The Malik Report
According to Fox Sports Detroit, Wayne Gretzky offered an interesting answer to Fox Sports’ Dan Patrick when asked the following question:
Wayne Gretzky is a big fan of the Detroit Red Wings’ Euro Twins. In fact, if he could come back to the game as one of its current stars—Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin excluded—Gretzky says it would be as either Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk.
“The two guys I love, and you can pick the guy you want, but I love Zetterberg and I love Datsyuk,” Gretzky said in response to the “Second Coming” question posed by Dan Patrick on his TV/radio show (as seen on FOX Sports Detroit) Wednesday morning. “I think they play hard, they play properly, they’re unselfish, they’re winners, and they play the game with a great deal of work ethic. I don’t care how good you are as an athlete, I really admire the superstars, the talented guys who really work hard, and the guys who go every night and push themselves to another level.”
Red Wings overnight report: personnel updates, Nick playing poker, Axelsson’s mentor and other stuff
Okey dokey, as Tuesday met the Red Wings’ average in terms of personnel news and a near regular-season level of talk (we might have a slow day here and there, but from here till after prospect camp in the middle of July—more on that later—things will remain pretty darn busy), let’s review the news of note:
• The Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James reported that Chris Osgood and Kris Draper’s futures with the team won’t be determined until Ken Holland and the rest of the Wings’ front office, coach Mike Babcock and the pro and amateur scouts meet on June 14th and 15th to hone their master plan for the entry draft and free agency. These meetings will probably also determine whether the Wings re-sign Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, and whether the team plans on trading a forward (Jiri Hudler?) to make cap space to add what Babcock wants in a top-six forward;
The Free Press’s Helene St. James reported that the Red Wings plan on both waiting until the team’s organizational meetings take place in the middiel of June to decide whether to bring Chris Osgood and Kris Draper back, and the team will also wait until after their remaining assistant coach, Paul MacLean, makes his circuit of NHL teams in an attempt to land a head coaching job before the team goes looking for Brad McCrimmon and possibly MacLean’s replacements…
And this morning, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that MacLean’s going to speak to Bryan Murray about the Ottawa Senators’ coaching vacancy:
Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean has interviewed for the Ottawa Senators head coaching position, a league source said.
MacLean, whose contract expired at the end of the season, has been offered an extension by the Red Wings. He will first seek an NHL head coaching job.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray was the GM in Anaheim when he hired MacLean as an assistant coach in 2002 under head coach Mike Babcock.
According to the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James, Red Wings GM Ken Holland would prefer to hold off on deciding whether to offer Chris Osgood and/or Kris Draper contracts until the team’s coaches, management, professional and amateur scouts sit down for their pre-draft and pre-free agency powwow on June 14th and 15th—and at this point, Jonathan Ericsson might have to wait till then to find out whether the Wings seriously want to bring him back, too:
“I want to hear what everyone has to say,” Holland said. “We know Kris wants to play another year. Ozzie hasn’t said anything about his future, but if we were interested in him, I’m certain he’d have interest in playing. Both have been around here a long, long time. I can come up with lots of reasons why we should have them on our team, and also reasons why not. It’s going to be a very difficult decision.”
Draper, 40, is coming off a good season, but the Wings have 10 forwards signed for next season, have prospect Jan Mursak set to join the lineup and are interested in keeping either or both Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Osgood, 38, missed the second half of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery.
St. James also reports the following regarding the Wings’ attempts to replace Brad McCrimmon, quite possibly, Paul MacLean:
The Wings have talked with assistant coaching candidates but probably won’t make a hire until Dallas, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ottawa fill their head coaching positions. One club has interviewed Wings assistant Paul MacLean for its top job. The Wings parted ways last month with assistant Brad McCrimmon.
Also: I’ll have more about this in the overnight report, but the Grand Rapids Griffins are offering 30 prizes for current and future season ticket-holders, and they’re of the unique variety.
