The Malik Report
Updated 2x with interviews with Francis Pare and Gustav Nyquist at 11:55 AM: When the Grand Rapids Griffins begin their Calder Cup Final series against the Syracuse Crunch tomorrow (7 PM EDT on AHLLive.com), the Red Wings' top prospects...Won't necessarily be taking part in the equivalent of NHL playoff hockey, but battling for a championship against a Crunch roster largely comprised of last year's Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals is a huge challenge.
Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive's Ansar Khan that the Wings are very happy that a line-and-defensive-pair's worth of NHL players (see: Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Brian Lashoff and Danny DeKeyser) and the team's top prospects are playing into June:
Red Wings overnight report: another Ken Holland interview, talkin’ trades, Griffins and the 97 Wings
Now we have something of a timeline as to when Red Wings fans might want to be a fly on the wall at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings' coaches and front office will be very busy over the next couple of weeks, and GM Ken Holland told the CBC's Rob Pizzo and David Amber that the team will hold its pro-and-amateur-scouts-and-coaches' powwow for three days sometime next week, preparing for both the draft, attempts to re-sign the team's UFA's and RFA's-to-be and free agency...
Update: Wrong blog, oh well, interesting discussion anyway.
One does not necessarily think, "Well, hey, the competition committee decided to actually tweak some rules...I'll go talk to Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ben Scrivens!" but the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran did just that, and he received some particularly nuanced observations and opinions regarding the concepts of making nets "shallower," reducing the size of goalie pads' thigh rises and instituting hybrid icing, at least for the 2013-2014 season's training camps and exhibition games:
Q: The league is hoping that by making the nets shallower and getting rid of the bow behind the posts – making the sides straighter – there will be more wraparounds and jam plays.
Scrivens: “The biggest thing is: You’ve still got to make it around the post. As round as it is now on the outside, that almost could be more conducive to a wraparound, because if you think about the actual path a puck has to travel it almost has to go in an arc. If you have a straight line and try to come at the post, you almost have a 180-degree turn to try to wrap it in instead of having a little more arc to it. If you know racing and turns, travelling in an arc is faster.”
Q: Will there be any advantage for the skilled player with shallower nets?
Scrivens: “You can be on the far side and do a behind-the-back reverse pass out to the short side. If the guy is coming from the corner, going behind the net and he’ll be able to put it back to where he just came. With the shallower net, he can almost get farther to one side of the net before the point of no return.
“My guess would be it would add more playmaking ability to the skill players behind the net, but conversely it gives the defencemen more time behind the net, more room to make plays. It might help them to break the puck out even easier, which is less conducive to offence.”
Continued, and the article's worth your time.
The Grand Rapids Griffins enjoyed a 10-hour bus ride to Syracuse, New York ahead of Games 1 and 2 of the Calder Cup Final against the Syrauce Crunch, which begins with a pair of back-to-back games on
Friday and Saturday Saturday and Sunday, and MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Griffins will have a significant addition at their disposal as Red Wings prospect Danny DeKeyser has been cleared to return from the broken thumb he sustained during Detroit's first-round series against the Ducks:
DeKeyser, out since May 2 with a broken right thumb, has been cleared to play and will be in the lineup for Game 1 Saturday at the Syracuse Crunch, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
“It's great experience for Danny DeKeyser to play against Syracuse,'' Holland said. “It's a great way for him to finish out this season and go into next season.''
Khan continues with praise for DeKeyser from the Wings' locker room clean-out day, but he also offers significant news regarding Calder Cup programing that must be mentioned:
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... The American Hockey League andNeuLion, Inc., announced today that as a thanks to the AHL’s loyal and dedicated fans, video streaming the 2013 Calder Cup Finals will be available at no charge on AHL Live.
Using promo code CALDER2013, fans can register and log in at www.ahllive.com and watch all of the action of the 2013 Calder Cup Finals, from the first puck drop until the AHL’s 77th champion is crowned.
