The Malik Report
Disclaimer: this overnight report is being written by someone who’s slept for two of the past 36 hours, so if it’s more trite, cliched and long-winded than usual, I blame insomnia.
First and foremost, as far as I can tell, Red Wings fans seem to think that the concept of signing Jaromir Jagr is, at best, an unnecessary move, but the scuttlebutt surrounding Jagr’s future continues, so I have to write about it. On Saturday in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Jagr won the Golden Stick award as the Czech Republic’s best hockey player for the tenth time, and he did speak somewhat obliquely about his NHL future with Hockej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim. What follows is a rough translation of their conversation:
Updated at 10:47 AM: So as we received confirmination from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, in English, that Jaromir Jagr is indeed interested in joining the Red Wings, Canadiens or Capitals (and, like Mike Modano last summer, possibly a “mystery team”), I wondered why the timing was so forced aside from the obvious—as Jagr told LeBrun, KHL teams’ training camps essentially start in July.
Well as it turns out, in addition to the fact that the Czech news agency CTK reports that Jagr closed the deal on purchasing a 70% stake in his childhood team (and object of his attention as well as affection) in HC Kladno on Thursday, and CTK also reports that today’s when the “Golden Stick Award” winner is revealed at the Czechs’ annual end-of-the-season hockey awards banquet in Karlovy Vary…
Okay, so we know, via ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, that Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, are indeed interested in bringing Jagr back to the NHL to play for the Canadiens, Penguins and possibly the Red Wings, and Jagr’s agent is now completing a circuit of the Wings’ beat writers, speaking to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan about his and Jagr’s intentions...
“He knows about the chemistry on the team and within the organization,” Svoboda said Friday from the Czech Republic. “Why wouldn’t he want to play for the Red Wings? He knows the Red Wings are playing for the championship every year and with the players like (Pavel) Datsyuk, (Henrik) Zetterberg, and (Nicklas) Lidstrom, these are players that play with the puck and he likes that style of play. It would be a great fit.”
Svoboda said Jagr would be looking for a one-year contract, which is what the Wings also would be interested in. The agent has contacted several NHL teams but wouldn’t identify them. It’s believed the New York Rangers and Montreal are on that short list.
Svoboda has not talked to the Wings the last few days because of an illness to Svoboda’s mother. Jagr, 39, has played the last three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental League after a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the NHL. Svoboda believes Jagr could still thrive in the NHL.
“He’s a tremendous athlete, a real proud guy, and he has a lot left in the tank,” Svoboda said. “He’s feeling really good and he knows he can help a team.”
Updated with tidbits and KH interview audio at 3:33 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s Red Wings-related news, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun confirms that Nicklas Lidstrom will inform GM Ken Holland of his decision as to whether he wishes to continue to play hockey early next week…
The Detroit Red Wings should find out Monday or Tuesday whether legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be back next season.
“Nick Lidstrom and I met Tuesday for a brief meeting,” Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com on Friday. “He said he wasn’t prepared to make decision yet. We have plans to meet in Vegas on Monday or Tuesday and he said he would give me his decision then.”
Lidstrom, 40, is nominated for a seventh Norris Trophy and will be Las Vegas for Wednesday’s NHL awards show.
LeBrun also managed to get Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, to comment in English about Jagr’s attempts to latch on with an NHL team, including the Wings or Canadiens (but not the Penguins) for a one-year term…
I hate to lead off with this crap, but in my world, bad news comes first.
Both Fox Sports Detroit’s Mike O’Hara and the Detroit Free Press’s Ron Dzwonkowski brought Detroit’s well-earned inferiority complex (see: “For God’s sake, we’re from Detroit, which is the collective butt of so many jokes about violence/poverty/etc.”) out to play regarding the riots in Vancouver, and the Free Press pointed out that actor Rainn Wilson declared Vancouver to be the “Detroit of Canada.”
All because of the violence which erupted after the Detroit Tigers won the world series back in 1984, which is before many of you were even born. I’m old enough that I remember it pretty well despite the fact that I was six at the time, and as my dad was a probation officer for the City of Detroit, I can tell you that worse things happened on an individual basis just about every day in Detroit in the 80’s, but it’s what we’re remembered for, and while ever single celebration of the Red Wings’ four Stanley Cups was peaceful, whenever our Wings go far in the playoffs, we hear, “Well I hope nobody burns Detroit down.”
