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Evening news: A profile of Anthony Mastronardi; draft talk and prospect signing news

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. As previously noted, the Red Wings Alumni Association is playing a game to aid Dakota High School player Anthony Mastronardi this weekend, and WXYZ posted a video profile of Mastronardi:

2. We've talked a bit about the NHL's Draft Lottery, which takes place tomorrow in Toronto (7:30 PM on NBCSN and the CBC), and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan discussed the details thereof:

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Wings Showing Interest In A Big Swedish Forward

via Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings are among a handful of NHL teams pursuing big, undrafted forward Victor Ejdsell, who had a breakout year in Sweden's second-highest league.

Ejdsell (6-5, 220) returned home Friday after visiting Detroit earlier in the week during a tour of select cities. Chicago and Nashville are reportedly in the mix as well. He is expected to decide soon.

Ejdsell had 25 goals and 57 points in 50 games for BIK Karlskoga of HockeyAllsvenskan. He turns 22 on June 6.

"He's evolved into a strong two-way center," Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said. "His move from wing to center helped his defensive game. He's got good hands and offensive ability."

Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings director of European scouting, saw Ejdsell play for BIK Karlskoga. He recommended him to Jiri Fischer, the team's director of player recruitment, who's in charge of scouting free agents at every level. Fischer went to Sweden to watch him play.

If you click the Mlive link, there is a video of Ejsdell in action.

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About a very brave young hockey player

The Red Wings Alumni Association is wrapping up its season with a charity game to be played in Fraser, MI this Sunday, benefitting injured Dakota High School player Anthony Mastronardi, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan profiled the young man:

The one thing Anthony Mastronardi remembers was thinking, even in those matter of seconds, “this could be bad.”

The junior from Macomb Dakota was racing after a loose puck with an opponent and everything that go could go wrong, in that instant did. Yes. It turned out to be bad.

“Our legs, our sticks, all got tangled and I wound up going into the boards,” said Mastronardi, 17, remembering the game against Port Huron Northern Dec. 3. “I went head-first.”

Strange, how everything happened so fast, just in a matter of moments, but yet Mastronardi remembers everything also happening in slow motion.

“I heard the ‘boom,’” said Mastronardi of his impact into the boards.

Moments later, Mastronardi remembers laying on the ice, waiting, coming-through, and…

“I couldn’t move anything,” Mastronardi said.

Four months later, Mastronardi has returned home after going through grueling rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

Kulfan continues...

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Cotsonika shares stories about Dr. Finley

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika remembers long-time Red Wings physician John Finley with a long column recalling Finley's "best work":

John Finley was like a small-town doctor. Only his town was Hockeytown.

He served as the team physician of the Detroit Red Wings for 46 years -- 23 at Olympia Stadium, 23 at Joe Louis Arena -- becoming part of their history and, more importantly, their family.

He handled in-game emergencies for players around the NHL with such calm and skill, they used to say if you had to get injured, you wanted it to be in Detroit.

With a white coat and a warm smile, he helped his good friend Gordie Howe with a kidney stone and took out Steve Yzerman's tonsils; stitched up Mark Howe when Mark was Gordie's little kid and not yet a professional hockey player himself; had players and their families to his office for appointments and his home for brunch; and even made house calls.

After he retired in 2003, he and his wife, Genevieve, remained fixtures at Joe Louis Arena, seeing friends in the Alumni Room, watching games. He walked the red carpet during the ceremony after the last game at the Joe on April 9, then suffered a stroke a week later. He died Thursday at age 88.

It is another blow to the Red Wings, who lost Howe on June 10 at age 88 and owner Mike Ilitch on Feb. 10 at age 87. Finley was one of the people behind the scenes who made the Red Wings the Red Wings.

Cotsonika continues...

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Toledo Walleye’s ice surface named the ECHL’s best

From the Toledo Walleye:

Toledo receives 2016-17 ECHL Best Ice Award

April 28, 2017

For the second consecutive year, the ECHL has presented the Toledo Walleye with the 2016-17 Best Ice Award.

“SMG-Huntington Center is proud to be recognized with this award,” said Huntington Center General Manager Steve Miller.  “Our Operations Manager, Jesus Rivera, works hard with his team to keep the ice in great shape throughout the season.  We take pride in the compliments we receive from both the Toledo Walleye players and coaches and the visiting teams.”