Red Wings mid-day news: Griffins on the bus, end-of-season prospect rankings, tales of playoffs past
Updated 3x at 3:30 PM: How the AHL is not the NHL, chapter 1: the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Oklahoma City Barons in dramatic fashion last night and advanced to the AHL's Calder Cup Final (which begins with games on Friday and Saturday in Syracuse, NY; Games 3, 4 and 5 take place in Grand Rapids next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, respectively, and no, there are no plans for FSD to pick up any games as of yet), but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Griffins' players were...Let's say encouraged to curb their post-game festivities...Because there is no Red Bird III available for use by the Red Wings' AHL affiliate:
Updated with Drew Miller talk at 7:07 AM: After doing this blogging thing for six-plus years, I can tell you for an observed fact that the two "deadest" periods of the Red Wings news cycle year involve the first week to two weeks after the Wings' season ends and early August. It's particularly understandable this year as the Wings' press corps suddenly found themselves caught up in a 48-games-in-99-nights demolition derby and then two seven-game playoff series, including one that involved as much time spent flying commercial as it did covering Red Wings stories.
So this week and this month are the busiest of the Red Wings' off-season, with each and every one of the Red Wings' players not still playing for the AHL's Western Conference Champion Grand Rapids Griffins taking part in exit interviews with the team's coaching, training staff and management, the coaches and management reviewing the Wings' regular season and playoff performances, and the management preparing for its annual pre-draft and pre-free-agency powwow, which will include the team's amateur scouts, pro scouts, prospect mentors and everyone from Jimmy Devellano to (possibly) Al Sobotka.
Okay, maybe not Al, but close.
It's been a week since the Red Wings were eliminated from the playoffs, and yet, when a "battle" occurred along the side boards which directly led to Patrice Bergeron's 2OT winner in the Bruins' 2-1 win over Pittsburgh--in a game where I have no allegiances whatsoever, though the natural Wings fan's desire to see the Penguins bent over and broken like so much firewood may have yielded a little sigh of relief when Bergeron put the Bruins up 3 games to zip--the predictable Twitter firestorm followed.
As soon as those who witnessed Jagr "win" the "battle" by jabbing his stick into and under Evgeni Malkin's hands to stop his momentum stated that they felt it was a "hook," so many of the objective media types had a hissy fit, claiming that anyone who deemed the play that led to the goal to be less than 100% legal to be tinfoil hat-wearing lunatics, and others ripped into those who made the observation, lamenting the "whiners" and "moaners" and "conspiracy theorists'" existences.
Updated 7x at 12:43 AM: The Grand Rapids Griffins won a wild and wacky Game 7 of their Western Conference Final series against the Oklahoma City Barons, defeating OKC 5-4, and as such, the Griffins advance to the AHL's Calder Cup Final.
They'll battle the Syracuse Crunch, the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate, and the series will begin on Saturday, with Games 1 and 2 to take place in Syracuse, NY and Games 3, 4 and 5 to take place in Grand Rapids.
Update #2: Via We All Bleed Red on YouTube, Tomas Jurco scored the game-winner:
Very briefly given that I'm assuming most of you are watching the Bruins-Penguins game or still arguing about Franzen:
- If you want updates regarding tonight's Grand Rapids Griffins-Oklahoma City Barons game, both the Red Wings' Twitter account and the Griffins' Game Day account are providing updates, and if you are an old fogey like me, you can always hit "refresh" on the AHL's game summary. The 3rd period is underway and things look...worrisome;
- Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien read the headline and went, "OooooOOOOoo"--understandably so--but we already heard Damien Brunner offer a very European take on not knowing his place of employment in June (see: "Um...I think I'll be back? Uh...You guys know that training camps in Switzerland open in July, right?" And yes, it's going to take about $3 million to re-sign the unrestricted free agent-to-be), and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reiterated Brunner's remarks...
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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.