Updated 5x at 4:28 with St. James confirming Jagr interest: The scuttlebutt regarding the Red Wings’ possible interest in signing free agent-to-be Jaromir Jagr boil down to two issues—fit and finances. On the latter front, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner reports that Jagr might not fit the Wings’ plans:
It’s being reported that Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, has contacted four clubs — Detroit, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the Rangers — about the services of his client. Jagr has played for three teams during his NHL career: the Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers.
Detroit appears to have the inside track because Jagr is salivating at the opportunity to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But reports also suggest that Jagr also is seeking a major payday. If that’s the case, don’t expect Detroit to sign him. The Wings are smarting from the Mike Modano experiment. They’re apprehensive about signing aging veterans who are susceptible to injury and a diminishing skill set.
And on the former front, as Regner suggests, the Wings obviously want to spend most of their capped dollars bolstering their puck-moving blueline:
The 2010-2011 NHL season ended in the strangest way I’ve ever witnessed an NHL season end in a Nicklas Lidstrom’s career’s worth of years—19 and counting. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in a dominant Game 7 performance, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, but this morning’s sports pages across the world (I can verify this in terms of at least Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak and English) contain fewer images of the Boston Bruins lifting the Cup than images of downtown Vancouver in flames due to the actions of morons who even the Detroit area morning news—and I’m old enough to remember the post-Tigers looting and pillaging in 1984—insist were the result of Canucks fans’ anger.
As for what happened on the ice, the only thing I can say as an American is that it puzzles me to no end that there’s a sense that Canada has been shut out and lost “its” Stanley Cup to America again. Once your team has lifted the Stanley Cup, no matter where you live or where you’re from, you believe that its “home” is in your team’s hands, in your team’s city and your favorite players’ hometowns. If anything belongs to hockey fans, it is the Stanley Cup, and while I heartily congratulate the Boston Bruins this morning, if you’re a hockey fan that’s witnessed your team lift the Cup in your lifetime, and you’re not a Bruins fan, you don’t think it’s “home” today.
In any case, here’s a brief survey of the hockey world (as the boss will hopefully sleep in for the first time in forever), and I’ll eventually get my way to discussing some Red Wings stuff:
Now things get “interesting” for Red Wings fans. The Free Press’s Helene St. James’s report was titled to suggest that the Red Wings would not bring back Chris Osgood or Kris Draper, but if you get into the actual comments from Ken Holland, here’s what he told St. James:
“Right now, we owe it to ourselves to wait till July 1,” Holland said. “I’ll talk to both players, but so much is unknown right now. We don’t know who is going to be on the market July 1. Is there somebody out there we think brings something we’d like to our team? We owe it to ourselves to look at options. The torch has to be passed. If 40-year-olds aren’t passing the torch, we aren’t going anywhere.”
This suggests that after the Wings, whose braintrust just wrapped up its organizational meetings, find out what Nicklas Lidstrom has planned next week (as reported by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan), they’re going to wait a bit to decide whether or not to bring back Osgood or Draper, and that’s what Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan:
updated 2x at 7:45 PM w/ Babcock audio via video: Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ brass wrapped up their organizational meetings today, and Holland says that he expects Nicklas Lidstrom to inform the team of his future plans prior to next Wednesday’s NHL Awards:
“Nick said he’ll have a decision by then,” said Holland, who is also traveling to Las Vegas to attend the show.
Lidstrom, 41, is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) and Mark Messier Leadership Award. Holland met briefly with Lidstrom earlier this week but Lidstrom offered no answer to a possible return.
The Wings concluded two days of organizational meetings Wednesday. Potential unrestricted free agents and trade targets were identified by Holland and his pro scouts. Holland said defense will be a primary need for the Wings on July 1 when unrestricted free agency begins, and the Wings also might target several backup goalies.
Holland said he’ll continue to talk to goalie Chris Osgood and center Kris Draper; both would like to continue playing. Holland also said he’d like to have both assistant coaching positions filled by next weekend’s draft. Coach Mike Babcock is sorting through potential candidates
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that it’s highly unlikely that Osgood and Draper will be brought back, barring free agent losses:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s interview with WDFN’s Art Regner, as pointed out and partially transcripted by MLive’s Phillip Zaroo, treded upon some of the topics that Babcock mentioned while speaking to NHL on XM Radio on Tuesday, but offered slightly different spins on several topics which are worth the time it takes to transcript an interview (which takes much longer than you’d think), as well as a near-priceless bit of banter at the end of his interview:
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.