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Red Wings-Lightning Game 4 game-day articles: Wings determined, Lightning confident

Updated 12x at 2:14 PM: The morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM) involved discussions of momentum, talk about Steven Stamkos' offense or the lack thereof and the Wings preparing for an incredibly desperate and determined Lightning team this evening.

The actual in-skate Tweets were few and far between...

And in the multimedia department, per Fox Sports Detroit...

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Khan, St. James: Red Wings’ Game 6 start time depends on Hawks-Preds series

This is rather silly, however:

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Yes, Joe Hicketts was assigned to the Griffins for their playoff run

I had thought that everybody knew this as the Victoria Times-Colonist's Cleve Dheensaw reported it two days ago, but a Tweet from Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser + a note from Winging It in Motown = the Griffins decided to make Joe Hicketts' status official (via RedWingsFeed):

The Detroit Red Wings have reassigned defenseman Joe Hicketts from the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Hicketts, 18, signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Wings on September 24 after attending Detroit’s development camp and the 2014 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City last summer. In 62 games with Victoria this season, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound blueliner ranked second among WHL defensemen in scoring with 64 points (12-52—64) in 62 games, while posting 48 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating. In 165 career games with the Royals from 2012-15, Hicketts has amassed 112 points (24-88—112), 105 PIM and a plus-31 rating. In March, Hicketts was named to the 2014-15 WHL Western Conference Second All-Star Team.

A native of Kamloops, British Columbia, Hicketts has represented Canada on the international stage a number of times, most recently winning a gold medal on his country’s home ice at the 2015 World Junior Championship. He also won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship in Finland and captained Team Pacific at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec.

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 4 morning skate Tweets: No changes for Detroit

Updated 6x at 12:03 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in a battle for control of their first-round series this evening (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; Brad Meier and Dan O'Halloran are scheduled to referee tonight's game).

The Wings hit the ice first at Joe Louis Arena for the morning skate, per WDIV's David Bartkowiak, Jr....

Lines appear same as Game 3 with Nyquist, Zetterberg, Abdelkader first #redwings

And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...

@DetroitRedWings on ice, morning skate Joe Louis Arena. Game 4 conference quarter-final versus Tampa, 7pm.

The Wings remain the underdog in the media, with CBS Sports' Adam Gretz picking the Lightning to even-up the series tonight...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Lightning Game 4 set-up

The Detroit Red Wings hope to earn a stranglehold on the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT start on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and "the stats" would bear out a massive advantage for the Wings if they are able to take this game, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams that go up 3-1 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 249-27 – that’s 90.2 percent.

The Lightning were aggravated and upset during Wednesday's practice, and while the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith reports that the Lightning understand that they've wasted far too many golden opportunities on the power play...

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Prospect news: Walleye down 2-1 against Wheeling; Griffins name McCollum playoff starter

One Red Wings developmental affiliate played on Wednesday night, and they're having a baffling playoff run: The Toledo Walleye were the ECHL's best regular-season team, but a team that experienced a significant amount of turnover is having trouble learning how to win together in the playoffs.

Toledo lost a 5-4 decision to the Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday (Richard Nedomlel finished at -1 with 2 shots as the lone Wings prospect on the team), and the Walleye are actually down 2-1 in the series, as the Walleye's website notes:

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Redevelopment of Eddystone Hotel settled; Detroit’s Midwest Steel to provide steel for rink

This is good news given yesterday's City of Detroit approval of the re-zoning of the arena district as amended by Olympia Development, per the Detroit Free Press's John Gallagher...

The Ilitch family's Olympia Development of Michigan will have one year after completing their new arena project in Detroit to finish the renovation of the derelict Eddystone Hotel into a new residential and mixed-use building.

Detroit's Downtown Development Authority approved an amendment Wednesday to the city's agreement with the Ilitches to build the arena and surrounding district. The amendment includes new compromise language worked out over the past several days with Olympia that guarantees that the firm will follow through on its commitment to renovate the Eddystone.

Detroit's City Council approved the plan earlier this week. Wednesday's DDA meeting marked another step in the process. Actual construction work is expected to begin shortly.

The Eddystone agreement calls for Olympia to develop or arrange for another developer to complete the Eddystone, to restore the historic facade, and to set aside 20% of the rental apartments for affordable income residents. The city will have the power to legally enforce the terms of the agreement. City Council had insisted that some guarantees on the Eddystone be built into the agreement rather than simply taking Olympia's word for it.

