The Malik Report
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill about the necessary changes that the team needs to make during a summer vacation that came far too early for the coaches, management and players.
Blashill told Krupa that he's eschewing rest and relaxation for reassessments and trying to get better, and the pair cover many topics over the course of a lengthy article. R&R?
“That, for me, happens in the summer,” Blashill said, as he worked in his office a few yards down a hallway from the empty Wings dressing room. When you end out and other teams are playing, you should still be working.”
He must help hire three assistants, watch the playoffs, identify possible trade and free-agent acquisitions, conduct exhaustive reviews of each player on his roster, travel to see his former club, Grand Rapids, in the American Hockey League playoffs, and review planning for next season.
Blashill is clear about some central elements of his focus. The changes that can be achieved in the coming months should result in a lineup in which players are more enthused about their specific roles, with the intention that improved performance will follow and result in less shuffling of forward lines and defensive pairs, like the nearly constant, mostly unsuccessful search for improvement that marked the past season.
“I would like to have a much better feel for what our lines are going to be,” he said. “And part of that, and part of what we’ve talked about as a group, is constructing a roster where guys are excited about their roles. Guys that are third-line players are excited to be third-line players. Guys who are fourth-line players are excited to be that.
“And you have the right guys getting the right minutes in the top six.
“This year, we just had probably too many similar players that I don’t think we ever found the best combinations for.”
Blashill and Krupa continue, and the coach addresses the "beefs with ice time" that several players discussed during locker room clean-out day.
I saw Jeff Blashill last night, heading toward the Grand Rapids Griffins' locker room after last night's 2-1 loss, and I gave him a nod as he walked through the media and said, "Hey, guys."
Despite the fact that the bloom is most certainly off the rose regarding open fan hostility toward the Red Wings' coach, none the cameras or sound recorders or cell phones stopped working when Blashill walked by, nor did Blashill appear to have horns, a tail, or donkey ears.
I'm kidding about that stuff, of course, but I understand the frustration with the Red Wings' head coach, and I'm gonna be honest: the best damn thing I've heard or will hear this offseason is the fact that Pat Ferschweiler and Tony Granato won't return to flank Blashill's shoulders behind the Wings' bench, with the Wings looking for more experienced NHL assistant coaches instead.
When you've been around an NHL team, even for a little while, you realize that the coaching staff is very much so a team, and that the assistants have massive responsibilities in terms of running the offense, defense, special teams, and in the summer and fall, working with prospects.
In the, "One thing leads to another" department, Winging It in Motown found a strange little report...
So Jonathan Ericsson spoke with Norrkopings Tidningar, explaining that he wants to start up a business selling bearnaise sauce in the U.S.--because he feels that the stuff we make here isn't very good--but that also leads to an article in which Ericsson spoke with Johny Daagh about his past season:
Updated 3x at 6:32 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Free Press's, "Detroit Teams Stink, Hooray for Nyquist" article more or less discusses the title thereof;
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland today, and she broached the subject of Pavel Datsyuk's future as Datsyuk plays for Russia at the World Championship:
When he is done at the tournament, Datsyuk plans to return to Detroit to discuss his future with general manager Ken Holland and owners Mike and Marian Ilitch. Datsyuk has said he wants to return to Russia despite having a year left on his contract with the Wings, but won't make his decision final until later this month.
"Based on my conversation with Pav, and with his agent, my expectation is we'll sit down together," Holland told the Free Press on Monday.
3. And the Fourth Period suggests that the Wings' decision to part ways with Jim Bedard "fuel Howard trade speculation"...
Wrapping up today's Red Wings at the World Championship news:
Here are the highlights from said games:
Red Wings at the World Championship: Datsyuk bags assist, Marchenko leads Russia in ice time vs. LAT
In the first of 3 games at the World Championship involving Red Wings players today (Gustav Nyquist and Sweden play the Czechs at 1:15 PM EDT, and Dylan Larkin and Team USA play Finland at the same time, on NBCSN), Pavel Datsyuk had an assist on an Artemi Panarin goal as the Russians celebrated Victory Day with a 4-0 win over Latvia.
Datsyuk, who finally looks comfortable playing with his Russian teammates, had a shot and finished at +1 in 13:36;
Alexey Marchenko, who played on the PK with Slava Voynov and looked damn good doing it, had a shot and finished at +1 in 20:29 of ice time. Marchenko's ice time led the Russian defensemen and the team in general.
Update: Here are the game's highlights:
Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. Fox Sports Detroit posted a profile of Nyquist the Horse's owner, Paul Reddam:
2. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose examined Drew Miller's 2015-16 season "By the Numbers"...
Updated 4x at 11:40 AM: From MLive's Ansar Khan:
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff confirms:
WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski spoke with Red Wings assistant GM (and Grand Rapids Griffins GM) Ryan Martin regarding the management coming to Grand Rapids to watch the Griffins play playoff hockey, and Martin states that he, Ken Holland, Kris Draper and Jeff Blashill all took in Sunday's game (the management watched the Griffins in Cleveland as well).
Martin discusses Xavier Ouellet (who he points out is on a one-way contract next year), Ryan Sproul, Nick Jensen and Martin Frk as potential roster additions as no longer waiver-exempt players next season, developing organizational depth, and Martin wraps up with a discussion of Anthony Mantha's progress made over the past year.
Updated 3x at 10:51 PM: I haven't seen a game like the Grand Rapids Griffins' 2-1 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters before, not at the AHL level, and maybe in terms of the series, not at the NHL level, either.
Grand Rapids is down 3-0 in the series almost entirely because Joonas Korpisalo has been nothing short of sensational.
On Sunday, he stopped 42 of 42 shots--9 from Eric Tangradi alone, and that's an honest total, not a padded one--and the Finnish goalie with the squid legs who took out the Wings in that crucial early March tilt is at it again down here in the AHL.
The fact that Josh Anderson walked down the wing on the first shift and blasted a puck past Tom McCollum didn't aid things, but the Griffins were able to fire 22 shots on Korpisalo in the 1st, they beat him in the 2nd, on a Ryan Sproul slap shot from the point, and by the time Grand Rapids had pulled its goalie and was playing six against the Monsters in the game's final minute-and-a-half...
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.