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The Malik Report

George’s summer reading recommendation: The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

This isn't Red Wings-related, but it's important to me: nearly every "hockey person" will tell you that Ken Dryden's The Game is by far the best hockey-related book ever, but as far as I'm concerned, Julien Rubenstein's The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts (link goes to a KK Affiliate) blows The Game out of the water.

Rubenstein can't replicate Dryden's near-lyrical prose, but his (mostly) true accout of Hungarian goaltender Atilla Ambrus's discovery of bank robbery as a way to supplement his truly dreadful income as a post-Eastern-Bloc collapse professional hockey player--and his inability and unwillingness to stay away from the high-spending, sleeping-around lifestyle of a slightly bumbling professional bankrobber to get out while the "gettin's good," resulting in incarceration...

It's not the story of a hero or a villain, it's the story of someone who finds himself having to rob banks to get by while his country tries to come to grips with the financial devastation of the first post-Soviet years, and The Hockey News's Jason Kay points out that the anti-hero protagonist is beautifully complex:

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Red Wings mid-day news: on Ferraro, Ilitch’s Holland endorsement and hockey blog chatter

Updated 2x at 4:40PM: Amongst today's Red Wings-related stories;

As Paul reported, the Wings signed Landon Ferraro to a 1-year contract extension, and despite "club policy" forbidding the disclosure of salary demands, the beat writers and at-large press announced that Ferraro's deal is a 2-way contract paying $550,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level.

Will Ferraro be plucked off waivers if he doesn't make the team? That's hard to say. His pro stats haven't been overwhelming and he's faithfully listed at 6' and 175 pounds. In the "old days," being a Red Wings prospect on waivers meant that you were going to be plucked off, but dozens of mid-range prospects clear waivers on a yearly basis these days.

The Free Press's George Sipple (via RedWingsFeed): spoke with Wings assistant GM and Grand Rapids Griffins GM Ryan Martin regarding Ferraro's status:

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Landon Ferraro Under Contract

CapGeek says $550K, two-way deal.

added 10:33am, Press release is below...

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Red Wings overnight report: on the state of the defense, and the proper level of tinkering

Two days ago, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offered an analysis of the Wings' forward corps via an article and attached photo gallery, and this morning, he looks at the Wings' defensemen in article and photo gallery form.

The article allows Wings GM Ken Holland to weigh in regarding the team's inability to land what's become a frickin' unicorn in an elite, right-shooting, free agent defenseman...

“We made offers to players,” general manager Ken Holland said. “They signed elsewhere. That’s going to happen with 30 teams trying to win and with the salary cap. We went in looking to add a right-hand defenseman and we felt we made very competitive offers.”

As well as the reality to which we're still becoming accustomed to--the concept that the team's probably going into the season with its blueline as-is--and unless a Mike Green or Tyler Myers becomes available between now and the trade deadline, that the Wings' "kids" will have to both unseat Kindl and Lashoff and provide an offensive boost:

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Red Wings afternoon news: ‘All-time’ Wings, McKenzie on advanced stats and out-of-comfort-zone fun

This afternoon's Red Wings-related stories are "ecclectic"--not exactly Mike Babcock's "analytics"-based chat with NHL.com's Dan Rosen--but there's enough here to keep you occupied.

Detroit is celebrating its 313rd birthday today, and as the Detroit Free Press led off its 53-image gallery of "Detroit's 10 Greatest Sports Figures" with Steve Yzerman (Gordie Howe and Nicklas Lidstrom also make their list, and the 97 and 2002 Wings are listed among the Freep's best Detroit sports teams), MLive's Brendan Savage asked readers to weign in as to what might constitute the Wings' all-time best starting lineup:

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More From Mike Babcock On Analytics

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

A basic element of the analytics movement happening in the NHL is possession-based stats featuring shot attempts-for versus shot attempts-against in 5-on-5 situations. Understanding the positive effects of possession and shooting the puck is not new to the hockey community, but stats found through possession metrics such as Corsi and Fenwick are relatively new and still are being examined for their usefulness and effectiveness.

Babcock said a key to using stats-based analytics, whether it's Corsi, Fenwick or another form, is making sure the numbers are accurate.

"The best analytic groups are getting the best information, so you have to make sure the stats you're using are correct," Babcock said. "When a guy tells you how good this player is stat-wise and you and your general manager don't agree with him, well, we better go back and assess it. Just because the analytics like the player and we don't, well, then we don't. We'll make the decision. But if you're wrong, go back and take a look at it so you know why."

more

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On Jim Paek’s decision to chase an Olympic dream

I didn't really comment on it on Wednesday morning, but Jim Paek leaving the Grand Rapids Griffins to coach the South Korean national hockey team--as the team attempts to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea--dashed my hope that the long-standing Griffins assistant coach would finally be chosen to flank one of Mike Babcock's shoulders.

Paek has been with the Grand Rapids Griffins for nine years, and he was part of the Wings' summer development camps since 2007. I've interacted with him every summer since 2008 and over the course of two prospect tournaments/training camps, and off the ice, he was a kind and patient and sincere a human being as you could ever hope to meet, never mind ever hope to serve as the steady hand helping develop the Red Wings' top prospects.

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Red Wings early overnight report: on advanced stats and standards of performance

Updated 2x at 12:33 AM--I wrote this a little early and the later articles kind of screw with the narrative, but you're a smart bunch, and I'm crossing my fingers that you'll be OK with the way that the later stories influence the earlier "take":

I took a roundabout way to doing what I do for a living, and my trip involved a failed attempt to pursue an engineering degree because I couldn't keep up with Calc III and two attempts to complete a far-too-advanced "statistics and probability" class that ended in failure.

I tend to cringe involuntarily when people start talking about "advanced stats." Strangely enough, however, I've also tended to keep track of shot attempts on a period-by-period basis, noticing on my own that the stat's a superb indicator of who's controlling puck possession...And ExtraSkater's summary of the terms "Corsi" and "Fenwick" both explain that shot attempts are the basis of said numbers, and, unlike those who get into wars insisting that you can't predict a game's results without "seeing it" versus those who suggest that a close look at the scoresheet makes "gut feeling" observations irrelevant:

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Grand Rapids Griffins sign Alden Hirschfeld as a depth forward

The Griffins still haven't made the signing of Mark Zengerle official, but the team announced (via RedWingsFeed) that they've signed yet another "veteran" forward:

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday signed forward Alden Hirschfeld to a one-year contract.

Hirschfeld, 26, spent the majority of the 2013-14 season with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and picked up 29 points (9-20—29) in 49 games. The 6-foot, 203-pound forward ranked second on the Walleye in assists and sixth overall in scoring. He also made 13 appearances with the Griffins last season, notching a goal, an assist and a plus-three rating. A native of Sylvania, Ohio, Hirschfeld has accumulated 10 points (5-5—10) in 51 career AHL games between the Griffins, Providence Bruins and Portland Pirates.

Prior to turning pro, Hirschfeld spent four seasons at Miami University (2008-12), where he tallied 70 points (35-35—70) in 134 games.

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Red Wings mid-day news: Chris Ilitch on WDFN; ‘all-State’ Wings and Athanasiou talk

Updated at 3:30 PM: Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment CEO Chris Ilitch gave a long interview to WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning, discussing the Wings' arena project and Ilitch Holdings' plans for the surrounding economic development at significant length:

The most important part of the interview for me as a Wings fan? Chris states that his father is the one who's still quite active in the workings of the Tigers and Red Wings, and that Chris deals with other matters. That certainly changes the, "Why things are the way they are" equation.

Otherwise...

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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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