The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/24/13 at 12:52 AM ET
The Red Wings' prospects were particularly busy over the past three-and-a-half days, and the first event that took place was more or less a formaltiy--confirming news reported by TVA Sports' Renaud Lavoie this past Sunday--per the Wings:
The Red Wings today agreed to terms with left wing Andreas Athanasiou on a three-year entry-level contract. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.
Athanasiou, 19, has appeared in 22 games with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, leading the club with 26 points (9-17-26). A fourth-round pick (110th overall) of Detroit in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Athanasiou has appeared in 206 career OHL games with Barrie and London, totaling 152 points (71-81-152), a plus-27 rating and 103 penalty minutes. He was third on the Colts during the 2013 postseason with 25 points (12-13-25) in 22 games, reaching the OHL finals for the second straight year after winning a championship with the London Knights in 2011-12.
Also on Wednesday, the Red Wings' other "marquee attraction" of the week, Anthony Mantha, didn't disappoint in the second game of the Subway Super Series. Mantha scored another goal en route to the QMJHL's 4-3 win over Russia (and Mantha scored the game-winner in the first QMJHL-Russia tilt).
The Super Series' website posted a brief recap, Sportsnet posted a highlight clip...
And Sportsnet's Gare Joyce suggested that Mantha's earned a spot on the Canadian World Junior Championship team's top line:
Until he makes the NHL next fall, the real measure of [Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jonathan] Drouin will come at the under-20s and until then a question looms: Who is a good complement to his talents? We might have had a glimpse of it in the first two games of the Subway Super Series.
Anthony Mantha of Val d’Or was Detroit’s first rounder, 20th overall. About a third of a season later, there’d be no shot he’d be around when the Wings pick came around if the 2013 NHL Draft were subject to a do-over. It’s not just the right winger’s numbers, though those numbers do make a compelling case: 50 goals in 67 games last season, 24 more in 23 games this year. It’s not the physical package, though likewise that jumps out: At six-foot-four, Mantha projects as a pro power forward when he gets over 200 pounds and that looks like it could be anytime soon. No, he brings a virtually complete game to the rink.
Said one scout in attendance at Game 2: “I love his game. He skates really well for a young guy his size … nice mechanics, good speed, strong on his skates. And he can just hammer the puck. He has a cannon. He can finish chances you give. He was great last season but he’s taken another step up this year.”
Mantha scored the winner against the Russians in Game 1 in Gatineau but looked even more fit for the part in Sherbrooke. When Drouin gets the puck on his stick, he can mesmerize defencemen so much so that he gets them to over-commit and lose Mantha (who you’d imagine would be hard to miss). And Mantha goes to the net and into the dirty ice with impunity and on reflex. Even if defenders find Mantha, they can’t do much to stop him.
The third game of the Super Series didn't go so well for the Canadians. On Friday night, Zach Nastasiuk was held off the scoresheet and the Ontario Hockey League's All-Star team fired 43 shots at Russian goaltender Ivan Nalimov, but they could only dent Nalimov two times, and the Russians defeated the OHL team 5-2.
Wings prospect and Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson will probably start in goal when the Super Series resumes on Monday, November 25th in Sudbury, ON. The game will air on Sportsnet in Canada
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins sent Louis-Marc Aubry and the finally-healthy Nick Jensen (he's been recovering from shoulder surgery required after scrapping with Tyler Bertuzzi during the summer prospect camp) to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye to make room for the Wings' waiver demotions--and in Jensen's case, to give a player who has yet to play this year a place to start his pro career.
On Wednesday, the Griffins rolled right along, receiving a hat trick from Mitchell Callahan, a 16-save shutout from Petr Mrazek and a 3-assist performance from Adam Almquist as the Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-0.
The Griffins' website offered a recap...
Milwaukee Admirals 0 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins avenged two of this season’s four regulation losses and doubled their lead atop the Midwest Division with a 5-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
The Admirals (8-4-3-1), who entered the night with a two-point deficit to and a pair of one-goal wins over the Griffins, had a chance to pull even with the division leaders with a regulation victory. But instead, Petr Mrazek posted a 16-save shutout, Mitch Callahan netted a hat trick and Grand Rapids (11-4-1-1) claimed its fourth straight home win, improving to 9-2 in its last 11 overall.
The Griffins dominated the first period in all areas but the scoreboard, building a 12-0 cushion in shots before the Admirals’ first attempt with 6:09 remaining and finishing the scoreless frame with a 14-4 advantage.
