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The Malik Report

Red Wings morning news: on Larkin and Turgeon, Myers’ price, tales of yore and an odd rule change

The Red Wings' summer development campers will take part in a pair of skating-and-skill development practices at Centre Ice Arena today and tomorrow, and I'm guessing that the fatigue setting in after Saturday's scrimmage might yield some...Interesting interpretations of power skating coach Andy Weidenbach and skill development coach Tomas Storm's drills.

This morning, the Red Wings posted a photo gallery chronicling yesterday's practices (note the almost complete absence of Reebok gear save the Ribcor sticks), and the Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrowolski profiled Dylan Larkin and Dominic Turgeon.

Both players are a little over a week removed from having been drafted, so both players told Dobrowolski that they've experienced a slight culture shock while taking part in their first professional hockey camps:

“I was impressed,” said Larkin, a 17-year-old center who spent the last two years with the U.S. National Development Team Under-18 squad. “The way coach (Jeff) Blashill teaches, you can tell players want to play for him. He’s such a people person. The guys were working hard so it was good. It was intense. It was really fast. There’s some big guys so it seems like there’s not much space out there.”

“For me, I think it’s an unbelievable experience, especially getting to go through this for the first time,” said Turgeon, also a center, who plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. “I’ve never really done anything like this before, so I guess it’s a good learning process for my game. Everyone’s going hard. That’s the way it’s got to be.”

The Red Wings were thrilled to land Larkin with their top pick. He’s a Waterford native who will suit up for the University of Michigan in the fall. His leadership and goal-scoring ability were the things that stood out for the organization. He was second on the Under-18 team with 31 goals and fourth on the team with 56 points in 60 games.

“They want me to keep developing — get stronger,” said Larkin. “To play at the next level you’ve got to be stronger. I think I bring skating ability and the pace I play. I push the pace. I like to skate with the puck. I like to score goals. You have to go to those areas (in front of the net) and score goals. You see the NHL, and even in the playoffs this year, most of the goals are from the point. Guys out front. That’s how you score goals now.”

Dobrowloski continues, and it bears repeating that Larkin may be fielding questions as to when he'll be joining the Red Wings, but he's all of 17 and is likely to spend at least three years at the University of Michigan. Please give the kid some time here--and remember that he won't be able to take part in the fall prospect tournaments because he'll be doing what college-age kids do in September, or at least try to, in attending classes.

As an FYI: iSport has also taken notice of Tomas Nosek's presence here, and it's hard to say how his skills are going to translate, but I'm not the only person who's suggested that his hands can occasionally stir Datsyukian comparisons. The rest of him, more like what the Wings hoped Tomas Kopecky might become, but as a center, but still.




In a very different vein, the Free Press's Helene St. James wondered what it might take for the Red Wings to bolster their defense by prying Tyler Myers away from the Buffalo Sabres:

Myers stands a towering 6-feet-8, the only D-man who can look Boston’s Zdeno Chara in the eye without craning his neck. Myers is only 24, but already he has played 318 NHL games since joining Buffalo in 2009-10, the season he took home the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year on the strength of 48 points in 82 games.

He is good offensively (he has hit or come close to 10 goals four out of five seasons) and valuable on the power play, where he has 13 of his 41 career goals.

In 2013-14, Myers had nine goals and 22 points in 62 games, averaging just under 22 minutes per game. He is a very good skater, plays in all situations and can serve as a shut-down guy. Myers makes mistakes (like everyone else), but he has franchise defenseman written all over him, and he is still two or three years removed from even entering his prime.

Two years ago, the Sabres signed Myers to seven years for $38.5 million, working out to a very amenable $5.5-million annual salary cap hit. He has already made $18 million, making the rest of his contract all the more attractive as the most he’ll pull in salary is $5 million a season.

The downside of having to trade instead of signing a free agent is the internal cost. Myers is Buffalo’s top defenseman and the asking price is going to start with one of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco. Buffalo might well ask for Anthony Mantha, but the Wings aren’t relinquishing him. One player alone wouldn’t do it, though — there would likely be a high draft pick involved, too, maybe even a second player, someone in his mid-20s.

Probably a defenseman, like Brendan Smith, as well as a first-rounder. That might be too much to pay for one player, or "too little" for Buffalo to trade a player they still view as a "franchise defenseman" within the division.




In the reminder category, per MLive's Brendan Savage...

