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Pierre McGuire on Babcock

Have fun with this one: NJ.com's Randy Miller spoke with Pierre McGuire regarding the concept that the Philadelphia Flyers might be able to out-bid Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings for Mike Babcock's services, and here's what McGuire said:

"No, no, no! Mike's a winner," McGuire told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday. "Mike's about going to a place that gives him the best opportunity to win, the types of players that they have, the players that they've drafted. Sure, money's going to play a role, but I don't see that being what it's all about. Mike's all about winning."

Babcock is Flyers GM Ron Hextall's first choice to replace recently fired Craig Berube, someone with knowledge of management's plans told NJ Advance Media. The Flyers missed the playoffs this season for the second time since 2012-13, but McGuire sees Philadelphia as a strong option for Babcock.

"It's a very desirable location for people to coach in the league because the commitment of ownership to win," he said. "You've also got some star players there that are still young enough and evolving."

It's also not such a desirable place to coach because Ed Snider tends to butt into his GM and coach's player personnel decisions...

McGuire's gut feeling on how this Babcock saga will shake out?

"The relationship's that's been built over time (in Detroit) with Mike and Kenny Holland and the Ilitch family [Red Wings owners] is strong," McGuire said. "I don't know what Mike will do. It depends on what he sees as a good fit for himself."

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Johan Franzen Feeling Better But Future Has Not Been Decided

from Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily,

Johan Franzen wants to continue his NHL career.

The big question is whether he’s healthy enough to do so.

Franzen has suffered multiple concussions, the last coming on Jan. 6 this season and it put an end to his season.

“This time was a little bit scarier,” Franzen said. “For two months you’re not able to pick up your kids or play with your kids for more than two minutes. It makes you think a little bit, but you know I’m slowly getting better, so that puts my mind to rest.

“I feel a lot better,” Franzen continued. “I was in a really dark place maybe not the first month because you think it’s going to get better. But then when it doesn’t get better, you start wondering.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland also doesn’t know what the future holds for Franzen.

“I don’t think anybody knows,” Holland said. “When you’re dealing with people that have concussions and he’s a bit of a history. That’s a decision that’ll be determined between Mule and Dr. (Jeffrey) Kutcher.”


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Slovakia rallies to defeat Slovenia

Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco took part in Slovakia's 3-1 win over Slovenia at the World Junior Championships today, with Tatar taking 2 shots in 19:43 and Jurco taking 2 shots in 16:11, and you look at the score and go, "Oh, it must have been a cruise control game for Slovakia," but in fact, the Slovaks had to rally from a 1-0 deficit in the 3rd period to win thanks to 3 late goals (including an empty-netter).

Tomorrow, Slovakia will be playing Norway at 2:15 PM. The game will not air on TV in the U.S., but you can find it by...alternate means.

I think the best news from Tuesday's game is that Jurco and Tatar are generally playing on the same line, and Tatar's earning key ice time in all situations, playing on the PP, the PK and skating when the Slovenes pulled goalie Robert Kristan to help "kill" the Slovenian 6-on-5. They're getting their minutes, and that's a good sign.

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Duff speaks with Larkin about…Larkin, St. James speaks with Holland about Mantha

Prospect talk remains the theme of the week: the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Dylan Larkin about possibly turning pro after the World Championships, where he's playing very solidly for Team USA...

Babcock and Detroit GM Ken Holland are en route to the Czech Republic to check out their future star in person and while many expect Larkin to return to Michigan, where he’d likely be the No. 1 centre and a Hobey Baker Award contender, he’s not ready to make that commitment at this time.

“Not 100 per cent,” Larkin said. “I’m still in between and weighing the options.”

He admits that his performance in the world tourney will have a significant impact on his ultimate choice of direction.

“Yeah it does,” Larkin said. “I wanted to wait until after the tournament to make a decision.”

Duff continues at length, concluding with this...

“I really feel like there’s not a wrong choice or a bad option,” Larkin said. “Either way I’m still going to be playing hockey and doing what I love. Well see what’s best for me.”

