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The Season Ahead For Danny DeKeyser

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking ahead: DeKeyser showed growth his first two seasons in the NHL, but his numbers have taken a hit as his role has expanded. It will be interesting to see how DeKeyser is affected by newly signed defensemen Trevor Daley. The two are penciled in to start the season together, and Daley’s experience and skating ability should have a positive effect on DeKeyser. DeKeyser spent the majority of last season paired with Green, whose risk-taking can lead to the puck ending up in Detroit’s net.

DeKeyser has been slotted higher than he should be the past two seasons, a necessity borne out of Kronwall’s decline and the lack of a high-end defenseman on the team. He’s suited to be a second-pairing guy, but he has had to do much more because of injuries to teammates. Daley isn’t an elite defenseman but he does upgrade the Wings, and maybe DeKeyser can rekindle the growth he showed a couple of seasons ago. It’s worth remembering, too, that at 27, he is just coming into his prime.


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The Outlook For Darren Helm

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2017-18 outlook: Helm, after signing a five-year, $19.5 million contact, got off to a strong start. His line, with Gustav Nyquist and Thomas Vanek, carried the club offensively the first few weeks. Then Vanek got injured. Then Helm suffered a dislocated shoulder, sidelining him for two months.

The club missed his speed and competitiveness. He plays hard consistently, a trait the team is trying to instill in some of its younger players.

Helm creates scoring chances but doesn't finish enough because he lacks scoring touch. His inability to slow the game down and realize he has more time with the puck has always been an issue because his motor is always running.

If he can stay healthy, he can be counted on for 12-to-15 goals.

A center most of his career, Helm is expected to play on the wing, possibly on a line with Frans Nielsen. He is versatile and could play in the top six if needed.


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The overnight report: On Trevor Daley, a tunnel closure, Zetterberg, the MSU Pro Camp and more

Of very disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Athletic Detroit is offering a "360-Degree View" of the Red Wings' 2017-18 roster, and Craig Custance kicks off the previews with an examination of free agent signing Trevor Daley:

View from an opposing coach: “I love him. I always liked him when he was in Dallas. He was the guy we would talk about because – either off the rush or in the offensive zone – if you did not know where he was, he was all of a sudden standing in front of your net. He was quick and he had the ability to make things happen offensively.”

“As you watched him play in the cauldron of the NHL playoffs [with the Penguins] over the last couple years, he battled injuries but he showed he can play a complete game. They’re getting a really good player. I don’t think the Mike Green experiment went particularly well for them and this is a better fit. He can play in all three zones and he logged some tough minutes in the playoffs. In Dallas, his game was more offensively inclined. I think his game evolved and he was pretty darn effective in all three zones [for Pittsburgh]. They’re getting a really good defenseman and they don’t have that in Mike Green. He’s more of a one-way guy. This guy, he can play hard minutes in a lot of different situations.”

Custance continues (paywall)...

2. In news you can use, especially if you're from Windsor, the Windsor Star's Dave Battagello reports that the Detroit-Windsor tunnel is going to close every weeknight from 9 PM to 5:30 AM for extensive repairs, starting in November and continuing until June, 2018:

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‘Roughly Translated’: An interview with Libor Sulak and Tweets of note

Red Wings prospect Libor Sulak took part in an interview with the CTK News Agency's Michal Kamaryt, and what follows is a very roughly translated:

Sulak's fairy tale: contract, a preparatory camp and praise from a legend

In mid-April, defenseman Libor Sulak debuted in the Czech REpublic as the first player from the [Austrian] EBEL league, and four months later, he'll appear again on the national team [for the Four Nations Tournament] in a completely different role. The 23-year-old native of Pelhrimov, who played for Znojmo, has participated in the World Championship in Paris and signed a contract with Detroit of the NHL.

In September, Sulak will fight in camp for a premiere in the world's best league. If he doesn't get into the Red Wings, he could return to Europe, where he'd previously agreed to play for the Lahti Pelicans in Finland. That would give him the hope to participate in the Olympics in February in Pyeongchang.

He's been enjoying his fairy tale in recent months. "Two years ago, when I was leaving Chomutov, I would have been laughing [if you told me] I'd sign a contract with the NHL, but it's about when you take the jump, and good luck turns to you," Sulak told reporters.

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Free Sneak Peak Of Little Caesars Arena

(DETROIT – August 21, 2017) Olympia Entertainment today announced details surrounding the free Community Sneak Peek at Little Caesars Arena taking place on Saturday, September 9 from 2-8 p.m. This free admission tour is part of Little Caesars Arena Preview Week and is one of the first opportunities for fans and community members to experience the signature “Via” concourse, look into the intimate arena bowl and more.

