The Malik Report
Updated with captaincy talk at 8:15 AM: The news is still staggering, like a punch to the gut and heart at the same time: at 11 AM today, the Red Wings will hold a press conference to announce Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, and it will air on DetroitRedWings.com, the NHL Network, DetNews.com and FoxSportsDetroit.com (update: TSN and Sportsnet will air it as well).
We don’t yet know whether family issues, a lack of drive to engage in off-season training, simply deciding that, like Steve Yzerman some six years ago, the time was right to step away and encourage the team to transition toward its next generation, fears of a lockout or Lidstrom’s encounter with mortality and an inability to turn away from checks thanks to that damn bouncing puck that hit his right ankle and left a severe bone bruise constitute the reasons why he’s leaving, but Wings fans everywhere understand that Lidstrom’s decision to retire marks the end of the line for one of the best Red Wings to ever suit up for the team, and one of the best defensemen in NHL history.
Here’s what the Wings’ beat writers and Detroit press have had to say about Lidstrom’s retirement, in site-by-site order, starting with MLive’s Ansar Khan’s report about the presser:
Excellent news from Peter Fish on Twitter regarding Red Wings alumnus Shawn Burr:
Shawn Burr’s Bone Marrow Transplant was a great success. He is in good spirits and looking forward to a future without AML.
Updated 9x with Scotty talking about Nick at 5:04 PM: There’s a rumor going around that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will retire tomorrow, and while I’m not convinced of it…The Red Wings just confirmed that something is up:
The Red Wings have called a press conference tomorrow morning at Joe Louis Arena. Ken Holland and Nick Lidstrom are expected to speak.
Cross your fingers, toes and veins, folks.
Update: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness...
The Detroit Red Wings have scheduled a press conference for Thursday, May 31, 2012, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET in the C.C. Olympia Club at Joe Louis Arena. Participants at tomorrow’s press conference will include Red Wings Executive Vice President & General Manager Ken Holland and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
I’m guessing that the Wings will stream it online—actually, the Wings Facebook page is confirming it.
Update: As many sources have suggested, a press conference is a rare occurrence, but RedWingsFeed nailed it here:
RT @WharnsbyCBC: Holland on Lidstrom “I’ll let him make his announcement. He’s earned that right.”
And then there’s this from Nick Cotsonika:
Holland said he wanted Lidstrom to announce his decision. “He’s earned that right.” sounds like Lidstrom will retire.
Holland spoke to Lidstrom a couple days ago, three or four times in past week. “I wanted to make sure that he had all the necessary time.”
Holland on Lidstrom: “I mean, it’s a major decision for him. He’s obviously come to a decision, which he’ll announce tomorrow.”
Update #2: Urgh, per TSN’s Aaron Ward:
According to source,Nic Lidstrom will announce his retirement tomorrow in Detroit. #TSN
Update #3: Per FSD’s Ryan Field:
“@FSDwakiji: #Redwings Nick Lidstrom press conference tomorrow at 11 am. @FOXSportsDet will carry it live.”
Update #4: Urgh, per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Forbes’ Robert Laura has been writing a series of articles about athletes approaching and dealing with retiring from playing sports for a living, and over the past week, he’s spoken to Deion Sanders, John Salley, Desmond Howard, Annika Sorenstam, Tito Ortiz, Al Iafrate, Shannon Miller and some guy named Kris Draper about the psychological, financial and I can only smile when reading Laura’s take on Draper’s mindset in the final installment of his series, “Life After Sports”:
By identifying the things that are most important to you, however, you can develop a no-regrets retirement plan and focus your time in the right places.
I asked former Detroit Red Wing Kris Draper what it was like in the locker room after the heated rivalry and all-out brawls they endured against the Colorado Avalanche. He laughed and said, “Those were great times … and it was such a great rivalry because of the how great all of the players involved were.” He literally rattled off eight to 10 players from each team, denoting how skilled each player was and their significance to the team, and how they contributed to one of the all-time great sports rivalries.
While I was hoping for some crazy of off-the-wall stories, Draper’s response exemplifies two of the most important qualities of a champion: respect and discipline. I wish he would have talked more about how so-and-so kicked so-and-so’s butt … but he didn’t. The way Draper respects the players and games more than the shenanigans that take place on the ice is the way people should respect retirement. Retirement truly is a privilege that some people never get to experience. I recommend approaching it with the same respect and discipline you gave to your career, creating a legacy with purpose and meaning.
Continued, and as we all know, Draper is now a very important part of the Wings’ management team, with Laura describing Draper’s responsibilities as follows:
That’s two: Red Wings sign Calle Jarnkrok, have to sign Tomas Jurco by tomorrow (and afternoon news)
Updated 5x with afternoon news at 3:08 PM: Yesterday, the Red Wings signed Teemu Pulkkinen to an entry-level deal, and today, they’ve signed super-Swede Calle Jarnkrok to a similar deal:
RED WINGS SIGN JARNKROK TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT
… Selected by Detroit in Second Round of 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Swedish Forward Skated with Franzen, Zetterberg, Ericsson and Kronwall at 2012 IIHF World Championships …
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings today announced that 20-year-old forward Calle Jarnkrok has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract. In accordance with club policy, no further details regarding this deal will be disclosed.
