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Watching The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

1. First look at McDavid

The Red Wings will face Connor McDavid, the NHL's top overall pick in this year's draft, Wednesday in Edmonton. He had a three-point game (two goals, assist) in the Oilers' first win (5-2 over Calgary on Saturday) after four losses to open the season under Todd McLellan, the former Red Wings assistant coach and San Jose Sharks head coach.

McDavid, in six games, leads the team with three goals and five points, one point less than Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin.

The Red Wings have dominated the Oilers over the past decade. Detroit has won eight in a row since Feb. 4, 2012, and is 15-0-2 vs. Edmonton dating back to Dec. 3, 2009, the Oilers' most recent regulation win in the series (4-1). The Red Wings are 22-1-7 in their past 30 against the Oilers and 30-2-11-4 (W-L-OTL-T) in their past 47 vs. Edmonton.

On the road, Detroit is 9-0-5 in its past 14 vs. Edmonton. Petr Mrazek will start in goal.

2. Tatar looks to get untracked

Tomas Tatar, who led the team with 29 goals in 2014-15, has no goals and two assists in five games. He has recorded only five shots and hasn't meshed yet with center Brad Richards (no goals, two assists).

Tatar got off to a slow start last season as well, with just one point (a goal) in his first nine games.

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The overnight report: on the issues surrounding the Wings’ OK start, and prospect news

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

On the heels of the Red Wings' controversial 4-1 loss to Montreal, Wings fans are concerned. They're concerned about the Wings' lack of shots, concerned about the slow starters, concerned about the way the Brendan Gallagher goal (which the Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens adored) went down, concerned about special teams, etc. etc.

The Red Wings are also aware of the issues that have marred a solid-enough start. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with the Wings regarding their special teams issues...

“The power play hasn’t been good the last couple of games,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg, who felt the unit was one of the prime reasons for the loss in Montreal. “We have to fix that before we go (on this week’s three-game western Canada road trip).”

The Red Wings ranked 21st Sunday in the NHL on the power play, 2-for-13 (15.4 percent). Zetterberg was as mystified as anyone as to why the power play was so cold.

“It’s hard to say,” Zetterberg said. “We’re trying to do the stuff we’re talking about but we’re not getting the production. We have to get back to the drawing board and see what we can do better.”

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Besides Shots On Net, The Wings Have Other Areas Of Concern

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings (3-2-0) start a three-game trip to Western Canada Wednesday in Edmonton.

The power play, which ranked second in the NHL in 2014-15 (23.8 percent), is 2 for 13 (15.4 percent).

"We need to find a way to make sure we spend time in the zone," Blashill said. "It's a results orientated league and you have to make sure you end up on the positive side of the specialty teams battle."

Henrik Zetterberg told Fox Sports Detroit: "Power play hasn't been good the last couple games and we'd better fix that when we go to (Western Canada)."

They've taken too many penalties, shorthanded an average of four times per game.

"It just takes away from the flow of the game," defenseman Danny DeKeyser told Detroitredwings.com. "You're in your own zone for two minutes. Whether you kill it, it's great, but it's still taking offense away from you. You're in your own zone defending for two minutes and when it's time to play offense maybe you don't have quite as much energy."

Several players are off to slow starts offensively. Tomas Tatar, who led the team with 29 goals last season, has no goals and two assists; same for his linemate, Brad Richards. Their top two offensive defensemen, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall, each have just one assist.


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Talking The Brendan Gallagher Goal And Review

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

Something nagged at me after Saturday’s games — I couldn’t figure out why the Detroit Red Wings did not use a coach’s challenge on Brendan Gallagher’s goal that tied the game 1-1.

There was a review to see if Gallagher kicked it in, which is what the situation room is supposed to determine. It’s up to Jeff Blashill to appeal for goaltender interference. The first part happened as expected. The NHL looked at the play and declared “a good goal.” No problem with that.

Detroit’s decision not to follow up with its own request was weird. Then, Blashill refused to explain it post-game. That’s code for there’s more to this story. Or, “It’s better I just eat it and deal with this privately.”

Go back and listen to referee Dave Jackson’s explanation. The last few words are buried in the crowd’s cheers, but he says, “After video review, the puck entered the net in legal fashion, before contact. The goal is good.”


Watch the goal below...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Canadiens wrap-up

The Red Wings flew back to Metro Detroit for a Sunday off feeling a little subdued and a bit ticked off after the team's 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, the team's second defeat in two nights.

