The Malik Report
The agent for Jaromir Jagr said on Thursday that the forward is “99 percent’’ sure to return to the NHL rather than sign with a Russian team but that he can’t sign a contract until July 1, the start of free agency. Petr Svobda said Jagr still hasn’t decided which NHL club to join after playing in Russia the past three seasons. The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams with confirmed interest. Another team or two might be in the mix.
“It is going to be the NHL,’’ Svobda said. “Something (unexpected) would have to happen for him to go back to Russia. I’d say it’s 99 percent certain he’ll play in the NHL. He’s got teams he’d rather go to because he’s got a very good chance of winning. Detroit is one possibility. He likes their team concept.’‘
As noted in the mid-day post, the Penguins’ press believes that there’s a sense that Jagr’s waiting for Mario Lemieux to step in and convince Ray Shero to sign Jagr, but, depending on who you believe, the Penguins are either going to match the Wings’ reported $2.5 million offer or they’re going to ask Jagr to take less—and TSN’s Bob McKenzie has revealed that the “mystery team” is Montreal. Jagr’s a pal of Tomas Plekanec’s and he’s always been intrigued by playing in La Belle Province, but the bottom line is that Jagr’s making the Wings wait to see what the Penguins can offer him and whether they’re really interested in bringing him back.
Update: Per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Updated 4x with the media’s take on “highlights” at 3:05 PM: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s John Hahn, here’s the Detroit Red Wings’ release regarding their 2011-2012 regular season schedule:
The Red Wings announced their 2011-12 schedule that includes one of the most fan-friendly schedules for fans throughout Hockeytown to come see the Wings play at Joe Louis Arena as a total of 24 home games are slated for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The regular season begins with a fantastic October lineup that starts on opening night with an Eastern Conference battle vs. the Ottawa Senators and their new head coach, former Wings assistant Paul MacLean. The exciting October schedule also includes the first of six “Bobblehead Thursdays” at The Joe when 2011 Stanley Cup finalist Vancouver comes to town on October 13. The first collectable bobblehead will feature Pavel Datsyuk while the final Thursday game of the season, April 5 vs. New Jersey, will honor 7-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom.
Highlights throughout the remainder of the season include the return of Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman when Detroit plays host to Tampa Bay on November 30, the Wings’ traditional New Year’s Eve game vs. the St. Louis Blues, a January visit by former Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres, and a matchup of two of the best Russian-born NHL products in March when Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit Pavel Datsuk and the Wings.
Here’s the schedule:
Updated 6x w/ more Jagr stuff at 3:21 PM: Earlier today, I appeared on the NHL Home Ice’s War Room with Mick Kern and Peter Berce, and we discussed Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s seventh Norris Trophy win, the scuttlebutt surrounding Jaromir Jagr’s Pens-or-Wings decision-making process, my ill-chosen words regarding Justin Bourne’s take on Lidstrom and a few other quick tidbits.
The entire interview took about 20 minutes, so the player/download link will follow after the jump:
Updated at 1:27 PM with a 11-minute McNamara interview: As Paul’s already posted, the Grand Rapids Griffins announced that long-time GM Bob McNamara is departing the team after 15 years with the organization, choosing to pursue “new opportunities” in hockey…
“It’s been a great run over the last 15 years, beyond what I could have imagined when I came to Grand Rapids,” said McNamara. “But as difficult as it is to leave this organization, it’s time for me to look for a new challenge. Staying in one place for so long doesn’t happen very often in our industry, and I’ve been very fortunate to work with outstanding players, coaches and front office staff and enjoy the incredible support of Griffins fans. Most of all, I’d like to thank [owners] Dan DeVos and David Van Andel for the opportunity they gave me, the trust they placed in me, and the friendship they showed me throughout the years,” added McNamara.
But the end of the press release offers an intriguing shift in terms of who’s going to make decisions about the Griffins’ roster on a day-to-day basis:
Updated 2x at 8:17 AM: Sometimes it’s better to start with the bluntly obvious and go from there:
Good news from Wednesday = Nicklas Lidstrom wins seventh Norris Trophy despite the fact that Jay Mohr cannot pronounce his name correctly; for some reason the NHL’s chosen to reveal its schedule later today instead of mid-July, and the Chairman apparently has a sense of humor, because, as the Macomb Daily’s
Chuck Pleiness notes, the Wings will play their home opener against Paul MacLean, his moustache, and the Ottawa Senators on October 7th.
