The Malik Report
Updated 5x at 4:46 PM. Kindl for a 6th round pick in 2017 + Wings retain $360,000 of Kindl's $2.4 million cap hit: It appears that Jakub Kindl may be on the move to Florida, with his $2.4 million contract for this year and next season as well ($1.45 million on the Wings' books as he's "buried" in Grand Rapids):
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. Here's Petr Mrazek's mask, from artist David Gunnarsson:
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with NBC announcer Mike Emrick regarding his favorite outdoor game thus far, and Emrick didn't hesitate in stating that the Winter Classic at the Big House was the best experience:
“Because of the mixture of the crowd, of the drama of the game and of the snow,” Emrick said, who lives in St. Clair. “For me, I didn’t go to Michigan. I would have liked to.
“One of the few smart things I said at one of our public gatherings was we should have a game at Michigan, it’ll blow the doors off all the attendance records cause we would. Sure enough we had it and we did.
“They weren’t parking on the golf course, I don’t think, because of the snow. And there were people in Toronto jerseys pushing Red Wings people out of snowbanks with their cars and vice versa. And it took four hours to get back to St. Clair and normally it’s an hour and 20 minutes. But I didn’t care because it was a dramatic game and it was fun.”
Emrick said the game is also the only one that remembers his teeth chattering in the third period. He called the game near the penalty box out in the open.
“We weren’t allowed heaters because they said it would affect the ice down there,” Emrick said. “The big thing that all the fluid went through was right underneath where we sat.”
From ESPN's Craig Custance:
Updated 4x at 1:59 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. There's no morning skate for the Wings or Avs ahead of tonight's Stadium Series game (8 PM EST start on NBC/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), but the Free Press's Helene St. James duly noted that tonight's game is significant to both teams:
The Wings have been a part of two other recent outdoor games: the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, and the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium. Both fell on New Year’s Day, before the season had even hit the midpoint. After this event, the Wings have just 20 games left.
“It’s different,” Blashill said. “Lots of times these are played around Jan. 1 time. It’s later, so does that allow us to, maybe while enjoying the moment, make sure we’re real focused? I hope so. We better be. They’re two critical, critical points.”
The Avs likewise are trying to gain ground from the wild-card spot they occupied Friday afternoon.
“That’s what I said to them,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “I mean, there’s a lot of distractions, but at the same time, these are big points for us.”
Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla said the timing of the game “feels like the last stretch. Where we are in the standings, where Detroit is in the standings, I think that it’s going to be pretty cool that it feels like a more important game.”
2. The Red Wings are 0-4-and-2 on the road of late, but CBS Sports' Chris Peters is picking the Wings to defeat the Avs tonight:
from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,
Kindl, a former 19th overall pick in 2005, is in hockey limbo with the organization. The Red Wings waived him in early January after he sat a string of 16 of 22 games. No one picked him up and he eventually landed back in Grand Rapids with another season left as part of a four-year, $9.6 million contract. That $2.4 million appears too steep for another team for a back end defenseman.
"I just want to help this team; great prospects ... and great veterans who know how to win," he said. "Whatever happens, happens. If I stay here the rest of the year, great. If I go somewhere else, that's great, too."
Injuries in Detroit got him recalled Feb. 3 where he played in just two games before sent back down Tuesday. The Griffins can't offer a perfect opportunity, either, with defensemen rotating because of an abundance of veterans.
Coach Todd Nelson said Kindl will likely sit Saturday or Sunday.
"I'm not sure what we'll do with the lineup tomorrow," Nelson said. "He hasn't played a lot so we're going to have to look at that."
At the time he was put on waivers, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said of Kindl, "I think he's an NHL player. I think we have a bunch of guys really close and he was just the odd man out."
NHL.com posted two very late-breaking Wings stories ahead of the Stadium Series, and while Shawn P. Roarke's take on Niklas Kronwall's mentorship of Danny DeKeyser is intriguing, this story from NHL.com's Dan Rosen both fits the subject at hand more readily, and it also serves as a reminder that this year's Red Wings team really is leaning on younger hands:
There are eight outdoor-game rookies who could play for Detroit on Saturday: Ericsson and fellow defensemen Alexey Marchenko; expected starting goalie Petr Mrazek, and forwards Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco.
Larkin, the 19-year-old who is expected to play on the right wing with Richards and Athanasiou, said he never pictured himself playing in an NHL outdoor game.
"No, but it was a dream," he said. "I remember back to the first [Winter Classic] in Buffalo, and it was like a holiday. Our whole family got together to watch it. It was so cool. For me, I never really thought I'd be playing in one so it's cool just to be here."
Although he was quite wide-eyed in practice and in the clubhouse after practice Friday, Larkin said he's taking his cues on how to approach the outdoor game from veteran players such as Richards.
"For me, it's easy to look around and get excited, be a rookie, a first-time outdoor game guy, but the guys are doing a great job of treating it normal," Larkin said.
Rosen continues, discussing Brad Richards and Mike Green's comparative experience at playing outdoors...
Updated 5x at 12:13 AM: As the Free Press's George Sipple notes, the Red Wings-Avalanche alumni game went the way of the home team:
The Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche brought back a lot of memories. They did not bring back the fighting that helped make their rivalry one of the greatest in sports.
The Red Wings never had the lead and went on to lose, 5-2, to the Avalanche on Friday night in the NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game in front of 43,319 at Coors Field.
The best moment of the night came with 5:21 left, after Brendan Shanahan scored to cut the deficit to 4-2.
A message on the video board read “Thanks for the memories.” The crowd gave a standing ovation and all of the players on the ice raised their sticks in acknowledgement. Colorado fans then broke out into a “Red Wings suck” chant.
“It’s such a good rivalry, their building, very pro Avs,” said Steve Yzerman, who scored the other goal for the Wings. “In the Joe, it’s pro Red Wings. You get both groups cheering at the same time, that’s never happened before. So it was a good moment.”
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of some of the more memorable points of the game (which will re-air at 12 AM EST on FSD)...
I'm still trying to get up to speed blogging-wise after (well, during) a bit of a depressive episode, so:
If I were to suggest that there might be a hiccup in the Stadium Series game that you might want to account for in your Saturday night planning, I would suggest that you add an hour to 90 minutes to your scheduled viewing window (the game is on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 8 PM EST) for a weather delay.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the alums were quite happy with the ice on Friday...
And the Wings and Avs won't be holding a morning skate to keep the ice under wraps (literally), but it's going to be 70 in Denver on Saturday, and the Wings held a short practice on Friday because the ice was too goopy to use. As the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, the team was concerned about the playing surface's condition:
I'm guessing that no matter what I post that has something related to Ken Holland these days, there's going to be some yelling and there's going to be some expression of frustration, so let's just get this quip out of the way given that the Wings probably won't make a deadline deal.
The Toronto Sun's Michael Traikos penned a column about Lee Stempniak's probability of getting dealt, and this quip from Holland stuck out:
“You believe you’re getting better and you believer you’re getting deeper, but there’s a certain chemistry that’s been there for 60 games in that locker room that you’re changing,” said Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, whose team went 8-10-2 after adding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky at the deadline. “I don’t think our team played as well after we made the deals, but I don’t think it had anything to do with those players. It’s just that the chemistry changes.”
Traikos continues, and I've said it before and will say it again: if KH is really committed to the "transition," I would rather see him not make a move this year and force unerachievers like Tatar, Nyquist and Green to deliver on their primise--if not the current roster as a whole to come together.
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