The Malik Report
Red Wings mid-day news: on Lidstrom’s future, Cleary and Brunnstrom updates and more UFA speculation
Updated 3x with Suter talk at 6:57 PM: This afternoon’s crop of Red Wings news may as well be called, “Variations on the overnight report’s themes,” because I’ll begin this entry with chatter about Nicklas Lidstrom’s future, and then offer some updates about Red Wings players before devolving into inevitable free agent discussion.
First and foremost, the Red Wings, the Swedish national team and Vasteras IK, among other organizations, all want to give Nicklas Lidstrom at least part-time employment in an ambassadorial role, but the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau suggests that Lidstrom will at least take this summer off, and after that, he may choose to simply remain a full-time dad for the first time in his life. Cue the “Ask Adam” feature!
On a very grumpy morning for a mildly aggravated blogger: Regardless of what you, I or Red Wings GM Ken Holland would like to believe as to whether Zach Parise, Ryan Suter or any other player might test the waters of unrestricted free agency, the plain and simple truth of the matter is that it’s the player’s decision. The player’s current rights-holders can do everything in their power to convince said players to stay, but in the case of “marquee” free agents, history tends to suggest that one might as well flip a coin when attempting to predict whether a player wishes to remain where he is, or whether the lure of having a Brinks truck backed up to their porch and being told they never have to worry about being taken care of for the foreseeable future, by multiple suitors, is simply too tempting to resist, even if that means making a decision regarding a long-term commitment to an unknown employer over the course of an hour, or often, fifteen or twenty minutes.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun offers five potential ways for the NHL to “Reduce the Grind” of October-to-June hockey, and while I adore LeBrun, every time a MSM’er brings this suggestion up, I want to find a hammer:
2. Cancel All-Star Weekend. Well you know how I’ve felt about the All-Star Game for a long time. But the three-to-four days that the NHL pauses for this meaningless and boring event could be better used to help spread out the regular-season games. Why waste those days on an event few people care about?
He continues, of course, but this…This just pisses me off so damn much, because while yes, the All-Star Game is a glorified no-hit, exhibition-style game where—gasp!—the players are simply having fun playing with incredibly skilled peers and are trying not to get hurt, but for Monkey’s sake, the players enjoy it, the people who pay overpriced tickets to attend the skills competition and game seem to enjoy it, and, put bluntly, there is no way in frickin’ hell that the NHL is ever, ever going to cancel an event that is its best in-season opportunity to wine and dine its sponsors.
Updated 3x at 4:40 PM: Continuing a theme from the overnight report this morning, MLive’s Ansar Khan offers one more slate of reminisces and recollections of the Red Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup win from a slightly different cast of characters, including then-GM Jimmy Devellano, Fox Sports Detroit analyst Larry Murphy and Wings exec Kris Draper:
“I remember the first (Cup) very (vividly) because it happened at the Joe,” Lidstrom said. “I’m out there with Vladimir Konstantinov; you’re just hoping you can keep the puck in the corner. He falls on it and we’re all just waiting for the buzzer to go. That feeling when that buzzer goes, the crowd went nuts, the players went nuts. The city’s been waiting 40-some years for it. That moment, when you’re winning it all and all the players are hugging your goalie, celebrating, is something special.”
A day after the Free Press posited a Mitch Albom reminisce from June 7th, 1997, and a few hours after Fox Sports Detroit posted a special section commemorating the Red Wings’ first Stanley Cup win of the modern era (links regrettably go to my blather surrounding said stories), the Detroit Free Press gave the Wayback machine another push.
The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to a horse-racing owner about his passion for a sport that has little to nothing to do with horse-racing:
Certainly, I’ll Have Another is Paul Reddam’s current favourite player, but there’s some other prominent athletes that the Windsor, Ont.-born owner of the Triple Crown contender also devotes much of his time to following. That would be the Detroit Red Wings.
“They’re my favourite team,” said Reddam, who allowed the he never misses a Detroit game.
Reddam tapes all the Wings games, and refuses to let anyone tell him the score until he has time to watch and discover the outcome himself.
Continued, and yes, he’s named his horses after Wings players, but unlike Wings players, he points out that horses are not “born winners.”
This feels like a Kanye West post, but the Detroit Free Press’s posting of a Mitch Albom article recalling the morning of Game 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers some 15 years ago for one Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman gave us all a heavy hint that, over the next couple of weeks, Detroit’s press outlets will remember what was the Wings’ first Cup in 42 years and their first of four captured over the course of 11 seasons, the pent-up excitement which let loose in a hockey town which would slowly but surely earn its self-titled moniker…
And of course, the fact that the celebration lasted for all of seven days before Detroit stopped on a dime and went into hope-and-pray mode when Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov were severely injured in a limo accident.
The Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor is on a crusade, as he always is when he writes about hockey. Whether he’s talking about concussions, fighting, prescription drug abuse, the nature of the game or his technical area of expertise in its “Canadianness,” and tonight, it’s no different. MacGregor took an interview most Wings fans have yet to hear, from assistant GM Jim Nill on Ottawa’s Team 1200 (even I can’t find it in their archives), speaking about the fact that it’s not just Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement that has the Wings reconsidering whether the tam should be built upon a blueprint of puck possession hockey played by sometimes smaller but always more skilled players.
MacGregor says that Nill all but “choked” on the air, admitting that the past season’s worth of an obstruction crackdown slipping into nothingness and playoff series where five skaters play goal without goal pads, one plays goal with pads, and concepts like “forechecking” and “backside pressure” have given way to trying to score the first goal and then playing soccer on skates for the rest of the game:
The Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye released statements regarding the untimely passing of Bryan Rufenach, a 23-year-old Wings prospect, and this evening, WWNY TV reveals that the circumstances of his passing are sadly as simple as can be:
University officials say 23 year old Bryan Rufenach, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings who played at Clarkson from 2007 to 2011, was on a backpacking tour of Europe when he touched an energized overhead line while attempting to board a train Tuesday and was electrocuted.
Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned a tribute to Rufenach and confirmed via 20min.ch‘s Nathalie Jufer that his passing was accidental, but not as simple as reported here. Here’s her story about his passing, translated (quite well) from Swiss-German:
Not-too-surprisignly, DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose reports that Cory Emmerton was named the Red Wings’ rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters’ Association:
“The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association is excited to name Cory Emmerton as the Red Wings rookie of the year,” said Vicki Foley, DSBA president. “Cory demonstrated good skills during his rookie season with the club, and I’m sure he can look forward to a bright future here in Detroit.”
The 24-year-old Emmerton finished among the NHL rookie leaders in takeaways (16), and total face-offs taken (313), while managing to win 48.2 percent of those draws. A St. Thomas, Ontario, native, Emmerton was originally selected by the Wings in the second-round of the 2006 NHL draft, and he’s the fifth Wings’ center so honored by the DSBA since Pavel Datsyuk received the award following the 2001-02 season.
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.