The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/02/13 at 05:30 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings have played 21 games, and sit amidst an incredibly tightly-packed group of teams separated by all of 6 points between 3rd and 14th place in the Western Conference, and in a group of 7 teams sitting between 3rd and 10th place in the West that can boast all of a 2-point margin between them. As it stands right now, it appears that the Wings are going to have to bite and scratch and claw their way into a playoff spot, and, for better or worse, that's just the way this team is (more on that in a bit).
Currently, the 10-8-and-3 Wings find themselves in 5th place in the West, and the Wings will play games 22, 23 and 24 of their 48-game season over a six-day span at Joe Louis Arena. After the team's Thursday game against Edmonton, however, the Wings will spend all but the remainder of the month on the road, and after trading home-and-home games with the Blue Jackets on Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th, the team will have all of 2 home games remaining--out of 9 games played--over the final 21 days of March.
March is in fact such a stinker of a month that, if the team planned on leaving immediately after their home games and remaining on the road until the day before their home games, they would be facing an 8-day road trip, a home game and then a 9-day road trip--and that 9-day road trip will be a reality, at least in part:
The Wings will spend a full week on the road between flying out to Anaheim on March 21st for a game on the 22nd and flying back to Metro Detroit in the wee hours of the morning of March 29th, having played in San Jose the night before, so if you want to attend any Wings games at the Joe, March 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 20th and 31st are your only options.
In the immediate future, the Wings face the team that they know will run away with the Central Division title in the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, hosting an unbeaten team (18-0-and-3) for one of those notorious 12:30 matinee games presented by Mike Emrick, Pierre McGuire and "Subtle Interference" Olczyk. The Blackhawks pushed their unbeaten streak to 21 games with a 4-3 overtime win over Columbus on Friday, and will be heading into the Joe having won...I'll let the AP drop the scary stat in your direction:
The Blackhawks (18-0-3) have won eight straight overall and haven't been beaten in regulation time in 27 games, dating to a loss on March 25, 2012, to Nashville.
Remarkably, the Blackhawks aren't completely healthy, though Dave Bolland, Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz aren't exactly big jersey-sellers, but they do have some injuries.
As you might expect, the Hawks are incredibly confident in their ability to continue their streak, as they told NHL.com's Brian Hedger:
Despite trailing by a goal twice and coughing up a one-goal lead midway through the third period, the Blackhawks found another way to force overtime and then win 4-3 in OT at United Center. This time, they prevailed against the scrappy Blue Jackets (5-13-3) thanks to a game-winning goal by defenseman Brent Seabrook with 1:37 left in the extra period. Seabrook knocked home a perfect feed from captain Jonathan Toews.
"It was a great pass by [Toews]," Seabrook said. "I just tried to get up in the play and it was sort of a scramble along the boards there. Taser had some speed going up and I just tried to get up and help out, and he made a great pass."
Seabrook said he never called for the puck during the play, which started in the neutral zone when Toews made a nifty move to get past Columbus defenseman Adrian Aucoin and carry the puck into the offensive zone for the pass from the left circle through traffic.
It was yet another example of a Blackhawks team that refuses to lose.
"I just like the way the commitment is to that game [we're playing] and doing the right things and keeping ourselves in the game and playing the score and the clock … finding a way to get points," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Sometimes it takes overtime. We've had some tough losses late in games over the last couple years and it's nice knowing that … [we're] finding ways to sustain games when the game's on the line throughout. We've been able to do that, which has been good."
The Blackhawks (18-0-3) won their eighth straight game and extended their season-opening streak of consecutive games with at least a point to 21, the longest in NHL history. Ray Emery made 19 saves to improve his record to 9-0-0 for Chicago, which got regulation goals from Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell.
"Columbus is a hard-working team," Bickell said. "They had us on our heels a couple times in the first and they had a late goal [in the third]. We were down a couple times in this game, and it shows our character in this room to come back. It's been fun and we're just having a blast right now."
