The Malik Report
In the "Business of Hockey," WDET's Stephen Henderson spoke with Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson regarding the Wings' follow-on facility, and Wilson gave a sixteen-minute update on the status of both the follow-on rink and the surrounding economic development:
Among the interview's highlights, from WDET:
Land of opportunity: Wilson says that The District Detroit, which consists of a 45-block development connecting downtown Detroit and Midtown, will encourage businesses to set up shop in this area and will draw diverse crowds to the hundreds of events that will be held in the new Red Wings arena every year. He says the arena, set to be finished in 2017, will be coming at the perfect time, as downtown Detroit is becoming an “entertainment Mecca.”
A new home for the Pistons?: Wilson says at this time the question of the Detroit Pistons making the Red Wings arena their home as well is pure speculation. He says if this did happen, it would mean more nights for the arena to be filled and with the amount of hope and optimism in downtown Detroit surrounding this project, he thinks it would be a good move.
In case you're interested in the Red Wings' annual craft beer and food truck event, from the Wings:
TICKETS FOR HOCKEYTOWN BREWHAHA FOWLING & FEASTING ON SALE FRIDAY AT 10 A.M.
… Game of Fowling, Locally Brewed Beers & Seasonal Small Plates Highlight Event on July 31 at Joe Louis Arena …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment are proud to announce their sixth installment of the Hockeytown BrewHaHa Event Series with the first-ever BrewHaHa Fowling & Feasting event, presented by MotorCity Casino Hotel, set to be held inside Joe Louis Arena on Friday, July 31 from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Building off the widely-successful Hockeytown BrewHaHa Event Series, the Red Wings and Detroit’s Fowling Warehouse have teamed up to feature the popular game of fowling – the exciting football and bowling pin game which originated in Detroit. Those in attendance will also enjoy a wide range of local and regionally brewed beers and a variety of seasonal culinary offerings prepared by Olympia Entertainment Executive Chef John Borso.
Yesterday evening, former Grand Rapids Griffins forward and assistant coach Todd Nelson was identified as a serious candidate for the Griffins' head coaching job, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner is confirming that the Wings are interviewing Nelson as one of the six candidates for the job:
Todd Nelson, a familiar face to hockey fans in West Michigan, is interviewing today for the vacant position with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit Red Wings officials confirmed.
Nelson, 46, was the interim head coach for the Edmonton Oilers for 42 games this season. He previously spent four seasons as head coach with Oklahoma City in the AHL.
Nelson is also a trivia answer about the Griffins. He was the first player signed by the franchise for their inaugural season in 1996-97. He played three seasons as a defenseman with the Griffins (also '98 and 2000) and part of a fourth (seven games in '02), and then served as an assistant coach under Danton Cole in '02-03.
Derek Lalonde, coach of Toledo in the ECHL, has been most mentioned as successor. Other possible candidates are Griffins assistant Pat Ferschweiler, Erie Otters' Kris Knoblauch and former Boston Bruins coach and recent Vancouver Canucks assistant Mike Sullivan.
Wallner continues, reporting the timeline for a probable follow-on coaching announcement...
Updated 4x at 12:27 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Production Line's Michael Petrella conducted an exhaustive mock draft and analysis of the Wings' possible options over at Winging It in Motown, and this qualifies as a must-read;
2. This didn't post until this morning, but Ted Lindsay spoke with WDFN's Matt Sheppard yesterday, discussing the Blashill hiring and the Wings' performance over the past couple of post-seasons:
You can watch it or listen to it: Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on Sportsnet/The Fan 590's Prime Time Sports to discuss Jeff Blashill's hiring with Jeff Blair and Ken Reid, for nearly fourteen minutes (and Holland gives gushy praise to Mike Babcock for finding and helping mentor Blashill)...
Or you can just listen to the interview below:
Amongst this evening's Red Wings-related stories:
We had quite the chat about Ken Holland's take on his goaltenders earlier today; this evening, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness provides a timely observation from the new coach regarding the Howard-Mrazek tandem:
“The one thing that I know is that both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek have proved at different points of their careers that they’re elite goalies,” new coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think it’s great to have as much depth at every position you can and that’s what those guys have proven at different points of their careers. I know they’re elite competitors as well and character people. I’m excited to coach both of them.”
Blashill shared many more observations in an interview conducted with Grand Rapids Griffins announcer Bob Kaser, which was posted online a few hours ago:
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan keeps the focus on Blashill's areas of emphasis by discussing the state of the Wings' goaltending, their superstars, the battle against the bugaboo that is a very stacked Atlantic Division and two other "issues" that could become problems--or team strengths:
This is very, very, very big news for the Red Wings' new rink, so don't discount it as fluffernutter. MLive's Ian Thibodeau reports that Olympia Development will be able to tear down the vacant Hotel Park Avenue, which stands in the way of a loading dock and the perimeter of the planned follow-on facility:
The Detroit Historic District Commission voted in favor of razing the Park Avenue Hotel in Detroit's Cass Corridor neighborhood.
