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Daniel Cleary has found his niche in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Griffins' elimination-staving 5-4 win over the Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday was an excellent on-ice spectacle, but the best post-game interview was given by one Daniel Cleary, who made it very plain that both and and off the ice, he's thoroughly enjoying contributing to the Griffins' playoff run.

The Free Press's Max Bultman penned a feature article about Cleary's contributions to the Griffins, and as it turns out, Cleary's become an integral part of the team's leadership group--and as Bultman notes, Cleary was out on the ice in the final minute of the game, blocking shots and

Cleary has been in such high-pressure situations, and he proved again Tuesday that he’s still willing to risk his body to protect a lead. That speaks to why Cleary is even in Grand Rapids right now. He could have retired when he was assigned to the Griffins in October, going out in the NHL rather than playing a season in the minors. In fact, he did not immediately agree to report to Grand Rapids. But he wanted to keep playing, so he did. And the playoffs are where that decision pays off most.

“I mean everyone, even if you’re 22 or 37, it’s the playoff time, it is the most enjoyable,” Cleary said. “This has been a great thing. I’m so, so happy that I got to come down and play here. Got to meet friends for a lifetime. And future Red Wings. We’ve got future Red Wings here. Big time. And just to help them out a bit with the pro game, about being professional and taking care of yourself, and little things on the ice.

“I’ve seen so much growth from the young players. It’s been great.”

For his teammates, the feeling is mutual.

“He’s been a great presence,” said Griffins forward Anthony Mantha, one of the future Red Wings that Cleary spoke of. “Obviously a lot of leadership. ... He leads by talking a lot, that’s for sure. Between periods he’s going to talk to everyone, pretty much, and just give them a quick heads-up on this play or that play and what to do.”

Bultman continues, and you can hear Cleary's post-game comments below. Cleary is genuinely helping the Griffins win games, both on the ice and from the bench, and it's been good to see on an in-person basis.

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Early overnight report: Nyquist roughly translated, summer storylines, Grand Rapids’ momentum & more

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Gustav Nyquist spoke with Hockeysverige.se's Uffe Bodin regarding his hat trick performance against Kazakhstan today, and what follows is roughly translated:

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Murray Howe to lead stem cell study in Toledo

From NBC 24's Amulya Raghuveer:

ProMedica is teaming up with the family of hockey legend Gordie Howe to launch a human stem cell trial for traumatic brain injuries.

The announcement was made official on Wednesday at the Inverness Club in Toledo where the health system was joined by its trial partner San Diego-based Stemedica Cell Technologies, Murray Howe, MD, son of Gordie Howe, and Joseph Maroon, MD, team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Gordie Howe Initiative, as the three-year effort will be called, will support clinical research, advance treatment of TBI, and increase awareness about the injuries. It will initially focus efforts on war veterans, athletes, and victims of auto accidents.

Continued

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Red Wings at the World Championship: Nyquist scores a hat trick; Pulkkinen takes 8 shots

Updated 5x at 4:28 PM: At the World Championship:

Gustav Nyquist scored a hat trick and registered an assist, taking 5 shots and finishing at +3 in 19:10 of ice time as Sweden defeated Kazakhastan 7-3;

And Teemu Pulkkinen took 8 shots in 17:11 of ice time as Finland defeated Hungary 3-0. Highlights will be forthcoming.

Update #1: Here are Nyquist's goals from Hockey Webcast's Robert Soderlind:

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Little Caesars Arena Wants Your Memorabilia

DETROIT – Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings invite fans to be part of Detroit history by donating or loaning items that are part of Detroit hockey, music and entertainment heritage, which will be displayed at Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Red Wings.

Little Caesars Arena – in the heart of The District Detroit – will be a major point of convergence for community, sports, music and entertainment events. Little Caesars Arena will also be a destination in itself as it will be filled with engaging spaces that display the proud heritage of the Detroit Red Wings and the incomparable history of music and entertainment in the city of Detroit.

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Red Wings at the World Championship: Jurco scores but his Slovaks lose to Belarus

Today at the World Championship, Tomas Jurco was bloodied by a high stick but returned to Slovakia's game against Belarus with a full cage, scoring the 2-0 goal against the Belorussians (Jurco would eventually ditch the cage for a full and then half shield)...

Who took it to a Slovak team that possesses all of 4 NHL'ers, hammering Slovakia with 4 goals in the 3rd period, and Belarus emerged with a 4-2 win.

It's good to see Jurco get 1st-and-or-2nd-line minutes and gain confidence as that's all you can hope that a player will achieve at the World Championship--and Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen rather desperately need to feel good about themselves going into next season--but the Slovakian team is mainly comprised of SHL, KHL, Czech and Slovak Extraliga players, and they're not going to do much winning, so Jurco will have to find some swagger on an individual basis at the World Championship.

