The Malik Report
I'm just getting home from having my first ever cavity filled and seeing Star Wars (The Force Awakens),* so WXYZ's Brad Galli informs us that Dylan Larkin won't have to deal with the pressure of the NHL's Breakaway Challenge:
Dylan Larkin will not be a part of the NHL's Breakaway Challenge.
It's too bad the guy can't buy a break.
Larkin, 19, is still in Nashville this weekend as the lone All-Star representative from the Red Wings roster.
The rookie lost the online vote for the Breakaway Challenge, falling short to Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad.
Larkin will still take part in the NHL's All-Star Skills Competition, with six events a part of Saturday night.
I'm fine with the ballots probably being stuffed for the home team--or the "nearby team" in Saad's case...Let the kid enjoy himself.
*Wow, of course!
Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James continues:
FOX Sports Detroit will televise the 2016 NHL Stadium Series: Alumni Game between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7pm ET.
Red Wings color analyst Mickey Redmond, who played for the Wings from 1970-76, will serve as the head coach and be mic’ed up for player interviews for our broadcast. Ken Daniels will be involved in the play-by-play of the game.
“We are excited to be broadcasting the alumni game of the NHL Stadium Series,” said Greg Hammaren, Senior Vice President/General Manager, FOX Sports Detroit. “Our Emmy-winning coverage of our Red Wings Alumni Game as part of the 2014 Winter Classic was spectacular. We are looking forward to another reminiscent game with players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom and Martin Lapointe returning to the ice.”
The Alumni Game, hosted at Coors Field, will consist of three 20-minute periods (running time) and two 12-minute intermissions.
the above was via a release from Fox Sports Detroit
from Bill Shea of Crain's Detroit,
The arena’s concrete foundation will be finished in a few weeks. More than 24,000 cubic yards of the required 45,000 cubic yards have been poured thus far, according to data provided by Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate arm of Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch’s business holdings.
Some of the arena’s concrete walls are in place, and the future location of the practice rink on the building’s west wide is readily identifiable. Also staked out is the future therapy pool for the team’s training and medical area.
The arena’s steel and concrete skeleton is rising above the bowl, and will support three levels. Massive concrete elevator shafts also are in place.
Olympia also said 2,400 of the 7,500 pieces of structural steel are in place. Steel work, which began in November, is scheduled to be finished this fall.
The precast concrete is being formed in River Rouge and the initial pieces will be installed by the middle of next month, according to Olympia.
Trusses that will support the roof will be installed beginning in mid-March, Hollister said, and the roof structure should be finished by fall.
The arena is scheduled to be finished in time for the 2017 hockey season. About 200 workers are on-site daily.
The Detroit News, Free Press, MLive, CBS Detroit and Crain's Detroit Business's "Detroit" and "Sports Business" writers are all taking part in a media tour of the Red Wings' follow-on rink today...
Daniel Cleary has been in and out of the Grand Rapids Griffins' lineup with injuries, but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Cleary has been a positive influence upon the Griffins' players:
"I'm always watching and talking to the guys on what they can do better positionally, especially with the younger players," he said. "I'm here for a lot of different reasons and one of them being that. I know that, so I just do it."
He added: "There are little tricks you learn that with five, six, seven, eight years playing pro where you have more time to think. Like better stick position in the D-zone. Just some minute adjustments that can really help a player out. It takes time, man. It takes time. You work hard at your craft, you be a good teammate and you shut your mouth. First guy on, last guy off. That pays off. It does."
Coach Todd Nelson likes the knowledge he brings and hopes to have Cleary use it on the ice soon, too.
"Obviously, Danny was a part of that nice stretch we had there," the coach said of a franchise record 15 game win streak. "He was a big part of that. He has a presence on and off the ice. He's close. Now it's a matter of getting him in game shape."
Wallner continues, and he posted a short video of Cleary rehabbing his knee on ice:
Of prospect-related note this morning:
1. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Nick Jensen regarding his development with the Grand Rapids Griffins and his goal of earning an NHL spot...
