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Dan Milstein discusses Pavel Datsyuk’s decision to return home and much more

From @GoldStarHockey's blog: an interview with Dan Milstein:

DAN: Major decisions are difficult. But they come with the territory. For everything we choose - we leave something behind. I’m often asked if I think Pavel should have stayed in Detroit another year. I have no problem telling you that I wish he had, and that I advised him to do so-–very vocally--on multiple occasions. I told him I felt it was the right thing to do , and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had gone either way up until the last meeting we had with Ken Holland, but in the end, it was Pavel’s decision. He has a fierce love for the game, but he is also a husband and father--he didn’t feel he could give his all another year, and that is ultimately an unselfish character decision all about the love of the game, and one the fans and I will have to respect.


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Grand Rapids Griffins will hold one preseason game

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins will gear up for the 2016-17 American Hockey League campaign by playing one preseason game, on the road against the Chicago Wolves on Friday, Oct. 7.

Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. EDT at the West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door.

The two Central Division and former International Hockey League rivals squared off eight times during the 2015-16 regular season. Grand Rapids earned points in seven matchups (6-1-1-0), including a 3-1 record in games at Chicago. The Griffins are coming off their fourth straight Calder Cup Playoff appearance, while the Wolves failed to qualify for the postseason for only the fifth time in the franchise’s 22-year history.

Grand Rapids and Chicago last faced off in the preseason prior to the 2006-07 campaign, resulting in a 3-2 victory for the Wolves at the West Meadows Ice Arena.

The Griffins will begin the home portion of their 2016-17 season with Opening Night presented by Huntington Bank on Friday, Oct. 14 at Van Andel Arena. Additional home dates confirmed by the American Hockey League include Dec. 31, Jan. 7, Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 25.

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Morning news: On customer service, a Swedish-language APB, a Chelios signing & on Saarijarvi’s trade

Of disparate Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Red Wings posted a press release stating that their season-ticket department has earned top honors as the best customer service department in the NHL;

2. Arena Digest's Jeff Goldberg duly noted that the topping-off of Little Caesars Arena's roof last week brings Joe Louis Arena one step closer to its "final act";

3. I'm putting out a Swedish APB as Henrik Zetterberg engaged in a lengthy conversation with HockeySverige.se's Ronnie Ronnqvist, and as I'm going to be out of the office for a good chunk of the day, I could use all the help I can get translating this article. According to Expressen's Fredrik Camp and Henrik Sjoberg, Zetterberg has been named captain of the Swedish World Cup team;

4. In public appearance notes, the Chicago Daily Herald's Amy E. Williams reports that Chris Chelios will be signing autographs at the Geneva Collins Mall in Geneva, Illinois on August 27th;

5. And finally, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Vili Saarijarvi's request to be traded from the OHL's Flint Firebirds to the Mississauga Steelheads:

Continue Reading »

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Three Michigan-born Pittsburgh Penguins will have their ‘days with the Cup’ this weekend

From WXYZ's Brad Galli:

The Stanley Cup is heading back to Michigan. Three Pittsburgh Penguins are carrying it home.

Ian Cole, Bryan Rust, and Kevin Porter will celebrate their days with the Cup this weekend in Southeast Michigan.

Cole will get his turn first, taking the trophy to the Ann Arbor Cube Ice Arena on Friday, August 12. He'll appear there from 2-4 PM.

Fans are encouraged to join the first native Ann Arbor hockey player to win the Cup for autographs and photos.

Rust's day with the Stanley Cup is Saturday, and he's choosing not to hold a public party.

Sunday, Porter will be with the Cup at Kellogg Park in Plymouth from 10 AM-12 PM.

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Toledo Walleye name Andy Delmore assistant coach

From the Toledo Walleye:

Former NHL defenseman named new Assistant Coach

Head Coach Dan Watson announced today that former NHL Defenseman Andy Delmore has been added to the Toledo Walleye coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Watson and Delmore reunite after playing a season together in 1996-97 when both were blue-liners for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. The coaching resume for Delmore starting in 2013 when he was an assistant coach for the Sting over back to back seasons. This past season he was on the staff as an assistant with the University of Windsor, helping to coach the Lancers to a 17-16-1 record.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Andy to the Toledo Walleye staff,” said Head Coach Dan Watson. “He is a very hard worker with a great attention to detail. As a former NHL Player, Andy will bring his great knowledge to the Walleye.”