My hardware-induced absence coincided with a particularly quiet part of the Wings' schedule--they only played two games between Sunday's romp over Vancouver and this Sunday's game against those 21-straight-winning Hawks (hmm, a streak of 21...why does that sound familiar?), and while the Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to Los Angeles (I'm not allowed to tell you what I said aloud during the game regarding the refereeing), they managed to eke out a 2-1 shootout win over San Jose in a game that was...Let's say less aesthetically pleasing than most.
But the Wings face not only "the" road, but also a hard road starting on Sunday: the team will play games 4 out of 7 nights and will play 2 slates of back-to-back games over 14 March afternoons and evenings, so by March 14th, the team will have played 8 of its 14 games for the month (the Wings only play twice during March's 3rd week, 3 times during its 4th week and 1 time on the back-end of the month, which abuts into the first week of April).
My point in tossing off these stats?
The Red Wings' entire 2013 season revolves around the concept of finding and hanging onto a winning post-Nicklas Lidstrom/Tomas Holmstrom/Brad Stuart/Jiri Hudler-if-he-counts identity.
This is a team in transition, a team in progress and a roster and set of players trying to transform itself into a younger, faster and bigger Wings team. As Wings coach Mike Babcock told MLive's Ansar Khan, the Wings' defense consisted of one player over the age of 30 and one player under 6'2" on Thursday night.
Yes, the Wings' "youth movement," as noted by Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika, is more like a, "We're going from having a ton of players over 33 and 90% of our most important players in the 33-to-40-year-old range to having a ton of players who are somewhere between 26 and 31 and having 90% of our most important players in the 29-to-35-year-old range" movement as opposed to a, "We're going with the guys under 25!" movement, and that's always going to be the case for the Wings (sorry, everyone who wants to see the team go with Tatar, Andersson and Nyquist as its first line, Smith and Lashoff as its first pair and Mrazek as its starting goalie starting YESTERDAY), but the team is getting younger, it is getting faster, it is getting bigger, and it's slowly but surely finding its stride.
The bugaboo in the mix and the disclaimer that makes the Wings' progress tentative remains one thing that the Hawks haven't had to deal with: an epidemic of injuries.
The Wings haven't had a healthy roster for a single frickin' game this year, and they lead the NHL in man-games lost to injury. While Ian White may be pissed off at his coach for not playing him over the past two games, it's hard to imagine that he's going to be out for too long, and in terms' of the Wings' presently-injured players...
Mikael Samuelsson, whose cannon the Wings could use on the power play (love him or hate him, he's got a great shot when he feels like using it), is out for at least two more weeks due to a broken finger;
Carlo Colaiacovo has been "a couple games away" for the better part of a month, and while he should be returning during the home stand, in theory, anyway, we won't know if he's really good to go until he's good to go;
We'll probably find out more about Valtteri Filppula's shoulder today, but Filppula and his sorely-missed speed remain "day to day" (and I have a theory that placing high-density foam over hard plastic shoulder caps to "reduce concussions" is in fact causing shoulder injuries, and that the NHL should further mandate that shoulders be "capped" with some low-density foam to absorb impacts without directing their force toward the player levying or absorbing checks, but that's another story);
And as we already know, even if Darren Helm's visit to a back specialist in New York yielded miraculous results, and Todd Bertuzzi wakes up today with no back pain and comes to Joe Louis Arena twirling that cane he'd been using to walk after checking himself into the hospital for serious pain two weeks ago, both players would be 3-to-4 weeks away from returning because they simply haven't been working out with any "staying in hockey shape" aim since they got hurt.
So the Blackhawks can gush about their third line of Bickell, Stalberg and Shaw playing like world-beaters: the Wings are plain old grateful that Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson have played like seasoned pros (mostly, anyway) after coming up from the Griffins, and that Patrick Eaves has rounded into form after coming back from a concussion.
I can sure as hell tell you that as well as Tatar, Andersson and Eaves have played, if the Wings had a third line that consisted of Bertuzzi, Helm and Samuelsson, they'd be playing a little more consistently.
The Blackhawks can rave about the progress of young defenseman Nick Leddy; I'd be surprised if any Wings fans who knew that the team's first pair would consist of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, and would then drop down to a rotating cast of Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Brian Lashoff, Kent Huskins and Ian White would have been able to keep from bursting out and laughing a year ago at this time.
