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The World Championship begins today; Team USA’s game vs. Canada will air on NBCSN

For those of you who aren't aware, the World Championship begins today in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and 5 Red Wings are taking part in the tournament: Dylan Larkin for Team USA, Teemu Pulkkinen for Finland, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko for Russia and Tomas Jurco for Slovakia.

NBCSN and/or its "Live Sports XTra" app will be airing the vast majority of Team USA's games, and as "Team USA's" website's Paul D. Bowker notes, Team USA's game against Canada will air at 9:15 AM EDT on NBCSN in the U.S. and TSN in Canada:

The U.S. Men’s National Team begins play against a familiar rival Friday when the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship begins in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Team USA will face Canada in its opening game Friday in St. Petersburg, followed by games against Belarus on Saturday and Finland on Monday, both in St. Petersburg.

The tournament, which features 16 nations, is split into two groups of eight teams each. After preliminary round play finishes on May 17, the top four teams from each group will advance to the May 19 quarterfinal round. The medal round is May 22.

Matt Hendricks, a forward with the Edmonton Oilers, is team captain. Hendricks was captain of the 2015 U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the world championships. Alternate captains are Nick Foligno, a Columbus Blue Jackets forward, and Connor Murphy, a defenseman with the Arizona Coyotes.

The U.S. team also includes Dylan Larkin, a Detroit Red Wings forward who was a teammate of Hendricks on the 2015 national team; Brady Skjei, a New York Rangers defenseman who won a world championship gold medal with the U18 team in 2012; Frank Vatrano, a forward with the Boston Bruins who also won a gold medal with the 2012 U18 squad; David Warsofsky, a New Jersey Devils defenseman who won a gold medal at the 2010 world junior championship; and Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko, a two-time national junior team member.

Goaltenders Keith Kinkaid of the New Jersey Devils and Mike Condon of the Montreal Canadiens combined for 25 saves in an exhibition game Tuesday against Finland, but Team USA lost 3-2 in overtime.

By the time that Pavel Datsyuk and Russia take to the ice in Moscow, hosting the Czechs at 1:15 PM EDT (no legal TV in the U.S., but there are always quasi-legal streams available), I'm pretty sure that Datsyuk will be named Russia's captain for the tournament.

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All about the people behind the horse with the hockey player’s name

The Nyquist the Horse stories are coming in fast and furious, and I've tried to be judicious regarding the perusal thereof, but the Free Press's Jeff Seidel allows for a break in the blockade via a superb story about the people behind the horse with the hockey player's name. This definitely qualifies as, "Optional reading," but it's a very, very good read:

Nyquist, the horse, was discovered last year at an auction by Dennis O’Neill, who grew up in Dearborn and has an uncommon knack for spotting champions. O’Neill saw something special in Nyquist — a fast efficiency on the track and a quiet calm in the stable.

“Dennis is a savant that way; he’s not brilliant in any other way,” Nyquist’s owner Paul Reddam said, laughing. “I would say that to his face, teasing him. It’s kind of a weird thing. It’s intuition, really. It’s phenomenal.”

On O’Neill’s recommendation, Reddam bought Nyquist last spring for $400,000 at the Fasig-Tipton sale, which a combination of the NFL draft and free agency for horses.

Reddam grew up in Windsor and is a die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan. He was in the locker room in Joe Louis Arena after the Wings won the 2002 Stanley Cup, acting like he belonged there, even though he didn’t really, celebrating with the players and drinking out of the Cup, right next to Sergei Ferdorov, who was still wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt.

And Nyquist is trained by Doug O’Neill, Dennis’ brother, who also grew up in Dearborn and attended Divine Child Elementary School through the fifth grade.

Seidel continues

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Grand Rapids Griffins lose 3-2 in OT to Lake Erie, dropping Game 1 of 2nd round series

Updated 3x at 11:49 PM: The Grand Rapids Griffins had a rough start to the second round after a long lay-off, scoring the game's first goal but ultimately losing 3-2 to the Lake Erie Monsters in overtime.

Grand Rapids struggled with special teams, going 0-for-4 on the PP and giving up 2 power play goals against; Andy Miele was unable to score on a last-minute-of-regulation penalty shot, and a presumptive OT winner for Grand Rapids was called back on a goal scored by Eric Tangradi's glove and not his stick or other part of his body.

The Griffins played in front of a full compliment of Red Wings coaches and management with a little more rust than the Monsters displayed, and slowly but surely, they were ground down.

The AHL posted a game recap...

Continue Reading »

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Krupa profiles Mantha, Sproul, Callahan and Bertuzzi

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Anthony Mantha, Ryan Sproul, Mitch Callahan and Tyler Bertuzzi about their seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins and their takes on their 15-16 regular season campaigns and their hopes as they look toward next fall's training camp:

The Red Wings are no longer playing, but the Griffins are in the thick of the American Hockey League playoffs.

Heading into Game 1 of the AHL Central Division final against the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday, players like Anthony Mantha, Ryan Sproul, Mitch Callahan and Tyler Bertuzzi are in a critical time of the season — and their careers.

