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Ken Holland speaks with WDFN’s Matt Sheppard

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with WDFN 1130 AM The Fan this morning, giving Matt Sheppard 12 minutes of his time and addressing the Wings-Bolts series at length:

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Custance on the decline of coaching ‘gamesmanship’

From an Insider-only blog entry by ESPN's Craig Custance:

Move your hands across the cinder block walls in the visitors’ dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, and you can feel a bit of history. The holes and lines on a normal cinder block wall have all been just about smoothed over. The many coats of paint on those walls are like the rings of a cut down tree. The ones buried the deepest tell the best stories.

Gone are the days when Scotty Bowman would order those dressing room walls painted just in time for the visiting team to arrive but, thankfully, those stories are not.

“It wasn’t the paint that bothered you,” said Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Keenan during a Monday phone conversation. “It was the smell. You know what paint smells like. That was just to throw our team off, finding any possible competitive edge.”

When those rooms were painted just in time for the visiting team to arrive, it wasn’t some Joe Louis Arena worker messing with the opposition. This was Scotty Bowman at his finest.

“Scotty loved that stuff,” said Detroit Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano. “He didn’t just order it done, he would be in there supervising.”

And Keenan can’t say for sure who was behind the theft of one of the St. Louis Blues' playbooks from their Atheneum Suite hotel in 1996, but he knows a portion of it ended up in the local Detroit paper.


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Red Wings-Lightning morning skate Tweets: No changes for Detroit; Lightning to ‘hold an optional’

The Detroit Red Wings face what may be the most important game of their 2015-16 campaign tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports 2/97.1 FM). Detroit can either tie the series at 2 games apiece or fall into a 3-1 deficit depending on the outcome of tonight's game.

The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:30 AM for their morning skate, as noted by Fox 2...

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Red Wings-Lightning Game 4 set-up: Wings don’t balk the challenge of defeating the Bolts in Game 4

The Detroit Red Wings hope to even their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/CBC/NBCSN/TVA Sports 2/97.1 FM)

The Lightning were grumpy after going through a full practice on Monday and then being asked about the "chicken dance" scenario and its beer-throwing dressing--something the sports talk radio gents and public radio folks had fun with--and it clearly annoyed Brian Boyle, as the Free Press's Brian Manzullo noted...

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Regarding the decision-maker

Jeff Blashill made some intriguing comments about his coaching background during Monday's media availability, and the Free Press's Helene St. James wrote a fine article about Blashill...

“I learned in coaching a long time ago, you better not be afraid to make decisions,” Blashill said. “So you make decision and you learn from them, but it can’t hinder you from making decisions in the future.”

Blashill, 42, reflected on lessons learned earlier in his career.

“I started coaching as a college recruiter,” he said. “So, you’re recruiting college, you go out and you make decisions about which players you’re going to bring in, and they’re with you that next year. So, if they’re bad decisions, you’ve got to live with it. And your head coach is asking for your (resignation). Then you go out the next time you recruit, if you’re afraid to make a decision and you get paralyzed, then you have no chance.

“Bottom line, we’re paid to make decisions. We make the best educated decisions we can. I say all the time, we’re going to make some good ones, and we’re going to make some bad ones. We better learn as a coaching staff and get better, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

St. James continues, and both she and MLive's Ansar Khan, who also wrote a superb article about Blashill, noted that the Wings' players are happy with their coach's job--and Lightning coach Jon Cooper vouches for his friend's credentials:

"I thought it was time for a change for everyone," Zetterberg said. "Jeff came in from Grand Rapids. He coached a lot of the guys that we had on the team already. I thought it was a smooth transition. He's been good. I think the line of communication has been really good between coaches and players. So I got nothing really bad to say. We found a way to get into the postseason. That was our goal and we just got to have a good playoff."

Blashill has juggled his lines frequently this season.

"I think he's done a good job all year of trying to mix and match some different combos, some different lines and D pairings, pretty much whatever he's got to do," Danny DeKeyser said. "(In Game 3) he switched some things up a bit and I thought we played a lot better. It might have been a little bit of home ice and the lift we got from the crowd, but he did a good job of getting the right pairings together."

Khan also continues...

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All about Luke Glendening

This profile of Luke Glendening, written by NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, is superb:

Joe Day, who played 72 NHL games for the Hartford Whalers and New York Islanders in the 1990s and lives in Grand Rapids, worked with Glendening on his skating. A business consultant, he also put him through a test used to identify personality traits of executives and athletes. Glendening scored like a top prospect.

"Coaches want aspirins, not headaches," Day said. "He's an aspirin."

