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The unlikely story of the Red Wings drafting Nicklas Lidstrom

From the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno:

Christer Rockstrom tried to remember how it happened. The Swedish scout has seen a lot of players and watched a lot of games in the past 27 years.

One stands out. Hidden in plain sight, Nicklas Lidstrom was the find of a lifetime.

Rockstrom discovered Lidstrom back in 1988, seeing enough in the defenceman's limited ice time to convince the Detroit Red Wings to draft him. That third-round pick turned into a 20-year career with seven Norris Trophies, four Stanley Cups that will be celebrated Monday as Lidstrom goes into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"Nicklas makes a lot of people look smart," Rockstrom said by phone from his home in Sweden. "Coaches, GMs, scouts, everybody in the organization looks smarter with Nicklas on the team. But we were not as smart. We didn't know exactly what he was going to be. But we knew enough that he was worth taking a chance on."

Fortunately for the Red Wings, no other NHL team knew what they knew. Rockstrom had friends playing on Vasteras IK in the Swedish Elite League who knew how good Lidstrom was.

The 18-year-old wasn't physical, perhaps played a little soft but was too good for juniors. His senior-level coach didn't consider him a top-six defenceman, so he sat on the bench and only got a few shifts here and there.

"That was the reason why he wasn't seen, I guess," Rockstrom said. "One reason he was flying under the radar was because he wasn't playing much and he was difficult to see."

Whyno continues his story as to how Lidstrom ended up being drafted by the Red Wings...

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Red Wings-Lightning game-day articles: Red Wings hope to sustain momentum against an ‘even’ opponent

Updated 6x at 2:37 PM: The Red Wings will make no lineup changes and will start Jimmy Howard tonight vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 PM EST on FSD/Sun Sports/97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan both listed the Wings' lines and spoke to the Wings regarding their keys to success vs. Tampa:

The only lineup change is in goal, where Jimmy Howard will start. He made 20 saves in a 3-1 win over the Lightning at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 13.

"The biggest key is probably playing in their zone," Howard said. "Their forwards are so deadly. They got four lines that can go. Pretty much just make them play in their own end."

Tampa Bay (6-5-2), coming off a 4-3 win Sunday at Carolina, also hasn't won back-to-back games since its season-opening three-game winning streak.

"Obviously, both teams know each other, both teams play really similar," Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader said. "A lot of times there's not much that separates each team, there's not many chances either way, so we just got to be prepared to play a patient game."

Khan continues...

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper gave his post-morning skate remarks after the Wings were done skating, and he delivered a zinger to Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji regarding Jeff Blashill's joke that Victor Hedman would be a "better player if he had a better coach":

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Red Wings-Lightning morning skate Tweets: Howard likely starter, no lineup changes

Updated 3x at 11:56 AM: The Red Wings welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Joe Louis Arena this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/ Sun Sports/97.1 FM), and both teams are hoping to sustain momentum generated from wins that snapped 4-game winless streaks, with Detroit having defeated Ottawa on Saturday and Tampa Bay having taken out the Hurricanes on Sunday.

The Red Wings hit the ice first at Joe Louis Arena, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

Based on morning skate it looks like Jimmy Howard will get the #RedWings starting assignment vs. @TBLightning tonight.

And MLive's Ansar Khan noted:

Wings on ice for morning skate. Howard in net usually occupied by the starter.

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‘Three Things’: Praise for Henrik Zetterberg; Daniel Cleary discusses life as a Griffin

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. NHL.com's Paul Harris penned an article discussing the fact that Henrik Zetterberg's next goal will be his 300th:

"When I came here as an assistant, I had the opportunity to see him day to day, to see [Pavel Datsyuk] day-to-day, to see [Lidstrom] day-to-day," coach Jeff Blashill told the Red Wings website. "It was an eye-opener when I came here as an assistant. Well, not an eye-opener, I shouldn't say that. What it was was a reaffirmation of why some guys are great. They're great because of the approach that they put in every single day. That's why he is what he is. That's why he's one of the best players in the world, has been for a long time and he continues to be because of the approach that he has every single day."


"He's really strong on the puck. I mean, I don't think there's anybody in the NHL as strong as him," Red Wings left wing Tomas Tatar said. "I would like to play a similar game that [Zetterberg] does, be strong on the puck and make plays. He's a great example and I love to have him in the locker room."

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The overnight report Red Wings-Lightning set-up

Neither the Red Wings nor the Tampa Bay Lightning have had particularly good times since the Wings' 3-1 win over Tampa Bay way back on October 12th. Tonight, the teams tangle for the final time in Detroit this season (7:30 PM EST on FSD/Sun Sports/97.1 FM) and the last time until February.

Tampa Bay may sit atop the Wings and in second place in the Atlantic Division standings, but they do so with a 6-5-and-2 record, and win number 6, a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, snapped a 4-game losing streak. As you know by now, the Red Wings' 5-3 win over Ottawa on Saturday snapped a streak in which the Wings lost 5 of 6 games.

In Tampa Bay's case, Sunday's win came in the back half of a back-to-back set of games, and the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson reports that the Lightning changed up their lines, breaking up the "Triplets Line" to shake up the team's offense:

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Senators’ press still peeved that Zetterberg didn’t get suspended

We've dealt with this before, but the Ottawa Senators and their press corps remain pretty close to enraged about this hit:

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Steel work begins on Wings’ follow-on rink

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea...

The first piece of structural steel has been put in place that will form a portion of the skeleton of the Detroit Red Wings’ $532.5 million arena.

The piece is a 41-foot, 4-inch I-beam that is part of a $50 million contract awarded earlier this year to Detroit-based Midwest Steel Inc. for more than 9,500 tons of steel, according to a statement Monday from project manager Olympia Development of Michigan.

Midwest Steel also has a contract for structural precast concrete for $7.7 million.

The massive excavation that moved 488,000 cubic yards of soil to create the area of the ice rink and seating bowl 40 feet below street level was completed in August, and hundreds of deep pier foundations were drilled and filled with concrete through September.

And MLive's Ian Thibodeau:

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Evening news: Mrazek’s pad contest winner; on the horse with Nyquist’s name, Chelios and Zetterberg

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

The fact that "Nyquist" won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Race last weekend yielded questions to Gustav Nyquist about the horse with his name, as noted by the Free Press's George Sipple...

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Afternoon news: Chelios returns to on-ice duties; Mrazek, Howard playing ‘equally well’

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

As Paul posted, MLive's Ansar Khan penned a practice article that discussed Mike Green and Pavel Datsyuk's health. Khan also posted the Wings' practice lineup, and it involves a few tweaks:

Justin Abdelkader-Henrik Zetterberg-Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Gustav Nyquist

Joakim Andersson/Tomas Jurco-Darren Helm-Teemu Pulkkinen

Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Landon Ferraro

Niklas Kronwall-Brendan Smith

Danny DeKeyser-Jonathan Ericsson

Jakub Kindl-Alexey Marchenko

Mike Green

Kyle Quincey (concussion) and Brad Richards (back) did not skate.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose took note of the presence of assistant coach Chris Chelios, who was on the ice with the team for the first time on Monday:

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Dylan Larkin’s Twitterview

Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin took part in a Twitter-based Q and A via the Red Wings' Twitter account, and here's a Tweet-by-Tweet play-by-play of said Q and A:

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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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