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The Malik Report

Game-day post, Red Wings vs. Panthers, text version: Ouellet’s in, Wings wary of Panthers

Updated 8x at 3:30 PM: The Tweetapalooza has ended, and ahead of tonight's game against the Florida Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) and tomorrow's game against Toronto (7 PM on HNIC/FSD/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM), the "morning skate news" from the Wings, Panthers and Leafs (Friedman and Dreger talking about Babcock's contract not included) = Ouellet in for DeKeyser for Detroit (Abdelkader practiced, DeKeyser did not, both are battling shoulder, I mean upper-body injuries), Ekblad probably in for Panthers, Reimer likely to start for Toronto on Saturday.

In text and video form (with a couple of Tweets thrown in): The Miami Herald's George Richards confirmed that Windsorite Aaron Ekblad will play tonight...

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Custance confirms that the Whalers will leave Plymouth

"Now that it's over"....The Plymouth Whalers have always delivered a helluva product, and the Red Wings holding their 2012-13 season training camp at Compuware Arena certainly illustrated a thawing of relations between Mike Ilitch's team and Peter Karmanos' team, but the oppositional relationship between the teams remained in the public eye--despite the best efforts of the Whalers, Wings and the Whalers' superb PR and marketing folks, with people remembering the Detroit Junior Red Wings getting kicked out of the Joe instead of the Whalers' 25-year playoff streak.

As such, ESPN's Craig Custance confirms sad news in an Insider-only entry:

The one team [Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter]  Karmanos did say he’s moving is his OHL team in Plymouth. With the sale of Compuware Arena in Plymouth to USA Hockey, the Whalers are looking for a new home. “We’re going to move the team probably to a small Canadian city,” Karmanos said. When asked for a short list of cities, he said there are a couple options but that he was hopeful it would be Chatham, Ontario. So, why didn’t junior hockey work in Plymouth?

“It’s not that it didn’t work. It was continually a battle to break even there, no matter how good we did as a team, which proves a few other things,” Karmanos said. “Major junior hockey can’t make it in Toronto. It’s very tough in a metropolitan area like Detroit. People go to see Wings games – they don’t go to any others.”

They go to University of Michigan games, they go to Toledo Walleye games, they're going to go to U.S. National Team Development Program games when the NTDP takes over Compuware Arena, but Compuware was always 3/4ths full for Whalers games, and I never understood why.

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Red Wings-Panthers morning skate Tweetapalooza: it’s an optional + Friedman on Babcock

Updated 4x at 11:52 AM: New format. Within-Morning-Skate Tweets + stories of morning note in Game-Day post #1, post-morning skate text in Game-Day post #2.

The Detroit Red Wings hope to best the Nashville Predators East, I mean their Kryptonite Team, the Florida Panthers, as the Wings kick off a set of back-to-back games by hosting Florida this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM). The Maple Leafs will be waiting in Toronto for a Hockey Night in Canada game tomorrow, and they won't have played since Wednesday's shootout win.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that the Wings "took an optional" to save energy...

Appears to be an optional morning stake for the #RedWings at JLA. Only four D-men, 10 forwards and two goalies on the ice.


And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa invoked a linguistic quirk:

#RedWings on ice, morning skate.
@FlaPanthers with whom the wings have had some recent difficulty, 7:30 p.m., joe louis arena. turrana, sat.

For your enjoyment, the Red Wings' Game Day Blog is up and running...

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Panthers set-up = ‘It’s a Trap, the Sequel’

The Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes pushed the Bolts over the Wings for 1st in the Eastern Conference, 1st in the Northeast Division and 1st in the NHL ahead of tonight's game against the Florida Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) and tomorrow's game against Toronto, in Toronto (7 PM on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM).

As I'm writing this, I'm reviewing the Red Wings' 2-1 shootout loss against Toronto (tomorrow night's game = last of the season series; Detroit's 2-and-1; Toronto's 1-1-and-1 in the series, but has won 7 of their past 9 games) on Wednesday because the whole house got a stomach bug and some flu-like virus at the same time, knocking all of us on our feet, and as I recall the Wings' 4-3 loss to Florida on December 2nd...

I'm worried (no, really, more than usual). No Justin Abdelkader, no Danny DeKeyser for the next two games (Abdelkader has a shoulder injury, and DeKeyser probably has a shoulder injury; around this time of year, we're reminded that the NHL going away from the football-style shoulder pads = many more shoulder injuries these days), and the Red Wings were far too soft at both nets.

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Prospect news: Some WJC catching-up, Griffins talk and NHL fluffernutter

So a lot of prospect stuff happened over the past week. I was absent for most of it. Please let me know what you want me to do in terms of a simple scoreboard round-up.

Here's what you need to know: Joe Hicketts is taking part in Team Canada's pre-World-Junior Championship selection camp, and as it's being held in Toronto (the WJC will be held in Toronto and Montreal jointly this year) it's already Connor McDavid mania time. Dylan Larkin will play for Team USA at the Worlds, Julius Vahatalo was named to Finland's WJC team, and both Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom were named to Sweden's WJC team, and hockey in Las Vegas is probably a bad idea long ter...Whoops, wrong blog!

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Mike Babcock’s parameters of control

At this point, I'd rather be talking about the Peter Karmanos-dropped hints (per Yahoo Sports' Buzzing the Net) that the Plymouth Whalers might be moving to Chatham, Ontario to make room for the National Team Development Program, if not Sportsnet's wonderful feature about Pavel Datsyuk.

