The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/13/13 at 09:57 AM ET
Upated 4x at 1:26 PM: Last night's crop of Red Wings-related news was very thin, so if you missed it, the Wings are selling preseason tickets this morning, and the Wings will begin selling regular season single-game tickets on August 24th.
Otherwise, MLive's Ansar Khan examines a team that the Wings will play much more often in the Eastern Conference in the Pittsburgh Penguins...
Penguins' strengths: They have the most potent offense in the league, led by premier talents Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Their top three goal-scorers in 2013 were Kunitz, James Neal (21) and Dupuis (20). And they have good supporting players like Brandon Sutter, Jussi Jokinen, Beau Bennett and Tyler Kennedy who must battle for ice time. Not surprising that they ranked second on the power play with that much firepower. Kris Letang is one of the top offensive defensemen in the game. They brought back shutdown defender Rob Scuderi, hoping he can help shore up the defense. Backup goalie Tomas Vokoun could start for some teams.
Penguins' weaknesses: They'll score goals, but how well will they defend? Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has folded under pressure since winning the Stanley Cup, with playoff save percentages of .891, .899, .834 and .883. He's been particularly bad the past two springs, with GAAs of 4.63 and 3.52. Their fifth and sixth defense spots are suspect. Their penalty killing was well below average.
Penguins outlook: The Penguins are a formidable team on paper, once again a leading Stanley Cup contender. But no matter how dominant they are in the regular season, no matter how explosive their offense is, there will be concerns about Fleury heading into the playoffs. If he can regain his form of 2008 and '09 – or come close to it – they could be hard to beat.
The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau posited quite the teasers regarding the Wings' prospect tournament roster...
So that's no Ildar Telyakov (the 6'9" defenseman that intrigued so many Wings fans. My best guesses among the free agent try-outs that took part in the summer camp are Kurt Etchegary, who wasn't able to take part in the summer camp due to an injury, and, well...
The NCAA-playing prospects are going to be in school at the time, so pick one of Barclay Goodrow, Dane Walters, Brody Silk or Jamien Yakubowski. I think that Walters was the "best of the rest" because the 24-year-old displayed a mature grinding game. Goodrow is bigger at 6'2" to Walters' 6.'
This may or may not count as a plug: Detroit's new sports radio station, 105.1 FM, hit the airwaves yesterday as an ESPN affiliate. Their website is pretty sparse at the present moment, but they have a Twitter account and a Facebook page, and Mickey Redmond did make an appearance on their main local attraction in the Drew Lane Show, which the Detroit Free Press's B.J. Hammerstein notes is the main locally-produced attraction at present--and this article's from yesterday, thus the "todays":
It’s official: The former adult contemporary-formatted WMGC-FM (105.1) was re-branded as Detroit Sports 105.1 when Drew Lane’s new “Sports & More” afternoon show made its debut at 3 p.m. today.
Greater Media Detroit Market Manager Steve Chessare, who oversees operations of WMGC, WRIF-FM (101.1) and WCSX-FM (94.7), said that Lane’s contract is for two years, and that signing him was crucial to the format flip. WMGC also will be the new ESPN Radio Detroit affiliate, Chessare said.
“We weren’t going to do this if Drew wasn’t a part of it,” Chessare said to the Free Press following an 11 a.m. news conference at the Greater Media Detroit offices and studios in Ferndale. “We believe that the Detroit sport fans want an alternative — something engaging, informative and, most of all, entertaining. It’s all about entertaining people.”
The move lines up a compelling afternoon Detroit broadcasting battle: Newbie on the sports front WMGC against sports talk leader WXYT-FM (97.1, the Ticket). Lane would be primarily going up against the highly rated show hosted by Mike Valenti and Terry Foster, whose afternoon sports show on WXYT airs 2-6 p.m.
Tuesday’s Detroit Sports 105.1 lineup begins with ESPN Radio programming: “Mike & Mike” airs from 6-10 a.m. weekdays and outspoken Colin Cowherd’s “The Herd” will air from 10 a.m.-noon. Metro Detroit listeners will get localized sports updates three times an hour during both national shows.
The agreement with ESPN also gives Detroit Sports 105.1 options to pick up programming like Major League Baseball’s World Series, the NBA Finals and the BCS Championship Game. ESPN “Monday Night Football” announcer and Ann Arbor resident Mike Tirico will make a weekly appearance, and the station will have access to the full slate of ESPN’s analysts and personalities, Chessare said.
Detroit local sport personalities Ryan Ermanni and Rico Beard will temporarily host their “Ryan and Rico” show from noon-3 p.m. At the news conference, station officials were asked whether that slot would eventually be home to Matt Dery, who recently left WXYT-FM and his gig hosting Pistons-connected broadcasts. They would only say that more personnel announcements would be made in the future.
I only listened to part of the broadcast on Monday, but hearing anything hockey-related in August from a Detroit sports radio station was the equivalent of a spotting Bigfoot at the intersection of Woodward and Michigan Avenue.
