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The Rise Of Joe Hicketts

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

Mr. Hicketts wild ride began last summer, when he attended the Red Wings development camp as a free agent, hoping to get some experience and perhaps open a few eyes. He did that and a whole lot more.

Hicketts played so well at the development camp that he earned not only an invitation to play for the Red Wings in their annual prospects tournament but to attend training camp one week later with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk & Co.

Hicketts showed so much promise during that two-week stretch in September that the Red Wings rewarded him with an entry level contract.

And just in case all that wasn't enough, Hicketts suited up for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship after not getting invited to the evaluation camp the previous summer.

Unbelievable indeed.

"It was all that and more," said Hicketts, who is preparing to play for the Red Wings in next week's prospects tournament in Traverse City.

read on

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Morning news: Why the Wings might (and might not) win the Cup; on McNulty and Paetsch

Updated at 10:45 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Last week, USA Today's Kevin Allen had this to say in an article titled, "Why your favorite Eastern Conference team won't win the Stanley Cup"...

Detroit Red Wings: Early question marks. The Red Wings are a legitimate contender if everything went their way, but Pavel Datsyuk will start the season on the injured list and there’s uncertainty about Johan Franzen’s future.  Can Brad Richards carry the load early for Detroit? Is Petr Mrazek or Jimmy Howard the No. 1 goalie? Can the defense be elite level? Too many questions for Detroit to win it all. ​(KA)

And today, Allen and USA Today's hockey staff look toward the positive for the Eastern Conference's 16 teams, Detroit included:

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The Outlook For Drew Miller This Season

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2015-16 outlook: The Red Wings have gotten terrific value from Miller, who they claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay in 2009. He's been a checking line mainstay and one of their top penalty-killing forwards.

Despite his slight frame, Miller doesn't shy away from contact and is willing to sacrifice his body by blocking shots. Miller's output has declined since he posted career highs of 14 goals and 25 points in 2011-12, but offense is secondary to checking, penalty killing and providing energy.

While younger forwards Landon Ferraro, Joakim Andersson and Teemu Pulkkinen battle to earn spots in the lineup, Miller's defensive game and penalty killing ability should give him an edge.

Key question: Can Miller stave off competition from younger players to remain in the lineup?


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Evening news: Blashill talks ‘short strokes’; on Datsyuk, Cleary and promotional appearances

Updated 2x at 10:04 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

First, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill attended the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation's golf classic today, and he not only spoke to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his relationship-building with new Griffins coach Todd Nelson, but he also discussed his acclimation to his new job:

"Preparation wise, we're in a good spot," he said Monday at the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation golf tournament at Egypt Valley. "We've had a lot of different meetings with our coaching staff over the past three weeks. All of us have been in Detroit enough to meet and get together so I think we're in a good spot."

He did also note: "The excitement level is certainly rising here as we're finally getting close. August is, obviously, a long month."

Blashill discussed his very, very busy summer with Wallner before offering an intriguing simile for his formal introduction to the Red Wings' players:

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Rangers, Wild release prospect tournament rosters

The Red Wings have released their prospect tournament roster (try-outs included), and today, the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild released their tournament rosters:


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Wallner: Blashill, Griffins’ Todd Nelson talk hockey over Griffins Youth Foundation golf

Updated at 10:07 PM: From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson moved into an area home last week, is preparing for the NHL Prospects Tournament in less than two weeks and proclaimed "it's go-time" for the season ahead.

But first he traded conversation, and maybe a few divots, with a most interesting golf partner. Nelson was paired with Red Wings coach and former Griffins coach Jeff Blashill at Monday's Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club.

Nelson could have used the golf tips – he played for the first time this summer on Friday – but he expected more discussion on their co-existences as coaches and meshing of philosophies.

"We've already had dialogue with personnel, and we'll get into some of the practices and how he's going to play in Detroit and we want to mirror that," Nelson said.


Up first will be the NHL Prospects Tournament that begins Sept. 11 in Traverse City. Nelson, who was in Traverse City for the organization's development camp in early July, said it will be invaluable in evaluation talent as he leads the Red Wings' prospects.


Update: Wallner posted a video of Todd Nelson speaking at the golf tourney...

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Jeff Blashill appears on WDFN, gives 24-minute interview

WDFN's Art Regner spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill this morning, discussing the Red Wings' free agent signings, the team's goaltending and much, much more in a 24-minute interview. This is good stuff:

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Morning news: A busy Monday; on Zetterberg’s ‘numbers’ and Quincey’s value

Updated 5x at 2:17 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

The Grand Rapids Griffins' Youth Foundation is holding its annual Golf Classic, and more than a few Red Wings alums are taking part in the tournament:

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The Outlook For Brad Richards

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2015-16 outlook: Richards has been in a steady decline since he averaged more than a point a game in three-plus seasons with the Dallas Stars (2008-11) and is coming off the least-productive non-lockout shortened season of his career. But he can still be a key player and fill some needs for the Red Wings because he's a creative playmaker with good hockey sense and brings Cup experience.

Coach Jeff Blashill has indicated Richards will center the top line until Pavel Datsyuk returns following off-season ankle surgery (projected to be anywhere from late October to late November). Henrik Zetterberg can handle the defensive duties and, in all likelihood, Justin Abdelkader can do the heavy lifting for that line.

When Datsyuk returns, Richards will move down to the second line.

Richards also will help a power play that ranked second in the NHL last season. He typically plays the point.

Key question: Can Richards adequately fill the top-line center spot until Datsyuk returns?


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Crain’s Detroit Business’ Shea: Red Wings’ follow-on rink construction on time

Two "good news" items have popped up from Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

First, Shea reports that the State of Michigan's bond sale to fund the Red Wings' follow-on rink has concluded with all bonds sold to banks...

The money to build the $532 million Detroit Red Wings arena and events center was raised, as planned, with the sale of $450 million of state bonds late last year.

The Michigan Strategic Fund divided the sale into a $250 million in Series A offering that is backed by property taxes already captured by Detroit's Downtown Development Authority. The $200 million in Series B bonds are backed by the $11.5 million Olympia Development of Michigan has agreed to pay the DDA for bond retirement.

Shea continues, and he also reports that, despite the City Council kerfuffles, the rink's excavation has finished on time:

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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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