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The Malik Report

The Captain’s Portrait

from NHL.com,

Yzerman almost had two careers in one during his 22 seasons in the NHL, all spent with the Detroit Red Wings.

In the first, he was one of the League's top scorers, setting Red Wings records with 65 goals, 90 assists and 155 points in 1988-89, when he won the Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award), given to the NHL's Most Outstanding Player as selected by the NHL Players' Association. In the second, he sacrificed some offense but improved his all-around game and become one of the NHL's greatest leaders, captaining the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1988.

In his NHL100 profile of Yzerman, author Bob Duff writes about Yzerman's understated leadership style.

"Yzerman wasn't the type of captain that gave fire-and-brimstone speeches. He led by quiet example.

"Being captain, it's a recognition of leadership,' Hall of Fame left wing and former Red Wings captain Ted Lindsay said. 'A quality [is] that you have to hold your team together, make them perform as a unit.
"'I think Steve Yzerman would be the best illustration. Steve Yzerman didn't kick any butt. He used to show guys how to do it. I think this is where lots of mistakes are made by people who think a guy gets in the dressing room and he makes a big show. That's not true leadership. You do it by leading by example."

"You do it the way Yzerman did."

more plus Andy Bathgate's portrait revealed too

Below, see Yzerman's portrait as part of the 100 Greatest NHL Players.

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Is it ‘Mrs. Hockey’s’ time to make the Hockey Hall of Fame?

The Hockey Hall of Fame will introduce its 2017 induction class today at 3 PM (on TSN), and this is one of those "off years" where two of the four possible player inductees (Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson) are slam dunks.

In theory, Chris Osgood could land a spot among a crowded field of, "Should have" inductees, but I have a bad feeling that there are more overdue candidates who will get a nod first...

And, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa notes, the family of Gordie and Colleen Howe have been pushing very hard to encourage the Hockey Hall of Fame's Selection Committee to induct Mrs. Hockey as a "builder":

The criteria set out by the Hockey Hall of Fame are: “Coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.”

There has not been a “her,” yet.

In the mid-1960s, at a time when United States-born NHL players literally could be counted with the fingers of a single hand, she organized the construction of an ice arena on the east side of a city that had no other enclosed ice surface open to the public.

She also essentially insisted Red Wings management establish the first Junior A team outside of Canada, the Junior A Red Wings

As an agent, although few called her that at the time, she negotiated contracts with the Red Wings and her husband’s endorsements. Later, she engineered the blockbuster World Hockey Association contracts for Gordie, Mark and Marty with the Houston Aeros.

It secured the opportunity for Gordie Howe to play regular seasons with his sons, beginning at age 45, before even he finally got too old to do it, and at a time when Marty and Mark were both too young to play in the NHL.

Krupa continues, and we'll find out how progressively-minded the Hall's Selection Committee feels later today.

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The overnight report: Lots of draft talk, draft dissent and some free agent talk

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Regarding the draft, part 1: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright regarding the team's decision to pick defensemen with 6 of their 11 draft picks this past weekend:

“Everybody knows the price of what it is to get a defenseman in this league,” said Tyler Wright, the Red Wings’ director of amateur scouting.

To that end, the Red Wings got all kinds while selecting six defensemen. They drafted offensive-minded ones like Gustav Lindstrom (second round), Kasper Kotkansalo (third round) and Malte Setkov (fourth round), and defensive-minded defensemen such as Cole Fraser (fifth round) and Reilly Webb (sixth round).

“You can’t have enough of those guys that can skate and move the puck. That’s why we tried to load up on those guys,” Wright said. “We wanted to get bigger. But we wanted to get bigger but also keep the identity for what we’re known for, and that’s skill and hockey sense.”

Kulfan continues, speaking with Hakan Andersson regarding Lindstrom and Setkov in particular...

2. Regarding the draft, part 2: The Wings' final draft pick, Saginaw Spirit center Brady Gilmour, spoke to Northumberland Today's Jeff Gard about being drafted by the Red Wings:

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Bob Probert Ride draws 1,200

AM 800 CKLW's Gord Bacon reports that this year's annual Bob Probert Ride was a smashing success:

An astounding 1200 plus riders hit the road for the seventh annual Bob Probert Ride.

Probert passed away in 2010 from a massive heart attack.

More than $100,000 in proceeds donated this year will go towards cardiac wellness programs throughout Windsor-Essex in his honour.

Riders gathered at Thunder Road Harley Davidson on Huron Church Rd. Sunday morning to begin a tour through Windsor-Essex ending at the Caboto Club on Tecumseh Rd. E. for food and refreshments.

Former NHL tough guy Dave Hutchison captained the ride and he says it was a privilege lead the event in memory of his friend.

"To follow the footsteps, or at least the road tracks, of guys like Chris Chelios and Ryan Vandenbush, looking forward to it," says Hutchison. "Just being apart of this is wonderful. Bob was a good friend and we have a real tight NHL alumni family, we all support each other, this is just another one of the things we do."

