The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/24/12 at 08:09 AM ET
This just isn’t going to go away. As mentioned in the, “Mad Dash,” new Red Wings acquisition Kyle Quincey spoke to Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika about fact that Saturday night’s opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, has a bunch of unrestricted free agents-to-be, and that continued uncertainty as to the team’s direction has some of those unrestricted free agents-to-be wanting out:
“Everyone is ready to get shipped out any day,” Quincey said. “There’s a lot of guys, their bags are packed beside the door, and they wouldn’t be unhappy to go – trust me. I know I had a big smile on my face, and all the guys were jealous. I think there’s a bunch of guys that were pissed off they weren’t in a package deal.”
And why is that? Quincey said a lot of guys feel they “aren’t getting their opportunity” in Colorado. But mostly he talked about players wanting a chance to win and the insecurity players can have at this time of year. Coming off a 4-1 victory over the Kings on Wednesday night, the Avs are only two points out of a playoff spot. But the Avs are 11th in the West, and if you’re traded, you could end up … anywhere. You could move up in the standings, like Quincey did, or you could go down.
The Avs play the Blue Jackets on Friday and then come to town on Saturday…
Players often say they ignore trade rumors, and some do. But it’s hard to ignore the newspapers, Internet and television when your name is popping up all the time. On one hand, Quincey said he didn’t expect to be traded and was happy in Colorado. On the other, he said he was bringing his biggest suitcase on the Avs’ upcoming trip to Columbus and Detroit, knowing the deadline was coming and he might have to ship off to parts unknown.
“There’s guys that have been talked about for two, three weeks – and I was, too, right?” Quincey said. “That’s all I’m saying. With guys getting talked about all the time, your mindset kind of changes. It’s tough there because they’re in a dogfight. When you get talked about every day, it kind of wears on you. You start thinking, ‘Where am I going?’ “
A big contributing factor in Colorado: Only seven players are signed beyond this season – forwards Paul Stastny, Gabriel Landeskog and Chuck Kobasew, defensemen Jan Hejda and Ryan O’Byrne and goaltenders Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Semyon Varlamov. The rest are pending restricted or unrestricted free agents. Even forward Ryan O’Reilly, the Avs’ leading scorer, hasn’t received an extension. He is in the last year of his entry-level deal, making $900,000.
“I truly believe, if you have confidence in a player, then give it to them, show it to them,” Quincey said. “When there’s so much uncertainty if those guys are going to be there next year, it would be nice for guys to get extensions. But that’s their policy, and that’s what they do.”
Quincey paused, then added: “Confidence, it comes and goes,
Well, the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater wrote this about Quincey when he was moved...
As for Quincey: Honestly, I thought he was going to be a tremendous player here for many years to come, after watching him play the first couple months as an Av in 2009. He was the team’s best player in those months, a big, physical defender who did smart things with the puck and had something to give at the offensive end too.
And then? And then, I’m really not sure what happened. His game just never seemed to match that level at all. I try to be honest about every player I cover, and while I think he was a respectable player for most of his time here, I just almost never found myself going, “Wow, what a play by Quincey!” in the last two years. He just seemed like any other guy out there too often. Maybe that is a compliment in a way to a defenseman – the more you notice them, very often it’s in the bad sense. But after believing this guy could be a strong, No. 1 D-man on a team, too often you just had the feeling of “Oh yeah, Quincey played too.”
Thing is, he doesn’t have to be very good to be a good pickup for the Red Wings. He is likely a very good 4-6 D-man, but a 1-3? I wasn’t seeing it anymore. He turned the puck over at times, in often crucial moments (he was tied for second on the team in giveaways with 29). His bad play with the puck essentially cost the Avs a point in Vancouver the other night, with time running out in regulation.
Personally, I never had any problems covering a guy like Quincey, but I never felt like I had any bond with him at all either. I suspect I’m not alone in that feeling.
I know for a fact that Quincey didn’t help his standing in the eyes of team management when, after being eligible to play again after a concussion in December he essentially said “I wish I hadn’t reported my injury” after the Avs held him out a few more games (because the team was winning without him). Fair or not, it created the impression that Quincey cared more about himself than the team winning.
A few people have anointed the Wings the winner of this trade, but don’t be so easily fooled about the Wings. They massively messed up a couple years ago taking Landon Ferraro one pick ahead of Ryan O’Reilly at the 2009 draft (I can still picture Avs scouts doing high-fives after Detroit picked Ferraro instead of O’Reilly) and for all the bluster about them being invincible this year: that’s what everyone said the last two years too, when they had similarly fine regular-season records, only to be bounced out of the playoffs like a superball on pavement by the San Jose Sharks in the early rounds.
