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The Malik Report

The Triple Dog Dare, Griffins version

I don't know what to make of this exactly, but Robbie Russo deserves props for reenacting the flagpole-licking scene from A Christmas Story, and his teammates aren't bad actors, either:

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Dylan Larkin Becoming A Complete Player

from Nick Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Larkin had excelled in his first 50 games as a rookie in 2015-16, scoring 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists). He had shown holes in his game after that -- not stopping on pucks, not managing the puck well -- but the stretch run wasn't the time to teach.

So after the season, Blashill told Larkin it was his job to make him a complete player. When Larkin didn't do what he was supposed to do early in 2016-17, he got his ice time cut, or got an earful on the bench, or got a video session.

"A lot of times, I didn't like it, or I wanted it to be different," Larkin said. "But there's really nothing he could have done [differently]. It was all in my play."

Larkin made progress with the Red Wings as the season went on and became Blashill's go-to guy for the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, playing in all situations.

He leads the Red Wings with 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) entering their Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins at Little Caesars Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV). He's on pace for 63 points, 18 more than his NHL career high of 45 (23 goals, 22 assists) from 2015-16.

Though he hasn't scored in 10 games and is on pace for 11 goals, which would be an NHL career low, he hasn't lacked chances.

read on

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The overnight report: Red Wings-Bruins set-up

The Detroit Red Wings face a particularly stiff task in battling the Boston Bruins this evening (8 PM EST on NBCSN/97.1 FM). Boston has won 4 of its past 5 games and 8 of its past 10, while the Red Wings have dropped both 9 of 10 (1-5-and-4) and have dropped out of the Atlantic Division playoff race...sort of.

Remarkably, the Red Wings' 11-13-and-6 record and 28 points are only 4 behind the Boston Bruins' 14 -9-and-4 record and 32 points--though they have 3 games in hand over the Wings--so tonight's game is not without playoff implications.

The same could be said for both Friday's game against Toronto and the Wings' December 23rd rematch with the Bruins in Boston, but that's also assuming that the Wings don't drop their games against New Jersey or Philadelphia (on the 19th and 20th, respectively).

Long story short, no, the Red Wings are not out of the Northeast Division playoff race, despite their terrible record over the last 10 games, but the mediocre Wings really, really need to win some not-so-mediocre games over the next week-and-a-half to not really find themselves out of the playoff race at Christmas.

Our friends from Boston haven't played a game since Saturday's 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, and the Bruins' roster is in some flux due to injuries to Ryan Spooner (who's "close") and Adam McQuaid (who's not). The Boston Herald's Stephen Conroy reports that the B's will start Wing-killer Tuuka Rask opposite Jimmy Howard...

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Prospect news: OHL/WHL round-up; Larsson commits to Denver; Setkov re-signs with Malmo

Of prospect-related note:

In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook had 1 shot in the Erie Otters' 3-2 OT loss to London;

In the WHL, Lane Zablocki took 2 shots and a penalty in his Lethbridge Hurricanes debut, a 5-3 Lethbridge loss to Saskatoon;

And Dennis Cholowski missed the Prince George Cougars' 5-4 win over Victoria as Cholowski's attending Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp.

In the USHL, Tri-City Storm goaltender Filip Larsson made his college commitment, choosing to attend the University of Denver. Per the USHL's website:

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Red Wings make their annual visit to Chlidren’s Hospital

The Red Wings made their annual pre-Christmas visit to Children's Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, and the team did its best to put a smile on ill children's faces, as noted by WXYZ's Brad Galli:

Red Wings TV also chronicled the visit...

And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji also spoke with the Wings during their visit...

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Wallner: Evgeny Svechnikov struggles to overcome his self-criticism

Evgeny Svechnikov has struggled to put his game together after recovering from a neck injury, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Svechnikov, like Martin Frk before him, is finding that self-criticism an extreme impediment to success:

The Grand Rapids Griffins second-year pro has not scored since Nov. 8, a span of 12 games, and his five points (2-3-5) in 20 games is lowest among forwards. Not the way the team's top pick in 2015 was expected to start out. And, most disappointed by the numbers may be Svechnikov.

