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The Malik Report

The overnight report: Player grades, unfulfilled offensive potential & the adventures of Polo Horse

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan has filed a set of Wings player grades given that Thursday's game in San Jose will be the Wings' 41st of the 2015-16 season. Among them:

Justin Abdelkader – On pace to surpass last season’s career-high in goals (23) and taking on more of a leadership role now that a contract extension has been ironed out. Big piece of the future. GRADE: B.


Tomas Jurco – There was hope Jurco could thrive under a new coach and with more opportunities. But he’s been unable to gain a foothold in the lineup and doubts are beginning to develop whether his promise and potential will ever materialize. GRADE: D


Danny DeKeyser – Is developing into one of the premier shut-down defenseman in the league, capable of stopping opposing offensive stars. Will be a key piece of the Red Wings for a long time. GRADE: A-minus

Kulfan continues, and as usual, I'm willing to provide grades if there's an interest in them, but there will be no list-making for the sake of list-making.

2. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Riley Sheahan and two of his biggest supporters about #15's untapped offensive potential:

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Ken Holland addresses the Wings’ potential roster/cap crunch

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the roster and cap crunch that will take place when Kyle Quincey, Drew Miller, and eventually, Teemu Pulkkinen return from injuries, and you may take these comments for what you will:

“We have to make roster moves to activate Quincey and Miller,” he said. Asked if he must create space under the salary cap to bring back Quincey, Holland said, “We’re probably a little bit over when we activate Quincey and Pulkkinen. But, obviously, Pulkkinen will not be ready for a while.”

The addition of Quincey, however, would put eight defensemen on the roster, and Holland said the Wings are unlikely to do that.

“Well, let me say this: I don’t see any need to carry eight defensemen.”

If earlier years in the NHL, the situation might result in a midseason trade. But few trades in the NHL occur outside of a period around the NHL draft and the trade deadline, due to the salary cap and other consideration — including the tight standings making for few teams who know they are definitely out of the playoffs.

“Certainly, you’re always looking to upgrade your team,” Holland said. “Trades are hard in the world we live in. Beyond those times, for a variety of reasons, it’s hard to find a trading partner.”

Krupa continues...

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Wings at the WJC: Saarijarvi’s Finns win gold over Russia

Vili Saarijarvi registered an assist in Tuesday's Gold Medal game, and Saarijarvi's Finns prevailed over Evgeny Svechnikov's Russians, winning the Gold 4-3 in OT.

Saarijarvi finished the tournament with 4 assists in 7 games, with 11 shots on goal for Finland; Svechnikov didn't register a point for Russia (finishing at -3, with 13 shots on goal, over the course of 7 games played), but he played as a strong forechecking/playmaking forward.

Saarijarvi was dynamic at times, making up for his 5'8" stature with superb puck-movement, excellent passing, shooting and smart lateral moves to open up shooting and passing lanes.

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All about Triston Grant

Via Grand Rapids Griffins announcer Bob Kaser, and per the Winnipeg Free Press's Melissa Martin:

If hockey hadn't been there, Triston Grant says with a laugh, he'd probably be working at the hog plant in Neepawa right now, or getting his hands dirty somehow.

That's just the kind of guy he is, he adds. He comes from a blue-collar Manitoba family. He was always drawn to hard days of honest work.

In a way, maybe that's what brought the scrappy Grand Rapids Griffins forward to this point. Because although Grant's career plays out under the glare of arena lights, it's still hands-on work. The churning rosters of minor pro leagues are not always kind, but for 11 seasons he's found a way to stick around.

Or, you could say, he's survived. To do it, he's had to dish it out -- and take it -- a lot of hits and fights.

He spent Monday afternoon laid up in a Winnipeg hotel with an ice pack, soothing the aches from Sunday's game against the Manitoba Moose. He'll be back for Round 2 tonight.

"At the end of the day, I'm not making millions of dollars," Grant says. "At the same time, I'm making a living going to the rink and hanging out with some good people, and competing and playing hockey. That's pretty hard to complain about."

Continued, and many thanks to Courtney Fathers for the tip.

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Why the Wings demoted Tomas Nosek: Khan reports Miller, Jurco are ready to go

Per MLive's Ansar Khan, again:

So Tomas Nosek was demoted to make space for Miller and Jurco.

Update: Here's Khan in text form:

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Krupa’s ‘news and views’ include a discussion of the Wings’ personnel crunch on D

Among the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa's "News and Views":

News: With Kyle Quincey set to return, there is a logjam along the blue line.