Grand Rapids used a power play to light the first lamp 1:49 into the second. A Nathan Paetsch blast from the right point was turned aside by Magnus Hellberg, but the rebound came to Riley Sheahan in the left circle for an easy shot into a gaping cage.
The Griffins then grabbed the first two-goal lead for either team in the season series with a shorthanded goal at the 9:55 mark. Off a rush into the Milwaukee zone, Luke Glendening took a shot from the right boards that Hellberg initially corralled, but when the puck fell from the goalie’s grasp, Callahan pounced and punched it through Hellberg’s pads.
With a 28-12 lead in shots entering the third period, the Griffins cashed in on their first try to make it 3-0 just 49 seconds in. Cory Emmerton took a pass from newcomer Patrick Eaves and scored five-hole on Hellberg from the right circle.
Callahan notched his second goal at 10:08, redirecting a Sheahan feed to bring a close to Hellberg’s evening. He was replaced by Scott Darling after stopping 35 of 39 shots.
Callahan rounded out the scoring by beating Darling at 18:57. Milwaukee’s understudy stopped three of four shots, as the Griffins finished the game with an overwhelming 43-16 shot margin.
Grand Rapids will try to improve upon its impressive 7-2-1-1 mark away from Van Andel Arena during a pair of road games this weekend, beginning with an 8:05 p.m. EST visit to Des Moines on Friday against the Iowa Wild.
Notes: Adam Almquist had three assists…Griffins leading scorer Gustav Nyquist was held out of the lineup due to his potential recall to the Red Wings tomorrow, while captain Jeff Hoggan and alternate captain Brennan Evans were healthy scratches as part of the Griffins’ rotation of their abundant veterans. For Hoggan and Evans, it marked the first games they did not play since joining Grand Rapids in the summer of 2012, ending their mutual streak of regular season and playoff games at 116…Eaves made his Griffins debut and played his first AHL game since his rookie 2005-06 season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Callahan (hat trick); 2. GR Mrazek (W, 16 saves, SO); 3. GR Sheahan (power play goal, assist)
As well as a Flickr photo gallery and a set of highlights and interviews...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the mix of "new guys" and "old guys" who contributed to the win, noting that captain Jeff Hoggan and defenseman Brennan Evans sat out due to the AHL's 5-man-veteran limitation:
"It speaks to the depth of our forwards and the talent we have on defense,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I can really put any line out there and feel real confident that they can play against whatever line they face. That kind of depth takes pressure off just one line. It means multiple lines can score and we’ve seen that throughout the year.”
Eaves contributed in his debut. The nine-year NHL veteran, who joined the team Monday and was playing in his first AHL game since 2006, assisted on Cory Emmerton’s third period power-play goal to give the Griffins a 3-0 lead. The two were teammates in Detroit.
“I just tried to play the same way I did up there,” Eaves said. “I just tried to make plays, find guys and get used to my linemates. I thought we did a lot of good things on the ice as we got to know each other more.”
Callahan's hat trick included had a short-handed goal in the second, coming after Sheahan’s opener in the first, and the fourth goal on a feed from Sheahan. The final goal was originally credited to David McIntyre, but given to Callahan after the game ended. On the replay, Callahan charged the net on McIntyre’s shot from the left circle but it was inconclusive if he redirected the shot.
“We’re doing all the little things right,” said Callahan, who has eight goals, second on the team. “We’re playing strong defensively which leads to opportunities on offense. If you look at roster, we have all the skill up front, pretty much the best skill of any team, and if we continue to be strong on defense, we’ll continue to have a lot of opportunities.”
Hoggan and Evans missed their first games since joining Grand Rapids at the start of last season, a streak of 116 games. The Griffins will rotate the play of the two along with other veterans Eaves, Emmerton, Tootoo, Triston Grant and Nathan Paetsch.
Without Hoggan and Evans, Grant and Luke Glendening wore an A as alternate captains, along with Paetsch.
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Iowa Wild 1
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Grand Rapids Griffins got back on track on the road on Friday with a 2-1 victory over the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena, maintaining its lead over the Midwest Division.
The first period produced relatively even play for both teams, until the last five minutes of the frame when scoring opportunities were exchanged by the Griffins (12-4-1-1) and the Wild (6-9-0-0). As the first frame came to a close, Iowa held a slight 10-9 shot advantage.
