The Malik Report
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.
This article from "The Daily Beast" (please note: George does not endorse "The Daily Beast" any more or less than he does "The Blaze," which is to say not at all) pretty much speaks for itself, and it's a gread read:
In 1959, the peerless sportswriter W.C. Heinz caught up with professional hockey legend Gordie Howe at the height of his considerable powers.
The Stanley Cup Finals are upon us. What better time to revisit this day-in-the-life profile of one master, Gordie Howe, by another master, W.C. Heinz. Originally published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1959, roughly halfway through Howe's incredible career, the story is reprinted here with permission from Heinz's daughter, Gayl. Please enjoy “Work Horse on Ice.” -Alex Belth
In five hours Gordie Howe would play hockey with the Detroit Red Wings against the New York Rangers. Now it was 3:30 in the afternoon, and he was sitting at the kitchen table in his new home in a residential suburb fourteen miles northwest of downtown Detroit. He was eating the meal on which he would play—steak, peas, lettuce, fruit jello, and tea.
“When we play those Saturday afternoon TV games,” he was saying, “I just play on my breakfast eggs. Once, when I was with Omaha, I played on a milk shake.”
Excellent news from MLive's Ansar Khan:
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is trying to keep the organization's head coaches in place for at least a few more seasons.
Holland expects to start contract talks with Mike Babcock soon, possibly as early as next week. Holland also appears on the verge of signing Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill to an extension.
Babcock and Blashill each has one year remaining on his contract.
Holland said he has denied permission to NHL clubs to speak with Blashill. Instead, he has been negotiating an extension for the 40-year-old coach who's had tremendous success with the Griffins.
"I told him some (NHL) teams have called; he's very happy where he's at," Holland said. "I think he'd like to spend another year or two in the AHL getting more experience coaching pros. We're talking about a significant salary increase in return for him being patient for another year or two."
Khan continues at length...
The Plymouth Whalers announced a significant number of front office shuffling today, and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples reports that Whalers owner Peter Karmanos addressed the future of his tea...Well, I read this stuff and simply said, "Oh, boy..."
“Well to be frank about it, it’s tough running an OHL team in a major league city. Our attendance has been good, but it’s not great. You look down 401 and you see the London Knights selling out every game, you know that if you had to sell the team you might want to move it to one of those cities, rather than keep it playing here. Like I’ve said, it’s become an expensive business, it’s a big business. If we could get the attendance where we think it should be here, I think the future is great. If we continue to draw a couple thousand people a game, we’ll have to take a look at some options.
When asked what time frame he would be looking at, Karmanos continued with:
“Next year? I can’t really answer that question. We’ve stuck it out for a long time, we have one of the best franchises, if not the best, on the ice, in the OHL. But we’re operating in Hockeytown. It’s an NHL city. It’s tough. It just depends on how long all these guys want to fight the good fight. I think as the OHL grows in popularity, I think we’ll benefit in Plymouth as well. It’s a great brand of hockey, it’s fun coming to games, they’re generally on the weekend or Thursday night, which is sort of the weekend or the weekend for some people. It’s well worth the dollars that you pay for the ticket.”
After the conclusion of the formal press conference, Karmanos was asked if that was in some ways a challenge to the hockey fans in the area. He said it certainly was.
“Yeah. Not in some ways. Directly. Start coming to games.”
Caples continues, and the Free Press's George Sipple confirms that Karmanos suggested he'd be open to selling the team and/or the rink, regardless of whether doing so involves moving the team or keeping it in Plymouth.
The Whalers and the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor are two woefully under-spotlighted hockey programs which provide Metro Detroiters with incredibly affordable and high-quality hockey on a regular basis. Even I will admit that I'm baffled as to why the Wings and Whalers don't work together to make sure that Compuware Arena's packed on the nights the Wings aren't playing, but that's just me.
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news is scattershot in nature.
The Red Wings are apparently bringing their bouncy castle to the Belle Isle Grand Prix this weekend, and you're interested, the Red Wings posted a video of their "season ticket-holder Happy Hours" they're holding at Cheli's Chili as well, but Larry Murphy riding in an Indy Car is much more entertaining:
The Red Wings are also holding their season's-end equipment and memorabilia sale at Hockeytown Authentics on Saturday, and if you want to take part in the Play On street hockey tournament in Toronto this weekend, you might end up playing against a Red Wings prospect:
The Gentleman who's purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers (from that weird nutbag) has Detroit ties...
And Paul happened to remember that Ballmer and SUN Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy (who now works for a social media company called Wayin) happened to engage in a press conference a full decade ago, announcing a business partnership which also revealed that both men are quite proud to be Detroit Red Wings fans:
Red Wings afternoon news: Ken Holland on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM; Mantha talks defense; Cup memories
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery today, and while his cell phone connection was a little fuzzy, Holland dished quite a bit of dirt while attending the NHL's Draft combine in Toronto.
Amongst Holland's points of emphasis (the draft, Anthony Mantha, Mike Babcock's contract extension and free agency chit-chat):
1. He plans on taking a "skater" with the 15th overall draft pick (i.e. not a goaltender), though the Wings may move up or down a few spots depending on where players rank on the team's post-scouting-meetings draft list. He does feel that the combine's interview process can change the team's master list, but he also pointed out that players are much more mature thanks to under-18, under-17 and under-16 programs, so when the Wings' ten scouts have a chat with said players, they speak to more finished prospects;
Via the Red Wings' Twitter account, TSN's trying to break a 3-way tie in its Play of the Year bracket. Gustav Nyquist's goal against Tampa Bay has advanced to one of the semifinals, but TSN chose to split the other semifinal into a 3-way race between T.J. Oshie, Tomas Hertl and Tatar (and you can vote here):
Today's semifinal match-up features St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie taking on Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar and Thomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks.
Oshie - as he proved at the Sochi Olympics this year - is comfortable going it alone.
I'm not necessarily thrilled with the start of, "Look through 40+ foreign-language news websites for news" season starting, but it's that time of year.
The local news sources' stories are starting to blend together--DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose profiled Xavier Ouellet yesterday, Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji profiled Mattias Backman on Wednesday afternoon, and this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Ouellet, and St. James' article is where we'll start...
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.