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Blashill remembers Ron Mason

Former Michigan State University coach Ron Mason passed away last night at 76 years of age, and Wings coach Jeff Blashill shared memories of Mason with the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Blashill remembered a man brimming with passion. "As I got into coaching, I had the opportunity to sit in a room with him. I was in awe. He was a living legend at the time, a college hockey icon."

Blashill, 42, recalled talking to Mason a couple of summers ago in Traverse City. "He had unbelievable energy and passion every time he spoke to you -- whether it was about hockey or about fishing. He was a very inspiring person."

Back when the Central Collegiate Hockey Association used to hold annual meetings in Naples, Fla., head coaches and assistant coaches from around the conference would have informal gatherings.

"Coach Mason, he'd stand up when he talked, and he had control of the room," Blashill said. "It was a neat and cool thing to sit and listen to him. He really loved coaching, and it was infectious."

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Questions For Ansar Khan

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers some questions from the fans...

Q: There are rumors that Colorado is trying to get a bigger, stronger defense and doesn't see much of a future for Tyson Barrie beyond him being a No. 5 defenseman and power-play specialist. Would a trade for him (maybe involving Jonathan Ericsson) be beneficial to the Red Wings, or would they be better served holding onto their assets and giving someone like Ryan Sproul a chance to crack the lineup?

A: Barrie has been mentioned in many trade rumors and might be moved. He's young (24), mobile, offensive (38 goals and 140 points the past three seasons combined), can quarterback a power play and shoots right.

Jacob Trouba, who Colorado reportedly wants, or Kevin Shattenkirk, who is expected to be moved by St. Louis, would be better options, but they also would cost more, perhaps more than the Red Wings have or are willing to deal.

Ericsson isn't likely to move (four years remaining at a cap hit of $4.25 million, plus a limited no-trade clause).

more Q & A, mostly coaching related...

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Quincey’s ‘numbers’ belie an uncertain future

As the Red Wings' website moves through its slate of 2015-16 season summaries of the team's players "By the Numbers," Bill Roose and Dana Wakiji have discussed both superstars and players whose futures in Detroit are uncertain. Today, Wakiji focuses on a player in the latter category in Kyle Quincey, offering six significant figures from a player who won't be re-signed prior to July 1st:

Kyle Quincey will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Originally the Red Wings' fourth-round draft pick, 132nd overall, in the 2003 NHL draft, Quincey returned to the Wings in 2011-12 at the trade deadline after one season with the Los Angeles Kings and nearly three with the Colorado Avalanche.

Quincey, 30, has dealt with contract uncertainty before, but it's not the easiest part of being a hockey player.

"A lot of people don’t know that side of the job," Quincey said. "Packing up a house and not knowing where you’re gonna be. You’ve got family that need to know where they’re gonna be, and when you have no answers for them, it’s kind of the (crappy) part of the job, I guess. The uncertainly. If Kenny (Holland) offers me something, I’d love to come back. We love it here. But if not, July 1 and just see what happens."

Wakiji continues at some length, and we don't know whether Quincey will be re-signed or not until sometime after noon on July 1st.

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Hockey Night in Canada, NHL pay tribute to Gordie Howe

Via Paul (sorry for the double post), Hockey Night in Canada's panel spoke about Mr. Hockey for 10:10 prior to the start of Game 6 of the Sharks-Penguins series:

Update: Here's the tribute the NHL played at the SAP Center:

Update #2: Here's the YouTube version, from Sportsnet:

Continue Reading »

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9 in teal

There will be many tributes to Gordie Howe this evening, by NBCSN, the CBC and the NHL, and the Sharks are leading the way:

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THN’s Campbell recalls Datsyuk’s draft year as proof of an ‘inexact science’

The Hockey News's Ken Campbell duly notes that the NHL's 1996 draft served as proof of the incredibly "inexact science" that is drafting 18-year-olds and projecting their NHL careers going forward.  The best player in the '96 draft was picked 171st overall, and his name is Pavel Datsyuk:

Even the man who discovered Pavel Datsyuk has no idea where ‘The Magic Man’ was playing during the 1995-96 season. That’s because Hakan Andersson never even laid eyes on Datsyuk until two years after that.

If you’re ever looking for more proof that drafting young athletes is the most inexact science in the world, consider Datsyuk. Then look at the 1996 NHL draft. It’s generally regarded as one of the weakest ever. To be sure, it has its share of first-round clunkers. But its status would have been enhanced had people thought to scout a skinny 18-year-old kid in Yekaterinburg, a city on the border of Asia where Czar Nicholas II and his family were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Datsyuk was eligible for that draft 20 years ago, and if we only knew then what we know now, Ottawa would have undoubtedly taken him first overall. As it turns out, Datsyuk was taken 171st in 1998. That’s 557 picks and two years after the Senators took Chris Phillips No. 1. Nobody could have known that Datsyuk would become one of the best two-way players ever, since he was about 150 pounds at the time. Andersson, who watched him play for the first time two years later, wonders whether people in Russia even knew about Datsyuk.

