The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/04/13 at 04:20 AM ET
After the Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, I weighed in with my dissatisfaction, and then, in the comments section, so did you. Things apparently got heated enough that my quip about Mike Babcock's line machinations was taken as a personal attack, and if I am anything, I'm a blogger who's learned that one should never, ever attack one's readers for holding opinions contrary to one's own: attacking each other is one thing, but my job involves dealing with slings and arrows.
So maybe we're a wee bit testy this morning, eh, Red Wings nation?
In any case, the Red Wings and Blackhawks' press corps got the vast majority of their coverage taken care of during the evening, so there's a wrap-up available for your perusal, but this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa offer a pair of takes on the direction the 8th-place, 10-8-and-4 Wings are facing--if not going toward.
St. James believes that the post-Lidstrom Wings have done their best to weather the inordinate number of injuries they've sustained as they try to forge their post-Nicklas Lidstrom identity, and while fans like you and me are a bit freaked out this morning, she feels that the team's continued to make progress, even during their 3-5-and-2 record over the past 10 games, but she also points out that the Wings have a very difficult schedule ahead--with three and four-game road trips this month and 8 of the team's 13 games over the remainder of March away from the Joe:
The most encouraging trend to emerge over the past week is on defense, where Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl are looking more cohesive as a group. The big difference has been getting Smith back after he missed most of February with a sprained shoulder; that has allowed the other pairings to improve.
"In the first 15 games or so, I thought we took too much time in our own zone," Kronwall said. "We didn't get back to the puck quick enough. ... I think we've been doing a better job of that. That's something we've been working on, and we'll stick with it, keep working on it."
Coach Mike Babcock said, "I think we're playing way better and way harder." He cited a "lack of depth up front" as one of the reasons behind Sunday's loss. That was supposed to be an area of strength for the Wings, but injuries have left the pool shallow. Valtteri Filppula has missed three games in a row because of a sore shoulder, Darren Helm has missed all but one game because of a sore back, and Todd Bertuzzi hasn't played since Feb. 7 for the same reason. Then there's Mikael Samuelsson -- between a pulled groin and a broken finger, he has played three games.
That has allowed the Wings, though, to get good looks at two prospects they had in Grand Rapids. Tomas Tatar hasn't missed a shift since being called up Feb. 5, staying in the lineup although more established NHL regulars were available. Ditto for Joakim Andersson, who provides size and grit as the third-line center, a spot ideally occupied by Helm. Tatar and Andersson paired up to score Sunday's only goal, Tatar's fourth in 14 games.
"They've been playing great for us," goalie Jimmy Howard said. "It's great to see."
The Wings look more confident as a whole. They beat the Sharks on their home ice last week, and they held their own against the Blackhawks on Sunday. They've got to build on that, and quickly, because this coming week marks the last time the Wings will be at home more than away. They have 24 points banked, and if they are to keep their playoff streak going, they've got to get going.
I agree with St. James regarding the team's defense. As much as Ian White is pissed off about sitting at present, the Wings' defense is starting to look like a Red Wings defense again, a puck-moving, strong-skating, shot-blocking and actually physical set of blueliners that can head-man the team's offense and then hustle back into its own zone and get the job done.
We haven't seen may breakaways splitting too-widely-spaced defensemen of late, we haven't seen the team preyed upon by opponents that can cycle the puck down low as regularly, and there's at least a sense that Niklas Kronwall's no longer the only player capable of providing offense.
Up front, that's another story, but after two sleepy games, Johan Franzen took 6 of the Wings' 33 shots on Sunday, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk remain superstars, and Damien Brunner remains a player looking like he's getting acclimatized to the altitude at which Zetterberg and Datsyuk operate, Danny Cleary's salvaged himself after a crappy start--and let's be honest here, folks, he's playing for his future with the Wings, so it's not exactly a surprise to see coach Babcock give him enough rope with which to either ensure that a team certain to welcome Tatar, Andersson and Gustav Nyquist on full-time bases next season will have room for him (even given the fact that Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton are far along their way to earning spots on next year's team alongside the increasingly-opponent-infuriating Jordin Tootoo, too), or to play his way off the team--and Justin Abdelkader is at least throwing himself into the role of a net-front man with gusto, poise and an ability to get the shit beaten out of him without retaliating.
