The Malik Report
Sigh. Via Paul, per the Detroit News's Chad Livengood, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's decision to back a controversial "right-to-work" bill has officially yielded the end of bipartisan legislation in the Michigan legislature, and I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Ilitches' attempts to build a follow-on rink to Joe Louis Arena may be hitting a legislative dead end as a retaliatory measure:
Minority Leader Rich Hammel said his caucus plans to vote "no" on a bill that would allow Olympia Development to tap nearly $13 million in downtown development authority tax funds for a proposed $650 million mixed-use district comprising a multipurpose events center along with retail, office and residential housing space.
"They will vote 'no' on the Ilitch project," said Hammel, D-Mount Morris Township. "From our perspective, I think it's important that we stand together united — and we will."
I have to give the Red Wings major "props" for ensuring that while they can't combine charitable efforts with their players, the team's still employing Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood, Jiri Fischer, Chris Chelios, Ken Holland, Mike Babcock and Ken Kal to fill the void in terms of charitable endeavors. Tomorrow (a.k.a. Tuesday, December 11th), the vast majority of the front office will be manning kettles for the Salvation Army across Metro Detroit, and the Wings just released the following press release regarding their annual commitment to the Salvation Army's "bed and bread" program:
KIRK MALTBY AND KEN KAL TO VOLUNTEER ON THE SALVATION ARMY’S BED & BED TRUCK
… Former Player and Radio Announcer to Serve Meals on Dec. 12 …
Detroit, MI… Former Detroit Red Wings player Kirk Maltby and radio play-by-play announcer Ken Kal will serve food and hot chocolate to Detroit neighbors in need from The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Truck this Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 11:45 a.m.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Jimmy Howard looked out upon the gathered media scrum and blinked a couple of times.
“Haven’t seen you guys in a while,” Howard said.
Likewise, we’re sure, was undoubtedly uttered by the 4,500 or so who came to the WFCU Centre Saturday night for the Rock Out The Lockout NHLPA charity game.
The final score saw Steve Ott’s Team White drub Dan Cleary’s Team Black by a 17-11 count in the NHLPA charity game that benefitted local childhood cancer foundation Sparkles From Above, but this was never about the game as much as it was about the event.
Via Paul, broadcast executives from Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, the CBC and Fox Sports Detroit here in Michigan spoke with the New York Times' Micheline Maynard about the difficulties their respective networks face in attempting to fill their hockey broadcasting voids. Fox Sports Detroit's Greg Hammaren suggests that the Detroit Tigers' successes over the past two seasons have cushioned the blow left by the Red Wings' absence, but the FSD is still being hit hard by the lack of NHL hockey as a revenue-driving force:
“It’s frustrating,” said Greg Hammaren, the senior vice president and general manager of FoxSports Detroit, the television home of the Red Wings.
In Michigan, the average Red Wings game is viewed in more than 100,000 households. Hammaren said about 65,000 of them are in the metropolitan Detroit area, which has earned the nickname Hockeytown.
To fill the vacancies left by canceled games, FoxSports Detroit has shifted telecasts of the Pistons from its high-definition channel to the main FoxSports channel. It is also planning to run more college hockey games, and it is talking with the Red Wings about showing games played by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League team owned by the N.H.L. club.
“People want live hockey again,” Hammaren said.
Yoost offering a little "for further reading": this came from Dustin Penner's Twitter account, and as you know. I'm the CNBC of bloggers when it comes to being a NHLPA liberal here, so this ain't exactly "fair and balanced" territory, but I would highly suggest that you read this dated article from the Nation's David Zirin (yes, they are very politically liberal. If it matters, I'm a non-partisan "squishy centrist") regarding Proskauer-Rose, the law firm which the NHL, NFL, MLB NBA have employed as their outside counsel whenever they negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
Regardless of which side you support in the lockout, if you support any at all, and even given that this article has a pro-player bent that makes people like me sound objective (ha!), it's a must-read nonetheless. It might also yield a little insight as to why Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the ever-present P-R representative, Bob Batterman, seem to have decided that this is no longer about negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, but instead, a crusade to crush Donald Fehr:
Until I can ask him whether my hockey gut is right, I'm sticking to my guns in suggesting that the Detroit Red Wings' departing captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, may have displayed his uncanny knack for anticipating the course of events to come, both on the ice and off, by choosing to make his inevitable move back home to Sweden before an inevitable lockout that would have demanded eight, twelve or more months of engaging in the off-season training for which Lidstrom found little remaining appetite.
