The Malik Report
MLive's Ansar Khan revisits Frans Nielsen's Locker Room Clean-Out Day comments this morning, noting that Nielsen believes that the Red Wings' current personnel can return to playoff form if they play simpler, harder hockey:
"It's been disappointing absolutely, but I think there are some really good pieces in here, so I think it's not like I feel like I'm going to come back after the summer and we're going to go through this again," Nielsen said. "I really believe this group can do something. We've just got to learn from this and figure it out. I think for the most part, some nights we basically got outworked, and that just can't happen in this league."
The prevailing sentiment from one of the team's veterans: They need more grit.
"We just got to bring a little more mean attitude and play harder and do it a little more simple sometimes," Nielsen said. "I know they always had a tradition of playing a lot of nice hockey here with skill guys, but I think we got to learn how to play the other side of it, too. ... It's a tough league and you have to pay the price every night. ... You can't skill your way through this league today. It's too hard."
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article regarding Anthony Mantha's desire to become a more consistent NHL player...
Mantha had 17 goals and 36 points in 60 games and had the team’s second-best plus-minus rating at plus-10. He said he wasn’t explicitly told he needed to be better and more consistent. In fact, he said he inherently knew when his game wasn’t up to par.
“I just know it,” he said. “I know the way I play. I know my best games what they are. I know my bad games what they are. So for me, it’s just something I need to focus on and always have good or great games.”
Mantha also figured out it was good he decided to watch older players — and one in particular — and copy their good habits.
“It’s to look at the veterans and see how they show up every day,” he said. “That’s what you learn the most as a young kid. For me, this year I watched (Henrik) Zetterberg practice and play and he’s always at the same level, he’s always competing, even in practices. So I’ll try to get that mentality for next year.”
2. And the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo says that the Wings need to embrace statistical metrics to "be honest with themselves" regarding the offseason moves necessary to
WOOD TV8 News's Larry Firgurski profiled Tyler Bertuzzi, the Grand Rapids Griffins' clutch playoff performer:
Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Wings posted a video updating construction at Little Caesars Arena:
2. Bob Wojnowski, Sean Baligian and Dan Miller sat down to talk sports on Sunday's Fox 2 SportsWorks, and when they eventually got to the Red Wings, it was very weird to hear the trio suggest that the Red Wings have "no talent" in the pipeline, which just an accurate assessment:
As the Grand Rapids Griffins prepare for their playoff series against the Milwaukee Admirals (which starts on Friday at Van Andel Arena), the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner listed many statistics of note from the Griffins' 2016-17 regular season:
High marks despite second place: The Griffins held the lead in the Central Division most of the season until a late swoon left them second behind Chicago by one point. They finished 47-23-1-5 with 100 points. The 47 wins was a team best since 2011-12 (when 76-game season was adopted) and the 100 points equaled the 76-game high reached by the 2014-15 club.
50-point club: Four players reached 50 points on the season. Scoring leaders were, in order, Matt Lorito (22-34-56), Ben Street (25-30-55), Evegeny Svechnikov (20-31-51) and Martin Frk (27-23-50).
Real goal getter: Martin Frk, who didn’t even start the season with the organization, led the Griffins in goals with 27. That included 12 via the power play. The fourth-year pro equaled his total from last season. He was claimed on waivers by Carolina before the start of the season, but re-claimed by the Detroit organization Nov. 1 and returned to Grand Rapids.
Net results: Jared Coreau, who once was pegged for 50 to 60 games in net this season, spent part of the year with the Red Wings, and now looks to settle in for the playoffs. He finished 19-11-3 with a 2.33 goals against average and .911 save percentage. He allowed 11 goals in his final five starts and will shoulder the load in the postseason.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Through it all, he finished second on the Detroit Red Wings with 18 goals in just 64 games, while ranking 11th in average ice time (13:27) and ninth in power-play minutes (1:12) among the club's forwards.
He believes he's capable of taking a bigger step next season.