I'm not a fan of pairing them with Datsyuk, but I'm not the coach.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa offers an equally valid point, suggesting that while the Red Wings have made significant progress, the frustration fans feel about the team's inability to seal the deal is well-placed. In two of the Wings' last three games, and in both games against Chicago, they've surrendered 1-0 leads, and we already know that this team's dropped five 2-0 leads this season.
That suggests a continued lack of poise and confidence and the kind of "attack, attack, attack!" mentality that's kept the Wings in games in both the Bowman, Lewis (he counts) and Babcock eras because the team--when playing at its best, at its most Wing-like--has usually tended to want to play defense 200 feet from its own net, grinding the puck out down low, cycling it along the wall and, as Babcock likes to say, occasionally dumping the puck in to force opposing teams' defenses to turn and chase a puck or five while the Wings establish their forecheck.
That hasn't happened very much lately.
"Obviously, for us, we thought we had an opportunity, and it got away from us there," coach Mike Babcock said. "It would have been a game we would've loved to have won. I don't think it was a lack of playing hard here today, for sure. I thought we played hard, as a group. But, in the end, we just didn't execute enough to get it done."
For a brief time at the start, the Wings looked OK. But then the Blackhawks picked up the pace in the first period, assisted by two power plays, and it seemed like once the Wings went on the two kills, they had trouble getting any offensive push. They looked a lot better the rest of the game — terrific, at times. But they could not convert a second goal, Crawford was borderline unbelievable and Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall both inadvertently put the puck over the glass, intending to clear their zone, late in the third period. Up and off the glass is an easy, often preferred, way out of the zone. But missing the glass can be most costly.
The bottom line is the standings at the beginning of the day had the Red Wings with 23 points, and now it is 24 when it easily could have been 25.
"That was what we wanted to do, to get the two points," the captain, Henrik Zetterberg said. "We were close, but not close enough."
Zetterberg rejected any notion that to beat Chicago, the Red Wings — especially given the state of their roster, with a rebuilding defense and lots of injuries — must play just about a perfect game, to win. Setting the bar high, Zetterberg said the Red Wings are not yet approaching that quality of game, regardless. Zetterberg prefers to see the shortfalls as room for improvement.
"Well, I don't think we were close to perfect," Zetterberg said, "and we almost beat them anyway."
If we have learned anything about the Wings, through 22 games, it is they have fortitude. They will hang tough, generally, and work to improve — even though the results are not always the same as in other years. The great frustration is that points are at a premium, and if they should fall short of the playoffs, come April 28, they already have a batch of "could have done its" they can ponder.
That's what we're all wondering right now.
What will they do about this one that got away? Zetterberg provided some wisdom.
"Well, just forget about it," he said. "We've got a new game coming up here soon. We'll enjoy the day off tomorrow and come back and work hard and win the next game."
Maybe the Windsor Star's Bob Duff put it best--and perhaps his words are worth repeating:
The fine line Chicago is working with is emphasized by the knowledge that Blackhawks have won a dozen one-goal games this season, including both of their victories over the Red Wings.
"It's not easy what they're doing," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's impressive to keep finding a way to get that tying goal, or that go-ahead goal."
In fact, the Blackhawks kind of remind the Wings of the team that they used to be.
"They have the puck a lot, and that's what we're trying to do as well," Zetterberg said.
Trying yes. Succeeding at it consistently? Not yet.
"They've had their group together for a few years now and you can see that," Zetterberg said. "They have a lot of good chemistry among the guys."
In terms of chemistry lessons, the Wings learned another scientific fact on Sunday. There's still a long way to go until the playoffs start - more than half a season, to be exact.
Still, the way Chicago is putting things together it probably wouldn't be a good idea to enter the Stanley Cup playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Or, as Zetterberg and Patrick Eaves told St. James...
