The Malik Report
Red Wings fans don’t do uncertainty well. Between the thinning free agent market, Jaromir Jagr’s increasingly likely status as a marquee player who’s saying, “No, thanks” to an offer from Detroit (which almost never happens), the uncertainty as to whether Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves or Drew Miller will return and the fact that, put bluntly, there are two days until free agency and we’re all antsier than kids on the last day of school, the Malik Report’s comment section has turned into something of a war zone.
So we understand that it’s the salary cap’s “floor,” not its ceiling, that’s pushing smaller-market teams into the red—and the $15 million gap between the “floor” and “upper limit” was Gary Bettman’s idea to foist parity upon the NHL, as a sort of bonus in the NHL’s dream CBA that was supposed to fix every team’s financial problems—and after a weekend’s worth of discussion as to whether the NHLPA will bear the burden of smaller-market teams’ desire to witness the a significant market “correction” in terms of the players’ share of wages and actual player salaries, the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts offers the other side of the coin: if there is to be another lockout, Bettman will have a hard time selling it to the Board of Governors as owners are now splintered.
Via a salary cap determined by league-wide revenues, big-market teams are both making more money than they did prior to the lockout and are being demanded to toss large revenue-sharing checks and up to half of their playoff ticket sales to float the smaller-market teams—and the checks are blank ones—and the bigger-market teams feel that there’s no need to stage a lockout to screw themselves out of good business for their weaker sisters’ sakes:
Those familiar with the league’s finances say a lockout is possible since new NHLPA leader Donald Fehr is not likely to preside over a huge decrease in the players’ share of the revenue. But a more important negotiation may lie ahead. That would be a discussion between the big-market teams and the small-market teams about a more equitable way to cut up the revenue pie. That is not likely to be a pleasant discussion.
A big-market governor scoffed at the idea. He said a lot of the poorer teams don’t run their businesses well, and besides, it’s the big boys who pull in the money. NBC laid out only $2-billion over 10 years for a U.S. television contract because it wants lots of the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings on the schedule, not the Predators and Blue Jackets. But, the governor said, the little guys still get an equal share of the $200-million a year NBC is paying.
He had some other examples, too, but the point was clear – if labour peace depends on large-market largesse, forget it.
Continued with “other examples” as to why the cap floor has pushed many small-market teams into operating loss territory…
So Brooks Laich is off the market after signing for crazy money with Washington, the rising cap means that the Hurricanes could afford to re-sign Joni Pitkanen, as Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski suggests, the Islanders have two days to try to convince Christian Ehrhoff that a gigantic payday makes playing for Garth Snow and Charles Wang worthwhile—as opposed to, say, taking $4.5 million to play for the Red Wings, which James Wisniewski might find appealing—and barring any unforeseen circumstances, Jaromir Jagr’s going to choose to play for Pittsburgh, not Detroit.
The strangest unrestricted free agent market’s thinner than the wisps of hair on my head when I was 19 (good riddance), the Red Wings will have serious-arse competition for the two or three top-flight defensemen available on Friday and, for the first time in a long time, a marquee player in his late 30’s is telling Detroit, “Thanks, but there’s somewhere else I’d rather play.”
So what are the Red Wings doing while they wait for Friday? First and foremost, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Wings are trying to keep Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller in the fold...
Well that’s that. The Red Wings have offered Jaromir Jagr a contract, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari reports that the Penguins have done the same:
General manager Ray Shero offered Jagr a one-year deal Tuesday and said he believes he will find out today whether Jagr agrees to it.
“[Today] is decision day,” Shero said. “We’ll see what he does. ... He’s got all the information he needs from us [to make up his mind].”
Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, could not be reached for comment last evening, but suggested earlier in the day that he also believed Jagr’s status for the 2011-12 season could be resolved today. Svoboda was expected to consult with Jagr Tuesday night, laying out the options that have emerged since Jagr went public with his desire to return to the NHL. It is not known whether any other team has made a proposal, although the Detroit Red Wings publicly have expressed interest in Jagr and at least one other team, believed to be Montreal, is purported to have contemplated pursuing him.
Mark Howe only played for the Red Wings for three seasons, but the team’s director of pro scouting’s career spanned three decades and two leagues, the NHL and WHA, and as such, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame today. The case for Howe’s HHOF candidacy involves his longevity and WHA titles (though he’s been with the Wings front office since 1995, and as such, owns four Stanley Cup rings), as suggested by Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski:
Why Howe? Bill Fleischman’s 2008 piece from the Flyers website makes the case:
He’s a three-time first-team NHL all-star defenseman. In his first six seasons with the Flyers, he scored 115 goals operating from the blue line. During his 22-year pro hockey career, he collected 405 goals and 1,246 points and has a +400 rating. He is the youngest hockey player to ever win an Olympic medal.
Yet, Mark Howe is still not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He is now. More from Bill Houston back in 2006. This is a long, long time coming.
