The Malik Report
Now that the NHL Entry Draft’s over and it appears that Jonathan Ericsson will be re-signed, Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ front office will prepare for the start of unrestricted free agency on Friday, July 1st. The Wings’ top priority, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests, is replacing Brian Rafalski, but the Wings will be competing for a limited number of players, and aren’t sure whether they’re willing to toss out a high-dollar-amount deal to snag a good defenseman:
The Wings have some players in mind but expect a few to be signed by their own teams by Friday. Andrei Markov was on Detroit’s list, but the Canadiens locked him up. James Wisniewski, also with Montreal, also is on the list, but he could ultimately command a price higher than what the Wings are willing to pay, as could other higher-profile defensemen who are inching closer to free agency.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Holland said. “First all, if you’re going to get involved in unrestricted free agency, the high-end guys, you have to pay premium dollars. That’s why they’re hitting the market. We’re going to sign somebody, but I don’t know if it’s going to be a more expensive guy or a cheaper one—we’re going to debate.”
Amongst Red Wings-related news on an all-too-quiet Sunday afternoon (something tells me that 30 teams’ scouts, general managers and coaches took the day off after traveling back home from the draft), and starting with a focus on past players’ legacies, the Windsor Star’s Dylan Kristy reports that the first annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride was a success:
Almost a year after his death, Bob Probert continues to be remembered as a “protector” of his community. More than 800 riders came out with their motorcycles Sunday for the inaugural Bob Probert Memorial Ride.
The first ride was held in partnership with Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital foundation, CAW Local 444 and 2458 to help raise awareness and money for the hospital’s angioplasty program. Probert died July 5, 2010 of heart failure. He was only 45. Riders left Hotel-Dieu and wound their way along the shoreline of Essex County before returning to Place Concorde in Windsor. Hundreds of supporters, many wearing red, white and Probert’s number 24, packed the starting line for the all-day event.
“This is a very emotional time for me to be over here and I’m honoured to be part of today’s event,” said Chris Chelios, honorary captain for the ride and former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago Blackhawk. It’s a great tribute to the people of Windsor supporting Bob and I’m very honoured to be a friend of Bob’s and to be part of his as an honorary captain.”
KK readers had a spirited and plain old smart discussion regarding yesterday’s quips from the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, pegging the NHLPA and the players as the bad guys because the NHL’s salary cap floor has risen far past its initial post-lockout ceiling, with many comments stating the obvious—that a salary cap based upon league-wide revenues with a narrow, $15 million payroll range is never going to make it easier for the “have not’s” to compete, nor is it the players’ fault that they agreed to a fixed percentage of revenues that’s increased past the league’s projections—but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks brings us a declaration wrapped up in a, “Why the Rangers shouldn’t sign Brad Richards to an inflated contract” frame, suggesting that no matter what happens over the course of the NFL or NBA’s lockouts, we should expect the NHL to demand nothing less than both a rollback in salaries and a reduced “players’ share,” and that “creativity” or logic won’t hold sway. Instead, Brooks believes, the NHL and Gary Bettman will simply try to roll back the clock and bail out his owners’ mistakes on the players’ backs:
Gary Bettman’s utopia proved nothing of the sort. The entire concept of “gross revenue” in the NHL is fraudulent. Teams do not pool their revenue under any circumstance other than to arrive at a figure that’s then used to calculate the cap.
The entire premise of linkage the commissioner posited through the last owners’ lockout—that would all but ensure every franchise would be in position to make a profit—is counterfeit. It never made the slightest bit of sense the Islanders’ minimum payroll would be dependent on the Rangers’ revenues or the Hurricanes would have to spend more because the Maple Leafs make more money year after year after year. But common sense doesn’t matter. Percentage of the gross is Bettman’s baby. It is not going away. It is, however, going down, and if the owners have their way, it is going down dramatically, to somewhere in the range of 48-to-50 percent.
Of note: Big news about Jonathan Ericsson staying in Detroit and Jagr watch blah inside: After an extended period of time perched over my laptop, frantically searching for information on the nine newest Red Wings who became part of the team in a little under four hours, I succumbed to the boss’s advice and fatigue and took a nap. And I had a dream that My Little Ponies were singing a Wu-Tang Clan song…no, wait, I did see that on YouTube (can’t link it, though). And I can confirm that the Red Wings have at least drafted one player who wowed the local media enough that this YouTube video made its way onto the evening news:
If you followed the draft day open post, we’ve at least got a general idea of who the nine players the Wings picked are, and somewhere between 3-7 years from now, the Wings hope that at least one or two of Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alan Quine, Marek Tvrdon, Phillipe Hudon, Mattias Backman, Richard Nedomlel and/or Alexei Marchenko are playing for the Red Wings. That’s a hard mathematical equation to swallow on a day that’s akin to high school graduation day, but as Mike Babcock tends to say, “That’s the facts.”
