The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/09/13 at 10:04 PM ET
Updated with audio at 12:04 AM: WIth none other than Gordie Howe in attendance, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on the strength of 2 goals and an assist by Anthony Mantha, a pair of assists from Xavier Ouellet, a snipe from Zach Nastasiuk, an empty-netter from Tomas Jurco and a superb performance from Jared Coreau, who stopped 23 of 25 shots against.
The Wings had never won the prospect tournament, and lost in the final in 2010, but this time around, an incredibly strong team of players led by Jurco, Riley Sheahan, Max Nicastro and a single-minded coach in Jeff Blashill played like interchangeable parts all committed to the same cause, and it was just awesome to see the guys win--and go 4-and-0 in the process.
Audio is forthcoming.
Update: Gordie Howe? For realz? Via Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien, yep:
MLive's Brendan Savage penned a recap from afar:
Mantha, Detroit's first-round pick (20th overall) in July's NHL entry draft, scored his first two goals of the tournament Monday and they got the Red Wings started toward a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the championship game of the annual event at Traverse City's Centre I.C.E. Arena.
Mantha scored power-play goals in each of the first two periods before Zach Nastasiuk – another member of the Class of 2013 – scored the game-winner in the third.
Nastasiuk, Detroit's second-round pick (48th overall) this year, made it 3-1 with exactly 10 minutes remaining. Mantha drew an assist on the winner.
Tomas Jurco, a second-round pick (35th overall) in 2011, sealed the victory when he scored his second goal of the tournament into an empty net with 26 seconds left.
Defenseman Xavier Ouellet, another second-round pick (48th overall) in 2011, added two assists for the Red Wings as they finished the tournament with a 4-0 record.
Goaltender Jared Coreau, who was signed this year as a free agent out of Northern Michigan, made 23 saves in picking up his second victory. Coreau also backstopped Friday's 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.
In terms of interviews, we took what we could get....And the players were obviously in a good mood, so we got quite a bit.
Anthony Mantha spoke about his status as a first-year player scoring two goals in the title game, how the tournament prepared him for both the main camp and the long journey he's embarking upon in attempting to develop into a professional athlete, and his status as something of a "sponge"...
Xavier Ouellet is quick, brief and to the point, but the Traverse City Record-Eagle's Dennis Chase and I had a 2-minute conversation with him about his performance in the game and what it means going forward...
Tomas Jurco spoke with a scrum's worth of myself, Mr. Chase, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale and the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindneau about having accomplished his goal of showing his coach that he can be a more reliable all-round player and a defensively-apt one as well, his status as "winning wherever he goes," why he skipped the morning skate, his role as a leader on the prospects' team and now someone who hopes to become a first-liner at the AHL level, and yes, his choice in music. He was also keen to discuss the Grand Rapids Griffins' status as wanting to defend their Calder Cup championship while he attempts to asert himself as top-line forward:
Zach Nastasiuk sounds like a soft-spoken young man because that's what he is. He demurred regarding his goal, he talked about the first-year players having given such impressive performances, the leadership group, his offensive flourishes yielding more promise and the team's ability to roll lines, as well as his take on the main camp to come...
Jared Coreau was not necessarily happy with his performance, but he was very solid even when he "locked up," and he talked about the goaltender's learning curve, why he chose to join the Wings, what it felt like to deliver the team a prospect tournament championship in his second game since March, and a bunch of other stuff:
And finally, coach Blashill was talkative as talkative could be, giving myself and Lindenau seven minutes of his time at the very end of media availability (as players were leaving the rink), discussing his team's performance, having been able to rely upon the leaders who had something to prove in the Jurcos and the first-year players who impressed (Mantha) and underwhelmed (Frk) alike, he talked about the evaluation process regarding some of his incoming players, the team-building process, his personnel shuffling, the tournament as a whole and his role in the alumni game:
I'll try to cobble together more before I crash.
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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.