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The Malik Report

Robbie Russo Will Be On His Way To Detroit

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One Detroit Line Is Working Well Together

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The line of Darren Helm centering Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader was effective throughout the three-game western Canada swing, with Helm and Larkin both scoring Saturday in the 4-3 loss to Edmonton.

Helm also scored Friday in Calgary, and his speed along with Larkin’s created problems for opponents all weekend.

Abdelkader scored the winning power-play goal in Tuesday’s overtime in Vancouver.

“I liked that line, they’re doing a good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said.

All three are good skaters, like to get involved on the forecheck, and appear to have good chemistry on the ice.

“We’re working hard and we’re hunting pucks in the offensive zone,” said Larkin, who ended a 15-game goal-scoring drought. “You play with a guy like Helmer, he’s real fast, quick and he’s going to be there first on the forecheck, the same with Justin.

read on

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It Used To Be Different

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

It was like they played Hockey Night in Canada in some kind of alternate universe on Saturday night. A place you’ve been a thousand times before, but yet a unique scenario at the same time.

The Detroit Red Wings, playing out the string in early March, stumbling through Alberta against a couple of red-hot, playoff contenders in Calgary and Edmonton. The Oilers, toying with a Red Wings club that hung around and hung around. The red team staying just close enough to keep the blue team trying; the blue team able to keep a safe margin, seemingly getting that next goal every time the red team restored a one-goal margin.

For most of a quarter century Detroit—who last missed the playoffs in the spring of 1990—25 post-season tournaments ago—has always been in a robotic points collection mode by March 2. The trade deadline has passed, they’ve usually beefed up with some high-priced talent, and grabbing four points in a province inhabited by sellers was simply second nature.

From about 1995 to 2009, Detroit laid Alberta lower than a $25 barrel of oil. But if sport is one thing it is cyclical, and here in 2017, the Red Wings are finally destined to miss the playoffs. After a 3-2 overtime loss Friday in Calgary, Detroit was beaten 4-3 in Edmonton on Saturday, outshot 38-25 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.

continued

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Detroit’s Young Players Need More Compete

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A Detroit Red Wings team destined to miss the playoffs would at least gain some solace knowing its younger players are growing and poised to take another step next season.

But coach Jeff Blashill didn't like what he saw from some of his younger players in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

"We had some guys going, we had some guys dig in," Blashill said. "We have young guys that are in big spots here that got to learn to play every single night. It's not good enough to play once every three games or have flashes of success, you got to compete like crazy if you want to win in this league.

"We got young guys who are going to have to learn these lessons. We got to be way better come Tuesday in Toronto."

continued

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Constant Z

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson sang the praises of Henrik Zetterberg this evening, and he wasn't alone:

Zetterberg, four times an Olympian, winning gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy, wasn’t made available to the media before the Oilers game, but young Edmonton defenceman Oscar Klefbom has long been a fan from when he was a schoolboy back in Sweden. He sang his praises, a capella.

“(Nick) Lidstrom, (Nik) Kronwall and Zetterberg. Lidstrom got all the credit but Zetterberg is so smart. Obviously today he’s slower and he’s a lot older but I can’t see him as an old man on the ice. In his mind, he’s still fast. He’s always in the right spots. He doesn’t have to skate that much,” said Klefbom. “When they had (Pavel) Datsyuk and Zetterberg together on that Detroit team, it was not fun to play them. They controlled the pace of the game, they’d slow it down, then make a nice stretch pass. Or hold onto the puck to get it to somebody coming with speed. Yeah, it’s a gift they have.”

Kronwall, also 36, has the A on his jersey but bows to Zetterberg with the C.

“I don’t know if people realize how impressive he is,” said Kronwall. “We’re around him every day, but it really is remarkable. Not just what he does on the ice but what he brings off the ice. His leadership and his determination is second to none. Like I said, what he’s doing now … I don’t know if he gets enough credit.”

Continued

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It’s been that kind of year for the coach

In the words of Henrik Zetterberg, "At least [Sheahan] made a hard play"...

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Albom on the Wings

Mitch Albom of all folks penned a column about the state of the Red Wings this morning, and it's not a cheery one:

Wings' life. Their new life. As ground dwellers. They let go of the mountain last week, trading all easily movable players to stockpile draft picks. It is the kind of move teams make when they realize the seasons to come are more important than one they’re in now.

“When I looked at the standings,” Ken Holland, the GM, admitted to me last week, “I had to make decisions. At the trade deadline, we were seven or eight points back (of the last playoff spot) and we had to climb over the whole league. It’s a monumental task that’s ahead of us.”

He could say that twice. Making the postseason would take a minor miracle now. But becoming a Stanley Cup contender again? That’s unchartered territory. Because for years, the Wings just had to reload, not rebuild. They were always pretty close, very close, or there.

And now they are on the ground, looking up.

Albom continues...

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Red Wings-Oilers quick take: you can’t trail your way to victory

The Red Wings tried to rebound from their overtime loss to Calgary while battling the high-flying Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, hoping to contain Connor McDavid while welcoming back Gustav Nyquist from his six-game suspension.

The Red Wings regrettably played on their "back foot" for most of the game, surrendering goals due to their own players' mistakes, and between losing Ryan Sproul on defense as he caught a rut and losing track of the Oilers' players far too regularly in the defensive zone, Detroit lost a 4-3 decision to the Oilers, going 0-for-Alberta.

Continue Reading »

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The Wheel Will Be Spinning

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings will enter the off-season with 11 picks in the June entry draft, the most they have had since 2000, after moving four players prior to Wednesday's trade deadline.

And while this draft is widely considered to be one of the weakest in years, the bounty of selections, as well as two extra picks in 2018, gives general manager Ken Holland options.

"Maybe some of these picks somewhere down the road could factor into a future trade," Holland said.

Acquiring a top-pair defenseman remains their top priority. But deal or no deal, the Red Wings, on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, need to rebuild their roster over the next few seasons. It begins at the draft table in June.

"We've got more spins of the wheel," Holland said. "We're trying to stay in the mix with teams in our division. At the same time, I'm hoping that with (the extra) picks, it's going to tee this franchise up for the next 6-8-10 years.

"Obviously, it depends on what we do with these picks. We've got to try to turn these picks into players. When you're drafting 18-year-old players, it's a bit of a crapshoot."

continued

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Nyquist Back Tonight, Mrazek Starts

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Gustav Nyquist returns to the lineup and Petr Mrazek is back in goal tonight for the Detroit Red Wings, who wrap up a three-game trip to Western Canada against the Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit).

It will be Detroit's first game at the new Rogers Place.

Nyquist finished serving a six-game suspension for high-sticking Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 12.

Nyquist might be slotted on the second line, with Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athanasiou, enabling the team to keep intact the top line, with Henrik Zetterberg centering Tomas Tatar and Anthony Mantha.

continued

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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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