The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/04/14 at 02:10 AM ET
The Red Wings held their first open-to-the-media Captain's Practice at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, and the media made up for lost time in a big way. Daniel Alfredsson discussed his situation,;as Paul noted, Mike Babcock came as close to stating that he's not leaving Detroit as he's going to get, and we found out that Babcock's annual crazy line combination will involve Darren Helm starting on Pavel Datsyuk's wing--among many topics not involving Danny DeKeyser's flight with the Blue Angels, nor the restricted free agent's contract status.
Let's start our survey of Wednesday's practice storylines with Babcock's comments. Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner noted Babcock's comments...
"I'm sure I will (talk to GM Ken Holland before season)," Babcock said on Wednesday. "This is what I would tell you. If we get something done in September, great. But if we don't -- and I've said this, and no one believes me -- I have a real good relationship with the general manager. And I'm real confident in my own ability and confident in the ability he has to put together a team.
"We'll find a way to work something out over time. But I'm not all wound up about this one bit. I'm real comfortable. I'm not selling my house or anything like that. Life's good for me."
Babcock blames himself for letting his contract be the main topic of discussion over this summer, saying that he was caught "off guard" when asked about it on locker-cleanout day. He thinks he said too much to the press that day, which created a lot of overblown speculation.
And Babcock made an intriguing comment regarding his possible "free agency" to MLive's Ansar Khan:
Asked why he wouldn't want to keep his options open until after the season, Babcock said, "I've thought a lot about that. Kenny Holland is a good man, the Ilitches (team owners) are good people and they've looked after us."
Babcock blamed himself for the speculation about his future that was created over the summer, saying he shouldn't have said anything about it to begin with.
"I'm going into my 10th year, our record speaks for itself," Babcock said. "I'm real proud of what we've been able to accomplish. I'm about getting better as a coach and ideally that's all going to get looked after."
I will tell you this much about Babcock's bafflement at his uncertain future being a "distraction" to the players: put bluntly, yes the players will consider the situation but when your coach gets to the rink at 6 AM and doesn't leave until midnight on game days, you're not particularly worried about your coach's commitment to his tasks at hand.
As for Daniel Alfredsson, he told DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose that the Wings' co-leading scorer (he registered 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points over the course of 68 2013-14 games played) concerned about the state of his back for a very good reason:
“If I would start this season as I did last year I would have signed already,” the 18-season veteran said Wednesday. “I had some issues with my back throughout the year, but nothing serious until the end when I started getting some tingling in the nerve down the right leg. That’s what worries me more than anything.”
Alfredsson had surgery for a similar back problem three years ago. The surgery relieved the pain, but this time pain hasn’t been an issue, he said.
“It’s the nerve that goes from L5 (disc) and shoots down side of the right leg and calf,” Alfredsson said. “I haven’t experienced a lot of pain with it. It’s been more with numbness and losing strength in the right leg, which is why you need to put the repetition in to make sure you hold up.”
The 41-year-old skated during the summer in Sweden and returned to Detroit last week, where he has been participating in the captain’s skates twice now with teammates and other NHL and AHL players from the Detroit area at Joe Louis Arena.
Other than a slight setback while skating in Sweden, the nerve hasn’t been problematic.
“I just have to make sure that when you do it every day for a couple of weeks … we’ll see how it feels,” Alfredsson said. “We’ll go from there and make sure it holds up and it’s not just feeling good for a little bit and then you’re in and out all year long. That’s not what anybody wants. I would love to play, there’s no question, but at the same time you have to listen to your body.”
Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that they'd like Alfredsson to return if he feels healthy enough to do so...
Alfredsson said his decision will most likely come before training camp that begins with physicals on Sept. 18.
“We’re going to let Alfie have this week, let have next week and then I’ll see what he thinks,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “If Alfie tells me he feels great and he wants to play hockey then we have to sit down and talk. If he tells me on the 15th of September, ‘I feel good but you know what I’d like to go to training camp and see a bit more’ then I think we’re going to do it.