Playoffs are proving grounds at any level of hockey. The action ramps up and performances must improve proportionally.

“This is very important for their growth,” said Todd Nelson, the Griffins coach. “A lot of guys are maybe knocking on the door to make the club next year. The organization wants to see how these guys do in intense situations, and see how they perform.”

Krupa continues...

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There’s a Cup protocol in place for Nyquist the horse

In the, "You can't make this up" department, from the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek:

The Stanley Cup will be making the trip to Churchill Downs on Saturday morning, in the hopes of bringing good luck to Kentucky Derby favourite Nyquist, owned by Windsor, Ont., native J. Paul Reddam.

According to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s vice-president and curator, Phil Pritchard, the famous trophy is flying into Louisville from Toronto on Friday morning and will be in place in Nyquist’s barn by 6:30 a.m. on race day.


Reddam had invited Nyquist, the player, to attend the race as his guest, but he declined, as he is competing for Sweden at the world hockey championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, set to begin later this month.

However, Nyquist tweeted a good-luck message to his namesake this week, “Best of luck to @NyquistHorse running @KentuckyDerby this weekend.”

As per tradition, the horse will not be permitted to sip from the Stanley Cup until after the race – and only if he wins.

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Grand Rapids Griffins-Lake Erie Monsters Game 1 open post

The Grand Rapids Griffins are playing the first game of their second-round series against the Lake Erie Monsters presently (7 PM EDT start on The AHL Live and ESPN 96.1 FM), and if you're interested in sharing your take on the game and/or share some viewing options, please do so.

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Ilitches formalize their ‘leadership succession plan’

From the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar, via RedWingsFeed:

Mike and Marian Ilitch, the husband and wife whose holdings includes the global Little Caesars pizza brand, the Red Wings and Tigers, MotorCity Casino Hotel and plenty of downtown Detroit property, announced a leadership succession plan Thursday.

All their business holdings will remain under family ownership and one of their sons, Christopher Ilitch, will eventually take on his parents role in overseeing their entreperneurial empire — a role he’s been growing into for years now.

“I’m pleased to say that all of our businesses, including the sports teams, will remain 100 percent Ilitch-family owned,” said Mike Ilitch, chairman of Ilitch Holdings Inc., in a  statement released Thursday afternoon. Mike is 86 and Marian is 83.

Continue Reading »

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Grand Rapids Griffins-Lake Erie Monsters Game 1 Game-Day Preview video

Here's Bob Kaser with the Grand Rapids Griffins' Game-Day Preview video setting up tonight's game against the Lake Erie Monsters (7 PM on The AHL Live and ESPN 96.1 FM):

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St. James on Sproul

The Free Press's Helene St. James profiled Martin Frk yesterday, and today, she discusses Ryan Sproul:

Sproul, [Xavier] Ouellet and Nick Jensen are waiver-exempt starting next season, putting onus on the Wings to decide whether they are part of the future in Detroit or worth risking on waivers. Where Jensen, who will be 26 in September, is viewed more as a potential depth guy, Sproul entices with his stature (he's listed as 6-feet-4 by the NHL, 6-feet-3 by the Griffins) and offensive talent. He picked up three assists in Grand Rapids' three-game first-round series, after finishing the regular season with a career-best 12 goals and 35 points.

The Griffins next take on Lake Erie tonight. Wings brass plans to be on hand to watch.

"He was one of the most improved players from last year to this year," assistant general manager Ryan Martin told the Free Press. "He has an absolute rocket from the blue line. He's got enough going his way that we need to find out where he fits on our depth chart."

Sproul, 23, has played one game in the NHL, appearing for the Wings in a meaningless season finale April 13, 2014, at St. Louis. He's a good skater, and his top asset is his shot. As with Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, Sproul sometimes makes errors in his own zone. But on a Wings team that has just one offensive right-handed shot in Mike Green, Sproul could be an asset on the third pairing and on power plays.

St. James continues...

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About Nyquist the Horse’s owner and ‘derby odds’

From CNN's Motez Bashara...

Picking championship racehorses is something J. Paul Reddam is exceptionally good at, but it's well known that hockey is his true lifeblood.

So just how big a fan is he?

Well, for starters, his horse Nyquist -- the 10-3 favorite to win Saturday's Kentucky Derby -- is named after a player on his favorite team, the Detroit Red Wings.

The 60-year-old Reddam, who made his fortune launching two lending businesses, grew up in Windsor, Ontario, just across the border from Detroit where his mother, a team secretary, would bring home Red Wings tickets and apparel.

"That's how I really got hooked," Reddam tells CNN, adding that he caught 75 of the Red Wings' 82 games on TV this season. He even got to sip champagne from the Stanley Cup when Detroit won the title in 2002.

"That was almost as big a thrill as winning the Derby a few years ago," he says, referring to his 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, who went on to take the Preakness, before pulling out of the Belmont Stakes a race shy of the Triple Crown.

Bashara continues, there's a video attached to teh story, and, from NHL.com:

Continue Reading »

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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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