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The New Look Power Play

Updated 4x at 3:21 PM: from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Much of practice was spent on special teams, which saw power play personnel redistributed. Zetterberg’s unit with Anthony Mantha and Niklas Kronwall had new looks in Andreas Athanasiou and Martin Frk. Dylan Larkin’s unit with Mike Green and Tyler Bertuzzi added Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. The swaps give each unit speed (Larkin and Athanasiou) and a right-handed shot (Frk and Green)....

Blashill is hoping Athanasiou can help with zone entries.

“We wanted to make sure and give AA to that Zetterberg unit just to give them a little more speed and entry success,” Blashill said. “Zetterberg’s unit had a great, great run of getting in zone. It’s really only been the last couple weeks where they haven’t. But, it’s gone dry. So let’s see if we can help them there. And then with Frky there, he gives them a real shooting element on that power play.

“We’re hoping that they both can get some chemistry quick. That’s the hard part when you switch around, is you have to get chemistry quick, but you also get to a point where we’ve stayed patient with it, and we are not getting the results, so we have to look for other ways.” 

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Update: MLive's Ansar Khan also filed a practice report:

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Detroit’s Practice Today

I will update if needed.

Update: Here's George, trying to report from crappy WiFi at the doctor's office:

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Galli, Woodriffe report in from the Toast of Hockeytown

The Red Wings held their Toast of Hockeytown last night to benefit the Detroit Red WIngs Foundation, and a couple videos from the event popped up over the course of the evening.

WXYZ's Brad Galli filed a report from Little Caesars Arena...

As did Fox 2's Woody Woodriffe...

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Questioning Two Long-Term Contracts

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans...

Q: How does (Holland) justify the large and long contracts he signed with (Justin) Abdelkader and (Darren) Helm? Both have been injured several seasons in a row. They have consistently under-performed offensively.

A: His justification simply is he believed they were worth it when he signed them.

Abdelkader received seven years at a $4.25 million cap hit in November 2015. He was coming off his best season (23 goals, 44 points) and they didn’t have many players like him (decent size and physical, with scoring ability). At the time, he seemed like he might be the next captain after Henrik Zetterberg retired.

Helm was signed for five years at a $3.85 million cap hit hours before hitting free agency in 2016. They didn’t want to lose his speed. He was coming off two fairly healthy and, by third-line standards, productive seasons (28 goals, 59 points combined). They valued his versatility (ability to play top-six or bottom-six, kill penalties and even play the power play).

I think the pressure to keep the playoff streak intact also played a role. They weren’t ready to start rebuilding and believed Abdelkader and Helm could help them extend the streak better than whatever replacements they brought in had they not signed them.

more Q & A including Holland's future with the Wings...

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Prospect news: Gallant scores; European, OHL round-up

Of prospect-related note:

In the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin took 3 shots in goal in 15:17 played but did not register a point in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's 6-5 OT win over Severstal;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo won 72% of his faceoffs in 11:23 played as Jukurit lost 2-1 in overtime to TPS Turku;

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 with 1 shot, and a 50% faceoff record, in 12:48 played during the Frolunda Indians' 4-1 loss to Farjestads BK;

And in the OHL, Cole Fraser finished at -1 with 1 shot and Zach Gallant scored a goal on 2 shots, winning 5 of 18 faceoffs in the Peterborough Petes' 5-1 loss to Kingston;

Brady Gilmour finished at -1 with 2 shots and an 11-for-15 faceoff record, and Reilly Webb finished at -2 with 1 shot in the Saginaw Spirit's 6-2 loss to the Barrie Colts.

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Articles from practice, late version: Wings concerned with power play; the schedule is weird, man

The Detroit Red Wings held a brief practice prior to the Toast of Hockeytown on Thursday, and before the Wings hob-knobed with their fans, the Wings' beat writers report that the team attempted to address its struggling power play.

MLive's Ansar Khan wrote an article about the Wings' power play woes...

The power play has converted only 2-of-33 opportunities the past 10 games (6.1 percent). The penalty kill has allowed nine goals in 28 shorthanded opportunities over 12 games. (67.9 percent success rate).

"I said in the beginning of the year we need elite specialty teams and I thought for a portion of the year we had that and right now we don't," coach Jeff Blashill said. "If we want to win games before the All-Star break, we need elite specialty teams."

The Red Wings have four games before the break, starting Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesars Arena (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

Then the Wings play the Devils (away), Flyers (at Little Caesars Arena) and Blackhawks (at LCA)--and they play those 3 games over the course of only 4 nights--so the Red Wings are going to have to make some adjustments in a hurry.

Khan reports that Blashill plans on making some changes to the power play units, but more switching players from unit to unit as opposed to fielding new power play personnel:

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Tweets from practice: Bertuzzi, Zetterberg ‘take maintenance days’ per Khan

The Red Wings' Thursday afternoon practice preceded the Toast of Hockeytown event, so it wasn't covered intensely. MLive's Ansar Khan posted the only Tweet from practice...

And the Red Wings posted a pair of player (Gustav Nyquist) and coach's comment videos:

added 5:43pm, some power play talk added below too..

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Prospect news: Grifins lose to Milwaukee; ECHL ASG set for 2019 in Toledo; Cholowski posts 2A

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins gave up 3 3rd period goals en route to a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday. Matt Puempel and Ben Street had a goal and an assist apiece and Jared Coreau stopped 24 shots in the Griffins' loss.

The Griffins' website posted a recap, photo gallery, highlight clip and interview clip from the game, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner filed a recap noting that the teams battle again on Friday in Milwaukee;

Wallner also profiled former Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, who's coaching the South Korean Olympic Ice Hockey team. WOOD TV profiled Paek as well:

In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye have announced the format of their 2019 All-Star Game, the team is holding a "Hockey Heritage Weekend" on February 23rd and 24th, and the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe penned a mid-season check-in with the Walleye, a note about Pat Nagle's participation in the ECHL All-Star Game and a profile of Connor Crisp;

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Red Wings’ Alums to hold two important games on Friday and Sunday

The Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association is playing a pair of games of charitable note this week. The Wings' Alums will take part in a game to benefit the City of Novi Police and Fire Departments on Friday...

And the Wings' Alums will be playing in East Lansing against MSU Alumni on Sunday:

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The Athletic: Grand Rapids Griffins captain Matt Ford leading by example

From The Athletic's Emily Waldron:

GRAND RAPIDS — Matt Ford has a consistent pregame routine, honed over the years of playing in the American Hockey League. This routine, which consists of the veteran right wing skating a round of sprints to accelerate his heart rate has, until this year, normally been performed solo. One day this season, however, it took a turn when Griffins 21-year-old defensemen Joe Hicketts ended up next to him.

“I'm pretty sure one day he stood next to me and he just started going, so I started going a little bit faster,” Ford said, grinning at the memory. “Then I noticed that he was trying to race me. It was a joke at first, but now we take a lot of pride in who's going to win that race.”

Hicketts, a self-proclaimed spark plug, readily shows his admiration for the 33-year-old captain,  but he’s also not one to let sentiment cloud any opportunity to come out on top, especially during their now-standard pregame competition.

“I don't like to lose,” Hicketts said with a smirk. “So, I'm not going to lose to the oldest guy on the team, that's for sure.”

Continued (paywall)

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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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