The Malik Report
In case you need a refresher...
Nyquist is facing off against Clarke MacArthur and Ales Hemsky; Tomas Tatar WON his semifinal against T.J. Oshie, and he will face the winner of this semifinal in Play of the Year final voting starting on June 6th.
Amongst the Red Wings-related news stories on the day which the team begins formulating its off-season "game plan" in earnest (today is also the last day to vote for Tomas Tatar in TSN's Play of the Year semifinal, and later today, the Toledo Walleye will name their next head coach):
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson had a conversation with Red Wings GM Ken Holland on Sunday evening, and it produced a little clarification on Mike Babcock's status (see: Holland plans on signing Babcock, who has a year left on his contract, to an extension), including a near-perfect repetition of the "grass isn't greener" metaphor, as well as the following (after Matheson confirms that Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill is off-limits, should other teams inquire about his availability for contract talks):
“In this day and age, everything is a story … after our team picture, some media guy asked about Mike’s contract. I wasn’t going to talk to Mike about it during the playoffs or on the plane home (after losing to the Boston Bruins),” said Holland. “We just haven’t got together. He went to Montreal. I went to Grand Rapids to watch our farm team (in the playoffs). He’s out west. We haven’t been in the same city, but we’ll sit down in June. I’d like to talk to him about an extension.
“We work well together,” Holland continued. “I challenge Mike, he challenges me. We’ll argue, but we’ll come back the next day and start over. He pushes our players. Sometimes they don’t like it, but the players respond. I believe there’s respect between the coach and the players.”
Updated 4x at 5:27 AM: For many Red Wings fans, May involved taking a break from hockey, occasionally reading about the exploits of the Grand Rapids Griffins, and then Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs and Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm, and going back to watching the NHL playoffs.
Over the next 35 days, the Red Wings' management will get down to the business of shaping the face of the 2014-2015 Wings roster, and the roster for years to come.
Between tomorrow and the draft in Philadelphia, which takes place on the 27th and 28th, the Wings' amateur scouts, pro scouts, coaches and management will hold several organizational meetings to outline the team's plans regarding its restricted and unrestricted free agents-to-be, its draft strategy and its free agency outlook.
The first of several meetings will take place from June 2nd to June 4th at Joe Louis Arena, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the team's first order of business involves determining which free agents to bring back, which free agents (please see: Capgeek's lists of forwards, defensemen and goalie UFA's-to-be) to target on the open market, and which players might be available via trade:
This evening's crop of Red Wings-related news is...ecclectic. We start with a PSA of sorts...
As well as a pleasant set of Tweets from Warrior Sports, which is attending Warrior endorsee Adam Henrique's ball hockey tournament in Tecumseh, ON (who knew that the left-handed Jimmy Howard played goalie "regularly" but shot right-handed as a "skater?")...
This story qualifies as quasi-Red Wings-related, because it certainly sounds like the Florida Panthers' coaching search will ensure that Mike Babcock's going to have another coach flanking one of his shoulders this fall.
According to the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filkaov, the Panthers, who've already targeted Wings associate coach Tom Renney, are also interested in the Wings' other assistant coach, as well as someone with Red Wings ties:
Just because Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon spent the last few days in Toronto at the NHL Scouting Combine where he has been checking out potential draft picks, doesn't mean he's not continuing his search for a head coach.
A few new names have been added to the Panthers' candidate list, including Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters and Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant, according to a source close to the team.
They've either been interviewed or are scheduled to be, with Peters having ties to Tallon from their years together in the Blackhawks' organization.
The Panthers have also shown interest in former Avalance/Canucks/Kings coach Marc Crawford and former Rangers/Oilers coach Tom Renney, who's currently an associate coach of the Red Wings.
Amongst this morning's crop of Red Wings-related news stories:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness posted an article which complements MLive's Ansar Khan's Babcock-Blashill-re-signing report quite nicely, discussing Ken Holland's plans regarding the Red Wings coach's future while reiterating significant comments made during locker room clean-out day:
“I wouldn’t categorize our talks as formal negotiations, just because how our relationship is,” Holland said during a phone interview Friday. “I’d like to get him signed to an extension. It might take 10 minutes, it might take two months.”
The two will be in contact beginning next week during their pro scouting meetings and then see each other again at the NHL Entry Draft, which takes place June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Holland said the two have spoken briefly since the season ended, but have not met or talked for an extended period of time.
Babcock just wrapped up his ninth season with the Wings and has compiled a regular season record of 415-198-91. He’s in the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.
“If he wants to go into the last year of his contract and play out his option that’s his prerogative,” Holland said. “I don’t know if he wants to stay or doesn’t want to stay, but I think he’s happy here.”
