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The Malik Report

Red Wings mid-day news: on the WJC, the Griffins, staying warm and the spirt of the Winter Classic

A trio Red Wings prospect-related articles and a trio of Winter Classic-related articles merit mentioning in an entry separate from the Red Wings-Panthers game-day update post so that they don't get buried in said post.

First and foremost, in the prospect department, part 1: The Wings' oldest prospect, 43-year-old Sergei Fedorov, did play for CSKA Moscow in their 4-3 OT loss to Geneve-Servette at the Spengler Cup, but if we are to believe the Spengler Cup's official website, Fedorov's playing career may end tomorrow when CSKA plays HK Vitkovice as he's stated that his KHL comeback "didn't work out";

In the prospect department part 2: Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha had 2 assists and Jake Paterson stopped 24 of 28 shots, but Canada's World Junior Championship team lost 5-4 to the Czech Republic in a shootout as Paterson gave up 2 shootout goals on 3 shootout shots.

How seriously do Canadians take the World Juniors? So seriously that I'd argue that Mantha and Paterson may be facing more pressure to win and more intense scrutiny than they will at any point in their careers save perhaps playing in the Stanley Cup Final, and TSN's Mark Masters tossed of a set of very significant stats emphasizing Canada's supreme dominance at the WJC:

Paterson's 1-and-1 after stopping 22 of 24 shots in Canada's 7-2 win over Germany on Thursday (Mantha had a hat trick), but the Globe and Mail's Matthew Sekeres and TSN's Steve Kouleas aren't kidding when they suggest that Paterson will be blamed for the loss, or that he may lose his starting job to Zach Fucale:


Elsewhere in Sweden, two Red Wings prospects squared off in a SHL game, and Mattias Backman registered 2 assists, a +2 and played 18:30 in Linkopings HC's 5-2 win over AIK Stockholm, whose Mattias Janmark had an assist in 21:50 of ice time...




Back over on this side of the pond, sticking with the prospect theme, the Grand Rapids Griffins will battle the Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park on Monday (the game will air on FSD and Sportsnet), with the Griffins also hosting the Marlies back inside at Van Andel Arena on New Year's Eve...

But the Griffins just wrapped up a set of back-to-back road games, and as Comerica Park's ice surface is in use for today's Great Lakes Invitational championship and consolation games and tomorrow's pair of OHL games, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Griffins won't have much time to acclimate to the outdoor ice surface prior to Monday's 5 PM start:

Coach Jeff Blashill said the Griffins couldn’t get ice time on Sunday until after the OHL games completed, or around 9 p.m., so he opted for an informal skate followed by a morning skate, a common practice on game days.

“I didn’t want to practice that late,” Blashill said. “So we’ll just open it up to the players and the family and staff and do a family skate.”

He did not see the lack of outdoor practice as a hindrance.

“There are unique challenges involved in the event, in general,” Blashill said. “But, both teams will face similar challenges and I think it’s more just embracing the great opportunities.”

After Wallner notes that the Griffins have a sterling 22-7-1-and-1 record, he notes that Blashill will be leaning on his brother's advice...

Blashill said he got some tips from his brother, Tim, who is the hockey coach at Big Rapids High School. His team played Cadillac at Comerica Park on Dec. 18.

“He said the set up was great and it was just an outstanding experience, so that has me looking forward to it,” Blashill said.

And I have to admit that my biggest laugh regarding the Grand Rapids Griffins coach came at training camp, because he admitted to everyone who would listen that he hates being in cold rinks, so he's going to hate Monday even more:

“I will have lots and lots of layers on,” Blashill said. “Even though I grew up in the Sault (Sault Ste. Marie), I don’t love being cold.”




Regarding said cold, the National Weather Service and everybody else in the weather prediction business estimate that Monday will be mostly sunny with a high of 20 degrees downtown, that it'll be several degrees colder on Tuesday, and that Ann Arbor will wake up to a low near zero and a high of about 15 on New Year's Day, with snow showers possible and cloudy skies forecast for the Winter Classic itself.

As so very many of you attending all of the outdoor events are coming to Southeastern Michigan from outside the region, and as so many of you aren't from cold-weather climates, I can't help but post the Royal Oak Patch's Judy Davis's suggestions as to how you might avoid freezing your butt off:

Next to finding parking, the biggest challenge for hockey fans will be staying warm. The high temperature on New Year's Day is only expected to reach 15 degrees.

The Emergency Center at Beaumont, Royal Oak offers the following tips for staying warm:

  • Dress in multiple layers of clothing to trap warm air between layers. The less exposed skin the better.

The more layers the better, too. If you've got an undershirt, a shirt, a hoodie/long-sleeve shirt and then a coat and scarf, you can alwyas peel some of that off. If you don't have any of that stuff (don't forget that you might want to wear some long undies, sweatpants or something else under your jeans, too), you can only hope to find someone to cuddle.

  • Always wear a hat. It helps to maintain body heat.
  • Wear gloves or mittens. For those who tend to get cold hands, mittens are the best choice.

I'd go with, "Don't be afraid to wear two pairs of gloves here, small knit ones and then some big mittens.

  • Eat plenty of food and stay as active as possible.
  •  Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  • Limit your alcoholic intake. Alcohol affects your circulation and ability to feel 'cold.'

Yes, there will be beer at the Big House, but alcohol actually thins your blood. That warm "feeling" you get from alcohol is numbing, not warming up.

  • Be careful of things that restrict your circulation such as smoking, tight clothing and fatigue.
  •  Ask your doctor if medication you are taking can affect your circulation.

The chilling temperatures can be dangerous for people with heart disease. Breathing cold air stimulates reflexes in the body that can provoke angina, according to Beaumont. Those with heart disease should consider wearing a mask or scarf.

Scarves good, balaclavas good, sunglasses very good. Getting up and moving around good, taking breaks indoors good.




And I happen to think that all of these events are as artificial as can be--that doesn't bug me, but I grew up playing street hockey on tennis courts and most of my pals' outdoor experiences involved lacing up inline skates or playing at rinks, so I don't buy this whole, "This is as organic as hockey gets" spiel as the definition of what the "soul" of the game is has broadened--but the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo got into the "spirit of the thing" while describing the Winter Classic as a capturing of "Hockey's Soul," and his article's a good read:

The Winter Classic is a celebration of hockey, not just the NHL, or other high level leagues, but also those moments of innocence so many recall.

Canada isn’t the hockey capital of the world because of balmy breezes and palm trees. We are not just Hockeytown simply because the Red Wings have put together more than two decades of success in the NHL, and have a deep and storied tradition.

Outdoor games tie it all together.

The first Winter Classic, at Buffalo, was in 2008.

I didn’t think much of it beforehand. Michigan was playing Florida in a bowl game at the same time. It was Lloyd Carr’s last game as the Wolverines’ coach. Tim Tebow was the quarterback at Florida.

It didn’t seem to have much of a chance in this town under the circumstances.

Yet, one flip onto the Winter Classic (the Sabres were playing the Penguins) was mesmerizing. The snowflakes gently dropping down and snapping off the screen in hi-definition, and the frosty breath of the players and a terrific hockey game made it impossible to turn away.

He continues at length.

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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.