The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. First, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned an article for the Hockey News discussing Henrik Zetterberg's resurgent 2015-16 campaign with the Wings, noting that Zetterberg "hit a wall" last year at this time...
Zetterberg missed much of the second half of 2013-14 after undergoing back surgery following the Sochi Olympics, and the lingering treatment ultimately ground him to a halt. “When I came into last season, it was real exciting because I had been out for a while,” Zetterberg said. “I felt healthy, so going into the season there was a lot of excitement.”
Once the adrenaline wore off, the reality that Zetterberg spent a summer rehabbing his injured back and not partaking in his regular off-season regimen of preparation for the season would eventually exact a toll upon his body. “I hit the wall in January and never came back,” Zetterberg said. “This off-season was better workout-wise, and hopefully it’ll transition more into a steadier season.”
The early returns are positive. Instead of worrying about an old Zetterberg, the Detroit Red Wings captain, who turned 35 in October, looks a lot like the Zetterberg of old.
Already this season, Zetterberg has notched his 300th NHL goal, 500th assist and 800th point. He joined Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio and Sergei Fedorov as players with 300 goals and 800 points with Detroit. At the all-star break, Zetterberg has 33 points in 49 games.
“He’s really strong on the puck,” said teammate Tomas Tatar. “I don’t think there’s anybody in the NHL as strong as him.”
Duff continues, and 2. If you're interested in getting a Luke Glendening autograph tomorrow:
Dylan Larkin had 3 assists and finished at +1 during the Atlantic Division's 4-3 win over the Metropolitan Division in the All-Star Game semifinal, and Larkin looked pretty damn slick throughout, including this little give-and-go with PK Subban:
He even seems to get along with Pierre McGuire!
Update: From MLive's Brendan Savage:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
"I said I was going to give it all I had so I thought ... why not just go for it," said Larkin, 19. "I didn't even know I won until I looked and saw the scoreboard. I didn't know what the record was. I was trying to skate as fast as I can. I've never done a lap like that. I just gave it my best and then see what happened."
Larkin was among the favorites entering the event, which also included Nashville's Roman Josi, Columbus' Brandon Saad, Colorado's Matt Duchesne, Edmonton's Taylor Hall, Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang and Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien.
Larkin broke Gartner's record despite stumbling during the final turn. But he didn't think he lost much momentum and wasn't worried it would hurt his time.
"I was still going pretty fast," Larkin said. "I was lucky I caught my footing. I don't know if it was less than perfect. I gave it all I had. I've always been a good skater. I started working out and my speed has kind of taken off. I've always had a pretty good first three steps."
2. The Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson regarding his tenure with the Grand Rapids Griffins thus far, as well as Nelson's take on some of the organizatoin's top prospects:
Jonathan Willis of hte Edmonton Journal with a story on former Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd Nelson and current coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The team’s most famous prospect is probably forward Anthony Mantha, the No. 20 pick in the 2013 Draft. The 6’5” winger scored a goal-per-game in his final year of junior, but broke his leg early in his rookie AHL campaign last year and had some difficulty when he returned, finishing with just 33 points in 62 games. He has 27 in 37 contests this year, but Nelson’s focus is on developing other areas of his game.
“The biggest thing with him is we want his compete level to be consistent every night, where he’s tough to play against, down low where he protects the puck well,” Nelson said. “Doing the right things defensively, being on the right side of the puck and also stripping guys of the puck with that long reach. He’s been getting better and better at that and I think everybody in the organization is happy with the progress, but they want to see more.”
more on Nelson and the Griffins...
The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a fine column discussing the items upon which the Wings need to improve over the second "half" (or games 50 to 82 of the regular season), including special teams, even-strength scoring, better back-up goaltending and better performance at home, but this is the part of her article that you're going to talk about:
The second half also kicks off the countdown to the trade deadline, which falls Feb. 29. General manager Ken Holland has made deadline moves the past two seasons but isn’t going to be able to do anything this season unless it involves a regular player being moved out as well. The Wings simply don’t have enough cap space — it’s around $500,000 — to add a player without shipping one out.
I need you to read that part again, and to do the basic, "For someone to come, someone with an equal salary has to go" math until I stop getting questions about adding so-and-so for prospects and picks, because the math doesn't work there.
There isn’t the same trade urgency as in years past, because the defense saw a boost with Green and rookie Alexey Marchenko has done a good job since he was brought up mid-October. There’s depth in the organization, too, in Xavier Ouellet.