Jurco had a goal, a shot, a +1 and played 14:32, playing on Slovakia's second line.

Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James adds this about Jurco:

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Wallner: Coreau delivers in relief performance

The Grand Rapids Griffins made a goaltending change after falling into a 4-1 deficit against the Lake Erie Monsters, with Jared Coreau spelling Tom McCollum. Coach Todd Nelson stated that the change was made to spark the Griffins, and it worked in a big way as Grand Rapids rallied to tie the game 4-4 and eventually win 5-4.

Coreau told the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner that he was just doing his job...

"I was just waiting for an opportunity and it came tonight," Coreau said. "I was just thankful the guys scored three and got that fourth one."

Coreau turned momentum early in the third as he fought off a breakaway and point-blank shot by Markus Hannikainen as the puck sat precariously for a moment just outside the goal line next to the post before swept away by the defense.

"Those kind of saves are the ones that can kind of get the guys going," Coreau said. "After that we didn't give up much."

"Unbelievable," forward Daniel Cleary said of the save. "That (would have) ended the game."

And coach Nelson hinted that Coreau might start on Saturday:

"I haven't made that decision yet," he said. "But Jared showed me a lot tonight."

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Michigan Hockey's Michael Miller posted a photo gallery from the game.

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The Right Assistant Coach Will Help Fix The Power Play

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Coach Jeff Blashill said he would like to add an assistant who is innovative in that regard, but also made it clear that schemes and strategy aside, it's up to the players to execute.

"I don't think there's lots of different things going on in the NHL regarding the power play," Blashill said. "I still think it comes down to execution on a nightly basis by the players. I think different ways to practice and different ways to create habits on the power play are real important, but in the end it's still going to come down to our guys that come back on the power play are going to have to execute at a real high level."...

The Red Wings are expected to talk to Todd Richards, the head coach for Team USA at the World Championship. He has more than five years of head coaching experience with the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Other potential candidates include former NHL head coaches Dave Cameron, Paul MacLean and Mike Yeo.

Blashill said experience as an NHL head coach would be ideal, but not a must.

more

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Grand Rapids Griffins win 5-4 over the Lake Erie Monsters in Game 4

Updated 8x at 2:33 AM: The Grand Rapids Griffins played for their playoff lives on Tuesday, and going down 4-1 to the Lake Erie Monsters looked like nothing less than a death sentence for a team down 3 games to none in the teams' second-round series...But Grand Rapids rallied to make it 4-2 before the 2nd intermission, and made it 4-3, 4-4, and on an Andreas Athanasiou goal, won the game 5-4 on Tuesday.

Grand Rapids is still down 3 games to 1, it's uncertain whether Tom McCollum or his replacement, Jared Coreau, will start on Saturday, and with the long lay-off between Games 1-4 and games 5, 6 and 7, it remains to be seen whether the Griffins can sustain their momentum while coming out stronger in a hostile barn Saturday in Cleveland.

Coreau, Robbie Russo, Ryan Sproul, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Xavier Ouellet were among the Red Wings prospects that had big games--with Bertuzzi's goal, assist and +3 and Mantha's goal, assist and +2 leading the way, and Athanasiou finally looking like he was getting his legs back underneath him, but I'm not sure if the comeback would have begun had Coreau not made an astonishing toe save on a Monsters forward coming in alone on a breakaway when it was 4-1.

Coreau stuck his leg out, the puck lay at the goal line for a moment and the Coreau managed to cover up, and as coach Todd Nelson shuffled his lines, Mantha got a big power play goal with 55 seconds remaining, and Grand Rapids just bulldozed Lake Erie for the vast majority of the remainder of the game.

The AHL has already posted a recap, and I'm going to post it and get to uploading my post-game audio and will fill this recap in with more news items shortly:

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‘Two Things’: Praise for Larkin and a little Swedish Griffin talk

Among this evening's items of Red Wings-related note:

1. Among USA Today's Kevin Allen's "5 Things USA needs to do to be medal contender at World Championships" list:

5. Feed the young lions. At 18, Auston Matthews, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, leads the Americans with four points. Detroit Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin, 19, has looked dangerous every time he is on the ice. This is the future of America. Give them the baton, and let them run with it.

Larkin's looked like the team's best player thus far, and that's not an exaggeration by any stretch of the imagination. The U.S. plays next on Thursday against France at 9:15 AM EDT, and the game will air on NBCSN...

2. And the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a clip of Joakim Andersson trying but not succeeding in his attempts to teach his teammates Swedish:

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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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