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Wallner: Griffins to get Svechnikov back in the lineup this weekend

The Grand Rapids Griffins will play a set of back-to-backs in Rockford against the IceHogs on Friday and at home against the Hershey Bears on Saturday, and the Griffins have been playing without the services of Evgeny Svechnikov (neck) since the start of the season. That will change on Friday, as the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports:

The former first-round pick in 2015 has been skating with the Griffins and has practiced without restrictions all week, or about a week longer than Svechnikov wanted.

"Yeah, I've felt good but the trainers and doctors just wanted to make sure I'm 100 percent ready and that nothing bothers me," said the 20-year-old.

The Griffins, who play at Rockford on Friday and home to Hersey on Saturday, have endured wild swings in starting 2-2. They have alternated wins, with goal outputs of five and seven, respectively, But, in the losses, they have two and zero goals, with a 4-0 shutout last game at Stockton.

Svechnikov, who was third in scoring for the Griffins last season (20-31-51) worked this week on a line with Ben Street and Eric Tangradi.

"Right now, we have to get our big guys going," coach Todd Nelson said, pointing to Street, Tangradi, Matthew Ford and Matt Lorito with a combined one goal. "Those are big offensive guys and on power play, too. And Geno is going to be a part of that group. I think maybe he might complement Street and Tango on that line. We'll see how it works."

Wallner continues, reporting that Tyler Bertuzzi (wrist) is still at least a week-to-10 days out...

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Talking ‘takeaways’ with St. James

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a list of "takeaways" from the Red Wings' two most recent games, and her observations include the following:

Shoot more: Blashill is big on looking at scoring chances rather than shots, but he acknowledged after the Leafs game that more Wings need to shoot more. “Two areas I think we’ve got to get better at is one, having a little more shot-first mentality and two, having more net presence,” Blashill said. “They probably go hand-in-hand - when people are at the net, you are way more apt to shoot the puck. We’ve got to become a team that’s more committed to shooting the puck.”

The Wings are in the bottom 10 of the NHL with a 30-shots per game average. Interestingly, they are 0-2 when outshooting opponents, and 3-1 when they’ve been outshot.

Tatar scores: Tatar finished last season with 25 goals but had just nine at the halfway point. Wednesday saw him score his first of this season. “Obviously the same thing kind of happened last year, so it was good to see him score for sure,” Blashill said. “I expect him to get hot here.” Tatar said he “wasn’t really too worried,” about not converting on his chances until the seventh game of the season, but it’s a disconcerting that Tatar only has three points overall, as does Gustav Nyquist. They are being paid to produce, and if they again don’t produce in the first half, it again won’t matter what they do in the second half because the Wings will miss the playoffs.

St. James continues...

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Custance with an Athanasiou update

From The Athletic's Craig Custance:

The Red Wings have made it clear to restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou: They want him on their roster this season, a stance that becomes even stronger with the team playing well to open the year.

On Monday, the Red Wings had a conference call with Athanasiou and his agent Darren Ferris that included multiple people from the organization, expressing exactly what his role would be and articulating why the two-year offer is where it currently is.

They’ve also sweetened the one-year offer a tad from the $1.25 million that was already on the table in an attempt to get him into the mix in the short term.

With the Red Wings in Toronto on Wednesday, Detroit GM Ken Holland and Ferris met briefly in person again to chat about getting a deal done.

Custance continues (Paywall), and he reports that the Wings may very well want Athanasiou to play in Europe to avoid getting too rusty and/or decrease his trade value.

Also, in prospect news:

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Ken Daniels discusses his new book on Fox 2

Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels was on Fox 2 Detroit this morning to discuss his new book, If These Walls Could Talk, with Ryan Ermanni:

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Walleye coach Dan Watson weighs in on 2017-18 season expectations

Toledo's WTOL 11 filed a video report regarding Toledo Walleye coach Dan Watson's expectations ahead of the Walleye's home opener on Saturday:

Update: Also, from the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

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Morning news: On Zetterberg, Babcock and Wings-Leafs tailings

Of Red Wings-related note:

1. Henrik Zetterberg spoke with the Hockey News's Ken Campbell regarding his playing future:

Henrik Zetterberg raised eyebrows when he suggested he might not play all four years left on his contract, but the Red Wings captain is off to a hot start and said he doesn’t plan on calling it a career any time soon.

In what can only be described as enormously good news for the Detroit Red Wings and their fans, captain Henrik Zetterberg has no plans to leave the organization in a terrible situation the way Pavel Datsyuk did. In fact, if Zetterberg is to be taken at his word – and there’s no reason to do anything but that given his character – it will be health and not contract status that will be the determining factor in how long he plays.

“It’s pretty simple,” Zetterberg told THN.com. “When my body says, ‘Stop,' it’s over. I love doing what I’m doing, but I need my body to be able to do that. I will know when it’s over and hopefully there are many years left.” He was then specifically asked if he would retire in two years when his salary goes down to just $1 million, but his cap hit remains at $6.1 million.

“No,” Zetterberg said flatly. “As I said, when my body says stop, I will stop.”

Campbell continues, speaking with Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill about Zetterberg...

2. Holland also praised Leafs coach Mike Babcock in a conversation with the CBC's Tim Wharnsby:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Maple Leafs wrap-up

The Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs was both much closer than it appeared and exactly as close as the final score indicated, and that's particularly frustrating for the 4-and-3 Red Wings and their fans.

The Wings have lost two straight games, and they've lost two straight games because of mistakes characteristic of last year's misery, as well as plain old inattentiveness to detail, and there have just been some weird happenings, from a pair of goals on both Jimmy Howard and then Petr Mrazek's blocker and glove sides (respectively) to that strange goalie interference challenge that coach Blashill made that seemed to at least temporarily sap the wind out of the Wings' sails.

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Christopher Ilitch sits down with Sportnset’s Simpson to discuss Little Caesars Arena

I've had a weird summer and weirder fall, so I got to see the finished Little Caesars Arena and still-in-progress District Detroit for the first time before yesterday night's Queens of the Stone Age concert at the Fox, and it looks beautiful...but unfinished as the Cass Corridor is still very literally under development.

Before tonight's Wings-Leafs game, Sportnset's Christine Simpson spoke with Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch about the beautiful rink, the District in development and his parents' legacy:

Keep it going, Chris. So far, so gorgeous, and as Gary Bettman suggested, once the "full thing" gets finished, it's going to be spectacular.

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: not again!

The Detroit Red Wings hoped to avoid what has seemed like an inevitable result against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Make it 9-2-and-1, and moslty because the Red Wings didn't get any goaltending (or very little) en route to a 6-3 loss to the Leafs. Detroit rallied from a 2-0 and 4-1 deficits to make it 4-3 halfway through the second period, but Morgan Rielly's power play goal--and the bizarrely-timed Blashill challenge that followed--seemed to pop the Wings' balloon and suck the momentum out of them, and from the start of the 3rd period on (despite the Wings' 15-8 shot advantage in the 3rd period, and despite Nick Jensen's 3-assist performance), it looked like the Leafs' game.

Detroit out-shot Toronto 33-26 and out-attempted Toronto a massive 56-38, but Detroit went 24-and-36 in the faceoff circle, their starts, line changes and over-willingness to chase the Leafs around the ice just made the Wings over-reliant on a Jimmy Howard who was horrible and a Petr Mrazek who had some great moments and had some crappy ones.

Now the Wings are 4-and-3, the Wings will battle the Caps on Friday and Canucks on Sunday, and then head on the road for a week, and it'd be really nice to see the Wings string 3 periods together.

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It’s Griffins press release time

Here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

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About The Malik Report

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.


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