Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

A pair of ‘odd duck’ Red Wings stories

Unlike Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is...Let's say, "Given to Malik Report-style rambling" on a consistent basis. The man's fascinating as all hell get out, but he's also extremely verbose, and sometimes his astute observations also involve some "out there" comments.

MLive's Brendan Savage received an unusual take on the Red Wings' struggles while speaking to Hitchcock earlier this afternoon, with Hitchcock insisting that the Wings' 4-2 loss to Columbus last Saturday and the team's 4-1 loss to Calgary on Tuesday were the direct result of having played Hitchcock's Blues--a game the Wings won--six days ago:

"The game in Detroit ... was the best hockey game we've played in," Hitchcock said. "The game was really well played by both teams. Both teams put a lot of energy into it. What's interesting to me is neither team recovered from that game physically. Detroit went into Columbus and got beat, looked tired. They looked a little bit tired still against Calgary. We looked really tired (in Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Nashville), even with two days off. I don't think the fans realize that was a Game 7 playoff game. That's exactly what it was. The players poured so much into that this early in the season that neither team had anything left for the next outing."

Mike Babcock, who'd attempted to recruit Hitcock as an assistant coach before he took the Blues' job, offered a Babcockian response...

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Grand Rapds Griffins to host wine-tasting event to benefit Easter Seals on Feb. 19

From the Griffins' PR department...

GRIFFINS AND EASTER SEALS PRESENT SECOND ANNUAL "RED, WHITE AND BREWS" BENEFIT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins have partnered with Easter Seals Michigan to step away from the ice for a night to host the second annual Red, White and Brews wine and beer tasting fundraiser on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 6-9 p.m. at the Goei Center.

Griffins players will serve craft beer and wine samples to over 200 guests at the event, which will also feature live music, hors d’oeuvres by YoChef’s Catering Company, silent and live auctions and special guests. Items up for bid include suite tickets and parking to the May 5 Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds game in Chicago; Griffins collectables and tickets; a “Milwaukee or Bust” package that includes Lake Express Ferry tickets; Amway gift baskets; autographed Detroit Red Wings sticks; Shanty Creek lodging and golf; gift cards and more.

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Red Wings-Blues game-day updates: Here comes Mrazek

Updated 2x at 4:02 PM: As Paul noted (sorry, I was out of the office to ferry the mom to a doctor's appointment...Which took forever), the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues will face off in something of a grudge match this evening (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Midwest/97.1 FM) with a surprising protagonist: the Wings will start Petr Mrazek in goal tonight, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan asked Wings coach Mike Babcock why he's made this executive decision:

"We didn't think he (Howard) could play 48 straight," Babcock said. "We thought we'd get another goalie back — we were assuming Gus (Jonas Gustavsson, groin) would play, maybe Mac (Joey MacDonald, back), but that never happened."

Mrazek, a 2010 fifth-round draft pick, has been outstanding in Grand Rapids, going 16-7-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

"He just wins," said Babcock, noting Grand Rapids was 0-4-1 to start the season before Mrazek was moved up from Toledo (East Coast League) and sparked a Griffins' resurgence. "Nothing seems to faze him. All he did was come in there (Grand Rapids) and change the whole thing. He's been the berries everywhere he's been, so let's watch him."

Mrazek says he's got no worries and no fear in making his NHL debut against the powerhouse Blues, who are coming off a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Nashville Predators:

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Mrazek Will Start Tonight Against The Blues

Watch some highlights of Mrazek from the 2012 WJC below...

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St. James: Back specialist identifies Red Wings forward Darren Helm’s back ailment

The Free Press's Helene St. James (via RedWingsFeed) reports that the Red Wings received a modicum of good news regarding Darren Helm's back issues after Helm visited a back specialist yesterday. According to St. James, while the Wings still don't know when Helm will return, they've at least figured out why he's been suffering from a sore back for the past two weeks:

"They ruled out everything bad," general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. "It's a small strain or tear in a lower back ligament. He got an injection, said he felt better right away."

Helm is now under orders to rest until Monday, at which point the Wings anticipate being able to start treatment and get Helm on a path to a return to the lineup.

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Red Wings to hold annual smoke detector collection on Saturday and Sunday

From the Red Wings PR department:

RED WINGS FIGHT FIRE WITH 11th ANNUAL SMOKE DETECTOR COLLECTION PRESENTED BY COMERICA

… Fans who Donate on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 are Entered to win Zetterberg Puck and Photo …

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings and captain Henrik Zetterberg encourage fans coming down to this weekend’s afternoon home games on Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10, to support the team’s 11th annual Smoke Detector Collection presented by Comerica.

