The Malik Report
The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa suggests that Red Wings GM Ken Holland's suggestion that his team won't be contending for the Stanley Cup next season was a refreshing bit of honesty for the GM of a team that's "too old" and relies on Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk for far too much of the team's key minutes:
With Datsyuk all but committed to spending 2016-17 in Russia, the Wings will find it tougher to extend their streak next season, to say nothing of chasing the Cup. Not only will the Wings lose one of their best players, they will have to carry Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit toward their number, just like the Bruins had to do with Tim Thomas in 2012-13.
It’s dead money Holland can’t afford to have. He’ll have a tough time dealing [Jimmy] Howard without retaining some of his salary. He’s invested $6 million annually for two years in Mike Green, an inflationary number for a complementary defenseman. Mrazek will be due a raise.
This doesn’t leave Holland much cap space to swing a deal, which would be his best route of accelerating his rebuild. Otherwise, Holland is facing the traditional route of replenishing his roster: drafting and developing.
It’s what the Wings did when they hit on Dylan Larkin with the No. 15 pick in 2014. They have other homegrown players who should assume bigger roles next year, such as Andreas Athanasiou (fourth round, 2012), Anthony Mantha (first round, 2013), and Tomas Jurco (second round, 2011).
But the trouble facing the Wings is how they haven’t uncovered the star power in the draft that they once did with Datsyuk (sixth round) and Zetterberg (seventh). They believe they have a top-line wing in Larkin and a No. 1 in Mrazek. But Holland isn’t sure about anyone else.
“You need stars,” Holland said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to draft and develop. Nobody’s giving you their stars. If you don’t have stars, you need lots of good players.”
Shinzawa continues with his Saturday notebook, and he adds the following:
I trust the play inside Little Caesars Arena, the name of the Wings’ future rink, will be better than the product of its namesake sponsor.
George's tip: pay the extra $1.20 for double cheese. My mom and aunt like Little Caesars pizza, so we have it once or twice a month, and going with double cheese transforms the stuff from bargain-basement pizza to actually yummy fare. Regardless of whether you're buying the $5 round pie or the $8 deep dish stuff, the extra buck twenty is totally worth it.
You already know that I'm a proponent of the draft-develop-and-promote-the-damn-kids recipe, and I'm certainly hoping that Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Xavier Ouellet are on the Wings' roster next year. The Wings still need to find that prospect that is their extra cheese, however, and I don't know if that's Tyler Bertuzzi, Evgeny Svechnikov in a year or two or someone else...
Two things of Red Wings-related note this afteroon:
While it would appear almost a certainty that Pavel Datsyuk has played his last NHL game in Detroit, according to an NHL source, the Wings are doing their due diligence on forward Alexander Radulov.
Selected 15th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL entry draft, Radulov has spent the last four seasons with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental League, the team managed by former Wings center Sergei Fedorov.
There’s no question of Radulov’s ability. He scored 26 goals for the Predators in 2007-08 and was a 20-goal scorer for CSKA the past two seasons.
It’s his attitude that the Wings are concerned about. Radulov, 29, has a history of bad behaviour and the Wings, who have spoken Radulov’s agent, are talking to his friends and former teammates to get a handle on whether he’d be a problem in the dressing room or a bad influence on the club’s younger players.
Those close to him insist Radulov has changed his ways. He’s now a father and has settled down into family life.
2. I missed this one from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, and it's an intriguing "thought":
17. Wonder if Thomas Greiss’ tremendous play is closing a Jimmy Howard possibility. Islanders GM Garth Snow is said to be a fan, and those Maine Black Bears stick together.
Howard would fit in well as the Islanders' starter, but yes, Thomas Greiss has been a revelation playing ahead of Halak in the Islanders' crease;
3. I don't know how much detail you're looking for in terms of Joakim "Bacon" Andersson going back to Sweden. He's probably being paid more than the Red Wings can offer to head to Orebro for two seasons, and MLive's Ansar Khan, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, Expressen and Aftonbladet are all confirming.
Orebro's website's press release is most telling, because it sounds like Andersson made his decision to leave for Sweden sometime in the middle of the NHL season, which means that the Wings knew about this move ahead of time:
From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Andreas Athanasiou, who missed the Grand Rapids Griffins' opening-round series due to a family matter, was assigned to the team by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Athanasiou, who practiced with the team Saturday, will be available for the Central Division finals when the Griffins take on Lake Erie beginning Thursday.
"He gives us depth up the middle, something we were lacking a little, and we get a guy coming off NHL experience," said coach Todd Nelson. "And he had that last year (in the AHL). So, he worked out today and we'll see how fast he can get back at it."
Nelson said Athanasiou had not skated during the time off. He skated with Triston Grant and Zach Nastasiuk.
Athanasiou appeared in the five playoff games for the Red Wings before they were eliminated from the playoff by the Tampa Bay Lightning in April 21.
He was originally expected to join the AHL squad afterward, but instead went home near Toronto to tend to a family matter.
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned center Andreas Athanasiou to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Athanasiou, 21, skated in 37 games with the Red Wings during the 2015-16 campaign, notching 14 points, five penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. The second-year pro made his NHL debut with Detroit on Nov. 8 vs. Dallas and notched his first goal in his second NHL game on Nov. 10 vs. Washington, in what turned out to be the game’s only goal. Athanasiou also made his NHL postseason debut during the Red Wings’ first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning and recorded his first playoff goal in Game 3. The London, Ontario, native also appeared in 26 games for the Griffins this season, recording 16 points (8-8-16). In 83 AHL games over the past two seasons, he has logged 51 points (25-26-51), adding 10 points (5-5-10) in 22 career AHL playoff games.
