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On Abdelkader’s big opportunity

From NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

Maybe Justin Abdelkader is Team USA's solution to unleashing Patrick Kane on Team Canada, to heating up the best player in the NHL last season so he can make his mark on the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in a must-win game.

Team USA has to defeat Team Canada on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports) in order to stay in contention for a chance to advance into the semifinals. A loss of any kind would eliminate Team USA and send Team Canada and Team Europe into the semifinals.

So Team USA needs Kane to be a threat, a difference maker, as he typically is for the Chicago Blackhawks. Team USA coach John Tortorella appears ready to give Abdelkader a chance to help him do it.

Abdelkader has been skating on a line with Kane and center Derek Stepan in practice. That's a second line for Team USA, depending on how you want to view its depth chart. Abdelkader was in a bottom-six role, primarily on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and David Backes, for Team USA's 3-0 loss to Team Europe on Saturday.

"I think [Abdelkader] needs to be moved up in our lineup," Tortorella said. "Where he was in that maybe third-, fourth-line role, I think he's going to get a little more ice time [against Team Canada]."

Continued

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‘Three Things’: On Tyler Bertuzzi, the prospect tournament and the ‘battle for spots on defense’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. In the prospect department, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale penned an article about Tyler Bertuzzi's maturation as a player:

"My game has switched a little bit," Bertuzzi said. "When I first played in the Ontario Hockey League (for Guelph) I used to be more of a fighter and agitator. But I've developed more skill and hockey sense. I still want to be a grinder and take the body, but my game is more with the puck now."

Bertuzzi, who had 12 goals, 30 points and 133 penalty minutes in 71 games in Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League last season, might be given an opportunity with the Red Wings this season if he is able to display a more complete game. He was selected in the second round (No. 58) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

"I think you need to be an overall player, you can't just be one way," he said. "You've got to have bits and pieces of a lot of different things. I'm coming into training camp this year with one goal and that's to make the NHL. I will do whatever it takes."

Morreale continues...

2. Winging It in Motown's SlapshotGoal wrote a recap of the Wings prospects' 2-1 win over St. Louis:

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‘Two Things’ on Givani Smith and Kronwall’s ‘new routine’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook spoke with Givani Smith regarding his status as an instigating, aggravating forward...

"I just go in there and play the way I play," Smith said. "Play hard, play physical and crash the net."

Practices don't always allow Smith's talents as an agitator to show up, so the NHL Prospect Tournament's games have been a welcome outlet.

"That's how I play the game," Smith said. "I like to finish checks and play a mean role."

That doesn't completely stop him from applying the role during practice.

"You can always finish your checks," Smith said. "It makes you better and makes your teammates better."

Cook continues, noting that Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin compares Smith to Justin Abdelkader...

"He did a good job of balancing offensive skill with an element of toughness," Martin said. "We don't have a ton of that in our organization. Just his physical stature alone. He's a big, strong young man and can hold onto the puck down low."

2. And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Niklas Kronwall regarding his "new normal" routine as far as his left knee is concerned:

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Impressions from the Red Wings’ win over St. Louis at the prospect tournament ‘16

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects advanced to Tuesday's championship game by defeating the St. Louis Blues 2-1, and the Wings will battle the Carolina Hurricanes for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup on Tuesday at 7 PM EDT (on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com).

The Red Wings' players and coach addressed the media after the game, and coach Todd Nelson said that Tuesday's 11 AM practice might tell the tale for a couple of banged-up players. Joe Hicketts also spoke with the media, as Red Wings TV noted:

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Preparations at work for Gordie and Collen Howe’s interrment in Saskatoon

From the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix's Kevin Mitchell:

They drilled Gordie Howe’s hole Monday morning.

It’s 4 1/2 inches wide, eight inches deep, set into the concrete base in front of his statue at SaskTel Centre. On Sunday, Gordie Howe and wife Colleen will be placed lovingly into that hole, their ashes mingled in a singled urn, protected by a small, specially-made stainless-steel vault, all of it sealed over, epoxied, and covered with a plaque.

Shaun Templer drilled that hole. It’s something you roll around in your head, pick apart for its bigger meaning, but in a nutshell, here it is: He created Gordie and Colleen Howe’s resting place, cored it out of concrete, left them a place all their own.

Templer, who works for Neskor Cutting and Coring, first heard about his potential role in the project last week from the contractor who’s donating his time to make this happen. That contractor — Rick Leier of Rely-Ex Contracting — told Templer that he could use some help with one particular aspect of the preparation for Sunday’s interment.

Templer took the idea to his boss, along with a humble request.

“I was overwhelmed,” the big, bearded 32-year-old hockey fan recalled Monday. “I said to my boss ‘please — let me be one of the guys to go and do the work.’ It’s an extreme honour.”

Continued

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Red Wings at the World Cup: Marchenko’s Russians out-last Larkin, TNA

At the World Cup of Hockey, the Russians stayed alive by defeating Team North America 4-3.

Alexey Marchenko finished with a shot, a hit and a blocked shot in 18:30 of ice time for Russia, earning lots of minutes in the 3rd period, especially as Russia killed off an important penalty; Dylan Larkin had a rough night, finishing at -2 with 1 shot in only 5:33. He got benched.

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Audio from the Red Wings’ win over St. Louis at the prospect tournament ‘16

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects defeated the St. Louis Blues' prospects 2-1, and will battle the Carolina Hurricanes for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Trophy on Tuesday at 7 PM EDT (on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com).

After the game, myself, Hooked on Hockey Magazine's Kevin Sporka and DetroitRedWings.com's Joshua Berenter managed to get a couple of interviews in before the locker room scattered to engage in the team's post-game stretch.

Berenter and I spoke with Jake Paterson about his bounce-back performance from Saturday's 5-0 loss against Chicago. Paterson stopped 17 of 18 shots and was absolutely stout in the Wings' net:

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Red Wings’ prospects advance to championship game, Tuesday vs. Carolina

The Detroit Red Wings' prospects defeated the St. Louis Blues' prospects 2-1 on Monday night, advancing to the championship game of the prospect tournament. Detroit will practice at 11 AM and play the Carolina Hurricanes for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup on Tuesday at 7 PM EDT (on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com).

Filip Hronek and Tyler Bertuzzi scored the Red Wings' goals against St. Louis, and Jake Paterson stopped 17 of 18 shots, looking especially sharp in the game's final period.

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Red Wings at the World Cup: Mrazek’s Czechs can’t stem Team Europe’s tide

Team Europe defeated the Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime on Monday afternoon, all but ending the Czechs' World Cup run, and Petr Mrazek did his best to help the Czechs, but he surrendered 3 goals on 41 Team Europe shots...

For Team Europe: Tomas Tatar took 2 shots and levied 2 hits in 14:36, finishing at -1;

Thomas Vanek had an assist on Zdeno Chara's 1-0 goal, registering 4 shots and finishing at +1 in 15:41;

And Frans Nielsen had a giveaway, a takeaway and a 53% faceoff percentage in 17:56 played, finishing even.

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Red Wings TV posts a prospect tournament pre-game video

Ahead of tonight's game between the Red Wings' prospects and the St. Louis Blues' prospects (7 PM EDT on Fox Sports Go and DetroitRedWings.com), the Red Wings' Twitter account posted a slick one-minute video in which Joe Hicketts, Kyle Criscuolo and coach Todd Nelson weigh in on the incredibly important game:

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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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