“He wants to play, that’s why he’s back here,” Holland continued. “He wants to be fair to the Detroit Red Wings. And he wants to put himself through an everyday test and that starts this week.”
And just as Babcock was blunt about Alfredsson's health when speaking with MLive's Ansar Khan...
"We don't want a part-time player, we want a full-time player, so guy's got to be healthy, he's got to be able to skate," Babcock said. "Alfie led our team in scoring last year, without that happening (being healthy). That's how good a man he is and that's how talented he is. If you start the year injured and you're 25, you got a chance to finish the year healthy. If you start the year injured and you're Alfie's age, the chance of you getting ready to go is a lot harder."
An informal skate with teammates won't replicate what Alfredsson will experience in an actual game.
"No one's bumping into you yet, until training camp starts," Babcock said. "You get whacked a few times and you seize up a couple of times. We'll see what happens."
Alfredsson had 19 goals and tied for the team lead with 49 points in 68 games. He brings elements the team needs.
"He had a pretty good year; when he didn't play, we missed him," Holland said. "He can play the right point on the power play; he's got a one-timer, so the other team's got to be aware of him. He's good defensively, he plays puck possession."
Alfredsson told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that he still believes the Red Wings represent his best opportunity to win a Cup:
One of the reasons Alfredsson is motivated to return is his belief the Red Wings continue to be a Stanley Cup contender. He believes with everyone healthy — Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss, among others, who were injured last season — and the experience the younger players gained, the Red Wings will be better for it.
In fact, Alfredsson considers the team a Stanley Cup contender.
“You have a great core,” he said. “Last year was frustrating for a lot of older guys but a great opportunity for younger guys.”
Jimmy Howard also addressed the media after practice, and he told Fox Sports Detroit's Regner that he's ready to rebound from his injury-marred 2012-13 campaign:
"I'm just excited to be back here," he said. "This is probably the best I've felt in two to three years. I'm excited to get going. I've played a lot of hockey over the last several years, so there's been a lot of wear and tear. I've been able to get healthy over the summertime. I feel really good."
Howard was asked if he views this upcoming season as a rebound year from last season's disappointing campaign.
"Each year is different," he said. "You just have to go out there and play. You have to control what you can control, and I think I've done that this offseason. That's why I'm so excited to start this season off. I'm hoping the guys did the same thing -- that they took this summer to get healthy, so we can all take the next step in the right direction."
Babcock discussed Howard's status with DetroitRedWings.com's Craig Peterson...
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is healthy following an off-season spent in Michigan with his wife and two young sons, which is a good sign for coach Mike Babcock after a tough 2013-14 campaign.
“The reports I get on Howie is on how much work he’s done. You do the work, you’re rewarded,” Babcock said. “He’s done the work to prepare, he’ll be rewarded.”
Howard would certainly like to improve from last season’s numbers in which he posted a .910 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average. Marks that should be attainable if he can start the season strong.
“The reason you talk about the start is because confidence is a fleeting thing,” Babcock said. “If you’re a goalie after 10 games your numbers are pretty good, it’s way easier to relax.”
And Howard simply shrugged off his stints on the IR:
“It’s been weird the last several years, the way we’ve been hit with the injury bug,” Howard said. “I think that’s why it’s a key to the season for all of us, especially our top guys of staying out there on the ice.”
Howard's heading to Bangor, Maine to sign autographs at the Maine Savings in Old Town, ME this Friday, and while Howard spent this past season in Detroit, he told the Bangor Daily News's Larry Mahoney that he plans on spending more summers at his second home in the years to come...
The Howards bought a home in Dedham on Green Lake several years ago, and it has supplied them with a valuable summer getaway. It also is a homecoming for Rachel, who is a Hampden native.
Howard explained that the decision to buy a house on Green Lake was a “no-brainer.”
“We had a chance to get property on the lake so we jumped at it,” said Howard.
He noted that his wife has made sacrifices, following him around during his pro career, so this is a chance for him to reciprocate. It also provided him with some valuable down time, out of the limelight.
