The Malik Report
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Capitals have a new general manager (Brian McLellan), a new coach (longtime Predators man Barry Trotz) and several new players as they embark on another attempt to make good on that Stanley Cup chatter that’s echoed around Washington for several years.
McLellan nabbed the prize free agent on the market, luring defenseman Matt Niskanen to D.C. with a seven-year, $40.25 million contract (the Wings offered seven years and $38.5 million). That might be a good investment, but Niskanen, 27, has just one great season to his credit and was the gem of the marketplace because the rest was so mundane.
more on the Capitals...
On Channel 7's Sports Cave show this morning, the crew debated Steve Yzerman as the face of the franchise.
Watch the video below and it starts when the topic is about the Wings...
The Pacifica's packed and I'm preparing to make a 400-mile trip to Grand Marais, MI today for my first vacation in two summers. Paul will handle the Wings blogging duties for the next wee (I'll return on August 9th), but the next two or two-and-a-half weeks should remain realtively "slow" on the Red Wings front.
I know that DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and the Free Press's Helene St. James are continuing their surveys of Eastern Conference teams, the Freep's continuing its bracketed "Who's Your Red Wing?" vote and MLive's doing its "best Wing by position" survey, but the Wings' front office has exactly three things to do until Daniel Alfredsson begins skating later this month (at least aside from monitoring the health and progress of Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan "Middle Finger" Ericsson and Daniel "Old Yeller" Cleary):
It is indeed August 1st, so the "news cycle" isn't particularly intense save PK Subban Overdrive, but I've found enough at least tangentially-related Red Wings "stuff" to sate my pre-vacation-packing OCD and hopefully share a little more of Jim Paek's story.
I had really hoped that, after 9 years serving as the Grand Rapids Griffins' assistant coach, Jim Paek would finally find himself flanking one of Mike Babcock's shoulders this upcoming season, but Paek chose to pursue a dream in attempting to build a Korean national team ready to qualify for the 2018 Olympic games in Pyeongchang, and I will certainly miss one of the better human beings I've met over my eight years doing hockey blogging for a living.
I had a feeling that Norrkopings Tidingar's posting of a 17-minute video interview with Jonathan Ericsson (in Swedish; NT has also posted a "highlight clip") would yield a text article, and this morning, NT's Robin Svensson penned a lengthy article highlighting Ericsson's comments. What follows is roughly translated as Norrkoping Swedish is...unique...And let's just say that this interview isn't hard-hitting:
August 1st usually marks the nadir of the hockey news cycle, and at least as of the "middle of the night," it's quiet, but with PK Subban's arbitration hearing scheduled for today, Paul's going to busy and I'm going to be running pre-vacation errands and hoping that things remain "quiet."
For the present moment, I've found a press release, a 17-minute interview Jonathan Ericsson gave to Norrkoping's Tidningar--in Swedish--and a few notes.
The press release involves Danny DeKeyser making a charitable appearance at the Kohl's in Livonia on August 6th:
This is plain old cool:
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news falls into the "lists and information" category, but this summer's still been eye-opening for me in terms of the new reality that there simply is no such thing as an offseason any more.
If you've been down to Joe Louis Arena in the summer, you'll see that the parking lot is still 3-quarters full and that the hockey operations departments are in fact quite busy, so the Wings' announcement of the details of this year's HockeyFest, their revealing of a new menu for the Hockeytown Cafe and Ayron letting us know that they're designing this year's bobbleheads presently, the community relations department getting us ready for Breast Cancer Awareness night...
It's not hiring an assistant coach and video coordinator, but the Big Red Machine never sleeps, whether we're talking about the PR department, ticket sales (potential season ticket-holders have probably visted possible seats at "ice level" today), game operations, promotions, merchandising, food services, maintenance, all departments keep humming along in June, July and August, and I think that's fascinating.
In terms of today's actual news, the Tri-City Herald penned a "blurb" about Jim Hiller's hiring as the Wings' second assistant coach...
From the Red Wings:
RED WINGS 2014 HOCKEYFEST TICKETS ON SALE WEDNESDAY
… Autographs, Interactive Games & Locker Room Tours Highlight Fun-Filled Event Scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 14 at Joe Louis Arena …
DETROIT – The Red Wings today announced that tickets for the 2014 HockeyFest at Joe Louis Arena set for Sunday, Sept. 14 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) will go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 10:00 a.m. This year’s HockeyFest, presented by Coke Zero and Meijer, features an unforgettable day of hockey-related activities, including a chance to meet current players, Red Wings Alumni and FOX Sports Detroit television personalities. General admission adult tickets for this family-friendly event are priced at $20 apiece, while kids tickets (12 & under) are available for $10 each.
I know that the hiring of assistant coaches doesn't strike most as "big news," but I was both very satisfied with and hugely relieved by the news that the Red Wings had indeed hired Jim Hiller as Babcock's second assistant coach and Andrew Brewer as the team's video coordinator.
Between a seasoned NHL hand with head coaching experience in Tony Granato, an "analytics-friendly" WHL coach looking to cut his teeth in the NHL in Hiller and a 28-year-old with significant international experience in Brewer, Mike Babcock's found himself a superb set of assistants who provide a good combination of "new voices" and strong resumes--as well as "bad cop" (the Penguins' "bad cop" at that, and a "bad cop" who's going to be coaching Dylan Larkin at the U.S. World Junior summer camp next month) a "players' coach" (who might rejuvenate the Tom Renney Power Play) and someone who's familiar with Babcock's methods and the Hockey Canada system of play (which isn't far removed from the Wings' style of play).
If Babcock and Holland could get down to talking contract extension turkey before training camp, I'd feel more comfortable with the situation as a whole, but especially given the later-in-the-summer timeline Babcock had to work with, he can go back to "the lake" in Saskatchewan knowing that he's built a strong coaching team.
Updated at 2 PM: The Red Wings confirmed the "little birdie's" report and hired Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer as assistant coaches today. The Wings' beat writers Tweeted out some Hiller conference call highlights (as and Brewer Tweeted, too)...
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.