After a scoreless first period, Grand Rapids began the second period with consecutive power play opportunities. Both penalties came at the hands of Wild defenseman Steven Kampfer, first on a delay of game call after sending a rogue puck out of play at :23 and second on an elbowing call at 3:05, shortly after Iowa returned to full strength. The Griffins were unable to capitalize on either opportunity.
Deep into the second frame, Griffins right wing Patrick Eaves quickly grabbed the puck off of the face off in the Wild zone. Finding his man, Eaves fed the puck to forward Tomas Jurco who wasted no time in firing a wrist shot that found its way into the net beyond Iowa goaltender Johan Gustafsson at 16:13. The goal marked Jurco’s 10th of the season.
Just over two minutes later, defenseman Xavier Ouellet absorbed a pass from captain Jeff Hoggan amidst a failed Iowa clearing attempt. From the blueline, Ouellet rifled the puck through traffic and straight into the net at 18:16 of the second period, propelling the Griffins to a 2-0 lead.
Grand Rapids held on to its two-goal advantage until Iowa opted for the extra skater with 1:47 remaining in the third period. With just 34 to go in the game, Wild left wing Brett Bulmer broke Petr Mrazek’s near-second consecutive shutout and gave Iowa an opportunity to tie the game, with the score now standing at 2-1.
However, Grand Rapids held on to its lead and killed off the remaining few seconds of the game, improving its record to 8-2-1-1 away from Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins will face the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EST before returning home to Van Andel Arena next week for a seven-game home stand, the team’s longest of the season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Mrazek (31 saves); 2. GR Jurco (one goal); 3. IA Gustafsson (20 saves)
As well as a Flickr photo gallery...
And while the Wild's website's recap won't wow you, they did post a highlight clip:
And on Saturday, the Griffins wrapped up a busy week with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Wolves, with Petr Mrazek making his third straight start (stopping 31 of 32 shots) and Patrick Eaves scoring the game-winner with under a minute left in regulation.
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Chicago Wolves 1
ROSEMONT, Ill. — A late goal by Patrick Eaves during the Grand Rapids Griffins only power play of the night gave the Griffins the edge in a 2-1 decision over the Chicago Wolves on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
The win keeps the Griffins on top of the Midwest Division with a 13-4-1-1 record, including 9-2-1-1 on the road.
The Griffins had a chance at an early lead when Teemu Pulkkinen put one away about three minutes into the game, but the referees declared he controlled the puck with a high stick and the goal was waved off.
However, the Griffins still finished the first period ahead a goal with a tally by Calle Jarnkrok at 4:51. Alexey Marchenko intercepted the puck in the neutral zone, skated it into the Wolves’ zone and passed to Tomas Jurco in the slot. Jurco faked a shot before sliding the puck to Jarnkrok, who scored from the left circle.
Nathan Longpre nearly evened the score about seven minutes into the second period with a slap shot, but the puck banged off the pipes and the rebound was cleared out of the danger zone.
The Wolves continued pushing in the middle frame, outshooting the Griffins 9-3 and eventually getting one in with 1:31 remaining in the period. Shane Harper tied the game with a backhander off a pass from Dmitrij Jaskin.
With 2:08 to play in the third period and the score still knotted, Ty Rattie was called for goaltender interference and sent off to put the Griffins on their only power play of the game.
At 19:11, Eaves scored the winning power-play goal. Jurco took a shot from the left boards, and the puck rebounded into the right circle where Eaves one-timed it past Matt Climie, who had 22 saves in the loss. Jurco’s two assists put him at the top of the team in points with 22 (10-12).
Petr Mrazek stopped 31 of 32 shots in his third consecutive win.
The Griffins take on the Texas Stars at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 at Van Andel Arena to kick off a seven-game home stand, their longest of the season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Mrazek (W, 30 saves); 2. CHI Jaskin (assist); 3. GR Jurco (two assists)
The Wolves' website posted a recap and a highlight clip
Also: GriffinsHockey.com's Alan Cross penned a profile of Adam Almquist (and this is just a small portion of a longer article):
Throughout the history of the organization, the Grand Rapids Griffins have compiled an extensive list of NHL graduates, regularly gathering accolades and constantly shaping the future of hockey. Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey, Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and many more players, including those who have extended beyond the reach of Detroit, are all alumni of the Griffins.
This season is no different.
