The Malik Report
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:
The next pair of articles aren't necessarily Wings-related (for harder-hitting news, take a gander at Tomas Tatar's Facebook-posted video of Tatar preparing for the World Cup, the 5-times-updated morning post, Tatar's battle with Gustav Nyquist for TSN's Play of the Year award, etc.) in the strictest sense of the term, but they do matter to Wings fans.
The ECHL's Toledo Walleye chose to drop their dual affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Red Wings to provide more personnel stability, but the Walleye remain both a developmental affiliate of the Wings and a team that needs to get more out of its ECHL-playing personnel.
As such, they chose to hire Derek Lalonde, who previously coached the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers and several NCAA Division I colleges prior to taking his current position, and Lalonde discussed his coaching philosophy and plans for the Walleye with the Toledo Free Press's Sanya Ali:
TSN's Play of the Year Final is here, and it's a Red Wings player vs. Red Wings player battle for the second consecutive year, though it's not Datsyuk-vs-Datsyuk this time around.
This time, Tomas Tatar's deke-dangle-and-evade goal against the Dallas Stars...
Faces off against Gustav Nyquist's second-effort breakaway goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Update: Finally, TSN weighs in (via RedWingsFeed):
Last year, two plays by Pavel Datsyuk squared off for the title. This year, it's Tomas Tatar against teammate Gustav Nyquist.
Tatar made the final on a play where he eliminated his defenders by running them clean into one another.
Streaking over the blue line, Tatar feels a pair of Dallas defenders closing in on him. As Brenden Dillon moves in for the big hit, Tatar hesitates and the Stars d-man catches teammate Cameron Gaunce square on, sending both players flying. Tatar resumes his drive and finishes with a nifty backhand shovel that goes off Kari Lehtonen and in.
Nyquist breaks in one-on-one against Matt Carle and the Lightning defender appears initially to do enough to prevent a goal, drawing a penalty in the process. However, Nyquist shakes Carle's grip and pounces on the puck he just lost. From behind the goal line, he still has the presence of mind to corral the puck and toss it under a recovering Ben Bishop.
On Monday, former Wing Mike Commodore gave an intriguing interview to Top Sports Report's Allan Brown, and on Thursday, he addressed his time with the Red Wings and his relationships with fans over the course of a second interview with Brown:
“The fans have played a big part of my career,” he said. “Fans in every city I played in have always been very good to me. And I have always tried to be as good as possible to them in return. I shared as much of my time and energy as I could with them and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Commodore continued. “Whenever I would sign an autograph I would always remind myself to ‘Make sure you enjoy this’ because no matter who you are, sooner or later eventually nobody cares.”
And during his tours of the NHL the fans always rallied around him. That was never more evident than in Detroit, where a social media campaign for Commodore to wear the number 64 – in honor of the 80s Commodore 64 computer – on his sweater took on a life of its own.
“The Wings organization was great,” Commodore said. “Great front office, great fans and great players. I really loved the City of Detroit, especially the people around the City of Detroit, they are the best”
Commodore’s relationship with the fans was enhanced by social media- especially Twitter – where he frequently posts and always responds to fans. But has the outspoken Stanley Cup winner ever regretted anything he has said on the site?
“I don’t think I’ve ever gotten in real trouble on social media,” Commodore chuckled. “Before I send any tweet, I take a minute to make sure I am not saying something incredibly ignorant or hurtful. That being said, I have deleted a couple tweets a few minutes after I sent them, but I truly can’t remember what I tweeted.”
Brown continues at length, allowing Commodore to quash his rumored party-animal status...
The annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride, a charitable motorcycle ride which benefits Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace, will take place on June 22nd, but if you're looking to watch some of its participants take part in a hockey game, the Blackburn Daily News's Adelle Loiselle reports that several NHL alums will be playing a charity hockey game tonight in Tecumseh, ON:
Hockey fans can watch some of their NHL, AHL and OHL favourites hit the ice at Tecumseh Arena for a good cause.
