Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Sipple profiles Flint Firebirds coach Ryan Oulahen

From the Free Press's George Sipple:

Ryan Oulahen’s hockey path took him to Flint instead of Detroit.

A former Red Wings draft pick, Oulahen was introduced at news conference in Flint on Tuesday after being hired last week by the Ontario Hockey League as coach of the Firebirds.

Oulahen, a former captain of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate, suffered a career-ending hip injury during the 2008-09 season and began coaching in 2011.

He has spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach for the Battalion, the team he once played for in the OHL. He returned to the Brampton Battalion for the 2011-12 season and stayed on when the team moved to North Bay before the 2013-14 season.

The OHL recently took control of hockey operations for the Firebirds after suspending owner Rolf Nilsen after he fired the coaching staff twice in the same season. The OHL hired longtime league coach and former Edmonton Oilers coach George Burnett as general manager, Oulahen as coach and former Philadephia Flyers forward Eric Wellwood as assistant coach.

“I want to create a hardworking environment where the opposition has to know the Flint Firebirds are going to give it all they got,” Oulahen said. “Hard work can win you a lot of games, and we have to create that right from the get-go. I’m a big believer in playing both sides of the puck. You gotta be able to be a 200-foot player. I want to be extremely aggressive, really, really fast and structured.”

Continued with commentary from Ken Holland and quite a bit about Oulahen's career-ending hip injury...

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Thinking of the Dark Canuck while he’s still here with us

I'm still left all but speechless by today's news that the Tragically Hip's lead singer and lyricist, Gord Downie, has terminal brain cancer, and, per The Score's Josh Gold-Smith, the CBC and Sportsnet kept Canada's band's frontman in their thoughts with a superb Hockey Night in Canada opener this evening:

TSN's Bob McKenzie shared a chapter from his book, Hockey Confidential, today, discussing Downie and the Hip's mutula love affair with hockey.

As an American born a few miles north of Canada in Detroit and as someone who grew up listening to the Hip--the only album I stayed up to buy at midnight at the old Rock of Ages was Phantom Power--I speak for more than a few of us two-flags-flying Michiganders in wishing Gord and his family the best at this incredibly difficult time.

Hopefully my cousin Dan and I will see you on the road, be it in Sarnia or Windsor, because it turns out that a Hip tour means as much to the band as it does to their fans.

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Early overnight report: Larkin at the Worlds, player appearances and Griffins player-alum-tracking

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff, like MLive's Ansar Khan, spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the performances of the Wings' World Championship participants, and Holland spoke about Dylan Larkin's play in particular on the day Larkin was named the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Rookie of the Year:

“Larkin played a lot of the tournament at center,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland noted. “(Detroit coach) Jeff Blashill and I were pleased about that.

“He was a center (before coming to Wings), we put him on the wing to reduce his responsibility. He played well, he was an important player on their team. He played with determination, tenacity. He went from the fourth line (at last year’s worlds to the top six forwards). He had one point (last year) to (nine points).

“It was a big step in his development as a player. He had a really good tournament. A big part of player development is experience, experiencing a lot of different things. Two years in a row Larkin has been on Team USA and they played their way into the top four. It’s a fabulous experience for these young players in their development.”

Duff continues, discussing the balance of the Wings' participants;

2. In the "player appearance" department, Larkin will be attending the Belle Isle Grand Prix, as the Free Press's Helene St. James notes:

Continue Reading »

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THN’s Campbell speaks with Ken Holland regarding Pavel Datsyuk

Via RedWingsFeed, the Hockey News's Ken Campbell spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Pavel Datsyuk's status:

Coming off his bronze medal at the World Championship, Pavel Datsyuk will spend another week in Russia before returning to Detroit to discuss his future with GM Ken Holland. It’s believed Datsyuk has already met with a number of KHL teams and will meet more this week.

Datsyuk is expected to talk to Holland after the draft combine ends, sometime after June 5, and has a hockey school in Detroit that runs from June 14 through 16. Holland would like some clarification at that time so he can begin to explore trade options in the 10 days leading up to the NHL draft.

Datsyuk’s agent has said his client is cognizant of the situation he’d put the Red Wings in if he turns his back on the final year of his contract and said Datsyuk would like for the Red Wings to have options.

“He understands the predicament he would put us in, so now we wait,” Holland said. “I’m hoping he walks into my office and says, ‘Ken, I want to honor the last year of my contract,’ ” Holland said. “Am I expecting to hear that? No. Would I be surprised if he said that? Yes.”

Campbell believes that the Red Wings will trade Datsyuk's cap hit away, and he notes that Holland's had the time to discuss such scenarios with "cap floor" teams:

“I’ve talked to a lot of teams about a lot of things,” Holland said. “That’s what happens when your team gets eliminated early and you have a lot of time on your hands like I do. There’s a whole bunch of us out there.”

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Duff: Nyquist won’t meet Nyquist at the Belmont as the horse is ill

From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

Nyquist won’t be meeting Nyquist at the Belmont Stakes after all.

The results of bloodwork done on the Kentucky Derby winner named after Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist revealed a high white cell count, which can be an indication of an infection, and will require antibiotic treatment, preventing the colt from training.

Because of that the horse owned by Windsor’s Paul Reddam will skip the June 11 third jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.

Nyquist finished third in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and on Sunday came down with a fever, leading to the decision by his team to have the horse undergo blood tests.