“It’s always nice to get back to Maine because I’m just Jimmy Howard, the person. I’m not Jimmy Howard, the goalie. I show up and do things like play golf at the [Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono] with my buddies. I don’t have people staring at me everywhere I go,” said Howard.
And Howard was surprisingly forthcoming regarding his injury issues:
He has played in 285 NHL regular-season games and has a 152-86-37 record with a 2.41 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
“I don’t have the best of backs, so I’ve been constantly finding exercises that will help me without injuring myself,” said Howard.
Goalies have to be flexible and be able to make short, quick steps to make saves.
“It is going to be a big year for everyone on our team,” said Howard. “I just want to go out and give the guys a chance to win every night. I want to be one of the league’s top goalies like I have been before.”
It's a very big season for Howard. He may possess a no-move clause for this upcoming season, but Petr Mrazek will be ready for full-time NHL duty next year, the Wings brought Tom McCollum back into the mix, and Jake Paterson, Jared Coreau and 2014 draft pick Chase Perry all plan on giving Howard a run for his money at some point in the near future.
As for Babcock's Cockamamie Line Combination Scheme, 2014 version, the Detroit News's Kulfan examined that issue...
If the Red Wings remain healthy this season — and considering the last couple seasons that’s a big if — there would be a glut of centers on the roster. Among them: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Joakim Andersson.
So, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is hoping to alleviate the logjam by moving Helm to the wing.
“I’m going to start like that,” Babcock said of Helm, who has the size (5-foot-11, 192 pounds), speed and grit to become an effective winger. “I like the tenacity and pace and heaviness on the puck (Helm has).”
Helm has been one of the NHL’s most effective third-line centers — when he’s healthy. But that’s been a struggle the last two seasons. He was limited to 42 games last season and two in 2012. But, Helm enters this season injury-free.
“He can help Pavel being able to play down low in the zone,” Babcock said.
The health of Weiss (sports hernia) also is key in the equation.
Forward Daniel Cleary’s season ended after 52 games because of a knee injury, and his re-signing a one-year deal was one that caused an uproar on social media. Babcock, however, believes Cleary still can help the Red Wings.
“If he can get back to playing, he can help us,” Babcock said. “But if he can’t get back to playing, he can’t help us.”
(Wouldn't it have been great if, oh, I don't know, the Wings had Cleary operating under the same conditions that the still-unsigned Alfredsson was engaging in? The whole unsigned, possible pro-try-out spiel?)
In practice multimedia: The Detroit Newss David Guralnick posted a 2:53 clip of Jimmy Howard, Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Babcock speaking to the media...
MLive posted a video of Alfredsson speaking to the media...
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted a non-embeddable video of Alfredsson, too...
And the Detroit News's Guralnick graced us with his photo gallery of the season, a 22-image gallery which gives us something of a roll call--Zetterberg, Andersson, Callahan, Abdelkader, Helm, Smith, Franzen, Alfredsson, Miller, Howard, Gustavsson, Ouellet, Nyquist, Sproul, DeKeyser, Kronwall, Porter, Dean and Jake Chelios, and Babcock and Tony Granato watching the practice as coaches can't "coach" players until training camp begins on the 19th (I think that I see Luke Glendening's gloves and stick in a picture as well).
It's good to see this guy back on the ice:
Image from the Detroit News's David Guralnick
In the prospect department, first and foremost, via RedWingsFeed, the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau released the St. Louis Blues' prospect tournament roster. The 8-team tournament begins a week from Friday, and the Blue Jackets, Hurricanes (featuring Jake Chelios as a try-out), Rangers, Wild, Stars and of course the Red Wings (whose try-outs Lindenau profiled) have released their rosters.
