The Malik Report
Beware, Wings fans, auto-play clips lurk within!
The Grand Rapids Griffins can capture their first Calder Cup title tonight when they battle the Syracuse Crunch in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Final this evening (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids/WOOD Radio), and they'll do so in front of an AHL-attendance-record-setting, sold-out Van Andel Arena audience (the Griffins have stated that tickets are only available on the secondary market; and if you wonder what the AHL does with Calder Cup jerseys, pucks and even player nameplates, it swipes 'em and puts them up for auction!).
The Griffins preached patience, poise and wariness of the Crunch's hard-hitting offensive aplomb on Thursday, off-setting Ken Holland's suggestions that the rebuilding-on-the-fly Wings may see 10 of the Grifins' playoff-performing prospects graduate to the NHL at some point, and we do know that the Griffins will probably face some adversity as Richard Panik's hit on Adam Almquist, clean or not, gave Almquist a concussion, so the team probably won't have the services of one of their best puck-movers at their disposal.
Almquist spoke to Fox 17 about his injury, which is likely to result in
Jeff Brett Skinner returning to the Griffins' lineup, in a video discussing the Griffins' Thurdsay practice...
The Detroit Red Wings' brass is doubtlessly pleased with the Grand Rapids Griffins' progress given that the team's one win away from a Calder Cup championship. After Game 3, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Luke Glendening will play at the NHL level at some point (and he praised Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan, too) we already know that the team's planning on accommodating Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and probably Brian Lashoff as full-time NHL players next season...
And this afternoon, Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive's Peter J. Wallner that a combination of strong player development and the boost that the Griffins players' confidence levels are receiving from their Calder Cup run could yield ten or more current Griffins playing for the Red Wings at some point in the future:
“Success breeds confidence and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Ken Holland, the Red Wings general manager who watched the Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Syracuse 4-2 on Wednesday to take a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals.
Holland has high hopes.
“We look at the age of this team and we’re hoping half of them end up in the National Hockey League, and lots of them are going to be in Detroit,” he said.
Wallner says that Holland, de-facto assistant GM and now Grand Rapids Griffins GM Ryan Martin and Wings coach Mike Babcock attended Wendesday's game, just as the trio took in Games 1 and 2 in Syracuse, and the trio believe that the Griffins' playoff run should allow some players to skip a developmental step along the road to becoming well-rounded professional hockey players...
If you've always wanted to be treated like a Red Wings player, and you've got the money to spend, he Detroit Red Wings are hosting one hell of a fantasy camp experience in August:
RED WINGS TO HOST EXCLUSIVE FANTASY CAMP PRESENTED BY MILLER LITE
… Participants to Join Hockeytown Legends for Ultimate Fan Experience at Joe Louis Arena …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will host an exclusive Fantasy Camp, presented by Miller Lite, to give participants the chance of a lifetime to spend three days on and off the ice at Joe Louis Arena with their favorite Hockeytown legends. This ultimate fan experience is scheduled for August 15-17 and features three days of action with former Red Wings players including Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby, Chris Osgood and Dallas Drake (alumni participants are subject to change).
Regardless of what you may think about Richard Panik's hit on Adam Almquist, its result was perhaps predictable given that Almquist neither returned to the game between Panik's Syracuse Crunch and Almquist's Grand Rapids Griffins nor practiced today, and Fox 17's Steve Amorose reports that Almquist did not "stay down" because he was "diving" or trying to milk a penalty:
Grand Rapids Griffins Defenseman Adam Almquist may sit out the potential Calder Cup-winning game on Friday because of a concussion he sustained during Game 3 of the series.
According to Almquist, he blacked out after a hit by Syracuse Right Wing Richard Panik.
No official decision will be made until Friday, but Almquist said he doesn’t expect to play. If so, Brett Skinner will return to the lineup to fill his place.
Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson reports that yesterday marked the
15th 16th anniversary of the limousine crash that all but paralyzed Red Wings trainer Sergei Mnatsakanov and yielded a severe brain injury for Vladimir Konstantinov, just as Vladdie was establishing himself as a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman. He spoke to Konstantinov's wife about Konstatinov's continued slow recovery and his "what if..." hockey legacy:
"His beautiful life and his beautiful career are not the same," said his wife, Irina, reached by phone Tuesday. "Everything else fades compared to that."
