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Red Wings-Sabres game-day articles: Mrazek vs. Johnson; Datsyuk feels he can improve,

Updated 6x at 2:29 PM: The Detroit Red Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM), and the Wings' morning skate yielded "no changes" from Friday's lineup and Petr Mrazek starting for the Wings.

WGR 550's Paul Hamilton reports that the Sabres will go with Chad Johnson as their starting goaltender this evening...

Johnson in goal tonight.


Bylsma said same lineup as the Kings game.

But the Sabres' lineup should mirror the one they employed in Saturday's 2-1 OT win over Los Angeles, per NHL.com's Joe Yerdon:

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Even more praise for Dylan Larkin’s ‘fast-track’ success

From Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt:

At the time that Detroit drafted him in 2014—right before the announcement was made, Larkin turned to his father in the stands in Philadelphia and predicted, “This is it”—Larkin had finished a strong season with the USA Under-18 national team, based in Ann Arbor, and was soon to enroll at the University of Michigan. It’s easy to say the Wings plucked a gem from their backyard, but given the proximity of the U.S. development program’s headquarters, “There’s so many kids in our backyard,” Holland says.

Rather, what came next stunned even the Wings. Larkin tore through one season at Michigan, leading all NCAA freshmen with 47 points in 35 games, and enjoyed what Holland called a “coming-out party” at the Under-20 World Junior Championship, which earned him a 10-game stint with the national team at the world championships in the Czech Republic. When Holland and then-coach Mike Babcock flew overseas to watch and meet with Larkin, he informed them he had decided to turn pro. Then he inquired about the status of Detroit’s AHL affiliate. “The next thing out of his mouth was, ‘If Grand Rapids is still playing, can I go there?’” Holland recalls.

The buzz soon reached the Red Wings’ locker room, especially after Larkin put up five points in six postseason games for the Griffins. “We knew he was good,” Zetterberg says, “but I don’t think anyone expected him to do this well.”


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Red Wings-Sabres morning skate Tweets: Mrazek starts, no changes, Datsyuk breaks glass

Updated 4x at 11:41 AM: The Red Wings hope to push their points streak to 14 games as they take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM), and according to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, history is on the Wings' side:

Since moving to JLA in 1979, #RedWings (.641) have best home win% of Detroit's pro teams: @DetroitPistons .629; @tigers .531; @Lions .505.


The #RedWings host the @BuffaloSabres tonight at Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit holds a 25-10-3-1 all-time mark over the Sabres.


The Wings hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena just before 10:30 AM, per Fox 2 Sports...

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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

PK needs to be better

It's no coincidence that the Red Wings' penalty kill has suffered since Drew Miller was sidelined on Dec. 3 with a broken jaw. They ranked seventh in the NHL at 83.7 percent when Miller, their top penalty-killing forward, was injured.

Since then, they've dropped to 14th at 81.2 percent, having allowed five power-play goals on 15 chances.

Marchenko solidifies spot

Rookie Alexey Marchenko appears to have locked down a spot in the lineup, having appeared in all 23 games since he was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins on Oct. 24, following Kyle Quincey's injury.

The Red Wings like Marchenko's steady hand. He doesn't shy away from a hit to make a play. He makes good decisions with the puck.

Jakub Kindl has been a healthy scratch the past six games.


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The overnight report: Red Wings-Sabres set-up; on Tatar and Nyquist, Quincey and JLA milestones

The Detroit Red Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG B/Bell/97.1 FM) hoping to continue their 8-0-and-5 points streak against a Sabres team that's been a streak-buster.

The Sabres defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on OT on Saturday, snapping the Kings' 6-game winning streak and ending a 3-game Sabres losing streak.

With Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn on 7 and 8-game point streaks, respectively, the Sabres are eying the Red Wings as a fine target with which to make a second consecutive "statement" game, as they told the Buffalo News's John Vogl:

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Red Wings posit ‘There’s More to the Story’ video about Pavel Datsyuk

The Red Wings posted a "There's More to the Story" video chronicling Pavel Datsyuk's youth, background and career with the Red Wings, and this is five minutes of fantastic storytelling--told by Datsyuk himself--capped off with two minutes of gratuitous highlights:

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Prospect news: Griffins win 11th straight game in thrilling fashion

The Grand Rapids Griffins pushed their winning streak to 11 games via a 4-3 win over the Iowa Wild. Grand Rapids, playing without Andreas Athanasiou (lower-body injury), rallied from a 3-0 deficit, tied the game with 48 seconds left in regulation, and won on a Xavier Ouellet goal in overtime.

Martin Frk registered a goal and an assist, Anthony Mantha had 2 assists and Jared Coreau stopped 29 of 32 shots for the Griffins, whose website posted a game recap:

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Practice Tweets: Red Wings, Sabres hold Sunday practices; Mrazek starts Monday

Updated 3x at 1:11 PM: The Red Wings hit the ice at 11 AM to prepare for Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres, as reported by MLive's Ansar Khan...

After a day off, #RedWings back on practice ice preparing for Monday's game vs. Sabres. All 19 healthy skaters and both goalies practicing.


#RedWings same lines in practice:


Same defense pairs:

Our friends in Buffalo practiced the morning after taking a 2-1 OT decision from the Los Angeles Kings, per the Sabres...

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Crain’s Detroit Business: Trust fund established to guaranty follow-on rink’s private bonds

This news is a little nuanced, but important: Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea and Robert Snell report that Mike Ilitch has both refinanced Comerica Park's remaining debt and has established a trust to back the bonds sold to finance the Red Wings' follow-on rink:

On the hockey front, Ilitch pledged assets held in a trust to back $200 million in bonds sold to finance part of the $627 million arena's construction, according to a financing statements filed in Michigan and Delaware.

In the deal with Detroit's Downtown Development Authority, which will own the hockey arena, one of his trusts ultimately backstops $11.5 million in annual bond debt repayments.

The primary source of the bond repayments will be the revenue generated by the arena's operations — Red Wings games and other events.

Revenue already is trickling in ahead of the 20,000-seat arena's debut for the 2017-18 hockey season. The arena's 52 corporate suites and all but three of the 22 mini-suites have been sold, the Ilitch organization said in November. Corporate suites lease for more than $300,000 a year and the leases are for seven to 10 years, which is at least $109 million in revenue.

Trust assets would be used for repayment only if the arena weren't generating $11.5 million in revenue, an unlikely scenario, barring a cataclysmic event.

There is one scenario that could disrupt arena revenue: labor trouble.

(I.e. a lockout), and Shea and Snell continue...

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Even more about Dylan Larkin’s surprising rookie campaign

The Boston Herald's Stephen Harris posted an article about Dylan Larkin that serves as a fine companion to the Free Press's Shawn Windsor's Larkin profile.

Harris speaks with Wings coach Jeff Blashill and Larkin himself about #71's rookie year, and even Larkin admits that his performance has surprised him:

"Yeah, I am [surprised],” he said. “Last summer I worked as hard as I could to try and put myself in a position to make it hard on them in training camp. I worked hard, and I had a pretty good camp. When I originally got this opportunity they said it was going to be 10 games and they’d see how it went. But I was able to take advantage of it.

“I’m having a blast and every game is awesome. I’m just hoping I can stay hot and have some more fun.

“With guys like Hank (Zetterberg) and Pav (Datsyuk) and Kronner (Niklas Kronwell), and the coaching staff, these guys have so much experience. It’s hard not to walk around with open ears and try to learn as much as you can.

“I think that learning comes from passion. I want to be one of the best and I want to win. You do that by learning. But with the guys we have in this room, it’s hard not to learn a lot.”

Harris continues...

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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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