Fact is, I’d take Vancouver over the Wings in a playoff matchup right now. Plus, Pavel Datsyuk just had knee surgery. The Wings said he’ll only miss two weeks, but the Wings are famous for underreporting the severity of injuries to the public. You might as well put “Times three” next to any Wings public proclamation for how long a guy will be out, or how long it’ll take for him to be effective again.
And after Dater read Cotsonika’s column, he penned a blog entry titled, “Quincey throws Avs under the bus, then backs over for good measure, saying…
First off, great quote from a newspaperman’s perspective. Now that’s some of the old stuff – ripping a team that traded you on the way out the door. In a large way, I respect that about Kyle Quincey. Too often we media people want it both ways: we rip guys who don’t say anything quote-worthy, then when they do, we go “How could you say that?????”
I’m not going to make any editorial judgments about Quincey here. The Avs acquired Quincey in 2009 and gave him a pretty nice payday here, a deal worth more than $3 million a year. He got lots of ice time here too. Have I said enough?
Should be a good game Saturday in Detroit.
Before rewriting his blog entry as, “Is Quincey right about discord in Avs room, or was that a cheap shot?”
Quincey was talking about the fact that the Avs have a lot of guys in the last years of their contracts – including, while he was here, him.
(Let’s add this: Quincey was making the league minimum of $525,000 his first season with the Avs. He had a great first half, a very mediocre second half, but was still given a real nice new two-year contract with a cap hit of $3.125 million).
Quincey was hurt most of last year, and posted grand total stats of: 21 GP, 0 goals, one assist, -5. He posted five goals, 23 points and a -1 with the Burgundy and Blue this year. Was this talking about himself when saying the Avs should have given contract extensions to certain guys by now?
If not, is it the duty of teams to just hand out contract extensions? Shouldn’t a player finish his contract, then be concerned about a new one – not while he’s still in the midst of the one he’s being paid?
How do you think Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene feel about Quincey’s comments today? They are two of the more obvious Avs players where you could say “Hey, maybe they should get an extension now, as opposed to going into the summer when they’ll be (restricted) free agents.” Do you think they like having Quincey imply that some guys in the Avs room are unhappy over their contracts, and that it might be affecting their play/confidence?
How do you think Kevin Porter feels or is being viewed in the Avs dressing room tomorrow in Columbus? It was well known Porter was Quincey’s closest friend on the team – two Michigan guys who stuck together. With Quincey talking about unhappy guys in Colorado who would be happy to get out, who wished they’d been part of a package deal with the Wings, who do you think guys might suspect as being one of them? Can they trust him as a teammate anymore?
Interesting questions all. As I said in an earlier post, I have nothing against Quincey speaking his mind. I’m in the media – of course I don’t. But as a beat guy for this team, I must examine this question Quincey seemed to raise: are guys just waiting with their bags packed, hoping to get out? Or was Quincey being what more than one teammate and management type has told me about HIM recently: that he was always a me-first guy, and his comments proved it.
Stay tuned. Could get more interesting around here.
And gee, it’s not like Dater wants to ensure that things become as interesting as possible for him to cover, now is it?
For the record, Dater kept chirping all night long on his Twitter account, too, tossing off the following:
Huge number of Vancouver fans in Detroit tonight. Sounds like a Canucks home game
Tying goal right in front of Kyle Quincey
No more talk of Detroit home winning streak. It’s done like dinna
Vancouver is better than Detroit. #Westernchamps
Vancouver proved tonight they are still better than Red Wings with clutch win on Detroit ice. #Westernchamps
@John_Barrows_II yes, loving all the Wings fans who discount their SO wins in home streak, but it’s meaningless in a loss
Do you think that this might be more about the writer than the subject matter, and maybe trying very, very hard to spice things up ahead of a game he’s going to be in town to cover on Saturday?
Here’s all I know as a partisan Red Wings fan and someone who can’t stand to hear himself speak; when I first saw Kyle Quincey back at the Wings’ 2004 prospect camp in Troy, he struck me as the yippiest, most cocky, arrogant hockey player I’d seen since Pavel Agarkov, or would see until Brendan Smith. But while he may still be a little too like Kevin Bieksa in his willingness to state his mind, he’s had a long career away from Detroit, and given that Quincey was on the market to begin with, to the point that Ken Holland was talking directly to Avs GM Craig Sherman about Quincey prior to Sherman happily swapping Steve Downie for Quincey, he clearly wasn’t happy in Colorado.
So maybe he’s talking partially out of personal frustration and partially out of his best assessment of what’s going on with his former team, and aside from hazarding that guess, we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings in terms of comments from and play by Quincey and his former teammates.
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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.