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Evening news: On the Christmas break and re-casting holiday movies with Wings ‘characters’

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with the Red Wings' players and coach about the NHL's 3-day Christmas break...

“There has to be some time where you say family is more important than dollars or anything else,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I hope we never get to a day where we don’t have a break like this, never get to the day where we’re playing on Christmas, it would be awful.”

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, teams are unable to hold practices and obviously there are no games. So players travel back home, or bring family members here for several days of being together and unwinding. Considering what other leagues do, NHL players are deeply appreciative.

“It’s nice to unwind for sure,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “It’s good for everybody. The biggest thing is you can actually see family. They’re just not coming in for the game and you kind of see them after the game for a little bit. You can actually talk to your family and see what is going on with them. It’s kind of a cool experience and I’m going to enjoy it for sure.”

Kulfan continues, while the Windsor Star's Bob Duff takes a similar tack, duly noting that the Wings used to play on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day:

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Red Wings send Ouellet back to Grand Rapids

From the Red Wings:

Ericsson must be getting better...

… Blueliner Has Logged 25 Career Games with Red Wings Since 2013 …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Ouellet, 22, has played in 25 career regular-season games with the Red Wings from 2013-15, notching three points (2-1-3), two penalty minutes and a plus-four rating. He also made his NHL postseason debut during Detroit’s 2014 first-round series against the Boston Bruins, skating in one game. Ouellet has appeared in all 25 of Grand Rapids’ games this season and ranks second among the team’s blueliners with 12 points (2-10-12), while owning the third-best plus-minus rating on the team at plus-nine and leading all Griffins with 67 shots on goal. A third-year pro, Ouellet has made 147 appearances for the Griffins since 2013-14, picking up 45 points (7-38-45), a plus-12 rating and 54 penalty minutes and represented the team at the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic.

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Ken Holland discusses the Wings at Christmas on WDFN

WDFN's Art Renger spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland this morning, speaking with Holland about the state of the team, the Wings' road-heavy schedule, Dylan Larkin's surprising development and more over the course of an 18-minute interview:

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It’s Break Time For The Detroit Red Wings

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings are entering their annual three-day Christmas break on a down note after losing at home Tuesday to the New Jersey Devils.

But that doesn't diminish what they've done in the last five weeks.

The Red Wings earned a point in 15 of their last 17 games dating back to Nov. 16 to putting themselves in the thick of the Atlantic Division race when the NHL schedule resumes Saturday.

Despite losing 4-3 Tuesday night, when they spotted New Jersey the game's first three goals, the Red Wings remained two points behind Atlantic Division leader Montreal. They trail second-place Boston and Florida by one point.

Skeptics will argue the Red Wings let valuable points slip away by blowing third-period leads in the last month but captain Henrik Zetterberg said that theory can work both ways.

"We probably stole a few, too, during that stretch," Zetterberg said. "The thing we know is if we keep playing like we did tonight we will get points and we will be fine."


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Devils wrap-up

The Red Wings' 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils was as disheartening as it was at times enthralling, with the Red Wings rallying from a 3-0 deficit only to surrender that all-important 4-1 marker to Sergey Kalinin, and the Wings nearly rallying from that deficit, too, until what we'll call a spurious penalty on Niklas Kronwall, on top of a whole bunch of non-calls in both teams' favor, yielded a disappointing result.

Had the Red Wings not made such glaring and garish mistakes, had they gotten slightly better goaltending and had they a little more luck on their side, and Wings fans would have been talking about the Northeast Division's top team going into Christmas break; instead, Detroit sits in a wild card spot with 9 of their next 10 games to be played away from Joe Louis Arena, and the Wings feel very much like an unfinished product...

Or as Jeff Blashill might put it, like a team that remains "in the process" of becoming elite again.

Our friends in New Jersey decided to push the schmaltz meter up to eleven, suggesting that Kyle Palmieri's 1-0 goal reminded them of the Scott Niedermayer dagger from way back in 1995. So said the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere, anyway:

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Red Wings-Devils quick take: self-inflicted mistakes cost the Wings a cheery Christmas break

For better or worse, an NHL team's pre-Christmas game, which is really just 1 of 82, is often viewed as a sort of "state of the team" barometer, and so it's with heavy fan expectations that the Red Wings came into Game 34 of the regular season against the New Jersey Devils.

