The Malik Report
The Grand Rapids Griffins continue their 5-game first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals today at Van Andel Arena (4 PM EDT start).
While the Griffins lead the series 1-0, Griffins coach Todd Nelson told the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner that his team has to play much better in order to win today:
It started with penalties in Game 1. The Griffins, with the fourth fewest penalty minutes a game (11.12), were whistled seven times for 14 minutes including three for high sticking (one a double minor).
The oddity is they came from unlikely culprits. Kyle Criscuolo, with 14 penalty minutes all season, picked up six in under three minutes in the second period on two high sticking calls, and Brian Lashoff had a delay of game and interference call in the first period - the later leading to the Admirals' first goal. Lashoff had 32 PIM during the regular season.
Tomas Nosek, who produced the game-winning goal 9:32 into overtime, said it was part of the feeling out process, even though the teams met 12 times during the regular season.
"It was the first game. It was a nervous game," he said. "They took a lot of penalties and we did, too. It's just the playoffs."
The power play was also below standards. The Griffins, who get 32 percent of their scoring with a man advantage, were one for seven and surrendered a short-handed goal late in the second to give the Admirals a 3-2 lead.
"Our power play has to be better," Nelson said. "But in the playoffs, guys are more desperate when they're killing a penalty, they pay the price more because it's the playoffs and it's tougher to score a power play goal. We just have to simplify it with more pucks to the net."
Update: Here's the Griffins' Game-Day Preview video:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. You find out some interesting things reading stories about "Wings alums" from time to time, and ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a story about former Red Wings announcer Dave Strader which reveals a starting cancer diagnosis for Mickey Redmond in 2008:
Redmond, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer twice, knows well the path that his longtime partner and friend is traveling. When he was diagnosed the second time, in 2008, doctors told Redmond that they did not expect him to survive. He and Strader have talked about the fact that nothing is certain, even the face of most bleak of diagnosis.
Redmond remains impressed, like so many others, with Strader's upbeat attitude.
"Man, oh man, he sounds good," Redmond said. "He's got an inner strength that's very admirable."
You, too, Mickey. Doctors removed half a lung when Redmond most recently battled cancer.
2. In very different news, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Jimmy Howard regarding his future with the team during locker room clean-out day, and Howard was circumspect about probably being exposed in the expansion draft...
Of prospect-related note:
In the QMJHL, Adam Marsh sat out the Charlottetown Islanders' 5-4 loss to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The teams' Conference Final series is tied at 1 game apiece;
In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook had an assist in the Erie Otters' 4-3 loss to the Owen Sound Attack. The teams' Conference Final series is tied at 1 game apiece;
And Vili Saarijarvi had an assist, a +2 and 5 shots in the Mississuaga Steelheads' 3-0 win over Peterborough. Mississauga leads the Conference Final series 2 games to 0.
Update: The Grand Rapids Griffins' fine video crew posted a clip in which Matt Ford discusses the Griffins' 4-3 OT win over the Milwaukee Admirals the evening before Game 2 of the teams' first-round series (4 PM EDT start):
Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note over the past couple of days, in digest form (It's been a sniffly week in the Malik household):
- From the Red Wings:
The Wings posted a video thanking fans for the 2016-17 season's patronage:
In article form:
Prior to the Grand Rapids Griffins' playoff-opening win over Milwaukee, Griffins coach Todd Nelson sat down for a Q and A session with DetroitRedWings.com's Art Regner:
How would you characterize your year, especially toward the end of the season with the position the Red Wings were in, you were losing a lot of players to Detroit?
"I think consistency. If you minus the stretch where we had four guys called up and three guys injured, all key members to our team, that was the only stretch that we really faltered. We were pretty resilient as well. If we lost a game, we seemed to come back the next night and win. So those two words come to mind."
The Griffins' longest losing streak this season was four games and they were 15-6-0-2 in games immediately following a regulation loss.
You guys won 47 games, more than any other team in the Central Division.
"It was a great year. When we had guys get injured, some young guys stepped in and did great jobs. I think that's why we were pretty consistent. We have good depth on our hockey team. We were able to play a lot of the young guys, especially the last game of the year, just to see how they handled things and they did very well. So having that depth is really going to help us, especially if we go on a long playoff run."
Did you notice any difference in the guys who got some NHL experience? Did it help them in Grand Rapids?
"Anytime a guy comes back to us after getting a sniff up there, they play with a lot more confidence. I know it happened to me when I was playing. But the guys are certainly more confident, they're excited about what our team can provide in the playoffs. I think that's the biggest thing, it's not so much the skill set, it's just their confidence out there."
According to the Associated Press, the Red Wings will need to find a new video coordinator:
Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Dave Noel-Bernier is returning to college hockey, joining Omaha as an assistant under new coach Mike Gabinet.
Bernier was a forward for Omaha during the first four years of its program, 1997-2001, and he later was the Mavericks' director of hockey operations. He was hired by the Red Wings in 2015 and worked in opponent scouting and with players on the ice and in video sessions.
The 41-year-old Noel-Bernier also has been an assistant in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins and at the junior level with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the U.S. Hockey League.
Gabinet said Omaha's players will benefit from working with an assistant who has NHL coaching experience and who is an alumnus of the Maverick program.
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins opened their first-round playoff series with the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday, emerging with a 4-3 OT win. Tomas Nosek (OT winner) and Matt Lorito registered a goal and an assist apiece; Robbie Russo had 2 assists, Matt Ford and Evgeny Svechnikov scored goals and Jared Coreau stopped 32 shots.
The Griffins' website posted a recap:
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
Holland overvalued his own players, believed his core would improve with experience, and was slow to react when it didn’t happen. Because of that, he feels the heat entering the final year of his contract....
I respect the Wings’ undying desire to reach the postseason instead of scaling way back to start over. But if they’re going to pull it off, Holland must get bolder, more creative. With so many players on bloated contracts — due to Holland’s miscalculations — it’ll be difficult to make trades. That means he might have to take a risk and deal one of the promising youngsters — Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou — for a much-needed defenseman in a value-for-value blockbuster.
more which included Pistons talk too...
Ansar Khan of Mlive answers a few questions....
Q: The way the fans called for Steve to come home (on April 9), do you think that will put pressure on Chris Ilitch to make a change? If not this year then next season?
A: I don’t think so. Two days after that scene, Ilitch affirmed his support for general manager Ken Holland and confirming his return for 2017-18, the final year of his contract.
Ilitch said talk of an extension “is something for the future,” but his comments seemed to indicate he wants Holland here beyond this season. He said ownership has “100 percent confidence” in Holland as its GM into the future and that Holland has the passion to build a championship team again in Detroit.
I get the sense Holland is not ready to retire anytime soon and wants the opportunity to get the Red Wings back to where they were.
I don’t think Yzerman wants to return to Detroit, now or in the future. At least that’s what I’ve heard....
Q: What players do the Wings have a chance of losing through the expansion draft this summer?
A: The protected list will be one of the main topics of discussion and debate when the front office meets next month. I’m sure they have a good idea of what the list will be, but it could change if trades are made prior to the June 21 expansion draft.
Right now, I think some of the players who’ll be available to the Vegas Golden Knights are forwards Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Tomas Nosek, defensemen Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul and goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson will be exposed, but it’s safe to say neither will be selected....
more on each of the above answers plus two more questions...
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today signed forward Christoffer Ehn to a three-year entry-level contract. The 6-foot-3, 181-pound center is currently with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins as the club is set to begin its Central Division Semifinals playoff series against the Milwaukee Admirals tomorrow (Friday, April 21) at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.
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.