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Early Line Combos

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

There will be some interesting line combinations when the Detroit Red Wings take the ice Friday for the first day of training camp at Centre I.C.E. Arena.

Henrik Zetterberg will center the top line for Team Lindsay, a familiar combination featuring Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader on the wings.

Newcomer Brad Richards will center the top line for Team Delvecchio, with Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm on the wings. That squad's second line has Riley Sheahan centering Johan Franzen, who's attempting to come back from a concussion, and Luke Glendening, who's played almost exclusively at center during his two seasons in Detroit.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin, who's trying to earn a roster spot at age 19, will center the top line for Team Howe, flanked by Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen.


added 12:09pm, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press with Ken Holland on Larkin...

Continue Reading »

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Topics For The Wings During Training Camp

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

...there are lingering questions Blashill and Co. must answer during the four-day camp and eight exhibitions.


The way the Red Wings roster is set, it’ll be difficult for a young player in Grand Rapids to break through and earn a spot.

But injuries happen, and positions will become available. And there’s an intriguing list of young players on the cusp:

Dylan Larkin (Waterford/Michigan) excelled in the Big Ten, World Championships, and American Hockey League playoffs.

Anthony Mantha appears ready to rebound from a disappointing rookie season in Grand Rapids.

Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Nosek and Tyler Bertuzzi had solid performances during the Prospects Tournaments.

“(They) are edging towards becoming NHL players,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That bodes well for us, not only in the future but right now.”


Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet have had short looks and shown they are close to claiming a roster spot.

But the way roster shapes up, the defense looks filled, and the Red Wings aren’t likely to keep a young defenseman to watch. So barring injury or trades, Marchenko, Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen are likely headed to Grand Rapids.


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Can You See Brendan Smith On The Power Play?

from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,

Rarely did Smith receive power-play time under Mike Babcock, who left this off-season to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. New Wings coach Jeff Blashill has said he’s open to giving Smith an opportunity on the power play, an area in which Smith excelled in college.

Smith, 26, has one power-play goal in 195 career games with the Wings. He scored 11 power-play goals in 2 1/2 seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League.

“Sometimes change is fun,” Smith said Tuesday, after the final informal skate at Joe Louis Arena before players headed to Traverse City for training camp. “We have a lot of good players. ... The biggest thing is they just told us positions are open and go out there and take it.”

On getting a chance to get ice time on the power play, Smith said: “Yeah, I didn’t really have that chance (before), but there’s a lot more confidence that I can step into a role like that. I guess it gives myself more of a green light to make more plays, which is exciting.

“It’s something I haven’t done since Grand Rapids. I think, with Coach having that confidence in me, it’s exciting to show my offensive ability.”

read on

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Jeff Blashill On Petr Mrazek And Jimmy Howard

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

“We play eight preseason games so they’ll both get a good chunk of games,” Blashill said. “How many, I don’t know yet. But they’ll both get a chance to be able to show where they’re at and stake their claim for the job.

“If you also look at the regular-season start, we’ve got a number of back-to-backs, so it really lends itself well to both guys getting a chance to show they went to be the starter. We’ll let the competition play itself out. But again, the thing about competition is that doesn’t end at any point. It remains throughout the season and that goes for everybody.”


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Mike Babcock’s Trends While With The Wings

from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,

The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Mike Babcock this summer to much fanfare. They signed the man regarded by many as the league’s top coach to an eight-year contract for an unprecedented $50 million. Naturally, he’s expected to be a key figure in Toronto’s rebuild, so it’s worth taking some time to look at how he runs a bench.

This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive piece, as it’s far too short for that. The goal here is to identify some key trends.

Forward Deployments
Evidence that Babcock isn’t set in his ways can be seen by how he embraced a new strategy with regard to his forwards last season.

