The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/23/12 at 07:29 PM ET
Updated at 7:21 PM: USA Today’s Kevin Allen reports that Jimmy Howard and Justin Abdelkader will join Team USA: Just after DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned the article which this blog entry focuses upon, the Wings’ list of World Championship participants increased: in addition to Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden) and the subject of Roose’s article, one Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom reports that Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen will join Ericsson on the host Swedes’ roster.
Zetterberg told Expressen’s Mattias Ek that he’s both very excited about the tournament which he’s leaving for on Tuesday, and that—and this is interesting—he believes he can play for at least nine more years in the NHL, while Franzen told Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman that he hopes to salvage what was a somewhat challenging year by contributing to Sweden’s cause.
It’s all but certain that Pavel Datsyuk, health permitting, will join the Russian national team by the time that the Worlds begin on May 4th, but Nicklas Lidstrom has already told the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation that he’d prefer to see a younger player earn a spot on their roster, and Niklas Kronwall—who told Nordstrom that he’s crossing his fingers about Lidstrom returning—has chosen to decline Sweden’s invitation because he’s apparently building a house in Detroit, and according to Nordstrom, Kronwall feels it’s necessary to remain in Metro Detroit to make sure that its plans are drawn up as he’d prefer.
Anyway, while the Detroit News’s Bob Wojnowski, via RedWingsFeed, made his second “Sign Parise!” plea of the day, and MLive’s Brendan Savage took note of the Parise/Suter scuttlebutt from the perspectives of TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger, DetroitRedWings.com’s Roose was at Joe Louis Arena, and Tomas Tatar’s packed up and left and Kindl left Detroit today, Roose asked Kindl to weigh in as to his chances of making the Czechs’ final World Championship roster as he’s actually leaving to attend their “training camp”:
“It’s totally different hockey,” said Kindl, who played in a career-high 55 NHL games this season. “We have the international tryouts this week and the exhibition games are this weekend back home; I’ll meet the team there. They’ve already been practicing for a few weeks, so I’ll try to play Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
Kindl did not play in the Wings’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators, who advanced in the Stanley Cup playoffs after eliminating Detroit in six games. It’s the second straight year that the 6-foot-2 former first-round draft pick sat-out the postseason. For the second season, Kindl platooned in the Wings’ sixth defensive spot, first battling veteran Mike Commodore in the first half, then Kyle Quincey, who was acquired in a three-way trade with Colorado and Tampa Bay prior to the league’s trade deadline.
The first half of the season was much more advantageous for Kindl, who had a goal with seven assists and was a plus-8 in 32 games. But after New Year’s, his production plummeted to no goals and five assists with a minus-1 rating in 23 games. Certainly, the oblique injury that he suffered late in the season played a factor, forcing Kindl to miss seven games in March. Now, the 25-year-old would like to erase memories of the last month and impress Czech coach Alois Hadamczik, whom he once played for at the junior level.
“I think I have a chance,” Kindl said, “and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it.”
Playing in the World Championship will be Kindl’s first international experience in five years when he played in the 2007 under-20 World Championship in Sweden.
“I don’t have a lot of expectations because I don’t know what to expect, but I’m just looking forward to this, it’s nothing that I’ve done before,” he said. “It’s totally new for me and it’s been a long time since I played on the bigger ice. It will be different system, different players, different coaches, it will be difficult.”
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