St. James duly notes that the main topics of fan trade discussion, Dustin Byfuglien and Steven Stamkos, would be difficult to acquire and harder to re-sign:
The Grand Rapids Griffins have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows over the course of their 2015-16 season, and right now, they're in a rut. Grand Rapids has lost 5 of its past 6 games, including a 7-3 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday night.
The Griffins' website offers a recap...
From the Free Press's John Gallagher and JC Reindl:
The new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena under construction has attracted a surge of outside investment interest, with developers vying to build a new hotel, housing and stores that could fulfill the promise of an expanded district of sports and entertainment rising on the northern edge of downtown.
Seven hotel developers have indicated an interest in building the planned hotel. And at least 10 qualified residential developers are expected to bid on building housing in the district, officials of the Ilitch family's Olympia Development told the Free Press last week.
The whole investment could eclipse $1 billion in public and private dollars. When the arena opens for the Detroit Red Wings season in late 2017, some 210,000 square feet of office and retail space will arrive at the same time, and the first 225 units of residential housing in adjacent projects will come on line a few months after, the Ilitches predict.
“Our ongoing conversations with retailers, prospective office tenants and residential developers have been extremely positive,” said Steve Marquardt, vice president of Olympia Development. “The District Detroit is coming to life and bringing opportunity and investment to our city.”
Gallagher and Reindl continue, and the Free Press also posted a list of "key details" about the District Detroit's construction, including one aspect of the "Detroit Events Center's" dimensions that will get cheers...
The new arena's concourse will be three times the size of Joe Louis Arena's.
And among the "5 coolest features in the future Detroit arena":
Up-close club seating: The arena will have five different clubs, including one club position between the locker room and the ice. "So the players literally walk right through that club," Wilson said. "It will be the best chance in hockey to get close to your favorite players." The club will have room for about 250 ticket-paying fans or concert-goers.
So Dylan Larkin took a 13.172-second lap around the rink in Nashville, earning the NHL's fastest-ever time for a skater taking part in the Fastest Skater event at the All-Star Game, but there's apparently a burr under the saddles of those who remember Mike Gartner setting a 13.386-second lap record in 1995.
The Hockey News's Daniel Nugent-Bowman explains:
When Gartner established his mark 20 years ago in Boston, he was required to start from a static position at center ice. Larkin was permitted to have a skating start from the blueline. The clock only started ticking once he crossed the red line.
Does that start count for two tenths of a second's worth of skating time? I have absolutely no idea, but should Mike Gartner want to come out of retirement and take on Larkin one-on-one, I'd pay to see it.
In any case, Larkin nearly fell over while making his record-setting attempt, and that may have taken some time off his lap, as ESPN's Scott Burnside noted...
Dylan Larkin won his Fastest Skater heat against Roman Josi, taking 12.894 seconds to make the loop...
And as the fastest skater of the East and West's participants, Larkin was able to take a lap attempting to beat Mike Gartner's full-rink lopp record, which he did with a 13.172 second loop:
Mike Gartner set the record in 1995, with a 13.38 second lap, a year before Larkin was born.
Evening news: Some well-deserved Larkin mania and discussion of ‘bus-driving’ Datsyuk and Zetterberg
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
MLive's Brendan Savage kicks off the Dylan Larkin mania with a superb essay profiling Larkin from many perspectives, including those of Ken Holland, Mickey Redmond and Larkin's teammates:
Larkin is certainly no average teenager with his face being on the cover of The Hockey News, fans in the Joe Louis Arena stands wearing Red Wings jerseys with his name and No. 71 on the back and the constant media demands, which will undoubtedly reach new heights in Nashville. But none of it has gone to his head, according to those who know him best.
"For sure," said roommate Luke Glendening. "Even the first day I met him in the summer he was like, 'I don't know what's going to happen this year' but he had goals and he's achieving them one by one. Every day is a testament to that and he loves being on the ice, he loves being in the gym, wherever he can be.
"He's still pretty quiet. He's a jokester. He's got a good sense of humor. The maturity you guys (in the media) see is the same maturity we see at home. I think that's unique to a 19-year-old but for someone in his spot especially. It's extremely cool to watch."
Savage also asked Holland and Redmond whether Larkin's discomfort at the All-Star Game might benefit him in the long term...
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.