The Malik Report
Updated 5x at 6:31 PM: It's definitely a strange day for the Red Wings' players. Carlo Colaiacovo made his first visit to Detroit to sign his contract, Justin Abdelkader was signed to a contract extension, and then the Wings' palyers engaged in their last practice at Joe Louis Arena before packing up their ice, watching or at least hearing the ice disappear and then packing up their gear, with 60% of the team likely to start skating in Troy tomorrow or Monday.
I'm not sure who's going to be doing their laundry, sharpening their skates, lugging their gear or attending to their bumps or bruises, but Jimmy Howard told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that it bizarrely felt like the last day of school before the semester really begins as he stuffed his Vaughn gear into bags today...
"I feel like I should be going to my exit interview with Kenny (general manager Ken Holland)," goalie Jimmy Howard said.
But, instead, Howard and the rest of the Wings are preparing for time without hockey.
"It'll be weird," Howard said. "I don't know if I've wrapped my head around it. It's just one of those things you have to take day by day.
And Howard and Zetterberg were sounding NHLPA party lines regarding the fight that is to come:
The Free Press's Helene St. James is a fantastic writer and journalist, but she's captured more in a picture than words could ever say with a picture that summarizes exactly what this lockout means to the Red Wings and their fans:
Update: Quite frankly, it's almost equally heartbreaking to hear Justin Abdelkader gush about Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, the management and coaches and the opportunity he's been given to play for the Red Wings for four more years, via the Wings' website:
This isn't necessarily surprising: the Macomb Daily's Diana Dillaber Murray took note that the Red Wings' "School Assembly Program," a charitable initiative, is continuing to roll along despite the looming lockout. The only difference that's involved in conducting the program is that the Wings will be relying upon alumni and front office personnel to get the ambassadorial job done, with Kris Draper subbing for active players earlier this week:
Former Red Wing hockey player Kris Draper jogged with Holy Name Catholic School students in Birmingham this week as part of the kickoff to the Red Wings School Assembly Program.
Children from 115 Detroit Metropolitan Area elementary schools, including almost 30 in Oakland County, can expect players, past and present, from the hockey team to visit this fall thanks to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Kroger Company of Michigan.
Given that the Red Wings are in an intriguing perceptional business position--as one of the biggest-market, moneymaking teams in a market that doesn't necessarily receive much more than mid-market media coverage--Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea chose to examine the effects of a lockout upon the Wings and the Detroit sports marketplace:
"Detroit's not going to give up on hockey, but there are marginal clubs out there that might never recover," said Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group and former deputy budget director for the state. His firm conducts sports economic analysis.
Those that would feel an immediate financial effect from the loss of Wings games would be downtown bar and parking lot owners, he said, but discretionary spending will pick up elsewhere. The benefactors would be restaurants and bars elsewhere, along with the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons and downtown casinos, Anderson said.
Updated 3x at 1:05 PM: From the Red Wings' PR department...
RED WINGS SIGN FREE AGENT DEFENSEMANCARLO COLAIACOVO TO A TWO-YEAR DEAL
... Veteran Blue-Liner has Skated in 370 Career Games With Toronto and St. Louis …
Detroit, MI... Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the team has signed free agent defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to a two-year deal. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the contract were not disclosed.
And now things get really weird, even by TMR standards. Half of the Detroit Red Wings' players took part in the NHLPA's player meetings in New York on Thursday night, and the re-signed Justin Abdelkader and his teammates will engage in one final practice at Joe Louis Arena today. After they're done, they'll bag up their gear, their skates and sticks, say goodbye to the equipment managers, trainers, coach Babcock and eventually the man who rubber-stamped the organization's vote to lock its players out in GM Ken Holland.
After today, a little under half the Red Wings' players will attempt to pursue playing options in Europe, and will find a hard road to hoe, while the other half-and-change will skate in Troy or other Metro Detroit rinks for the foreseeable future (probably starting on Monday), hoping that this lockout is a short one. Whether they'll hire their own equipment staff, trainers, or PR people is uncertain, but as soon as Saturday comes, they're on their own.
