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The overnight report: On ‘the sked ahead’ and positive trends, plus rounding up weekend news

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. After today's Blackhawks win over Boston and Penguins win over Philadelphia, here's where the Red Wings sit in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference:

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Prospect news: Holmstrom scores in Skelleftea loss; Griffins make playoff cut; Walleye win

Of prospect-related note:

In playoff action, in the SHL, Axel Holmstrom scored a goal on 2 shots, finished at +1 and won 75% of his faceoffs in 13:05 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK lost 3-2 to the Vaxjo Lakers in overtime. Holmstrom scored the 1-1 goal (click for highlights) in the SHL semifinal, which Skelleftea trails 1-0;

In the WHL, the Joe Hicketts-less Victoria Royals advanced to the second round via a 6-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs. Victoria won the series in 6 games, with the final 5 played without Hicketts, who suffered a mysterious injury in Game 1.


In regular-season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins' got 2 goals and an assist from Zach Nastasiuk, 2 assists from Brian Lashoff and a 30-save performance from Tom McCollum in Grand Rapids' 5-2 win over the Rochester Americans.

The win assures Grand Rapids a spot in the playoffs, as the Griffins website's recap notes:

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Red Berenson to continue coaching University of Michigan

This isn't Red Wings-related news, but it's big State of Michigan-related hockey news, from MLive's Justin P. Hicks:

Red Berenson expected the 2015-16 hockey campaign to be his last behind the Michigan bench.

But after a successful and "inspiring" 32nd season as the Wolverines head coach, the 76-year-old Berenson has decided to return for another year. He announced his decision Sunday afternoon at the team's postseason banquet.

"I'm excited about the direction of the program and the challenge of working with our student-athletes to improve on a daily basis and achieve our goal of winning championships," Berenson said to MGoBlue. "This season has been inspiring for our team, our staff and the fans. Our success has been the motivation to return to help the program take another step forward. I feel fortunate to be at Michigan and appreciate the support from our new athletic director."

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Wings-Leafs tailings: extended highlights and playoff picture talk

Red Wings fans may experience feelings of queasiness while rooting for the Chicago Blachawks to defeat the Boston Bruins today (12:30 PM EDT on NBCSN), but sometimes you've gotta take one for the team, and today is a day where the enemy of Detroit's main playoff foe can be a...friend?

Anyway, this morning finds two tailings from last night's 3-2 win over Toronto:

First, AWood40 posted a clip of annotated highlights narrated by Bob Cole. The 2:33 mark is where Luke Glendening gets cross-checked in the neck by Nazem Kadri:

And MLive's Brendan Savage duly noted that the Red Wings' main focus after last night's win wasn't, "Hooray, we beat Toronto!" but instead, "Now we need to beat the Flyers on Wednesday," because

As Savage points out, that's easier said than done as the Wings have lost both games against the Flyers, but if the Wings "win out" the remainder of their schedule with Regulation-or-Overtime Wins, Boston can't catch Detroit.

The B's-Hawks game represents Boston's "game in hand," and they also play the Hurricanes on Tuesday and the Senators on Saturday.

Anyway, "Beat Philly" it is!

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Video- A Sit Down With Brad Richards

via Sportsnet,

Brad Richards sits down with Scott Oake to talk about his model career, future plans, family memories and playing outdoors.


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Maple Leafs wrap-up—wins do not equal comfort. They are survival.

The Red Wings' 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night was far too close for comfort, but as we've all learned by now, when you're mostly on the outside looking in at the playoff picture (though Detroit is "in 3rd place" in the Atlantic until today's Hawks-Bruins game), nothing is comfortable--like Nazem Kadri's cross-check to Luke Glendening's neck--and no win is easy.

With the Maple Leafs' press focused on tomorrow (the, "Leafs take out Wings playoff hopes" lede got tossed in the trash) and the Wings' press corps a little distracted by Elliotte Friedman's Datsyuk rumor, it isn't necessarily that easy to get a handle on Saturday's game, but I tried.

