Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Eventually We May See Them Play

from Chris Johnston of the CP at TSN,

The experiment is off to a rousing start.

When the Detroit Red Wings signed free-agent forward Damien Brunner over the summer, they did so with the idea of playing him alongside Henrik Zetterberg. The NHL lockout put a hold on those plans -- at least until Zetterberg contacted his new teammate a couple weeks back and inquired about joining him in Switzerland with EV Zug.

They've been inseparable ever since.

"Detroit said they were going to put (Brunner) on a line with Zetterberg, so I got to do it first," Zug coach Doug Shedden said Wednesday in an interview. "I texted (Red Wings GM) Kenny Holland and said: `It works."'

Has it ever.

Zetterberg is playing like a man possessed with seven goals and 11 points in just five league games -- four of them victories for Zug to go along with a shootout loss -- while Brunner sits on top of the Swiss scoring table. The third member of the line, former Edmonton Oilers forward Linus Omark, is also among the league leaders in points.

continued which includes a look at other NHL players too...

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Canceling the Winter Classic turns this lockout ‘nuclear’

I'm about a week from returning from my uber-virus, but given that the Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival will be canceled today or tomorrow, I need to state the obivous:

Let there be no mistake. When the NHL cancels the Winter Classic and, as the Free Press's Helene St. James has noted, pulls its rink from Comerica Park, it will have declared nuclear war upon not only the NHLPA, but also its most fervent fans--and business partners.

Continue Reading »

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Pavel Still Has It

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

Detroit is dying a little without Datsyuk right now, and Datsyuk is dying a little without Detroit. Asked if he missed Detroit, he did not hesitate.

"Yes," he said. "A lot."

What about it?

"Hockey," Datsyuk said. "Fans. Locker room. People. It's tough a little bit. After over 10 years, you kind of change atmosphere, it's a little bit different."

Datsyuk has played for the Red Wings and lived in the Detroit area since 2001 – except, of course, for the '04-05 NHL lockout, which he spent with Dynamo Moscow. He has won a lot of games. He has made a lot of friends. He has made Detroit his adopted home.

He said he is not following lockout news.

"Remember, Russia is closed country," he cracked. "Nobody knows what's going on."

No Internet?

"No," he continued. "Too expensive in Russia."

much more

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A Good Chance The Winter Classic Will Be Cancelled By Friday

from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Globe and Mail,

“While the game may be Jan. 1, I knew that (a decision on the Winter Classic) was coming sooner than people thought,” sports marketer Brian Cooper said Monday. “Say you’re a bank and you’re going to bring down your top 150 wealth management clients and they’re going to block off New Year’s Day — you have to give that a lot of advance, especially if it’s New Year’s Day.”

Cooper, the president and CEO of S&E Sponsorship Group, represents a number of corporate clients who do business with the NHL.

He views the pending cancellation of the Winter Classic as a significant moment in the league’s ongoing labour dispute. The game at Michigan’s “Big House” was one he thought had a tremendous amount of potential because of the inclusion of the Maple Leafs, the first Canadian team to participate.

“This is the first year that it really affects Canada,” said Cooper. “There was going to be a lot of in-market (sponsorship) activations, there were going to be a lot of hosting opportunities, there were going to be consumer promotions. ...

“This was a big date.”


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Wings Talk Lockout

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

With news arriving Friday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had announced the cancellation of all regular-season games through the end of November, members of the locked-out Detroit Red Wings made no effort to hide their distaste for the leader of their league.

“To me, it seems like everything Gary Bettman does is in spite,” Detroit defenceman Ian White said. “It seems like what he does is meant to send a message, or for leverage. It’s always some sort of tactic with him. It doesn’t surprise me.”

Wings centre Darren Helm views the move as a power play by the NHL leaders, a scare tactic if you will. “For them to cancel games right now into November, I don’t quite understand why they’re doing that,” Helm said. It just sounds like it’s a play on their part to get us a little worried, scared about what’s happening....


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Detroit Players In Europe

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

When the NHL season begins – if it begins at all in 2012-13 – Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock might be inclined to put rookie Damien Brunner on a line with Henrik Zetterberg.

Zetterberg has formed good chemistry with the 26-year-old Brunner while playing for EV Zug of Switzerland's Series A League.

Zetterberg has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in four games, three of them league games. Brunner, who was flourishing before Zetterberg arrived, leads the Nationalliga A league in scoring with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 13 games.

Their linemate, Linus Omark of the Edmonton Oilers, is reaping the benefits with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 15 games. He's second in the league in scoring.

continue to see how some of the other players are performing...

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Too Much AHL Time For Brendan Smith?

via Craig Custance of ESPN (must be an ESPN Insider to read on),

There's no doubt seasoning in the American Hockey League is crucial to the growth of most young hockey players. When citing the virtues of the league, scouts and team executives often say the same thing: They've seen players hurt because they were rushed to the NHL but never because they spent too much time in the AHL.

You can't help but wonder if Brendan Smith is pushing the limits of that theory....

This was the year we'd find out if the former Wisconsin star was ready to make that next step as an important NHL contributor. Then the lockout hit. And with the way talks are dragging, it could be another year in the AHL for the Toronto native.

Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill doesn't believe there's such a thing as too much AHL development.

"I don't think you can ever be that way," he said during a phone conversation earlier this week. "The American League is even better this year. Right now, it's the best league in the world. The competition is there. In light of the situation, he's playing. He could be one of those other people who is sitting out."

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Watch The Griffins On FSD

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins announced on Monday that this Friday’s home game versus the Charlotte Checkers will air live on Fox Sports Detroit at 7 p.m.

The game will be called by the award-winning broadcast team of Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond, who have worked Detroit Red Wings games together on Fox Sports Detroit for 15 seasons. Daniels is a two-time winner of Michigan Sportscaster of the Year (2003 and 2010) and was presented with the 2010-11 Ty Tyson Award by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Redmond, who has worked in the team’s television booth for 26 years, was honored in 2011 with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

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How About One For The Thumb

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

After the pennant was clinched and the World Series berth secured Thursday, Mike Ilitch spoke briefly on the dais, the size of the moment heavy in his voice. He thanked Tigers fans, gave a thumbs-up to manager Jim Leyland, was steadied by general manager Dave Dombrowski, then quietly exited the back of the stage.

There, away from the lights and the celebratory roar, Ilitch sat in a golf cart, surrounded by family, and posed for pictures. Minutes later, the cart zipped away with Ilitch and disappeared into the right-field tunnel.

The Tigers owner is 83 and moving slowly these days, but that's OK — he only has one thing left to chase. Of all the forces driving the Tigers, this is the most persistent one, the one that most desperately needs to be fulfilled. A World Series title has become Ilitch's last grail, and after nearly achieving it in 2006, when the Tigers lost to the Cardinals, the quest has grown more urgent....

Ilitch has four Stanley Cup rings from 30 years of owning the Red Wings. He has the Little Caesars empire, the Fox Theatre and so much more. He and his family are a towering force in rebuilding Detroit, and that would seem to be enough for several lifetimes.

But Ilitch unabashedly says his life wouldn't be complete without a World Series title. He's a former Tigers minor leaguer who forever harbored baseball dreams, and even though he no longer regularly bounds into locker rooms to greet players, they get the message. They see it in the team's $132 million payroll (fifth-highest), in Comerica Park's three million-plus attendance, in the fervent tones of a front office clutching a mandate that needs to be met soon.


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Video- What We Are Missing

Thanks to Sean Leahy for the twitter pointer...


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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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