Amongst the many, many, many columns I've been reading regarding the impending lockout this morning, there's bluster (if you really want to read Ken Dryden being Ken Dryden, go ahead, but yoy...) and there's fluff, reiterating of quotes and genuine prose, and then there's something both Red Wings-related and quite thoughtful from the Globe and Mail's Bruce Dowbiggin.
With NBC broadcast money in the bank thanks to Ed Snider and other TV and online committments likely to float the owners a substantial, "We're not playing hockey games but we're still making money" bone, Dowbiggin wonders aloud whether the Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, and the HBO 24/7 series which precedes it, might be the one "pressure point" upon which the owners might feel a teensy, weensy bit of pressure to hammer out a deal, lest two of their marquee franchises lose a crapton of money (and the league loses those 110,000 seats' worth of $, sponsortship money, etc.):
[T]he real pressure point in this argument comes much earlier, around the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, which falls on Nov. 22. That’s typically when HBO cameras are gearing up for anther season of the critically acclaimed documentary series 24/7 . This year, HBO will follow the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs as they prepare for the Jan. 1 contest. To say it is hotly anticipated is like saying the Leafs are struggling a tad to win a Stanley Cup.
The format is a four-week tease leading into the Winter Classic that creates story lines and introduces personalities (tell us you’re not looking forward to Toronto president and general manager Brian Burke chewing on the scenery). When the game rolls out, viewers are onside with the characters.
I'm not looking forward to one second of Brian Burke doing anything. Mike Babcock, on the other hand...And nevertheless...
Over the next couple of...Um...probably weeks to two months, we fans are going to have some time on our hands, and while there's quite a bit of time to think about the possibility of organizing protests at NHL rinks to support local and "average" rink, team and broadcast employees and businesspeople who'll get most acutely screwed by this lockout, possibly showing up at negotiations in Toronto or New York to be annoying, perhaps engaging in the creation of lockout merchandise (my favorite idea remains, "I went to my NHL team's rink, and all they refused to do was take my money) or other forms of positive fan insurgency--knowing full well that it won't affect negotiations, even if we show up in persno to remind Gary and co. that we're people and not walking dollar signs whose discretionary income the NHL and NHLPA are arguing over (Wings fans and Penguins fans, chanting together, mass hysteria), but knowing that protest will at least help us cope and maybe give us some sense of hope during what is likely to be a painful time without hockey.
In that spirit, Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski provides us with a wonderful inspiration for an entry I hope will encourage you to throw some ideas on the wall and see what sticks, or what's meaningful to you, via Arun, an incredibly talented YouTube user who turned a Jason Mraz song into a rallying cry, encouraging fans to hang up their NHL teams' jerseys, t-shirts and merchandise while also agreeing to not purchase a damn thing from shop.nhl.com until the lockout is over:
Via RedWingsFeed, I'm sure the signings of these actual contacts will be quite awkward given that Ken Holland voted on behalf of the Red Wings to lock the following two players out, and aside from informally assigning Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist and Damien Brunner to Grand Rapids, MLive's Ansar Khan notes that the Red Wings made some final personnel moves on Thursday night:
The Detroit Red Wings took care of some pre-lockout business Thursday, signing free-agent defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and re-signing forward Justin Abdelkader.
Colaiacovo received a two-year contract worth an average of $2.5 million per season. Abdelkader inked a four-year deal, believed to be in the neighborhood of $1.7 million per season.
The moves will be announced on Friday.
In terms of the Wings' cap situation, Khan offers the following caveat...
As noted by several Red Wings beat writers yesterday, after the Wings' players engage in their final practice at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow and pack their bags, we know that players like Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak will head to Europe, as they told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, with some of the Wings' equally young, single, inexpensive-to-insure and, well, interchangeable players sure to follow.
The decision to head to Europe isn't so simple for the vast majority of the Wings' players, however, for both family reasons, because of obligations to the NHLPA and, put simply...
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