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Prospect news: Holmstrom ties record; Bertuzzi bows out; Larkin to WC; Griffins prepare for playoffs

Tuesday was a busy day for several Red Wings prospects, and Tuesday night marked the end of one player's Major Junior career.

In playoff action, in the SHL, Axel Holmstrom registered an assist in 11:20 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK defeated the Vaxjo Lakers 3-0, tying the SHL final at 1 game apiece. Axel's assist was an important one, as noted by DRW Prospects on Twitter...

And WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr.:

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Babcock briefly addressed contract rumors…sort of

I despise the endless Babcock-to-team-x rumors, but I'm glad that, at least in a roundabout way, Mike Babcock addressed the chatter surrounding him on Tuesday, as noted by CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak:

“We’re playing Tampa,” Babcock said Tuesday after practice, referring to the team’s first-round series against the Lightning. “That’s what I’m dealing with 100 percent. Not spending any time thinking about that. [Red Wings general manager] Ken [Holland] and I can work all that stuff out later. I’m not concerned about that one bit.

“I like winning,” Babcock continued. “I really like winning. So we’re going to do everything we can to prepare and to focus on the task at hand. I like Tampa. It’s a nice place. The weather’s nice. Let’s go.”

As would be expected, whether Babcock will stay or go after the season has not been something players have considered much, either.

“To be honest, I haven’t thought about that at all,” forward Darren Helm said. “He’s probably saying the same thing. It’s about now, what we’re going to do with our team, with the opportunity we have right now. It is a good opportunity that we have. We’re a good team. We’ve just got to find a way to play it.

“Whatever happens with Mike Babcock next year will happen,” Helm added.

Hmmm, he likes winning...That doesn't sound like Toronto...Or Buffalo...Or Philly...

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Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde named ECHL’s coach of the year; Barnes named best rookie

From the ECHL:

Toledo's Lalonde named ECHL Coach of the Year

The ECHL on Tuesday announced that Derek Lalonde of the Toledo Walleye is the 2014-15 recipient of the John Brophy Award as the league’s Coach of the Year.

The John Brophy Award is the trophy presented annually to the ECHL coach selected to have contributed the most to his team’s success as selected in a vote of league coaches. The trophy is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998, and was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.

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Post-practice articles: Howard is moderately displeased with not starting; Bolts notes

Updated 9x at 4:26 PM: The Red Wings engaged in a spirited practice on Tuesday, under a watchful eye, before flying to Tampa Bay...

And Jimmy Howard made some...interesting...comments after practice, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

"It's his decision," Howard said of coach Mike Babcock after Tuesday's practice, as the Red Wings prepared to head to Tampa Bay. "He's the coach. He makes the decisions."

Babcock announced his goalie decision Monday. Howard was 23-13-11 with 2.44 goals-against average and .910 save percentage and two shutotuts this season. He was named to the All-Star team in early January, only to be injured later that evening, suffering a slight groin tear. Returning a month later, Howard was never able to recapture the form he had before, with a 2.99 GAA and .896 SVS over his final 21 games.

"I'm just going to continue to work and when my number is called upon, I have to respond for the guys," Howard said.

Kulfan also asked Howard if he'd spoken to coach Babcock about the decision, and Kulfan received a blunt response:

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Practice Tweets: Helm returns from illness, Abdelkader practicing

The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena quite late by Wings standards, at 12:15 PM, per the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa...

@DetroitRedWings on ice Joe Louis Arena, two days in advance of conference quarter-final versus Tampa.


All three goalies working with Bedard.

And Fox 2's Jennifer Hammond:

This note from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness is good given that Darren Helm didn't practice yesterday:

Helm is on the ice, in Red.

There was some confusion as to Abdelkader's status, per MLive's Ansar Khan...

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Pre-practice(?) articles and Bolts Tweets: Babcock on WDFN; Bolts take an optional

Amidst a note from the Free Press's Brian Manzullo stating that nobody's picking the Wings to win their series against Tampa Bay--including the CBC, CBS Sports' Bryan Altman (via RedWingsFeed) and Fox Sports' Craig Morgan--and quite the ramble about this playoff run possibly being Mike Babcock's "Last Waltz" with the Wings from Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun, Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot had a radio kibits with WDFN's Matt Sheppard, as did that Babcock guy:

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Gordie Howe’s health continues to slowly improve

The Associated Press posted an update on Gordie Howe's health, and given that he's 86 and battling dementia, things are going as well as we can possibly hope:

He can walk slowly and speak, though not loudly. His shortened gait is more the result of back pain than the stroke, Murray Howe said.

