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The Malik Report

‘Three Things’: on Athanasiou’s breakout potential, the battle on ‘D’ and tix for tonight’s game

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Among Sportsnet's Dmitri Fillipovic's "four underrated forwards set to break out in 2016-17":

ANDREAS ATHANASIOU, DETROIT: Every defenceman has a plan for defending Athanasiou until they find themselves on their heels when he bears down on them in full flight.

What could make Athanasiou special is that unlike most players who possess the speed he does (think: Carl Hagelin or Michael Grabner), he also seems to have a competent finishing ability. His 1.40 goals per hour at five-on-five paced the league for players with at least 250 minutes of ice-time, just slightly ahead of someone named Alex Ovechkin.

Small sample size and inflated shooting percentage aside, it’s abundantly clear Athanasiou presents a unique problem for the opposition. In just 37 games with limited ice-time, he managed to draw 11 penalties as defenders scratched and clawed and did everything in their power to stay close to him (or at least avoid winding up on a highlight reel).

Acknowledging that, like most young players, he’s got some work to do refining his defensive game, there’s no excuse for utilizing him as infrequently as Jeff Blashill did last season. Hockey, by nature, tends to be an overly conservative game, as the people involved can be guilty of playing it safe (i.e. trying not to lose rather than trying to win). For every mistake Athanasiou may make on occasion in his own end, he possesses the game-breaking talent to make up for it and then some.

2. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff wrote an article discussing the battle for the seventh spot on Detroit's defense:

With less than a week until the start of the NHL regular season, none of the Detroit Red Wings young defensemen seems to have a lock on the available spot along the team’s blue line.

“We’ve got a D spot open and I’m waiting for somebody to grab that D spot,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That D spot won’t be given to anybody. I want to see who grabs it.”

The battle to fill the place vacated by Kyle Quincey was supposed to be between Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen but Blashill insists it’s much more wide open than that.

“I would include (Brian) Lashoff and I would include (Robbie) Russo and for that matter, I’d include (Dan) Renouf,” Blashill said. “So we’ve got a decision to make Saturday night.”

If any among the group has taken a significant step forward, Blashill isn’t about to tip his hand.

“I’ll keep that to myself,” he said.

3. And on Twitter...

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Comments

Avatar

Two things.
One.
AA has already broken out. He’s the Wings most dynamic player in terms of offensive ability at speed.
Two.
It’ll be hard for him to break out so more people know that playing in the AHL because of Ken Holland and his senile signing Ott, Miller and Helm. I am completely over Holland and his roster mismanagement.

Posted by teldar on 10/08/16 at 11:17 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I hope Holland doesn’t screw up with AA and Blash better give minutes to ALL were deserved.

If they do, I can assume both need to get on with their careers on another Hockey team. Sorry guys, my nephews coaching staff is full.  8/9 year olds might be too much to handle.

Sorry prospects, this is a team for old and broken players.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 10/08/16 at 12:39 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Acknowledging that, like most young players, he’s got some work to do refining his defensive game, there’s no excuse for utilizing him as infrequently as Jeff Blashill did last season. ... For every mistake Athanasiou may make on occasion in his own end, he possesses the game-breaking talent to make up for it and then some.

How many times did we see that very thought posted here at KK last year. Nothing I’ve heard from Blashill so far this year indicates he’s going to do anything but repeat his past mistakes.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/08/16 at 01:29 PM ET

Avatar

“I’m waiting for somebody to grab that D”
-Jeff Blashill

Posted by EthrDemon on 10/08/16 at 06:13 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.