The Malik Report
from Dave Goricki of the Detroit News,
All the hype this season has gone to Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, but Larkin has been equally impressive with the Wolverines, especially since coming back from the World Junior games.
Eichel, the leading scorer (11 goals, 34 points) in college hockey, is expected to be a top two pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. He was recently showcased with a three-page spread in Sports Illustrated and is said by the publication to be "them most anticipated U.S. prospect since Bobby Carpenter in 1981."
Larkin, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound center, wears the No. 19 jersey and thrills Michigan fans like Steve Yzerman got Red Wings fans out of their seats.
Larkin outperformed Eichel in the World Junior Championships and was the team's leading scorer despite not playing on the power play....
Larkin had a solid first half, being more of a play-making center. He had three goals and 16 points in his first 15 games, then came back to help the Wolverines sweep No. 9 Minnesota, chipping in with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 in overtime Jan. 9 and scoring two goals in a 7-5 win the following night to earn Berenson his 800th career victory.
He had two goals and two assists last Friday in a 10-6 rout of Ohio State and now has eight goals and 25 points this season.
I try to stay out of players' social media lives when they post non-hockey-related stuff--because I believe they deserve some basic level of privacy if they're not talking about hockey--but this picture probably serves as the most definitive proof that Tomas Tatar won't be heading to Columbus to represent the Wings at the All-Star Game.
That could change, but at this point, it appears that Columbus will be Red Wing-free come Saturday and Sunday, in no small part because the Czech-and-Slovakian Brothers are on vacation:
Director Gabe Polsky's much-feted documentary, Red Army, is finally coming to theatres (with a limited release in Metro Detroit scheduled for February 23rd), and as Slava Fetisov's become something of a "set the record straight" shit-stirrer (that's not a bad thing, that's a good thing) during his second act as a Russian senator from Vladivostok, the following comments, noted by the Free Press's Steve Schrader, come as no surprise:
Fetisov — in the new documentary "Red Army," which is the subject of a feature in this week's Sports Illustrated — says then-CCCP coach Tikhonov was beholden to the KGB and favored Moscow Dynamo players such as goalie Vladimir Myshkin over Red Army players. Dynamo represented the KGB. Fetisov and Tretiak played for CSKA Moscow, which represented the Red Army.
Of course, Tikhonov famously and inexplicably — until now — pulled Tretiak in favor of Myshkin after one period of the 4-3 loss.
"Three out of four goals was scored on a Dynamo player defensively," Fetisov says. "It's a KGB organization. Three goals out of four. I didn't allow one goal in this game."
If true, the move backfired on Tikhonov.
"Tikhonov tried to kill Red Army," Fetisov says. "If Tikhonov would have won Olympic gold in Lake Placid, I guarantee, no (bleeping) Russian Five would exist. Dynamo would have dominated from then on. The loss of the Olympics in '80 helped me to become who I am."
Schrader continues, and I hate to say it, but I'd rather have the Russian 5 any day of the week. There are generations of Wings fans--plural--all over the world whose passion for the Red Wings was inspired by watching Fetisov, Konstantinov, Larionov, Kozlov and Fedorov at work.
Updated with Pulkky Talk at 2:12 PM:
Note: This will be updated with the most glib interview I've ever heard Teemu Pulkkinen give to anybody in short order...
When the Red Wings' front office speaks, I listen very closely, and Kirk Maltby appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery show yesterday to discuss the state of the Wings going into yesterday night's game and the All-Star Break, so this qualifies as 8-and-a-half minutes of important information--especially given that the pro and amateur scouts had a pre-trade deadline, pre-draft powwow in Las Vegas last week:
This press release from the Grand Rapids Griffins gets a big thumbs up (and it should be noted that Xavier Ouellet's not going to the AHL's All-Star Game due to a sore wrist...and the whole he's probably staying in Detroit thing):
PULKKINEN ASSIGNED BY DETROIT, NAMED TO AHL ALL-STAR STARTING LINEUP
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League on Wednesday announced that Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Teemu Pulkkinen has been selected by fan vote to the Western Conference’s starting lineup for this weekend’s 2015 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, N.Y.
A native of Vantaa, Finland, Pulkkinen leads the Griffins in scoring with 39 points (20-19—39) in 33 games, in addition to ranking fourth in the league in scoring and tying for first in goals. On Jan. 7 versus Charlotte, Pulkkinen scored a goal for the eighth game in a row, tying Donald MacLean’s 2005-06 franchise-record goal-scoring streak.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Wings forward Riley Sheahan was part of a group headed to Cancun, Mexico. "There's probably not going to be much hockey talk," he said. "It's just going to be relaxation. It'll be nice. I think everyone is looking forward to the break. We don't get time to relax that often, so it'll be good to spend some time just laying low."
Defenseman Brendan Smith was headed to Turks and Caicos with younger brother Reilly, who plays for the Boston Bruins. "We'll both go and hang out and get lots of sun," Brendan Smith said. "It's a good time to get away from the game."
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said he, his wife and their 15-month-old daughter are "going someplace warm. But if I lived in Florida, I think I would go to a snowy place where I can ski."
Petr Mrazek and Stephen Weiss also were headed to Florida, Weiss to visit his wife's parents.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had some...amusingly glib things to say about the Red Wings' record going into the All-Star Break (27-11-and-9 after Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win, good for 3rd in the East and 2nd in the Atlantic Division after 47 games played, or 57.317% of their season played) as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
And just as he suggested on the NHL on XM Radio's afternoon show earlier in the day, the Red Wings' GM expressed mild-to-moderate satisfaction on the "State of the Wings" while speaking with Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave (via RedWingsFeed):
Update: Oh swell. Pulkkinen will play in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, and both Sunday and Monday's games will air on FSD:
The Red Wings went into Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win over the Wild playing a little too footloose and fancy-free for my tastes, and instead of settling down and clamping down on a very vulnerable Wild team, the Wings got cute, got lazy and got their butts handed to them, dropping their 4-1 3rd period lead over the course of 7:10 of terrible hockey and hanging on from there.
Red Wings fans have been waiting to see the Holy Slapper for a while now, and Teemu Pulkkinen delivered just that on Tuesday, via a superb set-up from Stephen Weiss:
He's short, he's not physical and he's not particularly speedy over long distances, but the kid can shoot, and here's hoping many more one-timers go through helpless goaltenders.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on NHL on XM Radio this afternoon, speaking with Scott Laughlin and Matthew Barnaby. Holland issued something of a pre-All-Star Break "state of the team," and he also addressed Mike Babcock's future, stating something that you and I already know--that he and Mike Babcock are very likely to wrap up a contract extension for the coach, but that said extension isn't coming until the conclusion of the Red Wings' 2014-15 campaign:
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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.