The Malik Report
This feels like a Kanye West post, but the Detroit Free Press’s posting of a Mitch Albom article recalling the morning of Game 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers some 15 years ago for one Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman gave us all a heavy hint that, over the next couple of weeks, Detroit’s press outlets will remember what was the Wings’ first Cup in 42 years and their first of four captured over the course of 11 seasons, the pent-up excitement which let loose in a hockey town which would slowly but surely earn its self-titled moniker…
And of course, the fact that the celebration lasted for all of seven days before Detroit stopped on a dime and went into hope-and-pray mode when Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov were severely injured in a limo accident.
The Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor is on a crusade, as he always is when he writes about hockey. Whether he’s talking about concussions, fighting, prescription drug abuse, the nature of the game or his technical area of expertise in its “Canadianness,” and tonight, it’s no different. MacGregor took an interview most Wings fans have yet to hear, from assistant GM Jim Nill on Ottawa’s Team 1200 (even I can’t find it in their archives), speaking about the fact that it’s not just Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement that has the Wings reconsidering whether the tam should be built upon a blueprint of puck possession hockey played by sometimes smaller but always more skilled players.
MacGregor says that Nill all but “choked” on the air, admitting that the past season’s worth of an obstruction crackdown slipping into nothingness and playoff series where five skaters play goal without goal pads, one plays goal with pads, and concepts like “forechecking” and “backside pressure” have given way to trying to score the first goal and then playing soccer on skates for the rest of the game:
The Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye released statements regarding the untimely passing of Bryan Rufenach, a 23-year-old Wings prospect, and this evening, WWNY TV reveals that the circumstances of his passing are sadly as simple as can be:
University officials say 23 year old Bryan Rufenach, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings who played at Clarkson from 2007 to 2011, was on a backpacking tour of Europe when he touched an energized overhead line while attempting to board a train Tuesday and was electrocuted.
Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned a tribute to Rufenach and confirmed via 20min.ch‘s Nathalie Jufer that his passing was accidental, but not as simple as reported here. Here’s her story about his passing, translated (quite well) from Swiss-German:
Not-too-surprisignly, DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose reports that Cory Emmerton was named the Red Wings’ rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters’ Association:
“The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association is excited to name Cory Emmerton as the Red Wings rookie of the year,” said Vicki Foley, DSBA president. “Cory demonstrated good skills during his rookie season with the club, and I’m sure he can look forward to a bright future here in Detroit.”
The 24-year-old Emmerton finished among the NHL rookie leaders in takeaways (16), and total face-offs taken (313), while managing to win 48.2 percent of those draws. A St. Thomas, Ontario, native, Emmerton was originally selected by the Wings in the second-round of the 2006 NHL draft, and he’s the fifth Wings’ center so honored by the DSBA since Pavel Datsyuk received the award following the 2001-02 season.
Updated 2x at 5:14 PM: Given the staccato nature of the Red Wings news cycle, I’m guessing that as soon as I head out the door for a 90-minute appointment, I’m going to miss a big story, just as penning that, “well, there isn’t much going on right now” overnight report gave way to news about Darren McCarty‘s personal life, the Wings’ decision to sign Max Nicastro...
And, later in the morning, confirmation from MLive’s Ansar Khan that the Wings will consider trading for the rights of free agents-to-be at the draft, as well as adding a note about Tomas Holmstrom’s inevitable conversation with Holland coming this Friday.
From all the information available via the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe, the Lindsay Post‘s Jason Bain and other sources, Red Wings prospect Bryan Rufenach was backpacking through Europe with a childhood friend and died accidentally due to some sort of electrical mishap. This morning, the Red Wings posted a press release acknowledging Rufenach’s passing…
RED WINGS MOURN THE PASSING OF BRYAN RUFENACH
… Defenseman was a Seventh-Round Pick by Detroit in 2007 …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings regret to announce the passing of Bryan Rufenach, a 23-year-old prospect who passed away recently while traveling in Switzerland. Rufenach was Detroit’s seventh-round pick (208th overall) in the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He split time between the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye in 2011-12. The Barrie, Ontario, native registered two points (0-2-2) and 11 PIM in 13 games with the Griffins last season and posted 33 points (13-20-33) and 54 PIM in Toledo. He earned a degree in financial information and analysis from Clarkson University in 2011. Rufenach played four seasons for the Golden Knights and led all Clarkson blue-liners in points from 2008-2011.
