The Malik Report
AM 800 CKLW's Joel Boyce reports that the annual Bob Probert Ride hit a record in attendance number this weekend:
A record 1,200 bikes hit the road for the 6th annual Bob Probert Ride. Former NHL enforcer and road captain Ryan VandenBusshe lead the large pack through Windsor-Essex Sunday, before making the final stop in Walkerville for a street party.
Spokesperson Barbara Sebben says she's predicting a record number in donations too. Before Sunday, she says they had around $65,000 in sponsorships.
"The community gets right behind it," says Sebben. "Windsor gets behind a lot of things. We've got a great community, but this particular cause seems to hit a nerve with a lot of people and they do back it up. You can't deny that Bob's name, being the Bob Probert ride, really holds a lot of clout, and that really brings in a lot of people."
Former NHLer Chris Chelios says year after year, Windsorites give in a big way.
"Tremendous showing in support of the Probert family and the cause," Chelios says. "This is just the Windsor community showing their support for Bob, with the foundation, and just shows what a tight-knit group these Windsor people can be."
Proceeds will support Hotel Dieu Grace Health's Cardiac Wellness Program which sees 25,000 visits a year.
From the Pictou News's Kevin Adshade:
Joey MacDonald was recalling his first NHL game, when the Detroit Red Wings brought him up from the minors to back up goaltender Curtis Joseph.
When he looked around him as he sat at the end of the bench, the names on the backs of those red-and-white sweaters – Federov, Hull, Robitaille, Chelios, Lidstrom and Yzerman – represented a dazzling group of names, a modern day Murderer’s Row, Detroit style.
“I remember looking down the bench and seeing those guys and going, ‘what am I doing here?’” he said with a smile on Saturday outside Hector Arena in Pictou, where he would soon join a group of youngsters for some indoor ball hockey.
In 133 NHL games with Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Calgary and the New York Islanders, MacDonald’s won-lost record was 44-61-55, with two shutouts. He looks back most fondly at his time in the Motor City, where he spent nine seasons with the Red Wings organization (stints of six and three years).
“Every NHL team I played for treated me good, but there’s no team like Detroit. I spent close to nine seasons there (two different stints) and they treated me really well.”
It was a late-season game in Flint, between two bad teams, but Kris Draper decided to make the drive. Draper, who does a lot of amateur scouting these days for the Red Wings, drove to take one last look at Givani Smith, a prospect playing for Guelph.
What Draper saw that night convinced him Smith was the type of player the Red Wings needed to draft.
“Somebody was taking liberties with his teammate, and this was a 20-year-old (on Flint), which considering Givani was two- or three-years younger, that’s a major difference,” Draper said. “But Givani went in there and defended his teammate. He stood up for him. Late in the season like that, Givani could have just skated away. What he did, I liked seeing that.”
It’s a long way off, and there’s no guarantee. But Red Wings fans might have a future fan favorite, a cult hero they’ll love — and opponents’ fans can’t stand.
Continued, and while Dennis Cholowski was the Wings' first-round pick, I'd argue that fans are probably most excited about Givani Smith's snarl and bite.
The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article duly noting that the Red Wings have high expectations for first-round pick Dennis Cholowski, who the team belives could become a top-four defenseman at the NHL level--eventually:
It will take years to know whether Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, Alfons Malmstrom or Jordan Sambrook will pan out at the NHL level, but hopes are high especially that Cholowski can be a future top-pairing guy.
As Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright pointed out, getting one any other way is painful.
“Look at the price to get a top-four defenseman in the NHL these days, whether it’s a trade or free agent, you pretty much have to remove a kidney,” Wright said over the weekend during the draft in Buffalo, N.Y. “We have to draft them first and then develop them, and once you get them, you keep them for a long period of time.”
Hakan Andersson, the team’s director of European scouting, brought up an interview he’d read with Edmonton general manager Peter Charelli where he’d said there are “only 10-15 elite defensemen in the league, and there are 30 teams, so they are hard to come by,” Andersson said. “That was our objective, trying to draft a guy that we hope can be one of those guys.”
From the Associated Press, here's an update on the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes:
The Red Wings became the latest team to jump into the Stamkos sweepstakes after GM Ken Holland made the deft move of trading the rights to star forward Pavel Datsyuk to Arizona on Friday.