Community Sneak Peek Ticket Details:

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‘Two Things’: On Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article discussing the 2017-18 season outlook for Mike Green:

Green remains indispensable because he's the team's lone offensive threat on the blue line and a key component on a power play that is capable of being more potent than it was last season (27th at 15.1 percent). That is why the club protected him for the expansion draft.

Green is not likely to be traded if the Red Wings feel they are in playoff contention. If they believe they're out of it at the trade deadline, they'll move Green for a draft pick, unless they were to sign him to a short-term, lower-priced contract by then.

Green managed to double his goal total from the previous season despite registering just one more shot. He needs to get the puck on net more often - or least to the net front, where it can be tipped. His power-play production (three goals, seven assists) were lacking.

Green has never been valued for his defensive ability and struggled at times last season, leading the team in turnovers. But the Red Wings realized they had to take the bad with the good when they signed him. It's imperative for Green to continue utilizing his skating ability and good wrist shot to generate offense.

Khan continues;

2. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji looked back at Niklas Kronwall's 2016-17 season "By the Numbers":

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The overnight report: Two more years of Zetterberg; an obituary, a stat of note and fundraising

Updated with more Zetterberg stuff at 7:32 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Henrik Zetterberg gave a long interview to his hometown paper, Sundsvalls Tidning, but the interview is behind a paywall. The interview's teaser suggests that Zetterberg focuses on his foundation's charity work in Africa, that he discusses the close call with career-ending injury that was the Sochi Olympics, and discusses Detroit's situation...

But there's also tidbit about "tricking the system" that drew the interest of Aftonbladet's Andreas Kack, who peers behind the paywall (noting that the interview appeared in several different online newspapers) and shares Zetterberg's take on his contract. What follows is Kack's report, and it's roughly translated:

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The overnight report: Larkin’s pitch(es); a short, hot take; on prospects past and present

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Dylan Larkin threw out the first pitch at Friday night's Tigers game as a part of "Michigan Night" at Comerica Park, and he sat down with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating before delivering the pitch:

The Wings' Twitter account followed Larkin's path to the pitcher's mound as well:

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St. James on Zetterberg’s outlook

The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Henrik Zetterberg's 2017-18 season outlook this afternoon:

Zetterberg turns 37 on Oct. 9. That’s getting up there in age, but Zetterberg has put in two straight 82-game seasons, and missed only five games in 2014-15. He’s figured out how to adjust his workouts relative to his aging body, and having had back surgery in the spring of 2014. He’s still such a smart player, and still difficult to knock off the puck. He still inspires teammates with the sort of shift that changes a game.

How much longer will Zetterberg continue to carry the Wings though, one wonders. Zetterberg signed a mammoth 12-year, $73 million deal in 2009. It was front-loaded, and after this coming season the actual salary drops to $3.5 million (still a truckload of money). The final two seasons, however, sees the salary drop to $1 million a year. The good thing is that if Zetterberg walks away before the contract ends, it comes off the books because it took effect before Zetterberg turned 35. (Datsyuk’s last contract did not, hence the mess his year-early departure created).

Zetterberg has been integral to the Wings’ success since he embraced a burgeoning role around the mid-aughts, making his mark as captain in similar vein to the quiet, example-setting leadership of predecessors Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. Even in the twilight of his career, Zetterberg remains a marvel.


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Reminder: Joe Kocur Foundation’s annual charity softball game scheduled for August 26th

The Milford News posted a superb reminder that the Joe Kocur Foundation's annual charity softball game will take place in Highland Township, MI next Saturday, August 26th (with tickets available online for $10):

The Joe Kocur Foundation for Children announced its 2017 Celebrity Softball Series will take place Saturday, Aug. 26, at Duck Lake Pines Park in Highland.

Gates open for parking and early seating at 11 a.m. Bleacher space will fill up quick, so it is recommended attendees also bring lawn chairs. The event will consist of three five-inning softball games, which are currently scheduled for 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 4:15 p.m.

Previous participants have included Detroit Red Wings Alumni and others such as Joe Kocur, Dylan Larkin, Chris Osgood, Darren McCarty, Dino Ciccarelli, Manny Legace, Todd Bertuzzi, Mickey Redmond, Brian Smolinski, Steve Avery, John Ogrodnick, Dave Lewis, Dave Rozema, Eric Hipple, Jason Woolley, Jiri Fischer, Kevin Miller, Pat Peake, Kris Draper, Scott Lusader, Al Iafrate, Mike Knuble and Kirk Maltby.

Among this year's participants are the following alumni and active Wings players:

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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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