The Malik Report
In what ended up being a massive overnight report, I tried to do my best impersonation of a person who asks people to pay money to discuss free agent forecasts and rumors in handicapping my guesses as to what the Wings will do in the free agent marketplace.
It broke down as follows [cue speculation]: Brunner signs at the last minute, Miller's iffy, Cleary and Filppula leave [as does White], Samuelsson's bought out, Colaiacovo's traded, depending on whether Helm and Bertuzzi return, Eaves and Emmerton might find themselves shipped out of town after the exhibition season for the Tatar/Andersson/Nyquist line's sake, and the team won't sign a UFA defenseman and will instead swing hard at Bickell, Stalberg and Clarkson, if not Horton...and won't sign anybody if they don't get their targets [/end speculation].
Via Paul, the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis wondered what might happen with one soon-to-be-36-year-old Jarome Iginla if the unrestricted free agent chooses to a) not return to Pittsburgh and b) take half of the $7 million he earned this past season (okay, it was 48 games' worth of $7 million, but still) to make his cap hit more palatable to contending teams.
While most pundits believe that Iginla will either remain with Pittsburgh at a stiff discount, try to latch on with former coach Darryl Sutter in LA, or perhaps explore the option of signing with the cap-strapped team that was #3 on his 3-team, "I will accept a trade to here, here and here" list before the Bruins-thought-they-got-him-but-the-Peguins-did bizarro land trade fandango went down...
The Vancouver Province's Ben Kuzma believes that Iginla should remain in the Eastern Conference...By signing with the Detroit Red Wings:
Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch Game 2 tailings: citing ‘human error’ can’t excuse officiating
Last night, I offered my take on the insanity that was the Grand Rapids Griffins' 6-4 win over the Syracuse Crunch, and the mess was bad enough that Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski gave me a plug (many thanks/much appreciated!) while trying to explain what happened over what was somewhere between 22:13 and 22:50 of play (we still don't know exactly how long the second period of last night's game lasted for sure) and three of the four disputed goals of the first two Calder Cup Final games.
The Griffins and Crunch's press weighed in at a mild-to-moderate level on Sunday night, but the Syracuse Post-Standard prefers to save its articles for 7 AM-the-next-day publication dates...
And as we survey this early afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related stories, the Post-Standard's Brent Axe offers both 5 reasons why the Crunch aren't yet crunched and a very blunt assessment of the daffy standard of officiating while pointing out that the Crunch had serious issues with the waved-off goal scored with Brett Connolly in the crease during Game 1, Tomas Jurco's goal in Game 2 and a gaggle of non-calls that the AHL is literally saying are only attributable to "human error":
Beware, Red Wings fans, auto-play highlight clips lurk within!
The best way to approach the strange tale that is the Grand Rapids Griffins' 6-4 win over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final, having played out over 62:13 of regulation time, involving an awarded goal to Tomas Jurco that may or may not have hit the crossbar and went out, depending on what you saw from a video camera that looked like it was looking out of the window of a hot shower, involving a Francis Pare game-winner that was scored after 20 minutes of second period time had been played, and involving a game-tying 4th goal for Syracuse that initally was stated as having been scored before the team's 3rd goal.
Between the goal-awarding strangeness and the fact that 40 minutes of penalties played out as an 8-4 disparity toward the home team for the first 56...I mean 58 minutes of play, and the fact that those who watched the game on TheAHLLive.com were listening to the Crunch's director of community relations and a scratched player tell the home team's side of the story...
It was hard to figure out exactly what was going on and what was a penalizable offense from the viewer's standpoint, so we're going to go with the Associated Press's recap for a summary of events to start:
I think that the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch 6-4 over the course of...63 minutes of regulation time...In Game 2 of the AHL's Calder Cup Final against the Syracuse Crunch...For now?
I've been watching hockey since 1991, but I have never, ever witnessed a more ridiculous display of refereeing at its worst, at any level, than what I witnessed on the AHL Live's stream of the Syracuse Crunch's broadcast. A team that can't stop rubbing its hands over its opponent at every stoppage was awarded a 4-4 goal on a bizarre review, the Crunch were given a boatload of power plays, and yet, if you are to believe the Crunch and their fans, Tomas Jurco's 4-3 goal never went in (despite the fact that the goal cam looked blurry and steamed) Francis Pare's 5-4 goal was scored after the second period should have ended (the 2nd period was 23 minutes long), and the Crunch hav not YET been awarded the goal supposedly scored with Brett Connolly in the crease on Saturday...