“I think being down there has been good for my development,” Jensen said. “Coming from college right in, always when you’re going to the next level it’s a little bit of an eye-opener, a little bit of an adjustment year by year. I think I’ve improved the most on playing solid and consistently on defense and being able to break the puck out and move the puck to the forwards, because that’s the main job of the defensemen. And then just the bonus of being able to play offensively when you got the chance to.”
With NHL games so tight, Jensen understands that he’ll be required to earn the trust of the coaching staff before he’ll be permitted to skate a regular shift in the show.
“That’s the No. 1 focus, playing solid defensively and moving the puck up to the forwards,” Jensen said. “If you can’t do that, you can’t really play defense. We’ve always been told in this association that offense is just a bonus. You’ve got to be able to do those little things. It’s like a requirement almost for a defenseman to play in the AHL and especially in the NHL.”
2. And the Flint Journal's Eric Woodyard penned an article about Vili Saarijarvi's billet family:
ESPN's Craig Custance penned a fantastic profile of Dylan Larkin, interviewing Larkin's former coaches as well as his current coach, GM and teammates to provide an authoritative take on Larkin's present talents and future potential:
Former Red Wings player Doug Brown shaped Larkin's game as a young player on the powerhouse Belle Tire youth team, and Brown equates Larkin to a really bright quarterback.
"You have to be calm, take the hit and keep the play moving. If you can get it downfield fast, get it downfield fast. If you have to hit the tight end, hit the tight end. But move it, move it to the open player," Brown said. "Dylan's dad was a collegiate soccer player, they grasp the importance of touching the puck and moving it."
Brown's conclusion is that Larkin's combination of smarts, speed and will to improve creates a limitless potential.
"Don't put a ceiling on Dylan Larkin," Brown said. "He is a great player for the modern game."
And MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Jimmy Howard, Brad Richars and Mike Green regarding what Larkin should expect to experience at the All-Star game:
The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a profile of Dylan Larkin as he prepares for his first All-Star experience, and as you might expect, Larkin defers much of the credit for his 15 goals, 18 assists and 33 points registered over the course of 45 games played:
“Playing with good players helps a ton,” Larkin said. “Every night they are going to produce, and you just have to be there ready to put pucks away or find them and we’re going to create offense. It’s been going well. I think the games are going to start picking up here as teams start pushing for the playoffs, so it’s going to get harder to be consistent.”
There’s good reason to think Larkin can maintain his pace because he’s so good at creating his own opportunities.
“He’s got a strong stick, and he finds his way to win enough puck battles,” coach Jeff Blashill said. Blashill has made it a point nearly every time he has talked about Larkin to note there are things he still has to learn, areas where he can improve. It’s not belittling Larkin. Just the opposite.
“I think there is even better there,” Blashill said. “But he has certainly been a real good player for us.”
Larkin’s goal in September was to stay with the Wings. That in January he would become the team’s first rookie All-Star since Steve Yzerman in 1984? That wasn’t even a fantasy.
“I couldn’t envision this,” Larkin said. “I don’t think anybody could.”
That's true for the GM, too:
“The birth certificate says 19, but he’s not 19,” general manager Ken Holland said. “I’ve raised four children. I know what 19 looks like. He’s way more mature than his age, and that is why he’s able to do what he’s done. That is his gift.”
Quick note: Speaking of Ken Holland, from the Livonia Observer:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan provides a statistical take on Petr Mrazek's "elite goaltending"...
■ Mrazek ranked second in save percentage (.932) behind Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth (.934).
■ Mrazek ranked fourth in goals-against average (2.03).
■ His three shutouts are tied for 10th.
“He’s given us a chance (to win) most every night,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said.
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article discussing Mrazek's demeanor...
"Tats said it once this year, just about Petr - he's the same whether it's the Stanley Cup playoffs or he's playing maybe hockey in the summer," Blashill said. "He just seems to have the same approach all the time, whether it's road, home, none of that stuff seems to bother him."
3. And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose filed a set of "By the Numbers" articles profiling the 2015-16 campaigns of Justin Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Green and Gustav Nyquist.
Of note from each player's profile, starting with Abdelkader...
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins are starting to know how the Red Wings feel. The Griffins dropped their 4th straight home game on Wednesday, losing their schoolkids' matinee game to the Toronto Marlies, by a 4-0 tally. The Griffins' website filed a recap...
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