The Malik Report
Updated 3x at 3:41 PM: Hitchcock won’t join the Wings’ coaching staff: Red Wings fans received the news we’d all hoped for when the team announced that captain Nicklas Lidstrom would return for the 2011-2012 season today (and kudos to Gunnar Nordstrom for scooping everybody, eh?), having chosen to take an extended period of time to weigh his playing future for what he suggested was a simple reason, as noted by the AP’s Larry Lage:
“The reason it took so long was I wanted to make sure I found the motivation,” the 41-year-old Lidstrom said Monday on a conference call.
Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy finalist for the 11th time in 13 seasons. If he wins the award for being the NHL’s top defenseman. It would be his seventh - on Wednesday, he will match Doug Harvey’s total and trail Bobby Orr’s record by only one.
He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
The Detroit Red Wings released their pre-season schedule this afternoon, and it remains both Jam-packed and full of the usual teams that the Wings play, with one exception—the Wings will play the Chicago Blackhawks twice instead of the New York Rangers. Here’s the sked, per MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Updated 5x w/ press release—ESPN’s LeBrun says Lidstrom signed for $6.2 million: Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, Gunnar Nordstrom was right in suggesting that Nicklas Lidstrom will return to the Red Wings for at least one more season:
The Red Wings got their man when legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom told team officials last week that he will return for a 20th NHL season.
Terms of Lidstrom’s one-year contract were not finalized before today when the 41-year-old captain and general manager Ken Holland got together in Las Vegas. The Wings’ pair is in Vegas for Wednesday’s NHL Award Show, where Lidstrom will learn if he won Norris Trophy for the seventh time in his career. He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy and the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Update: According to the Wings’ Twitter account, the Wings will make things official via an 11 AM news conference; the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness and MLive’s Ansar Khan, who says that the WIngs are still talking to Jonathan Ericsson and plan on bringing Brendan Smith up in a Jakub Kindl-like role; via RedWIngsFeed, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun confirms that Lidstrom told Holland on Sunday, and the AP’s Larry Lage confirms as well.
Updated w/ Khan at 8:27 AM: You know it’s the middle of June when even Expresssen’s Gunnar Nordstrom has to suggest that Nicklas Lidstrom will in fact return to play for the Wings this season based on gut feelings after meeting Lidstrom on Sunday.
Unless your team’s either won the Stanley Cup or just lost in the Final, you’ve been waiting for answers as to which players will return to your team, who’s leaving via free agency, who they’re targeting in the draft and, generally speaking, what direction your team’s going to take since, well…either the end of the regular season or whenever your team was eliminated from the playoffs. Early June and the month of August are probably the most difficult ones for hockey fans in terms of news or the complete and total lack thereof, and even for the Red Wings, we’re still working in hypothetical territory.
All of that changes this week. We’re now amidst periods of time in which teams can file for salary arbitration (as the Devils and Predators did with Zach Parise and Shea Weber, respectively) and buy out players (as the Rangers did with Wojtek Wolski), the NHL Awards are on Wednesday, the Entry Draft and inevitable trades take place on Friday and Saturday in St. Paul, and a week from this Friday, the unrestricted free agency period and its feeding frenzy hit amidst the fireworks of Canada Day.
Awesome news for big-market teams and not-so-super news for small-market teams, per TSN:
With the National Hockey League Entry Draft less than a week away and the potential for trades escalating this week and next with the free agency period looming, the salary cap will be going up by nearly $5 million next season.
Clubs and agents are being told next year’s salary cap will be set at an upper limit of $64 million with a floor of $48 million.
During the 2010-11 season, the salary cap had an upper limit of $59.4 million. The league’s cap - entering its seven season under the current collective bargaining agreement - has risen every year since the end of the NHL lockout when the cap was set at $39-million.
Via RedWingsFeed, Capgeek.com’s Twitter account’s hedging bets, going with $63.5-64 million. The NHLPA clearly chose to allow its 5% inflator to automatically apply here as we could be going into a lockout year, yielding a, “Make the money while you can, escrow be damned” approach.
