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Happy Birthday, Good Sir

We're not supposed to make a big deal out of it, but today is Paul's 60th birthday, and I most certainly wish the boss a happy 60th!

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Articles (and video) from practice: Time to embrace the opportunity to have fun?

Updated 4x at 2:30 PM: The Red Wings practiced with all players present and accounted for on Tuesday morning--no line changes for Detroit, Howard in the "starter's net"--while the Flyers practiced with the would-be injured Andrew MacDonald in the lineup in Philly.

After practice, Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan, and Blashill talked about "capturing momentum" against the Flyers via confidence in the players and system and delivering pucks and players to the net; as far as Blashill is concerned, tomorrow's game is also about enjoying the moment and having fun:

Fox 2 also posted a clip of Blashill, Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist's practice remarks:

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Friedman with a little more about Datsyuk and a note on the youth movement

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":

17. Expect a large ovation for Pavel Datsyuk on Wednesday, as the Red Wings play their final home game of the regular season, a titanic matchup against Philadelphia. Datsyuk is considering the possibility of a return to Russia for next season, one year earlier than expected. Nothing would be final until a post-season meeting, and it would not be a surprise if Detroit offers him an extra year’s contract as an incentive to stay. If he does leave, the Red Wings’ cap situation could be alleviated if someone is willing to take his salary to get to the floor. (He’s to earn $5.5M in actual cash next season.) That’s a bigger number than we’ve seen so far, as Chris Pronger ($575,000 this year and next in Arizona) and Marc Savard (same situation in Florida) are much lower on the pay scale. But, we’ve all learned to expect the unexpected. Failing that, the Red Wings and/or the NHL could block Datsyuk from playing in Russia if they wanted.

The NHL and Russia have a "memorandum of understanding" regarding players with valid contracts, and the NHL could invoke the MOU to block Datsyuk from returning to Russia.

18. Dylan Larkin, 77 games played. Andreas Athanasiou 34 and Anthony Mantha 10. That’s the first time since 2001-02 three players under 22 appeared in at least 10 games for Detroit. Back then it was Jiri Fischer with 80, Sean Avery at 36 and Jason Williams getting into 25. One of the biggest surprises in Detroit is how much the Red Wings needed these young players to make offensive contributions, as the club is on pace to score its fewest goals since 1976-77. Sometimes, you’ve got to change your philosophy to survive. Larkin (23) could lead them in goals. Tomas Tatar is next with 21. Justin Abdelkader needs two, Gustav Nyquist three and Datsyuk four for 20.

Friedman continues...

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Practice Tweets: ‘everyone present’ for last reg. season practice @ JLA; Howard likely to start Wed.

Updated 6x with video at 12:51 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena at 11 AM to prepare for their massively important match-ups against the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that a familiar face preceded the main group:

A sight for sore eyes: Drew Miller (knee) is on the ice skating in his own before the #RedWings practice at JLA.

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Morning trio: Larkin weighs in on the playoff streak; an historic Lindsay mark; Wings-Bolts?

TSN's Frank Seravalli spoke with Dylan Larkin regarding the Red Wings' playoff streak and Larkin's rookie season:

A winner-take-all gauntlet against the Flyers and Bruins - on back-to-back nights, against the two teams the Red Wings trying to fend off - waits on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s down to three teams for two spots in the only compelling playoff battle this season.

“We’re in a great spot. It isn’t ideal, but we control our own destiny,” Larkin said. “I look at it as we have three play-in games here. Win and you’re in. Lose, and you start your summer.”

The streak has survived five coaching changes, three managerial regimes, three conference realignments and three captaincies.

This year’s captain, Henrik Zetterberg, still has the letter and name cache, but Larkin’s arrival signalled the beginning of a passing of the torch. Larkin is just three points back of both Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg, who are 18 and 16 years his senior. Those leaders and new coach Jeff Blashill have helped Larkin keep the flame lit.

Larkin paces Detroit in goals (23) and plus/minus (13). He has collected 22 assists for 45 points in 77 games. But he has cooled off considerably in the second-half of the year, with just 18 points in his last half of the year. He admitted the level of the game changed after Christmas.