I can sure as hell tell you that while the Wings aren't exactly swimming in riches on defense, the team thought that its Kronwall-Ericsson, Quincey-Smith and Colaiacovo-White pairings used on opening night would've been a little more stable than one in which Brian Lashoff's been utilized as the team's #2 defenseman and Kent Huskins has been the #4 guy.
I can also tell you that, had Jonas Gustavsson's groin not been wonky and Joey MacDonald's back not been such an issue that the Wings were all too happy to pass him on to Calgary (where he's actually doing pretty well), Jimmy Howard's stats might look more like a goalie circa 2013 than 1993 (a 2.83 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage over 18 games played? Damn, Mike Richter, you're on a roll!).
Long story long, and perhaps not as well-told as usual (it's been a long week), between the personnel turnover over the past and very long "summer," the Wings' injuries and, perhaps just as importantly, their unanticipated youth movement, the Red Wings are very much so a team that is a work in progress, and, and unlike the Blackhawks, the Red Wings would have been a team best-served by an 82-game schedule.
The vast majority of the Wings' issues, in terms of a leadership transition, the style of play they're employing, their injuries, their personnel and which player would best fit forward spots 1-14, defenseman's spots 1-8 and goaltender's spots 1-3...All of that stuff would have been much more easily addressed because the issues would have worked themselves out over time.
If you're a team that's hit its stride and comes into a season ready to show all the things you learned over the past season or three, you're probably a team that's playing like Chicago.
If you're a team that's in transition away from an era of once-a-generation players and you're banged-up as all *#$%@&, you're probably a team that looks more like the Red Wings.
And all of that gabba leads up to this, "Um, okay, what happens now?" from me:
Waaaaaaaayyyyy back on January 29th, Ken Holland told ESPN's Craig Custance that he would know what his team was and wasn't, and what it needed, by early March, or around the 24-game mark. At that point, Holland surmised, he and other teams' GM's would be ready to make trades to bolster their team's playoff chances.
Detroit will have played 24 of their 48 games on Thursday, and even the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek offered the following teaser introducing his weekly notebook...
If 2012-13 had been a regular 82-game season we would have been immersed in the NHL trade deadline this week, with who knows how many transactions, major and minor, taking place as teams made the annual push to strengthen their lineups for the playoff run. As it is, there are still four-and-a-half weeks to go until the lockout-shortened version of the trade deadline comes to pass on Apr. 3, but the action is heating up, with two interesting trades this week, a controversial offer sheet tendered by the Calgary Flames to restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly and all kinds of fresh rumours making the rounds.
"We're obviously leading the National Hockey League in man games lost due to injury," Holland said Friday afternoon. "My feeling is a lot of good is going to come out of it. Tomas Tatar got a chance to play. Joakim Andersson's had a chance to play. Petr Mrazek had a chance to play. Brian Lashoff has had a chance to play. Justin Abdelkader is playing (with) more responsibilities.
"I'm hoping and believing we're developing a team. We're developing a lot more depth than if we were trotting out the same team every night. Now, saying all that, it's probably cost us some points in the standings but injuries are a part of sports.
"Last year, somebody else led the league in man games lost to injuries. The year before, somebody else led the league in man games lost to injuries. This year, it's our turn. I think a lot of good can come out of it. Adversity is team building. We all deal with our injuries. We happened to get ours early on."
Holland, in his 16th year as the Red Wings general manager, isn't panicking because of the all the injuries. He's been down this road before and with 27 games to play, anything can still happen. Back in 2009-10, the Red Wings were hit hard by injuries yet rebounded to post a 44-24-14 record. They finished second in the Central Division and their 102 points ranked fifth in the Western Conference and seventh in the overall standings.
"We got to the Olympic break, we were in ninth place, a point out" of the playoffs, Holland said. "We got everybody together, we went on a 13-2-2 run or something and made the playoffs, played Phoenix and then lost to San Jose. If you get hit with a lot of injuries and you're not able to win, you're probably not as deep as you think you are.
