The Malik Report
from Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Journal,
At age 84, Ilitch is as emotionally and financially vested in his teams as ever, but he has begun to maintain a lower profile. He rarely gives interviews these days, and some of his children have assumed part of the leadership responsibilities of the teams. But on a recent morning in Boca Raton, Fla., Ilitch and his wife, Marian, welcomed a reporter into their winter home. Over the course of 90 minutes, Mike shared his memories of building the family pizza business, realizing a dream by owning the Red Wings and then the Tigers, and keeping a civic commitment to his beloved Detroit.
Marian, who first met Mike 60 years ago on a blind date and married him a year later, also participated in the conversation. It was easy to see how they have enjoyed a true partnership across family and business for so long. Here are their thoughts on the life and career of Mike Ilitch …
Detroit, his home
MIKE: I look at me and Detroit as one. The city is like a family member to me. I got sick and tired of people saying to me that Detroit wasn’t special. When I’d tell people that I was from Detroit, they’d look at me like they felt sorry for me. I decided I was going to do everything possible so that one day everyone would view Detroit as a great city.
Today's Red Wings practice involved a surprisingly Tweet-free status until MLive's Ansar Khan posted the following:
Franzen was playing some of the best all-round hockey of his career prior to suffering that concussion in December...Here's hoping he gets the OK to go. The Wings will need him, and Stephen Weiss, too.
This is adorable, via Corey Tufts on Twitter:
Big news for Team Canada. Executive director Steve Yzerman and coach Mike Babcock held a joint press conference after Canada's 3-0, gold-medal-winning victory on Sunday, and they both dropped verbal bombs at the end--with Yzerman stating that he won't return as executive director at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea:
Updated 2x at 10:53 AM: So Red Wings coach Mike Babcock's coming home with another gold medal. And the Wings' five Swedes are coming home with silver.
Jonathan Ericsson may most certainly deserve blame for one of his dangerous pinches yielding Sidney Crosby's 2-0 goal en route to Canada's capturing of a gold medal in Sunday's game against Sweden via a 3-0 tally, but, man...
Ericsson, captain Niklas Kronwall and Sweden's defense got absolutely no help from anyone not named Henrik Lundqvist as the Canadians turned the neutral zone into a Swedish Turnover factory and ground down Sweden along the boards, behind the net, and in front of it thanks to an endless set of 3-on-2's, 2-on-1's and near-breakaways.
I'm very happy for Mike Babcock as he's defended his gold medal, but as a Wings fan rooting for the team with the most Wings representatives, this game was absolutely infuriating to watch because Sweden was so incredibly inflexible.
The last two weeks have been quite the trip work-wise. I'm hoping that this is the last morning where I spontaneously wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to write an overnight report before an early Sochi game--this time, the Gold Medal game between Sweden and Canada at 7 AM EST (on NBC and the CBC; the game will re-air on NBCSN at 5 PM and the CBC at 1:30 PM)--and while my little corner of South Lyon's so dark and so quiet that I could go outside and drop a pin to listen to it land in on refrozen ice, the internet connects me to the world, and Twitter's abuzz with Canadian, American and Swedish journalists taking pictures of the Bolshoy Arena, Tweets of Canadians lining up at the ass end of dawn to watch the game together all across Canada, and a few intrepid Swedes are engaging in the most polite form of trash talk that exists.
While the Red Wings' Olympians battled, you and I have been on quite the roller-coaster ride thanks to one Henrik Zetterberg's back surgery and the subsequent news that he's out until a potential playoff run, so I'd like to begin this entry with a conversation DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose had with Kyle Quincey, discussing the exact procedure Zetterberg underwent on Friday:
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news:
The Grand Rapids Griffins have been struggling mightily of late, but they took a step toward righting their ship on Saturday evening, rebounding from Friday's 4-2 loss to Oklahoma City by squeaking out a 4-3 victory on Saturday evening, splitting their home-and-still-at-home series against Oklahoma City.
The Griffins' website provides a recap...
I was quite curious as to whether the Red Wings' Swedes--Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall and Gustav Nyquist--would take part in the Swedish Olympic Federation's reception for Swedish Olympians in Stockholm on Monday.
In theory, each of the Swedes' NHL players had to ask their respective teams whether they could skip a day of practice by noon on Saturday, and in the Wings' cases, the team's games in Montreal on Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th would've required a major revision in the Wings Swedes' travel plans.
According to Expressen's Mattias Ek, the NHL chose to take care of the problem by nixing any sort NHL'er participation in said event:
Updated 3x at 7:01 PM: As Paul noted, the biggest news to come out of Saturday's Red Wings practice involved Stephen Weiss choosing to decline a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids ahead of more practice time.
While Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika and Sportsnet's Jordan Heath-Rawlings penned superb articles about a certain Red Wings coach's battle for Olympic gold against the Wings' Swedes tomorrow morning (7 AM EST, NBC/CBC), Khan and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported that the Wings' non-Olympians, including the recalled Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Gleason Fournier, quietly practiced at the University of Ligett School in Grosse Pointe Woods...
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Stephen Weiss said he won't play in Grand Rapids tomorrow, feeling he needs more practice time. Still hopes to be ready for Wed. at Montreal
But Weiss said he might need to play a game or two for Grand Rapids next weekend before returning to NHL.
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.