The Malik Report
While Don Cherry’s spent the past three Coach’s Corners completely ignoring Nicklas Lidstrom, and Sports Illustrated of all places countered by positing an absolutely glorious photo gallery commemorating the career of someone SI’s Stu Hackel describes as the “MVP of his era” (it’s pretty hard for me to stop tossing off superlatives here…I’m going to miss it)...
Days have passed, the news cycle has shifted, and on Monday night, Red Wings GM Ken Holland dropped the first couple of hints as to what the team’s plans regarding their own unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be, as well as the whole having to attempt to fill Lidstrom’s skates, maybe add another top-four defenseman, definitely snag a top-six forward who can score goals, and maybe add a back-up goalie and fourth-line forward with grit so as to “reload” instead of engaging in a “rebuilding year” thing…
You’ll have to excuse this very partisan Red Wings fan for espousing “sour grapes,” but Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Chery mused upon what has become quite the lop-sided series, broke in a black version of his, “Technicolor flowers you’d see on an acid trip” suit pattern, and spent much of Coach’s Corner comparing Drew Doughty to Bobby Orr…
But over the course of three Stanley Cup Final games, Cherry has issues nary a peep about the player he complained about so regularly during Wings playoff runs for “never hitting!” in one Nicklas Lidstrom. Something tells me that we won’t hear Cherry mention Lidstrom’s retirement or legacy on Wednesday, either.
I’ve been hammering it like a nail: after tomorrow, we Red Wings fans will begin to find out about the shape of the Wings to come as GM Ken Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, capologist (from having met him, folks, trust me, he’s basically the team’s third general manager) Ryan Martin, VP Jimmy Devellano, the team’s pro scouts (Mark Howe, Kirk Maltby, etc.), special assistants Chris Chelios and Kris Drone Nicklas Lidstrom (okay, everybody take a deep breath, that’s a long sentence)...
Will emerge from their organizational meetings, having decided what the team plans on doing with their own unrestricted free agents-to-be in Jiri Hudler (unlikely to return), Joey MacDonald (likely to be replaced), Tomas Holmstrom (likely to retire) and Brad Stuart (likely out the door), the shape of the negotiations to come with their restricted free agents in Darren Helm, Justin Abdelakder and Kyle Quincey, and—most importantly for you and me—what the team plans on doing in terms of targeting free agents to attempt to fill the gaping hole left in the team’s blueline in Lidstrom’s departure, starting with draft-day rights trades, continuing into free agency, and, if the market doesn’t pan out, working the trade market.
Via RedWingsFeed, Tomas Holmstrom seems destined to join his best friend and partner in humorous crime in retirement, but the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau reports that a parade will be held in Holmstrom’s honor in Traverse City…Sort of…
Tomas Holmstrom will serve as the Grand Marshall for the DTE Energy Cherry Royale parade on Saturday July 14th in Traverse City, MI. The parade, which is the largest of the Cherry Festival parades, will begin at 11:15 am at Railroad and Front streets in downtown Traverse City, MI.
Holmstrom’s appearance at the parade is part of a partnership with Centre I.C.E. arena and the Detroit Red Wings Development camp which begins July 7th. The camp, which is in its second year in Traverse City, will feature daily practice sessions that will include many of Detroit’s top prospects and 2012 draft selections. Tickets will be available at the door for a cost of $5 per day.
Update: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose confirms:
Updated 5x with marginally Wings-related chatter at 6:33 PM: As the Free Press’s Helene St. James just wrapped up her web chat and on both the fourth anniversary of the Detroit Red Wings’ 2008 Cup win (5 years between championships, perhaps? Too long by Wings fans’ standards…) and 32nd anniversary of Gordie Howe’s official retirement from hockey, we begin what will probably be a “roving” post updated with afternoon news simply:
I have one “in real life” friend who has Nicklas Lidstrom’s temperament, and while he’s not exactly the life of the party, he is both “fun to be around” and has a brilliantly dry, almost Datsyukian sense of humor when he opens up. According to MLive’s Brendan Savage, once the doors to the Wings’ locker room were closed, Lidstrom was, in his own way, hilarious, and he may or may not have engaged in a “Mutt and Jeff” routine with his best friend:
After an incredibly busy and emotional week and weekend for Red Wings fans, punctuated by the recently-retired Nicklas Lidstrom being feted by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Friday night and then taking out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press’s Sunday edition, we spent some time talking about the Wings brass’s organizational meetings, the team’s draft strategy, and, mostly, remembering Lidstrom while preparing for life without him.
