The Malik Report
Updated with a Mattias Backman interview at 7:32 PM:
So Tomas Tatar has been signed to a 3-year deal at an average value of $2.75 million per season (that particular blog entry's been updated with quips and quotes, and it's a solid "bridge" contract for someone who will, per Winging It in Motown, remain a restricted free agent after this deal expires), the Red Wings expect to have no issues re-signing Danny DeKeyser, as DeKeyser told Fox 17 and Ken Holland told MLive's Brendan Savage...
"I don't see any problem," Holland said. "We're going to want to get him signed. I talked 3-4 times with his camp in June and a little bit shortly after the draft. We haven't talked in a little bit. But again, I'm motivated to get him signed. I think Danny wants to get signed. Once you get into early July, everybody's focus is free agency for a couple of weeks. Going forward, now we can find a solution. I'm confident we can get him done."
And with--as Savage noted in an earlier article--22 players signed, the Wings now have $5.27 million in Capgeek-estimated cap space, which should be enough money to re-sign DeKeyser (I'd estimate that DeKeyser's going to get a $2.5-3 million deal, but the Free Press's Helene St. James believes that DeKeyser could get a Quincey-like $4 million AAV deal) and possibly give this guy a decent base salary:
Updated 3x at 5:05 PM:
From the Red Wings...
Here's the press release:
Updated 3x at 1:49 PM: "Slow?" Yes. "Dead?" Far from it. This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news stories isn't deep, but it's still worth watching and reading:
First, the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their 4th video chronicling the Griffins' 2014 playoff run, and there's over 32 minutes' worth of content across three videos now. Here's part 4...
And here are parts 1...
Mike Babcock's "advanced stats"-related conversation with NHL.com's Dan Rosen ruffled quite a few feathers as some assumed that the Red Wings weren't employing "analytics" at all, but Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin sets the record straight via a conversation with the Free Press's George Sipple this morning: no, the Red Wings don't have a dedicated number-cruncher, but the team's not exactly been operating in the dark ages:
The Wings have attempted to be ahead of the curve for a while, poring over advanced data from different providers to glean information.
“We’re using it; it’s one piece of the puzzle,” said assistant general manager Ryan Martin. “It’s meant to supplement what your scouts and your staff see. The same way doing your due diligence on the players’ character and work ethic and what your scouts see with their own eyes. We’re in the information gathering business and advanced stats or analytics are one more piece of the puzzle that will hopefully help you make a better, more informed decision. We look at it and we certainly use it, but I don’t know that there’s a team that would say it is the be all and the end all.”
Martin tells Sipple that the Wings won't necessarily hire a dedicated advanced stats person this summer--they have to hire an assistant coach first--but the team will hire one sooner than later, and in the interim, the Wings are in the same boat as most every other NHL team; they're doing their best to sort through information-providers who may or may not be selling hills of magic beans:
This isn't Red Wings-related, it's a George's Pet Interest post: Surveying the Russian sports newspapers, you get used to the concept that the KHL's preseason begins in late July, so I wasn't surprised to read the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's report that Michael Leighton had to nix a contract with the Sochi Leopard because Leighton contracted an illness that prevented him from taking part in Sochi's mid-July training camp.
Duff also asked the former Philadelphia Flyers goalie whether his 2013-14 campaign for Donbass Donetsk--the Ukrainian team that's suspended operations because the Eastern Ukraine is currently engulfed in political turmoil--may have given Leighton second thoughts about continuing to play in the KHL...
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road. It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine. When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
(Slovan Bratislava was willing to host Donbass Donetsk's 14-15 season games for a Euro per game, but Donbass chose to cease operations for the year instead)
This evening's crop of Red Wings-related news is a little "scattershot" in nature, but that's the nature of the late-July beast:
First, speaking of "late June," it's not often that a Sunday TV sports show talks about the Red Wings at all, but WXYZ's 7 Sports Cave's" "Fast Five Minutes" led off with Wings talk, and Matt Sheppard, Mike Stone and WXYZ's Brad Galli spent a minute discussing the Wings' likely 2014-2015 season-to-come:
For the second Sunday in a row, a business-related cover story by the Detroit Free Press kicks off the overnight report, but we're not talking about a massive rink and arena district plan this morning; instead, we're discussing a comparison between business entities that the rink project made inevitable.
The Free Press's John Gallagher compares the approaches made by Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert toward building and rebuilding the City of Detroit, "Ilitchville vs. Gilbertville" graphic and respective-property photo gallery included, and while Gallagher's willing to compare the old-school business baron and new-school real estate mogul to (whose companies own sports teams and Detroit casinos) to Pittsburgh's Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, such a suggestion is at least premature:
from Steve Amorose of Fox 17 (western Michigan),
DeKeyser, 24, just finished his first full season with the Detroit Red Wings, scoring four goals and adding 19 assists while being a plus-10 in 65 games. He played in all five of the Red Wings playoff games against the Boston Bruins.
“Obviously wish we did a little bit better and made it a little bit further in the playoffs, but I thought we grew a lot as a team,” said DeKeyser. “Some guys stepped in who nobody really thought could play or didn’t know how they could play, and they really proved a lot of people wrong.”
Now he’s a restricted free agent and is simply waiting to sign a new deal with the Red Wings.
“There won’t be any problems,” said DeKeyser about the negotiations. “It’ll be done before camp. So, no one needs to worry about that.”
read on for a shot video of DeKeyser talking about Mike Babcock...
This morning's crop of Red Wings stories is quite thin, but that happens at this time of year.
First, if you speak Czech, you might get quite a few chuckles out of Tomas Nosek's 9-minute interview with HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice's YouTube channel (or website, if you prefer), but I'm linguistically-limited to English, some German and some written Swedish, so...Not so much for me. I know that he references Richard Nedomlel at one point and that he talks about the excitement of taking part in the Wings' summer camp, as well as the fact that he wore Tomas Kopecky's #82 and that Axel Holmstrom wore Tomas Holmstrom's 96, but that's all I got out of it.
Second, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan wrapped up his survey of the Red Wings' forwards (with photo gallery's worth of quips included) and defensemen (ditto) with something of an anticlimactic survey of the team's goaltenders. This time, Ken Holland doesn't make an appearance, and instead, Kulfan focuses on Jimmy Howard's admission that he didn't have a super 2013-2014 season before moving on to Jonas Gustavsson and "blurbs" about Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum. Quoth Howard:
This isn't Red Wings-related, but it's important to me: nearly every "hockey person" will tell you that Ken Dryden's The Game is by far the best hockey-related book ever, but as far as I'm concerned, Julien Rubenstein's The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts (link goes to a KK Affiliate) blows The Game out of the water.
Rubenstein can't replicate Dryden's near-lyrical prose, but his (mostly) true accout of Hungarian goaltender Atilla Ambrus's discovery of bank robbery as a way to supplement his truly dreadful income as a post-Eastern-Bloc collapse professional hockey player--and his inability and unwillingness to stay away from the high-spending, sleeping-around lifestyle of a slightly bumbling professional bankrobber to get out while the "gettin's good," resulting in incarceration...
It's not the story of a hero or a villain, it's the story of someone who finds himself having to rob banks to get by while his country tries to come to grips with the financial devastation of the first post-Soviet years, and The Hockey News's Jason Kay points out that the anti-hero protagonist is beautifully complex:
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