The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/14 at 09:30 AM ET
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock's highly likely to be named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year in an hour or two, but the Free Press's Helene St. James' reports about the Wings' free agents and the status of Pavel Datsyuk's knee should serve as the only other news tidbits of the day--barring any more flights of coaching whimsy, anyway...
But things are about to get busy all over again. Tonight, Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs and Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm will attempt to snap 1-1 deadlocks in the QMJHL and OHL's respective championship series;
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins flew to Texas ahead of the team's second-round playoff series against the Texas Stars, which begins in Austin this Thursday...
And on Thursday, Jakub Kindl and the Czech Republic will battle Tomas Tatar's Slovaks, and NBCSN should air Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Team USA's tangle with Belarus as the World Championships get underway in Minsk (Gustav Nyquist will also take part, playing for Team Sweden; NBCSN's supposed to air all of Team USA's preliminary round games, and again, Minsk is 9 hours ahead of EDT, so both the Czech-Slovakia game and the US-BLR game will start at 11:45 AM EDT):
As I’m watching the trailer for the new game I hear Nyquist, so I pause it and rewatch it, and sure enough it’s Ermrick’s call from Nyquist’s break away against the Boston Bruins.
The Wings' jersey is also displayed as an example of EA's more realistically-fabric-behaving jerseys:
In the "for the record" department, this quip from Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, made to Fox 17's Mitch Fick, made me smile...
A series-clinching win on Friday got the defending Calder Cup champions an extra day of rest before their Western Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Texas Stars starts on Thursday. Well, at least the players got a day off.
“I went to a dance recital, a First Communion, and a hockey game – so I don’t know if Saturday was kicking back,” head coach Jeff Blashill said with a smile Monday, “But for the guys, they got Saturday off. I think it’s been enough of a balance of rest and staying in the mode of competing – which is real important this time of year.”
The fourth-seeded Griffins won three of four meetings with the regular season champion Stars – scoring at least four goals in every game.
A lot of people think these are the top two teams in the West – and the winner of the series would be the favorite to win this whole thing.
“I think Toronto and Chicago would disagree,” Blashill said. “I can tell you the four teams left are all great teams. I know this series – we obviously could have finished easily in the two-seed. We’ve been two of the top teams all season long, along with Chicago and Toronto. It should be a great, great match-up.”
This suggestion from the Tennessean's Josh Cooper made me frown...
The Milwaukee Admirals' season is over. The top minor-league affiliate of the Predators was swept out of the Calder Cup playoffs in three games by the Toronto Marlies.
The Admirals never seemed to have had much of a chance. They were outscored 11-4 in Games 1 and 2 at home and lost Game 3 of the best-of-five series 2-0.
There are some players from the American Hockey League affiliate who will get at least a look from the Predators going into next season.
Some might even make the team. These are the most likely candidates:
Calle Jarnkrok.: The 22-year-old Swedish forward, acquired in the David Legwand trade, showed consistency and maturity while posting nine points in 12 games with the Predators. He was sent to Milwaukee for the AHL playoffs, where he had two points in three games. Depending on what the Predators do in free agency, Jarnkrok could hold down a top-six role next year.
And if you're old enough to remember the Adirondack Red Wings, Detroit's old AHL affiliate in hockey-mad Glens Falls, New York, this news from the Glens Falls Post-Star's Diana Nearhos makes the world a happier place:
Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond got home from a meeting Monday night, looking forward to settling in to watch the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Next season, he will again be watching live hockey at Glens Falls Civic Center, not just from the comfort of his couch.
The AHL Board of Governors approved the relocation of the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate from Abbotsford, British Columbia, to Glens Falls on Monday, according to press releases from the team and league. The Flames’ affiliate will begin its tenure in Glens Falls next season, after the Adirondack Phantoms vacate the building for their new arena in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The mayor, who had been tight-lipped until the announcement came, called it a “great day for Glens Falls and a great day for hockey fans.”
Quickie update: From RedWingsCentral:
Tyler Bertuzzi's impressive comeback will continue tonight when Guelph takes on North Bay in the OHL final.
One of the best quotes of the 2013 draft was TSN's Bob McKenzie noting that Bertuzzi makes Andrew Shaw "look like a Lady Byng winner."
Amazing that #RedWings led #NHL with five prospects in THN Future Watch top 75 — and Mrazek, Sproul, Marchenko & Backman weren't among them.
#RedWings do plenty of cross-over scouting, but departed scouts Joe McDonnell and Mark Leach responsible for some of their best prospects.
McDonnell: Petr Mrazek, Ryan Sproul, Riley Sheahan, Andreas Athanasiou. Leach: Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet.
Leach, along with Mario Marois, were also heavily involved in the scouting of Anthony Mantha, by the way.
Good new for #RedWings is most of their European staff remains intact and has worked together for some time. And these guys are pretty good.
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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.