The Malik Report
So TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger reported that the Wings are allowing other teams to speak with Mike Babcock. Ken Holland held a conference call to discuss the decision...Here's what DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, the Free Press's Helene St. James, MLive's Ansar Khan and the Detroit News's John Niyo and Ted Kulfan had to report:
In the middle of all this Babcock chatter, ESPN's prospect guru, Cory Pronman, issued two intriguing Tweets about Dylan Larkin:
This doesn't mean he's leaving, but it means that he's playing the field.
Tomas Jurco dealt with some serious hiccups during a difficult sophomore campaign, registering 3 goals, 15 assists and 18 points in 63 games played, and as such, MLive's Ansar Khan asked Ken Holland to weigh in on Jurco's need to rebound going forward:
"He's probably lost his confidence a little bit," general manager Ken Holland said. "He's been used to scoring. He was the eighth-leading scorer in the AHL when we called him up (midway through 2013-14). A year later he has two goals. He did a good job a year ago. He could have gone to the AHL this year. We talked about it and made the decision to keep him up."
I've been a little quiet in terms of content for a simple reasons, including familial obligations, a modicum of spread-out content and plain old feeling a little grieved about the Wings' now week-long absence from the playoffs.
Things should pick up as the World Championships' pace picks up (Team USA plays Denmark today at 2:15 PM EDT, on NBCSN), the Griffins-IceHogs series continues (I'll be attending tonight's game in Grand Rapids) and players slowly begin to reflect upon the season that was in the media, but the pace may remain...clunky...And this morning's crop of Wings news is...short.
The only "new news" comes from WXYZ's Brad Galli, who spoke with Petr Mrazek after a signing at DC Sports--as part of a teaser for a longer interview set to air on Sunday's 7 Sports Cave--but the minute's worth of content might be as good as you can get from the affable Mrazek, who simply isn't a man of many word:
The Toledo Walleye have had Martin Frk back in their lineup for two games now, and Frk took 4 of the Walleye's 30 shots, but the Walleye emerged from Game 4 against the Fort Wayne Komets tied 2-2 because the Walleye are falling into some bad regular-season habits, and Toledo both surrendered 39 shots and were only able to score 1 goal en roue to a 2-1 OT loss to Fort Wayne on Thursday.
Jeff Lerg was up to the challenge in the net, stopping 36 shots, but the Walleye couldn't give him the "run support, as the Walleye's website's recap notes:
Remember how Mike Babcock told the press that he was the one who made up the, "Babcock to the University of Michigan to succeed Red Berenson" rumor? Well it's still got legs, at least according to Michigan Radio's John U. Bacon:
Mike Babcock's contract expires June 30. Bacon gives us the pros and cons Babcock would consider when deciding on his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings, and the reasons why he might want to move to the Toronto Maple Leafs and rejuvenate one of the most wealthy franchises in hockey.
On the possibility of him ending up with the Michigan Wolverines: Coach Red Berenson believes that he is on his last contract, and John says that while it's not likely, "it is not out of the question that Mike Babcock might end up at Michigan this year or next year."
It's not happening. Babcock wants to win Stanley Cups, and he's only 52. Maybe when he's in his 70's.
Regardless of what moves the Wings make or do not make this offseason, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland made a very simple statement to each and every one of the players he's engaged in exit meetings with thus far, making sure to let them know that the majority of the Wings' growth in terms of on-ice performance is expected to come from the preparation the Wings' players work upon off the ice this summer:
"Come to camp and push," Holland told the Free Press. "We need you to be in the gym. The message is we need our older players to maintain where they are at, and we need the push of the young people, not only on our team, but those in Grand Rapids. The core of our team still has good hockey left in them, but in order for us to be better, the players in their young 20s have to take another step."
"My message to our players is, we had a good year, we got 100 points, but we've got to get better. We were up 3-2 against Tampa Bay. We were close, but close only counts in horseshoes. We need to improve as a team, and the way we're going to improve is with our young guys getting better. We need them to have the best offseason of their careers, come to camp ready to push for minutes, and take another step forward. Then we'll start to look at trades and free agency, but it starts with our own players."
St. James continues, and clarifies Teemu Pulkkinen's future...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"I've told Dylan we have no role in his decision," Holland said. "I think whatever decision he makes is a great decision. Going back to Michigan for another year, playing with your age group is a positive. If he turns pro, no doubt he can play at the AHL level.
"Can he play at the NHL level? You don't know that until he gets to camp. He's still pretty young. The Detroit Red Wings will support his decision."
Many of the Red Wings' collegiate players stayed in school for three years (Justin Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser and Jimmy Howard); undrafted Luke Glendening stayed four years.
"It's competition (in training camp); if you don't win that competition you go to Grand Rapids," Holland said. "I don't believe in guaranteeing roster spots. My philosophy in player development is you got to compete for a roster spot.
"We're not swaying him one way or the other. I like players to be mature and have had a lot of experiences before they hit the NHL because the NHL is a tough league."...
Holland said nothing should be read into Babcock's decision to go to the event; it doesn't necessarily mean he's leaning toward returning to the Red Wings. Babcock is under contract until June 30 and has attended this tournament in the past.
more on Larkin...
TSN's Darren Dreger made a surprising comment on TSN 1050's "Drive" yesterday: while discussing the latest coaching scuttlebutt (Toronto has contacted Guy Boucher and Edmonton's spoken with Todd McLellan), Dreger suggested that it would be very, very strange for Mike Babcock to be attending the World Championships with Ken Holland, as an employee of the Detroit Red Wings, if he wasn't staying in Detroit, and as such, Dreger suggested for the first time that Babcock might be staying in Detroit.
I still believe that Babcock wasn't kidding when he said that he's not sure what he's doing, and as he stated to that scrum I was involved in on Sunday, he is in fact scouting the Griffins and will be watching Dylan Larkin and Team USA because, "It's my job," and is his job until July 1st, but it's at least somewhat interesting to hear an "expert" change their tune ever-so-slightly.
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.