The Malik Report
A brief Red Wings overnight report: On Osgood, dangers of literal translation and epic an Helm beard
by George Malik on 07/13/11 at 08:37 AM ET
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland anticipates having a backup goaltender in place by the end of the week. Before making a decision, Holland will meet with Chris Osgood in Vernon, British Columbia, Thursday night. Osgood on Tuesday returned to Detroit from his golf trip to Scotland and Ireland.
“We’re going to have a conversation face-to-face,” Holland said. “Sometime on Friday or Saturday, after talking to him, I’ll probably have a decision on what we’re doing.”
Detroit’s options are limited. They include former Red Wing Ty Conklin and Osgood.
“We explored (free agency). We had some interest in some guys and those chose to go elsewhere,” Holland said. “We wake up after the dust settles, and obviously Chris Osgood is still a legitimate candidate. It all depends what his thoughts are. I want to talk to him and see what he’s thinking. That doesn’t mean if he wants the job it’s his job.”
It’s a bit scary when the Red Wings’ GM admits that even he’s not sure where he or the team will lean regarding bringing back a goaltender who is both clearly the best available netminder in terms of his resume and fantastic working relationship with Jimmy Howard and, at the same time, is a goaltender who couldn’t recover from reconstructive surgery on his groin despite four months of trying…
Holland is concerned that if Osgood experiences health issues during the season, the Red Wings might have to scramble to acquire another goalie. Part of that problem, though, was alleviated with Monday’s signing of Joey MacDonald to a two-year deal as the organization’s No. 3 goalie. Holland said he has no gut feeling on what might happen.
“That’s why I want to sit down with (Osgood). I don’t know that he really knows,” Holland said. “His initial reaction is he wanted to play. Now he’s gone to Europe and had more time to think. If he’s not ready to make a decision, that is a decision.”
Anyway, here’s what I had to say about online translations and stuff: Over the past day or so, Puck Daddy, the Score and Pro Hockey Talk picked up on a story from Japer’s Rink, who noted that Tomas Vokoun told iSport.cz’s Pavel Barta that he’d eventually chosen between signing with the Red Wings and Capitals. As is the case with most online translations, however, most of the news outlets have simply looked at the Google translation of the article and quoted it word-for-word, just cutting and pasting the following text:
Question: But if everything went successfully, you can also say for the better money, right?
Vokoun: “You know what, I’m thirty-five years I have slowly behind him 700 games in the NHL. Other keepers have been gone. I’m not complaining. But I was disappointed how the situation evolved. I did not get a single offer. No one! Then at the end came the Detroit and Washington. That was all. “
Question: At the same time nor interest in Detroit was not hot, at least according to what is reported in local media ...
Vokoun: “No, no, I officially sent the offer, but I eventually agreed with Washington. Thus it was resolved. “
Now I have to attempt to translate more than a few articles from foreign-language websites over the course of every summer as the Red Wings have their share of Swedish hockey players, but I’ve very publicly and regularly and repeatedly said that while Swedish and Russian are straightforward, Finnish is just a mess, and Czech and Slovak scare the hell out of me.
Why? Because online translators tend to chop up Czech and translates the little details thereof clunkily—and by “little details,” I mean that “did” becomes “didn’t” and “yes” becomes “no,” never mind that subtlety gets thrown out the window. So one must sometimes try to chop up a sentence word-by-word and see whether the diacritical remarks (i.e. the little slashes, checks and hooks over Czech consonants and vowels) are changing the interpretations of the words, or whether the translator’s simply trying to make sense of a sentence that doesn’t translate well and is spewing something funny at you.
So trying to wrap one’s head around Czech is an art more than a science, and you need some serious-ass experience to make educated guesses.
How do I interpret what Vokoun said? I believe that he’s saying that he’s the one who approached the Red Wings, not the other way around, and that he decided on playing for the Capitals because he knew he’d be their #1 goalie.