There will be no arbitration hearings this summer for the Detroit Red Wings.

The lone Red Wings player eligible to file for arbitration, second-year defenseman Danny DeKeyser, chose not to file before the deadline.




Otherwise..."Blasts from the past" come in the form of the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch recollecting Daniel Alfredsson's departure from the Senators a year ago, as well as the Hockey News's Stan Fischler retelling a yarn from days of yore...

The 1950 semifinal between Toronto and Detroit ranks among the most intense post-season series in NHL history. This was due to Gordie Howe’s near death after an alleged butt-end. “L’Affaire Howe” ignited one of the longest-running hates in the game: Detroit GM Jack Adams vs. Toronto captain Ted ‘Teeder’ Kennedy. The primary witness was Toronto defenseman Gus Mortson who was there when the blood feud started and there again eight years later when Adams bitterly reaffirmed it to Mortson who had by then become a Red Wing.

Adams’ hatred for the Maple Leafs was already deep rooted and understandable by the time the 1950 playoffs began. After all, Toronto had won the previous three Cups, including a sweep of Detroit in the 1949 final. But now it was a year after that debacle and, led by Howe, the Wings were stronger than ever. “We can do it this year,” Adams boasted prior to the opening game. “We’ve got the team this year.”

And so they did, primarily because Howe had blossomed into a star, patrolling right wing on Detroit’s Production Line with captain Sid Abel at center and Ted Lindsay on the left side. But when the Leafs went up 4-0 in the opener at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium few expected what Toronto author Jack Batten described as “one of the most infamous and controversial events” in NHL history.

The play began innocently enough, as Kennedy sidestepped his way across the Leafs blueline, heading toward the Wings zone. Mortson, who saw the play unfold, described it this way in Batten’s book, The Leafs of Autumn: “Jack Stewart of the Wings defense took a run at Kennedy so Teeder passed the puck and got out of the way quick, and at the same time Howe was coming in from the other side and ran right into the boards.”

Howe thought he had Kennedy lined up, but he had missed and fell headfirst into the boards, breaking his skull. He was carried off on a stretcher and removed to Harper Hospital. For several hours there was doubt whether he would survive. “A brain specialist operated,” Adams later told Maclean’s magazine writer Trent Frayne, “boring a hole into his skull to remove fluid pressing on the brain. We paced the corridors all night. Even the next day his condition was critical.”

Howe would recover, and as Fischler relates, Gus Mortinson eventually became a Wing...

I'm a little disappointed to read the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa report that the NHL's tabled a rule change that would make an "old-time hockey play" a penalty...

Proposed rule changes for 2014-15 will require approval from the NHLPA’s executive board, which will meet in Pebble Beach, Calif., this month. One proposal is curious. It involves plays where a player, usually a defenseman, leaves his feet and uses his stick to swipe the puck off an opponent’s blade. If the defenseman pokes the puck loose and trips the opponent, he’ll get two minutes for tripping even if the puck comes free first. The concern is whether coaches will encourage puck carriers to take a dive whenever that situation takes place. What used to be a good hockey play could turn into yet another question of embellishment, which is the toughest infraction to call in real time.

And this isn't hockey-related, but the Detroit Free Press's Carol Cain reports that Denise Ilitch is channeling some of her family's history into a new economic venture:

For entrepreneur Denise Ilitch, the revamping of the iconic 220 Merrill building in downtown Birmingham the experience has been déjà vu.

“This reminds me when my family bought the Fox (Theatre in the 1980s) and we were refurbishing it,” said Ilitch, eldest of Little Caesars founders Mike and Marian Ilitch’s seven children.

“Everyone had a story about the Fox and what it meant to them,” Denise Ilitch said.

Ilitch has heard from many people after they learned that Ilitch and her business partner, Zaid Elia of the Elia Group, purchased the building that includes the 220 Merrill restaurant (set to reopen July 24), Edison’s nightclub and two floors of office space.

“People got married there or engaged,” Ilitch said of the restaurant. “220 Merrill has been a big part of the community for a long time.”

That isn’t likely to change under Ilitch, who is following in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial parents. They started with one pizza store in 1959 and grew it into a multibillion-dollar enterprise that includes the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Fox Theatre and MotorCity Casino Hotel. Ilitch is charting her own path and expanding her brand with her latest enterprise.

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About The Malik Report

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.