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The Malik Report

Blashill to HSJ on the Wings’ playoff outlier status: ‘This isn’t okay’

The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Red Wings' players and coach after practice today, and coach Blashill was blunt about the Wings' status...

The past several weeks have seen the Wings beat some of the best teams in the NHL (Washington, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Chicago, Nashville) but also lose to the likes of Colorado and New Jersey. Their inconsistency is among the reasons the Wings are headed for their first absence from the playoffs in 26 seasons.

“First of all, we have to know this isn’t OK,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “And if you don’t want to be here again, you better make sure that we continue to get better, and we better make sure that our approach is the right way so that the culture maintains. There are organizations where they have lost culture. They have missed the playoffs, and they miss it 10 straight years. We don’t want to be in this position again. This isn’t OK. That is the approach we are taking every day.”

And Justin Abdelkader told St. James that there's more than pride on the line for the players as well:

“Guys are playing for jobs next year and spots on the roster,” forward Justin Abdelkader said after today's practice at Joe Louis Arena. “There are young guys coming up fighting for positions. There is constantly a battle going on there. We are doing what we can to succeed. We are not worried about where we are going to draft. We need to finish this season feeling a little better about ourselves.”

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‘Down Goes Brown’ weighs in on the ‘Brawl in Hockeytown’

"Down Goes Brown," a.k.a. Sean McIndoe, penned a very lengthy article regarding the "Brawl in Hockeytown":

March 26, 2017 marks the 20-year anniversary of one of the most beloved moments in recent hockey history, which is kind of awkward because that moment involves a lot of people punching each other.

Today’s fans aren’t supposed to like brawls, especially ones that involve blood, sucker punches and flying goaltenders. We’re supposed to be above that these days, with fighting on the decline and the days of true bad-blood rivalries all but over. The game has evolved, we’re told. This is a good thing, we’re expected to reply.

So you may experience some cognitive dissonance when your caveman brain tells you that [it] was just about the greatest thing ever

Yes, Sunday will mark two full decades since the infamous Red Wings/Avalanche brawl at Joe Louis Arena. The fight served as payback for Claude Lemieux’s hit from behind on Kris Draper the year before, and was the catalyst for what would go on to become quite possibly the greatest rivalry in hockey history.

McIndoe continues, and here's a Twitter video of the brawl below:

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Articles from practice: On Helm, the Lightning and the Wings’ ‘young defensemen’

Updated 3x at 2:20 PM: Of practice-related note:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding Darren Helm's status after today's practice at the Joe...

"Make the decision tomorrow," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Possible. No contract really, today, so it'll still be a decision tomorrow."

Helm has missed two games with a leg injury. He seemed to be skating well Thursday, but he was filling in on a line for Gustav Nyquist, who took a maintenance day. Blashill said Nyquist is expected to play Friday.

And Khan spoke with Blashill regarding tomorrow's match-up with Tampa Bay, which has playoff implications for the Lightning:

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Robbie Russo’s Twitterview

Red Wings defenseman Robbie Russo held a "Twitterview," and here are his comments:

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20 years after the ‘Brawl in Hockeytown,’ McCarty and Lemieux get along well

As a follow-up to Bill Dow's articles about the Brawl in Hockeytown, 20 years on, Dow discussed Claude Lemieux and Darren McCarty's present relationship:

Just 10 minutes before a 1 p.m. autograph show March 11, Claude Lemieux walked into the Gibraltar Trade Center office in Mt. Clemens, having just arrived on a red-eye flight from his home in Huntington Beach, Calif.

With a huge grin, 44-year-old Florida resident and former Detroit Red Wings fan favorite Darren McCarty walked up to the man he famously manhandled during a game against the Colorado Avalanche 20 years ago at Joe Louis Arena.

“Hey, brother,” McCarty said as the two shook hands and gave each other a man hug.

The autograph show’s promoter, Joe Morgan, a Troy police officer, previously had the two sign together in 2011 and 2012. They hadn't met off the ice until 2010, when they taped an interview in Toronto.

“Darren was looking forward to seeing Claude again,” Morgan said. “In 2011, they were a little standoffish, but they get along great.”

McCarty said: “I hated Claude as a hockey player, but the player and the man are not the same. He’s a really good guy.”

Dow continues, and USA Today's For the Win blog's Michelle R. Martinelli recalled the Brawl in Hockeytown as well.

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It’s Pronounced ath-ah-nah-SEE-yew

from Craig Custance of ESPN,

His name is pronounced the way it looks -- ath-ah-nah-SEE-yew -- but people still want to add an extra N after the first A. And by "people," I mean me.

Athanasiou said that's the thing that puzzles him most -- folks who want to add letters that don't exist.

"My whole life, it's been butchered so many times," Athanasiou said. "It's just second nature now."

Many people resort to calling him nicknames.

"A-A, Double-A, anything Double," he said. "Anything but my name."

When he first played in NHL preseason games, Athanasiou noticed that broadcasters wouldn't say his name. Instead, they would just wait for him to pass the puck.

"And then [they'd] say, 'A pass to (whoever it was)," he said.

more on other young players and their names...

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Detroit’s Practice At The Joe Louis Arena

via Ansar Khan tweets,

RedWings on ice for practice. Mrazek in starter's net. Helm skating. Nyquist not skating.

RedWings lines in practice:
Tatar-Zetterberg-Helm (for Nyquist)

RedWings defense pairs:

added 12:02pm, Khan tweet,

Mrazek starting tomorrow


Blashill said maintenance day for Nyquist. He'll play tomorrow. Helm possible but unlikely. #RedWings


Blashill said maintenance day for Nyquist. He'll play tomorrow. Helm possible but unlikely. #RedWings

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Howard ‘on the rebound’

MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article about Jimmy Howard's resurgent play:

After missing almost three months with a knee injury, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard might be playing the best hockey of his career.

Take it from somebody who knows Howard's game perhaps as well as anyone on the Red Wings' roster.

"Howie looks every bit as good as maybe he's ever been," said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has been Howard's teammate since the veteran netminder broke into the NHL in 2005-06. "I think he's looked real solid all these games he's played and he's playing just as good as he was before he went down with the injury. It feels very comforting to have him back there."

Howard has been outstanding in three of four games since returning from a sprained MCL March 10. The latest was Tuesday's 2-1 overtime win in Montreal, where he stopped 35 of 36 shots against one of the NHL's top 10 teams.

He kept the Canadiens off the board until Artturi Lehtonen tied it 1-1 with 2:29 remaining.

Since returning to the lineup, Howard has a 3-1 record, 1.82 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.

Savage continues...

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Steve Yzerman speaks with ‘the 313’ regarding ‘the Joe’

Ahead of what may be Steve Yzerman's final visit to Joe Louis Arena, Fox Sports Detroit's "The 313" asked the Tampa Bay Lightning's GM about his first memory of Joe Louis Arena:

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Morning news: A Russo Twitterview, an effective power play, Z’s playoff streak and no USNWT in TC

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. If you're interested, Wings defenseman Robbie Russo will be holding a "Twitterview" at 1 PM EDT:

2. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff duly notes that the Red Wings' power play and goaltending have improved dramatically over the course of the last half-dozen games:

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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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