The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/14/14 at 03:59 PM ET
I'm rather aggravated at present, so exuse my bluntness:
Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar registered a goal and an assist as Sloakia defeated Norway 5-2 at the World Championships on Wendesday (he finished at +2 in 17:07 of ice time and was named Slovakia's best player; Jakub Kindl also played quite well for the Czechs in their 2-0 win over Italy).
It's very good to see Tatar earn huge minutes on the power play, penalty-kill and at even strength, but the Slovaks are a top-heavy team even when Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara and Michal Handzus are on the team. While Tatar's playing the kind of go-to-the-front-of-the-net-and-stay-there game that he needs to harness in Detroit, with a thin defense and Jan Laco in the net, it's hard to believe that the Slovaks will make a dent come the quarterfinals.
Regarding the percolating talk regarding Mike Babcock's availability to Toronto, Pittsburgh, et. al., I only have one thing to say: either the coach has repeatedly and enthusiastically stated that he's quite happy in Metro Detroit for a reason, or if the scuttlebutt's true, he's repeatedly lied to Wings fans for the sake of holding his ambitions to himself, and the latter option would speak quite poorly of his character.
And finally, the Grand Rapids Griffins hope to even their second-round series with the Texas Stars tonight at 7 PM (Grand Rapids currently trails the series 2 games to 1). The game airs on WOOD Radio and the AHL Live, and if you wish to weigh in on the game, please do so in the comments section.
Jordin Tootoo and Martin Frk are returning to the lineup tonight, but Adam Almquist remains out.
Quick update: Jiri Fischer weighed in on Anthony Mantha's play given that his Val-d'Or Foreurs are Memorial Cup-bound, and Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji (via RedWingsFeed) posited a prospect update:
"If Anthony Mantha is ready to play in the National Hockey League next year and he beats somebody out, he'll play in the National Hockey League," Wings general manager Ken Holland said after the Wings' playoff run ended. "But if he can't beat anybody out, we're not just going to put him on the team because he had a great junior career. I don't believe in entitlement, I don't believe in handing people jobs. I believe you come in and you take somebody's job."
The Wings have always preferred to let their young players develop in the minors before promoting them to the NHL. Injuries changed that quite a bit this past season as the team was forced to recall Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Luke Glendening, Landon Ferraro, Mitch Callahan, Teemu Pulkkinen, Adam Almquist, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Alexey Marchenko.
"If they get here too early, what happens is the coaches and the fans and the manager and the media, they'll suddenly start to make mistakes, they get down on him. That's what happens," Holland said. "That's why young players get traded to other organizations. I'm hoping to leave these players away from here as long as possible so that when they do get here, the growing pains are as short as possible."
Glendening played in 56 regular-season games with the Wings, scoring one goal and seven assists. He also had one goal in five playoff games.
"It was a bit of a whirlwind," Glendening said after the playoffs ended for the Wings. "I had no idea that I would get any games here and to have the opportunity to play and play some of the games was really a blessing."
Although Glendening earned enough of coach Mike Babcock's trust to get ice time against other teams' top players, Glendening feels he has a lot to work on.
"I thought there were parts of my game that were OK this year," Glendening said. "I thought there were a lot of things I needed to be a lot better in. I think this year is huge for me. This summer is huge for me in just gaining confidence. I got to come back and be a better player, for sure."
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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.