The Sabres are the only team that hasn't released a roster as of yet, and of course we're waiting for the Wings' main training camp roster as well;
Alexander Kadeykin and Atlant Mytishchi begin their 2014-15 KHL season schedule on Saturday, and Hockey's Future's Alessandro Seren Rosso spotlighted Kadeykin as part of a a strong crop of NHL-drafted KHL prospects:
Alexander Kadeykin, C, Atlant Mytischi
Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings
In drafting Alexander Kadeykin, the Red Wings may have found yet another late-round gem as last year he was one of the top young players in the league and his team’s top scorer. Kadeykin features good hands, good hockey sense and an NHL body, but has to learn to use these attributes to his advantage and play more physically, especially for a player of his size (6-4, 214). Kadeykin’s deal with Atlant will run out in April of 2015.
Back over on this sideof the Atlantic, the University of Michigan Wolverines don't begin their season until October, but MGoBlue.com's Jeffrey Weinstein is already engaging in Q and A's to get to know the Wolverines' freshmen, and Wings 2014 first round draft pick Dylan Larkin headlines the class:
On having familiarity with many of his Michigan teammates before arriving on campus ...Zach (Werenski) and I played midget hockey together for four years, winning three state championships. I watched J.T. Compher, Evan Allen and Tyler Motte play as 18 year olds when I was in my first year with the NTDP.
How often do you expect your family to see you play being a short drive from Yost? I hope they can come to all of the home games. My brother (Colin) is playing for U-Mass Boston so I know they are planning to come out when we play in Boston.
Who is your favorite NHL player and who do you model your game after? My favorite NHL player is Sidney Crosby, and I try to model my game after Markus Naslund.
What was it like getting selected by your hometown team in the NHL Draft and how was your first rookie camp with the team? It was a great moment to hear my name called by (Red Wings GM) Ken Holland. Getting selected by the Detroit Red Wings is a dream come true, but my life goal is to play in the NHL. Going to Traverse City for development camp was an exciting time and a great learning experience.
The Q and A continues...
And as you know by now, Martin Frk needs to make an impact at the prospect tournament after struggling mightily during his first pro season (though, to be fair, he spent the 2012-13 season playing on a line with Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon for the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads) The Red Wings have profiled Frk in article and video form, and on Wednesday evening, Griffinshockey's Alan Cross spoke with Frk about his up-and-down 2013-14 season...
Starting as a rookie with Grand Rapids, he went scoreless in six games before being reassigned to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. With an opportunity for more ice time, Frk notched 13 points (5-8—13) in 15 games and began easing into the higher level of play.
“I think there were a lot of guys in Grand Rapids when the season started and, for me, it was my first season in pros,” said Frk. ”I kind of was thinking about that, that I had to go straight down to Toledo and play there and get my ice time back. It was a good thing for me that I went there because you want to play, you don’t want to sit. I really liked it there. It’s a tough league – very hard and tough. You’re only playing three lines so you have a lot of playing time. But it was great to get the call that said I was going back to Grand Rapids.”
Summoned just prior to Christmas, Frk remained with the Griffins for the duration of the season, and he scored his first AHL point, an assist, on Jan. 18 versus the Abbotsford Heat. In all, he tallied three goals and nine assists during the regular season before going scoreless in four playoff games.
Although his point production turned up toward the end of the season, Frk was not satisfied with his overall performance.
“I think that the first pro season is a real mental game. I was really struggling hard with that because I didn’t know why I couldn’t keep up with the guys playing,” said Frk. “I was thinking that I was doing the right things, but I was not doing the right things on the ice. I was thinking too much about that.”
And in addition to revealing that Frk has a mentor and friend in Tomas Jurco, Frk discussed the fact that he's spent this summer in Grand Rapids, working very hard to become a better pro player:
“I came here two months ago to start training with [Griffins strength and conditioning coordinator Marcus Kinney],” said Frk. “Last year when I came to training camp in Traverse City, I was not ready. I didn’t work as hard last summer, so I kind of said to myself, ‘I want to be ready for next season, I want to have a better season than last year’. I just started going on the ice last week, but most of the workouts before that were off-ice in the gym and a lot of running and speed and agility exercises. My focus was to lose some weight, but gain speed and agility for sure, too. I have to be quick on the ice, so that’s what I told Marcus I wanted to do.”
