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Red Wings-Blue Jackets quick take: bitter defeat

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to snap a two-game losing streak against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Wings played an excellent game overall, but they still lost 2-1 to Columbus, with the Wings' power play going 1-for-4 and Columbus....getting away with a lot of extra-curricular activities. Bobrovsky was amazing for Columbus, and he rubbed the Wings' faces in it a bit, and that's also frustrating...

But the Wings have to go to Minnesota and get back at 'er for an 11:30 AM local time start (12:30 PM EST on NBC), and the Minnesota game is an absolute must-win.

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Ilitch’s influence extends to a TMR reader

This story about Mike Ilitch's generosity is not singular, but it's special because it involves a TMR reader who I know pretty well. WDIV's Sierra Pedraja and Koco McAboy spoke with Rich Gibson about Mike Ilitch's influence upon someone trying to overcome addiction issues:

Gibson lost his father at 7 years old, and battled problems with alcohol through his adult life. He found sobriety after he took the job as a Little Caesars store manager.

"It occupied my time early in my recovery; I had no time to think about drinking,” Gibson said.

Gibson wrote a letter to Ilitch, thanking him for being a major part of his recovery.

“My area supervisor gave it to him and he told me don't be surprised if he doesn't contact you in some way,” Gibson said.

But Ilitch did write back congratulating him on his success. In the letter, Ilitch told Gibson “overcoming adversity builds character and I commend you on your success in your recovery.”

Sober for 29 years now, Gibson said Ilitch’s legacy and kindness will never be forgotten.

When I was drinking, I was not a good person; Now I feel like I'm a pretty good person,” Gibson said. “That structure helped me.”


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Chris Ilitch issues statement on his father’s passing

From WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr.

Chris Ilitch issued the following statement Saturday, a day after his father Mike Ilitch died at age 87.

“My father was a kind-hearted family man, a big-idea businessman, a hands-on leader and a devoted philanthropist who created opportunity and pride for everyone around him. He was one-of-a-kind, and I’m honored to have worked with him to grow our organization and our hometown. We will never forget his dedication to his employees, players and franchisees, his passion for Detroit, his giving and generous spirit, and his devotion to my mother Marian and all of his loved ones. My father truly lived his life well, and I will work hard to uphold his spirit, his values and his remarkable legacy.”

Chris Ilitch already has been in the driver's seat of the family's business initiatives, holding the title of president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. He has become more of a public figure himself in recent years as his father stepped out of the spotlight in his older age.

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Mark Howe talks about Mike Ilitch

Mark Howe, the Red Wings' director of pro scouting, spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple about the way in which Howe came to play for the Red Wings:

"I explained to him over the phone that I had a difficult time leaving Philadelphia,” Mark Howe recalled of a the conversation he had with Ilitch before deciding to sign with the Wings. “I said I wanted to become a Red Wing but I’m a loyal person and it’s really hard for me to leave Philly. And he said, ‘Well, you’re the kind of guy I want. I love loyalty.' I came to the Red Wings in ’92 and I’ve been there all this time.”

Ilitch died on Friday afternoon at age 87.

Howe had returned a reporter's call just after scouting an NHL game for the Red Wings on Friday. Howe is in his 24th season with the organization, the past 21 as a part of the front office.

“I think I’ve been there just because of the Ilitch family,” Howe said. “They always showed a lot of loyalty to the people that worked, played and competed for them.”


“God knows they’ve done more for the Howe family, I think, than anybody else,” Mark said. “When my mother passed and then obviously last year when my father passed. They gave both of them a sendoff, especially Dad, that we never could have managed by ourselves. The Ilitch family has done a lot for the Howe family. I couldn’t have any more respect for anybody than Mike and Marian.”

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Wings’ players discuss Mike Ilitch’s legacy as an involved owner

As Paul noted, the Red Wings posted videos of the Wings addressing the passing of Mike Ilitch, and the Red Wings' beat writers penned a set of articles in which the Wings' players reflect upon their owner's legacy.

MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article on the subject...

