The Malik Report
The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrolowski spoke to Centre Ice Arena director of events Ann Reeves about this year's special connection to Capgeek founder and RedWingsCentral prospect guru Matthew Wuest:
The tournament features eight teams broken into two divisions — the Gordie Howe Division has the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, while the Ted Lindsay Division includes the Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and N.Y. Rangers. The Blue Jackets won the tournament last year, their third Prospects title.
The Blackhawks have returned to the tournament after a short absence, taking the place of the Buffalo Sabres.
"We have the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks coming this year so that's exciting," said Ann Reeves, the director of Detroit Red Wings events in Traverse City. "They've been wanting to get back into it. They just had to wait until someone else dropped out."
Also new for this year is the naming of the championship trophy the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup. Wuest was an early advocate for the Prospects Tournament, compiling stats and records for players and teams in the early years of the tournament. Wuest, who developed and maintained the hockey-related web sites RedWingsCentral.com, as well as CapGeek.com, died from colon cancer at the age of 35 back in March.
"His widow and his brother will be here to present the trophy," said Reeves.
Also, from the DRW Events in TC Facebook page:
On 9/15, the day the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup is presented to the winner of the TC NHL Prospect Tournament, a special text-to-pledge campaign will occur in memory of Matthew Wuest - CapGeek founder and RedWingsCentral developer - who died earlier this year of colon cancer. Please join us in supporting the Conquer Cancer Foundation #ConquerCancer. Text CONQUER to 41444 to donate and help #ConquerCancer. Check out @iConquerCancer – they fund breakthrough research, patient resources & more: http://conquer.org/
The Red Wings' prospect tournament begins on Friday, and if you look at the Wings' roster and try-outs on defense, you realize pretty quickly that three not-so-big defensemen will really, really have to step up for its blueline to not stand as the team's weak link.
Vili Saarijarvi, Robbie Russo and Joe Hicketts will be doing the heavy lifting, with Hicketts graduating from the team's #6 defenseman going into last year's tournament to the team's top blueliner.
Rather conveniently, the Grand Rapids Griffins have posited a video profile of Hicketts in case you're not familiar with the 5'8" mighty mite:
Hicketts "put his teeth in" for the interview (he lost his four front upper teeth at the World Junior Championships, where he hopes to return this December)
Updated 4x at 5:47 PM: The Red Wings engaged in a well-participated "optional" skate at the Joe on Wednesday, and after all was said and done, they received a special visitor:
On Monday, every player on the Red Wings current NHL roster will participate in the 15th annual Ted Lindsay Foundation Celebrity Golf Outing to raise money to help researchers find a cure for autism.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as players to show him our support,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “What he’s done for this organization, and really for the autism society with all the people that he gets involved and the money he’s raised, it’s really opened up a lot of doors for people with autism. So for us to get out there it’s a true honor to be a part of it.”
The Red Wings’ legend and Hockey Hall of Famer, who turned 90 years old in July, established the foundation, along with John Czarnecki, the father of a nine-year-old boy with autism, in 2001.
The foundation raises funds through its annual September golf outing, which has received tremendous supported from the Red Wings and other local celebrities.
Since its inception, the Ted Lindsay Foundation has raised more than $2 million for autism research.
MLive's Brendan Savage posited a conversation with Red Wings prospect Zach Nastasiuk, and I can only say that Nastasiuk's personality shines through in this particular interview:
Now, the next stage of his career will begin with the Griffins after he takes part in the Red Wings prospects tournament beginning Friday in Traverse City.
"Obviously, it's very exciting," Nastasiuk said. "Just like when you got drafted into the OHL. You're trying to get ready for your first game. Now, I'm trying to get ready for my first full season. It's exciting. It's a new chapter and I'm ready to go.
"I can improve on everything but my skating especially. I got to improve that and my shot. I want to get it off quicker and harder. Those are things I gotta keep working on."
Nastasiuk's personal goals in Grand Rapids this season are modest.
"Try and be a plus player, really," he said. "Make Grand Rapids and be in the lineup every night and contribute to winning."
From the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau:
Red Wings training camp organizers in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings have announced the rosters for the third annual Alumni and Celebrity game scheduled for 7:00 pm on September 19th. All players and teams are subject to change depending on availability. Tickets for this event are sold out.
Special jerseys have been designed specifically for the event and fans in attendance will be able to bid on the autographed jerseys during a silent auction that will open one hour before the game and run through the first period. Select jerseys will be available for auction and those interested in bidding on a jersey must pay by the 10-minute mark of the second period otherwise they forfeit the bid. Bid sheets must be filled out completely and be legible or the jersey will be awarded to the second highest bidder. Winning bidders must be present and will have a chance to meet the player and have their jersey autographed following the game. All bids start at $125 and incremental bidding will occur in $25 amounts thereafter. All proceeds from the event will support Centre Ice Arena and offset the cost of the event.
Continue reading for the Alumni and Celebrity Game roster...Dino Ciccarelli is a new addition...
Jurco's Tatar's busy at the NHL Media Tour in Toronto...
The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena for an informal skate.
Scottt Burnside of ESPN takes a look at the Detroit Red Wings,
Mrazek or Howard?
Among the decisions facing Blashill this season will be how to handle his goaltending tandem of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. It's not a cut-and-dried kind of thing. Howard is the incumbent with the big contract, but he has struggled the past couple of years both with injury and with consistency. Mrazek took over as the starter in the playoffs and was solid, turning in a .925 save percentage as the Wings were edged by eventual Stanley Cup finalists Tampa Bay in seven games in the first round. Is the 23-year-old ready to shoulder a starter's workload at the NHL level? If he can't, where is Howard at psychologically, having been supplanted as the team's go-to guy? The answer to these questions will say much about whether the Wings are once again invited to the playoff ball next April.
more on the Wings and the rest of the Atlantic Division...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2015-16 outlook: Sheahan was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, providing more offense than the team expected. He didn't take as big a leap forward during his first full season – his points per game declined from .57 to .46. He lacked consistency.
The team believes he has more offensive ability and needs to be more assertive with the puck and shoot more. He's been a defensive-minded, pass-first player throughout his career. Former coach Mike Babcock claimed Sheahan is better than he thinks he is and has way more upside than he has shown.
On a team with many smaller forwards, Sheahan provides a different dimension with his size. He needs to utilize it more. He also needs to move his feet more and get through the neutral zone faster.
Coach Jeff Blashill has brought up the possibility of playing Sheahan on the wing. With Pavel Datsyuk expected to miss several weeks while recovering from ankle surgery, Sheahan has an opportunity to play a more prominent role.
Key question: How much more offense is Sheahan capable of providing?
ESPN's Scott Burnside spoke with Zdeno Chara and Tomas Tatar regarding Slovakia's decision to not ice a team for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and the response he received from Tomas Tatar was a response that only Tomas Tatar would give:
The United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic, along with Team Europe and a Under-24 YoungStars team will compete in the eight-team tournament. It will begin on Sept. 17 and run for two weeks with all games being held at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Players have had mixed feelings about teams made up of more than one country, but Chara believes fans will enjoy it.
Despite being disappointed that Slovakia will not ice a team for the World Cup, native and Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar said he would love to play for Team Euro. He actually has a great idea for the team's anthem.
"We've got to hire a DJ to mix it," Tatar said.
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.