Fans who donate either a smoke detector with batteries or make a monetary donation at Joe Louis Arena will be entered to win an autographed Zetterberg puck and photo. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

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Red Wings-Blues set-up and overnight report: test ahead, redux

The Detroit Red Wings have something of a problem on their hands. The Wings have dropped 2 straight games--an ugly loss to Columbus on Saturday and a disappointing showing against the Flames on Tuesday--and as the 4-4-and-1 Wings prepare to play their second of three February games against the St. Louis Blues tonight (8 PM EST, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Midwest, 97.1 FM), amidst a stretch of four games played over the course of six nights...

The Blues have played exactly one game since their 5-3 loss to Detroit last Friday night, and they played the kind of game which bodes poorly for the Wings: the Blues were thrashed 6-1 by Nashville on Tuesday, and the Blues aren't planning on going into their fourth meeting with the Wings next Wednesday, February 15th (oh boy, it's an NBC game) with anything less than a Wing-beating win in the fashion of the 6-0 beating the Blues inflicted upon the Wings on the 2013 schedule's opening night.

Blues captain David Backes (who you might remember was assessed a bogus match penalty in last Friday's game) told the Belleveille News-Democrat's Norm Sanders that the Blues plan on shaking off their loss against Nashville in order to render some vengeance upon the Wings...

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Sergei Fedorov likely to take a bow with CSKA Moscow

When Sergei Fedorov was hired as CSKA Moscow's general manager last summer as part of a Vladimir Putin's impetus to rejuvenate Moscow's professional hockey teams, and coming with Fedorov's hiring was an infusion of cash via a sponsorship deal with Russia's second-largest oil and natural gas giant, Rosneft (the largest oil and natural gas company, Gazprom, is a sponsor of both the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg, whose GM and KHL commissioner Alex Medvedev happens to sit on Gazprom's board of directors).

Fedorov made it very clear at the time that he was not necessarily retiring at the age of 42 (he's now 43) and the intonation from the Russian press was that Fedorov would make a curtain call with CSKA at some point during the 2012-13 season as he'd "turned pro" with the one-time powerhouse of Russian hockey as a 16-year-old.

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The brightest star in the Red Wings’ prospect pipeline?

The Detroit Red Wings' best defensive prospects, like Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman and the still-too-skinny Adam Almqvist, are still a few years away from being ready for prime time, but the Red Wings' prospect pipeline is deep and strong in terms of assets in players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Riley Sheahan (and, down the line, Tomas Jurco, who's having a rough time adjusting to playing against men after dominating against 16-to-20-year-olds; obviously, Petr Mrazek gives the Wings tons of hope in terms of having a "goalie of the future" a year or two away from being ready to challenge Jimmy Howard) and especially the pair of players that the team hopes have some Datsyuk-and-Zetterberg-like potential in Jokerit Helsinki sniper Teemu Pulkkinen and Brynas IF center Calle Jarnkrok.

Over the past two or three seasons, the Wings' brass has insisted that it would allow Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok to remain in Europe until they're ready to begin NHL internships, not AHL ones, and while penning his mid-season ranking of the Top 20 Red Wings Prospects, RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest reports that Jarnkrok may make the jump to the NHL next season--if he receives Wings' director of European Scouting and member of the Frolunda Indians' board of directors Hakan Andersson's blessing:

In large part, that will depend on how well he performs at the IIHF world championship in May, assuming he makes Team Sweden.

“We’ll see how he finishes,” said Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “We all feel he’s a top-six forward in the long run. He’s a smart player, he works really hard, he’s got good hands, good hockey sense. Adapting to the game, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”

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Datsyuk lawsuit yields injunction agaist ‘Pasha LLC’

Pavel Datsyuk's lawyer headed to court today to deal with a lawsuit filed against a local businessman who was making, selling and profiting from Datsyuk-themed merchandise, and the Detroit News's Mike Martindale reports (via RedWingsFeed) that "Pasha LLC" has been barred from selling its t-shirts and jerseys:

Oakland Circuit Judge Martha D. Anderson issued a preliminary injunction after hearing arguments from attorneys for Datsyuk and for Terrance Sullivan and his businesses, Pasha LLC and Pasha Sportswear.

Datsyuk's attorneys, who seek unspecified damages in a lawsuit against Sullivan and his companies, claim Sullivan's actions have confused the public and harmed the hockey star.

Sullivan's attorney, Kevin Stoops, told Anderson there have been emails between Sullivan and Datsyuk regarding product plans and manufacture dating back five years, and that he intends to file them in the case.

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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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