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Prospect news: A pair of OHL games and the Griffins’ weekly release

Of prospect-related note:

In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook finished at +2 with 4 shots as his Erie Otters won 6-3 over Kitchener;

Can Filip Hronek win by losing? He finished at -2 with 2 shots as his Saginaw Spirit lost 11 to 2 to the Flint Firebirds;

[Edit: in the Champions Hockey League, Christoffer Ehn's Frolunda Indians won 2-1 over Fribourg-Gotteron;

And in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins filed their weekly press release:

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Red Wings-Blackhawks quick take: they got a point, not two, but made progress

The Red Wings aimed to steal a rare win from the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. The Wings hoped that Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green's respective returns from injuries would bolster their lineup, especially on the league's worst power play.

The Red Wings' power play got a whole 10 seconds of time against 7 Chicago power plays--with Detroit and Chicago both getting away with some egregious penalties--but it was of course a Red Wings penalty, a Justin Abdelkader "hit into the numbers," that yielded Chicago's game-ending power play and game-ending power play goal.

Chicago won 4-3 in OT, despite the Red Wings rallying from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, and in the long run, this game will sting...

But in the short run, I would actually argue that the Wings' poise against Chicago in the 2nd and 3rd periods was a huge step forward in terms of team composure, and the Wings' second period in particular gave the Wings a huge boost of confidence that I believe will stick with them going forward.

Save self-inflicted mistakes by Sproul and Marchenko, the Wings were actually very good defensively--on a night that they surrendered 71 shot attempts--and Detroit gave Chicago's defenders fits at times. This was a game that really could have been Detroit's, and at this point in the season, that's progress, even if it's a little ass backwards.

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Some pre-game bummer news about Smith and Kronwall

The Free Press's Helene St. James and MLive's Ansar Khan have not-so-good news regarding the injured Brendan Smith and Niklas Kronwall:

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Evening news: A Game-Day Preview video; on Nielsen the grateful All-Star and news you can use

Updated with Brendan Smith news at 7:39 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Red Wings posted their Game-Day Preview video, which includes Frans Nielsen, Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader, coach Jeff Blashill and forward Tomas Tatar:

2. Frans Nielsen may be a strange selection for the All-Star Game, but that doesn't mean that he's any less excited about or honored by the selection, as he told MLive's Ansar Khan:

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The Numbers On Anthony Mantha

from Dom Luszczyszyn of The Hockey News,

As we reach the halfway point of the season let's take a look at three players whose stock is rising, and three players who have seen their stock drop....

Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings
Q1 Value: 0.89 wins
Current Value: 2.22 wins

This is a tough one (and kind of cheating) because his sample size was so small before this that there would naturally be a lot of volatility. Mantha has 35 career games under his belt, and the previous value was based on his first 15 where he projected to be a solid middle six player notching five points in 15 games with a respectable possession rating. Since then he’s exploded and has been arguably the Red Wings best player, pacing the team in goals, points, shots, and Corsi. The point and goal totals are likely to come down as he gets more NHL time, but it does show his scoring ability exhibited in junior is starting to translate.

What’s really impressive here is his shot ratio. Over the second quarter, he was +60 which was easily the team’s best. Other than his linemates Tomas Tatar (+57) and Henrik Zetterberg (+53) as well as number one D-man Mike Green (+23), pretty much everyone else on the team was deep in the negatives. To be that far above water on a team that’s basically drowning is a very good sign. Mantha always showed a lot of promise given his high ranking in our annual Future Watch, and he’s finally living up the hype. If he’s not already Detroit’s best forward, he will probably cement himself as it soon.

more on other NHL players...

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Riley Sheahan and Brendan Smith will take part in ‘Red Wings Days at Meijer’

From the Red Wings:

... Sheahan to Appear at First “Red Wings Day at Meijer” on Sunday, Jan. 15 in Lincoln Park …

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan and defenseman Brendan Smith are set to appear individually at six Meijer locations throughout the Metro Detroit area, signing free autographs and interacting with the fans of Hockeytown during this season’s “Red Wings Days at Meijer.” Sheahan will make the first appearance of the campaign on Sunday, Jan. 15 in Lincoln Park (3710 Dix Highway), while Smith will appear at the Meijer in Chesterfield Township (27255 23 Mile Rd.) two days later on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Sheahan and Smith will each make two additional stops in Royal Oak, Madison Heights and Detroit.

The first “Red Wings Day at Meijer” in Lincoln Park will run from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., with Sheahan signing from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. All other Meijer visits will take place from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., with player signings to occur from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. The season-long schedule can be found below.

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The Fourth Period talks Wings and the expansion draft

The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta discussses the Red Wings' possible expansion draft strategy:

The first thing, beyond trade deadline thinking, Holland and his staff need to worry about is June's expansion draft. By all accounts, they're at risk of losing either goalie Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, or defenseman Danny DeKeyser or Jonathan Ericsson.

As things currently shape up, you'd have to imagine the Wings are protecting seven forwards, three defenseman and a goalie. That means Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm, Frans Nielsen (NMC), Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader are going to be protected, leaving two spots for two of Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening and Athanasiou -- Dylan Larkin is exempt.

On defense, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall are going to be protected, leaving one spot for DeKeyser or Ericsson (flip a coin), and either Howard or Mrazek in goal -- and based on performance this season, Howard may be sticking around.

The concern, I'd imagine, is losing DeKeyser or Ericsson, and that's who I'd look at if I'm Vegas GM George McPhee.

Pagnotta continues...

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Wallner: Griffins take in a yoga session to freshen up

The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Grand Rapids Griffins have chosen to change things up with a hot yoga session to help time pass more constructively between games:

Members of the Grand Rapids Griffins, guys who make a living playing on ice, took a break Tuesday for something warmer.

The team, facing a week of practices before three away games in four days beginning Friday, left the rink and hit the mats for a morning of hot yoga.

It was a well-earned and welcome break for the Griffins, who lead the Western Conference with a .691 winning percentage. But, it wasn't a frivolous way to kill a day.

"You get so wound up, you get so tight playing, so it's mostly a way to help with flexibility," said Griffins captain Nathan Paetsch, who at 33 and in his 14th season, credits yoga will prolonging his career.

Wallner continues, and he posted a video of Paetsch discussing the benefits of Yoga:

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Red Wings-Blackhawks game-day articles: Hawks debate ASG selections as Wings get Abby, Green back

Updated 7x at 3:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face an incredibly stiff task in battling the Chicago Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), but the morning skate brought good news for the Wings: Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green will officially return for the Wings, who are starting Petr Mrazek opposite Corey Crawford tonight.

Our friends from Chicago spent their post-morning skate activities discussing their All-Star game representatives, as noted by the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc...

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Red Wings-Blackhawks morning skate Tweets and articles: Abdelkader, Green to return

The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to pull off a rare win in Chicago against the Blackhawks this evening (8:30 PM EST on FSD/WGN/97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan noted how incredibly poor the Wings' record against Chicago has been over the past couple of years:

* The Blackhawks are 10-1-2 in their past 13 regular season games against the Red Wings, outscoring them 38-23. Chicago leads the Western Conference with 57 points.

As WGN is airing the game in Chicago, Bob Vorwald penned a list of notes regarding tonight's game:

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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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