The Malik Report
The NHL's 2013-2014 schedule was supposed to be released today, but only in the case of the NHL, the IIHF and the International Olympic Committee having agreed upon a framework for NHL participation in the 2014 Olympics...
And the IOC isn't the kind of organization that likes to be rushed, the NHL and the IIHF aren't exactly bestest buddies, and even by Russian governmental project standards, the Sochi Olympics' construction, infrastructure-building and organization are so grossly bloated and bogged down by corruption and kickbacks that it might make Vladimir Putin blush through his botox.
So who the hell knows whether we're going to see a schedule today, tomorrow or two weeks from now. That two-week break in mid-February is something of a "keystone" as far as the 13-14 schedule's concerned, so until the deal is done, we'll all be in the same holding pattern that so many free agents find themselves in as general managers head to their summer homes.
Updated with Helm and Samuelsson talk at 7:52 PM: Amongst this afternoon and evening's Red Wings-related stories (I read Dmitry Chesnokov's interview with Pavel Datsyuk while waiting for an order of Lone Pine Restaurant onion rings in Grayling; the interview was excellent and the mom is making me save the onion rings for her):
The Wings made two things officially official on Tuesday. They announced what number Stephen Weiss has chosen to wear...
from Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy,
We spoke with Datsyuk recently about his future, the Red Wings, his critics, his opponents and how his legacy has even carried over to the iPhone.
Q. The end of the season turned out quite interesting for you.
DATSYUK: “Of course! It was a great feeling to be staying with the Red Wings. The club really wanted to sign the extension. Our wishes were mutual, I really wanted to stay.”
Did the rumors about your alleged departure to the KHL that came up during the playoffs affect you?
“To be honest with you, I didn’t even listen to them. Rumors and rumors. There are always more than enough of them.”
Detroit is quite a young team at the moment, and a lot of people thought that last season you went much further than you should have. Is it a fair assessment?
“Actually this is not quite accurate. Yes, we really do have a young team. And it is true that it was difficult for us to play against higher seeded teams, those that were above us in the standings. But we had a very good chance. And in my opinion our young players showed themselves to be very capable.”
The last day of the Red Wings' summer development camp didn't end when the players left the Centre Ice Arena for the final time this summer. Now that the day's passed us, I can tell you that they took part in a noon yoga class, that they engaged in one final strength and conditioning session with Peter Renzetti, and then the players spent the evening engaging in what may be the most important part of the entire six-day experience:
They engaged in exit interviews with the Wings' brass, receiving summer workout "prescriptions," assessments of their play over the course of the past week and on and off-ice "to-do" lists in terms of where the Wings believe the prospects to be on the developmental curve, and what aspects of their game the team wants them to work on before the prospect tournament begins on September 5th.
Some of the free agent try-outs were extended invites to said tournament; some of the NCAA players were asked to return next summer; and some received hand-shakes, congratulations and best wishes for the next non-Red Wings paths that their careers will take.
The last day of the Red Wings' summer development camp yielded a press release finalizing the details of the Wings' prospect tournament, a marathon entry from me, and, mostly, Red Wings fans debating Brendan Smith's worth and role with the team after the Wings re-signed the restricted free agent, avoiding arbitration via a 2-year, $2.525 million deal.
As it turns out, Red Wings GM Ken Holland spelled out Smith's worth to the team and role going forward in significant detail while speaking with MLive's Ansar Khan...
The last day of the Red Wings' summer development camp is my definition of anticlimactic--and as I said in the audio post, its always a little jarring.
A long, long time ago, the summer development camp ended with a shootout competition and a "money hat" awarded to the best shooter. These days, the players go through one more set of skill development drills with Tomas Storm, one more set of power skating drills with Andy Weidenbach, they have a systems practice (technically speaking, Team Yzerman followed that script, and Team Lidstrom's day began with the systems practice), and by the time the team allows people with digital sound recorders into the locker room, half of the players have their gear bagged up and ready to transport to their next generation, a quarter of the players--those with NCAA eligibility--are tossing their gear into bins as they have to return their equipment--and another quarter of the players are still peeling their gear off.
Updated 7x at 5:49 PM: Excellent Red Wings news from the CBC's Elliotte Friedman:
So that's $1.265 million per season.
Update #2: TSN's Darren Dreger confirms, so it must be true:
Per Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea, those of us who would like to not be told that "no one wants to talk about hockey" on the FM dial may have a more sympathetic sports talk radio ear soon:
Radio industry scuttlebutt for months has been rife with speculation that Greater Media Inc.'s WMGC 105.1 FM will change formats next month from adult contemporary music to sports.
That would pit the soft rock station known for many years as "Magic 105" against market leader WXYT-FM 97.1 "The Ticket," owned by CBS Sports Radio Inc.
Sources familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Crain's that the switch could happen in August and that Greater Media has been in talks with potential show hosts -- including Drew Lane, formerly of the "Drew & Mike" morning show, which in May ended a 22-year run on Greater Media-owned WRIF 101.1 FM.
Update: It will be an ESPN station:
The last day of the Red Wings' summer development camp is always somewhat jarring. The practice begins and proceeds like any other, but at the end, sometimes players gather for photos, and others hustle off. At the very end of Monday's activities, Team Lidstrom wished Pavel Datsyuk a happy birthday, with Alexei Marchenko wishing Datsyuk (who will turn 35 on March 20) a happy birthday in Russian...
And both after Blashill's all-30-skaters practice and the final set of skills drills, players in the locker rooms were busy tossing their gear into hockey bags (the getting-healthy Darren Helm wasn't encumbered by a hockey bag), and in the cases of the NCAA-eligible players, surrendering their gear to retain their NCAA eligibility.
The players also had to haul tuchas for one more yoga class and then a set of exit interviews. Some of them will be leaving for their homes all over North America and Europe today, but most will be leaving Traverse City tomorrow.
Darren Helm seemed to be happy, speedy and just relaxed as he engaged in the final practice at the Red Wings' development camp, and after he skated, MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Helm to receive an update on the state of Helm's healing back:
"They went really well," he said Monday on the final day of the Development Camp at Centre Ice Arena. "I wasn't too sure how it was going to go. It felt good. I'm optimistic. Heading on the right path. It's a good start to summer training. I'm getting closer to the end of rehab so I can get closer to actually pushing it. I'm looking forward to getting on the ice a little more and working harder."
Helm said any discomfort he experienced in the last week had nothing do with the back injury. It was more of a case of reintroducing his body to the rigors of professional hockey.
"It's muscles I haven't worked in a long time," he said. "It's just muscle pain. It's not pain I haven't felt before. I felt it a little bit at night. Every time I got out on the ice, it worked out. I felt good. It's encouraging."
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.