The Malik Report
Updated 2x with some “thoughts” from Elliotte Friedman at 9:40 AM: After more or less collapsing due to lingering exhaustion on Monday evening, I woke up with a start, with my bizarre dreams and pseudo-nightmares having given way to that inevitable, “You need to get up, you have to update the blog” nag that has become an internal alarm clock, but I rose for my middle-of-the-night sojourn through this morning’s crop of articles related to Monday’s Red Wings locker room clean-out and its aftermath wondering if we’ve learned anything about the team you and I follow so passionately in the process.
I can tell you that we’re in for the inevitable poker game with its best player, Nicklas Lidstrom, regarding his future plans; I can tell you that Brad Stuart’s not going to play another game in Detroit, barring some sort of miracle, and I can tell you that Tomas Holmstrom faces the same problem Kris Draper did last year—he may want to continue playing for the Wings, but younger players may have already won his spot from him.
The locker room clean-out day post is so chock-full of videos and comments from Red Wings players (there’s about 90 minutes’ worth of player, coach and general manager comment video in there) that I’ve ran out of room, so this is a continuation thereof.
The AP’s Larry Lage penned a story about Nicklas Lidstrom’s possible departure which notes that Henrik Zetterberg and his teammates are now willing to admit that they’re pressuring Lidstrom to return:
“Like we’ve been doing the last two three years, we’re trying,’’ Zetterberg said. “I think everyone is, but once again, it will come down to a decision with his family.’‘
Lidstrom has put retirement on hold in each of the previous two years by signing one-year contracts. He turns 42 on Saturday and is coming off a season in which he had 34 points and a plus-21 rating that ranked among NHL league leaders.
“How can you quit when you’re that good?’’ Kronwall said. “Maybe that’s selfish thinking on my part because I want our team to be as good as it can be next year.’‘
Updated 11x with sand-kicking from Nashville at 6 PM: The Detroit Red Wings’ players assembled at Joe Louis Arena today to take their team picture for the 2011-2012 season, clean out their lockers, in the cases of Jimmy Howard (USA), Justin Abdelkader (USA), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden), Johan Franzen (Sweden) and the already-departed Tomas Tatar (Slovakia) and Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), pack up their gear to head over to Stockholm and Helsinki to take part in the World Championships, and to begin the process of taking end-of-season physicals, receiving off-season workout recommendations, and to begin engaging in exit interviews with coaching and management staffs which will utilize the information gleaned from said players to formulate an organizational master plan in terms of attempting to reload the Big Red Machine at the Entry Draft and via trades and free agent signings.
The players aren’t exactly stating anything of staggeringly stunning note today—thought Nicklas Lidstrom assuaged some Wings fan’s fears by suggesting that he still likes his team’s chances of contending for a Cup—as noted by WXYZ’s Brad Galli...
As we await comments from the Red Wings’ players, coach and GM on the day the team’s cleaning out its lockers, and a third of its players are preparing to head to Stockholm and Helsinki to play in the World Championships, Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji summarizes the likelihood of any comments quelling Wings fans’ discontent with their team’s first-round ouster:
Not expecting big news out of #Redwings picture day today.
As we await updates and I settle in for an uncomfortable day of offering you Wings postmortem discussion, MLive’s Ansar Khan tides us over with a slate of player assessments minus grades…
At 11 AM today, at Joe Louis Arena, we’ll finally start to get some answers as to what contributed to the Detroit Red Wings’ earliest playoff ouster since 2006 from the players themselves, and while this only represents the start of the Wings organization’s self-assessment and postmortem, if you will—the players will undergo physicals and exit interviews with the coaches and management, and then the coaching staff, management, pro and amateur scouts will engage in slates of meetings to determine the team’s off-season strategies in terms of their plans for the Entry Draft, re-signing unrestricted and restricted free agents (and prospects), possible trade acquisitions and, of course, free agent targets, so by the time the team finally determines what the hell went wrong and how the team will try to learn from its mistakes and improve over the short and long term…
According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Red Wings actually gave assistant GM Jim Nill permission to speak to the Montreal Canadiens, but in the last year which Nill has a non-competition clause in his contract, Nill declined an invitation to become the Canadiens’ general manager:
The opportunity to become a general manager, especially for a storied franchise like the Montreal Canadiens, was enticing to Jim Nill. But Nill, the assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings, passed on the chance. He felt this was not the ideal time for the move, due to an illness in his family.
