The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/06/11 at 03:23 PM ET
No internet service and no TV make George something something…So my apologies for the delayed “overnight” report. We’ll kick off this little round-up of Red Wings-related news from the last 16 hours with an eyebrow-raiser from the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, who suggests that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s encouraging a scenario in which he’d have to replace both assistant coaches:
Saw Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes in Vancouver last Tuesday and asked him who he thought would get the coaching job in Ottawa. He said, “Paul MacLean.” Think Ian’s nailed this one. And, just like Mike Babcock helped sell Guy Boucher to Steve Yzerman, he’s selling MacLean to his old boss, Bryan Murray.
At this point, educated guesswork would point the Wings’ coaching search toward Bob Boughner (if he’s interested) and probably promotion from within, with video coach Keith McKittrick in the running for a job as he does quite a bit of on-ice work. I’m not sure if the Wings would consider promoting Jiri Fischer, Griffins coach Curt Fraser or Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek given how superbly they guide the Wings’ prospects toward the NHL.
Today’s other big story involves the obvious via the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo: if the Red Wings hope to out-compete the Nashville Predators or Columbus Blue Jackets in the three teams’ attempts to successfully lobby the NHL’s Board of Governors to move them to the Eastern Conference over the next year or so, the Wings will need more than Jimmy Devellano and Ken Holland simply working behind the scenes to get the job done…
As a Wings move would leave Chicago as the only Original Six team in the West and would no longer provide easy sell-outs for Western opponents who get a ticket boost from the Wings’ visits, Detroit owner Mike Ilitch will have to very aggressively and very publicly lobby for said change:
This is where Ilitch must speak out if necessary. Loudly. If it doesn’t work through normal protocol, he has to take it a step beyond and discuss it publicly.
Ilitch has owned the Red Wings since the early1980s. He has taken plenty of hits for the so-called “good of the league.” But enough is enough. Time to turn up the public pressure on Bettman. And it may have to come from Ilitch himself. Bettman is deaf to any concerns of hockey fans in Detroit. This spring, it was ridiculous the way the league reacted to octopi being tossed onto the ice. The league completely takes its strongest American franchise for granted.
It has been that way from the beginning of Bettman’s too-long tenure.
What is the worst thing Bettman could do? Fine Ilitch for speaking out? It’s not going to be anywhere close to the cost in extra jet fuel he has to pay each season for the Red Wings’ western road trips.
Red Wing fans understand the inequity of their team playing in the Western Conference. Anybody holding their breath Gary Bettman does? Time for Mike Ilitch to stand up for them — and make Bettman listen.
I don’t believe that it will ever happen, but Caputo does his best to make the case for the Wings’ move East in both his column and via a video discussing the issue:
I’m assuming that the Red Wings’ assistant GM, Jim Nill, doesn’t spend his time doing much lobbying at the boardroom level as he’s busy getting the team’s scouts on the same page regarding the team’s NHL Entry Draft strategy and speaking to Griffins GM Bob McNamara about building the Wings’ AHL affiliate at this time of year, but I had to snicker when I read these quips from the Hockey News’s Mark Malinowski’s “Getting to Know” column about Mr. Nill on Sunday evening:
Nickname: “‘The Goose.’ I’m from Hanna, home of the Canada Goose. So they call me ‘The Goose.’ Paul MacLean gave me that one.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Some I can’t tell (laughs). I remember being with the Olympic team. Glenn Anderson would always take the dollar bill out with the fishing line. It was in the airport. Back then, we didn’t charter; always commercial flights. We’d always have time between flights. And he’d have the fishing line and the dollar bill. Hangin’ out, he’d put it on the floor somewhere and people would walk by, go to grab it, he’d pull the dollar bill away. He’d hang it in the air, people would jump at it, he’d pull it away. So that would be some of the funnier moments.”
And who knew?
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Quite a few. Golf and flying airplanes.”
Regarding the draft, I’ve found that attempting to discern the Red Wings’ first-round pick is usually a futile exercise, but the Free Press’s George Sipple did a nice job of rounding up the Wings’ would-be picks via “mock drafts”:
The Red Wings have the 24th overall pick in the draft.
Among those who could be available when the Wings pick are Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad, Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin of Farjestad, Swedish center Victor Rask of Leksands and Tyler Biggs and Rocco Grimadli of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Here’s a look at who the Wings could end up with, based on various mock drafts.
The Hockey News mock draft by Ryan Kennedy has the Wings selecting Brodin. Kennedy writes that Brodin “sounds like a classic Wings pick; great stride and puck skills.”
At http://www.nhl.com three, different mock drafts are posted with three different selections for the Wings. Adam Kimelman has the Wings taking defenseman Joseph Morrow of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Mike G. Morreale has them taking Plymouth Whalers forward Rickard Rakell and Steven Hoffner projects forward Niklas Jensen of Oshawa (OHL) as the pick.
My uneducated guess is that the Wings would have no trouble taking Rackell or Alex Khokhlachev, but you never really know.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: TSN’s Play of the Year final does not include Pavel Datsyuk. Jordan Eberle’s first NHL goal beat out a Datsyukian deke vs. St. Louis;
We’ll go back to Elliotte Friedman for a wise remark about the Wings’ newest Hall of Famer-to-be:
I don’t know if there’s a city in the NHL whose fans love their TV analyst like Detroit loves Mickey Redmond. And what a timely honour for Terry Jones, who was pulled off the Vancouver/San Jose series for chasing down Daryl Katz the night the Oilers and the city of Edmonton reached a tentative arena deal. (Apparently, he was supposed to focus on the game. Whatever.) Two very deserving Hall of Fame Inductees.
• Detroit Hockey Weekly’s Paul Harris also took note of Redmond’s induction;
• In the “probable alumni” department, DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke looked at statistical milestones achieved by Ruslan Salei (hint: not many of them involve scoring);
• Ignore the moron talking about MacLean and Todd McLellan in the same breath;
• And as a follow-up, I mentioned that Evgeny Artyukhin had been offered an NHL contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the big goon’s turned it down and will remain with SKA St. Petersburg.
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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.