The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: The club expected Howard to have a good summer of training and to come into training camp highly motivated to win back his job from Petr Mrazek. Howard likely lost the starting job in the playoffs after allowing a couple of soft goals in a 4-3 overtime loss at Montreal on April 9. Mrazek shut out Carolina in the season finale to secure the starting job and held onto it by playing well in the first round of the playoffs against Tampa Bay.
Howard likely will need to play significantly better than Mrazek in camp, in the preseason and early in the regular season to win back the job. If the competition is close, Mrazek likely will get most of the work for coach Jeff Blashill, who won the 2013 AHL Calder Cup in Grand Rapids with Mrazek.
The Red Wings opted not to move Howard in the off-season (it would have been difficult anyway, with his contract). They want to see if Mrazek can carry the load over a full season and still excel. They are comfortable committing roughly $6 million to the position (Mrazek earns $737,500).
As long as the Red Wings are in playoff contention they're not likely to move Howard, who would serve as insurance in case Mrazek is injured. But if Mrazek proves to be their man, the Red Wings likely would look to move Howard next off-season. Mrazek would be due a huge raise and it makes no sense having Howard as the backup with his huge cap hit.
The overnight report: A charitable softball reminder; on Mike Green and a blast from highlights past
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. If you needed a reminder as to the fact that several current Red Wings will be joining the cavalcade of alumni taking part in the Joe Kocur Foundation's Celebrity Softball Classic this weekend, take it from the coach:
2. Regarding one of Blashill's new employees, the Free Press's Helene St. James scouts Mike Green this morning:
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
GRIFFINS ANNOUNCE PRESEASON SCHEDULE
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins will tune up for the 2015-16 American Hockey League season, their 20th overall as a franchise, by playing a pair of preseason games against the Lake Erie Monsters in Bowling Green, Ohio, and Windsor, Ontario, during the first weekend of October.
The first clash, hosted by the Monsters, will take place on Friday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bowling Green State University Ice Arena, home to the WCHA’s BGSU Falcons. The Central Division rivals will square off again the following night, on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:05 p.m. at the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre in Windsor, Ontario, where the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires play.
Tickets for the Oct. 2 game in Bowling Green will go on sale to the general public for $10-$25 on Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. through http://www.ticketmaster.com by ca,lling 877-BGSU-TICKET, or by visiting the BGSU Ticket Office in the Stroh Center. Fans who purchase a ticket to this matchup between the Griffins and Monsters can use their ticket stub for free entry to the Falcons’ exhibition game the following day.
Tickets for the Oct. 3 contest in Windsor will be available Tuesday, Sept. 8 for $11.75 through http://www.wfcu-centre.com or by calling (866) 969-9328.
From the Red Wings:
SINGLE-GAME TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY, AUG. 24 AT 10 A.M.
… Meijer Coke Zero Fan Packs Also Available For Upcoming 2015-16 Season Starting at $67 …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that single-game tickets for the 2015-16 season will go on sale Monday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m., offering fans the chance to see the team chase its 25th consecutive playoff appearance and 12th Stanley Cup championship.
Fans can purchase individual game tickets at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, online at http://www.DetroitRedWings.com and www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling the Red Wings sales office at 313-471-7575. Single-game tickets are subject to availability and normal fees apply.
ESPN's Julie Robenhymer penned an article about Team USA's World Junior Championship team's coaching staff, and she spoke with Wings assistant coach Chris Chelios regarding both his journey along the coaching path and his presence on Ron Wilson's Team USA staff:
After a 26-year NHL career that saw him win three Stanley Cups and three Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenseman and an international career that includes four Olympics, three Canada Cups, two World Cups and one World Junior Championship, not to mention the NCAA Championship he helped Wisconsin win in 1982, Chelios tried his hand at management as the assistant general manager for the Detroit Red Wings under Ken Holland, but it wasn't for him.
"It didn't suit me. I like being in the dressing room and on the ice with the guys and that's why I've turned my attention to coaching these past few years," Chelios explained.
Paul already covered this topic, but if you're interested...
From the Free Press's Steve Schrader:
Love it or list it?
Now that his kids have completed high school, former Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided it's time to list it: His Northville Township house went on the market last week. Maybe.
The four-bedroom, 4,486-square-foot home on a private wooded lot was listed for $799,999 (U.S.) on Wednesday, according to realtor.com, but then delisted the same day, with no explanation.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: With 55 goals in 139 games over the past two seasons, Nyquist has proven to be one of the club's leading offensive threats. His tremendous skating, creativity, vision and finishing touch make him a candidate to score 30-plus goals every year.
Two things he needs to improve on this season are being more productive at even strength and on the road (a high percentage of his goals and points came on the power play and at home). He must shoot more. His average shots per game declined last season (from 2.68 to 2.38).
He's strictly an offensive player so he'll never be relied on for checking or penalty killing, but his play without the puck could be better.
He's had difficultly scoring in the playoffs and must find more space when the checking gets tighter and the physical play increases.
Key question: Nyquist has proven to be productive during the regular season; is this the year he breaks through in the playoffs?
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James scouts one Luke Glendening, offering this outlook for Glendening's 2015-16 campaign:
Looking ahead: A good way to judge how Glendening is playing is by noticing his smile — the bigger the grin, the more effective he knows he is in getting under an opponent's skin. It's not trash talk that does it, it's refusing to give ground and frustrating top foes. Babcock was comfortable using Glendening against anyone, including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.
That won't change under new coach Jeff Blashill, but Glendening could see himself playing right wing more than center as newcomer Brad Richards makes the Wings even deeper down the middle. In any position, Glendening, 26, is responsible defensively and bursting with energy. He earns his minutes as a bottom-six forward and penalty killer, and if he can match or exceed last season's offensive contributions, that is a significant bonus. He was tied with Pavel Datsyuk for most empty-net goals at three, but don't diss empty-netters — they happen because guys such as Glendening have helped put the opponent into a desperate situation.
2. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a statistical analysis of Petr Mrazek's 2014-15 campaign, and among Mrazek's "Numbers"...
Update: Double post, whoops, sorry!
Last Sunday, the Free Press's Helene St. James profiled Justin Abdelkader while framing his 2015-16 season as an opportunity to earn a massive contract; today, MLive's Ansar Khan wonders whether Abdelkader can sustain his 2014-15 scoring pace:
2015-16 outlook: Former coach Mike Babcock gave Abdelkader the plum assignment as Pavel Datsyuk's linemate in 2013-14, counting on the big forward to do the dirty work on the top line – win puck battles, provide a net-front presence, use his physical game to create space for the skilled players. Abdelkader wasn't able to capitalize offensively, however. That changed last season, a breakout year for the Muskegon native and former Michigan State standout.
Abdelkader demonstrated his all-around value to the team, not only as an agitating grinder who is hard to play against but also as an offensive threat. He embraced the net-front role on the first power-play unit. His role on the penalty kill has diminished the past couple of seasons, due to more power-play responsibility, but he still is effective on the PK. His late-season injury was a big blow; even though he returned in Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against Tampa Bay, he wasn't the same.
If new coach Jeff Blashill plays Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together, Abdelkader likely would be their linemate. His size and grit are vital for a team with many smaller, skilled forwards. Abdelkader is entering a contract season and due for a significant raise on his next deal.
Key question: Can Abdelkader continue providing offense following his breakthrough season?
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