Especially given that Red Wings fans were also robbed of a prior season-and-a-half of Lidstrom's grace and poise, as well as a season-and-a-half without Steve Yzerman, a season absent Brendan Shanahan and now a season-and-a-third (and counting) with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk playing for teams other than the Wings...Well, let's just say that I read the Hockey News's Brian Costello's list of the ten players who played the most games with one and only one organization wondering, "What if?":
Via RedWingsFeed, Jimmy Howard and Danny Cleary spoke to ESPN's Craig Custance about the wackiness that happened on Thursday, and both spoke about experiences that fans have shared with them, at least viscerally speaking...
"It kind of made me sick to my stomach. It really did," Howard said. "This emotional roller coaster of getting excited, getting amped up -- it feels like the wind getting knocked out of you."
Cleary was getting text message updates from Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff, one of the group of players in New York trying to finalize a deal. Even those updates didn't prepare him for the unraveling that played out on the television screen in front of him.
"I was blown away. Everybody was, trust me," Cleary said. "The fans must be going insane. If you're a fan watching this unfold for the last 72 hours -- especially yesterday. What's going on here? Last night, the drama that unfolded was soap opera-ish."
So what happens now that, if you're a PA supporter, you believe Howard's suggestion that the NHL intentionally pulled the carpet out from under Fehr and the players, or, if you're leaning toward the owners, you believe that the players scuttled the ship by demanding to have Fehr in the room to sign off on the deal?
"We need to step back here a few days, take the weekend and hope cooler heads prevail," Cleary said. "This is too close to burn a season."
Continued, and amen.
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke to some of the players participating in tomorrow's Rock Out the Lockout game (to be played at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON), and while the Red Wings' players offered usual notes of union solidarity and disappointment about yesterday's Kabuki theatre and/or CBA breakdowns, they still believe the sides should get back to the table--sooner or later, anyway--and get a deal done.
First, here's the solidarity stuff from the Wings' official labor voice, Danny Cleary...
"They have certain goals in their mind that they have to achieve," Cleary said of the NHL. "So do we."
The players who spoke to the media following a skate at the Troy Sports Center today said they are united in support of union boss Don Fehr.
"I'm not saying that because I toe the line with the PA," Cleary said. I-'ve been on calls with 200 players. Trust me, it's overwhelming. Yeah, you're going to have a few players that say, 'hey, let's just sign a deal.' You're entitled to your own opinion, but I'm telling you Don Fehr is as transparent as it gets. This guy tells us exactly what's going on."
Jimmy Howard offered a question as to why the league doesn't believe the PA's "givebacks" are satisfactory, especially given that everything in this "retrenching" involves the PA surrendering a little over a billion dollars of revenue promised to them under the supposedly legally-binding contracts agreed to under the previous CBA...
From the Red Wings' PR department, it appears that the lockout won't prevent the Wings from engaging in their yearly tradition of competing for kettle bell-ringing bragging rights as the team hopes to give the Salvation Army a big assist:
RED WINGS COMPETE FOR BELL RINGING BRAGGING RIGHTS
… Babcock, Holland and Former Players to Bell Ring on Dec. 11 Across Metro Detroit to Raise Funds for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will compete for bragging rights on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to see which duo can raise the most money for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, as four teams bell ring at different Metro Detroit retail locations. Fans are asked to make a suggested $10 donation in exchange for an autograph at all four locations.
Updated at 11:17 PM w/ Rock Out the Lockout game talk and Cleary on the day's events: Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I've been attempting to slowly but surely crawl out from behind the depressive episode rock I've been under for the last two months. But as I'm in Twitter jail at present (I Tweet too much, imagine that!), here are a few thoughts about this evening's proceedings:
- When Bettman and Fehr exchange chest-puffing presser comments, people go with Bettman for some reason. I don't think either lied per se. Fehr saw progress, saw actual negotiating and how close the sides were, and was like, "Holy shit, we're really close!" because he'd just gotten in the room. Bettman and Daly decided to remind everyone that their offers are not negotiable. That's been the whole God-damned problem. The NHLPA has tried to negotiate, and the NHL is only offering take-it-all-or-leave-it-all deals.
- I still think that we've got about a month till the league puts the kibosh on the season, but I remain, "Hopeful but not optimistic." I think that one way or another, the nuclear commissoner's record speaks for itself, and his owners seem equally committed to crushing the union at all costs.
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