"We're doing a lot of good things. We're not even at the halfway point in the season. We're with the pack at the end of the day. Chicago is going to run away and hide. Chicago has the No. 1 seed. The best anybody in our division can do is have the No. 4 seed."
I'm of the opinion--and it is just one person's opinion--that unless a deal all but falls into the Red Wings' lap, the braintrust (including assistant GM Jim Nill, capologist Ryan Martin, pro scouting director Mark Howe, pro scout Kirk Maltby, "special assistant to the GM" Kris Draper, player mentors like Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios, all the pro scouts, Jimmy Devellano, the coaching staff and, most likely, Nicklas Lidstrom) may very well choose to let this year serve as what is a "rebuilding year" by Red Wings standards, and may choose to watch the players who are bought out as the cap drops from $70.3 million to $64.2 million before truly addressing the team's need for another top-pair, puck moving defenseman and a the top-six forward with size and grit the team's been coveting for several years now.
As the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted this morning, Wings coach Mike Babcock certainly sounded happy with the as-is Wings after the team's shootout victory over San Jose...
"This is the best our team has looked all year," Babcock said after the San Jose victory, a game in which the Red Wings looked like the fresher and better team most of the night despite playing in Los Angeles the night before. "Not just necessarily the way we've played, but the way we've looked. We're trying to figure out a way to play, we've said all year long, a competition level that is suitable for the National Hockey League with this crew."
A big help on defense the last two games was the addition of Brendan Smith (who hadn't played since Feb. 2 because of a shoulder injury) and Kyle Quincey, who missed two games with a sprained ankle but also was playing with new partners once Smith was hurt.
"The defense is night-and-day different," Babcock said. "You put Smith in and Quincey, we got a good pair there. Then (Brian) Lashoff and (Jakub) Kindl, both skate and are big and can move and shoot the puck."
The top pair of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson plays big minutes, and Kronwall leads NHL defensemen with 17 points.
"We're playing better and faster overall, getting back to the pucks quicker," Kronwall said. "If you have a good first pass, you don't spend a lot of time in your own zone and wasting energy that way."
One positive about all the injuries the Red Wings have had is identifying organizational depth. Forwards Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar , and defenseman Lashoff have received a chance and taken advantage of the playing time.
"I like our four lines," Babcock said. "Andersson has given us a real good center, a big man who knows how to play. He looks like an NHL player. Smart player."
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted that Babcock was equally happy with the performance of Jonas Gustavsson, whose groin finally healed and allowed him to start for the first time as a Wing on Thursday:
"Obviously it wouldn’t hurt to see him play and I think it’s important that you’re starting goalie doesn’t have to play every night,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The other thing about it is it’s a real good opportunity for him. We need a win on the road and he’s capable of doing that so get in there and play like you can.”
Prior to Thursday, Gustavsson had played just over 68 minutes this season.
“He hasn’t played,” Babcock said. “When you’ve been here this much time and you’re injured all the time it’s probably hard on you mentally as well. What I liked about him is he earned himself more time in net. The other thing is it never hurts to have competition and people pushing each other. The season’s a grind.
“Howie needs a breather every once in a while,” Babcock added. “Howie will go against Chicago and Gus will be ready to go right away.”
I'm not about to suggest that the Wings' resident kick-every-tire-is-my-philosophy GM won't aggressively pursue options to improve his team, but I thought this line he gave TSN about the intricacies of the Ryan O'Reilly offer sheet, which the Calgary Flames believed was valid, but reporters believed would have subjected O'Reilly to waivers if he did sign with Calgary because O'Reilly played in some post-lockout games in the KHL:
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland stressed that it's tricky to negotiate the new CBA without teams having all the details down on paper to study.
"Obviously, right now it's a different time because there's a CBA in place," Holland told TSN. "We haven't really got the book. We've got the memorandum of understanding, but you'd like to get the book, the CBA and read through it."
Still, though, he believed Feaster and the Flames properly braced themselves for the offer-sheet.
"When you're thinking of doing things, you always call the league and double-check and make sure that your interpretation is the correct interpretation. We all do the same thing and I'm sure Calgary did all their due diligence."