Despite the obstacles Frk faced last season, he’s prepared to take on the season ahead as a faster, stronger and smarter player.
“I have to be better for the upcoming season, and I think I will do much better than last year.”
In "season previews," The Score ended up posting a set of Wings previews that were a little too spread out to fit in a simple entry, but the articles are worth reviewing. Chris Battaglia penned an "Offseason Roundup"...
A lack of free agent signings means any improvements for Detroit in the coming year will come from within the organization. Players like Tatar, Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco should take another step forward in their development with full-time NHL roles, if they get them, while last year's big free agent catch Stephen Weiss is a prime candidate to rebound from a forgettable, injury-plagued season.
The biggest questions for the Red Wings are on the blue line and in the crease. Detroit has been thin on top-line defensive talent since the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and that looks like it will continue after the failed pursuit of Niskanen and Boyle (among others). Jimmy Howard posted a pedestrian .910 save percentage in 2013-14 and any further regression on his part could put the Red Wings' playoff streak in jeopardy.
Detroit isn't likely to finish ahead of the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division, but if stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg stay healthy, the Red Wings look like an Eastern Conference playoff team. At least on paper.
Ian McLaren looked at 5 fantasy hockey players to "target"...
Proceed With Caution: Gustav Nyquist
Nyquist will be an obvious "sleeper" candidate after scoring 28 goals in 57 games last season, but an 18.3 shooting percentage suggests that kind of production may be unsustainable.
In 40 previous games with the Red Wings heading into last season, Nyquist recorded four goals on 65 shots, good for a shooting percentage of 6.15 percent.
According to QuantHockey.com, the average NHL shooting percentage in recent years hovers around nine percent, meaning there's more than a good chance that Nyquist won't maintain the pace he set in 2013-14.
Take A Flier On: Tomas Tatar
Instead of banking on Nyquist, astute fantasy owners could turn to Tatar.
The 23-year-old scored 19 goals, added 20 assists points and a plus-12 rating in 73 games for Detroit last season; he also received 2:17 of power play time per game, and led all Detroit forwards with a 56.3 Corsi For and 208 total shot attempts at even strength, which bodes well for continued offensive production.
Tatar will likely remain somewhat sheltered by head coach Mike Babcock, meaning he'll start the majority of his shifts in the offensive zone and away from top defensive opposition. As such, Tatar could be good for 25 goals and 45-50 points, providing great value with a late pick.
Thomas Drance noted "3 storylines to watch" over the course of the upcoming season...
Back at full throttle
The Red Wings battled through myriad injuries during the 2013-14 season and still qualified for the playoffs, thanks to the contributions of young players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco among others.
Now, after a long offseason, players like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm are back in game shape. It's a good problem to have, but it does create something of a logjam. Where do the talented young kids fit in now that the veterans are off of injured reserve?
Are there enough minutes and pucks to go around in Motown?
In 2013-14, the Red Wings probably took too long to install Nyquist, Sheahan and Tatar into the lineup. That arguably nearly cost the franchise their now-23-year streak of qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Will the organization repeat that mistake this season?
And Justin Bourne extensively broke down the Wings' tendency to "relieve defensive zone pressure" by passing the puck into their own slot, and his illustrations and breakdown include some input from Babcock:
I chatted with Mike Babcock about the concept, where he confirmed Detroit considers using their net front in the D-zone a solid option.
Yeah, for sure, when you think of forechecking in today’s game in the National Hockey League, or any other league, you’re looking to take away the walls. They’re coming hard with one, they’re taking the wall with two, and probably the other side with three, there’s a space that you can execute in front of your net. Obviously the problem is when you turn the puck over in front of your net sometimes it ends up in your net. But I’m a big believer in getting back and executing fast so you don’t have to play in D-zone coverage at all. You turn pucks over by keeping it along the wall and you end up in the D-zone, and we’d like to be in the offensive zone by making that good first pass.
Babcock acknowledges that it’s not necessarily option 1A for his club - you always take what’s given to you, and you’d choose the boards over the middle every time - but if the walls are closed off, they trust their players to put the puck somewhere risky to advance zones.
