The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/02/13 at 10:53 AM ET
Updated 2x at 12:19 PM: This story qualifies as, "A little late but worth the wait": NHL.com's Brian Hedger spoke to Red Wings...Let's call him "consultant" Nicklas Lidstrom about his role in recruiting Danny DeKeyser, he and his friend Tomas Holmstrom's post-hockey careers, and the high likelihood that Wings fans will learn to pronounce Calle Jarnkrok's name correctly (not "yarn-crock," more like yAIRn-crOOk) within the next year or three:
So, what have you been up to over in Sweden?
"I'm helping out with my 12-year-old's team, being on the ice, being an assistant coach. I'm been doing some scouting for the Wings, looking at some of their players. I'm also going to be an ambassador for the World Championships that are going to be played in Sweden. So, I've got some little things here and there to stay busy. It keeps me going to rinks and going on the ice every now and then. I'm just enjoying being home more, but still going to the rinks.''
Do you miss this, the NHL?
"Yeah, I miss it. I enjoy coming here and meeting the guys and talking to the guys and being in the locker room again. I was here a month and a half ago and it was fun being at the game, the fans and the electricity in the building.''
Lidstrom didn't catch Monday's game against the Avs: he and his family spent the weekend in Detroit and then headed down to Florida for the kids' Easter vacation.
What do you think of the Red Wings going to the Eastern Conference?
"It'll help the team, help the guys traveling-wise, shorter trips. You won't have the long West coast trips where you're gone a long time and you had to adjust to the time difference. It'll help the guys getting ready for the next game.''
Would you have continued playing if they'd moved earlier?
"No. That wasn't part of my decision at all. It probably would have helped me, too, but it wasn't part of my decision.''
As for Jarnkrok, who's a still-undersized 5'11" and about 175 pounds, but has still dazzled for Brynas IF in the Swedish Eliteserien, and has to return to Sweden by April 14th because the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation wants him to put butts in seats during the aforementioned World Championships....
What do you think of Calle Jarnkrok, one of the Red Wings' top forward prospects? Have you seen him play?
"He's a very skilled forward, a very shifty guy, he's quick and he's got quick hands. He sees the ice very well. He's got real good hockey sense. He's a young kid. He needs to get stronger and get used to playing on this ice surface, but he's got a lot of potential.''
He gets compared to Henrik Zetterberg sometimes by the Red Wings front office. Do you see that, too?
"I think you see that. He's got that ability to hang onto the puck and not throw it away unless he has to. He can hold off guys and make that play when there's an opening and wait for that opening, too. You do see a lot of similarities to how Hank is playing.''
Do you think he's pretty close to playing in the NHL?
"I think so. I think he's ready for the next level and see how quick he can adapt to playing on smaller rinks and faster guys. But I know he's ready for that next step, next level.''
Regarding the player Lidstrom helped the Wings land, Danny DeKeyser spoke to WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning...
Regarding the latter player, Michigan Hockey posted an article penned by Griffinshockey.com's Kyle Kujawa about the Wings' super-prospect...
Jarnkrok is unanimously considered one of the Detroit Red Wings’ top prospects, right up there with Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar, depending on which lists you’re looking at. Signed by Detroit last summer, he spent the year in the Swedish Elite League, but is finishing the season in the AHL to get a taste of North American hockey and give the powers-that-be a chance to weigh in on his future.
“We haven’t talked about it so much yet,” said Jarnkrok. “We will see what happens. Maybe I will be in Sweden, or Detroit, or here. I’m not sure.”
Having played at the professional level regularly in Sweden for four seasons, there’s talk that Jarnkrok could be ready to jump directly to the NHL next year. But high numbers don’t always translate across the pond, which is why the Red Wings chose to evaluate him in the AHL to determine the best route.
With the possibility of losing several forwards, like Nyquist, Tatar and Joakim Andersson, permanently to the NHL next season, the Griffins could use another player to slot into a skill role. But Sweden is always an option for Jarnkrok as well, where he’s played for Brynas IF, the team he grew up rooting for.
“It feels great to be able to play for my home town,” said Jarnkrok, a native of Gavle, Sweden. “It’s very good to have an important role on the team and be a guy who scores goals and makes points.”
Jarnkrok explained that playing for Brynas was a dream come true. Growing up in Sweden, many young hockey players follow the NHL, but don’t always get to watch much of the action due to the time difference. Jarnkrok grew up wanting to play for Brynas, only altering his plan once he realized he had a chance to play in the NHL.
“From the beginning I dreamed of playing in the Elite League,” he said. “When I got older, I dreamed of going to the next level and playing with the best. It’s been a dream of both.”
Being selected by the Red Wings 51st overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was a crucial step in reaching his dream. He grew up idolizing Henrik Zetterberg, and watched the Red Wings rely on Swedish players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall while winning multiple Stanley Cups.
“I talked to some teams,” he said. “But I had no idea which team was going to pick me. It’s been great being with Detroit. I was so happy.”
And in an unexpected twist, these Tweets popped up while I was writing this...
As a high-maintenance rental? The Wings would have to find the "right price," and that ain't an A-level prospect or 1st rounder at this point.
Dallas has made its decision and will be trading forward Jaromir Jagr.
At age 41, he isn’t the Jagr of old. But Jagr is still all of 6-foot-3, 240 pounds with the ability to score some goals (14).
The Red Wings have been intrigued with Jagr in the past and surely will kick the tires this time around. But there will likely be a lot of competition. Don’t be surprised if Boston goes absolutely gangbusters in trying to get Jagr to counter everything Pittsburgh has done.
Many teams around the Western Conference have bolstered themselves in the last few days. Getting Jagr would definitely enable the Red Wings to keep pace.
Update #2: MLive's Ansar Khan (via RedWingsFeed) is asking fans to weigh in as to whether the Wings should go after Jagr, too.
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