The Malik Report
Following yesterday's theme to some extent, the Free Press's Helene St. James profiles another Swede who's become something of a controversial figure among Red Wings fans in one Jonas Gustavsson, who has a year remaining on a contract that will pay him $1.5 million this upcoming season.
Gustavsson obviously had a crappy 2013 season--he battled a chronic groin injury for the vast majority of the year, and during the seven games he did play, his 2-2-and-1 record reflects his status as a goaltender that never really gained his coach's trust.
While Anthony Mantha and Jake Paterson attempt to make Team Canada's cut at the World Junior selection camp starting today at the Montreal Canadiens' practice facility and then shifting to the combined U.S./Finnish/Swedish World Junior summer camp in Lake Placid on Tuesday...
The Free Press's Helene St. James continues her survey of the Wings' present and future with someone the team's essentially stuck with in one Johan Franzen and his moderate cap hit belying a massive contract belying massive underachievement-on-the-dollar that Wings fans insist the team should have spent re-signing Marian Hossa--despite eight gabillion and five indications that Rich Winter planned on giving the Wings a long-term discount on his client's services as much as, well, Neil Sheehy planned on doing anything less than waiting things out to ensure that Damien Brunner earns $3+ million per season.
In theory, anyway, St. James believes that the Mule can indeed get what he wants--or perhaps needs--by playing alongside Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, and I sure as hell hope so:
I was engaging in my usual morning perusal of foreign-language news when I came upon an article from Expressen's Sebastian Mattsson which required no translation: "Depression tvingar stjarnan att lagga av," and I know that, "Ladda av" is essentially "to stop" or "retire," too.
According to both Mattsson and the article he refers to in Der Tagesspiel, Eisbaren Berlin defenseman Constantin Braun is pausing his hockey career because he's battling acute depression, and Claus Vetter reports that Braun's receiving inpatient treatment. The 25-year-old was already receiving support from a team psychologist in Mark Flemming and his brother, Eisbaren forward Laurin Braun.
We went a whole day without name-calling, but that may change this morning. The Free Press's Helene St. James continues her series of surveys of Red Wings players with a take on Jonathan Ericsson's relative value to the team...
And as far as I'm concerned, Ericsson, who's entering the last year of a 3-year contract that pays him $3.25 million this upcoming season, has indeed (perhaps after too long an incubation period) established himself as at least a top-three defenseman. I'm not sure if St. James agrees with that, but I certainly agree with her suggestion that Ericsson is nothing less than a "cornerstone" going forward:
The Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen tries to shake things up on a quiet Friday afternoon by offering his takes as to whether past and present members of the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings should have their numbers retired, and let's just say that Samuelssen doesn't believe that we'll see a banner-raising at Joe Louis Arena--or whatever they call the Wings' follow-on-rink--for a long time after Nicklas Lidstrom's #5 joins the list of retired Wings numbers next March:
Sergei Fedorov – He’s the last Red Wing to win the Hart Trophy. He was a Selke winner. Praise Yzerman all you want, but Fedorov was a vital performer on every one of those Red Wings Stanley Cup teams as well. The downside of Fedorov, of course, was that he signed the offer sheet with Carolina in 1998 and then bolted town for less money to sign with the Ducks in 2003. Some fans have never forgiven him for that. Those fans need to get over it. Fedorov is simply one of the greatest players ever to wear a Red Wings uniform. I think his number should be retired. But I doubt it ever will because of how he left town. VERDICT – NO
Fedorov is the Wings' fifth-leading scorer (surprisingly, Pavel Datsyuk's not that far behind Fedorov's 908 points with 779 of his own), and he was a dominant force for the vast majorit yof his tenure with the Wings...But between signing that $36 million deal with Carolina and the unbelievably acrimonious departure for the Ducks (the English-language media scuttlebutt was bad. Fedorov's dad spouting off at the mouth in the Russian media was far, far worse)...Let's just say that how things go down in terms of the Winter Classic Alumni game may let us know what's up going forward.
By the time I wrapped up my overnight report and tried to settle down, Finnish Twitter users were serenading me to sleep with news from the first SM-Liiga's open practices, and if ever you needed a reminder that NHL'ers preparations for the 2013-2014 season are in fact underway, IIHF.com's Symon Szemberg finds himself in Gothenburg, Sweden, where a certain new Wing was working out at the Frolunda Indians' training facility...
And ESPN's Paul Grant wrapped up his "summer wonder" series this morning by questioning the potential impact of the NHL's unrestricted free agent signings, including the Wings' additions of Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss:
On Thursday, the Red Wings announced that they will raise Nicklas Lidstrom's #5 to the rafters on March 6th, 2014, and this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James published a short conversation that she had with Lidstrom after the announcement was made:
[H]ere's what Lidstrom told the Free Press about the big day ahead: "It's a tremendous honor to have my jersey retired next to Yzerman, Lindsay, Howe, Abel, Sawchuk and Delvecchio."
That would be Steve Yzerman (19), Ted Lindsay (7), Gordie Howe (9), Sid Abel (12), Terry Sawchuk (1) and Alex Delvecchio (10).
Lidstrom said his wife, their four sons and his parents will be at Joe Louis Arena that night.
"I'm looking forward to the ceremony and to have my family there," Lidstrom said. "And for them to experience the great atmosphere of the Joe once again!"
As I perused the foreign-language newspapers, I found a photo gallery of Slovan Bratislava playing Spartak Moscow in a KHL exhibition game.
This past week, Biosteel Sports has done its best to inform YouTube and Twitter that Gary Roberts and Matt Nichol are about to beat the shit out of a crop of NHL'ers whose ranks include star players and one Brendan Smith in Toronto.
Ken Kal stated on Twitter that he ran into Jimmy Howard at the Joe, presumably to either get fitted for new goalie equipment (thanks to the NHL's attempts to shrink thigh rises, now's the time for Howard to talk to Vaughn Custom Sports and order some Michigan-made gear) or work out.
Detroit, MI…Detroit Red Wings Senior Vice President Jim Devellano today announced that the Red Wings will officially retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s number “5” in a special pre-game ceremony on March 6, 2014, when the Red Wings host the Colorado Avalanche.
As an FYI, from the Plymouth Whalers:
PLYMOUTH WHALERS START PRESEASON on AUGUST 31 BY GIVING BACK
Proceeds from Whalers-Windsor exhibition opener in Livonia go to Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund
PLYMOUTH – When the Plymouth Whalers open the 2013 pre-season schedule on Saturday, August 31 at 7 pm against Windsor at Eddie Edgar Ice Arena in Livonia, a heartfelt and inspiring back story will take center stage in a big way.
One hundred percent of the proceeds generated in the game benefit the Livonia Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Larry Nehasil Park in Livonia.
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.