The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/17/12 at 05:54 PM ET
Red Wings fans have more or less figured out that the reason Brad Stuart’s family hasn’t moved to Detroit with him involves his step-daughter’s custody issues. Mrs. Stuart’s daughter from her previous marriage is 17 and, as far as those familiar with California law can surmise, the Stuarts would have to give up custody of said daughter, depending on the legalities involved, if Mrs. Stuart were to move out of either the State of California or just plain old move out of Ciera’s school district. That’s why Stuart has spent the last four years away from his wife, step-daughter and two young sons, and it’s why Stuart seems to be on the fence about re-signing with the Wings. The San Jose Mercury News’s David Pollak spoke to Stuart about his family situation while wondering aloud whether Stuart will return to the Sharks this summer:
One last thing from the Red Wing side of things — or at least something that starts there and could end up on the Sharks side of things. Brad Stuart let it be known several weeks ago that it was very unlikely he’d be back in Detroit next season after his contract expires. That’s because his wife and their three children have stayed in their Los Gatos home the last three seasons and that’s too much distance. I talked with him today and nothing’s changed on that front.
“It’s always going to be important,” he said of the need to play closer to the Bay Area. “It’s obviously something we’ve discussed, not just recently but for the last few years.”
That decision is an easy one to make, Stuart said, though he always qualifies his thoughts by saying how much he loves playing for the Red Wings. Distance is the only issue. Obviously the Sharks — where he started his career — would be the perfect landing spot at age 32. Is Stuart limiting his options to California? That could set up an interesting bidding war between Doug Wilson, who traded Stuart to Boston as part of the Joe Thornton deal, and Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who drafted Stuart.
“I’m not going to get specific on you, but it’s just hard to be so far,” Stuart said. “That’s all I know at this point.”
Stuart said his step-daughter is about to graduate [high school], but the first of his two boys, age 4 and 5, is about to enter kindergarten, and that would limit the back-and-forth trips his family has been able to make to Detroit over the past few years.
“It’s just hard to be so far,” the defenseman said.
We already know from Hakan Andersson told Expressen’s Linus Hugosson that the Wings acquired Kyle Quincey at the trade deadline because the team was unable to secure a contract extension with Stuart, who apparently wants to wait until at least after the playoffs to make his decision (and yes, if the Wings can’t sign him by the draft, especially given the fact that the “conditional” 7th round pick for Commodore may or may not involve him playing X number of regular season games, Y number of playoff games or even re-signing with Tampa to be given to Detroit at all, the Wings will pawn off Stuart’s signing rights)....
So here’s hoping that Stuart sticks it out for another season to remain in Detroit and then bring his family along once Ciera turns 18. I hope that his family gets to join him in what I believe is the bets hockey home for him as soon as humanly possible…But I won’t harbor any ill will toward him if he leaves.
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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.