The Malik Report
Former Wings defenseman Mike Commodore's lived a "gypsy" existence since his divorce from the Red Wings in 2012, playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs and (Austin) Texas Stars, and then heading all the way to Vladivostok, Russia--a city so "far east" in Russia that it lies northeast of North Korea--spending this past season with the KHL's Vladivostok Admiral.
Commodore addressed his wanderings in an interview with Top Sports Report's Allan Brown, and while the interview isn't Red Wings-related, it's an intriguing read (and it's apparently the first of two interviews with the "cult hero"):
“My decision to give the KHL a try was pretty easy,” he said. “I had no one-way contract offers, so I decided at my age it was time to try something new.
“I have no desire to play in the AHL in my 30s,” Commodore continued. “The AHL is a good league, but it’s a league for prospects. The KHL is the second best league in the world so I figured I would give it a shot. I am happy with the decision I made.”
As for the differences in playing style, Commodore said he learned to adapt, a trait that has served the veteran well throughout his vagabond NHL career.
Updated 3x at 4:09 PM: Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news, including a picture of Tomas Tatar and Petr Mrazek taking a well-deserved vacation...
In light of Ken Holland's comments to the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson and MLive's Ansar Khan regarding the futures of the Wings and Griffins' head coaches, the respective situations of the Wings' assistant coaches are particularly intriguing.
Last week, the Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reported that the Panthers are interested in Tom Renney and then Bill Peters, coaches who've been made available to other teams to talk contract turkey.
From the Toledo Walleye:
The Walleye are excited to welcome Derek Lalonde as the team’s new head coach. Lalonde was introduced during a press conference on Monday morning at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo.
“We want to build great things here in Toledo, build a culture of success.” Lalonde has been head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League since 2011, compiling a record of 111-54-14, guiding the team to both regular season and playoff championships in 2011-12, and was USHL Coach of the Year in 2012. He was also Head Coach of Team USA’s U19 National Team which captured gold at the World Junior A Challenge in November of 2013.
Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye president and general manager, says Lalonde was the one who stood out during a very rigorous interviewing process. “We were thrilled with the quality of candidates we interviewed, both nationally and internationally.”
Lalonde’s coaching experience includes being assistant coach at the University of Denver (2006-2011), Ferris State University (2002-2006), Hamilton College (2000-2002), Lebanon Valley College (1998-2000), and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (1995-1998). He played collegiate hockey at Cortland State University in Cortland, New York from 1991-1995 as a goaltender. He’s married to his wife Melissa, and has two sons, Alex (8), Luke (5) and a daughter Abby (3).
The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe discussed the hiring:
In case you need a refresher...
Nyquist is facing off against Clarke MacArthur and Ales Hemsky; Tomas Tatar WON his semifinal against T.J. Oshie, and he will face the winner of this semifinal in Play of the Year final voting starting on June 6th.
Amongst the Red Wings-related news stories on the day which the team begins formulating its off-season "game plan" in earnest (today is also the last day to vote for Tomas Tatar in TSN's Play of the Year semifinal, and later today, the Toledo Walleye will name their next head coach):
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson had a conversation with Red Wings GM Ken Holland on Sunday evening, and it produced a little clarification on Mike Babcock's status (see: Holland plans on signing Babcock, who has a year left on his contract, to an extension), including a near-perfect repetition of the "grass isn't greener" metaphor, as well as the following (after Matheson confirms that Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill is off-limits, should other teams inquire about his availability for contract talks):
“In this day and age, everything is a story … after our team picture, some media guy asked about Mike’s contract. I wasn’t going to talk to Mike about it during the playoffs or on the plane home (after losing to the Boston Bruins),” said Holland. “We just haven’t got together. He went to Montreal. I went to Grand Rapids to watch our farm team (in the playoffs). He’s out west. We haven’t been in the same city, but we’ll sit down in June. I’d like to talk to him about an extension.
“We work well together,” Holland continued. “I challenge Mike, he challenges me. We’ll argue, but we’ll come back the next day and start over. He pushes our players. Sometimes they don’t like it, but the players respond. I believe there’s respect between the coach and the players.”
