The Malik Report
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
“If you wanted to use him with ‘Pav’ and ‘Z,’ he’d have no problem fitting in,” Holland says. “But he also can play on our third and fourth lines because he does a great job managing the puck and he plays hard.
“We like him a lot. We think he’s going to be a real good pro.”
A sliver of that is likely based on Tatar’s recent production—two goals and three points during a four-game swing through western Canada—but it’s mostly rooted in the 265 games he spent marinating with the Wings’ farm team from age 19. Detroit’s unwavering insistence on bringing players along slowly is an organizational ethic built on necessity. The Wings famously haven’t missed the playoffs since the 1989-90 campaign, winning four championships along the way. They also haven’t drafted higher than 19th overall during that entire span and their only top-10 pick in that time came in 1991, when they nabbed Martin Lapointe after nine teams had selected.
“Where we pick in the draft, we don’t get those players who are ready to come out of junior,” Holland said. “The players we pick, we think can develop into NHL players, but there’s a reason they go deeper in the draft.”
The Red Wings are very understandably taking today off after having played 4 games in Western Canadian cities over the course of 6 nights, and I'm supposed to be taking the day off, but I need to go out and pick up medications and vote, so I may as well toss off a mid-day entry.
A few late-breaking recaps of the Red Wings' egg-laying 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets popped up over the course of the early morning hours, as a couple of day-after-the-game slates of statistics.
The CBC Manitoba's Jeff Hamilton penned one more Jets recap...
Red Wings-Jets wrap-up and overnight report: taking 3 of 4’s fine if you don’t lay an egg at the end
Updated 3x at 5:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings flew back to Detroit after their only 4-game Western Canadian Swing of the season having taken 3 of 4 games and 6 of 8 possible points, defeating the Canucks, Flames and Oilers along the way...
But the way in which the Wings dropped Monday's 4-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets, despite that game's status as the team's 3rd in 4 nights and 4th in 6, must've left the Wings with a bitter taste in their mouths. The Wings are heading home to enjoy a 2-day break before hosting the Stars on Thursday, the Bolts on Saturday, these same Jets next Tuesday and the Capitals next Friday, but winning 3 of 4 games on a West Coast swing and losing the last is one thing...Going home having laid a big, fat egg in game 4 is quite another.
I'm angry. The Red Wings had to come into this game knowing that they were tired--4 games in 6 nights, their second slate of 3 in 4--and they had to come into this game knowing that the Jets were going to be furious coming off a 5-1 loss to Chicago on Saturday.
Instead of attacking the puck, however, Jordin Tootoo and Chris Thorburn engaged in what was nothing less than the epitome of a staged fight, and the Wings' brains went out the window. With Adam Almquist over his head physically and the team's defense very visibly tired, and Kyle Quincey as error-prone as usual, the Wings' players somehow decided that they would chase the puck all night long, and they absolutely left their goaltender out to dry as a result.
The Jets earned their 4-2 victory, but it is an utter shame that the skaters in front of Jimmy Howard couldn't give a goaltender who stopped 42 shots some *#$%@& run support.
Well, I guess the Globe and Mail has determined that Monday's Red Wings day, as the boss suggested, because Eric Duhatschek had a chat with Henrik Zetterberg, and the Globe and Mail's Ottawa-based "Canadiana" reporter, checked in with the man Jets fans have chosen to boo tonight.
MacGregor spoke with Daniel Alfredsson regarding his acclimation to Detroit, and Alfredsson, who's registered 3 goals and 10 assists thus far, says that he's doing okay--as the captain also suggests:
“He’s a good fit for our team,” Zetterberg says. “He’s just been around for such a long time. He moves well. He sees the ice well. He’s got a great shot.”
And, in turn, Alfredsson and his family (wife Bibi, chidlren Hugo, Loui, Fenix and William Erik) have embraced their new home in suburban Birmingham, Mich. Hugo, 10, is playing with the prestigious Little Caesars hockey club.
Red Wings fans will tell you that the Wings' 9-4-and-2 record indicates some significant progress still needing to be made by both individuals and the team as a whole.
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek notes that thenow-Eastern-Conference-dwelling Wings have played half of their games against the Western Conference thus far (tonight's game will mark the 8th of 16).The Wings already made a road swing to Denver and Phoenix, and they're wrapping up their Western Canadian swing in Winnipeg tonight...
But the Wings make only one more Western swing during the regular season--going to Dallas, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and then making a country-criss-crossing trip to tangle with the Rangers right after the Winter Classic.
While Wings fans will tell you that the team arguably has much more work to do in terms of learning how to defeat its new conference and Atlantic Division opponents on a regular basis, both the Wings and their currently bleary-eyed fans agree that the team's conference swap will pay dividends down the line, as Henrik Zetterberg told Duhatschek:
TSN posted a 4:20 game-day clip ahead of tonight's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets (8 PM EST, FSD/TSN Jets in Winnipeg/97.1 FM, and the game-day post was frickin' massive in terms of content and video), and the Wings also posted a game-day preview which sets up tonight's affair very well as Ken Kal spoke with Jordin Tootoo, Adam Almquist, Brian Lashoff and coach Mike Babcock about the game ahead:
Babcock told Kal and the media that he wasn't delighted with the morning skate, so take that for what you will.
Update: The CBC Manitoba's Jeff Hamilton posted a 3:09 video of the Jets' game-day comments, too:
Kris Draper joined NHL Live today to discuss the game at Comerica Park and The Big House. The video is roughly 6 1/2 minutes long.
Update: Kris Draper and Wendel Clark spoke with 97.1 FM's Jamie Samuelsen about the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown as well:
As the Wings-Jets game-day post, which has been updated 15 times, slides off the main page...Martin Frk Tweeted that he was heading to Toledo earlier today, and RedWingsFeed found that the Grand Rapids Griffins have both confirmed that Frk is heading down to play a few games for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye, and as Brendan Smith's on Red Wings' IR for 1-2 weeks, yielding Adam Almquist likely staying in Detroit until the middle of the month, the Griffins chose to recall a defenseman from Toledo.
Their pick is intriguing, because Almquist was the Griffins' leading scorer on defense despite his smallish 5'10," 174-lb listed size (he's more like a Rafalski-ish 5'9," and he may really weigh about 165), and the player the Griffins recalled is both the polar opposite of Almquist in terms of playing style and size:
The Detroit Red Wings on Monday reassigned defenseman Richard Nedomlel to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and reassigned right wing Martin Frk to the Walleye from the Griffins.
Nedomlel, 20, returns to the Griffins after skating in four games with the Walleye, producing two points (1-1—2), two shots on goal and 18 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-5, 231-pound defenseman recorded his first professional point on Oct. 30 with a goal in Toledo’s 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones. He has yet to appear in a game for Grand Rapids this season.
Frk, 20, has appeared in six contests with Grand Rapids, yielding six penalty minutes. Originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (49th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Frk spent the past three seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL.
The Griffins will take on the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday at 11 a.m. for their 13th annual matinee game, when Nedomlel will be available to play.
The Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins haven't made this official, but it appears that the team's chosen to assign first-year pro and still-top-prospect Martin Frk to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye. Frk hasn't registered a point and is a -3 over the course of 6 games played for Grand Rapids, and Frk himself Tweeted a photo suggesting that he's driving to Toledo today:
Petr Mrazek spent time in the ECHL and it didn't hurt him, so this move makes sense from a, "Give the guy some confidence" point of view. It's not surprising, either, given that Frk's learning that life without Jonathan Drouin or Nathan MacKinnon as his linemates is a little more difficult when one's turning pro...
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