...
Reddam already has a stud deal in place for Nyquist to stand as a stallion at Darley’s America in Lexington, Ky., following the conclusion of his racing career.

There is also a plan in the works to somehow recognize the horse and his connection to the hockey player Nyquist at a Red Wings game next season, and Reddam already has something in mind.

“You know what would be kind of cool, assuming the rest of the racing season goes well — to go to the Joe with the Derby trophy and have Nyquist the hockey player kind of hold it up in the air,” Reddam said. “A little photo session at centre ice there.”

Continued

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SKA St. Petersburg’s chairman claims he’s negotiating with Pavel Datsyuk

From Sport-Express's Igor Eronko, where there's smoke...

Roughly translated, from Sport-Express:

Gennady Timchenko, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SKA Gennady, revealed that the St. Petersburg team is negotiating a contract with Pavel Datsyuk, the forward from Detroit and the Russian national team. The Petrograd boss stated that the 37-year-old Russian citizen has been in contact with other teams.

"I think that Datsyuk will play in Russia," said Timchenko, on the evening of the KHL's end-of-season awards in Moscow. "We (SKA) are negotiating with Datsyuk, but other teams are trying. However, we have a good chance." (Igor Eronko)

So Datsyuk is "playing the field" in the KHL.

Sovetsky Sport, Sportbox, Allhockey, Sports.ru, R-Sport and Championat all confirm:

"With regard to the addition of Datsyuk to SKA, it's most likely going to happen. Surely there are more proposals to Pasha, but we'll gie him a good environment. Plotkinov and Tikhonov? They're interesting to us, we'd like to see them as part of our team," reports Timchenko to Championat correspondent Victoria Shmelev.

How exactly this would work is still unclear. The NHL and the KHL have a "memorandum of understanding" regarding not signing players who have valid contracts with another league's team, so it's entirely possible that the Red Wings would have to loan Datsyuk to SKA to allow him to actually play there. It's possible that the Wings could suspend him as well, but I believe that even under that circumstance, the $7.5 million cap hit would stay on the books.

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Ken Holland On The Wings At The World Championship

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Several Detroit Red Wings who either struggled late in the season or were banged up or scratched from the lineup performed well at the World Championship.

It was encouraging for general manager Ken Holland.

Alexey Marchenko led the bronze medal-winning Russian team in plus-minus rating. Dylan Larkin tied for Team USA's lead in points. Sweden's Gustav Nyquist tied for the tournament lead in goals. Tomas Jurco led Slovakia in points and tied for the team lead in goals.

They didn't face the stiffest competition, but it was valuable experience on the world stage.

"A big part of player development is experiencing a lot of different things," Holland said. "Two years in a row Larkin has been on Team USA and they played their way into the top four (winning bronze in 2015 and losing in bronze-medal game in 2016). It's a fabulous experience for these young players in their development."

continued including Holland on Larkin playing in the middle...

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What Would It Take To Get P.K. Subban To Detroit?

Corey Masisak of The Sporting News suggests what it would take for every NHL team to acquire P.K. Subban.

Here is Detroit's...

The Red Wings have lots of interesting young players to tempt the Canadiens with. Even if Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist are off limits, there are still about a dozen intriguing players for the Red Wings to build a package around. Maybe something like Danny Dekeyser, Xavier Ouellet and Anthony Mantha or Martin Frk would be a good starting point with another young player or a second-round pick involved. As a bonus, there are some ex-QMJHL stars in there who are quite familiar with La Belle Province.

more

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Dylan Larkin named Detroit Sports Broadcasters’ Red Wings Rookie of the Year

This was an easy choice, methinks:

DYLAN LARKIN NAMED RED WINGS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BY THE DETROIT SPORTS BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION
… Waterford, Mich., Native Was Unanimous Selection by DSBA Voters …

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin has been named the 2015-16 Red Wings Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association in a unanimous decision.

The 19-year-old Larkin made an immediate impact with the Red Wings this season, becoming the first teenager to play for the team since Jiri Hudler in 2003-04 and the first to crack the opening night lineup since Mike Sillinger in 1990-91. Larkin notched his first NHL goal and assist during his debut on Oct. 9 vs. Toronto and went on to be named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month in November. He ultimately finished among the league’s rookie leaders with 23 goals (T3rd), 22 assists (11th), 45 points (6th), a plus-11 rating (T5th), five game-winning goals (T2nd), 221 shots on goal (2nd) and 16:32 average time on ice (5th among forwards).

Continue Reading »

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Sipple: Nyquist aims for more goals

From the Free Press's George Sipple:

Gustav Nyquist said he knows he has to be better. He knows the Detroit Red Wings are paying him to score goals, something he didn’t do enough this past season.

After scoring 28 goals and 48 points in 57 games in 2013-2014 and 27 goals and 54 points in 2014-15, Nyquist signed a four-year, $19-million contract last July.

He and Tomas Tatar were supposed to take pressure off Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk this season. Instead, Nyquist and Tatar both underachieved.

Nyquist scored 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 82 games. He added one goal and no assists in five playoff games in a first-round elimination by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I want to score goals, obviously,” Nyquist said last month. “That’s what I’m supposed to do out there, along with other things. But goal scoring is a big thing, for sure.

“Wasn’t able to do that enough this year. That’s disappointing. Disappointed that I haven’t been able to do that this year. I’m just going to have to have a real good summer and work hard, get stronger, as always. I think there’s always room for improvement on that side in the summers. Come back real motivated to have a good season.”

Continued

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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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