The Malik Report
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill appeared on the NHL on Sirius XM Radio this morning, speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson regarding the Wings' start, areas for improvement and more over the course of a 13-minute interview:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
We know that Dylan Larkin will remain with the Red Wings past the 10-game mark that will burn a year of his entry-level contract, but the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that Larkin hasn't necessarily been told to "get a place":
If Dylan Larkin plays Friday night at home against Ottawa it’ll be his 10th game of the season and his entry-level deal will kick in.
“I haven’t heard anything,” said Larkin, who’s not staying at a hotel any longer. “I just try and play, have fun every day. I don’t really get caught up in that stuff that much.”
Blashill brushed off the question.
“That would be a question for Kenny (Holland),” Blashill said. “For us, it’s does he help us win games and so far I think you’ve seen he’s helped us win games and that’s the way I continue to evaluate it. I believe that’s the same way Kenny would think but I’ll let Kenny speak for himself.”
Larkin was busy on Wednesday night, however:
from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshots,
Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Wednesday evening.
As part of a larger conversation on the Detroit Red Wings:
“They’ve got so many good young players. Dylan Larkin is going to be a star. I mean, Petr Mrazek has a chance to – and I say this, I’ve got to be careful how I say this – you see what Carey Price is doing for the Montreal Canadiens. I think there will be a point in time where Petr Mrazek might do the same sort of thing in terms of the athletic ability to dominate his position, when he gets older and more experienced, as what Price has been doing… but there hasn’t been enough consistency, and I think that’s something they’re working on.”
On Dylan Larkin, and how unusual it is to see the Red Wings put a player this young into the lineup:
“It gives you some idea of how good they think Larkin is. They won’t come out and say it publicly, but they think he’s got a chance to be a special player. Somebody who really has unbelievable leadership qualities.
“The unspoken thing in Detroit is that he might – and I say might because it’s too big a mantle to throw on anybody – but maybe he becomes Detroit’s Jonathan Toews.
Update: Here's the McKenzie interview:
via Joshua Kloke of Sports Illustrated,
Though Petr Mrazek looked strong at times in Detroit’s 3–1 loss last night to Carolina on Tuesday night, his one big gaffe became a storyline. Mrazek came out of the net in the second period of a scoreless game to play the puck and inadvertently dished the biscuit to a streaking Victor Rask who, it should be noted, plays for the Carolina Hurricanes. Rask potted an easy goal.
Such things happen to goaltenders in the NHL from time to time. And Mrazek has looked pretty stable throughout the season thus far, posting a respectable .922 save percentage in five games in the hope of solidifying himself as the Wings’ no. 1 goalie.
After all the off-season drama of Mike Babcock leaving Detroit for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Wings are flying a bit under the radar and frankly haven’t looked as dominant as they often did under Babcock.
Theres always a learning curve to be expected with a new coach, but with only nine points through nine games and largely the same lineup that Babcock had last season, you have to wonder if Jeff Blashill is getting everything he can out of this squad. Miscues like Mrazek’s last night are the type of things that Babcock worked hard to eliminate. They might not be getting the headlines right now but how the Wings fare is a story to keep an eye on.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
In addition to generating more offense and getting better play out of several forwards, the Red Wings must manage the puck better to reverse their 1-4-1 slide. That would certainly help their possession time.
"I think we're a team that historically, in Detroit and myself as a coach, wants to use the pop plays – by pop I mean pop it to the middle of the ice -- wants to go tape-to-tape," Blashill said. "You're going to have some turnovers but it's got to manageable and we got to get better at it. We can go back and rim (the puck) all night. I'm not sure our team's set up that way."
Blashill said of the mistakes: "Sometimes it's mental, sometimes it's confidence. Sometimes it's the guys away from the puck not doing the right job supporting. We'll continue to work on it in practice."
When cancer strikes, it can often help to have a distraction. Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl discovered that the hard way. When Kindl was young, his mother, Jana, found out she had kidney cancer.
"It's not easy," Kindl said. "I was only 14 years old. On the other hand, I had the hockey so that kept me occupied even when our family was going through the tough time. Thank God I had the hockey, otherwise it would have been even more tougher on me."
Kindl saw how valiantly his mother fought the disease.
