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The Malik Report

Predicting A Big Year For Justin Abdelkader

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking at money: Entering last season of four-year, $7.2 million contract, will make $2.25 million next season. Unrestricted free agent upon expiry.

Looking ahead: At the root, Abdelkader is a responsible two-way player, which is why last season is unlikely to be an aberration rather than a new standard. He's reinforced why former coach Mike Babcock saw potential in Abdelkader as a top-six forward by showing up and working hard every day. He's become comfortable in the locker room, too, where Abdelkader a quiet voice of character. At 6-2, 200-plus pounds, Abdelkader also adds welcome size to a team that runs on the small side.

It was a significant loss when Abdelkader broke a finger late in the season, which sidelined him two games into the playoffs and hindered his ability to handle the puck.

This will be a huge season for Abdelkader, because it's his first shot at unrestricted free agency, and he knows the Wings are going to want to re-sign him before he gets close to the open market next July. Teammate Gustav Nyquist, likewise a 20-goal scorer, just got a raise to $4.75 million annually.

Abdelkader is going to get in the $4.5-5 million range. To the Wings' advantage, Abdelkader is a home-grown product from Muskegon, and should be relatively easy to re-sign.


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The Next Championship Team In Detroit Will Be ...?

from Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press,

It's been eight years now since a Detroit team's won a title (the Red Wings in 2008) and, before then, it was the 2004 Pistons. The 2012 Tigers reached the World Series, but were promptly swept in the Fall Classic.

Now, with the Tigers selling off and retooling for 2016, the Detroit sports landscape is murky, albeit still promising.

Here's our super-optimistic case for each team, then you can vote and chat about it with us on Facebook and Twitter (or in this story's comments):...

Detroit Red Wings: The 24-season playoff streak continues, and there are quite a few reasons to think the Wings could emerge very soon from their first- and second-round doldrums. First of all, Jeff Blashill's the coach now, and could be the fresh face this young team needs (many of the Wings' current players won a Calder Cup under Blashill in Grand Rapids of the AHL). Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still here. The defense is bolstered with Mike Green on board. Give this team one healthy year and see what it can do; remember, the Wings took the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals, to seven games last year.

read on for an overview on the Tigers, Lions and Pistons...

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It Started In Portland For Segei Fedorov

from Scott Sepich at OregonLive,

Hockey executive Jim Lites made his first and only visit to Portland on July 22, 1990. It was a short trip, but it would be one of the most unforgettable days of his life.

The executive vice president and chief operating officer of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings had come on official business, but it was far from a routine transaction. Though it wasn't a kidnapping, Lites planned to take human cargo with him back to Detroit in the Red Wings' private jet. In the process, he would poke a hole in the Iron Curtain from the Rose City.

Along with two colleagues, Lites engineered the defection of 20-year-old Russian hockey star Sergei Fedorov, who would leave the controlling Soviet Union national program to play for Detroit, the team that drafted him in 1989.

An exhibition game at Memorial Coliseum provided the backdrop. An airport hotel provided the opportunity. On a summer night 25 years ago, Portland became the unlikely site of an international incident, and the unlikely birthplace of Fedorov's Hall of Fame NHL career.

Even at 20, Fedorov was one of the top players in the powerhouse Soviet hockey program, which won the gold medal in six of seven Winter Olympics from 1964 to 1988. A center, he was a dynamic offensive talent, but also possessed strength, speed and stamina that would make him one of the top defensive forwards in the world.


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All About The Prospect Tournament In Traverse City

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will host seven other NHL teams during the 2015 NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from Friday, Sept. 11 to Tuesday, Sept. 15. Returning to northern Michigan for the 17th season, the eight-team tournament is comprised of the Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Tickets for the tournament are still available for $10 per day, which covers four games, exclusively at Centre Ice Arena or online at www.centreice.org.

Continue Reading »

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We Are Getting Closer

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Top Numbers

A quick count from me, 15 players mentioned played at one time or another for the Wings.

You will need to click the link to see all the numbers.


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Dylan Larkin And Axel Holmstrom At WJC Camps

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

Centers Dylan Larkin and Axel Holmstrom are representing different countries during the United States National Junior Development Camp, but they one day might be teammates with the Detroit Red Wings.

U.S. national junior team center Larkin, a first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2014 NHL Draft, and Sweden's Holmstrom, a seventh-round pick (No. 196) in 2014, are two of five Detroit prospects at camp this week. Center Dominic Turgeon (2014, No. 63) joins Larkin for the United States and Christoffer Ehn (2014, No. 106) joins Holmstrom for Sweden. Forward Julius Vahatalo, selected in the sixth round (No. 166) by Detroit in 2014, is playing for Finland.

"The credit goes to our amateur scouts; they've done a tremendous job drafting players we feel all have the potential to be NHL players one day," Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said.

Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios, who is serving as an associate coach for the U.S. junior team, is also the Red Wings advisor to hockey operations.

"The Red Wings have a history of finding guys late in draft," Chelios said. "Unfortunately with Detroit, we haven't had the luxury of having top picks but they always find them in the late rounds."

Despite the busy on- and off-ice schedule this week, Larkin and Holmstrom have gotten to know each other during the evaluation camp that includes scrimmages and games at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.


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Royal Swedish Snowballs Selling Well In Eastern Canada

Without a doubt, it is slow in the hockey world...

from Chris Halliday of The Banner,

The Detroit Red Wings captain visited the Pita Pit’s Broadway location on Tuesday (Aug. 4) to congratulate the franchise for selling the most The Royal Swedish Snowballs — a chocolate, vanilla-centred dessert endorsed and owned by Zetterberg — in Canada during the months of April and May.

“We blew away the competition in all of Canada, but Pita Pit awarded two prizes — one to Miramichi, NB as well,” Melanie Horton, who owns the town’s Pita Pit franchises with her husband Brad, recently told The Banner. “We feel our community really pulled together for this one.”

read on with two pictures of Zetterberg signing stuff...

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He Is Now Known As Dr. Andy Miele


Check out more of Miele's recent tweets for more on this topic...

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“Blashill Has A Decent Group To Work With”

from James O'Brien of ProHockeyTalk,

It’s worth noting that the Red Wings remain a quality possession squad, although their exact rankings vary based on which specific metrics you use. The bottom line is that there’s a solid chance that Blashill has a decent group to work with, even if this obviously isn’t the stupidly dominant group many long associated with the Red Wings brand.

When your team is currently on a record 24-season playoff streak, expectations are inevitable, and Blashill faces a tall task. For all we know, setting the bar so high might not be such a bad thing.


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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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