Updated 4x at 5:27 AM: For many Red Wings fans, May involved taking a break from hockey, occasionally reading about the exploits of the Grand Rapids Griffins, and then Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs and Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm, and going back to watching the NHL playoffs.
Over the next 35 days, the Red Wings' management will get down to the business of shaping the face of the 2014-2015 Wings roster, and the roster for years to come.
Between tomorrow and the draft in Philadelphia, which takes place on the 27th and 28th, the Wings' amateur scouts, pro scouts, coaches and management will hold several organizational meetings to outline the team's plans regarding its restricted and unrestricted free agents-to-be, its draft strategy and its free agency outlook.
The first of several meetings will take place from June 2nd to June 4th at Joe Louis Arena, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the team's first order of business involves determining which free agents to bring back, which free agents (please see: Capgeek's lists of forwards, defensemen and goalie UFA's-to-be) to target on the open market, and which players might be available via trade:
This evening's crop of Red Wings-related news is...ecclectic. We start with a PSA of sorts...
As well as a pleasant set of Tweets from Warrior Sports, which is attending Warrior endorsee Adam Henrique's ball hockey tournament in Tecumseh, ON (who knew that the left-handed Jimmy Howard played goalie "regularly" but shot right-handed as a "skater?")...
This story qualifies as quasi-Red Wings-related, because it certainly sounds like the Florida Panthers' coaching search will ensure that Mike Babcock's going to have another coach flanking one of his shoulders this fall.
According to the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filkaov, the Panthers, who've already targeted Wings associate coach Tom Renney, are also interested in the Wings' other assistant coach, as well as someone with Red Wings ties:
Just because Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon spent the last few days in Toronto at the NHL Scouting Combine where he has been checking out potential draft picks, doesn't mean he's not continuing his search for a head coach.
A few new names have been added to the Panthers' candidate list, including Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters and Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant, according to a source close to the team.
They've either been interviewed or are scheduled to be, with Peters having ties to Tallon from their years together in the Blackhawks' organization.
The Panthers have also shown interest in former Avalance/Canucks/Kings coach Marc Crawford and former Rangers/Oilers coach Tom Renney, who's currently an associate coach of the Red Wings.
Amongst this morning's crop of Red Wings-related news stories:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness posted an article which complements MLive's Ansar Khan's Babcock-Blashill-re-signing report quite nicely, discussing Ken Holland's plans regarding the Red Wings coach's future while reiterating significant comments made during locker room clean-out day:
“I wouldn’t categorize our talks as formal negotiations, just because how our relationship is,” Holland said during a phone interview Friday. “I’d like to get him signed to an extension. It might take 10 minutes, it might take two months.”
The two will be in contact beginning next week during their pro scouting meetings and then see each other again at the NHL Entry Draft, which takes place June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Holland said the two have spoken briefly since the season ended, but have not met or talked for an extended period of time.
Babcock just wrapped up his ninth season with the Wings and has compiled a regular season record of 415-198-91. He’s in the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.
“If he wants to go into the last year of his contract and play out his option that’s his prerogative,” Holland said. “I don’t know if he wants to stay or doesn’t want to stay, but I think he’s happy here.”
Pleiness continues with the aforementioned context-adding, and We All Bleed Redd on YouTube happened to post a pertinent clip (a short one, no less) from the Memorial Cup, when Holland addressed Anthony Mantha's chances of making the team out of training camp:
MLive's Ansar Khan kind of stole the "overnight" thunder by reporting that Ken Holland plans on extending both Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill's contracts, and Holland also said something to Khan that's particularly relevant given this morning's crop of Red Wings stories:
"Our scouts identified good players and Jeff Blashill has done a fabulous job in the development of those players," Holland said. "We're trying to develop another group of players who'll be key contributors to us having playoff success. It's important that they learn to win at the American Hockey League level. This season and next summer is a critical time in Detroit as we transition young players into being Red Wings. Jeff Blashill is an important guy as we go through that transition. He's excited to continue to have an impact on the Red Wings."
The Red Wings ideally would like to sign Babcock to an extension before the season.
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.