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The Malik Report

Here’s the Red Wings’ new Adidas jersey

First came the leaks...

Then came the real thing:

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Evening news: Coreau on the Calder Cup; a podcast from Regner; Cholowski, Smith headed to Plymouth

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

1. The Griffins posted a video of Jared Coreau discussing the Griffins' Calder Cup win, as well as the route that the Griffins took to get there:

2. Also in the multimedia department, from the Red Wings:

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More discussion of Petr Mrazek’s attitude problem

According to The Athletic's Craig Custance, there is in fact strain between Petr Mrazek and the Red Wings' organization:

The strain between the Red Wings and Mrazek goes back before [this past season]. Last July, the two sides avoided arbitration in agreeing on a two-year deal worth $4 million on average per season. It was an agreement that didn’t just go down to the wire, it went beyond the wire in delaying the hearing to get an agreement done. Both sides were dug in on a number and ultimately Mrazek believed he was worth $4 million per season. He got his way.

“It was last second,” said one source close to Mrazek.

It was a great example of what makes Mrazek such a good goalie when he’s on – he has swagger. He has confidence in himself. He believed he was worth a number and he wouldn’t budge. Nothing wrong with that. He just needed to back it up.

It didn’t happen during the regular season, one in which he was outplayed considerably by Jimmy Howard. It didn’t happen in the World Championships, where Mrazek lost playing time to KHL goalie Pavel Francouz after posting an .881 save percentage for the Czech Republic.

When things went sideways for Mrazek this season, there was concern internally about his response. Rather than digging in and trying to work his way out of it, Mrazek, according to multiple sources, soured and placed the blame elsewhere.

Contrasted against Howard, whose work ethic picked up when his play went south in previous seasons, it presented a tough decision for an organization with an embedded belief in culture and work ethic for its best players.

Custance continues, considering what might happen to Mrazek in the expansion draft...

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‘Three Things,’ Griffins version: A silver lining, a Svechnikov interview and Matt Ford’s thank-you

Of Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this morning:

1. ESPN's Tal Pinchevsky suggests that the Griffins' championship was one of the biggest "silver lining" stories which occurred during the Stanley Cup Final and its aftermath:

Silver lining: In a difficult season for a proud Original Six franchise, the Detroit Red Wings lost longtime owner Mike Ilitch, who died in February at age 87, before closing Joe Louis Arena at the same time they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Seeing that remarkable run of 25 straight postseason appearances end was difficult for the franchise. But there are brighter days ahead for the Red Wings. The team will soon move into the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena, and its minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, won the Calder Cup for the second time in five seasons. Much like the 2012-13 title team, this year's championship squad was led by players who could be contributing to the Red Wings soon, including Tyler Bertuzzi, Evgeny Svechnikov, Tomas Nosek and Jared Coreau.

2. Evgeny Svechnikov spoke with Sovetsky Sport a couple of days ago, and I'm finally catching up on international news, so here's a rough translation of his interview:

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Prospect news: Interviews with Sambrook and Nosek

Of prospect-related note this morning:

1. In English, Winging It in Motown's J.M. Curran engaged in an interview with Erie Otters defenseman Jordan Sambrook...

WIIM: Which Red Wings' player are you most looking forward to playing with? Any special reason?

JS: There is not one in particular. Just to have the opportunity to put on the Red Wings jersey would be very special. I was glad to see other current Ontario Hockey League players Givani Smith and Filip Hronek get an opportunity to play some games for the Griffins.

WIIM: With the Red Wings' Development Camp just around the corner, do you feel more prepared heading into your second year? What was your first camp experience like?

JS: I definitely feel more prepared heading into my second year at camp. Last year was an amazing experience, I learned an endless amount of things on and off the ice that I took back to Erie and applied to my game this past year. Traverse City is an amazing host for the camp, and I am very excited to go back up there this year.

Curran continues...

2. And in Czech, Grand Rapids Griffins forward Tomas Nosek conducted an interview with Hokej.cz's Adam Bagar, and what follows is roughly translated:

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The Athletic: Wings can avoid a rebuild by trading 1st-round picks?

The Athletic Detroit asked analytics expert Tyler Dellow to discuss ways in which the Red Wings could successfully rebuild, and Dellow comes to a counter-intiutive conclusion:

One advantage Detroit has over other teams that are looking for defensemen this summer is that the Red Wings have a high draft pick in the 2017 draft that they can put on the table. Most teams that would be willing to trade their first-round pick to acquire a defenseman now aren't going to be in that position (Dallas is a notable exception). Future Red Wings picks are probably also highly valued around the league because the league probably expects that the Red Wings are going to be terrible for a while.

This creates an opportunity for the Red Wings. If they're serious about avoiding the traditional rebuild, the only way around it that would seem to have a reasonable probability of success involves trading draft picks to rebuild the talent base of their team. Lots of draft picks. For many years into the future.

Dellow continues, and he backs up his theory with some serious analytic work...

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Predictions On Who Will Vegas Pick From The Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Who will the Vegas Golden Knights poach from the Detroit Red Wings' roster?

A half-dozen different players were projected to be selected by various news outlets in the mock drafts we found. The two most popular names were defenseman Xavier Ouellet and goaltender Petr Mrazek....

