The Malik Report
Updated at 10:45 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Last week, USA Today's Kevin Allen had this to say in an article titled, "Why your favorite Eastern Conference team won't win the Stanley Cup"...
Detroit Red Wings: Early question marks. The Red Wings are a legitimate contender if everything went their way, but Pavel Datsyuk will start the season on the injured list and there’s uncertainty about Johan Franzen’s future. Can Brad Richards carry the load early for Detroit? Is Petr Mrazek or Jimmy Howard the No. 1 goalie? Can the defense be elite level? Too many questions for Detroit to win it all. (KA)
And today, Allen and USA Today's hockey staff look toward the positive for the Eastern Conference's 16 teams, Detroit included:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: The Red Wings have gotten terrific value from Miller, who they claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay in 2009. He's been a checking line mainstay and one of their top penalty-killing forwards.
Despite his slight frame, Miller doesn't shy away from contact and is willing to sacrifice his body by blocking shots. Miller's output has declined since he posted career highs of 14 goals and 25 points in 2011-12, but offense is secondary to checking, penalty killing and providing energy.
While younger forwards Landon Ferraro, Joakim Andersson and Teemu Pulkkinen battle to earn spots in the lineup, Miller's defensive game and penalty killing ability should give him an edge.
Key question: Can Miller stave off competition from younger players to remain in the lineup?
Updated 2x at 10:04 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
First, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill attended the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation's golf classic today, and he not only spoke to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his relationship-building with new Griffins coach Todd Nelson, but he also discussed his acclimation to his new job:
"Preparation wise, we're in a good spot," he said Monday at the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation golf tournament at Egypt Valley. "We've had a lot of different meetings with our coaching staff over the past three weeks. All of us have been in Detroit enough to meet and get together so I think we're in a good spot."
He did also note: "The excitement level is certainly rising here as we're finally getting close. August is, obviously, a long month."
Blashill discussed his very, very busy summer with Wallner before offering an intriguing simile for his formal introduction to the Red Wings' players:
Updated at 10:07 PM: From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson moved into an area home last week, is preparing for the NHL Prospects Tournament in less than two weeks and proclaimed "it's go-time" for the season ahead.
But first he traded conversation, and maybe a few divots, with a most interesting golf partner. Nelson was paired with Red Wings coach and former Griffins coach Jeff Blashill at Monday's Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club.
Nelson could have used the golf tips – he played for the first time this summer on Friday – but he expected more discussion on their co-existences as coaches and meshing of philosophies.
"We've already had dialogue with personnel, and we'll get into some of the practices and how he's going to play in Detroit and we want to mirror that," Nelson said.
Up first will be the NHL Prospects Tournament that begins Sept. 11 in Traverse City. Nelson, who was in Traverse City for the organization's development camp in early July, said it will be invaluable in evaluation talent as he leads the Red Wings' prospects.
Update: Wallner posted a video of Todd Nelson speaking at the golf tourney...
WDFN's Art Regner spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill this morning, discussing the Red Wings' free agent signings, the team's goaltending and much, much more in a 24-minute interview. This is good stuff:
Updated 5x at 2:17 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' Youth Foundation is holding its annual Golf Classic, and more than a few Red Wings alums are taking part in the tournament:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: Richards has been in a steady decline since he averaged more than a point a game in three-plus seasons with the Dallas Stars (2008-11) and is coming off the least-productive non-lockout shortened season of his career. But he can still be a key player and fill some needs for the Red Wings because he's a creative playmaker with good hockey sense and brings Cup experience.
Coach Jeff Blashill has indicated Richards will center the top line until Pavel Datsyuk returns following off-season ankle surgery (projected to be anywhere from late October to late November). Henrik Zetterberg can handle the defensive duties and, in all likelihood, Justin Abdelkader can do the heavy lifting for that line.
When Datsyuk returns, Richards will move down to the second line.
Richards also will help a power play that ranked second in the NHL last season. He typically plays the point.
Key question: Can Richards adequately fill the top-line center spot until Datsyuk returns?
Two "good news" items have popped up from Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:
First, Shea reports that the State of Michigan's bond sale to fund the Red Wings' follow-on rink has concluded with all bonds sold to banks...
The money to build the $532 million Detroit Red Wings arena and events center was raised, as planned, with the sale of $450 million of state bonds late last year.
The Michigan Strategic Fund divided the sale into a $250 million in Series A offering that is backed by property taxes already captured by Detroit's Downtown Development Authority. The $200 million in Series B bonds are backed by the $11.5 million Olympia Development of Michigan has agreed to pay the DDA for bond retirement.
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
As Red Wings training camp approaches, there's some extra excitement with a new man in charge.
New head coach Jeff Blashill might sound like Mike Babcock but he's not going to be a Mike Babcock clone.
Blashill spent a season as Babcock's assistant in 2011-12 before going to Grand Rapids to be the Griffins' head coach.
General manager Ken Holland spent some time in his office this past week talking about the transition from Babcock to Blashill.
"One of the things Mike Babcock said to me before he signed with Toronto and before he went through the process is, did I think his time had expired in Detroit and I said no, because we were having lots of young players, there was a turnover of players so some of these players had played for Mike for two years," Holland said. "(Tomas) Tatar, (Gustav) Nyquist and (Riley) Sheahan, they just got here. But there was a group of players that had played for Mike Babcock for 5, 6, 7 years. When you're a boss or you're in pro sports and you have structure, you make them accountable every day, sometimes change is good."
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.