The Malik Report
According to the Hockey News’s Rory Boylen, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk’s hockey school in Ekaterinburg, Russia wrapped up with an NHL-style game for its prospects to participate in, with the much attention paid to the details that can help youngsters feel like they’re professional hockey players, if only for a day or two…
Friday was all about NHL simulation. From being shown how to properly set up their equipment in the dressing room to the pep talk before the game, it was about as authentic as it could get for the kids. Just like in the NHL, the pucks were stacked and the kids stormed the ice to “Thunderstruck.” After a brief warmup, player introductions were carried over the loudspeaker. The parents lining the railing along the top concourse were amped up just as much as the youngsters who were suited up; there was even a “Torpedoes” sign posted on one end of the platform.
An air of excitement wafted through the Kurganovo Ice Complex and after the Russian National Anthem played, it was go time. In both games The Torpedoes jumped out to dominating leads: 5-0 in one, 3-0 in the other. Their faces awash with emotion, the kids showed this was one of the biggest games they’d play all year.
Sentence edited for clarity’s sake:While we’ve spent the past few days discussing Chris Osgood’s retirement and legacy and the increasingly likely probability that Kris Draper will join Osgood in the Wings’ front office sooner than later—and it bears mentioning that GM Ken Holland’s suggestion that the team’s youth movement affords no sentimentality toward players with “diminishing roles” might be a bit of a tit-for-tat response to Kris Draper’s lobbying-through-the-media that he deserves a spot on the team based upon his workouts with the Lions a month ago…
The fact that the team’s essentially chosen to sit on its cap space for the time being, and let its current players and prospects determine who earns playing time and/or top priority in the team’s call-up pecking order, well…These facts emphasize the concept that the Wings’ front office never really kicks up its heels and says, “Okay, we’re done planning for contingencies and we’re done thinking about tomorrow until September rolls around.”
Sure, I go on the pre-vacation haul that is the, “Accompany the parent to banking and then clothing, provisional and grocery shopping” trip of doom and the internet nearly blows up because of the usual, and here’s what I have to say about it:
If the Red Wings’ resident internet stalker has chosen to go off on Chris Osgood as not only no Hall of Famer-in-waiting, but also as a supposedly terrible, horrible, no good, very bad goalie…I don’t care. When you’re talking about somebody who lives to piss off Wings fans to the point that it’s creepy, man…You cannot argue with the infidel, never mind one who lives on lapping up your sweet, sweet tears of protest. Osgood probably won’t get in the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but he’ll probably get in one day, and when that comes, it doesn’t matter what people who hate the Wings for a living think. 400 wins. 3 Stanley Cups. The people’s goalie. The rest is debatable.
There are more important things to talk about right now, like the gorgeous tribute to Winnipeg’s aviation history and the Canadian Forces that is the Winnipeg Jets’ logo, or the fact that Ken Holland’s reiteration to MLive’s Ansar Khan that his team is basically finished making moves save determining Kris Draper’s future has gotten particularly grim in tone regarding the fact that there just might not be a roster spot for #33, as Holland told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Updated 2x with an Abdelkader-flying-with-the-Blue Angels video and Mike Babcock on the Fan 590 at 12:48 PM: As noted in the overnight report, Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker that, aside from determining Kris Draper’s future, he’s content to allow his team’s current roster and its prospects to determine their present and future over the course of the regular season, saving up the cap space to address any needs in terms of a top-six forward or blueline bolstering nearer to the trade deadline. Holland reiterated his points of emphasis to MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“I think we can compete and I like our cap space,” Holland said. “If, after 60 games, we get to the (trade) deadline and are in a playoff position, we can make a deal. We haven’t had that (cap space) the last couple of years.”
Red Wings GM Ken Holland may be relatively satisfied with the composition of his team’s roster as it applies to both its present and future, but Holland doesn’t want the fate of a long-time Wing to remain uncertain going forward, either, as he told the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker—via a late-breaking addendum to Parker’s conversation with Holland:
Wings GM Ken Holland expects a decision on the future of free agent centre Kris Draper to come in the next week.
“I’m talking to him in the next couple of days,” Holland said Tuesday from Vernon, B.C.
Draper was limited to 47 games last season as Detroit tries to infuse more speed and youth into the lineup.
“His role is not as important as it was two or three years ago,” Holland said. “He wants to stay a Red Wing, but we have 13 or 14 forwards.”
