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Zetterberg, Ericsson, Kronwall all decline invitations to play for Sweden at World Championship

In recent years, as many as 10 members of the Detroit Red Wings have taken part in the World Championship, and we're already up to 4 players heading to St. Petersburg and Moscow next week (Dylan Larkin, Teemu Pulkkinen, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko), with more likely to come, but it doesn't appear that the Wings' Swedes will join the fray.

According to Aftonbladet's Erik Karlsson, Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson have joined the injured Niklas Kronwall in declining invitations to play for Sweden, leaving Gustav Nyquist as the only Wing likely to play for the Tre Kronor ("Three Crowns").

It's still possible that Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco (Slovakia), Nyquist (Sweden), Jimmy Howard (USA) and a few more Wings may take part in the Worlds (I could see Mike Green and Darren Helm play for Canada, for example). We'll find out more in the next few days.

In the interim, Sport-Express is reporting that Datsyuk and Marchenko will join the Russian national team on Wednesday or Thursday...

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Ted Lindsay, Darren McCarty address the Wings’ early exit on WJR

Two Red Wings alumni spoke with WJR AM 760 recently to discuss the Red Wings' ouster from the playoffs.

Ted Lindsay spoke with Paul W. Smith to both discuss the Red Wings as well as a wine-tasting for his autism charity that's taking place tonight:

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Khan speaks with Larkin about his rookie year

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff and MLive's Ansar Khan both spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Dylan Larkin's forward progress made over the course of his first NHL season. Ahead of locker room clean-out-day at the Joe, we'll examine what Larkin had to say about his own learning experiences while speaking with MLive's Khan:

Larkin called his rookie season "intense" and a learning experience.

"It's been a pretty crazy experience, but I've learned a lot about myself and the guys in this room," Larkin said during the series.

"I think the intensity and physicality of the play, it was eye-opening after Game 1.

"You still wish you could do a little bit more to help the team defensively or offensively, but I think as the series (progressed), every game I felt more comfortable and took experiences from the previous games into the next game."

Larkin played most of the season on Zetterberg's line and earned a lot from him.

"I just think it's patience with the puck," Larkin said. "He makes players around him better. I learned how he defends. He's an elite defender, a 200-foot player. He's not the fastest guy, but he out-thinks everyone on the ice and just watching him, you learn his tendencies and what he likes to do in the defensive zone. It's pretty impressive that even though he's not the fastest guy or the strongest, he definitely out-thinks everyone on the ice."

Khan continues at extended length, and Larkin's going to continue to learn playing for Team USA at the World Championship in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Worlds begin next Friday.

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Prospect playoff news: Ehn, Frolunda Indians win SHL championship; Walleye force Game 7 vs. Reading

Of prospect-related playoff note:

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 8:19 and won 50% of his faceoffs as the Frolunda Indians defeated Skelleftea AIK 5-3, taking the SHL title in 5 games. Ehn, a lanky 2-way center, will remain with Frolunda for another season at least;

In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye rallied from a 3-2 deficit to force a Game 7 against the Reading Royals, winning 3-1 on Sunday thanks to a 33-save performance from Jeff Lerg and 2 goals from A.J. Jenks.

The Walleye will host Game 7 on Tuesday, and the Walleye's website posted a recap:

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Early overnight report: More World Championship news, grades, KH on Larkin and Griffins discussion

Of Red Wings-related note this evening, the night before the Wings clean out their lockers and address the media on Monday:

1. The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan report the following:

I can't find official confirmation from any Russian news sources, but Ken Holland did tell R-Sport's Roman Solvyev that he's going to sign Alexey Marchenko to a 1-way contract in his contract extension, and that Evgeny Svechnikov's made good progress with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, but needs to add speed to his repertoire.

Holland also confirmed that the Wings are willing to wait until June, perhaps as long as the draft, for Pavel Datsyuk's decisoin;

2. The Free Press's Helene St. James has issued her final Wings grades, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posted his Wings grades this evening;

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Evgeny Svechnikov And Joe Hicketts Reassigned To The Grand Rapids Griffins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings have reassigned forward Evgeny Svechnikov(ehv-GEH-nee svech-NIH-kawv) to the Grand Rapids Griffins from the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and defenseman Joe Hicketts to the Griffins from the WHL’s Victoria Royals.

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St. James offers the ‘trade for a top-pair defenseman’ theory

The Red Wings just aren't going to "tank for a couple of years," as the Free Press's Drew Sharp suggested. Sharp's co-worker, Red Wings columnist Helene St. James, suggests that the Red Wings should instead pursue a top-pair or at least top-four offensive defenseman as part of a summer of meaningful change...

A realistic approach has the Wings finding a way to make a trade for a high-end defenseman. Teams do not surrender the truly elite, such as Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber. But it is imperative the Wings address the need on defense, as it is clear Niklas Kronwall is in decline because of a bad knee. Danny DeKeyser has emerged as a solid presence on the back end, and Mike Green is what the Wings brought him in to be, an offensive defenseman. Brendan Smith has a high compete level. Jonathan Ericsson disappoints for a veteran defenseman. Alexey Marchenko needs to work on his speed, but he plays a good, safe game. Xavier Ouellet is penned in to be on next season’s squad.

