The Malik Report
Updated w/ Khan at 8:27 AM: You know it’s the middle of June when even Expresssen’s Gunnar Nordstrom has to suggest that Nicklas Lidstrom will in fact return to play for the Wings this season based on gut feelings after meeting Lidstrom on Sunday.
Unless your team’s either won the Stanley Cup or just lost in the Final, you’ve been waiting for answers as to which players will return to your team, who’s leaving via free agency, who they’re targeting in the draft and, generally speaking, what direction your team’s going to take since, well…either the end of the regular season or whenever your team was eliminated from the playoffs. Early June and the month of August are probably the most difficult ones for hockey fans in terms of news or the complete and total lack thereof, and even for the Red Wings, we’re still working in hypothetical territory.
All of that changes this week. We’re now amidst periods of time in which teams can file for salary arbitration (as the Devils and Predators did with Zach Parise and Shea Weber, respectively) and buy out players (as the Rangers did with Wojtek Wolski), the NHL Awards are on Wednesday, the Entry Draft and inevitable trades take place on Friday and Saturday in St. Paul, and a week from this Friday, the unrestricted free agency period and its feeding frenzy hit amidst the fireworks of Canada Day.
Awesome news for big-market teams and not-so-super news for small-market teams, per TSN:
With the National Hockey League Entry Draft less than a week away and the potential for trades escalating this week and next with the free agency period looming, the salary cap will be going up by nearly $5 million next season.
Clubs and agents are being told next year’s salary cap will be set at an upper limit of $64 million with a floor of $48 million.
During the 2010-11 season, the salary cap had an upper limit of $59.4 million. The league’s cap - entering its seven season under the current collective bargaining agreement - has risen every year since the end of the NHL lockout when the cap was set at $39-million.
Via RedWingsFeed, Capgeek.com’s Twitter account’s hedging bets, going with $63.5-64 million. The NHLPA clearly chose to allow its 5% inflator to automatically apply here as we could be going into a lockout year, yielding a, “Make the money while you can, escrow be damned” approach.
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will inform GM Ken Holland as to whether he wishes to continue playing either today or tomorrow in Las Vegas, and Lidstrom doesn’t top his hand—ever—but if there’s anyone who knows the Wings’ Swedes best, it’s Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom, a.k.a. ‘Der Alte” (the old man). Via Chris from Too Many mean on the Site, I headed over to Expressen and then Nordstrom’s blog, where Nordstrom’s taking a big leap of faith (and this is roughly translated), albiet an informed one:
After meeting with Lidstrom here in Los Angeles on Sunday morning, I’m so confident that he’s going to continue that I will dare write it on SPORT-Expressen even if Lidas won’t dare say it himself.
He will have a first meeting with his team’s GM, Ken Holland, today in Las Vegas. But I don’t see hindrances occurring which would prevent Lidstrom from continuing to play in the NHL.
Disclaimer: this overnight report is being written by someone who’s slept for two of the past 36 hours, so if it’s more trite, cliched and long-winded than usual, I blame insomnia.
First and foremost, as far as I can tell, Red Wings fans seem to think that the concept of signing Jaromir Jagr is, at best, an unnecessary move, but the scuttlebutt surrounding Jagr’s future continues, so I have to write about it. On Saturday in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Jagr won the Golden Stick award as the Czech Republic’s best hockey player for the tenth time, and he did speak somewhat obliquely about his NHL future with Hockej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim. What follows is a rough translation of their conversation:
Updated at 10:47 AM: So as we received confirmination from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, in English, that Jaromir Jagr is indeed interested in joining the Red Wings, Canadiens or Capitals (and, like Mike Modano last summer, possibly a “mystery team”), I wondered why the timing was so forced aside from the obvious—as Jagr told LeBrun, KHL teams’ training camps essentially start in July.
Well as it turns out, in addition to the fact that the Czech news agency CTK reports that Jagr closed the deal on purchasing a 70% stake in his childhood team (and object of his attention as well as affection) in HC Kladno on Thursday, and CTK also reports that today’s when the “Golden Stick Award” winner is revealed at the Czechs’ annual end-of-the-season hockey awards banquet in Karlovy Vary…
Okay, so we know, via ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, that Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, are indeed interested in bringing Jagr back to the NHL to play for the Canadiens, Penguins and possibly the Red Wings, and Jagr’s agent is now completing a circuit of the Wings’ beat writers, speaking to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan about his and Jagr’s intentions...
“He knows about the chemistry on the team and within the organization,” Svoboda said Friday from the Czech Republic. “Why wouldn’t he want to play for the Red Wings? He knows the Red Wings are playing for the championship every year and with the players like (Pavel) Datsyuk, (Henrik) Zetterberg, and (Nicklas) Lidstrom, these are players that play with the puck and he likes that style of play. It would be a great fit.”
