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The Malik Report

Playoff Chances For The Detroit Red Wings

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

There are reasons, however, to think the Wings can cross the 2016-17 finish line to what would be a 26th consecutive trip to the playoffs for factors both external and internal.

Talking to players as Thursday’s opener at Tampa Bay approaches, there is a distinct sense that this season offers an opportunity to prove last season’s disaster was an aberration, not the new norm. Many players underachieved, special teams struggled, and by the end, there were lessons learned.

“The guys didn’t take as big a step as we should have last year,” Darren Helm said. “Everybody this year knows how important that is. We got some pretty good acquisitions and they are definitely exciting guys.

“I think we have a playoff team. We just have to do the things that we need to do. Hopefully we can just all buy into what we need to do. Winning games and making the playoffs is very important for us.”

Last season, the Wings finished in the bottom third of the NHL in goals-per-game at 2.55, and in the middle of the pack in goals-allowed per game at 2.67, powerplay at 18.8% and penalty killing at 81.6%. Do just a little better in each area, and at least a handful more victories should materialize.

“The way I look at it is marginal gains,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We need to be be marginally better in a bunch of different areas. I don't think it’s this big, huge step forward. I talk all the time about taking a thousand steps forward through the course of a year. We need marginal gains in a lot of areas — we need guys to be a little better individually. We need our special teams units to be a little better.

more

added 9:20am, I see George posted this earlier, sorry for the double post.

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TMR morning line: Culture club

From the Free Press's Helene St. James' Red Wings preview:

“I think what people underestimate with the Detroit Red Wings is the culture in the locker room,” [Red Wings coach Jeff] Blashill said. “And I know culture is an easy word to throw around. But I know for a fact, having gone through coaching searches this year and having talked to lots of coaches throughout the league, that our locker room is at an elite level in terms of everyday work ethic, everyday attention to detail, and selflessness.

“And I think that’s allowed this team to continue to earn opportunities to compete for the Stanley Cup by making the playoffs. And that is what will allow us to do it again this year.”

St. James continues...

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs preseason wrap-up and overnight report: AA, Mantha have yet to sway Blashill

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Saturday night, wrapping up their preseason slate with a narrow win as the Wings' "A Team" got all of a single game to attempt to gel ahead of this week's season-opener against Tampa Bay.

Our friends from Toronto were relatively satisfied with their game, but TorontoMapleLeafs.com's Adam Proteau duly notes that the Wings' resiliency carried the day...

Continue Reading »

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Prospect news: Walleye win exhibition game; Hronek, Givani Smith add assists

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL, Alex Globke scored and Jake Paterson pitched a 25-save shutout in the Toledo Walleye's 1-0 win over the Kalmazoo K-Wings, wrapping up the Walleye's exhibition season. The Walleye's website posted a recap:

Continue Reading »

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs preseason quick take, experimental version

Trying to do the narrative recap a little differently, here's my quick take on the Red Wings' 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here are my thoughts from the 1st period of play:

  • Thomas Vanek found Gustav Nyquist with an absolutely slick pass off a set of turnovers from the Maple Leafs, yielding a 1-0 goal for Nyquist. That was a gorgeous goal at 1:46:
  • Dylan Larkin nearly replicated the feat, finding Mike Green for a back-door shot that Fredrik Andersen stopped, and on the power play, with Green continued to last pucks at the net;
  • And on a 2-man advantage, Dylan Larkin stopped a Zetterberg shot-pass and rifled a backhand pass past Andersen's glove to make it 2-0 at 8:11:

Continue Reading »

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs preseason open post, take 2

The Detroit Red Wings close out their preseason schedule with a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/TSN4). The Red Wings will be icing what's very close to a full lineup against an equally NHL-ready Leafs squad, and Henrik Zetterberg will be part of Detroit's roster this evening.

Here's an open post to suit your needs.

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Official Release From The Detroit Red Wings On Today’s Player Movement

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Matt Lorito and Evgeny Svechnikov and defensemen Joe Hicketts and Robbie Russo to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins and released forwards Louis-Marc Aubry and Kyle Criscuolo, defenseman Nathan Paetsch and goaltender Cal Heeter from professional tryouts. Additionally, the team placed forwards Tomas Jurco and Tomas Nosek and defensemen Vili Saarijarvi and Dan Renouf on injured reserve, reducing its active roster to 32 players (19 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goaltenders).

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Ken Holland On The Opening Night Roster

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

“I think there’s always this focus on the opening day roster,” Holland said, before the Red Wings were to play the Maple Leafs Saturday (7 p.m., Joe Louis Arena, Fox Sports Detroit).

“But, at the end of the day, before the year is over we’re going to need 15, 16 forwards, eight or nine defensemen, and we’ll probably need three goalies,” he said.

“There is a focus on the opening day roster. But if we keep somebody up and they get an opportunity to play and don’t play very well, and someone else had a good preseason and they go down and they start out good in Grand Rapids, you can flip them. It’s a two-hour drive a way.”

more

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Double A will stick to the basics

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with Andreas Athanasiou regarding his performance during the preseason and his status as skating uphill in his attempt to crack the Wings' deep forward lineup:

"I think I've done well," Athanasiou said. "I'm just going to keep playing my game, do what I do. I know what my game is. I'm not going to try to stray away from it and do something that I'm not used to."

Mantha has size and Athanasiou has speed. Both are also very good friends.

"We've been playing together for years now," Athanasiou said. "We hang out so much. You never want to see anything like that happen but that's how the game is. He's going to do everything he can to make the team and I'm going to do everything I can to make the team. It would be unbelievable if both of us could but you never know what's going to happen."

The fact is both Mantha and Athanasiou could be sent down as they are still waiver-exempt. Blashill has the two starting with Riley Sheahan at center.

Athanasiou is keeping a good attitude about the situation.

"There's a lot of players here and a lot of good players," Athanasiou said. "You can't really look at that, let that effect your game. I think everyone sees how many players are here. What you have to do is put that aside and go play your game and the rest will take care of itself."

Wakiji continues...

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Zetterberg itching to return

Henrik Zetterberg is returning to the Red Wings' lineup tonight, and he spoke with DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji about his return:

"This game tonight's going to be huge for just to be back playing games," Zetterberg said. "You can only do that much in practice but you need to be out there and play games. So we're happy I was able to come back here and play tonight and it will help me for Thursday."

At least initially, Zetterberg will be on a line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar. Zetterberg will start on the wing.

"Even though I've been a center before, I've been playing wing too so it's not a big difference for me," Zetterberg said. "Even when I've been playing with Pavel (Datsyuk), and if he's been center, we've kind f been switching on and off and it will probably be a little similar when me and Frans play."

Having said that, even though Zetterberg and Nielsen have been friends for many years, they have never played together so it might take some time to get used to each other.

"He's been at the World Cup and I've been injured so we haven't gotten that many practices with each other," Zetterberg said. "We get tonight and all next week and should be ready to go for Tampa."

Continued

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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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