The Malik Report
I’m about to embark upon a “three hour tour” of Metro Detroit’s freeways thanks to the fact that the trip between South Lyon and my mother’s doctor’s office in Sterling Heights is 95-mile round trip, so I’m heading out of the office for a couple of hours. Paul will cover anything that’s particularly important, but before I go, here are some mid-day “quickie” stories:
As the 15th anniversary of the Red Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup win gives way to the Free Press positing a Mitch Albom story recalling the tenth anniversary of the Cup the Wings won in 2002, MLive’s Ansar Khan reminds us that, fifteen years ago today, a tragic event occurred that the franchise has never really recovered from.
On a muggy June night, Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov had done the right thing in choosing to take a limousine ride home from a golf outing, but their driver fell asleep at the wheel and collided with a tree. The crash paralyzed Mnatsakanov below his waist and left him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body, and it left Konstantinov permanently cognitively impaired.
On a day when, in theory, anyway, Red Wings fans received more than enough substantiated, source-cited and credible news to sustain a day’s worth of discussion in Detroit’s front office’s show a little loyalty to Tomas Holmstrom by delaying their decision on his future to July—a courtesy the Wings have only extended to Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby since the salary cap was introduced—and perhaps offering an understated cheer that Chris Conner’s European agent told Jnytt.se that his client wants to remain in North America…
Updated 2x at 9:12 PM: Sorry I’m slow on this one, gang. I’ve been plain old sick today. Anyway, this evening’s crop of Red Wings-related news revisits the topics discussed in the overnight report and mid-day news thread, with one exception:
League exec told us last night he expects Preds to deal Suter rights around draft, ‘just like they did with Hamhuis, Hartnell and Timonen’
Red Wings GM Ken Holland explains why the team will wait until July to decide Tomas Holmstrom’s fate
Updated at 1:52 PM: This morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James reported that the Red Wings have chosen to delay their decision as to whether they will bring Tomas Holmstrom back for one more season until after the team’s explored the free agent marketplace, offering Holmstrom’s side of the story, and this afternoon, MLive’s Ansar Khan shares Wings GM Ken Holland’s reasoning regarding offering an exception to the, “If you haven’t re-signed by July 1st, we’ll move forward without you” rule:
“He wants to make sure he’s got the energy and passion – all the things Nick Lidstrom talked about before he retired,’’ Holland said. “Right now he’s leaning towards playing. We both want to see what goes on in early July.’‘
The Red Wings want to see what transpires over the next three weeks regarding potential trades or free-agent signings on or after July 1 before making a commitment to Holmstrom.
Updated 3x at 2:42 PM: With Tomas Holmstrom’s future on hold, Red Wings fans have eleven days to wait until the team begins its attempts to reload and re-stock the cupboard to address Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, the departure of Brad Stuart, the likely bolting of Jiri Hudler and Holmstrom’s probable retirement.
Ken Holland and the Wings brass’s moves over the course of the latter half of June and early July—with approximately $26 million in cap space available, per Capgeek.com—will obviously determine whether the Wings can maintain their standard of excellence going forward, so it’s less than surprising that this morning and early afternoon’s crop of Red Wings news almost entirely involves the team’s free agent plans, starting with NESN’s Douglas Flynn’s suggestion that the Red Wings may very well serve as the fulcrum upon which the free agent marketplace pivots:
Red Wings overnight report: on delaying the Tomas Holmstrom decision until July, and coveting Parise
Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s general rule regarding the futures of players who qualify for unrestricted free agency is simple: if you haven’t re-signed by July 1st, the team will move on without you. He and the Wings’ brass have, however, made several notable exceptions over the years for long-time Wings who needed more time to decide whether they wish to continue playing in Steve Yzerman, and one player who asked the Wings to explore the free agent marketplace themselves before getting back to him regarding his playing future in Kris Draper…
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings have chosen to more or less take the same tack with Tomas Holmstrom, allowing the first few days of free agency to play out before coming back to Holmstrom as to whether he might still have a spot on the 2012-2013 team’s roster:
Prepare for ‘blame the NHL’ talk in earnest as the IIHF will hold a European hockey summit this week
While the European soccer championships are underway, the IIHF has chosen to hold a “hockey summit in Barcelona, Spain from June 12th-14th, and the organization is showing its true colors by calling something a “Hockey Summit” when it’s really all about furthering the organization’s European interests. From their press release about the event:
The beautiful game in Barcelona this week features a puck and some ice instead of grass and a ball as the IIHF gets ready to host the first Hockey Forum primarily dedicated to the development of European hockey.
The stage is set for the biggest meeting of European hockey minds in many years as the IIHF prepares to host delegates from around the world. The Hockey Forum runs Tuesday to Thursday, June 12-14, in Barcelona, and aims to involve all stakeholders in an open discussion.
Updated 3x at 7:19 PM: Yesterday’s trade of Brad Stuart to the San Jose Sharks kicked off the Wings’ summertime roster overhaul in earnest, and given Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s statements to the team’s beat writers, we’re going to find out about the futures of Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler sooner than later, with the team possibly getting a jump-start on expected Canada Day fireworks by wheeling and dealing signing rights at the Draft on June 22nd and 23rd.
The departures of Stuart and Nicklas Lidstrom obviously leave a gaping hole on the Wings’ defense, however, and as more than a few of you noted in the comments section of the overnight report, the Wings have a hard philosophical decision to make going forward.
Updated at 4:13 AM: If Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement was a punch to the heart, a staggering loss that’s left Red Wings fans literally grieving the departure of a legendary player and person, the Wings’ decision to trade Brad Stuart’s rights to the San Jose Sharks for a conditional 7th-round pick and a player the Wings probably won’t re-sign in would-be Griffin Andrew Murray was a punch to the gut, reminding those of us who were still wrapping ourselves in warm, fuzzy memories about Lidstrom that the Detroit Red Wings will experience more painful departures this summer…
And that the losses of Lidstrom, Stuart, the probable retirement of Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler’s likely bolting for more free agent bucks leave the Red Wings with some massive holes in their roster and place an inordinate amount of pressure upon Ken Holland and the Wings’ front office to ensure that said departures don’t leave the Wings anything less than ready to continue to compete with the Western Conference’s elite teams by engaging in a free agent-signing overhaul.
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.