The Malik Report
Over the last week, I may have stepped away from my computer a little too often for my liking, but I haven’t been removed from constant talk of the Red Wings’ present and future given the retirements of Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood (and probably Mike Modano), the additions of Ian White, Mike Commodore and Ty Conklin in the player personnel department or the swapping out of assistant coaches Brad McCrimmon (now coaching Lokomotiv Yaroslavl) and Paul MacLean (now the Senators’ head coach) for Jeff Blashill and Bill Peters.
My family’s as hockey-crazy as they come, and whether one of my uncles or cousins has raised concerns about the Wings’ ability to either replace Rafalski or simply apply a band-aid till the trade deadline (where we all assume Ken Holland will use his cap space to make a big addition or two), whether we’re talking about the fact that the Wings’ assistant coaches must restore the commitment to defense that got away from a team giving up goals off the opposition cycle or porous penalty-killing unit, or who’s going to step up and be the next big thing on defense and up front (where just about everyone believes that the Wings could use more size, if not snarl)...
Updated with a “morning report’s” worth of news at 3:18 AM: I received a press release from the Wings while I was at the beach (windy and wavy on Lake Superior, but once I was out over my head, the current disappeared), so if you’re interested, several members of the Red Wings will take part in an event held by the Urban Harvest Ministries and the Clark Park Coalition on Saturday:
RED WINGS TO TAKE PART IN UHM FAMILY DAY IN DETROIT TOMORROW
… Fun-Filled Event Goes Saturday Afternoon; Brian Rafalski and Jim Nill Set to Appear at Ball Hockey Tournament …
DETROIT, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will be teaming up with Urban Harvest Ministries and the Clark Park Coalition to present the 2nd Annual Family Day in Detroit, scheduled to be staged on Saturday, July 30 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Taking place at southwestern Detroit’s Clark Park (between Vernor & I-75) and featuring fun activities galore, this event is open to the public.
A via-the-phone post: according to Defending Big D’s Brad Gardner, former Wing Mike Modano told Dallas’s The Ticket that he’s leaning toward retirement again. Paul will keep you posted if anything becomes official, because it’s just more talk at present.
If there ever was a reason to spend the entire day away from the laptop, only checking in on Red Wings-related news via one’s smart phone, it involves the fact that Lake Superior makes up for its permanently below-75-degree-temperature status by being remarkably clear. On a glass-calm Thursday in Grand Marais, being in 25 feet of water allowed me to watch my shadow and the ripples in the water as my hands kept me afloat. No current, no wind, no one within fifteen hundred feet, just me in the lake, assuming that after witnessing two integral parts of the Red Wings’ roster choose to retire and a slew of personnel changes at the NHL and AHL levels over the first four weeks of July, nothing else was left to happen that could bring me out of the water, racing back to my laptop.
The Wings-related news over the past 24 hours presents a scattershot pattern to someone who’s not used to being away from the web, so let’s take care of the important stuff first and get to the event-planning and promotional news later:
Now that it’s over, it should be said: Mike Commodore may turn out to be nothing more than a #6/7 defenseman for the Red Wings, pushing Jakub Kindl for ice time and adding some bulk to the lineup while playing limited minutes, but he displayed an All-Star’s amount of aplomb in delicately declining to wear #64 while promising to make good on matching Puck Daddy’s charitable drive and supporting the modern version of the computer company whose owner’s comments gave Commodore good reason to stick with #22.
Through a series of Twitter posts about what had become a testy issue, a professional athlete managed to offend almost no one while getting his message across in a sincere manner. That’s pretty damn impressive in this day and age.
Rain rolled through a very “clunny” Grand Marais today and the parent is off to Newberry (about 80 minutes away from here) to go grocery shopping, so I’m going to squeeze in a crop of mid-day Red Wings news. First and not necessarily foremost (especially given the fact that the Commodore 64 saga is mercifully over with), the Wings confirmed their re-signings of both Jordan Pearce and Francis Pare to two-year contract extensions:
RED WINGS SIGN FRANCIS PARÉ AND JORDAN PEARCE TO TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSIONS … Both Players Spent the 2010-11 Season with Grand Rapids (AHL) …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that forward Francis Paré and goaltender Jordan Pearce have both been re-signed to two-year contract extensions. As per team policy, no further details on either of these deals will be disclosed. Both players spent last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit ’s American Hockey League affiliate.
