The Malik Report
Updated 7x at 7:13 PM: Xavier Ouellet has been named the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's captain for the second year in a row: Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings stories of note:
- Sports Illustraed's Al Muir offers a predictable offseason "grade" for the Red Wings while assessing the moves of each and every Western Conference team:
Detroit Red Wings
Used to be that Detroit was the destination of choice for top free agents. Not anymore. Faced with a gaping hole left by the retirement of Nick Lidstrom, the Wings sent flowers and chocolates to every defender on the market but ended up watching from the sidelines as Ryan Suter, Matt Carle and even Sami Salo picked other dance partners. The Wings have spun blueline gold out of straw before, but when you hear they're chasing Carlo Colaiacovo, you know they're in desperation mode. Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson add some depth up front, but the Wings clearly regressed over the summer. Their 21-year playoff streak is in jeopardy. GRADE: D
On Saturday, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk told R-Sport and Sovetsky Sport that he may play in the KHL if there is a lockout, and MLive's Ansar Khan provides a follow-up regarding Datsyuk's situation via Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin:
Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, told M-Live.com that the star forward “will have to play somewhere'' if there is a lockout and said he has a plan in place for him. But Greenstin said he wasn't prepared to share any details until Sept. 15, saying he hopes a new CBA is in place by then.
Datsyuk is practicing with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the Kontinental Hockey League. Greenstin said Datsyuk will arrive in Detroit next week and continue preparing for the start of Red Wings training camp (the first on-ice practice is scheduled for Sept. 22 at Centre I.C.E. In Traverse City).
Datsyuk played for Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. If he ends up playing in Russia again, his deal likely will include an escape clause enabling him to return to Detroit during the KHL season if the NHL and the players settle on a new CBA.
The Red Wings' players will have to formulate some sort of plan to find a place to skate and practice if a lockout takes place. The Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, won't have to compete with youth hockey teams for ice time at other rinks if they don't open training camp with the Wings on September 22nd, but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Griffins coach Jeff Blashill already has a back-up plan ready to go:
One [plan] is to join with the Detroit Red Wings in Traverse City from Sept. 22-27 before reporting to Grand Rapids about Oct. 6. The other is to have players report to Grand Rapids about Sept. 28. It all depends what happens in talks between the league and union over a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires Sept. 15, and talks between the two have been generally acrimonious, raising fear of a lockout.
“From there, whatever happens, if the preparations are made, we can handle whatever comes to us,” said Blashill, who played Monday in the 18th annual Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club.
Blashill didn't take part in the Wings' summer development camp due to a familial issue, but Blashil told Wallner that he's not particularly concerned about beginning relationships with some of the Red Wings' top prospects without having seen them play since last year's prospect tournament (given that the Wings cancelled this year's event due to lockout worries), either:
From the Detroit News's Mike Martindale:
A director with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association is suing the organization in Oakland Circuit Court, seeking to see financial records he claims will show mismanagement and inappropriate spending.
The hockey association is a statewide nonprofit corporation that oversees activities for 50,000 players and coaches and 2,500 teams across Michigan.
The lawsuit, assigned to Oakland Circuit Judge Colleen O'Brien, alleges the association has failed to obtain competitive bids for expenditures of more than $10,000; serves alcohol it paid for at group meetings; and provides credit cards to the executive board without oversight.
Updated at 5:07 AM with bonus Swedish: The Free Press's Helene St. James has taken Wings fans on quite the analytical journey through the team's roster, spotlighting a host of key performers for the 2012-2013 season, and this morning, she discusses the literal and figurative impact Jordin Tootoo may have upon the Red Wings' lineup:
Looking at money: Salary for 2012-13 is $1.7 million, start of three-year, $5.7-million deal.
Looking back: Tootoo, 29, spent the last eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, where he gained a reputation as a pest. He spent the last year working especially hard on developing his offensive skills while still managing to rack up 92 penalty minutes. He saw limited action in playoffs, where he played just 6 minutes in Game 3 of the five-game series against the Red Wings.
