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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: Paul MacLean may be heading to Ottawa

One generally should take comments regarding possible player personnel moves by the Ottawa Senators, as suggested by one Bruce Garrioch, with a wee bit of salt (a fifty-pound bag of rock salt is a good start), but both Garrioch and the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan believe that, despite Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s desire to promote Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors coach Dave Cameron to Ottawa’s NHL job (Melnyk owns St. Mike’s), Bryan Murray will ultimately choose Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ next coach:

Even if Murray likes Cameron best, hiring him will look like he’s only following the owner’s orders. And if he doesn’t think Cameron is the best candidate — which is more likely the case — Murray says no to the guy who gave him a three-year extension a couple of months ago? He’ll do it, but it’s not a situation he should have been put in.

Along with Cameron and [Binghamton Senators coach Kurt] Kleinendorst, the list of candidates includes Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Craig MacTavish and Gerard Gallant.

The guess here, at this moment, is that it will be MacLean, the longtime assistant of Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Murray’s proudest hiring. No doubt Murray talked to Babcock about MacLean, who would have been highly recommended by his current boss.

I’m just guessing, too, but given that Murray was subtle as a brick as the Red Wings’ general manager in the early 90’s, remained the same when he hired Babcock and MacLean when Murray helmed the Mighty Ducks, and keeps Garrioch in business because he’s all too willing to surrender leverage by publicly stating that he’s talking trade turkey and/or wants to or doesn’t want to re-sign certain players…MacLean’s a pretty safe bet.


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LeBrun on realignment, Crosby, the Stars’ coaching search, ‘blue ribbon’ panels and Richards

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun spoke about several particularly notable topics during Saturday night’s Satellite Hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada (you can watch the clip, which will probably be followed by a column from the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis in the near future, here), including possible expansion of the blind-side hitting rule, the Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators’ coaching searches (LeBrun says that Bob Boughner interviewed with the Sens), the fact that at least some NHL types are considering dropping down to two conferences when the whole relocation/realignment talk comes up next year, and he also refutes a doofy report about Sidney Crosby’s status (he’s still on track to return), but this comment merits posting in the Malik Report:

We updated the Brad Richards’ situation on Thursday. Some further notes on the matter: While the whole world knows the New York Rangers will be in the mix for him, we’re told the Blueshirts also have interest in Florida’s Stephen Weiss should the money and terms to get Richards get out of hand. In other words, Weiss would be an appealing Plan B.

The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, are an intriguing team that has some interest in Richards, but only for a short-term and cap-friendly deal. The pitch from Detroit would be to come and win a Cup. Richards will certainly be fielding more lucrative offers in terms of term and money. Expect the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs, among other teams, to be in the mix.

Continued, and I know it’s “intriguing,” but given that the Wings look like a team that, as of this evening, anyway, may have to replace both Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson, I don’t see a logical fit with the Wings.

Edit/update: Via a conversation on Twitter, the obvious: the Red Wings are a team whose blueprint is all about building from the blueline out, using puck-moving defensemen as the foundation for their offensive machine. Signing Richards would create a hole in the roster to fill a gap that doesn’t exist, and it would fundamentally betray the Holland/Nill blueprint. I don’t see how it makes any sense. It’s an “intriguing story,” but that’s it.

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‘The other guys’ wait on their Red Wings futures

So we know, per the Free Press’s George Sipple, that as the Red Wings’ front office has returned from the scouting combine in Toronto, Ken Holland will get down to the business of negotiating contracts for the unrestricted free agents whose services he wishes to retain, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan provides us with a late-Saturday-early-Sunday column analyzing the comments made by said free agents regarding their futures, painting the team’s grinders and support players in a sympathetic light.

While it appears to be a 50-50 proposition as to whether the Wings can afford to retain Jonathan Ericsson’s services, especially after the Blues’ silly-money re-signing of Roman Polak, Ericsson would prefer to return to the Wings...

“There are options,” said Ericsson, when the team split for the summer after losing in the playoffs to the San Jose Sharks. “But I really like it here.”

As do two all-but-slam-dunk re-signings in Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves…

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‘Lower-body injuries’ gone wild

Now when Ken Holland proposed that the NHL allow teams to disclose injuries as “upper and lower-body” ones, the intent was to protect players during the playoffs and allow teams to use their better judgment during the final few weeks of the regular season. It had nothing to do with teams telling reporters that somebody was suffering from a “lower-body” injury during training camp, nor to encourage teams to engage in obfuscation of the first order all year long. The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell believes that the policy should be revisited, and for once, I agree with him. I think it needs to be restricted to the playoffs and those last few weeks of the regular season, and then teams should have to at least be marginally honest when it comes to somebody having a sprained wrist when it’s actually his knee:

All the [Canucks’] secrecy led to the longstanding debate about whether the NHL should disclose injuries. [Canucks coach Alain] Vigneault maintained he would do whatever is allowed to protect his players and not give his opponent any kind of edge. The media certainly has an appetite for knowing who is hurt, who is healthy and how long players will be out, but does it make a difference to the fans?

Feel free to debate that among yourselves.

It was brought up that the National Football League, the most successful league in the world, has a policy of providing detailed injury reports by the Thursday before the game. That’s largely to appease the enormous gambling population that exist in the NFL, something that is virtually non-existent in hockey.

Actually, according to former NHL Players’ Association executive director Bob Goodenow, the story of how the NFL began disclosing injuries is an interesting one. He once told me that it all began in 1987 when the NFL players went on strike and the league responded by using replacement players. Knowing there would be little interest from a competitive standpoint, the league implored the powers that be in Las Vegas to run a betting line, thereby creating interest at least among those who put money down on games. Vegas complied, according to Goodenow, but in exchange the league had to begin disclosing injuries. If that is indeed the case, don’t expect hockey’s longstanding policy of secrecy to change anytime soon.