The Wings are nothing if an incredibly thorough organization, and no NHL team has a hard copy of the collective bargaining agreement yet. We're still working on a "Memorandum of Understanding." I really do wonder whether the WIngs will allow Ryan Martin, who was once a player agent, to dissect that puppy before finding a way to bend and twist it this summer.
In alumni news of the most significant kind, Red Wings legend Gordie Howe turns 85 on March 31st, but the WHL's Vancouver Giants chose to celebrate their part-owner's birthday on March 1st. The team defeated the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime, and the Canadian Press reports that all went well:
Gordie Howe proved on Friday that he can still draw a crowd. And it takes a vintage truck to transport his birthday cake.
Former NHL stars and hockey fans young and old alike paid tribute Friday night to Howe during a celebration of his upcoming 85th birthday. Mr. Hockey was feted prior to a Western Hockey League game between the host Vancouver Giants, of which he is a minority owner, and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The former NHLers included icon Bobby Hull and his brother Dennis, Marcel Dionne, Orland Kurtenbach, Charlie Hodge and Johnny Bower, who is also in his mid-80s. They participated in a brief pre-game ceremony during which Howe's birthday cake, bearing his famous No. 9 on the back of a gold-coloured truck, rolled onto the ice.
Pop star Michael Buble, also a Giants minority owner, got in on the party by leading the crowd of 6,000-8,000 in singing "Happy Birthday" to Howe, who will turn 85 on March 31. Howe sang along before he capped the festivities by dropping the puck during the ceremonial face-off.
Howe and the former stars posed for pictures with hundreds of fans during the first intermission, who ranged from young childen to 84-year-old Joan Smythe of Delta, B.C. Smythe, whose husband was a cousin of legendary Toronto Maple Leafs icon Conn Smythe, said she waited many years to finally meet, and get a photo of Howe.
As the game continued into the second period, fans continued to line up for the chance to get pictures of Mr. Hockey. While other icons like Bower and Kurtenbach headed back to their box seats, he continued to ham it up for his faithful followers. Kurtenbach, a former Vancouver Canucks captain and coach, said he will remember the occasion forever.
Howe, who has been dealing with cognitive impairment in recent years, never said a word publicly, but nobody seemed to mind.
The Canadian Press's Monte Stewart also provided some details regarding the game on ice...
The Giants, who have long since been eliminated from the playoffs, contributed to the occasion by downing the Hurricanes 5-4 on Carter Popoff's second goal of the game at 1:06 of overtime. The Hurricanes, in a battle for the playoffs, have also been struggling.
The contest even included a penalty shot. Vancouver's Alec Baer, 15, playing his first WHL game after leaving a Minnesota high school squad, missed the net with two and a half minutes left in the third period, setting the stage for the overtime heroics.
Popoff's overtime goal gave the Giants a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. Giants coach Don Hay, who has dealt with one of the most difficult seasons in a standout career, said Howe inspired his players — as usual.
"It always nice to have Gordie here," said Hay. "It's pretty special to have not only Gordie, but those other hockey legends in the building."
Howe, who has been dealing with cognitive impairment in recent years, never said a word publicly, but nobody seemed to mind.
"It was a heck of a game to watch," said Hay. "The kids played hard, the fans were entertained — and everybody went home happy."
The Giants website's highlight clip isn't embeddable, but you can watch the puck-drop and opening faceoff's worth of reception at their website if you wish, and the Vancouver Sun posted 10 pictures from the event. The press is muted as of 4:53 AM, but I'll check again as the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun sometimes don't post their "day's" stories until 6 or 7 AM EST.
In the prospect department, and I should've started this earlier instead of starting this entry at 1 AM, took a shower and came back and spent another three hours writing it:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-1, and the guy who doesn't have his first and only NHL goal puck due to a storage mix-up led the way, as the Grand Rapids Griffins website's recap notes:
Led by Gustav Nyquist’s third consecutive three-point game, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-1 on Friday at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
After entering the second period tied at one, the Griffins scored four unanswered goals en route to the road victory, ending a three-game road losing streak.