"We needed these two points," Eaves said, "and with their streak going, we would have liked to knock it off." ...
"They don't give up," Zetterberg said. "They've been playing really well, and even when they're down one or two goals, they have that feeling among the group that they can turn it around, and they've been doing that so far."
The Wings used to feel that way when the chips and the scoreboard were stacked against them. Their job this season is to learn how to feel that way again.
As for whether St. James or Krupa are right...
I think they both have valid points, and I believe that they've more or less got it down.
What concerns me involves the fact that the injuries haven't stopped coming--now Valtteri Filppula's going to be out for at least two more games with his shoulder issue, Carlo Colaiacovo's been "a week away" since the beginning of February (again, I think that the high-density foam placed upon shoulder pads to protect opponents from concussive impacts isn't dissipating the force of the players' hits as much as it is pushing it back into their shoulders), and Helm (who's feeling better) and Bertuzzi (who's, uh, we don't really know?) are going to be 3 to 4 weeks out from whenever they start feeling healthy enough to work out and get back into hockey shape--and the Wings seem perhaps justifiably intent upon leaving Gustav Nyquist in Grand Rapids because he's their leading scorer and is plain old leading the team (the Griffins aren't thrilled with the fact that their parent club swiped their top two defensemen and two of their top three forwards), all while perhaps experiencing the frustration of being passed over for the first time in his life...
And whether it's on the blueline or up front, there's no doubt that the Wings could use some puck-moving savvy and speed. I'm going to be very curious as to whether the management truly believes that this is such a flat-out rebuilding year due to the cap going down this summer and the likely availability of top free agents via cap-compliance buyouts that they'll let this roster show what it's got and what it doesn't, with true renovations slated for July and August, or whether Ken Holland and the braintrust will in fact decide to reinforce the team.
My gut says that they go with the rebuilding flow, but I'm a fan who pretends to be a professional blogger, not a hockey executive.
In terms of the schedule ahead, the Wings play four more times over the next seven days, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose breaks down the schedule ahead:
TUESDAY – vs. COLORADO AVALANCHE (8-8-4): Owners of the league’s worst road penalty kill, the Avalanche have struggled when short-handed. Sunday was no different as the Avs began a three-game road trip with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets, who scored a pair of power-play goals on Sunday. The Red Wings, who have scored 14 times on the power-play in 13 home games, will look to take advantage of the Avs’ inept PK, which has yielded 17 goals on the road. Colorado is 2-6-2 when allowing a power-play goal this season. … The Avs are in the middle of a stretch that finds them playing six-of-seven on the road. Following this stretch, Colorado will play six-of-seven at home. … Defenseman Greg Zanon’s 60 blocked shots lead the best shot-blocking team in the NHL. Seven different skaters, including five defensemen, have at least 20 blocks for the Avs, who are averaging a league-high 18.8 blocked shots per game.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Duchene is coming off a solid month, leading the Avs with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 11 games during February. He also had four multi-point games last month. In the last three-plus seasons, the Avs are 24-11-3 when Duchene collects more than one point in a game. The former third overall draft pick in 2009, Duchene leads Colorado in assists (12), points (19), average ice time (21:20) and face-off percentage (53.1%). … Duchene has averaged a point a game in 12 career contests against the Red Wings, with six of his 12 points coming on the Avs’ power play.
THURSDAY – vs. EDMONTON OILERS (8-9-4): The Oilers are currently on an excruciating nine-game road trip through America’s heartland. Thursday’s game is the sixth game of the trip, and their second, and last, visit to Joe Louis Arena this season. The Oilers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Red Wings on Jan. 9, when Niklas Kronwall potted the game-winner at 6:08 of the third period. … As of Sunday, the Oilers had only two plus-rated players – defenseman Mark Fistric (plus-4) and center Eric Belanger (plus-1) – which is tied with the New York Islanders for second fewest in the league. … Despite being in the bottom third of conference scoring, the Oilers are among the top six West teams with at least five skaters with five or more goals: Ales Hemsky (8), Nail Yakupov (6), Jordan Eberle (6), Sam Gagner (6), and Justin Schultz (5).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Like the Red Wings’ Brendan Smith, Oilers rookie defenseman Justin Schultz has incredible offensive instincts. He still has plenty to learn, though he’s been a huge part of the Oilers’ success on the power play this season, ranking among top league and rookie leaders in many categories, including seventh in defensive scoring, and third in rookie scoring with 13 points. The former Wisconsin Badgers defenseman is tied with Yakupov at the top of rookie power-play scoring with four goals. Schultz has a goal and five assists in the last six games, and is currently on a career-best four-game point streak. … Between playing in the AHL (during the lockout) and his first stint in the NHL, Schultz has played in 55 games, which is 12 more games than he ever played in any single season at Wisconsin.