In all the years Babcock coached the Red Wings, no line started a higher percentage of its shifts in the defensive zone than last year’s trio of Luke Glendening, Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson. Babcock had always been willing to double-shift a centre for defensive zone draws (Kris Draper would often get the assignment) but in the past two years he moved more firmly towards a fourth line that specialized in defensive zone work.

continue for much more on Babock's trends with Detroit, then the focus turns to the Leafs...

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Jeff Blashill On Justin Abdelkader

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

"To me, that wasn't an anomaly; that was his maturation process of learning how to survive in the league to then getting a little bit more ice time to now being who Justin Abdelkader is," Blashill said. "What you saw last year is what I believe he is.

"He's a guy who's physical, a guy who can be a really good complementary player on a line -- and I say complementary in the sense that he can add a different element to a couple of skill players. But he can score goals and make offensive plays. It's his responsibility to go out and do it on a daily basis to show that he can continue that."

The Red Wings traveled to Traverse City Wednesday for training camp. They'll undergo physicals and off-ice testing on Thursday and begin practices and scrimmages Friday at Centre I.C.E. Arena.

It appears Abdelkader will be skating on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, like he did much of last season. Abdelkader said he wants to build off last year, which ended on a sour note after a late-season hand injury (broken fingers) caused him to miss the first two games of the playoffs against Tampa Bay.


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Press Event Announced For NHL Stadium Series At Coors Field

WHEN:   Monday, September 21 at 11 a.m. MT

WHERE:  Coors Field

 WHO:    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman; NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins; Colorado Avalanche President Josh Kroenke; Detroit Red Wings Special Assistant to General Manager Kris Draper; Colorado Rockies Owner, Chairman & CEO Richard Monfort; Colorado Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog; MillerCoors Director, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Adam Dettman

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Top Players From The Prospect Tournament

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,

Dylan Larkin – Another top player in the tourney, Larkin lived up to billing. He’s fast, fearless and has great awareness. Put up nice offensive numbers while still being that guy you can always trust in your lineup.

Tyler Bertuzzi – The Wings didn’t play great in the title game, but Bertuzzi was a beast. His combination of nastiness and skill reminds me of Brad Marchand or Brendan Gallagher and Todd’s nephew has a crazy competitive spark in his game.

Andreas Athanasiou – His speed is incredible when he turns on the jets and Athanasiou was even blocking shots to preserve a key win against Dallas. Great wrist shot, too. His tournament ended on a down note when he sparked a mini-riot by shooting the puck at Kerby Rychel as time expired in the final.

Evgeny Svechnikov – For a teenager in his first Traverse City tournament, Svechnikov looked really solid. He uses his big body along the boards and is willing to pay the price. The hands are pretty nifty too when he’s around the net.

Anthony Mantha – It’s no secret that defense and engagement away from the puck are needs for Mantha. The scoring acumen is there, but those other areas need improvement.

read on for players from other teams...

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Any Room For Anthony Mantha On The Wings?

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

The fact that Mantha has a year already under Blashill certainly won’t hurt, but it’s difficult to see where he fits in the lineup. He’ll have a difficult time supplanting anyone in the Red Wings top three lines and the fourth line already has Luke Glendening between Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro penciled in. And that’s without including Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and fellow prospect Dylan Larkin. The way the Red Wings see it, having Mantha establish himself as an impact player in the AHL is better than having him see spot duty on the fourth line in the NHL.

“For me, it’s a fresh start,” Mantha said. “I’m here focused and trying to impress. I’d like to play maybe eight exhibition games, then 10 games, 20 games, 30 games, I don’t know. My goal is to play the whole season up there, but you never know what the future holds.”


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Break Day And Your Thoughts

Today should be a slow news day as the Wings travel to Traverse City.

I hope George will get some rest after a pretty hectic week of work, he deserves some time to wind down and prepare for the upcoming days.

So with that, what are you expecting from the training camp,

Are you looking at particular players, line combinations, etc.

Me, I am very interested to see how Dylan Larkin performs against established NHL players.

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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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