The Malik Report
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.
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news is scattershot in nature.
The Red Wings are apparently bringing their bouncy castle to the Belle Isle Grand Prix this weekend, and you're interested, the Red Wings posted a video of their "season ticket-holder Happy Hours" they're holding at Cheli's Chili as well, but Larry Murphy riding in an Indy Car is much more entertaining:
The Red Wings are also holding their season's-end equipment and memorabilia sale at Hockeytown Authentics on Saturday, and if you want to take part in the Play On street hockey tournament in Toronto this weekend, you might end up playing against a Red Wings prospect:
The Gentleman who's purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers (from that weird nutbag) has Detroit ties...
And Paul happened to remember that Ballmer and SUN Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy (who now works for a social media company called Wayin) happened to engage in a press conference a full decade ago, announcing a business partnership which also revealed that both men are quite proud to be Detroit Red Wings fans:
Red Wings afternoon news: Ken Holland on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM; Mantha talks defense; Cup memories
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery today, and while his cell phone connection was a little fuzzy, Holland dished quite a bit of dirt while attending the NHL's Draft combine in Toronto.
Amongst Holland's points of emphasis (the draft, Anthony Mantha, Mike Babcock's contract extension and free agency chit-chat):
1. He plans on taking a "skater" with the 15th overall draft pick (i.e. not a goaltender), though the Wings may move up or down a few spots depending on where players rank on the team's post-scouting-meetings draft list. He does feel that the combine's interview process can change the team's master list, but he also pointed out that players are much more mature thanks to under-18, under-17 and under-16 programs, so when the Wings' ten scouts have a chat with said players, they speak to more finished prospects;
Via the Red Wings' Twitter account, TSN's trying to break a 3-way tie in its Play of the Year bracket. Gustav Nyquist's goal against Tampa Bay has advanced to one of the semifinals, but TSN chose to split the other semifinal into a 3-way race between T.J. Oshie, Tomas Hertl and Tatar (and you can vote here):
Today's semifinal match-up features St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie taking on Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar and Thomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks.
Oshie - as he proved at the Sochi Olympics this year - is comfortable going it alone.
I'm not necessarily thrilled with the start of, "Look through 40+ foreign-language news websites for news" season starting, but it's that time of year.
The local news sources' stories are starting to blend together--DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose profiled Xavier Ouellet yesterday, Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji profiled Mattias Backman on Wednesday afternoon, and this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Ouellet, and St. James' article is where we'll start...
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news falls into the "scattershot" category, but the first story's particularly pertinent. Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill told WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski that he believes the Red Wings have a significant number of potential top-four defensemen in Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Nick Jensen, Adam Almquist and Mattias Backman (though Blashill did not name the players he felt were top-four material, perhaps out of professional courtesy).
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose profiled Ouellet overnight, RedWingsCentral discussed the aforementioned players and Adam Almquist earlier this month, and this afternoon, Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji profiles Backman:
The Grand Rapids Griffins posted two press releases today. The first highlights the Griffins Youth Foundation's annual golf classic, and the second offers official registration forms for the Griffins' youth hockey camp, which takes place from July 28th until August 1st.
Here's the golf classic presser:
I'm not sure how many of you plan on attending the draft in Philadelphia in late June (Friday June 27th and Saturday June 28th at the Wells Fargo Center), but the Sports Agent Blog posted an intriguing press release regarding on hell of a pre-draft sports conference, and Red Wings GM Ken Holland has contributed and probably will contribute to said conference. Here's the press release from D'Bria Bradshaw...
The Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW) NHL Draft Hockey Career Conference makes its way to the City of Brotherly Love for the 2014 NHL Draft as Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Philadelphia Flyers, becomes the center of the hockey universe June 26-28, 2014. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel.
The SMWW Career Conference is an opportunity to gain insight into a variety of careers from top executives in hockey. The 2 day event offers unique panel discussions that will include panels on sports business, athlete representation, scouting, league management, and sports business strategies. Previous panel members have included: Ken Holland, Detroit Red Wings GM & EVP, Pat Brisson, NHLPA Agent CAA, Bill Robertson Minnesota Wild Vice President, Gordie Roberts, HOF & Pro Scout, etc.
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.