Views: The Wings are deep with similarly-talented defensemen, albeit at different stages of development.

Quincey, Niklas Kronwall, Danny DeKeyser and Mike Green are certain in their roster positions. Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith and Alexey Marchenko, who has exhibited enormously solid play as a rookie defenseman, are also likely in place.

That puts Jakub Kindl firmly in a position he has mostly occupied in his seven NHL seasons, on the bubble.

Meanwhile, Xavier Ouellet still toils in the minors, way over-ripe. The Wings clearly know that Ouellet likely would have made any one of several NHL rosters not only at the start of last season, but the previous one, too.

The situation hollers for a midseason trade. But a deal that is anything beyond a mere fire sale is a difficult bargain to drive in the era of both free agency and the salary cap, when an equitable swap is discouraged by the financial considerations.

Whatever occurs, it is unlikely Kindl remains among the seven defensemen on the roster and Ouellet must continue to have the patience of Job.

Krupa continues, discussing the Jimmy Howard-vs-Petr Mrazek-for-starter debate, Jeff Blashill's coaching and Dylan Larkin's goal against New Jersey...

And as far as I'm concerned, the Red Wings need to do what's necessary to ensure that Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet are part of the Wings' seven-man defenisve corps next year at this time.

I understand that the temptation is to go out and trade for another offensive defenseman given Niklas Kronwall's disappointing offensive numbers and Mike Green's acclimation process, but I believe that the answer to the Wings' problems, over the long haul, anyway, still exists in promoting Marchenko, Ouellet and possibly Sproul.

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Grand Rapids Griffins’ Jeff Hoggan named a ‘playing captain’ for AHL All-Star Game

From the AHL, via RedWingsFeed:

American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today that Syracuse Crunch forward Mike Angelidis and Grand Rapids Griffins forward Jeff Hoggan will serve as playing captains for the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic, to be held January 31 and February 1 in Syracuse, N.Y.

Captains for the American Hockey League All-Star teams are selected by the league president in recognition of their outstanding leadership and service.


A 14th-year pro now in his fourth season as captain of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Jeff Hoggan has skated in 653 regular-season AHL games, registering 163 goals and 159 assists for 322 points. The 37-year-old native of Hope, B.C., has won two Calder Cup championships in his career, with Houston in 2003 and with Grand Rapids in 2013, and was the 2014-15 recipient of the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey. Hoggan has also appeared in 107 career games in the National Hockey League with St. Louis, Boston and Phoenix. This will be Hoggan’s first AHL All-Star Classic

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Wings at the WJC: Team USA captures bronze over Sweden; Holmstrom scores a late goal

Team USA defeated Axel Holmstrom, Christoffer Ehn and Team Sweden by an 8-3 score on Tuesday, capturing the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships.

Holmstrom scored a goal, but his goal made the score 8-3 instead of 8-2 as the Swedes played a flat game. Holmstrom finished with 3 shots and a -1; Ehn took 3 shots and finished "even"--and Ehn was named Sweden's player of the game.

Holmstrom finished with a goal and 6 assists in 7 games played, finishing at +3 with 15 shots;

Ehn finished with 1 goal, 1 assist, a +1 and 11 shots.

Chris Chelios won a bronze medal as he was an assistant coach for Team USA.

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Sipple: Today, the Wings rest; tomorrow, it’s back to work ahead of the San Jose game

The Red Wings flew back to Metro Detroit after games 1 and 2 of their 6-game road trip, and the Free Press's George Sipple reports that the Wings, who just wrapped up a set of 6 games in 10 nights, will rest today and skate in Southeastern Michigan tomorrow before flying to San Jose:

The Wings have today off. They’ll return to practice Wednesday in Michigan before leaving for California, where they visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m., FSD).

Whether the Wings will start goaltender Petr Mrazek for a fourth consecutive game was not immediately known after their latest victory. Mrazek made 22 saves against the Devils, earning his second shutout of the season.

“I’ll decide -- not tonight,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’ll decide when we get out west there ... publicly, at least.”

Sipple also noted that Blashill doesn't feel that Dylan Larkin's 14 goals or +22 exempt him from critique or a rookie's learning curve:

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Khan: Red Wings send Tomas Nosek back to Grand Rapids

From MLive's Ansar Khan:

#RedWings have reassigned Tomas Nosek to Grand Rapids.

Drew Miller must be close to returning.

Update: The Red Wings confirm:

… Rookie Forward Played Six Games During First NHL Stint …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned center Tomas Nosek to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

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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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