The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Red Wings' game-day preview video:
2. MLive's Brendan Savage's Game Day article also notes Ken Kal's point that tonight's game marks the first of 19 of 26 at home for the Wings:
via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It certainly isn’t surprising but Dylan Larkin will indeed remain a Detroit Red Wing past the nine-game mark, Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed via text message Tuesday.
Had Larkin been demoted before his 10th game to the AHL for the rest of the season, the first year of his entry-level NHL contract would have slid into next season.
But his play this month made it very clear there was no debate in the Wings front office. Yes, not many 19-year-olds get to stick with the big club in Detroit but this one is special and has proven he belongs. Besides, if his play slides later in the season it doesn’t mean they can’t send him to Grand Rapids. But I doubt that will happen.
It’s definitely a cliché, though it does best describe Henrik Zetterberg’s leadership skills.
The Red Wings’ humble captain would prefer to lead by example. But that doesn’t mean he won’t vocalize his displeasure when the team needs a kick in the derrière.
“He had to get a message across and he did it pretty well,” rookie Dylan Larkin said. “Then he went on the ice and backed it up. That’s a leader. It was a cool thing to see.”
Whatever Zetterberg said in the team’s dressing room at Rogers Arena on Saturday must’ve worked. The Red Wings rebounded from a two-goal deficit in the final period en route to a 3-2 overtime win at Vancouver.
Teammates credit the captain’s explosive hit behind the Canucks’ net followed by a passionate appeal during the second intermission that sparked the victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.
“He threw the team on his back as you watched that game unfold,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He was in the thick of things and he was the one that laid that first big hit of the game for us on (Luca) Sbisa behind their net in the second period. I think he got fed up with the way we were playing and he just took over for us.”
Continued with discussion regarding Zetterberg nearing 300 goals and 500 assists...
From WXYZ's Brad Galli:
Dylan Larkin is the first teenager in 25 years to make the Red Wings opening night roster.
Now, fans want a piece of history.
The first Larkin rookie cards will hit the market in November, creating what will be a stir of searching, trading, and bidding in the collecting world.
Detroit and Toronto are historically the most competitive trading card markets for hockey collectibles. That fervor traditionally drives up the prices for all Red Wings rookie cards, no matter the player's skill level.
Since anticipation for Larkin's first cards will be sky-high, the secondary market will be jumping. Heck, the cards aren't even in the public's hands, and pre-sale prices are topping $50 per card. More premium rookie cards are expected to be valued between $60-200.
And that's just the beginning. Prices for limited, autographed cards could (and probably will) top $500.
This is something I'd normally keep in the game day thread, but the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, penning an article for Hockeybuzz, received a wonderfully honest and blunt assessment of Tomas Jurco from the Red Wings' coach today, and Jeff Blashill really lays out his reasoning for benching Tomas Jurco and then placing him on the fourth line tonight:
The keys for Jurco to succeed are at the bottom of his skate blades.
“It’s ultimately being in elite shape so that he can skate non-stop in the game,” Blashill said. “I think he’s going to be an effective player when he’s able to go full-out at all times. So that’s what we’ve tried to work out with him.”
After a slow start in Grand Rapids, Jurco evolved to where he garnered 13 goals and 32 points in 32 games during the 2013-14 season and a call up to Detroit.
That’s the guy Blashill is seeking to find once again.
Updated 10x at 2:37 PM: The Red Wings' morning skate prior to tonight's game against Carolina (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM) revealed good news in that Petr Mrazek will start and that Tomas Jurco will return to the lineup (despite starting on the fourth line), but there was some bad news in that Kyle Quincey reported that he's feeling concussion symptoms after being hit (blind-sided) by Sam Bennett in Saturday night's game against Calgary.
The Free Press's Helene St. James took note of Quincey's remarks:
Quincey finished the game, which, in retrospect, maybe he should not have.
"It was adrenaline," Quincey said. "It didn't feel that bad until after the game."
Concussion protocol is a minimum of a week. It is an injury that defies timelines because of its unpredictability.
Via RedWingsFeed, this is amusing. The NHL posted a clip promoting the Stadium Series game between the Red Wings and Avalanche in February, and it sanitizes the Wings-Avs rivalry to an astonishing extent:
Update: FYI from the NHL and the Red Wings:
TSN's Travis Yost is more than willing to suggest that 8 games = time for Red Wings fans to panic about the loss of dear Mike Babcock:
Perhaps the biggest bet the Toronto Maple Leafs have made since overhauling the entire organization has been on new head coach Mike Babcock. His $50-million contract speaks for itself, but it’s hard to argue it’s anything but earned. He’s arguably the best coach in the National Hockey League, and has been for some time.
The bet anticipates that the “Mike Babcock Effect” will percolate throughout the organization, with the biggest impact obviously coming in the area of player performance. Great expectations will come as the roster is built out, but at least for year one, the hope is that some degree of progress will be realized.
It’s not manifesting in the standings just yet, but the team has shown signs of improvement. Even with a makeshift roster they rank top 10 in both possession and scoring chance differential. The wins may not materialize until the individual talent is built out, but at the very least, Babcock’s turning his ragtag group into a competitive bunch.
What’s much more interesting is what has happened to the team that Babcock left behind.
The general consensus at the time of his departure was that the Red Wings organization would mostly be fine – it hurts to lose a great coach, but the system has relentlessly turned out talent at every single level, coaching included. Jeff Blashill would steer the ship towards a 25th consecutive postseason appearance, rendering the turnover little but a memory.
But the early signs in Detroit are troubling. A 4-3-1 start might be a bit kind to a Red Wings team that simply hasn’t looked the part of a playoff-calibre club, a shocking development when you consider how consistently great this team has been for years.
Updated 4x at 11:42 AM: The Detroit Red Wings host the Carolina Hurricanes in the teams' final meeting of the season this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD Plus/FS Carolinas/97.1 FM), and the Red Wings have stated that they're quite wary of the Hurricanes given their dominance in the first two games of the season series.
CarolinaHurricanes.com's Michael Smith reports that the Hurricanes aren't selling Detroit short, either:
“We want to continue to play well,” head coach Bill Peters told the media after practice in Detroit on Monday. “I think it will be similar to both games in the fact that there won’t be a lot of room, so you have to make sure you’re managing the puck properly.”
Of historical note from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
Twenty years ago, hockey took a major step in its evolution when the Detroit Red Wings put five Russian players together as one unit of three forwards and two defensemen for the first time.
The "Russian Five," as the deployment of forwards Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov, and defensemen Vladimir Konstantinov and Viacheslav Fetisov became known, debuted Oct. 27, 1995, against the Calgary Flames and helped the Red Wings score the final three goals.
Kozlov and Larionov each scored in Detroit's 5-2 victory against Calgary, but hockey ended up being the biggest winner, as the game changed for the better in response to the transcendental nature of the Russian Five, the brainchild of Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.
Together, the Russians helped Detroit to a historic 1995-96 season, when it set the NHL record with 62 wins and finished one point short of tying the record for most points in a season (132), set by the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-77. More importantly, the Russian Five was a big part of the Red Wings' first Stanley Cup championship in 42 years.
"My main trick was not to unite all five Russians every time," Bowman said. "I was worried that the opponents would be able to figure out how to play against them. Often, I would wait until the second or even third period to get them out on the ice together. It always got other teams confused."
About The Malik Report
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