Though Datsyuk will play in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League this season, the final year of his $7.5 million contract with Detroit still counted against the Red Wings' salary cap.
The trade left Detroit with an estimated $12 million to spend in free agency, and drew praise from Ducks GM Bob Murray, who said: "Kenny Holland, I think he was the winner today. He dumped a whole bunch of money."
Holland won't specifically say whether he's interested in Stamkos, but made clear he's prepared to use nearly every penny under the $73 million cap to add talent.
"We're prepared to go to the cap if the players are available," Holland told The Associated Press. "I'm not going to talk specific players, but it was no doubt to free up money. We've probably got $11- to $12 million to spend of cap space, depending on how somebody wants to look at it. So we've certainly got lots of space, and we can certainly explore the market."
Continued, including some sign-and-trade talk from Steve Yzerman...And it's very encouraging to hear Holland suggest that the Wings will both use Datsyuk's $7.5 milion in cap space and the $5.1 million in cap space that Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale will create on the LTIR to improve the team.
USA Today's Kevin Allen broke down the bidding for the top 20 free agents available, too.
Update: CBS Sports' Chris Peters posted a list of "pros and cons" for each and every one of the Stamkos suitors, including the Wings:
Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
2. At the other end of the developmental spectrum, MLive's Brendan Savage assembled a set of Wings draft grades;
Petr Mrazek was in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic last night to watch Jaromir Jagr win the Czech "Golden Stick" (Zlata hokej) award--Mrazek finished 3rd in voting for the trophy--and Mrazek spoke with the Czech press, speaking with the Hokej.cz's Vaclav Jachim...
Mrazek had a superb year and now looks forward. The World Cup, for which he was nominated, isn't yet in his head. "It's still far away. Anyway, it will be a special event that we'll all look forward to," he says. The Czech National Team also has Ondrej Pavelec and Michal Neuvirth on the team, and Mrazek doesn't know which one of them will be the starting goalie. "No, not at all. I haven't spoken with the World Cup coaches. I think this will be decided on the ice--depending on how one does. But it's not just great that I'm in the tournament. It will bring together the best players in the world, first with games against Canada and then with America...For each of us it's a great experience and great honor."
24Malmo.se's Magnus Anderberg spoke with Malmo Redhawks forward Mattias Elfstrom about his status as being drafted by the Red Wings in the seventh round:
"It's really cool. It came as a bit of a shock. I talked a little bit with them before, but I didn't think anything would happen," says Mattias. "They phoned from Detroit right after. Their European scout called and told me that they chose me. I knew there was a chance, but i didn't think it would be for real."
What have you thought since you received the news yesterday?
"I've been dreaming about this since I started playing hockey. It's proof that you've done something good."
MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright to discuss the reasons why the Wings picked Dennis Cholowski with the 20th overall pick at the NHL Draft:
"He was the next guy on our board," Wright said. "He's just a heckuva hockey player. He's got great mobility, he's a very good skater, he's got good puck skills, he can move pucks very well. He can jump into the rush, he can defend plays in all situations. I think all that stuff he could get better at but he's got a good package and a good starting point as far as development. We believe he's got top-four potential and that's why we took him."
Wright said the Red Wings viewed Cholowski as one of the best-skating defensemen in the draft.
The independent scouting service Red Line Report projects Cholowski to be a steady, mobile, mistake-free fourth defenseman. RLR says Cholowski is patient with the puck, sees the entire ice while trying to make plays and can play in all situations – something the Red Wings plan on doing with the 18-year-old native of Langley, British Columbia.
"He's an elite thinker," Wright said. "We think his hockey sense is very good. He's just a guy that can play in any position, late in a game, early in a game, never have to hide him because of size and skating ability.
"He's one of the best-skating defensemen in this draft. Kind of been a little bit of a late bloomer, has done a lot of growing in the last couple years. We still believe he could still be growing for that matter, which would be a plus. And it was an area of need for us for defense. We think we've got a good group of kids coming along. We thought he'd fit in that defense mold for us."
Savage and Wright continue...
It's hard for me to make significant assessments of prospects I've known for about 24 hours, especially before I've seen them live at the Wings' summer development camp or fall prospect tournament, but here are my initial takes on the Wings' 7 picks:
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