The Malik Report
Via RedWingsFeed, take this news from the Hockey News's Ken Campbell for what you will:
Hall of Fame legend Gordie Howe is “comfortable and happy,” after undergoing his second stem cell treatment at a clinic in Mexico Monday night, said his son, Murray.
“Our dad continues to participate in a clinical trial where stem cells are being used in the treatment of a stroke,” Murray Howe said in an email to thn.com. “We’d like to wait until the first phase of that clinical trial is complete before providing any more updates. At this time, our dad is comfortable and happy. That remains our goal. We want to thank everyone for their ongoing support for Mr. Hockey.”
Howe is back at the Santa Clarita Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico receiving stem cells in a bid to restore some of the functions to the right side of his body. After suffering a serious stroke last October in which a blood vessel in the area of the brain that controls motor function burst, things looked bleak for the 87-year-old Howe. The family was holding a vigil at his bedside and it looked as though palliative care was the only option.
The plan after this round of treatment is for Gordie Howe to go back to Michigan for a short time, then he will move to a nursing home in Ohio that specializes in treating people with dementia.
That might be the best news of all. Gordie's family has tried to take care of him on their own for over half a decade now, and Gordie may very well benefit most from specialized care.
The Red Wings issued the following press release at 3 PM on Tuesday, making all-but-official what we've known for weeks: the team is going to name Jeff Blashill coach on Tuesday at 11 AM EDT (we'll get some streams up on TMR and/or KK as we are able to find them):
WHAT: The Detroit Red Wings and Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland are holding a press conference to introduce the team’s new head coach.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 9 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: The International Bancard Olympia Club inside Joe Louis Arena
PARKING: Media parking will be available in the Riverfront Executive Lot, located just west of Joe Louis Arena across Steve Yzerman Dr., next to the People Mover station. Media is advised to enter the building through the arena’s west press entrance.
STREAMING: The press conference will stream live on DetroitRedWings.com.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and WOOD TV happened to speak to the people who know Blashill best on Monday--which was locker-room clean-out day for the Grand Rapids Griffins--and the Griffins' players issued effusive praise for their departing coach:
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner attended the Grand Rapids Griffins' locker room clean-out day, and the Griffins' vets were in a contemplative mood given that those who return--if they return--know they'll have a new coach and possibly new teammates as a result of what's about to happen in Detroit:
"It's definitely mixed emotions because we're proud of what we accomplished this year but disappointed that we weren't able to accomplish more," said goalie Tom McCollum, an unrestricted free agent July 1. "At the same time, it's definitely a little sad because we can definitely sense that there are changes that are going to happen around here."
The Griffins had a week to digest a season that ended in the Western Conference finals against Utica. Blashill, along with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Ryan Martin, met with most players in 10-minute interviews. They did not speak to the media.
"With what's going on with Blash ... your staff changes, your personnel is going to change," said captain Jeff Hoggan. "In three years we won one (AHL championship) and easily could have won two more. We were that close. How do you maintain that? Guys get older, move on, so it's definitely an end of a good run and we'll see if we can maintain it."
Wallner continues, speaking with Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans regarding their desire to return as veteran leaders, and Wallner posted a short video of players' comments as well:
Just saying....RedWingsFeed caught the Wings' website posting a photo gallery and then taking it down very quickly:
The Wings committed the same post-a-photo-gallery-and-take-it-down boo boo before Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Nicklas Lidstrom retired, so it appears that Blashill will be introduced as the Wings' 27th head coach in team history sometime late tomorrow morning.
Also, from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson:
Knoblauch coached the OHL's Erie Otters this past season....The Philadelphia Daily News's Frank Seravalli reported that the Flyers interviewed the 36-year-old as a possible AHL coach as well.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
HOME OPENER SET FOR OCT. 16
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins will open the home portion of their 20th anniversary season on Friday, Oct. 16 at Van Andel Arena, one of six 2015-16 home dates that have been confirmed by the American Hockey League.
In addition to their home opener, the Griffins will host their 19th annual New Year’s Eve game on Thursday, Dec. 31, as well as a game on Saturday, Jan. 23 that will lead into the 2016 Great Skate Winterfest, one of the team’s annual fundraisers for the Griffins Youth Foundation. Additional home dates include three Saturday games on Jan. 9, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20.
Opponents and start times will be revealed later this summer, when the complete schedule for the AHL’s 80th season is released. It will mark Grand Rapids’ 15th year of AHL membership and 20th season overall, featuring a season-long celebration of two decades of Griffins Hockey.
This is a strange morning in terms of what I have to present to you, so you're going to have to hang on for a short but wacky journey around the Red Wings news cycle:
First, the Bob Duff riffed off a two-day old article in the Windsor Star to set up what will be Jeff Blashill introduction week in an article penned for Hockeybuzz. In his latest offering, Duff offered a voice who very specifically had NHL experience and only NHL experience with Jeff Blashill during the 2011-12 season as an endorsement of the soon-to-be new coach's stewardship of the Wings' prospects--as well as the voice of someone who won both a Calder Cup and a playoff MVP trophy under Blashill in 2013:
“The American Hockey League is a great hockey league,” Detroit left-winger Justin Abdelkader said. “It’s a grind in the playoffs down there. I think the experience they’ve gotten down there, the job Jeff Blashill has done to prepare those guys for this stage has really shown.”
Those who’ve experienced lengthy tenures under both Blashill and his predecessor Mike Babcock see many common traits in the way the two men operate, another factor that should make the transition easier for the players.
“He’s really, really similar,” Detroit left-winger Tomas Tatar said. “He’s helping the team a lot. I think it’s a really similar school to what we’re doing here. It’s a similar system so guys are coming up here really ready. He’s a good talker. He can motivate the players. I feel like the system and how he’s willing to play with the players is really good. Players feel like they can talk to him. He’s somebody who they can trust and feel good.”
Duff continues, and sometimes we forget that the Wings' vets have seen enough of the prospects Blashill's produced to have a pretty good idea of the kind of coach they're going to be dealing with.
Turning the nail on its head, via RedWingsFeed, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a "By the Numbers" summary of Johan Franzen's 2014-15 season that reminds us that, for better or worse, Johan Franzen has been a good player and good soldier for the Wings over the long haul:
Yet another, ‘The Pistons might move back downtown!’ story that may or may not have basis in reality
It appears that Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has gotten ahead of himself a little bit--or at least the Detroit News's Terry Foster has allowed Tom Gores' vision to get ahead of the realities of sports ownership.
Gores is supposedly going to embark upon a project called "Big Math" upon hiring a new vice president of Palace Sports & Entertainment, and its big, headline-steadling, show-stopping plan involves somehow exploring the possibility of moving the Pistons to Downtown Detroit, be it regardless of whether they play in the Wings' follow-on facility or whether, Foster surmises, Tom Gilbert might build some sort of basketball arena on that boondoggle that is the Wayne County Jail expansion.
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.