The link displays a video of Andersson talking in Swedish in case you are interested.
Ansar Khan of Mlive answers some questions....
Thoughts on a Detroit/Anaheim trade; Wings get (Cam) Fowler, give up (Tomas) Tatar or (Gustav) Nyquist. Ducks deep on D, need scoring; Wings need defense.
A: Seems like a good match, for the reasons you state. After another disappointing playoff result, the Ducks, who fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday, probably will look to shake things up with a significant move. Offense was an issue for them, Fowler, 24, could be a trading chip, and they might be more inclined to deal with an Eastern Conference club.
Anaheim is a big team up front, so acquiring a smaller forward like Tatar or Nyquist probably wouldn't be an issue. The Red Wings would need to sweeten the pot to get Fowler, however. But the Red Wings' quandary is they struggled to score and would be moving a forward with offensive upside.
After Winnipeg signed Dustin Byfuglien, I think they'll look to move Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers. I don't think they can afford to keep all three long-term, especially when they also have (Tobias) Enstrom. Shouldn't the Wings be aggressively pursuing a deal with the Jets?
A: The Jets are another potential trading partner for the Red Wings. Trouba's name has been tossed around in trade rumors this season. The Rochester native is only 22 and will be a restricted free agent after next season.
read on for more Q & A...
via Pavel Lysenko of SovSport (Google translate),
Yesterday the Russian team came Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Radulov, which was able to talk.
And such a theory I had. According to rumors, Oleg Znarok asked Pavel Datsyuk: "Do you need Radulov in the top three in the World Cup," Of course, Datsyuk said yes. He had played with Alexander in one link when acts in the team, and they have an excellent rapport. And do not forget the game for CSKA Moscow during the lockout.
Datsyuk was unhappy with his game in "Detroit" and those where there is a team. He wanted even to interrupt the last year of the contract. But there was an option here that Alexander Radulov goes in the "Detroit". And for him, Paul decided to stay for another year to play with Radulov, help him to join the team. And find a new star for "Red Wings' Datsyuk which will always be very grateful.
Here's a scenario I see. That is why Paul V. has not made a decision to return to Russia. At the time, Wayne Gretzky said: "I would stay in hockey for another year, if the" Rangers "have bought me the three Pavel Bure".
There may be the same story. We often say that the NHL - it's a business. But we should not forget the enormous pleasure that you get when you have the top three plays great master.
There are two YouTube videos at the SovSport lnk, one with Datsyuk and one with Radulov but both are in Russian. if you can help with the translation, feel free to leave a comment.
Pavel Datsyuk practied with the Russian national team on Friday in Moscow, and while I'm not about to transcribe every second of every interview, Datsyuk was his playful self while speaking with Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov, Sport-Express's Mikhail Zislis, Championat's Vladislav Utkin and R-Sport, playfully dodging questions as to whether he's going to sign with SKA St. Petersburg, suggesting that the World Championship is not his "farewell tour," and revealing that he was told that his ankle would take 18 months from the date of surgery to completely heal, and it's only been 10 months...
And Alexey Marchenko was as bland as Datsyuk was playful while speaking with Zislis and R-Sport, stating that yes, he feels a little more confident going into the tournament having played a lot, and no, that he hasn't spoken about his contract extension with the Wings, but that there are four months to figure things out.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Free Press's James Jahnke shares some of the online petitions demanding that the Red Wings' follow-on rink be re-named after Gordie Howe, to be re-named a "Colisseum," etc. and Free Press editorial cartoonist Mike Thompson suggests that the name may not fly with Al the Octopus;
The Red Wings did post a video explaining the "evolution of the logo" that will adorn the arena:
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James also shared her opinions regarding hockey-related topics in a chat on Freep.com earlier today;
3. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts" are where MLive's Ansar Khan's Alexander Radulov rumor came from, and I can't say that I'm a fan of Radulov given his turbulent history not with the Nashville Predators, but with his present employer, CSKA Moscow, which has benched bad-boy Radulov for on and off-ice behavior:
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun penned an article about Kris Letang's learning process as an NHL defenseman, but LeBrun's column also includes a significant amount of commentary from Scotty Bowman and Nicklas Lidstrom:
From the eight-time Norris Trophy-winning Orr to the seven-time Norris Trophy-winner Nicklas Lidstrom, the idea of wearing down the opposing stud blueliner, putting pucks in his corner and making him pay a price while retrieving it has been a go-to for teams.
"In a playoff series, you figure it out pretty quick that they might be trying to put the puck in your corner a little bit more, or they're coming after you to finish checks a bit later than maybe they normally do," Lidstrom said Friday over the phone from his native Sweden.
"From Game 1, you figure it out pretty quick. In my case, I always tried, first of all to move my feet, but also expect to be hit. You know you're going to be hit, you know you've got to go back and move the puck. I played with some good partners over the years, you tried to move the puck real quick and make a good first outlet pass. But just expecting to get hit, you know it's going to be a grinding series, where they're going to come after you more than they do in the regular season. Really expecting to get hit really helps your mindset."
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.