The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings open their regular season as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/Fox 2/Sportsnet 1/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), kicking off a set of back-to-back games for Detroit.
Before ceding the sports stage to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs stated that they hope to assuage Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Montreal by earning their coach a win in his official return to Detroit, as they told the Toronto Sun's Rob Longley...
“It would be nice for him to get his first win as a Leaf in Detroit,” said [Matt Hunwick]. “Very fitting.”
It will be a somewhat muted return for the 10-year coach of the Wings, winner of their last Stanley Cup in 2008. He’s not exactly returning with a powerhouse team and he’s played the Wings twice already in pre-season, including a week earlier at JLA when he got a feel for the visitors’ bench.
““It might be a little anti-climactic for him, but now it’s the regular season and it means something,” Leafs centre Peter Holland said. “We definitely want to get this one for him.”
Friday might see a scoreboard acknowledgement of Babcock, who did get a nice offer to stay. But he’d rather the clock show his team leading at the final horn.
“I really enjoyed my time there, but I’m thrilled to be here,” Babcock said. “But I understand it’s going to be a process. I know it will be fun going to Detroit, but we need the points.”
And the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, who played up the "prodigial coach" angle:
The Free Press's Mitch Albom spoke with Brendan Shanahan regarding his successful pursuit of Mike Babcock, and the conversation is blunt, sometimes amusing, and a little revelatory:
"When this all started," Shanahan says, "I called Kenny Holland (the Wings GM) and said, 'I don't know if there's a good time or a good way to ask this question, but if and when Mike (Babcock) can talk to other teams, I'd like to be first in line.' "
Was that hard to do?
"No. ... I knew if I was out of line he would have told me to go (bleep) myself."
Instead, when the time actually came, Holland informed Shanahan, and the ex-Wing went after Babcock hard. "I pursued him around the globe," he admits, even trailing him to the World Championships in Prague.
But in the end, after offering eight years and a stunning $50 million, he took his foot off the gas. "You make your offer, and that's it," Shanahan said. "There's no bullying Mike Babcock. I let him decide, and I waited until the phone rang. And then he called."
What did he say?
"He said, 'You still want to do this?' "
Of prospect-related note:
In Sweden's SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 3 shots, finished at -1 and won 33% of his faceoffs in 15:19 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK defeated Karlskrona HK 3-2;
And the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their weekly release ahead of Friday's home opener:
From the Red Wings:
The Detroit Red Wings today assigned right wing Daniel Cleary and defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Additionally, the team removed defensemen Jakub Kindl and Alexey Marchenko from injured reserve.
Cleary, 35, has skated in 938 career NHL games for the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes and Red Wings since the 1997-98 campaign, logging 387 points (165-222-387) and 492 penalty minutes. Since joining the Red Wings in 2005-06, Cleary has registered 275 points (124-151-275) in 609 games, hitting the 20-goal mark on three occasions. The Carbonear, Newfoundland, native has also played 111 playoff games for Detroit, notching 49 points (23-26-49) and 66 penalty minutes. Cleary was a member of the Red Wings’ 2008 championship team, becoming the first native of Newfoundland to win the Stanley Cup. He appeared in 97 AHL games from 1998-00, recording 101 points (31-70-101). The former first-round pick (13th overall) of the Blackhawks was also a two-time OHL First-Team All-Star, racking up 323 points (127-196-323) in 220 games with the Belleville Bulls from 1994-98.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on TSN 1050's "Leafs Lunch" this afternoon, speaking about the home opener, Mike Babcock's return and his take on Jeff Blashill taking over (as well as Dylan Larkin's addition) in a short 8-minute interview...
SVT.se posted an interview that Henrik Zetterberg conducted with Marie Lehmann (warning: may auto-play)...
Updated 6x at 4:46 PM: The Red Wings skated at Joe Louis Arena this morning, icing the same lineup that the Wings utilized during Wednesday's practice, and after they skated, the Wings spoke with the media regarding their imminent Friday match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and some of what they discussed wasn't in English, per DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...
Updated at 2:16 PM: From MLive's Ansar Khan...
The Free Press's Helene St. James...
And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:
Also of note from the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
The Red Wings conducted a "Twitterview" in which Mike Green answered fan questions, and here's the transcript of said "Twitterview":
Updated 3x at 2:06 PM: Per the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle...
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.