The Grand Rapids Griffins lead the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 after 1 period of the second game of the Calder Cup Final, and in very convenient fashion, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff offered one helluva statement from Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding both the out-of-waiver-options players that are Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar and Brian Lashoff, as well as Danny DeKeyser (he's been okay--hands are fine, but is understandably a step behind) and the Wings' "next wave" of prospects:
“We’ve got some big decisions because there’s a push from below,” Holland said. “When the season started, guys like Brian Lashoff, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith, they were all in Grand Rapids. Tomas Tatar’s in Grand Rapids, and we signed a Danny DeKeyser. There’s five or six players that at the start of the ’12-’13 season, weren’t on our roster, weren’t on our radar screen other than depth.
If you're unable to head over to http://www.AHLLive.com (you have to register and use the promo code "CALDER2013" but can leave credit card info blank) to watch the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch battle for the Calder Cup (Game 2 takes place tonight at 6 PM EDT; Games 3, 4 and 5 take place this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Grand Rapids), the NHL's SiriusXM Radio channel is broadcasting the most of the games as well. Per the AHL:
The American Hockey League has announced that SiriusXM NHL Network Radio will be airing select games from the 2013 Calder Cup Finals, beginning with coverage of Game 2 this evening.
The Calder Cup Finals are pitting the Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch, top development team of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, against the Western Conference champion Grand Rapids Griffins, top development team of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
The following games will be heard on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio:
The Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to take a 2 games-to-none lead over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final this evening (6 PM EDT, AHLLive.com, NHL Network Radio, Time-Warner Cable in NY), and the Crunch's website has posited a Game 2 preview...
Griffins Scouting Report: The Griffins are led by left wing Tomas Tatar (11g-5a-16pts), right wing Jan Mursak (8g-5a-13pts), right wing Tomas Jurco (7g-6a-13pts), and center Luke Glendening (5g-8a-13pts). Jurco had his three game goal-scoring streak snapped in Game 1. Gustav Nyquist rejoined the team after a playoff stint with the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL. He has three points in five playoff games with the Griffins, including one in the Calder Cup Finals, and he now has goals in back-to-back games.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan and the Free Press's Helene St. James have weighed in with their end-of-season player grades, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose offered an alternate angle on the season-in-review via player, coach and GM's quips regarding player performance. Today, MLive's Ansar Khan offers a slate of player grades, splitting regular season and playoff marks and offering contract numbers as well (cue George's 8,589,354th Capgeek.com's Wings organization chart reference). I'm gonna reference a couple of "ouch" grades and let you read the rest of his take on your own--and then ask you to weigh in.
Valtteri Filppula (D/D): Curiously disappointing season from start to finish. Rarely showed much spark or competitiveness after a career year, which was surprising since he was playing for a contract.
Contract: Unrestricted free agent.
Johan Franzen (C+/D): His statistics (14 goals, 31 points, plus-13) don't reflect how inconsistent he continues to be. He's a non-factor for several games and then suddenly dominates for a stretch.
Contract: Seven years at a cap hit of $3.95 million.
On defense, Khan did indeed zero in on the...Let's call them "interesting" pair...
Readers beware: auto-play highlight clips lurk within (5 of them, sorry. And no, there was no way to just post *#$%@& links, which is annoying as hell for me as well as you).
The AHL out-paced the NHL in terms of holding the first game of its championship series, and, perhaps not too unexpectedly, an NHL-style controversial call by the referees shaped the outcome of what would wind up as a 3-1 Grand Rapids Griffins win (that link goes to my recap; the scoresheet's available here) over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Final (Game 2 takes place at 6 PM EDT today, and it will stream on http://www.AHLLive.com and a,ir on Time Warner Cable in NY State).
It reads like Tomas Holmstrom-era Red Wings tale in reverse: the Griffins were nursing a 1-0 lead late in the second period, and were killing their third straight Syracuse power play when Crunch forward (and Tomas Tatar's BFF) Richard Panik tipped a shot past Petr Mrazek.
As the play developed, Mrazek backed into his crease on his own, splaying with his toes spread post-to-post, and at the same time, Syracuse's Brett Connolly wandered into the crease.
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.