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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: Beer at the Big House, Mrazek and OHL assessments

I lived near Michigan Stadium for six years, and I can tell you for a fact that its status as a "dry" facility has never taken away from the ability of its spectators to enjoy games while feeling a little "merry" (and I can tell you for a fact that the former frat boys in their 40's act dumber than the 19-year-olds on their sixth or seventh buzz of a fooball Saturday-four-day weekend [ah yes, where drinking begins on Thursday])...

But the NHL stands to make some serious loot by both selling liquor and the rights to provide that liquor at the 2014 Winter Classic, so AnnArbor.com's Kellie Woodhouse's report that the University of Michigan's Board of Regents repeated last year's vote to allow liquor to be solid inside the Big House is indeed big news:

{]nce again, U-M's governing board has approved a request for a permission for its concessionaire to serve alcohol in the Big House during the event, using modifications to the Michigan Liquor Control Code approved in the passage of [State House Bill]  5611. Prior to the bill, venues as large as the Big House couldn't get temporary licenses.

"We did this once before, we're trying once again," said U-M chief financial officer Timothy Slottow on Thursday.

The license is likely to be approved.

Liquor sales are normally forbidden at the facility, and U-M leaders have said they have no intention of changing that policy for university-sanctioned events.

Ann Arbor and school officials estimated that the event would have a $14 to $15 million impact on the area, with anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 hotel nights booked by visitors.

The NHL is hoping that Michigan Stadium, with a capacity of more than 114,000, can facilitate the largest Winter Classic attendance in history. The world record for attendance at a hockey game is 104,173, a record set at the outdoor game between Michigan and Michigan State in 2010.

The NHL also plans on breaking the Michigan Stadium attendance record of 114,804.



Shifting gears as much as possible on what is a bit of a "dry" mid-July morning, only one member of the Grand Rapids Griffins' Calder Cup-winning players took part in the Wings' summer development camp--Luke Glendening--but the Free Press's George Sipple continues the "emptying out the notebook" post-camp tradition by offering a mini-profile of goaltender Petr Mrazek, bolstered by a single quote from Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard...

Mrazek, from the Czech Republic, ended the season by leading the Griffins to the Calder Cup title. But the Wings’ fifth-round pick in 2010 isn’t going to unseat Jimmy Howard as the starting goaltender in the near future and Jonas Gustavsson is under contract for another season as the backup in Detroit.

Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard said Mrazek and most of the other prospects from the Griffins got to skip development camp last week in Traverse City and “deservedly so.” The Wings wanted to let them enjoy what will already be a short off-season.

Bedard said Mrazek will come back even hungrier next season.

“Petr’s had a taste of it already,” Bedard said. “He knows what’s around the corner. He’s not going to let rope go slack, nor will we let him. He’s not the type of guy that you have to push. He pushes himself.”

Mrazek was 23-16-2 with a 2.33 GAA and a .916 save percentage in 42 regular-season games for the Griffins. He was 15-9-0 with a 2.31 GAA and a .916 save percentage in the playoffs.

And, via RedWingsFeed, Brock Otten's OHL Prospects Blog offers an assessment of the Wings' Ontario Hockey League-playing and graduate prospects. We've already talked about Ryan Sproul, who's turning pro with the Griffins this upcoming season, so let's focus on the current OHL'ers instead:

Andreas Athanasiou - Barrie Colts :What a difference a new team can make. AA was terrific for Barrie this year after the trade from London in the offseason. He looked re-invigorated and was again playing with the energy that made him a fan favourite in London during his rookie season. The biggest thing for AA this year was his increased involvement without the puck. In his draft year he seemed content with letting others do his dirty work and was a bit of a floater. This year, he took control of his own destiny. He was very active on the forecheck and played the puck possession game just as well as he worked off the rush. Playing second fiddle to Mark Scheifele, AA provided consistent secondary scoring by using his speed and his linemates well. He definitely put himself back on track. Next year Scheifele will undoubtedly be with Winnipeg, which means AA will be one of the primary go to guys on offense. Barrie will still have offensive talent (Hall, Theoret, Bradford, Lemieux) and I think he's going to have a big year alongside them. An 80 point season is a very realistic expectation.