The Griffins have already graduated five players to the NHL since October, four of whom were part of the 2013 Calder Cup–winning roster: defenseman Danny DeKeyser (10/2/13 DET vs. BUF), center Luke Glendening (10/12/13 DET vs. PHI), defenseman Xavier Ouellet (10/21/13 DET vs. SJ), defenseman Adam Almquist (11/4/13 DET at WPG) and defenseman Chad Billins (11/5/13 CGY vs. MIN). While Ouellet never saw ice time with the Griffins until this year, he served as a “black ace” during the first three rounds of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Billins, who is a Port Huron, Mich., native and former Ferris State Bulldog, signed a contract with the Calgary Flames earlier this summer, and DeKeyser has garnered a full-time roster spot with the Wings. Of this season’s NHL graduates, Almquist is the only active member of the Griffins roster to produce a point for their parent club, despite both Glendening and Ouellet appearing in more games.
For someone who only made his North American debut late in the 2011-12 season, Almquist has already seen many of his dreams come to fruition. Most recently, the 5-foot-11, 173-pound defenseman made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 4 and subsequently tallied his first NHL goal on Nov. 7 versus the Dallas Stars.
“It was a dream come true. It’s a goal I’ve had since I was a young kid,” said Almquist about his promotion to the Wings. “It was a big moment, and it was a lot of fun to enter Joe Louis Arena.”
Still, Almquist treated his first game at the Joe as just other day at the rink, channeling his nerves and excitement into productivity.
“I tried to treat it like just another game. Obviously it was a bit different, but I always play under pressure. I actually think it’s more pressure back home when I play there. There’s always pressure in any game,” said Almquist. “Of course there were a little bit of nerves, too. It was my first NHL game and it was a little bit new, but I think I was fine.”
Then there's this little NHL 14 "Showdown"...
And let's just say that Calle Jarnkrok may be as bad a Swedish teacher as Riley Sheahan is a Swedish student:
In the ECHL, on Saturday night, the Toledo Walleye finally delivered Jared Coreau his first professional win, but Coreau did a significant amount of the heavy lifting en route, stopping 42 of 44 shots as the Walleye defeated the Evansville IceMen 6-2. Trevor Parkes scored 2 goals, added an assist and finished at +3; in his first game with the Walleye this season, Louis-Marc Aubry scored a goal, added an assist and finished at +2; Martin Frk registered an assist and finished at +1; Max Nicastro had an assist and finished at +2; and Marek Tvrdon didn't register a point but finished at +2.
The Walleye's website provides a recap...
Toledo scored four goals in the second period and pulled away from Evansville 6-2 in front of a sold out crowd of 8,000 Saturday night at the Huntington Center. Toledo has an overall record of 5-6-2-0 and is 3-2-0-0 at home this season.
The Icemen collected the only goal of the first period of play when Josh Beaulieu tapped a rebound past goaltender Jared Coreau at 13:14.
“We gave a sixty minute effort tonight,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “We made a system change during the week and the players responded against a very good Evansville team.”
The Walleye would explode in the second period with four goals. Defenseman CJ Chartrain would collect his first professional goal at 4:40 to tie the game at one. The Walleye would take the lead at 7:20 of the second when defenseman Joe Sova sent a shot past Mike Clemente for his second goal of the year.
After the IceMen tied the game at two, forward Kevin Lynch deflected a Daniel Koger pass in for his 4th goal of the season at 10:42. Forward Trevor Parkes wristed a shot past Clemente at 11:09 of the period to give the Walleye a 4-2 lead.
In the third period, the lead would grow to three goals when Louis-Marc Aubrey scored his first goal of the year at 8:48. Parkes would scored his second goal of the game and 10th of the year at 9:30.
Walleye Notes: Goaltender Jared Coreau made 42 saves on 44 shots in net for Toledo for his first professional win. Coreau has a record of 1-3-2-0 on the season. Evansville outshot the Walleye 44-35 in the game.
The Toledo Blade posted a photo gallery...
And the Walleye's website posted a set of game highlights...
The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe spoke with Parkes and Coreau after the game:
"This game was huge for us and getting those goals in bunches got the momentum going,” Parkes said. “This was a big step for us coming together.”
Walleye rookie goalie Jared Coreau earned his first win as a professional and finished with 42 saves.
“It's hard to describe. It's a weight off my shoulders,” Coreau said. “It was getting pretty tough. I started to doubt my abilities. But I knew it was going to turn over. I came ready tonight.”
“It's been a struggle. This was a gut check,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “That's a very good hockey team over there. I thought we had an inspired effort from start to finish. The guys grinded it out all night. This gives a few days of feeling good.”
Parkes nearly got a hat trick in the waning moments but was more pleased with the team's win and for Coreau.
