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The overnight report: Wings ‘need to improve in all areas’ to find their form

Sixteen games into the regular season, the 8-7-and-1 Detroit Red Wings remain something of a puzzle. We've seen the Wings play absolutely dominant hockey against quality opponents, and we've seen them all but literally out-classed by both contending teams and teams just beginning to rebuild.

There are times that the Wings look like what they probably are--a playoff "bubble" team with more to give--there are times that the Wings really look like they've turned the "reload on the fly" corner, and there are times that the team looks woefully inept.

After playing 3 games in5 nights, the Wings took Sunday off.

On Monday, they'll regroup ahead of games against Tampa Bay (Tuesday) and Washington (Friday), 2 more "measuring stick" affairs, and as MLive's Ansar Khan notes, the Wings have much to improve upon:

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Tyler Bertuzzi’s got his fundamentals down

The Sudbury Star's Patrick Johnston spoke to both Tyler and Todd Bertuzzi regarding Tyler's debut performances with the Red Wings over the course of the past week:

“My job is to chip it off the wall and find [Dylan Larkin] in the middle, so he can just go,” said the Sudbury, Ont. native. “And if I can create some space for him in the neutral zone, he can work his magic.” Every game, you have to play it like it might be your last. You have to play hard and execute to stay in the lineup."

Maybe Blashill put it best about Tyler. He said after the morning skate Thursday that he had read somewhere that the young winger was nervous. He might have been sitting on the bench for seven minutes Tuesday with the Wings in penalty trouble, but not when he stepped on the ice.

“He worked his way into the game and by the end of the game, I thought he was Tyler Bertuzzi,” said Blashill. “That means he’s really smart, has great poise and doesn’t panic. He gets sticks on pucks and creates turnovers and has great hockey sense. He did things (Tuesday) that are going to make him successful.”

So will the environment. The level of expectation with an Original Six franchise is high, especially with the club having 25 straight playoff seasons and saying goodbye to Joe Louis Arena after this season.

"Every game, you have to play it like it might be your last," said Tyler. "You have to play hard and execute to stay in the lineup."

Johnston continues...

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Duff remembers Rogie the Wing

From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

You wouldn’t describe Rogatien Vachon’s time in goal for the Detroit Red Wings as memorable. He’s the first to admit that to be fact.

“I wish I would have played a little better in Detroit,” Vachon said.

Signed as a free agent in the summer of 1978 following an all-star campaign with the Los Angeles Kings, Vachon, who will be officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, was expected to be the final piece of the puzzle for a Detroit team that had just made the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Instead, his performance as a Red Wing simply turned out to be puzzling.

Vachon, 71, who’d won a Vezina Trophy and three Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and three times posted the lowest GAA in the NHL playoffs, went 10-27-11 with a 3.90 goals-against average in 1978-79, his first season with Detroit.

Things didn’t go much better for Vachon in 1979-80. He was 20-30-8 with a 3.61 GAA, and that summer the Wings dealt him to the Boston Bruins for Gilles Gilbert.

“Things didn’t work out as well as I thought it would but that’s hockey,” Vachon said, shrugging at his struggles.


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Prospect news: Holmstrom’s got a knee issue again; Kadeikin returns to regular play

Of prospect-related note:

This morning, I reported that Axel Holmstrom had survived a scare with reinjuring the knee in which he tore his ACL last season, but MLive's Brendan Savage reports that that's not the case:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a text Sunday that the severity of Holmstrom's injury isn't known but that he's scheduled to undergo an MRI and walked out of the dressing room under his own power, "which is good."

Assistant GM Ryan Martin said the Red Wings "won't know for a couple of days" how badly Holmstrom hurt his knee.

Let's cross our fingers. Axel is supposed to have one final year with Skelleftea AIK before coming over here.

In the game department:

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The Detroit Red Wings Were Dominated By The Montreal Canadiens

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Montreal Canadiens dominated the Detroit Red Wings in every aspect Saturday, but two things stood out.

