The Malik Report
The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger wrote a lovely article about the genius that is one William Scott "Scotty" Bowman:
It is 11:03 local time here Wednesday night and the Chicago Blackhawks — the team his son Stan primarily built — has just beaten the host Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, thanks to a pair of goals in the final seven minutes that helped snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Hawks comeback has been engineered not by Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, but by a 20-year-old Finnish rookie named Teuvo Teravainen, who scored the equalizer on a seeing-eye shot from the top of the faceoff circle, then set up Antoine Vermette’s winner by creating a turnover deep in the Tampa Bay end.
Now, as Teravainen is being led past us to a nearby interview room, Scotty Bowman finally reveals what’s going on between those 81-year-old ears.
“Did you see the way Teravainen knocked the puck off the stick of that Tampa player (J.T. Brown) that led to that Vermette goal?” Bowman asks. “He’s got a great ability to do that. He reminds me of Igor Larionov the way he can do that.”
Scotty Bowman is right, of course. When it comes to hockey, he is right about most things. And you can bet that, in this arena filled with about 20,000 fans, media and workers, only he could see a bit of Igor Larionov in Teuvo Teravainen.
Continued...And I wish he was still doing this for Detroit, but I'm glad that Scotty's still "in the game"...
This isn't the biggest news in the world, but it's a) from Bob McKenzie and b) involves the Red Wings and a free agent defenseman:
From the Red Wings:
PETR MRAZEK NAMED RED WINGS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BY THE DETROIT SPORTS BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION
… First-Year Goaltender Played 29 Regular-Season and Seven Playoff Games for Detroit …
DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek has been named the 2014-15 Red Wings Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
A 23-year-old netminder from Ostrava, Czech Republic, Mrazek suited up for 29 games with the Red Wings in 2014-15, leading the team with a 2.38 goals-against average, 0.918 save percentage and three shutouts, alongside his 16-9-2 record. Among NHL rookie goalies who started more than 15 games, Mrazek placed third in wins, second in goals-against average, first in save percentage and second in shutouts. He also started all seven postseason games for Detroit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, posting a 2.11 goals-against average, 0.925 save percentage and two shutouts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mrazek became just the fifth goalie in NHL history to post two shutouts in the same playoff series in which he made his NHL playoff debut.
Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Fan 590's Greg Brady posited the following Tweet this morning, per Sportnset's David Singh:
3. The Detroit Free Press is engaging in a voting contest of a different kind, asking fans to weigh in as to which coach is the best in Michigan sports history. Mike Babcock and Scotty Bowman are among the quarterfinalists;
4. And Petr Mrazek was named the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Rookie of the Year today.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
The Detroit Red Wings made the playoff for the 24th consecutive season and lost in a seven-game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.
Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Red Wings team that will have a new coach and is facing some challenges based on their current roster construction.
The Red Wings lost in seven games against a Tampa Bay Lightning team that is in the Stanley Cup Final, so there should be some consideration that losing to a team of that quality in such a manner isn't the end of the world.
At the same time, this is a team that, as a perennial playoff club, is reloading on the fly and trying to remain competitive because their best players - forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, along with defenceman Niklas Kronwall - are all at least 34-years-old, and Detroit is trying to prod their next group of core players - led by Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan - into having the stuff for another legitimate playoff run while Datsyuk and Zetterberg can still be difference makers.
Maybe that day has already passed and the new coach - expectations are that it will be Grand Rapids bench boss Jeff Blashill - will have to put greater focus on the future, continuing with Detroit's enviable model of sustainability.
It is an accomplishment to always be in the running, but the Red Wings haven't reached a Conference Final since losing in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. Even if this year's Red Wings may not have been that far off, the window for their stars is closing and it's going to be up to the up-and-coming Wings to keep it propped open.
This article from the Plymouth Observer's Tim Smith spoke with USA Hockey senior director of operations Scott Monaghan about the goings-on at the soon-to-be-former Compuware Arena, and it sounds like USA hockey isn't going to fool around in terms of taking advantage of the facility to showcase the NHL prospect-producing machine that is the U.S. National Team Development Program:
Monaghan, senior director of operations with USA Hockey, is more than confident that those people — and many more — are going to love the new kind of junior hockey that will be rolling into the Beck Road arena beginning in September.
"I encourage people to come out and check it out," said Monaghan, during a recent interview in Mike Vellucci's old office. "I think they'll find it's really, really good hockey to watch."And watching these kids grow as a group over two years is one of the most-unique things."