Jake Paterson - Saginaw Spirit: While the numbers certainly don't jump out at you, they also don't tell the whole story. Paterson was solid for the Spirit this year and did take some steps forward in becoming a more consistent netminder. He's a very fluid and controlled goalie who challenges shooters and reads angles well. He's certainly not the scrambling type of goalie that the Wings have in former OHL standout Petr Mrazek. Next year, I expect Saginaw to be one of the better teams in the Western Conference. Paterson will be right in the thick of that. As such, I'd expect his "numbers" to finally look glossy. He has to be an early candidate for OHL goalie of the year next year, as well as another spot (possibly in the starter's role) for Canada at the WJC's. Clearly I have high hopes for him next year.

Zach Nastasiuk - Owen Sound Attack: Loved this pick by the Wings. Nastasiuk is a real heart and soul guy who leaves it all on the ice. This year he played in every situation for the Attack and his offensive game got better and better as the season went on. Hopefully this offseason he's working on getting a little quicker so that he can hit open lanes with more efficiency and be a more effective player off the rush. Given how strong he finished last season, I expect him to continue that level of play and confidence into next year. I think he's a serious candidate for a 30-30 year.

Tyler Bertuzzi - Guelph Storm: Certainly not a surprising draft selection, just a surprise at where the Wings nabbed him (2nd round). Bertuzzi missed a good chunk of time this year with a neck injury/concussion (suffered in a fight), but he was a solid role player for the Storm in the action he did see. He's a very hard worker without the puck and is relentless on the forecheck and in front of the net. I think it remains to be seen as to how good his hands are and whether he has serious goal scoring potential, but the other tangibles are there. He'll likely start the coming season on Guelph's 3rd line and could even see some secondary powerplay time. If he stays healthy, a 20 goal season is well within his grasp.


And finally, it should come as no surprise that Olympia Stadium and Joe Louis Arena lost out to the finalists in the Free Press's latest "best Michigan sports something or other" bracket, Tigers Stadium and Ford Field. I am surprised that the Joe lost out to Ford Field given the Joe's history, however.

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I’m hearing rumbles that Brunner may be headed to the KHL…for more $.

Posted by zombietroy on 07/19/13 at 02:13 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

People have been tossing that one around for the last two weeks. If Brunner were to bolt for the KHL, he’d have to do it almost immediately as their training camps start around August 1st.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/19/13 at 02:20 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Bertuzzi missed a good chunk of time this year with a neck injury/concussion (suffered in a fight),

This may be a loaded question, but how many concussions has Bertuzzi had?

Posted by Bugsy on 07/19/13 at 02:22 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

As far as I know, just the one.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/19/13 at 03:08 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I’d be quite happy if EVERY sports venue in North America were “dry”.

I’m sick to death of people constantly getting up to go get more beer during play, and just generally disrupting everyone and everything.

Posted by Primis on 07/19/13 at 11:18 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’d be quite happy if EVERY sports venue in North America were “dry”.
I’m sick to death of people constantly getting up to go get more beer during play, and just generally disrupting everyone and everything.
Posted by Primis on 07/19/13 at 11:18 AM ET

“Get off my lawn!” (shakes fist)

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/19/13 at 11:31 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Bertuzzi missed a good chunk of time this year with a neck injury/concussion (suffered in a fight),

And then he gets into a fight with Nick Jensen in development camp?

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/19/13 at 12:40 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

As a West Coaster, we are losing a Wings West Coast swing, but gaining a ton of Wings CBC games!  I’ll take it!

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 07/19/13 at 01:54 PM ET

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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.