While I was writing this, 105.1 FM Tweeted the following, which is quite spiffy:
Gee, do you think that they're playing up the fact that the "Flagship Station" insists that "nobody wants to talk about hockey?"
Plug #2: The Free Press's bracketed "best sports logo in Michigan" contest is down to the "final four" in the Tigers vs. the Lions and the Red Wings vs. the Ferris State Bulldogs. I'm still hedging my bets at the Tigers beating the Wings in the end;
Plug #3: Michigan Hockey's magazine is now available in a digital format, and I really dig that. The magazine is a good read and those of you who can't pick it up at your local hockey shop and/or rink ought to be able to enjoy perusing the magazine as Michael Caples' editorship has really cranked up the content to "this is really good stuff" levels;
On Monday afternoon, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported that Daniel Alfredsson will be speaking to the Ottawa media on Thursday, and this morning, he suggests that Alfredsson's presence was and is essential in terms of breaking down the dynamic of the "Battle of Ontario" (see: Toronto vs. Ottawa), he mentioned Alfredsson's absence from the equation.:
He is, without certainty, one of the most hated athletes in Toronto and he always brought his best versus the Leafs.
The Senators will have to adjust to life without him. The “C” will be emblazoned on somebody else’s chest next season. The odds-on favourite is centre Jason Spezza because he looks like he’s ready to take the next step.
The big questions: How will the Senators look without Alfredsson? How will they fill the leadership void? Many nights, he led by example and was the club’s best player. A big hole to fill, but he won’t be missed by Toronto fans.
Getting players to step up in Alfredsson’s absence will be one of the biggest challenges coach Paul MacLean will face after winning the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s coach-of-the-year in June.
And then there's this:
Making the playoffs just got a whole lot harder for the Leafs and Senators. Yes, the Northeast was one of the best in the NHL, but the addition of the Red Wings, plus the different schedule, will make points difficult to get.
The Wings and Bruins are both considered Stanley Cup contenders. From there, it’s anybody’s guess what shape the division will take. The Habs should be improved after an early playoff exit against the Senators last spring.
The Lightning have bought out Vinny Lecavalier and will go with Ben Bishop in goal. Nobody is sure what direction the Panthers are taking after missing the playoffs. Will either of the Florida teams be improved? Who knows?
The Leafs have to get over the shock of the way they melted down in Game 7 of Round 1 versus the Bruins while the Senators were sent packing in Round 2 by the Penguins in four straight. Both teams have to rebound.
And finally, I'm kind of freaking out about the fact that the Red Wings' prospect tournament starts all of 23 days from now. If I'm able to go up to Traverse City, I'm going to end up spending almost two full weeks in a hotel, and I'm gonna need all the help that I can get.
If it's at all possible for you to lend a hand, I would be grateful as grateful gets. Five-buck donations, $10 donations, whatever you can afford, it all helps me get to Traverse City.
I'm sticking with Paypal for the present moment as folks are familiar with it, and the email address that you use as my "recipient" ID is my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org (regardless of whether you send email to that address or my Kukla's Korner email, email@example.com, they end up in the same place).
Again, your support is plain old humbling. I wouldn't have been able to attend the summer development camp without you, and I'm incredibly grateful for your support and readership.
Update: I was asked about the status of a Hockeyfest at the Joe given that we haven't heard anything about it yet. It is entirely possible that the Wings will hold one around Memorial Day weekend (around September 2nd) and/or during the prospect tournament, but I'm not sure.
At this point, Joey Kocur's charity softball game on August 24th is your best bet in terms of engaging in a late-summer Red Wings-related activity.
Update #2: Sovetsky Sport reports that Ilya Kovalchuk will hold a charity game in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 31st, and Pavel Datsyuk tends to take part in the event.
Update #3: Petr Mrazek engaged in an interview with Tyden.cz's Tereza Velikovska. As my Czech is terrible, here are the highlights thereof:
- Mrazek was never asked to tone down his celebrations by the Czech World Junior Championship teams, and he values his experiences with the Czech WJC team and the Czechs' World Championship 2 seasons ago very greatly;
- He's proud of the fact that he found his game while playing with the Toledo Storm early in the 2012-2013 season and then roared along with the Griffins thereafter;
- He had a blast during his Red Wings debut, in which the Red Wings defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-1;
- He feels that the Grand Rapids Griffins won the Calder Cup because the players worked their tails off and because coach Jeff Blashill was absolutely fantastic;
- And he's crossing his fingers regarding having a superb training camp and pushing both Jonas Gustavsson and Jimmy Howard.
Update #4: For the record, Expresen's Mattias Ek reports that Daniel Alfredsson will only get a chance to play for Team Sweden in the Olympics if coach Par Marts feels that Alfredsson will perform adequately, but Henrik Zetterberg's going to cheer him on.
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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.