Continued

Update: The Windsor Star's Tamar Harris also reported in from the Probert Ride:

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The Athletic: Dylan Larkin, goal-scoring winger?

The Athletic's Jack Han questions whether the Red Wings are utilizing Dylan Larkin in a proper role as a 2-way center as opposed to a scoring winger:

The adjustments made to his game this past season related to playing center may have caused his even-strength scoring to dry up as well as adjustments made by opposing teams that have picked up on Larkin's tendencies in the offensive zone. Larkin’s defensive impact in high-danger areas remains significantly worse than team-average, and he has only won 44.5 percent of 532 faceoffs taken since 2015. However, Larkin has scored 10 more goals than Kessel two years into his NHL career and remains in the same class as Jack Eichel, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews as the most productive American teenagers in recent memory.

This begs the question: If this is the opportunity cost of Larkin playing exclusively down the middle, would the Red Wings even want him to play there? Why not put him on a line with Sheahan, Frans Nielsen or Darren Helm, and let them do the heavy lifting so that Larkin can maximize his finishing ability?

If I were Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, I’d give this plan serious thought. Every NHL team can use a 20-year-old Phil Kessel.

Han explains his rationale...

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Matheson: Arizona Coyotes will ‘talk’ to Todd Nelson

Via Pro Hockey Talk's Adam Gretz, the Grand Rapids Griffins know that coach Todd Nelson will be highly sought-after by any NHL teams with head coaching vacancies this summer, and while I was busy with the Red Wings' draft on Saturday afternoon, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson Tweeted this:

Matheson had previously Tweeted that the Coyotes might give precidence to associate coach Jim Playfair...

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Coach Blashill On Martin Frk And Detroit’s Power Play

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“Marty Frk has done a great job of scoring goals,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said at the NHL draft in Chicago on Saturday. “He is a really good shooter. He plays his best hockey when he is confident. Can he continue into the NHL? It just depends. He plays more minutes in the American league than he will play in the NHL when he gets his chance, or if he gets his chance, and the hard part in that is maintaining that confidence to be able to play at the same level when you are not playing as many minutes."...

“For him to be a good NHL player, he is going to have to be a great power-play guy. Because his shot is his weapon. When he is hitting the net, he is a good weapon on the power play. The other side of it for me is, we finished the year, the last 20-some games we were eighth in the league on the power play. I think we have a pretty good formula how to have success on that. I am not looking to switch around that formula very much. We are going to take that formula and we are going to try to hit the ground running with the momentum that it gained at the end of the season. That’s not to say other guys won’t challenge for some of those spots, but I think we’ve got a great road map to have success on it, let's continue once we start the year.”

more

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About Detroit’s Draft Philosophy

from Craig Custance of THE ATHLETIC,

The other concern that follows the Red Wings draft is that they tended to reach in selecting their draft picks. For instance, NHL scouts were telling the Swedish coach of Detroit’s second-round pick Gustav Lindstrom they expected him to go later than where Detroit grabbed him at No. 38.

“I talked to a number of other scouts on other teams, they said he could go late in the second and for sure in the third,” said Marcus Ragnarsson during a Saturday phone conversation from Sweden. “I think because his background, he hasn’t played on the junior teams… I think he’s a bit of a late bloomer.”

So the Red Wings grabbed him. No problem with that. They rightfully concluded he wasn’t going to be there at No. 71, which was where they were picking next, and made the pick. You like scouts who believe in their players, even if it means going off the board.

But when this happens consistently throughout the draft, it suggests a missed opportunity – mostly the chance to trade down and accumulate more picks. It takes a bit of a gambler’s mentality but the payoff, as the Red Wings have seen in the past with trading down, is often worth it.

more (paid subscription and if a Wings fan, probably well worth it)...

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‘Playing GM’

Today is the last day in which NHL teams can submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents, and today also marks the first day of the "interview period" for unrestricted free agents-to-be.

The Red Wings have a fair amount of decisions to make as to which members of the Grand Rapids Griffins they wish to retain over the next six days, and the team has to qualify Tomas Tatar, Andreas Athanasiou and Xavier Ouellet today as well.

I don't like "playing GM," but if I were in charge (and I'm not), I wouldn't go after any unrestricted free agents; instead, I'd look to either repair the relationship between the team and Petr Mrazek. If that's not possible, I'd look to trade him. I'd also try to re-sign Andreas Athanasiou, Xavier Ouellet and Tomas Tatar as quickly and painlessly as possible.

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Summarizing the Red Wings’ 2017 draft haul, with an emphasis on Day 2

Of Red Wings draft-related note, mostly from Day 2 of the 2017 NHL draft:

For starters, here's the Wings' official press release regarding the team's second-day-of-the-draft haul, a.k.a. Gustav Lindstrom, Kasper Kotkansalo, Lane Zablocki, Zach Gallant, Keith Petruzzelli, Malte Setkov, Cole Fraser, John "Jack" Adams, Reilly Webb and Brady Gilmour:

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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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