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Post Practice Talk From The Wings

from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,

During the Red Wings' last road trip, the team went .500 and found something to help in the process.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill put together a line with Frans Nielsen at center and Luke Glendening and Darren Helm on the wings to match up against other teams' top lines.

Since all three are natural centers, any one of them can take a face-off and all of them are important on the penalty kill.

"They've been excellent. That (Nathan) MacKinnon line is a great line and (Mikko) Rantanen's a really good player, McKinnon's one overall, (Gabriel) Landeskog's two overall," Blashill said. "They went head to head against them all night long and until the very last wee moments of the game, shut them down. They've created lots of zone time, they've created lots of energy. In the last game we had to kill so many penalties that they ended up playing tons of minutes. But I think they've done an excellent job."

The next challenge for that line will be Edmonton's top line of Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl.

continued including the Wings will be practicing on Thanksgiving.

Below, watch Jeff Blashill after practice today...

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The Morning Skate

added 11:22am,


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All Frans Nielsen

from Lucas Aykroyd of IIHF.com,

How do you feel about the way you’ve played personally this season?

I like my game so far. I’ve definitely struggled a little bit with the points, but I just try to play the same way, and usually it adds up over 82 games.

You spent five years developing in Sweden, four with Malmo and one with Henrik Zetterberg’s club, Timra. As a Red Wing, what’s impressed you the most about how Zetterberg carries himself as the captain?

It’s been really fun. He’s been everything I hoped for. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have a bad game. He’s just one of those players. He’s not always on the scoresheet, but he always does something for the team. He’s a fantastic leader that way.

more, includes Danish players talk and even a Brett Hull question...

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Are The Detroit Red Wings A Better Team Than Last Year?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings are only two points ahead of their pace from 2016-17 one-quarter of the way through the season.

But there are more reasons for optimism this year, or so it seems.

That’s due in part to the growth and assertiveness of young forwards Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. It’s also encouraging that the team has improved in virtually every statistical category.

The Red Wings finished 2016-17 ranked 26th in goals per game (2.41) and goals against (2.98). They were 27th on the power play (15.1 percent) and 16th on the penalty kill (80.8 percent).

Through 21 games this season, they are tied for 18th in goals per game (2.90), 10th in goals against (2.71), eighth on the power play (22.4 percent) and sixth on the penalty kill (84.6 percent).

continued plue five things to watch this week...

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Wings Needs Their Speed Game Back Against Edmonton

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

The Oilers, whom the Red Wings throttled two weeks ago at the start of their recent 6-2-1 run, will be in town Thanksgiving eve, and by then the sting of the late-game loss to the young Avalanche might have subsided.

The Wings hope to play as they did shutting out the Oilers, 4-0, and putting Connor McDavid on the bench, rather than the considerably less effective effort against Colorado, when the pace so integral to their success slowed.

Speed is generated by the legs. But it starts in the head.

Whatever source suddenly became depleted, it showed all around the ice Sunday.

A slower hockey team can take more penalties. One sure way of catching up to a skater is by hooking, holding or tripping. A slash also can provide some deterrence.


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Grand Rapids Griffins Send 3 Players To The Toledo Walleye

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Monday reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi (VIH-lee SAH-ree-YAHR-vee) and forward Dylan Sadowy (SAD-oh-way) from the Grand Rapids Griffins to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, while the Griffins assigned forward Luke Esposito to Toledo. 

In his first full professional season, Saarijarvi, 20, has played in four games with the Griffins, tallying one assist and two penalty minutes. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound blueliner has accounted for one assist and a plus-one rating in three games with the Walleye. 

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Ken Holland On The Wings

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

“We’ve gotten good goaltending on an every-night basis,” Holland told The Athletic on Sunday. “I think the younger players have taken on a bigger responsibility, they’ve earned a bigger responsibility. The power play has been relatively productive.”

Holland’s conclusion?

“We’re in the game,” he said of the Red Wings' spot in the standings. “We’re not ahead of the game. What’s ahead of the game? If you can be at this stage and be five, six or seven ahead of the ninth seed. You’re ahead of the game. We’re right at the bubble.”

more (paid subscription), includes Custance on some of the Wings at this point of the season...

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Sipple: Larkin on the rebound from a difficult 16-17 season

From the Free Press's George Sipple:

Dylan Larkin leads the Wings with 20 points in 21 games. He already has more assists (16) than he had in 80 games last season.

“I just think his game is way better,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said of Larkin, who leads the team with 20 points. “For me, it wasn’t a big surprise. I just think he had the learning process he went through last year and he’s a way better player because of it.” 

Larkin earned his 16th assist on Justin Abdelkader’s goal at 14:01 of the first period on Sunday night against the Avalanche. The Wings blew a 3-1 lead in the third period and lost, 4-3, in overtime at Little Caesars Arena. 

Larkin was originally credited with the first goal, which would have been his third in the last three games. But the Wings announced a scoring change after the period ended.

Abdelkader got a piece of Larkin’s shot to score his fourth goal of the season. Larkin was instead credited with the assist.

Larkin also won 12 of 16 (75%) of his faceoffs against the Avs and has won 52.6% of his draws this season.

St. James continues...

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The Wings Were Outplayed Last Night

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings believe they're a faster, better-skating team this season, one that applies a lot of pressure on the forecheck.

Sunday was a good chance to provide further proof, against a team that played the night before.

Instead, the Colorado Avalanche outskated the Red Wings from the drop of the puck and pretty much all night at Little Caesars Arena....

The Red Wings (10-8-3) still haven't won three games in a row. They're 2-0-2 on a five-game homestand that concludes Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers....

Leading by two, the Red Wings seemed to be caught in between trying to keep pushing or play more defensive to protect the lead.

"I don't know if we quit playing, I don't know if we thought we had won it at that point," Blashill said. "We got to make sure we're pushing. The easiest way to win is to score the fourth one, without taking any unneeded risk.


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Prospect news: Griffins lose in shootout; Walleye win, plus an NCAA-Europe-Major Junior round-up

Of prospect-related note over the course of Saturday and Sunday nights:

In the AHL, on Saturday, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Rockford IceHogs. Eric Tangradi had a goal and an assist and Dominic Turgeon scored a goal, and Tom McCollum stopped 36 of 38 shots, but the IceHogs went 1-for-3 in the shootout, and that was enough to prevail over the Griffins.

Grand Rapids' website posted a recap:

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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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