The Malik Report
The Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes pushed the Bolts over the Wings for 1st in the Eastern Conference, 1st in the Northeast Division and 1st in the NHL ahead of tonight's game against the Florida Panthers (7:30 PM EST on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM) and tomorrow's game against Toronto, in Toronto (7 PM on FSD/CBC/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM).
As I'm writing this, I'm reviewing the Red Wings' 2-1 shootout loss against Toronto (tomorrow night's game = last of the season series; Detroit's 2-and-1; Toronto's 1-1-and-1 in the series, but has won 7 of their past 9 games) on Wednesday because the whole house got a stomach bug and some flu-like virus at the same time, knocking all of us on our feet, and as I recall the Wings' 4-3 loss to Florida on December 2nd...
I'm worried (no, really, more than usual). No Justin Abdelkader, no Danny DeKeyser for the next two games (Abdelkader has a shoulder injury, and DeKeyser probably has a shoulder injury; around this time of year, we're reminded that the NHL going away from the football-style shoulder pads = many more shoulder injuries these days), and the Red Wings were far too soft at both nets.
So a lot of prospect stuff happened over the past week. I was absent for most of it. Please let me know what you want me to do in terms of a simple scoreboard round-up.
Here's what you need to know: Joe Hicketts is taking part in Team Canada's pre-World-Junior Championship selection camp, and as it's being held in Toronto (the WJC will be held in Toronto and Montreal jointly this year) it's already Connor McDavid mania time. Dylan Larkin will play for Team USA at the Worlds, Julius Vahatalo was named to Finland's WJC team, and both Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom were named to Sweden's WJC team,
and hockey in Las Vegas is probably a bad idea long ter...Whoops, wrong blog!
At this point, I'd rather be talking about the Peter Karmanos-dropped hints (per Yahoo Sports' Buzzing the Net) that the Plymouth Whalers might be moving to Chatham, Ontario to make room for the National Team Development Program, if not Sportsnet's wonderful feature about Pavel Datsyuk.
If not the fact that Paul did a fantastic job of keeping a one-man blog going without me while I was ill. Between missing a week due to depression and what happened leading up to and after the Griffins game (my mother, aunt and I all got a stomach bug and also had plain old influenza-like symptoms, fever, nausea, aches and pains, and mostly staggering fatigue, to the point that we were all kerplunk, and the mom was stunned to find out that it was not in fact December 18th on Thursday), I'm very sorry that I've been so "in and out" of late, but all I can do is promise to work harder and smarter going forward. I'm sure the family doc will tell me that I dealt with a virus when I see her next Tuesday.
Between now and then, however, we're going to be dealing with a topic that I'm sure Paul is sick of and I'm pretty bloody tired of in Mike Babcock's contract. With the Wings playing home-and-homes against Toronto (Toronto doesn't play tonight; the Wings host the Florida Panthers), we knew things were going to be "interesting" this week.
This report from the Detroit News's Mike Harrington is far more important than it appears to be:
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued an opinion that Detroit Downtown Development Authority funds can be used to develop a planned $450 million hockey arena in the city.
Schuette issued his opinion on the constitutionality of using the DDA funds early Thursday morning.
“This opinion builds upon existing state Supreme Court precedent, as well as previous AG opinions from as far back as Frank Kelley,” Schuette said in a press release. “The DDA Act was enacted to provide a tool to aid municipalities ... thereby benefiting the economic growth of a designed development area.”
The new home for the Red Wings is the center of a planned $650 million, 45-block transformation of a mostly gritty, undeveloped area on the northern edge of downtown.
The arena district will contain residential units, approved retail businesses and hotels.
Schuette could've made the rink project hell on wheels for the ilitches if he ruled that what the DDA was doing was unconstitutional. Lord knows Schuette's a holy terror if he disagrees with the constitutionality of
crazy things like two consenting adults being able to get married, I mean if he disagrees with the implementation of a law he feels invalidates the word or spirit of the constitution.
