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The Malik Report

Dylan Larkin checks in from the World Championship

Dylan Larin and Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer spoke with ESPN's Julie Robenhymer at extended length.

Fischer and Larin discuss #71' evolution from a player who was essentially "trying out" pro hockey at last year's World Championship to someone who is looking forward to a strong sophomore NHL campaign:

"Dylan surprised a lot of players on the ice with his speed and how hard he fights for the pucks and how mature his game is," Fischer said. "Next year, in order to be as successful or more, he's going to have to reinvent his game a little bit. It's something that every elite offensive player has to do throughout their career.

Fischer, who played all of his six seasons with Detroit before transitioning to the front office, says that Larkin will have a target on his back next season and can't let up on his training. "You can't just keep doing the same thing and think that success is going to keep coming," Fischer said. "That's not how it works in the NHL. There are smart players and they hate failure and losing and being beat, and they'll study who they play against so that doesn't happen. Dylan's biggest thing is going to be taking the next step physically this summer to improve and get stronger and more powerful. He needs to be hungry for more."

If his past is any indication, there should be no concern about Larkin's willingness and desire to improve every day.

"I don't believe in a sophomore slump and I don't intend on having one. I'm just going to prepare as best as I can like I did last summer and go into the new season even stronger," Larkin said. "I think I need to prepare more this offseason for a marathon and I'm excited to do that. This past year was great, but I don't plan for it to be my best one."

Robenhymer continues, and there's a video interview with Larkin as well:

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The World Championship semifinals take place on Saturday

On Saturday, two World Championship semifinal games will take place, and both games involve Red Wings players and prospects.

At 9:15 AM EDT (on NBCSN's Live Extra service), Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko's Russians will battle Finland for the opportunity to play for the gold medal on Sunday...

And at 1:15 PM EDT, Dylan Larkin and Team USA will battle Canada on NBCSN Live Extra:

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Russian rumor: Datsyuk to sign with SKA St. Petersburg after World Championship

Updated substantially w/ news from Kulfan @ 2:32 PM: I don't know what to think about this one, because I've never heard of the website referenced, and this is a developing story, so let's call it what it is: a rumor.

Sovetsky Sport's Dmitry Spirin points us toward a website called "Sportfakt.ru," which is reporting that Pavel Datsyuk will sign a 2-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg after the World Championship. Sportfakt claims that the financial details of the contract are unknown.

I tend not to trust Russian rumors--and I don't see any confirmation from more familiar Russian news sources like Sport-Express, Championat, R-Sport, etc., though AllSport claims that a "source" states that Datsyuk will sign with SKA--so we'll see how this plays out.

Update: Sportsdaily.ru is claiming the same, so there's smoke here.

Update #2: From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

And here's Kulfan in text form:

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said of the report. “I plan on sitting down and meeting with Pavel when he returns from the world championship, sometime in early June. I would need to know his decision by the middle of June.”

Update #3: More from Kulfan:

“It’s definitely not true,” Milstein said. “Pavel hasn’t spoken to anybody, hasn’t spoken to any team, and he hasn’t spoken any media other than talking about the (world championship) tournament. There’s nothing to it (the report).”

Update #4: From MLive's Ansar Khan:

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Five Wings alums taking part in a ‘Legends League’ game

Chris Chelios, Igor Larionov, Dino Ciccarelli and other former Wings have made the trip to Moscow to take part in a "Legends League" game tonight, per the TASS News agency:

The gala match at the 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace in Moscow, which kicked off at 5:45 p.m. local time (14:45 GMT), brought together world’s legendary players such as Vyacheslav Fetisov, Pavel Bure, Alexander Yakushev, Alexey Kasatonov, Valeri Kamensky, Igor Larionov, Sergey Fedorov, Chris Chelios, Ari Sulander, Hannu Virta, Jari Kurri, David Moravec, Mats Naslund, Dino Ciccarelli, Bengt-Ake Gustafsson and many others.

The "World Legends Under Moscow Stars" gala match marks the 70th anniversary of Russian ice hockey and was organized by the World Hockey Legends League with the support of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the Park of Legends sports and entertainment complex, which is an official partner of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships.

The Legends League is a one-of-a-kind tournament established with the support of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the Park of Legends sports and entertainment complex. The competition is for retired world hockey stars, some of the best players of the 20th century, Olympic champions and medallists, world champions, Stanley Cup winners, NHL Hall of Fame and IIHF Hall of Fame members.

Continued

Update: According to R-Sport's Roman Solovyov, the Russian team won 9-5.

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Tyler Bertuzzi, playoff performer

The Free Press's Max Bultman penned a profile of Red Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi:

There’s just something about the playoffs for Tyler Bertuzzi.

After scoring a hat trick in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 6-1 win over Lake Erie on Saturday, Bertuzzi has tallied 14 goals in just 23 AHL playoff games the past two seasons.