It always was going be painful after Nicklas Lidstrom retired, and attempts to ameliorate that so far have been unsuccessful. General manager Ken Holland pursued Weber when he was a restricted free agent in 2012, the same summer Lidstrom retired. Weber instead signed a heavily front-loaded offer sheet with Philadelphia that Nashville still matched. Two years ago, Holland pursued unrestricted free agent defenseman Matt Niskanen, offering slightly more money than Washington, Niskanen’s eventual team of choice.

The trade route may be more viable. The Calgary Flames need help in goal, and goaltender Jimmy Howard increased his trade value with a late-season surge and solid playoffs. Maybe a package deal could get the Wings Mark Giordano or Dougie Hamilton. St. Louis has available defenseman Kirk Shattenkirk, but the last asking price included Dylan Larkin, who is untouchable.

St. James continues, and for those of you from the Stockholm archipelago that have forgotten...

A very telling incident took place late in the season, when Blashill was told Zetterberg had commented he’d like to see what rookie Andreas Athanasiou could do with 18 minutes of playing time rather than half that. Blashill asked if Zetterberg had said he’d be willing to give up his minutes to make that happen. Zetterberg has put in many years of outstanding service, but he is no longer the player he was. He was left at end of the playoffs admitting he needed to do more.

Quick update: St. James also posted a set of final player grades in photo gallery form (via RedWingsFeed).

Update #2: MLive's Ansar Khan posted a list of "10 questions Detroit must face this offseason" as well.

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Prospect playoff news: Griffins take 2-0 lead over Milwaukee as Bertuzzi scores again

Of prospect-related playoff note: In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 2-1 on Saturday, taking a 2-games-to-none lead in the best-of-5 series. Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi scored goals and Tom McCollum stopped 28 of 29 shots, and the Griffins got a break as an Admirals goal was called off for a phantom goaltender interference call in the 2nd period.

Here's the AHL's game recap. I'll post the Griffins and Admirals website's recaps and highlight clips when they post:

Tyler Bertuzzi's third goal of the series stood up as the game-winner as Grand Rapids pushed Central Division champion Milwaukee to the brink with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

The Griffins will bring a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series home with them for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha scored power-play goals for Grand Rapids, and Tom McCollum (2-0) stopped 31 of 32 shots as the Griffins won for the 21st time in their last 28 meetings with the Admirals.

Vladislav Kamenev scored the only goal for Milwaukee, a power-play tally with 8:28 to go in regulation.

Juuse Saros (0-2) made 22 saves for the Admirals, who have lost 12 of their last 13 playoff contests.

The Griffins' website also posted a clip of game 1 "through the eyes" of Tyler Bertuzzi:

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Early overnight report: Talking about Datsyuk, the World Championships and off-season issues

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Ken Holland regarding Pavel Datsyuk, and there's no new news on said front:

“I have to find out about Pavel Datsyuk, that’s going to be priority number one,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview with The Macomb Daily on Saturday. “If he’s coming back then I know we have Pav and if he’s not coming back obviously I have to go through the process of his cap space.”

Datsyuk was held without a point in the five games with Tampa Bay, but did lead the Wings with 18 shots on goal. It was just the second time in his 14 seasons that he was held without a point in the playoffs. The other time was in 2003 when Anaheim swept the Wings.

“I’ve read all the articles,” Holland said. “I’ve had conversations in the past with Pav, but I have to sit down with him here in the next … I don’t think we really need to know until the first of June. He’s probably got a good month to make a final decision.”

Datsyuk, who was drafted in the sixth round (171st overall) in 1998, had 16 goals and 33 assists in 66 games during the regular season.

“I think you know Pavel well enough to know that Pavel will do what Pavel wants to do,” Wing coach Jeff Blashill said. “I’ll sit down and talk with Pav at the end of the year and obviously he’ll meet with Kenny and we’ll see what he decides.”

2. In news regarding players still playing hockey, both the Free Press's Helene St. James and MLive's Ansar Khan have reported that Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland) and Dylan Larkin (USA) have committed to play in the World Championship, but Justin Abdelkader (dislocated finger) won't head to St. Petersburg and Moscow in early May.

According to Aftonbladet's Hampus Hagman and Tomas Ros, Niklas Kronwall's turned down an invitation to play for Sweden in the World Championships, stating that he has "trouble with his knees" that needs to be addressed. I don't think that anyone who watched Kronwall labor through the playoffs is surprised to hear that he's not at 100%.

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Dylan Larkin And Teemu Pulkkinen Going To the World Championship Tournament

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Another early playoff exit will result in several Detroit Red Wings playing in the World Championship in Russia.

Dylan Larkin (USA) and Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland) have committed to play in the event that runs from May 6-22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Pavel Datsyuk reportedly will play in it as well.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland expects other players to commit in the coming days. Justin Abdelkader (USA) is not expected to play due to a dislocated finger suffered late in the season.

continued

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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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