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Little Caesars Arena falls short of Detroit-based construction goals

Olympia Development's goal of employing 51% or more Detroit-based tradespeople to construct Little Caesars Arena was always an optimistic, if not audacious goal, despite the community outreach programs the company held to specifically hire Detroiters. The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reports that the construction companies working to build the facility have fallen short of their goals:

Dozens of the contractors building Little Caesars Arena have been fined a total of $2.9 million as of March for frequently not hiring at least 51 percent of Detroiters at the ongoing construction site, according to the latest data collected by the city.

And that total is expected to be even higher during the push to complete construction of the $862.9 million sports and entertainment complex by early September, based on the monthly data compiled by the city agency monitoring the workforce agreements on construction sites, said Portia Roberson, director of the city’s Office of Human Rights.

An average of 27 percent of total hours worked at the arena site were performed by Detroit residents from April 2015 to March 2017, the latest monthly data available. It’s been two years, August 2015, since at least 51 percent of hours worked at the site was done by Detroit residents, data shows. The percentage of hours worked is the measure the city uses to determine how many residents the individual contractors have working at the site.


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The overnight report: Khan on Athanasiou; Regner chats with Kocur; Tweets of note

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan weighs in on the Wings' contractual tiff with restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou:

The Athanasiou deal isn't being delayed due to cap concerns. The Red Wings, from what I gather, aren't worried about how they'll clear cap space. They have options.

The contract isn't done, I believe, because the club has a figure in mind of what it thinks Athanasiou, with one full NHL season, is worth and doesn't want to disrupt its salary structure.

Fans might argue that Athanasiou should be paid upwards of $2.5 million a season, even $3 million or more, based on his potential. But if the Red Wings acquiesced, they'd be forced to pay even more to sign young forwards Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha next summer, when their contracts are up.

It's a balancing act for the Red Wings.

Khan continues...

2. The Joe Kocur Foundation is holding its annual charity softball games in Highland, MI this Saturday, and DetroitRedWings.com's Art Regner spoke with Kocur for 45 minutes, discussing Kocur's charity work and of course his playing career with the Wings:

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St. James with an Athanasiou update

The Free Press's Helene St. James offers a few updates regarding the Andreas Athanasiou situation:

With negotiations now dragging into late August, the agent for restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou told the Free Press a relocation is possible.

“He is considering all his options right now,” Darren Ferris told the Free Press today. “There are significant options offers that are coming in from the KHL.”

The Kontinental Hockey League is Russia’s premier hockey circuit, and a rich source of employment for players that don’t find amenable contracts in the NHL.

The Red Wings are still in contention, of course.

“There has been meaningful talk with Ken Holland,” Ferris said. “he is working hard to get a deal done if feasible.”

St. James continues...

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Examining some of the Athanasiou-related options available to the Red Wings

The Hockey News's Jared Clinton weighs in regarding the news that Andreas Athanasiou is considering a contract offer from the KHL, with Clinton discussing the Red Wings' most probable options in terms of managing the situation:

Well, Detroit GM Ken Holland could try to call Athanasiou’s bluff and continue to try to hammer out a deal with the mindset that there’s no way the up-and-comer will pass up an NHL job to play overseas. After all, this could simply be a way for Athanasiou to gain some bargaining power, as he really have any right now. As a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, Athanasiou doesn’t have much to work with and the Red Wings, if they so chose, could just let him sit on the sidelines until he wants to sign on and play. It’s what other teams have done in the past with RFAs, and it happened just last season with the Winnipeg Jets and Jacob Trouba. However, calling Athanasiou’s bluff might be a gamble when a trip to the KHL could also come with a shot at playing in the Olympics.

Another option would be trading away a current roster player, maybe one whose usefulness is in question to the present-day construction of the Red Wings, in order to make space for Athanasiou. How much salary Detroit needs to clear will be reliant on Athanasiou’s asking price, of course, but the likes of Darren Helm or Jonathan Ericsson could be trade options, if Holland can navigate their no-trade clauses and anyone is willing to take on either of the roughly $4-million salaries.

Moving Mike Green would be easier...

Finally, Detroit can choose to trade Athanasiou, though one would imagine the Red Wings would be extremely reluctant to do so. The franchise needs young talent to refresh its roster and Athanasiou is one of those players. Trading him would likely only land picks or possibly a prospect in return — given their cap situation, Detroit can’t really take on a current roster player — and there’s no guarantee the Red Wings can land a talent that can be NHL ready in the next two to three seasons.

Clinton continues, and I know that as of this morning, many Wings fans want to send Ken Holland to the KHL.

Update: Or, as CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin said regarding the Wings' 2017-18 season prospects...

Detroit remains hindered by its cap, so more adjustments could still come before October. It's unlikely that any of them can stop the Red Wings from facing an uphill battle back into the postseason picture.