(And yes, I had to go there. I'd feel sick mentioning AG Schuette and not mentioning his Don Cherry-is-a-commie-by-comparison-style personal crusades)
Updated 5x at 4:05 PM: Yesterday, ESPN's Craig Custance had this to say about one Tyler Myers and the Sabres' desire to trade or not trade big #57...
Although his cap hit is at $5.5 million through 2018-19, his actual salary is less than that from this season forward -- a nice bonus for teams on a budget. He’s also a coveted right-handed shot.
There could be a deal if a team is willing to move a left-handed NHL defenseman along with a high-end prospect for Myers, but he’s not a player the Sabres have to trade. There’s a debate to be had as to whether it’s wise to trade him at all, considering the large number of picks and prospects the organization already has stockpiled.
And while I happen to believe that TSN's Darren Dreger's Mike Babcock talk and Babcock's latest jabs to both quash the rumors and at Bob Duff are very...predictable given the situation (for Dreger, could theoretically be making sure that TSN are still making waves sans national TV rights, for Babcock, who's definitely got his own narrative to lay out, and for the situation given the whole, "Wings play Toronto twice in four days" spiel, which makes this discussion nothing less than mandatory)...
It's also rather convenient that the Hockey News's Toronto-based Ken Campbell's suggesting that it's now absolutely imperative that we, "Forget Mike Babcock speculation [and] focus on Tyler Myers":
It has always been my belief whichever direction the Babcock talks go, all the media and us fans can do is wait and see how it plays out.
Only Mike Babcock knows what he wants and it is in his best interest to wait as long as possible.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Mike Babcock has maintained for months that he wants to remain coach of the Detroit Red Wings beyond this season and he believes a deal eventually will get worked out.
But it won't happen anytime soon, apparently. In fact, Babcock said on Thursday that he doesn't expect to sign during the season.
Babcock said he received "a ton of texts" Thursday morning regarding reports that he was close to a deal.
"My phone was blowing up just before practice," Babcock said. "Guys, that's like a fantasy world."
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
“There’s nothing to sign,” Babcock said. “We’ll work it out. We play Florida tomorrow.
“We’ve never negotiated once about it,” Babcock added. “They’ve come to me once in the summer and they came back the same way just before the season and that’s it.”
No Mike Babcock extension is imminent. Nothing has changed.
The Red Wings want Babcock back. They have offered multiyear deal to make him highest-paid coach. Team is playing well.
The Wings hope Babcock signs sooner rather than later. But it's up to him if that happens.
added 1:16pm, Cotsonika tweet,
Babcock said Wings came to him in summer and before season. "And that's it." No active negotiations right now.
Babcock calls reports of imminent deal fantasy.
added 1:29pm, Custance tweet,
Asked Babcock if a deal during the season was a possibility: "I don't think so."
Video- Babcock talking about contract below... vid via Dana Wakiji tweet...
Also, MSM report from practice Abdelkader not wearing gray, non-contact sweater.
added 1:24pm, Khan tweet,
Babcock said he doesn't think DeKeyser will play tomorrow and thinks Ouellet will play. Abdelkader might return on Tuesday.
Also, Howard starts tomorrow.
He is one of the most dynamic and exciting players to watch in the NHL. With undeniable skill, flair and ability, he has hypnotized opponents and brought fans to their feet. He is Pavel Datsyuk, also known as the Magic Man.
I'm getting a little tired of saying, "This isn't the kind of post I'd usually make," so let's go with, "It appears that the Ilitches aren't exactly planning on downsizing, as a certain Toronto radio host named Bob McCown is certain to suggest over the next two days, especially given that the latest real estate development involves the Ilitches' main moneymaker being expanded as part of the District Detroit rink-and-economic development," per the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar:
Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza is helping deliver some of the biggest plans to overhaul downtown Detroit in recent history, including Wednesday's announcement that the company will build a new eight-story headquarters on Woodward Avenue.
The large pepperoni pizza catapulted Little Caesar's company into the upper echelon of pizza chains and is the driver behind the Ilitch family's billion-dollar sports and entertainment empire.
"Little Caesars is by far the biggest, the fastest growing part of our business," said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc. Wednesday.
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.