If not the fact that Paul did a fantastic job of keeping a one-man blog going without me while I was ill. Between missing a week due to depression and what happened leading up to and after the Griffins game (my mother, aunt and I all got a stomach bug and also had plain old influenza-like symptoms, fever, nausea, aches and pains, and mostly staggering fatigue, to the point that we were all kerplunk, and the mom was stunned to find out that it was not in fact December 18th on Thursday), I'm very sorry that I've been so "in and out" of late, but all I can do is promise to work harder and smarter going forward. I'm sure the family doc will tell me that I dealt with a virus when I see her next Tuesday.

Between now and then, however, we're going to be dealing with a topic that I'm sure Paul is sick of and I'm pretty bloody tired of in Mike Babcock's contract. With the Wings playing home-and-homes against Toronto (Toronto doesn't play tonight; the Wings host the Florida Panthers), we knew things were going to be "interesting" this week.

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Michigan’s Attorney General confirms constitutionality of District Detroit funding

This report from the Detroit News's Mike Harrington is far more important than it appears to be:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued an opinion that Detroit Downtown Development Authority funds can be used to develop a planned $450 million hockey arena in the city.

Schuette issued his opinion on the constitutionality of using the DDA funds early Thursday morning.

“This opinion builds upon existing state Supreme Court precedent, as well as previous AG opinions from as far back as Frank Kelley,” Schuette said in a press release. “The DDA Act was enacted to provide a tool to aid municipalities ... thereby benefiting the economic growth of a designed development area.”

The new home for the Red Wings is the center of a planned $650 million, 45-block transformation of a mostly gritty, undeveloped area on the northern edge of downtown.

The arena district will contain residential units, approved retail businesses and hotels.

Schuette could've made the rink project hell on wheels for the ilitches if he ruled that what the DDA was doing was unconstitutional. Lord knows Schuette's a holy terror if he disagrees with the constitutionality of crazy things like two consenting adults being able to get married, I mean if he disagrees with the implementation of a law he feels invalidates the word or spirit of the constitution.

(And yes, I had to go there. I'd feel sick mentioning AG Schuette and not mentioning his Don Cherry-is-a-commie-by-comparison-style personal crusades)

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On Myers, Babcock and Dreger (and a whole lot of radio talk)

Updated 5x at 4:05 PM: Yesterday, ESPN's Craig Custance had this to say about one Tyler Myers and the Sabres' desire to trade or not trade big #57...

Although his cap hit is at $5.5 million through 2018-19, his actual salary is less than that from this season forward -- a nice bonus for teams on a budget. He’s also a coveted right-handed shot.

There could be a deal if a team is willing to move a left-handed NHL defenseman along with a high-end prospect for Myers, but he’s not a player the Sabres have to trade. There’s a debate to be had as to whether it’s wise to trade him at all, considering the large number of picks and prospects the organization already has stockpiled.

And while I happen to believe that TSN's Darren Dreger's Mike Babcock talk and Babcock's latest jabs to both quash the rumors and at Bob Duff are very...predictable given the situation (for Dreger, could theoretically be making sure that TSN are still making waves sans national TV rights, for Babcock, who's definitely got his own narrative to lay out, and for the situation given the whole, "Wings play Toronto twice in four days" spiel, which makes this discussion nothing less than mandatory)...

It's also rather convenient that the Hockey News's Toronto-based Ken Campbell's suggesting that it's now absolutely imperative that we, "Forget Mike Babcock speculation [and] focus on Tyler Myers":

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Let’s Wrap Up This Mike Babcock Contract Talk For Now

It has always been my belief whichever direction the Babcock talks go, all the media and us fans can do is wait and see how it plays out.

Only Mike Babcock knows what he wants and it is in his best interest to wait as long as possible.

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Mike Babcock has maintained for months that he wants to remain coach of the Detroit Red Wings beyond this season and he believes a deal eventually will get worked out.

But it won't happen anytime soon, apparently. In fact, Babcock said on Thursday that he doesn't expect to sign during the season.

Babcock said he received "a ton of texts" Thursday morning regarding reports that he was close to a deal.

"My phone was blowing up just before practice," Babcock said. "Guys, that's like a fantasy world."

continued

from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,

“There’s nothing to sign,” Babcock said. “We’ll work it out. We play Florida tomorrow.

“We’ve never negotiated once about it,” Babcock added. “They’ve come to me once in the summer and they came back the same way just before the season and that’s it.”

more

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Time Is On Mike Babcock’s Side

via Nick Cotsonika tweets,

No Mike Babcock extension is imminent. Nothing has changed.

The Red Wings want Babcock back. They have offered multiyear deal to make him highest-paid coach. Team is playing well.

The Wings hope Babcock signs sooner rather than later. But it's up to him if that happens.

added 1:16pm, Cotsonika tweet,

Babcock said Wings came to him in summer and before season. "And that's it." No active negotiations right now.

Craig Custance tweet,

Babcock calls reports of imminent deal fantasy.

added 1:29pm, Custance tweet,

Asked Babcock if a deal during the season was a possibility: "I don't think so."

Video- Babcock talking about contract below... vid via Dana Wakiji tweet...

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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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