Toronto Sun: Mike Zeisberger likes Ouellet: "RFA. Averaged 17:58 of ice time in 66 games with Detroit last season. Turns only 24 on July 24."

NHL.com: Dan Rosen also went with Ouellet, saying "Ouellet, a lefty who turns 24 next month, played in a career-high 66 games this season. He had 12 points (three goals, nine assists). He can provide some offense; he had 29 points (four goals, 25 assists) in 61 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL in the 2015-16 season."

The Hockey News: Matt Larkin isn't putting too much stock in Mrazek's struggles this past season, believing in his potential. "I believe in the theory that Vegas will take more goalies than it needs, then hold the league hostage on the trade market. Watch for it. And Mrazek's talent exceeds his recent results. It's not too late for him to become a great goalie."

more

Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James also examined the situation:

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Samuelssen, Krupa weigh in on the Wings’ decision to protect Howard over Mrazek

The Red Wings' decision to protect Jimmy Howard over Petr Mrazek in the expansion draft has led to significant discord among Wings fans and pundits alike, with many questions as to the soundness, sanity or strategy of said decision left unanswered by Ken Holland and the Red Wings' management.

As such, the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen offers three reasons as to why he believes the Red Wings' decision to protect Howard over Mrazek at least "makes sense"...

The first and most obvious thing is that Howard was better than Mrazek was last year. Much better. You could easily argue that Howard was the Red Wings' MVP. He was superior to Mrazek in virtually every category including goals-against average (2.10 to 3.04) and save percentage (.927 to .901). He was outstanding for the U.S. team at the World Championship. And as this team looks to rebuild, it helps to move into a new era (not to mention a new building) knowing that you have a strength in goal as opposed to simply a question mark.

Second, you have the stories that have emerged in the last day or two that Mrazek was not only bad on the ice, he was bad off it. A report has surfaced that Mrazek’s ego began to balloon to a point last season that he became difficult to coach. When the Red Wings stared Jared Coreau in the outdoor game in Toronto, it was a clear sign that they weren’t happy with Mrazek’s attitude or work ethic.

...

The third possibility is simply this -- Holland wants to lessen the financial grip that his goaltenders have on his payroll and he’s looking for any means possible to do so. He knows that Howard is a no-go for the Knights, so why not roll the dice with Mrazek? If the Knights bite, the Wings lose a promising young talent, but they also free up $4 million from a player that they forecast to be a backup goaltender in the upcoming season. You may think that Howard is overpaid, but if he stays healthy and performs the way he’s shown capable, he makes more financial sense than paying Mrazek $4 million to be the backup.

Samuelssen continues, suggesting that, at this point, Ken Holland no longer deserves "benefit of the doubt" status...

And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa suggests that Jimmy Howard may in fact have earned his protected status over the course of the past calendar year, offering quite the story to lead off a customarily in-depth column:

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Custance: Wings angling for Spencer Foo

From the Athletic's Craig Custance:

The Red Wings are looking to collect young talent and may be closing in on a promising college free agent. An NHL source confirmed with The Athletic that top college free-agent forward Spencer Foo has narrowed down his list and the Detroit Red Wings are part of a “small handful” of teams still in the running.

According to a source close to Foo, the Red Wings made an impressive pitch described as “first-class” that put them in the mix to land the free agent, a pitch combined with multiple meetings and conversations with Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings director of player evaluation, that has kept Detroit in the conversation.

Foo (6-0, 180) had a big year in his third season at Union College, putting up 62 points in 38 games and the 23-year-old attracted major interest from NHL teams.

According to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, the Oilers are also one of four teams still in contention to sign Foo, an Edmonton, Alberta native. Vegas and Philadelphia have also been mentioned as potential destinations for Foo.

Continued

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Lawsuit seeking to derail Pistons’ move downtown denied

Detroit area "community activist" (a.k.a. lawsuit filer) Robert Davis had brought forth a lawsuit that could have stalled or completely derailed the Detroit Pistons' move downtown to share Little Caesars Arena with the Red Wings, but Crain's Detroit Business's Chad Livengood reports that the lawsuit's main thrust has been deined:

A federal judge on Monday denied a request to block Detroit City Council from approving $34.5 million in bonds tied to the Detroit Pistons moving downtown into the new Little Caesars Arena.

Litigious community activist Robert Davis and City Clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon had asked U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith to issue a temporary restraining order barring the use of tax-increment financing to back the bonds slated to pay for upgrades to the new arena to accommodate the Pistons.

In an opinion issued late Monday night, Goldsmith said Davis and Wilcoxon had failed to prove that an injunction was necessary as their lawsuit hinges on an argument that the diversion of education and parks taxes for the arena project should have been approved by Detroit voters.

“Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the right to vote guaranteed by the United States Constitution is somehow abridged by the violation of state laws regulating government financing that is subject to voter approval,” Goldsmith wrote.

Goldsmith issued the ruling after holding an early afternoon hearing on Davis and Wilcoxon’s request for a restraining order.

During the hearing, an attorney for the City of Detroit warned that an injunction stopping the flow of tax dollars toward subsidizing the Detroit Pistons' move to downtown Detroit could cause the basketball team to stay put at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Continued, and MLive's Gus Burns, the Free Press's Katrease Stafford, the Free Press's Editorial Board and the Detroit News all weigh in.

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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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