The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/02/13 at 01:23 PM ET
Updated with some Jimmy Howard chatter at 2:04 PM: Today's Red Wings-related stories mostly involve "tidbits," but I did find something of a tale of two prospects who are taking part in the Red Wings' main camp and prospect tournament, respectively, on what is a bit of a "slow day."
Grand Rapids Griffins forward Landon Ferraro is making a 2,260-mile trip from Vancouver, British Columbia to Grand Rapids, MI, and he's rolling along...
Over his first three junior seasons, Detroit Red Wings pick Andreas Athanasiou has shown he has tip-top notch sleight of hand, accentuated by being one of the fleetest players in the Ontario Hockey League. His path through the OHL has had some drama — getting parked in the press box for most of the London Knights' 2012 championship run, getting traded to the Barrie Colts following the NHL draft and then almost helping deny London the league title last spring.
Now that Double-A is coming into his last year of junior, there's an eagerness to see what he might do as one of the Colts' primary scorers. Athanasiou offered a little tease in a training camp scrimmage, with this breakaway goal. Puck through the legs, kick it up to the stick and finish with the Forsberg move.
And when Athanasiou returns to his OHL team, Sager believes that Athanasiou's ability to deliver offense on a consistent basis is the biggest "question" in terms of the Colts' ability to win the OHL's Eastern Conference (after losing to London in the Eastern Conference Final last spring):
Barrie Colts — Is Andreas Athanasiou going to be this season's Reid Boucher?
Sometimes an offensive player's breakout comes the second season after being drafted. Last winter, Boucher, a New Jersey Devils fourth-rounder, doubled his prior season's output by leading the league with 62 goals for the Sarnia Sting. Athanasiou gave a strong hint he might be in for a big year with a 25-point playoff for the nearly OHL champion Colts. The Detroit Red Wings fourth-rounder's ability and confidence has never been in question, but it's just been a matter of putting it all together. Athanasiou will have ample opportunity to replace the scoring lost with the grads of Anthony Camara and Mark Scheifele.
Barrie's other prime breakout candidate is 19-year-old defenceman Jake Dotchin, who's playing to prove to the Tampa Bay Lightning that he deserves a pro contract. Dotchin went in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL draft, but was almost forgotten during Barrie's playoff run.
Otherwise, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose looked at Johan Franzen's 2013 season "By the Numbers," and Franzen offered some superb stats...as well as some scary ones...during an up-and-down season...
14: Finished second on the Red Wings' roster in goals scored during the regular season, which was the first in three seasons that he wasn't the team's overall goal scorer.
4: Is where he ranked on the team with his 17 assists last season, including his lone three-helper performance in the Red Wings' 5-3 win at St. Louis on Feb. 1.
-7: Produced his worst plus/minus rating in any regular season of Stanley Cup playoffs in his eight NHL season. He was a minus or even in 13 of 14 postseason games.
The Wings reminded us that they're holding a craft beer and street food festival on Saturday, September 28th--the night the Wings' players head to Toronto to play in the team's final exhibition game...
Via RedWingsFeed, CBS Sports' Brian Stubits' posited an article in which he takes note of several prominent players who ended their careers playing with teams they're not associated with, including four Wings alums in Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Mike Modano and even Borje Salming:
Mike Modano, Detroit Red Wings: I tell you what, there seems to be a theme here with the Wings, now doesn't there? Modano is of course known for being a part of the Stars, from going first overall to Minnesota to winning the Stanley Cup in Dallas, Modano was a Star through and through.
That was until his final season, of course. Modano played 1,409 games with the Stars but wanted one more season while the Stars apparently did not. That led to the forgettable time of Modano in Detroit where he played 40 games, tallying four goals and 11 assists. It was an even sadder finish when Modano only played two playoff games for Detroit. The look of him in a Wings sweater is just too weird.
Chris Chelios, Atlanta Thrashers: Here we go, one that worked the other direction against Detroit. Chelios is really identified with three teams across his career -- Canadiens, Blackhawks and Red Wings -- but it was such a long career, he had long and meaningful visits in each organization. There was no mercenary feel to it.
Then came the end of his career in Atlanta. At 48 Chelios still wanted to play so the Thrashers gave him a chance. Seven games and zero points later, Chelios was done. The images of Chelios in Atlanta are rather haunting.
And I'll let you read MLive's Brendan Savage's, "Which jerseys are the best in the NHL?" ("Other than the Red Wings" version) article on your own.
Update: For whatever reason, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posited a story about Jimmy Howard's Olympic aspirations, taken from comments made during last Thursday's practice, today:
“Every goalie who could possibly take those three positions are top-notch goalies,” Howard said. “I think it’s going to be very tough to pick the three. It’s going to be whoever is playing their best through November and December pretty much, so you try to get off to a great start and maintain it, and hopefully you’ll get the opportunity to go.”
Howard admitted that being part of the five-ring circus has been a goal of his since he was a youngster.
“I remember my first time watching the Olympics was 1994,” Howard recalled. “Ray LeBlanc was playing in net (for Team USA). It’s always been a dream to play on the Olympic team. Getting my first taste with being part of the under-18 program and wearing my jersey every single day, you come to the realization how much of an honor and special it really is.”
Duff noted Howard's non-Olympic comments, too:
“We’ve got a lot going on, don’t we?” Howard said. “The Winter Classic. A lot of guys here are trying for Olympic spots. HBO 24-7. It’s going to be pretty hectic. I think it will be exciting. It’s one of those things where you’ll be able to look back and it will be pretty neat. With the Winter Classic and everything that’s built up around that, trying to get tickets for family, getting that all out of the way now so when training camp starts you’re really not thinking about everything and everything is in place and you can think about playing hockey is important.”
Howard also assured all that the constant presence of the HBO cameras won’t change his approach in any way.
“No,” he said with a sly smile. “I’m just going to let the F-bombs fly.”
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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.