There's little doubt his spirits are high. At a recent session of occupational and physical therapy in Lubbock, Howe eyes twinkled and he smiled every now and then as he flirted with the two young women putting him through his paces. He even planted an innocent, light kiss on the cheek on his occupational therapist and twirled her once as if they were dancing.
Fat chance: 10 unbreakable NHL records

    Which marks will stand the test of time? How about The Great One's 2,857 career points? Or Chicago goalie Glenn Hall's streak in net? Check out the records that won't be touched.

''He is doing extremely well, very well for his age,'' said Nathalie Geddie, Howe's physical therapist, adding that he still has weakness on his right side. ''To think about how far he's come since he's had his stroke, he's made significant functional gains.''

Howe's hand-eye coordination remains sharp. When Murray Howe gently tossed worn, yellow tennis balls for Howe to hit with a PVC pipe that's normally used to work on his range of motion, he hit nearly every one of them.

''It's a pleasure to see him like this, as compared to how he was,'' Marty Howe said. ''Because how he was just sitting in the bed, laying down drooling, and that was what was going to be the rest of his life.''


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Griffins recall Paterson, Hirschfeld, Czarnowczan from Toledo

The Grand Rapids Griffins have seen Teemu Pulkkinen, Landon Ferraro and Alexey Marchenko head to Detroit and Petr Mrazek establish himself as the Wings' #1A goalie, so it's not surprising that the Griffins made 3 recalls from Toledo this morning:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday reassigned goaltender Jake Paterson from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins recalled forward Alden Hirschfeld and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan from the Walleye.

Detroit’s third choice (80th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paterson has split this season between the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit. In 24 games with Saginaw, Paterson accumulated a 12-11-1 record, a 3.48 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage before being traded to Kitchener, where he posted a 14-10-2 regular season record with a 2.37 GAA and a 0.929 save percentage. The 20-year-old also suited up for six playoff games with the Rangers, producing a 2-4 record and a 5.18 GAA, before being reassigned to Toledo.

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The overnight report: On the right goalie ‘for now,’ playoff previews and the Lightning

Maybe it's because I played goal--and I hate to pull out the, "Oh yeah, I played the game" cliche--but maybe it's because I played goal that I didn't really bat an eyelash at Mike Babcock's decision to start Petr Mrazek over Jimmy Howard for Game 1 of the Wings-Lightning series (at least).

Playing goal is a merciless business, and between my time in the net and time as a hockey fan, I can tell you that when your starter doesn't have his shit together, you're not going to play for long, and for whatever reason, no matter how hard coach Babcock's tried to give equitable footing to both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, Howard's looked "off" since returning from his groin injury...

And the kinds of goals that Howard and Petr Mrazek have given up can't both be chalked up to "rookie mistakes" or the technical sloppiness of youth.

So you don't start the guy who doesn't have his game in order. As the coach said on Monday, it's the playoffs, it's about who's going to play best for the team. The end, right?

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Evening news: A bit of pre-playoff potpourri

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The vote on the Red Wings' plans to demolish the Hotel Park Avenue and retain the Hotel Eddystone have been delayed for a week. The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, MLive, WXYZ, WDIV, MLive, the Metro Times and CBS Detroit/WWJ have more on this, but what you need to know is that the reason this issue is a sticking point is that Olympia development doesn't want to have to craft legal language around the issue, and in a push-back, the City of Detroit is trying to grab more say in how many Detroiters are hired for the project (the agreement with the City has 50% of the construction staffed by Detroit-based workers and firms), which could seriously delay the project;

2. In TV news, Fox Sports Detroit has confirmed that it will carry every game but Game 2 of the Wings-Bolts series locally (FTR: Game 2 will air on CNBC for those of you who will be relying on NBC Universal for your Wings coverage);

3. In "on the radio" news, Mickey Redmond discussed the Wings-Bolts series with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew Lane:

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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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