The Malik Report
Gustav Nyquist isn't a speedy waterbug like linemate Linus Klassen, an 5'9," 165-pound SHL'er, nor does he have Calle Jarnkrok's fleet-footedness, but Nyquist can handle traffic and hard checking better than Klassen, he doesn't give up on doing the detail work involved in completing backchecking assignments like Jarnkrok does (seriously, the Worlds have been a revelation as to Jarnkrok's lack of "compete level"), and while Nyquist loses puck battles from time to time, he also goes and retrieves the puck again if he loses it.
As such, Nyquist's performance in Sweden's 5-1 win over Italy--2 goals, the 1-0 goal on a breakaway, a should-have-been assist on the 2-1 PPG, a one-timer goal on the 3-1 PPG and at least presence on the ice during the 4-1 PPG (and did I mention that Nyquist whiffed on a second breakaway attempt shortly after the 1-0 goal?)--was overshadowed by Klasen's four assists and Jarnkrok's effortless skating...
The ascendancy of the Slava Fetisov-starring documenary Red Army, which has earned rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival (the Free Press's Brian Manzullo just posted an article noting that the film received 4 stars from the Guardian; the Kremlin-sponsored Russia Today's praising the film, too), places Fetisov in a role which he no longer plays in real life--that of an iconoclast.
While Fetisov staked his career upon earning the right to legally pursue professional hockey employment, Fetisov's post-hockey career has witnessed "Papa Bear" rejoin the Russian political machine. He's worked as the country's Minister of Sport, as a member of the Duma, as CSKA Moscow's president and a member of the KHL's board of directors, and now he's an upper-house parliamentary representative for Vladivostok--a far-from-Moscow region in Russia's Far East that just happened to build an arena named after Fetisov, which quickly landed a KHL team in the Admiral Vladivostok...
The Fetisov who once railed against the Soviet system's done quite well for himself in Putin's Russia, and as such, the Fetisov's tour through the press junket has and will reveal the picture of a complicated man as opposed to a still-liberal critic of a now neo-Soviet government.
The New York Times' Stephen Zeitchik spoke with Fetisov and the movie's director, Gabe Polsky, about Fetisov's status as a central figure...
RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest has posited his end-of-season rankings of the Red Wings' top 25 prospects. After dedicating a generous portion of his missive to Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer's take on Anthony Mantha's pro potential, Wuest gets down to the player-ranking business (including asterisks to note which players will have to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL next season). Among his more notable comments:
3. Xavier Ouellet (+3), D, Grand Rapids (AHL), 70-4-13-17-22, +3, 92 shots. Ouellet doesn’t have gaudy statistics, but he transitioned flawlessly to the AHL from junior. Still only 20, he’s a two-way defenseman and the blue-line front-runner for a full-time job in Detroit.
9. * Adam Almquist (+5), D, Grand Rapids (AHL), 73-4-49-53-56, +9, 129 shots. He’s emerged as one of the AHL’s preeminent offensive defensemen. But with bigger, more well-rounded blueliners in the system, the NHL odds are stacked against him — at least in Detroit.
18. David Pope (NR), LW, West Kelowna (BCHL), 45-27-23-50-20, N/A, N/A. Under the radar playing junior A hockey, Pope was one of the top goal-scorers in his league. He’ll be in the spotlight more next season when he takes his game to the NCAA at Nebraska-Omaha.
Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyeser's not exactly playing as an offensive-minded defenseman for Team USA at the World Championships, but USA Hockey's Justin Rice reports that #65's performance in Minsk has impressed assistant coach Phil Housley...
"I really like the way he plays the game,” Housley said. “He’s a big kid that can skate; he can carry the mail. He’s playing in all situations in Detroit. He has tremendous range and great mobility. I think it’s a great thing that he’s experiencing international competition. I would rate him right up there in the top of our group of defenders. Watching him toward the end of the year, when it mattered in the playoffs, I thought he was solid.”
And DeKeyser himself both reflected upon the Wings' short playoff run...
