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Wings begin their ‘Final Farewell’ video series with ‘The Joe’

The Red Wings have produced a six-part video series issuing a "Final Farewell" to Joe Louis Arena, and the series begins today with a discussion of the character of "The Joe":

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Evening news: Teasing the Final Farewell; on Reilly Webb, Tatar vs. Nyquist, Larkin’s numbers, etc.

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. "Teasers" don't usually get prime billing, but the Red Wings are going to reveal a six-part video series issuing a "Final Farewell" to the Joe, and the series looks like it's going to be very entertaining:

2. Red Wings prospect Reilly Webb spoke with the Stoney Creek News's Mike Pearson about his experiences at the Red Wings' summer development camp:

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NHL Network to air six games from World Junior Summer Showcase

From USA Hockey:

NHL Network to Televise 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase
Event Begins Friday, July 28, at USA Hockey Arena and includes USA, Canada, Finland and Sweden

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Hockey announced today that NHL Network will televise live the final three days of games at the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase.

The event -- which serves as an audition for players seeking to make their federation team that will compete at the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2017 – Jan. 5, 2018, in Buffalo, New York -- begins Friday (July 28) at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, and features teams from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.

Dennis Cholowski, Givani Smith (Canada), Keith Petruzzelli (USA Hockey), Gustav Lindstrom, Filip Larsson (Sweden) and Kasper Kotkansalo (Finland) are all taking part in the Summer Showcase.

The six-game NHL Network coverage begins on Wed., Aug. 2, with Canada-Finland at 1 p.m. ET and USA-Sweden at 4 p.m., while on Fri., Aug. 4, fans will see Sweden vs. Canada at 1 p.m. and Finland vs. USA at 4 p.m. NHL Network’s coverage concludes with two of the biggest rivalry games in the sport on Sat., Aug. 5, with Sweden facing Finland at 4 p.m., and USA taking on Canada at 7 p.m.

In addition, HockeyTV will provide live streaming coverage of the first three days of competition – six games total – including a pair of U.S.-Canada split-squad matchups on Tues., Aug. 1.

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Ilitches hire new ‘group president’ to oversee sports and entertainment properties

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

Detroit's Ilitch family said Monday that it has hired the basketball executive widely credited with stabilizing the NBA's Sacramento Kings' business operations to oversee their sports and entertainment holdings.

Chris Granger is now group president, sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings Inc., which is the umbrella company that oversees the Little Caesars pizza chain, Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and the $2.1 billion District Detroit that includes Little Caesars Arena that opens in September.

The newly created job will require Granger to "optimize the fan and partner experience at all Ilitch-related venues; to grow, recruit and retain the significant talent in the business side of the company's sports and entertainment organizations; to collaborate with partners to ensure highly active, attractive and community-focused venues, and more," the family said in a statement.

In other words, he'll be the day-to-day executive in charge of the Ilitch family's sports and entertainment business that are their most public assets and chief revenue sources outside of the pizza chain.

Granger will report directly to Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Chris Ilitch.

What the hiring means is that Tom Wilson, the longtime president of Palace Sports & Entertainment hired away by the Ilitches in 2010 to run Olympia Entertainment, has a new boss. He and Duane MacLean, the Tigers' executive vice president of business operations, will report to Granger. Ken Holland, the general manager of the Red Wings, and Al Avila, the general manager of the Tigers, will continue to report directly to Ilitch.

Shea continues, and the Free Press's John Gallagher and Detroit News have reports regarding Granger's hiring as well.

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Do You See A Bounce Back Year For Petr Mrazek?

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

Despite the fact he posted the worst SP mark of any netminder to play at least half the campaign and finished with the highest GAA among that same group of netminders, there’s no reason to believe Mrazek can’t recover and produce better numbers, because the past season does seem like more of a blip on the radar than anything. Over the two prior seasons, over which Mrazek suited up in 83 games, he was one of 36 netminders to play 3,000-plus minutes at 5-on-5. Of those goaltenders, only eight, including the likes of Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Crawford and Cory Schneider, posted better SPs than Mrazek’s .931 mark.

Those two campaigns were proof of his ability, proof that he could hold the starting job. That talent didn’t disappear overnight and the hope may be that the past campaign was nothing more than growing pains for a goaltender who is still yet to enter the prime of his career.

So, while there’s really no doubt that Howard is going to get every chance to be the starting netminder when the 2017-18 campaign kicks off, there’s no reason to believe Mrazek can’t creep back into the conversation for the No. 1 job and re-stake his claim as the future of the Red Wings’ crease by season’s end. And maybe, just maybe, if Mrazek does that, Detroit can put an end to their questions in the crease by this time next year.

more on Detroit's goalies....

