The Malik Report
The Red Wings rounded out their coaching staff on Tuesday, and they filled it to the brim, with Jeff Blashill choosing to retain assistant coach Tony Granato and goalie coach Jim Bedard's services, and then load up with his assistants from the Griffins--Pat Ferschweiler, who will work the bench as an assistant coach, Dave Noel-Bernier, who will serve as an assistant and the team's video coordinator, and Chris Chelios, the "informal assistant" who will reprise his role in Grand Rapids, working with the team's defensemen and watching the game from the press box to provide insight from on high (when he's not serving as an assistant to the U.S. World Junior team in December).
Blashill didn't shy away from discussions of his familiarity with his coaches while speaking with the Wings' media, including the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
“I think it helps in the transition that there is a familiarity there,” Blashill said. “I don’t think it by any means guarantees success, but it certainly helps in the transition. I also think it helps in the respect-level earned from both the player to the coach and the coach to the player. With the familiarity with the coaches to the players and coaches to each other, it’s going to allow us to hit the ground running and maybe ease over some of those bumps in the road that we could face.”
Granato will continue to handle the defence on game nights and oversee Detroit’s penalty kill. Ferschweiler will be Blashill’s sounding board with the forwards and be in charge of the power play.
“Tony was my first call when I received notice that I was going to be the head coach of the Red Wings,” Blashill said. “He was my No. 1 priority. For a model staff, I wanted a guy with lots of NHL playing and coaching experience, so Tony obviously fits that model. I’ve talked to guys that played with him, or played for him in Pittsburgh, talked to many of the players here in Detroit and all of them have a real affinity for Tony. So I thought it was an extreme priority to get Tony to stay on board."
Blashill continued, discussing Chelios's role with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
Depending on whether you utilize Capgeek follow-on websites General Fanager or Hockey's Cap, the Wings either have $55.907 million or $56.577 million (not included the carry-over $1 million bonus due to Daniel Cleary) committed to salaries under the $71.4 million cap ceiling for the 2014-15 season...
Giving the Wings approximately $14 million to re-sign restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith, Teemu Pulkkinen, Landon Ferraro, Tomas Jurco and possibly Joakim Andersson, as well as probably pursuing a top-flight defenseman, probably a goal-scoring forward and possibly re-signing Daniel Cleary.
[edit: Quoth Mr. Holland, to the Canadian Press:
"I had heard rumours it was going to be lower," Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "I think it’s a little higher than I’d expected, but it was a tight window regardless." /end edit]
MLive's Ansar Khan took note of the options the Wings have to increase their cap space...
Updated 3x at 1:23 AM: So the NHL and the GM's have suggested that the league adopt 3-on-3 overtime, and as you might expect, Ken Holland, who championed "hybrid OT" in the AHL (4 minutes of 4-on-4 and then 3 minutes of 3-on-3) is delighted with the development, as he told MLive's Ansar Khan...
"Over the last number of years more and more people have been interested in trying to get more games decided before the shootout," Holland said on Tuesday. "We understand the shootout is exciting for the fans. I'm happy today the general managers recommended going to the Board (with the proposal). The players have signed off on it. It'll be exciting for players, it'll be exciting for the fans."
The new format would take effect next season. Regular season games that are tied after regulation will go right to a five-minute OT period with three-on-three play. There will not be four-on-four play in overtime anymore.
Games that are still tied after overtime will be decided in a shootout. However, the open ice during three-on-three play will result in more scoring chances and more games decided before the shootout.
"That's the hope," Holland said. "With the open ice the expectation is there will be a lot of scoring chances at both ends."
And the Associated Press's Greg Beacham, who notes that the Board of Governors have to approve the move:
"I think management preferred what they've done in the American League," Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. "But management wanted a higher percentage of games decided in overtime, and three-on-three is going to do it. We think it's going to be a much higher percentage."
from Bill Roose of the Wings's website,
On Tuesday, Blashill announced that he’s adding – or in few cases keeping – Americans Tony Granato, Pat Ferschweiler and Chris Chelios, along with Jim Bedard and Dave Noel-Bernier to his staff for the upcoming 2015-16 campaign.
All five appointees have had some previous role in the organization, including Ferschweiler and Noel-Bernier, who where assistant coaches under Blashill at AHL Grand Rapids last season.
While it’s interesting to note, the fact that four of the six men on the Wings’ coaching staff are American-born is purely coincidence.
