be sold at Hockeytown Authentics' end-of-season gear sale. Then they face an onslaught of media questions...
The Red Wings will take their team picture and hold their final formal media availabilities at Joe Louis Arena today at noon, but ahead of the affair...
1. Aftonbladet's Tomas Ros and Erik Karlsson report that Gustav Nyquist is at least strongly considering playing for Sweden at the World Championships, per Team Sweden coach Par Marts.
2. Tomas Tatar's already told the Slovakian media that he'll represent his country in Minsk, Belarus starting on May 9th, and Tomas Jurco told Pravda.sk that he's a little disappointed that he's going to have to stick with the Grand Rapids Griffins instead of playing for the Slovakian team;
3. Regarding said Griffns, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Griffins expect Van Andel Arena to be full--or nearly so--as the Griffins attempt to sweep the Abbotsford Heat from the teams' best-of-three first-round series tomorrow night:
The Red Wings will clean out their lockers after their team photo at Joe Louis Arena around noon today, and as news trickled in regarding Henrik Zetterberg's participation in the World Championships (no go), the potential statuses of the rest of the Wings' potential invitees to Minsk on May 9th (Tomas Tatar will play for Slovakia, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Jonas Gustavsson may play for Sweden), the Wings sent out an intriguing email message:
The Red Wings will clean out their lockers at Joe Louis Arena this morning, but Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Xavier Ouellet have already practiced with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, who hope to sweep the Abbotsford Heat out of the playoffs when the scene shifts to Grand Rapids on Wednesday. If the Griffins were hoping to also find Anthony Mantha available for Wednesday's game, however, they're going to be sorely disappointed:
On Monday, Mantha scored what ended up being the game-winning goal as his Val-d'Or Foreurs raced out to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 7-5 victory of the QMJHL's defending champions, the Halifax Mooseheads, and as a result, Mantha (who's registered 18 goals, 7 assists and 25 points in 16 playoff games played) forced a seventh and deciding Conference Final this evening.
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.