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ESPN’s Custance suggests that blueline fix is among Wings’ biggest offseason needs

ESPN's Craig Custance has already penned an article highlighting "Three Keys for the Red Wings' offseason." Among the keys in the Insider-only entry:

3. Fix the defense

This won’t be an easy task. The Red Wings' defense is aging, slow and in need of a serious revamp. Jonathan Ericsson had a rough season, and he has four more years left on a deal with a salary that averages $4.25 million annually. The Red Wings should probably decide whether they’re in or out on Brendan Smith, but he’s the kind of defenseman this team needs, guys who can move the puck, skate, have a physical edge and are still fairly young.

There are options in free agency who might work, with players such as Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski potentially available, but it’s going to take more than one free agent signing to address the defense. If Holland can spin some of his skill and depth at forward into a young defenseman, that would be ideal.

The other keys? Figuring out Datsyuk's situation and going after Stamkos.

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The handshake line

FSD posted a clip of the handshake line, focusing on #13, as the Wings shook hands with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Update: Sportsnet also posted the handshake line:

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Matheson talks Datsyuk, Wings adding size

Of note from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's Hockey World:

• With Pavel Datsyuk, 37, going back to Russia, the Wings need a team to take his $7.5 mil cap hit off their cap books in a trade and it’s obvious they’re looking around for a team with lots of cap room. Maybe Carolina. If I’m a team willing to take Datsyuk’s contract, I have to get a prospect forward, not a draft pick, along with Datsyuk, who could go and play for Sergei Fedorov’s CSKA team in Moscow. Say Tomas Jurco or Teemu Pulkkinen. One other thing on Datsyuk: He’s a Hall of Famer in my books, almost a point-a-game NHLer.


• One team that will go hard to sign UFA Troy Brouwer this summer is Detroit. Other than Justin Abdelkader, they are painfully small up front. “Detroit’s got skilled forwards but they’re small and not that fast,” said one Eastern-based pro scout. Detroit needs help on defence, too, because Niklas Kronwall’s body is beat up. UFA Alex Goligoski (Dallas) is a possibility.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 quick take: Terrible error costs Wings the series

Win or golf. The Red Wings faced a simple do-or-die equation on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Detroit lost on a catastrophic set of mistakes by Mrazek, Kronwall and Ericsson, losing 1-0 on a Killorn goal scored at 18:17 of the 3rd period.

Detroit has been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it's going to be a long summer.

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Prospect news: Ehn, Frolunda a win away from SHL title

Of prospect-related note:

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 4:48 in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 win over Skelleftea AIK. Frolunda has taken a 3 games-to-2 lead over the Axel Holmstrom-less SAIK, and the SHL championship may be decided on Saturday.

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Evening news: Game-day previews; on Tatar, Larkin, keys to the game and ‘horsing around’

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video:

2. The Tampa Bay Lightning posted a game-day video, as well as comments from Tyler Johnson, Brian Boyle and coach Jon Cooper:

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Red Wings send Xavier Ouellet back to Grand Rapids

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday assigned defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the Grand Rapids Griffins while the Griffins assigned defenseman Joel Chouinard to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

Detroit’s second choice, 48th overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet collected 29 points (4-25—29) and a plus-18 rating in 61 games with the Griffins this season. In January, he was selected to participate in the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic – his second consecutive all-star selection – as he became just the fourth Griffins player ever to be named an all-star participant in back-to-back years (Niklas Kronwall 2004-05, Gustav Nyquist 2012-13, Michel Picard 1997-98 in the IHL). Ouellet was unable to play in the 2015 All-Star Classic because he was on recall with the Red Wings.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound blueliner played in five games with the Red Wings this season and recorded one point (0-1—1) and two penalty minutes.

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‘Three Things’: On the Mule in Tampa Bay, Ericsson’s errors and Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan

Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this afternoon:

1. From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and MLive's Ansar Khan:

2. You may take these comments, relayed by the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, for what you will:

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Samuelssen weighs in on the importance of ‘The Streak’

From the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen:

Joe Louis Arena was loud Sunday night, as loud as some had heard in a long time. I was down there Tuesday night and watched as eager fans came pouring through the doors on a pleasant spring evening. The place was packed. The energy was high. That crowd wasn’t there for the streak. If you were watching on TV or listening on the radio, you weren’t doing so because of the streak. Fans were locked in because, following Game 3, there was a feeling of life in this team. They took the Lightning to seven games last season. This season, without Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman, why couldn’t the Wings take another step?

Even after the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead and the outlook was bleak, there still was a slight buzz and a slight hope. Darren Helm’s goal brought things back to a fever pitch, and Gustav Nyquist’s goal in the final seconds of the second had everyone just as loud as they were when Darren McCarty skated onto the ice during pregame festivities.

There always are what-ifs in a playoff hockey game. The biggest of Game 4 was when Dylan Larkin’s shot that bounced off of the far post and hovered over the goal line on the way back. If that goes in, who knows? Perhaps instead of talking about of firings and dismantling, we’re looking ahead to the second round. But we’re not. The Lightning has proved to be the better team.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 5 game-day articles: Lightning aim for R&R; Wings focus on offense

Updated 3x at 3:07 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning tangle in a must-win game for Detroit this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/97.1 FM).

Per news from the morning skate, the Lightning are likely to stick with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen this evening, while Alexey Marchenko won't play for the Wings.

In terms of game-day articles, the Lightning rather desperately want to take out the Wings so that they may rest and regroup for their following series, as they told the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith:

"It's not a race to three," veteran center Brian Boyle said. "It's a race to four.

The Lightning played a record 26 games - of a possible 28 - in last year's playoffs, which may or may not have had an impact. There's a chance now with a win tonight to get potentially a week before the next series.

On a scale of 1-10, is rest a motivating factor?

"10," coach Jon Cooper said. "Any chance in the playoffs you can get a break, you want to take advantage of it."

Smith also penned an article regarding Victor Hedman's status as a 30-minute man:

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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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