The Malik Report
The Red Wings begin an incredibly busy slate of 5 games in 8 nights and 15 in 27 March days and nights with a grueling set--the Wings play 3 games over the next 4 nights, starting with the first of 2 meetings with the New Jersey Devils this evening (7 PM, FSD/MSG/97.1 FM).
You probably know the Wings' personnel story by now. Pavel Datsyuk will remain in Detroit to get treatment on his wonky knee, Stephen Weiss had a "setback" in terms of returning from "core muscle" surgery, Jakub Kindl's sprained knee has not healed yet, Daniel Cleary is broken again, and all of a sudden, Joakim Andersson's the Wings' first-line center.
Amongst this afternoon/evening's Red Wings news:
If you weren't already aware of this, the Red Wings and the NHL removed the grass at Comerica Park ahead of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, and today (via RedWingsFeed), Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea reports that time's come for the Wings and NHL to, well, get plantin':
The National Hockey League, along with the Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment, are splitting the cost of the new grass field that will be installed at Comerica Park in time for the Detroit Tigers season opener on March 31.
The cost and how it's being apportioned among the three entities hasn't been disclosed. Olympia is the entertainment management arm of the Ilitch family's business holdings, which include the Wings and Tigers.
New natural grass fields at major league ballparks range in price from $100,000 to $250,000, turf industry insiders say.
Shea continues, and in news that is also as obvious as grass is green, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose offers a little more regarding today's news regarding Pavel Datsyuk's knee flaring up and Stephen Weiss's "setback"...
This is a promotional video for Bill Roose's book: "Five: A Salute to Nicklas Lidstrom," which goes on sale this Wednesday (Lidstrom cereal is on sale at Meijer and apparently on sale online as well, per the Hockey News's Jason Kay), and while this is an advertisement to some extent, it's also a great context-setter and is plain old superbly-done videography by Dan Mannes and the Wings' video production crew:
Former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill is preparing for his first trade deadline at the helm of his own team, the Dallas Stars, but he gave a thoughtful and insightful interview to the CBC's Doug Harrison, and the interview begins with Nill recollecting how the Chris Chelios trade went down back in 1999--and why it ended up making so much sense for the Wings:
“First of all, whoever thought [Chelios] would leave Chicago, his hometown? At the time, we thought it was about a two-year trade,” Nill, now preparing for his first trade deadline as an NHL GM with Dallas, told CBCSports.ca last week. “We thought [his NHL days were] pretty well done.
“He ended up playing another [nine-plus seasons]. The impact he had in the dressing room and with our younger players, there was so much that went into [our thinking] about acquiring Chris Chelios, the intangibles that [fans] wouldn’t understand.
“[His influence as a leader] in the dressing room, how he prepares [for seasons and games], how professional he is and how it’s all about winning,” Nill added. “It’s those little things that make it one of the largest trades we made at that time.”
That speaks to Chelios as much as it does the Wings management's commitment, but Nill says that the cap era has made the deadline a very different animal:
Updated 2x at 3:08 PM: As Red Wings fans read the lovely news regarding Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl's injuries (all of a sudden, Joakim Andersson's the 1st line center?), pondered practice stuff and can now read Michigan Radio and Deadspin's takes on the Red Wings' rink deal and form their own conclusions...
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's been busy scrounging for trade news, and while I was reading about Datsyuk, Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough noted that LeBrun went Wing-y, first gauging the team's interest in Christian Ehrhoff...
The Red Wings are believed to be among teams interested in defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom the Sabres are shopping. He's got seven more years on his deal after this season, at a $4 million cap hit. What's better, though, is that $22 million of that 10-year, $40 million deal will have been paid off by the end of this season because it was front-loaded.
I don't think the Wings would overpay to get him but he would fill a need for a top-four, offensively minded defenseman.
And then LeBrun spoke with Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill regarding the fact that his team could be a "seller," and that his former employer just happens to be a "buyer":
Does this assuage the news that Pavel Datsyuk won't play tomorrow, that Stephen Weiss has had a "setback" and that Daniel Cleary is banged-up for the umpteenth time? Not really, no, but still, per the NHL:
Detroit Red Wings right wing Johan Franzen, New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique and Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 2.
FIRST STAR – JOHAN FRANZEN, RW, DETROIT RED WINGS
Franzen posted 3-2—5 in two games to lead the Red Wings (28-20-12, 68 points) to a pair of road wins following the Olympic break, helping the club maintain the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. He assisted on both goals in a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Feb. 26, including the primary helper on Gustav Nyquist's overtime winner with 27.3 seconds remaining. Franzen then recorded three goals, including the game-winner, for his sixth career hat trick – and first since Nov. 8, 2011 – in a 6-1 triumph over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 27. The 34-year-old Vetlanda, Sweden, native ranks fifth on the Red Wings in scoring despite missing 27 games due to injury, tallying 12-16—28 in 33 appearances.
Maybe Chris Neil can read between the lines:
Updated 10x at 3:17 PM: Per the Free Press's Anthony Fenech...
And DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
Update: Is this good? Per MLive's Ansar Khan:
It appears that, from here on out--and as the Red Wings begin a slate of 3 games to be played over the course of 4 nights and 5 in 8--Pavel Datsyuk won't be skating in any practices, and I wouldn't be surprised that 70% Magic Man skips some morning skates.
MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reported that Datsyuk didn't practice on Saturday, and today...
So practice continued...
Prior to today's Red Wings practice, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose was a little busy with an ancillary project...
I received tons of inquiries regarding the lithograph print of Red Wings legends that Mickey Redmond stated would be available after the Winter Classic alumni game, so I don't mind giving the Wings' PR department a plug here. That being said, according to the purchase page and eventual order form, you're looking at $12,000 for the pair of prints--though the money goes to the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association's charitable arms:
The Detroit Red Wings announced today that the limited edition “Wings of Glory” alumni offset lithographs are now on sale to the public. Commissioned by the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association, less than 200 of these beautifully designed prints were created and feature renderings and autographs from all the Red Wings players who participated in the 2013 Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park on Dec. 31.
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.