Selected by Detroit in the second round (51st overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Jarnkrok has spent the past three seasons with Brynas IF of the Swedish Elite League, totaling 76 points (31G-45A) in 132 games played. Jarnkrok registered 16 points (4G-12A) in 16 appearances during the 2012 SEL playoffs as Brynas IF captured the Le Mat Trophy as league champions. The 5’11”, 165-lb. center has also represented Sweden at multiple international events, including this year’s IIHF World Championships at which he recorded one assist and 10 shots on goal in eight games played as he skated alongside current Red Wings players Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Johan Franzen.
Update: the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to Wings assistant GM Jim Nill about both players via Twitter…
Realistically speaking, it’s hard to believe that any NHL team will take a chance on Dominik Hasek, whose desire to return to the NHL at the age of 47 runs into complications given that he hasn’t played in the NHL in 3 years and hasn’t played hockey at all since the 2010-2011 season. The Czech press is more or less indulging Hasek’s desire to “go out on top,” but if an NHL team were to take a chance on Hasek, New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg, color commentator Darren Pang and Red Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard told USA Today’s Kevin Allen that they fully believe Hasek could at least hack it as a team’s back-up goaltender:
“With Dominik Hasek, you can’t count anything out,” New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg said on the eve of his team’s appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. “He didn’t play last year, but he had (seven) shutouts in the (Kontinental Hockey League) when he was 45.”
We’ve been talking about the Red Wings’ signing prospects, gauging the team’s prospect pool and assessing potential draft picks over the past few days, but MLive’‘s Ansar Khan (via RedWingsFeed) brings our focus back to the most important dates on the Wings’ calendar for a long time in the team’s organizational powwow on June 2nd-5th.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland made sure to tell Khan that the team won’t be making any “lateral” moves this summer:
“Nobody is feeling good about our five-game playoff run,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “We got to figure out ways to change our team.’‘
Many ideas will be discussed this weekend, when the Red Wings brass gathers in Detroit for the organization’s annual pro scouting meetings.
“We’ll evaluate our own players, what we think we need to do to get better,’’ Holland said. “We’ll go through the list of potential free agents on July 1. We’ll compare our team to the other 14 teams in the Western Conference. We’ll start to come up with a game plan, so I can get knowledge from the group on what everybody is thinking.’‘
Red Wings GM Ken Holland consistently brings new ideas to general managers’ meetings, and while the Wings’ amateur scouts take in the draft combine in Toronto, Holland will visit with the NHL’s GM’s in New York today.
Holland successfully lobbied his peers to change the tiebreaker for playoff seeding from any win to regulation or overtime wins, he’s discussed the concept of adding 3-on-3 play to overtime to help avoid shootouts, and today, the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that Holland will discuss the concept of carrying over penalties from one game to the next during the playoffs:
It’s an interesting concept. It would, for example, have meant that the Red Wings would have started Game 2 of their first-round series with Nashville with Predators captain Shea Weber serving a two-minute roughing penalty for slamming Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass as Game 1 ended. In fact, they would have had a two-man power play, as Martin Erat was called for holding at 19:37.
The Red Wings kicked off their work week with a bit of a bang by signing potential 20-goal-scorer Teemu Pulkkinen to a 3-year, entry-level contract, and while most of the Wings’ brass is at the NHL’s draft combine, we know that they’re going to ink perhaps their most NHL-ready prospect (despite the fact that he’ll remain with his Swedish team, Brynas IF) in Calle Jarnkrok and perhaps their most skilled stickhandler in Tomas Jurco to entry-level deals over the next few days.
The Wings surrendered quite the pick by their standards—the 19th pick—to acquire Kyle Quincey, but the Detroit News’s Jim Nill told the Free Press’s George Sipple that he believes the Wings can snag a decent player when they draft around 50th (depending on those pesky compensatory picks, and whether the Devils will surrender their pick to the league as part of the penalty they have to pay for signing Ilya Kovalchuk)...
Updated 4x at 6:46 PM: According to the Red Wings’ Twitter account, the team has signed the first of three prospects they plan on signing this week to an entry-level contract:
The Red Wings have signed Teemu Pulkkinen to a three-year entry level contract. He was a 4th round pick (111th overall) in the 2010 Draft.
The Wings will also sign Tomas Jurco and Calle Jarnkrok to entry-level deals in short order.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James is confirming the signing, and we’ll hear more about Pulkkinen’s deal soon.
Update: Here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose confirming the signing:
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.