The Malik Report
Yesterday, Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave discussed the Wings' likely revisiting of the Dion Phaneuf trade's discussions, and today, he discusses the Wings' free agent plans--or the lack thereof after possibly going after Mike Green:
[L]ast year, when the Wings were intent on upgrading after being manhandled by Boston in the first round of the playoffs, was particularly distressing when players they targeted chose to play for other teams.
"We weren't able to make a deal," Wings senior vice president Jim Devellano said. "It happened, and it was surprising. I remember sitting there with Mike Babcock and saying, 'holy (expletive)!' We were worried about making the playoffs this year. We really were."
In the absence of signing free agents, more youngsters were pressed into more prime-time roles. The result: The Wings went more than three-quarters of their season before losing consecutive games in regulation. They finished with 100 points and made the playoffs for the 24th straight year.
So what do they do now? Not a lot, except for hoping their youngsters continue to develop. They don't have any gaping holes on their roster, and they certainly won't rely on a thin free-agent market that likely will result in a few players being vastly overpaid.
They'll shop, of course. But they may not buy.
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill spoke with WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning, speaking for nearly 11 minutes and discussing the AHL playoffs (the Griffins defeated Rockford 5-3 last night), the play of Kevin Porter and Andy Miele, his lack of concern about Mike Babcock's situation as it affects his future employment (Blashill is a consummate "in the moment" person), the quartet of Nick Jensen, Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet, the Red Wings' "needs" as the Griffins may fulfill them (including Landon Ferraro and Petr Mrazek) and the development of Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Nosek and Anthony Mantha.
The Grand Rapids Griffins had a most interesting evening at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday, building a 3-1 lead against the Rockford IceHogs, surrendering said lead, and pulling away to win thanks to a Teemu Pulkkinen goal scored with 2:46 left in regulation--Pulkkinen's 3rd goal of the night--and as a result, the Griffins took the teams' second-round playoff opener by an eventual 5-3 score.
The Griffins' website posited a recap...
I hate to make an entry out of this because it's so "thin," but this is really a "spit take" and then some:
Toma Tatar registered an assist, took 4 shots and played 15:51 (and Tomas Jurco took 1 shot in 13:04) in Slovakia's 3-2 loss to frickin Norway at the World Championships on Wednesday, and Slovakia built a 2-0 lead before Norway rallied.
But the Slovaks--whose coach, Vladimir Vujtek, decided to take the captain's "C" off Tomas Kopecky's sweater, bench Kopecky, and give the "C" to Marian Gaborik--were unable to close the scoring gulf, and a late 5-minute penalty to Andrej Meszaros for butt-ending stifled the Slovaks' attempts to rally.
Update: Here's a highlight clip from the IIHF:
Dominic Turgeon's Portland Winterhawks were eliminated from the WHL's Western Conference semifinal on Sunday, and as such, Turgeon's joined the Griffins on an amateur try-out:
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday signed center Dominic Turgeon to an amateur tryout.
Detroit’s third-round draft pick (63rd overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Turgeon picked up 43 points (18-25—43), 36 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating in 67 regular season games with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks this season. In nine playoff games with Portland, the Pointe-Claire, Quebec, native potted eight goals and one assist in 17 games, before his team was knocked out by the Kelowna Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. In all, Turgeon owns 82 points (31-51—82), 69 PIM and a plus-30 rating in 187 career games with Portland.
The AHL Western Conference Semifinal series between the Griffins and Rockford IceHogs will kick off at Van Andel Arena with Game 1 tonight and Game 2 on Friday. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave insists that the Red Wings will attempt to acquire Dion Phaneuf once again this summer, likely hoping to swap out Stephen Weiss, a Brendan Smith-type defenseman and a "lesser prospect" to bring the 30-year-old to Detroit:
How close were the Wings to this deal in March? Dave Nonis, since relieved of his duties as Toronto's GM, said he could have made the deal for Phaneuf at the deadline. And the Wings know they were probably Toronto's only dance partner on this deal.
That Nonis is gone now doesn't mean the Wings would have to start at ground zero in talks with a new, yet-to-be-hired GM. This is one of those deals that went above his pay grade, involving Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, the former Wings star who remains steadfast in his desire to find a new home for his captain. Shanahan can make this deal in the absence of a GM.
One potential sticking point: Phaneuf has a no-trade clause in his contract. But a league source said Phaneuf would agree to a deal involving Detroit. "He wants to get out of that nut house in Toronto," the source said.
Whether Phaneuf would be a good fit in Detroit is another matter open for debate. One of the strengths of the organization has been the chemistry in the dressing room, thanks in large part to the outstanding leadership trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk, which coach Mike Babcock describes as "the best I've ever been around."
Here's an FYI from the Blackburn News's Mike Vlasveld:
The 5th Annual Bob Probert Ride campaign is underway.
Money raised this year will go toward new exercise equipment for the 10,000 sq. ft. Cardiac Wellness facility at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Former Detroit Red Wing and Leamington-native Darren McCarty will be the ride captain. “If you knew big Bob, he wouldn’t want everybody being around, sulking about missing him and stuff,” explains McCarty. “He’d want us being out, having fun in his honour, and there was no bigger guy than he was to get on the Harley and go for a ride.”
Over the last four years, the Bob Probert Ride has raised nearly $500,000 which went toward the completion of a new angioplasty suite at Windsor Regional Hospital.
The ride will take place on June 14th, starting in Windsor and concluding in Tecumseh.
Update: The Windsor Star's Amna Pervaiz spoke to McCarty:
Darren McCarty — a former Detroit Red Wings teammate of Probert and a family friend — will lead the ride as road captain.
“It’s a great honour,” McCarty said during the event kickoff Wednesday. “I choke up every time I think about it. Just the pride to have to represent and what it means.”
You can't make this up...
The Grand Rapids Griffins are posting playoff preview videos, and their set-up of the Griffins-IceHogs series, which begins tonight (7 PM EDT on Wood Radio and the AHL Live) is absolutely fantastic:
Update: The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner listed "5 must-haves" for the Griffins to beat Rockford as well:
This week's Red Wings stories have come in disparate clumps, yielding it just about impossible to create some sort of narrative thread for an overnight report.
That's the case this morning, so please bear with with me.
I guess it's Larkin-Mantha-mania time, because ESPN's Craig Custance spoke with Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin at the World Championships, where he's playing for Team USA...
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.