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‘Three Things’: Abdelkader, Larkin discuss the World Cup; Abdelkader answers 5 Questions

Of World Cup-related Red Wings note this evening:

1. Before they left for World Cup training camps, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Justin Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin and Petr Mrazek regarding the World Cup of Hockey...

“It’s great for the league, great for all the countries involved, and for the players,” Abdelkader said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to represent my country. Being in Toronto, I know there’s a lot of hype around the event. It’s a good way to kind of kick the season off.”

While Canada will be the prohibitive favorites to take the title, you can’t count out the Americans, who finished second in the last best on best tournament played on a North American ice surface, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

“It’ll be different experience but it’ll be fun,” Abdelkader said. “We’re all looking forward to it.”

He anticipates filling more of a defensive role on the U.S. team than he’s accustomed to playing in Detroit.

“I’ll most likely be in a checking line role, probably play some penalty kill,” Abdelkader said. “Whatever I can do. I’m just kind of going in, looking forward to the experience playing with the guys, building some relationships with them, obviously playing whatever role they put me in.”

2. With Larkin telling Duff that the under-23 "Team North America" shouldn't be regarded as simply a "dark horse" team:

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Pavel Datsyuk At Home In Russia

from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,

Datsyuk, who scored a goal in SKA St. Petersburg's 5-1 victory against Nizhnekamsk on Sunday, said Tuesday he is looking forward to putting on the Team Russia jersey. He also played in the World Cup the last time it was held, in 2004 when he was 26.

"It's going to be a good tournament," Datsyuk said. "There are lots of good teams and it's a good level [of play]. It's good for hockey players, for the fans and for everybody."

The Red Wings would have been happy to have Datsyuk back for the final season of his contract after he had 16 goals and 33 assists in 66 games last season. But for family reasons he wanted to return to Russia to close his career and signed a two-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg.

He seems to be enjoying the homecoming. He has four goals and three assists in six games.

"It's home, so it's been unbelievable," Datsyuk said. "It's part of my life now."

more on Team Russia...

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Talking about ‘Double A’s’ roster-making chances

The Free Press's Helene St. James compiled a mailbag feature today, and she was asked repeatedly about "Double A":

Several inquiries regarding forward Andreas Athanasiou, and whether he’ll make the team: What with 13 active forwards signed to one-way contracts, plus Dylan Larkin, and with Anthony Mantha expected to make a push, the Wings are packed up front. However, already off-season injuries indicate neither Teemu Pulkkinen (shoulder surgery) nor Tomas Jurco (back surgery) will be ready for the start of the season. A knee injury leaves questions about Henrik Zetterberg. Already, numbers appear to be shifting in Athanasiou’s favor. Most of all, though, he's going to be a hard cut (he can be sent down without waivers) because of his incredible speed, and his ability to use that speed to create sudden scoring chances.

St. James continues...

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Wings’ summertime moves don’t earn a passing grade from CBS’ Peters

CBS Sports' Chris Peters has issued off-season grades, and his take on the Red Wings' offseason performance is...hard but fair?

Detroit Red Wings

Grade: D+

Offseason breakdown: Ken Holland didn't have a good situation with Pavel Datsyuk leaving with a year remaining on his contract. The veteran GM managed to move the cap hit for a reasonable price (moving down in the draft), but then seemed to use the extra cap space inefficiently. Hefty extensions for Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser while going the bridge route with goalie Petr Mrazek stand out. A positive addition, albeit an expensive one, was Frans Nielsen. Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott also signed on cheaper one-year deals. Detroit was dealt a bad hand to begin with, got out of it and then put themselves right back up against the cap.

Peters continues, and I'll readily admit that I have fewer problems with the Wings' free agent signings than I do with the generosity with which Helm and DeKeyser were re-signed, because those deals really took away from the team's cap space. I like both players, but I think they were slightly overpaid, and as a result, the Wings won't be able to even consider finding a free agent stop-gap defenseman to bolster a thin blueline.

