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The Malik Report

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:

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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.”

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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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‘D-Mac’ takes part in the Red Wings’ Street Hockey Summer Tour

Both CBS Detroit and Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus spoke with Darren McCarty as he attended the Red Wings' Street Hockey Summer Tour's stop in Fraser, MI, and Kubus found McCarty eager to help the youngsters out:

The Detroit Red Wings’ Street Hockey Summer Tour made its latest stop at Meijer in Fraser, and a special guest made an appearance.

Four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty took time to serve as a guest coach at a fully-booked free clinic of 120 kids ages 7-12.

“It’s great, the middle of summer, you see a little Red Wing fever going,” McCarty said. “To see all the young kids and even the parents and grandparents just to be out here on a nice day, just to be able to do this and to come out and share whatever knowledge, but just to make sure these guys are having a good time, staying hydrated, obviously with Meijer, what they’ve done. They do so great in the community, so it’s always been the perfect marriage.”

Players participated in a one-hour clinic – which involved stickhandling, shooting and off-ice training drills – followed by a 30-minute street hockey game.

While the kids undoubtedly had their fun, McCarty also had some fun of his own teaching the young players the importance of hitting the net with their shots. If a player missed the net, he had to do push-ups off to the side before getting back in line.

“You miss the net, you’ve gotta do push-ups,” McCarty said with a smile. “Those are the rules. i didn’t invent it. Scotty (Bowman) must’ve invented that.”

Kubus continues, and he posted a photo gallery which accompanies the story.

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Wings At The Crossroads

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

Will the Wings doom themselves to mediocrity if they limp forward with a good-but-not great roster, or are they on the cusp of a turnaround, fuelled by improving youth and an injection of free-agent talent? The person best equipped to tackle the topic is, naturally, Ken Holland, Detroit’s GM since 1997. And he’s refreshingly candid about the state of his team.

“The philosophical question you’re asking me is, ‘Do we head in a direction where we make a determination that it’s all about five years from now? Or do we continue to try to be a playoff team?’” Holland said. “When you’ve got Mrazek, and you’ve got Larkin, and you’ve got Riley Sheahan, Justin Abdelkader, and you’ve got Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, and you’ve got DeKeyser, and you’ve got Nielsen… we’ve either got to have those people and we’re trying to win the division, we’re trying to qualify for the playoffs…or don’t sign Frans Nielsen. Don’t sign Thomas Vanek. Don’t bring in Ott. And just go with a bunch of kids. And let the chips fall where they may.


“If you’re going to do a massive rebuild – get a core of players that you think can carry your team for a decade – you’ve got to miss the playoffs five, six, seven years in a row. That’s what Pittsburgh did. That’s what Florida did. That’s what Chicago did. You can just go team after team. You don’t miss one year, and all of a sudden, ‘Boy, we’re back.’ ”

Holland has a point. Even if we accept the Wings are just as likely to miss the playoffs as they are to make them in 2016-17, this franchise is nowhere near rock bottom.


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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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