“I didn’t even realize it, I hadn’t even thought about it, similar to the fact I didn’t know I was the first American-born coach of the Red Wings,” said Blashill, who was born in Southfield, Michigan. “I tried to put together the best staff that I could, both from their talent and experience standpoint to the cohesiveness of the staff. I think it just so happens there’s Tony and Pat being American guys probably has something to do with paths being crossed through the years. Certainly Pat and I crossed paths through recruiting when I was a college coach and he was a midget coach. That might have something to do it with.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Hockey's Cap gives the Wings an estimated $14.822 million in cap space with the aforementioned Nyquist, Smith, Jurco, Pulkkinen, Landon Ferraro and Joakim Andersson to re-sign as restricted free agents, and that number includes Daniel Cleary's tolled $1 million bonus...General Fanager estimates that the Wings have $15.092 million in cap space.
In any case, the Wings will have between $5-7 million to "play with" in terms of targeting unrestricted free agents minus a Weiss buyout, Franzen on the LTIR or a probable re-signing of Daniel Cleary.
And lest we forget:
You can file this under, "Probably won't happen" because there are other flavors of the year at the NHL Awards, but the Free Press's George Sipple duly notes that the Red Wings will have a representative at the awards, and he could join some heady company if he takes home his fifth Lady Byng:
Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk has a chance to join Frank Boucher and Wayne Gretzky as the only players in NHL history to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy at least five times. Boucher won seven times, Gretzky five.
Datsyuk is up for the trophy again, along with first-time finalists Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and former Wing Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames.
The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show Wednesday in Las Vegas (7 p.m., NBCSN).
Hudler will probably walk away with the trophy...
Updated 5x at 12:45 PM: Per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Red Wings are "cautiously exploring" the trade market ahead of the draft and free agency:
"We’re always looking to upgrade, but it’s hard to upgrade," Holland told ESPN.com Monday. "Part of what we're also doing is that we're going with our young people. We're like every other organization in the cap world, it starts at the draft table and it's got to work through your farm system."
Part of the delicate balance for Holland is to continue to try to improve his team while not blocking kids who need a chance. For example, starting next season forward Teemu Pulkkinen, 23, needs to clear waivers if he's sent to the minors. The Wings need to give him a chance on the big club. Other Wings prospects will be in the same boat over the next two years. More than half of the team is under 25 years old. The Wings have turned the roster over in the last half-decade while not missing the playoffs. Amazing.
"The more young people, the more speed, the more energy we can bring," Holland said about his group.
"Can you find a player that upgrades your top 4 [defensemen] or a player that upgrades your top 6 [forwards]? Realistically? It’s hard to do," Holland said. "Because those people for the most part aren’t available. Then you add in the salary cap and the people we got to sign over the next two years. ... It’s a long way of answering, for the most part I’d like to stay the course, keep going with the young players."
Which doesn’t mean, for example, the Wings won't take a look at a UFA blue-liner such as Mike Green. But at what cost? The price has to be right.
"I’m exploring the market, I’m going to explore July 1, we’re trying to find dimensions that upgrade your team," said Holland, refusing to mention any specific names. "But the direction of our team is keeping with the young guys."
Daniel Cleary's $1 million bonus will be "tolled" to the 2015-16 cap as well.
The Grand Rapids Griffins have posited two interviews with new coach Todd Nelson, constituting about 25 minutes' worth of viewing, and here are parts one...
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that Ken Holland will name two of Jeff Blashill's three assistant coaches on Tuesday (three because Blashill will need a video coordinator)...
General manager Ken Holland said he will name two assistants today — likely Tony Granato and Chris Chelios — and hopes to add another at a later date.
(For what it's worth, Blashill worked with one full-time bench assistant for his first year in Grand Rapids)
And he updates the statuses of Daniel Cleary and Marek Zidlicky...
Holland has not talked with forward Daniel Cleary or defenseman Marek Zidlicky, both potential unrestricted free agents. Cleary, who had two points (one goal) in 17 games last season, turned down three-year contractsthree years ago from other teams to remain with the Red Wings for a lower salary.
With with another season of little playing time likely — there are several young prospects ahead of him — Cleary might pursue other opportunities or accept a coaching role similar to what Chelios had in Grand Rapids.
Zidlicky also is facing a tough battle to return with a deep corps of defensemen. In addition to several veterans — Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl — Zidlicky also faces a crop of young talent itching to reach the NHL.
Holland has said one spot will go to either Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen or Ryan Sproul.
Update: FYI from the Free Press's George Sipple:
Asked about assistant coaches for new head coach Jeff Blashill, Holland said: "We're close.... Pecking away. We're just about there." The assistant coaches could be announced as early as Tuesday.
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