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Kulfan: Wings still waiting on Datsyuk

From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, via RedWingsFeed:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland expects to meet with Pavel Datsyuk early next week, and hopes to have a decision on the center’s future shortly after that.

“I know Pavel is coming back to Detroit in the middle of June, he has a camp that week, and we’re going to meet before that,” Holland said.

Datsyuk either will return to the Red Wings or head home to Russia — to be close to his daughter to finish his playing career in the Kontinental League.

If he leaves the Red Wings, Datsyuk does so with one year and a $7.5 million salary cap hit.

Datsyuk, who’ll be 38 in July, is hosting a hockey camp June 17-21 at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

Kulfan continues, stating that the Wings' assistant coaching search is down to the short strokes, and updating Darren Helm and Drew Miller's situations (talks have begun)...

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St. James discusses Darren Helm’s fit in Detroit

The Free Press's Helene St. James examines the "fit" of one Darren Helm on the Red Wings' roster this evening, duly noting that Helm fits quite well with the Wings, but may find a bigger paycheck and bigger role elsewhere:

his past season, Helm had 13 goals among 26 points in 77 games. His role was much more in flux, as he spent time on the top line — and the fourth line.

That instability was mentioned by Helm as something he wants to discuss with Holland and head coach Jeff Blashill before deciding whether to stay. Basically, Helm wants a handle on what his role will be. This is his first shot at unrestricted free agency, and Helm knows he will be coveted if he hits the free market. He has an asset — blazing speed — that many teams are looking to add, including Washington and St. Louis.

Helm’s last contract was four years and $8.5 million, an annual cap hit of $2.125 million.

On the Wings’ end, there is interest in Helm because he is a speedy forward in the prime of his career. He can slot onto any line and both special teams. With Datsyuk’s expected departure, there will be significant minutes up for grabs. And to reiterate about speed — it’s vital to today’s NHL, and the Wings are better for being able to field Helm along with Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Luke Glendening.

Much of it will hinge on cost. Helm just saw what Justin Abdelkader got (seven years, $29.75 million, $4.25-million cap hit) but Helm, who never has reached 20 goals, isn’t going to get a similar deal from the Wings.

St. James continues, and I get the feeling that Helm will have to take a bit of a hometown discount off of what the "open market" may bring to stay where he probably belongs.

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Custance on Datsyuk, Radulov

From ESPN's Craig Custance's Insider-only "Ten takeaways from the NHL draft scouting combine":

10. Latest on possible Datsyuk "suitors": The expectation is that the Red Wings shouldn’t have too much trouble moving Pavel Datsyuk's contract if he does indeed confirm: that he’s leaving for the KHL. The Hurricanes, Devils and Coyotes would be the most likely destinations for Datsyuk’s contract.

There was some speculation that a deal between Detroit and free agent Alexander Radulov was all but done and just waiting for Datsyuk to be moved, but that’s not necessarily true. As of right now, the contract ask for Radulov is steeper than the Red Wings are willing to pay. There’s definitely interest, but not at all costs.

Teams with cap flexibility are in an especially good position heading into this summer, giving them the ability to add assets for nothing, more than just taking on bad contracts.

Devils GM Ray Shero said that’s an avenue the Devils are exploring to help stock the system in New Jersey.

“Yeah. We’ve looked at that in the past. There’s a difference between taking on a contract to take on a bad contract to buy that contract out, which takes cash,” Shero said. “There are all kinds of different scenarios. [Cap space] is an asset in the league. I’ve been on the other end. You’re trying to do the gymnastics [to get under the cap]. You’re looking for teams, but just because teams have cap space doesn’t mean teams want to take on the money, budget-wise.”

Custance continues with 9 other observations...

Update: Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

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Jeff Blashill appears on WDFN, speaks for 23 minutes

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill appeared on WDFN's Matt Sheppard show this morning, speaking with Art Regner for over 22 minutes. Blashill addressed the Wings' offseason goals in terms of improving the team--both internally and externally--Dylan Larkin's future role and much more:

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Nichols: TSN’s McKenzie discusses the Radulov situation

Here's your daily Alexander Radulov scuttlebutt/update, via RedWingsFeed: Today's Slapshot's Chris Nichols penned a transcript of an interview TSN's Bob McKenzie gave to TSN 690 in Montreal, and here's what McKenzie said about Radulov:

On if he thinks Alex Radulov will come back to the NHL, and on what he thinks is the realistic price someone will pay for his services:

“Well, I know Darren Dreger reported last week the Wings offered him a one-year deal at $4 million which, for me, I think that’s a real fair offer. I’m sure he wants two years, and I’m sure he’d like to get $7.5 million (per season). I’d be surprised if anybody is going to give it to him. Maybe somebody will give him a two-year contract. I know I wouldn’t.

