The Malik Report
Earlier today, it was announced that Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin and Daniel Alfredsson will serve as consultants for Team Sweden's 2016 World Cup of Hockey team, and Lidstrom gave a short interview to the Swedish news agency TT about his role. Here's a rough translation of said interview:
Nicklas Lidstrom is going to help the Swedish national ice hockey team as a consultant for the 2016 World Cup, and in an interview with the Swedish news agency TT, Lidstrom sounds like his pragmatic self regarding his, Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin's respective roles as sounding boards for coach Rikard Gronborg's team:
"I received an inquiry last summer to be a sounding board. It felt right and I'm very interested. We will listen to the coaches, what they want to help and [give] feedback," says Lidstrom.
He now lives in Vasteras, but travels several times to North America in the winter, and has an eye on NHL hockey.
"I know how the NHL works, and I have a decent idea of how it goes for the Swedes," he says.
You may take this critique of Johan Franzen's "upside," penned by the Hockey News's Jared Clinton, for what you will:
Before signing his big money, long-term deal with the Red Wings, Franzen was on pace for what would become consecutive 25-plus-goal seasons. In 2008-08, the year he signed his current deal, he was in the midst of a monster 34-goal, 59-point campaign. But since his career year, Franzen has dealt with a laundry list of injuries that have forced him out of game action for more than 150 contests.
While he’s been a frustrating player for Red Wings fans at times — with his goal scoring ability, many see him as a consistent 30-goal player but he’s been unable to muster 30 markers since 2008-09 — most of his offensive “struggles” aren’t due to inconsistency but rather due to injury. Three of his past six seasons, he has scored at a 30-goal pace. In two of the past three, he has been on a 25-tally clip, which is still great production from a power forward outside of his prime.
Michigan State University's pro camp is already underway, but the Red Wings' players took part in the Ilitch Charities for Children's Golf Classic yesterday, so they're making their debuts at Munn Arena today:
Why does Paul McCartney have a Red Wings sticker on his guitar...where did he get it? (You'll see it and Sir Paul at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 21st - tickets on Tickets ($29.50, $69.50, $99.50, $168 and $253) go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online at OlympiaEntertainment.com or LiveNation.com. They can also be bought at the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call 800-745-3000. )
From a Q&A last year with Sir Paul: "We were on a Wings tour quite a while ago and when we played Detroit somebody gave me a Red Wings sticker, which I liked the look of, so I stuck it on my guitar and I have kept it there ever since. It does make it a little awkward when I go to places like Pittsburgh and the Mayor of the town offers me a Penguin sticker to put alongside!"
As for the guitar itself, McCartney has said it's the one he used to write "Yesterday" back in the mid-1960s and was made in Kalamazoo.
The concert he received the Red Wings sticker at was reportedly at the old Olympia Stadium in 1976 during his Wings Over America tour.
MLive's Ansar Khan evaluates Tomas Tatar's outlook for the 2015-16 season today, and in Tatar's case, keeping the good times rolling is in order:
2015-16 outlook: This gifted offensive player followed his strong first full NHL season with a better second season, showing he can be consistently productive. He plays with confidence and is highly motivated to keep improving his all-around game. "Tuna," as he's been tabbed by teammates, is not deterred by his size; he goes to the net and scores many goals from in tight when his good hands. He has good open-ice moves, capable of making highlight-reel plays. He spent much of the season on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm.
Tatar would like to be a two-way forward in the mold of team captain Henrik Zetterberg, but he lacks defensive acumen. He can improve his puck management. He has a knack for committing turnovers in the offensive zone by holding onto the puck too long, trying to make a skilled play instead of a simple play.
He's young and has tremendous upside.
Key question: Can Tatar become a consistent 30-goal scorer?
Khan continues, and "Tuna" will need to simplify his game just a wee bit more to consistently score 30 goals. His overhandling of the puck can become his worst enemy.
From MLive's Ansar Khan:
Detroit Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant went to see Pavel Datsyuk last week "at some place warm" and liked what he saw, general manager Ken Holland said.
Datsyuk is rehabbing from surgery on June 26 for ruptured tendons in his right ankle.
"Piet watched him work out, told me he's in good spirits," Holland said. "He's had no setbacks. He's doing lots of training. He's excited. He wants to feel 100 percent. He's happy about the surgery, what he's able to do at this point."
