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The Malik Report

Sixteen years seems like only yesterday for Red Wings fans and Vladimir Konstantinov

Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson reports that yesterday marked the 15th 16th anniversary of the limousine crash that all but paralyzed Red Wings trainer Sergei Mnatsakanov and yielded a severe brain injury for Vladimir Konstantinov, just as Vladdie was establishing himself as a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman. He spoke to Konstantinov's wife about Konstatinov's continued slow recovery and his "what if..." hockey legacy:

"His beautiful life and his beautiful career are not the same," said his wife, Irina, reached by phone Tuesday. "Everything else fades compared to that."

For those who never watched him play, Konstantinov was a rare blend of skill and toughness. He was the Russian who wouldn't back down from anyone; in fact, he was the Russian who regularly threatened. He punished people, but not in a way that undermined his team. He could enforce with his body, his stickhandling, and his mind. Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber called him "the nastiest blueliner in the NHL."

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Waddell: Babcock, Holland discuss the Red Wings’ resurgence, rebuilding-on-the-fly philosophy

In addition to today's mid-day stories, Michigan Hockey's Dave Waddell (via RedWingsFeed) offers two particularly intriguing comments from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland regarding both the team's 2013 regular season and playoff perormance and the shape of its roster to come.

As Waddell notes, Babcock suggested that his team exceeded expectations in no small part because its players stepped up in more ways than one...

“That would be more than true,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock of whether he thought his team had overachieved. “I thought the guys worked real hard. I thought it was a competitive group that tried to get better each and every day.

“Our leadership group – Zetterberg, Kronwall, Datsyuk – set the bar very high. In all the years I’ve been in coaching, I thought that group helped the coaching staff and their teammates as much as any group I’ve ever been around.”

Babcock reiterated his statements regarding having the "most fun" coaching a team of any time during his two-plus-decade tenure as an NHL coach...

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What did you think about the Panik-Almquist hit?

The gents in the comments section pointed out that what I saw in limited replays as a hit from behind from one Richard Panik to Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Adam Almquist, during Game 3 of the Griffins-Crunch Calder Cup Final, was in fact nearly head-on as Almquist was turning toward play (I thought it was a check from behind, and got it wrong)...But Almquist is likely out for Game 4, and this hit resulted in Panik scoring the game's first goal while Almquist lay on the ice.

I didn't like the hit, but it does beg several questions:

1. Was it a "charge" or "boarding," or simply predatory? Does the fact that Almquist made what is a rare move today in turning toward play instead of away from the play and toward the boards (which would yield a hit "in the numbers") absolve Panik from guilt here?

2. And is the rule that teams whose players suffer injuries must regain possession and control of the puck before a whistle is blown still really fair?

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Griffins/Red Wings mid-day news: Almquist likely out for GR; praise for Glendening and UFA talk

Updated at 3:22 PM: The Grand Rapids Griffins lost Adam Almquist's services thanks to a hard (and unnecessary) check from behind by Syracuse Crunch forward Richard Panik during Grand Rapids' 4-2 victory over the Crunch on Wednesday, and the Griffins practiced at Van Andel Arena this morning...

But the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Almquist did not join his teammates on the ice:

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For now, it’s a rumor, but Sergei Fedorov *could* lace up his skates for CSKA Moscow one last time

When former Red Wings forward Sergei Fedorov took the reins as the general manager of CSKA Moscow last summer, the plan was to get Fedorov into the uniform of his first professional hockey team for at least a game or two so that the 43-year-old could bid farewell to the game on the ice...

But the NHL lockout changed that, and as CSKA's shaking up its coaching and management staffs by essentially firing everybody, Sport-Express reports that the now Rosneft-sponsored team (Rosneft is one of the biggest natural gas companies in the world, though it's a wee bit behind the KHL's main sponsor and KHL president Alexander Medvedev's employer, Gazprom Export)...

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Red Wings overnight report: Griffins take Game 3, Babcock praises Glendening; are Wings ‘done on d?’

The Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final had some Red Wings-tinged moments, and some of them didn't recall pleasant memories: on the game's first goal, Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who crumpled to the ice in the Griffins' left corner, and play was allowed to continue until Panik scored.