Svoboda said Jagr would be looking for a one-year contract, which is what the Wings also would be interested in. The agent has contacted several NHL teams but wouldn’t identify them. It’s believed the New York Rangers and Montreal are on that short list.
Svoboda has not talked to the Wings the last few days because of an illness to Svoboda’s mother. Jagr, 39, has played the last three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental League after a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the NHL. Svoboda believes Jagr could still thrive in the NHL.
“He’s a tremendous athlete, a real proud guy, and he has a lot left in the tank,” Svoboda said. “He’s feeling really good and he knows he can help a team.”
Updated with tidbits and KH interview audio at 3:33 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s Red Wings-related news, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun confirms that Nicklas Lidstrom will inform GM Ken Holland of his decision as to whether he wishes to continue to play hockey early next week…
The Detroit Red Wings should find out Monday or Tuesday whether legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be back next season.
“Nick Lidstrom and I met Tuesday for a brief meeting,” Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com on Friday. “He said he wasn’t prepared to make decision yet. We have plans to meet in Vegas on Monday or Tuesday and he said he would give me his decision then.”
Lidstrom, 40, is nominated for a seventh Norris Trophy and will be Las Vegas for Wednesday’s NHL awards show.
LeBrun also managed to get Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, to comment in English about Jagr’s attempts to latch on with an NHL team, including the Wings or Canadiens (but not the Penguins) for a one-year term…
I hate to lead off with this crap, but in my world, bad news comes first.
Both Fox Sports Detroit’s Mike O’Hara and the Detroit Free Press’s Ron Dzwonkowski brought Detroit’s well-earned inferiority complex (see: “For God’s sake, we’re from Detroit, which is the collective butt of so many jokes about violence/poverty/etc.”) out to play regarding the riots in Vancouver, and the Free Press pointed out that actor Rainn Wilson declared Vancouver to be the “Detroit of Canada.”
All because of the violence which erupted after the Detroit Tigers won the world series back in 1984, which is before many of you were even born. I’m old enough that I remember it pretty well despite the fact that I was six at the time, and as my dad was a probation officer for the City of Detroit, I can tell you that worse things happened on an individual basis just about every day in Detroit in the 80’s, but it’s what we’re remembered for, and while ever single celebration of the Red Wings’ four Stanley Cups was peaceful, whenever our Wings go far in the playoffs, we hear, “Well I hope nobody burns Detroit down.”
Updated 5x at 4:28 with St. James confirming Jagr interest: The scuttlebutt regarding the Red Wings’ possible interest in signing free agent-to-be Jaromir Jagr boil down to two issues—fit and finances. On the latter front, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner reports that Jagr might not fit the Wings’ plans:
It’s being reported that Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, has contacted four clubs — Detroit, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the Rangers — about the services of his client. Jagr has played for three teams during his NHL career: the Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers.
Detroit appears to have the inside track because Jagr is salivating at the opportunity to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But reports also suggest that Jagr also is seeking a major payday. If that’s the case, don’t expect Detroit to sign him. The Wings are smarting from the Mike Modano experiment. They’re apprehensive about signing aging veterans who are susceptible to injury and a diminishing skill set.
And on the former front, as Regner suggests, the Wings obviously want to spend most of their capped dollars bolstering their puck-moving blueline:
The 2010-2011 NHL season ended in the strangest way I’ve ever witnessed an NHL season end in a Nicklas Lidstrom’s career’s worth of years—19 and counting. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in a dominant Game 7 performance, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, but this morning’s sports pages across the world (I can verify this in terms of at least Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak and English) contain fewer images of the Boston Bruins lifting the Cup than images of downtown Vancouver in flames due to the actions of morons who even the Detroit area morning news—and I’m old enough to remember the post-Tigers looting and pillaging in 1984—insist were the result of Canucks fans’ anger.
As for what happened on the ice, the only thing I can say as an American is that it puzzles me to no end that there’s a sense that Canada has been shut out and lost “its” Stanley Cup to America again. Once your team has lifted the Stanley Cup, no matter where you live or where you’re from, you believe that its “home” is in your team’s hands, in your team’s city and your favorite players’ hometowns. If anything belongs to hockey fans, it is the Stanley Cup, and while I heartily congratulate the Boston Bruins this morning, if you’re a hockey fan that’s witnessed your team lift the Cup in your lifetime, and you’re not a Bruins fan, you don’t think it’s “home” today.
In any case, here’s a brief survey of the hockey world (as the boss will hopefully sleep in for the first time in forever), and I’ll eventually get my way to discussing some Red Wings stuff:
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.