SATURDAY – at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (6-12-4): The Red Wings know a thing or two about adversity, compiling 138 man-games missed with what seems like an unprecedented number of injuries this season. The Blue Jackets are starting to feel a similar pain having lost a huge chunk of their defense with D-partners Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski both on injured reserve. Compounding the Jackets’ injuries woes, defenseman Nikita Nikitin suffered an upper body injury and didn’t return to Sunday’s OT win over Colorado. The loss of Jackson, for any amount of time, is devastating for the Jackets, as he’s among the league leaders in ice time, logging 26:13 of time per game, which is fourth best in the league. … The Jackets own the West’s worst home record at 4-4-3, though they are 1-0-1 in two games against the Red Wings at Nationwide Arena this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Though undersized at 5-foot-7 and 172-pounds, Cam Atkinson has a nose for the net, and certainly gives the Blue Jackets plenty of energy when he’s on the ice. He’s recorded four goals and three assists in his last five home games, which dates back to last season. An upper left ankle sprain sidelined the 23-year-old Atkinson for 13 games. However, he’s played in two of three games against Detroit, collecting half of his season totals of two goals and two assists against the Red Wings.
SUNDAY – vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (6-12-4): This is the 74th all-time meeting between these Central Division rivals. The Blue Jackets have defeated the Wings twice this year, including a 4-2 victory on Feb. 21 – just their eighth all-time win at Joe Louis Arena for the Columbus franchise. The Wings haven’t lost more than two games in regulation to any Ohio-based team, including the Cleveland Barons in the 1970s, in any single season. Overall, the Jackets are 8-23-4 in Detroit. … Columbus leads the Western Conference with fighting majors (23) and hits (553). Blue Jackets enforcers Jared Boll (8) and Derek Dorsett (5) are first and third in the West, respectively, in fighting majors.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Former Western Michigan star Mark Letestu – who led the Broncos in scoring during the one CCHA season he played (2006-07) – is in a three-way tie for the Blue Jackets’ scoring lead with 11 points. The third-year NHL center brings good hockey sense to the Jackets, along with quality face-off skills, where he leads Columbus with 111 wins in the circle this season. He has five goals and eight assists this year, but is heating up over the last three games with three assists and a plus-2 rating. Letestu has two points, both goals, in seven career games against Detroit.
Red Wings notebooks: This isn't technically a Wings story, but it's worth noting. The Northwest Herald's Jeff Arnold groused about the Wings' reception for Hossa in his 1,000th game:
Every time Hossa touched the puck during the first period of the Hawks’ 2-1 shootout win, the boos returned. When Hossa was recognized in between the first and second periods with a public address announcement and by having an image of him in a Red Wings sweater on the JumboTron, the reception was more boos than cheers.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Hossa said afterward. “It wasn’t loud or anything and so I just kept playing. I tried to focus and do my thing, but definitely, it was nice we [kept the win streak going] on my 1,000th game.”
Hossa is in his fourth season with the Hawks after spending the 2008-09 campaign in Detroit when he scored 40 goals and had 31 assists. On Sunday, he became the 283rd player in NHL history to reach the milestone. Hossa said his teammates congratulated him before Sunday’s game before his former team acknowledged the feat during the game. Hossa waved to the crowd after the announcement.
