The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/06/13 at 09:21 AM ET
Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:
The Red Wings' prospects defeated the Minnesota Wild's prospects 3-1 last night, and while I tried to focus on player evaluation and posted audio of my interviews, the Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook penned a superb recap, noting that Andreas Athanasiou's two-goal performance and all-around hustle impressed coach Jeff Blashill:
“He got the game puck for being the best player,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “And it wasn’t for the two goals — though they were good and he had opportunities to score more. I thought he did everything right. He was great defensively. We talked coming out of development camp that if he wants to be a center, he has to be better defensively — and I thought he was (Thursday). He checked really well and did all the things it takes to be a really complete player. I was impressed with him.”
Athanasiou put Detroit up late in the first period of the team’s tourney opener. His wrist shot caught goalie Johan Gustafsson by surprise, and Gustafsson didn’t appear to know the puck was in the net until the referee pointed at it.
“They made a nice pass out wide to me, and I just cut in,” Athanasiou said. “I was going to bring it in across the net, and for a quick second I saw short side and kind of just chipped it up there. I was just lucky enough to get it up in that spot.”
Riley Sheahan must have played about 20 minutes' worth of hockey last night, but Sheahan pointed out that his linemates delivered superb performances as well...
“I love playing with (Jurco),” Sheahan said. “We played together almost a whole year, so we have good chemistry. And Pulkkinen, too. He’s got a rocket of a shot and is really strong. I think the mixture of us three, we can possess the puck down low and get some good opportunities. The first was a little iffy with turnovers. Coach Blash came in and told us to be more conscious of that. And for the second and third, we were awesome and did a lot of work down low. For the first game, we had a lot of legs and it was good to see the guys pushing.”
But the Wings face an absolute juggernaut of a stacked team tonight in the Dallas Stars...Though the coaches and management aren't placing emphasis on over-scouting the opposition at a tournament designed to accelerate player evaluation:
Detroit plays Dallas tonight in what might best the tournament’s best matchup. Dallas’ Curtis McKenzie scored a hat trick in a 5-2 win over St. Louis.
“To be honest, I’ve spent all our time on us,” Blashill said. “What I did hear today from our scouting department and the Red Wings staff was they thought Dallas might be the best team here. We’ll focus on us and see where we stack up.”
As you might imagine, the rest of this morning's news is somewhat "scattershot" in variety. MLive's Brendan Savage posited Wings-related betting odds...
The Detroit Red Wings are headed for a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division and a fourth-place showing in the Eastern Conference, according to the oddsmakers at Bovada.lv.
Bovada put the over-under on the Red Wings, who are moving to the Eastern Conference this season, at 97.5 points. That ranks them behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (108.5), Boston Bruins (105.5) and New York Rangers (98.5) in the East.
Of those three teams, only Boston is in the Atlantic Division.
Pittsburgh is also the favorite to win the Presidents' Trophy as the regular-season champion ahead of defending Stanley Cup Chicago, which is projected to win the Western Conference with an over-under of 105.5.
St. Louis (99.5) and 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles (98.5) are next in the West behind the Blackhawks.
The Red Wings' streak of making the playoffs is a lock to reach 23 seasons, according to Bovada, which lists the odds of that happening at 1/7.
According to NHL.com fantasy hockey columnist Matt Sitkoff, Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg's the 4th-best left winger available to fantasy hockey poolies, and Johan Franzen is the...29th-best left-winger?
If you missed the heads-up, the Grand Rapids Business Journal's Pat Evans reminds us that both the Calder Cup and the Stanley Cup will be making appearances at the Osgood Brewing Company in Grandville, Michigan on Saturday. MLive's Peter J. Wallner already noted the details of the visit(s):
The Stanley Cup, which belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks, will be in the possession of Blackhawks equipment assistant Jim Heintzelman, who formerly worked with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and will be on site from 4-8 p.m.
The Calder Cup, making one of its many West Michigan appearances following the Griffins’ first AHL championship, will arrive around 5 p.m. with host Brad Thompson, the Griffins' equipment manager.
Pictures with the cups will be available for a donation to a charity to be determined. A professional photographer will also be on hand.
In Olympic news, IIHF.com's Martin Merk reports that both Petr Mrazek and Jakub Kindl were named to the Czech Republic's preliminary list of 67 potential Olympic candidates...
And in Swedish news...
First, Andreas Lilja spoke with HockeySverige's Uffe Bodin about his status as something of a mentor with Rogle BK of the Swedish Allsvenskan (where Lilja serves as the team's captain), but the 38-year-old defenseman readily admitted that his favorite hockey memory involves winning the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008...
