Morning news: Regarding the Wings’ competitiveness, Zadina in the AHL, a Ben Simon interview and a Blue Jackets game preview

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive’s Ansar Khan wrote an article discussing five season-opening questions surrounding this year’s Wings team, including what I’ll call an underrated topic:

Will they be harder to play against? Several players said this was the most grueling training camp they’ve experienced as coach Jeff Blashill emphasized skating and competing.

The theme was “Sixty Minutes of Hell,” which Blashill borrowed from former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson, who coined the expression “Forty Minutes of Hell” in the early 1990s.

They hope to compensate for a lack of talent by outworking opponents and being harder to play against. They want to play more north-south, forecheck more aggressively, force more turnovers and spend more time in the offensive zone.

Khan continues, and I would suggest that the Wings’ collective “compete level” may very transcend any personnel questions…
2. 97.1 The Ticket’s Pat Caputo expresses discontent with the Red Wings’ decision to send Filip Zadina to Grand Rapids for the start of the 2018-19 season, in both text and video form:

97.1 The Ticket’s Pat Caputo asks … “Why is Filip Zadina going to be in Grand Rapids?'”

There’s a running narrative about Zadina that says, “he’s not strong enough, he’s not creating enough space on the ice, he’s not ready yet.”

While he didn’t score a lot of goals in the preseason — “I didn’t see him get bounced around like a pinball,” says Caputo. “He never looked over-matched.”

Click away for Caputo On Video, and I’m sticking to my guns in suggesting that Zadina will be OK learning the pro ropes in Grand Rapids, where I don’t believe he’ll stay for the entire season…

3.’s Patrick Williams also took note of Zadina’s presence on an AHL team’s roster as the NHL and AHL seasons begin:

Filip Zadina, F, Grand Rapids

The Detroit Red Wings will start Zadina (6-0, 195) in Grand Rapids, following a path like the one taken by New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil last season with Hartford. Doing so will allow for a more gradual transition for Zadina, 18, from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Zadina, the No. 6 selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, had 82 points (44 goals, 38 assists) in 57 regular-season games with Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.

In Grand Rapids, the 18-year-old will have time to adjust to the speed of the pro game, but he won’t be expected to carry the scoring burden because as Detroit buttressed its AHL team during the offseason with several veteran free-agent signings.

As Griffins coach Ben Simon has suggested, Zadina will also be able to get some games under his belt while adjusting to the tremendous increase in competitiveness that follows graduating from Major Junior hockey to a league where 30-year-old men are playing hockey to pay their family’s bills…

4. Speaking of coach Simon, he appeared on WDFN’s “Big Drew and Jim” show on Tuesday, and here’s the interview:

5. Finally,’s Arthur J. Regner offers an early scouting report of Thursday’s opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets:

You would presume the mood in Columbus would be optimistic as the Blue Jackets are poised to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season, but injuries to top-four defensemen Seth Jones (second-degree MCL sprain) and Ryan Murray (groin) have put a damper on the beginning of the season.

Jones is out four to six weeks, but there is a slight chance Murray could be ready to go against the Wings on Thursday.

Eventually Jones and Murray will return to solidify the blueline, however, the most disruptive issue for the Blue Jackets could be off the ice if superstars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky cannot reach contract extensions with the club, which will make them unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Columbus is a well-balanced team with a spark plug in coach John Tortorella. Despite the injuries and the contract uncertainties surrounding the team, the Blue Jackets will provide a very good test on Thursday for a retooling Wings team.

Regner continues

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.