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Zeisberger: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s geared up for an Olympian campaign

The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger spoke with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock about his Olympic aspirations, and while the Wings' coach is living the American dream, the man is as dedicated to--as he likes to put it--"sport" (instead of sports), and this February, he's going to soak in the Olympic experience.

Ahead of a season in which he's got to balance shifting to the Eastern Conference, dealing with those dang 24/7 cameras and the Winter Classic hubbub, heading to Sochi to coach Team Canada and then returning Stateside to prepare for a playoff run, Babcock's pumped up for all of it--especially the part where he takes his family to the Cacausus Mountians in February:

“The Olympic opportunity is as much fun as you can have, especially last time when I got to share it with my family,” Babcock said. “I’m not sure it will be the same this time, but it’s still going to be great. A lot of it has to do with your growth and development as a coach. If you want to be at the top of your field, it’s about life-long learning.”

Babcock’s desire to one day wear a Canadian jersey at the Olympics dates back to his childhood. Because his dad worked in the mines, the family moved frequently, relocating from Northern Ontario to the Northwest Territories to Saskatchewan.

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No Goons Needed In Detroit

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

“Am I concerned going to the East?” Holland said. “Would I like to have a big, tough guy in the middle of the lineup? Yeah. But I haven’t really bought into having fourth-line guys that don’t have much skill and are one-dimensional players. I guess I put more of a premium on goals.”

There is no debate that many fans like fighting. There is no debate that fighting can intimidate and play a role in team toughness. There is no debate that there are different ways to build a successful organization.

But do you need fighting to sell the game to hardcore hockey people? Do you need it to win? Does it necessarily protect your skilled players? No. It can even be counterproductive....

The Joe rocks like anyplace else for a fight. Some of the most popular Wings have been guys who could punch – Bob Probert, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan – and a couple of the most memorable moments in Wings history were line brawls against the blood rival Colorado Avalanche.

Yet the Wings have hardly dropped the gloves over the last couple of decades, the Joe has been sold out for virtually all of that time, and the fans have embraced peaceful, graceful players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, too.

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Is There A Little Cat And Mouse Game Going On Here?

from a Bill Roose update on the Wings today at their website,

Babcock said he expects that Daniel Alfredsson will make his home debut for the Red Wings in Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Penguins.

“He’s got to play eventually here, like anything, I’d like to get him going,” Babcock said, referring to Alfredsson. “I’d like to play him (Wednesday) and then on Friday (vs. Toronto) and get going from there.”...

“They’ve got to get to work and get playing. That’s what training camp is for,” Babcock said. “You have to start feeling good and be going in at a high level and if you do that you have a better chance of getting started on time.”...

Alfredsson was less alarmed, and said he’ll play against the Pens if he feels good.

“We have more than a week here to get used to each other. There’s still plenty of time,” he said. “Everyone would love to be healthy all of training camp and go full all the time, but at the same time this is the time where you have to make sure if you do have something to look after it, because once the season starts there’s no time.

“I’m happy with how I feel right now, but you never want to jinx yourself and say you feel great so we’ll see how it feels this afternoon. This was the first time I’ve really pushed myself hard in a while.”

more on the Wings, most of it covered by George earlier today

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The Red Wings are indeed no longer ‘presented by Amway’

Red Wings fans noticed that the Amway patches are slowly working their way off of Detroit's practice jerseys, and when I attended last Saturday's Wings-Bruins game at the Joe, the Amway signage had been replaced by big Kroger banners. As such, the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar asked the team, which is now, "Presented by AT&T" on its website, if their deal with Amway had indeed lapsed:

“It has ended. It led its course,” said John Hahn, senior director of communications for the Red Wings. Amway representatives also confirmed the partnership has ended. Red Wings and Amway officials said they would release official statements Tuesday afternoon.

First announced in November 2010, the multi-platform deal was the first time in Wings history that the team agreed to a “presenting sponsor.” Details were never disclosed, but analysts speculated it was a seven-figure deal and some predicted the new Wings’ home ice, which is planned to be built soon, could be named Amway arena.

Last year, Amway’s logo was placed on the team’s practice jerseys and practice pucks. Its logo was on the ice of Joe Louis Arena, on the scoreboards, on game tickets and on a variety of advertising and marketing ventures. But not this year.

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Justin Abdelkader, Red Wings bring back ‘Red Wings for Reading’ program

Per the Red Wings' community relations department:

JUSTIN ABDELKADER CONTINUES SECOND ANNUAL “RED WINGS FOR READING” PROGRAM

… Michigan Elementary Students can win Tickets to Red Wings Games by Reading Abdelkader’s Favorite Children’s Books …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings and forward Justin Abdelkader announced today the second annual Red Wings for Reading program to encourage Michigan elementary school students to read this school year. Abdelkader will donate a pair of Red Wings tickets to each home game during the 2013-14 regular season to incentivize kids to read for fun. Students who win the chance to attend a Red Wings game will receive two tickets, a pair of meal vouchers, a goody bag with promotional items and an autographed Abdelkader photo. Winning students will be recognized at the game as Abby’s All Stars.

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Red Wings Tuesday practice post: Mrazek starts Wed, Alfredsson close, Gustavsson ‘day to day’

Updated 8x at 3:19 PM: The Detroit Red Wings returned to practice after a full day off on Monday, preparing for a three-games-in-four-nights slate of games to conclude their exhibition season (Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh on FSD Plus/NHL Net U.S., Friday vs. Toronto, Saturday at Toronto on the CBC and NHL Net U.S.), and the Wings' beat writers delivered a familiar slate of, "Good news and bad news on the injury front" while watching practice:

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Red Wings overnight report: on injuries, Nyquist, Howard, lists and prospects

I know that some of you had a spirited discussion regarding the Red Wings' high likelihood of starting the season utilizing players placed on long-term injured reserve to alleviate the team's $2.387 million (Capgeek-estimated) cap overage and its roster crunch (27 players on the roster, Wings need to get down to 23 by Monday), perhaps suggesting that Red Wings GM Ken Holland's acumen in trading players for a significant return has diminished, or wondering why the Wings are so very regularly beset by injuries...

But the pre-season trade marketplace isn't exactly booming at present, and as teams are still evaluating their own pools of talent, they've tended to address injury issues not involving fisticuffs or high sticks from within the organization.

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Grand Rapids Griffins shifting focus to influx of new players, AHL season as training camp begins

The Grand Rapids Griffins opened their training camp today at their practice facility in Grand Rapids, a few new Wings cuts and one temporary one included...

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Holland In Wait Mode On Roster And Cap Decisions

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Until he has a better handle on the status of the injured players — likely later this week — general manager Ken Holland isn't making any decisions.

"I'm waiting to get a feel for how long some of these people are out," Holland said. "Maybe injuries sort some of these problems out, short term. I've had the odd conversation with other general managers, but we don't really know where we're at. I'm waiting till I know more specifics."

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Red Wings afternoon news: Pulkkinen sent down for now; Tootoo out; ‘The Week Ahead’ and Almquist

Updated 3x at 6:17 PM: As I annoy the Safelite folks in Livonia because they've finished my windshield ahead of schedule and I'm still doing work...

Following up this morning's news about Wings cuts and the Grand Rapids Griffins' training camp opening in GR, the Red Wings made a paper transaction that allows the team to temporarily reduce its roster size--though the player demoted will have to be recalled to serve the final game of his suspension...

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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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