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Hockey’s Future offers Red Wings ‘prospect awards’

Hockey's Future's Ryan Womeldorf issued "2015-16 Detroit Red Wings prospect awards" today. Among them:

Prospect of the Year: Evgeny Svechnikov, W, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

Svechnikov, the most recent first round pick in Detroit’s prospect pool, has shot up the rankings quickly and with good reason. The 19th overall pick in 2015, Svechnikov followed up an impressive rookie season in the Q by not only matching his 32 goals, but slightly besting his 46 assists and 78 points (he had 47 and 79, respectively) despite playing in five fewer games.

Svechnikov already has smooth skating ability and power forward size to go with outstanding hands and scoring ability. His ceiling is substantial and he could be a fixture on one of Detroit’s top two lines for a long time to come.

Breakout Player for 2016-17: Vili Saarijärvi, D, Flint Firebirds (OHL)

The 2015-16 season was a bit of a whirlwind for the diminutive Finnish defenseman, but the writing is on the wall in regards to his abilities as an offensive defenseman. In 59 games with Flint, Saarijarvi posted a dozen goals and 43 points, showing that despite his size, he can be a dynamic player.

This comes in the face of some organizational issues between Detroit and Flint as well as the fact that he is just a couple years removed from being a forward full-time. It seems a sure bet that he will have a new home in 2016-17 where he will have a chance to take that year of experience in the OHL and use it to fuel his true breakout.

Womeldorft continues...

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‘The Pie?’ ‘The Pizza Pizza?’ Little Caesars Arena’s naming rights are a big deal

Do we call it the Pie? Or the Pizza Pizza?

The Red Wings unveiled their corporate sponsor's name for what will now be Little Caesars Arena (note: No possessive "Little Caesars' Arena" and no, it's not "Little Caesar's Arena," just as they are not the "Red Wing's").

It could have been worse, a lot worse, and if you are interested:

The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar explains the rationale behind essentially naming the rink after its builder...

The naming rights of the new venue is $120 million deal over 20 years. It essentially means one part of the Ilitch empire will pay another part of an Ilitch organization that is managing the new arena. The arena is owned by the city’s Downtown Development Authority, but the Iltch’s Olympia Entertainment will run the venue.

“This is more than just about money,” said Chris Ilitch, the son of Mike and Marian, who runs the day-to-day operation of the family’s business. “This is our hometown. This is our legacy business, the first business my parents started back in 1959.”

Chris Ilitch, who is president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc., also pointed out the enormous advertising exposure it gives to Little Caesars.

“The company is at a point in its history that it’s literally exploding in growth around the world right now,” he said. “This platform, this brand, it will really help the company.”

The Red Wings revealed the logos involved...

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‘Three Things’: Wings grades, Blashill on his learning process and Helm’s reservations

Updated with quips from Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader at 4:13 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan issued his Red Wings grades for the 2015-16 season;

2. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose took note of Jeff Blashill's end-of-season remarks regarding his first season as the Wings' coach:

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Welcome To Little Caesars Arena


Press release is below...

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The overnight report: Tatar a no-go for Slovakia; on Blashill’s learning curve, Larkin and more

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. According to Hokejportal.sk, Tomas Tatar will not be playing for Slovakia in the World Championships due to what the Free Press's George Sipple reported as a rotator cuff injury.

So Tomas Jurco (Slovakia), Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland), Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko (Russia), Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening (USA) and Gustav Nyquist (Sweden) will represent the Red Wings at the World Championships in St. Petersburg and Moscow starting on May 5th.

2. In the locker room clean-out-day vein, the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill's comments about his own learning process as a no-longer-rookie NHL coach:

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On the Griffins’ long lay-off between series and Tom McCollum on the rebound

Of Grand Rapids Griffins-related note:

1. The Griffins swept the Milwaukee Admirals as of April 26th, but their second-round series against the Lake Erie Monsters won't begin until May 5th due to basketball and concert conflicts at Quicken Loans Arena. The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the Griffins about their long lay-off between series...

"We got some guys that play some big minutes, some hard minutes. So if we're going to be mature about it and do the right things with time off, it will be great," said Eric Tangradi. "... On Friday we'll put the work boots back on and focus on the next challenge."

"I think it's definitely a good thing," said goalie Tom McCollum. "We have some guys who are a little banged up and so it will give us some extra time to recover. Now it's important to be smart with our energy and not kill ourselves in practice and working hard on things we need to."

The best-of-seven divisional finals will begin with the first two games in Cleveland, on May 5 and 7 before shifting to Grand Rapids for a pair.

Lake Erie did the Griffins one-day better in eliminating Rockford in three games. The Monsters completed their sweep Saturday.

Wallner continues...

2. And Fox 17 posted a video report highlighting Tom McCollum's ability to rebound from an ankle injury that bothered him for a significant portion of the regular season:

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Afternoon news: Clean-out day video; on Blashill, Larkin, Helm, the LTIR and 2 Holland interviews

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. This is a couple days late, but Fox 2 posted a clip of "Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Quincey, Drew Miller & Gustav Nyquist" all speaking during the Red Wings' locker room clean-out day, and Quincey and Miller's comments weren't captured on video by anyone else:

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St. James: Mantha’s big booming goals, Bertuzzi’s pluck impress Holland

Anthony Mantha scored two big goals in the Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals last night, first scoring a snap shot goal from the left wing half boards that went through the net behind Marek Mazanec, and then blasting an absolute bomb from the blueline into the back of the net.

The Red Wings' front office attended last night's game, with Ken Holland, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, Jimmy Devellano and Wings coach Jeff Blashill, and Holland spoke with the Free Press's Helene St. James about the performances of Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, who's playing like a Dallas Drake-style wrecking ball this post-season:

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Wings post ‘Thank You Fans’ video

The Red Wings posted a "Thank You Fans" video on their YouTube channel today:

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Playoff Schedule For The Grand Rapids Griffins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After completing a 3-0 sweep of the division champion Milwaukee Admirals on Tuesday, the Grand Rapids Griffins will continue their quest for the Calder Cup by facing the Lake Erie Monsters in the best-of-seven Central Division Finals.

The fourth-seeded Griffins and second-seeded Monsters will stage Games 1 and 2 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Thursday, May 5 and Saturday, May 7 before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday, May 8 and Tuesday, May 10. The complete schedule is as follows:

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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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