The Malik Report
In 2004, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman asked Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and governor Jimmy Devellano to endorse an experiment involved locking out paying customers for an entire season, eliminating Detroit’s ability to out-spend its opponents (and buy out three players in the process) via instituting a hard salary cap, halving the Wings’ playoff revenues for the sake of revenue-sharing, and on top of it all, cutting a check in the $10 million range to help subsidize teams like the Coyotes and Thrashers. As this experiment was less than palatable to big-market teams like the Wings, Bettman engaged in the same kind of empty promise-making that fueled Arthur “Enron” Levitt’s “audit” of the league, a website full of lies about a hard salary cap eliminating ticket price increases and selling that lie to fans while courting the owners.
In the Red Wings’ case, Bettman ensured Ilitch and Jimmy Devellano that, should the league expand (back in 2004, the economy was a very different beast), the Red Wings would be given first priority in fulfilling their long-standing request to move to the Eastern Conference, as the Detroit News’s John Niyo notes...
It’s this kind of fluff that really irritates my Wings fan’s sensibilities…Since January, it seems, the Vancouver press corps has regularly suggested that this year’s Canucks compare favorably to the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams from the late 90’s, and this suggestion from the Vancouver Province’s Tony Gallagher is just...silly:
Not since the Detroit Red Wings of ‘98 has a team approached a Stanley Cup run the way the Vancouver Canucks seem to be tackling this at times.
To refresh, that was the year the Wings won the Cup despite the fact Chris Osgood fanned four shots from centre ice during their playoff run and that’s what he’s often remembered for even though he won three Cups and was the starter for two.
That’s where Nick Lidstrom got the idea to shoot from long range on Dan Cloutier in 2002. He’d seen them go in behind him in earlier playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings’ locker room clean-out day involved the usual end-of-the-season address from Wings coach Mike Babcock, but none of the initial reports quoted him at length regarding anything but Nicklas Lidstrom’s future.
Thankfully, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness’s “day-after” notebook sheds light on what the coach had to say about three blueliners, including Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart, who the Wings hope will fill the void when Lidstrom retires…
“Obviously Kronner is a guy who continues to take steps and we need him to do so,” Babcock said. “Stewie’s just been fantastic. I think every year at this time, the way he plays at playoff time he’s even better. He had a great year for us.”
As well as Jakub Kindl’s status heading into next season…
The Detroit Red Wings’ timing of the team’s locker-room clean-out was…convenient. The team understandably wants to get down to the business of preparing its returning players for the off-season, tending to the injured and determining what changes the team has to make systemically (that’s Mike Babcock and the coaching staff’s department), what the team plans on doing in terms of re-signing players or making renovations via free agency or trades (Ken Holland, capologist Ryan Martin and the pro scouts’ areas of expertise) and how the team’s long-term outlook will influence both its moves at the NHL Entry Draft in June (Jim Nill, Hakan Andersson and the amateur scouts’ department) and the shape the Grand Rapids Griffins will take, call-up pecking order included (Griffins GM Bob McNamara, coach Curt Fraser, assistant coach Jim Paek and Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios are in the player development business).
In short, the Wings’ front office has a lot of work to do and its players need to get a few weeks of rest and recuperation in before sinking their teeth into their off-season training regimens and/or scheduling any necessary surgery dates…But scheduling the locker room clean-out for a weekend date meant that the local media could stuff its sound recorders, Flip cams and video cameras with the necessary quotes, stock up for the weekend sports wrap-up TV shows, Monday’s newspaper columns and sports talk radio segments, and then shift focus to the Tigers (and, inevitably, the Lions). Do it on a weekend, get it over with, and maybe hope that the media and fans move on to the next thing as the team goes about addressing some very real questions not involving Nicklas Lidstrom’s return without much hassle.
There’s basically no way that the NHL would realistically move the Red Wings to the Eastern Conference given Columbus and Nashville’s statuses as ahead of the Wings in the pecking order and the Wings’ status as the Western Conference’s “anchor tenant,” but the Sporting News’s Craig Custance reports that the Wings would still like to move East if the Thrashers re-locate at some point in the future:
According to Jimmy Devellano, Detroit’s senior vice president, a move won’t be happening next season for the Red Wings. “We’re going to be right where we are next year,” he said on Saturday. “Beyond that, I can’t comment. Next year we’re right where we are.”
Moving East would mean money and time saved on travel for the organization, not to mention reasonable start times for fans in Detroit when the Red Wings are on the road. That’s why Devellano is holding out hope that it could still happen as soon as the 2012-13 season. “Fingers crossed, toes crossed, saying prayers,” he joked.