It’s not as if there’s big betting on hockey, legally, anyway, in the U.S., but Pro Line’s huge in Canada…

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Touching base with the Red Wings’ future; MacLean future to be decided shortly

The Detroit Red Wings tend to do their homework and then some before the NHL Entry Draft, and the Detroit Free Press’s George Sipple reports that the Wings ended up interviewing 28 potential prospects at the draft combine this past week in Toronto…

“The guys we’re interviewing are probably going mid- to late-round and they might go early- to mid-second round,” [Red Wings assistant GM Jim] Nill said.

Nill said none of the players interviewed took themselves out of consideration with their responses.

“Of the 28 we interviewed, they are among the best in the world,” Nill said. “These guys have all, the last five years of their life, gone all over the world and lived on their own since they were 14 or 15. It’s amazing how mature they are now.”

And Nill tells Sipple that while the Wings have yet to make any serious progress in terms of re-signing unrestricted free agents-to-be, Ken Holland’s working on the big club’s roster and Nill’s ready to work on tweaking the Grand Rapids Griffins’ personnel:

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Red Wings tidbits and prospect talk

Of Red Wings-related note this sticky Saturday afternoon:

The Red Wings attempted to trade Kyle Quincey’s rights before waiving him at the start of the 2008-2009 season, but were unable to complete a deal with the Dallas Stars once it was revealed that Quincey had a herniated disc in his back which would eventually require surgery. As we prepare to watch the second game of the Bruins-Canucks series, the CBC’s Cup Final blogger reveals that the Boston Bruins wanted to snag Quincey on waivers, but lost out to the LA Kings:

The Bruins traded [Andrew] Alberts to Philadelphia on Oct. 13, 2008, for Ned Lukacevic and a 2009 fourth-round pick. Part of the reason the Bruins traded Alberts was to open a roster spot. Kyle Quincey had been placed on waivers by Detroit a day earlier, and the Bruins were hoping to submit a claim. But Los Angeles nabbed Quincey off waivers.


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Red Wings overnight duality: A wonderful Gordie Howe story and worrisome labor talk

The Red Wings news seems to have reached an ebb with the Wings’ brass and amateur scouts occupied at the NHL’s draft combine in Toronto, but between the Stanley Cup Final cranking up with what might be the last Satellite Hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada and a Sunday’s worth of rumors and innuendo, things will crank up again as Ken Holland gets back to business working on contracts for the Wings’ free agents-to-be and tries to find out the status of Nicklas Lidstrom’s playing future ahead of the team’s organizational meetings in a little over a week from now.

In other words, welcome to the first intermission of the spring/summer. The last few days, Nicklas Lidstrom’s no-comment aside, have been relatively quiet, but it’s gonna get “interesting” real fast, and while there will be some lulls here and there, I don’t expect things to really “get quiet” until the middle of July, my hopes for a little excursion to prospect camp included…

So the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa delivers a really wonderful story about a family which chose to donate Gordie Howe’s 700th goal puck to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “good news” portion of this entry:

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Red Wings evening quickies and the TC trip fund

Of brief Red Wings-related note this evening:

• Alanah posted this earlier this afternoon, and I didn’t exactly take offense when Daniel Sedin told the Sporting news’s Nicklas Lidstrom that if Lidstrom were to retire, it wouldn’t surprise him because Lidstrom’s “old.” Lidstrom is 41—that’s not old in life terms by any stretch of the imagination, but yes, if you’re a professional athlete, 41 is “old”—and the only person who knows whether Lidstrom will retire is Lidstrom himself;

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Jakub Kindl wins Red Wings’ ‘rookie of the year’ honors, kind of by default (and other tidbits)

Updated 2x at 2:47 PM: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness, um…the Red Wings’ only full-time rookie this past season received an obvious honor today:

Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl has been named the team’s 2010-11 Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association (DSBA). Kindl skated in 48 games for the Central Division champions this past season, registering four points (2G-2A) in addition to 44 hits and 36 blocked shots.

A native of Sumperk, Czech Republic, Kindl was originally selected by the Red Wings in the opening round (19th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman tallied 13 goals, 76 assists and 225 penalty minutes in 237 games with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins following a standout junior career with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers.

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Red Wings overnight report: Uncertainty regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s future remains the bottom line

Thursday was a pretty good day to be a Red Wings fan. The Hockey News named the Red Wings the league’s best franchise, Mickey Redmond found out that he’ll join the Hockey Hall of Fame thanks to his bingo-bango work as a broadcaster, and it at least sounds like Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and even Joey MacDonald will reprise their roles next season.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day regarding the team’s future, however, came in the form of continued uncertainty as Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom paddle-boarded to Belle Isle alongside Chris Chelios and Kid Rock, hopped onto shore and revealed why he’s got to be the team’s best poker player, addressing his playing future with a steely gaze, as noted by the Free Press’s George Sipple:

“I still haven’t made a decision yet,” Lidstrom said.

Chelios, executive adviser to Wings general manager Ken Holland, had invited Kid Rock to go stand-up paddle surfing with him and Lidstrom. Kid Rock decided to incorporate the activity into his Comerica Park announcement.

“To actually be a part of the announcement kind of took me and Nick by surprise,” Chelios told the Free Press. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day to paddleboard right up to the beach. I thought it went great ... beautiful shot of the city in the background. For paddleboarding, you’re not going to get a better situation on the river, that’s for sure.”

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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.


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