MLive's David Muller has more on the nuances of the DDA decision, and the Ilitches released the following press release this afternoon:

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Former NHL Coach Claude Noel On Game 3 And Practice Update On The Lightning

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

During the regular season, the Lightning ranked first in the NHL at 3.16 goals per game. They have averaged 2.33 in three games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Red Wings. Noel pointed to some reasons why the Lightning may have stalled on offense Tuesday.

"I thought Tampa Bay didn't generate a whole lot of offensive zone time where you could see their speed and skill," he said. "I thought they ended up playing what I call a three-quarter ice game. What they would do, and what happened a few times throughout the course of the game, was rather than get pucks deep and get in on the forecheck, sometimes they would get it deep and have just one player in on the forecheck because the second or third forward was sometimes caught on a change. So Detroit was always able to recover the pucks when they were dumped in and that resulted in breakouts the other way."

Noel said adding depth in attacking the puck on the forecheck could be the answer in generating more offense for the Lightning.

"I thought Tampa didn't dump the puck nearly enough to get it to the goal line and get some type of offensive zone attacks going and get depth onto their forecheck," Noel said. "They sometimes tried to deke and tried to make plays sideways, but there was no depth in their attack and I thought that was a big difference. When Tampa Bay got into the offensive zone, whether they got it to the goal line or were able to use the whole zone, they were really dangerous. They get on the move, made plays, and could execute passes. But you didn't see a lot of it; you just saw it in spurts."

more including Wings talk...

Below, beat writer Joe Smith with some practice tweets from the Bolts side...

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Petr Mrazek And Embellishment

from Kerry Fraser of TSN,

As such, there is often a slant toward the referees judging in favor of the goalkeeper whenever contact is made. In regard to the three goalie interference penalties that have been imposed against Tampa, my evaluation has the referees bang on the mark in two out of the three. Jason does bring forward a valuable "heads-up" for the referees that will work the balance of this series concerning the actions of Wings goalie Petr Mrazek.  

Let me review the goalie interference infractions that have been identified and assessed by the referees to this point in the series. In Game 1, the first goalie interference penalty was assessed at 19:28 of first period (score 1-1) to Anton Stralman of the Lightning. Stralman was trailing a Tampa rush and received a pass in the high slot with a direct path to the net. Mrazek exited his crease to cut down the angle and challenge the shooter with an ultimate position a good three feet outside of his blue paint. Stralman took a shot from the inside faceoff circle hash mark and within close range to Mrazek. The shot was easily gobbled up by the Detroit goalkeeper.

Stralman then attempted a full stop in front of Mrazek. Fearful that his momentum would carry him into Mrazek, the Tampa player did everything humanly possible to avoid contact with the goalie, including a one-leg-Flamingo move in an effort to slip past the goalie. Contact likely would have been greatly minimized or perhaps avoided completely had Mrazek not leaned his head and body into Stralman, as opposed to holding his position or leaning away from any impending contact.

While the broadcast commentators saw it as an obvious goalie interference infraction, I saw the play completely different at the time. I regarded Mrazek's actions as a deliberate effort to draw the foul through embellishment.


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Practice articles: Wings want to stem penalties; praise for Pavel; multimedia; Lightning skate late

Updated 10x at 6:07 PM: The Red Wings "held an optional" on Wednesday, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness took note of Mike Babcock's post-practice comments. Among them:

Q: The team was inconsistent down the stretch, how do you stop that from carrying over now?

Babcock: There’s two parts to that. Our part is we have to get prepared and ready to go and understand that Tampa is going to do their part too so the game has to be better. Each game of the series you have to get better to have success. We put ourselves in a good situation. We don’t want to give the situation back which mean our preparation has to be equal to their preparation today and tomorrow so we’re ready to go so that’s what our focus is.

Q: In the Wings’ two wins, Tampa Bay has been 0-for-13 on the power play.

Babcock: We’re on the penalty kill way too much, got to stay out of the box, that’s crazy. To give up a 5-on-3, it’s tough when you shoot it over the class or whatever we did. That 5-on-3 the posts were really kind to us. They made a real play to (Tyler) Johnson, that was tough to handle, but we have good penalty killers. We’ve had good penalty killers. We got off to a great start this year, we struggled in net for a while there, but we seem to have our penalty killing back. To test it each night with six or seven is crazy, three would be enough.

Babcock also discussed Pavel Datsyuk's contributions at length, and in the multimedia department:

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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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