Updated at 15x at 7:34 with Babcock on Modano: Via the Detroit Red Wings’ official Twitter account, as of noon EDT, the team’s taken its team picture and its players are addressing the media as they prepare for a long summer:
Rolling out the red carpet for the team photo. http://yfrog.com/h4ho4gcej
Lidstrom said he expects to make a decision on next season by July 1.
Ted Lindsay isn’t the only Red Wings alumnus who frequents the team’s gym any more. According to the Wings’ players, Chris Chelios, who’s now mentoring the team’s defensive prospects, has been seen enjoying his daily sauna bike ride. While Chelios now works out with Bally’s founder Don Wildman and pro surfer Laird Hamilton in Malibu—with his sons, Jake and Dean—in the summer, his old trainer, T.R. Goodman, will subject a host of NHL’ers (including Wings forwards Danny Cleary and Jiri Hudler) to his famously torturous workouts, as he told the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan:
“Work-ethic wise, they’re the best to work with,” Goodman, who has trained athletes from every major sport, as well as some celebrities, said this week over the phone from California. “I don’t even work with basketball players anymore, because they’re the worst,” added Goodman, a former college hockey player who has made The Hockey News’s list of 100 People of Power and Influence and is a contributor for Men’s Health Magazine. “Temperament-wise, hockey players are by far the best ... they work the hardest, they’re the most humble and the most down to Earth.”
Goodman has an interesting theory about why that is the case.
“I think honestly the reason they are that way is because of the fighting in the game,” he said. “Sometimes, if a guy decides he wants to get a little cocky or his head gets a little big, there’s somebody that’s always going to come along and give him an adjustment.”
A little over 24 hours after Red Bird II made its final hockey-player-ferrying landing of the season at Metro Airport, the Red Wings will gather at Joe Louis Arena today to take their team picture, reflect on their 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night and then begin the process of preparing for their off-seasons via exit interviews with the coaches, trainers and management.
What’s said during those meetings, by all four parties, will at least lay the groundwork for the determination of at least half a dozen players’ futures with the team, but we’re never made privy to what goes on during those meetings, but what the Wings’ players, coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland will say today will linger in the sound recorders of the reporters who’ve either already penned final analyses (plural) or are about to write their final assessments of the Wings’ collective and individual performances, and while fans like you and me will linger upon them for a long time, the Detroit News’s John Niyo provided a reminder of the fact that, as far as the Wings’ press corps is concerned, after the Sunday night sports TV shows, Monday morning papers and afternoon’s worth of sports talk radio are through assessing what went right and what went wrong, the Wings are, to them, anyway, history:
The Dallas News’s Mike Heika spoke to both Red Wings forward Mike Modano and his mother, Karen, about the long-time Dallas Stars captain’s future, and Modano says that he’s both leaning toward retiring and would like to move back to Dallas, where he hopes to latch on with the Stars’ organization:
“Yeah, the fact that there is a high probability my playing days are over, it’s crossed my mind,” Modano said in a phone interview Friday after getting back from a Game 7 loss in San Jose. “But I need to take some time away and get my head straight and just figure out what the next step is. Honestly, it’s been so hectic that it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
It has been a whirlwind year for Modano, the franchise leader in just about every offensive category for the Stars, and the leading scorer among players born in the United States. After being told he would not be offered a contract by the Stars last summer, Modano decided at age 40 that he wanted to give it a shot on another team. A native of the Detroit area, he picked his hometown squad, signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings, and had some personal highs and professional lows. The ending was darn near disastrous, as Modano watched Game 7 in a suit as a healthy scratch, the same way he did nine of Detroit’s 11 playoff games. After suffering a severely lacerated wrist mid-season, he missed 42 games and lost his place in the lineup.
“It was so frustrating, because I felt like I was starting to play pretty well in November,” Modano said. “And that was just something I never expected.”
When he came back, Modano was a step behind, and he’s…Noncommittal about his feelings on that particular subject…
Per Fox Sports Detroit:
FOX Sports Detroit attracted another record audience for Thursday’s Game 7 of the NHL Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.
Based on data received from Nielsen Media Research, the 9:00-11:45 PM (Eastern) telecast registered a 22.5 household rating / 39 share in the Detroit metro area, an average of 423,855 homes tuned in throughout the telecast (one rating point equals approximately 18,838 households). Viewership peaked at a 26.2 rating / 45 share (493,556 HH) from 11:15-11:30, during the third period of the 3-2 loss that ended the Red Wings’ nearly-historic comeback from a 3-0 series deficit.
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.