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The Malik Report

The overnight report: On Secret Santas, overachievers, Green, Nyquist and battle drills

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Red Wings did a very good deed with kids from Detroit's Clark Park, engaging in a shopping spree with youngsters who didn't know that in addition to buying presents for sick kids in Children's Hospital, the kids would be able to purchase their own gifts as well. WXYZ's Brad Galli chronicled the shopping trip via a Facebook video:

2. In the overchiever's category, Dr. Murray Howe has written a book about his father, Gordie, titled, Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father. Murray is taking part in a book tour presently, and he's currently in Vancouver, where his father was a minority owner of the WHL's Vancouver Giants. Murray told the Vancouver Province's Steve Ewen that his book could have been much, much longer:

Murray gave a eulogy at his funeral. It was supposed to be 20 minutes. It ended up going 30 minutes. He says he had 900 pages of material for the book. His publishers only wanted 240.

“The words just fly out of me when it comes to my dad,” he said. “I had so much admiration and respect for him. I always knew he was loved, but the visitation at Joe Louis Arena was still mind-blowing. To see 15,000 people streaming through the arena just floored me. There’s been a lot of amazing athletes, but what made him so adored and what set him apart was how much he gave of himself to each and every person. When you were with him, he gave you 100 per cent of himself. He had his raw generosity.”

Ewen also posted a video interview with Murray from "Breakfast Toronto":

3. In the, "I thought this was neat" category, the Star-Tribune's Sarah McLellan noted that Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau is serious about keeping up with his former players:

And defenseman Mike Green, whom Boudreau coached when both were with the Capitals, contacted Boudreau before signing with the Red Wings in 2015. Green wanted to know what team Boudreau thought was the best fit among the ones he was considering.

"A lot of ex-players reach out to him when they're at a crossroads," Crystal said, "because they know he'll give them an honest opinion."

4. Speaking of Green, The Fourth Period pointed out that the Red Wings can't trade #25 so easily--before delving into, "Who would want Green?" trade rumor theory:

Veteran defenceman Mike Green is in the final year of his contract, which comes with a $6 million salary cap hit, and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He owns a full no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal the Red Wings want to make, if they go down that road.

Before the season began, Green said that he wanted to remain a Red Wing, but I'm not sure whether the Wings will have the cap space to both keep Green and re-sign Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin.

To some extent, it depends on what the Wings want to do with the 32-year-old Green--which hinges upon the Wings' record this season--and to some extent, it depends on what the salary cap does. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that initial estimates suggest that the salary cap could rise to $80 million, and an extra $5 million in cap space could change several players' contractual trajectories.

5. Finally, in the current events category, the Wings' practice post = the team's engagement in "battle drills" got talked to death, but the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa managed to discuss some topics that did not involve battle drills specifically, including Gustav Nyquist's up-tick in offensive contributions...

Nyquist’s reward around the net has not always been just. Against the Jets on Tuesday, however, good fortune prevailed. Nyquist’s big, three-point night helped the Wings take flight against the offensively powerful Jets. His two-goal, one-assist performance put him on the scoring sheet for 60 percent of the Red Wings’ goals.

It gave him 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 28 games played. That ties him with Tomas Tatar for second in goals scored, and four behind Anthony Mantha, who has 12 and the team lead. Nyquist is sixth in points.

The first goal he scored resulted from a big, fat rebound lying on the ice before him and the Winnipeg goalie, Connor Hellebuyck, who was scrambling in vain to move quickly from the right side of his crease to the left after making a save. Nyquist’s go-to-the-net hustle and quickness proved integral to the scoring chance.

During the second goal, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey glued himself to Nyquist’s back, in effect, and tried to shove him through the Winnipeg crease as the Wings forward aggressively attacked the goal.

As Morrissey moved Nyquist through Hellebuyck, dumping the goalie, a shot by Jonathan Ericsson that deflected off Martin Frk’s stick then struck Nyquist’s elbow before going in.

Lucky? Sure, but better good luck than bad, and Nyquist has his share of the latter already this season, despite producing goals and points.

“Obviously, it’s nice to get those bounces, once in a while, for sure,” Nyquist said. “You know, when you go through slumps and you feel like you’re working hard for your chances, they don’t go in. So, it’s nice to get those points, for sure.”

Krupa continues...

And we'll conclude with a little bit of symmetry, via Krupa's discussion of--yes--battle drills...

The inability to restrain the Canadiens forays with any consistency for five consecutive periods shook the franchise to its core. In the first period Tuesday against the highest-scoring, first-period team in the NHL, the Red Wings yielded three shots on goal and no goals.

“We needed that type of period,” Blashill said. “I thought the first was excellent. Harder to play against, in this sense: It’s not always necessarily big finished checks, but it’s taking away space and not letting them skate up ice easily.”

Blashill hopes the approach, in part, will help the team gain some consistency.

“Listen, we’ve got to be ultra, ultra, ultra-competitive every night,” he said. “There’s probably some teams in the league that can get away with maybe not that. I think human nature is that you are not necessarily at that line, every night. But we have to be as close to that line of being as ultra-competitive as humanly possible.

“That’s not easy. That’s not normal. Most teams are not like that. We can’t be normal. We’ve got to be beyond the norm, on that.”