As did the Grand Rapids Griffins:
According to the Detroit News’s Mike Martindale, former Red Wings forward and recovering alcoholic Darren McCarty has taken out personal protection orders against four former friends who Darren and his wife Sheryl, accuse of harassing and stalking McCarty:
The McCartys accuse the four of trying to get the couple fired from their jobs, threatening both through text messages and phone calls, posting malicious comments on McCarty’s work and appearance websites, and threatening violence against them. Oakland Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan granted the protection orders on May 22 against Tonya Juhl, 37, and Kimberley Mitchell, 38, both of Clawson; Anne Marie Samulski, 22, of Royal Oak; and Louis Barbato, 40, of Shelby Township.
The orders, good for a year, bar Juhl, Mitchell, Samulski and Barbato from approaching, following or contacting the McCartys or going to their home or workplaces. McCarty works for the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association, and worked in the past year for a Detroit pawn shop; his wife is a nurse at Beaumont Hospital.
Five days after
charges of rape against him were dropped by Boston prosecutors, the Red Wings are placing a significant amount of faith in former Boston University defenseman Max Nicastro’s ability to rebound from six months’ worth of incredibly difficult personal circumstances.
MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that the Wings will sign Nicastro to an entry-level deal and give the two-way defenseman the opportunity to begin his professional career while doing what the Wings do with every player who joins their organization—allowing them to check their baggage at the locker room door:
The Detroit Red Wings anticipate signing the defenseman from Boston University, their third-round pick in the 2008 entry draft (91st overall), after July 1 and assigning him to the Grand Rapids Griffins, assistant general manager Jim Nill said. The 22-year-old Nicastro is a big, stay-at-home defenseman (6-foot-3, 215).
“He has good size, a big, strong guy, physical,’’ Nill said. “He can shoot the puck. He’s a strong skater.’‘
Authorities last week dropped rape charges against Nicastro. The native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was arrested Feb. 19 after he was accused of assaulting a female student on campus. He had pleaded not guilty, was suspended from the team and withdrew from school.
“We got no comment on what happened,’’ Nill said. “Whatever is in the past, he’s been cleared of. We move forward.’‘
Red Wings overnight report: on accountability, the Wings’ future, lockout talk, Shanny and Iron Hook
Updated 3x at 9:04 AM: On a strange day of radical ups and downs, from the Red Wings’ release of its Winter Classic lead-up events’ schedule to discussions of Todd Bertuzzi’s legal woes and a story I plain old refuse to cover because it’s far too bizarre (click at your own risk, my friends, click at your own risk), and then Bryan Rufenach‘s passing…
But Wings GM Ken Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, VP Jimmy Devellano, capologist Ryan Martin, the pro scouts (like Kirk Maltby and Mark Howe), coach Mike Babcock and executives Chris Chelios and Kris Draper have decided that the team’s simply got too much to lose—and too much can change between now and the draft on June 22nd, never mind free agency’s start on July 1st, based upon which free agents-to-be re-sign with their teams and based upon what the early CBA negotiations reveal regarding the rules the Wings will play under come September—for the front office to shake hands and say, “See you at the draft!”
“I would categorize it as a whole lot of philosophical conversation,” Holland said. “We talked about what the rules are going to be, our team, and what direction are we going to go in? “
Every player eligible to become an unrestricted free agent was rated and ranked, but that’ll be revisited later in June, because several of those players are expected to re-sign with their current teams.
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.