With Compuware Arena officially to become USA Hockey Arena soon, not to mention a sprawling makeover (a 20,000 square-foot addition is in the works), he is confident many of those fans will flock to see one of two high-end National Team Development Program squads (Under-17 and Under-18).Those teams will play a schedule of games including the United States Hockey League (a major junior circuit) and NCAA.
I don't know if this gives you any comfort, but ESPN's Craig Custance asked Tampa Bay Lightning players which playoff opponent was their most difficult during media day, and 5 of the 8 Lighting players he surveyed (for an Insider-only entry) said the following:
2. Detroit Red Wings | Five votes: The Red Wings pushed Tampa Bay to the limit in the first round, and the Lightning haven’t forgotten. There remains a high level of respect for the Detroit team that nearly ended this Lightning run before it began.
“The Detroit series was the most physical, and the space out there was very limited,” said Lightning defenseman Garrison. “I was just coming back from an injury, and that might have had something to do with it. Things were happening quick; guys were all over the place; and you’re fighting for every inch out there. That team had experience, and you could tell when you played against them.”
Another angle that made Detroit a challenge, according to Carle, was the similarities between the two teams. Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman has built a team in Florida that most definitely has DNA from the organization he left in Detroit.
“The Detroit series was probably hardest for us,” Carle said. “Detroit played a similar game to us. It was almost like playing a mirror image of ourselves, which made it tough. … It was a battle, the whole series, the way they skated and moved the puck.”
By now this is pretty much the expected timeline--between the Red Wings brass's engagement in the NHL's draft combine this week and Jeff Blashill's exit meetings with Grand Rapids Griffins players stretching into Monday, it appears that Blashill will be named the Detroit Red Wings' coach next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday--but the Free Press's Helene St. James is confirming said timeline:
General manager Ken Holland is busy this week at the NHL scouting combine in Buffalo, with Thursday set aside to attend an NHL competition meeting in New York with a handful of fellow general managers, Players Association representatives, and commissioner Gary Betttman. Then it's back to Buffalo Friday for more interviews with NHL draft hopefuls.
The Wings have been coach-less since Mike Babcock decided to take the Toronto Maple Leafs job two weeks ago. The heir apparent all along has been former Wings assistant Jeff Blashill, but the Wings weren't going to make that official while Blashill was still busy coaching the AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.
The Griffins were eliminated from the Western Conference Final Tuesday night, losing in six games to Utica. That's freed up Blashill, so now it's just a matter of time before there's a press conference. Given that Wings management usually talks to Griffins players before they scatter for the summer, Tuesday would seem to be the earliest an announcement will come.
added 5:38pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Red Wings will announce Blashill's hiring during a press conference next week at Joe Louis Arena, a source said.
Blashill, 41, will become the second-youngest head coach in the NHL, behind recently hired John Hynes of the New Jersey Devils, who is 40.
Blashill likely will receive a three-year contract, since general manager Ken Holland has three years remaining on his deal.
Jeff Blashill, whose American League season in Grand Rapids ended Tuesday in a playoff series defeat, is expected to be named the Red Wings' new coach in a news conference next week, according to several sources who asked to remain anonymous because an announcement has not been made yet.
Update #3: Make it 3 sources, per Fox 17...
Sources have confirmed the weeks-old rumors to FOX 17 that the Grand Rapids Griffins head coach will be announced as the new leader of the Wings sometime next week. The 41-year-old will become the second-youngest head coach in the National Hockey League.
And four per this report from WOOD TV8:
The Grand Rapids Griffins, like any AHL team, are going to experience massive changes this summer as some of their veterans move on or retire, some players choose to pursue opportunities with other North American or European pro teams, and some prospects are going to move up to the Red Wings.
In the Griffins' case, it appears that Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde will take the reins from Jeff Blashill as well, and that likely means some coaching turnover, but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner chose to ask 5 questions regarding the Griffins that will transcend any behind-the-bench moves.
His third and fourth questions are the most Wings-related:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' season ended on Tuesday night; their 2-0 loss to the Utica Comets eliminated the Griffins from the AHL's Western Conference Final.
While Jeff Blashill declined to address his status save telling Peter J. Wallner that the Griffins will be holding exit meetings on Monday, and the Red Wings executives' status as attending the NHL's draft combine in Buffalo this week = no announcement of any form until next week at this time at the earliest, the rumor mill is in full swing regarding what is presently the worst-kept secret in Detroit sports.
The Griffins went on a helluva run, but the Comets' goaltending and checking were too much in the end, and as a result, the Griffins' website recaps a disappointing end to a strong 2014-15 season and playoff campaign:
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.