Bourne's illustrations are quite handy, too.
If you missed it, ESPN's Craig Custance posited an Insider-only Atlantic Division preview that places every NHL team in the position of "Chasing the Kings," and here's what he had to say about the Wings:
Detroit Red Wings
Franchise center: Pavel Datsyuk falls in the same category as Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton -- franchise centermen on the downside of their career. But when he’s healthy, Datsyuk is most certainly a championship-caliber center. He played just 45 games last season, but when he did, the Red Wings had a Corsi For of 56.1 percent.
Strong top four anchored by legit No. 1 defenseman: This is an area in which Detroit has struggled since the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom. Niklas Kronwall was the ideal leader of a second pair when the Red Wings were winning championships. He’s handled duties as Detroit’s top defenseman admirably, but the top four in Detroit isn’t what it used to be. After missing out on Matt Niskanen, Detroit was forced to bring Kyle Quincey back. As inconsistent as Brendan Smith can be, he finished last season with a team-best Corsi For of 54 percent.
Playoff-tested goalie: Jimmy Howard has played in 45 career playoff games and has a career postseason save percentage of .919, which is pretty good. He was outstanding in nearly knocking off the Blackhawks during the 2013 postseason, but overall has a losing record (21-24) in the playoffs. Coming off a season in which he finished with a .910 save percentage, he has something to prove this season.
Skilled fourth line: With the emergence of young forwards such as Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist, Detroit has depth at forward that should populate a strong fourth line. If he’s healthy, Darren Helm could end up centering that line, which would bring an element of speed that would be hard for other Eastern Conference fourth lines to match.
Entry-level contributors: Detroit’s preference to let young players develop means some of them are already on their second contract when they start making major contributions at the NHL level. For instance, Nyquist had a breakout season but is entering the second and final year of his second contract. Jurco is the only one of Detroit’s young forwards still on his entry-level deal. That changes if Anthony Mantha makes the team.
Total: Three out of five.
The Hockey News's Adam Proteau flipped the season preview spiel on its head by issuing "10 wacky NHL predictions"...
10. After hearing one too many questions about his future in Detroit, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock snaps and vows to only say, “I am Groot” in all media interviews for the rest of his career. Babcock’s inimitable speaking style translates so well into the single line of dialogue spoken by the Guardians of the Galaxy character, he replaces Vin Diesel in the sequel to the blockbuster movie.
And regarding the Wings' Atlantic Division rivals, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose "previews the East" by examining the Tampa Bay Lightning today:
ARRIVALS: Forwards Brenden Morrow, Brian Boyle, Jeff Costello, Jerome Samson, Mike Blunden; defensemen Anton Stralman, Jason Garrison, Matt Corrente; and goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
DEPARTURES: Forwards Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen, Tom Pyatt, Pierre-Cedric Labrie; defensemen Sami Salo, Keith Aulie, Brian Lee, Mike Kostka; and goalies Anders Lindback and Cedric Desjardins.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Not flashy offensively, but that’s not why the Lightning went out and got Anton Stralman, who was an UFA following his appearance in the Stanley Cup finals with the Rangers. Stralman’s first approach to the position is very much about being responsible defensively. He only produced a goal and 13 points in 81 games and five points in the postseason, but he was steady, playing in all 25 contests. As a right-handed shooting D-man, Stralman was in high demand in free agency and he certainly cashed in, receiving a five-year deal worth $22.5 million – that comes out to $4.5 million annually. Stralman should fit in well with whoever his new D-partner becomes out of a trio of lefties – Victor Hedman, Matt Carle or newly acquired Jason Garrison.
On Twitter, via the Wings...
Finally, the tip jar's coming back out. Put bluntly, I was a moron and didn't budget for one extra night in Traverse City, and the way I look at things presently, the workload's on Tuesday the 23rd is going to be so incredibly hard that packing up and heading home the next morning might be a dangerous endeavor, so that's why it's out. Trying to raise $ for one more night to come home in one piece.
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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.