"I never struggled like this and it's a challenge for me this year," he said after Tuesday's practice. "I think it's more tough mentally because I used to score goals and now I'm not. But, I'm still good. I come into the rink every day with the same positive attitude. Honestly, I'm going to tell you I never expected it. But, I don't give up. I keep pushing forward. That's all I can do and forget about the past."

It is a hardship Svechnikov has taken upon himself before. He is aware of his place as the Red Wings' top pick in 2015 (No. 19 overall), said coach Todd Nelson, who thinks Svechnikov places undue pressure on himself.

"His problem is he's his own worst critic," Nelson said. "Sometimes, he puts a lot of pressure on himself and when that happens, things go in a bad way. I just have to read off him to see how he's feeling and give him confidence because, right now, nobody likes what we're going through," the coach said. "In his case, he squeezes his stick tighter every game he plays. Bottom line is go out and have fun, play the system well and work hard."

Wallner continues

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Articles from practice II: ‘The process’ isn’t going away any time soon.

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article from the Red Wings' practice, and all I can say is this: if you were expecting the Red Wings to pitch a different company line after dropping 9 of 10 games, prepare to be disappointed.

With the Wings set to host a team that's won 8 out of their past 10 games, with Wing-killer Tuukka Rask in the net, Detroit isn't going to make any substantial changes to their lineup (save demoting Tyler Bertuzzi), nor their outlook:

“That’s one of the things we talked about this morning, when you are doing the right things and still losing, it’s easy to try to do something different,” veteran forward Frans Nielsen said Tuesday. “But we have to try and remember that we’ve been creating a lot of scoring chances and playing some good hockey lately. So try not to get frustrated.

“We have to keep believing in what we are doing. We are playing good enough to get a win, so we just have to keep digging in and playing the same way. We can’t get frustrated about it. We can’t start cheating or playing a different way.”

Coach Jeff Blashill echoed at practice what he’d said after Monday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Florida.

“One of the hardest things in life to do is to trust the process when you are not getting results,” he said. “In any facet of life. A mistake people make is they go away from the process. They panic too early and they don’t stay with it. You have to trust the process.

“We out-chanced them before the goal went in 19-6 last night. We’ve out-chanced our opponents 49-34 over the last three games, and the worst of that was the Winnipeg game. Being frustrated doesn’t help you. If we stay with it, I believe we will get the results over the long term.”

St. James continues at length, and she posted a video of comments made by Nielsen and Blashill:

Continue Reading »

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Articles from practice: Bertuzzi demoted; Wings-B’s previews; on goal-scorers, etc.

The Red Wings' practice at Little Caesars Arena must have been uneventful, because a trio of Tweets constituted the entirety of reporting from the Wings' practice facility.

They consisted of "Bertuzzi sticking with the Wings," per the Free Press's Helene St. James, and "Howard in the starter's net" and "no line changes" Tweets from MLive's Ansar Khan.

Khan added one post-practice Tweet (and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan broached the same subject):

The "tomorrow morning" timeline changed when the Red Wings assigned Bertuzzi to Grand Rapids just after 2 PM,

The Red Wings (1-5-and-4 over their past 10 games) will be hosting a Boston Bruins team that's on an upward trajectory tomorrow--having won 8 of their past 10 games--as noted by DetroitRedWings.com's Arthur J. Regner:

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Red Wings send Tyler Bertuzzi to Grand Rapids Griffins


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Tweets and articles from practice: Bertuzzi’s sticking around (for now); Rask vs. Howard on Wed

The Detroit Red Wings hit the ice at Little Caesars Arena just before noon on Tuesday, preparing for big match-ups against the Bruins (on Wednesday) and Maple Leafs (on Friday).

The Wings have won only 1 of their past 10 games (1-5-and-4), including last night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers, but the team insists that its "process" has been good for the past two games.

As the Wings hit the ice at their practice facility, the Free Press's Helene St. James Tweeted this about Tyler Bertuzzi...

The Griffins may need Bertuzzi more than the Wings do at this point. At 9-13-and-3, the Griffins sit next-to-last in the Central Division, some 18 points behind the division-leading Manitoba Moose.

This should also come as no surprise, per MLive's Ansar Khan:

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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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