The winners are determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, focusing on those arenas and staffs that provide the best playing surfaces in the League, including the quality of the ice, temperature of the building and surrounding dasher board system.

“Our game is predicated on having a playing surface of the utmost integrity so that our players can perform at their highest level and our fans enjoy quality entertainment,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “This award recognizes the hard-working crews in our League who pride themselves on ensuring that the athletes in the ECHL will have the best ice to perform on.”

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St. James: Jeff Salajko’s services will be retained by the Wings

The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings will retain the services of their one free agent-to-be member of the coaching staff:

When the Detroit Red Wings promoted goaltending coach Jeff Salajko, it was with an eye towards Petr Mrazek.

Salajko had history with Mrazek from the minors, and was signed to a one-year deal with the Wings last May. While Salajko does not yet have a new contract, that should soon change.

“Jeff Salajko will be back,” head coach Jeff Blashill told the Free Press Friday. “I think he has done a real good job. He has a very good relationship with our goaltenders and has an ability to help them get better and get better at fundamentals.”

St. Jamees continues...

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A bit about Team USA’s World Championship team

From USA Today's Kevin Allen:

Buffalo Sabres 20-year-old star Jack Eichel is coming off a stressful season that ended with his coach and general manager being fired. Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin had trying moments dealing with a sophomore slump.

But both agreed, along with a number of other rising young Americans, to play for the USA at the IIHF World Championships in Cologne, Germany, starting May 5.

“I think there is a young generation of American players that want to make their mark on the international stage,” U.S. coach Jeff Blashill said. “They have great pride and they want to show where they think we should stand on that international stage.”

Because the world championships are played immediately after the completion of an 82-game NHL regular season, it’s always been difficult to recruit NHLers to play.

But the presence of Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche), Brock Nelson (New York Islanders), Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes),  Connor Murphy, Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) among others suggests younger players are more willing to play.

Allen continues...

Update: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji also spoke with Blashill regarding his job as Team USA's coach:

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Wings confirm Dr. John Finley’s passing

Last night, Keith Gave reported that long-time Wings physician John Finley passed away at 88 years of age, and this morning, the Red Wings are confirming the news:

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Wallner’s first-round Griffins playoff takes

Among the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's observations from the Grand Rapids Griffins' first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals:

Tyler Bertuzzi is at it again: The series highlight may have been just watching Tyler Bertuzzi. The left winger, always a bundle of energy, became electrocharged – again - in the first round. He was the team’s leading scorer with four points, including two goals (goal winner and empty netter) in pivotal Game 2. The 22-year-old’s 16 goals in 26 postseason games is second all-time for the Griffins.

Dylan McIlrath's presence: The Griffins were all about playing defenseman Filip Hronek after the touted first-year defenseman joined the team in late March and played well in 10 games. But for the playoffs, the 6-foot, 170-pound 19-year-old sat and veteran Dylan McIirath played to provide a stronger physical presence. The move deprived Hronek – Detroit’s third pick in 2016 – of playoff experience, but the 6-foot-5, 235-pound McIirath initiated enough hits to keep the Admirals aware and off stride.

Penalty kill moment: The Griffins, slightly above average on the PK during the regular season (11th at 82.8 percent), were 90 percent in the opening round (1 of 11). The defining moment was the hard-working, time-eating, game of keep-away between Colin Campbell and Dominic Turgeon in Game 2. They kept the puck in the Admirals’ zone and along the boards for 40 seconds during a crucial stretch in the middle of the third period.

Wallner continues...

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Khan on the ‘trade Nyquist’ vs ‘trade Tatar’ conundrum

Among MLive's Ansar Khan's mailbag questions:

Q: Which of Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist is most likely to be dealt if the Wings are to get that top-pair defenseman? – Jesse

A: Tatar has more trade value, I believe, because he’s a better finisher (team-leading 25 goals this season while dealing with shoulder issues) and the team acquiring him could lock him up to a long-term deal (he’s a restricted free agent). Whereas Nyquist (29 goals the past two seasons combined) has become more of a distributor and will be unrestricted after two seasons.

I think the Red Wings would prefer to retain Tatar. They have struggled for offense the past two seasons and that’s a lot of goals to lose.

But, I’m sure they would take that trade-off if Tatar (and another asset) could land them a young, top-pairing defenseman like Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg.

Khan continues, emphasizing trade and expansion draft talk...

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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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