"She was battling through it for a while," Kindl said. "She was a very strong woman. It just got to the point where it all spread all over her body."
Now Kindl tries to help others battling cancer by giving them a break from the disease by hosting a cancer patient every home game.
"Whether they're going through therapy, I try to have them come down here for a game, give them a hat or a toque or any kind of souvenirs to make their life a little more enjoyable and try to put on a good show for them as well," Kindl said. "Of course it means a lot to me to try to put a smile on their face for a couple hours."
From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
One of the objectives for the Detroit Red Wings is to get a better sense of the top defense prospects.
Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet both are in their last seasons of waiver-exempt status. The Wings need to decide if either or both are building blocks, which will shape decisions heading into next season.
To some degree, both already have auditioned to positive feedback. Marchenko got the first call-up, and is eyeing his third appearance of the season Friday when the Wings host the Ottawa Senators. The Wings took today off, their first real break in 10 days.
Marchenko topped 15 minutes of playing time in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, credited for one takeaway and one hit and earning a "pretty well" performance review from his coach.
"The one thing with Marchy, he seems to find a way to win little stick battles in critical areas," Jeff Blashill said. "Sometimes it looks like he is going to get beat, but he ties up a stick and doesn't. When Marchy is playing his best, he does a couple of things - he gets you out of your zone lots because he is a great passer of the puck. He doesn't feel forecheck pressure; he is willing to take big hits to make plays. Then his elite defensive smarts allows him to be a real good defender."
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan discusses the Red Wings' turnover-prone status in an off-day article:
[It's] a key reason the Red Wings are sitting with a mediocre record (4-4-1) and in need of turning this tailspin around quickly.
“The biggest thing for us is we have to figure it out in here,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Be better with the puck, better decisions, make sure that we don’t have as many turnovers.”
Tuesday’s statistics were certainly alarming and eye-opening. The Red Wings were credited with 12 giveaways, the Carolina Hurricanes only one. That went a long way toward the Hurricanes’ 3-1 victory.
“They’ve been a concern most of the year,” coach Jeff Blashill said of the turnovers. “We’re a team that historically in Detroit, and myself as a coach as well, wants to use the ‘pop’ play. By pop I mean pop it to the middle of the ice, go tape to tape. Everybody talks about puck possession, historically it’s been judged on being able to use each other and handle the puck up the ice. You’re going to have some turnovers but it’s got to be manageable and we have to get better at it. We’re not good at it.”
Part of the problem can be attributed to execution, or lack thereof. But there’s also mental errors, where mistakes with the puck have been costly and leave everyone wondering what’s going on?
“It’s just mental errors,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said after Tuesday’s loss. “We either tried to do too much or tried to make the right play but we don’t execute. We’ve talked about it. We just have to get better at it.”
From MLive's Peter J. Wallner:
The last time Daniel Cleary played in an AHL game was in the 1999-2000 season. The veteran doesn't remember it but he does know how he feels about playing Friday in Toronto – that's against the Marlies, not the Maple Leafs.
"It's like anything that's new; you're nervous," he said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I wouldn't say uneasy, but you're excited, nervous, you don't know how it's going to be."
Cleary did not skate in the team's Wednesday morning practice and did not travel on the team bus that departed from Van Andel Arena shortly before noon. He was expected to join them near Port Huron where he is getting treatment.
Coach Todd Nelson, who OK'd the move, said Cleary's treatment is not injury-related but rather preventative.
The 36-year-old veteran of 17 NHL seasons has had just over a week of practice with the Griffins to shake off the rust. He last played during a Red Wings preseason game on Oct. 3.
"I think I'm ready," Cleary said. "I had a couple good days of practice to get my legs back under me."
Among ESPN's John Buccigross' Twitter questions:
Dustin Byfuglien will be a free agent after this season. He turns 31 and is making $6 million this season. He will get big contract offers this summer; someone will give him $7 million per year. He's viewed as an in-and-out kind of player, not an organizational pillar. The Wings are set up well salary-cap-wise, but I don't think they will go in this direction. I do think Detroit is a playoff team.
I don't see any scenario where Dylan Larkin plays another game in the AHL for the rest of his life. Pavel Datsyuk should be back in two weeks.
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.