As Paul posted earlier this evening, Red Wings GM Ken Holland apparently did take a look at at least two top-six forwards who signed elsewhere (Tomas Fleischmann and Scotty Upshall) during free agency, but he also informed the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker that all things being equal, Holland’s satisfied with his summertime moves:
“I think, if we had to go to training camp next week, we’re ready to go,” Holland said. “We’re still a good team and we can compete with teams perceived to be the best in the Western Conference.”
Holland was happy with what he accomplished in free agency, adding defencemen Ian White and Mike Commodore.
“White can play the power play and we can play him regularly,” Holland said. “Commodore gives us some size and can play on the penalty kill and gives us a presence back there.”
While the Wings might want to utilize their salary cap space to address any needs—be them at forward, on defense or in goal—down the line, for the moment, Holland believes that the Wings should expect significant improvement from within, with the re-signed Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and a Justin Abdelkader who progressed forward by leaps and bounds in the playoffs providing a necessary internal push…
The Grand Rapids Griffins made it officially official today, confirming that the Red Wings have signed goaltender Jordan Pearce to a 2-year contract extension which Capgeek.com pegs at $525,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 and then $95,000 at the AHL level over the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, respectively.
Aside from re-signing restricted free agent and fellow Wings prospect Francis Pare, the Wings are probably done making moves for the summer (save the whole Kris Draper issue), and that’s produced a bit of a collective, “Meh” in terms of overnight report comments regarding Detroit’s lateral summertime signings, and the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau, asking “big questions” about every NHL team, is all too happy to push the…concern…button:
By the time the Red Wings were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks two months ago, the team already knew that Brian Rafalski might retire, that Chris Osgood might have to do the same due to his lingering groin issues and that, given the free agent marketplace, there was no way the team could “replace” either player outright.
So the Wings chose to refrain from spending like there were no CBA negotiations tomorrow, and instead, opted to “replace” Rafalski’s offensive production by promoting Niklas Kronwall to the team’s #2 defenseman’s spot, retaining the services of Jonathan Ericsson (albeit at a near-free agency marketplace price) and adding a suitable #3/4 defenseman who can produce 30-40 points in Ian White and a little depth and/or snarl via Mike Commodore, who will ensure that Jakub Kindl has to do more than simply play decently to earn regular ice time.
In Osgood’s case, the team found that Joey MacDonald could at least capably back up Jimmy Howard when necessary, so a combination of eventually re-signing MacDonald, bringing Ty Conklin back for a second tour of duty, and in general, spending to the 2010-2011 salary cap so that the team can plug any holes in the lineup and/or accentuate it via trades as the upcoming season progresses.
Updated 9x at 7:32 PM with Pearce signing confirmation, more from Conklin and a video of Abdelkader flying with the Blue Angels: Oy. Deadspin finds it delightful not that Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader didn’t lose his lunch and in fact had a great time flying with the Blue Angels in an F/A-18 this morning—as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan—but instead because Abdelkader had this to say about flying over the Big House:
“We were joking around (when) we flew over Ann Arbor, went over the Big House, if we’d had a couple of bombs on it (the jet), maybe we would have dropped a couple on there.”
Lt. Tickle, an Alabama native, said: “One of the maneuvers that I can show him is a bombing hop. As we speak right now, we have men and women flying in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever else. So I was able to show him kind of what we do. We just happened to be over Ann Arbor at the time and I know he’s a Michigan State guy, a big rivalry. So it worked out great we could pretend we were bombing Ann Arbor for him. Obviously I would never bomb Ann Arbor. I have nothing against Michigan.”
The Wings’ website posted a photo gallery of Abdelkader’s flight (video is probably in the works), and Abdelkader wasn’t too brave to tell Annarbor.com’s Kyle Meinke that even an NHL’er is no match for six or seven times the force of gravity…
Updated 2x at 12:04 PM: That clunk following a soft thud that you just heard echoing across North America was Ken Holland’s shoes hitting the carpet as he put his feet up on his desk in Vernon, British Columbia. With the Wings’ signing of Ty Conklin to a one-year deal that’s supposedly worth $750,000 (per Andy Strickland), the team’s more or less finished its summertime roster-building at both the NHL and AHL levels.
We can expect a press conference sometime over the next eight weeks to announce whatever the heck Kris Draper’s going to do (I’m assuming that the presser will be held closer to training camp), and it’s possible but not probable that the Wings could move Jiri Hudler to add a top-six forward, but with 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies ready to go at the NHL level, and Joey MacDonald, Garnet Exelby, Chris Conner, etc. in wait with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the team’s good to go and Holland may as well start focusing on his golf game after the team holds its Conklin media availability this afternoon.
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.