The Malik Report
The more I think about the premise behind Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors’ desire to lock out their players for a third time in eighteen seasons and the second time in eight years, the more I think that the NHL gods must be crazy.
The NHL ceased operations for an entire season to bring labor costs down, ensuring that the players would make only a certain percentage of pennies on the hockey-related dollar, with that percentage linked by iron chains to league-wide revenues. The current CBA wasn’t so much collectively bargained as it was bullied, bulldozed and eventually written by Bill Daly and a group of turncoats who had so sold out their union that would-be NHL executive director Ted Saskin and his cronies did exactly the opposite of what super PAC’s insist “union bosses” desire to accomplish, instead nodding their heads to every suggestion that Daly and the NHL made while completely acquiescing to their opponents’ demands in secret.
Especially given that fans were lied to about an “inflationary spiral” surrounding salaries and ticket prices that doesn’t exist, and that the NHLPA expected to lose a season for some sort of meaningful reason, the current CBA was sprung upon fans and players chock full of lies, empty promises and unpleasant surprises.
If Darren Helm reads his press clippings, he’s got to feel pretty good about himself right now. With a 4-year, $8.5 million contract in his back pocket, Helm was basically described as the straw that stirs the team’s drink by Mike Babcock during NHL.com’s “30 in 30” profile of the Red Wings, and this morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James looks at the expectations for Helm going forward while suggesting that Babcock’s assessment of Helm is spot-on:
The Wings recognized Helm’s importance this summer with a four-year deal that doubled his salary. He’s the key to making the whole bottom six group work, as his presence at center on the third line enables correct slotting for the rest. When he got hurt in Game 1, it was debilitating to the whole forward lineup. He’s also a key to the penalty kill.
When someone starts their Sunday column by launching into a multi-paragraph rant stating that they could give a rat’s ass about the tedious, draining and depressing but incredibly important constraints upon which the NHL’s teams and players will be governed (and, to some extent, their fans, given that their favorite players may or may not be more likely to continue playing for their favorite teams under different rules of business engagement), and offers a “wake me when it’s over” remark, it strikes me that offering such a, “Hey, but you could boycott the marquee event, fans!” suggestion is somewhere between cynical and hypocritical coming from someone who doesn’t pay to attend NHL games.
The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons does both this evening, suggesting that the CBA is “nonsense,” that players who aren’t stars are “replaceable” and interchangeable and that none of the dramatics likely to take place over the next however long it takes for the NHL and NHLPA to agree upon a new CBA just don’t matter, and yet…He expects Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans to magically suck up the $35+ dollars in service fees they were forced to swallow for the privilege of attending the Winter Classic (if they bought tickets on the primary market; if they do so on the secondary market, we’re talking about investments of $500-$1,000 or more) to ensure that Michigan Stadium’s once in a lifetime event has no butt in seats:
Here are the details regarding the Red Wings’ request for fans to show up at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday to shoot a commercial at 3 PM, per the team’s Facebook page:
So, HERE is the deal with the commercial…
It is for Pure Michigan and it is being filmed at The Joe. The commercial aims to promote Michigan and bring people to the city of Detroit, in part by highlighting the great fans of Hockeytown!
Just be at The Joe on Tuesday at 3:00 PM and you’re in. Wear a Red Wings sweater (Red or White is fine). A few more details will follow soon. See ya on Tuesday!
An unnamed staffer from the CBC’s Newfoundland and Labrador bureau spoke to Red Wings forward Danny Cleary regarding his thoughts about the labor mess players and fans find themselves in, and Cleary’s very concerned about what might happen come September 15th—and as many NHLPA members have stated, Cleary understands that the people who will get screwed most severely are those who pay the bills via working at teams’ rinks during each and every NHL team’s 41 home games:
“I don’t know if I’m as optimistic as I was before,” said Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary Friday at Danny Cleary’s Hockey School in Torbay.
“Adam Pardy, Luke Adam, these guys,” he said. “Everybody’s concerned. There’s a lot of money at stake to lose. A lot of fans to lose. A lot of fans to upset. And workers at the arena. The trickledown effect goes far.”
This CBA business seems to be taking a toll on everyone’s nerves. I deliberately chose not to post a slate of afternoon quips because I knew I couldn’t do so without losing my temper, and this morning’s crop of stories of both Red Wings and CBA-related note offer what I can only describe as a less than fuzzy entry’s worth of gravel, sandpaper and grime.
• First, if you thought that the Hockey News’s prediction that the Red Wings would finish seventh in the Western conference was indelicate, the Los Angeles Kings advertised a roundtable of hockey bloggers making playoff predictions of their own as follows, and the Red Wings responded in kind:
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 17, 2012
@lakings awwww so cute. Like a little puppy yapping for attention. Let us know if you need someone to show you how to hang that banner.
From the Griffins’ PR department:
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday released their schedule for the 2012-13 season, their 17th overall and 12th as members of the American Hockey League.
The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings will begin its 76-game slate with back-to-back home games at Van Andel Arena for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The team will host the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. before facing off against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
In addition, the Griffins announced today that after having ESPN 96.1 FM serve as their flagship station the past two seasons, their radio broadcasts are returning to WOOD 106.9 FM & 1300 AM. WOOD, which acquired its wide-reaching FM signal in early 2011, was the Griffins’ original radio home from 1996-2010.
The Hockey News has slowly but surely revealed its predictions for each and every team’s regular season finish/record, and today, they suggest that the Nicklas Lidstrom-less Red Wings will finish seventh in the Western Conference—just good enough to make the playoff cut, but not good enough, in the Hockey News’s eyes, anyway, to make anything more than a one or two-round playoff push:
7 DETROIT RED WINGS:
Why: Welcome to the Twilight Zone. Detroit, on the playoff bubble? It feels odd to even type those words, but the Red Wings’ off-season was disastrous. They lost their best defenseman ever, Nicklas Lidstrom, to retirement, and traded Brad Stuart. The assumption was they’d land a big free agent fish or two to replace them, but GM Ken Holland swung and missed. Even if rookie Brendan Smith shines, the Wings can’t possibly replace what they’ve lost on the back end. That said, Detroit still boasts one of the league’s deepest forward corps, led by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and newcomer Jordin Tootoo gives them sorely needed sandpaper. The Wings remain a playoff team, but aren’t a serious Cup threat anymore.
Updated with a take on the Wings’ prospect tournament cancellation from Traverse City at 5:50 AM: The Detroit Red Wings’ decision to cancel their prospect tournament amidst fears of a lockout from both Detroit and the seven other teams taking part (Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, the New York Rangers and Carolina) is incredibly disappointing all the way around, for fans, for Centre Ice Arena, and from the perspective of someone who’s sent up to Traverse City by his readers to cover the tournament, very, very bad for both the players who were set to participate in the tournament, as well as the Red Wings as an organization.
A ridiculous amount of lockout crap, the cancellation of the Red Wings’ prospect tournament, family and friends dealing with chronic illnesses, a friend entering the military, this week’s been peachy keen for yours truly, so I’m going to try to get through this evening’s crop of Red Wings news without biting anyone’s head off.
• First, in The multimedia department, part 1:
Justin Abdelkader is joining the twitter beat down..— Mike Modano (@9modano) August 16, 2012
@justinabss. Be patient he doesn’t have much game..
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.