Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Finally, the Detroit News reviews ‘Red Army’

On a day that news that Sergei Fedorov's $20 million lawsuit against a former financial advisor has been dismissed due to a statute-of-limitations technicality...

We've done a whole helluva lot of talking about the Gabe Polsky documentary Red Army over the last year. Polsky appeared on WDFN this morning because the film is premiering at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak--the only theatre in Michigan that will carry the film--on Friday.

The Slava Fetisov-centered documentary's been getting reviewed all over the damn place, but if I trust one person to tell me whether a movie is good or a movie is dreck, it's the Detroit News's Tom Long. Long gives the film a strong "B":

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It ain’t an asset-for-rental-throwing derby, at least not in Detroit

Sometimes I think the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson gets a little ahead of himself, and especially given that Mike Babcock's latest--get this--praise for the Wings' slow-but-steady approach to developing prospects came from this afternoon's "morning skate" scrums, I think that one of the NHL's greatest minds and best writers...Is getting a little ahead of himself here:

- I know NHL teams always say ‘we’re not moving that prospect for a rental,’ but let’s get serious here. The East is totally wide open this year with the Habs, the Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals all thinking they can get to the Stanley Cup final in the here and now with a tweak, so yes, Jeff Petry is a valuable. Oilers asset. But is he first-round-pick-as-compensation valuable?

I don’t think so (a second for sure), but short of Montreal giving up Nathan Beaulieu or Detroit Xavier Ouellet or Pittsburgh Derick Pouliot or the Islanders Griffin Reinhart, are there other prospects in play here? I believe the Habs want Petry the most to play with Alexei Emelin on a shutdown pairing. Could they get Jared Tinordi from Montreal?

Ryan Sproul, an offensive defenceman who has buffed his defensive work up in Grand Rapids from Detroit, Scott Harrington from Pittsburgh, world junior member Madison Bowey from the Caps? Maybe. In the West, the Anaheim Ducks, who have been one-upped by the Los Angeles Kings for a D-man (Andrej Sekera) definitely won’t deal Canadian junior puck-mover Shea Theodore, but what about Josh Manson? The Chicago Blackhawks have Klas Dahlbeck and Stephen Jones ripening on their American Hockey League farm.

That's not how it works in Detroit. They don't toss assets at rentals willy-nilly, and Ken Holland's bluntly stated that unless the Red Wings find a way to legitimately upgrade their team over the long haul, they're not going to make a move.

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Red Wings-Sharks ‘morning skate’ articles: on Zetterberg, slow and steady winning the race, etc.

The Red Wings face a particularly difficult task in trying to snap a 2-game winless streak against the playoff-desperate San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM on FSD/CSN California/97.1 FM), and as you know by now, the fact that Henrik Zetterberg took a twirl toward the end of the Wings' "morning skate" stole the spotlight, so that's where we're going to start.

We'll begin our survey of "morning skate" articles with this from the Free Press's Helene St. James, who duly notes that nobody's stated the obvious--that Jamie Benn's punches concussed Zetterberg--and nobody's stated that Zetterberg's clearly going through a concussion protocol. St. James also wisely notes that it's going to be very hard to track Zetterberg's progress given that Detroit is flying to Nashville on Friday and won't practice on Sunday:

Thursday, he was doing much better, describing it as "fun to be out on the ice again. That's a step I'm going to take and hopefully I can do more tomorrow.

"I'd hoped to be back a few days before, but obviously it's fun to be able to be on the ice again and be allowed to be on the ice again. Just got to see how I respond to this and take it from there."

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Zetterberg ‘taking a twirl’ at Wings-Sharks morning skate

I will have more in the game-day post, but this merits its own heads-up:

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Red Wings-Sharks morning skate Tweets and articles: late game = late skate + background articles

Updated 6x at 3:20 PM: The Red Wings will attempt to snap a two-game winless streak when they tangle with the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM EST on FSD/Comcast Sportsnet California/97.1 FM).

As noted last night, the Sharks, who are in a desperate battle to earn a Wild Card spot (and the Sharks haven't played since Saturday's Stadium Series loss to LA), told the Mercury News's David Pollak's article that they're particularly wary of the Wings:

Sharks coach Todd McLellan might be starting to get annoyed at the attention paid to the fact his team would not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs if the season ended today.

"Let's get past whether they're in or they're out. It doesn't matter right now," he said Wednesday. "It matters at the end of the year, and we have to work each night to put points in the bank."

The Sharks return to that task Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings after a four-day break in the schedule. And while Detroit might not be the archrival it once was, the Red Wings provide a formidable obstacle.

"Their roster is a lot different than when we played them in the playoffs, but they've still got some of the same players they had then," said Sharks forward Logan Couture, mentioning forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg by name. "It's a tough matchup."


McLellan, who was an assistant with Detroit before taking over behind the San Jose bench, indicated he didn't think Datsyuk had lost a step since he last coached him in 2008. And the Sharks coach, whose record against his former team is 13-6-2, isn't ready to concede the rivalry forged in five playoff meetings has died out.

"I think it still exists," he said. "They're still a benchmark for a lot of teams in the league, the way they do things, the way they brought some young players into their lineup and they've been effective."

Also, from Pollak's Working the Corners blog:

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On the Flint OHL team and the Clark Park ‘Celebrity Winter Classic’

In non-Red Wings-related but general Michigan-hockey related news:

1. The Flint Journal's Aaron McMann reports the following:

It appears like we have our finalists.