The Griffins (31-18-2-2) picked up where they left off after a seven-goal outburst on Sunday, scoring the first goal of the game at 7:31 of the first period. Twenty seconds into a Grand Rapids power play, Francis Pare received a pass from Brett Skinner on the left wing and tucked his shot inside the goal post past the blocker of Magnus Hellberg.
The Admirals (25-23-3-3) evened the score at one just 1:27 later. A long shot by Joonas Jarvinen was tipped by Patrick Cehlin in front of the goal, and the right wing’s shot fluttered right over Petr Mrazek’s shoulder at 8:58 of the opening period.
Nyquist restored the Griffins lead nine seconds into the second period. A pass from Pare set up Nyquist in front of the goal, and the right wing tucked his shot under the cross bar over the right hand shoulder of Hellberg.
The Griffins took a 3-1 lead at 7:31 of the second period. Luke Glendening took a centering pass from Jan Mursak in front of the goal, and the Grand Rapids native deflected his shot inside the goal post. The goal was Glendening’s sventh of the season.
Mursak tallied his first goal in a Griffins uniform since March 20, 2011 at 11:11 of the second period to give Grand Rapids a 4-1 lead. The right wing was at the high slot and looked ready to take a shot, but pulled back, slipping by the defenseman and scooping a backhander past Hellberg. After allowing three unanswered goals, the reigning AHL goaltender of the month was replaced by Jeremy Smith.
Nyquist gave the Griffins a commanding 5-1 lead with his second goal of the game at 7:01 of the final period. The right wing took advantage of a two-on-one breakaway, snapping his shot inside the left goal post unassisted. The goal gave the Halmstad, Sweden, native nine points (4-5—9) over his last three games.
Mrazek made 31 to improve to 18-8-1, while Hellberg recorded 10 saves and Smith tallied 16.
In their second straight three-in-three weekend, the Griffins will stay on the road tomorrow playing against the Peoria Rivermen at 8:05 p.m. EST.
The Milwaukee Admirals' website and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Dave Boehler provide alternate recaps, the Griffins' and Admirals' websites posted photo galleries, and as the Admirals website's highlight set-up is weird, let's go with the one the Griffins provided instead:
Overseas, part 1: Alexei Marchenko's CSKA Moscow defeated HC Lev Prague 2-1 on Monday, and have advanced to the second round after sweeping HC Lev;
Overseas, part 2: Calle Jarnkrok and Brynas IF won the Swedish Eliteserien title last year, but even a translation of the Swedish Eliteserien's website's standings page leaves me confused as to how they're going to make the playoff cut...Though GD.se's Linus Norberg insists that the team only has to snag a point today against AIK Stockholm or tomorrow against Linkopings HC to jump from 9th place to 8th;
Back over on this side of the Atlantic, in the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon didn't register a point in the Victoriaville Tigres' 4-3 victory over Saint John;
Xavier Ouellet had a rough go on Friday, finishing with no points and a -3 in the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's 5-2 loss to Sherbrooke;
Martin Frk registered a goal and an assist in the Halifax Mooseheads' 5-2 win over Rouyn-Noranda;
In the OHL, Alan Quine didn't register a point(!) in the Belleville Bulls' 3-1 loss to Kingston;
Ryan Sproul registered an assist but finished at -3 during the Soo Greyhounds' rough-and-tumble 6-3 loss to Guelph;
Andreas Athanasiou had an assist in the Barrie Colts' 2-0 win over Mississauga;
In the WHL, Richard Nedomlel didn't register a point in the Swift Current Broncos' 3-1 win over Calgary;
In the BCHL, James De Haas didn't register a point in the Penticton Vees' 3-2 OT loss to Trail;
In college hockey, in the WCHA, Nick Jensen registered an assist in Saint Cloud State University's 5-3 win over Michigan Tech;
And Ben Marshall didn't register a point in the University of Minnesota's 2-0 loss to Denver.
In the "former prospect" department, Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson is on the Frolunda Indians' board of directors, and he's continued to sour on Dick Axelsson, but Expressen's Stefan Nilsson reports that Frolunda re-signed Axelsson anyway;
And finally, I'm not allowed to comment on this headline from the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, and I quote: "How Sidney Crosby Turned Pittsburgh into Hockeytown."
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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.