Continuing today’s talk about the Red Wings possibly moving to the Eastern Conference, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside offer differing opinions as to whether it would even be possible for the Red Wings to leave the West for the 2012-2013 season, a year’s worth of Detroit, the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets vying for support among the NHL’s Board of Governors included:
LeBrun: The obvious realignment to me is this: Detroit goes East, Winnipeg into the Northwest, Colorado into the Pacific, Dallas into the Central.
But a league source told me recently that the reason realignment is being delayed a year is that the league wants to properly canvass all its governors and get everyone’s feedback on what is always a contentious issue. The Red Wings desperately want to move east. They’re tired of playing most of their games outside of their time zone, and it’s brutal for TV ratings when you’re asking your fans to stay up late to watch most of your road games. Having said that, many Western Conference governors will oppose losing Detroit because of the Wings’ gate power. So then, what to do? I think the league will examine all kinds of possibilities, perhaps use this opportunity to revamp the entire division and conference setup, not just plug in one team for another. There will be lots of talk and ideas leaked in the next 12 months.
Burnside: I think a simple swap of Detroit for Atlanta/Winnipeg is short-sighted and would be a significant blow to the two-conference setup that has, I think, worked pretty well. You could lose the divisions, as far as I am concerned, especially given that they have no bearing on the playoff seeding. You play an unbalanced schedule that includes six games against each division rival, then throw that out the window come playoff time and seed one through eight based on points.
But here’s the thing that many people are forgetting as we imagine what the new NHL will look like post-Atlanta: A year from now, we might be having this exact discussion about the Phoenix Coyotes. All the City of Glendale did was buy another year of uncertainty in the desert by anteing up another $25 million of taxpayer money to cover the team’s losses this season. If the city can’t nail down an owner by midway through the 2011-12 season, the NHL will be looking for a new home for the Coyotes. Could it be Retreat North Part Deux with a new team in Quebec? Doubtful unless the arena plans there get fast-tracked. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly raised the idea of Seattle recently, saying there are potential owners interested there. The bottom line is that Winnipeg might not be the last of the upheavals the league will be confronting.
Ah, yes, the Coyotes…the discussion continues...
Update: No foolin,’ via USA Today’s Kevin Allen:
If ever there was a reason to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee, tyhe Red Wings offer a reason for fans across North America to buy a cup (I hope tea counts, too):
Wednesday, June 1 is Tim Hortons Camp Day! Camp Day is the one day each year when every penny from coffee sales at Tim Hortons Restaurants across Canada and the United States will be donated to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
On Camp Day, when guests buy a coffee and participate in the various fundraising activities, they will help send more than 14,000 kids on the camping adventure of a lifetime. Campers aged 9-12 years attend a 10 day summer camp session, or a seven day winter camp session at one of the Foundation’s six camps. All children who attend camp are selected by Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners who work closely with local youth organizations and schools to identify kids who would most benefit from an experience at camp.
Continued, and three Red Wings Alums are signing autographs at local Tim Horton’s locations:
John Ogrodnick at Lincoln Park location (1360 Southfield Rd ) from 6-7 a.m.
Eddie Mio at Sterling Heights location (37121 Mound Rd) from 8-9 a.m.
Jason Woolley at Troy location (3331 Rochester Rd) from 9-10 a.m.
Bloggers shouldn’t usually say that they get “yelled at,” so I’d prefer to say that Red Wings fans offer passionate debate when it comes to the theory that the Red Wings might move to the Eastern Conference after the 2011-2012 season. With the announcement that the Winnipeg Jets…I mean Manitoba Moose…let’s just got with True North Sports and Entertainment…has in fact purchased the Atlanta Thrashers, the hottest topic this side of Nicklas Lidstrom’s playing future for now, and probably aside from the Wings’ likely roster and bench overhaul, what will transpire with the team going forward is best summarized by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
With the Atlanta Thrashers officially moving to Winnipeg — the news conference will in Winnipeg at noon Eastern on Tuesday — speculation of realignment will begin. And the Red Wings figure to be in the middle of the discussions, with their hope of moving to the Eastern Conference.
