The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/13/14 at 12:36 PM ET
The Red Wings' scouts will be watching two very important games this evening: Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs will battle the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the seventh and deciding game of the QMJHL championship tonight at 7 PM. If Mantha and Val-d'Or win, they'll head to the Memorial Cup in London, where Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm will be waiting. If not, we'll get to that in a minute.
Closer to home, the Grand Rapids Griffins rather desperately need to rally from a 2-games-to-none deficit against the Texas Stars when the team hosts second-round games tonight, tomorrow and Friday at Van Andel Arena.
The AHL's website posted a Griffins-Stars game preview in its "AHL Morning Skate"...
Game 3 - 7:00 ET, AHL Live (TEX leads series, 2-0)
A lopsided start to a highly anticipated series sends Texas north to Grand Rapids with a 2-0 lead heading into tonight's Game 3... The Stars preserved their home-ice advantage with 5-2 and 4-0 wins in Cedar Park to start the series... Brendan Ranford (5-1-6) and Justin Dowling (3-4-7) each scored twice, Curtis McKenzie (1-4-5) and Travis Morin (2-6-8) notched two assists apiece and Cristopher Nilstorp (3-0, 1.29, .951) made 30 saves in Saturday's Game 2 shutout... Ranford's five-game scoring streak includes goals in four consecutive outings, both season longs for the first-year pro... Texas is now 5-0 this postseason and 23-2-0-3 in its last 28 games overall... The Stars have not lost a non-shootout game on the road since Feb. 17 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto (10-0-0-3)... Van Andel Arena hasn't been particularly kind to the Griffins in the postseason; Grand Rapids is 21-23 on home ice all-time in the AHL playoffs... Grand Rapids enters Game 3 without a goal in the last 95:40... Stars captain Maxime Fortunus played his 99th career Calder Cup Playoff game on Saturday (see below)... Grand Rapids has never won a game in the Calder Cup Playoffs after losing the first two games in a series; three previous 0-2 deficits all ended in sweeps (2009 vs. Manitoba, 2006 vs. Milwaukee, 2004 vs. Chicago).
Western Conference Semifinals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 4-Grand Rapids Griffins | Series Snapshot
Game 1 – Thu., May 8 – TEXAS 5, Grand Rapids 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 10 – TEXAS 4, Grand Rapids 0
Game 3 – Tue., May 13 – Texas at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 14 – Texas at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 16 – Texas at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 18 – Grand Rapids at Texas, 8:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 19 – Grand Rapids at Texas, 8:30
*if necessary... All times Eastern
And the Griffins just posted their game-day video (via RedWingsFeed):
As for Mantha's fate, I'll hand that over to RedWingsCentral...
The Griffins host the Texas Stars in Game 3 of the AHL quarter-finals tonight. The Red Wings' entire staff will be on hand. No pressure.
Meanwhile, Anthony Mantha and the Val-d'Or Foreurs will try to win Game 7 of the QMJHL final against Baie-Comeau tonight.
A win for Mantha would be a huge accomplishment and leading his team at the Memorial Cup would be an invaluable learning experience.
The funny thing about Mantha is folks around the QMJHL thought he'd be traded because Val-d'Or wasn't a contender. He made them a contender.
And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
If Val D'Or loses G7 of #QMJHL final tonight, #redwings will assign F Anthony Mantha to #AHL Grand Rapids.
Mantha would have to haul tail to make the trip from Baie-Comeau to Grand Rapids--which is a 1,700-mile trip--by Wednesday, but I woudln't be surprised if he makes it if Val-d'Or loses.
Otherwise...If I find a link to the Sweden-Norway game taking place at 1:45 PM EDT, I'll place it in the comments below;
Even in Google-translated Russian, Igor Larionov's conversation about his job as a player agent, conducted with Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov, is fascinating:
"Let's talk about CLEAN BUSINESS"
- I work seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Constantly on the phone with the players and their parents. Lots of flying around the world - talks about his schedule Larionov. - Hockey players I have in Russia and America. Some need to be reassured, and others - to scold. One should always keep abreast.
- Agency dirty business?
- Try these things do not go deep. Better to talk about cleanliness. My handshake means more than a signature on a contract. It is important to maintain an honest and open dialogue.
- You stole players?
- Not quite the right word.
- It's not the wife who leaves. Depends on how the player sees career development. Today you can get less money, but tomorrow it will be rewarded. And you stay strong man for many years. Conversations happen, "Who you an agent? Larionov? Take someone stronger. " And here appears the player's character, his parents. Not everyone wants to wait for the money to run. Some need them here and now.
- The names of the call?
- Even the cases do not tell. People will immediately recognize whom it. I wish them success.
- Strongly if different mentality of Russian and American junior?
- Over the ocean, all built through shinny that is not corrupt. Here's my son playing, I pay his tuition in a group are all equal. Building a career hockey player goes through college. In America, all the eggs do not put in the same basket. Let the boy will be options in life. You're not only going to pick, but it past the university to get a good education.- Corruption - in Russian hockey when your son for the money put in the first link?
- From the talk - there is such a tendency. I communicate with my parents. Sad to hear about what is happening. This fact rooted problems. What is sown, it got. Talented boys we have. But at some point they disappear. We win by Canada and the United States at the age of 10-12 years. But come to the 17-year-old, and already beat us. So miss nuances in the procedure are not as high quality training. Now I see that some guys in the 16-17 years even do not know how to ride, or as close as frontline when receiving the puck. Go out on the ice, showing all by myself.- How many clients you have in the KHL?
- Man three. This is a more challenging market. Dialogue is a little different. For juniors in many NHL scouts watching their lead from childhood up detailed database. And in the KHL different level of understanding of business.
The veteran defenseman had already declared that Game 7 was the most disappointing loss of his 14-year NHL career. He had repeated his desire to stay with the Sharks, though he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and, at 38 when next season begins, might not be in their plans. But he had more to say.
“I’m not looking for three or four years, but I think I’ve got more than one,” said Boyle, focusing on the contract length issue that could be a big factor if he does end up leaving San Jose. “There’s going to be a lot of talk about my age and the decline in my game, which I’ve heard a lot. I’m proud of how I finished the season, how I played in the playoffs.”
He referenced the trouble he had coming back from the head injury caused by a hit from behind by Maxim Lapierre of the St. Louis Blues. Boyle’s value is often measured in points and his 36 in 75 games marked the first time since 2001-02 that he averaged less than a half-point per appearance.
“I went through a really difficult start to the season with the concussion,” Boyle acknowledged. “It took me a long time to get back, but I think, if I can look back at the last couple months, I’m proud of where I’m at and what I can still bring to the team. It’s too easy to say ‘he’s old and done,’ ” Boyle continued. “That’s just a thing that’s too easy to say. At some point that’ll be true, but I don’t believe for one second that that is true.”
“I play a certain way. I’m a risk-reward type of player and we went through a stretch of games where we were winning and I wasn’t getting any points,” Boyle said. “I was making some very simple plays, but they were effective. The fact that it was too simple, eventually, I received some unfair comments because of that. I have to find that line where I play my game, but it can’t be to the point where I hurt the team and try to do too much. There’s a line there and I think that’s what I found at the end of the season that maybe I didn’t have before that. It was a little too simple.”
Boyle said he values the comments he gets from his peers and they’re still positive.
“For me,” he said, “the biggest compliment that I get every year is when a new face comes in – when Raffi comes in, when TK comes in – and they tell me, having played against me the year before, how difficult I am to play against and how unpredictable I am.”
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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.