Continue Reading »

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Khan discusses Riley Sheahan’s 16-17 outlook

MLive's Ansar Khan discusses Riley Sheahan's 2016-17 season outlook this morning:

2016-17 outlook: After struggling most of the season, including a poor stretch in January and February, Sheahan began utilizing his big frame. He made a concerted effort to go to the net and stay there and it paid off with better production. He's not going to be a physical force but he played the body more the final quarter of the season.

He is important because of his size, something the club lacks, and versatility. He can provide a net-front presence on the second power-play unit and he kills penalties. He is a reliable defender and has some offensive upside.
Consistency has been an issue the past two seasons. He has experienced too many long stretches of ineffectiveness.

He'll probably start the season as the third-line center but can play the wing in a bottom-six capacity.

Key question: Is Sheahan better utilized as the third-line center or on the wing?

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The Outlook For Petr Mrazek

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Looking ahead: The Wings have Mrazek pegged as their goaltender of the future, but the sides differed enough in their evaluation of Mrazek’s value that the Wings filed for arbitration (a settlement was reached on the day of the hearing). There are concerns about Mrazek’s durability and consistency, to which the Wings hope he delivers reassuring answers next season. Goaltending coach Jeff Salajko was promoted from Grand Rapids to the Detroit job, reflecting Salajko’s history with Mrazek dating to the start of the 2013-14 season. Mrazek lacks for neither confidence nor skill, and just needs to keep developing and show better consistency and durability.


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A Reduced Role For Niklas Kronwall

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2016-17 outlook: The team's workhorse defenseman struggled through his worst season. Some of it was due to his age, but a knee issue that hounded him from the start of the season, requiring surgery in January, also contributed significantly. He was slower, not as offensively inclined and didn't step up to deliver the occasional crushing hit, not surprising considering his health and age.

It was determined after the season that another procedure wouldn't solve his knee issues, so he is relying on rest and training.

His role needs to be reduced. His ice time must be trimmed and he could use the occasional game off on back-to-back nights, especially considering he is playing for Sweden in the World Cup. He wasn't nearly as effective on the power play and needs to be moved to the second unit while Mike Green mans the point on the top unit.

It also wouldn't hurt to reduce his minutes on the penalty kill.

If Kronwall remains paired with Jonathan Ericsson, they're not likely to be matched up as often against top lines.


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Savage profiles Pat Holway

MLive's Brendan Savage penned a profile of Red Wings prospect and incoming University of Maine freshman Pat Holway:

Holway is doing while preparing for a fresh start at the University of Maine, where he had committed to play before being drafted by the Red Wings.

The Black Bears will be his fourth team in barely two years. Holway spent five seasons in the Boston Advantage junior program before going to the USHL to prep for college.

All of the changes have taught Holway how to adapt to new surroundings quickly but going from a top USHL team to a cellar dweller wasn't easy. Neither, for that matter, was adjusting to the USHL.

"At first it took me a little while," said Holway, who had one goal, seven assists, 67 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating in 44 games last season. "I played midgets so it wasn't as high competition. You do a little bit more with the puck so it took me a while to adjust, playing a very simple game, just moving the puck, staying up in the rush, keeping good gaps. Went well.

"It's definitely hard but I think going through the transition really would help me. USHL is a great league to get you ready for college. It's definitely the top league in America, maybe North America."

Savage continues...

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Discussing Xavier Ouellet’s pluses and minuses

The Free Press's Helene St. James examines Xavier Ouellet's pluses and minuses this evening:

Looking back: Ouellet was very highly thought of by former head coach Mike Babcock, who plugged in Ouellet over the more NHL-experienced Jakub Kindl for Game 5 of the series against Boston during the 2014 playoffs. Ouellet made 15 appearances in Detroit the following season (producing three points) but the emergence of Alexey Marchenko meant Ouellet spent most of 2015-16 with Grand Rapids, where he had 29 points in 61 games, followed by four points in nine playoff games.

Looking ahead: Ouellet can’t be sent to the minors any longer without being exposed on waivers (ditto defense prospects Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen). With Kyle Quincey gone, there’s room for one newcomer on defense in Detroit as it currently stands. Ouellet, 23, plays a very smart game, making efficient decisions with the puck to minimize chances against while quickly – and safely - getting the puck to the forwards. He should fit in nicely on the third pair, where he wouldn’t have to see the opponent’s best players, and he could serve spot duty on the penalty kill if needed.

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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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