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The Season Outlook For Riley Sheahan

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking ahead: Sheahan, 24, can serve as a winger if needed, but he’s a natural at center. With either Henrik Zetterberg or Dylan Larkin expected to be the No. 1 center and newcomer Frans Nielsen slotted in the No. 2 spot, Sheahan could be a big asset as a third-line center. He’s good defensively (he became a key part of the penalty kill under coach Jeff Blashill), and his size makes him an ideal counterpunch, especially when the Wings face big centers. If Sheahan starts next season like he finished last season and sustains that level of play, there’s potential to have a really solid third line with possible wingers including Tomas Tatar, Thomas Vanek, Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and maybe Anthony Mantha.


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Krupa: Richards represented the ‘wrong player at the wrong time’

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa feels that the recently-retired Brad Richards represents a trend of the Red Wings signing the wrong types of veteran free agents at a time when the Wings should be giving younger players greater playing opportunities:

Criticizing the decision [to sign Richards] has less to do with whether [his contract] was about $1 million to $1.5 million too rich. It is more about the Red Wings’ continuing string of disappointments in the free-agent market and whether signing and playing Richards delayed the development of young talent.

Those are questions Holland and the Red Wings continue to face, as Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott join the roster this season.

Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar still look for more ice time with top-six forwards. Andreas Athanasiou searches for more ice time anywhere. Mantha and perhaps others (Tyler Bertuzzi? Dylan Sadowy?) try to crack the lineup.

As a free agent, Richards performed better than Steven Weiss. He was healthier than Mike Modano or Erik Cole. But he did not match Daniel Alfredsson, who tied for the Wings lead in scoring with 18 goals and 31 assists in 2013-14, the last season of his outstanding career.

Alfredsson is the only free agent signed by the Red Wings in several seasons whose success approached the hopes of management.

Not a good report card.

Krupa continues, and one could argue that the Red Wings have had the most trouble trying to find a solid 2nd-line center over the past five or six seasons. Hopefully Frans Nielsen finally does the trick...

And we're at the point where any free agent class that's better than Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jordin Tootoo sounds impressive.

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MLive’s Mitsos examines Luke Glendening’s role

Luke Glendening is a very good fourth-line center and utility forward, but he's tended to be in "over his head" when used as a second or third line match-up man. The eyeball test certainly confirms this, and, according to MLive's Tom Mitsos, advanced stats bear that out as well:

Last week, Michigan native Luke Glendening received a four-year, $7.2 million extension from the Detroit Red Wings.

Glendening, 27, had one year remaining on his three-year extension he signed in 2014. That cap hit was $628,333. The new deal will take him through the 2020-21 season and has a cap hit of $1.8 million that takes effect in 2017-18.

The Red Wings certainly have put a lot of value on his penalty-killing ability, defensive play and grit with the four-year deal. So, how does that compare to other NHL players with a cap hit of around $1.8 million on multiyear deals?

Mitsos continues, comparing Glendening to Eric Fehr, Trevor Lewis and Jay Beagle, and Glendening doesn't fare particularly well.

I certainly hope that Glendening continues to grow and succeed as a player, and I hope that the Red Wings see Glendening as the kind of player to build a strong fourth line around. He's not Kris Draper--and that's okay. He just needs to be utilized as his performance merits.

If he can hack it as a match-up third-line center, all the better for Glendening and the Wings, but it's still up to Glendening to prove himself as efficient in that role. That's the role the Wings appear to want to use him in, and he's got some improving to do there.

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A bit more about Jeff Lerg’s decision to head to Denmark

Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg has decided to leave the ECHL in order to pursue his pro hockey dreams in Denmark, and Lerg spoke with the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe regarding his decision:

Jeff Lerg, who holds nearly every goaltending record in Toledo Walleye franchise history, has left the organization with a heavy heart but an eye on his future.

Lerg, who will play next season with a team in Denmark, continues to fight for an opportunity to play at the highest level. He signed with the team based in Rungsted, a suburb of Copenhagen.

“I loved Toledo. I enjoyed playing at home with all the fans. Everything about it was great,” Lerg said. “It’s just one of those things where I still want to play at the highest pro level. I’ve done as much as I can in the ECHL. I wanted to get rewarded for the high caliber of play. But I think it was proven I was not going to get one in the top leagues in North America.”

Lerg, a 30-year-old from Livonia, Mich., had played a prominent role in transforming the Walleye into championship-caliber organization the last two seasons.

Lerg backstopped Toledo to a Brabham Cup title for the best record in the ECHL during the 2014-15 regular season. He also led the Walleye  to back-to-back Eastern Conference championships.


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Darren McCarty speaks with NHL.com regarding his hockey and post-career achievements

From NHL.com's Cutler Klein:

Darren McCarty's most famous battle on the ice might have been with Claude Lemieux in 1997, but his biggest fight in retirement has been with himself.

The former Detroit Red Wings forward battled addiction and alcoholism his entire NHL career and beyond but is eight months sober and said he feels better than he ever has, thanks to the support of his wife, Sheryl, Red Wings executives and former teammates, including Kris Draper, Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan.

"I've gotten support from the top from [Red Wings owners] Mr. [Mike] and Mrs. [Marian] Ilitch to [Red Wings general manger] Ken Holland, [Draper], who's been my boy through it all, [Yzerman] and guys like Paul Coffey, [Shanahan] and Nick Lidstrom," McCarty said this month.

