The Malik Report
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2014-15 outlook: Abdelkader likely will start the season on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and possibly Henrik Zetterberg. Coach Mike Babcock likes having a "heavy body" on each line, someone to provide a physical presence, go to the net and retrieve pucks. Abdelkader has filled this role for Datsyuk much of the past two seasons as the guy who "pulls the piano." It hasn't translated into an offensive boost but the club has been satisfied with the results. Abdelkader should continue playing a net-front role on the power play, especially since Todd Bertuzzi is gone. His role on the penalty kill has diminished the past two seasons (from 1:25 short-handed time per game in 2011-12 to 38 seconds last season), in part due to more power-play time, but he'll continue to see some PK duty. Abdelkader brings a different dimension for a team that has a lot of smaller forwards. He provides a much-needed abrasive element and has the ability to agitate and get under opponents' skin. This is a team that needs to be harder to play against. Abdelkader made strides in reducing bad penalties, something that plagued him earlier in his career. A good skater who plays with pace, he has settled in as a winger but can play center if needed.
Key question: Should Abdelkader continue playing on a top-two line or should he be playing on a checking line?
from Max DeMara of The Detroit Sports Site,
This summer malaise will almost assuredly carry over into fall, seeing as excitement for 2014 is at an all-time low. The most exciting thing the Red Wings did this summer was unveil plans for their new arena district, and that’s still three years off. Holland must hope the team he does put on the ice in October stays healthy and performs immediately, or else things could get ugly fast.
There’s no question such early success would prove that Detroit is still Hockeytown, but that notion is teetering more with every heart the Tigers win, every mind the Lions occupy and every move the Red Wings don’t make. The Pistons have work left to be done, but with the cult of Stan Van Gundy’s personality now in town, they could officially become more intriguing winter viewing than the Red Wings.
It’s August 6, and the Red Wings’ home opener on October 9 against the Boston Bruins is now 64 days away. The question is, do you really care? With everything else positive going on, should you?
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
From the Detroit suburbs to Finland and back to the U.S., Brian Rafalski's hockey career spanned internationally from inauspicious to illustrious.
The diminutive defenseman from Dearborn won the Stanley Cup three times, including in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings, and collected two Olympic silver medals.
That led, naturally enough, to Wednesday's announcement that Rafalski, now 40, is part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
"I'm very humbled and honored," Rafalski said on a conference call from his off-season home in Wisconsin. "It's very rewarding for myself. I wasn't really expecting this."
Paul's covered the vast majority of what's transpired while I've been absent--and in theory, I still am, as the mom and I remain in Grand Marais until Saturday--but even on vacation, one gets to a point where you worry that you aren't going to be able to catch up...
And if you're me, you worry about that kind of thing in August. I'm working on it this week, I promise.
Anyway, amongst the stuff that's transpired while I've been absent, and ahead of a "beach day":
added 2:27pm, And as we have heard before...
via Corey Pronman of ESPN (Insider subscription),
In preparation for the 2015 World Junior Championships, Team USA holds an evaluation camp for top eligible players in Lake Placid, and two other countries take part in practices and games as well.
Axel Holmstrom | C | Sweden | Detroit Red Wings- Holmstrom was a seventh-round pick (No. 196 overall) by the Red Wings this year, and at the time of the draft there were some scouts in Sweden who thought he should have gone higher. He was quite impressive at this camp, playing in Sweden's top six and being quite effective offensively.
Holmstrom has a pretty high skill level, and he looks like he's bulked up over the past few months as well. It's not crazy to think he'll be a top 10 prospect for Detroit by next summer.
Dylan Larkin | C/LW | USA | Detroit Red Wings- The No. 15 overall pick this June, Larkin really stood out with his skating ability. He was one of the bigger forwards at the camp in terms of frame development, but was arguably the fastest player as well, which helped him keep consistent offensive zone pressure even without plus hands.
In case you missed a tweet from George last night regarding a Holmstrom goal...
DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard will ride along with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team in an F-16 “Fighting Falcon” this Thursday, Aug. 7 at the Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., in advance of the 2014 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show running from Aug. 9-10.
Howard will be briefed by U.S. Air Force jet pilots at 2:30 p.m. and the F-16 “Fighting Falcons” will arrive to the Willow Run Airport at 3:00 p.m. The F-16s will perform survey flights around the airport leading up to Howard’s take-off at 5:30 p.m., where he is expected to reach speeds nearing Mach 1, or upwards of 900 miles per hour.
from USA Hockey,
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - USA Blue pulled out a 2-1 victory against Finland today at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp. Finland tallied midway through the third period, but Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill./U.S. National Under-18 Team) and Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich./U.S. National Under-18 Team) each scored in the final 5:03 to clinch the win for USA Blue.
Watch the goal highlights below plus a short post-game interview with Larkin.
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced the theme nights and promotional schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season. Returning this season, fans will have an opportunity to collect one-of-a-kind bobbleheads, along with several new giveaways, including holiday ornaments, themed T-shirts and much more.
Highlighting the exciting list of giveaways are five AT&T Bobblehead Nights, featuring Justin Abdelkader (Nov. 24 vs. Ottawa), Jonathan Ericsson (Dec. 16 vs. Columbus), Gustav Nyquist (Jan. 20 vs. Minnesota) and Danny DeKeyser (March 9 vs. Edmonton). The final Bobblehead Night of the season will feature Red Wings legend Gordie Howe on his birthday (March 31 vs. Ottawa). The first 7,500 fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena will receive a bobblehead.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Capitals have a new general manager (Brian McLellan), a new coach (longtime Predators man Barry Trotz) and several new players as they embark on another attempt to make good on that Stanley Cup chatter that’s echoed around Washington for several years.
McLellan nabbed the prize free agent on the market, luring defenseman Matt Niskanen to D.C. with a seven-year, $40.25 million contract (the Wings offered seven years and $38.5 million). That might be a good investment, but Niskanen, 27, has just one great season to his credit and was the gem of the marketplace because the rest was so mundane.
more on the Capitals...
On Channel 7's Sports Cave show this morning, the crew debated Steve Yzerman as the face of the franchise.
Watch the video below and it starts when the topic is about the Wings...
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.