“That was my biggest concern that year,” Andersson remembered. “I saw him play, and I really liked him, but I thought that if he got picked by the world juniors team, then everybody would know about him. He worked really hard at both ends, and he was good with the puck.”

Campbell continues with a list of comments about the NHL's then 26-teams' first-round picks, as well as a re-draft.

Quick note: Hakan Andersson appeared on HockeySverige.se's "PowerPlay" program, but he did so speaking about his job and his best picks in Swedish.

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Sunday afternoon Gordie Howe stories

Among today's Gordie Howe-related articles:

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Red Wings’ organizational meetings, Datsyuk discussion pushed back due to Howe funeral

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

[Detroit's] front office staff had been scheduled to gather starting Tuesday, but will delay until Thursday to pay respect to Gordie Howe. The man known as “Mr. Hockey” passed away Friday at 88. The Howe family, which includes Mark Howe, the Wings’ director of pro scouting, will be at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday for public visitation. Gordie Howe’s funeral service is Wednesday.

General manager Ken Holland marshals his front-office colleagues and pro scouts every June to discuss how to improve the team. Players who will hit free agency on July 1 are evaluated, as are possible trade targets.

The Wings, who were eliminated five games into the playoffs in April, are looking to bolster their defense, and acquire a scorer. They will also look at options for a backup goaltender, with a view to trading Jimmy Howard.

Continued, and from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Continue Reading »

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Albom on Howe

From the Free Press's Mitch Albom:

Who really follows Gordie Howe? Nobody can. Nobody will give us stories like that, or memories like those, not 25 years with a single team, not five decades of hockey, not a standing ovation at Joe Louis Arena as a white-haired, 51-year-old All-Star.

You lose athletes like this, and there’s a hole on the shelf forever. Nobody slides over. Nobody fills the space.

A TV anchor asked me Friday what other Detroit athlete’s death was equal to Howe’s? I had no answer at the time.

All I know is that this was seismic. Gordie Howe was the Babe Ruth of hockey. And you’d expect that Babe Ruth’s death would be felt most strongly in New York, right?

The world should expect no less from Detroit. Howe’s passing on Friday morning came on the same day as Muhammad Ali’s funeral, and while the nation can lament two towering sports figures dying in the same week, there should be no criticism (as there was in some corners) for Detroit focusing its attention on Howe, even at the expense of Ali’s funeral service.

All sports are, at their core, local. It’s why players wear the name of cities (or countries) on their jerseys, and why fans root based on their geography.

Gordie Howe was one of ours. He was “Detroit” and “Red Wings” with capital letters. His departure from this earth was always going to be our biggest story of that day. No apologies. None needed.

Since then, and with plans now for a memorial viewing at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, people around the country have asked what it’s been like in Detroit since the news spread. The answer: It’s as if a top has been lifted from a boiling cauldron and an explosion of marvelous memories have shot into the sky.

Continued at extended and extensive length...

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Howe family wins a $3.2 million lawsuit

This is incredibly upsetting given what happened on Friday, but it's not surprising. The Detroit News's Mike Martindale reports that Gordie Howe's family won a $3.2 million lawsuit against former business managers the day before Gordie passed away:

The day before hockey legend Gordie Howe died last Friday, the Michigan Court of Appeals quietly affirmed a $3.2 million jury verdict against his former business managers for destroying priceless memorabilia previously ordered returned to Howe years earlier.

Attorneys for Del Reddy, Aaron Howard, and Del’s father, Michael Reddy and their company, Immortal Investments, had appealed the 2013 Oakland Circuit Court jury verdict and sought a new trial.

A 2007 civil case was reopened after the Howe family learned truckloads of photos, CDs, books, and tapes ordered returned to Howe in 2008 had instead been sent off to a Shred-It facility. It is believed that among the items were home movies of Howe and his late wife, Colleen, and also sports legends from hockey and other sports.

A three-judge panel consisting of Donald S. Owens, Stephen L. Borrello and Cynthia Diane Stephens, rejected seven issues raised by the ex-business managers, and affirmed all court actions and jury decisions in an opinion released Friday.

“It’s a sad day today,” said Kellie Blair, one of the attorneys for the Howe family, when reached Friday for comment. “We are all saddened by the news of the death of the 88-year-old Howe. We are, of course, happy that judgments in his and his family’s favor have been upheld. But we always expected nothing less.”

Martindale continues, and the details are stomach-churning.

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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.


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