The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 3:18 PM: The Grand Rapids Griffins captured the Calder Cup in Syracuse last night, and before holding a fan-centric celebration at Van Andel Arena this evening (6 PM EDT, doors open at 5 PM), the Griffins partied hard last night, and their celebrations continued into the morning:
The Detroit Red Wings' signing of Pavel Datsyuk to a 3-year extension (with one year already remaining on Datsyuk's current contract) is a game-changer in terms of shaping the team going forward, but Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson related a tale to MLive's Ansar Khan that few fans know: the Wings had absolutely no idea who Datsyuk was when Andersson made a trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia back in 1998:
“It was his last year as a junior player (1997-98) and I was going to Eastern Russia, to a city called Yekaterinburg, where the Czar was killed in the early 1900s,'' Andersson said. “The player I wanted to see was a defenseman, Dmitri Kalinin, ended up being drafted by Buffalo (18th overall in 1998).''
Kalinin's club, Traktor Chelyabinsk, was playing at Dynamo Yekaterinburg, which, unbeknownst to Andersson, had this really shifty, creative little eye-catching center.
“As the game went on I saw this little centerman who was pretty good,'' Andersson said. “He worked hard up and down the ice, had good hockey sense. He broke up a lot of plays and had good skill. I went away from the game with a report on Kalinin, but also a report on this little kid.''
Red Wings overnight report: extending Pavel Datsyuk is a keystone moment for the Wings going forward
The Detroit Red Wings' signing of Pavel Datsyuk to a 3-year contract extension earned the worldwide coverage and almost exultant joy GM Ken Holland (and Datsyuk himself) related to the Wings' press corps and The Fan 590 on Tuesday. Datsyuk remains one of the best players in the world at 35 years of age (see: TSN's Play of the Year showdown, in which Datsyuk dekes through the Nashville Predators), and locking him up until he's 39 (at a pretty damn affordable price, no less) assures that the Wings' "core" will remain intact--allowing the Wings to approach the free agent marketplace with needs other than replacing Datsyuk in a year or two in mind--as Holland told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
"It’s a great day,” Holland said after the 35-year-old centre agreed to a three-year contract extension. “He’s a world-class player. We’re all fully aware he’s from Russia and there’s a legitimate league over there that’s an option. Pav made it clear through the years he’s a Red Wing and if he’s not, he’s playing at home.”
As Holland told the Wings' other beat writers, Datsyuk had assured Holland that he wanted to remain in North America throughout the season, and at his exit interview, Datsyuk decided to add three years to the last year of his current contract:
The Grand Rapids Griffins captured what DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes is the first Wings AHL affiliate's championship since 1992 and the Griffins' first Calder Cup championship, period in what I'm still calling the tightest 5-2 win I've seen in ages--minus the empty-net goals, it was a 3-2 triumph--and the Griffins celebrated heartily (clicky for multimedia) before returning to Grand Rapids to take part on a Wednesday evening fan rally at Van Andel Arena.
The Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, New Holland Sentinel, Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples (with a spiffy "champs" picture from Jennifer Leigh) and the Crunch's website all provided narrative recaps; if you want to check the stats, the AHL's website provides the scoresheet, as well as a link to merchandise sales (the Griffins are selling championship merch, too), and in a slightly weird twist, the AHL's auctioning off the vast majority of game-used jerseys and game pucks from the Calder Cup Final, too.
The AHL's press-release style recap is where we'll start the discussion of "Series O"...
It was a wild, woolly and sometimes scary ride as the Grand Rapids Griffins blew a 3-0 lead over the Syracuse Crunch and headed back to New York hoping to avoid a Game 7 situation, but the Griffins captured the Calder Cup in what may have been the tightest 5-2 win I've seen in a long, long time, and as such, the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy-winning (playoff MVP thanks to his 16 goals) Tomas Tatar and his closest friends will be holding a victory party at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday evening (6 PM, doors open at 5)--after flying home on Red Bird III and enjoying a long night of celebrating their victory.
This post is simply dedicated to the oodles of multimedia issued following the Griffins' win--and beware as SendToNews's highlight clip is a classic "auto-play" clip, right at the bottom of the entry.
Here is the last minute-and-change's of the game and the first three minutes of the post-game celebrating...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner posted a quick clip of the post-game celebrations:
Per the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
The Grand Rapids Griffins will hold a Calder Cup celebration on Wednesday in downtown Grand Rapids.
Van Andel Arena will host a victory party 6 p.m., the team announced shortly after winning its first AHL championship Tuesday with a 5-2 victory against Syracuse in Game 6.
Players and coaches will speak and the Calder Cup will be on display.
The doors open at 5 p.m. The first 3,000 fans will received Calder Cup championship T-shirts.
The event is free.
In the interim:
It was close and sometimes a harrowing experience to watch, but the Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from a 1-0 deficit and took a 2-1 lead, surrendered a tying goal in the 3rd, and received the game-winner from stay-at-home defenseman Brennan Evans (and some ridiculous saves from Petr Mrazek)...
And Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson's empty-net goals sealed the deal, giving the Griffins a 5-2 win, capturing Grand Rapids' first Calder Cup championship over the course of 6 games against the Crunch and a total of 24 playoff games played (out of a possible 26!).
The Jack Butterfield Trophy, the AHL's playoff MVP award was given to Tomas Tatar, who scored 16 goals over the course of 24 games played (and registered 21 points).
Mrazek stopped 17 shots in the Griffins' win.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland addressed the team's re-signing of Pavel Datsyuk, other personnel issues and the Stanley Cup Final in an 11:49 interview with the Fan 590's Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt on Tuesday evening:
Update: Holland says that he and Datsyuk agreed on a 3-year contract extension in terms of, well, term, during their exit interview, and they just got it done.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland's still borderline giddy about the team's ability to retain Pavel Datsyuk's services for the next four seasons, and his praise for Datsyuk's skill, talent, leadership and longevity while speaking to MLive's Ansar Khan is must-read material in itself...
But Holland also gave Khan something of a blueprint as to what the Wings' next moves may involve, and it sounds like he's going to do much more than simply attempt to retain Daniel Cleary, Valtteri Filpula and the complicated situation that is Damien Brunner:
Holland said he is continuing talks impending unrestricted free-agent forwards Daniel Cleary, Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula, but roster space is scarce.
“We have big decisions to make,'' Holland said. “We got a push of kids. We got 14 forwards under contract now (including restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson). We'll only carry 14.
“We know we have compliance buyouts at our disposal. I'll explore trades.
A jury found Hockey Hall of Fame member Gordie Howe sustained $3 million in financial damages when former business managers destroyed sports memorabilia that was supposed to be returned under an agreement made to settle a previous lawsuit.
The 85-year-old Howe of Bloomfield Township was in attendance at Oakland County Circuit Court Tuesday in Judge Leo Bowman’s courtroom with his son Mark. The Howes, along with Power Play International Company, the company that handled Howe’s merchandise, sued Del and Michael Reddy, Aaron Howard and Immortal Investments, the former business partners.
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.