“I had two great talks with Montreal; I was interested, they were interested,’’ Nill said. “But it’s not the right time.’‘
Nill has four years remaining on his contract, with different out clauses each season.
“My goal is to become a general manager,’’ Nill said. “There will be opportunities down the road.’‘
If you thought that NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan would at least take his playoff lumps without insisting on delivering the self-aggrandizing interviews which his predecessor, Colin Campbell, chose to engage in after the fact to insist that he was in fact doling out only mildly-biased discipline, well…USA Today’s Kevin Allen allowed Shanahan to essentially go a #Webering:
“I asked (everyone),” Shanahan told USA TODAY Sports, “Did you ever sit in a dressing room in the playoffs, and say, ‘I was going to play this one straight tonight, but Shea Weber didn’t get suspended so I’m going to go to a completely different planet and go off the rails?’”
Shanahan, in his first season as the NHL’s supplemental discipline guru, doesn’t believe there is any link between his Weber decision and the wild first round that has resulted in him handing out nine suspensions, including a 25-game suspension to the Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffi Torres on Saturday.
“It’s a convenient theory after the fact,” Shanahan said. “We don’t think people are way off base to think it should have been a one-game suspension because we considered that.”
Continued, at some length, including this gem describing his decision to fine Weber $2,500 because Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg did not sustain a concussion:
“If you look at analogies from society’s legal system, there are penalties for conspiracy to commit murder that aren’t as severe as the penalties for murder,” Shanahan said.
Despite MLive’s Ansar Khan’s assertion that “this is the year,” if you will, that Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will finally retire, I’d prefer to not join that bandwagon until Lidstrom tells us as much. The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff has just penned a more substantial article along the same lines, and while I’m going to post it here…
As a Red Wings fan who’s already distraught about his team’s earliest playoff exit in six years, as a Red Wings fan who knows that we won’t hear a peep from Lidstrom until mid-June, as usual, and as a Red Wings fan who knows that, should Lidstrom actually call it quits, there’s nothing the Wings can do about it until the draft (where they can begin exploring the trade and/or, “We can’t sign our guy, so give us a draft pick or two and we’ll give you his rights until July 1st” markets), and, more importantly, July 1st (and it’s anything but a “sure thing” that Zach Parise, Ryan Suter or any other player will end up not re-signing with the teams who currently hold their rights, so who get so worked up about pre-ordering jerseys in April?).
Updated at 7:21 PM: USA Today’s Kevin Allen reports that Jimmy Howard and Justin Abdelkader will join Team USA: Just after DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned the article which this blog entry focuses upon, the Wings’ list of World Championship participants increased: in addition to Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden) and the subject of Roose’s article, one Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom reports that Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen will join Ericsson on the host Swedes’ roster.
Zetterberg told Expressen’s Mattias Ek that he’s both very excited about the tournament which he’s leaving for on Tuesday, and that—and this is interesting—he believes he can play for at least nine more years in the NHL, while Franzen told Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman that he hopes to salvage what was a somewhat challenging year by contributing to Sweden’s cause.
Update: Link fixed, sorry! Building upon last night and this morning’s slate of Red Wings discussion, today, 9.71 the Ticket’s Dennis Fithian and Scott Anderson weigh in, the classic Monday morning gut-punch “quarterback” in Ryan Lambert has offered his take on the old Wings’ old problems because they’re so old, I’m not even going to comment on this, and then…
MLive’s Ansar Khan offers ten takes on where the Wings go from here, and he leads off with a bombshell—a bombshell repeated by Larry Murphy and hinted at by Ken Daniels:
1. Will Nicklas Lidstrom return? My hunch is he will retire. It is the first time I have had that feeling, after expecting him to return for the past several seasons. He has played 20 seasons, a milestone that was important to him. He turns 42 on Saturday and has accomplished everything from a team (four Stanley Cups) and an individual standpoint (seven Norris Trophies). Is he motivated to train long and hard over the summer for another season?
Continue reading if you want to get Khan’s takes on Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Jakub Kindl, Brad Stuart and the team’s free agency plans.
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.