The Malik Report
The Red Wings' summer development camp starts on Friday morning, and its July 4th-to-8th timeline (tomorrow's events are short-Team Yzerman will practice from 10-11 and Team Lidstrom will practice from 11-12; there's a simultaneous-team practice from 9-9:45 and then a 3 PM scrimmage on Saturday, with the long "skills" days taking place on Sunday and Monday [on-ice from 9-11:45], and a scrimmage wraps things up on the 8th) is the earliest I can remember since I started attending the camps back in 2008...
Given the Red Wings' suddenly-predictably tepid July 1st performance, however, I think that an "early camp" might be for the best.
from chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
“He says he feels great,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Thursday. “He went on the ice Monday. (Trainer) Piet Van Zant went up to watch him skate and he thought he looked good.”
The Wings targeted Weiss on the first day of free agency last season and landed the center for a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.
Weiss, 31, managed to play just 26 games this season totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4.
“I told him I only want to hear if there’s a setback,” Holland said. “If I don’t hear from him I’ll assume he’s getting better and better and better. So no news is good news.”
from Dave Bartkowiak Jr. of ClickOnDetroit,
The truth is they're a young team on the rise still looking for an identity. They're looking to mesh.
The Red Wings have huge promise and big expectations for young players such as Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Xavier Ouellet, Anthony Mantha, and dare I mention Brendan Smith?
For fans, this should be a team to get excited about. For free agents looking to win now, not so much. Guys signing big contracts are looking for the best place to win today. Being part of a transitional/retooling/rebuilding (whatever you want to call this) period is generally not a selling factor.
That's not a knock on the organization, it's not a knock on the coach, and it's not a knock on the GM. It's just how stuff happens now in the salary-capped NHL. Franchises can't just buy a contending roster overnight. Winning teams must be nurtured through the farm system.
Look at the Los Angeles Kings. That team has been built from the ground up, starting around the 2005-06 season. They put a system in place. They got a bunch of their own players -- their own draft picks -- to commit to the team's program.
I know that Red WIngs fans were about as thrilled with the team's signings of forwards Kevin Porter and Andy Miele as you or I would be with getting lumps of coal on Christmas, but the signings did help build the foundation of the 2014-2015 Grand Rapids Griffins' roster.
Today, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner examines the Griffins' roster as it stands after the Porter and Miele signings. as well as the signing of Shane Berschbach, who inked an AHL-only deal:
Miele was the third leading scorer in the AHL with 72 points (27-45-72) in 70 games with Portland last season, while Porter played 50 games with Rochester with 36 points (19-17-36) and got into 12 games with the Buffalo Sabres (0-1-1). Both are former Hobey Baker Award winners.
Berschbach, a collegiate the past four seasons, will battle for a roster spot in Grand Rapids or be sent to Toledo in the ECHL.
Updated 3x at 12:18 PM: In news that is as predictable as suggesting that Michigan will be humid in July, I was in absentia yesterday due to a sinus bug. I'm not feeling fantastic today, either, but a day's worth of rest + many people having paid my way = it's time to pack and haul ass to Traverse City.
Updated 2x at 12:36 PM: Puck Daddy's weighed in on the Red Wings' status as no longer a unique destination for free agents...The Sporting News's Sean Gentille notes that a certain Mike Commodore's not-so-delicately played the, "Your coach is an *#$%@& and that's why nobody wants to come to Detroit" line on Twitter (this has become a disturbingly common line, as has the, "Injuries are clearly not coincidental" theory among fans), and the Detroit Sports Site's Chris Burke reports that Wings fans are so pissed off that they messed with Ken Holland's Wikipedia page, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spent yesterday speaking with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Rico & Beard about the Wings' whiffs...
And ESPN's Pierre LeBrun believes that the Red Wings have one good alternative in terms of improving the team via the trade route:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They will return 13 forwards (not including Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, whose statuses remain undecided), losing only David Legwand, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson from the season-ending roster. And they'll bring back the same goaltenders -- Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson.
It's a group that had to scrap for every precious point. They squeaked into the playoffs as the second wild-card in the Eastern Conference before being dispatched in five games by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.
But while they have not improved thus far in the off-season, there is much room for improvement from within.
The Red Wings had 421 man-games lost to injury – second in the NHL according to mangameslost.com. They missed their best players for significant chunks of the season – Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg played 45 games each, Johan Franzen appeared in 54 games. Defensemen Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser and Brendan Smith missed 62 games combined.
It was a wasted season for second-line center Stephen Weiss (four points in 26 games), who can only be healthier and better.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
The Red Wings struck out on Day 1 of free agency Tuesday, failing to land the premier defenseman they coveted despite having loads of money to spend under the salary cap.
Heck, Dan Boyle even took a couple of million less than the Red Wings were offering to sign with the New York Rangers.
Seeing the Red Wings strike out made Ken Campbell of The Hockey News ask if the opening of free agency was "Opposite Day."
"After pretty much ruling the NHL for the past two decades, the Detroit Red Wings have fallen on hard times indeed," Campbell wrote. "Remember the days when free agency would open and the Red Wings would basically open for business, basically telling whichever veterans stars they wanted that playing for the Red Wings was a privilege? The Red Wings never begged and they never got turned down
read on which includes views on the Wings day from other hockey sources...
added 2:23pm, Official release of the Quincey signing is below...
Red Wings overnight report: sorting out the free agency strikeout yields more questions than answers
I am very upset with the way things turned out on Tuesday, but I've chosen to marry myself to "my" Wings no matter how angry or frustrated I might feel regarding a managerial or team performance, and I'm "married" professionally to this blogging job, so I'm going to resist the urge to pull the covers over my head and sulk and try to write an overnight report.
If you followed the the "strike-out," "Niskanen alive?" and "beat writers disagree" posts, you read quite a few contradictory Tweets regarding the players the Detroit Red Wings didn't land on Tuesday. Here are some later-breaking tidbits:
Bringing Alfredsson back? As long as his back's fine, he co-led the team in scoring. Bringing Cleary back? Only on a 2-way, league-minimum contract that is a pro try-out. With no preferential treatment and a promise that he's riding a bus if Tomas Jurco, Mitch Callahan or Landon Ferraro out-play him. Jurco does not deserve to be "Nyquist'd' to start the 14-15 season, no way, no how.
When Paul texted me stating that the Red Wings had re-signed Kyle Quincey as the team's answer to not being able to land Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Tom Gilbert, Matt Niskanen, Anton Stralman or any of their other targets on defense, I had to step away from the computer for a couple hours.
I wasn't kidding when I said that, as a fan, as long as the team didn't sign Ed Jovanovski or re-sign Quincey, I'd be fine. So I thought I'd sleep it off. I didn't sleep at all.
And here is what I have to say: if this team is no longer a "destination" for players, it has nothing to do with the coach who happens to drive his players nuts but is also respected by 95% of those who play for him; if this team is no longer a "destination" for players, it's not about the disparity between Detroit's struggles and the suburbs' resurgence as good places to live; if this team is no longer a "destination" for players, it's not about the fact that the rink is at the end of its lifespan; and if this team is no longer a "destination" for players, it's not that the Red Wings have "lost their mystique."
It's the fact that, in each and every occasion where the Wings' management does not land its target, instead of doing the smart thing--and waiting, pausing to reassess its status and looking for creative ways to get better--it makes a lateral move, bringing back a "known quantity" player (a.k.a. some sort of alumnus) in order to plug a hole.
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.