Weird and/or bad news from yesterday and this morning, depending on your point of view, from the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby:
As of Tuesday night, serious talks between the Penguins and the agent for Jaromir Jagr had not taken place, but Pittsburgh is believed to be his favoured NHL destination, with Detroit second.
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s -2 plus-minus rating didn’t prevent “Norris Nick” from winning his seventh Norris Trophy and making the NHL’s First All-Star Team, but after all the talk from NHL writers suggesting that Lidstrom simply didn’t dominate like Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber this past season, it was a bit of a surprise to see Lidstrom tie Doug Harvey as the second-most-decorated defenseman of all time—in the closest Norris Trophy voting from 1st to 3rd place ever!
As the 41-year-old told the Associated Press, winning the Norris never gets old, nor is it any less special, as time marches on:
“It feels surreal having reached seven Norrises, especially at this stage in my career,” said Lidstrom. “I’m very proud to still be able to play at this level and win another Norris.”
Lidstrom’s seventh Norris tied Montreal star Doug Harvey, and he now only trails the legendary Bobby Orr’s record of eight.
“It gives me some motivation to get ready for next season now having won another Norris,” Lidstrom said. “I think it helps going through the off-season workouts.”
I can’t wait until we see the voting on this one…Nicklas Lidstrom just won his seventh Norris Trophy, and the Red Wings’ captain now only trails Bobby Orr in Norris Trophies won.
Update Via Paul and NHL.com:
Red Wings’ Lidstrom Wins Seventh Norris Trophy:
Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings has won his seventh career James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman demonstrating “the greatest all-around ability in the position,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Lidstrom edged Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators 736-727 in the closest race for first place since 1996, when Chicago’s Chris Chelios finished five points ahead of Boston’s Ray Bourque, 408-403. With Lidstrom, Weber and third-place Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins receiving similar first-place vote totals (Lidstrom 35, Weber 32, Chara 33) and the trio separated by just 48 points, this marks the tightest three-way race for the Norris Trophy since its introduction in 1954.
Via RedWingsFeed on Twitter: the NHL’s schedule is usually released in early July, but between the NFL lockout and a looming NBA lockout, the NHL’s apparently decided to jump the gun and release its regular-season schedule for the 2011-2012 season on Thursday. For the Red Wings ,the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, the season will begin with a reunion of sorts:
The Red Wings will see a familiar face in the home opener of the 2011-12 regular season.
The Wings will host the Ottawa Senators on Friday, Oct. 7, at Joe Louis Arena. The Senators are now coached by Paul MacLean, who was Mike Babcock’s assistant the last six seasons in Detroit. MacLean was named Senators’ head coach earlier this month.
Updated with the Wings’ draft pick order: Of Red Wings-related note as we wait for the NHL Awards to get underway at 7 pm EDT (live on Versus, tape-delayed at 8 PM on the CBC, live-streamed on CBCSports.ca): Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner believes that, should one compare Nicklas Lidstrom’s status to that of Brian Rafalski, one may very well suggest that Lidstrom has entered “genetic freak” territory when it comes to staving off the aging process:
[Lidstrom] kept saying that it depended on whether he wanted to continue to train like a mad man during the offseason. OK, I added the mad man thing, but the point is that physically Nick is there. It just comes down to where hockey is in his life.
We may believe that all a professional athlete has to do is show up for a few hours, play their game and then go home. That is hardly the case. These athletes have to work their tails off year round or they will not be pro athletes for very long. In their 20s and early 30s—depending on their injury history—training is second nature. When you start to hit your late 30s, priorities shift—not to mention waistlines—and you start to ask yourself, “Do I really want to go through this rigmarole again?”
Updated with Hawks talk (they’re not interested) at 1:37 PM: And so the Jaromir Jagr to the Red Wings-or-Penguins drama continues, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi...
Jaromir Jagr is expected to speak with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero at some point today, according to Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda.
“That’s what I am expecting to happen today,” Svoboda said. “They are supposed to talk.”
Nothing imminent is expected with Jagr’s status. Svoboda confirmed that the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings remain the frontrunners for Jagr’s services.
“But nothing is going to happen in the next couple of days,” Svoboda said.
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.