The Free Press’s Kirkland Crawford weighed in on the situation today, noting that the loop of, “Well, based on what the other guy said in English” stories came back to an article by the Free Press’s Helene St. James, and all that illustrates is how unbelievably convoluted a combination of literal foreign-language interpretation and literal English-language interpretation can get us all into trouble.
Welcome to July, where it’s either feast or famine, and while we might know about Chris Osgood and Kris Draper’s respective futures as Red Wings by Friday night or Saturday morning, until the next big news story hits we’re locked in a debate about the intricacies of foreign languages versus the limits of online translators.
Speaking of Czech, Hockej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim spoke to Wings goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek this morning, and while I can offer you a rough translation, if there’s a native Czech-speaker out there who can lend me a hand in the translating department, we’ll all get more out of it. I might ask Mrazek what he had to say because whatever I can read and infer from contextual clues and/or the literal text of the article isn’t going to be as good as what a native speaker can send our way.
And as this is a “famine” morning in terms of news stories, Darren Helm spoke to the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe about not being able to play in his hometown while taking part in Jonathan Toews’ charity golf tournament on Tuesday…
Detroit Red Wings centre Darren Helm (still sporting a bushy playoff beard) is bummed he won’t play a road game in Winnipeg this season but excited nonetheless.
“That’s too bad, a lot of people were hoping to see Detroit in Winnipeg at least once,” Helm said. “I’m a little bit disappointed to not get a chance to come home and play in front of family and friends. I guess it will limit the hassle of trying to scrounge up tickets for everybody.
“It’s been a long time since the Jets have been in the league and for every team, it’s going to be a great experience to have them in their rink or playing in Winnipeg. It’s great for hockey to have another Canadian team.”
And the Winnipeg Free Press’s Tim Campbell offers the same quote and this picture from the Winnipeg Free Press’s Wayne Glowacki:
Image courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press’s Wayne Glowacki
And the full-sized image is even…more impressive.
Update #2: More on the Osgood meeting via RedWingsFeed and Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Renger:
“I’m going to British Columbia on Thursday night,” Holland said. “He’s (Osgood) going to be there and we’re going to meet. We’re going to have a conversation face to face. Sometime on Friday or Saturday, after talking to him, I’ll probably have a decision on what we’re doing.”
It’s not a secret that Osgood still wants to play, but only in Detroit. It’s widely believed, however, that the Wings have in place—or are close to having in place—a deal with former Wing Ty Conklin, thus ending Osgood’s Red Wing career.
Whether that’s accurate or not, something seems to have changed over the last few days that has elevated Osgood back into the mix. With Joey MacDonald back in the fold for the next two years, the Wings might feel that a healthy Osgood—along with MacDonald as insurance—could be the safest option for them at this point.
Jimmy Howard and Ozzie are extremely tight, and even though Howard is the definitive No. 1, having Osgood around for another year as Howard’s sounding board could be beneficial. Throw in MacDonald and goal-tending coach Jim Bedard, and the Wings have four individuals who like each other, support each other, are familiar with each other and understand what their roles are within the team.
Osgood’s pending return could be a tough sell to head coach Mike Babcock, who has clashed with Ozzie over the years. Babcock would like to have a backup who has played more than 34 games (Osgood’s total) over the last two seasons. As well as MacDonald has played in Detroit, if Ozzie can’t stay healthy, Babcock would be apprehensive to have MacDonald as his only option if Howard were to get hurt, especially during the playoffs.
Since the Wings are several million under the cap, acquiring a backup goalie during the season might not be as difficult as in previous years, but everything is still up in the air until Holland and Osgood meet.
When asked where he believes Ozzie’s head is at, Holland replied, “I don’t really know. And that’s why I want to sit down with him. I don’t know that he really knows. It all depends what his thoughts are. I want to talk to him and see what he’s thinking. That doesn’t mean if he wants the job, it’s his job. If he’s not ready to make a decision that is a decision.”
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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.