The same Panik also speared Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan when the game was tied 2-2 in the 3rd period, with Panik's from-behind spear going unnoticed or uncalled by the referees that AHL president Dave Andrews bizarrely defended as near-infallible while speaking to both the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer...

But in a series where the officiating's been an NHL-quality sideshow, the Griffins slowly but surely simplified what was initially a "put-on-a-show for the home crowd" game, slowly but surely cut down on the number of turnovers they committed in the neutral zone, and they leaned quite heavily upon Hoggan, Petr Mrazek's 26-save performance and a little bit of, "If you start carrying the play in a tied game, you can kick it wide open" moxie to take a stranglehold on the Calder Cup Final against the hard-hitting and high-octane Crunch.

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Grand Rapids Griffins take Game 3 of Calder Cup Final 4-2 over Syracuse, but lose Almquist

The Grand Rapids Griffins had a rough go at times during their 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, surrendering the game's first goal and a game-tying goal late in the second period, but the tightly-contested game--went the Griffins' way in the end.

The Crunch took a 1-0 lead on what should have been a controversial play halfway through the first period: Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who fell to the ice in a heap, allowing the Crunch to work the puck around on a 5-on-4 advantage as play continued...And Panik jammed the puck past Mrazek to give the Crunch a lead that stood through a first period in which the Crunch dominated play and turned the Griffins into a Wings-like neutral zone turnover machine.

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AHL commissioner of refereeing: ‘We’re never wrong!’ or something close to it

Games 1 and 2 of the AHL's Calder Cup Final series between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch were...An adventure...In terms of officiating, but AHL president Dave Andrews essentially told the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner that his officials totally made the right calls in every aspect (save the whole adding two minutes to the second period of Game 2 thing):

“We’ve been hung out to dry for some reason and the referees have been hung out to dry,” the commissioner said about the referees before Wednesday’s Game 3 at Van Andel Arena before the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch. “Case closed.”

"This is the best officials available and I believe firmly in games 1 and 2 they did a never good job. They called a very good standard. They let the players play and called penalties when they had to. Believe me, I’m as critical as anybody in the world of our officials in the finals.”

Regarding the specific instances of...controversy...

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Ken Holland interviews 1 and 2 of 2: Red Wings GM talks roster philosophy

Updated at 7:58 PM with interview #2: As we await the start of Game 3 of the Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch series (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD Radio), Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on ESPN 96.1 this afternoon, and I'll post that sometime during the game as their podcast page updates...

But he already appeared on WDFN's Matt Sheppard show this morning, and MLive's Josh Slaghter annotated Holland's points of emphasis, noting that Holland tried to explain the rationale behind the concept of "rebuilding on the fly" instead of taking the Big Red Machine apart:

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Is Pierre McGuire ‘terrible?’ You bet, but he’s wonderfully terrible, and that’s the problem

This is coming from multiple sources on Twitter--a bunch of smart people in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere--but this quip from NBC Sports' executive producer Sam Flood, as noted by Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, is more than a little bit surprising:

• Pierre McGuire's work has drawn very loud supporters and detractors, even though his position in the broadcast would suggest neutrality. Does NBC consider him a polarizing broadcaster? Said Flood: "I consider Pierre to be the gold standard, The position of being inside the glass was created because of Pierre. His skill set is uniquely suited to telling stories on air. His knowledge of the game and background of every player on the ice is incredible. He is a huge asset. He won an Emmy Award this year for obvious reasons. The sad thing about how society is today is there are a small group of people who shout loud and hide behind blogger names and fraudulent titles and attack people. They attack Cris Collinsworth. They attack Al Michaels. They attack Pierre McGuire. They attack Mike Milbury. They attack Keith Jones. They are a bunch of chickens who hide behind their Twitter names and attack people. Shame on them. If you want to say something, say it with your name behind it. But if you want to hide behind funny little names on the Internet, be my guest. But shame on you."

My name is George Malik, and I think that Pierre McGuire is indeed terrible...In no small part because he could be an absolutely fantastic broadcaster if he could dial back his enthusiasm 2 or 3% to not sound like someone who is committing the broadcast equivalent of USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE TIME ZOMG I'M MANICALLY EXCITED and if he could be a wee bit less chummy during the interviews with players and coaches where he comes off as downright cuddly and, as such, slightly creepy.

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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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