Howe predictably offered an understated and appreciative comment to the NHL for their official release…
I’m finding this one hard to believe, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari:
Petr Svoboda, the agent who represents Jaromir Jagr, said late this afternoon that his client still has not received a contract offer from the Penguins. Svoboda did, however, confirm that he has spoken with Penguins general manager Ray Shero today. He added that he is engaged in ongoing discussions about Jagr, but declined to say with whom.
Detroit has publicly expressed an interest in signing Jagr, while the Penguins have been contemplating the possibility for more than a week. A third NHL club, believed to be Montreal, also is believed to be at least considering whether to try to sign him.
So he’s met with the Penguins, he’s talked to the Red Wings, and yet neither club has supposedly submitted a contract offer? Come on already…
Inline update: Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi:
Jagr agent: We’ve exchanged a few things, will talk again tonite. ... Tomorrow afternoon maybe something will be done #jagrwatch
Numbers have been discussed btwn #Pens and #jagrwatch, but not final offer from #Pens. Talks to continue tonite. #tribpens
Update 5:05 PM: Also, with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen off the market, MLive’s Ansar Khan looks at the Wings’ remaining free agent options on defense...
As an FYI, from DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness, the Red Wings have firmed up the details regarding the team’s summer strength and conditioning camp in Traverse City, MI:
RED WINGS TO HOLD ANNUAL DEVELOPMENT CAMP AT CENTRE ICE ARENA IN TRAVERSE CITY
… NHL Prospects Set to Hit the Ice in Northern Michigan from July 7-14 …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will hold their annual summer prospect development camp from July 7-14 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City , Mich . Fans wishing to attend the proceedings may attend the first day free of charge, with tickets for the remainder of camp available for $5 (per day) apiece at the rink only. This year’s development camp will feature seven of Detroit’s nine selections from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, including highly-touted offensive dynamo Tomas Jurco (RW, Saint John, QMJHL) as well as his fellow second-round picks Xavier Ouellet (D, Montreal, QMJHL) and Ryan Sproul (D, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). Previous camp attendees set to appear at this invaluable week-long training session include renowned prospects Brendan Smith (D, Grand Rapids , AHL) and Landon Ferraro (C, Everett, WHL). The full schedule for this year’s prospect development camp can be found below:
Updated at 3:27 PM: Hopefully this news from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe will put to rest a saga that’s been overly dramatic for both Red Wings and Penguins fans to put up with over the past few weeks:
The Penguins will speak with Jaromir Jagr’s agent about a contract this afternoon. Petr Svoboda, Jagr’s agent, confirmed that he is set to have a meeting with Penguins general manager Ray Shero today.
“We are meeting this afternoon to talk about a deal,” Svoboda said. “Hopefully by tomorrow, we will know something.”
Earlier today, the Penguins signed Pascal Dupuis to a two-year, $3 million deal. They have just under $7 million left under the salary cap for the upcoming season. The Penguins appear to be targeting Jagr, Tyler Kennedy and Mike Rupp as players they would like to sign.
As a Wings fan I just want to see this get over and done with…And Yohe confirms that Svoboda’s willing to admit that he’s received a solid contract offer from Wings GM Ken Holland…
Update: Here’s a bit more on the situation from the Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi:
Updated 4x with a very belated Lidstrom interview at 2:48 PM: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, while the Red Wings await Jaromir Jagr’s decision as to whether he’d prefer to play for Detroit or Pittsburgh, the team’s having a harder-than-anticipated (at least by fans) time of attempting to re-sign Jonathan Ericsson and especially Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller because the latter pair of players want to be more than fourth-liners, and that’s not going to happen in Detroit:
“Part of it is money, part of it is opportunity,” Holland said. “They think they can have a bigger role with other teams.”
The Red Wings have 16 players (11 forwards, four defensemen, one goaltender) signed for a salary-cap hit of $47.6 million (the cap is $63.4 million). That doesn’t include rookie forward Cory Emmerton, who is out of minor league options and must make the roster or risk being claimed off waivers. It also doesn’t include defensemen Brendan Smith and Doug Janik.
Smith will have every opportunity to make the team in training camp and the preseason but still can be sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins without waivers. Janik is on a one-way contract, and the club would like to keep him on the NHL roster as a depth player. If he is sent back to Grand Rapids and clears waivers, he’ll remain there all season because he’s subject to re-entry waivers, meaning if he were claimed on re-entry the Red Wings would be responsible for half of his salary and the cap hit.
“If we don’t sign anybody (their own free agents), we’re in great shape, cap-wise,” Holland said. “The biggest issue is the 23-man roster. I’m comfortable either way, getting some of our guys signed or having (more) cap space (to explore the market).”
In terms of the negotiating bottom line…
Jaromir Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, played in over 1,000 NHL games for four NHL teams, and while he never met expectations in terms of his offensive output, he was supremely steady and…Sneakily dirty.
Svoboda certainly flashed the “sneaky” part of his game as a player agent on Monday night, choosing his words carefully enough to send journalists in Detroit and Pittsburgh in different directions and igniting a Twitter-based firestorm of sorts while discussing his client, Jaromir Jagr, and whether said client wishes to join the Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins.
It started with this quip to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari...
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.