Those are impressive numbers for anybody, but they’re even more eye-popping considering that the Detroit Red Wings prospect has totaled 13 goals in 73 AHL regular-season games.

So what is it that makes Bertuzzi, the nephew of former Wing Todd Bertuzzi, so effective in the playoffs?

“I just come to play hard,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s a different type of game in the playoffs. It’s grinding, it’s gritty, it’s tough to play in. I like that type of game. And I think that type of game suits me."

Bultman continues, and the one thing Tyler Bertuzzi has to show before the Wings give him a long look is that he can hold up for an entirep pro season.

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Nichols: Sportsnet’s Friedman discusses the Radulov sweepstakes

I've been keeping track of the Alexander Radulov situation "on the down low" as there's no reason to post every Russian-language rumor regarding the 29-year-old free agent.

Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshot (via RedWingsFeed) transcribed an Elliotte Friedman intreview in which the Sportsnet scribe provided an English-language update, and it sounds like the Wings are one of the finalists for Radulov's services:

“I think Florida is in there. I think Detroit is in there. I told you that I heard Washington – they denied it. Everybody has always linked them with Colorado. I can tell you that somebody said to me — and he’s pretty trustworthy — has said it’s not Colorado. But the rumor has stayed there.

“So I don’t know where that’s going to end up, but I think he is coming over.”

Nichols continues, noting that Sport-Express's Igor Eronko's nixed the Capitals from the equation. Right now it appears to be the Avs, Panthers or Wings.

Update: Here's Friedman's interview with The Fan 960's Boomer and Pinder. The Radulov stuff starts at the 15:26 mark:

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Ryan Oulahen officially named Flint Firebirds’ coach

It's official now:

The OHL made the announcement:

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Dylan Larkin Named Grand Marshall Of The Detroit Grand Prix

DETROIT, Mich. (May 20, 2016) – A hometown hero and one of the brightest rising stars in the National Hockey League (NHL) has been named Grand Marshal of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for Saturday, June 4. Detroit Red Wings star center Dylan Larkin will participate in activities throughout the day on Belle Isle, including giving the famous command “Drivers, Start Your Engines” before the start of the first Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Verizon IndyCar Series race that afternoon (3:30 pm ET on ABC).

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‘Three Things’: On a play, a horse and a bum knee

Of very, very disparate (i.e. different from each other) Red Wings-related note:

1. Mitch Albom's new play, Hockey: The Musical opened at the City Theatre inside the Hockeytown Cafe on Thursday, as the Free Press's Marlowe Alter notes:

The musical, written by Albom and directed by his younger brother Peter, details the journey of five “pure souls” called upon to save the sport from abolition after God deemed the sport expendable.

“It’s all about laughter and having fun,” Albom told the Free Press before the show’s debut. “A lot of the things that I’ve created on a large scale … have had some serious overtones to them or life lessons. But this, from the very beginning, was just for laughs and so to do something just for laughs, you find that you wind up laughing a lot.”

As you can imagine, the musical was hockey-themed, with video appearances by Red Wings legends Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty, one half of the “Bruise Brothers” in Joey Kocur, current star Pavel Datsyuk, famed coach and broadcaster Don Cherry and Detroit R&B singer Kem.

It was the Free Press columnist’s first play since the widely successful “Ernie,” which will be running for a sixth year this summer. But Albom said the shows are different.

“Other than we’ve turned a sports story in a theatrical piece, other than that there isn’t much connection at all,” Albom said. “If you like Detroit and you like underdogs that part is similar.”

Alter continues, and the accompanying photo gallery confirms that John Scott made an appearance (as Albom is writing the movie based upon Scott's story. Yes, really.);

2. In news regarding a racehorse with Gustav Nyquist's name, from NHL.com's Pat Pickens:

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From Brad to Todd (Richards)

From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

It wasn’t at all shocking that the Wings were given permission to talk to former Columbus coach Todd Richards, because Richards is the name at the top of Blashill’s list.

Two separate NHL sources indicated that the job was Richards’ to lose, if he is indeed interested in filling the position.

The trouble is that currently, Richards is a little busy. An assistant coach with Team USA at the world championship, a team that includes Red Wings center Dylan Larkin, the Americans advanced to the semi-finals Thursday via a 2-1 quarter-final verdict over the Czech Republic.

Duff continues, and he notes that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has this to say about the reports that he's not going to re-sign Brad Richards or Kyle Quincey, period:

“Not true,” Holland said. “What I said was I’m not re-signing them before July 1. I want to hit the open market and explore what’s out there and then make a decision. I’m not doing anything with them prior to July 1. It doesn’t mean I won’t sign them and it doesn’t mean I will.”

Holland is currently speaking with the agents of two of Detroit’s other impending July 1 UFAs, forwards Darren Helm and Drew Miller.

“I’m talking to them,” Holland acknowledged. “We’ll see where it leads.”

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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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