The Malik Report
If I may be blunt, this time of year is less than fun for a "play-it-straight" blogger and/or a "play-it-straight" website.
From today's general managers' meetings on toward the draft on June 27th and 28th in Philadelphia, and then as free agency approaches, the free agent and trade rumor mills go into uber-overdrive, and I feel like I spend more of my time putting out fires than I do actually covering hockey (and I work pretty dang hard to find news stories at this time of year).
Between absolutely baffling trade scenarios involving the Red Wings, suggestions that the team's restricted free agents-to-be will be poached (you're going to have to trust me when I say that Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser are not the belles of the RFA ball), questions about free agent unsigned prospects due to Sweden-via-New Jersey-via-Ottawa rumors, and of course there are at least a few Wings fans--again, the same Wings fans who were preaching the, "Play all the kids, waive all the vets" line--who now believe that the Wings need to sign multiple free agents at every position, which is a wee bit confusing...
And mostly not bloody likely.
Perhaps due to the fact that I tried to bend rules into pretzels from the start of my sporting career--as a 7-year-old soccer player who was already built like a beer keg, and instructed to "move people" so that my more subtly-skilled teammates could enjoy more room to operate--I've never been a friend of referees. That certainly remained the case when I took up playing hockey as a forward who "moved people" and pissed them off, and it was even the case when my status as an instigating, aggravating forward had my friends breathing sighs of relief when I happily accepted my banishment to the goal crease.
As you already know by now, I'm pretty passionate about the subject of goaltender interference, and I was pretty pissed off by the wishy-washy takes on reviewing goalie interference via video issued by all partipiants at Monday's competition committee meetings.
Thankfully, Kerry Fraser of all people addressed Colin Campbell and Mathieu Schneider's suggestions that one cannot utilize video review to address instances of goaltender interference because there might not be consensus as to whether a call on the ice involved a "good goal," and this excerpt of a longer column by Fraser on TSN is a breath of fresh air:
For the first time in an incredibly long time, my, "Aw, *#$%@& it" instinct kicked in, and that instinct remained strong throughout the night. Hell, the comments made by Colin Campbell and Mathieu Schneider are so...disappointing...That I'm struggling to write this now, because I feel like I'm a crazy voice in the wilderness who won't be heard no matter how hard I try to frame or present my argument.
I believe that each and every instance in which the puck goes into the net must be subject to both video review by the NHL's War Room and overturning of on-ice calls by said war room. That goes for "incidental contact," call-on-the-ice goaltender interference, call-on-the-ice suggestions that players impeded goaltenders' abilities to get into position to make a save, call-on-the-ice instances where the net comes off its pegs, that bizarre Brendan Smith "does a twist-on-a-breakaway-yield-an-automatic-goal" call; you name it, if it isn't reviewable now, I believe that it should be reviewable.
Updated 5x at 1:36 PM: Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:
1. The Wings duly note that you can determine whether Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist will earn TSN's Play of the Year award...
2. There's little to no consensus regarding "who goes where" in this June's NHl draft, at least after picks 1 to 5, but MLive's Brendan Savage noted that ESPN's Corey Pronman has the Wings taking Sonny Milano in his mock draft, and Savage provides background information regarding Milano. Pronman's mock draft (it's an Insider-only entry) notes that the Wings and Dallas Stars have similar options and similar philosophies:
These players aren't Red Wings property, but they're part of the larger Wings family, so they merit mentioning.
Dean and Jake Chelios's statuses as having a famous father have not equalled an easier road toward professional hockey careers. Neither player was a hair over 6 feet or a puck heavier than 170 pounds (they inherited their dad's wiry physique) during their draft years, so the pair plied their trade at Michigan State University for four seasons, taking part in Wings and Blackhawks development camps.
I hate tossing off "napkin notes" without a substantive news story with which to anchor "tidbits," but I also hate sitting on stories for hours on end simply because there's no "anchor," too. I've looked around all the English-language and foreign-language news websites that I frequent on a daily basis, and I didn't find anything particularly earth-shattering Red Wings-related note, but I did find a decent amount of "stuff"...
So it is with mixed feelings that I provide you a set of stories which may or may not involve significantly substantive content:
I tend not to start overnight reports or any blog entries with grown-up conversations, but we need to have one, dear readers.
Many of you responded to my, "The free agency stuff I've heard from Red Wings fans of late is nuts" comment in Sunday morning's overnight report with, "Nuh uhh, fire was banned in 1408, after a freak fire wiped out three generations of racing snails!"...Wait, I mean, "Forsooth, George, praytell where thee hath such nonsense heareth? Here? Nay!"
Okay, get ready for "the talk":
This weekend's entries involve something of a theme. Saturday's overnight report involved "rumors and speculation," and this morning's involves what I suppose we'll call "covetousness," or perhaps, more plainly, "avarice."
I find it more than a little amusing that the same Wings fans who wanted the team to do nothing more than promote Grand Rapids Griffins players and "play the kids," even at salary cap and 23-man roster and CBA-rule-bending expense, now want the Wings to maximize their salary cap space (see: Capgeek's Wings organization chart, your should-be-bookmarked friend) by loading up on as many marquee unrestricted free agents as possible this summer (see also: Capgeek's list of UFA-to-be forwards, defensemen and goalies), even if doing so throws multiple wrenches in the team's "youth movement."
It happens--as "our" (yours and my, given that we are Wings fans) ever-stubborn and too-honest GM pointed out, people tend to "fall in love with everybody who isn't here" (and yes, Ken Holland's end-of-season remark video is still relevant here, as is Mike Babcock's), and perhaps that focus shifts from prospects to the best available players that can be had for only the price of their contract (not named Jiri Sekac?).
I don't mean this as a pun: when one is not familiar with the details of an on-ice incident, it's easy to "pass judgment" upon a player, but it's rarely wise to do so. As such, I'm going to suggest that you and I not make presumptions regarding this article from MLive's John Agar:
A federal judge has upheld a Swiss court’s $1.1 million judgment against former Detroit Red Wing Kevin Miller whose hit from behind in a Switzerland league ended the career of another player.
Miller, who played for the Red Wings and several other NHL teams, along with the Grand Rapids Griffins and Michigan State University, injured Andrew McKim, a Canadian, during a 2000 championship game.
Miller checked McKim in the head and neck after McKim took a shot on goal. McKim fell forward and struck his head on the ice. He was hospitalized several weeks with a concussion and other injuries.
Mike Babcock has repeatedly stated that he would like to remain with the Red Wings' organization. Ken Holland has suggested that the organization feels the same in honest-to-Pete sentence-finishing style, and both coach and GM have repeated their statements to near "ad nauseam" levels over the course of more than "a few" sports talk radio interviews.
The rest of the NHL's scribes and pundits aren't so sure about the likelihood of Babcock signing a long-term extension with the Wings, and the Penguins' firing of Dan Bylsma on Friday (by a general manager who plans on hiring a new head coach on or before July 1st in Jim Rutherford) was bound to yield more "Babcock to Pittsburgh!" comments...
But the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi's comments to 93-7 The FAN's Starkey and Mueller merit a warning for "brain hurt."
I understand that Babcock may yet decide to "test the market" when his contract expires next summer, but...Mr. Rossi is "going with his gut" to the exclusion of everything said or uttered by the coach and GM in question, and while those gentlemen are paid to lie on a regular basis, they are also sometimes disturbingly consistent in terms of their commentary regarding player personnel and managerial decisions, their own respective statuses included.
Anyway, here comes a little brain freeze via your computer screen:
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.