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Evening news: Wings take in batting practice; Larkin’s optimism contrasts comments of Tatar, Nyquist

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Red Wings took in batting practice with the Tigers prior to Tuesday's game, as noted by WXYZ:

2. Dylan Larkin is headed to the World Championship because he wants to play more hockey, and during the Red Wings' locker room clean-out day, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa noted that Larkin was one of the few Wings expressing enthusiasm and a little bit of defensive "pluck" about his team's need for change:

Asked if the status of the Wings roster conjured any realization of an approaching time, perhaps not many seasons distant, when he might lead, the best Red Wings rookie since Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov said, “I don’t think there’s a situation with the roster,” in a media relations equivalent of a poke-check at the blue line.

“I think we have a lot of good players in here. I think with some guys moving on it’s an opportunity for young guys to come in,” Larkin said. “It’s like Blash (coach Jeff Blashill) said, you’ve got to look in the mirror and you’ve got to want to be better. And I certainly do, to try to help the team. Yeah, I had a good start. But I’m not happy with the way the season went, as a whole.”

Larkin’s keen awareness of hockey lends credence to the thought he is the great hope for the Red Wings. The rosters in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo are in the state they are in because of the lack of top draft choices the past two decades. Larkin is the highest choice to arrive since 1992.

His rookie season was a singular success of the Wings season.

“It was an early exit,” he said. “You know, it’s tough; especially your first playoffs your first season. You’re excited about the playoffs and you’re happy just to get there, and you don’t realize as a rookie it’s not easy playing those games. You’ve got to win four to move on and we didn’t do that. I think being in the playoffs helps me for next year. I think that was probably one of my best experiences I had this whole year, was getting that taste of playoff hockey, and knowing what it takes to be better for next year.”

Krupa continues, talking with Larkin about hitting a bit of a rough patch in January and February and how Larkin will address consistency in the offseason, and Larkin concludes on an optimistic note:

“You know, I just want to keep playing hockey,” Larkin said. “I’ve got a nice week off, but I’m going to be ready to get back out there. There’s a lot of young guys going, and I’m friends with most of the college guys. So, it’ll be fun to go play hockey with my friends.”

3. At the other end of the spectrum, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist were particularly frustrated with their seasons (as they should be), as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted:

“We can’t throw everything on Pavel and Hank; those guys need help from us,” Tatar said. “Last season me and Nyke stepped up and helped them. This year was a little bit different, a little tougher for me.”

After scoring 54 points and 27 goals last season, Nyquist’s production slipped to 43 and 17 this year. And Tatar didn’t fare much better, dropping from career highs of 56 points and 29 goals to 45 and 21.

“It was a different stuff than last year, different positions for me,” Tatar said. “I guess it’s just the way it works with the numbers.”

Nyquist felt the same frustration.

“I have to do better,” he said. “I didn’t score as much as I wanted to. That’s on me, and I just have to find a way to be better.”

After difficult regular seasons, there was hope Nyquist and Tatar would get hot in the playoffs and carry the Red Wings. But it was just a case of more disappointment. Tatar had three points (no goals) and Nyquist had one point (goal).

“I want to score goals, obviously that’s what I’m trying to do with other things,” Nyquist said. “I wasn’t able to do that enough this year and that’s disappointing.”

Quoth the GM:

“Do we have any young players who can take the team over? I’m not sure,” Holland said. “I don’t want to sit here and say we’re turning the team over to this young player or that young player. It’s not fair to those players. I don’t know if they’re ready. They’ve got to grow into it. We’ve got some good young players. Do we have stars? I don’t know. I’ve got to watch.”

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WingedRider's avatar

Do we have stars? I don’t know. I’ve got to watch.”

KH don’t waste time watching Larkin as he is as close to a sure thing as it gets.  Nyquist and Tatar , at least had a rotor cuff injury, ouch) better step up soon if they are still Wings.

Funny Larkin blossoms and Nyquist/Tatar wilt, I am sure they didn’t get their nose out of joint, right??

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 04/26/16 at 09:02 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Not as long as Larkin respects those two were there first.

Not sure what that means???  Anderson, Richards, Helm were there 1st.  Actually nearly everyone except AA was there first but he was a spectator.

Anyway, I would keep Tatar over Nyquist.  I think there are some pissed off players, they didn’t like the roles etc they had with Blash. Helm for sure, per Krupa some unhappy faces.   

There will be so many rumors before the draft , then July 1 and expansion draft. Vegas, LMAO.

Can’t wait for Sept

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 04/27/16 at 01:28 AM ET

BIGFOOT88's avatar

Wings may still be playing if Tats had buried that puck in Game 5 into the wide open net (instead of trying an ill-advised pass) !!

How “lost” and “mind-fu&ked;” must a player be to not be able to pull trigger in that situation??

I used to love Tats…but now not so sure.


Posted by BIGFOOT88 on 04/27/16 at 08:41 AM ET


Is there any doubt Helm and Quincey will be re-signed… on bad deals.  Holland will see another team overpay a player like FLA did with Willie Mitchell in 2014 and claim that as a basis for re-signing one of his own plugs.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 04/27/16 at 10:28 AM ET


Is there any doubt Helm and Quincey will be re-signed… on bad deals.

That has to be my biggest fear. I like both players but their market value is too high for this Wings team, especially if they are forced to eat Pavel’s contract. Let someone else overpay for them and try to replace from within. Neither of these players have an upside and the Wings need to improve not stand pat.

Posted by evileye on 04/27/16 at 02:21 PM ET

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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.