For those who never watched him play, Konstantinov was a rare blend of skill and toughness. He was the Russian who wouldn't back down from anyone; in fact, he was the Russian who regularly threatened. He punished people, but not in a way that undermined his team. He could enforce with his body, his stickhandling, and his mind. Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber called him "the nastiest blueliner in the NHL."
In addition to today's mid-day stories, Michigan Hockey's Dave Waddell (via RedWingsFeed) offers two particularly intriguing comments from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland regarding both the team's 2013 regular season and playoff perormance and the shape of its roster to come.
As Waddell notes, Babcock suggested that his team exceeded expectations in no small part because its players stepped up in more ways than one...
“That would be more than true,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock of whether he thought his team had overachieved. “I thought the guys worked real hard. I thought it was a competitive group that tried to get better each and every day.
“Our leadership group – Zetterberg, Kronwall, Datsyuk – set the bar very high. In all the years I’ve been in coaching, I thought that group helped the coaching staff and their teammates as much as any group I’ve ever been around.”
Babcock reiterated his statements regarding having the "most fun" coaching a team of any time during his two-plus-decade tenure as an NHL coach...
The gents in the comments section pointed out that what I saw in limited replays as a hit from behind from one Richard Panik to Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Adam Almquist, during Game 3 of the Griffins-Crunch Calder Cup Final, was in fact nearly head-on as Almquist was turning toward play (I thought it was a check from behind, and got it wrong)...But Almquist is likely out for Game 4, and this hit resulted in Panik scoring the game's first goal while Almquist lay on the ice.
I didn't like the hit, but it does beg several questions:
1. Was it a "charge" or "boarding," or simply predatory? Does the fact that Almquist made what is a rare move today in turning toward play instead of away from the play and toward the boards (which would yield a hit "in the numbers") absolve Panik from guilt here?
2. And is the rule that teams whose players suffer injuries must regain possession and control of the puck before a whistle is blown still really fair?
Updated at 3:22 PM: The Grand Rapids Griffins lost Adam Almquist's services thanks to a hard (and unnecessary) check
from behind by Syracuse Crunch forward Richard Panik during Grand Rapids' 4-2 victory over the Crunch on Wednesday, and the Griffins practiced at Van Andel Arena this morning...
But the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Almquist did not join his teammates on the ice:
When former Red Wings forward Sergei Fedorov took the reins as the general manager of CSKA Moscow last summer, the plan was to get Fedorov into the uniform of his first professional hockey team for at least a game or two so that the 43-year-old could bid farewell to the game on the ice...
But the NHL lockout changed that, and as CSKA's shaking up its coaching and management staffs by essentially firing everybody, Sport-Express reports that the now Rosneft-sponsored team (Rosneft is one of the biggest natural gas companies in the world, though it's a wee bit behind the KHL's main sponsor and KHL president Alexander Medvedev's employer, Gazprom Export)...
Red Wings overnight report: Griffins take Game 3, Babcock praises Glendening; are Wings ‘done on d?’
The Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final had some Red Wings-tinged moments, and some of them didn't recall pleasant memories: on the game's first goal, Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who crumpled to the ice in the Griffins' left corner, and play was allowed to continue until Panik scored.
The same Panik also speared Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan when the game was tied 2-2 in the 3rd period, with Panik's from-behind spear going unnoticed or uncalled by the referees that AHL president Dave Andrews bizarrely defended as near-infallible while speaking to both the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer...
But in a series where the officiating's been an NHL-quality sideshow, the Griffins slowly but surely simplified what was initially a "put-on-a-show for the home crowd" game, slowly but surely cut down on the number of turnovers they committed in the neutral zone, and they leaned quite heavily upon Hoggan, Petr Mrazek's 26-save performance and a little bit of, "If you start carrying the play in a tied game, you can kick it wide open" moxie to take a stranglehold on the Calder Cup Final against the hard-hitting and high-octane Crunch.
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.