And HockeyLegends.se posted a Q and A with Henrik Zetterberg. This is a long one and I'm heading to the rink shortly, so I'm going to just post the Google-translated Swedish, and I'll try to get back to this when I am able to give it a more nuanced translation:
1) You have been through a classic debacle against Belarus, experienced and won an Olympic gold medal and riding out in fifteen minutes against Slovakia. What do you know yourself is the major difference in the three Olympic tournaments you've been through
- Well, to be honest, I'm bad at remembering things like that. It will easily just remember, some plugins and then. And check it on any Olympics, we had a good team every time. We have had a great chance to go all the way - if we had got to the game we wanted. But it does not always succeed. Then it's about to get to it in time. I do not need to complicate it so much, but do you do the right stuff at the right time to get it together. You need to be healthy and whole, everyone must play his utmost class, but even if you get it together so maybe you do not win anyway. It's the allure, that when you do win, it's extra nice because we know it's so hard to get there.
2) The celebration after Turin, when you were at Civic Square and rejoiced with the people, it's a carrot in your head now?
- Of course it is. The feeling that you get when you have won something ... first question you always get - are you satisfied now? But that's when we have won so want to go there again. It's just that feeling that you want to access again. It is the same with the hammer or the Three Crowns, you want to have the experience that they have together when you have set a goal and have managed to achieve it together.
3) What is your best memory from the Olympic Games in Turin?
- It is enough that the puck goes out from the blue line and I look up and see that it's only a few seconds left and realize that it is clear.
4) Do you ever pick up images in the mind of the last goal or celebration?
- Of course you think about it sometimes, but it's not that I think of Henkes last rescue when I'm out running in the track but it's that kind of memories that come up sometimes in the head and when that happens, it's obviously incredibly fun to think back on it. It usually happens when you are asked about it by the media but also when you meet with the Three Crowns and get to hang out with many people you have not seen in a long time. There are many from the 2006 team that no one sees so often these days but once seen, it is clear that there is that kind of memories that will be discussed again.
5) Do you sit and stare at the medal at some points?
- No, the dad has usurped ha, ha so I usually only see it at some point every summer.
6) It's totally different conditions to win an Olympic gold medal or a World Championship gold, what is most important when you have so little time?
- There is to be a good quarter of an hour from the inside. And what makes it ... yes you. It is clear that we must be well prepared, everyone must know what to do. And just an OS you do not have as much time to work on stuff before while on a VM, you can make adjustments and come up with solutions along the way but in an OS so slamming it to the right and it can be a little positive Also. You get to meet great resistance directly. In a World Cup, you might not encounter the best nations all the time and then you think that everything is going great - but once you meet a good team, you'll realize that there were errors that might have previously adjusted.
7) What is the difference between an OS than to fight for the Stanley Cup a whole season?
- There is a big difference. Then you should first harrowing through those 82 games and make your best of it and then begin a new season - when the playoffs start. The journey is so incredibly much, much longer and harder and harder and there have even more stuff sue in order for you to win and go all the way. I think that we in Detroit played better in 2009 than 2008, but we lost in 2009 and won in 2008, so that it is much to be consistent in order to be able to win there too.
8) In the Turin Olympics, it was Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin and Niklas Lidstrom were the biggest names. Now you are one of the biggest names in the Olympic team, how is it to assume the mantle?
- It's fun! It has become a small generation to speak from the previous OS. I think it was me and Dogge who sat and watched all birth data and realized we were quite old in this gang, ha, ha. But it's fun and it's part of hockey that it is generational, that older players stop and younger comes in and how it works in the entire adult career taking a step all the time and you'll learn, you get more experienced and more and more responsibility.
9) You looked up a lot of "Foppa", do you think the younger ones look up to you in the same way now?
- No, I do not, that you will probably have to ask them but I think I looked up a bit more to Peter than they look up to me, actually, ha, ha.
10) Speaking of Lidstrom, who can step into his skates and take his part in the Sochi Olympics?
- We have a lot of younger guys who play good! An obvious name is well-Erik Karlsson perhaps, he has been fantastic the last few years and Oliver (Ekman Larsson) has been incredibly clever in Phoenix and Kronwall's, I think, one of the best defenders I've played with. Jonte is perhaps not the type of player but (Jonas) Brodin was really good this year in Minnesota, so we have a lot of guys who will fight for places and it will be very interesting when the team collected. There are many like it depends on how they play in the fall if they will be involved or not.
11) Mats Sundin was incredibly important as mental prods at the Turin Olympics. Who takes the "Sudden" role now? Do you?
- I will probably be one of those that do. It seems quite natural in a team who will have different roles and I will definitely be one of them.
12) It can be a four or five players from Detroit with the Olympic team, it is an advantage to play in so-called club cover during the Olympics?
- Yes, it can work out, then it is of course good and I think the more chemistry you have when you start a tournament, the better it is. It gets easier the more you've played with people before. Since it is in the same club team or if you have played the World Cup or the Olympics together does not matter. I think you know pretty quickly which one fits and does not fit with and we've been playing so much hockey in our lives, so that when the team is out so will probably kedjekombinationerna fall into place quite easily.
Update: I will say this--I'm pretty sure that I translated a similar interview a couple of months ago.
Also: Tootoo train incoming:
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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.