One of the first things that disappears from one’s itinerary on vacation involves checking Twitter, so Sportsline’s Brian Stubits very thankfully brings to our attention a Red Wings-related “Tweet” of very significant note from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
The new #RedWings will wear the following jersey numbers this season: @commie22 (22); White (18); Conklin (29), Conner (41) and Exelby (3).
I’m guessing that things went off the rails for Commodore when the Commodore computer company’s new owner went ape over making money from Commodore’s cross-promotional possibilities. I hope that the Puck Daddy charitable pledge-o-thon will still go through—it was a great idea, but when things get corporate…
Commodore himself hasn’t stated anything via his Twitter account but I’m sure we’ll get a write-up sooner than later from the Puck Daddy crew.
Updated 3x at 3:35 PM: From Commodore himself...
I guess word is out that I will be wearing 22 this year. It was a really tough decision that I went back and forth on many times….. wearing 64 would have been neat and cool, but I just didn’t feel like this was the right year to do it. In my opinion getting an…opportunity to play in Detroit is a special thing, and I felt like I needed to wear a # that is special to me. 22 is that # for me…I really appreciate the interest and support the #64 generated, I wish @Commodore64 all the best with there computers, as a matter a fact I…am going to order one when I get to Detroit, and I will get in touch with @wyshynski about the $64 pledges, and I will match it and donate…money to charity. Which charity that is I don’t know yet, but I will figure it that out in sept when I get to Detroit.
my bad…I meant @CommodoreUSA…not commodore 64. I also meant “their computers” not “there computers”. #NotaStrongWriter Now I need to sign off. I have a hockey tourney in Vegas I need to pack for and dominate. Stay Single My Friends.
The stars in Grand Marais are so ridiculously brilliant and bright tonight that you could take out a nature photographer who’s been to equatorial Africa and gloat, and the company’s not half bad, either, but I’m sitting here in the “activity room” at the resort I’m staying, having excused myself from the a campfire at 2 AM to work because I’m trying to find words to explain the magnitude of substantive change the Detroit Red Wings’ locker room and bench have sustained via the exits of Chris Osgood and Kris Draper over the past eight days…
And in the very specific case of Kris Draper’s retirement on Tuesday, I don’t know if it’s possible. The days of the Grind Line are over, we are in the final years of Nicklas Lidstrom’s career and only #5 and the perhaps equally-indescribable-for-very-different-reasons Tomas Holmstrom stand as the last playing remnants of the Red Wings’ 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championships.
Okay, that doesn’t cut it, either. How about this:
Maybe it’s better that I didn’t see it, because this 6,’ 250-lb bald man with a rock n’ roll goatee would have teared up—and I don’t mean Jason Williams miraculously finding NHL employment....
The Wings’ press release confirming that Kris Draper was making his retirement official this morning was all I needed to start feeling teary-eyed and downright devastated because the spit, vinegar, heart, soul and super glue that greased the Big Red Machine’s wings for so many years has finally chosen to hang ‘em up:
A while after the cell phone email to Paul post (I can at least feel proud about that) and after just about every Red Wings columnist’s “source” confirmed it, the Red Wings posted the following press release:
The Red Wings have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, July 26 beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT in the C.C. Olympia Club at Joe Louis Arena. Participants at tomorrow’s press conference will include Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and Red Wings center Kris Draper.
The press conference will be streamed live on DetroitRedWings.com.
We all know by now that Kris Draper will retire this morning, and that he’ll join the Wings’ hockey operations department, possibly, if not probably, as the team’s first strength and conditioning coach, completing a rather remarkable slate of summertime changes both in the locker room and behind the bench.
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.