Our friends in Toronto are already looking forward to brighter tomorrows, as the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan noted:

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THN’s Campbell: No Datsyuk = Stamkos in Detroit? (?)

It's late on a Saturday night and I've taken some Tylenol Cold for my damn sinus infection, but this is not the way I thought Saturday night would turn. The Hockey News's Ken Campbell reacted to Elliotte Friedman's report that Pavel Datsyuk may return to Russia a year early with...a theory (via RedWingsFeed):

If Pavel Datsyuk were to go back home to play in the KHL next season and turn his back on the last year of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings, it would leave an enormous leadership and talent void on the roster. But it might not be the end of the world for them.

In fact, if things work out they way they potentially could, it could be a boon for the Red Wings. If Datsyuk were to let the Red Wings know of his intentions early enough, it would open up some valuable cap space and allow them to go after the biggest free agent in the pool, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announced Saturday that Stamkos has a blood clot and faces a recovery period of one-to-three months, meaning there is a chance the pending unrestricted free agent has played his last game for the Lightning. It is expected, however, that Stamkos will make a full recovery.

Campbell continues, pointing out that if the Flyers can legally trade Chris Pronger's cap hit to the Coyotes, the Wings could get rid of Datsyuk's $7.5 million cap hit, and he adds this:

It’s imperative from the Red Wings perspective that Datsyuk informs them of his decision by July 1. If he stays and the Red Wings have him for another season, don’t be surprised if Red Wings GM Ken Holland extends him for one more season in 2017-18 at the same $7.5 million cap figure. The difference this time is that if Datsyuk decides not to come back, the Red Wings will not be on the hook for the cap hit because it’s only a one-year deal.

I don't buy the "Stamkos to Detroit' rumors, either, but stranger things have happened in this league.

For what it's worth, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posted this email from Datsyuk's agent:

“Pavel is concentrating on helping his team to make the playoffs and winning another Stanley Cup for the Detroit Red Wings,” Milstein said in an e-mail when reached by The Detroit News. “Pavel also has one more year left on his NHL contract. We will sit down with Ken Holland at the conclusion of the season for our annual year-end meeting.”

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Prospect news: Griffins lose in Toronto; Walleye win in Cincy; Pearson 1+1 = 1st star

Of prospect-related note:

In playoff action, in the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 6:50 in the Frolunda Indians' 1-0 win over Lulea, giving Frolunda a 1-0 lead in the SHL semifinal;

And in regular-season play:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins had a rough night in Toronto. The Griffins got 2 goals from Andy Miele, but they were out-gunned by the Marlies, losing 6-3. The Griffins' website posted a recap:

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: back to back blues, indeed

The Red Wings attempted to both keep their flickering playoff hopes alive and snap an 0-8-and-2 streak in back-to-back games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday evening.

Detroit won a squeaker of squeakers on Saturday evening, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on goals by Richards, Green and Quincey, and the Wings won because Jimmy Howard was nothing less than stellar in stopping 32 of 34 shots--including 11 of 12 in the 3rd period--as Detroit was out-shot 26-14 over the final two periods.

It was terrifyingly close, but the Wings pulled off a season-saver.

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On Datsyuk rumors

This rumor has dogged Pavel Datsyuk every summer for a couple of years now, but it's a little disturbing that Elliotte Friedman claims that there's a legit source stating that Datsyuk may return to Russia for family reasons this summer, leaving Detroit with $7.5 million in cap hit and $10 $5.5 million in dead cap money on the Wings' cap figure due to Datsyuk's last deal being signed after he was 35.

It's hard to argue with Friedman and a "legitimate source," but it was also quite convenient that this was the Saturday Headlines headline when Datsyuk's Wings played the Leafs.

Those family reasons would be his daughter Elizabeth, and this has been the case for several years. This hit the net first:

I don't see Datsyuk walking away from his contract and $10 million in earnings if he's been over here this long, but one never knows, and that's why this is far too conveniently dropped for my liking.

added 9:39pm, videos below...

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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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