As the Wings wrap up the home-friendly portion of their schedule, New Jersey presented a stiff opponent, and on Tuesday night, if the Wings played a game that was a microcosm of their season, this one may have been appropriate.

Detroit tried very, very hard to overcome a start marred by hiccups and mistakes, and while the Wings' comeback was stirring, and the emotional roller-coaster was enthralling, the Wings weren't quite good enough to overcome their early mistakes, and they dropped a 4-3 decision to the New Jersey Devils.

Going on the road for most of January and February, the Red Wings are going to have to minimize their mistakes to truly establish themselves as a team that is more than "pretty good in the process of getting back to very good," and this game serves as a blueprint of sorts--as to what kind of spirit it's going to take to rally when down, as well as a blueprint as to what kind of mistakes the Wings must absolutely avoid to succeed going forward.

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Prospect news: Kadeikin continues to play major minutes; Griffins file weekly release

Of Red Wings prospect-related note:

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin played 15:48 in SKA St. Petersburg's 6-5 OT loss to Torpedo Nizhny Novogrod;

Christoffer Ehn didn't play in the Frolunda Indians' 3-0 win over Malmo as Ehn is preparing for the World Junior Championships;

And here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

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Evening news: Smith paired with Green; on Larkin comparisons, Datsyuk and Ouellet

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video:

2. NHL.com's Paul Harris discussed the Smith-Green pairing in his At the Rink article...

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As a coach, Jeff Blashill is focused on his and his team’s ‘process,’ not replacing Mike Babcock

Via RedWingsFeed, the Hockey News's Ken Campbell spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill about "replacing a rock star," the Wings' early-season swoon/rebound and where the coach goes from here in terms of his status as Mike Babcock's successor:

There are certainly some differences between the two. Blashill placed his trust immediately in rookie Dylan Larkin and the move has paid off. Babcock never altered his defense pairings, but Blashill has juggled them several times this season. But still, it’s never easy to replace a rock star. And you knew that as soon as the Red Wings hit a bump, the questions would begin to surface.

“I just walk in here and do the best job I can,” Blashill said. “That’s what I’ve done at every job I’ve been at. I don’t worry about who I replaced or other factors. I don’t think you can. It’s worked for me up to now. What can’t it work for me here, regardless of who I replaced? I don’t think I’m cocky, but I believe I belong here and I believe I can do a great job here.”

With that in mind, Blashill did not spend a lot of time during the early struggles worrying about being the first coach in 25 to miss the playoffs. He didn’t concern himself with the comparisons to Babcock and he wisely relied on his own instincts.

“I don’t spend time worrying about what bad things are going to happen,” Blashill said. “I worry about what it’s going to take to succeed. And I know that sounds like a little bit of bullsh–, but it’s not. Do I know that we might miss the playoffs someday? Yes? Do I know there are high expectations here? Yes. Do I know I’m a coach and at some point I’ll get fired? Yes. It’s fine. I’m at peace with all that.”

Campbell continues at length...

Also from Campbell:

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Drew Miller skates with Wings, chews on recovery talk

Updated 4x at 1:52 PM: Drew Miller skated with the Red Wings today, and the Free Press's Helene St. James checked in with Miller after the Wings' morning skate:

Drew Miller figures Christmas dinner will have enough options for him to get in a good meal. The Detroit Red Wings forward does have to be careful, though, as he was today, when he made it onto the ice for a brief skate at Joe Louis Arena. He is still dealing with the effects of a crushing hit Dec. 3, when the Arizona Coyotes' Klas Dahlbeck drove his right shoulder into Miller's head. A game official grabbed Miller to keep him upright until team personnel could help him.


Miller wasn't well enough to be around the arena for a good week after the incident.

"It was a weird feeling," he said. "To come back and be around for games and supporting the guys here in the locker room, it was nice to be here for that."

Today was Miller's second time on the ice. The former Michigan State star does not have a return date circled but is hopeful that the recovery is at the shorter end of the 4-to-6-week prognosis. He said he thinks he will go on the team's post-Christmas trip but isn't certain.

"It's hard to say," he said. "You have to just kind of go day-by-day and see how the jaw progresses. And then I've got to get my conditioning back."

St. James continues, and discusses Miller's Christmas dinner options as his broken jaw remains a little sore...

Update: MLive's Ansar Khan posted a video of Miller speaking with the media:

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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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