“He is going to be a really good goalie in time,” Parkes said. “There are many more to come.”
In Sweden, in the SHL, on Wednesday, Mattias Janmark didn't register a point in AIK Stockholm's 7-1 win over Orebo, but he did play 18:34;
On Thursday, Mattias Backman played 15:47 in Linkopings HC's 4-2 loss to Farjestads BK;
And on Saturday, Backman played 22:24 in Linkopings HC's 5-2 loss to AIK Skelleftea.
In the J20 SuperElit League, on Friday, Hampus Melen didn't play in Tingsryds IF's 7-2 loss to Farjestads BK;
Back over on this side of the pond, in the QMJHL: On Friday, Anthony Mantha had an assist in the Val-d'Or Foreurs' 4-2 loss to Blainville-Boisbriand;
And Phillipe Hudon scored his team's only goal in the Victoriaville Tigres' 3-1 loss to Quebec.
On Saturday, Mantha scored a goal in Val-d'Or's 4-0 win over Sherbrooke;
And Hudon scored a goal in the Tigres' wild 8-5 win ovver Shawinigan.
In the OHL, on Wednesday, Jake Paterson stopped 35 of 37 shots as the Saginaw Spirit beat the Soo Greyhounds 4-2.
On Friday, Tyler Bertuzzi didn't register a point in the Guelph Storm's 4-2 loss to Windsor;
And Paterson stopped 27 of 31 as the Spirit lost 4-3 in OT to the Plymouth Whalers.
On Saturday, Bertuzzi had an assist in the Storm's 6-2 win over Plymouth;
Paterson sat out the Spirit's 6-2 win over Sarnia;
Zach Nastasiuk had an assist in the Owen Sound Attack's 4-3 win over Belleville;
And Andreas Athanasiou had an assist and a shootout marker in the Barrie Colts' 2-1 shootout loss to North Bay.
In the WHL, on Wednesday, Mitchell Wheaton didn't take part in much of the Kelowna Rockets' 4-1 loss to Victoria as Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager reports that Wheaton got rocked by a hard (and possibly dirty) hit during the previous game--Kelowna's 4-3 shootout win over Seattle on Tuesday:
Puck pundits, start parsing the phrase 'vulnerable player.' The Western Hockey League has a checking-from-behind controversy to deal with following a scary scenario that unfolded on Tuesday during the Kelowna Rockets-Seattle Thunderbirds match.
During the third period, Detroit Red Wings-drafted Rockets defenceman Mitch Wheaton, who's had a fairly full injury dossier in his young career, gathered up a loose puck at the right faceoff dot in his own zone. Wheaton carried the puck behind his own goal to elude Thunderbirds forechecker Roberts Lipsbergs. It looked as if Lipsbergs was bracing to deliver a check before Wheaton tried to pivot toward the corner. The contact propelled Wheaton into the boards, where his upper body appeared to take the brunt of the impact. There is some dispute over whether it was a bad hit, but a five-minute major and game misconduct was assessed and Wheaton was injured.
Here's the video so that you can make your own assessment...
The Rockets issued the following statement on Wednesday, and haven't said anything since then:
Due to a number of inquiries by hockey fans in Kelowna and Seattle, the Kelowna Rockets would like to clarify the status of defenceman Mitch Wheaton after the second year player suffered an injury in last night's game in Seattle.
Wheaton, 18, was injured on a hit during the third period of last night's game in Seattle. He lay prone on the ice and a stretcher was needed to take the Sherwood Park native off the ice.
Wheaton suffered an upper body injury on the play. Specific details of the injury will not be released publicly.
After leaving the ice Wheaton was transported to hospital in Seattle before being released and traveling back with the Rockets on the team bus.
Wheaton will be re-evaluated by the Rockets medical team today.
On Thursday, Wheaton didn't take part in Kelowna's 4-1 loss to Victoria;
Marc McNulty didn't register a point in the Prince George Cougars' 3-0 loss to Calgary.
On Friday, no Wheaton in Kelowna's 4-1 win over Tri-City;
And McNulty had an assist and finished at +3 in the Cougars' 8-3 win over Edmonton.
On Saturday, McNulty scored a goal and got a 10-minute misconduct for roughing at the end of the Cougars' 5-1 win over Red Deer.
In the BCHL, on Friday, David Pope had a goal and an assist in the West Kelowna Warriors' 6-3 win over Chilliwack;
And on Saturday, Pope didn't register a point in West Kelowna's 2-2 tie--yes, they still have ties--with Vernon.
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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.