“That definitely was a class act by their organization – I spent, what I think, was a great year in Detroit,” Hossa said. “So, that was definitely nice for them.”
The Wings did talk about the sticky wicket that is realignment, and what trading six games against the Blackhawks for two and an "eastern" conference's place might mean, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted:
“Ever since I got here, we’ve been in the West and we’ve been used to going to Chicago a lot, it’s a great rivalry,” Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “At the same time, I’ve never been a part of the Toronto rivalry and we’ve heard a lot of things about that. For us, if we make that change it will be only positive for us I think, playing a lot of games in our own time zone kind of makes sense. If it happens, we’ll look forward to it.”
The teams would still play twice during the regular season, home and away.
“Definitely (the rivalry will be missed), but at the same time those two times you end up playing them is going to be more special,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
If the proposal passes, the Wings would move into Central Division with three Original Six teams – Boston, Montreal and Toronto – along with Buffalo, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Florida.
“It definitely is (special rivalry),” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “It’s always fun no matter where we play. It’s a great competition and great atmosphere. It’s one of those games you cherish and you look for on the schedule every year.”
Both MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of Patrick Eaves' offensive output of late. Eaves has become an every-night player while playing alongside Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson, and he told Khan that he's just doing what he knows how to do...
Patrick Eaves has had a hand in the team's two goals the past two games. On Sunday, he made a nice play to chip the puck into the zone, beat his man to it and get it to Andersson, who set up Tatar for the goal.
“I hopped off the bench and (Niklas Kronwall) saw me,'' Eaves said. “It was kind of a foot race. I got on the inside track and kind of squeezed (Nick Leddy) off and lifted his stick up and Andy got in there and threw it right out to Tatar, and he banged it in.''
Eaves scored his first goal of the season in Thursday's 2-1 shootout win in San Jose.
"Almost been away for a year (more than a year, due to a concussion) and come back and play well,'' teammate Henrik Zetterberg said. “He makes good decisions, you always know what you're going to get. It's fun when you can contribute offense, too.''
Eaves was a healthy scratch in eight of the first 17 games, but has played the past five, due to injuries. He said he feels good physically and does not hesitate to go to the hard areas.
“When I got cleared, I got cleared to go to the net,'' Eaves said. “When I started playing again at the beginning of the year I didn’t think about it. I still don’t think about it.”
But Eaves also admitted to St. James that he's simply not the same player he once was:
"I don't really remember what that was like," Eaves said when asked if he feels more like his pre-concussion self. "I feel good out there, and I'm playing with two great players, and we're having fun."
Eaves has spent the last five games playing with Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar. The trio had the Wings' only goal against the Blackhawks, with Eaves taking the puck behind the net and handing off to Andersson, who found Tatar out front.
"It just was a simple play," coach Mike Babcock said of Eaves' work. "Good for him."
Henrik Zetterberg said, "He's been away for a year and comes back and plays well."
Eaves scored his first goal of the season Thursday at San Jose, when he deflected a shot off a shin pad. Going to high-traffic areas where the puck is bound to be zooming along doesn't bother Eaves, regardless of what happened that time in Nashville. "I'm not thinking about it," he said. "When I got cleared, I was cleared to play and go to the net."
Eaves' linemates aren't half bad, either. Tomas Tatar all but growled about the fact that his goal essentially didn't count while speaking to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Tomas Tatar, the Red Wings young forward, was hoping it would stand up. Tatar scored early in the third period Sunday, giving the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. The goal sent Joe Louis Arena into hysteria, knowing the Blackhawks' 21-game point streak was in jeopardy.
"On the bench, I was hoping we could hold on to it," Tatar said of the narrow lead. "Unfortunately, we didn't."
Chicago forward Patrick Kane scored at 17:58 on the power play, tying the game. Kane then scored the lone shootout goal as Chicago extended its record of games with a point to begin a season to 22 games (19-0-3).
"We would have loved to have won this game," said Tatar, who scored his fourth goal. "It could have gone either way. It ended up lucky for them, and that's just the way it is. Obviously, they're (the Blackhawks) playing good hockey."