“I mean given his history – he’s a talented guy, but obviously the last go-round with Nashville was embarrassing for everybody concerned. And if I’m not mistaken, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he was named to the World Cup team for the Russians, with Kovalchuk, and there’s a reason for that too. He’s a talented guy. He should be on the team. The ability to be a team guy and get along with people and what have you…

“As I said, in the National Hockey League if you’re a good hockey player, they will always afford you an opportunity to play, and probably at a decent rate of pay. But if he can get two years, God bless him. Good for him. But I think most teams want to try and do it on a one-year basis, and see what he can bring.”

Here's McKenzie's interview with TSN 690, and McKenzie addresses the situation at the 8:40 mark:

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Khan discusses Stamkos sweepstakes, Griffins graduates

MLive's Ansar Khan answered reader questions in an "Ask Ansar" feature this morning, and Khan led off with a question about Steven Stamkos:

Q: In what universe do you see it being a possibility that Stamkos goes to the Red Wings? – Ben

A: The stars and planets would need to be perfectly aligned.

First, the Red Wings would need to shed Pavel Datsyuk's $7.5 million cap hit in order to have the money for Stamkos. There are only a handful of teams that might need that salary (they won't actually be paying it) to reach the cap floor – Arizona, Carolina, Ottawa and Florida are possibilities. It will cost the Red Wings something to get rid of the contract and general manager Ken Holland said he is not going to relinquish a valuable asset (i.e. high draft pick, top prospect, good roster player) to do so.

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Howard’s ‘numbers’ include a significant level of uncertainty

This morning, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose examines Jimmy Howard's difficult 2015-16 season "By the Numbers," and Roose notes that Howard is like the rest of us--he doesn't yet know whether he'll begin the 2016-17 campaign in Detroit, or whether his future lies elsewhere:

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” the veteran goalie said as the Red Wings cleaned out their locker room last month.

Howard started strong but then back-to-back catastrophes in late December led to a rough stretch for the 32-year-old goalie. He finished the season with a 14-14-5 record in a 33 starts, which is his single-season career low.

“That was more so on me, having the one bad game there against New Jersey and then Winnipeg and Petr (Mrazek) was playing hot and decided to go with the hot hand,” Howard said. “For me, it’s just controlling what I can control and that’s myself.”

With Mrazek billed as the Red Wings’ No. 1 goalie, Howard was asked if he can accept a where he doesn’t play 50 or 60 games. “That’s something I’m going to have to think about,” he said, “and talk over with my family and people that are close to me.”

Roose continues with 6 significant figures...

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Bad ice, good hockey

Update: Whoops, wrong blog, it's stuck here.

The Stanley Cup Final's first couple of games always impress me because the most mentally and physically exhausted players left standing tend to produce the crispest, most intense hockey of the season, but around Game 3, exhaustion and bad ice in June tend to rear their ugly heads--regardless of where the Cup final is being held--and the game gets chippy as hell.

The National Post's Cam Cole duly notes that the ice at the SAP Center is not fantastic, but the players are adapting, and so is the hockey:

Creativity suffers on slush. Scoring chances evaporate when the puck bounces, others when that extra split-second trying to control it allows another pair of shin pads, another enemy stick, to join the crowd in the shooting lane.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blocked 38 San Jose shots in Game 3, 12 of them from Burns alone, surely some sort of individual Sharks record for futility.

But the home team won, and both sides shrug it off as the price of doing business. Move on.

“Hopefully they run out of sticks soon,” [Brent] Burns said. “Try to break their budget.”

The players are not surprised in the least that when it’s above 30C outdoors, the puck is simply not going to lay down on the surface.

“We’re playing hockey in California in June,” said Lovejoy, the former Anaheim Duck. “This is a great atmosphere to play in but the weather outside is 100 degrees. You can’t expect the ice to be like Edmonton in February. Ice across the NHL isn’t perfect. We have concerts in these buildings, soccer games, arena football games, it’s part of the deal. We understand it. We’ve been doing it for years. It’s not an excuse, we need to adapt to it.”

Cole continues...

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  Tags: ben+lovejoy, brent+burns, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks

Helping a young autistic boy continue to play hockey

A year ago, about this time, I mentioned that a young man named Nassim's mother is keeping the hockey dreams of an autistic son alive, and that she was raising funds for his participation in hockey.

In an ideal world, mom gets the bills paid, kid makes a hockey team and everybody has a happy ending.

Nassim's mom has another GoFundMe fundraiser underway, and while I can't implore you to make the same donations if you're "tired of asking," as someone who can relate to the concept of having to continue to ask for help, if you can give Nassim's mom's fundraiser a look, I'd appreciate it.

Sometimes the happy endings remain in-progress, and in an expensive sport to participate in, there's no shame in continuing to ask. This blogger certainly relates.

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Evening news: Larkin at the track and a clip of Abdelkader’s goals

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Dylan Larkin's weekend spent at the Detroit Grand Prix produced one more batch of multimedia and articles:

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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.


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