And in light of Jimmy Devellano's comments about Anthony Mantha and Mantha's comments about his struggles, the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland about his take on Mantha's difficult rookie pro season:

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Darren Dreger On Mike Babcock

from Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press,

Ken Holland and Mike Babcock are always jetting off somewhere, either to Grand Rapids to see the Griffins play — well, that one was by I-96 — or now to the Czech Republic for the world championships, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

And reading the tea leaves, Dreger says these road trips are a good sign for Babcock's contract talks as coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's interesting, isn't it?" Dreger told an Edmonton radio station. "You know, they had conversation on the weekend … I was told by Babcock it was good conversation but there's more to come. No timeline on when he intends on making a decision or what have you, but the more that these guys spend time together … "

Dreger continued: "You know, Babcock's not going to the world championships because he purely wants to scout and all of that. And if he were going, wouldn't he go alone? He's going as a representative of the Detroit Red Wings. So he's still invested and, frankly, he's still under contract. But if this relationship was straining because of an ongoing negotiation, I would think that Babcock would want to lay low, stay back in North America. …

read on

Update: Here's the audio, and you can read the Buffalo News's Bucky Gleason's Mike Babcock plea on your own:

Continue Reading »

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The Wings’ ‘coffee talk’ segment with Kyle Quincey is must-watch stuff, man

I wouldn't post this as a normal entry, but...Man alive, the Wings' "Coffee Talk" feature with Kyle Quincey yields insights into a very "Bohemian" dude's lifestyle:

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Mantha on Mantha

As I said yesterday (audio included), Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha addressed his struggles during his rookie professional season, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned an article regarding Mantha's comments...

"Personally, I think I underachieved a little bit," he said. "Obviously, I would have liked, say 50, 60, 70 points. That was my goal at the start of the season. Obviously, I didn't achieve that, but it's not over. I could have a great impact in the playoffs. Who knows? Only one goal could make a difference between winning a series or not. A block shot, one-on-one battles. It's not over and I want to show them I can still play great hockey."


It is physical play and full attention to detail each shift that the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Mantha will need to work on in the off season.

"I need to work on my strength, for sure," he said. "I need to work on a lot of aspects of my play, like getting quicker on my skates ... I got better as the year went along but I need to keep growing for the summer."

And again, Ken Holland and Mike Babcock addressed Mantha's shortcomings as well:

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Off-Season Questions For The Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are three questions regarding the Red Wings:

Which players who spent all or most of this season in Grand Rapids will be on the Red Wings' roster in 2015-16?

Teemu Pulkkinen is out of options, so the Red Wings need to keep him on the NHL roster. He provides a dimension with his booming right-handed shot. He led the AHL with the 34 goals in just 46 games. He had only five goals in 31 games with Detroit but was starting to figure out how to create space for himself.

Landon Ferraro's hopes for an NHL career were resurrected after he earned a spot in the Red Wings' lineup for the playoffs. His skating ability and competitiveness will enable him to battle for a roster spot in training camp as a bottom-six forward.

Mantha had a disappointing first pro season with the Griffins and needs more AHL seasoning.

On defense, Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet are NHL-ready; there could be a roster spot for one of them at the start of next season (Marchenko has the inside track). If not, both are waiver-exempt for another season, as are Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen.

read on for Stephen Weiss and perhaps a buyout and trading for Dion Phaneuf...

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On Blashill, revisiting the Phaneuf trade and outdoor hockey in Denver

It's not an "Overnight Report" as much as it's three stories, so:

1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa was also in Grand Rapids this past weekend, and he's penned a novella...erm, I mean article...about Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, framing him as Mike Babcock's possible successor.

With Mike Babcock admittedly undecided as to whether he's going to return, and me taking Babcock at his word, that means Blashill has to be evaluated on his merits. His merits include a USHL championship, a Frozen Four berth, a Calder Cup, and if I may be blunt, a manner of coaching that is both remarkably similar to Mike Babcock's in its preparation, attention to detail, decisiveness and intensity, and at the same time, he's...

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On Anthony Mantha and three “veries”

Highly-heralded prospect suffers a broken leg during a prospect tournament, misses training camp, and "loses his game shape" while rehabbing his leg. Player begins season a month-and-a-half behind the games-played curve and far further behind the confidence curve. Struggles snowball, highly-heralded prospect has very mediocre rookie pro season, is OK in playoffs, but just OK.

Player was expected to dominate as goal-scorer but didn't. GM, coach say that player needs to "hit the gym," but aren't writing him off by any means. Team VP seems to ignore injury in saying player's campaign was disappointing, using "very" three times. Internet asplodes.

Pro Hockey Talk notes the issue. The Hockey News points out that it still ranked player as 6th-best NHL prospect. Some blogger goes to Grand Rapids, watches two games focusing on player, realizes that he's out of shape, that stick is probably five inches too long, that team chose to allow player to struggle at AHL level instead of demoting him to ECHL because prospect from shallowest Major Junior league is still benefiting from struggling as a big fish in a Great Lake.

If you weren't aware, Anthony Mantha actually spoke with the media and this random blogger yesterday, addressing his rookie struggles, Babcock and Holland's remarks about him and his goals going forward, and I thought his willingness to admit to and embrace his struggles as a professional were incredibly encouraging:

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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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