"We're a brotherhood. They're like your brothers and they're happy that you finally found some peace of mind and you're not suffering as much anymore. They've been a great support system. The biggest one is my wife. Without my wife, I probably wouldn't be alive. She was a godsend to me after I retired and pretty much saved my life. Life is good now."


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Video- They Call Him The ‘Magic Man’

awood40 has put together a two-part highlight package on Pavel Datsyuk.  The first video is just south of 58 minutes and part two is almost 52 minutes in length.

Watch part 2 below...

Continue Reading »

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The Wings’ practice rink continues to take shape at Little Caesars Arena

From WXYZ's Kacie Hollins:

Little Caesars Arena is starting to take shape, but a lot of the progress being made is happening underground.

Red Wings Director or Minor Hockey Operations Darren Eliot took 7 Action Sports reporter Kacie Hollins 40 feet below street level to what will be the new practice facility for the Wings and the home of Little Caesars Triple A hockey.

Having a designated practice rink in their new home means the Red Wings don’t have to share nearly as much.

“Last year even they were displaced because of concerts and stuff at The Joe. [It’s a] very busy venue,” explained Eliot.

Superintendent Chris Clark explained that to get the practice ice perfect, and evenly frozen, they’re using a system of pipes laid under the playing surface. In total, there will be 12 miles of pipes under the ice.

Continued, and it appears that a video report will be up soon...

Update: Here's the video:

Continue Reading »

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Interviewing the director of a documentary on the Russian 5

I've recently started a blog on Gold Star Hockey's website, and I spoke with Joshua Riehl, the director of a documentary about the Russian 5 regarding his film. Here's part of the interview:

I asked Joshua to share the story of Vladimir Konstantinov's departure from Russia, or at least a part of it. The part where the Red Wings had to bribe Russian doctors into giving Konstantinov a fake cancer diagnosis with sacks of money and a 1992 Chevrolet Caprice was understood as “part of the process”:

“In the fall of 1989, the Red Wings tell Vladdie and Sergei, 'Hey, you've been drafted.' Sergei comes over next summer [of 1990], in July, and Vladdie comes over with the Russian Red Army team in December of that year for the Super Series.”

“They orchestrate a secret meeting at the Joe, they sneak him out of the Pontchartrain hotel, Jimmy D brings him into his office, and the way Jimmy D tells the story, Jimmy D has two bags of money, and he says, 'Vladdie, these are for you, next door, at the Riverfront, I've got you an apartment next to Sergei's, and we want you to leave your team and join the Red Wings.'”

“And Vladdie says, 'I want to, but I have a wife and daughter, and I cannot leave my family.' A couple months later, Jim Lites, Bryan Murray and Nick Polano are in Turku, Finland; they're orchestrating Nick Lidstrom's contract, to get all that situated, and they meet the guy who helped the defection with Sergei, they run into him, and he says, 'Do you want a meeting with Vladdie?'”

The story continues at the Gold Star Hockey website..

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NBC and NBCSN to air 14 Red Wings games

As Paul noted, NBCSN has released its broadcast schedule for the upcoming season, and in addition to airing the Centennial Classic between the Red WIngs and Maple Leafs, the league will air Red Wings games on the following 14 afternoons and evenings:

Date   Away   Home   Network Time (ET)

Wed., Oct. 19 Detroit N.Y. Rangers NBCSN 8 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 2 Detroit Philadelphia NBCSN 8 p.m.

Tue., Nov. 15 Tampa Bay Detroit NBCSN 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 1 Detroit Toronto NBC 3 p.m.

Wed., Jan 18 Boston Detroit NBCSN 8 p.m.

Sun., Jan 22  N.Y. Rangers  Detroit  12:30 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 12 Detroit Minnesota NBC 3 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 15 St. Louis Detroit NBCSN 8 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 19 Detroit Pittsburgh NBC 3 p.m. on Hockey Day in America

Wed., Mar. 8 Detroit Boston NBCSN 8 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 12 N.Y. Rangers Detroit NBC 12:30 p.m.

Wed., Mar. 15 Detroit Colorado NBCSN 10 p.m.

Mon., Mar. 20 Buffalo Detroit NBCSN 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 26 Minnesota Detroit NBCSN 7 p.m.

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Waiting on DeKeyser and Mrazek

I'm still all but literally on the edge of my seat regarding the Red Wings' unfinished summertime business: the team has to re-sign Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek before their arbitration hearings, as CBS Sports' Chris Peters notes in an article discussing NHL teams' to-do lists:

Detroit Red Wings: Two big RFAs that the Red Wings have to get under contract are defenseman Danny DeKeyser and goalie Petr Mrazek. Both are going to be key players for the foreseeable future for the club, but finding a way to get reasonable deals done with both is going to be easier said than done. That's especially true if Mrazek wants to be paid like a No. 1 goalie on his next deal. Both have arbitration hearings set on consecutive days, July 27 for Mrazek and July 28 for DeKeyser.

The Red Wings haven't had to go through salary arbitration since Jiri Hudler filed the year he bolted for Moscow Dynamo, so it's highly likely that DeKeyser and Mrazek will be re-signed before next Wednesday and Thursday, but we neither know the salary range that they'll land (presumably in the $4-5 million range for both players) or when exactly they'll be re-signed.

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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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