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On bloody Zetterberg and ‘the culture’

Mickey Redmond may have made the most important comments of the 2016-17 season during the post-game after Detroit's 3-2 loss to Toronto, stating that while the playoffs may be a foregone illusion, and the rebuild underway, the one thing the Red Wings could not do was allow their "culture" of winning to lapse, and as such, this player's importance loomed large to continuing "the culture" through "the rebuild":

Zetterberg offered the usual comments regarding his team battling and competing as best it could, as well as his frustration at its inability to close its 3-2 deficit. Fox Sports Detroit posted a video of Zetterberg's remarks:

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Red Wings-Maple Leafs quick take: bloodied and unbowed

The Red Wings came to Toronto prepared to play a unique role--playoff spoiler--as they prepared to play the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Red Wings could throw a wrench in the Leafs' playoff plans by winning against Mike Babcock's Leafs.

The Red Wings were unable to overcome a 3-0 deficit but gave Toronto a run for their money, losing 3-2 (as has become so very usual this season), and as has become usual this season, the Maple Leafs were the beneficiary of some suspicious officiating late, with Nazem Kadri laying on the puck and pulling it into his body for a delay-of-game play uncalled, and then Henrik Zetterberg was high-sticked with a minute left in the game, the refs didn't call it, but they called Zetterberg for a hand pass off a faceoff with 2 seconds remaining. "Closing hand on the puck," it was called.

The officiating shouldn't have mattered, because Detroit went down 3-0 on their own--via some awful self-induced giveaways--but it mattered.

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Wings go with Mantha, Nielsen and Athanasiou as offensive catalysts

The Free Press's Helene St. James and MLive's Brendan Savage noted that Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has placed Anthony Mantha on the Frans Nielsen-Andreas Athanasiou line:

The three are to make their debut as a line in tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre (7:30, FSD). Nielsen and Athanasiou have played together a good chunk of the season, while Mantha and Athanasiou read each other well from their days of playing together with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

“We had some unbelievable chem there when we played in the minors, and even in Traverse City (for training camp), so it will be fun to be paired up with him again,” Athanasiou said after the morning skate.

Coach Jeff Blashill pointed to the success Mantha and Athanasiou had while he coached them in the AHL as part of the reason behind the change; the other being that Blashill wants Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar together -- and with Henrik Zetterberg. As always with line combinations, starting a game one way doesn’t mean that things can’t change by the end. After coming up short the previous two games, the Wings are searching for ways to be more successful.

St. James continues, and MLive's Savage picks up the narrative from there:

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Sproul is out and Russo is in

From MLive's Brendan Savage...

Ryan Sproul's rookie season for the Detroit Red Wings is over.

An MRI Tuesday revealed Sproul has an ACL injury, according to general manager Ken Holland, who said the Red Wings will wait two weeks to determine whether the 24-year-old defenseman needs surgery or rehab.

Sproul hurt the knee Saturday in Edmonton.

The injury couldn't have taken place at a worse time for Sproul. With the Red Wings' 25-season playoff streak on the verge of ending, it's possible Sproul could have gotten regular playing time down in the final month.

"It was certainly tough to get injured when he was looking at the next stretch of 20 games he was going to have probably his best chance that he was going to have to date in the NHL," Blashill said. "That's a tough thing for sure. But this is life. I talk all the time about inner drive and perseverance being the two biggest factors in success. These are marathons, careers. He's going to have to get his head up and go back to work here, which I'm sure he will."

And Savage again:

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Kronwall Still Believes


added 1:14pm, Below, watch Mike Babcock after practice today...

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Mike Babcock On The Streak

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Red Wings’ streak of making the playoffs 25 consecutive seasons is likely to end.

And former coach Mike Babcock, now guiding a potential yearly playoff team in Toronto, isn’t shocked.

“Nobody understands, they’re not living it every day,” Babcock said after Tuesday’s morning skate, of the difficulty continuing such a streak. “Just think about what they’ve been able to do. But what happens is you want to go from that to a bunch of young kids and get going again, and it doesn’t happen and that’s the problem.

“Ken Holland, Mr. Ilitch and all those people have done an unbelievable job over a period of time maxing out their resources.”

When Babcock arrived in 2005, he heard speculation the organization was about to slip in the standings because of retirements and free agents leaving.

“And in the next 10 years they proceeded to make the playoffs every year, the only team to do that,” Babcock said. “But there’s a point in time when it catches up to you.”


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The Morning Skate At The ACC And Some Leafs Talk

via tweets from Brendan Savage and Dana Wakiji,

Mrazek in the starters net


more coming as needed...




Leafs talk below...

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The Goalie Picture In Detroit

from sean McIndoe of Sportsnet,

Goaltending is critical. It can also be frustratingly hard to find, let alone to lock up for the long term. If you’ve got a good one, you’d better find a way to hold onto him, because stability at the position can make or break a franchise’s Stanley Cup dreams.

So today, let’s go through all 30 NHL teams and ask a simple question: From worst to best, how good should everyone feel about their goaltending situation, not just right now but for the next five years?...

21. Detroit Red Wings

Heading into the season, it looked like the Red Wings were Petr Mrazek's team. But the youngster struggled, and veteran Jimmy Howard was enjoying one of the best of his career before he got hurt. Now the Red Wings have nearly $10-million worth of cap hit tied up in the position, and they're not sure who the long-term starter is. That's a better problem to have than not having any NHL-calibre goalies at all, but maybe not by much.

all the other teams...

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Robbie Russo Makes His NHL Debut Tonight

Both George and I have not been feeling well, I am improving while I have yet to hear from George this morning.

A bit late but here is Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News on Robbie Russo yesterday,

“It’s really exciting,” said Russo of reaching the NHL. “Practice was fun today, we were moving. I’m just happy to be here.

“I’ve been working hard to get here and hopefully it pays off and I can do well up here.”

Coach Jeff Blashill has known Russo since the defenseman was 15, and Blashill was recruiting for Miami (Ohio).

Blashill feels Russo can be a contributor to the Red Wings — as long as Russo moves his feet.

“I would say he’s a smart, puck-moving type of player,” Blashill said. “He doesn’t panic, he can handle pressure on the forecheck. He’s been a real big plus-minus guy in Grand Rapids.

“He’s got to make sure he does a good job of moving his feet. He does have good feet, he just has to move them. If he moves them real well, he’ll do a good job.

“He always has had great poise with the puck, real calm under pressure. He just has to make sure that he closes on people fast. If he closes on people fast, he will do a real good job.

“Until he gets an opportunity in the NHL, you are not sure. It was felt within the organization he deserved a shot.”


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The Wings This Week

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are five things to watch this week:

Russo debut; another call-up on D needed?

Robbie Russo, the top defense prospect for the Grand Rapids Griffins, will make his NHL debut Tuesday due to Ryan Sproul's injury (sprained knee, will have MRI Tuesday).

The right-shooting Russo has seven goals and 31 points this season and 12 goals, 70 points and a plus-54 rating in 127 games over two seasons.

The Red Wings have only six healthy defensemen, forcing them to play Niklas Kronwall on back-to-back nights again on Wednesday, unless they use one of their four post-trade deadline recalls on another D-man. Other possibilities include recently acquired Dylan McIlrath as well as Brian Lashoff, Joe Hicketts, Nathan Paetsch and Dan Renouf.

Leafs, Bruins battling for playoff spot

The Red Wings play back-to-back in Toronto (7 p.m. Tuesday, Fox Sports Detroit) and Boston (8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC Sports Network). They are among several teams competing for either third-place in the Atlantic Division or the final wild-card spot in the East.

read on

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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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