So Day called NHL executives, including Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin, who watched Glendening play in college and invited him to Red Wings development camp in the summer. Martin thought Glendening could provide depth in the minors and approached Jim Nill, then a fellow Red Wings assistant GM, now the Dallas Stars GM.

Nill agreed to sign Glendening to a two-way deal -- an AHL/ECHL two-way deal. The Red Wings ended up signing Glendening to a one-way AHL deal because Glendening received a similar offer from another NHL team, but they worried they wouldn't have the budget to carry his AHL salary in the ECHL if he were demoted.

And sure enough, he was demoted.

When Glendening arrived for AHL training camp in 2012, Blashill, then coach of Detroit's affiliate in Grand Rapids, wasn't impressed. Glendening lacked puck skills and was a drill-killer. Blashill couldn't see value in him.

"I cut Luke as quick as I could," Blashill said. "He was our first guy cut and sent down."


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Steve Yzerman wants to win a Cup with the Bolts

From the Tampa Bay Times' Tom Jones:

So, what's next?

The assumption is Yzerman is eventually going to go back to the place where he is king: Detroit.

"I want to win a Stanley Cup as a general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said. "We started something. We're trying to win a Cup. That's my goal. I take pride in what I do. I want to be successful and I hope I can be successful with the Lightning."

Yzerman thinks back to Game 2 last week at Amalie Arena. The building was full with Lightning fans. The game was exciting. Tampa Bay won. This was what he envisioned when he took the job. Detroit is special, yes. Always will be. But maybe going back to Detroit wouldn't be such a great idea. Why risk ruining the pristine legacy he has in Motown?

Anyway, Tampa Bay is his home. For now. Maybe for a long time.

"I hope so," Yzerman said. "That means I'm doing a good job and I'd be very happy with that. I'm worried about right now, the next few years. And if I'm the GM of the Lightning in 20 years that means I've done a good job."


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Game 3 Moves Paid Off For Jeff Blashill

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Petr Mrazek, replacing Jimmy Howard, faced only 16 shots but recorded his third shutout in eight career postseason games vs. the Lightning.

Brendan Smith, replacing veteran Kyle Quincey, was physical and strong defensively in one of his best games of the season.

The newly formed line of Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan held the Tyler Johnson line to no shots on goal, after they had dominated the first two games.

"I think on the bench he knows the right things to do," Sheahan said. "Being at home we had the last line change. We could do things we wanted to do and he made some good choices. You have to give him a lot of credit. He's an experienced coach and has had success at every level. We're happy with him."

When all is said and done, could it be the defining moment of Blashill's first season as an NHL head coach?

read on

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Justin Abdelkader Kept His Cool

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Give credit to Justin Abdelkader for having a ton of composure.

Tampa Bay’s Brian Boyle challenged Abdelkader to fight Sunday at the end of Game 3, only to have Abdelkader decline, for a variety of reasons.

Primarily, Abdelkader had already earned a misconduct in Game 2 for fighting Tampa’s Mike Blunden, and another misconduct would have earned him a one-game suspension.

“I’ve got to be smart,” Abdelkader said. “I don’t want to take myself out of the series.”

Boyle made a chicken-wing motion at Abdelkader and the Red Wings bench afterward.

“I don’t need to comment on that,” Abdelkader said. “If he wants to do that, good for him.”

continue for more on the Wings...

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

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Khan: Double A on the power play is at least a consideration

From MLive's Ansar Khan:

The Detroit Red Wings need to do something to spark their power play in this first-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Could Andreas Athanasiou help? The rookie makes things happen in his limited ice time. His speed puts opponents on their heels and he has some finishing ability, with 10 goals in 40 games, regular season and playoffs combined, while playing mostly in a bottom-six capacity.

Coach Jeff Blashill said Monday it's not out of the realm of possibility.

"We've certainly looked at everything as we go through the decision process," Blashill said. "Is there any ways that we can help ourselves do better in any area, including the power play? I would certainly give lots of credit to Tampa's penalty kill. I think they were one of the top penalty-killing units in the last 2-3 months down the stretch. They do a really good job, so let's make sure they get lots of credit there."

Regardless, the Red Wings must convert more often, starting in Game 4 Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. They are 1 for 17 in the series (5.9 percent) and have managed only 17 shots in 27:19 with the extra man.

"We have a guy we thought about inserting in (Teemu) Pulkkinen as well; he brings a real addition to a potential power play," Blashill said. "Double-A spent some time on our power play last year when I had him in Grand Rapids, not tons of time. He did a good job. It's something we'll look at."


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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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