"They had good speed and a good forecheck," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

The Canadiens were faster and more relentless. They took control of the game in the first period, broke it open in the second and cruised to a 5-0 victory at Bell Centre....

"Obviously, not good enough in a lot of different areas," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've got to compete harder than we competed in terms of just winning one-on-one battles, getting to pucks first. I'll go through a litany of things we got to get better at."

Said Zetterberg: "Overall, our battle level has got to be higher."

read on

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‘Two Things’: On an ‘expanding’ Howard and boring Wings

Of Red Wings-related note from the "hockey columnists" this morning:

1. There's this from the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa...

Jimmy Howard has come to accept that long term, Petr Mrazek is Detroit’s ace. But Howard also has accepted that if he continues his current pace of play, Las Vegas will be sure to spend one of its expansion picks on the ex-University of Maine netminder. Through seven appearances, Howard was 4-2-0 with a 1.22 goals-against average and .961 save percentage. Howard’s deeper numbers are also excellent: a .969 even-strength save percentage (just shy of Carey Price’s .971 standard) and a .938 mark during opposing power plays (Price was .880). Howard’s done all this behind a team that has chased the puck more than it’s controlled it. Howard was formerly an aggressive goalie. He’s playing a quieter game this season, settling back in his crease and waiting for plays to approach. Howard is signed through 2019 at $5,291,667 annually.

2. And this from the Hockey News's Mike Brophy:

Where is the Detroit Red Wings star power? It seems like only yesterday we were watching the Red Wings win championships with the likes of Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. With each passing day it seems like the Red Wings become more bland. Zetterberg is still kicking around and Dylan Larkin has star potential, but the rest of the team looks like a bunch of cookie cutter robots. The Red Wings are actually off to a decent start; they just aren’t that much fun to watch anymore.

I disagree with Brophy, but I'm biased.

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Prospect news: Griffins, Walleye win OT games; Hronek 1+2; Holmstrom endures a scare

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, Colin Campbell had a goal and an assist, Eddie Pasquale stopped 34 shots and Joe Hicketts scored his first professional goal in overtime as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 4-3 in OT. The Griffins' website filed a recap:

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Canadiens wrap-up—yet another loss in Montreal

I had planned on going to see Henry Rollins speak for several months, so I chose to skip watching this game live for some time, understanding that the Red Wings rarely win in Montreal--but I had hoped that the Wings would emerge from the first of three "Murderers' Row" games (the Wings now play Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Washington on Friday) with at least a point.

That didn't happen. While Rollins challenged the people in the audience at the Royal Oak music theatre to challenge the hateful words uttered during the political campaign with hard-core tolerance and understanding, the Red Wings didn't challenge the Canadiens eye-to-eye, and the Wings ended up looking very bad, losing 5-0 to Montreal, in Montreal, losing for the 6th straight time at the Bell Centre.

Our friends from Montreal set a best-ever home record with a 10-and-0 start, and ahead of today's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the 13-1-and-1 Canadiens must be brimming with incredible confidence.

The Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey took note of the game's most notable notes...

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Quick Game Recap- Detroit/Montreal

George is visiting with Henry Rollins tonight at the Royal Oak Music Theater so you are stuck with me.  Probably a good decision by George to miss the game.

It was 3-0 after the 1st period, 5-0 after the 2nd and that was the end of the night for  Jimmy Howard.

The 3rd period was scoreless, Canadiens defeat the Red Wings 5-0.

The Wings were pretty well dominated throughout the game.

Discuss if you wish and the Montreal goals are below, called by Bob Cole.

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Evening news: A Game-Day Preview video; on the Habs, Mantha and Axel Holmstrom

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Here's the Wings' Game-Day Preview video, which includes comments from Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Jeff Blashill:

2. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with the Wings about facing the 12-1-and-1 Canadiens as the Wings hope to snap Montreal's 9-and-0 home winning streak:

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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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