Captain Henrik Zetterberg: "Many memories. Obviously it was a very sad day yesterday. Sad news. Great, great owner. Great man. The things he had done for his teams, for the Red Wings, for the Tigers, how dedicated he was to his players and also to the player's families. He really cared about everyone and he will be dearly missed. One thing after my back surgery, after the Olympics, next day when I woke up he was one of the first who called in to see how I was, how the surgery went. I was in New York at that time. That felt very special. (That was proof) that he really cared. He really cared about his players and wanted them to do well."

Savage continues, and DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji picks up the narrative...

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Krupa: ‘Ilitch was the rebirth’ of the Red Wings franchise

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa wrote a touching tribute to Mike Ilitch and his role in the renaissance of the franchise:

Only late in my career have I come to write about hockey, and I encounter the Ilitch effect, again, as part of my craft. The tale has taken a turn most poignant.

Gordie Howe is gone. Now, Mike Ilitch, who restored the glory, is gone too, eight months to the day of Howe’s passing. The team is in repose, starved for stars like Howe and Yzerman, and on tenterhooks about whether they have begun to emerge.

His new arena bears the name of two of his creations, the pizza company and the youth hockey program essential to the rise of Michigan natives in the NHL.

But the future is far from clear.

Whatever success emerges is Ilitch’s legacy. He was the rebirth.

Life teaches that great, powerful and rich men can sometimes tread heavily. When it came to hockey, to be affected by Mike Ilitch felt like a parade.

Krupa continues

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Babcock, Shanahan weigh in on Ilitch’s passing

NHL.com's Dave McCarthy spoke with Mike Babcock and Brendan Shanahan about Mike Ilitch:

"He made you want to be a better man," Babcock said. "He was committed to doing things right. What he touched in business turned to gold, but he had that presence about him that made you want to be better."

Under Ilitch's ownership, the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. Shanahan spent nine seasons with the Red Wings and was a member of the first three championship teams. He remembered Ilitch for always making him feel like he was a part of a family instead of just a player on a team.

"For Mr. Ilitch, he was such a passionate sports man but his family always welcomed us," Shanahan said. "They knew the players, they knew the wives, the girlfriends, the kids. We all were made to feel like we were a part of his family.

"They considered us all their 'boys,' as they used to say. Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch used to refer to us as their 'boys.' Sometimes guys were 35 or 40 years old, but we were still their boys. Just a very compassionate great man and a great family man."


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Ted Lindsay on Mike Ilitch

NHL.com's Dave Stubbs spoke with Ted Lindsay and Scotty Bowman regarding their memories of Mike Ilitch:

"It's a great loss, but Mike left his mark on this great city," Hockey Hall of Famer Lindsay said from his Detroit-area home Friday night. "He recognized what he could do for Michigan and he did that, and more.

"Mike was an athlete, a baseball man first, but he also was a man who was involved in hockey almost his entire life. He was a great supporter of the game. For him to end up owning the Red Wings hockey club didn't surprise me a bit."

If they often crossed paths at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, Lindsay said he most enjoyed his time away from the arena with Ilitch and his wife of 61 years, Marian.

"I think I've known all of Mike and Marian's children from the day they were born," Lindsay said.

Stubbs continues...

The Ted Lindsay Foundation also put out a statement:

A message from Ted regarding Mike Ilitch's passing:
"Detroit has lost an amazing man, a true visionary and leader in the city. Mike was an inspiration to so many people, not only because of this success but also because of his philanthropy. My condolences to Marian and the rest of the Ilitch family. Mike will be missed but never forgotten."

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Videos- Zetterberg, Kronwall, Abdelkader And Blashill On Mike Ilitch

First up is Henrik Zetterberg...



Three more videos below...  added at 3:40pm, John Tortorella pre-game, with the first half on Mike Ilitch...

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Before The 5:00pm Puck Drop Tonight And Datsyuk On Mike Ilitch

via Dana Wakiji tweets,

Blashill said Kronwall and Nielsen are available for tonight.

Kronwall said he is playing.

added 3:13pm, Wakiji tweet...

equipment manager Paul Boyer said players won't wear anything tonight on jerseys to honor Mr. Ilitch, most likely Wednesday.


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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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