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Krupa: Tatar needs to ‘stick it’ to puck control

It would be impolite but accurate to suggest that Tomas Tatar can deke both himself and his opponents out of plays with equal aplomb--and frequency--and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa politely steps on the issue that is Tatar's relative inability to sustain possession of the puck enough to go from sniper to serious difference-maker:

Better puck possession by the 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward would help that cause, as well as his team’s efforts to win more games.

It is not so much that the small forward is muscled off the puck. Maintaining possession simply requires more care.

The periodic unforced error and errant pass seem more a matter of Tatar’s attention to detail than a lack of physicality.

While Corsi might not be an entirely reliable proxy for puck possession, in Tatar’s case the advanced statistic supports what the eyes see.

That Tatar’s Corsi-for percentage dropped from 64.6 to 56.3 in the past three seasons recommends better consideration when possessing the puck.

Another means of improving his game is defense, and if he played it better it would likely help his offense, too. It certainly would help the Wings win more.

Krupa continues, and, as he suggests, better puck control is necessary for Tatar to take the "next step"...

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‘Two Things’: On Libor Sulak and Thomas Vanek

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings will be able to bring defenseman Libor Sulak over to North America for the Wings' prospect tournament and main training camp despite his having contract with the Finnish Liiga's Lahti Pelicans, whose regular season begins around the same time as the prospect tournament:

“He skates really well, moves well for his size,” director of player development Shawn Horcoff said. “He is strong. I was really impressed. His skating ability was really impressive and he has a good shot. He was physical. He was really good.”

Sulak, 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 54 games last season with Orli Znojmo, a Czech-based team in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Austria. Then came an opportunity on a much bigger stage.

“The Czechs invited him to their camp prior to the World Championship and every week he just kept getting better,” Fischer said. “He was not a high-profile player, but by the end of the World Championship, he ended up playing top-four minutes for the Czech Republic. He did that in the quarterfinal against Russia, and Russia had some really good forwards like Nikita Kucherov and Artemi Panarin — guys that are elite in the world, elite in the NHL — and he did a good job.

St. James continues, and as she notes, Sulak will probably play for Lahti this upcoming season, but he's committed to playing in North America next year...

2. And in a subscriber-only article, The Athletic's Jack Han suggests that the Red Wings ought not to sign Thomas Vanek as he needs to be used in the kind of sheltered finisher's role that the Wings played him in last season to have any sort of effectiveness:

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Evening news: On Larkin’s charity game, the Wings’ goaltending and Tatar

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Dylan Larkin is holding a charity hockey game an autograph signing this Tuesday at Waterford's Lakeland Ice Arena, with the game taking place at 6 PM:

2. The Free Press's Helene St. James discussed the Red Wings' goaltending situation:

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With Tomas Tatar Signed What Happens Next?

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

According to CapFriendly.com, the Red Wings are $3 million over the salary cap with Tatar signed. They’ll eventually place Johan Franzen on long-term injured reserve, which will wipe that out and add an additional $900,000 or so in flexibility. That’s not going to be enough to get restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou signed.

He is on deck for a contract.

“Nothing imminent,” texted one source close to Athanasiou on Friday night.

That the Red Wings are so squeezed against the cap would leave them vulnerable to an offer sheet on Athanasiou, if that sort of thing ever actually happened in the NHL. The reality is, if an offer sheet is going to happen, the best candidate is in Nashville where Ryan Johansen sits as a 24-year-old restricted free agent center, but that’s a debate for another day.

The other interesting thing is that the conversations continue between the Thomas Vanek camp and the Red Wings. That he hasn’t signed anywhere yet is an indication that he’s willing to wait this out a little and see how things play out in Detroit, although one source close to Vanek said there a “couple things” in play with him.

The Red Wings aren’t going to buy anyone out, so that leaves only a salary-clearing trade as a possibility if salary needs to be cleared.

more (paid subscription)...

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The NHL Tonight previews the Red Wings’ 2017-18 campaign

Via Paul, on Friday, the NHL Tonight's Steve Mears, Kevin Weekes and EJ Hradek took part in an 11-minute discussion of and/or 2017-18 season preview for the Red Wings. It's a little "blabby," but solid nonetheless:

Also of Red Wings-related note this morning: we'll call this marginally-related. Via Championat, Evgeni Svechnikov spoke with NHL.com's Pavel Lysenkov regarding his brother, Barrie Colts forward Andrei Svechnikov, and the brothers' agent, Mark Gandler, suggested that a lot of things would have to go wrong--and right--for the brothers to play together in the NHL. There's not much there, but it's what's out there on a quiet late July morning.

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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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