"I don't want to say I'm happy with my production because I always want to do better than what happened, but I think the goal for next year is to step it up and do even better," Athanasiou, 22, said. "For this year, I don't think they're terrible numbers. I did well with what I was given."
His blazing speed and finishing ability have made him a fan favorite.
"I see the support I get from the fans; it's definitely a good feeling to see them support my play, my game, so I like that," Athanasiou said. "If I can provide them with some entertainment and some good hockey that's what I got to do."
Despite his flair, Athanasiou is still learning to play a 200-foot game and improve defensively. Blashill has called him out for a lack of competitiveness.
"I don't look at it too much (being singled out by Blashill); obviously, I see some people comment on it, message me about it or tell me about it, but I don't pay too much attention," Athanasiou said. "This is a team and every night it's going to take a team effort to win. As for individual efforts, I'm going to take care of that and make sure that I'm good for this team and making sure I give us what I can give."
Of very brief prospect-related note this evening:
In playoff action, in the OHL, Jordan Sambrook scored the Erie Otters' only goal as Erie lost 2-1 to London in OT, knotting the teams' second-round series at 3 games apiece. London and Erie will play for the opportunity to advance to the OHL's Conference Final on Tuesday.
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned something of an anthology of the major personnel moves that contributed to the Red Wings' fall from grace from their 2008 season to today. It's a "meaty" read, and it's also a painful one in terms of having to recall how many tremendously skilled players the Wings lost since Jiri Fischer collapsed in 2005 (there's a reason Krupa starts there).
Wings GM Ken Holland admits that the Wings are looking at an uphill climb:
“Certainly a number of players regressed, or had off-years,” Holland said. “While we’re trying to draft and develop and get better long term, our short-term goal is to try to make the team as good as it can be and hope that that team can qualify for the playoffs.”
Plainly, the next Stanley Cup contender in Detroit is some seasons down the road.
“We’re not going from here to there in two or three months,” Holland said. “We’ve got to work our way slowly up the ladder.”
Krupa continues at extended length, and his work is worth your time.
As previously noted, the Grand Rapids Griffins will open their best-of-five first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals this Friday at Van Andel Arena, and the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of some of the standout prospects' play:
The Griffins wrapped up the regular season by routing the Admirals, 5-1, Saturday in Milwaukee. It was a good night for forward Evgeny Svechnikov, the Wings’ first-round pick from 2015, as he celebrated a career-high four-point performance. He finished his first year of pro hockey with 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points in 74 games. After turning pro last spring, Svechnikov, 20, snuck into two playoff games with the Griffins, recording one assist. He will be one of their go-to guys this year.
Defenseman Filip Hronek, Detroit’s second-round pick from 2016, has elbowed his way into the Griffins' lineup since turning pro this spring after producing 61 points in 59 games with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.
Forward Tomas Nosek, who asserted himself well in an 11-game stint with the Wings the last month of the season, finished with 26 assists among 41 points in 51 games for Grand Rapids. Forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who put in seven games with the Wings before suffering a high-ankle sprain, had 37 points in 48 games. Nosek and Bertuzzi are both candidates to be with the Wings full-time next season.
St. James continues, and it's worth noting that between the Wings' end-of-season returns to Grand Rapids (Lorito, Street, Nosek, Russo) and improving health (Tangradi, Bertuzzi), the team's almost at full strength, hoping that Martin Frk will join a completely healthy team come Friday night.
Pavel Datsyuk wasn't quite able to return from a broken kneecap in time to help his KHL team, SKA St. Petersburg, battle Metallurg Magnitogorsk, but Datsyuk watched SKA defeat Metallurg 5-3 today, and the win saw Datsyuk capture the Gargarin Cup as SKA defeated Metallurg in 5 games.
Datsyuk finished the 16-17 season with 12 goals, 22 assists and 34 points over the course of 44 regular season games played, and he played in 7 playoff games, finishing with 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points.
I miss Datsyuk wearing the Winged Wheel terribly, but it's good to know that he's won the KHL title.
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.