The inaugural Probert Classic gets underway at 7pm. Doug Gilmour, formerly with the Toronto Maple Leafs and current general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs, and former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty coach the two teams. Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara drops the puck.
Proceeds from the game support the upcoming annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride, which has raised more than $260,000 for cardiac care in Windsor-Essex. The ride is on June 22.
Probert died in July 2010 of heart failure at the age of 45. He played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Updated 5x at 12:59 PM: Amongst this morning and the past 24 hours' worth of Red Wings-related news stories (sometimes one needs a break, and I feel a little better after having taken Thursday off):
1. Regarding the Islanders' acqusition of Dan Boyle, I don't believe that we're looking at any sort of long-term relationship here, so the Free Press's Helene St. James' analysis of Boyle's "fit" (as posted by Paul) is still relevant, but Islanders GM Garth Snow has a bad habit of convincing players to sign with his mediocre team, so I looked around to find out whether Boyle would consider doing so.
According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, we shouldn't simply assume that Boyle will be testing the unrestricted free agent waters on July 1st:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Boyle, a veteran offensive defenseman who is a vocal leader, is certain to draw considerable interest on the market, which means that unless the Islanders throw a lot of money at Boyle, he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent....
Boyle isn’t as dynamic as the No. 1 defenseman headed for UFA status, Matt Niskanen, but Boyle won’t cost the same, either, in contract length or money. On a two-year deal, he could be a terrific addition, someone to buy the Wings a little breathing room as they wait for prospects Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Alexei Marchenko to develop. Boyle could help nurture Danny DeKeyser and Brendan Smith, offensively gifted defensemen who’d benefit from having an experienced partner.
All things considered, Boyle looks to be the ideal candidate for the Wings to upgrade their defense.
from Adam Schnepp of Hockey's Future,
It seemed as though Detroit's much lauded playoff streak would come to an end in 2013-14 until a mid-season influx of young talent bolstered the ranks and reinvigorated a floundering Detroit Red Wings team. Prospects such as Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco were initially called up to fill in for injured NHL players, but they performed at such a high level that they never relinquished their jobs.
In the AHL, the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. An injury to offensively gifted defenseman Adam Almquist changed the composure of the blue line, but Swedish import Mattias Backman made quite an impression in his first AHL games. Despite the series loss, goaltender Petr Mrazek was brilliant and appears to be ready for NHL back-up duty in 2014-15.
The CHL had two Red Wings prospects who laced up their skates later in the season than any others in Val d-Or's Anthony Mantha and Guelph's Tyler Bertuzzi. The two competed against each other in the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup in London, Ont. Mantha continued his torrid scoring pace, while Bertuzzi unexpectedly returned from a neck injury.
Ben Marshall had a very solid 2014 NCAA Tournament, helping the University of Minnesota get to the Frozen Four before losing in the National Championship game to Union.
Updated 4x at 1:23 AM: This is going to be an "in-progress post," for better or worse, but I would much rather find what "leaks out" in terms of Ken Holland's post-pro scouting meetings' comments on as in-real-time bases as possible instead of sitting on stuff for the sake of a fat overnight report.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan was the first to speak to Holland this evening, with Holland telling Kulfan that Mikael Samuelsson is the only free agent who is officially "out," that Jonas Gustavsson is still "in the mix" in terms of serving as Jimmy Howard's back-up, and Holland also telling Kulfan that we might not know Daniel Alfredsson's plans or the team's plans regarding Daniel Alfredsson until later this month.
Regarding the coaching situation, especially in light of Jeff Blashill's 3-year extension to coach the Griffins, Holland told the AP's Larry Lage that he will not continue talking contract extension turkey with Mike Babcock until the draft--and that's for a very good reason...
In the "quickie" news vein:
1. The Red Wings signed Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill to a 3-year contract extension today, and if you read Blashill's comments to the Free Press's Helene St. James or the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, it sounds like Blashill's very happy to remain in Michigan. Per Wallner:
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.