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will inform GM Ken Holland as to whether he wishes to continue playing either today or tomorrow in Las Vegas, and Lidstrom doesn’t top his hand—ever—but if there’s anyone who knows the Wings’ Swedes best, it’s Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom, a.k.a. ‘Der Alte” (the old man). Via Chris from Too Many mean on the Site, I headed over to Expressen and then Nordstrom’s blog, where Nordstrom’s taking a big leap of faith (and this is roughly translated), albiet an informed one:
After meeting with Lidstrom here in Los Angeles on Sunday morning, I’m so confident that he’s going to continue that I will dare write it on SPORT-Expressen even if Lidas won’t dare say it himself.
He will have a first meeting with his team’s GM, Ken Holland, today in Las Vegas. But I don’t see hindrances occurring which would prevent Lidstrom from continuing to play in the NHL.
Disclaimer: this overnight report is being written by someone who’s slept for two of the past 36 hours, so if it’s more trite, cliched and long-winded than usual, I blame insomnia.
First and foremost, as far as I can tell, Red Wings fans seem to think that the concept of signing Jaromir Jagr is, at best, an unnecessary move, but the scuttlebutt surrounding Jagr’s future continues, so I have to write about it. On Saturday in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Jagr won the Golden Stick award as the Czech Republic’s best hockey player for the tenth time, and he did speak somewhat obliquely about his NHL future with Hockej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim. What follows is a rough translation of their conversation:
Updated at 10:47 AM: So as we received confirmination from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, in English, that Jaromir Jagr is indeed interested in joining the Red Wings, Canadiens or Capitals (and, like Mike Modano last summer, possibly a “mystery team”), I wondered why the timing was so forced aside from the obvious—as Jagr told LeBrun, KHL teams’ training camps essentially start in July.
Well as it turns out, in addition to the fact that the Czech news agency CTK reports that Jagr closed the deal on purchasing a 70% stake in his childhood team (and object of his attention as well as affection) in HC Kladno on Thursday, and CTK also reports that today’s when the “Golden Stick Award” winner is revealed at the Czechs’ annual end-of-the-season hockey awards banquet in Karlovy Vary…
Okay, so we know, via ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, that Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, are indeed interested in bringing Jagr back to the NHL to play for the Canadiens, Penguins and possibly the Red Wings, and Jagr’s agent is now completing a circuit of the Wings’ beat writers, speaking to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan about his and Jagr’s intentions...
“He knows about the chemistry on the team and within the organization,” Svoboda said Friday from the Czech Republic. “Why wouldn’t he want to play for the Red Wings? He knows the Red Wings are playing for the championship every year and with the players like (Pavel) Datsyuk, (Henrik) Zetterberg, and (Nicklas) Lidstrom, these are players that play with the puck and he likes that style of play. It would be a great fit.”
Svoboda said Jagr would be looking for a one-year contract, which is what the Wings also would be interested in. The agent has contacted several NHL teams but wouldn’t identify them. It’s believed the New York Rangers and Montreal are on that short list.
Svoboda has not talked to the Wings the last few days because of an illness to Svoboda’s mother. Jagr, 39, has played the last three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental League after a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the NHL. Svoboda believes Jagr could still thrive in the NHL.
“He’s a tremendous athlete, a real proud guy, and he has a lot left in the tank,” Svoboda said. “He’s feeling really good and he knows he can help a team.”
Updated with tidbits and KH interview audio at 3:33 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s Red Wings-related news, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun confirms that Nicklas Lidstrom will inform GM Ken Holland of his decision as to whether he wishes to continue to play hockey early next week…
The Detroit Red Wings should find out Monday or Tuesday whether legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be back next season.
“Nick Lidstrom and I met Tuesday for a brief meeting,” Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com on Friday. “He said he wasn’t prepared to make decision yet. We have plans to meet in Vegas on Monday or Tuesday and he said he would give me his decision then.”
Lidstrom, 40, is nominated for a seventh Norris Trophy and will be Las Vegas for Wednesday’s NHL awards show.
LeBrun also managed to get Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, to comment in English about Jagr’s attempts to latch on with an NHL team, including the Wings or Canadiens (but not the Penguins) for a one-year term…
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.