So is Tatar, as are his fellow Grand Rapids alumni such as forward Joakim Andersson (Tatar's linemate earned the lead assist on Tatar's goal) and defenseman Brian Lashoff (21 minutes, team-leading five blocked shots, three hits). The three players have filled in admirably while the Red Wings have been inundated with injuries.
"This is what we've been trained for, we didn't want to come here and just be part of the team and stand (around)," Tatar said. "We wanted to do something, too. If we got a chance to play, we wanted to show that we can (play)."
And as an FYI, from the Wings:
Detroit Red Wings forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are set to make separate appearances at two Metro Detroit Meijer locations this week, signing autographs and interacting with the fans of Hockeytown. Helm makes his first Meijer appearance of the season [Monday] night (Mar. 4) at the supercenter in Madison Heights (1005 E. 13 Mile Rd.), while Abdelkader, a Muskegon, Mich., native and former Michigan State Spartan, will visit the Meijer store in Southfield (28800 Telegraph Rd.) on Wednesday, Mar. 6. Two additional stops featuring Helm and Abdelkader are scheduled for the month of April in Rochester and Warren.
In the prospect department, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-1 on Sunday, and Tom McCollum had a big game, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. The Grand Rapids Griffins' website, the Admirals' website and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Vincent Butler provide recaps. Here's the Griffins'website's recap:
Behind Tom McCollum’s 34 saves, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-1 Sunday at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The victory gave the Griffins a two-point lead in the Midwest Division, as all other teams were idle.
Grand Rapids (32-19-2-2) jumped on the scoreboard early in the first period as Andrej Nestrasil scored an unassisted goal at 3:10. The right wing patiently danced around the defense and scored from a sharp angle through traffic to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
Jeff Hoggan scored at 13:45 of the opening period to give Grand Rapids a two-goal lead. Nathan Paetsch let a wrist shot go from just inside the line and Hoggan tipped the puck over the catching glove of Jeremy Smith.
Tomas Jurco scored his eighth goal of the season at 8:32 of the second period. The Kosice, Slovakia native cleaned up a shot by Cody Lampl, scoring on the Griffins second rebound attempt.
The Admirals (26-24-3-3) scored their first and only goal of the game at 5:17 of the third period. Victor Bartley snuck a shot past McCollum on a power play, converting on Milwaukee’s 29th shot of the game.
Hoggan notched a power play goal of his own at 17:34 of the final period. Gustav Nyquist fed Hoggan from behind the goal and the left wing quickly put his shot by Smith. With his second goal against the Admirals, the Hope, British Columbia native tallied his 300th point as a pro. Nyquist’s assist also extended his point streak to six games.
Jan Mursak sealed the victory for the Griffins with one minute left in regulation. The right wing picked up a loose puck off a faceoff and quickly scored an empty net goal to give Grand Rapids a 5-1 lead.
Smith recorded 17 saves and McCollum earned the victory behind 34 stops. The win tied McCollum with Ian Gordon for sixth in franchise history with 42 victories.
After their second consecutive three-in-three weekend, the Griffins will return to the Van Andel Arena to host the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday at 7 p.m. EST.
In the ECHL, Trevor Parkes followed up a hat trick on Saturday night with a goal and two assists on Sunday, and Willie Coetzee registered an assist as well, but the Toledo Walleye dropped a 5-4 decision to the Trenton Titans. The Walleye's website and the Toledo Blade provide recaps;
In the OHL, Ryan Sproul registered an assist in the Soo Greyhounds' 4-0 victory over Peterborough;
In the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon registered an assist in the Victoriaville Titans' 5-4 win over Cape Breton;
Xavier Ouellet registered 2 assists in his Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's 3-2 shootout win over Gatineau;
The KHL's website reports that Alexei Marchenko and CSKA Moscow will tangle with Dynamo Moscow in the second round of the Gargarin Cup playoffs;
In a bit of a late-breaker from the USHL, Mike McKee took a 2-and-10 penalty in his Lincoln Stars' 3-2 win over Fargo on Saturday night;
And this is good news of a sort:
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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.