Pleiness continues with the aforementioned context-adding, and We All Bleed Redd on YouTube happened to post a pertinent clip (a short one, no less) from the Memorial Cup, when Holland addressed Anthony Mantha's chances of making the team out of training camp:
MLive's Ansar Khan kind of stole the "overnight" thunder by reporting that Ken Holland plans on extending both Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill's contracts, and Holland also said something to Khan that's particularly relevant given this morning's crop of Red Wings stories:
"Our scouts identified good players and Jeff Blashill has done a fabulous job in the development of those players," Holland said. "We're trying to develop another group of players who'll be key contributors to us having playoff success. It's important that they learn to win at the American Hockey League level. This season and next summer is a critical time in Detroit as we transition young players into being Red Wings. Jeff Blashill is an important guy as we go through that transition. He's excited to continue to have an impact on the Red Wings."
The Red Wings ideally would like to sign Babcock to an extension before the season.
This article from "The Daily Beast" (please note: George does not endorse "The Daily Beast" any more or less than he does "The Blaze," which is to say not at all) pretty much speaks for itself, and it's a gread read:
In 1959, the peerless sportswriter W.C. Heinz caught up with professional hockey legend Gordie Howe at the height of his considerable powers.
The Stanley Cup Finals are upon us. What better time to revisit this day-in-the-life profile of one master, Gordie Howe, by another master, W.C. Heinz. Originally published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1959, roughly halfway through Howe's incredible career, the story is reprinted here with permission from Heinz's daughter, Gayl. Please enjoy “Work Horse on Ice.” -Alex Belth
In five hours Gordie Howe would play hockey with the Detroit Red Wings against the New York Rangers. Now it was 3:30 in the afternoon, and he was sitting at the kitchen table in his new home in a residential suburb fourteen miles northwest of downtown Detroit. He was eating the meal on which he would play—steak, peas, lettuce, fruit jello, and tea.
“When we play those Saturday afternoon TV games,” he was saying, “I just play on my breakfast eggs. Once, when I was with Omaha, I played on a milk shake.”
Excellent news from MLive's Ansar Khan:
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is trying to keep the organization's head coaches in place for at least a few more seasons.
Holland expects to start contract talks with Mike Babcock soon, possibly as early as next week. Holland also appears on the verge of signing Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill to an extension.
Babcock and Blashill each has one year remaining on his contract.
Holland said he has denied permission to NHL clubs to speak with Blashill. Instead, he has been negotiating an extension for the 40-year-old coach who's had tremendous success with the Griffins.
"I told him some (NHL) teams have called; he's very happy where he's at," Holland said. "I think he'd like to spend another year or two in the AHL getting more experience coaching pros. We're talking about a significant salary increase in return for him being patient for another year or two."
Khan continues at length...
The Plymouth Whalers announced a significant number of front office shuffling today, and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples reports that Whalers owner Peter Karmanos addressed the future of his tea...Well, I read this stuff and simply said, "Oh, boy..."
“Well to be frank about it, it’s tough running an OHL team in a major league city. Our attendance has been good, but it’s not great. You look down 401 and you see the London Knights selling out every game, you know that if you had to sell the team you might want to move it to one of those cities, rather than keep it playing here. Like I’ve said, it’s become an expensive business, it’s a big business. If we could get the attendance where we think it should be here, I think the future is great. If we continue to draw a couple thousand people a game, we’ll have to take a look at some options.
When asked what time frame he would be looking at, Karmanos continued with:
“Next year? I can’t really answer that question. We’ve stuck it out for a long time, we have one of the best franchises, if not the best, on the ice, in the OHL. But we’re operating in Hockeytown. It’s an NHL city. It’s tough. It just depends on how long all these guys want to fight the good fight. I think as the OHL grows in popularity, I think we’ll benefit in Plymouth as well. It’s a great brand of hockey, it’s fun coming to games, they’re generally on the weekend or Thursday night, which is sort of the weekend or the weekend for some people. It’s well worth the dollars that you pay for the ticket.”
After the conclusion of the formal press conference, Karmanos was asked if that was in some ways a challenge to the hockey fans in the area. He said it certainly was.
“Yeah. Not in some ways. Directly. Start coming to games.”
Caples continues, and the Free Press's George Sipple confirms that Karmanos suggested he'd be open to selling the team and/or the rink, regardless of whether doing so involves moving the team or keeping it in Plymouth.
The Whalers and the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor are two woefully under-spotlighted hockey programs which provide Metro Detroiters with incredibly affordable and high-quality hockey on a regular basis. Even I will admit that I'm baffled as to why the Wings and Whalers don't work together to make sure that Compuware Arena's packed on the nights the Wings aren't playing, but that's just me.
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.