And WXYZ's Brad Galli's take-us-out clip of Blashill speaking the above-listed words out loud:

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Comments

The Hurricane's avatar

WOW. If I EVER see Ericsson with as much exuberance on the ice as he did in that first video, I might think different about his chance of ever hoisting the cup. Love that our boys give as much as they do off the ice….just wish they showed as much heart when they’re on skates.

Posted by The Hurricane on 12/07/17 at 01:11 AM ET

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It’s never seemed like a good idea to put players on too much of a pedestal.

We need a bit of fantasy sure - that’s what makes us fans (hey, the words even have a common root).

But these are human beings with flaws, too.

At the same time, it’s never made sense to me to turn a player into a complete whipping boy
or relentlessly call them names. That’s the toxic side to being a fan. We’re all disappointed by
our favorite team sometimes and these guys are being paid a lot to play a(n albeit very hard) game.

We all have our own dissatisfactions and disappointments. But bashing and scapegoating players
doesn’t solve much. I think with the Wings, in part because of the culture and leadership - and yes organization - we’ve been fairly lucky with the character of the players. I’m not someone with inside info, but that’s how it seems from the outside.

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/07/17 at 08:29 AM ET

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I finally agree with Blashill on something and that is that this team has to be ultra competitive every night in order to win consistently. My question is: Why has it taken 2 and third seasons plus a devastating and humiliating loss to the Habs for this message to be delivered.

It seems to me that the Habs delivered that message far more effectively than Blashill ever has and that’s a huge problem. It points to a temporary epiphany and that’s problematic.

Posted by NewfieWing on 12/07/17 at 10:03 AM ET

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I finally agree with Blashill on something and that is that this team has to be ultra competitive every night in order to win consistently. My question is: Why has it taken 2 and third seasons plus a devastating and humiliating loss to the Habs for this message to be delivered.

It seems to me that the Habs delivered that message far more effectively than Blashill ever has and that’s a huge problem. It points to a temporary epiphany and that’s problematic.

Posted by NewfieWing on 12/07/17 at 10:03 AM ET

On a similar theme, Zee and a couple of other players mentioned that practicing “battle drills” was a healthy change. They basically said “we need to win battles to win these games, so yeah, duh, probably something we should practice once in awhile”. To me it suggested that their practices to that point were largely ineffective. I’m just imagining PP drills where Kronwall practices the drop pass over and over again. Or forechecking drills where the OMG line waves their sticks around but don’t actually pressure anybody, nor cause any turnovers, nor ever possess the puck.

Posted by fatsavage on 12/07/17 at 10:13 AM ET

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I do remember Blashill saying at least a couple of times earlier in the season
that the Wings need to be ultra-competitive on a consistent basis in order to win
regularly.

But, you guys are absolutely right that it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

It’s awfully easy to say the right things in a repetitive kind of perfunctory way
so that it begins to sound like background noise.

Those two losses to Montreal they couldn’t ignore. But yeah, how long will it last?

We’ve been hearing a lot of the past couple of years about how hard it is to score
and how important it is to go to the net. True. But if you don’t have enough guys
who either have the build or the inclination to do that more than occasionally
it’s awfully hard to do that better than your opponents.

Sounds like Nyquist did that against Winnipeg and I’m glad he’s getting credit.
The hard part is doing it again and again. Like a lot of other Wings he’s not built for that.

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/07/17 at 10:57 AM ET

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I could totally see KH bringing back Green on a new deal at slightly lower AAV if Green wanted to stay. I’m not saying it would be the correct move, but also don’t believe Green is the problem on the defense either.

Posted by easmus on 12/07/17 at 11:09 AM ET

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Smart agents are going to say (not in so many words):

no cap space can’t be an excuse not to pay fairly when the cap’s gone up significantly
- and you can’t keep spending to the cap on over-30 guys and then say: sorry, all out of space!

I don’t think Holland will treat Larkin especially and Mantha quite like he did AA,
but that additional space could be gone in a hurry.

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/07/17 at 11:13 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/redwings

In case anyone needs this tool smile

Posted by ilovehomers on 12/07/17 at 11:15 AM ET

Avatar

In case anyone needs this tool

Posted by ilovehomers on 12/07/17 at 11:15 AM ET

thanks Homer. That link and,
http://www.eliteprospects.com/

is also should be helpful around here…oh…and…
http://www.hockeydb.com/

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/07/17 at 02:10 PM ET

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[Mike Green] owns a full no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal the Red Wings want to make, if they go down that road.

Yeah, I’m sure Green would never waive a NTC to go chase a Cup *eyeroll*

Posted by EthrDemon on 12/07/17 at 03:03 PM ET

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Definitely strange to look toward the trade deadline thinking “what can we expect to get back”,
rather than “wonder who we’ll try to add”.

Posted by Lefty30 on 12/07/17 at 03:36 PM ET

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Posted by Lefty30 on 12/07/17 at 03:36 PM ET

no doubt. It was kind of the way I looked forward to the start of free agent signing. Who’s going to be added…...now, it’s more like, who do we overpay….

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/07/17 at 05:03 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I could totally see KH bringing back Green on a new deal at slightly lower AAV if Green wanted to stay. I’m not saying it would be the correct move, but also don’t believe Green is the problem on the defense either.

It’s possible, considering the sad state of the Red Wings defense. Any and all help is needed. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 12/07/17 at 10:00 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.