“I’ve definitely learned to appreciate every goal and every assist. They’re a lot harder to come by,” Larkin said. “But it’s been awesome. This season has gone way better than I thought it would, because I didn’t even expect to be here this year. I had a good start. There have been some highs and lows, but it’s been interesting to see how the leaders handle things.”

Seravalli continues, and also of Red Wings-related note this morning:

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Red Wings’ ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ extends beyond the rink

From the Red Wings:

... Fans in Attendance Have Chance to Win Autographed, Game-Used Sticks; Great Prizes Also Available Through DRW Social and at DRW.com for Fans Not at The Joe on Wednesday ...

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will thank the fans of Hockeytown by hosting ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ on Wednesday, April 6 when the Red Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN / 97.1 The Ticket), in the final regular season home game of the 2015-16 campaign.

Along with numerous giveaways throughout the night, more than 20 lucky fans in attendance on Wednesday will be selected at random to receive a Red Wings autographed, game-used stick.

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Detroit News’s Goricki: Why Red Berenson stayed at Michigan

From the Detroit News's David Goricki:

It took one call from a former player for Red Berenson to decide he would return for at least one more year as Michigan’s hockey coach.

“We started having meetings with some of our players and they’re asking me if I’m going to be here,” Berenson said Monday, a day after announcing he would return for his 33rd season as Michigan’s coach. “I thought if I’m going to make this decision I’d better make it sooner than later to let the players know, to be up front with them.

“Then, I got a call from a player reminding me that it was the day we won the national championship in ’96. We had a short talk and then he said, ‘By the way, I just want to let you know that you changed my life, like thank you for recruiting me. Michigan changed my life. I will be forever grateful.’ ”

Berenson wouldn’t say who called .

But that call, along with the fact athletic director Warde Manuel wanted Berenson, 76, back, was all the coach needed to hear.

“This is why you’re coaching really, for kids like this,” Berenson said. “Then, I thought right away you know what, that sounds like me because when I went to Michigan it changed my life. ... I thought even if I’m on the fence I can do this for one more year.”

Continued, and Berenson says he's now "year to year"...

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Prospect news: Ehn, Frolunda lose; Svechnikov, Cape Breton advance; an interview with Tangradi

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn won 50% of his faceoffs in 8:55 of ice time as the Frolunda Indians lost 4-2 to Lulea. The Indians and Lulea are tied 1-1 in hte SHL semifinal;

In the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov had a goal and 2 assists, finishing at +1 with 2 shots and winning 4 of 8 faceoffs as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defeated the Chicoutimi Sangueneens 7-4.

Cape Breton won the series 4 games to 2, and will advance to the second round of the QMJHL playoffs, where they'll face Adam Marsh's Saint John Sea Dogs.

And if you're interested, the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a clip of a behind-the-wheel interview with Eric Tangradi:

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Early overnight report: ‘the fun’ is about to begin, according to the Wings’ players and coach

The Red Wings face three incredibly important games on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. To some extent, that's the plan, as they told MLive's Ansar Khan:

"The league, when they made the schedule, were probably hoping these would be some big games and they will be," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "These games are the fun games. I think a lot of guys here are real excited."

Said goaltender Jimmy Howard: "If you're not excited I don't know what would get your blood flowing around here. These are going to be very intense games. We're definitely looking forward to Wednesday night."

The Red Wings wrap up the season Saturday at the New York Rangers. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn't view these games as obstacles, calling them opportunities.

"That's one of the reasons that we felt like we controlled our own destiny, even last week after the Montreal (loss), because we do have opportunities to play those teams and they could say the same," Blashill said.

Howard and Zetterberg told Khan that they're excited about the opportunities at hand...

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More Datsyuk discussion

As you probably know by now, Pavel Datsyuk didn't really address his future while speaking with the media after Monday's practice, as noted by WXYZ's Brad Galli in video form...

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted that Datsyuk did at least suggest that he wants to give back to Russian fans, which is a little worrisome...

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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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