The Malik Report
Updated at 12:33 AM: I’ve had a week of actual hockey in July as a fine antidote to the lack of free agent insanity that seems to be giving the hockey world a case of believe-the-hype-itis, but I’m more than a little fried myself after wrapping up coverage of the Wings’ summer development camp, so you’ll have to excuse me for being a little punchy this evening.
I’m not disputing the fact that the Red Wings need to add another defenseman to the mix, at the very least, to stabilize their roster going into the 2012-2013 season, but I had to smirk at the answer the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau gave to a reader from Sweden asking a question about the Wings’ defensive depth going forward:
Strange times, folks, these are strange times. The Hockey News’s Adam Proteau tried very hard to explain to fans that the NHLPA’s members have every right to battle for their slice of the revenue pie, but in adding too many “they’re like movie stars and we don’t get angry at them for being paid what they pay” references, his article came off sounding too similar to the, “Here’s an analogy, fans, now buy my line.” So who makes the NHLPA seem like a sympathetic organization during a summer where the players have yet to suggest that Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and outside counsel Bill Batterman are being anything less than civil and polite?
The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater, in offering a simple set of quotes from someone who took his revenue-sharing and made a $198 million advance to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter at the expense of some of the teams will wind up subsidizing Parise and Suter’s salaries:
I’ve hadn’t seen a shootout with 74 shooters until this morning, when the Red Wings’ prospects concluded their summer development camp with a 6-3 victory for Team Lidstrom over Team Zetterberg…and a 74-man shootout which took 20 minutes—and left fans confused as all hell get out—because we didn’t know that money was on the line.
The last day of the camp is always strange. The players go through a scrimmage that usually involves 2 30-minue periods of running time and a few odd-man situations. This one happened to involve stop time for the vast majority thereof as Jiri Fischer’s message didn’t get through to the timekeeper, and the various 4-on-4, 3-on-3 and power play situations provided offense and flow…But that disappeared during a 10-minute “dry scrape” that was more interpretive art than anything else and the bizarre shootout.
You and I already know that the Red Wings are playing the free agency waiting game as the marketplace has slowed to a crawl, and just as importantly, the Wings’ management has chosen to wait for free agents’ asking prices to drop and/or teams’ asking prices for defensemen to slide back down from the stratosphere before adding a defenseman and possibly a goal-scoring forward to the roster. According to the Free Press’s Helene St. James, Wings GM Ken Holland has headed back to his hometown of Vernon, British Columbia as things slow down for the next month or so:
The Wings remain in contact with the agent for unrestricted free-agent forward Shane Doan, but Doan is talking to the Coyotes, too, and odds all along have been that he stays in Phoenix. Alexander Semin remains available, but teams are wary of a forward high on skill but low on production and lax in attitude.
On what is day five of the Red Wings’ development camp, technically day six for the prospects thanks to a brief scrimmage on Saturday, and the fourth day over the past five that the players woke up at 6:50 and didn’t leave the rink until after 5 PM, engaging in grueling two-a-day sessions of on-ice skill development and drills alternated with off-ice training…
Either the morning group was a little too honest for its own good, or the afternoon group’s testosterone was talking, because a clearly tired group of young men insisted that they were not, more or less because this is their “last day of school.”
Via RedWingsFeed, what, did you think that Tomas Holmstrom’s agent was doing anything more than blowing smoke? Seriously? Yeah, right. Tomas Holmstrom told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan that he will only wear Red Wings red and white, despite Howard Gourwitz’s claims to Expressen’s Oscar Brostrom:
“Not true at all,” Holmstrom said. “It’s playing in Detroit, or nowhere else.”
Holmstrom is training as he has the past 15 summers preparing for an NHL schedule. But he isn’t sure if he’s ready for the grind of another season.
“I appreciate Kenny giving me this time to think about things,” Holmstrom said. “I’m training, I’m working out. But a lot of it depends on my health, my knees.”
I spoke to several Red Wings prospects at the conclusion of this afternoon’s on-ice session at the Red Wings’ summer development camp, and while I’ll be writing up my observations from said sessions shortly, here are the interviews a little bit early:
Via RedWingsFeed, Ken Holland mentioned this yesterday during the Doan talk and it was mentioned again during the overnight report, but I suppose it’s owed first billing. Holland was asked whether the Red Wings are no longer at the top of free agents’ lists given that Ryan Suter and Zach Parise signed elsewhere, and he “defended Hockeytown” as follows while speaking to MLive’s Phillip Zaroo:
“I don’t,” Holland said, when asked if he thought perception of the team has changed, “because I field calls. We might not always be No. 1, but we are one of two teams that Ryan Suter met with.”
Even if the Red Wings could have matched the Wild’s offers, it wasn’t something they would’ve necessarily done because such sizable deals handcuff an organization for future moves.
“Once you make those types of decisions you’re out of the game for a decade,” he said. “We’re not going to have major announcements this year, next year and the year after. The league doesn’t work like that. I’m confident that at some point in time, and it might be next year, that the history, the tradition, the commitment of our ownership and the passion of the Red Wing fans is going to all add up to us bringing a player of significance here.”
But it’s not for a lack of trying on the Wings’ part. Hell, even as the Chief pointed out, I can tell you for a fact that when Holland was up here at the summer development camp, he was working his Blackberry on an incredibly regular basis, as were Jim Nill, Ryan Martin and even Mike Babcock. It’s not as if the Wings have just thrown up their hands and bought into the underwhelming, “We like the team that we have” line that Holland is selling the digital sound recorder-wielding types (for this week, that means, “Like me”). No, the Wings didn’t land the big fish, and no, the Wings may not end up adding much more than a veteran defenseman and/or a goal-scoring winger before the season begins, but my goodness, it is not for a lack of trying, and it’s not as if Holland’s phone never rang, either—there was a good 50-50 split when it came to initiating or responding to inquiries.
As the Red Wings’ summer development campers slowly but surely find themselves headed toward the end of their time here in Traverse City, the coaches planned on winding things down ever-so-subtly today, but they didn’t account for a giant wrench being thrown into the proceedings: Brendan Smith told me that the bus that was supposed to take the prospects from their resort hotel to the rink was over 40 minutes late, and as the Wings’ brass stay at the Grand Traverse Resort, it took ten calls before Smith got a hold of Jiri Fischer and managed to inform the coaches and management that the players would be late.
Hockey players are inevitably creatures of habit, and when a slate of workouts or on-ice activities start an hour later—and the coaches inform the players that their break between an 8:30-10:30 session starting at 9 and ending at 11 will be truncated so that the 2:30-4:30 sessions remain on track—gents who are such creatures of habit that they’re very specifically bused back to their hotels so they can catch 30 or 45 minutes of sleep were very “off” early this morning, and I think this afternoon’s going to be that much tougher for them…
It’s been a strange morning at the Red Wings’ summer development camp. The players’ bus didn’t come to their hotel on time, so the on and off-ice activities didn’t begin until almost 9 instead of 8:20, but the team won’t have a short break in between the morning’s workouts and skill drills and the afternoon’s sessions, which will further throw off players’ schedules because so many are accustomed to mid-day naps.
So this news post more or less plays off the Zamboni scrape entry and generally involves more minor tidbits than not:
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.