The Malik Report
The American Hockey League's apparently starting to get its scheduling wheels in motion, because the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a press release listing the dates of their home-opening tilt and six other games:
The Grand Rapids Griffins will unveil a championship banner and play their first home game in defense of the Calder Cup on Friday, Oct. 18 at Van Andel Arena, one of seven 2013-14 home dates that have been confirmed by the American Hockey League.
The Griffins will also host the Toronto Marlies on Monday, Dec. 30 at Comerica Park in Detroit as part of the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival, a series of NHL alumni, junior, college, high school and youth contests that will lead up to the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1. Tickets for the Winter Classic and the Griffins’ outdoor game are currently available with a 10-game, 20-game or full-season ticket package at http://griffinshockey.com.
This talk kind of scares me, because I remember Jiri Hudler's agent, Petr Svoboda, insisting that Hudler, "Loves Detroit" right before he bolted for Dynamo Moscow, but I'll take what I can get.
After a week in which Damien Brunner pondered the lure of free agency while speaking to the Swiss media, Brunner's agent, Neil Sheehy, spoke with the Free Press's Helene St. James about Brunner's situation (which she assessed last Friday), and while cringe-worthy in the "I've heard this before" department, she delivers good news:
Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy, told the Free Press on Tuesday that Brunner “will sign longer than one year.”
Sheehy also emphasized that Brunner “loves Detroit.”
Updated 2x at 2:11 PM: If there is any consolation in the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win last night, the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests that, after two years' worth of, "You need to be gigantic, strong and proficient at muck-and-grind, dump-and-not-chase hockey to win the Cup" suggestions, a smaller, speedier, puck possession team win the Cup...
And St. James feels that the Hawks' win "validates" the Wings' style of play:
The Blackhawks embody skill, top to bottom. Like the Wings with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, they are headlined up front by a pair of superbly talented players in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Chicago's defense is anchored by Duncan Keith, whose style is in the mold of Nicklas Lidstrom.
Right on down through the fourth line — populated by the likes of Andrew Shaw, Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg — the Blackhawks fielded players who belong in the NHL, not bubble players doing little but killing time while the top lines get some rest.
As the Globe and Mail's Alan Maki notes, hockey fans can thank Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay for establishing the tradition of players taking twirls with the Stanley Cup:
On night of April 23, 1950, Lindsay’s Detroit Red Wings and the visiting Rangers went into double overtime of Game 7 to decide the Stanley Cup champion. It was the first time in NHL history a Cup Final had gone to overtime in Game 7. And, in the end, Pete Babando scored to give Detroit its fourth Cup. Here’s what happened after the Babando goal, according to Lindsay, still spry at 87:
“At that time, they had a table (on the ice). They took it out of the garbage or from some place in the Detroit Olympia. It was just a little table with four wooden legs and that’s what the Stanley Cup was sitting on. There wasn’t a drape over (the table). They presented it to Jack Adams (Detroit’s general manager). When that was over, the players took it to the room where you’d never see it again unless you won it again. There was no parade, no day with the Cup.”
Between Rocky Wirtz's comments to SportsBusiness Journal's Christopher Botta and Gary Bettman's "state of the game" speech, this Red Wings fan and hockey fan feels like the NHL's executives have almost said, "Great season...And we got away with another lockout, moohahaha, moohahaha!"
I'm still "sore" about the third owners' lockout some six months after it ended--to the point that I've boycotted purchasing Red Wings and NHL merchandise since the lockout began, I haven't worn anything with a Red Wings logo on it since last September 15th, and I don't plan on doing so (or placing the Red Wings magnet on the trunk lid of my car) until September 16th of this year, if I ever choose to wear stuff supporting my favorite team again. I don't really miss wearing Wings stuff all that much.
I was hedging my bets when I suggested that the Red Wings might change the script on us and make multiple moves to move bodies and clear cap space on Sunday morning, but I still did a spit take when reading MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness report that, starting at the draft this Sunday, the Wings will avail itself of its options to make trades, buy out players, and possibly ship Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Carlo Colaiacovo elsewhere, that Mikael Samuelsson's healthy enough for the team to buy him out, and that there's no chance in hell that the Wings will re-sign Valtteri Filppula, yielding a "flip" of Fil's rights at the draft.
The Free Press's Helene St. James one-upped Khan and Pleiness to some extent by confirming the Wings' plans with a quote from Ken Holland himself (and noting that Holland will attend the Board of Governors meetings on Thursday):
Pretty awesome stuff from the Windsor Star's Bob Duff: Red Wings public address announcer Budd Lynch passed away last fall, but radio play-by-play man Ken Kal decided that Lynch's legacy in terms of raising funds for the Guidance Center in Southgate, MI, won't fade away:
For 23 years, Windsor native Lynch, who died last October at the age of 95, was the face of and the driving force behind the annual golf tournament at Grosse Ile, Mich. Golf and Country Club, an event that’s raised over $1 million for The Guidance Center of Wayne County, Mich., which provides aid and assistance to at-risk children.
Kal volunteered to step in as the man who organized the celebrities who partake in the even as part of each group and Monday, the tournament was held for the first time without Lynch and christened with the new handle of the Budd Lynch Memorial Golf Classic.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to have been a part of this for so many years and to keep the tradition going and help support a good cause,” Kal said. “That’s the reason why so many people were out here to play golf and remember Budd Lynch. Budd was with the Red Wings organization for over 50 years and the Guidance Center to him was his baby. It was a cause he really looked after.”
Duff continues, and he posted a YouTube-formatted interview with Kal, too:
Both the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan report that the Red Wings plan on making some roster moves at the draft, and if they are unable to move bodies, they may use cap-compliance buy-outs to shake off their roster crunch up front and make some room on the 50-man roster for free agents. Khan starts us off by stating that the team will withhold its cap compliance buy-outs until next week, and then he tosses some surprising names into the trade mix:
They will try to alleviate this logjam by trading somebody this weekend. Scrappy Jordin Tootoo is available, according to a source, and chances are, so is fourth-line center Cory Emmerton.
When I saw an alert from RedWingsFeed stating that the Grand Rapids Griffins had supplemented their 11-minute video of the team celebrating its Calder Cup Championship on the ice in Syracuse, NY, I assumed that the Griffins had posted a short clip.
I underestimated the Griffins' video crew again, because they've closed out their 2012-2013 season's worth of between the benches insights, behind-the-scenes chronicling of road trips (the clip linked to is a 17-minute compliation of three days' worth of video), every-game highlights and interviews, a wonderful pair of behind-the-scenes videos from the Wings-Griffins mixed scrimmage (held on the day Henrik Zetterberg was named the Wings' captain) from the players and referees' perspectives, at-lunch interiews, off-the-wall features (Griffins hits as Mortal Kombat scraps!) and of course the remarkable videos of Tomas Jurco lit up on a dark rink like a hockey-playing TRON character and using a Darth Maul-style "Frankenstick" with...
The entire rally. Like all 58 minutes' worth of players stepping up to the podium to thank their fans and occasionally drop an expletive in a mushy-gushy celebration of the bond between the team and their supporters.
This afternoon's Red Wings-related stories are "quickies":
- The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan sports fans picked the Wings' 1997 Stanley Cup win over the Detroit Tigers' 1984 World Series title as the best championship in Michigan sports history;
- Via RedWingsFeed, "Dominator," "The Captain," "Mr. Hockey" and "Terrible Ted" have advanced to the second round of the Free Press's best sports nickname bracket, and Pavel Datsyuk's goal against the Predators is leading his goal against Los Angeles in TSN's Play of the Year final;
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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.