Tatar vs Fleury in TSN play of the year semifinal; Red Wings post Pulkkinen video; programming notes
Of multimedia-related note, from RedWingsFeed:
1. TSN's first Play of the Year Showdown semifinal pits the winner of the Marc-Andre Fleury-vs-Jonas Gustavsson battle against the Tomas Tatar-vs-Jason Spezza affair. Regrettably, Fleury beat out Gustavsson, so you can vote for this deke-and-dangle from Tatar [edit/update: whose Slovaks won't advance to the World Championships' quarterfinals as they were beaten out for the final spot by France /end edit]...
Or a seeing-eye glove save from Fleury:
Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:
The Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs via last night's 7-1 loss to the Texas Stars, ending the Griffins' hopes of defending their Calder Cup championship.
As we may or may not witness a "locker room clean-out-day's" worth of quips and quotes, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's morning-after conversation with Griffins coach Jeff Blashill takes center stage:
The Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs on Sunday, but several Red Wings players and prospects are still playing hockey--at least for the next week.
At the World Championships, Gustav Nyquist's Swedes, Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser's Americans have quarterfinal spots locked up, Jakub Kindl's Czechs are very likely to make the quarterfinals, and Tomas Tatar's Slovaks...need some help.
Nyquist and Sweden battle Italy today at 1:45 PM EDT, and the other teams play on Tuesday. The quarterfinals will begin on Thursday, and the tournament's Gold Medal game takes place on Sunday, May 25th.
At the Memorial Cup, Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs will play Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm this evening (at 7 PM EDT, on Sportsnet and the NHL Network).
Mantha's Foreurs will play Edmonton on Tuesday, and Bertuzzi's Storm will play London on Wednesday. The Memorial Cup's championship will take place on Sunday the 25th as well.
Updated substantially at 12:49 AM: Repeating as a champion is the hardest task a hockey team can accomplish--at any level--and the Grand Rapids Griffins fell short on Sunday night, dropping a 7-1 loss to the Texas Stars (including 2 empty-net goals against) which eliminated the Griffins from the Calder Cup playoffs.
Having watched the game, I can tell you that the Griffins went down fighting, but they also went down in a disturbingly familiar fashion: playing against a bigger, heavier team, the Griffins struggled mightily to defend against the Stars' dynamic offense, and they did so for the most part because they couldn't sustain puck possession.
Very briefly: Jakub Kindl didn't register a point but played 19:30 and had 1 shot in the Czechs' 1-0 win over Norway on Sunday. The Czechs' spot in the quarterfinals (the top four teams out of an 8-team pool make the playoffs) isn't secure, however, as IIHF.com's Peter Westermark notes:
The win takes the Czech team up to 10 points, giving them an opportunity to secure third place in Group A with a win in the next game versus France.
via the AHL,
Game 6 - 8:00pm ET, AHL Live (TEX leads series, 3-2)
The Texas Stars get two cracks at knocking out the defending Calder Cup champions, beginning with tonight's Game 6 at the Cedar Park Center.
Chris Mueller (2-1-3) scored 3:18 into overtime to give Texas a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids in the pivotal Game 5 on Friday... Mike Hedden (5-3-8) extended his scoring streak to six games with a goal in Game 5... Brendan Ranford (7-1-8) added his fifth goal of the series and his seventh of the postseason, tied for the league lead... Cristopher Nilstorp (4-1, 1.84, .929) earned the win in Game 5, stopping all four shots he faced in relief of Jack Campbell (2-1, 2.54, .917), who left the contest with an injury late in regulation.
Mitch Callahan (1-4-5) and Teemu Pulkkinen (4-6-10) scored for the Griffins, who battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie Game 5 before falling in OT... Petr Mrazek (5-4, 2.49, .920) turned aside 26 of 29 shots in the loss... Cory Emmerton (2-7-9) picked up an assist, and now leads all scorers with 1-6-7 in the series... To continue its Calder Cup defense, Grand Rapids needs to become the ninth team in AHL history (but the sixth in the last five years) to win Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series on the road.
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.