A 3-1 vote allows Olympia Development of Michigan, the development arm of the Ilitch family, to tear down the 13-story historic structure to make way for a high-capacity loading bay.
Once the bay is installed, a piazza park area is planned for the spot where the blighted hotel currently stands. The hotel is owned by Eventide Property Holdings, a company connected to the developer.
It has sat vacant since 2003.
Olympia will develop the Hotel Eddystone into housing in exchange for demolishing the Hotel Park Avenue.
From the land of Twitter, via RotoWorld, I'm not saying that Rita, one of my Grand Rapids Griffins pals, told me she knew which way the wind was blowing, but I am not surprised that former Griffins coach Todd Nelson is suddenly in the running to replace Jeff Blashill because a little birdie mentioned his name:
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reported that the Griffins have six candidates to replace Blashill, including Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde. So far we know that Todd Nelson (Oklahoma City/Edmonton Oilers), Mike Sullivan (Boston alum, Vancouver) and Erie Otters coach Kris Knoblauch, who is also in the running for the Maple Leafs' assistant coaching job, are all in the mix, but the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson believes that Nelson should be the odds-on favorite to coach the Griffins:
Those who are familiar with Nelson and his tenure with the Griffins, as a player and assistant coach, endorse him.
Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave penned a long missive about Jeff Blashill's coaching journey and dream to coach the Wings, speaking with both Jeff and Jim Blashill ("Blash's dad") about the long journey that's led Blashill to be entrusted with both a) keeping the Wings' 24-year playoff streak intact and b) advancing deeper into the playoffs than Mike Babcock's taken them in recent years:
"The pressure for me, and it's a year-to-year thing, is something you put on yourselves as an organization, as a manager, as a coach and as players, and it's bigger than any outside pressure that you could face," he said. "With that said, we don't worry about what could happen if you don't do it. We worry about what it's going to take to do it. That's our focus."
That was the focus for his Griffins this spring when they found themselves down 0-2, in the best-of-five opening-round Calder Cup playoff series with the Toronto Marlies.
"People were talking about the pressure of Game 3: If you lose, you're done," Jeff said. "We all understood that, and we weren't hiding behind it. But our focus wasn't on what might happen if we lost, it's 'What is it going to take to win?"
It is that singular focus, with the kind of attention to detail and structure and process that drew comparisons to his friend and mentor Mike Babcock, that gives General Manager Ken Holland -- and should give Wings fans -- the confidence that the team has the right man at the right time behind the Detroit bench.
Gave continues, and his article's worth your time. I can certainly tell you that Blashill believes in focusing his team on the here-and-now as much as he focuses them on intensive preparation, so the Griffins weren't talking about winning games as much as they were talking about winning period by period, shift by shift and puck battle by puck battle when they were down against the Marlies, when they were up against the Rockford IceHogs and when they ultimately fell to the Utica Comets.
The nexus of their focus never changed--it was all about the process, the journey in the present tense, and for two-and-a-half rounds this spring and six of eight playoff rounds under Blashill's tenure in Grand Rapids, that kind of singular focus worked.
Gave also provides an update on the Wings' assistant coaching search, via a separate article:
So we've talked about the incredibly unpopular option the Wings might exercise in bringing back Daniel Cleary, we've talked about Johan Franzen's possible return to health, and we've talked about Jimmy Howard's future, too.
This afternoon, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose touches upon both topics, but the main thrust of his notebook involves the Wings' pro scouting meetings, which are slated to take place next week at Joe Louis Arena. There, the Wings' pro scouts will formulate their free agency and/or trade plans based upon the Wings' projected roster for the following season, and Jeff Blashill will be taking part in said meetings to help forecast which Grand Rapids Griffins might graduate to the big club:
“Blash is going to have a perspective about the young players down there,” Holland said. “He’s going to have a perspective of being with those guys on an everyday basis as we plan. We’re trying to go younger. We’re trying to get better and sometimes when you’re dealing with younger people you got to have patience and you believe the patience is going to reward you somewhere down the line.”
Holland and Blashill have had preliminary discussions on how the new coach foresees systematic changes to the team.
“I’ve already had some conversations about where people fit and some of the conversations I had with Mike Babcock (were) a little different,” Holland said. “He sees people fitting in a little different. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to be as important, just different. Certainly as we go into training camp there might be some different line combinations, different opportunity. I’m hoping our players are excited about the opportunity.”
Holland won't have to worry about hitting the upper limit of the salary cap for the following season unless he signs a top-flight UFA defenseman and a top-six forward, but Babcock was very specific in telling Roose that he must think in four dimensions--because the Red Wings have a gaggle of restricted and unrestricted free agents-to-be next summer, and the Wings want to retain as many of them as possible:
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