There won’t be any changes soon. The schedule for the 2011-12 season is nearly complete and it’s too late in the process to change. So Winnipeg will simply stay in the Southeast Division for this season but most likely switch to the Western Conference’s Northwest Division in 2012-13.
Jimmy Devellano, the Wings’ senior vice-president / alternate governor, said during the playoffs the team would prefer to be placed in the Eastern Conference. But there’s been talk of possibly Nashville — like the Wings, also in the Central Division — being switched into the Southeast Division, or possibly Columbus being placed in the Eastern Conference.
In the land of jittery talk, MLive’s Rob Otto “worries” about the concept that the Predators or Blue Jackets (and it’ll probably be Columbus) might precede the Wings in the move-to-the-East pecking order:
The heavy-hitters are Tweeting that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s in first class on a flight from Toronto to Winnipeg this morning, and that the NHL will make its announcement regarding the Atlanta Thrashers heading to Winnipeg at 11 AM CDT, presumably at The Forks, regardless of whether the paperwork between the Atlanta Spirit’s dysfunctional family and True North Sports and Entertainment is done.
Given my personal ties to Winnipeg (adopted family, having spent six months of my life there and nearly marrying a Winnipeg gal), you’d think that this adopted Winnipegger would be thrilled that, fifteen years after the Jets were ripped from the hearts of Manitoban hockey fans, an NHL team will return to the Peg.
Instead, I feel awful. The NHL and Gary Bettman have spent millions and millions of dollars of revenue-sharing dollars litigating the hell out of Phoenix to ensure that the Coyotes didn’t head back to Winnipeg despite the fact that Phoenix’s NHL future remains uncertain at best—and boy howdy, even as a Jets fan and die-hard Red Wings supporter, the last two years’ of playoff battles against the Coyotes have more than proven to me the tenacity of Coyotes fans…
The, “It’s quiet, too quiet” comment summarizes the crop of Red Wings articles this morning—as we shift toward “Nicklas Lidstrom watch,” aside from the news that the Wings signed Andrej Nestrasil and that Jonathan Ericsson reaffirmed his desire to remain a Red Wing, we’re reiterating the same old, same old regarding the Red Wings and possible realignment, via the Free Press’s Helene St. James—the Wings don’t know whether the NHL will possibly move them East (not for the 2011-2012) season, and the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper’s repeated the Predators’ take on the situation:
“I think we should at least explore it,” [Predators GM David Poile] said. “I think, now we’ve built up 13 years of strong division rivalry. I think our fans identify strongly with teams in our division, but tell me Detroit is going to the East, then that changes things.”
With the Atlanta Thrashers poised to move to Winnipeg, the Free Press’s Helene St. James checked in with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the team possibly moving to the Eastern Conference for the 2012-2013 season, but no news is no news:
“We’ve been told nothing,” Holland said. “I don’t have any information. I know what I read in the newspaper.”
The Wings would welcome a move to the East, which would greatly reduce the wear and tear of travel and re-ignite dormant rivalries with Original Six foes such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston and the Rangers, teams the Wings see at most twice a season. The only other Original Six team in the West is Chicago.
“I’ve gone on record saying we’d prefer to be in the East, but I haven’t heard anything and I’m just worrying about putting together our team for next season,” Holland said.
Should the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, they would, for the coming season, most likely remain in the Southeast Division because the logistics of creating an entirely new NHL schedule grid this late are prohibitive. Although the schedule won’t be released until late June to early July, it has been more or less set for months.
As we already know by now, there is no pecking order in terms of whether the Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators have an edge in their desires to move East, and as it turns out, it’s the Blue Jackets who want to move East most desperately.
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.