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Gordie skating with his sons

From the Vancouver Province's Ed Willes:

When the idea first came to Bill Dineen, there were any number of obstacles that should have discouraged the Houston Aeros’ coach and GM.

For starters, both sons were underaged and Mark, the younger of the two, had just turned 18. There was also the sales job to consider, both to the family and to the Aeros’ owners in Houston, because signing all three represented a huge investment for the second-year team in the upstart World Hockey Association. Finally, Gordie Howe had been retired for two seasons and he was already 45 for pity’s sake.

Add it up and the whole thing had the potential to be a catastrophe.

But Dineen knew one thing about his former teammate with the Red Wings, something that made him think this insane idea might just work. When he talked to Gordie about his two sons, he saw the old man light up like a Christmas tree. Dineen knew it was a risky venture but he also knew when Gordie made his mind up about something, there wasn’t a force on the planet that could stand in his way.

“I knew how Gordie felt about  it,” Dineen says. “I could see the look in his eyes around his two boys. I knew there was no way they were coming to Houston without him.”


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The NHL releases a statement on Gordie Howe’s passing

Updated with NHLPA and HHOF statements: From the NHL:


NEW YORK (June 10, 2016) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of hockey legend Gordie Howe:

“All hockey fans grieve the loss of the incomparable Gordie Howe.

“A remarkable athlete whose mastery of our sport was reflected by the longevity of his career and by his nickname, ‘Mr. Hockey,’ Gordie’s commitment to winning was matched only by his commitment to his teammates, to his friends, to the Red Wings, to the city of Detroit and – above all – to his family. His devotion to Colleen through her illness and the fact that he extended his playing days into a fifth decade so he could play with his sons are only two examples of that true priority in his life.

“Gordie’s greatness travels far beyond mere statistics; it echoes in the words of veneration spoken by countless players who joined him in the Hockey Hall of Fame and considered him their hero.

“Gordie’s toughness as a competitor on the ice was equaled only by his humor and humility away from it. No sport could have hoped for a greater, more-beloved ambassador.

“On behalf of the generations who were thrilled by his play and those who only know of his legend, and on behalf of all the young people and teammates he inspired, we send heartfelt wishes of condolence, comfort and strength to the Howe family and to all who mourn the passing of this treasured icon of our game.”

Update: Here's the NHLPA's statement:

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Gordie Howe link compilation

Updated 16x at 3:02 PM: Among today's tributes to Gordie Howe, on a source-by-source basis:

Closer to home...

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Red Wings confirm Gordie Howe’s passing

From the Detroit Red Wings:


DETROIT – It is with great sadness that the Detroit Red Wings mourn the loss of one of hockey’s all-time greats, Gordon (Gordie) Howe, who passed away today at the age of 88. The longest-tenured player in Red Wings’ history, Howe’s playing career spanned five decades and lasted 2,421 games until age 52, one of many factors that led to Gordie becoming known universally as “Mr. Hockey.” Gordie is survived by his four children, Marty, Mark, Cathy and Murray, and nine grandchildren.

“Today is a sad day for the Detroit Red Wings and the entire hockey world as together we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all-time,” said Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.  “The Red Wings organization and the National Hockey League would not be what they are today without Gordie Howe.  There is no nickname more fitting for him than “Mr. Hockey.”  He embodied on and off the ice what it meant to be both a Red Wing and a Detroiter. He was tough, skilled, and consistently earned success at the highest level. His achievements are numerous and his accomplishments immeasurable.  It is truly a blessing to have had him both in our organization and our city for so many years.  He will be deeply missed.”

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Gordie tough

From ESPN's Craig Custance:

He finished with 801 career regular season goals, a total topped only by Wayne Gretzky. His 1,850 career regular season points were another career total that Gretzky broke.

"Gordie, what he did for the game of hockey and the passion and spirit he played the game with, was just amazing," Gretzky told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun in an interview before Howe's death.

Howe was a dominant player in an NHL that no longer exists. He created space on the ice through any means possible, legal or illegal.

Lindsay remembered one player on the New York Rangers harassing Howe during a game at Olympia Stadium.

"I said, 'Why don't you get rid of that SOB?"' Lindsay recalled.

The next period, Lindsay looked out on the ice and there was the Rangers winger on the ice. Out cold.

"Nobody saw it happen. No penalty. The referee was down on the other end," Lindsay said. "Nobody bothered [Howe] too much. He enforced himself. "


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Gordie Howe has passed away

Gordie Howe has passed away.

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‘Roughly Translated’: Axel Holmstrom isn’t sure whether he’s ready to ‘make the jump’ to the AHL

Norran.se's Arvid Marklund reports that Axel Holmstrom still doesn't know whether he's going to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins or his Swedish team, Skelleftea, in part because Holmstrom is rehabbing an injured knee.

Holmstrom had hoped to get a taste of the AHL during the Griffins' playoff run and then make a decision as to whether he was ready to make the jump to North American hockey, but his knee injury both prevented him from heading to the AHL and will prevent him from taking part in the Wings' summer development camp.

As such, Holmstrom tells Marklund that it's going to take all summer to rehab his knee, and that he's not sure whether it's time to head over to North America:

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Talking with ‘Torch’

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo:

John Torchetti joked Thursday night that he’s leaving the State of Hockey to come to Hockeytown.

The former Wild interim coach turned down a contract offer to return to being the Iowa head coach, instead opting for a two-year deal to be one of Jeff Blashill’s two assistants with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I just felt I wanted to get back in the NHL again after seeing how everything went there and working with the kids again, the guys that I had and just that level of intensity and commitment every night,” Torchetti said in his first public comments since the Wild hired Bruce Boudreau over him. “I just wanted to work with that athlete again. I told [Wild GM Chuck Fletcher], ‘I think I proved to you I can coach.’”

Continued, and this is a really, really good read...

Update: Here's a bit more from Jeff Blashill, too, via the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

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Evening news: More about Torchetti; a Datsyuk rumor and Sheahan’s goals

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Windsor Star's Jim Parker and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding the hiring of John Torchetti as an assistant coach.

Via RedWingsFeed, Parker spoke with Blashill regarding his interview process and initial take on Torchetti's role as the team's power play specialist...

"I interviewed approximately five candidates,” Blashill said. “I decided on John based on his skill set and his ability and his experience level. The areas I think John can really help us is, one, he’s got lots of experience in running a bench, he’s got a little different ideas than I do and I think there’s things I can learn from him in terms of bench management.”

Torchetti, will replace Pat Ferschweiler, will work with the forwards and run the team’s power play.

“What it comes down to are the little details within the power play that are important to you,” Blashill said. “Those details need to be measured and he had good thought processes on how we do that.

“Those details lead to little adjustments that you can make throughout the game, and he had thought processes on that. So, as he went through the things that were important to him on the power play, he showed me what his approach was and I was impressed with it.”

And the Macomb Daily's Pleiness spoke with Blashill regarding Torchetti's resume:

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Griffins sign Mike Borkowski and Matthew Caito

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins have signed forward Mike Borkowski and defenseman Matthew Caito to standard player’s contracts for the 2016-17 season.

A 6-foot, 182-pound center, Borkowski scored three points (2-1—3) in 12 games as a member of the Binghamton Senators while on an amateur tryout during the 2015-16 season. He joined the Senators after his four-year collegiate career with the Colgate Raiders (ECAC) concluded earlier in March. Borkowski, 24, made his AHL debut on March 13 – a 6-1 Binghamton win over Rochester – and notched his first pro goal in the same game.

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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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