The Malik Report
While the Grand Rapids Griffins attempt to avoid a winner-take-all situation by capitalizing on their 3-games-to-2 lead over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final this evening (7 PM EDT, WOOD TV in Grand Rapids/FoxSportsDetroit.com across Michigan, AHLLive.com everywhere, Time Warner Cable in New York, and WOOD Radio), the Red Wings' roster picture will have gotten a bit clearer back in Metro Detroit.
The news that Pavel Datsyuk's going to ink a 3-year contract extension, and that Pavel Datsyuk's "big day" will involve sitting down to lunch with Ken Holland and Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin (so say MLive's Ansar Khan, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness) to get the final details worked out so that Datsyuk can sign on the dotted line on July 5th (he still has a year remaining on his current contract, so a 3-year extension translates to 4 more seasons of play, knock on wood). The only thing Datsyuk needs to worry about losing, if anything, is his first of two TSN Play of the Year semifinals.
[edit/update: and Bob McKenzie knows "how big":
...Back to Khan /end edit]:
Pavel Datsyuk is close to agreeing to a multi-year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings, his agent told MLive.com on Monday. The contract can't be officially signed, registered or announced until July 5, the first day of free agency, because Datsyuk has one year remaining on his current deal.
Gary Greenstin, Datsyuk's Los Angeles area-based agent, said he was flying to Detroit on Monday to meet with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. It sounds as if they will put the finishing touches on the deal.
“Me and Ken and Pavel (are) very close,'' Greenstin said.
Greenstin told Khan that things are...Well, "close":
Good news for Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins fans:
AHLLive.com will air the game as well, and Time-Warner Cable will air the game in upstate New York.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' trip to Syracuse, New York took exactly one hour, and the fact that they flew on Red Bird III didn't go unnoticed by the local media corps. WOOD TV8 will air tomorrow night's Game 6 in Grand Rapids (it's a 7 PM EDT start; if you live outside WXSP's broadcast area like I do, you'll be watching the Crunch's broadcasters on AHLLive.com as the Albany Times-Union reported that Time-Warner Cable will broadcast the game from Syracuse again), and they dispatched a camera crew to Van Andel Arena to get some "pre-flight" comments from the Griffins' players and coach:
Last night's translated article from Sport.ch's Tobias Wust apparently originated from a 10-minute interview that Red Wings free-agent-to-be Damien Brunner gave to Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, and here's a solid translation of their highlighted transcription of the interview (three videos are embeddded in the story, but I'm guessing that you're not going to get much out of them if you don't speak Swiss-tinged German):
Brunner: "The motto is practice, practice and practice."
Damien Brunner registered 17 goals over the course of 58 games played during his first NHL season with Detroit, and he reached the second round of the playoffs. The Swiss forward discussed his future potential and his pals on the Red Wings' [roster].
Updated 2x with a Riley Sheahan story at 1:13 PM: The Syracuse Crunch decided to spend Sunday morning busing back to upstate New York after defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night, but the Griffins were able to take a slightly shorter route as they begin to prepare for Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final:
Busing around the southern shore of Lake Erie takes over 12 hours. Red Bird III ferried the Griffins to their destination in exactly one hour's worth of flight time.
TMR reader Craig from Grand Rapids took this photo of the plane embarking upon its trip:
This entry is going to be a little more rambly than usual, so please bear with me:
First and foremost, Pavel Datsyuk is facing off against St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen in TSN's Play of the Year semifinal, and he is trailing by a SIGNIFICANT margin. Voting ends at Midnight EDT on Tuesday (i.e. 11:59 PM on Monday night).
There is some good news on Datsyuk's goal vs. Jonathan Quick battling Jake Allen stopping a Flames shot with a turnaround save: James Duthie says that Datsyuk's goal through all the Nashville Predators' players will be in the other semifinal.
Here's the goal vs. Quick...
This is a general interest-type story/topic, but I felt that my Wings-centric perspective merited posting it here. Feel free to read or ignore as you wish:
If any consolation could be taken from the Red Wings' second-round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks--and it was somewhat heartening to know that Niklas Kronwall stated that the Wings' collapse still stings when he attended the MIS 400 on Sunday--it's the fact that the Wings' outgoing division rival and their new division rival, the Boston Bruins, can't wrap up their Stanley Cup Final series until at least June 21st, by which time even stragglers like Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk will have headed back to their off-season homes.
The "off-season" term is something of a misnomer for the rest of the NHL.
Tomorrow, the Grand Rapids Griffins will head to Syracuse, New York to begin to prepare for a hopefully Calder Cup-clinching Game 6 of their AHL Final series against the Syracuse Crunch (Game 6 will take place on Tuesday and an if-necessary Game 7 would take place on Thursday, with both games held at the Onecenter War Memorial Arena).
As the Griffins attempt to rebound from losses in Games 4 and 5, they won't have to repeat their 12-plus-hour bus ride around Lake Erie's southern shore and into Upstate New York in a pair of sleeper buses (and it should be noted that the Crunch spent Saturday night and Sunday morning busing back to Syracuse).
According to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, the Griffins will traverse the 480-or-so miles between "GR" and Syracuse in a little over an hour thanks to an assist from the Red Wings:
Updated 3x at 1:37 PM: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall is one of the Grand Marshals at the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He bluntly assessed the Cup Final and his lingering bitterness regarding the way the Wings' bowed out to Chicago in the second round:
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