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Morning news: On the Joe Kocur Foundation’s softball games this weekend and a Sulak interview

Of Red WIngs-related note this morning:

1. The Joe Kocur Foundation is holding its annual charity softball games in Highland Township, MI this Saturday, and Kocur appeared on Fox 2's morning news show to discuss Saturday's activities:

2. If you find yourself on the other side of the Atlantic, Niklas Kronwall will be taking part in an exhibiton game between Djurgardens IF's alumni and the current team on Friday at the Ericsson Globe arena...

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The Outlook For Jimmy Howard

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2017-18 outlook: Just when it appeared Howard's days in Detroit were numbered, he resurrected his career with a strong bounce-back season, despite missing nearly half the year due to injuries.

He worked hard last off-season to get in shape and was highly motivated to improve, to remain in Detroit and to earn back the starting job. He adjusted well with new goaltending coach Jeff Salajko and slightly altered his technique. He was more composed and patient, not rushing to make saves, making sure his feet were set and working on his vertical-horizonal technique.

He experienced immediate success, despite a lack of offensive support, and likely would have played more games than Mrazek if not for injuries. 

Despite his season, many were surprised the club protected Howard instead of Mrazek, who is eight years younger, in the expansion draft. It was clear indication the veteran is the club's preferred goaltender....

Key question: Can Howard string together back-to-back strong seasons for the first time since 2011-12 and 2012-13?


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Thoughts on the Athanasiou offer sheet threat: will it get the contractual job done or tear asunder?

This isn't what the Red Wings need or want, but it might be what does the trick. That's my thought on the potential KHL offer sheet to Andreas Athanasiou.

From the "player loyalty" standpoint, especially given what happened with Jiri Hudler after he signed in the KHL and played a full year for Dynamo Moscow, re-signing with the Wings only to bounce around the league after his contract expired, this is a dangerous endeavor.

From the "screwing with the cap" perspective, this could be "really bad," and that's the situation that Ken Holland and a management group that doesn't like to be slighted have put the team in.

Plainly speaking, it might get the job of negotiating a contract done.

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KHL Team Makes An Offer To Andreas Athanasiou

via Craig Custance of The Athletic,

Red Wings restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou is weighing a one-year offer from the KHL, his agent Darren Ferris confirmed with The Athletic.

“I have received a considerable offer that is significant,” Ferris wrote in a text.

Update: MLive's Ansar Khan also confirms:

Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou is considering a one-year offer to play in the KHL, his agent, Darren Ferris, confirmed to MLive.

Ferris declined further comment.

Athanasiou is a restricted free agent. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said two weeks ago he's made a number of offers to the fast-skating forward and the sides continue dialogue but were not close to a deal.

Athanasiou, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract, which carried a cap hit of $628,333. He had 18 goals and 29 points in 64 games last season. He has tallied 27 goals and 43 points in 101 games over parts of two seasons, with limited ice time (9:01 per game in 2015-16 and 13:28 last season).

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Wakiji on the Red Wings’ new locker room

DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji penned an article discussing the Red Wings' new locker room and training facilities at Little Caesars Arena, and it's a fascinating read both because we learn about the luxuries afforded the Wings' training staff now and because we discover the...improvisations...that Piet Van Zant and Paul Boyer will admit having made at Joe Louis Arena:

The first thing the Red Wings will notice when they enter their new dressing room at Little Caesars Arena is how much more room they have.

The renovated space at Joe Louis Arena was about 5,900 square feet and the new digs are 25,000 square feet.

But unlike at the Joe, the players won't have to move their workouts into the dressing room as the new gym will have more than enough room.

For athletic trainer Piet Van Zant, life at the LCA should be a lot easier.

"Mr. Ilitch, Chris, has been tremendous with giving us the resources to get everything that we need to help our players," Van Zant said. "The job's going to be about the same but we have more tools at our services. "Obviously the gym's a lot bigger so even though that's not technically our space, it allows us to do a more comprehensive rehab. We have more space where we can do activations, where we can do running patterns, where we can do agility patterns. Here (at Joe Louis Arena) it's out in the hall and probably it will be a little more functional for us."

Wakiji continues at length...

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Afternoon news: A bit about Athanasiou and Tweets of note

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Athletic Detroit's Craig Custance penned a "360-degree view" of Andreas Athanasiou's 2017-18 season outlook, and those who've watched Athanasiou definitely seem to agree that #72 needs to summon his speed on a more regular basis:

View from an NHL scout: “My body of work on him is not really large, but he’s shown me some good things. The biggest thing for me right now is to consistently see him bring that energetic speed to the game every night. I see it some nights and I don’t see it on others. When he doesn’t have it, he’s not nearly as effective. That’s the case with a lot of those type of players. It’s when you can bring that game every single night, that’s when you’ve got something.”

“I’d still pencil him in as a third liner, mainly because we see more skill in the game, right on down to the fourth line so the idea of a first and second line isn’t so relevant anymore. So often, coaches will have a first line and then a second line that is one they want to match up against the other team’s first line. Then they’d want a third line with skill, which is where I’d put him.”

Custance continues (paywall)...

2. And, on Twitter:

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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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