Ten names have been registered by IMS Hockey Corp. ahead of its Friday deadline to submit a name, logo and colors to the Ontario Hockey League and jersey supplier CCM-Reebok for Flint's new hockey team.

"Flint Firebirds" is the latest name filed with Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, joining a list of registered names that includes "Force," "Fury," "Nationals," "Pride," "Spark Plugs," "Sparks," "United" and "Vikings."

Team officials have done a job of not tipping their hat as to which way they are learning. "Tropics" emerged as an early favorite but has since been drowned out by voices claiming it would turn the hockey club into a laughingstock.

2. And the Free Press's Shawn Windsor explained the recruiting process going on at Southwest Detroit's Clark Park hockey program, and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples noted that the Clark Park coalition is holding a "Celebrity Winter Classic" this upcoming Saturday to help raise awareness of the urban hockey programs available in Southwest Detroit:

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LeBrun: Red Wings not likely to make a blockbuster move unless it’s a bargain

Via RedWingsFeed, it's kind of refreshing to read ESPN's Pierre LeBrun report that the Red Wings will probably stand pat at the deadline--if only because LeBrun substantiates a headline-bummer strategy that I believe the team will ultimately follow:

[It]’s not like they’re not looking. It would certainly be nice to add a right-handed defenseman and there’s no question the Wings are interested in both Jeff Petry and Zbynek Michalek for that reason -- perhaps a little more interested in Petry between the two. But it’s about the price.

I think if Detroit can get Petry for a second-round pick for a middling prospect, than sure, maybe there’s a deal. But they’re not giving up one of their top youngsters. I don’t think the Wings feel the return is worth it.

The top youngsters include Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul, who the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson believes would be part of the asking price...

Again, the future is just as important as the present for a Wings team that is remarkably re-tooling on the fly with great success. They will act before Monday’s deadline if they can do it via a modest price.

I know that many of you are aggravated by this concept--and it sounds like the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo isn't in the, "Just let the youth movement play out" camp, either:

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A rant/ramble about the Wings’ probable lack of trade deadline moves

Every once in a while one needs a good rant, and I find the machinations surrounding the trade deadline (and especially the treating of players as chess pieces) as rather aggravating, so here comes my rant:

1. Sometimes trade deadline prices remind you what you have, and as Wings fans discuss adding a "rental player" that Ken Holland has stated he will not add because he's looking for a meaningful, long-term upgrade, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reminded us that the Red Wings wouldn't exactly be paying chopped liver for Jeff Petry's services:

Detroit GM Ken Holland is loathe to trade first-round picks, but he has the requisite young defensive prospects the Oilers would want. In a perfect world, the Oilers would want Xvavier Ouellet for Petry, but that’s probably a non-starter.

Offensive defenceman Ryan Sproul, playing in Grand Rapids, is on their radar, for sure. So, probably, is Russian Alexey Marchenko, currently playing for the Red Wings.

Ouellet plays a solid two-way game, while Sproul, a former teammate of Darnell Nurse in the Soo, can hammer the puck and Marchenko plays a heavy game.

While Petry will be looking for a $5 million-plus contract in the summer, the Wings face a "flat cap" summer simply trying to find a way to fit both Marchenko and Ouellet into the lineup at what would be a total cap hit of about $1.5 million (per NHL Numbers, Sportrac and the Production Line's "Chart," which all make superb Capgeek substitutes).

2. And about a salary cap that might rise to $70 or $71 million if the NHLPA agrees to have massive amounts of escrow withholdings withdrawn from their paychecks next season? Remember two-time 20-goal-scorer Gustav Nyquist? Or Brendan Smith? Or Tomas Jurco? They're all restricted free agents this summer, and subtracting Daniel Cleary's $1.5 million cap hit ($1 million bonus not included) and Jonas Gustavsson's $1.85 million cap hit MIGHT allow the Wings to "break even" this summer trying to extend Nyquist for $3.5-4 million on a long-term deal.

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Stand-up coach

The Red Wings have had more than enough reason to complain regarding some...interesting...interpretations of the rulebook by NHL officials of late, but Wings coach Mike Babcock and his players chose to keep a stiff upper lip about the "unique" goals-against in Dallas, they were understated in speaking about Jamie Benn's punch to Henrik Zetterberg's face, hoping that the league would take care of it (whoops!).

Last night, Babcock was particularly incensed by a delay-of-game call that turned to be a deflection of stick instead of puck, and he told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that he was going to work to make things right:

Babcock was seen arguing with officials over a late delay of game against the Red Wings, but admitted after the game he was wrong. He saw video confirming Luke Glendening shot the puck over the glass with no Kings player touching it first.

"It was our fault, I got some misdirection," Babcock said. "I'll have to talk to those officials. We work together all the time. You have to treat them better than that."

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Mickey Redmond discusses Wings, Z on Detroit Sports 105.1; Larionov discusses article on Fan 590

The Red Wings are taking the day off to recharge for tomorrow night's tilt against San Jose (10 PM EDT on FSD) and recovering from a 3-games-in-4-nights slate, so both the team and the beat writers appear to be enjoying the sunshine in San Jose this afternoon.

Fox Sports Detroit color commentator Mickey Redmond appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1's Drew and Marc show to discuss Jamie Benn's unpunished punch to Henrik Zetterberg's face (goal against, "cheap," the Stars' captain says, punch to another captain's face, "justified," suggests the NHL's silence--and Kerry Fraser tries to "explain" it on TSN) and the Wings' 1-1-and-1 record over the past three games (technically, the Wings are actually 2-1-and-1 on their 5-game road trip), the youth movement and more over the course of a 20-minute interview...

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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.



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