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‘WalletHub’ study: Detroit is the best hockey city in the U.S.

According to a study conducted by WalletHub, Detroit ranks as the #1 hockey city in the U.S. Richie Bernardo explains the study's methodology:

To find the best cities for hockey fans, WalletHub’s analysts compared 72 of the most populated U.S. cities across two divisions, including NHL (Div. I Men’s) and College Hockey (Div. I Men’s). For our sample, we chose cities with at least one college or professional hockey team.

We first compiled 17 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was given a value between 0 and 100, wherein 100 represents the most favorable conditions for hockey fans and 0 the least. In order to determine the weight for each division, we surveyed teams in each division’s Facebook account, summed the number of “Likes” and calculated the proportion that each league represented in total. Thus, the weight attributed to each division was based on its popularity.

We then calculated the overall score for each city using the weighted average across all metrics and ranked the cities accordingly.

The article continues...

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SKA St. Petersburg’s VP states that the team will honor the NHL’s ‘memorandum of understanding’

Via Sport-Express and Sovetsky Sport, SKA St. Petersburg's vice-president, Roman Rotenberg, told Russia's TASS news agency that the team isn't going to comment on its negotiations with Pavel Datsyuk until July--and Rotenberg duly notes that the NHL and KHL have a "memorandum of understanding" stating that both leagues will respect valid contracts from the other league.

With a year remaining on his NHL contract, Datsyuk is still "NHL property" as much as he is Red Wings property, and the Wings and NHL would have to sign off on Datsyuk playing in Russia to allow him to do so.

Here's a rough translation of Rotenberg's comments:

"There are subtle legal formalities, which, of course, our team will honor, as between the KHL and NHL there is an agreement on the mutual respect of contracts of teams and players"--said Rotenberg. "We respect the agreement between the leagues, so today and until July we won't comment regarding the transfer situation related to NHL teams."

"As for the talk about the possible overseas departures of Shipachov and Dadonov, I would like to emphasize that these players are under contract with SKA St. Petersburg, and we will inform our laywers, which are in communication with their NHL counterparts, of any cases of misconduct in this matter."

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The overnight report: On RFA’s, Radulov, Miller and Helm, Stamkos and Kal at the bat

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. As Paul noted on Tuesday afternoon, MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed that the Red Wings have issued contract offers to Darren Helm and Drew Miller. Khan also noted the following regarding the Wings' restricted free agents...

Holland also is working on signing the team's restricted free agents, a group that includes Petr Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan, Alexey Marchenko and Teemu Pulkkinen. That process usually takes much of the off-season.

"By the end of the week I will have talked to all of our restricted players," Holland said. "In most cases made offers or got an idea of what they're thinking and they know what I'm thinking."

All five are eligible for arbitration, so it's possible one or two might file.

And this about the Radulov sweepstakes:

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Contract Offers Made To Drew Miller And Darren Helm By Ken Holland

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings are trying to re-sign two of their impending unrestricted free agents, having made offers to forwards Darren Helm and Drew Miller.

A deal with Miller could be completed soon but the Red Wings likely will be waiting a few weeks before Helm decides.

Miller, 32, was limited to 28 games due a broken jaw on Dec. 3 and a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 10. The club likes what he brings to the fourth line, the penalty killing unit and the dressing room.

He is coming off a three-year deal with a $1.35 million cap hit. Because he spent more than 100 days on injured reserve, the Red Wings can sign him to a contract that includes games played bonuses.

"We're working away, hopefully find a solution," general manager Ken Holland said. "He's a good penalty killer, he's a good leader in the room. He doesn't wear a letter but he's well-respected by the younger players. Hopefully we find a solution to keep him here for another year."


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Wings Are Close To Filling Assistant Coaching Vacancy

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings expect to fill their remaining assistant coaching vacancy soon.

"We're close," general manager Ken Holland said on Tuesday. "Hopefully by the end of this week or early next week at the latest."

Todd Richards, whom the Red Wings interviewed and was considered a leading candidate for the job, was hired Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Lightning to work on Jon Cooper's staff.

The Red Wings also interviewed John Torchetti and Dave Cameron, and perhaps others. They are seeking an assistant who will work with the forwards and on a power play that struggled most of the regular season and in the playoffs.


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‘Three Things’: An assistant coach ‘off the board,’ a Larkin feature and talkin’ bout Tyson Barrie

Updated 3x at 1:51 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Todd Richards as an assistant coach, and that narrows the field that the Red Wings are talking to. Dave Cameron, John Torchetti and Marc Crawford Mike Yeo may be the facorites for the job--I think that the Wings will go with Torchetti--but the Lightning let Steve Thomas go in order to hire Richards, and Thomas would be a fine addition to the power play.

In any case, the beat writers have reported that the Wings will name an assistant coach sometime this week.

2. Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples penned a fine feature article about Dylan Larkin:

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On charitable events and a District Detroit milestone

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. WDIV's Nick Monacelli reports that a 5K run will formally kick off Joe Louis Arena's final season as the Red Wings' home. The event will raise funds for the Red Wings Foundation:

The farewell season at "The Joe" will begin in September, the last season the Detroit Red Wings will play there before moving into Little Caesar’s Arena.

Jim Biewer, a Marking Director for the team, said they’ve been planning for months.

“We’re pulling out all the stops, we’re going all out,” Biewer said. “We want to make sure people remember Joe Louis Arena for what it was (and) the historic memories that they have here.”

Biewer added that almost every game and event will have something memorable for those attending.

“You’re going to see alumni, you will see giveaways and keepsakes to take home with you, so you’ll always have a piece of The Joe with you," Biewer said.

Kicking off the farewell season is the HockeyTown 5K [on September 10th]. a brand new run and walk that will begin outside the arena on the stairs of the Gordie Howe entrance.

The Wings just posted a Tweet linking to their "Hockeytown 5 K" registration page:

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Kulfan: Wings still waiting on Datsyuk

From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, via RedWingsFeed:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland expects to meet with Pavel Datsyuk early next week, and hopes to have a decision on the center’s future shortly after that.

“I know Pavel is coming back to Detroit in the middle of June, he has a camp that week, and we’re going to meet before that,” Holland said.

Datsyuk either will return to the Red Wings or head home to Russia — to be close to his daughter to finish his playing career in the Kontinental League.

If he leaves the Red Wings, Datsyuk does so with one year and a $7.5 million salary cap hit.

Datsyuk, who’ll be 38 in July, is hosting a hockey camp June 17-21 at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

Kulfan continues, stating that the Wings' assistant coaching search is down to the short strokes, and updating Darren Helm and Drew Miller's situations (talks have begun)...

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St. James discusses Darren Helm’s fit in Detroit

The Free Press's Helene St. James examines the "fit" of one Darren Helm on the Red Wings' roster this evening, duly noting that Helm fits quite well with the Wings, but may find a bigger paycheck and bigger role elsewhere:

his past season, Helm had 13 goals among 26 points in 77 games. His role was much more in flux, as he spent time on the top line — and the fourth line.

That instability was mentioned by Helm as something he wants to discuss with Holland and head coach Jeff Blashill before deciding whether to stay. Basically, Helm wants a handle on what his role will be. This is his first shot at unrestricted free agency, and Helm knows he will be coveted if he hits the free market. He has an asset — blazing speed — that many teams are looking to add, including Washington and St. Louis.

Helm’s last contract was four years and $8.5 million, an annual cap hit of $2.125 million.

On the Wings’ end, there is interest in Helm because he is a speedy forward in the prime of his career. He can slot onto any line and both special teams. With Datsyuk’s expected departure, there will be significant minutes up for grabs. And to reiterate about speed — it’s vital to today’s NHL, and the Wings are better for being able to field Helm along with Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Luke Glendening.

Much of it will hinge on cost. Helm just saw what Justin Abdelkader got (seven years, $29.75 million, $4.25-million cap hit) but Helm, who never has reached 20 goals, isn’t going to get a similar deal from the Wings.

St. James continues, and I get the feeling that Helm will have to take a bit of a hometown discount off of what the "open market" may bring to stay where he probably belongs.

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Custance on Datsyuk, Radulov

From ESPN's Craig Custance's Insider-only "Ten takeaways from the NHL draft scouting combine":

10. Latest on possible Datsyuk "suitors": The expectation is that the Red Wings shouldn’t have too much trouble moving Pavel Datsyuk's contract if he does indeed confirm: that he’s leaving for the KHL. The Hurricanes, Devils and Coyotes would be the most likely destinations for Datsyuk’s contract.

There was some speculation that a deal between Detroit and free agent Alexander Radulov was all but done and just waiting for Datsyuk to be moved, but that’s not necessarily true. As of right now, the contract ask for Radulov is steeper than the Red Wings are willing to pay. There’s definitely interest, but not at all costs.

Teams with cap flexibility are in an especially good position heading into this summer, giving them the ability to add assets for nothing, more than just taking on bad contracts.

Devils GM Ray Shero said that’s an avenue the Devils are exploring to help stock the system in New Jersey.

“Yeah. We’ve looked at that in the past. There’s a difference between taking on a contract to take on a bad contract to buy that contract out, which takes cash,” Shero said. “There are all kinds of different scenarios. [Cap space] is an asset in the league. I’ve been on the other end. You’re trying to do the gymnastics [to get under the cap]. You’re looking for teams, but just because teams have cap space doesn’t mean teams want to take on the money, budget-wise.”

Custance continues with 9 other observations...

Update: Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

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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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