Datsyuk will be re-evaluated in mid-September by Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the procedure in Charlotte, N.C. The club will know more at that time.
Former NHL players Nicklas Lidstrom, Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin have been named to Sweden's advisory board for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Lidstrom, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 9 in Toronto, won the Norris Trophy seven times. He was a First-Team All-Star 10 times and played in the NHL All-Star Game 11 times. He had 264 goals and 1,142 points, all with the Detroit Red Wings. In 20 NHL seasons, he never missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs and won four championships and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs in 2002. He became the first European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2008.
We've talked about Drew Miller before, and this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James analyzes Miller's value to the Wings.
As Miller goes into a "contract year" along with Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Darren Helm, Kyle Quincey and Brad Richards as unrestricted free agents-to-be, and with Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek to re-sign as restricted free agents (per War-on-Ice.com), I still wonder whether this is Miller's last season in Detroit due to the limited offense that he provides:
Looking back: During his first few seasons in Detroit, Miller looked like a bargain bottom-six forward by contributing in the 10-goal/20-point range. The past two have been more mundane, but then Miller isn't counted on for offense, so any he provides is a bonus. He is a good grinder and penalty killer, and he turned it up in the playoffs.
Looking ahead: Miller is entering the last year of his contract, one that might be his last with the Wings. He is 31, and the Wings have a handful of prospects ready to challenge for jobs. He is a good veteran, though, one who can be trusted to play well in his zone. He's also a top-notch penalty killer, second on the team in shorthanded minutes per game to Luke Glendening. For the young guys trying to earn minutes, Miller will be tough to oust.
Otherwise, it was all smiles at the Ilitch Charities For Children golf classic today, as WXYZ's Brad Galli reported...
Everyone has an opinion regarding the two most divisive Red Wings players this side of Jimmy Howard, and I suppose that Monday evening's news that A) Daniel Cleary will probably return to the Red Wings' "family" for the 2015-16 season and that B) Johan Franzen will most likely be cleared to play by neurologists at the University of Michigan at some point should generate discussion...
But neither news item is particularly surprising.
I can give you fifteen different reasons why I don't believe that the Red Wings "owe" Daniel Cleary anything else after last year's $2.5 million in salary and bonuses for 17 games' of service, and I can tell you time and again that the Flyers scribe with the most knowledge of the situation insists that Daniel Cleary was offered a pro try-out, not a 3-year, $9 million contract...
But I can also tell you that every interaction I've had with Ken Holland and every decision of Holland's that I've studied over my nine years doing this job for a living inform me that Ken Holland is nothing but relentlessly consistent, and I am absolutely, positively, 100% sure that Ken Holland believes that he owes Daniel Cleary one more year's worth of pay and some sort of guarantee of professional hockey employment, even if that means--as Khan's reporting--a 1-way, $950,000 contract that can be fully buried in Grand Rapids.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland at today's Ilitch Charities for Chlidren Celebrity Golf Classic; Holland expressed optimism regarding Johan Franzen's status and uncertainty about Pavel Datsyuk:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is “cautiously optimistic” about Franzen’s status for training camp, which starts in mid-September, and the regular season.
“Everything I hear is positive,” said Holland, who along with Franzen, participated in the Ilitch Charities Golf Outing at Oakland Hills Country Club on Monday. “I saw him before the round (Monday) and he’s in good spirits. He’s out here competing and golfing.”
Franzen, 35, has had previous concussion issues. During last season’s playoff series against the Lightning, Franzen skated with the team and was optimistic he’d be ready to play had the Red Wings advanced. They, however, lost in the first round.
“He’s getting in better shape,” Holland said. “When a guy doesn’t have camp (skating, conditioning) from January to June, it takes a while. But he looks good.”
According to Kulfan, the Wings won't reevaluate Datsyuk's condition until the middle of September, and that seems to jibe with the surgical timeline of Datsyuk returning anywhere from mid-October to mid-November, depending on how fast he heals:
“We don’t really have a time frame (on a return),” Holland said. “But he’s doing good, he’s feeling good. I got a text from his agent Dan Milstein saying Pavel is in good spirits and feeling good.”
Update: Here's more on Franzen from MLive's Ansar Khan:
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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.