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Custance examines the Red Wings’ ability to ‘chase the Penguins’

ESPN's Craig Custance has been examining the 29 NHL teams "chasing the Penguins" on a division-by-division basis, discussing teams' abilities to measure up in five key categories. In today's Insider-only entry, Custance examines the Atlantic Division's teams, including the Red Wings:

Detroit Red Wings

1. Franchise center(s): It’s a transition season on this front for the Red Wings. Pavel Datsyuk is now in Russia and Dylan Larkin, who broke into the league on the wing, projects as a possible franchise center but isn’t there yet. Henrik Zetterberg is 35 years old and coming off one of the least productive offensive seasons of his career. The key will be developing Larkin into a player who can take the baton at center in Detroit.

2. Big-minute franchise defenseman: Nope, and this is a serious problem for the Red Wings who, four years later, still haven’t come close to replacing Nicklas Lidstrom. It’s an impossible task, for sure, but if this franchise wants to return to its previous heights, it needs to find a way to land a bona fide No. 1 defenseman.

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Mrazek, Neuvirth competing for Czech starter’s spot

NHL.com's Michael Langr discusses the competition for the Czechs' #1 goaltender's spot:

The decision on which goalie starts for Team Czech Republic at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 will be between Petr Mrazek and Michal Neuvirth.

"The tournament is short and there is no time to let all three goalies play," coach Josef Jandac said. "We are planning to have only two goaltenders in the games and Ondrej Pavelec will be the third one."

Neuvirth and Mrazek each will play in one of the first two pretournament games, against Team Russia at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday (12:30 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports) and against Russia at O2 Arena in Prague on Saturday (10:30 a.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports).

Then a decision will have to be made about who starts the third pretournament game against Team North America at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Sept. 14 (3:30 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports), followed by the naming of the starter for the World Cup.

"I see it as a bit of a battle between the two. We didn't want to say who would be No. 1 or No. 2 because we wanted to keep both of them motivated," Jandac said. "It's the start of the season and you never know in what shape and mood the guys will be. We want to see them on the ice and create some competition to keep them motivated."

Mrazek told Langr that he's ready to go:

 

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Morning news: Larkin’s line, Kadekin’s strong game and a WHL team’s honoring Gordie Howe

Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Thus far, Dylan Larkin's played a limited role on Team North America, per Hockeysverige's Uffe Bodin and TSN 690's Amanda Stein:

When Jonathan Drouin got shook up, things changed...

2. In the prospect department, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin took 5 shots and went 6-for-11 in the faceoff circle, playing 12:29 in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's 3-1 win over HC Sibir;

3. This story "reads" a bit morbid, though that's the CBC Saskatoon's intention:

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Red Wings release full promotional, giveaway schedules

From the Red Wings:

RED WINGS ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONS AND GIVEAWAYS FOR “FAREWELL SEASON AT THE JOE”
... Stanley Cup Championship Celebrations, Statue Replica & Bobblehead Giveaways, Community Nights & Collection Drives All Highlight Exciting Home Schedule to Celebrate Final Season at Joe Louis Arena …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced the promotional schedule and theme nights for the upcoming “Farewell Season at The Joe.” Of 41 regular-season home games during the 2016-17 season, the Red Wings will offer a total of 23 exciting giveaways to fans in attendance. Fans will have the opportunity to collect Red Wings themed items, along with replica items to commemorate Joe Louis Arena and the memories held within the iconic venue before the team moves to Little Caesars Arena for the 2017-18 season.

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The Outlook For Thomas Vanek

Ansar Khan of Mlive with the season outlook for Thomas Vanek,

2016-17 outlook: Concerned about their offense and lacking a right-handed shooter among their top-six forwards, the Red Wings took a flier and signed Vanek to a low-risk deal.

A one-time prolific goal-scorer with the Buffalo Sabres, Vanek has been in decline the past couple of seasons. He doesn't skate well and has been criticized for taking too many shifts off.

But he has a good shot and offensive instincts. He's a big body and goes to the net, but he isn't abrasive. He will play on the second or third line and should help a power play that struggled most of last season.

The Red Wings also hope Vanek will be highly motivated to get another contract.

more

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AWood40’s playoff goal highlights spotlight ‘96, ‘97 seasons

AWood40 issues some heavy artillery today, providing Wings fans with the team's playoff goals from the 1996 and 1997 post-seasons:

 

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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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