Holy crap, per Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom (and his former employers) bought a full-page advertisement in the Sunday Detroit Free Press to thank fans! And I quote:
A Message from Nick and Annika Lidstrom:
This week, I announced my retirement from the Detroit Red Wings and professional hockey. Annika, our boys and I will be moving back to Sweden to be closer to our extended families. Before we leave, we wanted to express our gratitude to the wonderful people of Metro Detroit for adopting us and making us feel at home for the past 21 years. You made the transition to Detroit, coming from a foreign country and culture, amazingly easy. For this, we are extremely grateful. Detroiters—hockey fans or not—are downright decent and respectable people. Although we were born in Sweden, we have lived half our lives here and raised our boys in this community. We will always cherish our time spent here and are proud to claim that we are also from Detroit.
Nick and Annika Lidstrom
Quickie update: The Red Wings have a picture of the ad, and here it is:
Updated 4x by an insomniac at 6:47 AM: Boy howdy, did the Detroit Free Press pay tribute to Nick…and that plays into the, “How much we’ll miss him” conversation in a big way: The Red Wings’ brass might be beginning their organizational meetings after a long Tigers game this evening, and while we’re not quite sure what their plans are regarding moving on past the second-best defenseman in Red Wings history after Red Kelly (sure, Jerry Green, whatever)...
Starting at what the Wings hope will still be a productive draft and thereafter, regardless of what happens when Niklas Kronwall and some of his teammates begin to attend CBA negotiations, Detroit’s front office will have to move incredibly aggressively and incredibly quickly if they are to ensure that the Wings remain a playoff contender and elite attraction to the Parises and Suters of the world as we move into an era with no Nicklas Motherbleepin’ Lidstrom in the lineup.
Every once in a while, the Detroit News’s Jerry Green probably cracks the arthritis out of his knuckles and pens a column about the Detroit sports scene, offering the perspective of someone who really was an “ink-stained wretch” who likely spent his time hunched over typwriters, chain smoking his way toward beating a deadline.
I respect the hell out of his, “Old school? I’ve literally been there and did it!” perspective (I work for someone like that, and his insights are remarkable), but he is also something of a…Curmudgeon of the Stan Fischler school. So it comes as little surprise that, in discussing the retirements of Detroit Tigers slugger Magglio Ordonez and Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, he compares the Red Wings’ captain to a player who definitely mirrored Lidstrom’s playing style in Red Kelly, and petitioning for Kelly’s #4 to be raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena despite his acrimonious split with the team, which is spot-on…
Green insists that Lidstrom paled in comparison to the real McCoy:
In recovering from a sixty-plus hour…Three-day work week…One needs to hear some comforting news as the aches, pains and spring allergies take their toll. I haven’t even had time to truly wrap my head around the fact that Nicklas Lidstrom, my favorite favorite Red Wing, has retired, but, via RedWingsFeed, I’m hearing something that I desperately need to be told right now, more than any hopeful overnight or Saturday afternoon talk about free agency or draft hopes, and definitely more than watching a team that’s not Detroit compete for the Stanley Cup.
Instead, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke to one of Lidstrom’s successors, Niklas Kronwall, about the concept of the Red Wings’ opportunity to begin the post-Lidstrom era, period, as the CBA is set to expire in September. Kronwall has represented the team as its NHLPA representative, and he at least believes that we’re not likely to have to endure another lockout, at least if the players have any say in the proceedings. Is he worried?
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.