As noted earlier, the Carolina Hurricanes, among other smaller and mid-market teams, find themselves a little financially squeezed by the fact that the league’s revenues have exceeded the $3 billion mark, thus yielding a salary cap “floor” of $48.3 million and a cap ceiling of $64.3 million, which are obviously much higher numbers than the league was working with coming out of the lockout, but as the smaller-market franchises begin to lament a CBA which they wholeheartedly supported, negotiated between Bill Daly and a sycophant in Ted Saskin, because a) the “payroll range” is determined by league-wide revenues instead of team-by-team revenues and b) because one Gary Bettman’s dream CBA involved parity, thus a $15 million gap between floor and ceiling instead of a more reasonable $20-25 million one…
The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell insists that, when the NHL and NHLPA engage in CBA negotiations after whatever happens happens in terms of the NFL and NBA’s lockouts, it’s the PA that should take another salary rollback because they’re earning too much of the pie, especially after applying their 5% inflator, thus making the PA the “bad guys,” if not the “fall guys,” upon which the smaller-market teams should foist blame:
According to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, the Red Wings have tendered contract offers to Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, and with a little under a week until unrestricted free agency begins, the team hopes to get down to the business of signing as many of the above-mentioned names as possible:
“We’ve talked to all of their agents,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “We’ll probably get more done next week.”
“This week we focused on the draft,” Nill said. “We’ll get working more on that next week and hopefully get them all signed up.”
The Wings are believed to have offered Ericsson a multi-year deal worth just over $2 million a season.
Oh fun, via RedWingsFeed...Red Wings coach Mike Babcock tells the Sporting News’s Craig Custance that he’s comfortable with making a Jaromir Jagr-sized experiment, should the 39-year-old Czech forward choose to join the Wings…
“He’s in a position that he gets to decide,” Babcock told Sporting News. “We’ve had lots of success with veteran players.”
“You could say Mike Modano didn’t work the way we wanted. We didn’t know Mike Modano was going to cut his wrist,” Babcock said. “Do you not even investigate it because it didn’t (work out)? That’s not the way we go about our business.”
And Dan Bylsma agrees that Jagr would make a great addition…to the Penguins:
Draft over: Wings pick Tomas Jurco with 35th overall pick; Xavier Ouellet with 48th overall pick; Ryan Sproul 55th overall; Alan Quine 85th overall; Marek Tvrdon 115th; Phillipe Hudon 144th, Mattias Backman 145th; Richard Nedomlel in 6th round; Alexei Marchenko 205th: Today, the Detroit Red Wings will get to work assembling the future of their team as they have nine draft picks to work with over the second through seventh rounds of the NHL Entry Draft (11 AM EDT, NHL Network/NHL.com).
The Wings may or may not also have determined which assistant coaches will flank Mike Babcock’s shoulders behind the Wings’ bench, and may or may not have laid the foundation for contracts to retain the services of Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and/or Drew Miller.
Of course, a few GM’s might bend Ken Holland’s ear as Jim Nill and the Wings’ amateur scouts make picks in the hopes of making trades, and there’s no doubt that player agents will not-so-innocently ask if free agent-to-be X might intrigue the Wings at Y dollars over Z years, hoping to essentially negotiate contracts without committing tampering far before the unrestricted free agent period begins on Friday at 12 PM EDT.
The Winnipeg Free Press’s Tim Campbell engaged in a Q and A with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman via an article titled, “Maybe Bettman a better man,” but the “better man” almost can’t help himself when it comes to discussing his love-hate relationship with fans and holier-than-thou relationship with the media, biting back at Campbell’s questions on an all-too-regular basis:
Free Press: The public’s reaction to you in many cases, does that bother you in any personal way?
Gary Bettman: It’s not even criticism. It’s become a routine. The fact is, there is a picture that has been painted in some places that doesn’t reflect the reality. I understand that. Most importantly, to the extent it demonstrates the passion by our fans about our game, I am completely comfortable with that.
Free Press: There are Canadians who wonder if you actually like the game and whether you just see your job as the business manager of hockey.
Bettman: It’s a ridiculous question. Anybody who either thinks that or questions it doesn’t know me at all. They’re relying too much on silly reports. You can’t do what I do, can’t be as committed, spend the amount of time doing what I do without loving it. This is an all-consuming job. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t allow yourself to be so consumed. Anybody who knows me knows I happen to love what I do. I love my life and love that I get an opportunity to spend my waking hours doing what I do.
Continued, and it’s at least worth reading for a snicker or two, especially regarding his rationalizations regarding the return of the J-e-t-s Jets Jets Jets…
After the first-round fireworks (that some sort of weird combination of too much pizza and allergies causes me to miss), we’ve got the Winnipeg Jets—without a jersey or logo yet—back (yay!), Brian Campbell in Florida, John-Michael Liles in Toronto, Devin Setoguchi in Minnesota and Brent Burns in San Jose (does this mean that Ian White’s hits the market on July 1st?) Robyn Regehr in Buffalo, Troy Brouwer in Washington…
And the Wings incredibly smart by trading down, swapping their 24th overall pick to the Ottawa Senators for the 35th and 48th picks, yielding three second-rounders and a total of nine chances to draft one or two impact players when the second round begins at 11 AM EDT today on the NHL Network and NHL.com.
Via RedWingsFeed, here’s Jim Nill explaining why the Wings made their move to RedWingsTV:
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.