Several Red Wings players and GM Ken Holland took part in Monday's Ilitch Charities Golf Classic, and while only some of the interviews have hit the web (thus far), Holland told WDIV's Bernie Smilovitz that he, "Would like to make a move," whether it's a signing and/or trade over the next couple of weeks, to strengthen the defense (no video, sorry)...
WDIV did post a 31-image photo gallery from the event (Henrik Zetterberg? Check. Jakub Kindl? Czech)...
"It's always fun to be a part of this event, give back a little bit, and make some good friends," Henrik Zetterberg said.
The forward was joined in Bloomfield Township by a bevy of teammates including Tomas Holmstrom, Cory Emmerton, Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader, and Jakub Kindl.
And as you might expect, their opinions on what seems like an inevitably-looming lockout:
Well, it appears that the pre-pre-season preview news cycle's going to involve fantasy hockey projections. Following this morning's Predators vs. Red Wings take from the Tennessean's Josh Cooper (now being promoted on USA Today's hockey page), ESPN's Robert Vollman and Craig custance offered a "Summer Skate" take on the Red Wings' fantasy hockey values (and it's an Insider-only article, sorry).
Vollman suggsts that Niklas Kronwall will shine without Nicklas Lidstrom, but Ian White won't repeate his 11-12 performance sans Lidstrom as his defensive partner, but the most important part of the entry may be its introduction...
Finishing third in their division for the first time since Sergei Fedorov's rookie season over 20 years ago, one can excuse fans who hold the unfounded fear the Wings aging lineup will finally slide out of the postseason.
Though they aren't the division title threat they recently were, the Wings still have superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and remain one of the league's most disciplined and possession-oriented teams.
Failing to replace Nicklas Lidstrom, not to mention Brad Stuart, will indeed make it more difficult to remain as competitive while their enviable pool of prospects develop, but not so difficult that they'll be competing for early tee times with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Though Custance's take on Damien Brunner's possible presence as an x-factor of sorts is intriguing, too:
From the Red Wings' PR department:
GOALIE CHRIS OSGOOD WINS LATEST ROUND OF OPERATION: BOBBLEHEAD – ALUMNI EDITION
… Online Balloting Recommences Tomorrow at DetroitRedWings.com …
Detroit, MI… Three-time Stanley Cup champion Chris Osgood, one of only ten goaltenders in NHL history to have won 400 career games, has emerged victorious from the latest round of voting in Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition, an ongoing campaign charged with determining which former Hockeytown greats will be immortalized in the form of a collectible 6 ½ inch polyresin figurine during the upcoming NHL season. Bobbleheads depicting Osgood, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Steve Yzerman and Vladimir Konstantinov will be distributed to 7,500 lucky Joe Louis Arena patrons at select 2012-13 Red Wings home games, with another member of the Red Wings Alumni Association set to join their ranks during the forthcoming fifth round of voting.
And now things are going to get a little weird. With private schools' academic years beginning this week and public schools' academic years beginning the day after Labor Day, the majority of the Red Wings' veterans will be filtering back into Metro Detroit this week, with their younger teammates likely to return from their summer homes by the end of the first week of September, so the news cycle will pick up, starting today.
As the Wings' Twitter account noted on Sunday, the Ilitch Charities Golf Classic takes place today, and a charity dinner preceded it on Sunday evening...
Updated with a reminder that the Ilitch Charities golf outing takes placed tomorrow at 8:16 PM: Amongst this evening's Red Wings quickies:
- Via RedWingsFeed, Expressen's Linus Hugosson took note of a comment Henrik Zetterberg made during a European Trophy TV broadcast on Sunday:
- There's also some news regarding Pavel Datsyuk's playing plans. Datsyuk was ptaking part in a charity hockey game in Kazan, and as Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski noted, Datsyuk spoke to R-Sport about the possibility that he might play in the KHL this fall (and this is roughly translated):
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.