For the second night in a row and fourth time in five games played, Detroit was out-shot, out-attempted, out-drawn in the faceoff circle and perhaps generally out-played, and you can argue that in every game save the Toronto and perhaps Tampa Bay tilts, Detroit's been soundly out-played by its opposition.

That would be much more of a concern if the Wings weren't 3-and-2 despite their early-season struggles, and I think it would be more of a concern if the team wasn't a little younger, a little different in terms of its player personnel and dealing with a coach whose system changes from the previous coach weren't so subtle after all...

And the Wings felt that on Saturday night, the game changed on a play that shouldn't have counted:

The 6-and-0 Canadiens had no sympathy for the "situation room's" suggestion that Brendan Gallagher slid into Petr Mrazek feet-first and still somehow "directed the puck into the net in a legal fashion"...

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Prospect news: Griffins, Walleye still winless; de Haas, Turgeon warming to offensive task

The Grand Rapids Griffins are having a rough start. Saturday night, the Griffins dropped a 4-0 decision to the San Antonio Rampage, and that loss dropped the Griffins to 0-and-4 on the young season. The Griffins' website posted a game recap:

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Red Wings-Canadiens quick take: Wings need to catch up with their new systems

All the hubbub of playing in Montreal isn't just hubbub. Given that the Red Wings' follow-on rink is designed after the Bell Centre and given that the Red Wings almost never win in Montreal due to reasons that may or may not include a perceived or real home-ice refereeing ad vantage, going to Montreal and pulling out a win is a big--and rarely-achieved--deal for the Red Wings.

On Saturday night, the day after dropping an embarrassing 5-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Red Wings still looked a step behind the Montreal Canadiens, who won 4-1...

And I'd argue that the Red Wings have shown us not only that they're not exactly going to dominate the league this season, but they've also shown us that the indecisiveness in transitioning from Mike Babcock's go-go-stop system to Jeff Blashill's go-go-go, aggressive-all-the-time system is going to take time and maybe take some early points to learn how to play instead of think.

Sure, the Habs got a controversial/cheapie goal, the Wings took too many penalties and the Wings got out-shot by a wide margin again, but Detroit's just not on the same page here, and that's not a personnel thing in my opinion as much as it is a systems thing, even against Montreal.

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Ken Holland discusses Johan Franzen’s situation

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Johan Franzen's situation:

"Right now the number one thing from my perspective is that Johan has a wife and a family,” the Wings general manager said in a phone interview. “If he gets to a place in his life where he wakes up every day and feels good about himself and feels good about facing the day … but right now he’s not there. I think that’s the most important thing before there’s even any contemplation of returning to play hockey.”

Franzen, 35, missed his third straight game Saturday night in Montreal after leaving Joe Louis Arena Tuesday after the morning skate prior to the Wings taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He has suffered multi concussions in his career, the last of which occurred last season after a blind-side hit by Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer last January. He finished the game, but began experiencing concussion-like symptoms the next day.

Franzen didn’t return the rest of the season.

“It’s like last year,” Holland said. “He went home, day of the game, we thought all was good. We don’t want to use the word setback. I don’t think it’s been as positive recovery the last couple of months as I think we wanted us all to think.


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What happens to the roster when the Wings get healthy (assuming they get healthy)?

Among the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa's notes:

Detroit started the season with three straight wins. Rookie coach Jeff Blashill is continuing Mike Babcock’s emphasis on skating and skill. Top-line center Henrik Zetterberg is playing like he’s eight years younger. Justin Abdelkader is developing into a go-to power forward. And 19-year-old Dylan Larkin, who dominated college hockey as a freshman last year, is performing with poise beyond his age. This is taking place despite the absences of Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), Danny DeKeyser (foot), and Darren Helm (head/shoulder).

When they return, the Red Wings might have to make some hard decisions. Bubble players who must pass through waivers to be assigned to the AHL include Landon Ferraro and Teemu Pulkkinen. Detroit’s philosophy is to develop players in Grand Rapids, at times past their due dates. This makes them ready to contribute at the NHL. But the risk is they lose their waivers-exempt status because they stay so long in the AHL.

Shinzawa continues, discussing myriad topics...

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Red Wings-Canadiens game-day articles: DeKeyser, Helm return; Habs know Detroit will test them

The Red Wings received good news during the morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens (7 PM EDT on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./TVA Sports/97.1 FM) in that Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser are good to go. Here are the pertinent articles and videos from the morning skate and this early afternoon:

First, the Red Wings posted a game-day video...

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with DeKeyser regarding his return...

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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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